Which Social Media Platform Is Right for You?

September 15, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

Social Media PlatformsSocial media platforms are appearing like wildflowers after a summer rain. Each promises reach into the psyche (and by inference ‘the wallets’) of their target audience. Each requires a learning curve to adopt, time to manage, and, possibly most important, each should prove its worth to you before you commit precious resources to participate. This means, of course, that jumping on the newest, shiniest, most promoted social media platform in ever isn’t really necessary. In fact, there’s time, and you should use the time they’re spending proving themselves to the world (and you as a business) to focus on what’s working for you already. All new businesses will attempt to create a sense of urgency for you, that’s how they grow. In this case, waiting a bit and then deciding if there’s a good fit is simply prudent and a good idea.

That said, modern marketing definitely includes social media in the mix. The definition of social media has broadened to include blogging, which also supports the idea of creating consistent, quality, content for SEO and general marketing purposes. You want to be seen by the search engines; you want to build a relationship with your audience – two birds, one stone, and thy name is good content.

The content piece continues into the Facebook realm. Facebook provides an opportunity to generate referrals, to nurture relationships with your audience, and to demonstrate your commitment to the art of online conversation, which can require planning and thought. People come out of left field, sometimes, and having a well-planned strategy for responding when the topic gets tricky is key. Consistency is also key. Managing a Facebook presence means you’ve dedicated resources to planning your social media marketing, to participating in the conversations that are generated by your compelling marketing, and to getting the best results possible in that particular medium. Facebook posts with less words and a really good image garner much more response, so a piece of your strategy should include capturing cool images to use. The audience here has begun to skew slightly older now that teenagers are fleeing due to their parents’ participation (and surveillance…), which means users with some disposable income are increasing – always a good thing.

Twitter provides a venue for the like-minded to exchange thoughts on a given topic, like, for example, the benefits of therapeutic massage for postpartum health. It’s a very trendy, up-to-the-minute medium, and cycles  very quickly. If attention focus is your goal, you’ve only got a very small window using Twitter. It is, however, a great place to build credibility within your audience – the exchanges can be opportunities to plant a seed for a very stimulating conversation in the Twitterverse, while creating a venue on which to share expertise.

YouTube continues to grow at an astonishing rate. The audience loves to see people demonstrating services or creating ‘tutorials’ on topics germane to the audience. I could certainly have used a lesson in flat iron technique when I realized upon growing my hair out after many years of short locks that I had become wavy/curly, and seriously needed to tame those tresses! Fortunately I have a helpful daughter who stepped up and instructed me at a time I was just about to ask my stylist to ‘cut it all off!’ due to extreme frustration. My point, though, is watching something is much more helpful than reading about it for most people, and watching something that’s been created with the medium in mind, in short segments (less than 5 minutes, if possible), will generate more interest for the occasional longer piece.

LinkedIn has historically provided a venue for professionals to network. The site tends to be used for professional networking, for employers to find potential employees, and for potential employees to find potential employers. It provides a place where credibility within a given industry can be established, over time, and where the comradery feels akin to that of offline professional organizations, in my experience. From a priority standpoint, I’d be inclined to choose one or more of the first three social media options listed before spending too many resources developing a strong LinkedIn presence. It’s ideal for B2B’s, and slightly less so for B2C interactions, based upon the usual traffic and content that’s generated.

The key players in the social media arena remain, overall. The key for your business is determining which make the most sense for your goals and social media presence. Regardless which you choose, you’ll need to commit to the experience. The most successful in the social media game are those who respect it as a potential referral and, ideally, revenue generator, and develop a strong following over time. Consistency, clarity, creative content and commitment to the effort will take you a long way to garnering success within the new media culture.

The 411 On Facebook’s Newest Marketing Tweaks

March 11, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

fb-logoMarketing in the digital age means employing media in a multitude of ways. Social media is a prime example of one, and Facebook is a huge player within the social media arena whose algorithms change on an astonishingly regular basis.

Why should you care? Each time Facebook changes algorithms, the rules for using the social media venue to promote your business change a bit. Ignoring algorithmic adjustments means you’re shooting yourself in the marketing foot by losing visibility with your posts.  We all know how much emphasis modern marketing strategy places on social media in the mix, and we encourage regular, creative posts. We encourage interaction with your followers vs throwing content out there and then forgetting it. This takes time, energy and effort, so losing any ground or not having your work seen by as many followers as possible is highly annoying and a precious resource drain as well.

Modern marketing requires flexibility and a commitment to uphold the implied promise you make when sharing pearls of wisdom – you need to invite response, and respond timely and consistently in order to nurture and encourage the trust required for solid relationships. Facebook’s latest tweaks to their EdgeRank algorithm determine who and how many see your company’s posts. In fact, you may already have noticed a decline in your business’ organic outreach since the newest adjustments were put in place in January.

What should you do? Since the changes are about both images and content, you’ll need to adjust how you’re handling both. First, with images, you need to use a very compelling image that draws your followers in and compels them to read the content that follows. With regard to content, fresh is best. You don’t have to write great volumes of compelling copy, but you should be consistent with interesting and relevant pieces that keep your followers coming back for more.  Facebook values new content highly, which will translate to more eyes on your words which means more visibility for your business, which is kind of the point to begin with.

These are the biggies. Now go find some great images to accompany your well-written, regularly scheduled posts. And stand by for more updates – as we hear about them, we’ll share!

Happy New Year! Now What’s Your Plan?

January 6, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

Online Marketing Puzzle Shows Websites, Blogs, Social Media And EmailsA new year brings an opportunity to renew and strengthen your business. With that opportunity comes the need to plan and focus your energy on business activities that will bear fruit in terms of generating business as well as nurturing those most precious treasures you’ve already worked so hard to gain – your existing clientele.

Visibility is key

Your clientele need gentle reminders that you are around and eager to make them look and feel fabulous, at their convenience. Why not establish a simple email marketing strategy and schedule right now that will help you stay on trackEmails need not be cumbersome epic novels. A paragraph or two, perhaps from a blog article you’ve already written, is all you need to send. Be sure to mention the ease with which they can book services with you, and include a link to your Booking page. Always include a mention of and link to your Instant Gift Certificates page as well. Many milions of dollars are spent every year by email recipients just clicking on those links when they’re reminded of a gift need or are encouraged to book a service!

How often should you send emails? One every couple of weeks will inform and educate your recipients without annoying them. You want people to open your missives, not automatically delete them. That line is a fine one, and we tend to err to the conservative. After all, if your readers want to hear more from you, they can pop into your blog, too!

Visibility across all media is now your goal. That means your Social Media needs to be a place of give and take. Images that connect directly to your message du jour will really help catch the eye and reinforce your message. Are you offering up a great new non-drying color technique in your salon? Cool! Be sure to include an image of a client having their hair colored/conditioned to support a headline of Come in for a Deep Nourishing Color Treatment! for example. You get my point..don’t just include random images that look anonymous and aren’t really tied to your message. The social media audience just responds well to concise copy and clearly tied images.

Wherever you are, be there on a regular basis. And always be sure your website is showcasing any new services or products. That will be a default location for your audience to learn more about what you’re up to at any given point.

Consistency is key, too.

Starting out with a bang and ending with a fizzle isn’t an optimal marketing strategy. At a time when information flows at the speed of light, if you only send out one email campaign every quarter or write one blog article every couple of months, or are less than regular with your Facebook or Twitter posts, you’ll be doing your business a disservice.

Again, length of message isn’t really what’s important, it’s the regular reception of that message by your audience that ensures you’re presenting an organized and professional marketing effort. Your clients and prospects will appreciate your efforts with visits and word of mouth referrals.

Keeping your brand clear and maintaining that clarity everywhere your message is distributed? Also key.

Yes, there are lots of keys to marketing, but they’re all related. If you write consistent blog articles about your areas of expertise, generate emails, then create social media posts based upon those blog posts, you’re meeting the key criteria with a minimum of effort. Maybe we should have called this post Your Blog Posts – Keys to Your Entire Marketing Strategy?

Clarity, though, that’s important in a whole different way. If you are clear about what your business represents, what you’re doing, what you bring to the spa or salon or massage experience, etc., then that will flow through into every bit of content you produce. Knowing what you want to be known for is huge, and keeping that front and center on your website, (with imagery as well as content, of course), in your blog posts, in your emails, and out in the social media realm will ensure you’re drawing the clientele that fits your sweet spot and will set the stage for building long-term relationships that net consistent business over time.

Simple tricks like posting your mission statement, or a similar reminder of just who you are and what you’re trying to be to your audience, right above wherever you go to write content are helpful. Who doesn’t get carried away by the Muse of Random Tangents from time to time? Stay on track, and always depict  the true essence of your business as you write.

Maintaining clarity isn’t easy in a time when many businesses are trying new things to garner business. Know your true self and stick with that. Doing otherwise can alienate your audience and confuse in general, which usually makes people just go somewhere else. Nobody likes to try to figure you out. Your job is to be so clear, so consistent, and so visible that the natural decision for them to make when seeking spa or salon services is your business.

Laying a simple but comprehensive marketing foundation sooner rather than later will put you ahead of the game, and the work you do now will serve you well for the entire year to come!

Social Media Trends for 2014: Focus On The Visual

December 16, 2013 Kathy Watts permalink

As we wrap up 2013 and look ahead to the new year, now is a good time to start thinking about your social media marketing strategy for 2014. One of the biggest trends we expect to see is a continued shift towards shorter, more frequent communications, with a focus on visual, rather than text-based, content. Here are a few highlights of other trends to watch as we approach the new year.

The Continued Rise of Visual

Consumers are becoming more and more visual, and studies show they gravitate to marketing which is image driven. With the continued popularity of sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Snapchat, it is going to become increasingly important to come up with ways to visually promote your business and your brand. Whether it is utilizing more photos in email communications or interacting with your clients on photo sharing sites like Instagram, bringing more images to your interactions with clients means you can more effectively meet their marketing wants by communicating with them where and how they want you to.

The Importance of Micro-Video

Micro-video is a new trend that emerged in 2013 and revolutionized the video sharing business, with sites like Vine leading the way. Vine allows users to upload 6 second videos and share them with friends, filling the consumer desire for short bursts of visual communication. Industry giant Instagram soon jumped on board, allowing its users to share 3-15 second videos with their followers.

In this time where people want short visual bits of information shared more regularly and rapidly, micro-video is a new and powerful tool for marketing. A series of micro-videos could be used to tell the story of your brand, promote new offerings, or set you up as an expert in your field.

Social Media is Still King

Facebook and Twitter will continue to dominate in the social media market, with the highest number of regular users. But they are showing a shift towards more visual communications as well. Picture-dominated posts consistently get the most interactions on both platforms and both sites have made improvements to enable quicker and easier sharing of photos and videos. Both are poised to continue strongly in 2014.

Google+ will be the social media site to watch in 2014, as it continues to grow and link its social media site to all the other Google brands. It automatically opts in all users of any of its brands to Google+, which made it the fastest growing social media site in 2013. Recently, it linked YouTube comments to Google+ accounts as well, helping to drive consumers to its platform. With long term experience in visual communications, it will only continue to grow in importance throughout 2014.

2014 will be an exciting year for social media marketing. As the visual side of things continues to grow and consumers continue to demand rapid, to the point, image-based communications, it is more important than ever to adjust your marketing strategies to embrace the visual. In an industry where visual images have always been important, this is an easy and effective marketing change which can produce huge results.

Who Exactly Is Your Social Media Audience?

December 3, 2013 Stephany Toman permalink

Social mediaDid you know that Facebook’s users in the 55-64 year old range have grown 46% in the last year? And that the 45-54 age bracket is the fastest growing group on both Facebook and Google+? That means you’re not just writing to the under 40 group anymore. From a marketing standpoint, you’ll want to vary your message (and images) to resonate with that demographic. It may require a little more thought to tailor your social media to this group, but this section of the economy packs a whallop in terms of discretionary income, so your time will be worth it.

The good news is you can write blog articles to everyone you serve, and create social media posts from all of your articles so that you’re reaching a variety of demographics, easily and as a natural byproduct of your blog work.

Did you also know that of Facebook’s users, 189 million of them are only accessing via mobile devices? That means you need to ensure your mobile presence is fluid and working well with handhelds and mobile phones at all times. Now is definitely the time to optimize your website to render well on mobile devices.

Social media allows businesses to connect with followers in exponential ways. Capitalizing on the beauty of difference in your audience will demonstrate your desire to speak their language while meeting them in what has become a way of life, not just a passing fad.

Facebook Graph Search — Looking Good So Far…

April 15, 2013 spaboom permalink

Facebook has begun the roll out of their newest search feature: Graph Search. The new search may have a big impact on the way people search for businesses and services. Since the majority of time people are spending online is spent on Facebook it is important to have your business page constantly changing and interacting with your clients.

The new graph search will allow you to search for just about anything you want but the important part is that you can see the businesses that your friends and family have liked and visited. Knowing where your friends and family have been and enjoy will always play an important part in your decision to frequent a business.

Even if none of your friends or family has visited a business you can drill down deeper to see just what kind of people have checked in at a certain place. Want to know if a bar you are looking at is frequented by couples or singles? You can narrow your search to see exactly who has been checking in there. You can even search by the age range of the people who have checked in at a given place.

The new graph search will make it very easy to find business but it will favor those who are interacting on Facebook regularly and encouraging their clients to check in. Start interacting with Facebook now before Graph Search is rolled out to everyone!