4 Ways Social Media Advertising Will Help Your Small Business Grow

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The research firm Clutch polled small businesses of varying sizes recently to determine how they used social media in their business. One of the findings that stuck out to us as a missed opportunity for the majority of companies polled is their collective approach to social media advertising. While 30 percent of the responding business owners planned to increase their investment in social media ads, the majority did not. Fifty-nine percent of the small businesses planned to either remain flat, decrease their spend, or not advertise at all on social over the next 12 months.

When compared to Search and Display advertising on Google, social media advertising offers a cost-effective way to generate online leads, increase sales, boost search rankings and raise brand awareness. Following Facebook’s changes to its algorithm in April of last year–which now serves organic posts to only 2 percent of your followers as compared to 20 percent previously–it’s also become a necessary part of doing business and being heard from online.

More on those ways that social media advertising will help your small business grow are below.

1.) Generating Cost-Effective Leads: Social Media Advertising–specifically on Facebook–helps generate leads in the form of email signups and website traffic at a fraction of the cost of Google Adwords. Advertising on Facebook also helps you better target your vertical audience and remarket within the newsfeed to people who have visited your website at a highly affordable pricepoint.

2.) Increasing Sales: Advertising on social allows you to put your message in front of people or audiences who are most likely to purchase from you. It also creates the opportunity for word of mouth advertising from those who like, share, or comment on your ad; serving as a recommendation for your product or brand throughout their respective social networks and leading to increased sales.

3.) Boosting Search Ranking: An investment in Twitter Advertising these days is also an investment in boosting your Google ranking. Recently, Google and Twitter announced a partnership to index tweets, allowing Twitter to now have an effect on SEO. So where you might not have seen as much value in advertising for Twitter followers in the past, now some new opportunities exist as accounts with larger “social authority” are being rewarded in terms of page rank.

4.) Raising Brand Awareness: Whether it’s sponsoring a post on Twitter, boosting a post on Facebook, advertising for more likes or followers, or simply using a social platform to promote a product, social media advertising is critical in helping small business raise brand awareness. There are 156.5 million US users on Facebook and the average user spends 29 minutes daily on Facebook. The more investment you put into platforms where your customers spend their time, the more chance you have of increasing market share and growing your business.

-Author: Brendan Bowers

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Why Instagram’s latest update is important to you!

It’s neat how minor updates can majorly impact something. It may have gone right over your head but Instagram released an update today that changes the experience for creators and users. This update really shows that Instagram watches user’s behavior and reacts appropriately.instagramsnapshot

When you scroll through your news feed you may notice that descriptions do not fully display unless you expand by tapping ‘more’. Instagram is only allowing each post to display a limited number of text unless users want to read more.

What does this mean for the creators?

  • You have a smaller time frame to tell your story through text. Your audiences’ attention will weigh more on the visual asset versus text. If most of your storytelling has been done using long form text, you’ll now need to captivate your audience enough for them to want to read more.
  • Hashtags can easily be hidden in your post. If you can tell a compelling story in the collapsed view, there’s an opportunity to use thirty tags per post to extend the reach as far as possible for the expanded view.
  • Instagram becomes more of what its original intentions were: Visually focused.

What does this mean for the user?

  • User experience changes. News feed become less cluttered with hashtags and text heavy posts.
  • Visual storytelling quality becomes better (hopefully) because it will over index vs. text.

Although this update seems small, it changes the experience for both parties. It’s great to see Instagram sticking to its roots and staying focused on what it originally set out to be.

Author – Andrew Mucci
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6 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing with PPC (and Vice Versa)

Tere are the top six ways your paid search and email marketing programs can work hand-in-hand:

1. Use paid search to fuel your email list

Paid search is the perfect way to re-fuel your funnel with brand new, qualified prospects. Through pay-per-click (PPC), you can display your ads to searchers who are actively looking for your products and services.

If they click through to your website, you can attain their email details one of three ways:

  • Set up an email address sign-up form as your primary conversion goal. You can do something simple, like “sign up for more information,” or go the extra mile and offer an incentive like a whitepaper download, complimentary trial, or free quote.
  • Capture your buyer’s email address during the purchasing process. You convinced someone to convert right off the bat? Nice — just don’t forget to snag their email as they check out. This is the perfect way to create a list to target for upsells, cross-sells, or replacement purchases in the future.
  • Didn’t convince them to convert during their initial visit? Don’t despair! You can include a secondary call to action on your landing page to solicit their email address for future nurtures. Entice them to fill out the sign-up form by offering to keep them in the loop on upcoming sales or providing free shipping on future orders.

Constant Contact customers can easily add a sign-up form to any page of their website to make it easy for people to opt in to their list. Find out how.

2. Test your calls-to-action and offer with paid search

Your emails may have incredible open rates, but if they don’t include a compelling call to action (CTA), you’ve wasted a great headline. Because CTAs are the most crucial component in driving email conversions, our team here at WordStream has devoted a great deal of time and research to crafting persuasive CTAs. However, we don’t just guess whether or not they will be a slam dunk with our target audience — we test.

At this point we’re pretty good with the predictions, but there are definitely times that we miss the mark. To avoid these frustrating flops, we now test all new CTA/offer ideas on PPC landing pages before we use them for emails. This strategy is fairly low-risk because it doesn’t hit a huge group of people at once. Instead, we can monitor their behavior and pivot quickly if the test does not yield positive results.

A few years ago, our go-to CTA was “sign up for a free trial of WordStream Advisor.” Definitely not the most star-studded offer, but we felt like it was getting the job done just fine. Then, we had the brilliant idea of building the AdWords Grader, a free tool that analyzes an AdWords account and spits out a report card showing users exactly which sections of their account need a little extra love.

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We were pretty confident that “Get Your FREE Report Today” would be a more compelling CTA, since the offer was directly in-line with the help most people were looking for, but plenty of people were skeptical of the change. We knew that rolling it out across the board was a risky move, so instead we opted to test the waters by running it in a paid search campaign. At a 5X conversion rate, results were so stellar that we had all of the data we needed to get the green light to offer it in our email campaigns.

You can test different calls to actions in your email marketing, as well. With an email marketing service like Constant Contact, you’ll have access to valuable metrics like opens and clicks to see how you’re different calls to action are performing. Learn more. 

3. Upload your email lists to run identity-based PPC ads

Identify-based marketing is all the rage nowadays. In fact, now that it’s available on various networks, our founder Larry Kim goes as far as to say that it’s “the most important trend happening in PPC today.” I must admit, I’m inclined to agree. It’s the perfect convergence of PPC and email marketing.

Here’s how it works:

Advertisers can upload targeted email lists into AdWords (through Customer Match), Twitter and Facebook to serve ads/establish bids that are customized specifically for that prospect segment.

If you’re currently running email marketing campaigns, you’ve probably already segmented them into specific groupings based on their stage of the purchase journey. You can export these lists from your email marketing accounts and reuse them for your PPC campaigns and voila, you’ve cut a huge chunk of time out of the setup process!

4. Leverage remarketing ads to hammer your offer home

As tempting as it is to pummel your prospects’ inboxes with offers, it usually just earns you an “unsubscribe” or an “automatically move to junk mail” label. In fact, I have refused to talk to sales guys who clutter my inbox, even if I was originally completely gung-ho about their product. That said, data shows that people are more likely to follow through with a purchase if they see a brand’s name repeatedly. This creates a tough challenge for email marketers, who are desperate to keep their brands top-of-mind for prospects without driving them crazy.

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Rather than spamming their inboxes to stay fresh in prospects’ minds, run remarketing campaigns so your ads appear while they are browsing the internet (you can target anyone who has visited your site!). These ads are less intrusive than emails and have proven to be incredibly effective. As you can see below, the more someone sees these ads, the more likely they are to complete a conversion.

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If you rely on remarketing for branding purposes, it’s safe to reduce your email frequency. Prospects will no longer be jaded by your incessant emails and will be more likely to read the few high-quality messages that you send.

Here are some tips for finding the right email sending frequency.

5. Test visuals with paid search

If you’re a WordStream fan, you’re probably very familiar with the squadron of “PPC kids” featured on our website and in many of our ads and our email communications. Why the obsession with cute kids in costume? It all started with Rocketboy, who was featured in one of our PPC banner ads. These ads had such a high interaction rate that we started including him in email promotions, too.

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Nowadays, when we use imagery in emails (we only do it for a select few), we only use images that have proven to resonate with our audience through Facebook, Twitter, and Google Display Network ads.

6. Use email performance to drive Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) messaging

With GSPs, you can target prospective clients based on their Gmail account activity. If the keywords you’re bidding on exist in their inboxes, your ad will be eligible to appear in their Gmail account. Pretty clever, huh?

Ads for GSPs have two components, a teaser “collapsed” ad and an expanded ad unit, which is similar to an image ad.

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Since the teaser line is similar to a closed email, we know that we want it to read like an email subject line. So, for copy inspiration, our paid search manager turns to email headlines that have yielded high open rates for our email marketing campaigns. While we weren’t seeing great results with GSPs in the Wordstream account originally, we are seeing that our “tried and true” headlines have generated a lift in click through rates.

Author: Erin Sagin
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The Difference Between a Community Manager and a Social Media Manager

Not all social media roles are created equal. The lines between the roles of community managers versus social media managers often get blurred. Many organizations use the terms interchangeably and assume that a social media manager will manage community and that a community manager will be strategic in social media. That isn’t always the case. […]

Source: The Difference Between a Community Manager and a Social Media Manager

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Picture This: Marketers See The Value Of Visual Media

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The art of storytelling is changing in the digital age. The growing use of photos, videos, animations, and infographics has altered the way consumers act—and, as a result, the methods that marketers use to create and maintain customer engagement are undergoing a transformation.

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Millennials “want a real and compelling story that avoid marketing jargon and clichés.”
  • Only about one-quarter of respondents had a process to aggregate, organize, and manage visual assets used across teams, according to the CMO Council.
  • The challenge for marketers is to produce content that works across multiple channels and different devices.

“We’re in an interesting period in terms of visual assets. The definition of what is visual and what is required to connect to consumers is undergoing a transformation,” said Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council.

To be sure, getting a message across to potential customers is increasingly challenging. Not only is it necessary to develop marketing materials that communicate a concept through pictures and words, it is important to deliver it in the right way for a particular channel and device.

“Whereas in the past visuals were more the icing on the cake, they are now the cake,” Miller told CMO.com. “A creative team must focus on capturing a person’s attention and leading them through the process in a way that seems natural and intuitive.”

Added Michael Boland, chief analyst and vice president of content at marketing consulting firm BIA/Kelsey: “Rich media is critical to marketing success.”

However, the path to progress can prove bumpy. A CMO Council survey in partnership with Libris, “From Content to Creativity: The Role of Visual Media in Impactful Brand Storytelling,” found that while 65% of senior marketing executives said they believe visual assets are core to how their brand story is communicated, only 27% have the ability to aggregate, organize, and manage these assets across marketing and nonmarketing teams—including those outside of the organization.

Meanwhile, the use of visual assets is continuing to rise. The study found that senior marketing executives expect the use of video to spike by 79%, infographics by 50%, and illustrations by 41% in the near future.

Image Is Everything
Although images have always played an important role in marketing and advertising—magazine ads, billboards, television commercials, and other media have served as a mainstay for decades—the nature of imagery is changing due to a number of factors, industry observers said.

“High-quality optics and cameras on smartphones have changed the way people think about imagery,” Boland told CMO.com. At the same time, social media has exploded, and the way consumers create, exchange and view photos, video, and other imagery on small screens or second screens has changed considerably. “People are increasingly conditioned to use fewer words and more imagery,” he added.

Overlaying all of this are Millennials with a strong distaste for messages and images that look artificial, Boland said. Because they are fluent in using image-based technologies they are more adept at recognizing poorly constructed and more contrived images and messages.

“They want a real and compelling story that avoid marketing jargon and clichés,” he noted.

Steve Gustavson, group creative director at Adobe (CMO.com’s parent company), agreed. “In order to break through the marketing logjam and capture people’s attention, it’s critical to produce high-quality imagery that is emotionally impactful but have it interplay effectively with copy,” he told CMO.com. “The marriage of these two things is critical.”

What makes the task incredibly difficult is the fact that Millennials—as well as Gen X and, to a lesser extent, Boomers—have increasingly short attention spans and frequently think in 140 characters or less. “There is an ongoing trend that extends back to USA Today and the MTV generation. There is a need to get to the point faster and in a more entertaining way than in the past,” Boland pointed out. Lead a person down a meandering path or to a dead end, and you have lost them, he added.

U.K.-based digital agency Zabisco found that 40% of the consumer market responds better to visual information than plain text. As a result, marketers have shifted content production to include vast quantities of graphics, videos, photography, and illustrations. Infographic production, according to Zabisco, increases by 1% every day. At the same time, consumers are rapidly shifting to viewing content on mobile devices. For example, mobile traffic to YouTube rose from about 6% in 2012 to about 40% in 2014, according to BI Intelligence.

Unfortunately, many marketing executives are lagging behind. Marketers are often remiss in approaching the “visual asset dialogue as part of the strategic consumer experience and engagement dialogue,” said Miller, who believes part of the problem lies in the fact that visual assets have historically resided within the domain of creative or agency resources that fall outside an organization. Consequently, the value proposition has fallen off the priority list for CMOs.

In addition, many materials and content created within an organization lands in silos. “There is no unified approach or messaging,” she said. “As a result, content and materials often come across as disjointed and confusing.”

CMOs and other marketing executives increasingly recognize the challenges. In a March 2015 survey conducted by Ascend2, 46% of marketing professionals worldwide indicated that videos represented the most effective content, yet 59% said it was the most difficult media to create. Similarly, 43% said infographics were effective, but 34% said they were difficult to produce. In contrast, 24% indicated that photos and illustrations are most effective, and only 8% reported they posed challenges.

The CMO Council found that, ultimately, the lack of a cogent strategy is common. Only about one-quarter of survey respondents said they had a process in place to aggregate, organize, and manage visual assets used across teams, while about four in 10 said there was no conversation about centralizing these issues due to competing priorities.

The Big Picture
Transforming the challenge into an opportunity is critical. A starting point, Miller said, is to understand the journey—or, in many cases, the different possible paths—that a target customer takes to arrive at a buying decision and how best to merge pictures and words effectively. In some cases, that might translate to a short video or an infographic that serves as a starting point for a buyer learning about a product. In other cases, these collateral might lead to a white paper or more detailed information.

Ultimately, “It’s about taking sometimes incredibly complex concepts and using the right tools to deliver the right experience for the customer,” Miller said.

Understanding how consumers use devices and consume content is critical, said Kim Smith, vice president of innovation and digital services for North America at Capgemini. Not only is it important to understand overarching trends in devices and form factors, it’s crucial to use analytics tools to understand what types of content works best—where and why—including with different segments and groups. For example, a phablet user may prefer, if not demand, video, while a Kindle user rooted in reading books may veer more toward the written word with supplemental pictures.

Regardless, “It’s best to assume in today’s environment that the first path to content will be on a mobile device,” Smith told CMO.com. “Marketers should start with a mobile-first approach, particularly with visual content.”

It’s also important to distinguish between B2C and B2B markets, Adobe’s Gustavson said. As a general rule, “A B2B audience is not spending its own money; they’re spending thousands or tens of thousands of dollars—sometimes even millions—of their employer’s money, so they are willing to do more research because they want to be sure they are making the right decision,” he said.

This may translate into the need for detailed white papers, ebooks, and longer marketing videos. “On the other hand, if I am making a $10 purchase on my own, I may respond to a fairly simple video or image,” Gustavson added. “There’s no need to spend a lot of time thinking about the purchase.” At the heart of success is understanding what a business offers and what type of content appeals to buyers.

A more modular but coordinated approach is often in order, BIA/Kelsey’s Boland said. “It’s often wise to give consumers the choice to navigate through the process the way they feel comfortable,” he said. “If someone wants to watch a quick video, they can view it. If they want to read a longer white paper, they can download it.”

Of course, the challenge for marketers is to produce content that works across multiple channels and different devices—while addressing the needs and desires of specific audiences. This means defining choices from the marketing end. “Opportunities exist for those that adopt a flexible approach with modular formatting,” Boland explained. “The content has to be in context with both the touch point and the audience.”

For instance, the imagery and words used to promote a product in a smartphone app might be considerably different than marketing the same item through a mobile browser or a social media service such as Snapchat or Facebook.

The CMO Council survey found that key issues to building a better content ecosystem include expanding marketing budgets to create compelling visual assets, ensuring that investments in resources focus on appropriate allocations at the right level, and developing a better understanding of how various teams spend and how much effort and content is being duplicated or wasted.

Ultimately, Miller said, CMOs must elevate discussions about visual content to a strategic experience dialogue, build out the technology needed to support robust content creation, and put every dollar to work in a coordinated way. Until these events take place, the report warns “justifying additional investment—and even the ability to get full ROI out of their current investment in visual assets—is out of reach.”

CMOs must work with CIOs and others to bridge silos and ensure that content isn’t squirrelled away where it cannot be used effectively, Miller added. There’s a growing need for better digital asset management technology and improved storage strategies and solutions. There’s also a pressing need for CMOs to work with different and sometimes nontraditional or nonmarketing groups to better define a strategy, content creation, and how various channels and devices come together.

“Right now you have one-third of marketers saying that individual teams are defining and creating their own content,” so CMOs must ask a few questions, she said. Where is everything? Are there untapped points of creativity across the organization that have fallen outside the strategic content marketing dialogue? How do I move to a 360-degree view?

The bottom line, Boland said, is that visual assets are now a critical component of marketing, and the trend isn’t about to disappear anytime soon. “CMOs must think far more broadly about how to market effectively,” he said. “There’s a need for a well-defined omnichannel strategy, along with an understanding of the relationship between behavior and design.”

A deeper technical perspective that taps into technology—increasingly mobile devices—also is needed to deliver an optimal visual experience on Web pages, in apps, in videos, in content and collateral, and within various social media spaces.

Said Boland: “There is a need to approach marketing content in a very holistic way.”

by Samuel Greengard
Contributing Writer
CMO.com

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Why Every Physician’s Practice Needs a Social Media Policy!

Social media has changed the way the world communicates.

Tridence Social Media

Tridence Social Media | http://www.tridence.com

In the medical community, social media adoption has come with inevitable data breaches and ethical issues— many of which could have been avoided.

In one recent case, a nurse at New York Presbyterian Hospital was fired from her job after she posted a photo to Instagram of the aftermath of an empty trauma room following the treatment of a man hit by a subway train. She was fired for insensitivity.

If employees were better educated about the potential HIPAA and ethical pitfalls, they could avoid violations. That’s why it’s critical that physicians protect their practice by creating a strong social media policy.

4 Tips for Creating a Strong Social Media Policy

How can physicians navigate through these potential legal minefields? The best way to avoid liability is to have a clear, widely distributed social media policy that specifically addresses the use of social media sites both on and off the job.

Here are four tips for disseminating your practice’s policies on social media:

  1. Extend existing privacy policies to explicitly include the use of social media sites and other Internet activities such as blogging, and clearly state that company policies apply to both on- and off-duty use of social networking sites.
  2. Include specific examples of the kinds of statements on social media sites that could run afoul of HIPAA, and emphasize how even small, seemingly innocuous disclosures can constitute HIPAA privacy rule violations.
  3. Distribute social media policies, both as a part of employment manuals and separately as stand-alone policies. Consider doing this on your practice’s internal computer network systems as well.
  4. Require employees to acknowledge receiving and reading these policies, and periodically remind them — for example, through workplace postings and email notices — of the risks involved with using social media sites, as well as their personal responsibilities to abide by the letter and spirit of the policies. Review these policies annually and with each new employee.

A clear, well-defined, and widely disseminated social networking policy that emphasizes compliance responsibilities during both work and non-work hours, and covers both office and personal computer systems, phones, and any other devices with access to the Internet, is your most effective weapon against liability for employee misuse of social networking sites.

Author: SFMS

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Instagram vs. Snapchat – Which Is Better For Marketing Your Business?

Let’s start by saying that both are great photo-sharing applications in their own regard, and IF you want to market your product or service through the visual platform, both will perfectly serve you…con’t link

Source: Instagram vs. Snapchat – Which Is Better For Marketing Your Business?

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