Social Media Marketing

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1 { Social Media Marketing An Introduction for Marketers { Peter Ghali - Senior Product Manager

2 This white paper provides practical advice and key strategies for beginners looking to incorporate marketing with social media marketing. Introduction Sending and receiving s is easy and free. We do it all the time with our personal accounts. With more than 600 million users on Facebook and more than 175 million users on Twitter, social media is also easy to use and free. However, once you cross the bridge from to marketing, there are suddenly best practices to consider. The same thing can be said for social media marketing. marketing and social media marketing should complement each other in growing your business presence and generating leads and customers. This paper is designed for you if you are familiar with marketing and want to get started with social media marketing. Social Media Survey We recently surveyed 414 icontact customers to learn more about their challenges and goals with social media. According to the survey respondents, their largest social media challenges were lack of time, uncertainty about how to determine return on investment, and lack of knowledge about social media. Social Media Challenges Survey Responses Lack of resources The learning curve There are too many tools Unsure how to determine ROI/ value Lack of knowledge about social media Monitoring tools don t meet all needs Lack of time Challenges 2

3 Social Media Applications Used 350 Survey Responses Social Media Application For the purposes of this paper, we will focus strictly on Facebook and Twitter, which are the most commonly used social media networks among our survey respondents. The concepts and ideas in this paper, however, also apply to other social sites. 3

4 Social Media Some Key Terms Before we dive into social media marketing, this section defines some of the commonly used Facebook and Twitter terms. Facebook Facebook Page Facebook Pages are associated with businesses and organizations. These used to be called Fan Pages. Fan A fan is someone who joins a Facebook Page by clicking the Like button for that page. They see updates from that Facebook Page in their News Feed. Facebook Profile This is a personal Facebook account. It is not recommended that you create a Facebook profile for your brand. Wall The part of a Facebook Page or Facebook profile where fans and friends, respectively, can post messages for anyone to see. Like When Facebook users click the Like button, they let their Facebook friends know they like particular content, and they give their friends an opportunity to read the content and click the link. This is analogous to a contact forwarding your company s to friends. Comment Facebook users can begin a conversation about a post by commenting on it. Twitter Username In tweets, you often see Twitter usernames preceded Including this symbol creates a link to the user s profile on Twitter. Retweet Twitter users can retweet a message to forward it to all of their Twitter followers. Retweets begin with RT. Reply A reply is a public response to a tweet. The Twitter username of the recipient begins the reply. Direct Message Commonly known as a DM, a direct message is a personal message sent to someone. It requires that both the sender and the recipient follow each other, and it is not publicly visible. The message begins with a D and is followed by the username of the message recipient. Mention A mention occurs when a Twitter user references your brand. Any tweet with your brand s Twitter username is a mention. Follower A follower is someone who follows your brand on Twitter. Followers receive your tweets, so it is important to grow your follower count. Hashtag Hashtags include text following a #. Hashtags highlight keywords or topics in a tweet. Twitter users often search by hashtag to find all tweets related to a topic. 4

5 Anatomy of a Social Media Post One of the key takeaways from our recent survey was that there was a general lack of knowledge about social media (third-largest challenge) and that the learning curve was a bit steep (fifth-largest challenge). Let s examine, then, sample Twitter and Facebook posts, using marketing as a point of reference. Twitter Post Information about the content of the link encourages people to click the link. In the marketing world, this is analogous to the subject. Link to additional information. Posts are not required to have links. Once clicked, this would be analogous to the body. Facebook Post marketers are used to having only a from name and from address for their s. On Twitter and Facebook, you also get a logo/image. Unlike marketing, social media allows you to include text that describes the content being shared to facilitate searching for the content online. So, for example, if someone was searching for # marketing, they would see your content even if they were not aware of your other social media efforts. 5

6 As you can see in the above posts, the length of a social media post is much shorter than a traditional . Twitter limits you to 140 characters, and although you can put more content in a Facebook post, it is still very different than . One thing you ll notice is that social media URLs are shorter than traditional URLs. There are services that can shorten traditional URLs for your Twitter and Facebook posts. Social Media Key Tips to Keep in Mind Social media marketing and marketing share many common traits that help businesses accomplish their goals. For example, both can do the following: Help you grow your audience Encourage prospects and customers to respond to a call to action (e.g., visit a website, sign up for a trial) Help you fine-tune your marketing efforts by providing quantifiable results But there are some differences between social media marketing and marketing that are helpful to keep in mind as you launch or fine-tune your social media efforts. Segmentation and Personalization One of your major goals as an marketer is to deliver relevant messages to your recipients. The information that subscribers provide such as preferences and demographics can allow for more advanced personalization and segmentation. This can drive better engagement with your subscribers. With social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, however, there are very little organized data, such as purchase history or website visits, that a marketer can easily access. Deliverability The ability to deliver s successfully to the inbox is critical to marketing. Some marketing solution providers have teams dedicated to maintaining high deliverability rates so that customers limited marketing budgets have the highest impact. These providers also work with customers to help them comply with CAN-SPAM regulations and to ensure that messages are not caught in spam filters. However, in the world of social media, there are no concerns or limitations regarding CAN-SPAM and deliverability. That doesn t, however, give you carte blanche to go crazy with your social media efforts. 6

7 Ultimately, your fans and followers have very simple and effective methods for disassociating themselves from your brand. Not only that, but if you employ poor practices, you can create a social media backlash. So, while there are no government regulations about spam, there is the court of social media to consider. Real-Time Conversation Social media is a real-time, two-way conversation. There is an expectation that brands are responding to and interacting with their social audience in real time. It can be difficult to focus on the constant stream of content, but there are tools to help you monitor and respond to your customers on social networks. While you may feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of content and the real-time nature of social media, remember that you don t always have to create your own content. It is more important to curate content that is helpful to your audience. There is so much valuable content out there; the art of separating the meaningful and beneficial will be helpful as you seek to increase your value to your social media audience. Marketing and Social Media There are several ways to integrate these two complementary marketing channels to help grow your audience. Here are a few ideas: Share Your on Your Social Network Once you have sent your , you should use your social networks to share the news about your messages. Here are a couple of examples of how you can use Twitter to promote your s: 7

8 You can also use Facebook to share your message just by posting a link to it to your Facebook wall. Here is an example: Once one of your social media followers clicks on the link to view one of your messages, they can share your message with their social networks by clicking the social share bar at the top of the message. Combining your and social media marketing extends your brand beyond your network to THE network. The illustration below captures the viral nature of social media: 8

9 Typically, when marketers think about increasing the relevancy of their s, they immediately jump to segmentation ideas. The reality is that by extending the life of your and making it available to a broader social media audience, you are making your more relevant. Adding Social Sharing to Your Using simple share with your network links, your subscribers can share with their friends specific links or pieces of content from your . American Eagle Outfitters allows its subscribers to like its and to spread the word about its content. Here is how it looks when someone likes the When someone clicks this Facebook post link, they are taken to a web version of the . From there, they can begin the purchase process or share the with their network. 9

10 Here s another slightly different example from MarketingProfs. In addition to links to share the issue on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, this also has social media sharing options for individual content sections. Another way to drive social sharing is to make sure your website has Like buttons on pages that are linked from your . Doing so gives those subscribers or webpage visitors an opportunity to share your website content. Your is a great opportunity to expand your social networking presence. Adding Like and Tweet buttons to your gives your subscribers the ability to share your with their social networks. Remember, now that your has extended its life beyond the inbox, it becomes your ambassador in the social media world. Using Your to Grow and Engage Your Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers Using your as a way to encourage your subscribers to follow you on social networks is very easy to do, and it gives your subscribers additional touch points with your brand. This is especially important if you differentiate your social media promotions and content from your content. Many people follow brands on social networks to get special offers. Use your to encourage that behavior. 10

11 Here s an example from Urban Outfitters. At the top of the , the company has included a Facebook Like button to make it very easy for its subscribers to become fans of the brand. Here are more examples from well-known brands Saks Fifth Avenue and Gap: Saks Fifth Avenue Gap Note that Saks Fifth Avenue places its social media links at the top of its s. Gap places its social media links at the bottom of its s. As you can see from these examples, there are multiple ways to design your to attract followers on social media sites. Which social media sites you want to include and where in your to include those links is entirely up to you. Many templates already have Facebook and Twitter icons that you can insert and point to your Facebook and Twitter pages. Once your subscriber (or anyone, really) clicks those links, they will be taken to your Facebook and Twitter pages. From there, they can begin following your brand. 11

12 Using Your Social Media to Encourage Sign-Ups With so much time online being spent on social media sites, it s important to let your social media audience know that you have an list and to entice them to engage with your brand through marketing. One technique is to put a sign-up form on your brand s Facebook Page. Here are a couple of examples: Conclusion As noted in our survey of our customers, many marketers want to improve their social media marketing. Hopefully, we have given you some ideas and perhaps a starting point for extending your marketing comfort zone into social media. With just a little bit of work, you can start to realize the benefits of promoting your brand across both social media and . About icontact icontact is a purpose-driven company based in Raleigh, NC, working to make marketing and social marketing easy so that small and midsized companies and causes can grow and succeed. Founded in 2003, icontact has more than 300 employees and more than 700,000 users of its leading marketing software. icontact also provides the event marketing platform Ettend. As a B Corporation, icontact utilizes the 4-1 s Corporate Social Responsibility Model, donating 1% of payroll, 1% of employee time to community volunteering, 1% of equity, and 1% of product to its local and global community as part of its social mission. icontact works hard to maintain a fun, creative, energetic, challenging, and community-oriented company culture. Follow us! 12

13 About the Author Peter Ghali has more than 15 years of experience in various engineering and management roles at companies such as Intel, Analog Devices, and Motricity. As a senior product manager at icontact, Peter leads the company s social media and mobile initiatives, and launched icontact for Salesforce. In addition to marketing, Peter has experience in delivering mobile marketing and e-commerce solutions to market. 13

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