In the early days of the Internet, text was the predominant medium through which information was shared with the masses. In a time before broadband connections, HD videos and even Facebook, the Web was more about functionality than style. While these technical limitations made for a lackluster user experience, they did create a solid blueprint for today’s Internet.
When the Web was ruled by text and rudimentary HTML code, pages had to be coded very efficiently in order to load quickly and images and videos were simply out of the question. Although text still plays a crucial role in the modern Internet, technological advancements have placed multimedia and rich content front-and-center.
A Tale of Two Browsers: From Mosaic to Chrome – The Evolution of Digital Content
A Changing of the Guard
As YouTube, Pinterest and other popular sites geared toward images and videos continue to grow, the focus has begun to shift away from text as the primary form of content on the Internet. Today, virtually every website utilizes extensive imagery or video content to engage audiences. Social networks are certainly no exception.
In fact, social media posts or tweets containing images or videos are more likely to be shared or “liked” than those exclusively comprised of text. The bottom line is – rich content is the key to a more effective Social Media marketing strategy.
How to Engage Your Audience with Photos & Videos
Though I specifically cited YouTube and Pinterest as “media-focused” networks, other social profiles can equally benefit from rich content. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn have all recently added enhanced video and photo integration capabilities for user and business profiles. This functionality allows users to more easily display rich and engaging content.
However, it is always important to consider your audience. When creating new rich content, first ask yourself if your consumers would find it helpful or intriguing. Originality, creativity and even humor are all elements of successful content. Keep it relevant, fun and informative. Developing infographics, instructional videos, customer testimonials and new or upcoming product photos are all engaging ways to reach your social following.
Every successful Social Media Optimization and Marketing campaign begins with delivering quality content to your followers. By offering up unique, captivating videos and images as part of your content strategy, you’re well on your way to Social Media success!
Want to learn how to get even more from your Social Media marketing campaign? Ask our Experts or share your thoughts in the comments below!
Last night, I started reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (and subsequently developed a strong feeling of jealousy that our Marketing Coordinator, Danelsy Medrano, saw her present at last month’s Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce event). I’m not sure what captivated me more: Sandberg’s journey to becoming COO of Facebook (a dream job, as far as I’m concerned), or the fact that I can relate to her experiences and dilemmas as a woman and a leader. Regardless, I couldn’t put my Kindle down and I’m paying for it today (sorry, SMO team, for the yawning).
Her memoir/manifesto/however-you-want-to-categorize-it (or not categorize it) helps give women the tools they need to succeed in the workplace by encouraging them to “sit at the table,” raise their hands, and let their voices be loud enough to achieve their goals – to lean in, rather than lean back. Naturally, as I read, I found myself applying the lessons from the book to my own career goals. Then I realized Sandberg’s advice can be applied to the social media marketing campaigns that we manage every day.
Here are three ways business owners can stop missing opportunities by leaning in when it comes to social media marketing efforts.
Do Not Sit on the Side!
Social media networks and strategies are constantly evolving. In fact, simply keeping up with the latest marketing tactics in an ever-changing industry can seem like a challenge itself. Sitting on the side and missing opportunities to build a community around your brand and ultimately convert fans into customers based on the fact that it’s too challenging is not an option.
Sandberg would recommend pursuing a social media marketing plan because it’s a challenge (and not just because she’s Facebook’s COO). Whether you decide to do your own in-house social media marketing, or you hire an agency, just make sure you “sit at the table” rather than on the side.
As WebiMax’s Director of Social Media, I’ve noticed that there’s one thing that all of our most successful social media campaigns have in common: the client’s willingness to take risks. A “one size fits all” social media strategy doesn’t exist, so I’ve found that coming up with customized solutions based on each client’s unique marketing needs is the most effective way to increase their online visibility. If you want to maximize the ROI of your social media marketing efforts, you must be willing to take risks that, at times, push you outside of your comfort level.
“Pursue Goals with Gusto”
The first step in creating a successful social media campaign is to clearly define the objectives you want to achieve. But, Sandberg would say, it’s not enough to define these goals then quietly “lean back” and hope for the best. Instead, business owners need to take on more leadership. Pursuing business goals with gusto by becoming thought leaders not just Following them, starting relevant and engaging conversations not just participating in them, and generating the content that your audience craves are ways you can lean in to your social media campaign.
If you hire an agency to help you achieve your goals, it’s important to bring as much enthusiasm to the campaign as if you were performing it yourself. The more passionate you are about the products/services/information that you have to offer, the more successful your social media efforts will be.
Are you seeking challenges when it comes to your marketing efforts? Are you taking risks and pursuing your goals with gusto? Don’t let opportunity pass you by; lean in to online marketing to make your business dreams a reality.
A common concern (or more accurately, misconception) amongst business owners is that Internet marketing is an unquantifiable or even abstract enterprise. Although any SEO would vehemently disagree and offer up a plethora of resources which serve to disprove such claims; there are still doubters.
So, how exactly does one measure the ROI of search engine optimization, social media marketing, public relations or any other aspect of online marketing? It all comes back to where SEO began – Google.
Before Google Analytics was first unveiled in 2005, there were only a handful of third-party traffic and conversion statistics reporting tools available on the Web. While some of these proved to be fairly effective, none have quite lived up to Google’s proprietary service. In fact, Google Analytics remains the most widely-used application of its kind to this day.
An SEO’s Best Friend: The Google Analytics Dashboard
Not only does Analytics provide advanced functionality for experts, but it delivers viable real-time data that business owners can understand and use to get more from their site and improve their bottom line. By tracking traffic sources, gathering visitor data and learning which pages on your site are receiving the most views, you’re able to not only improve conversion rates, but easily re-strategize your entire online marketing plan with relative ease, as well.
The Winds of Change
Traditional marketing and advertising initiatives are still effective for many businesses; however, determining the cost-benefit of these efforts is still a difficult process. Today, even some of the world’s largest and most recognized companies have turned to the Internet to increase their sales and utilize Analytics to boost their lead generation and conversion optimization efforts.
As more brands begin to hop on the digital marketing bandwagon, traffic and conversion reporting has become an even more valuable asset. With Google firmly maintaining its position at the forefront of the analytics game, the search engine that started it all is bringing it all back home by offering one of the single most useful tools for businesses.
Thanks to resources such as Google Analytics, much of the skepticism surrounding Search Engine Optimization is beginning to dwindle. With statistics reporting and tracking tools providing solid facts and definitive data to back the claims of marketers, one thing is evident – a strong online marketing plan is a necessity for virtually every business.
In many of my previous posts here on WebiMax.com, I’ve discussed the importance of content. Blog posts, press releases, videos, images and other forms of media on the Web can not only drive traffic to your site; but enhance your brand’s overall reputation, visibility and earning potential as well.
Speaking of blogs, I read a great post on Search Engine Journal earlier today (thanks for sharing, Patty!) which offered some useful insights on how to maximize the value of content. Of course, social sharing is essential, but content optimization goes far beyond that. By repurposing text-based content as videos, podcasts or even PowerPoint presentations, you are able to reach a broader audience while simultaneously improving SEO performance.
While I do agree that it is critical to get the most from your content; my own strategy varies slightly from the one Marcela outlined in the aforementioned SEJ article. The fundamentals remain the same; however, my emphasis on original (yet, supplemental) content provides a more comprehensive experience which incentivizes the user/reader/viewer to remain engaged.
In order to simplify my approach to content marketing, I’ve streamlined it into two phases – Creation and Promotion:
Begin with mapping out one BIG content blueprint. What story or topic is relevant to your brand, interesting to your audience and easily expanded upon? This framework will tell a complete story, but in a somewhat “segmented” fashion.
Start with the basics – a blog post. Although every blog should tell a complete story, it’s important to always leave an opportunity for your audience to interact and remain flexible enough to create unique supplemental content to continue the conversation of the blog across other mediums.
Follow the blog post with a video, podcast or an infographic. While the subject matter should be related, these should also work as standalone content. This will ensure that your audience remains engaged regardless of which “piece” of the content they discover first. Naturally, all of this content can be utilized cohesively, but originality is a must!
After you’ve created several pieces of unique content around a central topic, it’s time to get them online and promote!
Social media is a powerful promotional tool, but there are other options which marketers and business owners have been utilizing recently. Sponsored content placement, PR and digital video advertising are proving to be effective ways to market content across multiple platforms and reach a more diverse audience, as well.
By developing a tiered approach to content creation and marketing, you’re not only able to increase the long-term viability of the content itself, but generate greater brand awareness and an improved user experience for your consumers or clients.
Share your content marketing success stories in the comments below and be sure to follow us on Twitter for more content tips: @WebiMax
By now, if you’re reading me, you understand online marketing is marketing in essence. Marketing involves relating to people. People can be creatures of routine; yet, life is not so pragmatic. Exceptions do and will always exist; people are extremely dynamic as well as routine.
How many interests do you have? I’ll assume you have more than one. Imagine if you only had one topic of interest. That’s all you would think, hear, and speak upon? That would be incredibly…vanilla.
Mix up the media. Take advantage of a plethora of tools available in the marketing world. Stop writing (all the time) to convey your brand’s messages. Information is what browsers seek; it doesn’t have to be written information.
When I was a teacher, I had to be diligent in regard to how I presented information to subsets of students. Some people are visual learners; others are audio learners; other people can’t really ‘get’ something until they actively attend to a matter in physical form… Think about the theory of multiple learning styles.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Here, WebiMax CEO, Ken Wisnefski supplies information through phone interview scenarios. The brand could issue the sentiments in written format; yet, the interview allows users to engage the marketing material via auditory means.
SEOmoz issues a lot of content, much of it written; but, the brand issues video posts on a weekly basis. The audio and video cues offer something different from the purely-textual norm. People have preferences. For instance, I’d rather read text; but, that’s me. Many people rather listen to audio or have it combined with visual cues.
Info-graphics can really make an impact. I see them as ‘business comics.’ Somewhat of an oxymoron, yes; but, you can see how the emphasis on visual cues and the de-emphasis of textual information can make for an intriguing synergy. The Blue Glass brand recently did an info-graphic for Forbes; the graphics really complement the textual information.
Before the info-graphic was born; publishers aligned pictures and text together in comics. ‘Comics’ have an entertainment connotation to them; but, that’s okay. It’s okay to both entertain and educate. Ask any high school teacher. Peter Attia often mixes comics in with his posts. The ‘jokes’ are relevant to his blog’s target market.
Let Someone Else Hold the Pen
Julie Joyce of Link Fish Media recently let me write a copywriting guest post on her brand’s blog. It’s much appreciated and allows my writing and brand to reach more people.
Don’t forget to look for information-suppliers existing outside of your brand. Yes! That’s right. Stop playing the same in-house songs; mix things up a bit. Ask others to guest on your site. It gives your site and browsers a breath of fresh air, which is always championed by people; remember- we are all dynamic! New is often exciting. Dare to be a bit different; or, you can continue to your regularly (boring) scheduled content programming.
To webmasters and ordinary people hooked on social media sites, it’s pretty obvious how advantageous social media sites can be. Users can communicate and interact with others instantly, from any place and at any time. Many businesses have recognized the marketing advantages of social media sites as these platforms allow businesses to showcase their products and services as well as engage with customers. One particular industry that’s taking notice of the benefits of social media sites is the restaurant business.
According to research from the National Restaurant Association, more restaurateurs are joining the social media bandwagon and using these sites as a marketing strategy in addition to other common forms of marketing such as television commercials and print advertisements. Of the respondents in the study, 87% said that social media is an effective way for businesses to communicate with customers.
While traditional forms of marketing may still be effective for reaching audiences, they lack the continuous customer engagement that social media sites provide. The social media world virtually never sleeps with users interacting every second. This is the perfect opportunity for businesses to engage with customers and build a strong social bond. Also, traditional forms of advertising can become repetitive and old, losing customer interest. Remember, customers crave the latest news, technology or event currently taking place.
Social media sites not only allow users to write posts, but they can also share pictures and videos, which web audiences love. Audiences not only want to learn about a restaurant’s latest dish, but they want to see it. Show your customers the latest dish that has left countless other customers drooling for more. Do your chefs have hidden talent of juggling cooking utensils while stirring up something tasty? That’s what web audiences want to see on video. Show them that your chefs can do more with a knife and fork than just chop some meat.
A major benefit to social media sites that customers can take advantage of and businesses can utilize is customers can provide their feedback. This allows restaurants the opportunity to understand how their customers feel and learn what they should change or improve upon to keep customers happy. While a positive tweet is a good sign, don’t neglect unhappy customers. Now is your chance to show customers that you truly do care about them.
So, if you’re a restaurant owner looking for a way to help your business gain more exposure, now is the time to enter the social media world.