7 Tips for More Effective Social Media Marketing

7 Tips for More Effective Social Media Marketing

 

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We all read articles about how important it is to market ourselves through social media.

I’ve been talking to successful freelancers to find out the realities of using social media for business and getting their tips for the best ways to network and promote their work. Here are 7 tips that will boost your social media effectiveness.

1. Develop a Social Media Strategy

Being clear from the outset on why you are using social media for business purposes will save you a lot of time and wasted effort in the long run.

What is the aim of your social media time? Are you trying to drive more potential clients towards your website, network with other professionals to make useful contacts, boost traffic to your blog, or raise your status as an expert? A social media strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, but it will help to keep this aim in mind when you are sharing information and interacting with other people.

Technology and consumer electronics writer Michael Kwan has created a strategy whereby he feeds links to all the new blog posts from his blog Beyond the Rhetoric to the various social networks to help improve its reach but says he is “careful not to tread too far into the realm of simply spamming my followers” by ensuring a good mix of other links and taking part in conversations.

2. Choose the Right Sites for Your Niche

Some social media sites may be better than others when it comes to the right fit for your freelancing profession or niche. Is your work visual or verbal? Think about the best way to represent your work, and don’t worry if you aren’t great with words: many sites are almost entirely image or video-based.

A social media strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, but it will help to keep this aim in mind when you are sharing information and interacting with other people.

Twitter is a great tool for sharing links with a large number of people, but Pinterest is good for showcasing images, and is very popular with artists, photographers, graphic designers and craftspeople. Similarly, Tumblr is a good way of sharing short snippets, quotes, images and videos, but is not the best medium for lengthy blog posts. Don’t forget YouTube and presentation-sharing site Slideshare: you can build active communities around these video-based sites too.

Freelance copywriter, blogger and illustrator Steff Metal has a Gothic wedding planning blog that she promotes using her Pinterest page. Although there is a link to her site for people wanting to find out more, the site is more about building a community using the visual inspiration from her work as an alternative wedding celebrant.

The boards are imaginative and engaging, with such themes as ‘Eldritch Edibles and Deliciously Dark Potions’, ‘Elegant Gothic Beauty’, or ‘Spooky Stationary’; in short, everything you could need to help plan your Gothic wedding. The site works because the images complement her work perfectly, and she has built up a good following who would no doubt think of her site when planning their own Gothic weddings.

3. Think Long-Term

A good social media strategy should be about community-building, not simply about broadcasting your message: that is a sure-fire way of turning people off. It’s not about the number of followers you have, but about the quality of your interactions, and building this sort of community takes time and investment of your effort.

Writer and blogger Sharon Hurley Hall is highly active on Twitter. She doesn’t think so much about short-term gains but about building relationships with other users based on mutual interests:

I might start a conversation with someone around a post I’ve shared, they might ask about my work and then months later they might suggest a project. It’s more about connecting and interacting with people.

4. Raise Your Profile

Social media is more than a tool for directing people to your blog or selling your product or services, it can showcase your expertise and involvement in your specialty. Having a large number of Twitter followers can impress clients or collaborators for future projects, and you can quickly reach a wide audience with your articles, videos and links.

It isn’t just potential clients who will be impressed by a solid social media following; it can open all kinds of doors for your career.

You can think of your social media accounts like an evolving portfolio of your work. “It’s about ongoing brand awareness and ensuring that my name and the services that I offer are always “out there” for clients to see,” says Michael Kwan. “By sharing some of the content that I have created for my existing clients and discussing some of the work that I do on my own blog, I help to elevate my status in the eyes of potential clients.”

It isn’t just potential clients who will be impressed by a solid social media following; it can open all kinds of doors for your career. Steff Metal recently obtained a book deal for a wedding planning book, largely because of the strength of her online following. “I can show clients (in this case, a publisher) that I am an expert in a niche (alt. metal. Gothic) and even if it’s not a niche they work in, they can see that I know how to build an audience and keep them interested.”

If you are going to use your social media accounts as a portfolio of your work, it is important to realize potential clients and colleagues might look back through your history to get an idea of the sorts of things you post about. That means keeping in mind that everything you link to or comment on could be seen by people you want to make a good impression on.

5. Hang Out Where Your Clients Do

Do your research about a social media network before you commit time and effort to building your following there. If you are trying to network with potential clients or other useful contacts, it’s best to spend some time finding out which networks they tend to use. You may find that a smaller, more business-focused site like LinkedIn is actually a better platform for your niche, or else that Facebook is better for meeting fellow freelancers than clients.

Sharon Hurley Hall plans to spend more time on two sites in the future. LinkedIn, because it’s “more business oriented”; and Google+, “because I believe it will help my online visibility.” This sort of clarity can help you target your time on social networks and prevent them from becoming a time-sink. “If I had to do it again,” says Hurley Hall, “I’d probably concentrate on just a couple of networks where potential clients are instead of trying to be everywhere.”

6. One Size Doesn’t Always Fit All

It’s important to note that different sites can require different approaches and automatically setting your posts to appear on multiple sites can make you appear disengaged. It’s worth looking into the benefit of each site to understand how to use it so that you get the most out of your time there. For example, a strong Google+ presence can boost your search rankings, as well as give you a good local presence, if your customer base is drawn locally. Twitter can be great for speaking to large numbers of people at a time and sharing links, as well as using it for functions such as Twitter chat.

“If I had to give one piece of advice to people using these networks to improve their business, I’ll recommend communicating in an individualized and friendly way. Don’t use the prewritten request or replies but try to create a real contact with the people you’re aiming to work with,” says freelance translator Celine Petit.

Steff Metal uses multiple social media sites, but engages with each one differently.

For me the biggest thing has been to understand who is using what social media platforms for what. For example, I find Twitter great for interacting with other bloggers and industry professionals – across a variety of industries – but Facebook is where all my fans are. Pinterest has been an amazing traffic resource for my wedding planning site, and that traffic converts into eBook sales because so many of the users are brides planning their weddings.

Understanding the benefits, audience and etiquette of each site is essential if you want to have a successful social media strategy.

7. Think of Your Social Media as Part of a Greater Whole

Michael Kwan considers social networking to be “an important part of the overall marketing strategy.” He has been approached by potential clients through his various social media channels, and says that for him social media is “about ongoing brand awareness and ensuring that my name and the services that I offer are always “out there” for clients to see.”

The theme of branding, and the role of social media within that, came up several times in my discussions with freelancers. It is important to have an identity, or a voice, that is recognizable and sets you apart from the competition. Your social media effort should reflect your professional persona more than your personal one, meaning that you remain business-like when you have public accounts.

You don’t have to make your posts impersonal, but be aware that potential clients could be reading your posts. Celine Petit has put her social media strategy at the heart of her marketing, believing in the importance of personal branding:

To improve my marketing, I’m learning a lot about personal branding, as I really believe in the power of good branding for freelancers. I’m convinced that knowing what you want and what you offer is a good way to build your perfect business.

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The Vegetables with Breakfast Challenge Starts Today!

littleveg

Are you up for a challenge?

Today over at sweetveg is Day 1 of the 10 days of Vegetables with Breakfast Challenge. Come on over and join us!

1 cup of vegetables every morning for adults. For those of you with children, provide vegetables as an option for young children. Encourage older children to eat 1/4 or 1/2 cup. Measurement can be before or after cooking and is only a guideline.

In my experience children will often eat more vegetables with their breakfast than at other times of the day. We just need to provide them with the opportunity. Having a fruit-free breakfast sometimes helps, too. Depending on the child, it may take a week or two for them to get used to the idea, but just try it and see what happens.

Head on over to sweetveg to find links to the guidelines and a daily log. I will…

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The WordPress for Android App Gets a Big Facelift

The WordPress for Android App Gets a Big Facelift

Version 2.3 of WordPress for Android: big UI update for the best Android blogging app

We’re constantly working on updates to our mobile apps to make your WordPress.com experience on the go the best it can be. Today, we’ve jubilantly released version 2.3 of WordPress for Android to Google Play. After updating, you’ll see right away that this release includes very exciting updates to the user interface. Let’s dive in to what’s new!

Version 2.3 of WordPress for Android: the new, blue action barAction Bar

You’ll notice a fresh, new look. We’ve taken into account Android’s “Holo” style guidelines and implemented the Action Bar interface throughout the app. If you’ve used any other apps designed for Android 4.0 or higher, you’ll feel right at home with the new design. Your Action Bar provides easy access to common actions such as creating a new post, refreshing, and sharing to other apps.

We also couldn’t resist making the Action Bar in WordPress blue. ;)

Menu Drawer

Version 2.3 of WordPress for Android: menu drawer on Google Nexus 10 and Samsung Galaxy S3

The older-style dashboard interface has been replaced with a Menu Drawer for quick and easy navigation to other areas of the app from wherever you are. You’ll find all of the same actions the dashboard had, but with the addition of some nifty new ones.

To access the menu, simply tap the arrow next to the WordPress logo – in the top-left corner of the app — or swipe from the left side of the screen. If you’re on a large tablet device, the menu will always be visible, which takes advantage of the extra screen space. If you have multiple blogs in the app, you’ll see a drop-down list at the top of your Menu Drawer that you can access to quickly switch to another blog to work with, right in the app.

When you leave the app, it will remember the last selection you made in the Menu Drawer so when you return, you can pick up where you left off.

Other new features

In addition to the revamped app interface, you’ll find these new features as well:

  • View Site option. A View Site option has been added to the Menu Drawer so you can view your blogs from within the app.
  • Admin area access. You can access the wp-admin areas of your WordPress.com blogs by loading the Dashboard option in the Menu Drawer.
  • Faster loading. The WordPress.com Reader now takes advantage of caching for faster loading.
  • Updated look and feel. Settings have been converted to use the Android standard for preferences, giving them the Holo look and feel on supported devices. Many views have been updated to the Holo look and feel as well, including the post editor and all list views.
  • Improved post editor experience. The post editor now has an expandable content area, which makes it much easier to navigate around the post content when you’re editing.
  • Improved image uploading. If a post has an image but fails to upload the image, the post will be saved as a draft first — instead of published — so the image upload can be corrected.

Download App

On a device? Tap here to download WordPress for Android directly. If you’re not on Android you’ll instead get redirected to the app for your device.

What’s Next & Calling Contributors

Android robot with WordPress logoThis update was a big one and we want to make sure to keep the momentum going. We’re currently looking at adding notifications to the app so you can keep up with what’s happening on your WordPress sites while mobile and on the go. What would you like to see added to the app?

Don’t forget that WordPress for Android is an open source project. Want to get involved? Check out make.wordpress.org/mobile to get started.

Follow @WPAndroid on Twitter and the WordPress for Android blog for the latest updates on WordPress for Android.

How to Optimize Your Facebook

How to Optimize Your Facebook

By: Jeff Bullas, a Special to Overdrive

Posted by me

Before the rise of the social media age obtaining feedback negative or positive was restricted to private abuse over the phone, compliments in a personal email or a glowing testimonial in a letter. Today by giving your fans or opponents access to a Facebook page, blog comment box or a Twitter account, you can be praised or heckled in a matter of seconds. This is what scares the CEO or CMO who has grown up in a previous traditional world with limited and more discrete feedback! The upside is that a Facebook Page, Twitter and a Blog can provide you with instant feedback and keep you highly relevant in a connected social web that far outweighs the negatives.

I don’t know how many times I have a had conversations with executives about receiving real feedback about their brand. It scares them and many are still getting their heads around it!

10 Best Practice Tips For Facebook Publishing

These tips will help you increase your engagement and interaction with fans so that they will keep coming back and provide you with valuable feedback that will drive inquiry and sales and keep you on top of your market segment with real time comments.

1. Keep Your Posts Short

The news feed of your Facebook page typically contains a lot of information so having a good headline for your post and keeping the post length to less than 250 characters generates the more interaction and engagement. According to Facebook  posts of that length generate 60% more likes, comments and shares than posts greater than 250 characters

2. Post Photos, Videos and Quotes

We no longer live in a monochromatic 2 dimension world of  the Gutenberg press and the ancient world of the black and white TV. High definition photos and videos in graphic detail and vivid color provide engagement levels that far exceed plain and simple text.

Research shows that “Posts including a photo album, a picture or a video generate about 180%, 120%, and 100% more engagement than the average post, respectively“. What should also be kept in mind is that simple text that is in the form of a quote can drive high interaction!

3. Post Consistently

This is not an exact science but once a month is not going to cut it. Some brands and business can post several times a day but once a day is normally a good place to start. Educational or entertaining content will not be seen as oversharing or too promoting. A good rule of thumb is to have one marketing message for every nine to ten informational posts.

4. Ask for your Fans Opinions

You might be thinking about launching several new products and this will allow you to quickly crowd source opinion that may determine which one you actually manufacture or produce!

5. Ask Questions using the Facebook Questions App

Facebook has a native questions app that is very easy to use. You can find out what is important to people by asking questions of your customers and prospects of how you can improve your business. The interaction and vote can be as simple as one “click”

6. Try Posting “Fill in the Blank” Posts

If you want to give your fans a very simple way to engage with your post, ask them to finish your sentence. If you had a fashion brand you may want ask people a simple statement that requires them to finish off the sentence as to why they like it or how they use it.

Fill-in-the-blank posts generate about 90% more engagement than the average post.

7. Give Fans Access to Exclusive Information

This could be done by either breaking the news first on Facebook or providing special content such as a video or an article when they “like” your page.

8. Reward your Fans with Deals and Perks

You can use your Facebook “Page” to not just promote but distribute coupons or link to promotions.

9. Be Timely

Breaking news on Facebook that is relevant for your audience can drive more interaction and engagement. According to Facebook “posts mentioning Independance Day on July 4th generated about 90% more engagement than all posts published on that day”.

10. Localize your Posts if they are Relevant to a Specific Audience

Some of your posts might only be relevant for a subset of your fans. For example, if you are only making some products in specific countries, you might want to promote these products only to people in this country. When using the status button when you post to your News feed  you can send a post just to one country.(see screen shot below)

Use the geo-targeting feature to make sure that only the people who would find your post valuable will see it.

Read more from Best Practices, Marketing

best practices, better business, business, lessons learned, social media, tips

Read more: http://blog.eonetwork.org/2013/03/how-to-optimize-your-facebook/#ixzz2N7vtngnJ