Social Media for Dummies

How do I use social media to market my business or myself? How often should I post on social media? Which social media network do I need to be part of? What type of content should I post? How do I generate sales from social media?

The tricky part about answering these common questions is that the answer is never the same. The choices you need to make in your social media marketing strategy will all depend on what it is you’re marketing—and to whom.

Do your research

Start by researching who your customers are, how they consume information and how they buy. Every product or service is different, so it’s important that you understand which audience is on which network and how they prefer to communicate. Once you’ve identified your customers’ habits, you can choose one of over 200 different social networks to share information with them.

Entertain, educate and promote

The right strategy for any social media platform is to entertain to grab your audience’s attention, educate to move them to the decision-making phase and promote products and services to close the deal. Over 70 percent of businesses are eliminated in a consumer’s research phase, so build trust by focusing on help instead of hype and creating top-of-mind awareness by being in the same space they are. Many times people will forget about what you do and how you can help if you do not constantly remind them!

Be social

Although social media can certainly be used as an advertising outlet, its platforms are primarily used as social networks. When you see good content, share it and tell your follower why it’s worth their time and attention to become an authority for your audience. Sharing content in a more conversational manner allows you to start discussions, learn more about customer needs and uncover opportunities. Also note that consumers nowadays demand interactivity with their brands. If you are not responding to Tweets, Facebook comments or actively listening for opportunities through social listening, you are missing out.

Manage your time

There are several free tools out there that will help you manage your time in marketing yourself on social media. Hootsuite and Buffer are two free tools that you can use to schedule your content posts in advance during the times your target audience is most active on social media. Gather shareable content from news reader sites such as Feedly which collect valuable content from several sources. Just be careful not to share anything from your competitors!

Outsource your social media management

Although the social media channels are free to sign up (for now) and creating posts are also free, you will soon learn that social media marketing is not free. Time is probably our most valuable asset, and it is very easy to invest many “free” hours into your social media strategy. Even if you have the expertise and capabilities to successfully engage buyers, the amount of time it requires may lead you to explore outsourcing options.

TAG excels at gathering, creating and posting content that engages our clients’ target audiences, and one of the most important advantages of working with TAG is that our clients save loads of time on their digital marketing strategy while still reaping the benefits of the top-of-mind awareness, trust and leads that come with it. Click here for more information on TAG’s social media services!

Eight questions to ask before hiring a marketing firm

Choosing the right marketing firm for your business can be a lengthy and sometimes expensive process. With thousands of different marketing firms available worldwide, who all offer great design and a wide variety of conventional and digital marketing services, choosing the wrong partner can be very expensive and can hurt your brand. You have to research your options and make sure that the firm is the right fit for you, your brand and your business goals.

Here are 8 questions that will help you make the right decision

Do they practice what they preach?

You wouldn’t trust a dentist with bad teeth or a tailor in ill-fitting clothes, would you? When you are researching marketing firms check their website, social media pages and online search ranking. Most marketing firms will display their top capabilities on their own website. Make sure that the site is mobile friendly and research the quality of their content. For social media, see how often they post, what type of content they share, and how much engagement there is.

Who are their clients?

Depending on what type of business you have, you want to make sure the marketing firm can handle all your needs but also gives you the attention that you require. A good balance of large clients and smaller clients is recommended. If you compete in a certain industry, it helps if the firm has previous experience in a related sector as well.

Are they forward thinking?

The marketing industry moves fast. What worked two years ago might already be replaced by something completely new. You want to make sure that the marketing firm understands the most current marketing strategies. Check out their blog to see how often they post and how current their content is. A good marketing firm understands that it is their job to be your trusted marketing partner and keep you up to date on the latest marketing techniques and development to ensure you reach the highest return on investment.

Do they understand digital?

Every business needs an online strategy. With new online marketing solutions such as inbound marketing, social media marketing and Search Engine Optimization, it is key that your marketing firm understands the most current digital marketing strategies. To make sure that your digital brand messaging is in sync with your conventional brand messaging, a full service marketing firm with a strong digital department that can handle all your communication needs is the better choice.

How do they gain insight into your customers and prospects?

To make smart marketing decisions, your marketing firm needs to understand your customers and prospects. You want to make sure that your messaging speaks to your audience and converts impressions into leads or sales. Having a firm that understands your market and your industry and that utilizes marketing research information and industry information to make smart marketing decisions is key.

Do they take the time to understand your business?

In order for a firm to put together a solid marketing campaign, they have to understand your business. You trust them with your most valuable asset, and if they do not take adequate time to learn about your business, you should walk away. The marketing firm needs to understand your history, your vision, your ideal customers, your market area and your business goals. A good marketing firm creates a consistent message across all media that matches your business communication style and your vision. It creates an identity.

Do they explain their processes and do they outsource any of their services?

With more complex services such as Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing, some firms will outsource this to save internal costs. It is very important that you understand who performs these services and what their processes are. Having the experts in house also streamlines the process and ensures that they understand your brand message and your marketing goals.

How long have they been in business?

The marketing services industry is very competitive. If the firm folds in the middle of your campaign, you will have to put it on hold and hope that you can convert everything to a new firm. This can be a lengthy and expensive process. Although you can never be 100 percent sure on this, marketing firms that have been in business for multiple years, who bring in new clients on a regular basis and are current on the most recent marketing techniques will be your best choice.

 

We think that TAG is your best option when it comes to working with a marketing firm, but we challenge you to come in and ask us these questions for yourself! Contact us today to start your marketing off on the right foot! TAG…we’re it!