Social Media

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Develop a content marketing strategy with these 8 simple ideas.

content is king

As technology has changed the way consumers socialize, shop and interact, companies are finding that the marketing playbook has a few new and unfamiliar pages. When the marketplace changes, it only serves to reason that companies must begin to adjust the way they communicate marketing messages.

Today’s consumers have instant access to compare prices, research product reviews and, with the press of a button, can easily “skip” advertising messages. No longer can companies merely flood the market with their brand messages through traditional channels and see results. Even digital channels are now crowded with blinking banners and sidebar buttons all screaming for attention.

One marketing trend being integrated into the overall strategy is content marketing. In simple terms, content marketing is the focus on creating valuable and relevant content that speaks
to a clearly defined audience. It is putting aside the “salesy” messages in favor of resources and
information that educate the consumer. It is connecting rather than pitching. Engaging rather than selling.

In fact, this trend for using content marketing is on the rise. According to a recent study by
Boston-based software company Curata of more than 600 marketing organizations, 76% of those surveyed are planning to increase their investment in content marketing in the coming year.

Finding the right way to connect and engage with your target audience will depend on the type of business, resources available and determining the way in which your audience will be most receptive to receiving your messages.

Here are eight ways to start a content marketing strategy:
BLOGS – A great option for providing written resources, video feeds and images.
PUBLISHING – Whether it be cookbooks, magazines or a buyer’s guide, publishing can establish your credibility as an expert while keeping your name in front of an audience in an entertaining and engaging way.
VIDEO – With the rise of YouTube, the power of a good video is undeniable. You could provide step-by-step how-to videos or create a commercial that has viral potential.
WEBSITE – Today’s websites are responsive and can be designed with content marketing in mind. Add features to engage your audience as well as integrate other elements of your overall strategy such as a blog or videos.
NEWSLETTERS – Whether you provide in print or by email, a newsletter can be a great way to keep brand awareness with your customers. Provide relevant and meaningful content to increase its value.
BLOGGER REVIEWS – Connect with bloggers who have an existing audience that includes your target audience. Offer them free products in exchange for reviews and exposure to their followers.
SOCIAL MEDIA – Even with limited character space, you can still establish yourself as an authority in the Twitterverse and beyond. Don’t just blast your specials, but take the opportunity to really connect with your fans and followers.
INFOGRAPHICS – Clever graphics that tell a story or provide information have great viral potential. Provide information in this easy-to-absorb format and increase your exposure through shareable content.

Your content marketing strategy is only limited by your imagination. Ask yourself what your customers really want or need to know and then create the resource to provide that information in an entertaining way.

In simple terms, content marketing is the focus on creating valuable and relevant content that speaks to a clearly defined audience.

*Published in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Tools for Success Magazine.

Author: Bethany Meadows is the owner of Vertical Solutions Media Inc, a full service marketing agencies that specializes in helping small businesses build strong brands and increase revenues.

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Social Media

5 Business Facebook Essentials for the New Timeline Format


Facebook’s new Timeline format for business pages has many marketing benefits, if you
know which strategies to employ. In this article we will explore five elements of an effective
Facebook Timeline strategy.

1. Cover Photo

Facebook has a list of very specific operating guidelines, which outline what you can include
on a cover image. For example, you may not include any CTAs (Calls to Action) on your
Facebook Timeline cover photo.

Be creative with your cover image and use the full real estate (815 x 315 pixels) to achieve
the following:

* Describe what you do without being a selling machine in the process.

* Showcase your products.

* Include a photo for an upcoming event. (be careful with your wording – follow those
Facebook guidelines)

* Showcase your work (i.e., photography, baking, graphics design).

* Create multiple cover images and rotate them in and out.

Here are some links to great examples of cover photos that meet the Facebook guidelines while effectively promoting the company’s product or service. Magnolia Bakery, Tabsite,
Mari Smith, Ford Motor, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Macys

2. Applications Row

The applications row is the row that appears to the right just beneath your cover image. It consists
of 4 applications
; one of the four is the Photos application, which cannot be moved. However, you can change out the remaining three to give prominence to what is most important to you.
See the example below from Custom Page Designs.

* Choose three apps you want to showcase – the 3 to the right of the Photo app.

* Change the image and the text associated with your installed applications. Your application
can be 111 x 74 pixels; so get creative.

* You can provide visitors with access of up to 12 installed applications, which are accessible by clicking the down arrow to the right of the 4th app tab.

NOTE: you may have more than 12 installed applications but only 12 are accessible from the drop down list. However, you can swap out your list of 12 as needed and from your list of 12 you can showcase three in the top row.

3. Pinning a Post

Pinning a Post will allow your post to remain at the top of your page for 7 days. If you don’t want
the post to stay at the top that long, you can unpin at any time.

Think strategically when using this option. For example, the Pin to Top can be great to turn on and off for posts like upcoming events. It’s a strategic way to maintain awareness of your upcoming event.

4. Milestones

A milestone is a key moment in time that you have chosen to highlight. As your business grows, you will no doubt have many key moments to profile over time.

Milestones are created from within your Status box:

Examples of Milestones could be the date you first opened, your first 10 years in business, the publication of your first book and the list goes on. Get the idea?

Benefits: You can include a photo with your Milestone story. Photos display at 843 pixels wide by 403 pixels tall. Don’t forget you can type in a story to accompany your Milestone. Milestones
can also be an engagement tool, one that may result in visitors staying longer on your page to read your interesting stories.

Coca-Cola has done a marvelous job creating their Milestones. They have created a chronology of their history going back to the 1800s and within that chronology they have created Milestones. Milestones are denoted by a flag at the top of the post. I suggest you head over to the Coca-Cola Facebook page and read through their Facebook Milestones to get an idea of how you might want to create your Milestones.

5. Highlight a Post

Highlighting a post will stretch the post across your Timeline from left to right, giving it tremendous prominence due to its size. Simply click the star in the upper right of a post to highlight
or to remove the highlight.

Author: Donna Gilliland is a professional educator and speaker in social media marketing and business productivity applications. She is the founder and President of MOSTraining, Incorporated, and an award-winning technology instructor whose training career spans over 18 years. Learn more about Donna at our Contributors tab.

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