How Do I Automate My Social Media Marketing?

Automate My Social Media Marketing

Nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide use social media. That is almost half of the people on the planet.

No business can afford to do without a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular social media sites.

If you are an entrepreneur or an executive at a large and established company, you should leverage the power of social media to promote your brand and your product.

What is Social Media Marketing Automation?

Engaging people on social media is time-consuming. According to a recent survey, marketing teams spend 16 hours a week on tasks involving social media.

You can save your team and company time and money by installing special tools that will do the work of monitoring and managing social media.

Social media marketing automation consists of a set of tools that are designed to decrease your workload and enhance your social media marketing campaign.

The three most popular automation devices are:

  • Scheduling tools
  • Content curation tools
  • Social listening tools

Social Media Scheduling Tools

Members of your executive team have more important things to do than update your company’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

A scheduling tool relieves them of this burden by posting valuable content on your social media accounts automatically.

The posts will be sent out at optimal times so that you get maximum engagement with your audience.

Here are some of the more popular scheduling devices available on the market:

1. Buffer

Buffer allows you to schedule posts and tailor the content to each social media account. Buffer also has a calendar feature that allows you to review what you have already posted. This gives you the ability to organize, manage, and rearrange your posts as you like.

2. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is known for its elegant and accessible design, which makes it easy to automate your posts. It offers a bulk scheduling option. It also gives you the ability to schedule content you see while surfing the web.

3. Sendible

There are 3 main features that stand out in this tool. First, there is a content recommendation device. If you want to send a post with a news article link, you can conduct a search by topic and it will give you a long list of trending articles to share.

Second, Sendible has a built-in CRM. The latter presents background information on anyone you interact with. This will enable you to send customized content to whomever you are in conversation with.

Third and finally, Sendible can monitor Twitter for certain keywords and phrases and send an automatic reply.

Content Curation Tools

Content curation tools allow you to easily find content that you can share with your social media followers through your posts.

According to one recent study, companies that share curated content receive 33% more clicks than those without it.

Here are a few of the top tools available on the market:

1. Feedly

This tool analyses the topics that interest you and your target audience and shows you related content. The tool comes with an AI research assistant named Leo who helps declutter the information so that you are able to share the best pieces with your followers.

2. Socialinsider

Socialinsider.io is one of the most comprehensive social media analytics and reporting tools. It is perfect for digital agencies and companies that employ digital technology extensively. You can track your company’s level of engagement on different social media pages and compare them. You can also compare these numbers with your competitors and industry benchmarks.

The site makes it easy to build a large report and to download it as a PDF and PPT file.

3. Curata

This tool will automatically search thousands of web sources to find content related to your keywords. You will then be able to approve or reject the suggestions that are to be shared on your social media sites.

Curata also allows you to edit the text and alter the images in the content that you share. You can also add notes and comments to each piece.

Social Listening Tools

These devices help you monitor all online chatter about your company and brand. They help you identify influencers who may be praising and promoting your products.

They can also inform you of any negative reviews of your products or company online.

Social listening tools provide great insight into how consumers are interacting with your company and its products in real-time.

Social listening sites will help you discern trends that drive your highest performing posts. They also help companies build better relationships with followers and identify profitable gaps in the market.

You need not track down every single comment and critique that is made about your company. You can have this done for you with social listening software.

Here are some of the sites that offer social listening solutions:

1. Mention

This tool sifts through billions of sources each day and informs you when and on what site your company’s name has appeared in conversation. You can also set up alerts that inform you when the names of your competitors are mentioned, which can help you analyze social discussions they are involved in.

Mention can be especially helpful to large companies with well-known brands.

2. Sprout Social

This social media management tool was designed with businesses in mind. The team at Social Sprout has identified 5 key pieces of information that are gained from social listening: brand health, industry insight, competitive analysis, campaign analysis, event monitoring. The software allows you to tailor your social listening experience to fit one or more of these categories.

Sprout Social also has tools that allow you to go beyond the mere mention of your company to figure out the sentiment behind it. Your company can be talked about in a positive or negative context. Sprout Social helps you determine which.

In summary, there are plenty of ways to automate your social media marketing operations. Using one or more of the sites discussed above can help your company punch above its weight.

Using social media marketing automation tools can give you deep insights into your target market and help you build better relationships with customers.

The Internet, And The Future Of Bumper Stickers

Bumper Stickers

Oh where, oh where have the corporate bumper stickers gone?

It used to be that in the good old days of marketing, not so very long ago, businesses could simply go to any trade show and hand out bumper stickers with their name and corporate logo on them, and that would be about it for any outbound marketing effort. Add on some type of contest like the radio stations did, and you were really going above and beyond.

But look around these days and you don’t see anything near the proliferation of bumper stickers that there used to be.

Oh sure, you can still find witty and religious sayings, magnetic ribbons for various diseases, words of support for politicians and sports teams, “my child is an honor student” and those omnipresent stick figure families.

But when was the last time you saw a bumper sticker with the name of a local business on it? If you have seen one, odds are that it was probably on an older vehicle and had a purpose of helping to keep the bumper on the car!

Well, times have changed, bumpers have changed and the marketer’s idea of only using bumper stickers to attract prospects and customers will have to change, too.

Those once-plentiful signs of company pride used to be a popular form of traditional — or push — marketing. The objective was to push information, the company’s name or branding statements out to consumers, and they would be more inclined to frequent your business.

Now it’s a much more in-depth and delicate wooing process for companies to capture the attention of prospects and win their consumer hearts. It demands the strategic use of Internet marketing.

The good news is that businesses of every size can utilize Internet marketing. The bad news is that businesses of every size have to utilize Internet marketing, or they will simply lose out to their much more aggressive and Internet-savvy competitors.

This form of marketing is known as pull marketing. It’s a little similar to fishing, where you put something of interest out there to attract some attention, and let it slowly lure in a prospect. The differences here are that you have to use lots of lures and you sometimes have to gain the fish’s permission to participate in the process.

The Move to Social Media and Online Marketing

One similarity between bumper stickers and pull marketing is that you have a very short period of time to garner some attention. Just like passing another car and noticing what the slogan is, your online communications have to be sharp, focused and consistent.

Get to the top of the search engine rankings or nobody can find you, have a succinct Facebook message or it’s gone in 60 seconds as new posts appear, catch attention in six seconds with a blog title or your prospect moves on. It’s a fast and furious world, and you’ve got to be on the top of your game.

Here are just some of the amazing statistics about the opportunity represented by social media and online marketing:

» Social media is huge and it’s still growing: In January, ClickZ highlighted a report from eMarketer that found that social media will have 5.4 million more users by 2016, on top of the 180 million Americans who already rely on it for social interaction and information.

The top five social media outlets are Facebook, TwitterInstagramPinterest and Tumblr. If your business doesn’t have a presence on these five as a minimum, you could be missing out on customers, regardless of your target age group.

Amazingly enough, there will be 4.9 million social network users younger than 12 and 21.1 million teenagers engrossed in social media. Older Millennials are the most active social networkers, and even 17.1 million 55-64 year olds frequent Facebook.

No matter who you need to communicate to in order to present your features and benefits, you had better include social media if you plan to accomplish that goal.

» Young adults are watching less TV: According to Nielsen’s 2014 fourth-quarter analysis of television viewing habits, young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are actually watching less television.

If this is your target group, it’s going to be harder and harder to find them without incorporating an Internet element to your marketing strategy.

The primary reason for their decreased interest in traditional television is their increased interest in digital devices. They are surfing the web, using social media, and Googling answers to every question that comes up in conversation. They use their mobile devices and smartphones extensively and, if they want information on a product or company, they want it now. If it’s not easily available, they are more than willing to move on.

» Social media is the new “back fence”: If people wanted to communicate with their neighbors just a few years ago, they could simply walk to the back fence and exchange information. They might ask about local businesses, relate good and bad experiences, or even provide a referral.

Now all of that is accomplished online through social media networks, bloggers and influencers. Consumers are now in the habit of searching online for answers and information first before making decisions from where to eat to where to have surgery.

In fact, Power Reviews found that 86 percent of consumers say reviews are an essential resource when making purchasing decisions. They trust peer recommendations more than they trust advertising and, if they do have a question or concern for a business, they want to be able to get a response quickly.

Does it seem like too much effort to learn about the new “pull” marketing? The return on investment for the time and energy needed is that you get to stay in business and keep attracting customers. Not such a bad return.

So, are bumper stickers totally useless now? Well, not exactly. But I’d recommend adding your web site with a call to action and a coupon code.

— Taylor Reaume is an e-Business coach and founder of Search Engine Pros. He can be contacted at taylor@thesearchenginepros.com, or 1.800.605.4988. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

How to Get the Most Out of the Internet Marketing Maze

The way companies market their products and services has changed over the last decade. To keep up with competitors in your industry, you need to figure out how to use cost-effective online marketing methods.

To someone who is just looking at online marketing for the first time, it may appear to be an overwhelming and confusing maze. There are plenty of wrong turns you can make, many  of which lead to a scary place with your online marketing strategy. The good news is that the Internet marketing maze is something you can perfect over time.

Here are some simple ways to maximize your Internet marketing strategy. The Internet marketing campaign tips below will help build your online presence.

Consider the Bigger Picture

As you start to build your online marketing approach, it’s very important that you consider the bigger picture and your extended plans. This is vital because your entire online presence needs to be cohesive and symmetrical. If you lack cohesiveness between different parts of your online presence, you’ll have a very difficult time trying to maximize your efforts.

 

Keep in mind that to truly dominate the Internet marketing maze, you’ll want to gear your approach in a way that will accommodate Google search engine algorithms. In being search engine optimized, otherwise known as SEO, with Google, you’ll greatly increase the likelihood of your customers and prospective clients coming across your online networks.

So how does the bigger picture and SEO come together? It’s quite simple.

SEO is measured through a variety of factors. Some of the most important elements include:

» Keywords placed throughout the website

» The name of the website

» Name, address and phone number of the business

» Social media accounts

» How polished the website coding is

When you consider all of these factors, you can see why it’s very important that you avoid switching around the name of your business. The more that you consider the bigger picture and plan for the future, the easier of a time you’ll have when it comes to navigating through the Internet marketing maze.

See what others doing

See What Others Are Doing

Another great way to find out what you should do for your Internet marketing campaign is to look to others and see what they’re doing. This will work if you have competition in your niche market that is successfully implementing its own Internet marketing campaign.

Some of your competitors’ online marketing techniques to observe include:

» How their website looks and is presented

» Which online resources they use, ie. FacebookTwitter, blog, etc.

» How they interact with their clients online

By seeing what works for your competition, you can narrow down the efforts that you effectively put in place for your own marketing approach. There is no time to waste when it comes to being a small business, so learning from the mistakes of your competition will help increase the likelihood of success.

Tailor Your Approach to Your Market

Keep in mind that every company is different. Even though it’s a great idea for you to look at your competition to see what they’re doing, that doesn’t mean  this should be something that you settle on. In other words, you may need to tailor your online networking approach to more directly market your clientele.

A prime example of this can be seen between two shoe companies. While both companies may borrow ideas from one another for most of their marketing techniques, the approach may change for Company A if they sell flip-flops, whereas Company B sells winter snow boots.

Another reason that you’ll want to tailor your approach for your specific market is because it will keep you and your audience more interested. Although you might come across, and want to share, a picture of a cute cat that has been shared a million times online, that doesn’t mean it’s something that your target market will take interest in. That’s why the companies that are most effective with the Internet marketing maze know exactly what it is that their audience wants to see. If you can do this, too, then you’ll notice much better results.

Track your results

Track Your Results

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make with their online marketing includes the failure to observe and track results. Some businesses will just put their market approach in place and assume that things will work. Even some companies that find success will fail to realize that they can change other parts of their approach to try to maximize things in the best way possible. The truth is that you will need to observe your efforts and track your results throughout the lifetime of your online marketing approach.

Change as necessary

Change As Necessary

As you track your results, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t for your online marketing campaign. For the things that work, consider keeping them in place to get the most results possible. However, you’ll want to change things that do not work in hopes of making them better. The more effective that you are with tweaking your system, the higher probability it is that you’ll have an inclusive Internet marketing approach that is successful.

If you’ve heard that marketing online is difficult, you aren’t totally off. But while it may be difficult to navigate your way through what seems like a hopeless maze, stay confident that there are certainly ways to be successful with enough hard work and effort. By following the tips mentioned here, you’ll be able to successfully start your approach at online marketing.

— Taylor Reaume is an e-Business coach and founder of Search Engine Pros. He can be contacted at taylor@thesearchenginepros.com, or 1.800.605.4988. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.