I’ve been sharing information about the recently concluded Online Marketing Conference in San Diego. In case you missed my earlier post, you can read it here.
Today, I’d like to share some takeaways from two presentations about social media marketing. Social media changes so fast, and it helps to learn about “big picture” trends from those who are in the trenches day in and day out.
Get More Leads in Social Media
First up is Rebecca Corliss’ presentation “How to Improve Lead Generation Using the Social Media Advancements in 2012.” Corliss is the head of Social Media & Content at Hubspot.
Corliss cited the decreasing effectiveness of outbound or push marketing, such as paid ads, direct mail, and phone prospecting. What’s working better nowadays is pull or inbound marketing. Whereas outbound marketing tends to annoy people, inbound marketing is all about creating marketing your audience absolutely loves.
And when it comes to inbound marketing, “social leads the process,” Corliss says.
I’d like to point out two social media trends Corliss mentioned.
The first is the importance of visual content. According to Corliss — and I’m sure you’ve heard this from others as well – visuals increase shares and likes in social media. Someone I know says they increased engagement on their Facebook page simply by making sure each of their posts had a photo.
Corliss goes as far as to say that “designers are the marketers of the future.” What an awesome opportunity then for designers! Learn marketing AND design, and you’ll be a hot commodity!
Some specific areas to maximize the power of visual communication include Pinterest (yes, even B2B companies can use this platform), Vine (an iPhone app for creating and sharing 6-second videos on Twitter), and the cover photos on your Facebook page, Twitter profile, and LinkedIn company page.
Another social media trend is social ads. An example of a social ad is a Facebook ad that appears on a user’s sidebar. It is served based on different demographic characteristics and the audience’s Facebook activity. Because these factors are taken into consideration, social ads increase the relevance of promotions. As the advertiser, you increase your chances of serving your ads to a qualified audience.
Corliss summarizes social media marketing approach in three steps:
1. Build or improve your visual content strategy
2. Use relevant ads to amplify your reach and content
3. Use social to fuel your search performance opportunities
Social Media and Email: A Match Made in Heaven
The next presentation I’d like to share with you is by Rob Zazueta, Evangelist at VerticalResponse: “Email and Social Media: Your Marketing Go-To Channels.”
Zazueta begins by saying “It’s still about content.” Content marketing is centered on your blog, then cross-promoted across social media channels and email.
This means, promote your blog posts in all your social networks. Also, invite your blog readers to connect with you in social networks, and to share your posts with their social network connections.
The biggest take-away from Zazueta’s presentation is that email marketing and social media go together. In fact, Zazueta points out, companies that combine email and social media marketing have a 27% higher open rate than those who use email alone.
This may seem overwhelming especially to an entrepreneur who’s just starting out. You already have too much to do. However, investing time and energy in email marketing and social media will pay off. Start with one network to begin with, then work yourself up to more as you get more comfortable.
Email service providers like Aweber and Mailchimp make combining email and social much easier. For example, you can add links to your social network accounts in your emails with just a few clicks.
Social media allow your customers to be your best source of marketing, and with email marketing, you have many points of contact with them.
Two key things to remember:
1. Always get email addresses of your blog visitors and social media contacts/followers. Put a sign-up form on your blog so visitors can opt into your email list. Promote your email list in your social networks, and vice versa. Send an email to your subscribers inviting them to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other networks.
2. Give people a reason to connect with you. Provide exclusive offers for email subscribers and social media connections.
I’m going to stop here before I overwhelm you with new things to try and add to your to-do list. In my case, I’m excited to try the Vine app and see how creative I can get with 6 seconds.
How about you? What did this post inspire you to do, or to do differently? And what do you need help with? Let me know in the comments below, and I just might write a blog post or free special report about it.
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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