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7 Social Media Marketing Secrets No Marketer Wants To Admit

For starters, there’s no predictable pattern of success.

Jayson Demers

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Social-media

Talk to professional online marketers, and they’ll likely tell you about the raw power of social media marketing. Talk to business owners from an older generation, and they’re likely to tell you how social media marketing is a useless fad.

Obviously, the former group has an incentive to tell you how great social media marketing is, and the latter group has a negative bias toward communications technologies. Does the truth lie somewhere in the middle? Kind of.

With proper planning and successful execution, social media marketing can be effective for practically any business. In fact, in a survey of 357 marketers that I recently conducted, social media marketing had the highest percentage of respondents (96 percent) who claimed they planned to increase or keep their social media marketing budgets the same over the next year.

Social media marketing also had the third-highest average ROI rating, out of 10 strategies surveyed.

Related: 3 Online Marketing Strategies To Kick-Start Stagnant Sales

Still, there are a handful of dark secrets about social media that no marketer – including myself – likes to admit.

1. Social media marketing isn’t free

One of the greatest advantages of social media marketing that marketers like to play up is the fact that it’s free. And, yes, it won’t cost you anything to claim your business’ social media profiles, flesh them out or post on a regular basis – at least not monetarily.

The problem is that, even though you won’t necessarily have to spend money to fund your strategy, you will spend lots of time.

It takes hours of work to build out your profiles, and several hours a week to even maintain the most basically active presence. Add up those hours, and suddenly the amount of time that social media marketing does “cost” will become clear. After all, time is money, right?

2. There’s no predictable pattern of success

social-media-strategy-success

No matter how sure people seem when telling you they hold the “secret” for a business’ social media success, know that there’s no verifiable or consistent way to guarantee success for this task. For starters, every business is unique, with a unique target demographic, history and competitive landscape.

There’s no way any single strategy could possibly apply to everyone. Add in the fact that social media is always evolving and other random variables that could interfere with your results, and the predictability of success sinks even more.

3. You need a lot of followers before social media marketing starts to pay off

The bottom line for social media, like any online marketing strategy, is your total ROI, or return on investment. Over an extended period of time, it will be very good if you execute your social media strategy correctly, but your initial ROI will probably be terrible.

Imagine that it takes you 15 minutes to write a good post, and you submit it to your 15 followers. Now, imagine you create the same post, but for 15 000 followers. Which one do you think will have a higher return for your investment (assuming those followers are all genuinely interested in your brand)? It takes a long time for social media to start paying off.

Related: 6 Free Online Classes For Digital-Marketing Beginners

4. Social platforms restrict your reach

Social media companies have a vested interest in getting you to pay for their advertising. As a result, they often restrict the amount of reach you’re able to get through organic (unpaid) posts. Even though you have 500 followers, that doesn’t mean that every post you make is going to reach 500 people.

Keep this principle in mind when considering the sheer potential of social media – it’s probably far, far less than you think it is.

5. Data won’t tell you everything

social-media-data

Another advantage social media has is its access to sheer volumes of data – you’ll be able to probe deeply into user behaviour, patterns of interaction and demographic information. But unfortunately, data can’t tell you everything.

It can’t give you qualitative insights about how individuals feel toward your brand, or about specific interactions.

Nor can data help you generate new ideas you haven’t tried before. It can’t even give you actionable insights unless you’re asking the right questions of that data in the first place.

6. Adapting is important but exhausting

Social media changes often, with new platforms cropping up seemingly constantly and new trends coming and going at an ever-increasing pace.

If you want to be successful, you have to try to keep up, but keeping up is exhausting even for the most passionate, dedicated marketer.

It’s comforting to settle into a routine, but with social media, you’ll never get that opportunity – at least, you’ll never get to stay comfortable for long if you’re doing things right.

7. You’ll end up kicking yourself – a lot

There’s a lot of regret in the social media world, especially on a minor level. You’ll end up making typos or mistakes occasionally, but more often you’ll kick yourself for what you didn’t do.

You might miss a good opportunity for a post, a hashtag or an engagement. You might see a competitor’s post and wish you’d thought of it first. In any case, your strategy won’t be perfect, and you’ll be all too aware of that fact.

Despite these ugly truths and seldom-mentioned secrets about the true nature of social media marketing, it remains one of the most cost-efficient and approachable online marketing strategies you can adopt.

No matter what stage of growth your company’s in, who your target market is and what your long-term goals are, social media can help you in your journey – as long as you recognise its advantages and limitations.

Read next: The Popimedia (Mega) Success Story

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a content marketing agency, as well as EmailAnalytics, an email productivity monitoring app for Gmail and G suite. Contact him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Online Marketing

I Built A Social Media Following Of 1 Million In 30 Days. Here’s How You Can, Too

By applying these social strategies you can build a huge following with high levels of engagement.

Brendan Kane

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Many people want to share messages with the masses to gain exposure for their brand, product or service on social media. But, with over 60 billion messages shared each day on mobile platforms alone, most content gets lost in the noise. For the last 10 years I’ve worked on improving online strategies for people like Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Disney. I’ve learned how to optimise analytics, data and paid media to help companies achieve massive growth.

When I set out to gain my own One Million Followers, I was aware that the people I work with had the advantage of fame and influence. But, I wanted to see if I could use what I’d learned to build an audience for someone unknown – someone building a following from scratch. That way I could gain validation and credibility for anyone that wanted to achieve their dreams. So, in June of 2017 I put into practice all my tools and by July of 2017 I had a million Facebook followers.

The experience changed my life and now hopefully it can impact yours. If, as an unknown digital strategist, I can create this type of social following so can you. By applying the social strategies below you can build a huge following with high levels of engagement. For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on strategies for Facebook, but many of the tactics can be applied to the other social channels as well.

Related: 4 Key Social Media Mistakes You Might Be Making – And How To Avoid Them

1. Hypothesise and test

Aim to create shareable content with your audience. Do research about what gets people to share and come up with a hypothesis about the type of content to create. Identify a format or theme that will engage your audience around a specific message. Then create a low-cost proof and test it.

When I built my following, I used a lot of picture quotes. They are fast and easy to create and are highly shareable. However, if you have the means to create short videos, between 30 seconds and four minutes, they usually perform the best.

2. Learn from your tests and pivot when necessary

My ability to learn from the tests I conducted was essential in reaching a million followers. Take the time to understand why certain content works and why other content doesn’t. Be very specific with your tests – I tested thousands of variations of content and segmented out as the variables to truly learn what was optimising performance. I also didn’t waste time; as soon as I saw that something wasn’t getting the engagement I desired I pivoted. For example, I posted viral videos of dogs and kittens performing cute and funny actions as well as prank videos. Although they all performed really well, I decided to pivot because they didn’t align with my brand’s theme of thought leadership.

Analyse the results from your tests and allow them to drive both your short and long-term content strategy. Test until you find a format or theme that truly works.

Related: Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips

3. Find a hooking headline

Imagine walking by a newsstand in the supermarket. What is it that makes you stop and stare at an article in a magazine? Usually it’s a headline that communicates the story’s hook-point in a succinct and exciting way. It’s a short sentence or phrase that stands out, grabs attention and leaves your audience wanting more. A good headline helps communicate what makes your brand, message or content different and valuable to your customers.

When creating the headline be specific and find relevancy to your audience’s lives. Linking content to celebrities or current events is a great way to grab people’s attention.

4. Target the right audience

You can have great content, but without reaching the right audience you won’t develop a following or find the people who will champion your message for you. As Nike‘s CEO Mark Parker explains, “It’s our obsession with serving the consumer that sharpens our focus and drives our growth.”

One of the benefits of using the Facebook ad platform is the level of niche targeting it provides to find your ideal consumer. When creating ads, segment out your targeting by: Gender, age, location, interests, lifestyle (married, single, occupation, yearly income and products or brands they like) and target some of your competitors’ fans.

Related: Why You Should Sort Your Social Media Policy (Like NOW!)

5. Invest the time and money necessary to reach your goals

Reaching a million followers has gotten me opportunities to speak at conferences, but getting to a million isn’t necessary for everyone. Gaining a following requires an investment of time and money. Where you put your energy depends on how quickly you want to grow.

To determine how much you need to invest, analyse the benefits you want to receive from building a large following – the return on investment (ROI). Imagine your end goal and work backward. Sometimes the ROI isn’t a dollar amount – instead, it’s more validation or credibility that gets you into a meeting with a casting director, modelling agency a music producer or an investor. Ask yourself how many followers you truly need and invest what’s necessary to reach those goals.

We live in a digital world and social following numbers matter. Hope to see your content on Facebook soon.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Online Marketing

5 Steps To Grow Your YouTube Channel In 2019

As you make your strategic plans for 2019, look no further than YouTube.

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With over 1.9 billion active users per month – nearly the size of Facebook – YouTube is one of the most visited websites online and second only to parent company Google among the most searched websites today.

On the surface, one might look at YouTube as a place to watch music videos, stream video games online and tune in to one’s favourite vlogger.

However, YouTube is an untapped goldmine for small businesses and creators to make money – and it’s easy.

Whether you’re a real estate agent, photographer, website developer or a local coffee shop, maintaining an active presence on YouTube can help you gain precious website visits and drive leads as a result of the videos that you post. As an added benefit, your YouTube videos are discoverable via Google search also.

Because Google owns YouTube, you have a higher likelihood of being discovered through a video that you upload to YouTube related to your topic or subject matter expertise than a traditional Google search which crawls the entire internet.

For example, a quick search on YouTube for “Social Media Keynote” will pull up many videos from Gary Vaynerchuk and myself which dominate the first page of search results.

As a public speaker, YouTube has been critical in growing my business over the last year, which is why I have invested in having my keynote presentations recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Besides having excellent SEO ranking, YouTube also offers me a resource to host my video content as a digital portfolio so whenever a potential conference organiser reaches out to inquire about the services that I provide I can point them directly to my YouTube channel.

As you make your strategic plans for 2019, look no further than YouTube where 35-plus and 55-plus age groups are the fastest growing demographic.

From sports to music to business news, YouTube is the new cable television. Below are five tips for beginners on how to grow on YouTube when you’re just starting.

Related: 10 YouTube Channels Every Entrepreneur Should Follow

1. Have a purpose

As shown in the video above, I began my channel in 2014 and have created over 500 videos to date despite only recently hitting the coveted 10,000 subscriber milestone. YouTube growth is slower than other social networks. Therefore, you should have a clear objective or purpose for why you want to create video content.

In 2014, while working a full-time job, I started my channel to vlog my life, which to be candid isn’t all that exciting, and gave up after not seeing a significant number of views. It wasn’t until I began to record social media how-to, tutorial style videos like the ones you see today that my purpose became clear. So, what’s your purpose for being on YouTube?

2. Optimise video titles and descriptions

Think of YouTube as a video library meets the Google search engine. To get video views and subsequent subscriptions on your channel, you should research what else exists in the same genre or category. My process for creating videos on YouTube involves writing out the titles of topics that I am passionate about teaching and then researching both Google and YouTube to see what currently exists and what the top-ranking titles are.

Also, your description will contain critical keywords and phrases to help your video become discovered in search and also in Google’s algorithm. For example, if you’re creating a video on website optimisation titled “5 Ways to Rank High on Google!” you will also want to add in your description “Discover how to rank high in Google search,” “How do you rank high in Google search results?” and “Watch to learn how to rank high in Google search results with these easy tips.” The more times that you use a combination of phrases with keywords in your description the higher chance you have of your video being found.

3. Use TubeBuddy and VidIQ for tags

Similar to descriptions, you will want to ensure that your videos have keywords as tags to improve discoverability. Two tools which I use and recommend are TubeBuddy and VidIQ. Both tools offer a free and premium version and can be downloaded as a Google Chrome plug-in. With TubeBuddy and VidIQ you can get recommendations on what tags to insert into your videos as well as see how your videos rank in search results for set tags.

Going back to the “Social Media Keynote” search example, the reason why my videos rank high in search is that I have optimised the tags using TubeBuddy and also have the tags as phrases in the descriptions of my videos. The same methodology can be applied for any video or genre.

4. Teach your audience with how-to tutorials

I work with a lot of real estate agents and often advise them to start a YouTube channel dedicated to all of the things people can do in their city or town versus the traditional approach of sharing listings and home tours.

The same is true for most industries and professions. What are you able to teach that people are running a Google or YouTube search for (e.g., “How to do … “)? There are two reasons why people go on YouTube: to be entertained or educated.

Related: 3 Ways To Make Money On YouTube Without Adsense

5. Outsource what you cannot do alone

The most common objections that I hear from business professionals who want to dive into YouTube to create but don’t are access to equipment, lack of expertise for editing and time. In the beginning, a lot of my YouTube content was recorded with a handheld camera that I would carry around with me and prop up using a table tripod for how-to videos. I learned how to use iMovie and edited 200-plus videos – albeit not the best quality edits, but I taught myself a new skillset. Eventually, I began to outsource recording and editing to save myself time so that I wouldn’t be “in the weeds.”

Today, you can hire a videographer on TaskRabbit or Thumbtack for anywhere from $150 to $300 for the day. If you run a small business and need content, consider hiring someone who can shoot and edit and bring that person in every week. During your shooting sessions, have her record enough material for at least three or four YouTube videos which can then be turned into short-form, 60-second videos for Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Following this formula, you would have over 200 YouTube videos in a year if you’re starting from zero and looking at or less than $10,000 of an investment to ensure that whenever someone runs a search for your industry, service or subject matter you are the person who appears and not your competition.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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How To Know Whether Your Social Media Strategy Is Working?

Most business owners and marketers by now know that social media provides a huge opportunity for growing a business.

Jandre de Beer

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social-media

In a previous article I broke down how our online marketing agency Version Eight went from 0 to R1m in sales in 6 months with the help of digital marketing.

It’s a fact that the strategies provided in the above article might not necessarily work for everyone, however, another fact is that social media gives us the ability to build an audience, high quality traffic to our website, engagement with potential customers and lastly, but most importantly, it allows us to drive more sales.

The sad thing is that only 43% of marketers measure their digital marketing return on investment (ROI), and the main reason for this is because it can get quite tricky to measure the success of a strategy if you are not sure what to look for.

Similar to billboards and radio ads, social media is not a linear marketing channel. Yes, you can set up the necessary tracking scripts to show money in vs money out if your business revolves online, however, it’s a bit more complicated than that if your business has a physical footprint.

So, How Do You Measure the Success of Your Social Media Strategy?

1. Fan and Followers Growth

Because social media is not a linear line, we do have to include some “vanity” metrics into our reporting.

The main reason for this is because before someone becomes a customer, they first have to discover your brand and understand what you are all about.

Believe it or not, it’s never a bad idea to build your own audience on a channel like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or YouTube.

Yes, organic reach on these platforms are declining, but there is still a huge amount of value in building an audience.

For one, it helps you lower your cost per mile over time. On Facebook, small to medium sized pages can still get up to 10% reach.

This means if you have a 1000 followers on your business page, posting something will get approx. 100 people to see it free of charge, given if the quality of the post is good enough of course.

On Instagram some business pages are reporting a 30% reach!

So, the first thing that you should actively be tracking is your fan growth. Not necessarily your overall growth, but most importantly you’re your total amount of new fans per week.

Also make sure you are measuring the difference between organic and paid growth, as this will give you an indication on whether your paid strategy is actually working.

For those looking for some advanced tips and tricks to grow your Instagram business account, make sure to read our article on How to Grow Your Instagram Account for Free.

Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing

2. Engagement

After discovering your business, the next step would be to get these prospects to engage. By measuring your overall engagement rate you will get a clear indication on whether you are building a quality audience.

An average engagement rate on a platform like Instagram would be around 2-5%. This means that if you have 10k followers on Instagram, approx. 200-500 of them should be engaging with your content.

On Facebook the engagement rate will be a lot less, but it’s essential to measure your engagement rate so that you can get an idea on whether your audience is engaged with your brand or not.

If they are, then it becomes a lot easier to turn them into new and long-term customers.

3. Traffic to Your Website

Using Google Analytics (GA) you can track how whether people are actually taking the time to learn more about your business.

GA can help you dissect between organic, referral, email, social media traffic. Ideally you want to see an increase in social media traffic if you are spending money on social media.

Also, ensure to measure the bounce rate and time on site of your social media traffic as this is usually a strong indicator on whether you are reaching the right people on these networks.

Lastly, by using UTM links you can actually measure what social channels are driving the most traffic. The reason I would advise using a tracking link is because GA isn’t usually that accurate when it comes to differentiating between Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc.

By using a tracking link you will just be gathering more accurate data.

4. Repeat Visitors

Again similar to a billboard and radio ad, it’s about putting your brand in front of people all the time. This is why tracking repeat visitors, as well as where they are coming from is so important.

If someone has visited your site for a second, or third time in a period of a month, then it’s a good chance that he or she might convert into a customer once pay day arrives or once you launch that promo you’ve been thinking about.

Related: The Seven Rules Of Social Media

5. And Finally, Sales

If you’re an online business, then it’s a lot easier to measure your ROI from channels like Facebook and Instagram, as by having a Facebook Pixel installed on your website you will be able to track how many purchases have come from your social media ads.

This will give you a clear indication of money in vs money out.

However, if you are a physical store it might be a bit more tricky. Facebook launch offline conversions a few years ago and has been approving on the functionality of the feature.

By using Facebook offline event tracking you can request your customer to provide his or her email address and if you import that into Facebook it can identify whether or not that customer has seen one of your social media ads.

Now, that doesn’t always mean the person became a customer because of your advertising, but at least it’s a metric that can help you sleep better at night knowing your ad potentially had impact on an in-store sale.

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