Reading Time: 5 minutes
Business – the relationship between client and company. Traditionally, consumers evaluate value, reputation, and price, while companies attempt to distinguish themselves from competitors. Technology has shifted this dynamic.
Decades ago, business cards, brochures, and a yellow-page listing were table-stakes for any credible company. Enter the internet and a website became an essential signal to the world that “We are open for business.” During the web’s 1.0 stage, this static outbound identity was enough. If you build a site, it was assumed customers would find you. Then, as the majority of companies came online, it quickly became a point of parity. Then, in web 2.0, social media emerged. Users could interact, collaborate, and generate their own content. This evolved from a personal space to share, to an essential messaging platform for businesses.
Today, most companies acknowledge the influence of social. However, strategy and execution are often lacking. In some cases, they create accounts because they feel like they should, especially when a new platform is buzzing. After the initial hype, these platforms can be neglected. This can damage their brand, with outdated posts conveying that they may be obsolete. In many instances, these platforms aren’t where their target audiences are spending time. Resources are wasted, both staff time and budget. Other times, companies task someone who has other priorities and competencies to also maintain their social channels. This can result is generic outbound messages simply touting their products and services. Unsurprisingly, these efforts fall short, fostering little to no engagement.
To uncover best practices, I spoke with Amy Alcorn, Aspen Grove Marketing’s director of marketing. Aspen Grove, a digital agency in Fort Collins, CO, has a reputation for building social media management that drives engagement.
1. What are the top platforms a business should consider for targeting b2b or b2c?
If your business focuses on B2B relationships and advertising, you should be on LinkedIn, and possibly Twitter and Facebook depending on your industry. If you focus on B2C, Facebook, SnapChat, or Instagram might come into play. It all depends on your target audience and where they spend their time.
2. How do you measure return on social media and email marketing?
The answer to this question completely lies in your goals. All social and email platforms offer great analytics and insights into your data. Pick the ones that matter most to you and see what is working over time. Adjust what your audience doesn’t respond to and find a strategy that works for your platforms. Keep in mind, social media and digital marketing should be part of a holistic approach and can take time. Measure your online results by studying your in-person, real-life interactions with customers or sales to determine success.
3. How do you capture more positive reviews to boost reputation?
If your business is doing good work and providing great service, your customers will likely want to leave you a positive review online. Sometimes you have to ask them nicely to do so, but reviews matter and they do affect your SEO and potential clients’ impression of you. [In Aspen Grove’s blog, they share how reviews can help your business grow and how to ask for them.]
4. Among all the noise consumers experience, how do you make a brand stand-out and mean something?
Social media is more than just posting. You must be human, fun, interactional, and work to forge a connection with your fans. In doing so, your brand will naturally begin to stand out and stick in people’s minds. [Amy shares five steps to effectively manage your social media presence to get results in this post.]
5. Recommended reading and resources for self-managed social and email
Digital marketing is likely one of the most talked about subjects on the internet. A quick Google search will quite literally result in millions of hits; the challenge is finding valuable sources and up-to-date content. We follow Social Media Examiner and Social Media Today for great advice, ideas, and insights. [Aspen Grove Marketing frequently posts social media and digital marketing tips and tricks.]
6. When should a business explore using a social media professional?
Social media marketing and the larger digital marketing landscape is often one of the things that inevitably fall to the backburner for many small-to-midsize businesses who aren’t in a position to hire a full-time marketing manager. When social media falls out of focus, it’s easy to lose sight of it altogether. Social media professionals provide incredibly valuable partnership when businesses lack the time and know-how to properly manage social and digital marketing in-house. [Aspen Grove expands on when you should consider working with a digital marketing agency.]
7. When a company approaches a social media firm what should the client already know about their brand?
Before chatting with any digital marketing agency, it’s important to think through a few things on your own. First of all, what are your goals? This will help advise your strategy and budget, as well as what makes the most sense for your business.
You should also have a ‘voice’ in mind for your brand. By this, we mean, what persona or personality will your business adopt online. Are you funny? Serious? Educational? Or something else entirely? To determine the best voice for a business, we like to ask, “If your business was a human, who would it be and why?” This helps us determine the characteristics, quirks, and styles your account will portray.
And finally, it’s always best to think through who your audience is and/or who you wish it was. This will help your agency determine who to target and the best way to reach them. [Learn to identify your top target group.]
Once you think through these questions, your digital marketing agency should be able to help you develop your voice, realize your goals, and ultimately, connect with your audience.
8. Additional Tips
Here is a list of our top 50 social media tips and tricks.
9. Provide an example of work you are proud of.
I’m lucky to work in a field where I get to see immediate results and successes that make me immensely proud of the work the Aspen Grove Team does on a daily basis. I’m motivated most by helping the many wonderful businesses and organizations in Northern Colorado continue to make this region a wonderful place to live and work. Our partnership with the Food Bank for Larimer County, our work with Earth Day Fort Collins, and the small part we played in the successful Broadband initiative in Fort Collins are a few of the things we are very proud of.
Some businesses find social media to be the wild west of advertising; a new frontier with undefined boundaries and rules. To brave these channels requires a pioneer-like attitude. A willingness to bare yourself through experiments and the guts to pivot when you flounder. Before your next social post, reflect on Amy’s advice and develop a strategy that includes what segments you are speaking to, on what channels, and a defined tone of voice.
You might also like my previous post – How to create brand advocates for your business.