8 Time-Saving Tips for your Social Media efforts

Growing your social presence takes great time, dedication and patience. So, how do you produce quality content without sacrificing the time needed for other projects? While in an ideal world it would be great to devote hours to content, we understand that this isn’t always a possibility for every business.

According to Buffer, a social media scheduling tool, the average social media user spends an average of 3.6 hours a day on social media. This makes sense when you consider the fact that social media platforms profit as a result of their addictive and time-consuming qualities. But how do you avoid scrolling through a void of flashy advertisements and entertaining memes? Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of 9 social media time-saving tips to help you prepare and stay on track.

1) Plan your social media strategy out!

They say that if you’re going to cut down a tree you should spend most of your time sharpening your axe first. Your approach to building a social media strategy should be no different. Before you sit down to create content for your social media efforts, make sure you set aside time to plan ahead and sharpen your metaphorical social media axe. Then, proceed with purpose and create a clear-cut strategy. Ask yourself: “what is the purpose of your social media time management efforts?”

A quote by Abraham Lincoln that emphasizes the importance of planning ahead to increase efficiency. We use this quote to demonstrate the need to plan ahead for social media marketing efforts.“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”–Abraham Lincoln

Do you hope to gain brand awareness, build a loyal community of followers or, engage with your audience and deliver quality content? Your social media strategy should address these questions and more.

Make sure your work is created with a purpose.

2) Avoid wasting time by batching your social media tasks.

Parkinson’s law states that  “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Sound familiar? This is why batching your tasks is essential to save time on social media.  Buffer, a social media scheduling app, writes on their blog about their own successes with batching their tasks:

Batching your social media marketing tasks will increase efficiency and save time. We include a quote by Kevan Lee from Buffer, to help demonstrate this point.“Batch the process. Pick a day of the week for scheduling, and spend that time adding updates to your social media queue.” – Kevan Lee, Buffer

Batching your tasks will make things more efficient compared to dipping in and out of your account at random times throughout the week. Aside from saving time on social media, batching your tasks will also allow for you to create and curate content more comprehensively. While it’s easy to fall into creating content ad hoc, we strongly recommend against it. Set aside some time to focus only on social media without any distractions; you can thank us later.

Curate and schedule content for your social media ahead of time. Creating content can be tough in this day and age. With the growth of digital media, comes a need for greater quantities of quality content. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the speedy turnaround rate of social graphics, you’re not alone. But, here’s the thing, you don’t have to create all your content. In fact, you should probably create only 20% of the content you publish. The other 80% of your content should be user-generated.

“The purpose of user-generated content is to humanize your brand. And with 51% of consumers trusting user-generated content over information on your brand’s website, you can build better relationships with this content stream,” —Alex York, Sprout Social

Alex, says it perfectly. Trust the users that want to interact with your brand and use their content to strengthen your reputation. If people are eager about your product or service, make sure you show it to other potential customers and clients.

Still confused about how user-generated content works? Here’s an example from beauty brand Glossier:

If there was a brand that ever acted like the queen of social media, it would probably be Glossier. Known for their strong investment in “millennial pink,” Glossier has skyrocketed to Insta-fame as one of the strongest beauty brands in America for millennial women. And while their branding may be on point, so is their dedication to interacting with their audience on social media.

Just take a look at their Instagram feed:

Example of User Generated Content (UGC) for Social Media Marketing. This example uses Glossier's Instagram account. Here is an example from Glossier to show you how to use User Generated Content for Instagram.

Nestled amongst the sea of millennial pink, you’ll notice that Glossier has invested time in curating content that isn’t exclusively created by them. Let’s take a closer look at this photo of a cat:

Specific Example of User Generated Content for Instagram. Example pulled from Glossier Instagram Account.Here is a close up of User Generated Content from the Glossier Instagram Account.

As you’ll see the social media manager of Glossier decided to repost a photo from one of its customers.

Pro-tip for social media managers: to get a strong pool of user-generated content, be sure to always check common hashtag typos that could be mistaken for your own.

Glossier as a company was built to address the lack of pride in women’s beauty routines. Emily Weiss, the founder of Glossier, has since built out a product line that inspires transparency and ecstatic promotion of its products. Customers not only wear Glossier, they wear it proudly for the world to see on Instagram. They’re brand advocates without being paid to promote.

Glossier’s Instagram shows how powerful the combination of a good product and an engaging social media strategy can be. Learn from them and encourage your audience to interact with your product and share it online.

If you’re a small business and you don’t have the hype that Glossier has, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to encourage and entice customers to interact with your services and products. To learn more about how to find and curate user-generated content, Buffer talks about their strategy here.

3) Start Small with your social media management.  

Look, I get it. When you’re excited about your social media efforts it can be easy to overwhelm yourself with a huge workload. But working hard does not equate to working smart, especially when it comes to social media marketing. Each social platform is unique and investing in the wrong platforms can be a waste of time.

If you’re a lawyer looking to invest in social media, then Instagram, a visually dominant platform, probably wouldn’t be the best platform to invest in. As we said above, before you get started on your social media efforts make sure you plan a strategy. And, if you’re looking to work with a social media expert, make sure they tailor their work to the specific needs of your business.

We recently wrote a blog article that goes into greater detail about some of the major social media channels out there. Check back in soon to read more.

4) Share your social media content across multiple platforms.

As we’ve already mentioned, we strongly suggest focusing on only one or two platforms in the beginning. That said, even if you only have two social media channels, you can still share the same content across both platforms. This not only saves time but it also creates greater opportunity for your audience to interact with your content. If you’ve spent a few hours creating a blog post you’re going to want to invest even more time in promoting it.

Let’s look at an example from the Guava Family and their Travel Bassinet:

As seen above, the Guava family leverages similar imagery across Twitter & Instagram. The key here is to make each post unique! Leverage separate images (even if they come from the same photo shoot) & copy to create a cohesive cross-platform message. Posting the same content with the same copy on all of your channels is not a great strategy & will likely frustrate your loyal followers. Many of your users will likely follow you on several platforms and you don’t want them to get bored!

5) Steady social media strategy wins the race.  

Ever hear of the story about the tortoise and the hare racing against each other when you were a kid? You read the story assuming you already knew that the hare would win. But, alas, we read till the end and found out that slow and steady wins the race.

The life lesson here is that a short sprint and then giving up is not how you achieve success for most things. Slow, steady, and consistent can be difficult to achieve for those seeking instant gratification. But, for social media purposes, it’s key to success. If you can take anything from this blog post, I want it to be that consistency is far more useful to your social media strategy then sudden and inexplicable growth.

Slow and steady wins the race for social media marketing management. We remind our readers that consistency and a steady strategy is important for social media marketing.“Slow and steady wins the race.” – Aesop

When you sit down to batch your tasks and create a content calendar, keep realistic expectations of what you’ll be able to accomplish not just once. Make sure your plan allows for consistent posting for months to come. Posting more frequently is not always the answer. Just take a look at this study by Buffer where they talk about how posting less tripled their reach and engagement.

So what’s the moral of our blog post?

Grab your coffee, take a deep breath, trust in the process and be patient.

6) Find the right social media tools.

Humans have been using tools for millions of years to make their lives easier— So why wouldn’t we use them for social media time management?

A social media manager could potentially use tools that help them find, publish and track the performance of content. Using a scheduling app will allow for a social media manager to get a comprehensive view of the content before and after it’s published.

If you have a low budget, we recommend at the very least investing in a tool that will help you schedule and analyze the performance of your content. If you’re not sure which one to choose, we’ve created a blog post that compares and contrasts the most common scheduling tools for social media here.

7) Research. Research. Research.

Social media is an ever-changing marketing channel. What works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow. This is why it’s important to constantly keep up with what works for your industry and pivot when needed. It’s easy to say things like “Instagram is the next big thing”—and it is. But, that doesn’t mean it’s the next big thing for your business.

Your research should be specific to the needs of your business. Don’t be too quick to jump on a trend backed by vague statistics. Always ask yourself: “will putting effort into this help me meet my specific business goals?” If so, look at how it will and why.

8) Delegate tasks so you can focus on what’s important.

In the mind of a social media manager, social media is integral to what we do every day. But if you’re a small business owner, then social media may not be at the top of your to-do list. You have a business to run, and social media is only one part of what makes a business successful.

This isn’t to take away from the importance of social media, but rather address what needs to be done by you and you alone. If you’re wearing multiple hats as it is, social media can feel like the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Here at New Dimension, we’re happy to take on new social media clients to make things easier for you. If you’re interested in working with us, to grow your online presence, be sure to check out our services page or email us at info@ndmr.com

What Type of Marketing Works Best in Your Industry?

If you haven’t already noticed, the marketing game has changed dramatically over the last few years. What used to be print ads and commercials on the radio/ television, has now shifted to developing a strong online presence for your business. However, online marketing is not “one size fits all”. There are many different strategies to consider when marketing your business online and the right strategy can depend on which industry you are in. Here are three of the most popular/ effective types of online marketing and how different industries are successfully implementing them.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As digital marketers, we would like to think that just about everyone has heard of SEO. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Informed business owners often know it is important and many times pay marketers to help them with it, but not all of them know what it means. SEO involves using different tactics (link building, content optimization, ect.) to increase the chance of your site being found when a user using search engines like Google or Bing.

The vast majority of consumers are searching for products, services, and companies online long before doing business with them. If your website doesn’t show on the first page of the search engine results, there is a good chance that no one is going to find you.  Most people will search a different phrase to find what they are looking for before they will look on page 2. Why is that? Historically, Google has done a great job of providing their user with the desired information on the first page. Therefore, formulating the belief amongst users that if they don’t find what they are looking for on the first page, they may be searching for the wrong thing. Just think about the process you go through when searching online. Do you scan through multiple pages?

For industries such as banking and money lending, SEO is generally the go-to tactic given there isn’t much emotional appeal. Companies like Source Capital work hard to target the specific keywords they want to rank for and be found for. In the example below, you can see how Source Capital is optimizing their homepage for “California hard money loans.”

Source Capital uses their keyword phrase in the heading and also repeat the phrase throughout the page. They used the phrase “hard money loan” 20 times on their first page and also made great use of semantic keywords,  keywords that hold similar meaning to the phrase you are targeting.

Paid Search (PPC)

Another popular and effective form of marketing is paid search, also called pay-per-click, or PPC. This is a form of advertising where you bid for your ad to be placed on search engines results page, then you pay every time it is clicked on. Your ad listing is displayed on Google’s first page above the organic search results, allowing you to be found almost instantly.

Have you ever visited a website and then later noticed that the company keeps showing up in ads on other sites that you visit? This is a result of paid search marketing. This form of marketing allows you to target specific areas, term, and user habits. All this data is also trackable, allowing you to know what is working and what is not so that you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

For example, the company Smart Move has a very specific target audience – smaller landlords in need of a tenant screening system. They use AdWords to target the exact keywords that they want their ad to populate for. In the example below, Smart Move is targeting the phrase “tenant credit report”. When this phrase is searched in search engines, their ad is populated as seen in the image.

Social Media Marketing/Management(SMM)

Over the last decade, social media has become incredibly popular. This makes it a great platform for marketing. With social media, you’re able to reach countless people and target specific audiences.  Social media is an affordable marketing investment that has a high return on interest. It also allows you to interact with your target market, which most other forms of marketing do not provide an opportunity for. With social media, you can actually see the exact people that are interacting with your company’s ad.

Facebook allows you to target people by interest. In the example below, Kinobody is uses a sponsored Facebook video to tap into the personal feeds of users that have previously claimed to be interested in fitness and/or personal training. You can actually see that their ad was shared over 600 times, which helps expand the number of people that they can reach. As seen below, with 1.2 million views, Kinobody seems to be fairly successful with their campaign.

Email Marketing

Many people are already familiar with email marketing, and the benefits of leveraging this tactic as part of an overall marketing campaign. But while email marketing is nothing new to digital marketers, it is still agreed upon as a cheap and effective way to increase brand awareness and add additional revenue to the bottom line.

Email marketing can be extremely effective for retail companies, especially if they derive sales via e-commerce, as you will want consumers to be aware of any important online sales events and discounts.

In order to launch a successful email campaign, it’s important that companies have a good means of acquiring email lists and should avoid the temptation of purchasing their lists through third-party suppliers. This Orlando Audi Dealership site shows a perfect example of using a signup portal to curate email lists:

Don’t forget to segment out your audience depending on their stage in the sales funnel! Someone looking for a second purchase, for example, does not want to receive emails introducing your product or service.

While each form of marketing is valuable, knowing your industry will help you determine which strategy is best for your company. If you can develop an ad that plays to a consumer’s emotions you can find great success on social media. Create a strong ad that your audience can connect with. If your business lacks an emotional appeal turn your focus toward something like SEO or PPC. Conversely, if you want faster results, turn your marketing efforts to paid search. With trial and error, you can find the perfect combination of marketing strategies to reach your target audience, improve your conversion rate, and increase overall visibility and revenue.

If you’re interested in learning more about what marketing strategy best fits your business contact us today. We’re always happy to work with new clients to help them meet their marketing goals.

Social Media Campaigns That Rule

What makes a creative and successful social media campaign? Look closely at some successful brands and you’ll see then tend to have some similar characteristics. A greatly successful plan utilizes four main strategies: a plan with a purpose, measurable goals, promotion across various channels, and analysis. Incorporate those components into future strategies and your campaigns will succeed.

Social Media network share

1. Develop Your Plan

To have an outstanding social media campaign, creating and developing a strategic plan is essential to success. Strategies are meant to be individual to the campaign, but should also work toward achieving your overall goals in social media as a whole as well. Don’t create friction in your goals and ensure that you’re accomplishing your existing marketing efforts as well.

It’s important to do a lot of thorough research, analyzing your existing campaigns and social platforms to pinpoint where improvements could be made, what your competition is doing, etc. Determine which platforms are suited for your current purpose and will help you achieve your needs based on who you’re trying to reach and what your message is.

Spend time researching where your target audience spends a majority of their time and when they’re there so that you can leverage those platforms to your full advantage.

Determine your marketing budget for the campaigns and strategically allocate funds where they will be most needed. This will include deciding whether or not you want to use paid resources or rely strictly on organic tactics.

Lastly you’ll need to decide what your campaign goals are and how you’re going to measure them to prove a significant ROI from your campaign.

2. Define Your Goals

Without clearly defined goals, there’s no way to determine if your marketing campaign was a success or not. Creating measurable, attainable goals for each campaign is an important step in planning for success.

Some key goals that are common in marketing are:

  • Increasing brand awareness – getting the word out there so that you can be recognized as a company. This is especially important if you’re a new business, or just new to social media.
  • Driving traffic to your website – maximizing social media to drive increased traffic to your site and blog is a great goal. Not only can this potentially increase conversions but it can also allow users to share your content on social media.
  • Increase users time on site – consider creating more than the short-term goal of getting users to your site. Give them something to do on-site that makes them want to stay and increase their loyalty to you.
  • Improving conversions – if your outreach is well-established and your web visits are consistently high, you should be working toward increased conversion rates.

3. Promote

Use multiple channels to promote your campaign for those who are and are not on social media. This will ensure your goals are being attained no matter where you users are. Utilize the channels to your advantage and use them wisely.

4. Analyze

One of the most important steps in any marketing campaign is analyzing your results. Did you reach your goals? Where is there room for improvement? Could you have done things differently to achieve better results? The answers to these questions will help you determine if your campaign was successful or not, and where you could use some re-strategizing.

2018 Update – Social Media for a Cause!

In 2018, social media has far more importance than a few fun tweets here and there. Companies, especially online retailers, need to have a sharp product set, fun images, and a solid way that the business stands out.

One of the best ways to stand out in 2018 is by giving back to charity! Everyone knows Tom’s Shoes, but there are many smaller companies such as Sock Problems, FACT Goods, and Pura Vida that have charitable aims as well. FACT Goods, for example, has a Faith Hats campaign that supports several charitable causes.

Companies can leverage these awesome initiatives to improve their social media presence. Warby Parker has a “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” campaign for their glasses that is often highlighted on their social channels. Warby Parker also highlights their newsworthy contributions on social media as well. Check out this tweet example:

Good luck with your social media in 2018 and beyond!

Generating a Blog Approach

While writing a blog for your business may seem like an easy enough task, not having the proper strategy before diving into creation could hinder the creative process. Content creation takes research, time, effort, strategy, editing, and testing repeatedly to make sure every piece serves its specific purpose. Gone are the days where you can set and forget your blog strategy.

What exactly does it take to churn out quality content on a regular and consistent basis? It starts with a process. A process can be refined and tuned as you go for your specific business needs but having a good start on how to begin is important in planning.

Blog-ideas_5

Most importantly, you need to identify your blogging goals. What is the purpose of your blog, and what is the message you’re trying to convey? Blogging should be a collaborative effort that involves your entire team’s opinions and contributions. Good content creation starts with investment from a team. Identifying your blogs purpose can involve many facets,  or one sole purpose.

Is your blog:

  • Geared toward pushing sales of your product/service.
  • An informational resource for users who might use your blog as a valuable asset of information.
  • A platform where you can weigh in as a company on the hottest industry news.
  • Or a combination of all of these things mixed together.

Once you know what you want the voice and message of your blog to be, identifying the remaining components of a successful blog will become easier.

Determining your target audience should be a component of determining your blog’s goals, because your goals will be geared to what your target audience will want to hear from you.

Consider a few questions to help narrow down your audience.

  • Who do you want to see your content?
  • Who do you want to read your blog?
  • Who is the type of person/employee you’d want to target with your content?

It’s really essential to content success to know who it is on the receiving end of your message, what it is they want to read, who they are in the marketing world and their role, and what action they will want to take once they do read your blog. For a little extra insight, go to your sales team to find out what potential customers are asking in pitches, then see what you can do to provide that information to them readily.

Consider setting up your blog as a resource center. TransUnion’s ShareAble for Hires hiring resource center is a good example of how this works. This conveys that your content is actionable and useful to your customers and supports them with information beyond what directly pertains to your product or service. Thinking about your blog as a resource center also provides direction and purpose to your brainstorming and content creation processes.

Now comes the hard(er) part. The ideas! Taking dedicated time to brainstorm is essential to the creative process and really allows many options for the direction of your blog. Brainstorming allows you to start with any and all ideas that might work for your blog. There aren’t any bad ideas in the initial idea generation process.

Once you have a good start on a list of ideas, go back over them with your team and refine it down into the perfect list of brand-empowering topics. Then begin connecting the topics to your brand and audience to highlight subjects that address questions your clients may ask you, information customers need to know, helpful and useful content, and highlighting your services. Keep brainstorming throughout the year with your team to ensure fresh ideas are always prominent.

Categorize blogs into the main topics you want to focus on to give your blog structure and then you can begin planning. (For example, the MogulMom blog has a thorough list of categories to help direct readers to what they want to know. While these categories help show the range of topics MogulMom covers, for new blogs, 5-8 categories is usually sufficient).

Determining a set schedule for your blog is essential in creating expectations for followers. Readers will know when and where to look for fresh content when you’re consistent with your information sharing. Keep a spreadsheet or other form of organized planning to keep things coordinated. Make sure that your categories are spread out so that you’re informing readers of different topics and keeping their attention. Include in your spreadsheet topics, brief descriptions, due dates, target audience, and any other helpful brainstorming details. Try to plan a month-quarter ahead of time unless your business is very quick moving, then 1-2 weeks in advance may make more sense.

While you will have many team members contributing content to the blog, it is important to have a person in charge who can keep the strategy updated and in place, ensure images and formatting is consistent, and will get things scheduled and posted on time as they should be.

Make sure your content gets seen by sharing it on your social platforms, promoting it through email marketing, and sharing it with your current and potential clients.

Responsive vs Adaptive Web Design

With new tablets, mobile devices, and digital watches being churned out by tech companies faster than most can keep up with, it’s becoming increasingly important to generate an ease 04112013figure-aof accessibility of websites on various devices. Which means that marketers need to consider all of the variables when designing a website for mobile, so that even when the latest and greatest devices are launched, you’re ready with a fully optimized site that’s easy to interact with.

The user isn’t too concerned with what method of madness you use when they are perusing your website through their mobile device or tablet. What they care about is that the site is effectively working the way they envision it should when on various devices. There are two methods for developers to meet the needs of users on multiple devices; responsive design (RWD) and adaptive design (AWD). These methods both effectively address the challenge of rendering websites correctly across multiple devices, but also have differences in the way they work.

 

 

 

For example, users shopping on their mobile devices are going to have a much better experience when looking at the screen to the left (the mobile-friendly version), rather than the screen to the right (what a non-mobile friendly version would look like):
Image Source: HP Laptops

As you can see, the mobile version provides the user easier navigation and accessibility. This mobile-friendly version is much more likely to make the sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Responsive Web Design starts by primarily creating a flexible foundation by incorporating CSS3, media queries, the @media rule, and fluid grids. Through this, as well as the use of EMs, flexible images and videos, and fluid type, the responsive website is allowed to adapt the layout to the various devices and environments.

Adaptive Web Design utilizes components of progressive enhancement to help define the set of design methods to focus on the user not the browser. Using predefined sets of layout sizes based on device screen size along with CSS an JavaScript, AWD then detects the device in use and adapts. Basically, adaptive design will change to optimize to predetermined screen and device sizes.

The two methods are similar in that they both convert websites to be user-friendly and easily viewable on various mobile devices in varying screen sizes, which gives a better user experience. The difference isn’t in the end goal but the delivery of that goal. While responsive design relies on fluid and flexible grids, adaptive relies on presets of screen sizes. RWD also might take more effort in coding for implementing the fluid grids, CSS and flexible foundations, whereas AWD is more streamlined with layers and utilizes scripting to assist with adjusting to the correct screen sizes depending on the device used.

Legal Concerns For Small Businesses

Small business owners are required to deal with a broad range of issues. When you’re running a small business, you often don’t have access to a marketing department, a finance team or a human resources manager. It may even be the case that you cannot afford to invest too much in professional services, until your business becomes more established. But that doesn’t mean your business will not encounter the potential for legal liability. Every action you take in business has the potential to create liability, and you need to be on top of your obligations to customers, suppliers and the public at large if you are to avoid the pitfalls. But what are the common areas of legal concern for small businesses, and what steps should you take to get the right outcomes?

legal-concerns-for-small-businesses1

Contractual disputes are one of the main areas of concern for small business owners. Every time something is bought or sold by the company, or a deal is struck with a new supplier or client, the potential for contractual liability presents itself. This means that small business owners need to have a functional knowledge of the law in this area, in order for them to successfully navigate the disputes and disagreements that will inevitably arise in the course of their business. Contract law is worth some study time for any small business owner, and can help lead to agreements being reached on more effective terms.

It is not just contract law that has the capacity to cause problems for small businesses. Owners also need to be concerned about product and professional liability, through the goods and services they provide. For example, causing serious injury through supplying a harmful product can give rise to contractual, tortious, and statutory liability. Or, if your company is deemed to have been negligent, you may be exposed to liability as well.

Another area of potential liability arising in the course of business is liability to employees, governed by labor laws designed to protect the interests of employees. For most small businesses, the possibility of an employee grievance can be a daunting one, especially given that large sums can be awarded, sometimes much more than a small business can reasonably afford. This often makes it important to draft in professional legal help, to ensure you are protected in your business practices. Lawyers like those from DLA Piper – lead by Bob Bratt – can advise on these types of commercial scenarios.

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No matter the type of business you are operating, there are always legal concerns to contend with. From the contracts and deals that you sign, through to compliance and taxation provisions, and even the working conditions of your employees, there are plenty of areas where running a business intersects with the law. For more complex needs, it is always advisable to seek professional advice, to help ensure you are operating in a fully compliant, legally sound manner. The best lawyers will aim to understand your business and give solutions that fit your commercial objectives.

Image source: http://www.lynelavergne.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/labour-law.jpg

Image source: http://blog.larrybodine.com/uploads/image/referral%20handshake.jpg