Social Media Marketing Resources

Social Media Marketing - The Complete Guide

What is the Facebook Algorithm?

The Engine that drives Facebook – The Facebook Algorithm

Imagine you log into Facebook and go to your news feed to see what’s going on. You’re pretty social so let’s say you have around 1200 friends. Will everyone’s post show up? No, Facebook has a complex algorithm to decide what you want to see. Their goal is to keep you on FB and for people to stay active. For businesses that don’t understand this, their marketing strategy can be way off. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a presence on FB, but in the same way, FB is also a business and they make their money by keeping people online in their business.

Let’s look at the 3 things that make up the FB algorithm.

Affinity Score

How connected your page is to your fans. This is determined by how many likes, comments, and shares you get. Likes are the least weighted in the algorithm. This is the number one reason most Facebook marketing campaigns don’t realize as much profit as they should. People are focusing on getting likes to their page, without putting people into their sales funnel. I love working with recruiters and companies that offer a service or product that people really need. They need you and need help finding you! Converting people is not a dirty word, ethical business win/win. Also, understanding likes to the page are important because they show social proof and Facebook knows this, that’s why you’ll pay more for that good reputation. I believe people that like doing business with you will like your page, therefore my goal is to put likes to your page that will interact. Because comments and shares are how to explode your advertising campaigns.

Interaction Weight

Everything we’re talking about today is individual. When I say interaction weight, it means each comment, like or share has a different amount of people that will see your post because of that action. Each person that interacts with your page will become more sticky and see more of your posts higher up in their news feed. That person then has people that are sticky to him and will see your post when he likes, comments, or shares. The key point here is to build that stickiness, which rubs off on your business brand and becomes invaluable in creating lifetime customers. Likes are the least weighted followed by comments higher and shares being highest.

Time Decay

As things get older on FB they die out. This includes profiles, business pages, and posts. So it’s very important to have a plan and stick to it, once a profile has died out, it gets harder to bring it back. It’s still good to keep the pages and consider making a new one and merging the new and old to kick some of the time decay.

Solution TIME!

These above reasons are why not all of your friends or fan are seeing your posts and ads. If we understand this we can create an action plan to increase exposure and increase conversion.

  1. Put less value on likes to your page and More Value to likes to your post.
  2. Encourage engagement on your page, get people to invest in your page by asking for their opinion on how you can better serve them. (This is so powerful don’t be embarrassed to ask, it helps people invest in you)
  3. Shares are KING!! Get people to share your post and then they for one are more connected to your page and will see more of your post. Also their friends have the opportunity to engage with your business.
  4. Be personal, Introduce your team and give praise to good employees. Let people know how friendly you are.
  5. Like other pages as your page so you can interact with other businesses and grow together. Cross promotion is very successful in small towns.

I hope you enjoyed this and will use some of these new ideas.

How to Create a FB Group, Build Engagement and Increase Organic Reach

Facebook has recently launched Groups for Pages, enabling the 70 million+ Pages on Facebook to create their own unique communities and feeds.

This update provides new ways for brands to boost engagement and could go some way to countering the decline in organic reach Facebook Page owners have been experiencing for the past few years.

More than 1 billion people around the world use Groups. And more than 100 million people see Groups as the most important part of their experience on Facebook.

Facebook Groups are the place to connect with other like-minded people and are becoming increasingly important for brands and businesses aiming to cultivate a community.

So how do you create a Facebook Group? And more importantly, how do you build an engaged community in your Facebook Group?

Let’s get started!

Facebook Groups vs Facebook Pages

A common question on this topic is: “Should I have a Facebook Group or Facebook Page?”

And it’s a tough one because Facebook Groups and Facebook Pages are increasingly becoming more similar.

For example, an advantage that Facebook Pages used to have is the Page Insights, which allows social media managers to understand how their Page and posts are performing. Now, Facebook Groups include built-in analytics, too — Group Insights.

Here’s a quick overview of the positive features for each:

Facebook Page

  • Built-in analytics (Page Insights).
  • Call-to-action button (e.g. Sign Up, Book Now, Learn More) on your Facebook Page.
  • Boost your Facebook Page and Page posts with Facebook ads.
  • Like and comment as your Facebook Page.
  • Add apps and services to your Facebook Page, so that your fans can easily order a product, make a booking, get a quote and more.

Facebook Group

  • Built-in analytics (Group Insights) now.
  • Set your Facebook group as private (Closed or Secret).
  • Post documents, create polls, and even buy and sell in your Facebook group.
  • Group chat with your group members.
  • Members recieve notifications about new posts to the Group.

Now that you can link your Facebook groups to your Facebook Page, maybe the answer to the question above is actually both.

In this post, we’ll focus on creating and managing a Facebook Group. If you wish to read up on Facebook Pages, you might like our guide on how to create and manage a Facebook Page for your business.

How to create a Facebook Group

Creating a Facebook Group is very straightforward. Let’s run through the important steps here:

1. Choose your Facebook Group name and privacy setting

To start, click on “Group” under the “CREATE” section at the bottom of the left sidebar on Facebook.

create a facebook group

You can also find the same option under the drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of any Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2017 08 02 at 11.29.26 186x300 1

Next, fill out the basic info in the pop-up:

  • Choose a name for your Facebook Group (You can change this later.)
  • Enter the names of friends you want to add or email addresses of the people you want to invite to your Facebook Group (You have to add or invite at least one person.)
  • Select the privacy setting of your Facebook Group (Public, Closed, or Secret)
create new group popup

Here’s a quick overview of the differences between the three privacy options:

facebook group privacy options

For example, a public or closed Facebook Group could be suitable for a community of your customers while a secret Facebook Group could be great for exclusive groups such as VIP customers or beta testers.

If your Group is public it’s also worth noting that anyone can see the posts and comments in your Facebook Group without having to join. If you want to protect the privacy of your members, a closed or secret Facebook Group will be more appropriate.

Once you’ve decided on the privacy options, hit “Create”.

You’ll be prompted to select an icon for your Facebook Group. If you don’t have a preference, Facebook will default to the generic Group icon ().

facebook group icon

Now, you’ve set up your Facebook Group ?

But there are still a few more things we could do to make your Group more attractive to join, and easier to discover…

2. Fill out your Facebook Group’s info

Head over to your Group settings, by clicking on the three-dots button below your cover photo and then choose “Edit Group Settings”.

facebook group settings

A best practice is to work your way down the list of and fill each out accordingly. Here are the key things to do:

1. Add a cover photo. The ideal cover photo size is 820px wide by 462px tall.

On the desktop, Facebook will crop the cover photo a little from the top and bottom. On mobile, your Facebook Group name and details will overlay your cover photo. You can see an example and grab a template here.

2. Select a group type to help people understand what the group is about.

Here are the group types available:

  • Buy and Sell (This group type has additional features.)
  • Close Friends
  • Club
  • Events and Plans
  • Family
  • Neighbors
  • Parents
  • Project
  • School or Class
  • Study Group
  • Support
  • Team
  • Travel
  • Custom
facebook group types

3. Write a description to tell people what the group is about in more details. You have up to 3,000 characters for your group description. (And yes, you can use emojis. ?)

It is common for group admins to use this space to share information that they want the entire group, especially new members, to know such as the dos and don’ts of the group.

Here’s an example from CMX Hub Facebook Group:

cmx hub description

4. Add (up to five) tags to help people find your group. For example, when I search “social media” on Facebook, Facebook groups with the “social media” tag will show up.

facebook group search

Once you start typing, Facebook will offer some suggestions such as this:

facebook group tags

5. Add your location if you are a local Group. It makes it easier for people who are looking for Facebook Groups in your area to find your Facebook Group.

You can add multiple locations if your group is present in a few places:

facebook group locations

6. Customize your URL. Using an easy-to-remember URL makes it easier to share your Facebook group with others during meetups and conferences. You have up to 50 characters but I would try to keep it short.

facebook group url

3. Add or invite friends and promote your Facebook Group

Yay! Your Facebook Group is now ready to share, the next step is to invite more people to the group. ?

Add or invite people using the ‘Add Members’ field on the right of your Facebook Group.

facebook group add members

To add a friend, enter their name in the field. Your friend will join the Facebook group automatically without having to accept any invitation.

To invite a friend or customer, enter their email address. If you want to add a personalized note on the invite, click on the tiny blue icon on the right.

Here’s an example invite note:

facebook group invite

If you are certain your invitees would love to be part of your Facebook group, you can go ahead and add them. Otherwise, I would recommend inviting them and letting them decide if they want to join.

4. Link it to your Facebook Page

One great way to grow your Facebook Group is to link it to your existing Facebook Page.

Here are the advantages of linking your Facebook Group to your Facebook Page:

  • It’s easier for your Facebook Page fans and visitors to find (and join) your Facebook Group.
  • You can post, Like, and comment as your Page in your Facebook Group.
  • Your community can have a separate space to interact and build relationships with one another.

This is how it looks on HBO’s Facebook Page:

hbo facebook page group

To link your Facebook Group to your Facebook Page, click on “Groups” on the left sidebar of your Facebook Page.

If you don’t see the “Groups” tab on your Page, go to “Settings” > “Edit Page” and add the “Groups” tab to your Page.

add groups tab

When you click on “Groups”, you’ll be prompted to link a group to your Page. Hit “Get Started”.

(If you have not created your Facebook Group, you can click “Create Linked Group” to start a brand new Group.)

A pop-up will appear for you to select the groups you want to link. Hit “Link” and then “Link Group”.

choose facebook group to link

And you’re set!

test page group

Woohoo! Your Facebook Group is all set up and successfully linked to your Page. Now let’s look at how to build an engaged community.

How to build an engaged community in your Facebook Group

Having an engaged community can help strengthen your community members’ relationship with your brand. This brand equity can then influence their decisions on purchasing from you.

Besides branding, a community can contribute to many areas of your business such as customer support, acquisition, and product innovation, according to CMX Hub’s research.

cmx primary business value

Here are some tips you can use to build an engaged community in your Facebook group:

1. Engage with your members regularly

Initially, when the community is small, there might not be many posts from your community members. It can be helpful to seed some relevant, helpful conversations on a consistent basis; perhaps two to three times a week.

For example, David Spinks, Founder of CMX, welcomes and invites new members to introduce themselves every Monday. He also regularly initiates discussions on topics in the community-building space.

cmx hub welcome post

(CMX Hub Facebook Group is a great group to join if you are hoping to get help on community building. Facebook Group Admins Facebook Group is another great one.)

A thoughtful way to go about this is to plan your posts in advance; perhaps with a calendar (you can grab a template here). For example, you could welcome your new members every Monday, initiate a discussion on every Wednesday, and invite members to share their achievements on Friday.

community calendar template

Most importantly, I would recommend commenting on every post and answering every question in your Facebook group (at least initially). This helps to make sure your members feel heard and that they are getting value from the group.

This is a strategy that solopreneur, Daniel Di Piazza, used to grow his Rich20Something Facebook group to more than 17,000 members.

“I purposely create conversations all day on Facebook and I pretty much respond to everything. I do miss some for sure, but even if it’s something as small as an “awesome” or a ‘Like’ – That totally makes a huge difference,” he explained on our Science of Social Media podcast.

2. Use analytics to inform your strategy

Once activities in your Facebook Group pick up, you might want to know how your community-building strategy is performing and how to improve it.

Here’s some great news for you: Facebook is rolling out Group Insights (Facebook Group analytics) to Groups with more than 250 members.

Group Insights can be accessed by clicking on “Group Insights” on the left sidebar.

facebook group insights

Here, you can find out insights such as how your Facebook Group is growing, when your members are most engaged, and who your most engaged members are.

Here are the metrics and insights you can get from Group Insights:

Growth details

group insights growth
  • Total members and members growth
  • Membership requests

Engagement details

group insights engagement
  • Posts, comments, and reactions stats
  • Active members stats
  • Popular days and times
  • Top posts

Member details

group insights members
  • Top contributors
  • Age and gender breakdown
  • Top countries and cities

Use these metrics and insights to inform your community-building strategy. For example, you could post on days and times when engagement is high, track active membership growth, and thank top contributors.

3. Host regular events

Hosting events is a great way to get community members involved (and maybe even attract inactive members back to the community).

In-personal meetups help to reinforce the connections made online, making the relationships more meaningful.

Here are some online and offline events you could host:

  • AMAs (Ask-Me-Anything) with a community member or industry expert
  • Q&As with someone from your company
  • Talks and panel discussions
  • Mastermind sessions or community discussions
  • Casual get-to-know-each-other gatherings such as brunch, picnic, dinner, etc.

Once you have planned your event, create an event in your Facebook Group and invite members to attend.

To create an event, click on “Events” on the left sidebar and then “+ Create Event on the right”.

facebook group events 1

Fill out the basic information of your event to let your members know what the event is about and when it is happening. You can send an invitation to all your members (for groups smaller than 500 members) by selecting the option “Invite all members of (your group name)”.

create events

After you have created the event, you can invite more friends by clicking on the “Invite” button.

event invite

If you would like to learn more about engaging your event attendees before, during, and after your events, here’s a guide on event marketing on social media by Eventbrite.

4. Form a group chat

(Update April 4, 2018: It seems that Facebook has removed this feature from Groups.)

Sometimes, you might want closer communications within your community. Posts in Facebook Groups are good for asynchronous discussions but less suitable for real-time, back-and-forth chats.

For example, you might want to discuss a particular post with the other admins and moderators. Or you want to let the group know you have reached your event’s meeting point.

You could form a group chat using Facebook Messenger for real-time, quick chats.

This is generally more appropriate when you have a small group (and intend to keep it small) than when you have hundreds to thousands of members. Alternatively, you could form a group chat just for the admins and moderators.

To create a group chat, click on the three-dots option below your cover photo, and then “Send Message”. Select the members for the group chat (or “Select All” to select every member) and click “Start Chat”.

send message

5. Set guidelines and moderate discussions

Here are some of the things you can do to keep your Facebook Group conducive for your members:

Set up guidelines. You can either write them in your group description, create and pin a post, or create a Facebook document. You can include things such as the actions that are encouraged or should be avoided and the names of admins and moderators.

create doc

Edit your membership and posting settings. In your “Group Settings”, you can set permissions for new membership and posting. For example, you can set permissions such as if only an admin or a moderator can approve a new member and if all posts must be approved by an admin or moderator.

You can also learn more about new members by requiring them to fill up a short questionnaire before joining. You can ask up to three questions, and they’ll have up to 250 characters to answer each question.

permissions

Remove posts that violate the guidelines. You or your moderators can remove posts and comments on posts. I would recommend stating clearly in your guidelines the type of posts that are not allowed such as self-promotion and hateful posts.

You might want to consider removing and blocking repeat violators from your Facebook Group.

moderation

Share your Facebook Group with us!

And that’s it! Those are the things you can do to create a Facebook Group for your brand and build an engaged community.

We are excited for you to create your Facebook Group and would love for you to share in the comments section below a link to your Facebook Group and a brief description about your group.

Image credit: UnsplashCMX Hub

Article originally posted at The Complete Guide to Facebook Groups: How to Create a Group, Build a Community and Increase Your Organic Reach by Alfred Lua

How to Create Facebook Posts That Actually Creates Interest

Social media, especially Facebook has become a popular tool for many platforms.  The way you Create Facebook posts on your business page can make or break your business.

Here we’ll tell you:

How to Make the Perfect Facebook Post People Will Actually Care About.

We have broken up the four main parts when to consider when it comes to building your content: Hook, Offer, Media, and Ad Copy.

Hook: When creating your content the first component to consider is the hook.

A hook is a message in your post that actually makes your audience want to read more.

It should support your product and lure prospective customers into checking out your offer or business.

So, how do you create a memorable hook?

Here at TMV Social, we recommend that you consider using one or more of the following tips:

  1. Hooks can be used to announce new information.
  2. Hooks should be surprising. The most memorable hooks catch prospective customers off guard, which catches their attention.
  3. Hooks can be emotional or exclamatory.
  4. Finally, a hook can promise a benefit or solution

Look around at all of the ads you see on a daily basis. Businesses use marketing hooks all the time. You can probably think of several hooks that other businesses have used off the top of your head. We have created a very short list of the many hooks we can remember:

Whatever type of hook you decide to use, make sure that it is memorable, aligns with your business. With these tips in mind and examples of marketing hooks all around you, you are now ready to let loose and create a marketing hook that works for your product.

Offer:  The next component to create when building your content is your offer.

We have a list of tips to assist you in creating an offer that will work for you and your product:

  1. Offer some sort of savings promotion or coupons. This might be especially useful if you are in a competitive niche.
  2. Another option when building your offer is to bundle products or services. This allows you to create a unique and hard-to-resist product or service that you can favorably price thus adding value to your offer.
  3. You can also create an incentive for your prospective customers to learn or do more. This could be like an opportunity for them to earn reward points to receive VIP treatment.
  4. Make sure your offer doesn’t sound “too good to be true.” Keep in mind that customers often evaluate your offer with a skeptical eye. Avoid using too much hyperbole. It would also be helpful to display testimonials, guarantees, and trade or professional affiliations where it seems appropriate. This allows you to build trust with your prospective customers.
  5. Make sure your offer is clear and specific. Clearly and specifically state what is being offered and how to obtain it. This is to avoid causing your customers frustration and anger. If your offer requires too much explanation to make it specific and clear, then refine it before it is introduced.
  6. Give your prospective customers a reason to act now. This is especially important if you are in a competitive niche. Present your offer with a strong call to action that also conveys a sense of urgency to your prospective customers.

An example of this might look something like this: Buy this item/ service before December 25, and we will donate a portion of the proceeds to your favorite charity.

Media: The third part of content creation is Media.

Media is used as a means of communication.

It includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting medium: newspapers, magazines, TV, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax, and especially the internet. Your media must convey a promotional message to your prospective customers using words, speech, video, pictures, or a combination of the above.

When creating or finding your own media, it is important to remember that there needs to be some sort of visual, especially on Facebook. Visual content is treated more favorably on Facebook and is more likely to be shared and remembered. However, this is only true if your image or video is visually appealing.  The quality of your content can make or break your ad. We have a list of dimensions that are relevant to Facebook (dimensions are in pixels, width x height):

Cover image: 828 x 315

Profile image: 180 x 180

Shared image: 1200 x 900

Shared link preview image: 1200 x 628

These dimensions will assist you in creating when creating or finding a visually appealing image. We have a few more tips to help you find or create your media:

  1. The media should be eye-catching.
  2. Media should be laid out a certain way. We recommend the landscape layout.
  3. Media should be sized a certain way. (see list above)
  4. Avoid using media that has many small details or text.
  5. Your media does not have to be relevant to what you are advertising.

Think of your media as a hook.  It should catch the attention of your prospective customers and draw them in.

image25
image11

Copy: The final step in content creation is ad copy.

Ad copy is a very specific type of content.

Its purpose is to get the prospective customer to respond or take action. Essentially, an ad copy is a sales letter that addresses the possible objections the customer may have. It also highlights the key feature and benefits the customer will receive by making a purchase. Think of it as a salesperson spending time on the phone or in-person with the customer to answer their questions and address their concerns. If the customer has unanswered questions or concerns, they might not buy the product or service.

The goal of an ad copy is to increase profit and conversion rates. This is the most effective way to increase the profitability of a business. Ad copy achieves this by highlighting the main components of a product or service and communicating them to the prospective customer in a way that they can relate to. A good ad copy should be easy to identify. A good ad copy will:

  1. Open with a powerful headline that will either appeal to the prospective customer’s fear or desire or will inspire a sense of curiosity.
  2. Stop prospective customers in their tracks and inspire them to read or watch the rest of the copy.
  3. Appeal to logical and emotional reasons.

There are two different types of ad copy: written copy, which is a standard sales letter, or video copy. Video copy has become popular in recent years. An effective video copy usually has an energetic individual that verbalizes everything that would be covered in a standard written copy, as discussed above. The bottom line is when it comes to creating content for your Facebook business page, do what will work best for your business.

Over to you! What great Facebook post have you seen? Share in the comments below!

8 Old School Marketing Tactics That Work for Social Media

Okay, so it’s hard to imagine Don Draper meeting with Bethlehem Steel execs in Sterling Cooper’s top floor Madison Avenue boardroom, telling them to get on Snapchat. But even though we no longer think of typewriters as “technology” or describe TVs as “radios with pictures,” there are plenty of solid ideas from the Mad Men-era of advertising that translate to social media.

So let’s throw it back to a time before #ThrowbackThursday existed for some good old-fashioned advice from the old-school pros.

1. Doing smart, thorough research

In the premier episode of Mad Men, Don Draper trashes an in-house researcher’s report on the psychology of cigarette users and decides to wing a presentation for Lucky Strike executives instead. While Draper pulls it off, not all ad executives were so cavalier.

“Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals,” said David Ogilvy, the founder of Ogilvy & Mather who was credited as the “Original Mad Man” and the “Father of Advertising.”

Ogilvy’s experience at Gallup’s Audience Research Institute taught him to value data way before Big Data became a thing. His knack for research-supported copywriting is best exemplified in his headline for a 1960s Rolls-Royce ad, widely considered one of the best auto taglines of all time.

1 rolls royce ogilvy 1 620x823 1

Nowadays, social media marketers looking to emulate the OG Mad Man’s advice should support their strategies with analytics platforms and research-backed ideas. Here are a few tips on how to make social media data work for you.

2. Learning the rules, then breaking them

There are more game changers in the Advertising Hall of Fame than there are rule followers.

“Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula,” said ad exec William Bernbach, creative director who co-founded the agency Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1949.

Bernbach’s “Think Small” campaign for Volkswagen in the 1960s threw out the rulebook for traditional print ads. To sell the compact Beetle to muscle car-crazed Americans, Bernbach’s team departed from convention by picturing a very tiny car on a page filled mainly with blank space. The small idea translated to a big boost in sales and brand loyalty.

2 bernbach vw thinksmall

Rule breaking may seem trickier on social media, but it’s still possible. BETC’s “Like My Addiction” campaign caught more than 100K Instagrammers by surprise with the reveal that the Parisian “it girl” Louise Delage was a fake account designed to portray a textbook alcoholic. Created for French organization Addict Aide, the initiative demonstrated that it can be difficult to spot signs of youth alcoholism.

3. Avoiding sleazy bait-and-switch tactics

Known as the world’s first female copywriter and the author of the first ad to use sex appeal, Helen Lansdowne Resor was keeping advertising real long before the ad men of the swinging 60s and 70s came onto the scene.

Her conviction that “copy must be believable,” can be found throughout her entire body of work, including her early copywriting for Woodbury Soap Company in 1910. Smooth taglines like “A skin you love to touch,” and “Your skin is what you make it” remained in circulation for decades.

3 Helen Lansdowne Resor Skin You Love to Touch

Social media marketers can take Lansdowne Resor’s point in two ways. First, copy should not be too over-the-top or exaggerated, especially since teens are skeptical when it comes to trusting brands. Avoid empty platitudes or superlatives that may arouse doubt.

Second, don’t lie. Millennials are 43 percent more likely than other generations to call a brand out on social media. You dig?

4. Getting right to the heart of things

It’s hard to imagine that the “I ❤ New York” slogan was invented in a pre-emoji world. Sparse in word count and minimal in design, the logo is emblematic of co-creator Jane Maas’ direct approach to advertising.

4 Ilovenewyork–MiltonGlaser 620x482 1

In How to Advertise, a book Maas co-wrote with colleague Kenneth Roman, she explains, “Commercial attention does not build. Your audience can only become less interested, never more. The level you reach in the first five seconds is the highest you will get, so don’t save your punches.”

The advice is eerily applicable to video marketing in the current digital media ecosystem, where attention spans are running shorter than ever, especially among today’s teenyboppers. You must catch your audience’s attention immediately, or risk losing them entirely.

Check out The Four Key Ingredients of a Perfect Social Video for more pointers on creating punchy video campaigns.

5. Using the right imagery

Inspired by a sea lion performance at a zoo, John Gilroy developed the “My Goodness, My Guinness” for the Irish beer company in the late 1920s. The series depicts a flabbergasted zookeeper prying his beer from the arms of a polar bear, the pouch of a kangaroo and the jaws of a crocodile. And, of course, a toucan.

The humorous misadventures of the zookeeper pop with vibrant colors set against an often-white backdrop. Keen observers point out that it was Gilroy’s uniform use of typography that helped solidify Guinness’ brand image. The popularity of the artwork and consistency of style made it one of the longest advertising campaigns in history.

5 Guinness Gilroy1 620x470 1

Using images is a great way to up your social media game, especially since visuals can aid in information retention. Marketers should ensure that photos complement branding and style guidelines. And where possible, add the logo and logotype to the image. Consistency in style is a bonus, but it will help your followers recognize your brand on any platform.

If you don’t have access to artists, photographers, or graphic designers, check out these resources for creating quick and beautiful images for social media.

6. Ditching the one-size-fits-all approach

As the first black man in Chicago advertising, Tom Burrell quickly saw that advertising boardrooms had a diversity problem. Too often, ad execs would create content for white audiences and expect it to have broad appeal. Or, they’d create a commercial for white actors and film a second version with black actors.

After witnessing a number of tone-deaf gaffs and insensitive blunders, Burrell found himself repeating to his colleagues, “Black people are not dark-skinned white people.”

By advocating for tailoring messages for specific communities, he was one of the first to pioneer ethnic micro targeting in advertising. He founded his own agency, Burrell Communications, in 1971 and quickly became the authority on crafting messages for African-American audiences.

In work he did for McDonalds, Burrell reasoned that the company’s slogan “You deserve a break today” sounded too occasional for many African Americans who had a more regular experience with the fast food chain. Instead, he came up with lines like “Sure is good to have around” and “Get down with something good at McDonald’s.”

6 McDonalds Burrell

With Gen Zers forming the most ethnically diverse population in U.S. history, Burrell’s approach is one that social media marketers should put in practice.

Here’s how to find your audience on social media.

7. Knowing that context matters

In 1970, advertisers working for Schaefer beer created a print ad to commemorate the company’s tradition of producing America’s oldest lager. The minimal layout was designed to place emphasis on the year Schaefer’s lager was introduced, with a 10-word tagline reading: “1842. It was a very good year for beer drinkers.”

The two-page ad was placed in a number of popular publications such as LIFE Magazine. But its placement in Ebony Magazine, a publication with a predominantly African American readership, drew criticism.

As Tom Burrell points out in an interview with NPR Planet Money, the year 1842 in the United States was a year many black people were enslaved. “It just screamed insensitivity,” he says. “It was a horrible year for us.”

7 1842 beer

Getting context wrong can make a brand appear ignorant at best. At worst, it can cause lasting damage to a brand’s image.

Getting context right, on the other hand, can have a positive effect. Wells Fargo adapted its television commercial so that would be optimized for Facebook, where viewers prefer shorter content and may watch videos without sound. To promote the launch of Friends and prove the show’s relevance, Netflix’s Pre-Roll campaign shows viewers a clip related to the YouTube video they’re about to watch.

Social media marketers should shift from cross-posting to cross-promoting, with content tailored to suit each platform.

8. Engaging the audience in a conversation

In the 1950s, American advertising executive Shirley Polykoff’s personal approach to copywriting convinced women across the United States to colour their hair. By posing the question “Does she… or doesn’t she?” in Clairol hair-dye commercials, she reassured women that a hair colouring—then a new fad—could look natural.

“Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer,” she said. Her lingo was so effective that it’s now part of the vernacular: “So natural only her hairdresser knows for sure” and “Is it true blondes have more fun?” Who knows, maybe if she’d worked on a campaign for Rogaine we’d still be using the phrase Chrome Dome.

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Besides being concise and memorable, Polykoff does something important in her copy that all modern social media marketers should take note of—she asks a question. Posing questions to your audience is a great way to get followers engaged and increase the visibility of your campaigns, such as Airbnb’s #TripsOnAirbnb campaign.

To get the conversation going on social media, Airbnb asked followers to describe their perfect vacation in three emojis. Not only did the prompt generate hundreds of responses, but Airbnb kept the conversation going by responding to each submission with Airbnb Experience suggestions. Remember, if you want to start a convo, follow-through is key.

More brands have been exploring the opportunities to engage via direct messaging, too. To jumpstart conversations between brands and users, Facebook just introduced Click-to-Messenger ads.

A Simple Guide to Using Ads to Promote Your Content on Facebook

It’s something you’ve probably heard before: you need to use Facebook advertising to give your organic content a boost.

I’ve always been stronger at the organic side of marketing—SEO audits, creating inbound content, and writing.

That said, it’s getting incredibly hard to both rank in Google and get traction on social networks without some paid support.

With the help of Hootsuite’s social media marketing coordinator Christine Colling, I’ll walk you through the steps it takes to use Facebook ads to promote your content—from targeting the right audience to stretching tiny budgets.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • How to make strategic decisions when it comes to promoting organic content
  • The ins and outs of demographic targeting
  • The secret to getting the most out of your ad budget
  • The key metrics that can make or break your ad campaigns

Bonus: Download a free guide that reveals how to boost organic reach, increase engagement, and turn followers into advocates on Facebook with the three types of content that audiences love.

Step 1: Find your best performing organic posts

“The simple strategy we use at Hootsuite is to promote content that is already performing well on Facebook,” explains Christine Colling. “Facebook’s advertising algorithm rewards engaging content, so you want to make sure that the content you promote will start conversations and earn engagements.”

To apply Colling’s tip, begin by analyzing your current Facebook content to see what’s already performing well. You can use a tool like Hootsuite Impact to gather this data. You can also try posting the content you want to promote on your Facebook page and see if it clicks with your audience.

If you have a tiny Facebook audience and never get traction for organic content, use Facebook’s Boost feature. Boosting your post is a cheap and fast way to see if your content will engage Facebook users. Spending a little budget here will help later when we go over how to build the full ad campaigns.

If you use Hootsuite, you can boost posts directly from your dashboard.

Step 2: Target the right audience

Once you’ve found a few pieces of content to promote, it’s time to build out your target audience.

One simple way to get started is to target people interested in your competitors, especially if those competitors have a large Facebook presence. You’ll also want to know a few basic things about your customers such as their general age and the cities or countries that most of them live in.

“A quick A/B test with Facebook can reveal some of this essential customer information,” says Colling. “Facebook will show you the top locations and demographics for people that engaged with your campaign.”

If you’d like to build a more sophisticated audience profile, use the categories below.

Demographics

Facebook’s demographic targeting options let you reach people based on traits like age, gender, relationship status, education, workplace, job titles, and more. If you’ve created audience personas, you should have a pretty good idea of which demographics you want to target.

Interests and behaviors

This type of targeting allows you to reach audience members based on their interests or, well, their behaviors. As Colling explains, “Match your interest targeting to the content—for example, in our TED Talks we targeted to people who liked TED Talks in addition to targeting the demographics from our customer persona.”

If you’re really looking to narrow down your audience, interests can sometimes be too broad. We recommend using the “But No One Else Would” trick. Think about what makes your audience unique. What are some things they would find useful or interesting, but no one else would? Find and focus on these niche areas to attract your target customers.

For example, if I’m trying to sell an advanced copywriting course, it would be a mistake to target people interested in “marketing” and even “copywriting,” as those categories are very broad. But if I target fans who have liked the page of the famed author and copywriting expert Robert Collier, those are serious students of the craft who have done their research—and who are much more likely to purchase a course.

Layer targeting

Use the process of layer targeting to narrow down your audience even more. The more specific and focused your audience is, the better chance your message will resonate.

For example, an investing platform and publisher like WealthSimple might target users with a college degree who have also liked the Wall Street Journal or another competitor.

You can also exclude people based on interests and demographics. So, a brand like WealthSimple might want to target people with college degree and who like one of their competitors. Than they can tell Facebook to exclude people who already like WealthSimple to be sure their content is being delivered to a new audience.

Device and timing

You need to be where—and when—your audience is active.

“A wedding company would know that their audience is likely female and online in the evenings and weekends,” explains Colling. “So with this information, you can turn your boost off during the day.”

You also need to consider what kind of device your audience is using most frequently, and when. They could be using a mobile device for their browsing or research purposes, but then a laptop when it comes time to actually buy.

With Facebook’s device-specific targeting options, you can initially target ads to one device as part of a brand awareness initiative, then target a different device to drive conversions, and another to complete the sale.

To get the most out of this feature, first identify the type of device you want to target depending on your campaign goals. Consider your target audience
and the devices they would be most likely to use based on their demographics and behavior.

Custom audience

Custom audiences let you find specific groups of people to target based on an existing set of data. This could include email lists, data from CRM systems such as HubSpot or Salesforce, and people who have liked your Facebook Page.

For example, if you want to reach people who have visited your brand or product page but haven’t purchased anything, you can create a custom audience to target these people.

Lookalike audience

Lookalike audiences help you “reach the people who are similar to your existing customer database—making them highly likely to convert as well.”

Once you’ve figured out what works for your custom audiences, you can create lookalike audiences from this data and show them similar ad content. If your main objectives are brand awareness and customer acquisition, a lookalike audience is the answer. Learn more about creating a lookalike audience with our blog post How to Create the Perfect Facebook Ad in 10 Minutes.

Step 3: Build your ad

It’s now time to build your Facebook ad.

“We’ve run successful static ads,” says Colling. “But if you can, you’ll see much higher returns from creating a video ad—for example, a short 15-second video that pitches why people should read or click through to your content.”

At Hootsuite, we’ve seen video ads consistently outperform static ads. Not everyone can afford a video team, but there are different tools such as Animoto that you can use to create inexpensive videos on any budget.

If a video is out of reach, make sure you do some A/B testing for your static ad. Facebook shows you which images are resonating. If you have the Facebook Pixel installed, you’ll also be able to see which images lead to conversions on your website.

Step 4: Set your budget

When it comes to your Facebook ad budget, there are two ways to define cost—overall amount spent and the cost per result. If you have a budget of $500 per month, this is your overall amount spent. If you divide this amount by the number of clicks (or other measurement), you get your cost per result.

At Hootsuite, the key areas we measure are cost-per-click, cost-per-result, and cost-per-engagement.

“We set targets for each of these so we can easily tell if something is underperforming—or draining our budget,” Colling explains. “We’ve done this at Hootsuite for years, so our targeting is very precise and our costs are low. Any brand that sticks to it and slowly refines their ad process will see their targeting improve and costs go down.”

While results can be achieved with any budget, you need to set realistic goals depending on your budget.

“Smaller budgets need smaller locations,” Colling explains. “You can’t spend $50 and target all of New York. Target a smaller area and for shorter time frame, such as a week. Make sure you’re targeting the right areas. Don’t target fancy Manhattanites with your time tracking software for plumbers—target New Jersey.”

In order to simplify the budgeting process, we recommend setting a daily budget. Divide your overall amount spent per month by days in the month to get this number. Then, set a reminder in your calendar to check on your budget and costs every day.

Pay attention to the more successful days (i.e., those with lower CPCs.) What did you do differently on those days? What steps can be replicated? Consider the variables that could have affected your results, and use this information to optimize your future campaign budget.

Step 5: Measure performance

One of the most significant errors social ad managers can make is forgetting to track how their ads are performing. If you forget—or don’t know how—to measure your ads properly, you can end up costing your business a lot of time and money.

Measuring your Facebook ads means paying attention to what’s working—and what isn’t.

“In the start, it’s important to check a lot. I recommend checking on your campaigns every 24 hours and 48 hours to make any tweaks. Once an ad is performing well, we’ll let it sit till the end of the campaign,” Colling explains.

When you closely monitor your ads, you’re able to quickly make decisions such as pausing or stopping ads that aren’t performing well. This lets you pour that budget back into top-performing ads. Monitoring your ads gives you the opportunity to make adjustments that will ultimately drive better results.

What to track

Before you begin any campaign, you need to establish performance metrics relevant to your objectives. According to Altimeter, only 34 percent of organizations feel that their social strategy is connected to business outcomes.

If your objective is business conversions, for example, you might want to look at the number of leads driven by your Facebook ads.

“We track cost-per-conversion when our goal and main objective is conversions, Colling says. If someone signs up for a webinar or downloads a piece of content, we’re able to track the business impact of this.”

As we explain in our guide to proving social media ROI, there are three key questions to ask yourself when deciding what metrics to measure with your Facebook Ads:

  • Does it align with my objectives?
  • Does it help me make decisions?
  • Do I have the capacity to measure it effectively?

Reporting

Once you have your metrics in place and you start seeing results, it’s important to build reports. Collecting this data will help you make more informed campaign decisions in the future.

With Hootsuite Ads’ reporting tool, you have the ability to customize PDF reports in minutes. With drag-and-drop tools, you can display key elements and metrics in a format that makes sense for your business. These reports can easily be white-labeled and set up for automated delivery directly to your inbox.

Benchmarking

It can be difficult to measure success if you don’t know what a successful campaign looks like in your industry. Hootsuite Ads gives you the most up-to-date Facebook and Instagram advertising metrics for your industry so you can make informed decisions around your advertising campaigns.

“We also use AdEspresso for automatically promoting content, which is a big time saver. You can set a threshold for when you boost a post, such as five shares—which means I don’t have to manually do this,” Colling shares.

8 Essential Skills a Social Media Manager Must Have

There’s not one secret recipe to becoming an amazing social media manager (if only it were that easy), but making sure you have the full range of essential skills to do the job well certainly helps.

And it’s a good time to be getting in the game. Social media manager was number 42 in CNN and PayScale’s list of the top 100 careers for “big growth, great pay and satisfying work.”

It makes sense. As people look to connect with brands on social media, companies need social media managers who can help grow their business online.

Whether you’re already an experienced social media guru or you’re just getting started, by the end of this post you’ll have everything you need to create compelling content and understand how it relates to your business’s bottom line.

(P.S. If you’re a hiring manager looking to add a social media-savvy team member, these are the skills you want to look for.)

Bonus: Download our free guide that shows you how to 10X your social media performance and beat your competitors. Includes the tools, tricks, and daily routines used by three world-class social media experts.

The most important skills for social media managers (and the tools to help you get there)

1. Writing and editing

Whether you’re writing Instagram posts or Pinterest captions, words matter. Good writing can boost engagement, extend your organic reach, and help social media managers create an unforgettable brand.

Think of a few brands with strong social media followings—All Birds, Old Spice, Taco Bell. Love these brands or hate them, a distinct writing style is part of why they gained a following online.

But fear not! If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, there are tools that can help. One of our favorites is the Hemingway App, which helps you eliminate extra words and get straight to the point.

And while there’s no substitute for a good, old-fashioned edit of your posts, creating a brand style guide may also help.

2. SEO

Understanding the link between search engine optimization (SEO) and social media reach can be a bit confusing. Google suggests that social signals do not overtly affect your SEO rankings, but the full picture is more complicated.

Content that has a high social reach and gets lots of shares, likes, and comments is likely going to get similar engagement metrics that will be read by Google’s algorithm and positively impact your rankings. This is a correlation rather than a causation, so while you don’t want to build your social media plan around SEO, it’s a good idea to be aware of the common mistakes that social media managers often make.

Luckily, there are some great SEO tools out there. LSI Graph will identify relevant keywords and phrases according to what’s been searched on Google along with your primary keyword. This comes in handy if you’re looking for related topics to write about.

But, if you feel overwhelmed by the intricacies of SEO, remember that it’s all about creating great content that people will like and share.

3. Customer service

I know I personally hate waiting on hold, so I often take to social media to engage with brands or air my complaints. And I’m not alone. According to a study by J.D. Power, 67 percent of consumers use social media to ask specific questions or find help resolving problems. That’s huge!

So it’s important for a social media manager to have some basic customer service skills like:

• Be timely. Over 72% of people who tweet their complains, expect a response within 1 hour.
• Know how to find and monitor conversations relevant to your business. (Tools like Hootsuite and Talkwalker allow you to set up social media streams that monitor conversations and keywords across several social networks.)
• Don’t wait for a complaint. Be proactive when it comes to engaging your followers.

And that’s just the beginning. Check out the full list of customer service skills here.

It helps that consumers love brands who respond to them. A customer who enjoys a positive service experience with a brand on social is nearly three times as likely to recommend the brand to a friend.

So being active when it comes to customer service actually helps the other half of a social media manager’s job—connecting with consumers to build brand awareness.

The bottom line? The job of a social media manager is also to be a community manager, so acing customer service is win-win for your customers and your business.

4. Design and photo editing

Thanks to the smartphones we all carry in our pockets, anyone can be a photographer now. That’s why it’s more important than ever for a social media manager to have a good eye for design and the ability to recognize and create images that are on-brand.

After all, people remember 65 percent of a message when it’s accompanied by an image and only 10 percent when it’s not.

But you don’t necessarily need to have a degree in graphic design to create awesome visual content for your social feeds. As a starting point, there are tons of sites that offer free stock photography and there are lots of other tools to help with data visualization, fonts, and much more.

Hootsuite Enhance is a free tool that takes the pain out of remembering optimal image sizes for every different social network and can help automatically crop and store images for all your social media accounts. Easy peasy.

5. Analytics and reporting

Business is a results driven, well, business. So being able to prove a return on investment is a must-have skill for social media managers.

With a tool like Hootsuite Impact, social media managers can accurately measure the ROI of social media across paid, owned, and earned social channels. The tool connects to existing analytics systems so you can integrate social data with the rest of your business metrics. It also makes it easy to produce executive reports, and delivers plain-language recommendations to optimize your social media strategy.

Understanding how to prove and improve return on investment is also a huge selling point when it comes to landing a job as a social media manager.

6. Video creation

Video content is unquestionably an important way to reach your audience.

Over 500 million people are watching video on Facebook every day, according to Cisco’s research into global IP video traffic. And four years from now, video content is poised to account for 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic.

The bottom line? Social media managers need the skills to create compelling content for platforms like Instagram Stories, Facebook Live broadcasts, and Snapchat Stories. And with all these options, you’ll also need to know how to optimize video for all of your different social media channels.

A tool like Animoto can help beginners create compelling video content. But check out the rest of our social video toolkit here for even more tools that will have you mastering video in no time. Did I just hear someone say Spielberg?

7. Paid social basics

Understanding the relationship between organic and paid social is a huge asset for a social media manager. After all, one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal is your organic social presence.

You’ve got a focus group at your fingertips that isn’t afraid to let you know when they like something and when they don’t. And this lets you test new ideas and products, and ultimately put your advertising money behind the best one.

So whether you’re running a paid social ad campaign or just trying to figure out which posts to boost, understanding how you can use social ads to increase your reach or boost your organic ads is a powerful skill for any social media marketing professional to have.

You might also want to invest in a tool like AdEspresso, which lets you create and test hundred of ads in minutes. You’ll never have to wonder if a different headline or photo might have made all the difference in your campaign.

8. Research and planning

If you thought research skills stopped being useful once you left high school, think again. After all, you can’t tailor content to your audience if you don’t know who they are or what they want.

Plus, as a social marketer and expert in your field, your reputation is on the line. Make sure that all your data and ideas come from credible sources.

We’ve got some tips and tricks that’ll make it easier to find results you can trust. But, when it comes to online searches, the best tool, or at least the best place to start, is learning how to refine your results. This will not only save you time, but make your results more accurate.

The other half of research is understanding how your findings fit in to a larger plan both for your social media accounts and for your business as a whole.

This may seem obvious, but things move fast in the world of social media and sometimes it’s easy to get swept up in the right-this-second. Regular planning will help you keep your eyes on the big picture and ensure that your social media goals are aligned with your business goals.

Need help getting started with some planning tools? Check out these helpful templates to start building your own social media strategy and editorial calendar.

How To Give Your Business a Complete LinkedIn Makeover in 6 Easy Steps

LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most active professional networking platform, with over 13 million companies vying for the attention of more than half a billion users.

Once seen primarily as a job-seeking tool, the platform now offers a rich media experience that businesses cannot afford to ignore. Many LinkedIn users log in daily just to bask in the knowledge of thought leaders and stay on the pulse of their respective industries.

As such, your LinkedIn Company Page represents a huge opportunity to steer the conversation in your field, carve out a space for your brand, and attract top talent in the process.

Here are six steps you can take today to optimize your LinkedIn Company Page and improve your presence, authority, and recruitment prospects.

1. Tell your story in pictures

Update your profile image

Your profile image is first thing people searching for your company on LinkedIn will see, so make a good impression. Company Pages with profile pictures get six times more visitors than those without.

Choosing a profile image is straightforward: take your company logo (the same one you’re using on your other social media channels) and resize it to fit with LinkedIn’s requirements.

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Ideal LinkedIn Profile Image Specs

Set the tone with your profile banner

The profile banner above your company logo offers a bit more room for creativity, as there are no hard-and-fast rules for using this space (other than some sizing requirements).

Ideal LinkedIn profile banner specs

  • 1536 x 768 pixels
  • PNG format
  • Maximum 8 MB
  • Rectangular layout

How you choose to hang your Company Profile banner is up to you. Here are two completely different examples of company profile banners, and why they’re successful.

Sephora: simple, sleek and stylish

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Even a simple graphic can add some much-needed flair to LinkedIn’s standard template. Sephora’s banner displays the clean black and white stripes that frame many aspects of their branding, both in-store and online.

Air Canada: active, engaging and actionable

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Air Canada’s banner takes a more actionable approach, advertising their involvement in the 2018 Seoul Winter Olympics. It includes bilingual hashtags for a current social media campaign and reps Canadian colors, driving social engagement.

2. Use keywords

Write an “About us”

Carefully-selected images will hook a prospect, but it takes words to reel them in.

A well-optimized “About us” section on your company page is a tightly worded paragraph (2,000 characters or less) telling visitors everything they need to know about your company. Use simple, accessible language informed by keyword research to outline your business goals in words anyone will understand.

Like your other social profiles, the “About us” on your Company Page should answer six basic questions (which I’ve adjusted slightly for the LinkedIn platform):

  • Who are you?
  • Where are you based?
  • What do you offer?
  • What are your values?
  • What is your brand voice?
  • How can people contact you to learn more?

To see an “About us” done right, look at Shopify. Their bio accurately describes the scope of their main product without ever slipping into yawn-inducing wordiness.

My favorite part is how they snuck in “Being awesome” as one of their specialties. This is how you have fun with LinkedIn while keeping things professional.

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Remember, LinkedIn is a professional space, and like every social media platform, it has its own set of unwritten rules. Don’t be the company sharing memes from five years ago in an effort to market to Generation Z.

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Tailoring your content to a business-minded audience doesn’t mean it has to be boring; just read the room, and plan accordingly.

3. Create Showcase Pages

If the Company Page is a birds-eye view of your business and its core values, then Showcase Pages zoom in on your day-to-day activities.

These highly-customizable pages are essentially tailored news feeds on specific aspects of your organization. Depending on their interests, visitors might come here for content about your company’s individual brands and product ranges, ongoing charity efforts and sponsorships, or regularly occurring events like meetups, conferences, and expos.

Post, post, post

Real talk: Showcase Pages require upkeep. They have their own distinct sets of followers, separate from your Company Page. If you want these pages to be successful (and stay that way), ensure they’re regularly populated with articles, videos, slide presentations, and any other content that provides your followers with significant, long-term value.

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Showcase Pages are a great place to share Sponsored Content and get more value from targeted advertising.

You can target your posts by location and a recommended number of two other fields, including: industry, company, job type, seniority, group, school, and more. Because people following your Showcase Pages have already shown an active interest in that area of content by subscribing, they’re more likely to read it and share among their networks.

Here’s one last secret about Showcase Pages: they’re surprisingly underused. Capitalize on this! Even one Showcase Page puts you a step ahead of the competition, but you can have up to 10—enough to give you a serious advantage.

4. Build a career page

Glassdoor reports that 69 percent of job seekers are more likely to apply to a company that makes an active effort to promote its culture online. LinkedIn Career Pages are an amazing way to bolster your recruitment efforts by showing your company culture in its best light.

Located under the “Life” tab, Career Pages feature customizable modules where you can display high-quality images, videos and articles about the day-to-day at your organization. Try to include a URL in every post: LinkedIn reports that posts with links get 45 percent more engagement.

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Consider employee perspectives

If you’re looking for ways to frame your company as a think-tank for fresh ideas, look to the Career Pages “Employee perspectives” section, where you can publish thought leadership articles written by employees.

According to a survey by Jumpstart HR, the vast majority of job seekers value personal growth opportunities over anything else when considering a new workplace. By sharing content produced in-house, you’re showing your current employees that their perspectives are valued, and telling future talent that there’s plenty of room for recognition—and the opportunities that come with it.

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Explore other features

The Careers Page has a ton of other features, too many to list out in one blog post. Here are the major ones you should be aware of:

  • Create a virtual “meet the team” section from employee profiles
  • Collect and share employee testimonials
  • List the causes your employees care about and support on their profiles
  • Promote diversity by listing spoken languages
  • Track your recruitment analytics to improve your hiring process
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Like Showcase Pages, you should update your Careers Page regularly. This is a space to proudly represent your company as a hub of excellence and new ideas, so post whenever you can; the goal is to have people clamoring to work for you.

With a good enough Careers Page, you might even win over a few employees from the Dark Side…I mean, your competitors.

5. Collect and give endorsements

More than a billion peer-to-peer endorsements have been given on LinkedIn, the platform’s most powerful (and sometimes controversial) form of social proof. Gather recommendations whenever possible, and don’t be shy to ask for them—it’s almost always mutually beneficial.

Ask employees

If your employees haven’t connected with your Company Profile, encourage them to do so, and be sure to write them a great recommendation from your personal profile in return. Your employees’ networks will be notified of work anniversaries, new job opportunities, and other updates about your business. When they share content to their own networks, it’ll also appear with your company name attached.

Ask associates

Some of the most valuable endorsements will come from your B2B interactions—76 percent percent of B2B buyers prefer to work with recommendations from their professional network.

Whenever you have a positive interaction with another company, whether that’s a vendor, an account manager, or someone you met at a networking event, reach out to them for a connection and recommendation, and offer one in return.

This “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” approach almost seems like cheating, but it’s a perfectly valid way to cement business relationships and grow your network. Just make sure you’re following endorsement etiquette by only endorsing people and businesses you have actually interacted with, for skills you can honestly attest to.

Ask customers

Another way to build your brand and gather recommendations is to engage directly with customers and followers. If someone comments on an article you’ve shared on your Company Page, or messages you with an inquiry, use it as an opportunity to create a dialogue and win an endorsement.

Similarly, if a customer posts about a positive experience they had with your company on another social media platform, you could message them privately and ask if they’d endorse your LinkedIn Company Page, too. Even if you don’t get the endorsement, the positive public interaction is its own form of social proof.

6. Keep Tabs on the competition

LinkedIn publishes an annual list of the 10 best Company Pages. Visit every one of those profiles and study how they’ve optimized their pages, especially if they’re direct competition.

Once your Company Page is set up, optimized and delivering a steady stream of content that follows these simple guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to networking greatness.

Is Social Media Right for Your Business?

After a good bit of time in the social media service business we get a lot of responses to our sales pitches. 

I stumbled across a video and just had to share this below, it’s perfect.

Some guys used to park in front of a billboard and write down how many cars drove by to figure out the reach. People used to fill out a scantron on what TV shows they watched before digital TV. In print advertising you buy space on page 32 in a 40-page magazine, it’s awesome if you can say see our ad in vogue. But can you tell me how many people saw it? Social Media and online advertising is the only way you can track things down to the individual. You can change and be fluid in what you do, what’s the ROI of social media is a hard question to answer, but what’s the ROI of your mom being a good parent. Done right a motherly role means everything for her kid, it can mean a lifetime of confidence and success. Like social media done right can lead to a massive increase in the lifetime value of a customer and can also lead to wonderful branding that this company cares in a fast world and you should care and buy from them. Paraphrased from Gary Vee?

Marketing Plan for Auto Repair Shop

You’re competing for market share in an industry that pulls $65 billion annually. Naturally, the quality of your repair work and customer care are essential to your success, but it is through smart and efficient marketing that you can extend your reach and grow your business. Marketing lets people know why they should choose you over your local competition.

Marketing Plan for Auto Repair Shop

Understand your current market

Whenever we’re asked to start a new marketing campaign we look towards your current competitors.

Local businesses, especially service business build their customer base a few ways.

  1. Word of Mouth
  2. Existing Customers Referrals
  3. Newspaper and TV Ads (Traditional Advertising)
  4. Social Media / Online

Online Competitive Analysis Tools

Spyfu

As well as tracking backlinks and rankings, Spyfu has a great keyword feature showing how many keywords your competitors rank for and how much their keyword focus overlaps with yours. Several features are available for free (with data limits), prices start from $33/month and there is a 30-day money back guarantee.

Brandwatch Audiences

You can get some great insight by looking at the people who follow your competitors on social. With Audiences you can analyze a following and look at their demographics, influencers, and the content they share.

You can even download their followers as a list to target them with competitive Twitter ads. Very handy.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a great SEO and keyword research tool. You can use it to see what your competitors are ranking for, how much organic traffic they’re getting, and see what content of theirs is performing the best. It’s not too expensive either.

You can also compare domains to see content gaps, track specific keywords over time, while they’ve also added keyword data for sites like YouTube, Baidu, and Amazon.

Open Link Profiler

A wide range of link analysis is available, including an overview of backlinks, country and industry breakdown, and link age. Links have all been confirmed as active in the last 90 days. The free account is detailed, but access to the full range of SEO tools starts at $49.95.

How to Create a Winning Marketing Plan

Marketing success begins with a professional evaluation. That should always be the first step in developing a targeted, result-oriented marketing approach. This fact finding process is an important part of assessing and accurately detailing your current marketing status, as well as what’s working and what isn’t. Compare those results to your marketing and auto shop business development goals.

When you engage marketing professionals, you’ll see why your website, social media and customer feedback matter. The blueprint to achieving your marketing and business growth goals is built upon that type of data, providing a targeted marketing strategy designed to get your business where you want it to be in a very competitive market.

Professional Marketing is an Investment

Like automotive repair work, efficient, successful marketing today requires technical skill and diagnostic ability. You could probably handle many of your own marketing tasks, like some of your customers could handle many of their own automotive repair and maintenance tasks. However, that may not be the best use of your time. You may be better served by investing in a proven auto repair shop marketing strategy, just like your customers are better served by having you handle their repairs quickly and professionally.

As you learn more about how to create a winning marketing plan, you soon realize there’s more than meets the eye to skilled, result-oriented marketing strategies. Marketing is a multi-tiered process in today’s technologically enhanced climate. A website is a must, as is high quality, interesting and useful search engine optimized (SEO) content.

Not only do you need to consider website design, but also how that design will play when viewed via a screen, on any device. After all, if someone breaks down on the road, odds are that it will be their mobile phone they use to find the closest, best-rated auto repair shop. Blogs and social media are also important to lead generation and other aspects of data collection essential to a targeted marketing strategy.

When you invest in professional marketing, you invest in the future of your business. Professional marketing can help grow your business by using multiple communication channels effectively. More importantly, professional marketing allows you to leverage the modes of communication that people actively use today. The old ways of marketing are simply no longer up to the task, not in terms of how people obtain and use information today.

To take advantage of that opportunities for success in the automotive repair industry, it’s crucial to position yourself carefully when it comes to marketing. Call Cody Tucker at 9034565619 for a free marketing consult and learn how to put a winning plan into action that will leave you doing what you’re best at. Repairing cars!

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