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2017

By now, everyone understands the importance of having a social media presence for their business – a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn page, an Instagram account. But what’s often less clear to business owners is how to take it a step further and use some of the other available social media features and tools in their marketing as well.

 

One of the most effective ways to reach your target audience on social media is through engagement in groups. Facebook and LinkedIn are the two platforms where groups can provide the greatest benefits to marketers, but each channel’s groups require a different approach. While Facebook Groups build a community of people who share the same interests, LinkedIn Groups are platforms for experts to solicit and share advice. Both require a careful touch when it comes to marketing – there’s no quicker way to turn off the members of a group than to spam them with sales pitches.

 

So how should you go about incorporating group engagement into your marketing strategy? Here are a few tips to get you started.

 

Facebook Group Marketing32944382_s.jpg

On Facebook, groups are casual, friendly, and helpful communities of like-minded individuals. While it’s possible to create a group that’s centered around your brand, it’s not advisable. People join and engage in groups on Facebook based on the image those groups allow them to project. In other words, while someone might balk at joining a group for “ABC Pastry Store Fans,” they might jump at the chance to join a group for “Moms Sharing Pro Baking Tips.”

 

Group interaction should be similarly focused on the people in the group, not on your company and what it has to offer. Interact regularly and authentically with your group members, and encourage them to engage with and support each other. Only share content that the members of your group would find truly valuable and interesting, and save promotional posts for special deals or news. That is how you develop a real relationship with your group members, gain their trust – and, eventually, their brand loyalty.    

 

LinkedIn Group Marketing

On LinkedIn, groups are professional networking platforms. Rather than creating your own group on LinkedIn, it’s best to join an existing group for your target audience’s industry. Once you have joined, chime in with expert advice or thoughtful questions whenever the opportunity presents itself.

 

LinkedIn group members are even more sensitive than those in Facebook groups when it comes to self-promotion, so it’s never a good idea to pitch your products or services in a group, even if they would provide a solution to someone’s problem. Instead, you can answer the question or provide the advice by linking to a blog post you’ve written on the subject, or simply address it in such a way that you demonstrate your expertise, but don’t ask for their business. Reading your answer and seeing your job title and business name underneath your name will be enough to convince some people to reach out individually for help. For others, it plants the seeds of brand awareness and may lead to something down the road.   

 

Engaging in social media groups can be a bit of a balancing act. However, engaging is worthwhile for the relationships built and the goodwill established with your target audience. Group interaction shows consumers that you care about them. Ultimately, this authentic connection can play a powerful role in transforming group members into brand advocates.

 

About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder Headshot.png

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group–a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015.LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.

 

Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

 

You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Social media marketing can seem deceptively simple. After all, how hard can it be to post a couple things on Facebook, or take a few pictures for Instagram?

 

Related:The Social Media Time Suck: How to Pick Your Platforms

 

However, in order to be effective, social media marketing needs a strategy and carefully crafted posts to achieve your business goals. 

 

So, what does that look like in practice? There are several different forms your social media strategy can take and all depend on your goals.

 

A company looking to grow their social media following and increase engagement will need to approach social media in a different way from a business wanting to boost traffic to their website or generate leads. For example, start discussions that keep people on social media as opposed to sharing links to posts on your site.

 

The key is to decide on a specific goal and then craft your strategy. Here are some of the most important considerations when creating your social media strategy.

 

When to Post54769385_s.jpg

One of the first things many businesses wonder about is which days and times are the most effective for posting on social media. The answer varies depending on your audience, as well as the platform you’re posting on. Stay-at-home moms will be on social media at different times from corporate executives, and people check Facebook at different times of day than they do Pinterest or LinkedIn.

 

In general, however, weekends tend to get the most engagement with weekdays getting more activity before and after work, as well as during lunchtime. Scheduling your posts in advance with a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite can make it easy to hit the right days and times with every post.

 

How Often to Post

Posting frequency is another common question businesses have about social media marketing. And once again, the answer is…it depends. Some audiences respond well to several posts a day, while others feel a couple posts each week are plenty. Some platforms lend themselves better to frequent posts, while others are geared more toward sporadic posts.

 

The key here is to choose a posting cadence and stick with it. Consistency is much more important than frequency in a posting schedule. Your audience needs to know what to expect from you to build that trust factor which leads to conversions.

 

What to Post About

The million-dollar question – what to post about? Again, it depends based on your target audience and your goals. But in general, the key to post topics lies in creating a balance between more promotional posts about your business and posts that add value to your audience’s feeds. In other words, you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with sales pitches for your product or service. Some promotion is necessary but if that’s all you focus on, no one will be interested in following you – except for the occasional deal or special.

 

Instead, it’s important to also post content of interest to your audience - content that is relevant to your business and your industry, but that doesn’t directly promote your company. Think how-to’s and tips, or updates on industry trends, for example.  This is the kind of content that turns people into followers, gets them coming back for more and can even make them brand advocates.

 

Social media marketing is anything but simple, but by creating a strategy based on your goals, and then deciding on the right posting cadence and topics grounded in that strategy, you can tap into its power for your brand.

 

Related article: The 4 C’s of Social Media to Grow Business (video)

Related article: The Top Social Media Sites You Should Consider for Advertising

 

Shama Hyder Headshot.png

About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The

Marketing Zen Group–a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015.LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in

 

Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.

 

Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

 

You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Have you made a New Year’s resolution to take your marketing efforts up a notch? Good for you. Here are seven changes guaranteed to give you better results in 2018.

 

1. Update your website. Has it been a few years since you revamped your website? Is time on site declining or are conversions dropping? If your website’s not doing what you want it to do, it’s time for an upgrade. Since mobile devices now account for 51.3 percent of internet use, your website needs to be designed with a “mobile-first” approach in order to make the sale. If you’re not a website expert yourself, enlist the help of a pro—this is one area where you shouldn’t skimp.

          Related article: Is Your Website Driving Millennials Away? Here are 6 Warning Signs

 

2. Improve your website SEO. The keywords that got traffic last year (or last month) may not work today. Regularly research to see which keywords your target customers use when they look for businesses like yours. Then incorporate those keywords into your website text, meta descriptions, tags and page titles. As voice search tools like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa become more popular, voice search is predicted to soar in the next few years. Get ahead by incorporating natural, spoken-word keyword phrases. Like website design, SEO is another task best handled by an expert. While this will cost you some money, it will save you tons of time.55171740_s.jpg

 

3. Improve your local SEO. If consumers are not finding your local business, a few small tweaks to your local SEO can help. List your business on as many local search directories as you can, including Google My Business, Yelp and any industry-specific or regional directories your customers are likely to use. Be sure your business name, address and phone number (NAP) are listed exactly the same on each directory. Add detailed information to complete your profile on search directories. Finally, update your profile regularly to include new information such as special hours or upcoming promotions—this will help boost your local SEO, too.

Related article: Why Local SEO Matters More Than Ever (and 4 Steps to Success)

 

4. Maximize the power of online reviews. A whopping 97 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses this year, and 85 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. Harness the power of your online reviews by actively monitoring them, responding to them, and encouraging customers to leave reviews. Don’t offer rewards for reviews; instead, let customers know which review sites you’re on and make it easy for them to find you.

Related article: 9 Ways to Discover What Your Customers Really Think of Your Business

 

 

5. Create strong calls to action. Whether it’s a pay-per-click ad, a print ad, or the homepage of your business website, always direct your prospects with a clear call to action. Every marketing piece you create (including every page of your website) should tell customers exactly what you want them to do: “Shop now,” “Call for a consultation today,” or “Sign up.”

 

6. Fine-tune your email marketing efforts. Email is still one of the most effective marketing techniques around—not to mention having great ROI. In 2018, use your email marketing service’s analytics to really focus on what works and what doesn’t. Use A/B testing to discover the most effective offers, subject lines and cadence for your emails. And don’t forget to keep growing that email list.

Related article: The Surprising Impact of Email Marketing and how to Maximize its Effect

 

7. Spring for social media advertising. If you’ve been marketing with social media for a while, you know it’s gotten harder to get noticed organically. To maintain your social profile, you’ll need to invest in social media advertising. (With 79 percent of adult internet users on Facebook and 76 percent of those using it daily, you can’t afford not to.) An easy way to get started: use Promoted Posts on Facebook or Instagram to “boost” your most popular posts.

Related article: The Top Social Media Sites You Should Consider for Advertising

 

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN,The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America,its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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