Why Social Media Advertising Now?

More and more the major social media platforms are pushing their advertising programs.  As time has gone on these platforms are trying harder to monetize their extensive social networks and take advantage of the huge amounts of content those networks have generated.  While this may be frustrating to people who utilize social media, the truth is there has never been a better time to take advantage of these social media advertising networks.

Why should I pay for social traffic though?  Isn’t the advantage that social is free?
It all depends on your goals.  If you’re looking to grow your follower base fast or get a burst of buzz for a big announcement, social advertising can help you achieve those goals for the right budget.

Can’t I just do this for free by pushing my social content on my own?
Sure you can, but there is no guarantee that you will reach everyone.  Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are vast networks with millions of users.  Their advertising platforms have grown much more sophisticated and give you options to reach a targeted audience on their networks that you might miss otherwise.  Remember: advertising on search was thought of as “free” too but businesses currently run extrememly profitable paid search campaigns while also optimizing for free organic traffic.  You’ll reach more people if you use both methods.

Why Would you Pay for Social Media Followers?lead_generation_diagram2_sml2
Think of your social media followers as leads that need to be nurtured.  They may arrive at the very early stages of the process but, like many other online leads, they can be guided and sold on your services.  Wouldn’t you be willing to pay a few dollars for a lead if you knew it was well targeted?  Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offer advertising options designed to promote your account where you pay only for new followers or likes.  You set the bids, so you can assign the value that makes sense to your business to each new follower or like.

How do I know what social content to promote?
Once again it depends on your goals.  Both Facebook and Twitter have options to suggest content to promote based on existing engagements.  Or you may want to promote important content that has a limited reach on its own.  You can even use LinkedIn and Facebook ads to send traffic directly to your site.  If you have a relevant offer to promote you can use their ad networks to reach targeted audiences on Facebook and LinkedIn that you would miss otherwise.

I heard LinkedIn ads don’t get much traffic.  Should I just stick with Facebook and Twitter?
For sure Facebook and Twitter will get you more activity overall.  Recent updates to LinkedIn are helping businesses get more targeted traffic from their network.  Promoted Updates allows you to promote your content in prime real estate on the LinkedIn feed as opposed to the regular LinkedIn ads which are buried on LinkedIn pages.  LinkedIn is also offering the option now to promote your page and get new followers that way.

Social Media advertising is here to stay.  It’s likely that the social networks will continue to assign prime real estate to their advertising, so it’s best to get started in exploring the world of social advertising.  If nothing else get more familiar with the options available to you.  You may find an opportunity to reach your audience that you’ve been missing out on.

#LinkedIn Showcase Pages: What You Need to Know

In another major content and design change from a leading social media platform, LinkedIn has decided to retire their Products and Services Tab and will replace it with the recently introduced Showcase Pages. In this post, I will outline why LinkedIn made this change, what you need to do now to minimize any downside of this change and what you should consider before creating a Showcase Page.

LinkedIn has been doing quite well over the past year, expanding their presence from providing B2B networking and job opportunities to a top provider of traffic to company websites. Now public, LinkedIn is under extreme pressure to leverage their 300 million users into revenue from advertising and subscriptions. Other social media platforms have rolled out new redesigns that maximize visual presentations and LinkedIn has been forced to follow suit. Meanwhile, top brands are looking for new opportunities to promote their products and advertise on those pages directly. Showcase Pages address all of these needs but not necessarily your needs.

How are Showcase Pages different from the Product and Services Pages?
The Showcase pages will allow you to post an update directly on the page which was not possible on the Product and Services Pages. This option will provide you better targeting options, especially if you have a broad target audience and want to do a better job segmenting your content. In addition to advertising, analytics will be available for you to track engagement, trends and demographics of your followers. Design has also been improved with a large hero image. You will be able to create up to 10 Showcase Pages off your company page. Here is Nowspeed’s Social Media Marketing Showcase page.Linkedin Showcase Blog Post Image

What do I need to do about my existing Product and Services Pages?
On Monday, April 14th, the LinkedIn Product and Services tab will be retired so it is important to archive a copy of these pages before this deadline. Spend particular attention to any recommendations of your products or services by customers or partners. These can be very valuable for your marketing efforts.

Should I create a LinkedIn Showcase Page?
You will first need to decide which of your existing products or services should be promoted and remember you are starting with zero followers on your Showcase page. The biggest impact of creating a Showcase page will be your time, you will now need to create and post relevant content on this new page in addition to posting on the primary company page. While you probably won’t post as often on the Showcase page, it could add an additional 50% to the amount of time you are spending updating your primary company page. Adding ten Showcase pages could increase the time you are spending on LinkedIn by a factor of 5 or more. It might make sense to first create one Showcase page as a test to see how much time it is adding to your workload. Based on the time effort and the potential for brand dilution, some people are recommending that you shouldn’t create Showcase pages, especially if you are a small business.

Will these new Showcase pages increase engagement on your LinkedIn page?
The jury is still out on the impact of Showcase pages but what is true is that the changes to social media platforms are coming fast and furious. Marketers need to be responsive to these new changes but should be cognizant of the reality that using social media platforms to promote their brands is a form of digital sharecropping. Brands don’t own their social media platforms, they only invest time and effort to create content for their audiences on these platforms that can be taken away at any time, either by changes like this one or by account suspension.

Can we help?
Good luck with your new LinkedIn Showcase pages if you decide to create one or more and please contact us if you need help building your new pages or if you are not getting the results from social media marketing that you want or expect.

Using LinkedIn Effectively: Part 2 – Growing and Organizing your Connections

Once you build out your profile, you can start to connect with people by inviting them to accept you as a connection.  You can do this one at a time, or upload an entire contact list and broadly send invitations.

I’ve found that different people feel differently about how well they should know someone before they connect with them.  Because I’m letting them into my network and they will see my other connections, my rule is that I need to have personally met or connected with everyone on my list in some way. I don’t accept connections from people I don’t know, or especially from sales people who I have never met.

As you start to build out your connection list, it’s important to keep it current and organized.  Every time I meet someone by phone or get their email address I send them an invitation with a personal note to remind them where we met.   Whenever I meet someone and get a card I send them an invitation. A LinkedIn tool that makes this very easy is CardMuch.  This is a mobile app that lets me take a picture of a business card, automatically verifies the information, and then invites them to connect on LinkedIn.  By scanning and inviting people the same day that I meet them, a very high percentage of the people I invite connect with me.

Once I got several hundred LinkedIn connections, I found that it became very difficult to remember everyone on the list.  A very useful tool in LinkedIn is categorizing people on your list.  I create custom categories such as “friend”, “family”, “client”, prospect”, “employee”, “vendor”, “competitor”, “church”, etc. to keep my contacts organized.  I even create custom names for associations or organizations that remind me where I met my contact.   You can see that I use LinkedIn for both personal and business connections, since it’s a powerful way to stay in touch with everyone I know.

Since I’ve been using LinkedIn for years, I’ve found that there are people on my list who I met once and don’t remember well and may have no reason to contact again.  Rather than disconnecting with them, I move them to a category I call “network”, so that I can still reach out to them in the future, but they don’t clutter my other lists.

By consistently adding new contacts and keeping them organized, I’m able to quickly reconnect with hundreds of people that I’ve met as needed.  If you cultivate it well, this can be a powerful asset that will serve you well through your entire career.

Here’s a link to the full video from my LinkedIn Presentation.

Using LinkedIn Effectively: Part 1 – Building Your Profile

LinkedIn is a powerful social media tool for professionals. With over 175 million members, it’s an excellent way to present yourself professionally, stay connected, build your network, and find new business opportunities.

Building your LinkedIn Profile Some people use it exclusively for job hunting, while others use it for keeping their business cards in order.   In this series of articles I’ll discuss the basics of LinkedIn, as well as some of the more advanced ways it can work for you.

To get started on LinkedIn you first need to create a free account and build out your personal profile which will look a lot like your resume.  Your profile will include your picture, a summary of your background, job experience, education, languages, skills, interests, organizations you belong to, as well as any personal details that you want to include. It will also include activity or messages that you post to LinkedIn. Because it has so many features, it’s so much more powerful than any resume you could ever send. And since it will be used by all of your connections, not just potential employers, you can include information that will be important to many different types of connections.

It’s important to build out every section of your profile in order to tell your story as fully as possible.  Even your picture tells a story.  For most users, it’s important to present a professional image that lets other people know more about who you are.  This generally will not be as casual or goofy as your Facebook photo which might only be viewed by a few friends. Stay away from pictures with animals, expensive yachts and bathing suits, unless that’s the story you want to tell. In this age of easy and inexpensive digital photography, a current “selfie” photo at your office might be better than a professional photo at a holiday event years ago.

Another important part of your profile is the summary.  It tells people who you are and what you are looking for.  If you are looking for a job, you can make that very clear in your summary.  If you are in business development, or an expert software developer, this is the place to make that clear and even give a few examples.  Keep in mind that this is a summary and resist the urge to make this lengthy in order to keep your readers engaged.

LinkedIn also lets you list a number of skills which will be very important later, so take the time to list as many

skills as you think are credible for you.

A great feature of LinkedIn is that it helps you build your profile with suggestions and it even tracks your progress and how your profile ranks in ‘completeness.’

If you take the time to build out a solid profile in LinkedIn, it will serve you in many ways for years to come.

Here’s a link to the full video from my LinkedIn Presentation.


New Webinar: How to Advertise on Social Media

Are you interested in advertising on Social Media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter but not sure how to get started? Do you want to know which platform is the best for your business?

If this topics intrigues you at all, then you should definitely register for our upcoming Webinar on Social Media Advertising: How to Advertise on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Other Social Media Platforms.

By attending this Webinar, you will be able to answer the following questions:

  • Should you consider other advertising platforms like YouTube, Foursquare, Meebo, Gowalla, Mylife and Tagged?
  • How should you evaluate your current marketing objectives in order to choose the best social media advertising mix?
  • How should you compare Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter advertising to your Google paid search efforts?
  • How should you assess your social media advertising platform results and potentially redeploy your dollars?
So save the date and register for our interactive Webinar on Thursday, October 20th at 1 PM EST, 10 AM PST to get started on your social media advertising. Learn how social media advertising can be very effective in driving traffic to your website, increasing engagement with your followers, and providing revenue opportunities. Secure your seat today & don’t forget to tweet about the event using #Nowspeed! REGISTER NOW