You might be thinking to yourself, “What does a marketing agency have to do with the Big Game or drunk driving?”

A lot, actually.

The WebiMax Social Media Marketing Department manages the social media profiles of the State of New Jersey’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety. We help the Division spread their message of safe passage on NJ roadways by writing posts for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram and managing the accounts.

Through the use of custom images, community building tactics, and social media advertising, we’ve been able to help broaden the reach of state-wide traffic safety programs.

According to the Division of Highway traffic safety and the New Jersey State Police, traffic fatalities in New Jersey are declining. Last year, traffic deaths dropped 4.2% compared to 2012. “High visibility campaigns that focus on cracking down on drunk drivers helps,” says Zach Hosseini, our contact and spokesperson for the Division. “That includes our social media marketing campaign.”

Because the Big Game is taking place in New Jersey this year, Zach and his team are determined to keep NJ’s roadways safe from drunk drivers. This Monday, January 27th, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety is holding a press conference at 10 a.m. at Heckemian Conference Center at Hackensack University Medical Center to announce ways that state and local law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on drinking & driving during one of the biggest sporting events of the year.

WebiMax will be attending the press event to send live updates to the public through the Division’s social media channels and through our own Twitter and Facebook pages.

This is a campaign that is especially important to WebiMax founder & CEO, Ken Wisnefski. “Most of our employees live and travel in New Jersey every day. I’m proud to be working together with the State of NJ on this project to keep my family and my employees and their families safe during Big Game.”

For live updates from the press conference and for safe driving tips, follow the Division of Highway Traffic Safety:

And no matter which team you’re rooting for on February 2nd, remember:

SEO 101 - WebiMax.com

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.

NCS Mosaic vs. Google Chrome - WebiMax.com
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.

Manager Monday - Lean In

Do Not Sit on the Side!

“Seek Challenges”
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.

“Take Risks”
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.

Danelsy Medrano & Facebook's Sheryl SandbergWhen you think of Facebook, the most prominent name associated with the brand is undoubtedly Founder & CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.  While his story and rise to success have been publicized in novels and films; Facebook’s COO has only recently come into the spotlight.  Although Sheryl Sandberg has been a key player in Facebook’s growth since 2008, she has largely been “behind-the-scenes” of the social network.  However, she recently made a significant career move outside of Facebook which is likely to help make her a household name, as well.

This year, Sheryl published her first book entitled, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Leadin which she discusses the roles of women in business leadership.  As one of the most successful businesswomen in the world, Sheryl discusses the importance of women in business and offers insightful and empowering advice to professionals.  Earlier this week, Sheryl was featured at an event hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce which I attended on behalf of WebiMax.  During the presentation, she introduced her story to many business owners and executives in the region.

During the event, Sheryl spoke about Facebook and her role in the company.  As Chief Operations Officer, she has had a hand in many of the innovations pioneered by network over the past several years, including Open Graph search and the Timeline feature, among others.  Under her guidance, Facebook has become not only the world’s largest social network, but one of the most prevalent advertising and marketing outlets in the world which only continues to grow.

Professional Insights & The Future of Facebook
From a personal perspective, this event was very rewarding.  Sheryl’s journey to the top of the corporate world was certainly arduous and her story is inspirational.

Surprisingly, I learned that the story of her growth as a professional parallels the growth of Facebook in many ways.  From somewhat humble beginnings to international recognition, both Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook have experienced success which is certain to continue in the years ahead.

Does Your Business Have Facebook Covered?

The Facebook Cover Photo –prime real estate for you to visually represent what your company is all about.  Are you adhering to the latest guidelines?  Is your cover photo compelling enough to draw user engagement?

Facebook has proven to a valuable asset for many businesses over the last several years and has helped many companies expand their online presence considerably.  From “mom-and-pop shops” to some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands, Facebook has been targeted as one of the top marketing and advertising platforms on the Web.

In fact, Facebook is second only to Google in terms of unique visitors per month and this nearly unparalleled visibility gives the network a considerable audience (currently over 1 billion active users worldwide) and provides businesses an opportunity to have their products and services showcased around the world.

However, like all marketing and advertising zones, Facebook maintains guidelines which all of its users, including businesses, must adhere to.  Following Facebook’s gradual deployment of the controversial Timeline feature last year, many companies attempted to capitalize on new functionality such as the Cover Photo.  The large banner which spans the upper third of all Facebook profiles and business pages is, ostensibly, prime real estate for advertisers and marketers.  Facebook understood this and created a set of guidelines strictly pertaining to the new Timeline layout.

The latest and arguably most important revision to these guidelines: Cover photos must now be primarily imagery and only as much as 20% of the photo itself can be composed of text.

This update is aimed at businesses which utilize the cover photo as an advertising tool rather than a branding resource.  With imagery now playing a larger role than ever before, Facebook marketers and advertisers will need to utilize more captivating and engaging photos to gain exposure and increase brand awareness.

Going “Under Cover”
Facebook cover photos are still an integral part of the network and businesses should continue to recognize them as such, but while these photos are expected to be lighter on text in the months ahead, there are still several areas where text content is essential to create an effective Facebook marketing strategy.  Profile/About fields, Timeline posts and image captions are more than just informational – they’re valuable!

WebiMax Facebook

These should be used to include links back to your site and critical information about your business, as they each represent possible conversion opportunities and can provide more relevant site traffic.

Optimal Imagery
Like Search Engine Optimization & Marketing, Social Media Marketing requires a balance of skill, research, knowledge and data collection.  Over the next several months, many businesses will undoubtedly unveil new Facebook cover photos in order to abide by the new guidelines and a new form of “Visual Social Marketing” will emerge as brands try to create more effective imagery.  With popular networks such as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr at the forefront of an online “image revolution,” businesses will need to adapt in order to provide a more visually-enhanced user experience to remain successful in the highly competitive social media marketplace.

What images visually represent your company’s mission and values?

I love Andy Cohen.

For anyone who isn’t a reality TV junkie like me, he’s the Executive Vice President of Development and Talent at the Bravo network. He also hosts the Real Housewives reunion shows and Bravo’s late night show Watch What Happens Live.

Basically, he’s who I can thank for bringing level-ten drama and hilarity into my living room every night.

I could go on and on about the reasons why he’s so great, but I’ll spare you the countdown of my favorite WWHL moments and focus only on what’s relevant here: Andy Cohen has an exceptional ability to use social media to connect with his audience, build his brand, and generate buzz for the network.

As the Social Media Manager at WebiMax, I have a deep appreciation for the way he integrates his fans into all of his television episodes. Here’s a list of 5 social media tips that any brand or marketer can learn from Andy Cohen.

5. Be Approachable

Part of what makes Andy so successful on his late night TV show and in the social media world is that he’s as relatable in the WWHL Clubhouse as he is in his Facebook posts and tweets. He even takes Instagram “selfies” from his dressing room and shares them on Twitter:

selfie

When it comes to social media marketing, brands should make an effort to be personable. It’s this approachability that encourages the user engagement that is so important to a successful campaign. Humanize your business – put faces to the names of your execs; let their personalities shine.

4. Reward Your Fans

Andy Cohen is always rewarding his fans: he sends signed copies of his book to those who call into his show and he even invites super-fans to be guest bartenders in the Clubhouse through a video contest called “Raise the Bar.”

raise the bar ss

Turning enthusiastic fans into brand advocates who tweet and blog about your products or services is a smart way to get more value from social media marketing efforts. Rewarding these engaged customers for their loyalty will help you create a powerful marketing force that will generate sales for you. First, find out what these fans want the most and find a way to indulge those cravings.

3. Be Consistent

Every episode of WWHL has a formula: every night there’s a secret drinking game word; Andy announces his “mazel” and “jackhole” of the day; he has “game time!” with his guests; viewers call in with their questions for Andy or whoever is in the Clubhouse that night; and Andy takes a poll in which viewers vote on an answer to a question that usually has to do with the most recent drama on any of Bravo’s reality shows and announces the results at the end of the episode:

bravo ss 2

As an avid viewer, not only do I look forward to each one of these components of his show, but now I expect them. Consistency is a basic marketing concept that should be applied to your social media posts in order to create a sense of reliability that people respond to. The first 100 times I saw one of these polls on WWHL I didn’t bother to vote, but now I find myself wanting to chime in every once in a while – a perfect example of how consistent messages and methods boost engagement.

The key is to also be persistent. Just because you don’t get a ton of user engagement right away doesn’t mean people aren’t seeing your messages or relating to them. Being consistent and persistent with your content and strategies is an effective way to get the most out of your social media marketing.

2. Engage, Engage, Engage

In addition to the WWHL poll questions, Andy Cohen is constantly soliciting questions from his fans for his guests via Facebook and Twitter. Then he chooses the best questions to ask during his live show which makes the viewing experience interactive:

andy cohen fb ss

He built his persona by interacting with fans on Twitter and commenting on his show’s online forums, so Andy Cohen is a pro when it comes to engaging with fans. Integrating these tactics into WWHL and his Real Housewives reunion shows by reading viewer questions accomplishes two things: it allows viewers to participate in the shows they love, and it rewards those who take the time to enter their questions.

Social media marketers take note – fostering action and engagement by talking with your audience instead of AT them is most effective. Interacting with fans and followers by asking what they think, feel, and need encourages them to treat your brand like a true friend and ultimately encourages behaviors that help promote the brand.

1. Listen to Your Audience

A few months ago, Andy Cohen invited Jill Zarin, a former Real Housewives of New York cast member, to the Clubhouse for a special episode of WWHL to discuss how the decision was made by Bravo to fire her from the show. Andy explained,

We were looking to shake the show up. The viewers were the ones that, to us, dictated that they wanted something to change. That last reunion, I think you would agree, was incredibly toxic for everyone involved and when it was over the viewers and then the producers and then Bravo said ‘What can we do to change it?’

Notice how Andy listed the viewers first in the series of people who contributed to the decision to fire Jill and some of her cast mates. Because Andy Cohen is so engaged with the Bravo audience, he is in tune with what they want. And, he’s prepared to give it to them, as he proved when he awkwardly dismissed Jill from her role on the show.

Listening to your audience and giving them what they want is the most important part of social media marketing. Hearing what your customers have to say about your brand is only one part of the process; putting those opinions into action is the step that takes engagement and user feedback to the next level.

How do you achieve social media marketing success? Is there anything you think I’ve left off this list? Do you love Andy Cohen as much as I do? Share your thoughts by leaving me a comment.