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Content, Creativity, Image and Imagination

The Social Media Landscape – 7 Tips to Find Your Way Forward

Like plate tectonics, the social media landscape is always shifting. Sometimes with earthquaking force but more commonly as a rolling, restless energy that pushes up new platforms, flattens earlier expectations and creates whole new ways to connect. The digital world is evermore complex, creative, informative, engaging and even fun. Businesses have got to be a part of this new age of discovery. And the start of a new year is the perfect time to configure – or reconfigure – your social media map to see what opportunities are out there and how to plant your brand flag in all the right places.

Here are 7 tips for becoming a more creative Columbus:

1. Make Your Home Base Matter

Too many companies and personal brands – though willing to get in the social media game – neglect to keep their own website current. Some are even still lost in the wilderness with Flash. But the more common problem is that businesses neglect to update their website image – whether with a more stylish and user-friendly design or through the regular addition of content.

Everyone is expecting more from their digital experience – and your website should meet and exceed those expectations.

A website is your ongoing story and should never get stuck in the past. Bring it some new life so it reflects what is best about your business now. Dated, drab or dead websites hardly inspire trust, let alone engagement. So take a hard look at how an audience might consider your business based on your website identity alone. Many people out there in the virtual world already do. And if your site isn’t responsive and designed for multiple viewing devices, that experience is significantly degraded.

2. Get A Social Media Marketing Strategy

Many small businesses are still on the hope and see plan. The stab in the dark strategy. That’s no longer good enough – if it ever was. As more businesses incorporate social media into their broader marketing strategy, they need to determine the right goals, platforms, message and metrics to achieve its full value.

Start by considering the full range of business interests social media can be made to serve. Digital engagement can create positive associations for brand awareness, product knowledge, thought leadership, customer service, even human resources. Determine your priorities and the social media platforms that best serve those ends. Make a plan – and a stick-to-it schedule for content generation and social sharing. Hootsuite offers a great way to integrate your social network and schedule posts – keeping you focused and on-track.

3. EXPAND YOUR REACH

By now most businesses of all sizes have found their way to Facebook (though still too many personal brands have yet to create a separate business page identity which results in a muddled marketing message). Though Facebook may be losing some influence among a younger demographic, it remains king of the realm and key to your goals. A recent research report by Pew Internet determined that of U.S. adults who go online regularly, 71% use Facebook and, of these, 63% check in daily. That’s a huge audience seeking engagement . Never turn your back on Facebook.

But for 2014 your social media marketing mantra should be – “multiple touchpoints”.  Give your audience a full body embrace by surrounding them with a range of messages using the full stretch of social media connections. Done right, that ubiquity will deepen your brand relationship with potential clients. It’s not just a strategy to max out your marketing message but to invest it with more nuance, novelty, creativity and meaning. Try working with different platforms – and different voices – while staying true to your brand’s core values. Make time to build out your content on and usage of Linkedin, Twitter, Google +, Youtube and Pinterest. Use the platforAll of these touchpoints make an impression on your audience.

4. INCREASE QUALITY

 While increasing the reach of your brand’s content, you should push to improve its quality. More and better – a tough double challenge. But as T.S. Eliot once said, “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are”. (ahh dry English wit – both tonic and gin).

Keep in mind that “quality” is a karma chameleon – what gets defined as good energy varies depending on the audience. So you have to match your content to the colours of your desired crowd. It’s the needs and interests of your audience that matters most. Depending on your target demographic, your blog post may not need to be a Shakespearean production but even that language can be set to a hip hop beat. Speak up to your audience in all senses of that phrase – elevate what is interesting, informative, engaging and entertaining in your message. And give it some style, proper spelling, professional photography, killer graphics and a headline that grabs attention. Make these the basics of your social media brilliance.

 5. REPURPOSE MATERIAL 

A useful social media marketing trick is to repurpose content across platforms. Get the most bang on a single buck. Expanding one idea into several content pieces will save time and dollars and will ensure message discipline. There’s even a puzzling novelty to doing content this way – how do you take a single idea and apply it across all your platforms. From a blogpost you can Twitter the headline or a key quote; develop the idea visually on Pinterest or as an infographic; set it up as a series of talking points on Slideshare; conduct a video interview of the subject for Youtube or a podcast; make it snappy and sexy for Facebook or more sober and serious on Linkedin. One whole, many parts, bigger audience.

And repurposing allows for cross-promotion. Use the web to make your own web. Provide links so that an audience can follow the story in all its iterations and multiple touchpoints. This way if they catch hold of only one strand they get looped in to hear and see everything.

6. PUMP UP YOUR PERSONALITY

While you want search engines to find you, it’s humans that must pay you attention. A brand with an engaging and emotional personality gets noticed – and likes, reposts and retweets. All that new age linking love. Just ask Erica Domesek, dubbed the Millennial Martha Stewart after building a DIY craft empire strictly from social media. Starting with a humble Tumblr page, her brand’s website now gets over 500,000 unique users each month and major Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest traffic.

“Focus on emotional analytics as well as numerical ones. Pushing out content that is strong, conversational, and that especially evokes an emotional response will build stronger engagement and audience growth. People are more likely to comment, retweet or share “feel-good” content that elicits memories or positive associations. You’re marketing to humans, not robots”.

Erica Domesek

Too many small businesses get stuck with a small voice. Define a digital personality that is relatable and inspiring.

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7. INCLUDE CALLS TO ACTION That Connect

Social media is about engagement – you want to spark a connection that gets sustained. For your audience, quality content helps create the will to engage further but it often takes a call to action to show the way. There’s always another link in your brand’s social media chain but you have to lead people to it. Share this, click here, learn more, join today, register nowresearch shows these simple prompts poke through.

Consider also how that call to action can be made more desireable and dynamic. Want to make more money for your business? Need to have a bigger audience? Get a free e-book/recipe/discount by subscribing now. By stoking energy, curiousity, and excitement about your brand, you will drive up engagement.

Figure out where you want your audience to go next and make that connection as easy as possible. Or you could just call BCreative today and tell us more about your social media and messaging goals.

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