CaptureYour cover photo will be one of the first things that followers see when you visit your page, so why settle for something bland and boring? Choose a great Facebook cover photo to really make a splash and help build up your brand’s image.

One of the biggest mistakes that a business attempting to market through Facebook can make is to have a stagnant cover photo. Remember, your followers want to be assured that they are receiving fresh, innovative content when they visit your page. One of the best ways of doing that, and helping to encourage repeat visitors, is by changing your cover photo up more than once or twice per year. And when you do change your cover photo, why not go with an option that is fun, creative, and that can really help you in your marketing efforts?

Use Your Cover Photo As Advertising Space

Do you have a big sale coming up, a sweepstakes you want to promote, or a trend you want to alert your followers to? If so, your Facebook cover photo can function as valuable social media real estate. It is one of the first things that your followers will see when they visit your page. In addition, using that space to promote offers and trends is a great way to encourage your followers to stop by for a visit, rather than waiting for your posts to turn up in their feed.

Direct Followers To Your Other Social Media Accounts

Whether it’s your website, your twitter, or your YouTube page, you can rack up many more views by using your Facebook cover photo to direct followers elsewhere on the web.  Doing so can attract additional followers to these sites, and can give you many more marketing opportunities.  Not only that, but you can also use this space simply to encourage visitors to Like your page. Since so many people make their way to Facebook pages through other types of searching, this can help to greatly boost your follower count.

Celebrate Special Occasions & Seasons

Whether it’s mother’s day, summertime, or even your business’s anniversary, using your Facebook cover photo to celebrate special events, holidays, and seasons is a great way to appeal to your followers. Not only that, but it can be a great lead-in to special deals and offers that you have coming up.

And of course, you can always just use your Facebook cover photo to have a little fun and to build your brand’s image. Whether you showcase your mascot, highlight your brand message, or play around with variations of your logo, there are plenty of ways to make a splash with this feature of your Facebook page.

Thanks!

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

(Image by Tung Photo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Social Media Coverage - Frame AngelYour social media accounts serve as the face of your business, and it’s important to always put your best face forward. Part of accomplishing this is ensuring that your social media accounts are a reputable a source of information. When your followers feel that they can trust the information that you portray on your social media accounts, they also feel that they can trust you – something that can be crucial when it comes to your marketing efforts.

Even minor missteps can be enough to tarnish your social media reputation. Big missteps can force you to take part in major damage control efforts, which can be costly and time consuming. Fortunately, just keeping a few things in mind can help ensure that your reputation stays pristine, regardless of your business and what you’re posting.

Practice Consistency

The personality that you portray through your social media accounts should be as consistent as possible. Being professional one moment and casual the next can lead followers to be uncertain about what to expect. In addition, remember to post consistently as well. Additionally, remember to post updates about special offers, contests, and sweepstakes and ensure that all the information on your account is consistently up to date.

Be More Than A Salesperson

Your followers know that you’re using your social media accounts to sell, but that doesn’t mean they want to feel like you’re forcing your message on them. Inundating followers with a message of “Buy, Buy, Buy” can lead potential customers to ignore your messages, or even lead them to stop following you. Focus instead on building up relationships with customers. Encourage conversation on your page, offer interesting and insightful content, and let the selling happen naturally.

Fact Check Everything

Everything that is posted on your account, from current news stories to quotes, should be fully fact-checked. Posting misinformation, even if you are unaware it’s misinformation, can lead to a major dent in your online reputation. Be sure to get your information from reliable sources, and if you do end up posting misinformation remember to offer a correction later – even if it is a seemingly minor detail.

Be Responsive – And Responsible

When customers ask questions or voice their concerns on your social media page, be sure to respond in a timely fashion. Not only will those customers see that you care enough to respond, but other customers will as well. Additionally, when you receive criticism through your social media page, remember to respond – but do so in a professional manner. Seeing that you are taking steps to address, and potentially correct, any concerns that a customer may have can play a big role in giving your business a social media reputation that will be a major boon to your marketing efforts.

Thanks!

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

(Image by Frame Angel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

CaptureWhen it comes to social media, many marketers tend to focus their attention on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. While it’s no secret that these sites have some of the biggest traffic on the Internet, an increasing number of marketers are realizing the power and potential that is being made available to them through Pinterest.

There are two big reasons that Pinterest is becoming increasingly important to marketers. The first is that Pinterest is relatively simple to use. Pins are simple, easy for users to digest, and can get a marketer’s point across quickly and effectively. Secondly, Pinterest has already proven time and time again to be incredibly effective. Pinterest referral traffic has seen incredible gains, and it has surpassed many other social media sites including Twitter and LinkedIn.

With Pinterest proving its importance – and its effectiveness – now is the time for marketers to start utilizing this site and driving up traffic to their pins. But how can this be accomplished?

Make Your Boards and Pins Easy to Find

Don’t assume that people are going to be searching for your boards and pins by your company name. One simple but effective way to ensure that Pinterest users are able to find your boards and pins is to include descriptive terms in your profile name. Likewise, when choosing the names for your boards, think of keywords that users might be searching for. Remember that the closer a keyword is to the beginning of a board name, the faster it will show up in user searches for boards. This is a simple but effective way to ensure that traffic is being directed your way.

Additionally, be sure that you are doing the same with your pins. Remember that you can perform searches yourself to see which keywords pop up most frequently during searches. This can help you choose keywords that will optmize traffic toward your pins and give you the traffic you need to make marketing on Pinterest as successful as possible.

Stay Active On Your Pinterest Account

It’s true of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so not surprisingly it’s true of Pinterest as well. Remaining active on your account by pinning frequently, creating new boards, and by re-pinning older pins when relevant will ensure continued success while using Pinterest. Active participation is key in optimizing your success in Pinterest, whether it’s simply ensuring that you have a constant stream of new information hitting your boards or participating in the Pinterest Group Boards.

Pinterest is still relatively new in the social media marketing game. However, it has proven itself to be a strong contender already. As the site begins to implement new features, its ability to help in one’s marketing efforts will likely continue to grow. Those who build their boards now are already one step ahead as Pinterest races to become one of the top social media sites on the Internet.

Thanks!

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

CaptureIt can be tempting to engage with every social media platform when you’re looking to connect with customers. After all, social media gives you a way to instantly connect with customers, to provide them with information on your brand, and potentially to develop lasting relationships that lead to dedicated customers. However, before signing up for every social media site on the Internet, you should put on the brakes. It has been proven time and again that it is much better to have only three or four social media sites as a part of your marketing arsenal.

There are a number of reasons for this, primary among them being that by engaging with every site on offer you may be spreading your marketing message too thin. It is better to take the time on the few sites that you are signed up for to utilise quality, thoughtful content. By using only a handful of social media sites, you are also allowing yourself and your marketing staff a better opportunity to become acquainted with the finer details of marketing on those platforms, whether you choose Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or any other social media site at your disposal.

Determine Where Your Audience Is to Choose the Right Social Media Sites

Choosing to limit the amount of marketing you do on social media sites does come with a small price. Fortunately, that price is easily paid with just a little bit of extra attention to where you decide to direct your energies. The temptation is obviously to hit every social media site in order to ensure you reach the broadest number of consumers possible. However, it is better to take a targeted approach – therefore, it is a good idea to determine where your target audience spends most of their time online.

Each social media site has its own target demographic. While Google+ and LinkedIn have largely attracted a professional audience, social media sites such as Pinterest tend to attract those with a love for fashion, culture, fine dining, and other hobbies. Understanding who your audience is can help guide you toward choosing the social media site, or sites, that will work best for your needs.

Connect Your Social Media Sites to Build a Social Network

One of the great benefits of choosing just a few social media sites for your marketing needs is it makes it easier to connect them. Connecting your various social media accounts can offer you a lot of benefits, the biggest among them being that you are able to attract your audience from one site to another, which can help to build up your online network.

Many social media sites have built-in functions that allow you to connect them, such as Facebook and Twitter or Google+ and YouTube. Others may take a little bit of experimentation in order to connect. However, doing so may be one of the best things that you can do to ensure that your audience is waiting and ready for your message.

Thanks!

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

ID-100147860As you know by now, social media is an important part of your marketing strategy. Unfortunately, too many business owners make mistakes that cost them potential customers and, in some cases, their reputations. For a successful marketing campaign, avoid making the following blunders.

1. Ignoring Social Media Altogether

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that social media is silly or unimportant. The payoff of social media marketing can be huge. Its benefits include brand recognition, word of mouth marketing, reputation management, and improved relationships with your customers (which means more information about your customers).

2. Talking About Yourself Constantly

In business relationships, just as in personal ones, talking about yourself all the time never works. Think of social media as a conversation, not a selling tool. Social media affords you the opportunity to engage your customers, listen to them, and help them out by posting relevant content. A little promotion is one thing – especially when you have a notable event going on, like a contest – but this isn’t the place for nonstop advertisements, and they won’t be well-received.

3. Talking About Stuff You Shouldn’t Talk About At All

Keeping your posts personable is a good idea – how your day went, what you’re up to, what’s new with your business – but don’t confuse personable with personal. For example, you should never say anything negative about customers, no matter how difficult the woman you dealt with the day before was. Never complain about them or about interactions you had with them, and never mention anything that’s overly personal.

4. Trying To Maintain A Presence On Every Platform

The more websites you are active on, the more time and money they require. A poll on your website is one tool that can help you discern which social networks are most used by your customers; then you can start there. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all good starting points. Pinterest is gaining on them, too, and provides unique marketing opportunities. Choose one or two that align with your goals as a business and focus on them.

5. Expecting It To Be Free

Simply having a Facebook page is not social media marketing. A successful marketing strategy involves engagement and dialogue and humanising your brand; it also involves planning and dedicated resources. “If you’re gonna go, go all out” is particularly applicable to social media marketing. Understand what your goals are, how you will accomplish them, and who will be in charge of the project. By the way, this is where some younger talent on staff can really benefit your business. Older employees can certainly have great computer skills, but the younger ones were practically born understanding social media. Take advantage of their knowledge.

 

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles)

Pinterest logo on ribbonPinterest is a rapidly growing social networking site, with the potential to rapidly spread your goods and services with viral popularity. The question for most Internet marketers is, how do you take advantage of the popularity and success of Pinterest to market your business?

Be recognized as an authority

The good news is you don’t have to create all of the content you share on Pinterest. Instead, you can combine your existing content, such as videos on your YouTube channel or posts on your blog, with content from other people that you link to. The key is that all of the content you link to must be of the highest quality. Therefore, the first step for your marketing plan is to identify which people and companies already on Pinterest represent the best of your industry. The second step is to identify those people and companies who are not on Pinterest that are also leaders in your industry. If you’re lucky, they will have a Pin-it plugin on their blog or website that allows you to easily create a link back to their information. Otherwise, you’ll need to create the pin yourself. When choosing what to pin, use the criteria that every item must be useful, educational, helpful, and relevant. Create a number of different boards to address common concerns of your customers, or create boards that appeal to the needs of your previously created marketing personas.

Expand your audience

The methods of expanding your audience on Pinterest are similar to the standard Internet marketing strategy of joint ventures. Just as when you choose a joint venture partner, when you choose a Pinterest co-marketing partner, you should choose one that has a similar but not competing niche. Determine what you can offer, and what you can gain from them, to make sure both sides are benefitting. The two main items of currency in Pinterest are number of followers and perceived authority and legitimacy. If you are already recognized as an authority, or if you have other sources of legitimacy such as being a leading edge product in your industry, you can bestow some of that authority and legitimacy on another Pinner. In exchange, their followers will see the pins they make on your behalf, ideally then becoming your followers.

Use pins worth sharing

An excellent pin that is worth sharing can end up being shared 100 times more than the number of your followers. Since the goal of posting pins to your boards is to drive traffic back to the original sources, these excellent pins succeed admirably. To create a pin worth sharing, the content it links to first has to be useful, solving a problem, inspiring, or appealing to a desire. Next, use an image that concisely summarizes the point of the original content, and make the associated text clear and compelling.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Icon from Free Ribbon Social Media Icons BY designbolts)

smart phoneTo maximise your mobile marketing, you need to accomplish two different things. First, you need to get your brand in front of people who are using mobile devices. Then, you need to drive traffic to the mobile-friendly version of your website. Here are some tips to help you do both of those things, using social media platforms that are actively being used by mobile users today.

Find your way into Facebook feeds

If you’re trying to drive traffic to your mobile website from Facebook, don’t buy Facebook ads. Those are only shown to people on the Facebook website, not people using the Facebook app on their mobile phones. Mobile Facebook users see a streamlined version of the Facebook interface that does not include the right-hand box where ads are displayed. To get your content into Facebook news feeds of mobile users, use promoted posts. Make sure the links within these posts link to your mobile website.

Say it in pictures using Instagram

Many companies are now using Instagram to promote their products and brand awareness on Instagram. Take photos of your company mascot or of celebrities wearing your company logo clothing, and then post them to your Instagram feed. Have a cardboard cut-out figure that you can photograph in exotic locations so that it looks like the person or character is actually there. You can even post photos of offbeat uses for your products, or action shots of your marketing team at their latest sporting event. Just be sure that every photo you post is a positive one, and provides either a bit of excitement or light-hearted humour when viewed.

Target tweets to mobile users

Twitter allows you to display your tweets to Twitter users who are accessing the service from a mobile device. Similar to the Facebook promoted posts, the tweets that go out to mobile users are promoted tweets. Instead of being buried in the list of tweets from other people that are being followed, these promoted tweets appear at the top of the Twitter mobile app.

Make your website QR-code friendly

Mobile users are in the habit of scanning QR-codes with their mobile devices to get more information. By clever use of QR-codes and landing pages, you can custom tailor a website experience for mobile visitors that can also give you valuable information about how they arrived at your website. Change the QR-code slightly from campaign to campaign to find out which one drove more traffic, or to conduct A/B tests. The main issue with adding all of that tracking information to a URL is that longer URLs are less likely to be entered by users. With the URL being automatically entered by the QR-code, user unwillingness to enter long strings of text is no longer an issue.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Morguefile)

information signInfographics are graphic images that mix pictures and text in a way that conveys meaning quickly and easily. For the Internet marketer, a catchy infographic can be a traffic generating gold mine, as it is copied around the Internet, shared, and reposted, usually with a link back to the original site.

Tip #1: Use worthwhile information

The core of your infographic is the information it is conveying. Make sure that the information is from a credible source, and that it is complex and interesting enough to warrant repeating. Moreover, make sure that the information will be valuable to your target audience. Even at Christmastime, an infographic with the names of Santa’s reindeer will not generate much interest. An analysis of the derivations of the reindeer names, on the other hand, could be a great infographic for a holiday-related store.

Tip #2: Make the information easier to understand

Infographics distill complex information into easily understood nuggets. If your infographic is filled with so much text that it’s illegible, or you’re comparing items along four different axes at the same time, your infographic is failing at its primary mission. If the information isn’t easy to understand, no one will share or comment on it.

Tip #3: Find a new and different presentation

Everyone is familiar with pie charts. They’re boring and not worth sharing. Spice your data displays up, however, and people are much more willing to share them. One popular trick is to use cartoon graphics of whatever you are counting to represent each hundred, thousand, or other unit of measurement. You can also experiment with colour, layout, or other design features to make your infographic pop.

Tip #4: Talk to the industry, not about your company

You may care about the statistics relevant to your company. However, other people are unlikely to. Instead, create an infographic that other bloggers and social media users will find general enough that they can easily comment on it for their audiences. The text of the blog or news article in which you use the infographic can still refer to specifics about your company. Be sure that there is identifying information about your company on the infographic itself, so it’s clear where the infographic came from. Just don’t make it about your company.

Tip #5: Reference your sources

Provide a list of the sources you used in small print at the bottom of the infographic as well as referencing them in your blog or news article. That way, when the infographic is shared, the list of sources goes with it.

Tip #6: Offer a next step

Information is great, but information that helps a person to take action is even better! Make sure that your infographic offers a clear next step for people who read it. Ideally, make that next step one that involves your products or services.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Morguefile)

four traffic lightsAs more and more of your Internet marketing occurs on a variety of social media platforms, the time required to manage your social media marketing can grow exponentially out of control. Not only is logging on to each individual social media platform time intensive, you may fail to capture data about overall trends across platforms. While these tools do have costs associated with them, you can try them for free. The right tool should more than cover its cost from your increased business profits.

Best for social media beginners

If you are relatively new at managing social media marketing, consider Crowdbooster. This tool focuses on only two platforms – Facebook and Twitter. It tracks all of the activity regarding your social media each day, including shares, likes, retweets, comments, and replies. Not only do you receive a numeric aggregate, you have the opportunity to see who it is that is engaging with you. What makes this a stellar tool for beginners, however, is that it includes recommendations about the actions you should make in response to the reported activity, whether that is commenting, following, or some other response.

Best for analysing customer response

If your social media marketing activities have been scattershot, with a wide variety of post topics, a mix of photos, videos, and text, and occurring when you have the time to make them, you will benefit from a tool like Socialbakers that allows you to analyse which of your posts get the highest rates of engagement. Find out the times of day and days of the week that people are most receptive to your message, as well as the types of content that most resonate with them. If you are modelling a successful Internet marketer or competing for mind share against another business, this tool will also allow you to see how your efforts stack up against theirs across the big three social media platforms, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Best for instant response

If you are already working a detailed social media marketing plan, and simply need a tool to help you manage all of the pies in which you have fingers, Sprout Social will do the trick. It monitors mentions of your brand or product across multiple platforms, allowing you to respond from whichever profile is most appropriate, and in whatever manner is most effective. You can see overall demographic breakdowns of your followers at a glance, to help you to better appeal to their needs, or to identify potential growth areas of market segments that are underrepresented. It also breaks down your social media statistics into both an influence level, which reflects how many people are exposed to your message, and an engagement level, which reflects how many people are taking action as a result of your message.

 

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Stock Xchange)

push pinA business-specific Pinterest account can be a valuable part of your social media strategy, if you set it up correctly. Here are the key steps to take in order to create a business-specific Pinterest account that can be used to generate leads, build a customer community, and raise your brand awareness. Once your account is established, you can follow the business-specific tutorials on the Pinterest site to master Pinterest marketing.

Convert an existing account

Early Pinterest adopters may have created a personal account on behalf of their business. To convert this personal account to a business account, after logging in, you merely need to click on the “Convert” button on the Pinterest business page. You will need to select the type of business that you are in, add your contact information, add your business name, and agree to the business-specific terms of service.

Create a new account

If you do not already have a personal Pinterest account, or want to keep your personal account personal and create another account for your business, you will need to create a business-specific Pinterest account. Go directly to the Pinterest business page and click on “Join as a Business”. Choose your user name, select the type of business that you are in, add your contact information, add your business name, and agree to the business-specific terms of service.

Verify your website

The point of the Pinterest account is to drive traffic and sales leads back to your main website, so you will want to have your website verified by Pinterest. To do this, you can either upload a verification file to your website’s root directory or include a meta tag on all of your website’s pages. WordPress websites can easily include the meta tag to the header field of their theme, while custom developed websites will probably prefer to upload the verification file rather than change every page of the site.

Customise your account

Whether you created a brand new account or converted an existing account, you will want to customise it for your business. Modify your profile, and include a new header image that matches the header image you use for other social media platforms. Add your verified website, as well as links to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Include a short company biography similar to what you have on the About section of your Facebook page.

Keyword optimise your account

Create a Pinterest board matching every keyword for which you want your account optimised. To easily add pictures to your boards, install the Pin It bookmarklet to your Internet browser. Then, whenever you come across something that you think your target market will find useful or interesting, you can pin it to the relevant board. Track the number of repins you are getting to fine tune your strategy for what will make the best pins.

Thanks!

 

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: MorgueFile)