Liked Lab for Business is your affordable and experienced social media manager

The Basics of Social Media Marketing

In a world where a billion people are on Facebook regularly and Instagram boasts 100 million users on their platform monthly, there is no question that it makes good business sense to connect with clients and potential customers through social media. 

What’s the best way for a business to take advantage of social media for marketing? You can keep it simple by asking your customers to “like” or “follow” you on Facebook and Twitter and managing regular posts in-house. Or, you could invest in a more comprehensive social media marketing campaign orchestrated by social media marketing expertsthat gets people excited about your products and services with elements such as social media contests or social media advertising campaigns.

However you approach social media marketing for your business, one thing is certain: You’ve got to do it to stay competitive! Using social media well can really make a difference for your brand. Some people are skeptical that posting on social media accounts can translate into business success, but there’s a reason why North American companies spend billions of dollars trying to capture consumer attention online: It works.

Here’s some data that proves engaging in social media marketing makes business sense:

Do you have to spend a fortune to make social media marketing work for you? No, of course not. It’s not what you spend, it’s what you have to say and how you choose to say it, so don’t fret if your business is new and your online marketing budget is small. In fact, the arena of social media represents a coup for small businesses. In the old days, only the big companies with the big budgets could carry out the big promotional campaigns. Today, thanks to social media, everyone can play (and win!) and big budgets no longer dictate

Steps you can take to get started or to improve your social media marketing results:

  1. Develop a budget and strategy: Review your budget and create a plan. Stay true to your company’s mission/vision and decide how you’ll support your social efforts. (An online advertising campaign? An in-store promotion tied to your social efforts? An online contest or sweepstakes? An email marketing campaign?) Then get started!
  2. Pick your audience: Do a thorough analysis of your target market. Who’s your target client/customer and where are they congregating online? That’s where you’ll want to start.
  3. Choose social networks wisely: You want to choose the social networks that your target audience uses regularly. There is a lot of good information online about the demographics of users for the top social networks, which you can use to reach particular age and gender groups. The last few years Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest have dominated the Internet.
  4. Update your website: You want to use social media marketing to drive traffic to your website, so make sure your website is in tip-top shape. It should be useful, user friendly, and represent your brand well as it showcases your products and services.
  5. Create great content: It’s quality, not quantity. While social media posts can be done quickly, you want to create great content that is highly shareable and includes great visuals. Experienced social media writers are a good investment because they know how to write content that is interesting, relevant and timely (plus they use perfect grammar and spelling to reflect the highest level of professionalism). They also know how to employ keywords, keyphrases, and links to attract new traffic from search engines but still dazzle your readers.
  6. Build relationships: Think beyond promotional posts and a barrage of advertising copy. Social media marketing is truly effective when it builds trust for your brand and community among your target demographic. A savvy and skilled social media writer will know how to leverage content that will be useful or interesting to your audience and get them to share or comment on posts. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. Social media marketing at its finest is helpful, informative, fun, meaningful, and responsive.

Social Media Monitoring

Through Social Media Monitoring you can hear what your customers are saying about your brand (and your potential customers, as well as competitors and industry insiders), analyze trends in online feedback, and then respond to it in a way that will drive sales and grow your business—perhaps by re-branding, changing service/product offerings, or refocusing targeted marketing campaigns.

Today there are a multitude of social media monitoring tools that will monitor internet traffic to social media sites, gather information, and produce reports for your analysis. (Most businesses will require the help of an online marketing agency to help analyze that data and recommend campaign changes to respond to any issues.)

Social media marketing (SMM) return-on-investment (ROI) isn’t an exact science you can start by looking at the kind of ROI you’ve been getting for your SMM efforts so far. When you start a fitness routine you need to know your starting stats so you can really see how far you’ve come. It’s equally important to track your baseline for SMM and watch your progress so you can stay on top of your game and ahead of your competitors online.

Keep track of the following:

  • likes, fan, and followers
  • retweets, reposts, shares, and comments
  • website traffic, leads and sales referred from social networks

Do you see growth? Can you attribute growth at certain times to specific social activities? Is the growth meaningful? That is, are new fans and followers members of your target market, potential partners, and industry insiders? If yes, you’re doing something right.

Make use of easy-to-navigate reporting tools like Google Analytics and measure the data they provide against annual sales volumes and new lead counts to show both campaign success and results.

Great Social Media Campaigns

Our friends at Hubspot interviewed several small business marketers and found 10 common traits among those enjoying success in social media.

Here’s what the successful small business marketers all do:

  1. Commit weekly resources to creating content and engaging in social media
  2. Have methods in place to understand how social media activity impacts business results
  3. Regularly generate content using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or other social platforms
  4. Focus their resources on the platforms and channels that drive the best results (they don’t use every platform available!)
  5. Use social media to drive participation in offline events
  6. Set clear expectations for customers regarding frequency and types of social media interactions
  7. Leverage social media to position their company as a thought leader within their industry
  8. Provide clear calls-to-action and opportunities to general leads using social media
  9. Use information and data from social media to drive business strategy
  10. Balance paid and organic search engine traffic

We hope you find these tips helpful, let us know! And if you are looking for help with your social media management be sure to check out Liked Lab for Business.

Plus check out our other posts about social media marketing for businesses, such as Which Social Media Platform is Best for You Business.

choose the right social platforms for your type of business.

Which Social Media Platform is Best for Your Business?

As of Jan 2017, there were 2.8 billion active users on social media from a total of 3.8 billion internet users. That’s a whopping 73% of the total online population. Whether your business should be on social media is no longer the question. Instead, the question is which social media platforms should you focus on?

Right now, there are 15 noteworthy social media platforms out there. For social media marketing to work, you need to engage your users, which is only going to happen if you focus on the platforms that will work best for your type of business, and then publish interesting content regularly. That’s why Liked Lab recommends focusing on just those platforms that will have the most return on investment for your type of business.

Here’s our guide to picking the best social media platform for your business.

statistics on the most popular social media platforms

The most popular social media platforms, by the numbers.

1.Instagram As of 2016, the photo-sharing app had 500 million users, with almost 60% of them checking the app at least once daily. Instagram is a great branding tool, and a powerful selling tool as well. With the right hashtags and great visual content, it’s possible to build a huge following for your business.

And it’s the preferred social media platform for influencers. Businesses big and small have learned partnering with influencers can reach an even wider audience and build even more brand loyalty.

Who should use Instagram? Brands that market to consumers are the focus here. From fashion to travel, Instagram is one of the best places to engage with your potential customers. Fitness, health and lifestyle brands should focus on Instagram too as dieters are a huge demographic. And of course it’s also a good fit for individuals and one person shops, either established or still finding their market.

Who should stay away from Instagram? B2B companies will probably be best advised to spend their resources elsewhere. In addition, businesses that are targeting the 50+ demographic can give Instagram a miss.

2. Facebook Facebook is unarguably the biggest social media platform out there. The fact that it could influence 2016 US elections speaks volumes of its reach. While the 25-54 age group is the most sizeable demographic, almost everyone is on Facebook.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2B or B2C business, an artist, or individual, Facebook matters… a lot.

Who should use Facebook? Everyone.

Who should stay away from Facebook? Nobody. Even if your primary demographic is more active on Instagram, having a Facebook page helps. You might not invest too much time maintaining your Facebook presence, but avoiding it altogether can be a foolhardy move.

3. Pinterest Pinterest has substantially more female users than male. It also performs better in terms of product discovery than any other social media platform. Almost 90% of users who actively look for products on Pinterest end up buying them.

Who should use Pinterest? Companies selling physical products, especially home decor, DIY furniture, and clothes. Pinterest is also a good marketing platform for visual artists, including photographers, graphic designers, art directors, tattoo artists and designers.

Who should stay away from Pinterest? Companies selling services probably won’t find much traction here. In fact, B2B companies targeting VP (Sales) and high-profile executives should definitely stay away.

4. YouTube The video giant is the second most popular search engine after Google. In fact, it’s one of the highest-grossing websites in terms of traffic.

Unlike Pinterest and Instagram, YouTube is a truly mass-market platform. A look at the most popular YouTube stars reveals that any kind of content can work, as long as it’s engaging.

Who should use YouTube? Companies selling physical products can engage audiences with product demonstrations. Service providers can use YouTube to extend their branding message or publish webinars. YouTube is also a goldmine for musicians and more engaging than audio-only platforms, such as Soundcloud.

Who should stay away from YouTube? If you can’t put your message into visuals, YouTube isn’t the place for you.  But at Liked Lab, we think every business can find a way to take advantage of YouTube’s massive audience.

5. Twitter While Instagram maybe the preferred platform for influencers, Twitter can be a viable tool for social influencing. It’s also great for building brand loyalty.

Unlike Instagram, Twitter can also be leveraged for B2B marketing, since some of the top CEOs are regular Twitter users. Donald Trump is famous (infamous?) for using Twitter, and so are several other leaders around the world. That speaks of the social media platform’s political and social influence.

Twitter has also become a popular platform for customer support for businesses, and most of the popular customer support apps now integrate directly with Twitter.

Who should use Twitter? Budding influencers, B2B companies, and new brands looking to get discovered online. Any business that offers customer support online.

Who should not use Twitter? Businesses that want to drive leads through social media marketing should probably not invest in Twitter. Facebook performs much better here.

6. Tumblr Tumblr often gets lost in the social media noise. And that’s probably its biggest USP. The micro-blogging platform attracts a very niche audience, which makes it much less crowded than other social media platforms. Yet, it has a sizeable readership to be of value in the social media landscape. As of 2017, it had in excess of 300 million users, with almost 25% in the 18-25 age bracket.

A look at top Tumblr influencers reveals that visual blogs attract a lot of attention, in addition to themes of anime, gaming, and poetry.

Who should use Tumblr? Brands that are vying for a young audience, writers, anime experts, and online gamers.

Who should stay away from Tumblr? Given the platform’s niche reach, brands and individuals looking for quick growth should shy away from it. Same goes for any entity with a target audience of 30+.

7. LinkedIn LinkedIn has a narrow B2B oriented focus and is one of the most utilized platform for older audiences. People use LinkedIn to search for jobs and to network professionally. Businesses use it to recruit employees, generate leads and market to business leaders.

Who should use LinkedIn? And brand that is all about B2B, or wants to get their message in front of business leaders. It’s also a great platform for finding potential employees and marketing to job seekers.

Who should stay away from LinkedIn? Any consumer oriented business will find their resources best used elsewhere.

How to make the most of social media platforms? In order to get the maximum out of social media, it’s important to restrict your focus to two or three platforms, while maintaining a presence on one or two more. It also helps if you can engage a social media management service provider such as Liked Lab for Business to increase your reach. Turning to a third-party for the growth, analytics and marketing frees you up to focus on content creation, which is the most important part of social media.

What other social media platforms do you find work best for your business? If it works for you, then we would like to add it to our list of services too!

We are always looking for new team members to join Liked Lab!  Check out our job listings here.

Check out some of our other business oriented blog posts here: Social Media Marketing Basics

Liked Lab for Social Media

compelling photos for instagram

5 Ways to Create Compelling Photos for your Instagram Followers

If you want to attract new followers and boost engagement on Instagram (or any social platform for that matter), you need to create compelling photos and videos.  Beautiful photos and high quality video are the key to Instagram growth.

Studies have shown that people can process images and videos about 60,000 times faster than text so it makes sense that visual platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube have steadily gotten more users in recent years. Instagram alone has over 700 million active users, making it one of the most important social media platforms.

But how do you create the most compelling visual content that will capture your audience’s attention and keep them coming back for more? Here’s what to consider before you post your next picture or video on social media.

1. Post Only Quality Images and Videos

Think quality above all else. Posting blurry photos with bad cropping and shaky videos with poor lighting can actually do more harm than good for the long term health of your Instagram feed. And give your followers something compelling to look at… boring photos and videos aren’t going to help you either. That goes for Youtube, Pinterest and Tumblr too. If it’s an image or video you wouldn’t want to click on, don’t bother posting it. Give the viewer something to get excited about and you will get more likes, follows and shares.

There is a tendency to shoot and post everything you see, but it’s better to slow down.. take some time to think about what is going on in front of the camera before pressing the shutter. How are you going to compose the shot? What is a totally unique take on the subject at hand? How are you going to light it? Don’t jump straight in without giving it some thought first. You want to show people something they have hopefully never seen before.

What is a “boring” photo?  Check out this great Tumblr with the Worlds Most Boring Instagram Photos!

You can save the less visually appealing content for your Instagram stories… those are more about personality and slice of life, and they disappear in 24 hours too, so there is no penalty if it doesn’t look great. But on your main Instagram feed the image quality determines whether someone will follow you or not.

If you’re having trouble making good quality visuals, you may want to invest in a higher quality camera or even a photography class. These visuals represent your “brand” whether you are an individual or a business, so don’t skimp.

Here at Liked Lab, one of the first things we recommend is going through your Instagram feed and removing the photos and videos that don’t meet this standard.  This is especially important for your most recent 12 to 20 posts, as those are the most likely to be viewed by your visitors. And when you sign up with one of our Managed Growth programs we will make recommendation on which images will work for maximizing your Instagram growth, and which images you may want to remove.

Instagram photos tips

These are examples of Instagram feeds that put a lot of thought into layout, color and the consistency of imagery. It’s a good example of “think before you post”.

2. Be Consistent With Your Color Tones

You want to give your audience a consistent experience when they visit your Instagram profile. Choose a color palette and stick to it. Your color palette may evolve from your brand colors, your subject matter, or even just your personal preference. But keep in mind that recent studies have shown that pictures with blue as the main color tone tend to do 24 percent better in engagement on Instagram than pictures with dominant red or orange tones. Similarly, bright pictures do 24 percent better than dark images on social media.

But don’t feel trapped by this blue tone rule either.  There are great examples of popular Instagram feeds that use red tones, even earth tones.  The key is to be consistent and only post compelling imagery.

So don’t turn off your audience with a bunch of random pictures that don’t seem to belong on the same page.  Instead, turn them on with compelling and consistent imagery and you will get more followers, likes and comments.

 

instagram feed beautiful visual content

Here is an Instagram feed that is visually compelling and stays consistent in color and quality.

3. Find a Good Photo Filter to Use

Similar to a consistent color palette, you should be consistent with any filters you use as well. Play around with the many filters on social media apps like Instagram and find one or two that your audience seems to like best. Can’t decide what looks best? Research shows people like pictures with low saturation, which may be why Walden, Skyline and Valencia are the most popular filters for posting images to social media.

instagram visual content color filter

This is an example of an Instagram feed that uses the same subdued color filter to keep their feed looking consistent.

4. Know Your Audience

It’s important to consider who your audience is and what they’re looking for when they view your Instagram profile. Pay attention to which of your posts get the most likes and comments. If one type of post works, keep going in that direction.

It’s worthwhile to look at your most successful competitors and related users to get insight into what works for them. Once you have a sense of this, use information to create posts that will appeal to your audience. And note that you can’t just do this once and never again. You should always be checking your stats and making adjustments. After all, social media tastes are constantly changing, and it’s important to keep up with the trends.

red visual content Instagram

Even though studies show blue tones attract more attention on Instagram, any color palette will work when you post great images and keep things consistent.

5. Stick to Your Niche

It’s great to be a well-rounded individual with diverse interests. But for social media, showing too many diverse subjects can confuse your audience, and you will lose followers and engagement as a result. That’s why at Liked Lab we are big proponents of choosing a niche, sticking to it, and tailoring your content accordingly. After all, the most popular social media pages are very consistent in their content, and we are here to make you one of the most popular social media players as well! So if you are a Model/Photographer/DJ…well, just pick one! Which is your favorite? Which has the most potential for social media success? Don’t worry. If you really can’t decide, it’s okay to create multiple Instagram profiles and tailor them to that particular niche.

For businesses, this is especially simple. If you are a travel agency, you won’t be posting pictures of a cool new car. And also be specific. If you have a travel agency that specializes in cruises for retirees, your visitors will appreciate nice photos of retired couples enjoying a tropical island and elegant dinners. To learn more about social media for businesses check out blog posts like “how to choose the best social media platforms for businesses“.

So try these tips out in your own Instagram profile, and let us know which of these tactics worked best for you.

And if you need some help growing your following get in touch with us here at Liked Lab. We are ready to be your personal social media manager.

We are always looking for new team members to join Liked Lab!  Check out our job listings here.

Liked Lab for Social Media

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