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Every Business Needs Social Media

Fewer Americans are turning to traditional news outlets and newspapers for news. Newspapers have always been an important part of the American news landscape, but they have been hit hard as more Americans digest news digitally. According to Pew Research Center, “The industry’s financial fortunes and subscriber base have been in decline since the early 2000s, even as website audience traffic has grown for many.”[I] It’s no coincidence that every social network was created during this period of decline. Research shows that younger generations consume the majority of their news from social media platforms. The use of social media for business communication is imperative. Every business needs social media. Here are four popular social platforms that are great for business.

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social media network even with the recent leaks and bad press they’ve received. This platform can be invaluable to small businesses when used correctly. Facebook can be used to share important company updates as well as share events and photos. Business accounts allow for access to robust advertising tools and analytics. These pages also allow you to highlight hours of operations, contact information, and so much more.

Twitter

Twitter gets news out quickly, providing short updates or sharing links to larger articles. Many businesses use Twitter to share images and videos. This is a great platform for interacting with users by mentioning, liking and retweeting other users’ tweets. Many companies do well with Twitter by using their brand voice and personality on the platform. Many consumers would rather direct a complaint to a business via Twitter instead of picking up the phone or writing an email. As a result, large organizations use Twitter as a way to handle customer service. If you have exciting content, Twitter is a great tool for quickly spreading the word.

Instagram

Instagram is the most photography centered of all of the platforms and is growing in popularity with businesses. This is a visual platform that’s based entirely on photo and video posts. Instagram Stories and Instagram Live have proven to be great tools for businesses to promote their products and services. Although some aspects of Instagram translate to desktop and laptop usage, the platform is almost entirely mobile. Creative businesses and influencers most excel on Instagram, however, it’s a great visual platform for all businesses to embrace.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the best platform for professional networking, for finding top talent, and for promoting businesses as industry leaders. This platform is designed for professionals. Many Human Resource teams and hiring managers use LinkedIn to search for applicants and future employees. Therefore, prospective employees use LinkedIn to find out more about a company they are pursuing. As a result, inkedIn has become the best place to post job openings and information about company culture. Businesses can join industry-specific LinkedIn Groups to ask and answer questions. This helps brands stand out as industry experts and brings people to the company’s page and website.

Listening Tools

One of the most important parts of marketing and business communication is analysis. Regardless of the platforms used, every business must use social listening tools. There is an abundance of tools available (Hootsuite, HubSpot, SalesForce, BrandWatch, Google Alerts). Social listening is the process of tracking conversations around specific keywords, phrases, and topics and leveraging your insights to discover opportunities to create new content for those audiences. Companies need to pay attention not only to notifications but also to the huge group of people talking about their business, their brand and their products and services.

[i]http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/newspapers

Utilize Instagram More Effectively for Your Photography Business

You just bought a camera and want to start a photography business. You’ve established your logo and website. You’ve built your portfolio by experimenting with family and friends. Now it’s time it increase your brand awareness. What better way to establish your presence than with Instagram. I will share with you tips on how to use Instagram more effectively for your photography business.

Quality and Consistency 

It’s all about quality, but don’t forget to be consistent. Posting poor quality photos can be an eyesore to your followers. Be sure keep the photo’s width between 320 – 1080 pixels and height between 566 – 1350 pixels. Create visual harmony by being consistent with your post. Find a theme, choose a color scheme, pick a photo format and stick to it. Using apps like Preview app or Later app gives you the ability to see the layout of your photos before posting.

Engagement

Engaging with your followers is a must. It helps create awareness and establish rapport with potential clients. After you post a photo and if a follower makes a comment, respond. This is your first hand experience with your followers. Use Instagram Story to showcase behind the scenes of a photoshoot or create How-To videos on IGTV to give your followers a glimpse of how your magic is create. This builds credibility.

Hashtags and Tags

Don’t forget your hashtag. Hashtag might look annoying if overused, but are effective when used properly. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post. I would caution you on using all 30. You don’t want to appear to be spam. Make sure you hashtags are relevant to your post. If you’re posting photos of a wedding, find relevant hashtags that are searchable to your target audience, i.e., #weddingplanner, #weddingdress, #dallasweddingphotographer. Tag local wedding planners, venues, wedding dress designers, and magazine. Hashtags and tags help drive engagement.

Your Bio is a Business Card

How effective is blank business card? Completely fill out your bio. Add your name, your website, use hashtags, and tell your audience about the services you provide. If the photos you post serve as your portfolio, your bio serves as your business card.

Difference between a Blogger, Vlogger and Influencer

Do you know the difference between a blogger, vlogger and influencer? Below is a better understanding of each of them that will help you with future marketing decisions for your product. Continue reading

Strategies for Social Media

Marketing managers, are your strategies for social media helping or hurting your metrics? This question was posed to Will Duderstadt, VP of Digital Marketing at M/I Homes. His responses and a few simple tips below will help. Click on the podcast link below to hear more:

Is social media hurting or helping your digital marketing metrics?
Is Social Media Hurting or Helping

Whether you build widgets or new homes, the billboard approach to lead generation is dead. Strategies for social media cover a range of platforms and can leave marketing managers feeling like they are hunting mosquitoes with a shotgun. Sound right? Here are three tips to help keep your social strategies – and budget – out of the social graveyard.

Social Strategy Tip 1: Find your audience

Finding your audience depends on their consumption traits. Content, relevance, and engagement must be highly focused. Talk to your audience, get to know them and understand why they use the platform they do. Focus groups can help zero in on key content needs. In sales, it is all about location, location, location.

Social Strategy Tip 2: Tell your story

Apple, Tesla, and Zappos are unique companies in completely different industries. However, each is unique in the same way. They tell a great story. Creating an origin story that leverages one-of-a-kind aspects of your company, product or culture will help you stand out. Content matters, make yours compelling.

Social Strategy Tip 3: Mini-conversions, not megaphones

Now that you have found your audience and have a great story to tell, remember not to yell your story with a megaphone. Strategies for social media are about just that, being social. Connecting and engaging with your audience is about a conversation, not yelling price, features, or what is most important to your conversion. Stay social and convert lead opportunities with likes. 

Hope you enjoyed the podcast and tips. I’ll have more on digital marketing and social media in the next blog, thanks for stopping by!

Create Social Media Buzz for Nonprofits

Nonprofits have touching stories to share but usually few resources to help share them.   How may they stand out in a sea of paid and unpaid content?   Four social media tips for nonprofits create social media buzz on a budget! Continue reading

Reaching Hispanics Through Social Media

Best social media practices for engaging Hispanics

Hispanics are a growing population in social media use. Brands are adapting to changing demographics by creating content tailored to U.S Hispanics. According to Media Post, “75% speak Spanish at home, and most of them are more loyal to companies that cater to them in Spanish.” Learn the best practices for reaching Hispanics through social media. Before brands can start engaging Spanish-speaking audiences, they need to understand how they connect online.

Best Practices to Engage Hispanics through Posts

1. U.S Hispanics Prefer Both English and Spanish Language Content

Companies that communicate in both languages on social media are more appreciated since many Hispanics online are bilingual. Brands are viewed as more authentic and have a stronger brand presence because Hispanics feel like they are being considerate of the demographics. One way to better achieve that is to open a Spanish language page. McDonald’s uses this strategy to effectively engage Hispanic users on their Facebook page. They communicate and interact in Spanish as well to reach Hispanics through social media.

2. Hispanics Like Reading Content That Reminds Them of Their Roots

Tie your social media posts to traditions or ideas that differentiate the Hispanic demographics without making it sound distasteful. For example, use dishes or the idea of family in posts.

3. Post Videos With Shareable Content

Shareable video content in Hispanic demographics

According to pm360, “U.S. Hispanics spend nearly 66% more time per week watching videos on their smartphones compared to the total market.” The video content they watch also ties in to their culture and language. They share video content on social five times more often than non-Hispanics. So video content should be a vital in your brand’s social media strategy.

4. Giving Back to the Hispanic Community

Share or promote community involvement of your brand through social media. Hispanics value brands that are involved and give back to the community through events, scholarships, and others.

Don’t miss a huge opportunity to reach a growing audience. You can make a large impact with a targeted Spanish language campaign that reflects your brand’s identity. For extra tips, check out blog post

Effective Use of Social Media for Your Dealership

Marketing your dealership is a multi-directional task. Traditional forms of advertising such as TV and radio are still highly effective. However, if you’re not taking advantage of social media, your dealership is missing opportunities to connect and engage with potential customers in new and effective ways.  Effective use of social media for your dealership will elevate your sales!

Choosing The Right Social Media Platform

There are numerous options available to get started in your digital advertising journey. The first thing you must do is determine where your customers are hanging out. Do they use Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube? What is your competition doing? Which platform will give you the best way to communicate your product in meaningful ways? The best thing to do if you do not know is just get started and learn by doing. There is no right or wrong way to use social media. However, some ways will be more effective than others. So get out there and start creating content and see what happens.

Be Creative and Different!

One thing that is unique about social media is that it allows you to do things that are not possible in more traditional forms of advertising. Create videos highlighting interesting customers. Create a story about a veteran you served. Tell their story and how your dealership helped them get the vehicle they needed. Make it heartfelt and honest. Good stories will create followers that will have a strong affection for your business. You can build your community quickly by offering excellent customer service in your store. Make your customers part of your social media story. There will be a connection that will create brand loyalty moving forward. Finally, don’t re-create the wheel. Build on what others have done successfully and make it your own.

The Bottom Line

Moving your advertising forward means taking risks. That doesn’t mean you must make a huge financial risk, but it will take time and diligence. Stick with it, and you will discover new opportunities to create long-lasting customers.

Humanize Your Brand

There are many strategies on how to humanize your brand and leverage the power of Instagram as a B2B business. Instagram isn’t a space solely for millennials, bloggers, and consumer brands. Today, Instagram is also a medium for B2B organizations. Many companies wonder how they fit the platform and how they can differentiate providing valuable content to their audience. It is important to understand that a piece of content that performs well on another platform will not perform the same on Instagram.

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Improve Increasing “Stickiness” For An Online Business

“Stickiness” is an informal measure of how well a brand resonates with consumers, including both quantifiable and quantitative attributes. The best way to improve it is by creating a website that emphasizes the company’s unique nature.

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Parks and Recreation Departments Become Social

Finding a staff dedicated to marketing parks and recreation departments is as common as finding a miniature horse with a college degree. Parks and Recreation features the quirky and passionate Leslie Knope. Parks and recreation professionals carry the passion of Leslie Knope while serving local communities on a daily basis. Digital marketing is here to stay, and local governments are learning to embrace social media.

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Social Media Events in Dallas

Dallas skyline reflecting in water

Katy Trail Ice House, Happiest Hour, Uptown, Deep Ellum. These are the places we know and love to unwind at in Dallas. But does there exist such a place where a digital marketer can unwind AND become a student of their craft? Here are 3 fun social media events in Dallas worth attending.

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social media strategy world cup ready

How to make your social media strategy World Cup ready

Do you know what’s trending online right now? Real-time monitoring may be crucial to your business. If you know what people are talking about, you can make informed decisions about your digital marketing strategy. Trending topics are powerful because they show what interests are popular and what people are paying attention to at that very moment. Connecting your strategy with trends is the most effective way to capture the attention of a broader audience. This means that during the World Cup, you need to be talking about the World Cup. Here’s how to make your social media strategy World Cup ready.

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How will “AI First” Impact Your SEO?

AI-First
In 2017, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, announced that the company will focus on becoming an, “AI first” company. This year, he unveiled Google Duplex, a new technology for conducting natural conversations to carry out “real world” tasks over the phone. But more important for digital marketers, how will all of this impact SEO? Continue reading

ESL Gold: A Goldmine for Language Learning and Teaching

The task of learning English can be scary, as can the task of teaching English! ESL Gold offers  many resources for teachers and students, all sorted by skill and level. Content for student and teachers includes videos, daily lessons, speaking, grammar, and vocabulary exercises. Language learning and teaching has never been easier – and FREE!

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Personal Brands Are For Everyone

In 2018 personal brands are for everyone. Building a personal brand opens the door to unlimited opportunities. A well developed personal brand will take you much further than Instagram likes and followers. Below are steps to establish your brand.

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Influencers: Increasing your Brand’s Awareness

influencers marketing
Influencers are quickly changing the way brands are getting awareness out for their product or service. ‘Tribes’ are everything and influencers create that connection with their followers. The moment something hints of an advertisement, people become skeptical. Influencers become a trusted source with their honest opinions of your brand. Here are a few ways using influencers can increase your brand’s awareness.  Continue reading

Get More Comments on your Social Media!

Want to get more comments on your social media? Lucky for you, engagement is a strong force in the world of social media and there are plenty of ways to get more comments on your social platforms. For the sake of time, we will assume that you’re already putting engaging content out there. Now we just need to figure out how to get more comments. This blog will go over four clever ways to get more comments on your social posts. Continue reading

Are You Actually Measuring Your Company’s Digital Strength ?

"Digital Strength may be the most important determinant of business health and future growth not being measured, many managers are missing the digital signals that could help them better compete"

“Digital Strength may be the most important determinant of business health and future growth, not being measured, many managers are missing the digital signals that could help them better compete.”

Digital transformation isn’t simply about enhancing traditional approaches to whatever your organization does, but about using digital technology to find new, innovative and creative ways of approaching, accomplishing, and accelerating your organization’s activities, Today, almost every business is focusing on how to drive profitability through digital. Many business leaders are finding that traditional metrics underestimate the impact of digital, leaving their organization vulnerable to competitors.

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What’s Your Story?

Whats your story? The world connects to something or the other there is a situation. There is an experience and then there is a necessity. That’s when the products and service are created. Every product or a service has a compelling story behind it.  When we watch an advertisement on the TV you are most likely to find a story with the product. Maybe a medicine, a car, or even a tissue roll.

All the salespeople are Product or Service Evangelists. They will always have a story to say. A Narrative to be more precise. Where they can position their product, to increase the impact and necessity of the same. We are all humans and there is always something we connect to. Even if we switch the roles, we should always think and ask what’s your story. Continue reading

Ready to upgrade your map app? Check out this Emoji-based app 🗺👌

Do you remember the days when you used an actual map to get around?  Yes, a paper map – the one you purchased from a local gas station and stored in your glovebox.  If you’re a millennial, then probably not.  Nowadays we all have our favorite go-to map app but sometimes typing an address can be a lot of work.  Now there’s a new iOS map app that’s accelerating the way you use maps on your phone in a visually compelling way.  Emoji-based map app WYD, short for “what you doing”, uses emojis rather than a text keyboard to search for nearby places to explore and share with friends. Continue reading

FluentU: Entertaining Language Learning App

Drops, Duolingo, FluentU, the list goes on of options for language learning apps. This week’s review covers FluentU, a fun entertainment-based video language learning app that will keep beginners enjoying learning a new language. Compelling content like movie trailers, music videos, inspiring talks, and more is there to engage new users of FluentU.

FluentU describes their technology as “real world video content that’s entertaining, timely, and ideal for language learners.” This fantastic video language learning app and website certainly lives up to this claim.

Prices start at just $10/month for a basic membership

The video language learning app is available for download for iPhones (Android app coming soon). A subscription requires signup with an individual 15-day free trial. Users are then charged $10/month for a basic membership and $20/month for an upgraded version. Bonus: users can cancel at anytime. The plus version claims it is the most popular. Unlimited word lookup, quizzes, and even the ability to make your own flashcards are features available in the upgraded subscription.

Users of this video language learning app may select their choice of movie trailers in which key words and phrases occur. Then, while the movie is playing, captions appear below. Users may then pause the trailer and receive a spoken definition of an unknown phrase or word simply by tapping on the word.

A highly engaging language learning app, the content really does draw you in. Rather than memorization of phrases or words, users are able to connect with tangible, interesting content. The content, too, is all selected by choice – all the while teaching structure of language and basic grammar. For example, The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 2, is available to watch as a video or take a quiz. Crazy Rich Asians is also an option, a movie set to be in theaters later this summer!

Give FluentU a try for a fresh, entertaining approach to learning a new language!

What’s your hashtag strategy for Instagram? #whyitsimportant

Have your Instagram posts plateaued?  Did you know that Instagram posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag?  The quality of a hashtag is extremely important but yet so often overlooked.  Yes, hashtags are #everywhere.  And in most cases, they are thrown into the content and not utilizing their true potential.  Once known as a simple pound sign, the hashtag is a powerful tool that goes beyond aesthetics.  Continue reading

How to Prepare Your Business for Virtual Assistants

Rosie the Robot
‘Okay Google, where did I park my car?’, ‘Where should I go on vacation in July?’, ‘Will you turn off the TV?’ Your virtual assistant can assist you with all of these questions. These ‘virtual assistants’ and the Artificial Intelligence that powers them still have plenty of limitations, but they are improving daily. Most importantly, these devices represent the fastest growing consumer technology segment in America with over 50 million ‘smart speakers’ expected to sell in 2018. That’s over double the amount that was in the market at the end of 2017. Hence, it’s time to consider how to prepare your business for virtual assistants. Continue reading
How does your social media like history affect your life

When the Internet Attacks: How does your social media like history define you?

That pesky “like” button. It’s been messing with us since Facebook introduced it to our feeds in February 2009. Some of us use the feature more frequently than others, but it only takes a split second to express your opinion to family, friends, and the general public. Do you remember the thousands of photos, videos, posts, status updates, tweets, and articles that you liked? The internet remembers. Can any of those likes be misinterpreted? Will your social media like history ever affect your life offline?

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Fetching Trends: Digital Marketing has Gone to the Dogs!

Remember that white dog with pointed ears and red rings around its eyes? If aisles of bright colors and red shopping baskets come into mind, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about Target. As evidenced by Spot the Target mascot, dogs are not new to marketing. Digital marketing has gone to the dogs as the presence of millennials and their furry family members rapidly increases. Social media is frequently dominated by breaking news stories and politics, but a furry pet popping up on newsfeeds is often a welcomed break from negativity. As a result, dogs of Instagram are major celebrities and brands are often fetching partnerships with pets. Dogs are becoming marketers’ best friends in the digital world and there’s a good chance this trend will continue to increase.

Doggone Millennials

Like it or not, millennials are “adulting” and have emerged as a significant portion of consumership. According to Media Post, three-fourths of Americans in their 30s own a dog, and 82% of millennials are more likely to feel that getting a pet is part of preparing to have a family. Consequently, dogs continue to emerge as a dominant part of the life experience. Stores, hotels, and restaurants with patios have recognized the importance of pups and dog-friendly places continue to sprout up. For many “pawrents,” the decision in making plans is often determined by the allowance of their “furkids” at places of business. As millennials continue to embrace pawrenthood, marketing toward dog lovers seems all but necessary.

Dogs of Instagram

We’ve already established the importance of using Instagram as a marketing tool. Stop what you’re doing and open up Instagram. Seriously, do it. Using the search feature, type #dogsofinstagram. You’re likely to find pictures of dogs with a variety of products, modeling clothes, or posing with celebrities. A whole subculture of dogs on Instagram exists and marketers are recognizing these pups as influencers. Take @mensweardog and his 355k followers, for example:

Menswear Dog makes $15,000 a month by posing in outfits made for human men. Instagram’s top dog influencers often have hundreds of thousands of followers, if not millions. As stories are told on Instagram from a dog’s perspective, friendships are forged among dog owners around the world. Humans behind the dog accounts trade ideas, host meet ups, and make similar purchases. Brands possessing the ability to connect with top dogs to market goods will inevitably reach higher visibility and communicate a level of relevance. Additionally, brands build loyalty by directly communicating with followers and partners.

Beyond Pet Brands

Brands embracing the dog hype for marketing do not need to be pet brands and sell only dog products. Subaru recognized the value of placing dogs in advertisements and created a slogan, “Dog Tested. Dog Approved.” Commercials show dogs driving vehicles and acting humanlike, which provides a lighthearted moment for the audience. Of course dogs cannot drive or communicate as humans, but for a brief moment humans are sucked into this imaginary world. Although dogs are not literally approving Subaru vehicles, the slogan may stick and dog owning millennials might just remember the joy brought by these commercials the next time they are car shopping.

Makeup lines and beauty products have also found a way to embrace the use of dogs in digital marketing. Popular makeup brand Urban Decay ran a recent social media campaign featuring dogs to highlight its commitment to cruelty-free makeup. Furthermore, brands like The Body Shop ran a similar campaign highlighting a commitment to never test products on animals. Overall, linking dogs to brands is a quick way to stand out in digital marketing strategy.

Will the dog craze last forever? Only time will tell, however, all signs point to dogs maintaining the highest levels of popularity we’ve seen in marketing. From marketing human clothes to posing with human food, dogs continue to dominate then marketing field. As more millennials embrace dogs as an immediate family member and dominate consumerism, smart brands will embrace the trend.

3 Ways to Keep Up with Social Media Trends

Woman fearful of overwhelming social media icons

If you’re like pretty much everyone on the planet, keeping up with the latest social media trends can be a daunting task. As soon as you’ve learned a new feature or believe you’ve figured out the ever-elusive algorithm, new features are released and past tricks are obsolete. So how is a digital marketer to stay on top of the latest and greatest? Here are 3 ways to keep up with social media trends.

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Digital Age – Stay Connected

 

We live in a digital age, and it is great. The potential for connecting that it offers us is unlike anything in history, but it also comes at a price. In the next few years, we’re likely to see most of humanity connected to one another in some form of a mobile device. We may one day reach a point where true conversations can happen between man and machine, but for now, it is still up to the people, the marketers and brand ambassadors of the world, to drive this human connection.
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Customer Success

Be there! Be attentive!Customer Success is the goal of the business in the current generation. Earlier in the years, it was Customer Service which mattered the most to the companies. Post selling a product/service, providing them with service was vital. In the current market trend, with such fierce competition. It’s not just Service but being responsible for Customer Success is very important.

Any business, whether a product or a service has to go above and beyond to ensure the customer relationship is being helpful to their customer success. The three vital aspects of the Customer Success journey are, Setting the right expectations, Being responsive and Post-sale follow-up. Continue reading

Instagram Updates your Business Should be Using

instagramThis year’s Instagram updates every business should be using! According to socialmediaexaminer.com Instagram has jumped from the number four spot to the number two spot (up 54% from 2017) for business marketing. Why? Because of the awesome updates the platform continues to roll out. Some of the great new features include updates to: Call to Action, Direct Messaging, Story Highlights and a Mute feature. Continue reading

Duolingo: Free Language Learning App that Delivers

In the world of language learning apps and technology, there are many options from which to choose. Duolingo is a great language learning app that does a nice job teaching beginners learning a new language for the first time.

 

Accessible via desktop, smart phone, or tablet

Upon registering for the free service, which includes a robust website plus iPhone and Android apps, users enter a home language for the interface. Language enthusiasts may then enjoy this well designed platform with their choice of topics on which to focus. Greetings, travel, food, family, and jobs are just a few of the examples. Continue reading