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Thursday, May 30, 2013

What does it take for a small business to handle their social media effectively themselves?

Small business owners are faced with a lot of demands, often meaning that time is at a premium.  Regardless, we battle on through, wearing multiple hats at any given time and often juggling several different roles at the same time.  Before you decide to add something else to your list, let’s get realistic and talk about the things you need to be aware of and the qualities you will need when it comes to social media.

There is no denying that outsourcing your social media can prove expensive, but you need to weigh this up and consider the benefits you stand to gain from this investment. Outsourcing doesn’t need to be prohibitively expensive.  Choose a reliable local digital agency or if you are on a really tight budget, you could look for a freelancer to carry out your social media activities.

Whether you outsource or choose to do it yourself however, you need to be aware that carrying out social media activities badly will not achieve your goals and can even have a very real damaging effect. Whoever is responsible, they absolutely need to know what they are doing.

If you are still determined to carry out your social media yourself, the checklist below contains some of the main considerations you’ll need to be aware of.

Do not take on more than you can manage.  To run your social media activities you are going to need to set aside at least an hour a day, every day of the working week.  Depending on how many social media networks you intend to set up, you may need to set aside more time.

The more you put in, the more you will get out – that is, as long as you are concentrating your actions on the right activities. If you only put in an hour a week, or cram all your activity into a few minutes each lunch time, you are not going to achieve the level of success you could potentially achieve.

Do not leave social media to an inexperienced staff member – whilst they might have experience of using a social media network, using it for business purposes is different. What you say and do in social media is a direct reflection of your business and its values; it is crucial that your activities reflect this and are consistent and professional and are carried out with a clear understanding of objectives.

Understand why you want to become active on social media.  Just because your competitors are doing it really isn’t good enough.  You need to set clear objectives and execute activities that will meet those objectives.

Setting up a social media network and then ignoring it will damage you.  Consider a customer who Tweets or posts a customer service question on your Facebook wall.  Leave that to go unanswered and not only do they feel unimportant, but they aren’t likely to turn into a customer and it certainly won’t impress anyone else who sees that inactivity.

Do not chase Likes and followers. 10 followers who have a real and active interest in your company are far more valuable to you than 100 followers who do not interact or engage with you at all.

Keep the content of your posts varied and interesting.  If all you do is churn out sales message after sales message people will lose interest very quickly and you’ll also find it harder to attract new followers.

Track everything you do!  Start by taking benchmarks and keep track of growth in followers, interactions and click through to your website regularly.  Tracking the underlying stats is essential in helping you understand what activities are working and those which are not.

Some of the skills needed to excel in social media marketing include;

Strong interpersonal/networking skills, a good understanding of setting objectives, planning and strategy.  You will also need to understand Google Analytics (or similar), have endless creativity, bags of personality (even the stuffiest brand needs to show some personality to succeed in social media), up to date knowledge about all the platforms you are active on (Facebook for example has a large number of rules and guidelines that you must be aware of), good writing skills and ideally the ability to create decent graphics to accompany your posts.

Author Bio - " is a marketing consultant at , the Cheshire based web design, eCommerce and marketing company. Shell specializes in organic search, content strategy and social media engagement for both B2C and B2B companies."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

How Affiliate Marketing And PPC Are Different And Related?

What are we hearing as the popular form of eCommerce strategy today, it’s simple Affiliate Marketing. Although it is not a get rich quick scheme, but more people are getting the better financial independence of enjoying moderate if not profitable earnings flow through it. The earnings from affiliate marketing can be passive or it can be a source of regular profit for those who take online promotion business seriously.

Internet business owners usually own websites where they showcase and market their products. They market the products they want to offer online by providing rich, useful content to their potential clients that are appropriate to their products or solutions they offer. The significant objective is to offer your products online, As an promotion via online marketing approach. If you do not have your own products to offer, becoming affiliate of an online affiliate marketing program is a good tool that you can use to start your own business on internet. With this kind of online marketing you promote the products of others and you get a commission on every sale made by you.

You need to sign up with a reliable and reputed affiliate network. Once you become the member, you are eligible to get an affiliate identification code which is used to track down the sale of every product that you promote online. You will be offered with an affiliate link that will direct your visitors to the site where they can purchase the product you are promoting. That link includes a tracking system of your affiliate identification which is necessary to credit the commission to your account once a sale is made straight from your link.

However sometimes people got confused Affiliate marketing with Pay-per-click or PPC. PPC is an sponsored advertising model that is used to bring visitors using related and relevant keywords and phrases to the ad that is shown on a website or inorganic result of search engine. As a way of online promotion, the commission one can create from using the PPC ad to their website is based on CTR (Click Through Rate). You earn a certain amount whenever your visitors simply simply select the PPC ads shown on your web page.

Both of these online advertising models are related in the sense that you need your own website to show and promote your ads. But there are significant variations between these two. PPC requires keyword analysis to be able to generate better targeted marketing outcomes according to the keywords relevant to your ads. On the other hand affiliate networks are owned by firms that contract affiliate to help generate leads on products. One can use promotion via email techniques, PPC and seo (SEO) techniques to be able to increase your sales.

To become a PPC affiliate marketer, it requires intense analysis on the appropriate targeted keywords to bring visitors to your website. Moreover, you need to learn how to set up and create an ad, performing split test and so much more before getting into the next level of PPC affiliate promotion.

The concept of the pay per just click promotion has been integrated to the affiliate promotion plan that increases an affiliate marketer's creativeness and originality on creating or composing a PPC ad into a good results. There are specific guidelines you need to consider before creating a quality ad in your website. A few tips are offered here as follow:

  • Create an ad that simply concentrates on your potential viewers and niche.
  • Focus on promoting the uses and advantage features of the product you are promote.
  • It would be nice if you are going to place appropriate keywords in your ad as much as possible.
  • Include a powerful "call to action" in the ad and use link which is active.
  • Don’t make any silly mistakes with spellings and grammar it is very important.
  • Display your text ad messages in a manner that is straightforward, clear and understandable.
Source -

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2013’s Content Marketing Strategies

 What is the most buzzing word of 2013 in the internet marketing industry the answer is simple, “Content Marketing”. And I am sure you would be familiar with the phrase “Content Marketing Strategy” but what exactly is it? It is an internet marketing technique that allows you to make and spread useful and relevant content to entice users, with the purpose of driving customer action.
Creating useful and relevant content and advertising it on the internet is certainly an excellent way for businesses to make their brand recognizable, sell their product and services, and aid in Search Engine Optimization through backlink building. These days, you can see numerous companies using content marketing strategies not only to develop long lasting connections with their clients but to generate more traffic to their websites or blogs too.

Following are some tips on how to use the content marketing strategies for your business.

1. As a starter, your first step should be to make amazing content that fits the needs and desires of your prospective potential viewers. Determining your focus on niche is the most essential in any content marketing technique. You will end up providing your content to the wrong viewers and ultimately waste your efforts and energy if you fail in this phase. So ensure that you provide useful and valuable content that piques the interest of those who get it.

2. Improving your key talking points should be your next step. When it comes to writing, hundreds of factors that you have experienced or observed of will come to your mind, but you cannot write about all of them. Your goal is to focus on the particular factors that will get the interest of your potential viewers.

3. You will get only limited visibility, if you post your content on your blog or website. To get global exposure you should approach different communities through different sites. You may have to research on the platforms and formats that your clients prefer and accordingly decide on how and where to post your content to improve your reach. There are many online websites and blogs where you can post your content in a variety of types. Some of them are Ezinearticles, IdeaMarketers, Scribd, Slideshare, YouTube.

4. One of the most essential components in any content marketing strategy is making a schedule or calendar. Your company might have plenty of content to post based on real-time news and activities in your niche market. Hence for an efficient content marketing you need a well-planned schedule. It allows you to remain focused and contributes structure to your content marketing initiatives. It also helps you to not waste time and to make the content development process successful. With a schedule, you can make a preliminary outline of the days you have post content in a week. 

5. Now it’s the perfect time to begin thinking of how to make use of existing content in an efficient way, so that it gets global visibility. Fear not! A single piece of content can be made available in different types and formats which will be valued by different people across the planet. This increase the sharing possibilities of your content. You can broaden your material into video clips, research books, podcasts, blogs, slideshows, online seminars, infographics, eBooks, press releases etc.

6. Finally, you have to observe, engage and evaluate your performance. Listen to your users and speak to them. Use opportunities to communicate with them and get to know what they expect from you. Reply to their comments and try to get their reviews so that you can utilize it to enhance your efforts. Tracking and calculating results are the only way to know what exactly is working and what needs adjusting.

You can begin creating an efficient strategy of your company with these tips. Your content should not just get the attention of your viewers, but should motivate them to learn more about you and eventually, do business with you. Remember that you are a marketer and not a reporter.

Source:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

COMIC: What if Facebook Actually Made a Real Home?


Mark Zuckerberg introduced  to the world today. This is a "family of apps" that make your Android phone more social. But what if Facebook made a real home? What do you think that might look like?
Well for starters. imagine Facebook on every wall, literally! Your dining room table would come equipped with a built-in Instagram camera so that none of your buddies on social media ever had to miss another meal of yours again. The walls would be transparent so that the public could always know what you were up to. But don't worry about the foundation as every home is strength-tested by Sheryl Sandberg leaning into it. The house would be really green and economical too, with heat pumps drawing hot air from comments and even the foundation materials "borrowed" from other builders like the Winklevoss brothers. All built on top an Android platform. Each house also comes with connecting tunnels to your neighbors' homes keeping you connected all the time. Just watch out for the developers crammed into the attic sneaking downstairs to hack into your fridge!
By

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Irresistible Rise Of Google Plus

The Irresistible Rise Of Google Plus
by .

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue [Infographic]



Like this infographic? Get more tips from .

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Getting Over Writer's Block With Simple Tips


So, you have decided to create a blog as part of your affiliate marketing strategy. That’s wonderful. Blogs can be an effective aspect of your affiliate marketing strategy if done correctly. The darkest fear of all bloggers is writer’s block. There is nothing worse than this for blogger. I get it all the time. It becomes even worse when you need to add fresh content to your blog on a regular basis. The most annoying part is understanding that you have all these excellent ideas but cannot seem to get them onto the paper. We all experience a time when we sit down and start the PC to the empty screen and nothing happens. After 1 or 2 hrs the screen is still empty and there seems to be nothing we can do about it. But believe it or not, you should not be in the hurry to hate writer’s block. Why not? Because normally when a blogger suffers writers-block, it causes them to take a look back and revaluate what they are writing about. The final result is new ideas and fresh content. 

First things first, you have to do is get successfully pass the idea that you have to write an awesome blog post every time you start. Now all of us understand the value of fresh and good content so it can perplex and impatience that keeps the ideas and words from flowing in the mind. Publishing regular content is better than no content at all so keep composing something and the knockout content will gradually start coming. Keep in mind this is not a corporate proposal or research project submission so just write anything that comes to your mind first. If you still find yourself trapped, here are some tips to help you get it.

1. Ask Your Readers and Followers
One of the easiest and best methods to come up with writing concepts is to ask your visitors for their reviews. Obviously, one goal of writing a blog post is to create content that is relevant to your audience and will keep them returning.

You can collect their views in several different ways. For example, you can make a study poll either on your website/blog or on social media asking the visitors for their reviews on a particular subject within your niche.

Based on the response of your audience, you can then write a detailed post featuring the subject that the majority of your audience wants to know about.

You can also take a look at the comments left by your readers on the blog for more ideas. If many of your visitors ask the same question regarding a particular subject, consider responding to their concerns detailed by creating a post exploring the subject in more detail.

2. Find Guest Bloggers
Guest bloggers can be an excellent way to keep the a persistence on the blog. This can allow you the much needed break while presenting your visitors to new perspectives. It also provides you with different and useful perspectives and builds relations with other professionals in your niche.

3. Follow The Latest News
The latest news stories are a great way to collect ideas for blogs. If something newsworthy happens and you can associate it to your niche in some way, you’ll be able to take a tale that has already been written and spin it to relate it to your personal views and thoughts on the subject.

For example, let us say you write about food and recipes on your blog. There are always new recipes and reviews of local restaurants are being published in RSS feeds, newspapers, radio, TV etc.

The latest news stories are a great way to come up with your own post, and can even provoke reviews and conversation among your visitors.

4. Schedule Your Posts In Advance
Every author knows that motivation often comes at different times. When the idea strikes you, don’t waste the opportunity, save them, or even schedule them for later. The Major blog platform provides you with the capability to schedule the post. You can write posts in advance and schedule them. 

5. Tell Stories
There is something which flows naturally- what is it? Stories. The issue with this is it took time to build a good story. To be able to deal with this make a file of personal notes that will induce a certain story that suits your subject. After this when the time come to write you can take out the key factors that made you think of the story in the first place and look you now have a piece of content for your blog.

In present scenario blogging for is a common strategy, but sometimes when bloggers stuck, they got frustrated and stop blogging. Every week 6 out of 10 new blogs got deleted by bloggers for the same reason, but being patient is the key to blogging.

Original Source:


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Important Tips About Affiliate Marketing


Perhaps you are inquisitive about the best methods to make progress, and many of them are in the following piece. The tips defined below will give you plenty of assistance to help you be successful in your affiliate marketing goals.

For more possibilities to earn money consider a specialized niche. By using these niches, you can generate profit faster than using niches that are more loaded which could require plenty of unwanted waiting a chance to obtain visitors.

Keep an eye on your stats and look at each link to see where it performs well. Changes in the position of the link can let you see where it helps your web page the most. Use the same content; the only thing to change is the position of the link.

Another effective way to increase website traffic is by using trivia questions on banner ads. Users will have to check out your site to get the appropriate answer to the question. A lot of audiences will be attracted towards that banner by simply clicking. Visitors can be encouraged by offering discounts or freebies for correct answers.

To earn more income with an affiliate program, you should make your review better by including video clips, screenshots, and anything else that can put the product in limelight. These reviews should convince more people to bought the product. Ensure that your review particularly list the features of the product so the customers will not have any silly questions about it.

You should maintain only the most successful affiliates, in order to make your affiliate promotion pay off. Always do a regular review on how your various affiliates are performing comparative to each other. By un-linking with affiliates who perform badly, you are allowing yourself more room for high-quality affiliates.

Publishing handwritten ads on the website will gives the ad a personal touch which may result in higher sales. If you are not so good at writing, you may consider hiring a freelance writer to write for you.

Most likely, it will take a while you to understand that which affiliate promotion have worked best with your demographic. Some demographics may turn well when shown high-tech media ads, whereas discreet text ads could work better for other ones. While you are in the process of ad selection, think about your potential viewers and what they are most likely to respond to.

When you are just started getting into the affiliate marketing business, start slowly. This will provide you with possibilities to enjoy early success, and keep you from feeling confused. By doing this, you will become more prepared to contend in tougher niches.

You need to know your customers in order be successful. You will need to try to meet up with what your visitors want. Try to figure out what makes them check out your website and then increase that knowledge. What do they want?

If visitors are on your website for a particular theme such as sports or farming then that is what they are expecting - remember why the are viewing your website. Design and develop your website and content to match with your affiliate links. Your visitors are more likely to click on a link that is relevant to the information on your website.

By getting the attention of social media, you can also get attention from search engines. Google indexes market websites particularly for social media.

doesn't have to be difficult. There are many things involved with it, but it is one of the best methods to make money on the Internet. These helpful suggestions will improve your understanding of .

Monday, March 25, 2013

HISTORY OF AFFILIATE MARKETING


Now when almost every active internet user have heard about , and how to make money from it, now you should know that where affiliate marketing came from. Although people think that affiliate marketing term is meant for world wide web, but the history of affiliate marketing is way back before world wide web arrived. 
Affiliate marketing was first started by “William J. Tobin” who owned “PC Flowers & Gifts”. He also considered as the first person holding the title of first internet marketer. In 1989 he patented internet affiliate marketing and launched it on Prodigy Network. In 1994 beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts was launched on internet in association with IBM, who owned half the Prodigy Network. 
1994
  1. In November 1994 Buy Web Program launched by CDNOW with the idea of music sites would be able to review albums on their page and users could interested in purchasing. 
  2. In 1994 Epage was founded which is one of the first dot com companies and manage to get through dot com bubble burst. 
1996
  1. In 1996 Epage started an affiliate program under the guidance of Brad Waller and it is still running the most earliest affiliate program on the web.
  2. In July 1996 Amazon launched its associates program, its associates can place text and banner links on their site for individual book or direct to the the home page of Amazon. 
  3. BeFree was established in 1996 by Johnson and Samuel Gerace (brothers) and was relatively effective. 
  4. LinkShare was also established in 1996 by Stephen and Heidi Messer (brother and sister) and is still significant on the internet these days. Rakuten Inc. acquired it in 2005.
1997
In 1997, Wayne Marciano released ‘Refer-it.com’ which was a site developed to take together all the prime Affiliate Networks with an overview snapshot of their profile for the attention and comfort of both affiliates and merchants as well. This was the first of what became known as an ‘Affiliate Program Directory’.
1998
DoubleClick was established in 1998 as an Application Service Provider for Online promotion. 
In 1998, Allan Gardyne released ‘AssociatePrograms.com’, and many others such as ‘AffiliateGuide.com’ and ‘ReveNews.com’ also established that same year (although ReveNews only one maintaining its article and information sharing aspects). Many Affiliate Program Directories did not survive through the dot.com burst.
2000
In Feb 2000, Amazon declared that it had been granted a patent on components of affiliate program. 
2002
In 2002 BeFree was obtained by ValueClick (an internet promotion company), and stopped its operation in 2008 after ValueClick encouraged a conversion of its associates to another on the acquisition, ‘Commission Junction’.
2003
After 2000 affiliate marketing experienced some significant changes. First of all the dot.com burst brought a lot of people down to reality. It was no longer a sure thing, instead, promoters in this niche actually required to understand the game a bit better. Books regarding this subject started to overflow online book shops. For those who couldn't wrote a book, small guides  and whitepapers offering the ‘secrets’ to affiliate marketing jumped up on sites, and could be downloadable – for a price. Conventional advertising models like e-mail subscribers started to be integrated into sites providing education. There are also Affiliate events started to began arriving.
  • Two affiliate marketers, Shawn Collins and Missy Ward founded “Affiliate Summit” in 2003.
  • The annual conference of Commission Junction – Commission Junction University
  • The annual conference of LinkShare – Linkshare Symposium
2008
Google acquired DoubleClick in 2008 and it was re-branded as the ‘Google Affiliate Network (GAN)’.
“GAN” Google Affiliate Network also started inviting some special guest on their annual conference.

HISTORY OF

Friday, March 15, 2013

5 ESSENTIAL THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING AFFILIATE MARKETING WITH YOUR BLOG


If you love blogging and have a blog with nice visitors flow then you should consider signing up for an affiliate program. Because it is a nice way of passive income. Small and large business organizations use affiliate programs to promote their products, services and events. In Fact affiliate marketing is now considered among the online marketers community as an important channel of marketing and generating income. 
If you are keen to explore affiliate marketing through blogging then here are some tips you should follow to embark the affiliate marketing journey.  
1. Build a Link With the Audience
Who is going to purchase the products that you are promoting? Ans. Your blog visitors/readers. But, before they buy something, they need to have believe in on you. As we know “Rome was not built in a day” likewise “trust cannot develop in a day”. It requires a lot of effort and creativity to write the content that entice the potential viewers. So, the key factors like regularity, top quality content and user engagement are stipulated for making healthy relation and interaction with your viewers.
2. Focus On Your Niche
I am not asking you to narrow your opinions and thinking, but more particularly, the topics in your niche. If you blogged once on gadgets and then move to jewelry, it will be difficult to get targeted and returning visitors. This will directly affect your affiliate marketing strategy. If you are trying to promote a jewelry brand and half of the audience is not interested about it but in gadgets, you have already lost your conversion ratio by 50 percent. Therefore, niche blogging is better than general blogging! 
3. Learn From Others
Affiliate marketing is just like an art. You have to be experts in the art of effective to be able to promote and make the sale. This art might not be a natural aspect of your character, but can be learnt through others. The easy way is to read and read more about it. Learn from others experiences. 
4. Choose the Right Product
Finding the right product in the right niche is very important for affiliate marketing. It has to be relevant to what you write about and should help you get the best conversion rate. It can be promoting products, services or referring websites to people like currency trading affiliate program where one gets commission for referring people to sign-up to their website and for some, it is a big cash machine. You have to select smartly to obtain highest possible advantages of affiliate marketing.
5. Try It Out
Always test the product or services before being promoted, because how will you convince others, if you are not satisfied. Also, if you have tested the product, you will be able to provide a better view about the product or services in much detail. As a purchaser, I would really like to know the details. This will give a quick overview and help in taking quicker decision. If I like what I see, I will buy it immediately!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

21 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros | Social Media Examiner


Are you struggling to keep up to date with the best social media marketing tips?
Would you like to know how to get the best results with your social media marketing?
We asked twenty-one social media marketing experts to share their best social media tips today.
Here’s what they had to say.

#1: Attract Leads With Facebook Offers


Amy Porterfield
If you’re looking for a new way to attract quality leads using social media, try .
Facebook Offers are a type of Facebook ad, but they work a bit differently than a traditional Facebook Ad. You can set them up directly from your Facebook Page (no need to go into the Ads dashboard) and they can be created for offline and online businesses.
Although you can use them for many different promotions, I’ve seen the highest conversion rates when marketers use Offers to attract quality leads.
juice offer
Here's an example of a lead generating Facebook Offer.
Here’s why they work:
  1. Offers are promoted in the news feed (as opposed to being placed in the right-hand column on Facebook where you usually see marketplace ads).
  2. Ads in the news feed can get up to six times more engagement than ads in the right-hand column on Facebook.
  3. You can hyper-target your Offers to ensure that only the Facebook users who will have a genuine interest in your brand see them.
  4. When a user clicks on your Offer in the news feed, Facebook sends that user an email to their personal email account outside of Facebook. That means that your Offer is not only seen on Facebook, but now you are getting into the email boxes of interested prospects.
  5. When prospects open their email, they will see a link to your website or an opt-in page (wherever you choose to send people to claim your offer).
See how powerful Facebook Offers can be? Not only do you get optimal exposure in the news feed, you also get into personal email boxes and you can hyper-target each Offer. The way I see it, Facebook Offers are a triple threat!
, social media strategist, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies.

#2: Use Social Media to Engage With Your Email Subscribers


Melanie Duncan
The best social media marketing tip that I have for businesses is touse social media to engage with your email subscribers.
I can’t take total credit for it—it’s a concept that I heard at the  in San Francisco. You see, everyone is trying to use social media to get new leads, which you definitely can do, but not enough business owners are using social media to build lasting and profitable relationships with their current subscribers.
You probably don’t want to email your list every day, but you likely want to stay top of mind and connect with them on a daily basis somehow. Social media is the perfect solution!
subscribe via email istock 15899912
Use social media to build lasting and profitable relationships with your current subscribers. Image source: iStockphoto
I suggest putting an email in your autoresponder and invite your new subscribers to follow you on Pinterest, or like your Facebook Page, and then remember to tell them WHY.
Do you host exclusive  on your Page? Will they have access to information that you don’t share anywhere else? Make it worth their while and watch your business and your bank account flourish.
Remember, when it comes to your audience, you want quality over quantity.
, a serial entrepreneur, owns a successful apparel and home d├ęcor ecommerce business and teaches other entrepreneurs how they can get more traffic and sales with Pinterest.

#3: Combine Your Marketing Channels


Brian Carter
My biggest tip is strategic: combine all the best of digital marketing for what I call your “Perpetual (Pro)motion Machine.”
If you use SEO, organic social media, search advertising, social advertising and Google remarketing ads, then you’re doing the best of everything.
You’re raising awareness for new business via Facebook, you’re getting the low-hanging fruit of buying-intent keywords via Google, and you’re making sure that people who’ve been to your site keep seeing you via Google remarketing and your Facebook fan base.
pertpetual promotion machine
The "Perpetual (Pro)motion Machine."
Also, most companies’ analytics are incomplete. They usually make Google look better than it really is and Facebook look worse than it really is. So allocate some money to raise awareness via Facebook as a best practice. Win the war at the mindshare and awareness level, not just at the bottom of the sales funnel.
, develops strategies and builds social marketing fan bases for companies of all sizes, and is the author of The Like Economy.

#4: Create a LinkedIn Company Page


Viveka Von Rosen
If you don’t have your  up on LinkedIn yet, what are you waiting for?
 are not only a great way to get more branding for your business, but they are also an excellent way toreach your target market on LinkedIn.
Many business owners and executives like to keep a more private profile on LinkedIn, but would also like exposure for their company.
company profile
Get exposure and target your products and services.
LinkedIn Company Pages are the way to do that. You can grow your company following as large as you want, regardless of the size of your personal network. If you have employees, they can also become administrators of your page and help you promote and manage it, thereby exponentially increasing its visibility.
You can also target your updates and services and products to a specific market. This allows you to craft a message and a presence specific to your different audiences. If someone comes to your Company Page from the financial, legal, medical or marketing industry, you can customize your message to speak directly to them.
Not only that, but you can create “click-through” banners to entice your target market over to your website, sales page, commerce site or other social media sites. And it’s free!
company profile
Add video, documents and pictures to your Company Page.
And you can add video, documents and pictures to your company page too!
So if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page yet, what are you waiting for? And if you do, now’s the time to refocus it to target exactly the people you are hoping to do business with.
, known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert,” author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day.

#5: Identify Your Outcomes


Ric Dragon
When we talk about the best thing to do in social media marketing for any given business, we have to begin with what that business is trying to achieve—its “desired outcomes.”
The best thing for a manufacturer of underarm deodorant is likely to be something quite different from what might be best for a company that tests those same products.
Before you go jumping into one platform or another, imagine what it would require for you or the company to go out and buy a $1,000 bottle of champagne and share it with the team. That’s your “1K Champagne Result.”
stock photo 11160909 champagne
Start thinking about your 1K Champagne Results. Image source: iStockphoto
The next part of the puzzle is to understand that not all social media efforts are the same. There are some really big differences in approaches, and thus outcomes. The five big approaches are:
  • Brand maintenance—monitor your channels and respond when appropriate, and perhaps post a bit here and there.
  • —whether it’s internal advocates, external brand ambassadors or groups of people who share the underlying passions of the brand, in this work you endeavor to join and nurture community.
  • Influencer outreach—identify and engage the people who are influential around your passion points or industry.
  • Reputation management and development—the project wherein you eitherrepair or develop thought leadership or positive reputation.
  • The big splash—these are the big creative campaigns that garner a lot of short-term attention.
You might very well decide on a mix of these five approaches. If you start by thinking about your 1K Champagne Results, you can more easily line up your big approaches with whatever it is that’s going to make that cork go flying across the room.
, co-founder and CEO of DragonSearch, author of Social Marketology and DragonSearch Online Marketing Manual.

#6: Become the Wikipedia of Your Industry


Marcus Sheridan
Over the last couple of years, a very interesting shift has occurred with each and every one of us who use the Internet. And what is this shift?
We’ve all grown incredibly impatient online.
In other words, if we go to a business’s website, and we can’t find what we’re looking for, it bothers us. We get frustrated quickly. And unlike a few years ago when we might have “hung around” to try to find the answers we were looking for, we now move on quickly—knowing that if we keep searching, we’ll eventually find a website that has the answer(s) we seek.
Interestingly enough, although we’ve all grown more impatient when it comes to websites that don’t bother giving us the answers we’re looking for, we’ve also grown more loyal once we stumble upon the information jackpot.
Basically, if we feel a website is a true “go-to source” for information and answers, we’ll keep coming back—again and again and again.
It’s for this reason that the best social media strategy any company can take in 2013 and beyond is to become a true teacher () within their industry. The golden rule of marketing is this:
They ask, you answer.
In other words, if a consumer has ever asked a question, you should be answering it on your website. And considering most industries have literally thousands of potential consumer questions, content should always be growing, evolving and added to.
yale steve
After owner Steve Sheinkopf followed the "They Ask, You Answer" strategy for his company's content marketing approach in 2012, the Boston-based business Yale Appliance watched their web traffic, along with sales, explode.
With the average business website answering about 10 consumer questions, if a company is willing to follow the “They Ask, You Answer” mentality, amazing results will often occur. The brand will grow. Traffic on the site will increase. And above all else, sales will likely have a huge upturn.
, co-owner of River Pools and Spas, the founder of PoolSchool.us—an educational site on selecting the right pool, founder of The Sales Lion.

#7: Meet in Person or “Virtually Connect”


Andrea Vahl
Some of my strongest online connections and relationships have developed because I took the time to connect in person.
Either by organizing a “meetup” or “Tweetup” with a group, going to a conference (such as ) where I knew the people I wanted to meet would be or even just connecting one-on-one through .
I highly recommend you take some of these online connections offline to make a deeper connection.
google hangout
Use Google+ Hangouts to meet up with your peers.
Think about organizing a  with several like-minded people with whom you are interested in connecting.
Even “virtually” connecting can help strengthen that relationship and spark some ideas for collaboration. Meeting someone makes retweeting and sharing their posts much more fun. Not only that, it can have a profound effect on your business. I know it has for me!
, social media coach, speaker, strategist and the Facebook community manager for Social Media Examiner, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies.

#8: Ask Your Audience Anything


Pat Flynn
Ask. Plain and simple—just ask. Ask anything. Why? Because when you ask your audience something, you give them permission to speak. When it comes to social media, you want to do two things:engage and get people involved.
Asking encourages both and taps into the human nature of people who are online and participating in social media—the urge to be heard.
question marks with speech bubbles
Asking your audience anything gives them permission to speak. Image source: iStockphoto
Once you’ve enabled others to speak by asking, you’ll learn a lot about your business—what’s working, what’s not and where to go from here. At the same time, you’ll learn a lot about your audience—who they are, what they like and dislike and the language they speak.
From there, you can start a real conversation and build a deeper relationship with your audience.
, founder of Smart Passive Income.

#9: Like Your Customers on Facebook


Mitch Joel
Instead of asking your consumers to like your brand on Facebook, why don’t you start liking them?
Most brands use  as an extension of their traditional and mass-marketing initiatives. As such, we have what can only be described as an “arms race” for likes on Facebook.
The average person on Facebook has 120-200 connections (depending on whom you ask… and when).
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Start liking your customers on Facebook. Image source: iStockphoto
As big as Facebook is, it’s actually many, many, very small circles of close (and semi-close) connections.
Facebook and brands are less about advertising and much more about creating, nurturing and developing a more direct relationship between individuals and the brands that serve them. This isn’t for all brands. This isn’t for all consumers. This is (still) a massive opportunity for those who can rise above a traditional advertising strategy.
, president of Twist Image, blogger and podcaster, author of Six Pixels of Separation and the forthcoming book CRTL ALT Delete.

#10: Listen First and Never Stop Listening


Dave Kerpen
Listening to your customers across social media is most important. There is little sense in social media marketing if you are not following this simple rule.
Social media is based on conversations; it’s not just another marketing channel for you to push out your content or promote your product. You have to have a conversation in which you’re engaging your customers. And in order to have a good conversation—whether online or offline—you have to listen and respond to your audience.
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Listening to your customers is most important. Image source: iStockphoto
Use  search terms like “need an accountant” if you’re an accountant or “We’re hiring” if you’re a recruitment firm. Then take what you learn from listening and use it to build better products, services and marketing campaigns.
, for example, returned to their old packaging after customers complained widely on the Internet that the new biodegradable packaging was too noisy.
Following this simple tip of listening to your customers AND prospects will empower your business with knowledge about what your customers really want. This is crucial for your business to grow and achieve high customer satisfaction. Customers like businesses that listen and respond to them.
, CEO of Likeable, author of Likeable Social Media and the forthcoming Likeable Business.

#11: Move From Social Like to Social Trust


John Jantsch
Smart marketers use free content as a way to attract fans and followers. Others create and hide content in an effort to get Facebook and Twitter users to like their Page or submit their email to get to the good stuff.
If you really want to see the power of this idea, combine these approaches. Create and share valuable content with no gate or requirement. Then offer those readers even more content when they like your Page or visit a landing page to sign up for more updates.
fb offer
Duct Tape Marketing's offer on Facebook.
The power behind this two-step approach is that it not only allows more people to see and interact with your first wave of content, the people who then take your call to action are much more highly qualified because you’ve already built a layer of trust with them before you asked for anything in exchange.
This approach works in almost any social network and is particularly effective using a combination of  and Sponsored Updates.
, founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network, marketing consultant and speaker, author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine.

#12: Secure Your Brand and Product Names


Justin Levy
Whether you’re taking baby steps into social media or have jumped in with both feet, it’s critical that you secure your brand and product names on all major social media channels. This is as important as the domain name you choose for your company.
Too often companies will tweak or completely change the name of their company to fit an available domain name but they don’t treat social media channels the same way.
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Secure your brand and product names on all social media channels. Image source: iStockphoto
Even if you’re not ready to launch an active presence yet, at least secure your company handles on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, ,, , ,  and others.
Ideally your company handle will be consistent across all social media channels (e.g., @yourcompanyname), because once you start setting up variations on different channels, it makes it more difficult for your prospects, customers and fans to find you.
To that end, take a few minutes to set up minimal branding such as adding your company logo, website and bio information. Once you’ve completed this exercise, it becomes easier to just secure your company name on the new shiny social network of the month.
However, initially you may consider using a service such as  which allows you to easily search across 550 social networks. KnowEm even has available where they will take care of complete signup of all profile info, thus making it even easier for you.
, strategic advisor on all social media activities at Citrix Online, editor-in-chief of Workshifting.

#13: Find Your Content Marketing Mission Statement


Joe Pulizzi
, a mission statement is a company’s reason for existence. It’s why the organization does what it does.
 has always been to democratize the travel experience. The  is to be the easiest pharmacy retailer for customers to use. So, in simple terms, the mission statement must answer the question, “Why do we exist?”
In almost every one of my keynote presentations, I cover the content marketing mission statement. I feel it’s critical to set the tone for the idea of content marketing and social media, or any marketing for that matter.
Marketing professionals from so many small and large businesses get so fixated on social media channels such as blogs, Facebook or Pinterest that they honestly have no clue of their underlying content strategy.
So, the why must come before the what. This seems obvious, but most marketers have no mission statement or core strategy behind the content they develop.
Think of it this way: What if you were the leading trade magazine for your niche area? What if your goal was not to first sell products and services but to impact your readers with amazing information that would change their lives and behaviors?
If you can get your mission statement straight, you’ll make social media marketing that much easier for yourself.
 has its mission statement in the first line of its  page.
inc magazine
Inc. magazine has its mission statement in the first line of its About Us page.
Welcome to Inc.com, the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.
Let’s dissect this a bit. Inc.’s mission statement includes:
  1. The core audience target: entrepreneurs and business owners
  2. What will be delivered to the audience: useful information, advice, insights, resources, and inspiration
  3. The outcome for the audience: growing their businesses
Inc.’s mission statement is also incredibly simple and includes no words that could be misunderstood. Perfecto!
If you want your social media to work, first stop what you are doing and start thinking about what your content marketing mission statement will be. Put the “why” before the “what” or “where.”
, founder of The Content Marketing Institute, author of Managing Content Marketing and co-author of Get Content, Get Customers.

#14: Listen 100% of the Time


Sarah Robinson
The best social media marketing tip I can offer is this: Talk about yourself 10% of the time, engage with others about what matters to them 90% of the time and listen 100% of the time.
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Make sure you listen 100% of the time. Image source: iStockphoto
I was having lunch with a really sharp guy and the conversation turned to social media ( specifically). He said, “I just don’t get Twitter. I post some stuff there and that’s about it. I don’t see any real return.” I quickly checked his stream and the only thing in it were his posts about his business. Later, I replied, “Twitter is a two-way conversation. Think of it as a cocktail party. It’s not a place to talk only about yourself and hawk your wares.” “Huh,” he said. “I never thought of social media as a conversation.”
I know people who go to cocktail parties and don’t think they’re for conversations either.
Don’t be the guy no one wants to talk to because he’s only interested in talking about himself. Be the one who draws a crowd because you are interested in and attentive to others. Offer helpful resources and connectionsSolve problems.
This earns you the right to eventually talk just a little about yourself and what you are up to. And when you do, everyone will be listening.
, a seasoned business coach, strategist, advisor and speaker who helps business owners set their companies apart from the pack. Author of Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities.

#15: Create a Systematic Approach


Stephanie Sammons
To be successful in leveraging social media for growing your business, I believe you have to create a systematic approach to building your network and your brand.
Developing a system that is focused on high-impact  activities while spending the least amount of time possible allows you to be a consistent and efficient marketer. Consistency builds trust and efficiency lowers your marketing costs.
Many people don’t realize how important consistency is in marketing. Simply by staying top of mind with your community, you will reinforce your messaging over and overand create loyalty within your community (your messaging must be unique, helpful and insightful). Also, by being more efficient with your marketing, you will save time and money.
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Be more efficient with your marketing. Image source: iStockphoto
By developing a systematic approach, the members of your network will be able to count on you to show up week after week with valuable insights, information and guidance. You will grow accustomed to a schedule that works for you, and over time, you will build online influence by meeting the expectations and experiences of your clients and prospects.
Here are some components that your digital marketing system should include:
  • Time to create and publish unique content to your blog each month
  • Time to share reputable and helpful content with your community on social networks
  • Time to engage in conversations and discussions on social networks
  • Time to empower and promote others
  • Time to grow your network and community
  • Time to analyze and reflect upon what’s working and what can be improved upon
Planning, dedication, and social media marketing software tools can all help in achieving a systematic approach while shaving off significant time in building your brand. It is feasible to spend only 3 hours a week on your system and realize success. If you map out your plan and make the commitment to marketing, you will achieve results.
, founder and CEO of Wired Advisor.

#16: Create Your Voice


Neal Schaffer
Of all the companies I consult with, the one social media marketing tip that is always part of my advice is the importance of .
Creating a social media presence and engaging with both consumers and potential clients requires companies to have a “voice” and to be able to share something of value in social media communities.
A blog is a perfect place to establish that “voice,” and it also serves as a logical vehicle to help both seed conversations in social media and help lead those same social media users back to your own website.
Simply being active in social media helps attain brand awareness, but when a user comes back to your website, it gives you a higher probability of converting them into a customer.
istock red megaphone on blackboard
A blog is the perfect place to establish your voice. Image source: iStockphoto
Obviously, providing unique content means that you can reap the potential benefit of that content being shared in social media, helping to expose your brand and website to more potential customers.
It’s also a logical boost for your search engine optimization. Some have claimed that with the advent of social media, blogging is dying. I believe that blogging is more important than ever before, and those who  for their social media communities will continue to reap the benefits.
To build upon this tip, the keys to successful blogging are being able to create content that others would want to share (“shareable content”) and also create a content strategy for your blog that is aligned with your marketing goals.
Start with organizing content into “buckets” of categories that are aligned with your present sales or future marketing plans. If you can organize these categories into four “buckets” of content, blog once a week for each category and you’re on your way to becoming successful at business blogging.
, president of Windmills Marketing, author of Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing, Understanding, Leveraging and Maximizing LinkedIn, and the forthcoming Maximizing Twitter for Business.

#17: Share Content That Resonates With Your Audience


Jesse Stay
The best tip I have to offer for social media marketing is to ! Share messages and content that resonates with your audience. Are they going to feel strongly, “I agree with that!” or “I strongly disagree with that!” when you share your message? Those are the types of messages you should be sharing.
Passion should emanate from every part of your social media campaign. From the name of your Facebook Page, to your advertising, to the content you share. Everything should resonate and strike a chord, in one way or another (usually in a positive way), with your audience.
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Share content that really resonates with your audience. Image source: iStockphoto
When you focus on passion, your engagement will go up, your shares will increase and your audience will grow. When you can create content that builds passion, your audience will come. Focus on passion and you can’t go wrong!
, social media director for Deseret Digital Media, author of Google+ Marketing for Dummies and I’m on Facebook—Now What??? 2nd Edition.

#18: Exchange Contact Information


Paul Colligan
There are no guarantees that the social media network or platform that you are part of will have the same shelf life as your business. Networks come and go (MySpace, anyone?) but your business, hopefully, will not.
Yes, social media is a “party” and you want to play and interact on the terms of your host. But just as important is the simple fact that said party will end at some point.
Just as you might exchange phone numbers or email addresses (with some people) at any social event, you should, and want to, consider doing the same thing on any social network you want to be part of.
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Consider exchanging phone numbers and email addresses with people within your social network. Image source: iStockphoto
Regular contextually appropriate opportunities to exchange phone numbers or addresses inside of a social network are just good business. Be strategic, but be purposeful. The test of any good party is the relationships that come from them. Everything else is just fleeting memories of “another party” and a bad headache in the morning.
BTW, I met my wife at a social event. I sure am glad we exchanged contact information and didn’t hope everything would happen within the confines of where we met.
, CEO of Colligan and Content Czar at Instant Customer.

#19: Distribute Your Blog Content to the Most Popular Groups on LinkedIn


Michael Crosson
It is easy to gain very valuable distribution of your content to some of the 200,000,000+ members of .
Here’s how to get exposure to some of the largest and most popular groups.
  • Find the LinkedIn Share button on articles or posts throughout the web.
    linkedin share
    Find the LinkedIn Share button on articles or posts.
  • Cut and paste your content under Post to Updates and then check the Post to Groups box.
    linkedin share
    Cut and paste your content under Post to Updates.
  • Select the groups you want your post submitted to.
    linkedin share
    Select groups.
Done! This is super-easy and helps accelerate massive exposure.
, founder and publisher of SocialMediopolis, founder of the fourth-largest LinkedIn group, the Social Media Marketing Group.

#20: Integrate Social Media Best Practices


Carrie Kerpen
The most important social media marketing tip for businesses is to integrate, integrate, integrate. Social media can’t exist in a silo. Instead, it should be a core part of your strategy.
A company that’s responsive on Twitter but has poor customer service practices won’t do well. A company that produces great content on Facebook but has a closed, non-transparent corporate culture will eventually fail. Successful social media has to start with integration.
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Integrate your efforts for successful social media outcomes. Image source: iStockphoto
Social media is not just a function of marketing or public relations. Of course social media includes marketing, public relations and advertising, but it also includes, customer relationship management, sales, operations, human resources and research and development.
Ideally, everyone at your company should be trained in the fundamentals of social media as it touches many different areas of a business.
Furthermore, there are numerous opportunities throughout the customer experience for integration of social networks and social media best practices. The more open and transparent you are with customers throughout the entire customer life cycle, the more comfortable they’ll feel about continuing to buy your stuff, hire you, like you and your Pages and recommend you to friends.
, Chief Like Officer at Likeable Media, author of the upcoming book Social Moms.

#21: Focus on Getting Attention First


Aaron Kahlow
If I had to boil it down to one social media marketing tip, it is to focus on the marketing element.
We are marketers, we need to get some movement beyond buzz and really drive progress. In that vein, my tip is to focus on getting attention FIRST.
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Focus on getting attention first. Image source: iStockphoto
So many of us think about the end game of generating leads or sales, and others think about the metrics of engagement. But like a magazine ad, you must get someone to stop the virtual page flipping and say “Hmm, that’s interesting.”
Focus on headline writing and  (I steal from ) to get someone to pause for that millisecond and lean in. Your content is only as good as that which gets the attention of the inundated user.
Then of course you must test, iterate and measure. Tools to do this will be critical.
, CEO of Online Marketing Connect, chairman and founder of the Online Marketing Summit and its related educational arm, the Online Marketing Institute.

Who are these social media marketing experts?

The social media marketing experts who contributed to this article are all speaking at .
Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner’s latest mega-conference—taking place at the waterfront San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California on April 7-9, 2013.
Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of social media marketing for this conference. Only the best for you!
All of the experts you’ve come to respect and admire will be in one place. Be sure to .

Why should you attend Social Media Marketing World?

You’ll rub shoulders with the biggest names and brands in social media, soak up countless tips and new strategies and enjoy extensive networking opportunities in San Diego, California.
This is a historic opportunity for you to connect face-to-face with the top social media marketing experts while breaking bread with like-minded peers from around the globe.
You’ll pick from  covering social media tactics to content creation to social strategy.  Plus, hear from brands such as Sony Electronics, Ebay, Walmart, Cisco, Zappos.com, Sharpie, Petco, Dell, Whole Foods, Intel, SAP, Citrix, Dun & Bradstreet, Caterpillar, Taylormade, SAS and San Diego Zoo.
This is just a sampling of what’s in store for you at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego on April 7, 8 and 9, 2013. .
What do you think? What’s your best social media marketing tip today? What’s the one thing businesses need to know for successful social media marketing? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

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