You’ve probably noticed that consumers today are more cognizant and wary of sales pitches than in decades past. It’s becoming more and more difficult to walk up to a person and try to sell them your product. In fact, approaching them in such a direct manner may ruin any chance of selling them something they otherwise might be interested in.
“Don’t call us; we’ll call you,” might as well be today’s mantra among consumers. This is why it’s so crucial for sales and marketing teams to understand the modern Buyer’s Journey.
Companies may differ on how they interpret today’s buyer’s journey, but at Eminent SEO, we believe it progresses in five distinct steps:
Do you want to make that sale, after all? Then you have to be patient and feed your target customer the knowledge they need to make that purchase – likely weeks, months or possibly a couple of years down the road.
Once you get a grasp of the buyer’s journey, you will start to determine how long it usually takes to close one of your leads into a sale, and what you need to do along the way. You will also start to figure how to qualify your leads better and provide them with useful resources.
The buyer’s journey is a long road, and sales teams need to understand that leads don’t close overnight. They also do not want to be sold. A solid strategy requires an integrative sales and marketing nurturing approach.
Here are some simple steps to consider when nurturing leads or developing a lead-nurturing strategy for your sales team:
Segment your leads.
Build a lead-scoring strategy and score your leads.
Develop canned responses for your sales team.
Invest in more targeted content for various buying stages.
Start the conversation.
Remember that less is more (simple landing pages).
Automate as much as possible.
Be timely in your responses.
Align your sales and marketing strategies (see the “Related Reads” section above).
Buyer’s Journey FAQ
Q: In which stage of the buyer’s journey do most Facebook ad referrals fall?
See the Answer
Through Facebook Ads, you can now target users who will then directly message you through Facebook Messenger.
Over the last year, our team has extensively tested this process. What we have found is that most of these leads are in the Awareness or Consideration stages of the buyer’s journey.
This means most people are eager to share the problem they are running into, but they are rarely ready to purchase anything right then and there. This lends credence to the fact you have to nurture your leads and remain patient.
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Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.
Sales … leads … where do I begin? So many businesses are finding it difficult to generate qualified leads. Many businesses are also generating the wrong types of leads and not converting them into sales.
As a business owner, you’re probably wondering how to:
Generate new leads for your business.
Convert existing leads into deals.
The good news is an effective digital marketing strategy will be able to produce qualified leads for your business. We’ve been successful with all of our clients and achieving their goals for lead generation. The drawback is businesses have to invest into managing the leads properly and leading them through the extensive buying process.
Getting to Know Lead Life Cycles and the Marketing/Sales Funnel
First, you must understand that there are different types of leads and respective life cycles. A lead life cycle is defined as the life of a lead or prospect.
This is not considered a lead yet. This is someone who is doing their research and came to your website through a marketing campaign.
Marketing Qualified Lead
These leads are doing their research still. They may have come from Facebook or an eBook offer download on your website. These leads aren’t ready to be sold. They are looking to be educated.
Sales Qualified Lead
These are leads that are ready to make a buying decision. They have already done their research on your product or service and are sold on it.
All they need to be sold on is the fact that you are the company that can fulfill their needs.
This is when a lead has transitioned into an opportunity to become a client.
When the opportunity has paid for your product or service!
When there is proper lead tracking installed on the website, we can tell where the lead originated from down to the source of the call with dynamic call tracking. By knowing where the lead came from, our team can dissect the data to understand user intent. That’s where the sales and marketing funnel comes in.
Depending on the lead source and content they’re interested in, you can determine their stage within the buyer’s journey.
The Buyer’s Journey Breakdown
Let’s face it, the sales process is VERY long. Now that the internet exists, buyers want to see everything possible before making a decision.
By understanding the buyer’s journey, you can learn what to expect for the duration of closing a lead to a sale. You will also know how to qualify your leads better and provide them with useful resources.
This is the stage where the prospect identifies there’s an issue and that they need help. They are not yet educated on what that solution is, but they are aware that an issue exists. This is the stage where users will normally convert on offers such as eBooks, blog posts or newsletter sign-ups for more information.
This is the stage where the prospect has started doing their own research for the problem they need help with. They will usually engage with offers such as:
Downloading a brochure about your service
Browsing your products or services
Learn more about your team
It’s important to educate them extensively about your specific offering during this stage.
Prospects that are ready to make a decision will simply call, email or chat with you directly. They have made the decision to move forward with a certain company, and hopefully you are that company. You still might need to do some nurturing for prospects in this stage, but they are definitely sold on the idea they need your product or service. They just need to be sold on your specific offering and company.
When the prospect has converted into a paying client, it doesn’t mean the nurturing stops. You have a reputation to maintain and a client to keep happy now. This stage is very important to maintain a happy relationship with your client by providing a superior customer service experience.
Brand Advocate Stage
When you have a happy client, they automatically turn into a brand advocate for your business. Get them to follow your social media platforms to give you street credit about your product or service. Positive reviews from happy clients create assets that you can use for your business long term. The other benefit is, other people will read them and consider your company!
Lead nurturing should never stop after they decide to purchase from you. There are many ways to stay in front of your current clients and nurture them into purchasing from you again or promoting your brand to their friends and family.
Understanding Lead Sources and Buyer Intent
There are various sources that generate leads if you’re investing into multi-channel marketing for your business. Sources are where the lead actually originated from, not where they converted from.
For example, your lead came to your site originally from a Facebook ad. Then they visited your blog, your services pages and left the site. They come back in a month after they’ve done their research and Googled your brand. They initiate a chat with you on your website.
The original source of this lead is still considered the Facebook ad. They’ve just been nurtured along the buyer’s journey to get to the Decision stage where they Googled your brand directly to make that next step. The lead source is not your website chat.
Here’s a breakdown of a few digital marketing sources that generate a large volume of leads:
Google Organic Search
This one gets a little tricky because you can have users from any stage within the buyer’s journey come to your website from here. What we typically like to look at the most is what type of content the user came in to see. If it was a blog post, for example, that user would be in the Awareness stage, because our blog post strategy is typically less salesy and more focused on educating.
If the user entered via a service or product page on your website, that means they’re typically searching more Consideration-type keywords and are looking to assess your company for that product or service.
Google Paid Search
Google paid search is very similar to Google organic search. Most companies like to bid on the keywords that are going to produce conversions. If that’s the case, then the majority of these users would be in the Consideration stage. Some might even be in the Decision stage and are Googling your brand directly to make that phone call.
Facebook has spent a lot of time and money optimizing its platform so businesses can connect directly with their distinct audiences. With Facebook ads, you can actually target users to message you through Facebook messenger.
Our team has tested these campaigns substantially in the last year and learned that these leads are more in the Awareness or Consideration stages. Most people want to chat about the problem they’re running into, but they’re not necessarily ready to buy.
A snapshot on the various sources that you may consider for a marketing campaign:
96% of website visitors aren’t ready to buy yet, according to Marketo.
We have laid out some simple steps to consider when nurturing leads or coming up with a lead-nurturing strategy for your sales team:
1. Segment Your Leads
First things first is to segment your leads into the correct buckets. Remember the marketing and sales qualified life cycles? You need to segment leads into those two buckets, at minimum. You can always expand into more lead types if your business has many more.
Marketing qualified leads should be sent more informative and education-related materials. These materials may include eBooks, quizzes, videos, blog posts, infographics, etc.
Sales qualified leads should be sent more consideration related materials such as brochures, case studies, team bios, product samples, etc.
Each week, have a dedicated employee sort through the leads and determine which type of lead they are.
2. Build a Lead Scoring Strategy and Score Your Leads
Each business is unique and requires a custom strategy for this to work. Your strategy should include all of the digital assets you currently have and which assets you need to expand on to help nurture your leads along.
Digital assets can be considered:
Website landing pages
After you have a strategy built with the content you want to provide, you must also develop a lead scoring strategy for the various life cycles of a lead. Develop a tagging system to tag your calls and messages, so that you can easily sort these leads at a later date when it comes time to follow up.
3. Develop Canned Responses for Your Sales Team
To make their job even easier, you can help them by developing canned responses for frequently asked questions. If you’ve owned a business for a while, you probably already know the basic questions your prospects often ask. Have those answers ready with the appropriate content and call to action for those various lead types.
4. Invest into More Targeted Content for Various Buying Stages
If you find that certain digital assets are not helping your team close the deal, you have to invest into better targeted asset and content development. Digital assets will benefit your brand and website for years to come. Develop assets and content for each buying stage based on what your prospects are asking/wanting.
5. Start the Conversation
With today’s generation wanting instant gratification, your prospects do not want to be sold. Being more conversational and personal in your approach to customer service is extremely important. Instead of sharing salesy materials (unless they ask), share a quiz for them to take or a new book to read. They want to be provided with the materials to self-educate.
6. Less Is More
Since people want instant gratification and have an attention span of a 3 year old, the best way to approach any landing page is to provide fewer options for the prospect. Always have one clear call to action on the landing pages you deliver during your lead-nurturing process. That way, they aren’t distracted by everything that’s irrelevant to your conversation, and they’re more likely to convert on that CTA.
7. Automate as Much as Possible
There are many tools out there today that can help your business automate your sales- and lead-nurturing processes. These tools make it easier for your sales team to send out emails, automatically respond to website chats and messages, create proposals, automate unqualified leads through a funnel and manage the lead pipeline in one dashboard.
8. Be Timely in Your Responses
According to Hubspot, leads are 21 times more likely to enter into the sales process as a qualified lead when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after a touchpoint on your website or social platform.
9. Be Personal
The digital age is full of automation. There’s a fine line between automated and manual responses. When your team is responding to an email or a Facebook message manually, make sure to always keep the responses personalized. It’s all about personalization and providing relevant resources to what the prospect is asking.
10. Align Your Sales and Marketing Strategies
This is probably the most important part. If your sales and marketing teams are not communicating regularly, you have a problem. Marketers today have much more insight than sales teams because they are the ones reading the data every single day while your sales team is out selling.
Marketers can and should:
Provide the sales team with existing targeted content to share.
This post might seem overwhelming, but the main takeaway is to know that not all your leads from digital marketing campaigns are ready to buy. In fact, the majority of them are not ready.
The buyer’s journey is a long road, and sales teams need to understand that leads don’t close overnight. They also do not want to be sold. A solid strategy requires an integrative sales and marketing nurturing approach. Good luck out there!
Marketing has been transforming businesses for ages, since way back in the 1960s when advertising strategies stemmed from one simple creative idea that transformed small businesses into huge, recognizable brands today. Back then, creative advertising teams focused less on the research and more on creativity.
1960s Tide Ad: vs. 2018:
Needless to say…things have changed. Not that marketing is no longer creative, but it’s just way more complex. And we have to educate kids on not eating Tide pods rather than selling the products. Enough said.
The Evolution of SEO and Social Media Digital Marketing Strategies
We’ve been doing search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing for over 12 years. Our team has been in it since Google and AOL Instant Messenger was all there was. Did I mention dial-up internet too? Yeah that used to be a thing.
Digital Marketing Platforms
When we first began doing SEO strategies, it was a hell of a lot easier than it is now. Back then, you didn’t have to worry about hundreds of different ranking factors or platforms for a website to be visible online.
Now, you have to think about Google Organic, Google Local, Google AdWords, Facebook Organic, Facebook Paid, Instagram Organic, Instagram Paid, LinkedIn Organic, LinkedIn Paid, Twitter Organic, Twitter Paid, and all their different algorithms. Each platform has a paid and organic option which requires its own strategy, since each audience is unique.
Within each platform, there are also different campaign types. With Facebook, you have a variety of options, including
Sign up for phone call
Platforms are just scratching the surface when it comes to how things have evolved online. When we first started, we only had to think about desktop computer users and their user behavior.
Now, online users aren’t even using their desktop. They’re on their mobile devices.
More users are searching for local services on their mobile devices than ever before. If your brand isn’t mobile-facing, then you’re falling short with your SEO.
Website User Experience
Back in the day, we didn’t take into consideration the website user experience. The entire website was focused on the keywords and getting as many of them on the site as possible to achieve top Google rankings.
Needless to say, that technique is way outdated, but we still see a lot of SEO companies doing this. A word of advice: These short-term strategies will only hurt your site in the long term.
Today’s digital marketing strategies focus heavily on website user experience and attracting user engagement. When your website content is high quality, personalized and easy to navigate, users will stay engaged with the site.
You Must Be Visible on All Platforms or Your Sales and Leads Will Suffer
In order to really grow your online leads, you need to consider all of these changes as well as all of the platforms your potential audiences live on.
“What if my audience isn’t on social media?”
We hear this so often from business owners. It’s completely inaccurate and makes me giggle every time I hear it.
Yes, your audience lives on social media. Yes, your audience is searching on Google. Why? Because EVERYONE is using social media and Google.
The Problem with Only Focusing on Organic Results
We are organic marketers, so we believe businesses should focus their marketing dollars on organic marketing first. However, with today’s algorithm shifts on Google and Facebook, you have to consider some paid ad budget.
Organic marketing alone takes time to see results. You can expect anywhere from 12 months to several years to see full results from organic marketing.
It’s not that it doesn’t work; it does work. Again, you’re only visible on the organic platforms though. Your business will not be visible in Google’s top paid ads or in Facebook’s newsfeed as often since those platforms allow paid ads to be at the top.
The Hybrid Approach: Organic Marketing Plus Paid Ads
The benefits of utilizing the hybrid paid and organic marketing approach include:
Your brand will receive visibility a lot faster.
Organic keyword rankings will increase much quicker.
Your website content will get much more visibility.
Social platforms will attract many followers within your targeted demographic.
Your content will be targeted to a specific audience and geographic area.
You’ll have the ability to test different landing pages for conversions.
You’ll increase your qualified leads much faster, since organic alone will take at least a year.
Why You Need Digital Assets for Marketing to Be Effective
Paid and organic marketing are essential to growing your brand. However, you still need to consider all of the different campaign types required in order to attract these qualified leads. That’s where quality content and digital assets come into play.
Digital assets are considered:
Your marketing won’t be as effective if you do not have engaging content to promote. Buyers today do not want to be sold. That’s why you develop assets for your ideal buyers and promote those assets through the various digital marketing channels.
Business Owners Are Focused on the Bottom Line: More Sales
If you’re a business owner, you know this is true. You don’t care what the marketing does, but you care how it impacts your business. The end goal isn’t to get more followers on Facebook; it is to achieve more sales to grow your business.
That’s a great goal to have, but where a lot of businesses fall short is considering this hybrid approach to their marketing. They don’t think they need paid ads, or they don’t think they need a high-quality website. Hate to break the news to you all, but that couldn’t be more untrue.
Think quality over quantity. You need to have a quality website with quality content to attract each buyer type within the various stages of the buyer’s journey. Otherwise, your marketing strategy is flawed and you won’t get the results you want.
Final Thoughts on the ‘Pay to Play’ Era
Your business has a huge opportunity to succeed with today’s digital marketing strategies. The tools are literally at your fingertips.
The landscape has changed dramatically throughout the years, and it requires a team of professionals to accomplish this task. It isn’t something to push aside or consider as a small tool for your business; it is the primary driving source of leads today.
Get on board with the changes, or risk not growing your business. It’s up to you, but it’s really that simple.
There is some truth to the phrase “seeing is believing.” And in today’s world, skepticism isn’t just for the paranoid. Business owners and clients believe they aren’t as gullible as they used to be, thanks to Snopes.com, E-Verify and a social culture that’s never heard of doing business on a handshake.
To provide a visual of what the initial interaction with a potential customer looks like, picture a stone-faced man or woman seated with arms crossed on the chest, void of emotion, waiting for the next round of B.S. to present itself.
Think about most of the marketing pitches you get online, whether through organic search or pay per click. Expecting a bait and switch? How often is that delivered? Right. No wonder we’re so distrustful.
Marketing Without Video Is as Reliable as Online Dating
With much of our business-to-business and business-to-consumer relationships made across local, regional and national borders, any opportunity to engage in face-to-face communication is essential to building trust.
Remember when the idea of having your photo on your email signature was introduced? The reason behind it is the same. But it’s anticlimactic to have a conversation with a photo.
If you’ve ever engaged in the online dating process, it’s easy to get the message about why marketing with online video is such a powerful tool. You begin by conversing online with photos being the visual that entices.
You have no idea what these people sound like, how their mannerisms dictate the way they move, how they react to the unexpected or what drives them as human beings. And yes, you really can’t authenticate whether that photo is really him (or her).
Apply this to your business. If your online presence only includes the use of static imagery, there is no dimension to your brand and you’re missing a key opportunity to increase the reach of your SEO.
Every Business Is in the Business of Telling Stories
Now that social media has superseded print and physical collateral for marketing agency and business owner spends, as well as footing heavy competition for the television space, how your company represents itself is dictated by the stories it tells.
Breaking Down the Art of Storytelling
Whether you are a brick-and-mortar operation or solely online, the moment customers enter your facility or website, they are expecting a story. The visuals need to speak to them. The words need to engage emotion so that they stay long enough to purchase or at least remember who you are and why they should come back and/or share the experience with the people they know.
This is relationship marketing; it’s based on the ability to create a story that has dimension and depth. Nothing does that for you better than online video.
Salespeople Are the Biggest Storytellers of All
There remains an ongoing, friendly feud between creative marketers and salespeople. Salespeople generally have a disdain for marketers and believe that marketing content is nothing but fluff.
On the other hand, marketers know that a good story is needed before a salesperson ever gets the chance to tell their own story.
Marketers and salespeople aren’t that different. Here’s why:
Marketers – Devise a story, direct or indirect, meant to get the attention of a prospect and lead them to the sales department or immediately convert a sale.
Salespeople – Listen to the prospect and, based on what they hear, create a story that will resonate to convert a sale.
Online video supports marketing and sales initiatives because the story can be retold over and over again. Just hit play.
Video: The Next Best Thing to Being There
Marketing in motion (that’s what video is) provides a unique layering of flexibility to your creative campaigns. You can adjust the tone, the language, the lighting and effects on the fly. If it’s realism you want to convey to your audience, this is how it’s done.
For a more polished look, high-end equipment and professional videographers are the way to go as they better understand the mechanics behind the machinery and how to maximize the production to get better results. Make sure to create your own YouTube channel to post the videos, and incorporate keywords to help boost views and increase organic rankings.
Remember that Google sometimes chooses to show videos on page one of a user’s search, and that YouTube itself is the second-largest search engine on the web. Leverage your videos accordingly.
Why Video Is Business Marketing Royalty
According to a 2017 video marketing survey by Wyzowl,
On average, 90 minutes per day are spent watching online video.
15% of those who watch online video do so for three hours or more daily.
99% of businesses who already use video will continue this year.
82% of businesses plan to increase their marketing spend on video in 2018.
Two out of three businesses that do not have an online video presence will start in 2018.
Where does your business stand? How are you capturing audience, brand awareness, SEO and conversions? If you’re not doing video (or creating the right kind of video), you virtually don’t exist.
What Does Online Video for SEO Do for Your Business?
Nothing creates a sense of believability and credibility to online users like video. It allows you to craft a message and deliver it in a way that keeps you in control.
If you like the response it generates, you can build other videos around it for a full-bodied campaign. If the response is not what you’d hoped for, you can repurpose some of the content, add new footage to shift direction and monitor audience reception from there.
Remember these numbers when it comes to video marketing:
57% of online viewers feel more confident about purchasing a product or service after watching a video.
74% purchased a product after seeing a tutorial video.
78% of businesses who use online video realized positive ROI.
Love it or hate it, Google runs the online SEO show. Might as well make friends with the virtual giant. By the way, Google adores video. If your website doesn’t have an embedded video on it, you’re missing out on a 53 times greater chance of showing up on the first page of search results, according to Moovly.
Optimize Your Optimization
If you already have a strong online video presence, your business no doubt is already receiving the benefits it brings. But if the back end isn’t working just as hard, your videos aren’t reigning in what you justly deserve. The right long-tail keyword phrases, headlines and descriptions also add value to your SEO positioning.
If you want (no, you need) to learn more about how the right online video marketing strategy can bring big changes to your business, ask the experts in digital marketing and brand strategy: Eminent SEO.
Read More About Refining Your Content Marketing Strategy for 2018
Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.
If all those totally historically accurate movies about the Old West have taught us anything, it’s that job security was not a major issue for sheriffs and their deputies. A near endless supply of cattle rustlers, masked bandits and stagecoach robbers seemed to flow through every town across the American frontier.
Today, ethical, “white hat” digital marketers face a similar challenge in keeping up with their “black hat” counterparts, especially as black hat practitioners develop new ways to cheat at Instagram and on other popular social media platforms.
In my last post, I provided an overview of white hat vs. black hat SEO strategies in a discussion about ethical SEO practices. I explained how white hat techniques are used to organically boost engagement, and how black hat experts prefer using short-sighted workarounds that can cause considerable harm to a client’s web presence.
The very same “bad dotcombres” now have the barrel of their six-shooters aimed at Instagram. Black hat social media is a reality that must be accounted for if organizations wish to improve engagement on Instagram without getting penalized as a result.
How Bad Dotcombres Cheat at Instagram
Keyword stuffing, hidden text placement and spammy blog content are common examples of black hat strategies used to game search engines, but these techniques are less effective in making an impact on Instagram.
Black hat social media professionals have developed their own approaches to working around Instagram’s user guidelines to boost likes, views and followers.
Some of the most widely adopted black hat Instagram strategies include:
Buying Instagram Followers
In recent years, Instagram has updated its algorithms so that individuals with more followers enjoy wider visibility among Instagram’s user base. Sites that guarantee followers (via spam accounts) in exchange for cash have become extremely common. Black hat digital marketers can use these sites to rapidly ramp up a client’s number of followers.
Using Bots to Fake Engagement
Many black hat social media adherents recommend automated follow-unfollow programs to save their clients the legwork required to boost engagement on Instagram organically. Instagram has begun to crack down on these websites, however, so the future of this strategy appears limited.
Joining Instagram Pods
A “pod” refers to a group of Instagram users who agree to regularly like, share and comment on each other’s posts. Some digital marketers may use pods to guarantee that their clients receive (the appearance of) substantial weekly organic engagement.
Paying for Guest Posts
One popular way for Instagram users to expand their audience is to be featured on a popular blog as a guest poster. Unfortunately, many accounts with numerous followers now actively offer guest posts for a price, effectively charging fellow users for an exposure opportunity. Some black hat digital marketers encourage their clients to take advantage of these services in lieu of tailoring content to an existing audience.
To summarize the four major ways some marketers and individuals cheat Instagram, check out the following infographic and share it with your followers:
Instagram Marshals a Response
Google has already responded to several attempts by users to game their algorithms, and Instagram is now taking steps to limit the effectiveness of black hat tactics on the platform. As Instagram’s efforts to control black hat strategies become more aggressive and its algorithms grow more sophisticated, it is only a matter of time before these techniques actually hurt the users who deploy them.
For example, Instagram has recently taken action against the most popular services used to automate accounts and gain followers. Sites like Instagress, Archie.co and Robogram, once widely used to mimic organic user engagement, have been shut down upon request from Instagram. Organizations that took advantage of these sites, especially at the insistence of a black hat digital marketer, are now forced to develop new strategies for consistently attracting followers.
Furthermore, black hat social media professionals that are used to purchasing followers may soon be in for a rude awakening. As recently as 2014, Instagram preformed a network-wide purge of spam accounts, with special attention paid toward accounts used to boost follower numbers.
Celebrities like the singer Akon lost significant chunks of their Instagram followings after the spam purge, suggesting that any brand that relies on fake followers may see its perceived influence evaporate overnight the next time Instagram decides to cut down on spam accounts.
Cut Black Hat Social Media Off at The Pass
Want to stop bad dotcombres from peddling their wares at your wagon wheel? Understanding black hat social media tactics, as well as how to spot unethical digital marketers, is still the best way to keep your brand’s Instagram presence on the straight and narrow.
Here are a few tips for finding a digital marketing expert that can enhance your social media presence organically. An ethical digital marketer will encourage potential clients to:
Beware Unrealistic Expectations
Social media success takes time. Hard work and intentional research is necessary to identify a brand’s audience, develop a strategy for engaging these users, and convert these interactions into followers and regular engagement. It is unlikely that digital marketers promising thousands of followers in a few days are gaining these followers in line with Instagram’s rules of service.
Understand Instagram’s Evolution
As a platform, Instagram has made changes again and again to its user experience. In the past, social feeds were populated by content that was posted most recently. Today, content that appears in a user’s feed is curated based on Instagram’s impressions of what each user finds most interesting.
An ethical digital marketer will be familiar with these recent changes and can recommend social engagement strategies that reflect the next stage in Instagram’s development.
Recover Existing Opportunities
Just because a company’s Instagram engagement has mostly been driven by automation doesn’t mean that the results of this approach are worthless. There are times when artificial engagement gets a brand closer to his desired audience.
This strategy, however, is not built for the long term. An experienced, ethical digital marketer can help companies make the most of black hat results and convert those short-term gains into long-term successes.
Opt for White Hat Social Media Practices
Still have questions about black hat social media, problematic SEO practices or finding a digital marketing expert you can trust? At Eminent SEO, our mission is to make this type of information as accessible and easy to understand as possible. Revisit or bookmark our blog for the latest news and advice on properly enhancing your brand through social media and search engines.
As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.
Just a little over year ago, Facebook Live went viral.
The service allows users to broadcast video from their phone where it can be viewed and commented on in real time by friends on Facebook. After the live recording is complete, the video can be viewed, liked and commented on – just like regular videos posted on the platform.
When Facebook Live initially came out in August 2015, it was limited to use by celebrities. Then in January 2016, Facebook started making the service available to all users. At first, it was mostly utilized by large media outlets.
In April 2016, BuzzFeed hosted the first Facebook Live video that went viral, which answers that burning question that keeps us all up at night: How many rubber bands does it take to make a watermelon explode? (If you need to know the answer, or just want to see a watermelon blow up, you can view the video here.)
While the exploding watermelon video garnered a respectable 11-plus million views, it was soon surpassed by Candace Payne’s “Chewbacca Mom” video in May 2016, which marked the first viral video by an everyday user. Soon, other videos followed – some silly, some serious – garnering millions of views in the U.S. and worldwide.
In honor of the first anniversary of Facebook Live going viral, let’s examine the top five viral Facebook Live videos of the past year.
The Top Five Viral Facebook Live Videos of 2016
In order of views, here are the top five Facebook Live videos of last year.
The video in a nutshell: Sitting in her car at a Kohl’s parking lot, Candace shows off the purchase she just made: a Star Wars Chewbacca mask. She demonstrates the sound effects of the mask, which she finds absolutely hilarious, and her humor is contagious.
What we can learn: Authentic silliness is still a top driver in viral videos. Others could have demonstrated this same product and it might be interesting for about 2 seconds, but Candace’s genuine humor and her complete openness about what she’s thinking and feeling comes through so strongly that you can’t help but laugh along with her, even as your logical mind does an eye roll at the silliness of it all.
In fact, taking such a trivial thing and making it a high point of one’s day is what makes it so charming. Candace’s comment with the video says, “It’s the simple joys in life…” This pretty much sums up the appeal of this video. In a world full very serious happenings, there is a certain satisfaction in sharing the little things that make people smile.
The video in a nutshell: Musician Ted Yoder plays the classic ‘80s Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” on hammered dulcimer, live in his backyard with family and friends looking on. If you’ve never heard of that instrument before, you’re probably not alone.
Maybe some of the appeal of the video is the novelty of the instrument, but it’s also an outstanding performance. And for the encore performance, you get to meet his family’s pet raccoon.
What we can learn: Extraordinary talent will never go out of style. Combine that with a great song, a few eclectic features – the instrument, the raccoon – and a casual, friendly vibe, and it’s easy to see why this video is a hit: It’s got several things going for it.
Like the “Chewbacca Mom” video, this oozes authenticity. This speaks to why marketers struggle to intentionally create viral videos: What elevates something from moderately interesting to worthy of being shared is often the open and authentic nature of the event, which is extremely difficult to manufacture.
The video in a nutshell: For those who woke up the day after the U.S. presidential election wondering, “How soon until we get a do-over?” BuzzFeed was kind enough to provide the answer in the form of a video.
The streaming video showed a (then) live countdown of the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds until the next presidential election.
What we can learn: Humor and empathy in a simple visual form is a powerful combination. There was a lot of talk on social media the day after about the surprising and controversial results of the election, but this video managed to say what some were feeling without saying anything.
Facebook Video: Jennifer Brett/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Live Date: 7/8/2016
Views: 38 million
The video in a nutshell: In the wake of an ambush attack on Dallas police officers that left five dead and nine injured, citizens turned out the next day to give hugs to Dallas police officers. Yes, the event happened in Dallas, but it was Atlanta’s most-recognized news outlet that garnered the most views on Facebook Live that day.
What we can learn: When emotions are running high, simple scenes like this one can become symbolic of what millions of people are thinking and feeling. Unlike the more lighthearted videos featured previously, this video sparked more opposing viewpoints in the comments.
The video in a nutshell: This 4-hour video showed a map of the U.S. and was continually updated on election night as the voting results came in.
What we can learn: Being in the right place, at the right time, with the right information matters. At the time this video aired, the election was the biggest story in the country and millions of people wanted live, up-to-the-moment information on the results. The downside, however, was that the video became irrelevant as soon as the election concluded.
Some Facebook Live Videos Have More Longevity than Others
It’s interesting to note that the first three videos on this list have continued to gain millions more views over time, whereas the last two are not generating many new views.
As you can see in the graphic immediately above, here’s the viewer count of each of the aforementioned Facebook Live videos on Dec. 8, 2016, and then compared to April 27, 2017:
1) Candace Payne: Chewbacca Mom: 162 million views then (Dec. 8) –now 166 million
2) Ted Yoder: Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” on Hammered Dulcimer: 85 million then – now 94 million
3) BuzzFeed: Countdown to the 2020 Presidential Election: 51 million then – Now 55 million
4) Atlanta Journal-Constitution: People Lining Up to Hug Dallas Police Officers: 38 million then – still 38 million
5) NBC News: Election Results Electoral Map: 36 million then – still 36 million
The last two videos on the list were based on events that were very relevant in the moment, but then become old news.
The funny and entertaining videos, however, continue to gain additional views as they are discovered and passed around by latecomers to the craze.
Interestingly, the “Countdown to the 2020 Presidential Election” video continues to gain views, perhaps providing an emotional outlet to those who are eager for the next presidential election. This reveals an important difference between the countdown video and the electoral college video: While the latter only gave us information we wanted in the moment, the former taps into an emotion that continues to be relevant long after the event that triggered it.
Summary: Evergreen Viral Video Traits
These five videos demonstrate six key traits that we see over and over again in viral videos.
Authenticity and vulnerability
Relevancy in the moment
While it’s extremely difficult to intentionally produce a video that goes viral, marketers can hone the skill of identifying situations and moments when an opportunity exists to share something with these traits.
Showing up every day and engaging with what people are saying, and then using those interactions to understand how they’re feeling and thinking, is what builds a marketer’s instincts for what will be popular.
But, of course, engaging online on a regular basis can be time consuming, and many businesses don’t have the resources in house to keep up with it like they should. At Eminent SEO, we manage the daily social media engagement for our clients, interacting regularly with users online, and developing strategies based on popular demand.
To succeed in the social media sphere, businesses must populate their various accounts with consistently strong writing (in addition to strong imagery). It might surprise you to learn, however, that not all social media managers deem themselves writers.
The good news is that writing social media copy isn’t complex. Nevertheless, learning how to write for social media is worth it. Here are some tips on how to write better content for social media – and why it matters.
Why Writing Well Matters
Each social media post communicates a business’ brand to its clients. A well-written post paints a positive and polished image of a business, communicating to users that this business has something valuable to say and/or offer.
Meanwhile, a social post that is unfocused or disorganized reflects poorly on a business, hurting any rapport the company had built with existing or potential customers. Poorly written content doesn’t do a business justice and can undermine an organization’s success. Therefore, well-written social media posts are important.
A successful social media writer is informative yet concise. A large amount of value has to be communicated in as few words as possible. A strong social media post compels the reader’s attention with carefully calculated word choice. In short, writing well for the internet involves learning the right style, which we’ll get to later.
Social media writing must be consistent. A Facebook page must share the same message a connected Twitter page does. Businesses should give an even level of attention to all social media accounts (unless one platform is clearly fostering better results). If a business is raving about a 50 percent off deal on all products on Twitter but crickets are chirping on its Facebook page, then there is inconsistent communication. The only exception is if the company is pushing a platform-specific offer.
Tailoring the Message to the Platform
On the other hand, consistency in content does not mean universal writing styles for all social media websites. A Facebook post has a 63,206-character limit while Twitter allows no more than 140. A LinkedIn post is intended to be formal and informative, while a tweet’s purpose is to be eye-catching and clever.
The same style and word choice of writing will not work for all social networks, but there must be common ground regarding communicated content over all platforms. This makes mastering the art of social media copywriting all the more challenging.
How Long Can the Social Media Copy Be?
This is the wrong question. Instead of asking how long a social media post can be, you should ask how long the post should be. A tweet can be up to 140 characters, but it shouldn’t be your business’s standard to run every tweet right up until the limit.
Finding the ideal character count for a specific Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn post may sound impossible, but thankfully, researchers have done the heavy lifting to produce ideal word count figures. Here are the findings:
Twitter: Post limit: 140 characters. Ideal post length: 71–100 characters. Keep in mind that including any link removes 24 characters. Also, many social media experts recommend using 1–2 hashtags per tweet.
Facebook: Post limit: 63,206 characters. Ideal post length: 40 characters. The 60,000+ character limit includes the content that stays hidden unless the user clicks “Read More.” In reality, the character limit before the “Read More” link shows up is only 400.
LinkedIn: Post limit: 600 characters. Ideal post length: 25 words. As mentioned earlier, it’s recommended to keep your LinkedIn copy more straightforward and professional than on other platforms.
How Should Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Posts Be Written?
Each social media network is unique. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts have different end goals and different audiences they attempt to reach, and keywords can be specially utilized for each. Therefore, your social media copy should be tailored to fit these expectations.
Here is how the different social media networks operate, and how you can make the best use of keywords on each.
Writing for Twitter
Twitter is essentially a news platform camouflaged as social networking. There is a heavy emphasis on retweeting and content circulation. Twitter is the epitome of something “going viral.” A business that intends to share blog posts or promote website content should find Twitter to be a valuable tool.
As a rule of thumb, resharing article headlines as Twitter post copy should be used in moderation. It is best to tailor the social copy to the content an article is conveying. This entails giving a synopsis of the story or a unique insight, rather than a regurgitation of the article’s headline. In general, try to write complete sentences and clear thoughts on Twitter.
Using Twitter Hashtags and Emoji
It is a well-known rule to include hashtags at the end of a post. This will ensure they receive extra attention than they would otherwise. A healthy hashtag limit is 2–3 per post, so do not overuse them. Focus on using important keywords as your hashtags. With a high enough volume of sharing, the keywords can become successful.
In the same way hashtags should not be overused, neither should emoji. However, these icons can be beneficial addition to tweet copy when used economically because they add character to the content.
URLs are helpful to add to tweets. Adding them about 25 percent of the way into the tweet is better than including it at the tail end, according to research. This requires formulating a short introduction, embedding the URL, and then adding a longer explanation.
Writing for Facebook
Facebook distributes the most website referral traffic. The audience’s expectation of reading a Facebook post is for both news and entertainment. Going forward, Facebook will continue to place a greater emphasis on video content.
Keywords are difficult to track through Facebook, but not impossible. You can use keywords in your Facebook status updates, and then click the “See All” option near “Insights.” This should help you quantify the number of users your keywords are reaching, and how viral these terms are.
Contrary to popular opinion, Facebook posts should be short: 40 characters short, believe it or not. Facebook also lowers promotion-heavy posts in its feed. This means posts that include phrases such as, “Act Now!” or, “Purchase Now!” should be avoided because Facebook’s algorithm will flag it. The tone of a Facebook blurb for a blog post or article should be concise, witty and conversational.
LinkedIn is a business-centric site, so a company’s content needs to appeal to this mindset. LinkedIn is the site of choice for professional content and business article sharing. As a side note, LinkedIn created LinkedIn Pulse in 2015, which is a content publishing and distribution feature.
LinkedIn writing is clear, concise and respectful. The most important rule for LinkedIn writing is remembering that a professional audience is reading the post. Avoid confusing language, get straight to the point and maintain a professional voice.
For keywords, the most important places to use them are in your location, your professional headline (120 available characters), your personalized URL, your summary of experience, and your overall profile summary. Use these spaces to advertise yourself and your business for best results.
Social Media Copy Can Make or Break Your Business
Stellar social media copy should be a weapon in every business’ arsenal. The written word powers social media (although images and video help, too). Guiding this power effectively through deft writing skills and audience reconnaissance leads to success in the social media realm.
Eminent SEO can help give your business’s social media efforts a boost – either through consulting or even taking control of your many social accounts, ensuring that each receives plenty of enticing, head-turning content every month. Click to learn more about our Social Media Marketing Services, or simply call 800.871.4130 today.
Social media has exploded since the mid-2000s, when Facebook began to rise to prominence. The social landscape changes every day, with old apps and platforms giving way to new technologies and services.
This was certainly the case for Vine, a Twitter-owned video-sharing service that appears to be on its way out the door. Although Vine was a once-popular and user-friendly app, some analysts say it was a bad match for Twitter.
How the Vine App Worked
Vine was arguably one of the easiest social media apps to use. A user could upload a video from a smartphone or other device directly to millions of Twitter and Vine followers. A popular Vine video or meme had the potential to make someone’s social media presence explode. Through Vine, more people were able to make connections and expand their networks, both on social media and in real life.
Vine videos were able to compress time so a single video could loop millions of times and generate billions of hits. Videos often referenced each other: One Vine could contain a cross reference to a dozen or so others. This kept viewers searching for similar videos and finding new ones to share with their networks.
A classic example is former “Mad TV” comedian Will Sasso’s series of Vine videos involving lemons. These individual Vine clips have all been combined into one YouTube video.
For a short time, this simple video-sharing service seemed like it might carve out a permanent niche.
Why Vine Worked
Before Vine, there was no quick or easy way to broadcast video. Apps such as Facebook Live and Periscope didn’t exist, and people who took video on their phones were concerned about data and messaging limits. In 2012, Twitter acquired Vine, which eventually had a six-second limit. This allowed users not only to broadcast video, but to focus on the most important parts of what they shared.
Even before the six-second limit, Vine was popular for its short-streaming video. The app was aimed at teenagers, who particularly enjoyed trends and memes. However, Vine expanded to include other demographics, including people in their 50s and 60s.
Michael Pachter, a 60-year-old financial analyst, used Vine regularly and built up a following there and on Twitter.
“You’d have to be a technological idiot not to be able to do it,” he told The New Yorker about shooting Vine videos.
Additionally, Vine was popular because it was perceived as fun.
“Vine is not a tool. It’s a toy,” Vine’s then-new general manager Hannah Donovan told Variety back in June.
Vine was the place to find a quick laugh in the form of pratfalls, potatoes spinning from ceiling fans, and other slapstick antics.
For a good example of how users worked within Vine’s parameters, see this simple video that features a cameo from “New Girl” actor Lamorne Morris. (Be sure to turn the sound on.)
As for Vine’s overall brand of comedy, Donovan admitted, “The witty, wordy comedy of Woody Allen or Will Stillman it was not.”
However, it did attract different type of users than those on Snapchat or Instagram, giving social media users yet another outlet to exert influence.
According to Casey Newton, a writer for The Verge, users also loved Vine because it provided a “creative challenge.” Vine “endlessly rewound itself,” causing people to think of new and unexpected ways to use it.
Newton added that Vine had an early advantage over other social video apps due to its ability to spawn popular memes and much-applauded “cultural moments.”
Why Vine Is Shutting Down
Vine was extremely popular circa 2013-14, so what caused it to die so quickly? One former executive cited other apps such as Instagram, saying Instagram Video was “the beginning of the end” for Vine.
Instagram Video debuted 15-second video limits in 2013 and has since expanded to clips as long as 60 seconds. Users, especially celebrities, found Instagram Video much more flexible than Vine. Although Vine eventually tried offering extended videos, they never caught on.
Snapchat also played a role in killing Vine, as well. Snapchat allows users to send each other video clips individually and/or broadcast them publicly, while Vine videos were only for all users, and even non-users, to see.
Time allowances also made Snapchat superior: The platform allows 10-second clips rather than 6-second ones. Four extra seconds might not seem like much, but extra flexibility attracted users, just as Instagram did. It doesn’t hurt that Snapchat also has all of those face and voice filters to add some extra dimensions to any video.
Problems Behind the Scenes
Instability was another big issue for Vine. Managers consistently quit to pursue startups and other, more lucrative opportunities. In 2015, Twitter underwent massive layoffs, which involved firing Vine’s creative director. Gradually, Vine usage dropped.
Celebrities who once posted on Vine lobbied to be paid for using the app. However, the negotiations came to nothing. Celebrity users hoped to promote Vine videos the way they did Twitter posts and accounts, thus gaining followers. However, interest in Vine peaked around 2014. After that, it was difficult for celebrities, let alone average users, to generate significant followings.
In 2015, Twitter bought a social media talent agency in an attempt to save Vine. However, neither celebrities nor Vine and Twitter executives were interested in giving more money to a dying app. Additionally, Vine never offered its popular users options for reimbursement once negotiations stalled. Thus, they had little incentive to stick with Vine over other similar platforms. Vine never capitalized on its stars’ relationships with popular brands, thereby severely limiting itself.
Other Forms of Media that Contributed to Vine’s Demise
Although Instagram Video and Snapchat were seemingly the biggest threats to Vine, many other social media apps and forms of media played a part, too. Native Twitter videos are one such example.
Unlike Vine, native Twitter videos are not a Twitter sub-service. The social media platform now offers more ways to attach and upload videos. With Vine, videos were mostly broadcast through phones. Meanwhile, Twitter now allows uploads and attachments from computers, tablets and several other types of devices.
Native Twitter videos have a maximum length of 2 minutes and 20 seconds, making them as much as 23 times longer than Vine videos. Twitter’s new limit gives users enough time for a quick instructional video, a miniature vlog entry, or even a sketch comedy routine. Native Twitter videos do not rely on pratfalls and endless looping to keep users engaged.
Unlike Vine, Twitter video uses auto-play similar to Facebook Live. Videos also begin playing as soon as users scroll over them in the feed. This draws the eye directly to the video and makes it more memorable.
GIFs are another popular alternative to Vine. Although they lack audio, which Vine allowed, they communicate quick, memorable and often comical messages. GIFs usually start up easily and loop endlessly, so users can watch them as long as they like, over and over again.
Additionally, GIFs are often used to enhance text. That is, if you want to write a long blog post broken up with engaging pictures or memes, GIFs will most likely keep the audience’s attention. Some users have tried to use Vine videos in the same manner, but they just didn’t work out quite as smoothly.
Finally, YouTube has been a primary alternative to Vine for years. YouTube has no length limit now, and depending on your editing capabilities, a YouTube video of much higher quality than a Vine or Twitter one. Additionally, YouTube offers features Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat cannot, such as the opportunity to create your own channel.
What Was the Major Culprit?
From all the options above, even though they all likely played a role in Vine’s demise, if we had to choose one, we would say GIFs are an unheralded major culprit. As mentioned earlier, for a short period of time, Twitter users were using Vine videos similar to GIFs. That craze eventually died down as users became more comfortable with finding and attaching GIFs, thanks to sites such as Giphy, while Vine videos eventually took on a different purpose.
The problem with using a Vine clip instead of a GIF is that the latter typically accentuates whatever statement the user is trying to make, while the Vine is more of a statement in itself. It doesn’t help that thousands of GIFs capture memorable scenes from some of our favorite movies and TV shows, while Vine mostly featured footage of sporting events as well as original user content.
One the popularity of GIFs was undoubtedly more sustainable on Twitter than that of Vine videos, and when the Vine social network itself began dropping off in activity, the writing was on the wall for the once-prominent video-sharing service. The evolution of human communication is fascinating thing to witness, eh?
But Wait … Is Vine Really Dead?
Just earlier this week, TechCrunch reported that Twitter is shopping Vine around to as many as 10 interested buyers, meaning the platform could survive after all. However, offers for the video-sharing service are reportedly falling short of $10 million, which is a sharp drop from the $30 million Twitter bought it for in 2012.
It is unclear whether Vine or apps like it will endure, or whether they will have a significant presence in social media in the future. In the meantime, users have more ways than ever to chronicle their lives through video and share their experiences.
What’s your favorite way of sharing video experiences online? Leave us a comment below.
We live in an era of convenience where we have the ability to access information with the click of a button in a fraction of a second. Technology has allowed us to accomplish tasks and reach out to people we never thought was possible even 20 years ago.
Social media, in particular, is the beast that holds much power in our success or demise. It can single-handedly crumble a person’s reputation with a single tweet, or catapult a career with the sharing of a 20-second video. The bottom line is the user must navigate with savvy and caution.
Searching for the job you want can be exhausting. The whole process is time-consuming and impersonal, and it can difficult to show your full range of qualifications. Well, we’ve come up 10 ways you should leverage social media to stand out from the pack and look more desirable to potential employers while you’re in the job search phase.
1. Get On Board!
Let’s start at the very beginning. If you do not have social media accounts and you are not close to retirement, get at least one now! LinkedIn is the most popular job search site, where an estimated 95 percent of recruiters search for candidates, and 79 percent of all employers hire based on contacts and referrals from this network.
Employers also look to social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to get a more personal take on a candidate and make sure that they fit in with the culture of their company. They also look at candidates’ social profiles to gauge who might possess the type of character traits needed to thrive and be an asset for their team.
2. Maintain Your Account
Although keeping up with your social media accounts can be a job in itself, you need to do it! Don’t forget: You reap what you sow. You should set up a strong profile and use keywords that highlight skills that potential employers may search for. As you develop new skills or complete certifications, let them know!
Potential employers want to see that you’re keep active on your profiles, but you don’t need to get overwhelmed trying to show your activity every single day on every single site. Just a little something every few days goes a long way.
3. Become a Social Butterfly
If you’ve spent any time on social media, you know how awkward it is to get a random “like” from someone you completely forgot you have a connection with. You know, the “creeper” who looks to see what everyone else is doing but never engages? Don’t be that guy! It’s social media, so don’t forget to be social!
Remember, you have a choice of what to entertain and engage in, so choose wisely. You don’t have to put your entire personal life out there just to be seen. In fact, that disposition has the potential to deter potential employers and only serves as a distraction. Instead, it’s best to like, share, comment, tweet and retweet relevant information in your field and follow sites that interest you professionally.
Get used to putting your name out there. The more you get your name in front of businesses, the more it’ll stick and show them that you are relevant and up to speed in the industry.
4. Use Discretion
As tempted as you may be to make a comment about certain political candidates or fire back at an internet troll, it’s usually in your best interest to refrain. By all means, be authentic, but if you desire to use social media as an avenue for potential employment, you must remember that once it’s out there, it stays out there. Photos, comments and posts can come back to haunt you with a vengeance, even if you delete them, so using the utmost discretion from the get-go will only help your cause.
Also, it’s important to be mindful of the persona you illustrate online. You may be someone who can compartmentalize your life and have a “work hard, play harder” mentality, but if “play” means posting pictures of you and your buddies passed out after a few rounds of beer pong, or you showing off your new bikini in a dressing room, you should just pass. Companies want someone who can represent them professionally at all times and not compromise their reputation. If you do post highly personal photos, you should keep your account private.
5. Make an Impact
You don’t have to filibuster your way through an interview to show that you have good ideas and can make an impact. Use your social media platform to gain followers by posting information that your audience will appreciate. Gaining followers will not only show employers that you have something to say and can influence the community, it will also give you the confidence to continue to make an impact, which can allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment.
6. Keep It Positive in the Job Search Process
It’s not easy being unemployed (or underemployed). It can take a toll on your self-confidence and your ability to land a new position, so why remind yourself of that?
You can rephrase your former employment status in your profile and avoid using the word “unemployed” and instead highlight what it is that you are looking for. Your profile will sound much more ambitious and will remind employers that they need you as much as you need them.
7. Read Between the Lines
Actually, employers are the ones that will read between the lines, so be sure to cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Literally. Using the correct punctuation and grammar on your page and in your comments will show your potential employer how well you actually communicate.
Everyone loves to highlight their “excellent written and verbal communication skills” on a resume, then fail to proofread a comment left on a company Facebook page or description paragraph on their profile. If you say you are great communicator, do not pick and choose when to be great. Make sure to stay consistent with whom you describe yourself to be.
8. Get Endorsed
Since LinkedIn is one of the top job search engines, it is important to get endorsements from other professionals within the network. Your connections are allowed to endorse you, or legitimize your skill set. You can ask former bosses or coworkers to write recommendations for you, and you can certainly return the favor.
Creating several symbiotic professional relationships online can only help you. The more high-quality references you can get, the better. These endorsements show employers that you’re not the only one that thinks you’re great, because there are others in your field that give you a stamp of approval.
9. Keep It Simple
We know … you have so many awesome qualities it’s hard to narrow it down. But you have to. Simplicity is key in a great professional social media page. Try to narrow down your descriptors to what you want employers to know.
You may think you are offering a way to get to know you better, but all the extra words only serve as a distraction. Get down to the essentials and stick with it. There will be plenty of other ways for potential employers to get to know you.
10. Dress for Success
This seems simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people fall short with this one. Now, it’s not necessary to wear a tuxedo or red carpet dress in every photo, but your attire should lean toward the conservative, business casual side.
Social media has become a place of validation in our society, and many users look for approval from others in the looks department. Professionally, it’s an entirely different ballgame. Again, be authentic and be yourself, but if ever in doubt, err on the side of caution.
If leveraged correctly, social media has the power to distinguish you from your competition without having to even step foot outside of your home. You can make yourself the most sought after in your field, or you can get lost in the shuffle of mediocrity: The choice is yours.
If social media overwhelms you, it’s OK. You don’t have to do it all. Simply pick whichever social site works for you and stick with it. Something is better than nothing, and as with almost anything else, you get out what you put in.
When we’re living in an era when you can legitimately put a profession such as “Instagram Model” on a resúmé, you know just how powerful a tool social media can be. A once-lonely and overlooked high school girl can instantly turn famous by clicking, posting and creating a massive following. Just like that, she’s a business.
Well, it doesn’t quite work the same if your goal is to grow your business, put money in the bank, maintain a reputation and expand. What too many businesses don’t understand is how the wrong social media strategy can cost them thousands of potential dollars.
So, Where’s the Disconnect Here?
The internet age is actually still in its infancy, but it’s growing and maturing at lightning speed. It’s seemingly impossible to keep up with the amount of information that is constantly generated, no matter how valuable. There’s simply too much.
Additionally, there is a general naivety and lack of awareness about the power of social media and exactly how to use it to generate revenue. Many business owners don’t even know that an actual strategy is needed in social media to accomplish their business goals.
Every click, like, share, comment or request is all potential dollars for your growing business. Using the right social media platform and reaching out to your niche audience are what most businesses fail to comprehend. Instead, they use the wrong social media platform and cater to the wrong audience.
Your goal is to engage with your audience frequently enough to build the type of relationship that will foster loyalty and support your business.
It’s Always Best to Work Smarter, Not Harder
Social media is a game and a precise strategy needs to be involved. There are rules to play by if you want to win. It’s not good enough to just show up on the sidelines and expect to get a trophy. You have to get in there, know your opponent, and then play better and harder.
Wasting your time Instagramming when you should be Facebooking can cost you labor dollars and decrease your online exposure – and eventually your ROI. This is why narrowing down your niche audience is so important. Snapchat is used by a much different generation and demographic than Facebook or even Instagram, and you certainly don’t want to waste your time and efforts on the wrong platform.
Don’t Be Afraid to Pull the Trigger!
Now let’s take a closer look at what evaluating a social media strategy looks like for an agency. Let’s say a client was a trendy new yoga studio located just outside of a major city. The social media agency may start with posting content on general health, wellness, the benefits of yoga, etc. to multiple social platforms. The marketers begin to notice that there are very few “likes,” comments and share on all of their posts.
The agency may start to realize that most social media platforms are image-driven, so it begins to repost the same content and add an image. This simple addition generates a significant amount of interest and response from the client’s audience, and then interaction with followers becomes more frequent.
Well, that’s great, but there are still one or two platforms (let’s say Snapchat and Tumblr) that are still not generating as much “buzz” as Facebook and Instagram. At this point, it may be better to ditch those two platforms and pour all social media marketing dollars into the ones remaining.
Now would be a great time to reevaluate the client’s target audience and the overall social strategy. The agency may conclude that there is an older demographic interested in the studio from a few clues:
They are getting most of their responses from Facebook and Instagram.
The studio is located outside of the city, which means the audience is most likely made up of people who are settling down and have families.
Through geo-fencing strategies, this demographic has been targeted and has been receiving ads and promotions.
That’s still not the end of the agency’s marketing efforts. The marketers can now get even more detailed in their approach, and they can better specify exactly which kind of images appeal to the client’s target demographic.
The agency realizes that this “older” Facebook and Instagram crowd may be intimidated by images of yogis bending and twisting like a professional contortionist, so it decides to only use images that a healthy person at any age can easily do. This will show that the yoga studio welcomes all levels and ages of health and wellness. Even a small tweak such as this will boost audience interaction even more, which can quickly translate to direct membership sales for the studio.
The Moral of the Story:
Agencies must be quick to adjust, evaluate and reevaluate, and they can never slip into a place of complacency when strategizing for a business. They must be prepared to ditch any platform that is not producing results, based on the initial goal, and move forward with the others quickly.
But What if You’re Not the Young Instagram Model or the Stay-At-Home Mom Starting Her Own Business?
A cheeseburger affects an Olympic marathoner differently than someone having a triple bypass. Posting frequency works very much the same. While some individual social media users can post multiple pictures and content all throughout the day, a thriving business using this tactic will quickly be considered spam. In order to capitalize on your platform and not chase away followers, it’s important to follow the rules of engagement.
Your main goal should be to increase followers and keep them engaged with your content. If you “overshare” and flood their timelines, you easily run the risk of getting unfollowed – or those who still follow you will quickly become overwhelmed by your content.
Building your business using social media is a marathon, not a sprint. The more consistent you are at posting on the correct platform, the more traffic you’ll see, and the more likes and shares you’ll receive. Additionally, your brand will make a name for itself and the money will flow – if you stay committed and consistent.
Seems Like a Full-Time Job in Itself, Huh?
Well, you can certainly take advantage of social media dashboards like Hootsuite or Buffer that make creating and posting content much easier. They allow you to create multiple social media streams, post to all of them at the same time, and even schedule out posts in advance. Again, consistency is key! Using these dashboards will allow you to account for human error, forgetfulness and even laziness all with a simple click. These social tools are all about convenience.
Don’t miss out on the chance to generate interaction and engagement with your followers because you didn’t stick with it. Social media is about investing time and constantly doing research in order to reap the rewards.
Don’t Forget to Track Your Progress!
How do you know you’re losing weight without a scale? Just like someone trying to drop weight can’t gauge their progress without a scale, a business cannot assess its progress without tracking it. This means recording the number of likes on a post, the comments left, the number of shares, etc. They all matter.
There’s always room for growth and development, so if one strategy or platform doesn’t work, no need to worry. Just switch up your game until you find your sweet spot. Again, repeat business and a strong brand reputation requires customer loyalty, so it’s important to quickly change and adapt to what your audience wants to hear or learn.
Can You Track Sales Through Social Media?
Now, social media isn’t the easiest way to track precise sales, but it’s possible to get an approximation.
Buffer is an excellent resource to help you calculate tangible goals and project the outcome of your social media campaigns. You can see just how much money you will be able to generate and can soon watch a “click-click” turn into a “cha-ching!”
Knowing is half the battle. When you know your goal and how it translates to revenue, you are able to strategize in the most effective way for your business.
Getting Help so You Don’t Have the Wrong Social Media Strategy
Social media is the way businesses market now. Buying a local ad is a waste of money if you know how to work your social media and maximize your efforts. Not jumping on board and becoming educated on all the tricks can cost your business some serious change, and who can afford that?
It’s all about finding the best strategy for your business and then adjusting it and making it even better as you ramp your efforts up. Eminent SEO is a leading industry professional here to guide you and perform market research on your behalf to quickly decrease your costs and increase your profit!
If you are overwhelmed right now, don’t be. That’s why we’re here! As the internet continues to develop, the type of resources at our disposal will expand, including ones that will help us streamline your efforts. The trick is to stay abreast of your competition and put out more useful content that drives consumers to your website.
Eminent SEO is here to guide you and help you filter through steps to save you time and frustration. We can remove all of the guesswork and tell you which social platforms are working best and what kind of online engagement can be expected. Click to learn more about our Social Media Marketing Services, or call 800.871.4130 to get started now.