Inbound & Digital Marketing Blog

A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Sites for Your Business

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

November 12, 2012

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With your customers and prospects actively participating in social communities, social media is no doubt one of the best ways to share, educate and promote your business. Social media communities give you an interactive platform to allow your customers to share experiences, and provide you feedback, while allowing you the opportunity to educate, interact and connect with your audience.

Why social media?

Social media gives your business and audience a ground for discussion and forums. One of the benefits of using social media for your business is you can engage with your audience and know what your potential customers and clients like and don’t like about any aspect of your business. Understanding their behaviors and concerns, while being open to their suggestions, is always a great advantage for your company over your competitors. After all, we all know that satisfied customers will spread the word about your business and the experience they had, which will bring in new business from referrals.

Social media encourages brand awareness. Social media communities can also help develop loyalty and establish a secure and stronger relationship between you and your customers or clients. It gives you the opportunity to communicate your brand message and be a resource, establishing your presence as a brand that is reliable, honest and helpful for the community.

What is the best social media site for your business?

Here are the most important and influential social media sites to engage in for your business.

Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site which has now reached over one Billion users. Facebook users create personal profiles, allowing them to connect with friends, family and acquaintances, and to join common-interest groups ---making it easier for you to identify potential customers and clients. Through Facebook pages, you can encourage users to “Like” your page and receive your updates into their news feed while the interaction helps spread the word about your business. Facebook groups allow you to build a network of public or private members where you can share interactions with your members in a forum-like environment.

Twitter offers “micro blogging” that enables users to send and receive short messages up to 140 characters, known as tweets. Twitter has become one of the top 10 most visited websites on the internet and has been described as "the SMS of the Internet”. Twitter allows you to insert links and images that will aid you in communicating your message to your Twitter followers Twitter also offers tools that can help you track traffic and your followers  to help you better understand your followers. This way,  you can make adjustments to your messages and change what isn’t working to different messages that generate a better response.

LinkedIn is the largest social networking site for professionals with over 175 million members. LinkedIn allows you to develop, and interact with a network of people with whom they have some level of relationship. Users build their profiles to showcase work experiences, and demonstrate their levels of ability in ways a resume never will! Recommendations are one of the unique features of LinkedIn that you can take advantage of as a marketer. What better way to promote your business than to be recommended?

Pinterest is a social photo sharing site that allows users to create and manage photos based on themes like events, interests and hobbies. You can feature your business name on your profile, and create links to your “pins” that will direct potential customers and clients to your website. Use great quality and relevant photos in order to catch your audience’s attention.

These are just some of the social media sites you can participate in to help grow your business. Before getting started, you should first do some research in order to familiarize yourself with the community, the rules and features and tools before jumping in.

Photo Credit: stock.xchng

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Topics: Lead Generation, Small Business Marketing, Social Media


Are Social Media Practices Hurting Your Marketing Efforts?

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

November 10, 2012

capture-resized-600The birth of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest has opened doors for communication, connecting and expression for online marketers. These communities allow a level playing ground for discussions with marketers and prospects to interact and engage with each other. These forums give business owners and marketing professionals the opportunity to promote their brands by educating their prospects about their products and services - while potential and current customers can offer their suggestions and opinions for a better marketing experience.

Many businesses use social media incorrectly and ineffectively, and ultimately fail to gain successful and strategic marketing and sales campaigns for their businesses. Jim Klossner wrote an article mentioning the common mistakes businesses make in using social media, such as:

  • Their Communication and Posts Are Too Formal - Tone is an important part of communication, and it can set the stage for your online relationships. For a B2B social media account, the social media managers in charge might be tempted to keep a corporate tone. After all, shouldn't you be professional when you're talking to other professionals?
  • They Participate in Too Many Channels - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest; there are many social media platforms for B2B companies to choose. In social media, however, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Unless you have a full team of social media managers to handle all these platforms, it's nearly impossible to be effective in every channel.
  • They Start Using Social Media without a Plan - The same company leaders who wouldn't dream of starting a business without having a plan in place will jump into social media with both feet without so much as researching what the competition is doing. The "it's the thing to do" mentality leads to stagnant accounts, inconsistent tone, and sloppy brand presence.


These are just a few of the things mentioned in his article. Check out “5 Social Media Practices that Can Hurt Your Marketing Efforts”, to find out what you shouldn’t do when you use social media for your business. Learn what to do, and apply these practices directly and immediately into your social media marketing strategy.

Social media can be one of the best ways to champion your business, as long as you know how to use it for your business’ advantage. As with any other aspect of marketing, there are rules to follow for success, so learn from others that have gone before you to save you time, energy and other resources. Above all, be sure you maintain a strong relationship with your current and potential customers by continuously interacting with them.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing


Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends for B2B in 2013

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

November 9, 2012

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In business, it is always good to know what you are up against since many changes in the marketplace can interfere with your best plans, knocking you off course! According to the latest content marketing study of Marketing Profs and Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers are spending more, using more tactics and distributing their content on more social networks than they have in the past years.

Since content is essential for your marketing and sales strategies, the study shows that B2B marketers are spending 33% of their marketing budgets on content marketing, which has increased from 26% last year - while 54% plan to boost content marketing spending next year. Content tactics are more commonly used today than they were a year ago, mostly due to the help of research reports, videos, and mobile. But the study also indicated that B2B entrepreneurs, marketing executives and content marketers this year are challenged with producing enough content. Previous findings showed that the top challenge was producing engaging content.

Social media communities such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, now play a more dominate role in B2B marketing. The study shows they are the most popular content marketing resource for information, while “producing enough content" is the biggest burden for many B2B content marketers. In addition to that, those needing educational and resourceful content typically use up to five social networking sites, with LinkedIn as the most popular. This is a big change, as Twitter had previously been the choice for content for the two previous years.

The full survey is available for you here: “2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends” Let us know what your thoughts are regarding the research found, and how this impacts – or will impact – your business.

Marketers often fail to launch a successful marketing strategy because it doesn’t begin with careful planning. Understand and anticipate the trends with case study, research and statistics, and use them as guidelines for strategizing and planning your marketing campaigns.


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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing


4 Short-Form Blogging Networks Perfect for Customer Engagement

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

October 31, 2012

With the presence and power of social media, what better way to connect with your prospects and customers than through a platform which allows them to learn, share and engage with you and your company?

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Chances are your prospects, customers and partners are engaging in social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. Done correctly, social media allows you to showcase your products and services in a way that educates, empowers and engages your network in a very cost-effective way. Social media encourages you to interact with your prospects through forums and discussions, which will help in your company’s growth not only in profits, but also in terms of branding. You want to be the business that fully understands what your prospects need, and have an expectation of what they need now, and will need down the road.

There are many social networking sites you can leverage to expand the exposure for your business. In an article by Ann Buehner, she mentioned four sites that are perfect for promoting your business online:

  • Tumblr - Brands use Tumblr to create a community and to build a following fast with its quick and easy setup, seamless tagging and sharing capabilities. Existing brands also use the short-form blog to breathe life into content through a host of mixed-media that includes photos, links and video. Tumblr does not offer a reporting platform, and does not have the best reputation when it comes to collaborating with brands on advertising opportunities.
  • Pinterest - Brands use Pinterest to build brand personality and inspire trends and influencers through instant social sharing. Pins are typically centered on major life events such as weddings and holidays. Users create theme-based collections through the site’s virtual pinboards. Dialogue is generated through the simple act of pinning, repining, “Liking” and commenting on images taken on a smartphone or from the web.
  • Instagram - Brands use Instagram to showcase products, services, events or just a behind-the-scenes look through a feed of photos, instead of a slew of text. The photo sharing application for iPhone uses dazzling image filters, and features cross-posting to other social networks including Twitter, Facebook profiles, Flickr, Foursquare, Tumblr and Posterous. The goal is to attract new fans with Instagram’s search and keyword function, and to draw engagement through likes, comments, @replies and #hashtags.
  • Tout - Brands use Tout to create real-time, 15-second video status updates captured from Apple and Android smartphones, and then distributed through social networks. Instant video sharing is on the rise as more and more consumers use smartphones. Tout offers integration across multiple platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, and does include analytics. It’s essentially video Twitter.


To find out more about these sites, you can read her full article here: "4 Short-Form Blogging Networks Perfect for Customer Engagement"

With more social networking sites available at your fingertips, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the tools and features in order to use them to their fullest potential for your business’ success.

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Topics: Blogging, Inbound Marketing, Social Media


How to Amplify Your Blogs

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

October 30, 2012

Blogging can be an essential way to inform and educate your prospects on their wants and needs (that your products or services may help them with). Because building a business empire takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort, and blogging is just one aspect of it, most busy professionals neglect updating their company blogs.

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If you want to lengthen the life of your blogs, and you don’t have the time to update your blogs on a consistent basis- what should you do? Here are six strategies you can put into place right away:

  • Make sure that your blogs are search engine friendly. Always double check your title and description tags, categories and keywords to be certain that they stay relevant to your post. Make sure you don’t stray from the guidelines set forth by search engines, otherwise your blog will be penalized.
  • Inter-link your posts. Make sure that when writing your post, you link relevant keyword phrases to previously published articles. It will help in your search engine optimization.
  • Send your subscribers emails about your post. Include a brief summary of your blog and communicate the value of why they should read your blog by telling them how it can help solve their problems. You can also encourage them to subscribe to your blog so that they don’t miss out on the important updates. By doing this, you will build a stronger relationship with your email subscribers.
  • Be certain that your blogs have CTAs (Call-to-Action). This directs your readers on what they need to do next, and so they will know where to reach you.  CTAs are important because, in most instances, people need to be told what to do and typically respond well when there’s a clear step of what to do next.
  • Repurpose your blogs. By sharing someone else’s information that would also be beneficial for your network, you can repurpose a blog or article that’s an old post (that’s still relevant) or use as a theme for one of your upcoming webinars. By using other’s content, you now have an entire mini-package comprised of useful information and tools to share with your prospects or clients.
  • Use social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. These are a popular and valuable platform to showcase your blogs and articles. Link your post to your social networking sites to spread your content across all platforms, and allow your readers to “share” these resourceful posts.

Blogging will be a major asset for your business to reach your targeted prospects as long as you stay relevant and true to your prospects needs. Offer realistic and timely solutions in every post, in order for your customers to feel value and to help gain their trust. Blogging allows you to interact and engage with your audience, and to get immediate feedback regarding their concerns. Engaging them in discussions to gather comments and suggestions regarding your company’s brand will help your business grow profitably and professionally.

The most important thing you should remember in blogging is consistency. Even if you can’t regularly post blogs, make sure you continue to communicate with your prospects and clients through your blogs to strengthen your relationship with them.

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Topics: Blogging, Inbound Marketing, Social Media, Conversion


12 Useful Research Tools for Content Marketing

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

October 19, 2012

 

 

As you know, content is an essential part of your inbound marketing strategy, and with great content, you can position your company’s website or blog to success. Fortunately for you, there are many online tools that can help you in your content marketing research.

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The quality of your content will determine the success of your marketing campaigns, so to get the attention of your targeted prospects, your content should be useful, relevant, educating and interesting for them.
To achieve this, you’ll need creativity and a little research. You’ll want to utilize the resources you have available online at your disposal to come up with the topics, concepts and intriguing content for your marketing that is appealing for your prospects while maintaining  the brand  your company embodies. There are many online tools that can help with your content marketing research such as Google AdWords, Keyword Tool, LinkedIn, Yahoo Answers and Bottlenose.

Since all searches begin with keywords, Google AdWords is the best tool to help you determine what keywords are more searched than others. Google AdWords can also be useful in the optimization of your content marketing strategies.

With 175 million members, LinkedIn is the largest networking community for business professionals, making it the best place for discussions and forums for people of all industries and all backgrounds. These forums and discussions are very helpful for ideas with your content marketing research.

Yahoo Answers is one of the largest online answer sites with millions of questions and answers from people all over the world. All topics are categorized and ranked according to what’s best for the users.

As you can imagine, social media has had a major impact on today’s content marketing campaigns. If you want to search for trending articles and social commentaries, Bottlenose is the best tool for you. It allows users to view social media information in clearer and simpler ways.

Arnie Kuenn wrote an article, “12 Content Research Tools You Should Be Using”, which contains important tools that can help in your content marketing research. Use them to your advantage and save yourself time by being smarter and not working harder.

Use these research tools as guides to help you get to the right starting point for your content topic or message. Having these tools to immediately find the questions to what your prospects are asking, is an efficient way to build your content marketing strategy.

 

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Topics: Blogging, Inbound Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing


How to Make B2B Content More Shareable

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

October 1, 2012

Content marketing (or education-based marketing) is essential for your business if you want to be found in your crowded field. Not only is it one of the best ways to promote your business, it is also a strong strategy to draw in your audience. With the help of social media, you can now spread your content across all platforms.

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If you’re a savvy business owner, C-level executive or marketing professional, you need to be taking strong advantage of the benefits of social media. Since both the young and old are actively using and communicating with social networking, it is the best place for your business to be to educate your prospects about the advantages of your businesses.

Through social media, you can interact and engage with your potential customers. This is a tremendous platform to find out what your prospects and customers like and don’t like about your industry’s products and services. You’re also given the opportunity to educate and inform people about your business as they search for answers and engage in discussions. With your content’s availability to be easily shared by the click of a button to their entire network - you increase your exposure online, giving you chance to be “endorsed”, recommended and introduced to a new base of prospects.

Social media is also a way of advertisement – if done correctly. It can help increase brand awareness for your company, help build a stronger relationship with your loyal customers and can improve your ranking with search engines. Your business blogs help boost your company’s integrity and reputation, making it more visible and trusted. A good social media strategy will definitely help level the playing field for you amongst all the larger “bigger budgets” you may have to compete with.

Be aware that each social media platform has different rules and traits. Don’t make the mistake that you can generalize, or consider Facebook to be the same as LinkedIn, for example. Familiarize yourself first with each of the social networking sites you plan to engage in. Spend some time researching on these sites – ask questions, post comments, invite to connect with others first. Become part of the community before you decide to just “figure it out as you go”!

Janet Aronica wrote an article entitled, “How to Make B2B Content More Shareable”, which will give you an idea of what you can do to make your content more “sharable” to each social media platform. She included five social media sites namely, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn. So if you are using (or plan to use) any of these social media sites to share your website’s content, I recommend reading her full article to learn how to use these sites to their fullest potential for your business.

Social media is the best way to champion your business. Keep in mind that whether or not you use social media for your business, achieving success boils down to the quality your website’s content. Always make sure that your content is relevant, informative and entertaining. Business blogs reflect the products or services your company offers, so it is imperative that you produce helpful quality content.  Most importantly, make sure that it is easily accessible so that your information can be read and shared by your targeted audiences.

 

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Topics: Blogging, Inbound Marketing, Social Media


Lead Generation: Driving Traffic To A New Website

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

June 11, 2012

Creating a website is a great step to promote your business. It just isn't enough!

You can’t just sit around and wait for people to stumble upon your site. A very effective way to gain customers is by driving traffic to your site.

Clicknewz.com talks about using Social Network Sites to promote your products and services. Doing this will make it easier for people interested in your business to find you.

We've had great success using LinkedIn to drive traffic. Find out more:

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An important thing to remember is to constantly improve your site. Develop strategies or tools which you can use to make your site more interesting. Once people are interested, it gives you more traffic, thus, more customers.

Read more on "Driving Traffic To A New Website"...

If you just got started with Inbound Marketing, leave a comment and let us know how you are planning to get more visitors.                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Social Media


How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

May 23, 2012

Inbound Marketing depends on two things -- Creating valuable content and driving traffic to your site. Great content is useless if nobody sees it!

It's a never-ending process. You have to constantly think of ways to increase traffic. Inc.com's article talks about the many platforms you can use to drive traffic to your site. You can brand your products or services, upload photos, create blogs or use social media.

They believe that social media actually drives more traffic to your site. In today’s modern world, everybody’s engaged with social networking. Promoting your products or services in social networks actually gives you more potential customers.

Another great fact about social media is that, people have the chance to like or even share information, photos or pages with one another. Let's say a customer likes your service and you have a social network page. What will likely happen is, that customer will "like' the page you've created and refer you to her social network friends.

Social networking is used by people to communicate and, what better way to promote your business, than let people talk about it? Just always remember never to take things for granted. Constantly challenge yourself to develop strategies to help you attract more site visitors. After all, more visitors mean more customers.

Read the full article: "How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website"...

Are you already using social networks? LinkedIn? Watch a video on how to get visitors to your site using LinkedIn. Then, when you're really ready to see your traffic grow, join our LinkedIn content promotion program.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Social Media


Inbound Marketing Website Design: Apple Icons & Meta Viewport

Posted by Clarke Bishop

December 30, 2011

When I was explaining HubSpot's new Marketing Grader, I mentioned gaining 2 points by adding Apple Icons and a Meta Viewport tag. Let me show you how.

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How to Create an Apple Icon for HubSpot

An Apple icon is a 57 x 57 pixel graphic that can show up on an iPhone or other iOS device. You can think of this as a giant favicon. What you need to do is:

  • Create the 57 x 57 graphic and upload it to your HubSpot images folder. The graphic can be anything you want, but it's usually a version of your logo. Here's ours:
    Inbound Team Apple Icon
  • In HubSpot, go to Settings -> Website Settings and find your Header HTML box. Whatever you put in this box will show up on all your website pages.
  • Add code that looks like:
    <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/Portals/13372/images/inbound-team-apple-icon.png" />
    Of course, you'll have to adjust the link to point to your Apple icon.
    In my case, I put this new code right under my favicon link:
     <link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico" />
  • Scroll down and Save Changes.

Now, if one of your site visitors creates a quick link on their iPhone, they'll see your new, branded icon.

How to Setup a Meta Viewport Tag in HubSpot

The Meta Viewport tells the iPhone how to show your page. All you have to do is add one more tag under your Apple icon link: 

  • If you aren't already there, go to Settings -> Website Settings and find your Header HTML box.
  • Right under your Apple icon link, add:
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1,user-scalable=no" />
  • Scroll down and Save Changes.
Depending on your situation, there are a lot of geeky ways you can adjust the Meta Viewport tag to control how your pages display:

How to Enable Mobile Website Optimization in HubSpot

I've assumed that you already enabled Mobile Website Optimization. If not, it's easy:
  • In HubSpot, go to Settings -> Website Settings and find the Mobile Theme Optimization section.
  • Click to select Enable Mobile Optimization.
  • If you want to know how it will look, click the Preview the mobile theme ... link.
  • Scroll down and Save Changes.

Takeaway

It's quick and easy to add Apple Icons and a Meta Viewport tag. And, it get's you two points on your Marketing Grader!

If you have trouble, you're always welcome to leave your questions in a comment below.

Of course, some Inbound Marketers would rather have help with technical items. If that's you, call 800.609.9669 and we'll set this up for you.

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Topics: Small Business Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Social Media


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