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Social Pop Creative is a boutique digital marketing for small to medium sized business. Social Pop is a one-stop-shop for custom branding packages, graphic design, web design, content strategy, paid marketing tactics, SEO, and social media management.
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I was inspired this week by an article I read that said, social media shouldn’t be left to the millennials. While I one hundred percent agree with that statement it’s a battle I’ve seen since I started managing Brian Tracy’s social media presence all the way back in 2008.

Social media for brands didn’t really become a thing until Tony Hsieh used Twitter as a customer support avenue. After that, it took off. As social media evolved, I was right there in the trenches creating strategies & implementing new and exciting marketing campaigns through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

As companies started to come around to the fact that they needed a social media manager or someone to run their social accounts, their desired social media manager didn’t exist. Some companies wanted someone with 5-7 years of experience yet, social for brands hand’t been popular for more than a handful of years. Other companies were only willing to hire recent grads and wrongly assumed that a certain person of a certain age would just know the right thing to do on social media (and hey, they wanted that cheap labor. Not everyone knows how to quantify the ROI of a Facebook account).

Social media is fickle, turns on a dime and unless you know what you are trying to achieve on your social media channels just throwing a young college grad or “millennial” in to do the work won’t yield any returns.

I have now been managing social for small brands, major brands, and even individuals, for just about 8 years. Each type of account has varied goals and different needs. Each audience to be reached is unique and accepts marketing their own way. Don’t send a millennial in to manage your social media accounts. Just because someone can use it, doesn’t mean they know how to grow a following, engage with your customers or truly connect to the lifeblood of your business.

Social media, it’s what we do around here. We bust our butts to bring the best social campaigns and content marketing strategies to our clients. In fact, we have been working so hard over the last year that our own website and social pages have been neglected. Some of you may be thinking, “Shame on you, that’s your business card!”, but isn’t this a case of the cobbler’s children without shoes? We think so. Simply put, one doesn’t always benefit from the product of their trade.

It’s hard to run a business. And it’s really hard when funding has dried up or wasn’t an option in the first place. The bottom line is, well, the bottom line and in an attempt to keep costs low and profits high, it’s easy to let your web site, social accounts and overall web presence fade. We know first hand and we are guilty of this very action.

To stick with the shoe theme here, when you’re bootstrapping your business, how do you prioritize the needs of your clients and the needs of your business, all while maintaining that highly sought after work-life balance? And further, should you really consider bootstrapping your business?

We’re looking to you. How do you keep your web presence fresh, in any industry, when you have limited resources, and time is dedicated to other tasks?

Trust me, I know how time consuming social media management can be! I began my career in social media nearly 8 years ago, back when Tony Hsieh was considered revolutionary for running the Zappos Twitter account. Each new move in the social media world led me to more and more responsibilities and experiences. From increased social networking platforms, to multiple analytics and monitoring tools, I was in a constantly changing and rapidly moving environment.

There was never enough information or reading materials I could get my hands on and the way I found to best learn was to dive in head first, test my ideas and theories, and get lost amongst the epic amounts of conversations taking place online. The problem was, I was truly getting lost in the social media world. I could easily have spent an entire day tweeting conversations with followers and customers without even realizing I hadn’t had lunch, answered any emails, or visited our other social sites!

Luckily, it was only shortly into my career I knew just how important it was for me to organize and prioritize my daily tasks and long-term goals. To better help yourself and individuals working on your social media succeed; follow these 8 tips for effective social media management.

  1. Be selective about which social networks to use – There are literally hundreds of social networks for you or your brand to choose from. It’s imperative that you are selective and choose platforms that are appropriate for your brand and industry. There are absolutely some key networks to be on; such as Facebook, Google Plus, and a handful of others, but keep in mind there are industry specific networks that may be appropriate for your company and social media goals.
  2. Clearly define your target audience – Determining who is going to be your core user may be difficult. I have seen businesses that have an idea of who they think their target audience is, but is slightly different in reality and businesses that focus in on a very specific, small niche and nail it. Narrowing in on the customer or clients you have and learning about this user group’s needs, wants and interests will help your brand go far on social media. Don’t forget, social media is about being social and if you aren’t interacting in a meaningful way with your followers your social networks may fall flat.
  3. Know your competition – Identifying others in your space prior to implementing a social media strategy will help you asses the social scene ahead of time. Take time to research the existing conversation, hot topics, and articles or posts that are shared hundreds of times. Entering into the conversations ready and armed with content, facts, and valuable information will establish you as a leader in your industry as well encourage more engagement and followers.
  4. Create a voice – Establishing a voice will create a consistent method of delivering messages. The social media side of things can be really fun for businesses. Use this area to be creative and create a voice or online persona for your brand. Think Flo from Progressive. Not only is she a funny and entertaining personality on TV, she is a digital personality with over five and-a-half million fans on Facebook alone! Keep in mind comedy is not always right angle, but establishing a voice online will allow your followers on social networks to relate and interact with your brand in a way that they can’t do through traditional and old fashioned marketing methods.
  5. Create an editorial calendar – A loosely defined editorial calendar is an excellent tool for social media managers everywhere. This gives some guidance and structure for your upcoming posts and conversation topics on your social networks, never leaving a dull moment for your followers. Remember to be flexible on your calendar and allow room for changes and late breaking news. Editorial calendars are ideal for keeping things up to date, relevant, and prevent serious writers block. Additionally, an editorial calendar can alert co-workers in your office as to what’s going on so they can play along as well.
  6. Use just one analytics tracker – It seems as thought a new analytics and social monitoring tool pops up every day. It’s possible that you could use one monitoring tool for each social network and usually in conjunction with each other. Meaning not only do you have to log-in to check multiple accounts, but social media managers are forced to cross reference data and typically have to compile multiple reports into one document. Talk about a waste of time and in most cases, money! Simplify your life by choosing one, all-encompassing monitoring tool that can produce a single report. You will thank yourself later!
  7. Set up alerts for your industry – Now this may seem like a no-brainer and something you may do any way, but staying up to date on your industry allows you to share relevant information with your audience. Current events, news, and interesting facts keep the conversation going. Plus, if you know what is going on with your company, industry, and can answer questions and respond to requests, you are adding value to your social. People will follow you not only for the content, but the added value of being able to get info quickly.
  8. Test out efficiency tools – As I mentioned in number 6, new tools, trackers and gadgets are introduced every day. If you’re looking for a tool to streamline your posting process, I highly recommend giving a few a try. Rather than re-posting the same information on each platform individually, these tools will help you quickly distribute one post amongst all your social sites. While I do not recommend sending all your posts through one tool at one time, I do think it can help increase efficiencies. Remember, individual social networks require individual attention. Some posts can be broadcast all at once, but the meaningful engagement and interactions with followers need to be done without the help of tools.

We talk a lot about SEO and SMO over here at Social Pop Creative, and we often times combine the two suggesting that they go hand in hand. But, what is the difference between the two and when is either appropriate? To super summarize, SMO is a part of SEO. Both contribute to how people find your business online which is why we place so much emphasis on having an SMO strategy that works alongside your SEO and content makreting efforts.

What is Social Media Optimization?

Social media optimization is the act of optimizing your social media pages to yield better search results within social and web search engines. With the growing emphasis on social media for businesses, strategic page creation and optimization can assist any business in increasing visibility and expanding customer reach. Social media optimization requires strategic planning and different tactics on each social network.

What Social Optimization is not

Social Media Optimization is not active page management or social engagement. White nurturing the communities you build for yourself or your brand on social media, is important, this does not directly impact the on page optimization of your social networks. The act of actually being social on these platforms is imperative, however, as stated above, SMO requires an elevated level of effort and strategy.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Dead! Just kidding, that’s just a little joke we say around here. SEO is the art of building valuable and relevant content on and to your website to increase your website visibility to search engines.

What SEO is not

Spammy backlinks, keyword stuff articles, link backs in forums and on blogs, guest posts, and other “old-fashioned” tactics used long ago. The SEO of todays word is creating genuine content that people are genuinely looking for and engaging with.

How to Combine SMO and SEO efforts

Since the most recent overhaul of Google’s algorithm social interactions and engagements are getting a lot more emphasis in search results. So to make your SEO strategy and SMO efforts work together, be sure you are creating content for your site and social networks that is in fact, truly engaging and read by your users, while attracting new followers.

 

 

As we’ve mentioned, a major part of Socially Optimized search is the optimization done on your social media pages. Your brand will reap the SEO benefits when you optimize your social media accounts. Each platform has a different information set that can be used to describe, explain, and promote your business. Today we’ll break down each social network and the areas to focus your optimization efforts.

Social Optimize accounts

Facebook – Your Facebook page is an extension of your brand, but let’s be honest; people find your page, like it if they choose, and then never go back. The majority of your interactions will either take place in the newsfeed in the form of posts or ads. So why is Facebook Optimization so important? Two reasons: Your Facebook page needs to be visible when users are searching Facebook and an active well optimized Facebook page will show up in search results. Read How to Optimize Facebook here!

Twitter – Still up in the air about twitter? Well it’s an absolute must for many brands and we highly recommend tweeting to many businesses. Twitter is ideal if you are a national brand or company, have valuable content to share (which we think all businesses do!), and to keep an eye on your industry. Twitter is an excellent source for users to consume information, but tweeting is just for the news. Having a twitter account and providing followers with content gold increases your audience while boosting your search.

Pinterest – In our opinion, is one of the most powerful tools for social optimization. Did you know that Pinterest boards are showing up consistently on the first page of Google search? And, did you know that many users are skipping search engines and heading straight to Pinterest? True and true; Pinterest, a visual book marking site is becoming a crucial part of search and should absolutely be included in your company’s social strategy. So what are you waiting for? Read How to Optimize Pinterest here!

Google My Business (Formerly Google+) – not to take away from what we just said about Pinterest being all powerful, but Google My Business, although new is equally as important to your social search optimization strategy. If your brand doesn’t already have a Google+ page, now is the time. Google is perfecting local search and the best way to there for local customers is with Google my business. Read How to Optimize your Google My Business Account here!

LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the only social network for business professionals. LinkedIn is awesome for big business and anything B2B, but also give smaller brands a voice and the opportunity to be seen. Not only is your linked in profile an important part of promoting your business, but building your business page on LinkedIn will contribute to your social search results.

Yelp – Yelp, where your customers can make or break your business! Remember the customer is always right, the customer is king, and without them there would be no you. Yelp has given consumers the power and truly forces a new level of customer service from businesses. While this new practice is great for the end user, it requires some extra effort from the owners.

Trip Advisor – If you’re in the travel, entertainment, or restaurant industry trip advisor is absolutely where you need to be. Claim your page so guests can leave reviews, pictures, and rave about your business. TripAdvsor also offers tools for businesses to create a positive image and include more social sharing in their strategy.

Blog – While blogging is a totally different beast, it is still a major player in SEO. Without going to in depth on the whole SEO thing, we do have a few tips and tricks to make your blog best optimized for social search. Read How to Optimize your Blog here!

Socil Media is a must, but how are you supposed to manage each account without getting sucked into a full day of social media? Spending numerous hours updating every status, thought, and promotion for your brand while maintaining a successful business is tedious. Which might have brought you to the constant debate of whether or not you should hire outsourced experts to take over or someone full-time and in-house. Luckily, we have experience in both fields and are here to support your final decision by providing you a few pros and cons of hiring for in house social media vs. outsourcing.

Outsourcing to the Professionals:

Pros

  1.  Expertise/ Knowledge- Well duh, it’s their profession! The experts have the knowledge and good eye for what does/ doesn’t work for your company. They understand your business is your baby and they want to see it grow just as much as you do.
  2. Tools/ Skills- Chances are you’re not their first go around, so they automatically see what media aspects work best for you. They have the right tools and know how to use them efficiently to make your brand shine.
  3. Time/ Money- The experts work on your social brand day in and day out, which saves you energy to complete bigger projects for your company. Believe it or not, they’re also saving you money. Rather than hiring a full time employee with a regular salary, a social media consultant is usually paid monthly at a reasonable rate.

 Cons

  1. Regular Updates- In order for the experts to be successful with your social media sites, they have to know the personality of your brand. This entails educating them about the voice of your company and what is going on weekly, which could be too time consuming for you.
  2. You’re Not Benefiting Socially- If you’re allowing consultants to take over your media, then you’re in the same position before: being socially inapt. Unfortunately, the experts don’t have the time to explain the ins and outs of every social media site to you, which could be a downfall for you in the future if you switch back to becoming in-house.

Remaining In-House:

Pros 

  1. You Know You Best- The most obvious reason for remaining in house is because this is your business, not someone else’s! You created your brand personality and know what works best for your company.
  2. Immediate Interaction- If your business receives an award it’s simple to make a post promoting it immediately. Reaching out to a consultant to update them on your every move may not sound efficient for your company.
  3. You Are A Natural- It just so happens social Media is your thing and you’re a great multi-tasker! Kudos to you, not many of us business owners can run a business and be socially savvy.

Cons 

  1. Time Consuming- If the art of social media doesn’t come naturally to you, then we both know the amount of hours wasted trying to accomplish a simple task. By handing your social media off to a consultant, they can finish your new web design in half the time and allow you to work on a project you’re more proficient at.
  2. Audience Interaction- The journey of finding your audience isn’t always crystal clear. What’s even more difficult, is discovering where they are talking about you and what they do/don’t like. That’s when a consultant becomes your detective and does all the searching for you.

As you’ve heard before, there are always two sides to every story. Outsourcing or in-house, make sure your final decision benefits your company and social media sites for the long haul!

Optimizing your Google+ or Google My Business page is equally as important as optimizing your website for SEO value. Google+ pages for business are a hot topic these days, especially as it pertains to local search. Using Google+ can help increase your search rankings and acts as a powerful SEO tool for local and web based businesses. Properly optimize your Google+ page and increase visibility to your new and existing customers.

Where to Optimize on your Profile:

SEO Title – The name of your page should always be the name of your business. This will be the SEO title. Avoid using any keywords here. This actually has little SEO value and may negatively impact results.

Meta Description – The Meta Description of your page combines your company tag line and the first two sentences of your introduction. Be sure your first two sentences are well written and concise so consumers can quickly see what your business is about.

Follow Links- Follow links on your page can be placed in the introduction and other links section. The official linked website on your page is, unfortunately, marked as no follow.

Google+ Authorship – An important ranking factor that is of the lesser-known ranking factors. Authorship tags each piece of content you create and lets Google know who exactly wrote that content. Tying a verified author profile to content ranks content higher than that without a profile.

Optimize Content:

Once your Google+ page has been created and your profile is fully set up you’re ready to start posting. Posts should contain relevant information that your viewers find useful, entertaining, and valuable. Remember content can come from your blog and should include additional sources other than yourself.

If, you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably notice more and more Facebook pages are returning page 1 results in a Google search. While your brand page on Facebook does not act as a website, if you’re using it correctly you are definitely using it like one. Apply these basic SEO strategies to your Facebook page to increase your place in search results. How to optimize your Facebook page for SEO with three simple tips.

  • Complete your about section – Include every last detail here and fill this section out to its entirety. Strategically highlight your business or brand while using keywords. Remember though, too many keywords can be a bad thing! Refer to your basic SEO strategies. Additionally as a local business, absolutely include your location contact information and business hours to improve your rankings for local search as well.

 

  • Create a custom URL – Once your Facebook page has reached 25 likes you have the option to create a vanity URL. Just as important as your Facebook page name, so is the URL. Because URLs are weighted in search engines, your business or what you do should absolutely be included.

 

  • Share quality content. Whether it’s created by your brand or being shared from another brand keeping the content on your page fresh and relevant will work to your benefit. Social actions on Facebook, likes, shares, comments, etc. can impact your rank in search results. This is why it is imperative to create content that gets your community engaged! Remember information that is valuable to your users, whether its funny or informative, is the most likely to have the most interactions.

It’s no secret that many brands on Facebook are seeing less engagement with each post and that organic reach is going down significantly. While it is rumored that Facebook is intentionally withholding brand posts, really, it all boils down to the millions of posts created daily and Facebook’s constantly changing algorithm. Users simply cannot consume the average 1,500 posts per day that would naturally show up in their newsfeed. Given Facebook’s interest in keeping their users engaged and coming back, they strategically show users content which is likely to be the most interesting to them based on their activity. So, this begs the question, “How do I get my content to show up in newsfeeds and seen by my fans?”

We’d be lying to you if we said we knew exactly how to make this happen. In-fact anyone who claims to have figured out the mystery that is Facebook organic reach, don’t trust them. What we do know, however, is that there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of naturally appearing in the newsfeed and increasing engagement with your current fans. Increase your reach on Facebook and be seen with these tips:

Post frequency is important. It is highly recommended that as a brand you post between one and two times per day. Posting too infrequently decreases the opportunities fans have to interact with your brand causing your posts to be seen less often. In contrast, too many posts can hinder your success as well. Don’t bombard fans with content, because just as easy as it was for a user to like your page, they can unlike your page.

Track your posting efforts. Facebook has created insights so brands can gauge the overall success of their page and view the most effective posts shared. Take advantage of this free tool and determine which posts were your best and at what times they were posted. Once you have determined which content your fans like the most and times they are most active, you can easily replicate this. Increasing the engagement on your posts will up the chances your content is seen by existing and potential fans.

Know your audience. It’s not enough to have likes on Facebook. It’s imperative that the likes you amass are genuine. When your audience on Facebook is comprised of real fans and followers, creating content for them should come easily. Your fans want to hear what you have to say (That’s why they liked your page!) share with them news and updates from your brand, but don’t be afraid to mix in content that appeals to them but doesn’t necessarily have to do with your brand. A variety of interesting content will naturally lead to increased engagement.

Use rich media. Every post should be created with images or video. Visuals are known for grabbing a user’s attention much more quickly than plain text. So when it comes to sharing your latest blog post or newest offering, be sure to add an image that is relevant, eye catching and worth sharing.

Optimize your text. First, the content of your post should be short and sweet. Research by BufferApp states that the ideal length of a post is just 40 characters long, which is 100 characters short of the Twitter max! Next, in those 40 characters, add a bit of mystery and evoke emotion. Posts that people can relate or make them curious often get much more like and engagement. Finally, make it awesome! Great content that people want to be associated with is much more likely to be shared. Put time into your content, the extra effort will absolutely pay off in the form of increased likes and engagement.

If all else fails, pay for it. We know, Facebook budgets aren’t known for being huge. If you want to be seen by the masses Facebook has a fantastic tool, the Power Editor, which allows you to target to an ultra-specific audience and even time when your ads or boosted posts are viewable. If your brand has it in the budget, paid Facebook posts can help you increase engagement and build a Facebook fan base.