If you’ve never used Google AdWords before, and you’re wondering whether or not it’s worthwhile, this post is for you. Here are 10 reasons to use AdWords.
After grouping ads with a wide range of keywords and copywriting ad text that seem to fit your business’s mission to a par, you might be under the impression that all the work is done. read more…
Google AdWords adds new features every couple of months. Their latest feature dates back to March with the integration of AdWords API’s into shopping campaigns. As the various features and functionalities continue to pile up, a significant amount get buried. Here are 10 AdWords tricks that I’ll be reviving from the
Naming and Labeling
Its a no brainer but this trick is an instrumental part of creating a manageable, future-proof AdWords account. Many AdWords users stick with the general default of Campaign #1 or Group #2 as their way of distinguishing between an apparel and sofa campaign. From any regular old joe’s POV, it looks like you might just be campaigning for a political election, and you’re distinguishing the various groups. Not the case, right? So, don’t undermine your ability to manage your ads and provide a user-friendly accessibility by all members of the marketing team. With customize campaign and ad group names, you’ll be able to search by name, organize groups with campaigns, and easily recognize the various campaign – not to mention, exceptional reporting.
If you are one of those people who find the “copy & paste” routine a bit daunting, I’m prove to say that I’ll be relieving you of that task. With this tool, you’ll be able to make one change that will affect numerous keywords, ad campaigns, or ad groups. You can manage various ad campaigns under a single budget, automate different bidding techniques throughout various campaigns/groups/keywords, use negative keywords for all desired campaigns, and share ad copies.
Review & Seller Ratings
As with Gmail, you can add additional extensions to your AdWords. In this case, a review extension allows users to pull relevant customer reviews from various sites into ad units. Allowing your ads to increase in CTR and gain reputable traction.
Another evident trick that people forget about but see all too often. Sitelinks give you the option to place several links to a diverse group of pages other than the basic landing page. Offering more opportunity to gain CTR and promote popular promotions. You’ll need to add the sitelink extension in order to enable this feature – the shared library [include bounce link to #2] also extends to this extension.
Customize Sales Cycle
Not all businesses are the same, just as not all businesses run on the same sales cycle. So why not customize your Google AdWords page to fit your specific sale cycle? With this feature, you have a conversion period of 7-90-days from the previous 7 to 30 day.
Emailed and scheduled reports
Google AdWords offers several automated tools for account managers. All offering beneficial functionalities in order to budget, schedule, and pause campaigns. The “automate” button could be the holy-grail for streamlining PPC. Automated reports can be enabled to email regularly viewed reports from about anything such as search terms, cost, and more. And the automated changes assist in changes through user-based criteria – pausing keywords at a particular threshold or after a specific amount is reached, increase bid based on position, and etc.
I mention this again here [include to link “5 Effective Google…”], but repetition is needed. Negative keywords are the goldmine for maximizing your ad campaigns once they go live. Why target searchers that won’t lead to sales? Or better yet, the ones that aren’t relevant to your business goals? They are as easy as adding a dash in front of every keyword that doesn’t relate to your business needs. For instance, a company focused at providing services to dogs would have negative keywords like -cat, -rabbit, -hamster.
Utilize Google Platforms
AdWords gives you the option to integrate your Google +1 and Places accounts. Apply this feature if you are (almost) entirely a local business. You’ll be able to reach your target audience a lot better.
Google AdWords Placement Tool
Within the tools & analysis tab you’ll notice a collection of diverse tools that will help you broaden your ad campaign. Overlooked is the placement tool which “lets you place ads on a variety of news sites, blogs and other niche sites across the internet to reach more potential customers.” Similar to the generic search-focused option, this tool targets websites instead of keywords in order to reach an audience that are likely more interested. The placement tool also allows users to apply their campaigns in the following formats: text, interactive, image, and video – allowing your creative prowess to flourish. I’ll go into more detail in an upcoming post.
Have a Google AdWords trick you’d like to share? Do you use any of the above? Let me know in the comment below!
Follow me on Twitter @isabelleofume for more expectations, thoughts, and expertise.
The truth is that not every company has the budget and marketing spend of $20,000 or more for a single campaign on Adwords and thats why utilizing Adwords at the best of your abilities becomes the best bet. In order to get the highest return on a small investment, you’ll need to put that small budget into the hands of an Adwords specialist that can give you a feasible indication of what your money will do, how long the budget will last, and a list of several alternatives to help your business reach its short and long term goals. It wouldn’t be the best of ideas to put your investment into the hands of your marketing & sales team – which might not have the slightest idea of Adwords platform – and find out that a number of Adwords mistakes were made when you run through it with a Adwords expert. Tons of money gone to waste when you could have just hired someone that knows the job. If you are working with a budget of under $5k, this article is for you. With the right targeting options and account structure, you can get those impressions and clicks.
Clear Campaign Objective
Know what exactly you’d like to accomplish with your Adwords campaign. It could be that you would like to generate more traffic for a site or product or maybe target specific keywords? Having a clear idea of what you’d like to achieve, helps create a more cost-effective and targeted ad copy. Its always great to have these objectives mapped out when you approach a specialist – everything will go a lot smoother after that. A maximum of 3 campaigns is recommended for the more conscious budgets.
Know the nature of your business. You might receive high numbers of traffic in the mornings, weekends, or holidays – use that for reference in scheduling your ads. For example, a business in the travel industry might do better on advertising in the weekends or during holidays. You can show your ads at specific times and/or days. If your business hours are from 8am-6pm, you might run your ads during these hours. Alternatively, if your business is slow during a particular time during the day – running a special offer ad during this time will help boost business.
Tip: steer clear from Google’s Display Network [insert link to our content] – a defaulted option that displays your ads on sites like The New York Times, About.com, etc – you are less likely to find qualified customers and leads on sites. It is recommended to start with Google Search Results and then move up from there.
For a small business, it might not be the best idea to target generic keywords as they require higher bids. Look for more unique and long keywords that will draw traffic but compete effectively on a small investment. You can find these profitable keywords through WordStream’s Keyword Niche Finder, Google’s Keyword Tool, Google search auto-complete, or even your Analytics account.
Make use of the broad, exact, or phrase match keywords – this will help keep your PPC spending under control leading to more potential customers. If you’re a men’s hat company, an exact match such as [men’s hat] will not show up for “men’s crochet hat”. Targeting your ads with long-tail keywords like “men’s hat halifax nova scotia” will give more relevant impressions and clicks at a lower bid. Long-tail keywords are more specific and targeted to a particular business. These keywords are great for small to medium businesses targeting local to regional customers.
Target Competitors & Industry
It might seem like a low-blow to your creative expertise but its a smart move to ensure that your customers know that you exist with the services & products that you offer. Use your industry leaders and competitors as keywords (after protecting against trademark policies) is a trick to increase impressions. Don’t use their name in ad copies but compose the copy so that it still relates to what the visitor will find on your landing page. This helps utilize a small budget since they have a low cost-per-click (CPC) and high conversion rates.
Tip: always keep a side-eye on your competitors budget, keywords, and ad copies using spy tools like KeywordSpy and Semrush.
As you engage in creating different campaigns, you might forget or ignore the fact that some keywords are duplicating itself. Using similar keywords within different campaigns might trigger two or more ads for a particular search query. This will lead to competing keywords within your own ad campaigns – not so good if one ad campaign is more related to a search query than the other. For example, keywords like “bedroom furniture NS” and “furniture NS” will show up against each other – a one ad, search query will have both of your ads competing for a spot. Google will choose the keyword that is broader.
One of the best ways, in my opinion, to effectively manage your Adwords spend is through negative keywords. You can push to the side searches that don’t relate to your businesses goal, giving way for reduced PPC cost and improve ROI, increase traffic and qualified leads, and raise quality score. If you men’s hat company, you’d have negative keywords like “women”, “girls”, and “female”. With an extensive list of keywords, updated regularly, you’ll draw more prospective customers, searching for YOU. Use negative keyword tools like Wordstream’s Negative Keyword Finder or irrelevant organic search results provided in Google Analytics to help build that list.
Target Device & Location
If you’re a small to medium sized business working locally. It is best that you target by location – the more specific, the better. You can target by zip code, city, or radius by mile/km around your business. Bid higher in locations that get you the most business. You can view the geographical location of your past traffic via the dimensions tab. You’ll know where to put your money, once you know where your money comes from.
Device targeting is a great way to offer different offers or extensions to mobile, tablet, and desktop/laptop users. A mobile user has the ability to instantly call businesses using the call extension or buy straight from businesses when they search.
Tip: you can use geotargeting to target users outside your city for special coupons and offers in order to reward them for their effort and initiative.
Focus on Quality Score
Any small business with a limited budget should put quality score high on their priority list. As a high quality score is related to increased ad rank and decreased cost. You can achieve a good quality score if and when you have relevant ads, high click-through-rates, and quality landing pages.
Manage your ad campaigns carefully. Keep track of how they are doing regularly, take time to see which ones are performing the best and adjust accordingly. Don’t change anything until you have the data (conversions, clicks, impressions) to back it up. If you are a branded company, it might be a good idea to include your name in the ad copy; otherwise, test it out and you might just brand yourself.
Tip: if you are slowly approaching your daily budget, try decreasing your bid so that you are visible longer, without much interference to a campaign’s performance.
If your ads are positioned above search results, you can amplify them by adding additional details such as phone numbers, address, special offers, or ratings. These details can be enable through the ad extensions option. Giving searchers a variety of alternatives when they’d like to contact you.
Which one of these tips & tricks have you used? Has one of them helped you save big on your AdWords budget? Let me know in the comments below.
Follow me on Twitter @isabelleofume for more expectations, thoughts, and expertise.
More companies will be moving to Google+ for the obvious SEO benefits, increased visibility, and social media presence amongst other things; so, its time you make that move. And as a Online Marketing Firm that specializes in Adwords, you’d understand why its so important get involved with Google – all across their platform. As the most largest and popular search engine, Google draws tons of users to their search on a daily basis. Regardless of Google Plus’ (Google+) popularity, Google is bias towards their own brand. So, those that are involved will reap the benefits. For small to medium business, Google+ will help you reach your local customers – far better than Twitter & Facebook. Google+ is Google’s version of a social network and they are doing pretty well.
Google Plus offers a wide array of different features as a bonus for using their services. Like Google+ content, a benefit that allows your content to rank higher in search results when your website does not. Each with its own unique url and rate of interaction – helping your content increase in rank within web results. Thank you Google Gods.
Google Plus Hashtag
Google+ has now integrated hashtags within their Google search platform. Go to Google, search a hashtag, and see what happens. So, make sure to include hashtags in your Google Plus post when the content is buzzworthy. If you do forget and your content & post is keyword full – Google+ might just add them for you.
Google’s Local Carousel
A personal fave of mine is Google’s “Local Carousel” – a horizontal bar of 20 image based results that appear when people search for restaurants, bars, and local places. This can positively increase the rate of viewers that come to your site as well as customers. Here is a compilation of over 30 keywords and phrases that help trigger the local carousel including common ones like “chinese restaurant”, “pizza”, and “live music”.
The ranking order of these local businesses are considered by a number of factors such as the number of +1s on the Google Plus business page, quantity of Google reviews, and quality of the Google+ page (photos, videos, ratings, etc). As for ratings, Google will enable the gold stars to your business once you reach a minimum of 5 reviews. According to Resolution Media Group, “the carousel appears for queries in certain local verticals only, and only if there are more than five businesses competing for the query.”
A big down side to the feature itself but not least as important as getting your business out there on a local level with photos, reviews, and credibility. Don’t forget to encourage customer reviews and rating as the more organic reviews promote positive rankings.
Google’s Knowledge Graph
Google’s Knowledge Graph is a mini info panel that appears on the right side of the web results using semantic-search information gathered from a variety of sources while providing other related links. Many small to medium sized businesses have benefited from this feature – lending to an increased amount of popularity and reputation within Google. For local businesses, Google will pull its content from your Google+ business page. And when implemented accurately, you will see a visual branding, Google Plus followers, and recent Google+ posts and reviews otherwise competitors links and posts will appear instead of your own.
Anyone with Gmail has probably noticed this already but Google+ has now been integrated into your Gmail. When you receive an email from a company with a Google+ page, a handy-dandy follow button will appear alongside related & recent posts – increasing content clickability/visibility as well as follows.
GIFs & Social Annotations
If GIFs are a big thing for your business – you’re in luck! Google Plus allows users to upload them. Making you and your company look like the hip and modern business that you are. And on another spectrum, you can enable social annotations – a simple way to build Google+ following and prove credibility. With this feature, you’ll need to merge your Google+ page and Adwords account while also holding a active and verified Google Plus page.
What’s your favorite Google Plus feature? Let me know in the comments below!
Follow me on Twitter @isabelleofume for more expectations, thoughts, and expertise.
Thinking of a few of the most popular small business sites from the top of my head: Angie’s List, BBB, Manta, Yelp. And some of the most popular social media platforms: Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’ll realize that apparent distinguishing factor between the two categories. The latter are targeted to businesses for review and ratings as well as validating credibility. Letting customers know that you exist is a lot more important for a small business trying to get their feet in the door. If you’re involved, potential customers at least know that you are present online with current and accurate information on how they can get involved. Most times, these prospective customers become interested through word of mouth or a simple walk-by – look online – and find nothing. Already a bad experience with your business without even visiting.
Bottom-line: if social media isn’t your thing – at least make it a goal to ‘add your business’ to as many small business sites as possible – search results will soon become a good friend. Below are some of my favorite small business sites and why:
If your business hasn’t already been added to Yelp’s directory, then you might want to jump on the bandwagon. Yelp is a customer-review site where people from all over the world rate and evaluate their experiences based on performance, quality of customer service, price and so much more. If you’re doing something right, a Yelper might just review your business and boost your online social cred.
You’d be surprised at the amount of influence this will have on your business for sales, participation, and curiosity. Yelp is built on the model of consumer & community above anything, so make use of the paid advertising opportunities which will surely have you involved if you see Yelp as a driving force for your business. Plus, don’t let the negative reviews get you down – businesses are given the opportunity to respond to reviews whether positive or negative.
With the sturdy backing of a popular search engine, Google Places collects about a million reviews a month. Places allows for easy integration into the Google search results and map service as it is one of their own. Your reviews and business information will appear whenever someone searches for you. You can claim or add your business and then customize it whichever way you seem fit – you can merge Google Places into your Adwords campaign using the additional extensions/tools offered there. And like Yelp, you can respond to reviews whether positive or negative.
Growing as an online community promoting and connecting small businesses – providing them with networking information and visibility. But to simply put it, Manta is a business directory – somewhat like the online Yellowpage (just like the rest). Signing up consists of a few fields about your business, and you should be ready to go.
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Adding accreditation to your business makes it easier for distance customers to confirm that you are what you say you are without having to go through a list of unnecessary steps. The steps to signing up are a bit more comprehensive, but BBB is all about building trust – similar to a verified Twitter account. Your customers will have a piece of mind, and if all is good, a review (by a happy customer) might just be submitted in order to build your repute.
You might have seen their latest commercial on TV for the new Snap Fix app? An app built around Angie’s mission in bringing users the best local businesses by way of crowd-sourced reviews. Businesses with a minimum of B+ ratings are given the opportunity to advertise and anonymous, spammish reviews are not allowed – huge bonus. Since its free and requires minimum work, I’d take the plunge – you never know where a potential customer may find you.
And a few more noteworthy sites: Merchantcircle, ZoomInfo, Yahoo Local, CitySearch + InsiderPages, Business.com, and TripAdvisor.
Is your business on any of these sites? Is there a online business directory that draws tons of traffic to your business? Let me know in the comment below!
Follow me on Twitter @isabelleofume for more expectations, thoughts, and expertise.
A growing number of small businesses around struggle with the task of figuring out which social media channel best suit their business needs. A task that must be calculated and implemented. You’ll need to prioritize or allocate a certain person into the management of social media sites – helping create traction and provide results. As well as but not limited to regular posts, interaction with users/followers/fans, and a constant stream of information about your business – including products, contests, and for added thought leadership: expertise.
With the variety in social networks, it is best to choose the channels best suited for you and go all in on them, in order to provide value. I’ll go against this idea in my next post [the more, the better] but presence is great, but inactivity is even worse – a middle would be the best possible option. You don’t want a potential customer or visitor checking in your social networks, only to find that you haven’t posted in a month? A year? Or even worse, since 2012 – and your store’s still in business? A major pet-peeve of mines is to see this sort of neglect – it shows a lack of concern for management.
Also, consider the fact that it is a waste of money to invest time into a particular network and realize that your customers do not interact within the channel, you aren’t gaining the right amount of following, and ‘it just ain’t working’.
So, what social network should you utilize? Well, it all depends on your business – a ‘who, what, where, when’ technique should be considered. Facebook has the largest and most active user base but most businesses do not seem to see the results within this platform but a better following base on a platform like Twitter or vice versa. Some may need the youth following provided with Twitter and others may benefit from the functionalities offered by Pinterest. And sometimes, Facebook is the best option. Some social networking sites like Linkedin, for example, don’t require that much hand work – just a little update of company profile, number of employees, and repost of relevant content. And the majority of the time, content can easily be spread across social networks with just a couple tweaks. It is less noticeable to be inactive on Linkedin & Pinterest then it is for Facebook or Twitter. Prioritize.
Facebook garners a whopping 1.15 billion active users per month and continues to lead as one of “the largest and most active social networks in existence” [include link: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-worlds-largest-social-networks-2013-12], I’d believe that a significant amount of your customers, users, fans/followers are currently using it as we speak. So, why not use that to your advantage? Plus the like page validates business’s reputation.
Pro(s): Offers up a far reach across a diverse demographic. Facebook targeted ads. Customer reviews and ratings. Access to a fan base.
Con(s): If you do not post regularly, it is likely that your fans will not see your post even when you do, due to the news feed algorithms and Facebook marketing approach. I like several brands on Facebook and rarely see any of them – I usually put in the extra effort and visit them myself to check on their latest activity.
Recommended post time: 1-4pm Atlantic Standard Time
If composing short snippets in under 140 characters is a doable task and most of your customers are on Twitter then take the leap. According to the Pew Research Center, Twitter has a strong 18-29 demographic – young professional will find this platform suitable to drive awareness.
Pro(s): Specific photo, video, and links allow for a more visually pleasing “tweet” similar to Facebook – utilize the view summary, Twitter pic, and video embed integration. Users can manipulate their message in a variety of ways and connect with followers on a more personal & creative level.
Con(s): A short bio area; so, USE WISELY. 140 characters, keep it short & sexy. Instagram photos no longer appear embed with “view photo” or opened (like Twitter picture). If you have a target audience of the older population, this might not be the best choice due to low engagement rates.
Recommended post time: 1-3pm Atlantic Standard Time
A ton of people are a bit iffy about the whole usage options provided by Google+ but it is pretty straightforward. Google is the world’s largest search engine offering users that use their platform(s) increased visibility within search engine and an opportunity to influence search results. The benefits have led tons of businesses into the addition of Google Plus into their social media strategy.
Pro(s): SEO benefits – allowing businesses to increase in search rank. Content and product exposure. Great for those in technical industries with a technical audience.
Con(s): Not many engaged or participating users – it would be quite hard to find your customers here unless you have an email newsletter which can help drive traffic to your + page.
Recommended post time: 9-11am Atlantic Standard Time
Any company that fosters the idea of creation will benefit from this platform since you can easily gain followers, engage with a larger audience of creators & customers, and those interested in the whole creative process. With the amount of browsing that takes place on Pinterest, customers who see your products and services in action are more likely to purchase and become more involved in your company. As of late, Pinterest is testing a small experiment among companies like Ziploc, General Mills, and Old Navy for ‘promoted pins’ – just like Twitter’s promoted tweets.
Pro(s): High conversion rate. Drive tons of traffic. Engage with users, public access, and more shared content. Pinteresters are influencers interested in the cool. Great Twitter, Facebook, and website integration. You can tag post for more visibility.
Con(s): You’ll need to focus a lot more time on staying relatively active and connecting with users when they are more likely to be active (see recommend post times). Minimal text content, more visual.
Recommended post time: 8-11pm Atlantic Standard Time
Every start-up, small business other than those geared towards food and clothing (unless corporate or head offices are in your future) should have a Linkedin page setup to connect your employees, company info, and content under one umbrella. Just one of the many platforms that don’t require regular update depending on the format of your page.
Pro(s): Configured to offer businesses a more professional network while giving them the opportunity to post & promote original content under the auspice of Linkedin’s Influencers network. A strong professional network that flaunts your business’s credibility and shows throughs for an eager to build real-time connections.
Con(s): A closed network that doesn’t allow for public interaction – only by those that give permission. It will require quite some networking from your side but the benefits (a face-to-face network) will be noticeable.
Recommended post time: 9-11am Atlantic Standard Time.
What social media platforms are you using? Which ones work better for your business? Let me know in the comment below!
Follow me on Twitter @isabelleofume for more expectations, thoughts, and expertise.
Creating effective ad campaigns within Google AdWords can be a hit or miss for most businesses but vital to any online marketing effort. As Google continues to rank as the most popular search engine for your internet advertisements, it is important to properly place relevant ads to your biggest potential audience.
1. Keep ad group keyword list short
Don’t create a single ad group with the main focus of hoarding keywords: create numerous ad groups, each with a short list that are tightly related and manageable. This will help you achieve relevant search ads as I’ll mention in tip #3.
2. Set daily budget higher than Google recommends
A low daily budget is directly correlated with a display of ads irregularly. Not so good for your ad campaign. You want your ad visible to potential visitors. Manage your ad spend by implementing negative keywords (see tip #4), targeting ads by location (geo-tagging), using exact matches and adjusting keyword bids.
Some businesses usually start with a budget of as low as $1000 for trial purposes (test landing pages and various ad copies) and increase spending when they have the campaign down to a usable formula. Here’s a great example of a successful PPC campaign with higher quality score and monthly spend (via HuffingtonPost):
The differences are incredible: increased revenue and ROI. Just one of the many reasons businesses hire professional and experienced PPC (pay-per-click) companies in order to receive high performing campaigns. Our Google Certified AdWords company creates noticeable results for some of Atlantic Canada’s most influential brands.
3. Use keywords in ad text
Show the searcher that your ad is related to their search. Create relevance between ad text and keywords. Google will bold search keywords in your ad if they are present. This helps your ad stand out. Enabling higher quality scores that lead to a drop in CPC (cost-per-click).
4. Use negative keywords
Ads that include negative keywords will not be displayed within related searches. Include negative keywords at regular interim as they will drive more relevant searchers to your ads. More negative keywords allow for an increase in CTR with ad groups – improved ad position and better use of your money. For example, if your products or services are free, include negative keywords like:
5. Test multiple versions of ad
Google allows you to create, run, and rotate multiple ads within an individual ad group. Test various keywords, ad text and see which version work best. A more relevant ad will lead to a higher CTR (click-through-rate) and lower bids for the same ad position. But make sure your landing page are related to the ad copy. And consider a test on load time for your landing page using Google PageSpeed. Slow page loads can result in poor user experience and reduced time spent on your page.
Do you have an AdWords tip that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comment below!
Follow me on Twitter @isabelleofume for more expectations, thoughts, and expertise.
‘How to REALLY use LinkedIn’ 9.30am to 12.30pm, April 17th at the Neptune Theatre Click here to buy tickets from Neptune Theatre
We approached both Real Mahadeo of LinkedIn and Amy Melmock of the Neptune Theatre with this idea at the end of last year. The event is a fundraiser for Neptune Theatre and a chance for you to learn more about LinkedIn. Many business people have an account at LinkedIn but are not sure of the best way to use it. This is not a beginner, ‘how to set up an account’-type event; we are hosting an intermediate level experience so you get the most for the time you invest.
Ticket giveaway! Manage Your Spend will give away one ticket each week until the event date. You may register once [and only once] each week by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The good thing about social media is that it gives everyone a voice – the bad thing is…it gives everyone a voice!” -Katie Couric
The thoughts below are from my own on-going observations, conversations, as well as readings, including those I’ve taken from a number of blogs, on the use and impact of emerging social media practice for engaging closer relationships with clients and customers of one’s business or organization.
Many organizations and businesses are now reaching out beyond their online websites to connect and engage closer relationships through the emerging and ever-changing world of online social networks. Such an engagement process is fraught with various challenges. Many important considerations should be kept in mind before an investment in financial resources, time, and considerable energy is applied to the effort. And one aspect is certain – effective social media practice cannot be seen as simply an add-on to conventional website activity.
The first step in thinking about how to implement a social media strategy is to understand the differences between the various popular current social media platforms and their user profiles.
Consider the following U.S. based profiles from the recent 2012 Pew Report.
- Facebook: 35% of users are under 35, 50% are 35-54. The average age is 40.5 (an increase of 2 years over 2010 figures).
- Twitter: 45% are under 35, 35% are 35-54. The average age is 37.3 (a decrease of 2years under 2010 figures).
- Linkedin: 21% are under 35, 62% are 35-54; average age is 40.1. Half of all social media users are between the ages of 25 and 44.
- Facebook: 40% male vs. 60% female.
- Twitter: 40% male vs. 60% female.
- Linkedin: 45% male vs. 55% female.
- Pinterest has the largest gender discrepancy of all social media, with 21% male and 79% female.
- Facebook: 34% make under 30k; 26% make 30k-60k; 24% make 60k-100k; 16% make 100k+.
- Twitter: 34% make under 30k; 25% make 30k-60k; 24% make 60k-100k; 17% make 100k+.
- Linkedin: 21% make under 30k; 24% make 30k-60k; 28% make 60k-100k; 27% make 100k+
Though the above profiles are U.S. based, I believe they closely reflect the Canadian experience. The profiles for each platform reveals that, depending on the attributes of your clients and customers, you may find that either concentrating on a specific social media platform will bring you the most reward, or you may need to engage individuals on several platforms in order to have the greatest reach. Thus, it’s important to understand how each platform is different and how customizing your networking efforts to each platform will produce the engagement levels and positive outcomes you are seeking. For example:
On Facebook people often join to connect with family, friends, and schoolmates – though it also supports businesses and organizations of interest as well.
On Twitter, it is all about perception – sharing your point of view, or ‘retweeting’ points of view that interests you with others.
On Google+ it is about circles of interest – be it professional, or specific to personal interests or even a specific issue, etc.
LinkedIn is seen as place to promote yourself professionally, network with others, and/or provide a current profile of yourself, or your business or organization.
Other sites like Pinterest are about expressing yourself, where you can save and share all of your favorite photos related to various interests. This can also be aligned with business or organization interests – for example, passengers posting travel photos from a cruise they took, where the cruise-line on which the trip was taken hosts an account to post the photos.
Social media consumers and followers demand a steady flow of reliable information. The credo of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ can happen very quickly if an organization or business cannot maintain steady contact with followers within a social media network. Social media is about the now, and staying in touch!
Participants and followers of social media activities expect to grow personally, professionally, and possibly monetarily as well – even emotionally and spiritually through the information you provide.
However, just spewing out product and service information, as one would see on a website, no longer cuts it. Your audience wants stories, or lessons learned, or compelling data that engages their attention, and maybe (depending on the value that is generated), a longer-term relationship to your business, or organization.
So determining how the information you want to share aligns with the information needs of the various target group interests and needs, as well as to where and how they want it, is critical to understand if you want to be part of their primary providers in their social media network.
Here are some related elements to consider that make up the cornerstone for how to think about communication processes in the social media sphere:
- Be informative – in other words, posting regularly and make it intentional.
- Be genuine – a responsive social media strategy authenticates, doesn’t spin.
- Be consistent – make sense in the sea of information and choices.
Many social media tools are available and accessible (from current desktop tools, to free online tools) to create and distribute messages to your clients, customers and supporters. But here are some further points to consider when beginning a social media strategy:
- Have clear goals in terms of end results and the expected timeframe – and be patient!
- What are your target group(s) and where do you find them in terms of the outlets they follow, and the content they are looking for?
- What is the existing knowledge of your employee base have in order to participate in terms of experience, contacts, strategy, timeline and available tools? How will they be organized and monitored to ensure consistency?
- Do others want to hear from your organization, and are your clients, customers, partners and supporters willing to share their knowledge and experience with each other? It is not about controlling this process, but rather encouraging and monitoring an informed dialogue and a regular exchange of information. This can be very challenging for micro managers who like to control all communications within one’s business or organization – maybe they’ll have to move on if they can’t handle this fluidity.
- What is the budget for a specific allotment of time for a person (or a team), and the available resources to create and deliver the social media strategy in a consistent manner?
- How much activity and contact is needed to maintain your social media network, establish influence?
- Utilize various outlets to see what garners higher levels of engagement and response, and adjust your activitiy accordingly.
- What your targets groups want to know will shape the creation of content as much as what your organization wants to share. Again, this can be challenging for micro managers as it’s not about control, but about listening and responding.
“…would you rather take advice from someone you know, feel you understand and respect – or a stranger that abrasively shouts their ideas and “knowledge” into your face in the form of a verbal drive-by.” – Erin Nelson, Social Media analyst
I like what Erin asks above in terms of doing some personal reflection about how we take advice, look for information in the work we do, and the choices we make when we purchase products or services. Why should your customers be any different?
When it comes to communicating through various social media platforms, Erin also points out; “Tell people who you are, what you do, what you know, how you can make their lives easier – and they will begin to trust you. There few better ways to do this than by writing a thoughtful, engaging and informative article. You don’t have to be a journalist; you just have to have an innovative perspective, fervor to share it, and a platform to publish.”
And she might’ve added: You have to deliver! Just saying how you can make their lives easier and not deliver on service is not going to earn any credence from your customers.
As you begin to tell more and more people who your business or organization is, the products and services you provide, you begin to establish your ‘brand,’ as well as begin to shape a perception of your enterprise’s value. This however, goes beyond just promotion. As mentioned above, the process must also have a highly hone ability to listen, to pick-up signals and intelligence, determine motivations and maintain a dialogue with the followers of your organization.
As you can probably tell by now, content-based social media requires a significant commitment of time, energy and fiscal resources to communicating with various communities of interest, clients and influencers that have an impact on your business or organization. As one example, storytelling is an important piece of creating and maintaining the sense of value and relationship in the eyes of your customers, clients and partners.
How to begin a story? For example, present the challenges your clients or customers faced; the approach your service took, or the product that was offered to address the challenge – and the results that was experienced. Or pointing out through staff profiles (with their buy-in) their commitment, passion and skill in the work they do to ensure better customer service or product creation, etc.. This is not rocket science, but it is carefully thought through, created, and delivered.
Lastly the whole social media strategy and process must be evaluated on an on-going basis.
Effective and meaningful social media practice for an organization is a process of creating and maintaining relevance, becoming a trusted source for information, offering advise, leveraging the expertise within your organization, listening to feedback and queries (being accessible in a human voice!), and beginning a process of consistent and direct contact with your targeted audience(s).
Social media is not advertising and it isn’t public relations spin either. It is well beyond the website, aimed at creating and maintaining a consistent and valuable on-going communications process that humanizes your business or organization, and informs the people who value your service or product.
As you begin to think about social media strategies for your organization in 2014, ideas can emerge from your current professional reading, be it in print or on various blogs, as well as from one’s staff, or those following your current online initiatives. Out of that ideas will take shape, possibly for new services or products. New projects and opportunities will also emerge as you strive to establish closer relationships to clients and customers in the New Year. Throughout it all, be inspiring and be patient – there’s twelve months in the year. So take it one step at a time, and start now!
Leo J. Deveau
LJD Social Media Relations & Development
 The Demographic of Social Media Users – 2012, Maeve Duggan and Joanna Brenner. The Pew Research Centre. http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Social-mediausers.aspx