VIDEO: How to Future-Proof Your Facebook Business Strategy

Facebook announced ANOTHER update to their algorithm (sometimes called edgerank) that changes what people see in their newsfeed. Want to know how to future-proof your Facebook Strategy from this change and future changes????? Watch this video!

Here is the bottom line. Facebook changes the algorithm all the time, and the algorithm is customized to each person – so you can’t exactly crack it.

What can you do?

There are two things that will future-proof your Facebook business strategy and get you results in the long-term.

1) Create Great Content

The point of edgerank is to show people the content that they are most interested in. Strategies that focus on creating great content that their fans love do best in the long-run.

When you hear optimization tips like:

  • Short posts perform best
  • Images do well
  • Ask questions
  • Be fun (or funny)
  • Use videos

They are all getting at the same thing – create content that people on Facebook have shown that they want to consume.

When you step back it is pretty simple.

2) Be Prepared to Pay

Seriously. Be prepared to pay. Not a lot, but supporting your strategy with some paid boosts will help you gain the exposure you need to generate long-term value.

Some businesses can still do well organically – I worked with a client who saw a 10X increase in organic reach JUST BY OPTIMIZING THEIR CONTENT. So, great content matters most (see #1).

That being said, social media marketing (LIKE ALL OTHER MARKETING) won’t be free forever. Be prepared to spend a little cash.

Facebook strategy video with Krista Neher

Digital Marketing 101: The Core Things that Every Marketer (or business professional) Needs to Understand

Digital Marketing 101 blog post

When it comes to digital marketing, many business professionals are intimidated and don’t know where to start. That is understandable – it is a large and confusing world.

If you aren’t sure where to start or what you really need to know about digital marketing, consider starting with the Digital Marketing Foundations that every business professional should know.

Social Media: More people check Facebook every day than read a newspaper or listen to the radio (actually more people check Facebook every day than shower). Social media is the #1 activity online. This means that you can’t afford to ignore it. Regardless of your business you need to understand this powerful tool and how it impacts you.

Search Engine Optimization: Most people start with search when buying anything. You can’t afford to not understand how search engines actually work and understand how your business is represented on search engines. It blows my mind how many businesses are DEFINITELY losing out because they don’t look at how their business shows up in search engines.

Website Optimization: It is amazing how many websites still don’t work well. Most businesses hire a website company and end up dissatisfied because they feel like their site doesn’t work well…. They are usually right. Your website is the core of your digital marketing and the center of your online presence. Learn about usability and user design so that you have a website that doesn’t just look pretty, but actually serves a purpose.

Conversion Optimization & Planning: All marketing and all digital marketing is about getting people to do something. Conversion optimization is about getting more people to do what you want them to do. Conversion planning is about building a roadmap to drive people to take action. If you want results from digital marketing, you’ll need to convert people.

Content Marketing: Content marketing really sits at the intersection of a number of digital marketing areas – social media, conversion planning, search engine optimization and more. The big idea is that creating great content improves your online presence and helps with your marketing. Understanding content marketing will help connect the dots between your marketing strategies.

Online Advertising: Online advertising is an incredibly valuable tool – any business of any size can easily run ads with a budget of any size. The targeting opportunities mean that your advertising can reach exactly the audience that you want to get in front of. Businesses ignoring online advertising are missing out on a huge and simple way to get new customers.

 Email Marketing: Email marketing has been around for a long time, so many  people forget about it… it remains one of the most effective digital marketing tools  and one of the best ways to drive action from people who are interested in your  business. Yet most people send out the same boring emails without ever thinking  about how to optimize them to get better results.

Mobile Marketing: These days mobile marketing shouldn’t be a silo – the reality is that we are marketing in a mobile world. This means that mobile should be a consideration in everything you do….. from your website to email to your in-store experience.

In 2016 – if you are a business professional you can’t afford to ignore these powerful tools and at least understand how they work. Take some time to educate yourself on Digital Marketing Foundations so that you can have success in 2016!

B-to-B Instagram Case Study: Awareness, Branding & Sales

B to B Instagram Case Study Blog

Instagram is one of the most powerful social networks – it is growing quickly and Instagram users are highly engaged.

Many businesses and social media marketers wonder if Instagram is right for B-to-B businesses… The long answer is that it depends on your marketing objectives and the nature of your business. The short answer is that it is worth exploring Instagram – even for B-to-B businesses.

The Challenge

Boot Camp Digital wanted to use Instagram to grow brand awareness with new audiences. The target audience uses social media in a limited capacity and wants to learn more about how to strategically use social media professionally.

As a social media company, it made sense for Boot Camp Digital to participate on Instagram to demonstrate thought leadership…. But can Instagram actually generate clients for B-to-B businesses?

Execution/Implementation

Boot Camp Digital shares content on Instagram regularly to engage with those interested in learning more about social media marketing and digital marketing.

The content posted to Instagram includes social media tips and tricks, as well as live pictures from the Boot Camp Digital social media training.

Boot Camp Digital posts a few times a week with content that builds the brand and is useful to marketers.

Results

Boot Camp Digital was successful in building brand awareness through Instagram – even business related posts and quotes received 20+ likes on average and a few comments.

The engagement on the posts showed that Boot Camp Digital was achieving their strategic objective of building awareness and connecting with the Instagram audience.

Surprisingly however, the results went even further. A post about a live Social Media Boot Camp workshop generated a comment from an Instagram user who was interested in our training. The conversation was taken offline where Boot Camp Digital could share more details about the training.

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Bottom Line

There are a few things that this case study demonstrates:

  1. There is an interest in B-to-B content on Instagram.
  2. Instagram can drive awareness and be used as a brand-building tool.
  3. You never know where your customers will come from – the more great content you put out the more opportunities you’ll generate.

Find out more about what Boot Camp Digital shares on Instagram

Emerging Social Networks Videos: What you need to know!

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn: you’ve (hopefully!) been there — done that, right?! (If not, to be honest, we’ve got Boot Camp Digital training on all those!) 😉 But how do you keep up-to-date on the emerging social networks? How do YOU stay on top of the new/emerging social networks like Periscope, Meerkat, Tumblr and more?

From the executive who needs to know the high-level awareness of social media networks, to the hands-on social media/digital marketing manager who needs to understand social content, the strategy and management of a range of social networks, there’s a lot to stay on top of in the world of social media!

To help you, our Boot Camp Digital team has created some awesome overview videos of these emerging social networks:

PERISCOPE/MEERKAT: Have you Scoped yet? No medical procedure – scoping is live streaming your life (on Periscope) or your own version of an interactive show on your phone to people all over the globe. Relatively new, these two live streaming social networks offer new opportunities and challenges as an emerging social network. Find out more …

TUMBLR: If you’re over 35, you might think we just made a typo. If you’re under 35, you’re probably already on Tumblr. This social media platform allows users to post/curate content from Tumblr or other places on the internet. Bigger than Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn, do you know what businesses need to know about Tumblr?

SNAPCHAT: Really. We’re not trying to make you feel old … but you’re probably over 35 if you don’t use Snapchat. In fact, 85% of the under 35 crowd are on Snapchat. What is it? Well, I’ll give you 10 seconds to read this then it will disappear. 🙂 Really it won’t, but a Snapchat update, or ‘Snap,’ would only last for 10 seconds. Quick! Watch the following video on what Snapchat is and how businesses are using this emerging social network!

SLIDESHARE: Want to be part of the 500% more traffic by business owners than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube? (Really!) Owned by LinkedIn, Slideshare is the largest community for sharing presentations – in fact, it’s one of the top 100 sites in the world! Want to know more? Check out this video then go check out some presentations on what Slideshare is that are posted on, you guessed it, Slideshare.

PODCASTING: Ever heard of ‘Serial,’ ‘Radiolab,’ ‘The Moth,’ or ‘This American Life’? They’re all very popular podcasts – which are audio/video shows that can be downloaded from iTunes or other sources. In fact, 1/3 of Americans have listened to a podcast. Businesses are using them too. Find out why and how to benefit from this emerging social communication channel.

To be honest, more emerging social networks are constantly launching. How do you stay on top of things? For more information on these emerging social networks and existing ones, we’ve got social media and digital marketing training – individual, group, live, online – all designed for professionals who need to know what is going on in the ever-changing world of social media and what it means to their business/organization.

5 Steps to Launching Your Social Networks

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Many people who are just getting started on social media want to start with creating the account and posting. Why not? That is the fun part. The reality is that you aren’t likely to be successful if you just jump in.

To launch an effective social media account you’ll want to take some time to do it properly. Many businesses don’t get results from social media because they haven’t approached it strategically.

The conversation is “We should be on Facebook. Who here is good at Facebook? Hey you – young marketing person. Get us on Facebook!” An account is created and content is posted.

Time Passes

“I don’t think social media works. We aren’t really getting results.”

The problem is that the approach wasn’t strategic to begin with. If you want to be successful with social media, follow these steps.

 

1) Education and Landscape Assessment

Before you launch that Facebook Page or Twitter account, spend some time educating yourself and learning about social media. Assess the landscape to determine what the real opportunity is and how others are using it.

  • Take some webinars or sign up for a formal social media training program to get a solid understanding of how the tool works and best practices.
  • Check out what your competitors are doing – what works and doesn’t work.
  • Find your audience online – what are they up to? What do they like? What do they talk about?
  • Learn best practices, tips and tricks to optimize your implementation.

2) Strategy

Don’t just do it. Create a strategy. Strategy is the most important thing to your success. What do you want to achieve and who is your audience. This should guide your implementation.

Create a solid social media strategy and build a clear social media plan.

Steps to Building a Social Media Plan

3) Building

Next, build your social media channels. When you get started you’ll need to create your account and build your audience.

Building naturally takes more time than maintenance because you are getting started. You need to build audience and promote your account plus create content.

  • Create social media assets
  • Launch assets
  • Promote assets
  • Start posting relevant content using best practices
  • Build audience

4) Maintain

 

Maintaining is about content optimization and community management. Post content regularly and participate and engage with your followers.

5) Analyze and Optimize

Once you’ve launched and are posting you aren’t finished (you never really are). Social networks change and you need to constantly improve and stay on top of what works.

Analyze your performance and optimize your execution. Continue to improve.

How Much Time Does Social Media Take?

how much time does social media take

People often ask me how much time social media takes. Last week I did a media interview and a webinar, and the question came up both times….

It is a good question – especially because businesses need to optimize resources, and small businesses must determine how much time they can afford to spend on something like social media.

The answer is – it depends on the size/scale of your business and organization, but here are some general guidelines. There are 3 stages you should go through to get started in social media, and each stage will take a different amount of time.

1) Education and Learning

Before you launch that Facebook Page or Twitter account, spend some time educating yourself and learning about social media.

  • Take some webinars or sign up for a formal training program to get a solid understanding of how the tool works and best practices.
  • Check out what your competitors are doing – what works and doesn’t work.
  • Learn best practices, tips and tricks to optimize your implementation.

Time Investment: 1 – 2 hours a week for 1 – 3 months.

2) Building

Next, build your social media channels. When you get started you’ll need to build your strategy, create your account and build an audience (plus you’ll need to be posting regularly).

Building naturally takes more time than maintenance because you are getting started. In addition to creating and launching you’ll need to build your audience, plus test and optimize your content to see what your audience likes.

  • Create strategy
  • Create account
  • Build audience
  • Post content
  • Test & optimize content

Time Investment: This depends on the size of your organization and business. It can take anywhere from 1 – 6 months.

3) Maintain

 

Finally you are in maintenance mode and you can expect to spend less time on your social network execution! Congratulations. The key here is content & community.

  • Post great content regularly
  • Community management – respond to comments & questions
  • Optimize and analyze performance

Time Investment: This depends on the size of your business and following – large companies need multiple full-time community managers just to keep up with content. Generally for a small or medium business you can expect to spend 1 – 3 hours a week (depending on media creation, etc).

How Much Time do I Need to Dedicate to Social Media? (FAQ)

How much time does social media takeThis is a common question that I get asked when speaking at conferences. As businesses and organizations begin to see social media as a viable opportunity, they want to be sure that it is resourced correctly.

The challenge with this question is that it depends.

How long does it take to cook dinner?

How long does it take to create a budget?

How long does it take to fall asleep at night?

How much does it cost to build a house?

With all of these questions there is a HUGE range, and it depends on what you want.

I can build a house for $100,000 or $1,000,000 – they won’t both be the same. The budget for my house will depend on what I want and what I need.

The same is true with social media. The time it takes you depends on what you want and need to get out of it.

Last week I spoke to a State Board of Election Conference. Very few Boards of Election are using social media (for a variety of reasons) and one of the top questions was – how much time will it take to get active on social media?

For a Board of Elections, which isn’t posting as often as a traditional business and had different goals and objectives vs. a traditional business, a small investment in Facebook is probably a good starting point.

With some set-up time and a quick understanding of best practices, a Board of Elections could be active on Facebook and meet their objectives with under 30 minutes a week.

Compare this to a restaurant, which will probably post more frequently, receive more comments and aim to translate Facebook attention into butts in seats. A restaurant will probably invest more on a daily basis than a Board of Elections will in a week.

The important first step is to understand WHAT you want to achieve and consider the ACTION PLAN that is required to achieve it.

5 Social Media Mistakes You Are Probably Making

This year, I’ve helped thousands of businesses with their social media marketing, and there are some common themes in the mistakes that businesses are making. Social media is tricky and many business professionals haven’t taken the time to really think through their social media strategy. They just start doing. The decision-makers don’t understand it well and the implementors haven’t really had time to go in-depth to be as strategic as possible.

Here are the 5 biggest social media mistakes that you are probably still making:

1) Your Content is Totally Boring

This is probably the biggest one that I’ve seen this year. More advanced companies have a plan for social media and have figured out their content strategy, however the stuff that they actually post is just really, really boring. If you want to stand out online you have to be really interesting.

How to Avoid It: Spend 5 extra minutes on each post to make it as interesting as possible. Get inspired. Do some research. Don’t just post.

2) You Don’t Have the Right Resources

Do it right or not at all. Get the right resources in place to give yourself a good shot of being successful. I see this problem on both ends. Many businesses don’t have enough resources to be successful — it is 5% of someones job to quickly post something to Facebook a few times a week. At the same time, other businesses invest tens of thousands of dollars to have an agency run their Facebook page, which will probably never generate tens of thousands of dollars in sales to generate ROI. Really think about what your goals are and the right resources.

How to Avoid It: Step back and think about what success looks like for you, and realistically how this fits with other marketing investments that you could make. Resource it based on what you need to be successful.

3) You Ignore Analytics

I gave a presentation recently at a trade show and there were about 200 business in the audience and 90% of them were on Facebook. When I asked “Who has seen a decline in their reach on Facebook in the last 2 years?” only about 2 people raised their hands. All studies show that Facebook reach is declining – the real issue was that none of these people actually looked at insights with any regularity. They  had no idea that their reach had declined 50% or more.

How to Avoid It: Schedule monthly maintenance for  your social networks. Once a month look at analytics and build a plan to learn and improve.

4) You Don’t Know Which Social Networks to Spend your Time on

This is a big one – lots of businesses, from startups to Fortune 500 have a hard time figuring out where they should invest and spend their time. It is difficult to determine if a newer social network like Instagram or Pinterest is worth your time and attention. What surprises me though, is how businesses make decisions about new networks. Some jump right in without really having a plan and others refuse to do anything new because they don’t have the resources.

How to Avoid It: Create a set of criteria for how you determine if a new social network is worth while and don’t be afraid to explore. ALWAYS EVALUATE A SOCIAL NETWORK against the ability to support your business objectives.

5) You Don’t Stay Up-to-Date Enough to Improve and Revisit Your Strategy

Many businesses create a strategy that makes sense initially, but they never revisit the strategy. They don’t stay up-to-date on social media news to make sure that they always have the most up-to-date information to build their strategy from. For example, as Facebook has reduced organic reach you need a paid component to your plan if you really want to reach people. If you aren’t paying attention and constantly improving, you won’t get to where you need to be.

How to Avoid It: Invest some time to stay up to date. Our social media training diet suggests how to build a personal learning plan for yourself so that you continue to be on the leading edge of social media marketing.5 Social Media Mistakes You are Probably Making

Is Gratitude In Your Social Media Strategy? #Thanksgiving

As I’m thinking about Thanksgiving approaching (or “American Thanksgiving” as I call it because I’m Canadian), I was thinking about the themes of gratitude and thankfulness and how they apply to a social media strategy.

Being thankful or grateful shouldn’t just happen once a year. It should happen frequently, especially on social media. This is a powerful strategy for both personal and professional social media users. Here are some tips to express your gratitude on social media.

  • Say Thank You to Positive Comments – We get so caught up on negative comments that we often forget to show gratitude for the positive ones. Always say thanks to people who do something nice for you.
  • Compliment Someone – Compliments can make someones day. Even businesses appreciate a great review on a review site or a kind word online. Compliment someone or a business. Do it in a specific and meaningful way.
  • Use Your Platform to Shine the Light on Someone Else – Most of the time we think about using our social networks for ourselves, but our platforms can be used to make someone else a star. Shine the light on someone or something that could benefit from a little bit of attention.
  • Thank Your Fans or Followers – Take some time to thank your fans & followers. Give them something really valuable. Remember that them paying attention to you is a gift. Respect it.
  • Share What You Are Thankful For – Social media can change the way that people think, act and feel. Share the things that you are grateful for and give credit to those who have helped.

    Is gratitude a part of your social media plan? #Thanksgiving

    There is so much negativity online these days – use your platforms to share some positivity & gratitude.

Which social network should my business be on? Social Media FAQ

Which social networks should you business be onPeople often ask: “Which social network should my business be on?” or “If I can do just one social network, what should it be?”

The answer (annoyingly) is “It depends”. People hate this answer because they want a magic formula, but the reality is that you have to THINK and USE YOUR BRAIN to decide. There is no one answer to this.

This would be like blindly asking “What city should I live in?” or “ What should I be when I grow up?”. It depends.

So, while I can’t give you the answer, I can give you some ideas of how to evaluate this for your business.

Things to consider when choosing which social networks to participate in:

1. Is your audience there? There is no reason to participate in a social network that your target audience isn’t using. Start with this. Don’t beat them, meet them.

2. How can businesses play? Each social network has different rules about how businesses can participate. Start by learning about how businesses can participate in the social network.

3. What do people naturally talk about there? The more organic your efforts are, the better. For example, I may find that my target audience is on a social network, but they aren’t talking about business there. It might be difficult for me to interject a business discussion in a place where people are talking about something else.

4. How can your marketing objectives & goals be met? Each social network has different benefits for businesses. Know what your objectives are and evaluate the social network against its ability to meet your business goals.

5. What will it take to be successful? Finally ask yourself what you need to plan to invest to be successful in the network. Some networks take a lot of time/effort whereas others require less frequency. Some are cluttered and others are open. Determine how much time/effort/money you will need to invest to be successful.

BONUS TIP: Look for case studies from your industry to see how other people are using the social network strategically.

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