Person typing a blogIf there is just one lesson to remember when managing a social media account, it is that content is most important. The most elaborately designed social media page will be significant only on first impact then will quickly lose its wow factor. Sustaining interest will require fresh, exciting, and valuable content, not just for your followers, but also in your ranking.

Most audiences will check out a social media website out of curiosity and with a certain level of expectation. Most, if not all audiences, will expect interesting content worthy of their time. Did you know that in this “fast-food mindset” Internet users have, you have but a few seconds to engage the viewer?

You will need catchy content titles that don’t look like titles seen multiple times on the search engines? You will also need content that makes sense, delivers value, and designed to make the audience feel like they did not waste their time. If they liked what they saw or read, chances are high they will tag, subscribe, buy, or follow you.

Plus, your social media account will have a higher percentage of being discovered by a larger audience!

The second rule of content on social media is the need to mix up your content. Aside from posting a variety of topics, look to have a mix of videos, photos, images, and written information. Written information should not look encyclopedic – meaning one huge blob of content. You should break your piece into digestible paragraphs peppered with a few bullet points, images, charts, or videos. Be creative!

Next rule is to “Stay on Point.” Avoid going off topic. If your website is about cameras and photography, keep all content related to this niche. Confusing content will not help build your brand.

The fourth rule is to be honest. If you use research (which you should definitely do!), don’t make up the data and get your information from reliable sources. There are hundreds of bogus so-called experts willing to do anything to gain popularity.  Also important is the need to keep your content clean of nasty tricks to deceive your audience or try to gain SEO ranking. Getting tagged as a spammer, spinner, or a writer who uses invisible text and automation is going to damage your reputation for a long time.

Check for errors in your content. This is rule number 5. You lose credibility with grammatical errors, misspelled words, or annotation missteps.

Rule number 6 is to focus on evergreen content. This is content that does not grow stale such as How To and instructional content. Evergreen content has several advantages if you know how to tap this powerful tool:

  • It helps boost keyword ranking
  • Draws in traffic
  • Encourages sharing on social media

And it has great potential to go viral and help you promote your image as an expert in your field.

Finally, your social media account will take a life of its own if your content is usable. People want information that will either entertain or improve their lives. If you can consistently post usable content, you will achieve what most people can only dream about – being able to make a difference in other people’s lives.

 

2017 is going to be a fantastic year for business with the right marketing campaign.  If not planned properly and with good diligence, it can actually end in disaster! For instance, some of the biggest brands in the country suffered huge and embarrassing moments last year when their marketing plans flopped big time. Coca Cola put out an ad for their Russian market using an outdated map causing it to suffer major losses and a hashtag that went viral, #ban CocaCola. Closer to home, the $5 million marketing campaign of Rhode Island Commercial Corp lost its luster after their promotional video featured a shot from Iceland while talking about “home.”

Tips on Setting the Budget

While there are no guarantees with marketing campaigns, it is possible to avoid blunders and pitfalls. According to marketing professional groups, Web Strategies, marketing is not necessarily about increasing your budget. In fact, they stress the need for a plan before setting a budget and making sure that the budget is not set randomly but prepared with as much detail as possible. The bottom line is that your marketing budget should generate returns in increase in greater brand awareness and revenues.

  • Budget should align with marketing goals increasing only if last year’s goals were successfully met; realigned if the goals were not met
  • The campaign should always be a better version of the previous year although this does not necessarily mean a higher budget
  • Push the marketing planning team to come up with fresh and unique ideas rather than copycat versions

Tips on Setting Marketing Goals

The best way to create a plan is to look back at what has been accomplished, what the previous objectives were, and the ideas that did not kick off well. This review is best done with the help of good analytics and solid data from the previous years. Tedious work, perhaps, but when you start to notice trends in your data, you will appreciate the inside look and confirmation or fresh revelations about your business. You should also:

  1. Update customer profile.
  2. Establish what makes you unique and different from your competitors.
  3. If you are selling something, track the sales process and plot the sales journey of your average client.
  4. Review your copyrights and other marketing collaterals
  5. Update everyone on changes – in writing! This way everyone is on the same page and there is some form of accountability.

In addition, when setting your marketing goals, make sure that the results are measurable. This will make it much easier for you and your team to measure success or failure.

Learn to Delegate

What’s the point in creating a marketing campaign if you won’t let others help you? Whether “others” refer to employees, suppliers, or customers, you should learn to let go of some of the responsibilities.

  • Your employees can help you with daily operations, clerical work, and ideas input.
  • Your suppliers can provide assistance with logistics, payment terms, marketing advice, and meeting schedules.
  • Your customers can be tasked with providing feedback, testimonials, and even help with marketing via work of mouth, sharing, or by Liking your content.

Your job as business owner is to oversee the campaign, set objectives, calendar events and milestones, make sure the product lives up to its marketing claim, and keep the customers happy and willing to come back and support your business. Finally, with a great marketing campaign, you will be able to look at the bigger picture and make changes when necessary. This will not be possible if your head is buried under a mountain of paperwork.

It’s 2017! Great things are in store for you and your business!

In 2016, it was clearly the year of social media. However, not all social media channels were proving to be worth the effort as seen in the latest research from Pew Internet. As of December 2016, Facebook ruled the digital wave followed closely by WhatsApp with over 1,590 million and 1,000 million users respectively. Instagram, which is still popular landed well below with 500 million active users. More interestingly, a business targeting the US market would have struggled more if they chose to use Instagram because 80% of Instagram users are not from the U.S. Of US users, there were more women than men using this social media platform.

What does this all mean?

When creating your marketing plan for 2017, social media will still play a critical role in marketing but knowing what social media channel to pour more attention and budget into will affect the results of your marketing strategy.

The key word in social media marketing for this new year is: Messaging.

Marketing is basically communicating the right message to the desired market in a manner that prompts the preferred actions and results.

Creating a Social Messaging Strategy for 2017

  1. Start by reviewing your content from the previous years. Is your content one-track on the same topic or worse yet – duplicated from other websites? You need to look at your content from the point of view of a search engine and visitor. Too much information on the same topic or same content will lead to a drop in interest in your site. For instance if you are selling a product as an affiliate or trader, you might have just copied the product description from the manufacturer without making any changes – this will lump you in with all the other entrepreneurs selling the same product.
  2. Focus on the journey of your visitors or subscribers. For instance, not everyone who goes to your website is looking for a particular product. Some may be in search of DIY answers, repairs, insights, new technology and news, historical data, or prospects on the future of your product. Have content that will address every possible need and demand.
  3. Clearly you will have to engage and use the social media platforms. However, unlike 2016 where there was a trend towards posting and top social media platforms, this year it is predicted that the focus will shift on messaging apps rather than social networking. Last year, WhatsApp shot up to second most popular social media channel with Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Viber following suit. These messaging apps were able to overtake Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn in terms of number of users.

In addition, the use of Over-the-top (OTT) messaging skyrocketed and is estimated to be the preferred choice of more than 2 billion by next year.

  1. Step away from posting content that is even slightly false. The world has become weary of fake or inaccurate news and information. And it has become so much easier to validate any information you post especially among Millennials who relish the idea of investigating further to verify what they read before sharing or “Liking” content.

In 2017, marketing has to focus more on providing a “personal touch” with as much transparency. This means it is not good enough to just post your content on social media; you should be ready to chat and engage with anyone who expresses an interest in your business. Consider using chatbots and augmented reality to enhance your social media marketing – and see the amazing response from users!

A survey given to professional marketers in the United States reveal that in 2017, the most crucial digital marketing investment to seriously consider is a brand website. More than 62% say that having a website is the most effective way to reach your target market although one must not exclude email marketing and the use of social media. This three-prong approach is, by far, a must-have when defining your marketing goals for 2017.

The Unbranding of a Brand Website

There is nothing new about having a brand website. It is a long-term investment that demands time, resources, and fresh dollops of creativity and uniqueness in order to attract your desired market. Probably the main reason why anyone would balk at creating a brand website is the overall cost. In 2017, the trend will be to “uncommercialize” your brand website so you focus more on the soft sell rather than the hard sell. It will still require some investment and possibly a mindset adjustment.

Fortunately, there are ways to build your brand website without spending a fortune or making ghastly unbranding marketing errors. The basics of branding for 2017 include:

  • Branding is constantly evolving, a mental perception others have of your business
  • Effective branding will sell your business as one of the – if not the go-to website – in your respective industry
  • Subtle digital branding affirms your credibility and boosts loyalty

Branding should supply the following answers:

  1. My business is known and appreciated because ______.
  2. People share and talk about my product because _____.
  3. My products can influence the positive actions of others because _____.

Your brand website should be able to establish a connection between you and your customers. If you can do this, you will make it easier to realize your 2017 business goals.

Enhancing your eMail Marketing Plan

Still connecting to the trend of humanizing business in the global market is the new trends in email marketing. Instead of trying to solicit interest and business by sending out digital flyers through the email channel, the idea is to tell a story without misleading or falsely representing your business.

Today, people would rather follow an unknown brand that is truthful and transparent but able to emotionally connect with its visitors than follow a brand that is cold and demanding. Thus, instead of flashy advertising and marketing gimmicks, consider real tones from real people veering away from the strategy of “Buy, buy, buy!”

Focus on the value rather than the quick sale.

Social Media in 2017

This year will be the year of personalized content.  This will require the intense use of analytics and profiling to get the marketing mix right. Businesses with a defined market (doctors, architects, mothers, students) will have an easier time finding the perfect content compared to businesses that cater to a wider spectrum. However, with good organization, personalized content is very manageable.

At the same time, there is a move towards more interactive content which should help tremendously in building brand awareness.

Marketing in 2017 should also include venture into virtual reality or the 360 degree video. Using one of the GoPro cameras (or its equivalent) makes it easier for small to medium business owners to improve their content with quality videos.

Finally, Livestreaming has taken a life of its own as more and more people are using it to market their brand. This option makes it easier to “tell your story.”

If you are planning your marketing for 2017, do consider these ideas and add them to your goals for the year. These are certain to help you develop deeper relationships with existing customers and expand your customer base by offering value over the typical hard sell.