Your Facebook marketing strategies have the power to either grow your brand quickly or waste your time. You don’t want to be pouring your time and energy into using marketing strategies on Facebook that are destined to fail, which means that your top priority should be to research the strategies that will work and avoid the ones that won’t.
You’ve come to the right place. The social media marketing specialists at FTx 360 have done the research for you. Based on market trends and first-hand experience, our Facebook marketing experts have put together a helpful list of Do’s & Don’ts to ensure that the time and energy you spend on Facebook will not only grow your brand quickly but also increase your bottom line.
In this article, you’ll also learn about the different Facebook Business Manager administrative roles that you can assign to your employees. And finally, we will wrap up the article by laying out five key marketing areas to be mindful of as you create, schedule, and manage your Facebook marketing.
The vast majority of Facebook users not only log onto the social platform daily, they basically live on it, and no, we aren’t using hyperbole. Most people who have a Facebook account keep the site open on their desktop or laptop computer all day long so that they can scroll through their feed whenever they feel like it. They also keep their smartphones nearby and as soon as a push notification from Facebook pops up, guess what they do? They swipe into the app to check out the alert.
All this is to say that if you use Facebook correctly, you will have the full attention of your audience. But first things first, be sure that you aren’t guilty of any of these self-sabotaging “don’ts.”
If you didn’t know, yes, it’s possible to purchase Facebook Page “likes” and even post “likes.” Years ago, when Facebook instilled an algorithm to identify and promote Pages with the most “likes,” a ton of ethically-questionable companies began selling “likes” to any business that would buy. The concept seemed logical. Purchase 1,000 or 20,000 Facebook “likes” from a company, then real people will discover and like your Page, and business revenue will increase, right? Except that’s not what happens. Because the “likes” are from fake accounts or bots, organic engagement never results. Plus, real Facebook users can tell. The fact of the matter is that the more fake “likes” you have, the lower your organic reach and post engagement will be.
This is extremely important, especially for businesses that are using Facebook to increase their overall revenue. Just because your marketing goal is to convert followers into paying customers doesn’t mean that 100% of your Facebook posts, ads, and Stories should be promotional. In other words, don’t use Facebook to constantly push your products or services. If you do, you’ll only end up losing your audience as followers “unfollow” you, “mute” you for 30 days, or block you altogether.
How many hashtags should you use in a typical Facebook post? Honestly, we don’t have a straight answer. The goalposts keep moving. For the longest time, the “no more than 30 hashtags” rule was applicable. We even advised ways to tuck hashtags beneath an attention-grabbing caption or post them into the first comment, and for a while that was sound advice. However, as of writing this article, it looks like including as few as five hashtags is ideal, and if you want to follow the hashtag trend, you should work them into your caption sentences instead of listing them out below the caption.
There’s a fine line between using an attention-grabbing heading and one that’s obviously click-bait. A basic rule of thumb to live by is to be honest and avoid exaggerating. Now, there are two kinds of headings you will use. When you share a web page link, a headline will automatically generate from the third-party’s website. In this instance, make sure the web page you’re sharing is appropriate for your brand and relevant to your audience. The other kind of heading is the one you compose yourself, which could have to do with an upcoming promotion or a business milestone. Just be sure to caption the information honestly rather than exaggerating the content with a shocking headline.
Eventually, you could receive a negative comment or customer review on your Facebook Page. How you respond is extremely important. The last thing you want to do is come across sounding callous, defensive, or downright argumentative. Do not argue with customers, followers, and visitors on your Facebook Page in view of the public. Even responding with an explanation could run the risk of being perceived as argumentative. Instead, reply promptly with a professional-sounding invitation for them to call, DM, or email your company. For all customer service complaints, just remember, it’s best to handle the matter privately.
Facebook Shops are growing in popularity due in large part to the fact that customers love the convenience of having the option to buy goods directly on Facebook. No brand should overlook the importance of setting up a Facebook Shop, but strangely, a lot of eCommerce retailers are guilty of this. Many eCommerce retailers assume that Facebook users will click their website button and willingly navigate out of the Facebook app in order to shop on their website. Don’t make this mistake. As a matter of fact, Facebook users are becoming less and less willing to navigate out of Facebook just to shop. Even if you have an eCommerce site, you should set up a Facebook Shop.
Now that you understand what not to do on Facebook, you probably want to learn about what you should do to capture the attention of your audience, grow your followers, and convert users, visitors, and followers into loyal customers. In a nutshell, you need to focus on presenting a clear brand image to your social media followers, which includes using a distinct voice to communicate with your followers and personally relate to your audience. If you’re using Facebook to gain B2B clients, make sure every post looks and sounds polished and professional. Are you a pet retailer? Punch up your posts with as much personality as possible! You get the idea…
Without further ado, here’s our list of must-do’s!
Once upon a time, business owners created Facebook Pages to promote websites and it worked. People found those businesses on Facebook and then visited their websites. Nowadays, Facebook Pages actually function like their own little business websites, which means that you’re going to want to encourage inbound traffic to your Page. You can do this by using your business website to promote your Facebook Page. Include clickable Facebook icons on every page of your website. You should also display your actual Facebook Page content feed on at least one page of your site. Even if website visitors only hop over to Facebook to “like” your Page, it’ll be worth it.
We can’t overstate the benefits of using Facebook Live and we wish more business owners would get into the habit of regularly broadcasting branded messages using this innovative Facebook feature. Facebook Live enables you to livestream events, lessons, performances, lectures, or anything you like. Viewers can watch the live broadcast from their smartphones, computers, or connected TV, and they can also react, share, and comment in real-time. We encourage business owners to use Facebook Live to broadcast 3 to 5-minute messages to build brand awareness. Branded messages can address your company’s mission, purpose, and goals.
Facebook users expect to receive a response within 30 minutes when they send a Direct Message, especially if they’re using DM to reach customer service due to an issue. For this reason, it’s extremely important to respond quickly to any Facebook DMs you receive. In fact, if you’re slow to respond, you could lose sales. We also recommend that you respond quickly to the comments under your Facebook posts as well, even if it’s simply to acknowledge a kind comment or answer a question. As an added bonus, the faster you respond, the higher Facebook will elevate your Page.
What is “compelling content”? The answer to this question will depend on who your audience includes. That being said, any post that provokes engagement will be compelling. Use your Facebook posts to ask questions. Questions naturally provoke responses because followers will feel compelled to answer them. You can also use CTAs in your posts, offer valuable information, embed a survey or pole, or post an evocative image. The trick here is to remember that the goal of the post is to start a conversation, which means that when your followers begin to comment, be sure to respond and keep the engagement going.
Not all of your Facebook posts have to be original content that you’ve created. In fact, your followers will appreciate gaining insights into your opinions and perspective on relevant topics, which is why it’s a good idea to share articles and links to other relevant websites. By sharing interesting, relevant information with your followers, you can spark engagement and start conversations in the comments. Also, be sure to share the links to any blog articles that you’ve written within a few hours of publishing. This will help pull traffic to your blog and also trigger conversations about the article itself.
The more pictures, photos, and videos you use in your Facebook posts, the better. People love social media in general because it’s highly visual. Be mindful of how your posts will appear in the average user’s Facebook feed. Try to find ways to ensure your posts are eye-catching and impossible to “scroll by.” You want your followers to stop scrolling when they see your posts, and using dynamic photos, stunning pictures, and attention-grabbing videos can help. This rule also applies to any Facebook ads you run, and remember, you can always use paid “boosts” to promote your most popular posts.
One of the most beneficial aspects of marketing your brand on Facebook is that you can split the marketing workload between multiple people thanks to Facebook Business Manager. Instead of handling 100% of your Facebook marketing yourself, you can assign roles to your employees.
There are many administrative roles that you can set within Facebook Business Manager, which include:
● Admin: Can manage all aspects of the Page. They can publish and send Messenger messages as the Page, respond to and delete comments on the Page, post from Instagram to Facebook, create ads, see who created a post or comment, view insights, and assign Page roles. If an Instagram account is connected to the Page, they can respond to and delete comments, send Direct Messages, sync business contact info and create ads.
● Editor: Can publish content and send Messenger messages as the Page, respond to and delete comments on the Page, create ads, see who created a post or comment, post from Instagram to Facebook, and view insights. If an Instagram account is connected to the Page, they can respond to and delete comments, send Direct Messages, sync business contact info and create ads.
● Moderator: Can send Messenger messages as the Page, respond to and delete comments on the Page, create ads, see who created a post or comment, and view insights. If an Instagram account is connected to the Page, they can respond to Instagram comments, send Direct Messages and create ads.
● Advertiser: Can create ads, see who created a post or comment, and view insights. If an Instagram account is connected to the Page, they can create ads.
● Analyst: Can see which admin created a post or comment and view insights.
As you can see, each Facebook administrative role defined above has a different level of access and responsibility. Admins have full access to the Facebook Business Page, and can create ads, view insights, respond to comments, and send Direct Messages. Whereas Analysts have the least amount of access and can only create posts, comment on posts, and view insights.
APPLY THE DO’S & DON’TS TO YOUR FACEBOOK MARKETING STRATEGY
Let’s assume you understand the do’s and don’ts of Facebook marketing, and you’re committed to applying the do’s. You’ve even hired a few trustworthy and passionate helpers to manage your Facebook Page. There are a few more strategizing steps you’ll need to address before your Facebook Page will be ready to roll like a well-oiled machine. These steps involve understanding who your audience is, how to communicate with them, and figuring out when they want to hear from you.
Once you know all that, the content that your entire team creates, schedules, and manages will spark user engagement and help you gain enthusiastic followers who turn into customers.
You can easily identify who your Facebook audience is by checking out the demographics of your CRM software. If you’ve had your Facebook Page for a while, you can also use the insights feature within Facebook Business Manager to understand the types of followers who engage with your Page.
You can take identifying your audience one step further by developing key buyer personas for your brand. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer that’s based on your own market research as well as the real data you collect about your existing customers from your CRM.
The simplest way to leverage the audience insights you’ve compiled is to use the demographic information when you place your next Facebook ad. The best digital marketing campaign will target the right audience and you can only do this if you accurately leverage your audience insights, build a targeted marketing strategy, and run ads that spark engagement.
The key to success is planning ahead, and using your Facebook Page to help every area of your business succeed is no different. We strongly suggest that you use a social media content calendar like this one, which you can download and start using today, to keep your posts organized.
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that as a social platform, Facebook has peak hours and dark hours. That being said, your specific audience might be the most active on Facebook on certain days, or within certain windows of time on certain days. For example, if your target audience is comprised of nightclub owners, then the best days and times to reach them is probably from dusk until dawn Friday and Saturday nights. You get the idea, just be sure to research the best days and times to post on Facebook to reach your niche audience.
Would you rather partner with a digital marketing agency for all of your Facebook and social media campaigns? FTx 360 could be the right firm for you. Our social media marketing specialists have created and launched impactful marketing campaigns for businesses from all industries. From redesigning your company logo to rebranding your Facebook Business Page, we do it all and aim to please! Contact us to learn more about what FTx 360 can do for you.
Convenience is everything to consumers these days. Just as in-store retail shoppers would be seriously annoyed if cashiers told them to visit the retailer’s eCommerce site in order to buy all the items in their carts, today’s consumers do not want to leave the social media platforms they’re scrolling through in order to buy the amazing merchandise they’re looking at.
Are you featuring merchandise on your Instagram profile? If so, it’s because you want visitors to buy those items. Trust us, your visitors definitely want to have fast access to purchase the items you post on social, and we’re here to say that redirecting your Facebook and Instagram visitors to your eCommerce site is not going to make your visitors happy.
Instagram and Facebook now offer a new platform feature called Shop. Barely a year old, Shop is an eCommerce feature that enables your visitors to purchase your merchandise directly from your social profiles. Yes, by utilizing Shop, your Facebook profile is transformed into an eCommerce store unto itself, likewise your Instagram profile.
And the best part is that because Instagram and Facebook are connected, you only have to set up one Shop within Facebook (or Instagram) and you’ll be able to sell your goods on both platforms.
Consider this article your step-by-step how-to guide for setting up a Shop on Facebook, which will enable you to sell your goods on both platforms. And yes, we are going to focus on setting up your Facebook Shop which will link to Instagram, enabling you to sell on both platforms.
Let’s get started.
In order to set up your Shops through Facebook, you will need to have a Facebook Business Manager account. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. Turning your regular Facebook account into a Business Manager account is as easy as clicking a few buttons. Simply log in to Facebook, navigate to your Facebook page, and click the Edit Page button at the top right of the page.
Next, click on the Basic Information tab, which you’ll find at the left-hand side of the toolbar that appears across the top of your screen. A drop-down menu will appear. Click Category, select Local Businesses and Places, and when another drop-down menu appears, select the Type of Business that best describes your page. Save your changes.
Once your Business Manager account has been created following the steps we just covered, you will be ready to start building your Facebook & Instagram Shop via the Facebook Business Manager.
● Log in to Facebook Business Manager
● In the upper-left corner, click the horizontal bars icon
● Click Shortcuts
● A drop-down menu will appear, scroll down until you see Commerce Manager
● Click Commerce Manager
● Click Get Started
You will be presented with two options:
● Manage with Commerce Manager
● Sync & Manage with a Partner
You will have to choose one or the other.
If you already have an eCommerce platform, Shopify store, or similar, then select “Sync & Manage with a Partner.” If not, then choose “Commerce Manager.”
Commerce Manager is a great option for retailers who don’t have a pre-existing eCommerce site and aren’t prepared to create one just for the sake of selling goods on social media. You do not need any expertise to set up your Shop via Commerce Manager within Facebook Business Manager.
Commerce Manager is also an ideal option for businesses that primarily sell services, but want to attract new customers on social media by offering select merchandise. For example, SaaS businesses might use Instagram & Facebook Shops to sell computer cases, cell phone cases, electronic & hardware accessories, and swag, not because retailing those items is their core purpose, but because their social media profiles and posts contain critical information about the software they sell as a service. By magnetizing visitors to their page via Shop, their visitors will learn about their core SaaS business and hopefully become interested in purchasing Saas through their business website.
● Click Manage with Commerce Manager
● Click Next
You will see three options, which are:
● Checkout on Another Website
● Checkout with Facebook or Instagram
● Checkout with Messaging
The option to Checkout on Another Website is as literal as it gets. This option will enable your social shoppers to purchase your goods on another website such as Etsy or another platform that does not have a partner integration with Facebook & Instagram. We actually do not recommend this option since it will cause your social visitors to navigate away from Facebook and Instagram.
Checkout with Facebook or Instagram is the option to choose if you want to be able to sell immediately on these platforms.
The final option, Checkout with Messaging, enables your social visitors to purchase through the IM / DM messaging features of Facebook and Instagram. Pretty cool! This option, however, is limited, so we don’t recommend that you go this route during the set-up process. That being said, once you set up your Shop, your social visitors will still have the option to purchase via messenger!
● Click Checkout with Facebook or Instagram
● Click Next
The set-up manager will ask you where do you want to sell from?
● Choose Ad Account from Business Manager
● Click Continue
You will then be presented with a page that says, Setting Up a Test Account.
There are three primary steps to this process:
● Entering your business information
● Setting up your inventory and shipping preferences
● Setting up your bank account where purchase payments will be deposited
In the next section, we will walk you through all three steps.
Entering in your business information is a straightforward process. Once you’ve entered this information, it’s time to start entering your merchandise inventory. Here you will either create an inventory catalog or link Facebook to your pre-standing inventory catalog if you have one. This step is very easy to do if you already have a Shopify store.
If you don’t have a Shopify store or another eStore that has partnered with Facebook & Instagram, then you can manually enter each inventory item, along with all the pertinent information for each item including photos, descriptions, and prices. This could take some time so be sure to plan ahead.
Once all of your inventory items are entered and saved, click Next, and fill out the Shipping Options prompts. You can set up Standard Shipping, Expedited Shipping, and Rush Shipping. Even though you can always change these later from the Commerce Manager, try to fill out as much information as possible during this step.
That being said, we want to emphasize how important this step really is. Right now, Facebook & Instagram places massive importance on retailers’ shipping capabilities. So much so, in fact, that if and when you launch a Facebook & Instagram ad campaign, the bidding and ad placement process will factor in your shipping capabilities. Shipping directly impacts customer satisfaction so you must be completely honest when filling out the shipping section of your Shop. For example, if you cannot live up to Rush Shipping, then do not include it as a shipping option for your Shop customers.
For all of the shipping options that you are confident you can live up to, click the Edit icon to the right of the option and fill out the information, which includes Estimated Days to Delivery, Price, Price Per Additional Items, and Cart Minimum for Free Shipping.
Pay particular attention to the Estimated Days to Delivery field. As we mentioned, you must be honest, but please be realistic, too. Do you project that it could take 20 days to ship an order? Facebook is not going to like that. You may need to reinforce your shipping department, hire who needs to be hired, and implement the best shipping operations as possible so that the “estimated days to delivery” that you’re capable of offering your customers will please Facebook as well as your shoppers. For the sake of full disclosure, 3 – 7 days for a delivery timeline is acceptable. Any shipments that take longer than that are not generally considered competitive, unless you’re using Drop Ship via a distributor or manufacturer. In that case, you need an even larger buffer. Remember, your customers would rather have a realistic estimate than a delivery promise you cannot fulfill.
The next Shipping Options field to fill out is the Price. Unlike Amazon and other eCommerce platforms that offer advanced intelligence and customized shipping cost estimations, Facebook Shop is not capable of this. Instead, you will have to plug in a fixed shipping cost that will be used to deliver all orders to any location. For example, if you plug in $10, you will collect $10 per order. If the order is 50 lbs and the destination is 3,000 miles away, you’re probably going to lose money. But if your goods tend to be light, such as 5 ounces, then shipping to a destination that’s clear across the US for $10 is reasonable.
The Price Per Additional Item should be reasonable, as well. Remember, profiting from the shipping costs you collect from your customers is a big no-no, but at the same time, you don’t want to lose money. Be careful when you calculate these figures, and be mindful that you will also need to calculate the Cart Minimum for Free Shipping. Will your customers need to purchase $50-worth of goods or $100-worth in order to receive free shipping? Do the math and try to get that figure as low as possible.
You will go through the same process and fill out the same fields for Expedited Shipping and Rush Shipping if you are able to offer those shipping options. If not, then do not select them. Once you’ve completed the Set Your Shipping Options page, click Next.
You do not need to draft a legally-binding return policy, because Facebook supplies one. However, you will need to plug in how many days a customer has to return an item. Thirty days is fairly standard for retail, so we recommend that you allow customers to return items for up to 30 days if they want a payment refund for their purchase. But the return policy time frame is really up to you. That being said, the information you supply here is extremely important and Facebook will penalize your future ads if you plug in an unreasonable time frame, such as stating that customers only have 5 days to return items. Finally, enter in the Customer Service Email address that visitors and customers can use to contact you, and click Save.
You will be redirected to the Setting Up a Test Account page where you must now fill out the 3rd and final section of your Shop—Payouts. This section is as straightforward as it gets. Simply enter in all of your banking information, business information, and tax information, and click Save.
Once you’ve completed those sections of entering your business information, setting up your inventory and shipping preferences, and setting up your bank account where purchase payments will be deposited, you can then begin to focus on your product catalog.
As we mentioned earlier, you can either link to Shopify or another partnered eCommerce online platform or enter your products manually. But the set-up manager will walk you through this.
● Click Catalog
● Click Items
Here you will have three options:
● Add Manually
● Use Bulk Upload
● Use a Pixel
The next section of this how-to article will focus on the process to Add Manually.
● Click Add Manually
You will see a form with blank fields and upload boxes where you can enter in product information, photos, descriptions, and prices. Pay particular attention to the Content ID fields. If your catalog is relatively large or if you’re pulling your catalog in through Shopify, you may need to include a Content ID per item in your Facebook Shop. In this case, the Content IDs will be your SKU codes or UPCs. That being said, entering Content IDs is optional, so you can leave these fields blank if you prefer.
A cool aspect to be mindful of is that you can create an automatic discount that your visitors will see. Let us explain. The difference between the Sale Price and the Price fields will appear to your visitors as an item’s discount. For example, if you enter an item sale price of $50 and plug in $100 for the “price” of that item, then your product page will show a $50 discount. However, if you enter a Sale Price of $50 and leave the Price field blank, then the product page will only show one sale price with no discount. Depending on the sales you’re managing, you can adjust your products’ Sales Prices versus Prices.
There are more fields within each Product page, including Variations, which pertains to various sizes and / or colors of your products. If such variations apply to your products, then be sure to fill these out so that your visitors can see all of the item options that are available.
As you can probably tell, manually filling out a Product Page for every inventory item you have within your catalog will be a time consuming process. For this reason, we don’t recommend that you enter your items manually unless you do not have a product catalog ready to import.
You can also Activate & Deactivate inventory items and set your on-hand inventory quantities.
This is the really fun part, and best of all, designing the look of your Facebook & Instagram storefronts won’t be time consuming since the Shop platform has highly limited options. That being said, by adjusting and modifying the stylistic options that are available to you, you will be able to present your unique brand to your social visitors in the right light.
On the left-hand side of your Facebook Shop screen, under Catalog, you will see an icon for Shops.
● Click Shops
You will be able to start setting up your storefront.
Once the Shops page loads, you will see your Facebook account as a visitor. Based on what you see, you can enter additional information and change the design layout and features to your liking, though there aren’t that many variables to toy with.
● Click Style
You will be able to change the design colors and theme colors of your Shop to suit your unique brand, including the color of the links and buttons that appear and the text content, font, and alignment. You can also use Tiles to spruce up the exact layout of your Shop. You can also group your items into Collections for an even more stylized layout. Take your time and play around with the options until your Shop captures and presents your brand exactly how you want!
Why do we recommend that you create your Shop on Facebook and not Instagram? We’ve lived and learned, and therefore we strongly advise that you set up your Shop within Facebook, as opposed to setting up your Shop from Instagram. Though these two platforms are conjoined thanks to Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram a number of years back, the Shop set-up process differs between the two. In our collective experience, the Facebook Shop set-up process and the functionality that subsequently results on both Facebook & Instagram is superior to that which is offered by Instagram.
Want the social media marketing experts at FTx 360 to set up and handle your Facebook & Instagram Shops? Our social media management team can have you up-and-running in no time! Contact us to learn about our rates and what FTx 360 can do for your business.
The digital marketing specialists at FTx 360 publish a lot of content each month in the form of blog articles. These articles are designed to help business owners like you implement effective digital marketing strategies that benefit their brands.
In case you missed them, the informative marketing articles we posted this month were:
You can click to read any of these full, original articles to learn in-depth information about the specific digital marketing topic listed above. Otherwise, check out the summaries of each article below.
Instagram has not stopped evolving since it was launched over a decade ago. Today, Instagram users can shop, video chat, watch IGTV channels, and engage with other users on the platform in countless ways. Businesses can advertise and interact with potential customers, all while building their brand and social media presence.
Instagram has launched many improvements throughout the first half of 2021, and more features are yet to arrive as summer turns to autumn later this year. There are upwards of twenty Instagram updates, upgrades, improvements, and new feature launches to watch out for in 2021—far too many to cover in one article. So, we focused our first August article on the following five new Instagram features that are most relevant to your business account:
● Messenger API Update
● Professional Dashboard
● Option to Hide “Likes”
● Suggested Posts
● Interactive Stickers for Stories
This back-to-school season, retailers like you want to deliver a marketing campaign that actually resonates with consumers. Your current customers, as well as potential ones, aren’t interested in hearing about your products and services unless your campaign messages speak to them personally and address their wants, needs, interests, and pain points.
Though it may seem counterintuitive to place your products and services in the background of your ads, this adjustment will help you convert consumers into paying customers. Your promotional content and messages should focus on personalization with the aim of conveying relevant offers that speak to the unique needs of each shopper.
With that in mind, try one, some, or all of these back-to-school campaign ideas:
● Email Marketing Campaigns
● Google Pay-Per-Click Ad Campaigns
● Facebook & Instagram Ad Campaigns
● SMS Text Message Marketing Campaigns
● Responsive Web Design Landing Page Campaigns
● Referral Code Campaigns
Integrating social media into your business strategy will afford your brand countless benefits, including helping you to spread brand awareness, expand your customer base, encourage online engagement with your brand, and increase the virality of your business.
Social media is such a powerful tool for business growth, in fact, that you don’t have to use every platform under the sun. Simply maintaining accounts on one or two social platforms will be enough to support your business needs and social media goals.
But how can you specifically utilize social media for your business? In our third August article, we suggested the following strategies:
● Schedule Organic Posts on Social
● Provide Customer Service Options on Social
● Run Sponsored Content on Social
● Cross-Promote Your Social Media Accounts
● Alter Your Social Content for Different Platforms
If you run a pet company, you understand that the love pet parents have for their furry friends is boundless. Pet parents delight in doting on their dogs and cats, taking photos of their pets, and connecting with other pet lovers online.
You can also connect with pet lovers online, boost your brand, and build your customer base, which is what this FTx 360 article was all about. To summarize, here are the best marketing strategies for pet companies that you can start using today:
● Create Educational Posts About Products
● Make Sure Posts Sound Personal and Not Promotional
● Ask Customers to Leave Reviews on Facebook
● Create Carousel Posts to Increase Viewing Time
● Launch a “Caption This!” Challenge to Boost Engagement
● Use “Insta Grid” as Tiles to Create a Bigger Picture
● Use Branded, Trending, and Location-Based Hashtags
● Encourage ReTweeting to Get the Word Out
● Tweet Photos of Adorable, Adoptable Dogs
● Create Grooming How-To Videos Featuring Your Customers’ Pets
● Use “Before & Afters” in Your Pet Care Tutorials
● Feature a Series on How To Register Pets as Service Dogs & Emotional Support Animals
● Cover Relevant Health Topics & Common Pet Health Issues
● Publish Articles Featuring Your Customers’ Pets
● Include a Newsletter Subscription Sign-Up Button
Customer experiences culminate in either satisfaction or disappointment. The result that ultimately follows is either increased business revenue or dismal eCommerce sales. Customer experience, or CX, is that critical.
You want your customers to have positive experiences when engaging with your brand online, but you might not necessarily understand what eCommerce elements will contribute to providing your website visitors with such an excellent customer experience that they successfully complete the online checkout process.
In this original article, we supplied in-depth steps and went into detail about the following five strategies you can implement to improve your eCommerce site’s customer experience.
● Offer Personalized Website Navigation
● Provide Customized Browsing Experiences
● Feature Customer Reviews & Testimonials
● Enhance the Checkout Process
● Build Brand Affinity with Valuable Content
There’s no alternative to getting serious about professionally marketing your business online, but what if you have no idea where to start?
Should you hire an in-house marketing team? Should you outsource your digital marketing to an agency? Most importantly, what is it really going to cost to launch digital marketing campaigns that successfully expand your customer base, retain loyal customers, build brand presence, increase revenue, and ultimately deliver a worthwhile return on investment?
If these critical questions have crossed your mind, then you’ve come to the right place.
In the full article, we went over how you can plan a marketing budget that will work for your brand. We strongly suggest you check out the original blog post if you want to specifically learn about:
● Why You Need a Marketing Budget
● How To Plan Your Marketing Budget
● Specific Digital Marketing Campaigns to Fund
● The Benefits of Hiring In-house Marketers ss. Working with a Marketing Agency
● How to Determine Your Overall Marketing Budget
A/B Testing, also called Split Testing, is a digital marketing method that uses two different versions of a single campaign to determine which content version performs better in terms of increasing social engagement and improving conversion rates online.
One version of the campaign content, called the A group, is the “control,” and the other version of the campaign content represents the B group, which contains the variation content. Testing different campaign content in this manner can inform a marketer like you which campaign version we should focus on and invest our marketing budget in.
In the world of digital marketing, the desired result is usually conversion, whether it be converting website visitors to newsletter subscribers, newsletter recipients to monthly subscription customers, or monthly subscription customers to brand ambassadors who use word-of-mouth marketing to successfully refer their friends and family to sign up for monthly subscription packages. You get the idea.
The use of A / B Testing can help you achieve tangible business goals, such as:
● Increasing Website Traffic
● Increasing Conversion Rates
● Lowering Bounce Rates
● Lowering Cart Abandonment
Our full article went over the steps you can follow if you want to ensure the best A / B Test results. To summarize, those steps are:
● Identify the Problem
● Identify Your Goal
● Pick One Variable to Test
● Create the Control Campaign (Test A) and the Challenger Campaign (Test B)
● Split Your Sample Groups Equally & Randomly
● Monitor the Results Throughout the Test But Do Not Alter Anything
One of the most powerful marketing tools you have is your website. Whether you have a B2B website, a B2C eCommerce site, or an SaaS platform that’s meant to target both B2B and B2C consumer groups, your website should be designed to pull in web traffic and keep visitors engaged long enough to do business with you.
Older, outdated websites simply won’t serve your digital marketing needs, and you’re probably aware of that. But what you might not be aware of is that your website could be outdated even if it isn’t that old.
In our final August article, we laid out how you can determine whether or not your website is up to date, and we also included the measures you can take right now to update your website if you determine that it’s outdated. But in summary, here’s what your business website or eCommerce site must include in order for it to be considered up to date by today’s standards:
● A Responsive Web Design
● A Call to Action On Every Web Page
● Fast Website Speed & Easy Site Usability
● Social Media Integration
● An Active Blog
Are you interested in partnering with a digital marketing agency? FTx 360 offers a wide array of digital marketing services at affordable costs. Whether you need web design & development, eCommerce marketing services, social media marketing, content marketing, blog articles and blog management, organic and local SEO, email marketing, marketing automation, PPC marketing, or reputation management—we do it all and love every minute of it! Contact us to learn more about what FTx 360 can do for your business and brand!
Instagram has had quite an evolution. Just two short years after launching in 2010, the photo-sharing app was acquired by Facebook for a sum of money that shocked the then-burgeoning social media industry—$1 billion. While the price tag seemed jaw-droppingly high at the time, Mark Zuckerberg had no choice but to make Instagram’s founder, Kevin Systrom, an offer he couldn’t refuse or else Facebook would’ve seen a nosedive in users, engagement, and revenue. Yes, Instagram was that big of a threat.
The acquisition occurred right around the time that other social media platforms were launching and rising in popularity. Platforms such as Vine, Snapchat, and Periscope each brought unique features to the market, which pushed Instagram to update and enhance its photo capturing features as well as add additional features that diversified its engagement capabilities.
“We’re no longer a photo-sharing app. The number one reason people say that they use Instagram, in research, is to be entertained.” —Adam Moserri, CEO of Instagram
In a lot of ways, Instagram has not stopped evolving since it was launched over a decade ago. Today, Instagram users can shop, video chat, watch IGTV channels, and engage with other users on the platform in countless ways. Businesses can advertise and interact with potential customers, all while building their brand and social media presence.
Instagram has launched many improvements throughout the first half of 2021, and more features are yet to arrive as summer turns to autumn later this year. Here are the new Instagram features and how you can make them work for you.
There are upwards of twenty Instagram updates, upgrades, improvements, and new feature launches to watch out for in 2021—far too many to cover in one article. So, we decided to focus this section on five new Instagram features that are most relevant to your business account.
Since its inception, Instagram has been an in-app platform, exclusively. Unlike Facebook, which allows users full access to their platform via desktop and laptop computers, Instagram made it virtually impossible to comfortably navigate, upload posts, comment, and DM via computer. Though users could sign in to Instagram on their computers to search hashtags and view profiles, the platform intentionally disincentivized this option. Well, all that has changed. As of the middle of last year, Instagram has upgraded its desktop features so that users can DM. The messenger API update that Instagram used to accomplish this also allows users to DM multimedia files such as photos, images, gifs, pictures, and other kinds of media, as well as start group chats. Even more exciting is the DM messenger interface, which offers better organization and an ability to access and manage your DM conversations across account profiles so long as they’re integrated. There are a few caveats, however. Messenger API for Instagram will have a staggered rollout as follows:
● Starting June, only IG business accounts that have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers will have access to this new Messenger API.
● Starting July, this new Messenger API will be available for business accounts with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers.
● Finally, by the end of the third quarter, 2021, all business IG accounts will have access to Messenger API.
Though Instagram has offered business accounts for years, only at the beginning of 2021 did they launch their Professional Dashboard, a new organizational tab for Instagram’s business account users. The purpose of Professional Dashboard is to consolidate other business account features in one place—features such as Badges, Instagram Shop, Checkout, and Branded Content. By consolidating these tools and resources into one central hub, Instagram hopes to better assist businesses to reach their marketing goals. There are three key features of Professional Dashboard that will help you stay organized and productive:
● Performance Tracking: this feature allows business account users the ability to analyze trends and study engagement insights, among other critical metrics.
● Business Growth: this feature helps business account users discover new marketing tools that will help them run their accounts more efficiently to build up their businesses. Most importantly, this feature allows users to check the monetization status of their ad campaigns.
● Stay Informed: this feature shows business account users personalized, curated, educational resources that will help them promote their businesses on Instagram. These resources include tips, tricks, guidance, and inspiration.
Shocker of all shockers—recently, Instagram initiated the option to hide “likes” so that they aren’t displayed! Why would a user want to hide the number of likes their post has? The answer is complicated. Psychologically, social media has done a number on all of us, especially young people. Research has proven that these platforms are physiologically addictive and impact the mental health of users. Users often experience a “high” when their posts receive a ton of engagement such as likes, comments, and shares. That’s all fine and dandy, but unfortunately, when users experience low engagement with their posts, it actually affects their mood, making them feel low, disappointed, and dejected. Instagram, and its parent company, Facebook, have decided to give users the option to hide the number of likes their posts have so that other users can’t see. Time will tell if this new feature positively improves user experience.
This feature isn’t too new. Suggested Posts actually launched in the middle of last year, but it’s still catching on, so we wanted to mention it. The purpose of Suggested Posts is to expose Instagram users to other user accounts, both business and personal, that they might enjoy. Suggested Posts only appear once a user has finished scrolling through the most recent posts of the accounts they follow in their feed. The actual posts of other users that are suggested will be relevant to the user’s personal preferences and interests. Instagram’s machine learning A.I. uses an algorithm to determine what a user likes based on the other accounts they follow and posts they “like.” At the moment, Instagram is still playing around with this feature and compiling user feedback. Due to the fact that there is no current way to turn this feature off, many users have complained that Suggested Posts are intrusive and at times infuriating. Have you encountered Suggested Posts? What do you think? The general consensus at FTx 360 is that they seem to be the “personal account” version of straightforward Instagram advertising. Meaning that we’re keeping our eye on them.
Interactive stickers for Instagram stories is easily our favorite new feature! The concept of story stickers emerged a few years ago, but in the last few months, Instagram has really leveled up its sticker game by adding brand new story stickers that provide far better interactive user experiences. If you’re unfamiliar, the purpose of story stickers is to add clickable links to your posts. In essence, these stickers serve as in-app CTAs, which can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses. Right now, the most popular stickers available on Instagram are Location, @Mention, #Hashtag, Donation, Music, Poll, Questions, Challenge, DM Me, Countdown, Quiz, Stay Home, Food Orders, Gift Cards, and Support Small Business. Let’s look at the story stickers that can best support your business’s Instagram marketing efforts:
● DM Me sticker: Instagram launched this new story sticker to help users DM business accounts easily and promote messaging interaction. By altering the DM Me text to state “Get More Info,” this particular sticker can become a powerful CTA that drives private discussions about products and services that could lead to sales.
● Food Orders sticker: if you own a restaurant, coffee shop, or quick-serve business, this story sticker is for you. The Food Orders sticker enables users to tap the sticker and get redirected immediately to your business’s online ordering platform. Connecting with popular food delivery service platforms such as GrubHub, Uber Eats, or DoorDash is possible with this sticker.
● Support Small Business sticker: this story sticker is excellent for businesses that want to partner with other non-competing businesses and cross-promote each other’s products and services. With the Support Small Business sticker, you can tag the business you’ve partnered with, which will introduce your visitors to the other business, and vice versa. By tapping the sticker, visitors will be redirected to your partner’s IG account or website, depending.
In addition to the Big Five that we covered in our last section, there are thirteen additional features to be aware of, which will be the focus of this section. These features affect both business and personal accounts.
At long last, Instagram offers in-app eCommerce solutions for business accounts. This Shop feature has to be accessed through your Facebook business account, however, since the platforms are married.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may have several Instagram accounts that appear under a larger umbrella company. Previously, there was no way to post the same content across multiple accounts, but now there is. This feature is a bona fide time saver.
Featuring user-generated content has become a highly effective social media marketing strategy, but efficiently “sharing” and “reposting” user-generated content hasn’t always been so easy on Instagram when it comes to stories. Instagram improved this by creating notifications for business account handles that users “tag” in their stories. If you’re tagged in a story, a notification will appear in your account.
In their effort to save businesses even more time, Instagram now offers Create Mode—a way to create, save, and reuse story templates. If you’re in the habit of including stickers, text, and a lot of bells and whistles in your story posts, this Create Mode template feature will save you a ton of time in the long run.
“Have you ever wanted to turn off your video or audio when you’re Live? Now you can. Hopefully, this gives you more flexibility and lessens any pressure to look or sound a certain way during a Live.” —Adam Moserri, CEO of Instagram
Have you ever hosted an Instagram Live only to have your child, dog, or neighbor make an unwelcomed, albeit unintentional, intrusion? Even Live videos you record at the office can be suddenly sabotaged by the unexpected. There’s nothing worse than scrambling to quiet a mysterious noise or correct a visual issue while your entire virtual audience looks on. That’s why Instagram now offers an “Off” option, allowing users to easily and quickly turn off their video, audio, or both.
Instagram TV, or IGTV for short, offers long form video content (longer than 60 seconds). This content format has grown in popularity, which is why Instagram is now working to promote IGTV channels and episodes. Using organic reach, Instagram will include IGTV Previews as though they are regular posts. The only downside is that you will have no control over the preview content. Instead, Instagram will automatically play a 15-second clip from your IGTV episode as a preview.
Using the Instagram app can be a huge drain on cell phone battery life, which is why Instagram launched Dark Mode, a “dim” version of its content. The main difference is that Dark Mode features a black background, as opposed to the traditional white background.
Taking a cue from Google, Instagram now divides its Inbox into three tabs—Primary, General, and Requests. Messages from users you follow or who follow you will show up in the Primary tab, and the rest will appear in the Requests tab, which you can then manually move to either Primary or General.
We’re not sure how we feel about Instagram’s new “Suggested Unfollow” feature… Instagram will now suggest to users, not accounts they should follow, but rather current accounts that they should unfollow due to the fact that they haven’t been engaging with those accounts anyway. Generally speaking, the accounts that Instagram will suggest you “unfollow” will be the accounts in your “Least Interacted With” list.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to block a follower. Sad, but true. But what if you don’t want to completely cut your profile off from a follower? That’s where Remove Followers comes in handy, Instagram’s “soft block” feature. In your Followers list, you’ll now see Remove buttons next to each account name. Simply tap “remove” and the follower won’t be blocked from finding your account in the future, they just won’t see your posts anymore since they’re no longer following you.
Instagram Alt Text is a great new feature for business accounts that want to cater to their followers who are visually impaired. With Instagram Alt Text, you can compose shorter captions that will appear in large print font. As an added bonus, using Alt Text is another opportunity to plug in SEO keywords and hashtags that Instagram will pick up.
As an alternative to Remove Followers, Instagram now offers the new Restrict Accounts feature that enables users to disable a follower’s ability to comment on their posts. Originally, this feature was designed to fight online bullying, but it’s helpful for businesses, as well.
Depending on the nature of your business and the content of your social media account, it might be appropriate to prevent users who are under a certain age from accessing your posts. For example, vape retailers and CBD shops might want to restrict underage users from viewing their content. With the Age Limit feature, you can “hide” your profile from younger audiences by defining the “minimum age” setting within your account. Once a minimum age has been set, only users who meet the age minimum will have access to your profile, posts, and stories.
Instagram remains the most popular photo-sharing app, and yet this social media platform has evolved to become so much more. Instagram’s success and continued popularity are due in large part to its ability to adopt and mimic the successful features that competing social platforms offer.
At the moment, the social platform that’s giving Instagram the biggest run for its money is TikTok. TikTok is young, fun, and growing at a rate that has been making other social media platforms very nervous. Currently, TikTok has over 1 billion active users across the world, but why? What makes TikTok so appealing?
What makes TikTok unique is the app’s discovery feed, known as the “For You” page. This view serves as the user’s primary timeline, or feed, and it uses a special algorithm to populate the most optimal and personalized content for the user. The algorithm’s artificial intelligence uses machine learning to record, analyze, and leverage the specific posts that a user interacts with in order to show them highly relevant content that they’re likely to enjoy.
Unlike competing social media platforms that foster social networks and connections with people you know in real life, TikTok actually does the opposite by connecting users with content that’s generated outside of their social circles.
Why mention this?
TikTok is a bigger threat to Instagram right now than any other social media platform, and Instagram knows it. Over the course of the past year, Instagram users have begun to split their social media time between Instagram and TikTok, which has affected Instagram’s user engagement as well as its ad revenue.
What’s Instagram doing about it?
Instagram plans to study TikTok and adopt as many popular TikTok features as it can.
“The important thing is that people are seeing stories that resonate with them and are meaningful to them.” —Adam Moserri, CEO of Instagram
Truth be told, Instagram isn’t suffering due to TikTok… yet. Instagram is still the #1 platform in conjunction with Facebook for effective advertising. In fact, posting regularly on Instagram for marketing purposes will gain you more followers and daily interactions than posting on TikTok at the moment… But we’re definitely watching both platforms closely.
As of writing this article, TikTok has upgraded its ads, making them personalized and also unavoidable. Meaning, users can no longer opt-out of seeing ads on the platform. This upgrade took place in April earlier this year, and the marketing specialists at FTx 360 are still tracking ad performance metrics to determine if advertising on TikTok will at some point rival placing targeted ads on Instagram.
If the scales tip in TikTok’s favor, we’ll let you know! In the meantime, Instagram is where it’s at for social media marketing if your content contains highly visual photos and videos.
FTx 360 provides social media marketing services that can help you get the most out of your social media presence, increase social engagement, build followers, and convert users and followers into website visitors and loyal customers. No matter how big or small your business is today, or what industry you’re in, our team of experienced digital marketers can increase social engagement for your brand on Instagram, Facebook, and other social platforms. Using paid advertisements, PPC Marketing, and social media marketing strategies, our marketers combine the power of hashtags, SEO, and geo-targeting to deliver results. Contact us to discover what FTx 360 can do for your brand.
As a business owner, you’re probably aware that social media should play a role in your digital marketing strategy. But which platforms should you invest your time in?
There are many social media platforms to choose from. In fact, new social platforms hit the internet regularly, which can be overwhelming for business owners who are trying to keep up. The good news is that you don’t have to. When it comes to using social media to promote your business, accrue followers, and increase brand awareness, there are only five major platforms to consider. Those are:
Should you create profiles and attempt to publish on all of these platforms? Absolutely not. As counterintuitive as it may seem, if you try to tackle managing accounts and publishing content on all five of these social media platforms, you will cause the adverse effect of diluting your brand and weakening your digital presence.
Ensuring that social media marketing works for your business will depend on choosing the right platforms. Each social media platform offers users a different experience. Each platform provides brands with advantages and disadvantages. And each social platform must be carefully analyzed for its business marketing potential. In this article, we will assess the major platforms listed above to help you determine which ones will best serve your marketing goals.
In order to reach your social media marketing goals, you must first get clear on what those goals are. Social media goals can range widely from one business to the next. Some companies strictly use social media platforms to sell directly to consumers. Others choose platforms that will enable them to collect thousands of followers, because building general awareness about their brands is their greatest goal. Company owners who want to promote their B2B businesses might expect their social media marketing efforts to result in gaining podcast subscribers and website visitors since those are their two biggest conversion channels.
What are your social media marketing goals? Your answer will depend on the following factors, so first ask yourself:
● What type of business do you own?
● Who are your clients or customers?
● Which social media platforms do they spend the most time on?
● What type of information do you want to impart to your targeted audience via social media and what would be the best content form to communicate that information to them?
Let’s take a look at each question, the possible answers, and how your particular answer will inform your social media marketing goals.
The first major differentiator is whether you own a B2C company—”business-2-consumer” company—or a B2B company—”business-2-business” company. The industry in which your company operates is the second major differentiator. B2B companies that operate within the manufacturing industry, for example, will have very different social media marketing goals than B2C companies that operate as pet supply stores, golf & country clubhouses, or 24-hour diners. Certain social media platforms will serve B2B companies better than B2C ones, while other social media platforms will benefit retailers more so than restaurants, all of which we will examine further in this article. For now, simply identify the nature of your business.
This question goes much deeper than what meets the eye initially. The answer we’re looking for is all about customer demographics, customer interests, customer favorites, customer “pain points,” and the list goes on. You really must know who your customers are if you want to engage them online using your social media content. Do you have a digitized Point-of-Sale system at your retail location? Are you using Customer Relationship Management software at your hospitality business? Do you have a customer loyalty rewards program in place at your quick-serve diner? Any of these software tools can tell you exactly who your clients and customers are. Simply review and analyze all of the valuable customer data that has been historically recorded. You can access this data via the reporting function of the software.
We admit, if you already knew the answer to this question, you probably wouldn’t need to read this article in the first place. Obviously, you want to focus your social media marketing efforts on whichever social platforms your customers spend most of their time. That being said, determining which platform your current customers—and also your potential customers—spend the bulk of their time on isn’t as straightforward as it should be. Answering this question will require research, but the good news is that there are several independent websites that have conducted this kind of research already by comparing user data from one platform to the next. Not to mention that any social platform that is a publicly traded company has to provide key demographic information as part of their financial reporting transparency obligations. Check out Facebook’s Investor Reporting website.
In terms of identifying and reaching your social media marketing goals, this is the most important question you will ever answer. Social media is all about interaction and engagement, which means that you must understand what kind of content your customers want to find on social media in order to provide them with content that will effectively engage them. For instance, if you own a holistic dentistry practice, your customers are probably concerned with the toxins that are known to leach out of dental fillings and implants, and the dangers that mixed metals are suspected to cause in the human body. The dental materials you use, as well as your services, are toxin-free. So, how can you communicate this information to your potential customers, quelling their fears while educating them at the same time, all while using the most accommodating social media platform to relay your message?
As you can tell, a great deal of thought goes into figuring out what kind of information your customers are seeking online and which content form will be best to communicate that information to them. In the next section, we will look at each social media platform to help you understand how using it could benefit your business and to also help you eliminate the platforms that are less likely to serve you, your customers, and your marketing goals.
Each social media platform has a fluctuating number of daily users, and depending on the specific demographics of those users, your business could have access to a very deep pool of potential customers if you choose to market your company on those platforms. But is it better to be a big fish in a small pond, a small fish in a big pond, or a fisherman who casts the widest net possible? Only you will know what is best for your business. Here is the social media platform information you can use to assess which platforms will be right for you.
A veteran social media platform that has been around longer than the others on this list, Facebook is by no means passé. Yes, there are newer, more trendy platforms out there, but in terms of ideal user demographics and the ability to connect businesses with new customers, Facebook remains an excellent choice for social media marketing.
● Over 2 billion active users visit Facebook daily
● The biggest demographic on Facebook are male users (19.3%) and female users (13.2%) between 25 and 34 years of age
● 75% of social media users with an income of $75k or more are on Facebook
By using Facebook as part of your social media marketing strategy, you will be able to attract users and gain followers organically. Simply posting content regularly, using relevant hashtags, and replying to comments as they come in will do wonders for gradually building brand awareness and converting visitors into customers over time.
But that’s not all Facebook can do for your business. What makes Facebook one of the best platforms for B2B and B2C companies who ultimately want to increase revenue is its targeted digital advertising platform.
Between running PPC advertising campaigns and selling goods to customers from the platform itself, Facebook has helped to transform a lot of companies into eCommerce powerhouses, and it can do the same for your business.
Bottom line, Facebook is an excellent platform for B2C companies that want to post micro-content to increase brand awareness, gain followers, stimulate social engagement, and convert followers into customers.
Founded in October of 2010, Instagram hit the social media scene and instantly won over a multitude of users across the world. More so than any other social media platform, Instagram is all about the visual. As the ideal platform to post photos, images, graphics, and viral memes, Instagram has taken over and dominated the social media marketing space for businesses who sell products that “give good photo.”
Instagram really isn’t a listening and learning platform. In terms of fostering conversations, it pales in comparison to Facebook, but that doesn’t mean this platform is any less valuable. In fact, Instagram can do what Facebook can’t, which is present the beauty of life in a visual format with no distractions such as written commentary, website links, random polls and surveys, and other chaotic options that tend to be presented on the average Facebook feed.
● 200 million+ Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily
● 70% of shoppers use Instagram to discover new products
● Instagram’s potential advertising reach is 928 million users
If you’re already convinced that including Instagram in your social media marketing is a must, you aren’t alone. That being said, Instagram tends to benefit businesses in the B2C retail consumer goods space where the primary customer demographics are teenagers and young adults.
Bottom line, Instagram is best for B2C retail companies, especially when those companies primarily sell on an eCommerce platform.
The social media platform, Twitter, was launched back in 2006 and frankly, most users did not comprehend its potential for about ten years. Once upon a time, Twitter had a primitive look, Tweets were referred to as Updates, and Followers were referred to as Friends. Most Tweets were basic if not random, and because Twitter lacked the visual components of Facebook, as well as the number of characters one would need to write a paragraph, many users were initially confused about how they were going to use the platform to connect with friends.
● 77% of Americans who annually earn $75k or more use Twitter
● 80% of Twitter users are affluent millennials
● 71% of Twitter users say they use the social platform to get their news and stay informed
The last statistic sums up everything you need to know about Twitter. Twitter is an information-spreading platform that serves news outlets and organizations that either cover or contribute to current events. Twitter tends to be politically charged and entire debates can unfold within a single thread of Tweets.
That being said, certain business owners can get a lot out of using Twitter for their social media marketing. Since Twitter is a real-time social media platform, every Tweet you post is equivalent to sending a group text message to the entire world. Currently, a Tweet can be up to 280 characters, which allows you to make a complex point, and because you can also share website links, Twitter is an ideal platform to drive traffic to your business blog or YouTube channel where visitors can gain even more information from you.
Thanks to hashtags and the immediacy of the platform itself, Twitter offers businesses a way to engage with their audiences in real time, having complete conversations. Your business can also take advantage of trending topics on Twitter by retweeting and commenting on whatever is going on in the world.
Bottom line, Twitter will serve B2B and B2C businesses that want to spread information, comment on current events, and elevate their professional authority within their industry. If your company serves a specific community, has a non-profit mission, or interconnects with the world of current events, then using Twitter as part of your social media marketing strategy could greatly benefit your business.
LinkedIn has had a slow evolution in terms of joining the ranks of well-known social media sites. Considered the world’s largest professional network on the internet, only in recent years has LinkedIn been regarded as an authentic “social media” platform. It wasn’t until LinkedIn provided newsfeeds and the ability for users to post blogs and other content that it joined the ranks of social media. Initially, LinkedIn was used strictly as an employment-oriented online platform that connected professionals and aided job seekers in obtaining the best positions on the open job market.
● More than 70% of LinkedIn users are from outside the USA
● 90 million LinkedIn users are senior-level hiring managers and 63 million are in decision-making positions at their companies
● LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites & blogs
LinkedIn is an interesting social media marketing option. While it doesn’t have nearly as many users as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter combined, it has far more marketing potential than you might think. If you own a B2B company that does international business, you really can’t afford not to be on LinkedIn.
One of the biggest benefits of using LinkedIn is that you can be a big fish in a small pond. Unlike Facebook and Instagram that have crowded newsfeeds, there are fewer users on LinkedIn to compete with. And the users who actively use LinkedIn have specific goals in mind, such as connecting with relevant businesses, reviewing the resumes of qualified professionals, and gaining insights about their industries by reading newsfeed articles.
If you use LinkedIn to the fullest, which includes publishing posts regularly and updating blog articles to your business profile, you can potentially build massive awareness about your brand in a relatively short amount of time. And best of all, because LinkedIn isn’t crowded with consumers, you don’t have to advertise on the platform. Simply post regularly and use relevant hashtags, and you will reap the benefits of advertising without spending a dime thanks to LinkedIn’s algorithms.
Bottom line, LinkedIn is best for B2B companies that can commit to regularly publishing informative blog articles. If one of your social media marketing goals is to elevate your brand’s expert standing within your industry, then using LinkedIn is for you.
Last, but certainly not least, is YouTube. YouTube exclusively offers video content, though some channels publish audio-only files with a static image that fills the video field. When an internet user wants to watch video content, YouTube is the social media platform they go to, hands down. In this sense, YouTube has virtually no competition, not even from Vimeo. If you’re prepared to create professional-looking video content, then using YouTube for your social media marketing could prove more effective than all other platforms combined.
● 73% of U.S. adults use YouTube and 89% of YouTube users come from outside the USA
● The number of channels earning six figures per year on YouTube grows by 40% every year
● YouTube is the second-most visited website in the world after Google
In order to publish video content on YouTube, you will have to pick an account package that’s appropriate for your business size. Owners of startups can first use YouTube’s free publishing services and then when you grow, you can upgrade to one of their paid service options. The best part about YouTube, and there are many, is that the platform itself is a search engine. When you correctly categorize your channel and videos, and add hashtags, users will be able to easily find you. YouTube also provides analytic tools to help you gauge video performance.
YouTube can provide your business with an additional stream of income if you gain enough subscribers to your channel, which is something that other social media platforms simply do not offer. Bear in mind that there’s a significant delay on payouts, but once you earn the minimum dollar amount, which triggers the automated payment process, YouTube will email you an alert.
What kind of video content should you publish on YouTube? The answer will have to do with what your specific customers want to see. But here are a few ideas to get you started:
● Webinars, Tutorials, and How-To Videos
● Candid Customer Testimonials
● Q&A Videos
● Trailer Videos
● Stats Videos
Bottom line, when it comes to which social media platform businesses should use to publish video content, no platform compares to YouTube. Whether you own a B2B or B2C business, if you want to reach a massive audience using video content, then you must publish on YouTube, period. You can also take clips of your videos to use as micro-content teasers on Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms as part of your strategy to drum up interest and drive traffic to your YouTube channel.
Hopefully, this article has helped you refine your social media marketing goals and aided your decision as to which social platforms to invest your time, money, and efforts into. The real trick is to pick only one or two social media platforms to focus on, rather than attempting to manage every platform under the sun.
Want personalized, hands-on social media marketing assistance? FTx 360 offers social media marketing services to B2B and B2C businesses of all industries. Our team of marketers specialize in both macro and micro-content, and know how to make the most out of each social media platform so that you gain a growing audience and provide your customers with the information they want most. Contact us anytime to find out how FTx 360 can benefit your bottom line without breaking the bank.
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Do you know how many customers are socially engaged with your brand online? Or are you scratching your head right now because you have no idea whether or not you even have a social audience, much less how many they number. You don’t even know who they are…
You’re not alone.
Many business owners focus on advertising and overlook the importance of increasing social engagement with their customers.
Though effective, advertising is impersonal whereas engaging with your social audience is highly personal. Interestingly, advertising campaigns that lack correlating social engagement campaigns don’t end up doing very well.
So, what is social engagement? The simplest definition is that social engagement is the process of actively interacting and communicating in an online community, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Quora, or any blog, forum, third-party review site, or social media platform.
Strategies to increase social engagement emphasize initiating personal conversations in order to stay in constant contact with a given audience online. This means that your campaigns to increase social engagement cannot—and should not—include too many blatant advertisements of your products or services.
But why is that?
While overtly promoting your products and services on social media platforms is a valid form of advertising, it will not foster social engagement nor help you build a social community of online followers.
When social engagement efforts are maintained correctly, the benefits include gaining shoppers, building customer loyalty, and ensuring overall business growth.
Providing your customers with opportunities to engage with your brand in meaningful ways will lead to a better customer experience. Customers who have positive experiences while socially engaging with your brand online are more likely to tell their friends and family about your company.
There are many strategies to increase social engagement, but for the sake of expediency, this article will focus on the following three ways:
● Research & Utilize Trending Hashtags
● Provide Novel Content
● Use the A.I.D.A. Formula
Hashtags are the SEO of social media. Keywords are used to amplify SEO and drive web traffic, and in a very similar way, hashtags are used in social media posts and blog posts to attract site users.
Every hashtag is prefaced by the hash symbol—#. When hashtags are used correctly, posts get seen by large audiences. When hashtags are used expertly, posts can go viral. But when hashtags are used incorrectly, or worse, not used at all, those posts will never see the light of day.
In fact, almost 70% of Instagram posts go unseen! What does that tell us? That 70% of social media posts are not using hashtags correctly, which means that 70% of social media users are not utilizing those platforms to increase social engagement.
By adding just 1 hashtag to a post, the post’s engagement can increase by roughly 12.6%. That’s valuable!
However, you can’t just thoughtlessly slap a few hashtags onto your posts and expect to see results.
Finding popular, trending hashtags that are relevant to your business’ social media post requires research and testing.
If you have been using hashtags but haven’t noticed an increase in social engagement, then your hashtag strategy is flawed. Don’t worry, we have tips to correct your strategy. First, stop doing the following:
● Don’t copy / paste the same hashtags in each post
● Don’t invent your own hashtags unless doing so is part of a specific marketing campaign; a newly invented hashtag is “empty” of followers, which defeats your goal
● Avoid gimmicky hashtags such as #like4like, #follow4follow, and other bland, nondescript hashtags
● Never go over 30 hashtags in a single post, and make sure every hashtag you use is highly relevant to your business and the post’s content
Interestingly, whether a hashtag is added to the caption section or in the comments section it will work the same way, perform the same way, and be equally effective. That being said, users and followers become turned off when they see an ugly block of hashtags within a caption, so be mindful about how you present your hashtags. Remember, Facebook and Instagram will reward posts that look neat, pretty, and synchronized. The bottom line is that if you have a block of 30 hashtags and they’re all relevant, that’s fine, but use them in the comments section, and never the caption itself. Capeesh?
Instead of falling prey to the list of “don’ts” that we mentioned above, here’s what you should do:
Invest in a good hashtag tool. Instead of inventing your own hashtag or using a social media platform’s limited search function to manually collect seemingly relevant hashtags, try using a hashtag tool. Hashtag tools are designed to help you discover relevant hashtags, and you can even check the engagement stats of each hashtag to make sure it’ll be worth your while.
Watch out for high-density hashtags, though. Any hashtag that has 500,000 followers or more is considered high-density. If you only use high-density hashtags, the likelihood of your post being seen by a wide audience is nil. Remember, high-density equals “high competition.” That being said, including one or two high-density hashtags won’t hurt you, in fact it will help, but only if you’re primarily using a bunch of low-density, relevant hashtags.
Thoroughly research each specific hashtag so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to use it. And be sure to include a mix of the following types of hashtags in your posts.
● Community Hashtags—These hashtags revolve around small niche communities, which means they’re highly targeted, yet they’re considered low competition because the overall audience is a comparatively lower number of users. For example, #oceanlife is a hashtag centered on a community of people, i.e. those who live near the ocean and have a beachy lifestyle.
● Audience Descriptive Hashtags—These hashtags use words and phrases that describe your target audience. Audience descriptive hashtags work best when you use between 5 and 8, being careful that you aren’t using variations on the same description. For example, #bookloversofInstagram is a hashtag that defines an audience, and other descriptive hashtags can be used to complement it such as #readerslife, #kindleaddict, and #bookwormsunite.
● Location Hashtags—These hashtags are exactly what you might think, i.e. a geographical region that’s relevant to the post. This is not to be confused with adding a location sticker to a post, which will pinpoint the address where the post was uploaded. Location hashtags serve to cast a wider net than a particular address. For example, #NewYorkCityCatering is a hashtag that will attract the attention of everyone in the NYC area, whereas #catering is much too broad and #124FrontSteetBrooklynCatering is way too specific.
● Product Descriptive Hashtags—These hashtags are not as cut-and-dry as you might assume. Rather than hashtags that describe your products, product descriptive hashtags reference your customers’ “pain points” and the solutions your company offers to solve those problems. For example, #flattiressuck, #tirerepair, and #automotiveaccessories work very well together as three product descriptive hashtags.
There’s so much more we could say about using hashtags to increase audience engagement, but we’ll leave you with this final thought before moving on to the next section: be prepared to engage with your audience when users begin to comment on your posts. If you don’t respond promptly and keep the conversation going, your post will go dead no matter how effective the hashtags were at attracting an audience.
No, we aren’t referring to a 300-page paperback novel. The term “novel content” refers to digital content that is unique, exclusive, and time-sensitive in the sense that it will eventually expire. The social media platform Snapchat is based on the concept of novel content. Each “snap” is only available to be seen for a limited period of time, after which it disappears forever.
In order to understand why novel content works to increase social engagement, you must first understand what “conventional content” is, and why it’s too broad to foster social engagement all on its own.
Conventional content includes blogs, articles, ebooks, videos, webinars, and podcasts.
A blog post, for example, could spark a discussion in the comments section based on questions that were posed within the article itself. But will a blog post automatically spark social engagement? No.
The same can be said of videos, webinars, and podcasts. These mediums deliver information, provide entertainment, and boost brand visibility, but that doesn’t automatically lead to social engagement.
However, when novel content is added to conventional content, it serves to effectively increase social engagement.
So, what is novel content? The following is a short list of the most popular and engaging forms of novel content:
● Polls—The great news is that most social media platforms have integrated a “polls” feature, making it easy for account holders like you to craft an engaging poll for your audience. Polls empower you to gain insights about your audience by simply asking them questions. You can quickly gather feedback from your audience about the kind of content they’d like to see, what they think of your latest article, and even the challenges they’re currently facing. Polls are structured with multiple choice answers, so bear that in mind when you’re designing your next poll to increase social engagement.
● Quizzes—You can build Buzzfeed-style quizzes to trigger your audience into engaging. Use your most popular content to build your quiz around, whether it’s a recent podcast you aired or article you published. Establish the goal of the quiz, i.e. will there be a winner and a prize? Then create your quiz questions based on the information you shared in the podcast or article that the quiz is based on. Lastly, don’t forget to promote your quiz on social media.
● Contests—People love contests. The prospect of winning, even if the prize isn’t terribly valuable, is enticing enough to provoke healthy social engagement online. The best part about hosting a contest on social media is that it can serve to drive traffic to your website or eCommerce store, effortlessly converting visitors into customers. In your contest campaign, clearly define the prize, the rules, and the deadline. You can think of the rules as your CTAs. To define the rules, ask yourself, do you want participants to like the post, share the post, follow your account, and comment under the post with the answer to the contest question? Once you’ve established the parameters, be sure to market your contest across all social media platforms and also on your website.
● Call-in Q&As—A surefire way to amplify engagement for your podcast, webinar, or any live broadcast you’re hosting online is to allocate a segment to call-in questions so that your audience can make direct contact with you, ask you a question, and get an answer from you, an expert in your field. Offering Q&A segments can help to build a deeper relationship with your audience wherein they will trust you more and you will learn more about them. Be sure to advertise the call-in phone number with the date / time of the Q&A segment, then use all social media platforms to get the word out.
● Type-in Q&As—Hosting a call-in segment might be a bit advanced for some businesses. Alternatively, you can devise a type-in method for your audience to send their written questions to you. Type-in Q&As first appeared on YouTube Live, where audience members could type comments, questions, and observations into the live chat reply (not to be confused with the comments section below the video) as the live video broadcast unfolded. Nowadays, live chat reply boxes have been added to social media platforms like Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
● Disappearing Content—As of the writing of this article, there are a number of social media platforms that offer disappearing content features. Those are Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, Snapchat Stories, Twitter Fleets, LinkedIn Stories, and YouTube Stories. Content you publish within these features will disappear after a preset time frame, usually 24 hours. You can include hashtags and location stickers to geotag your disappearing posts, which will help other users discover your content and engage with your brand.
When you invite your audience to engage with your brand in the ways we’ve mentioned so far, the organic result is that they will begin to socially interact with you by sharing their opinions, voting in polls, asking questions, and entering for their chance to win prizes from your company.
Is it time to outsource your digital marketing?
When you first opened your business, you probably did just about everything yourself. This is par for the course. In the beginning, the owners of most start-ups and small businesses handle every aspect of their day-to-day workflow either themselves or in-house by assigning tasks to their employees.
But this is only manageable for so long. As a business grows, its needs expand. Continuing to assign new tasks to pre-existing employees runs the risk of overburdening them, which could lead to sloppy work and unhappy workers.
There are certain signs that indicate it might be time for you, as a business owner, to consider outsourcing your digital marketing, which include:
● Your current staff doesn’t have the skills. Effective digital marketing includes a lot of moving parts. Trends change constantly. New technologies and platforms emerge regularly. Is it reasonable to expect your account managers to post on social media during their “down time”? Will the quality of their digital marketing efforts be very good when it’s outside of their chosen career path?
● Your digital marketing initiatives are focused on tasks and not strategy. In order for any marketing campaign to succeed, you must have a plan in place. When your team is overworked, they’ll only have time to address day-to-day tasks and their mindset will be to “get stuff done.” Digital marketing isn’t about getting stuff done. It’s about getting the right stuff done and parceling out strong campaign tactics that result in increased revenue and overall business growth.
● You’re anticipating company growth and planning for business expansion. Have you recently signed a bunch of new clients? Have you opened a second retail location? Are you about to launch an eCommerce site? If you’re in the process of expanding your business, then you might be assuming you’ll have to hire additional staff to keep up with the demand, and you’re absolutely correct. But hiring an in-house marketing team shouldn’t be your first move.
If you’re considering outsourcing your digital marketing, but are still on the fence, this article is for you. Here are the 5 benefits of outsourcing your digital marketing.
PROVIDES A FRESH PERSPECTIVE TO YOUR BRAND
As a business owner, of course you love your company. But as they say, love is blind. Way-back-when you first saw your brand-new company logo, you thought it looked amazing, and it probably did. But as time passed, your love for your brand might have kept you blind to the possibility that your logo, and other marketing elements you’ve been using over the years, haven’t exactly updated to stay on trend.
That’s a problem. An outside marketing agency will add a fresh perspective to your brand. Their professional experts will be able to see the big picture of how your brand should fit into your industry’s market and make the necessary upgrades for you.
AFFORDS YOU FLEXIBILITY
Unlike the high commitment that comes with hiring an in-house employee or a team of in-house marketing associates, working with a digital marketing agency will afford you flexibility, and is therefore considered low or no commitment by comparison. This is a huge benefit. If you don’t like the finished work that a digital marketing agency provides, you can release them because you hired them on a project basis and entered into a short-term contract. Simply move on to the next agency for your next project and test them out in the same manner.
When an agency delivers results as promised after the completion of their first project for you, then you can engage them for the next project. But if they haven’t delivered or if the ROI is dismal, then you’re free to move on. This kind of flexibility will save you from getting locked into an agreement with an agency that isn’t serving you properly.
Digital marketing takes time. It can be challenging, tedious, and demanding. Creating marketing campaigns, generating awesome content, and scheduling all of your digital marketing is a full-time job. While it might seem like hiring one in-house employee to handle all of your digital marketing is a smart idea, the fact of the matter is that digital marketing is extremely dynamic.
You will be hard-pressed to find one individual who possesses all of the skills required to write flawless content, create stunning graphics using graphic design software, research trending SEO keywords, and accomplish everything in-between. Hiring an entire team of marketers in-house to address all aspects of your digital marketing could cost a fortune when you factor in salaries, employer taxes, health insurance matches, and other associated expenses. To minimize your overhead and save yourself time and money, outsourcing your digital marketing is the way to go.
In the long run, partnering with a digital marketing agency will give you firsthand access to expert knowledge. The marketing professionals at full-service marketing agencies like FTx 360 include web and mobile app developers, SEO experts, graphic designers, copywriters, social media experts, and most importantly, campaign strategists, all of whom will comprise your dedicated team.
As you interface with your account manager, you’ll have the full breadth of support from the entire team. This includes access to advanced marketing and analytics tools, such as SEMrush, which might otherwise be unaffordable if you, as a business owner, opted to purchase a subscription. The benefits of having access to expert-level knowledge are never ending.
● The agency will accomplish your marketing tasks on their schedule, and when the unexpected arises, you will have to exercise patience until their marketers have time to help you.Tip: Before hiring an agency, ask them about their timelines for specific projects and how they will accommodate last-minute marketing requests. The best digital marketing agencies will assign an account manager to your business who will be available to help you immediately, no matter what.
● While an outsourced digital marketing agency is far cheaper than paying the salaries of in-house marketing associates, the costs can still add up depending on the agency you go with, how many experts they assign to your account, and how dynamic your projects or tasks are.Tip: When working with a new agency, really pace yourself. Don’t ask them to handle 100% of every aspect of your digital marketing. Carefully review their price points per service. Go with one or two services for a short period of time. And be sure to analyze the ROI before asking them to handle more of your marketing needs.
● Marketing professionals, especially creative experts, are known for their ability to decisively execute their creative vision. But their strong ideas for your company may not completely align with your own vision for your brand’s future. You hired them for a reason, however, and you will have to accept their directive and allow them to do what they do best.Tip: Prior to working with any digital marketing agency, sit down with their professionals and probe them to find out their creative vision for your brand, especially if you’re considering full-blown rebranding. See if they’re willing to create mock-ups of the image graphics they have in mind for your company. Vet them as deeply as possible. And understand that once you hire them, their expertise will trump your inclinations for your business. The major takeaway is that outsourcing your digital marketing will absolutely benefit your company, but it doesn’t come without risks. That being said, you can easily mitigate the disadvantages of working with a digital marketing agency by thoroughly vetting each agency you’re considering. Ask them hard questions and don’t accept sugarcoated answers. Be realistic as you assess your options, and once you decide to go with an agency, start slowly, engage them on a project-per-project basis, and carefully analyze whether or not they’re delivering the results they promised. Are you interested in outsourcing your digital marketing? FTx 360 offers a wide array of digital marketing services at affordable costs, and we never pressure our clients to turn over all of their marketing to us straightaway. Our professional marketing experts take pride in their skills and enjoy the process of proving themselves to new clients. Whether you need web design & development, eCommerce marketing services, social media marketing, content marketing, blog articles and blog management, organic and local SEO, email marketing, marketing automation, PPC marketing, or reputation management—we do it all and love every minute of it! Contact us today to speak with a marketing expert about everything FTx 360 can do for your brand! Want to read more articles like this? Enter your email below to subscribe to our mailing list and be the first to know about the latest marketing trends!
Smoke shops, cigar retailers, vape stores, hookah lounges, and even hemp wellness retailers within the CBD industry have one major challenge in common—severe advertising restrictions.
The US Food & Drug Administration has controlled tobacco and nicotine product advertising for decades, but it wasn’t until June of 2009 that the FDA clamped down hard on tobacco industry advertising, including advertising that fell within the scope of digital marketing.
These new FDA rules and regulations were imposed on secondary industries that carried nicotine, tobacco-related, and tobacco-simulated products, namely the vape and CBD markets. Can vape stores run TV ads? Nope. Are cigar retailers allowed to place paid ads on Instagram? Not at all. What about CBD stores, can this type of hemp wellness retailer buy a half-page magazine ad? Not even for a million dollars.
With extreme advertising limitations, how can smoke shops, vape stores, and similar retailers actually promote their tobacco, nicotine, CBD, and smoke-simulation products?
How will these businesses reach customers, sell products, and grow?
Though challenging, marketing tobacco, vape, and alternative nicotine products is not impossible. In this article, we’ll show you how to maximize lawful strategies while staying in compliance with the FDA.
Here are the dos and don’ts of marketing your store.
There is a critical distinction to be made between “advertising” and “marketing”. Just because you, as a tobacco retailer, are prohibited from freely advertising your nicotine products does not mean you’re prohibited from marketing your nicotine products. You can think of “advertising” as directly promoting a product to a consumer audience. By contrast, “marketing” raises brand awareness using indirect methods of promotion. Understanding the difference and sticking strictly to marketing is imperative.
Do: Focus on Marketing
Don’t: Invest in Advertising
First, you must educate yourself about the specific search engine and social media platform policies, and obey those policies. Familiarize yourself with Google’s products promotion rules. Pay particular attention to their prohibited content, restricted content & features, and dangerous products & services. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook each have their own policies and restrictions on nicotine product promotion that you should take a look at.
You might be wondering, if marketing isn’t advertising, then what is it? For smoke and vape retailers, examples of effective marketing include maintaining a Google My Business account, using social media to passively and indirectly attract consumers, and launching a blog, all of which we will cover in this article, so keep reading!
Ready to get started with implementing focused marketing campaigns? Take these next steps:
● Identify your marketing audience
● Research the best marketing strategies for your industry
● Consider marketing automation solutions
FACT: In 2019, the global e-cigarette and vape market size was valued at USD $12.41 billion, and this figure is projected to rise 23.8% between now and 2027! This means that consumers want to find your smoke shop, so make it easy on them by focusing on strategic digital marketing! This according to Statista.com.
As we mentioned in the previous section, it’s essentially impossible to advertise your tobacco, nicotine, and vape products via traditional search engine and social media ads, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the internet. Never discount the importance of your internet presence! Even if you own a brick-and-mortar retail store without a corresponding eCommerce site, you still must promote your brand online using digital marketing strategies that include SEO.
Do: Implement an SEO Strategy
Don’t: Discount the Importance of Your Internet Presence
For the purposes of expediency, we’re going to assume you know what SEO is, but if not, check out our blog What Is SEO? Go ahead, we’ll wait… it’s only a 5-minute read. Keywords are the backbone of effective search engine optimization. Choosing current, “hot” keywords as you build your digital content will cause search engines like Google to recommend your site to consumers who are looking for retailers like you.
Yes, as we touched on earlier, even physical retail stores need to invest in expanding their online presence. You don’t have to go so far as launching an eCommerce site, but if you have a website, we strongly recommend you launch an associated blog. Even if you start a simple WordPress blog, you can then create “posts” on your Google My Business account, sharing the article links. This is a great way to get your blogging feet wet while utilizing effective SEO that will communicate directly with Google.
Ready to get started integrating powerful SEO into your marketing strategies? Take these next steps:
● Launch a scalable, mobile-friendly blog
● Focus on Google My Business & building customer reviews
● Invest in professional SEO solutions
FACT: Popular SEO keywords for tobacco, vape, and CBD industry content are constantly shifting and changing as new products are introduced to the market. Regularly publishing blog articles is the best way to keep up, use current keywords, and ensure search engines recommend your store’s website to consumers. This according to Forbes.com.
Want to hear something excruciatingly unfair? Years ago, Big Tobacco tried to game the social media marketing system using paid influencers and basically ruined the concept for the rest of us. What really happened? In May of 2019, roughly 125 public health organizations issued a “cease and desist” order to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to immediately end the promotion of cigarettes and e-cigarettes from Big Tobacco companies. The resulting ban included prohibiting promotions from social media influencers. Then, in epic Big Tobacco fashion, the biggest names in the nicotine business straight-up ignored the order.
Do: Partner with Social Media Influencers
Don’t: Rely Solely on Influencers
So, why in the world do our digital marketing strategists include “partner with social media influencers” as a “do” on this list rather than a “don’t”? Because of our tenacity! We would never advocate trying to game the system. Our clients are small businesses that don’t possess the kind of legal teams that can defend Big-Tobacco-caliber violations.
When it comes to partnering with social media influencers, you have to think waaaaay outside the box, like we do, and like one of our clients has been since they started working with us. We’re referring to CBD Source, the leading cannabidiol retail chain across Pennsylvania and New York State. In April of 2019, CBD Source launched the CBD Podcast, which expanded their customer reach so much that they had to create an eCommerce store just to keep up with the demand. Naturally, their podcast developed into a YouTube channel, and that’s where the real social media influencer strategies took off like a heat seeking missile!
Ready to get started with social media influencers? Take these next steps:
● Contact influencers to plug and review your products
● Launch a podcast, vlog, or YouTube channel
● Test out a professional SSM strategist and analyze the ROI
Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses of all kinds. When implemented strategically, email marketing campaigns incentivize customers to visit a retail location or eCommerce site, which directly impacts revenue increases. Why is email marketing a definite “do” on this list? Because you can say and promote whatever you want within this private method of communication. That’s right, you can directly advertise your tobacco, nicotine, CBD, and vape products to your recipient list!
Do: Include Email Marketing
Don’t: Spam Using Generic Offers
No two of your customers are exactly alike, however. Don’t spam generic emails to every email address on your list. Effective email marketing campaigns are all about “personalization”. The trick is to only recommend the most relevant products to each of your email recipients. Succeeding at personalizing your email campaigns will depend on the CRM software you’re using. You can’t achieve personalization without having collected data about your customers personal browsing and buying histories.
Whether you collect customer data at the POS system within your retail location or have integrated CRM solutions on the backend of your eCommerce site, you can build a quality sales pipeline as a result of personalized email marketing campaigns. First, analyze your customer data and group your customers into segments according to their likes and interests. Then, tailor personalized email campaigns to each customer segment, informing them of sales, deals, and discounts on items they have a history of loving and buying.
Ready to get started launching an email marketing campaign? Take these next steps:
● Provide shoppers with opt-in subscription methods to join your email list
● Develop concise written content that takes recipient personalization into account
● Use email marketing software solutions with CRM capabilities
FTx 360 can help. Our digital marketing strategists have extensive experience working within the tobacco, vape, and CBD industries. If you have concerns about FDA restrictions, we know the law. We know how to stay in compliance. And we know how to grow businesses using marketing automation, SEO solutions, SSM strategies, and email marketing solutions to build awareness for your brand and expand your loyal customer base.
Ready to get started with our tobacco industry marketing strategies? Contact us today!
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The entire marketing industry was forced to make a huge shift when the coronavirus pandemic changed how consumers shop. Companies, both B2C and B2B, needed to quickly implement innovative marketing initiatives in order to retain their customers while accommodating sudden governmental mandates.
Consumers had new habits, and businesses that didn’t develop new marketing strategies took a big financial hit throughout 2020.
The timeless adage holds true–necessity is the mother of all invention–and the digital marketing sector certainly birthed a wealth of inventions that companies could use to survive. These innovations evolved swiftly and not all of them worked. But those that did, thanks to advances in marketing technologies, were tested and thoroughly vetted during 2020.
Marketers now have a fresh arsenal of digital marketing tools to use in 2021. Here is a list of all of the tried-and-true marketing strategies that resulted from the most tumultuous year in modern history. These marketing trends are here to stay, which is why you should implement them at your company as part of your digital marketing strategy.
Considered the best location-based marketing strategy for online marketers, Google My Business, or GMB, has been around for a few years now, but it has dramatically evolved over the course of 2020. If you’re unfamiliar, GMB is an online directory that provides Google users with a map of relevant businesses whenever they search locally. Since 46% of all Google searches are for the purposes of finding local businesses there is no downside to creating a GMB profile, especially because having one is completely free. For more on GMB, check out Making The Most Out Of Google My Business.
The number one reason that consumers abandoned certain brands, retailers, and businesses throughout 2020 was because of product availability, or rather, the lack of available products at a particular store. In other words, retaining customers boiled down to keeping shelves stocked, and more importantly, keeping customers informed about product availability, online order turn-around times, and how long it would take a retailer to replenish popular items. Communication goes a long way with today’s consumers, and retailers will have a better shot maintaining customer loyalty if they inform their customers of fluctuations in product availability.
Google Ad’s automatic bidding feature has been around since 2016. However, this automated advertising method gained real traction in 2020 when businesses had to downsize and modify their operations due to COVID-19 shutdowns in certain industries, especially the retail and service industries. Google’s auto bidding allows Google, rather than the marketer, to assess your ad campaigns for you and adjust your bids accordingly in real-time. By permitting Google’s A.I. to handle these adjustments, the marketer is freed up to optimize other aspects of their PPC campaigns’ performances. The ultimate outcome is that companies will end up spending less for their targeted advertising campaigns.
Shocking as it may seem, Google’s algorithms cannot yet pick up voice search SEO. But that doesn’t mean that marketers and business owners should hold off on implementing voice search as part of their overall digital marketing strategy. There has been a steady rise in Google users opting to speak, rather than type, their searches into Google. A whopping 45% of consumers have used a voice assistant on a smart speaker, whether using Alexa at home or their smartphone while out-and-about. Simply put, if there is an increasing number of consumers using this feature, then marketers should cater to that demographic.
When interactive content is offered on business websites and ECommerce stores, visitor engagement dramatically increases, which leads to rises in brand awareness and sales. Interactive website content includes dynamic product images, short videos, active blogs with an open comments section below each article, and the list goes on. What 2020 showed marketers was that static, text-heavy online content no longer holds web visitors’ attention. But when that same text content is broken up with graphics, GIFs, memes, info-tisements, and graphs, visitor engagement shoots through the roof. One of the heaviest hitters among all interactive content is the blog. By adding a blog to your website or ECommerce store, you will easily drive traffic to your website. For specific pointers, take a moment to read Creating A Remarkable Business Blog.
In recent years, “chatbots” have become a buzzword in the digital marketing community. Despite the fact that chatbots have technically been around longer than P.C.s, their current level of artificial intelligence far outshines what it used to be, and their modern-day capabilities put their former ones to shame. If your website or ECommerce store does not have a chatbot, you should seriously consider adding one. The A.I. that the average chatbot possesses in 2021 has been optimized for functionality, and can handle evolved levels of responsibility, from engaging in simple conversations to recommending products to completing complex transactions.
Does that conclude all of the marketing trends you can expect in 2021? Not at all! We’ve only scratched the surface, which is why we invite you to subscribe to our blog. We publish weekly articles on helpful topics such as Marketing Tricks That Can Help You Go Viral and Social Media Marketing Strategies.
All business brands, whether B2C or B2B, must implement a solid digital marketing strategy in 2021, and you can’t go wrong if your company’s strategy includes the forward-thinking trends we laid out in this article. But that doesn’t mean you should stop researching newly emerging trends.
Businesses that remain on the lookout for the next big marketing tools keep themselves ahead of the technology curve and a cut above their competition. Digital marketing is a constantly developing industry, which means that business owners should stay in the know, research new technologies, watch trends, and launch marketing initiatives that have been proven to work.
But don’t get intimidated if you aren’t tech savvy. You can always hire FTx 360 to manage your digital marketing. Our full suite of marketing solutions includes all of the creative services you will need to launch effective digital marketing campaigns that drive website traffic, increase revenue, and expand your brand’s digital footprint online.
The marketing strategists at FTx 360 have experience working with businesses of every industry. To discover all that our agency can do for you, check out our digital portfolio or contact us today.
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Back in the early 2000s, social media platforms began to emerge. The impetus of their creation was to enhance personal communication within social circles. Sites like Friendster, MySpace, and heck, even 1997’s premier social platform Six Degrees were all launched with the personal user in mind. No one was thinking “business” when these social media sites came to market. No one was even thinking “advertisement revenue”.
Fast-forward twenty years, and social media platforms have gone far beyond merely providing a means of online social connection. These sites have become one of the primary marketing strategies among businesses both large and small. All the while, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have managed to retain their original purpose of providing the average user the best way to personally communicate and stay intimately connected to their online social circles.
Social media marketing for businesses isn’t merely a passing trend, either. This form of marketing is so advantageous that it’s undoubtedly here to stay. Why? The potential for collecting user data that can be successfully leveraged in future advertising campaigns is exponential.
Thanks to machine-learning A.I. and other technologies that have been built into the back-end of these platforms for the purposes of collecting such user data, there are many benefits to launching social media marketing campaigns as part of your overall advertising strategy if you’re looking to connect with prospective customers.
In this blog, we’re going to take a look at how you can use social media to build your brand’s online presence and ultimately grow your business. But first, we strongly recommend that you pick one social media platform to focus your marketing efforts on. Yes, just one! Too often, business owners who are new to social media marketing spread themselves thin by attempting to manage many different sites at once. Instead, pick only one of the following platforms to pour your marketing strategies into!
Social media content planning involves deciding where, when, and how often you will deliver a branded message to a targeted audience. You want to reach the highest number of ideal customers with the right message. The trick is exposing your content to your audience on social media only as often as necessary to get the desired effect of brand awareness, leads, website traffic, sales, or another business goal.
Elaborating on the previous tip, your social media content will be memorable if you share your posts at the “right” frequency. But regularly posting once a day or once every six hours will be up to your targeted audience and their threshold of what they want and what kinds of posts they’re interested in interacting with. The trick is to post consistently, so if you find that posting once a day, for example, provokes the most interaction, then be sure to consistently keep up that posting frequency. This is the first step to becoming memorable.
The second step to becoming memorable in the minds of your audience is to present a consistent brand image with all of your social media posts. This could be as simple as including your branded logo in the corner of each post. If your brand has a signature font and precise color scheme, be sure to use that in all of your content, too. Your company’s core identity and the “story” behind your brand should stay consistent.
Assuming you’re focusing your social media marketing efforts on the platform that best suits your business’s needs, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll build up a loyal following. Social media, no matter which platform you’re active on, is a great way to share other digital content, such as your website, e-commerce site, and blog. You can post links to all of your new content so that your followers, as well as other social media users, can easily find information about your company’s latest offerings.
Nowadays, the number of “likes” a post gets isn’t the only benchmark for its success. Sure, “likes”, “shares”, and “reposts” of your social media content will tell other users on the platform how popular, or viral, a post has become, but if you want to truly develop your social media presence, then you’ll need to study and measure the analytics of each post by tracking your data. A great social media marketing tool to help you analyze your data is Google Analytics. Each social media platform has its own analytics, too, which provides detailed demographic information that you can use to leverage for any future paid advertising you choose to do, i.e. PPC marketing.
The internet lends itself to the fastest available communication, but at times, that isn’t always a good thing. When interaction gets heated, or out of hand, arguments can quickly evolve into a very bad P.R. situation… Or worse, things can explode into a full-on social media crisis. It’s imperative to have a plan in place for such a disaster. To pull through, we recommend you prepare a list of key responsibilities for the personnel that will be involved in damage control, and delineate a clear chain of command. You can avoid the majority of crises by putting copyright guidelines, privacy guidelines, confidentiality guidelines, and other guidelines in place right now, and be sure all of your employees understand them. One of the built-in benefits of social media is that even if a P.R. crisis arises, you can use the platform itself, posting about the measures you’re taking and your company’s position on the matter, to inform your followers and other users about how you’re handling the snafu.
The larger and more engaged your audience is on your social media platforms, the easier it will be for you to spread awareness about your brand and boost sales. Social media marketing can also help you:
Have you hesitated to look for a marketing agency to handle all of your social media, because you assumed you wouldn’t be able to afford it? What if we told you that FTx 360 can work within any budget? For more information about the social media marketing services at FTx 360 and how our team can benefit your bottom line without breaking the bank, contact us today.