1. Social media is popular — really, really, popular

You don’t need to be a dedicated reader of tech blogs or an expert in online marketing to know that social media is really popular among consumers.

According to the Pew Research Center, 65 percent of American adults use social networks, which means that social media will touch nearly every customer that walks through your door.

Having a social media presence that’s accessible via mobile can improve the chances of your business getting found when someone is searching for a place to eat or a product to buy, while on-the-go.

 

2. Social media helps you gain valuable customer insights

Social media generates a huge amount of data about your customers in real time. Every day there are over 500 million Tweets4.5 billion Likes on Facebook, and 95 million photos and videos uploaded to Instagram. Behind these staggering numbers is a wealth of information about your customers—who they are, what they like, and how they feel about your brand.

Through daily active engagement and social listening, you can gather relevant customer data and use that information to make smarter business decisions.

 

3. Social media reaches all ages and demographics

Social media defies age barriers. A 2015 Pew Research Center study found that 65 percent of US adults are using social networks.

Between 2005 and 2015, usage among ages 30-49 has increased by 69 points from 8 percent to 77 percent. So, no matter how young or old your target audience may be, chances are most of them are already logging on and waiting for you to get started.

 

4. Social Media increases brand awareness and loyalty

When you have a presence on social media, you make it easier for your customers to find and connect with you. By connecting with your customers on social, you’re more likely to increase customer retention and brand loyalty. A study by The Social Habit shows that 53 percent of Americans who follow brands on social are more loyal to those brands.

 

5. Social media users are active

One thing you have to know about social media users is that when they say they are on social media, they are really on social media.

Social media users in the US check their accounts 17 times a day, according to an Informate Mobile Intelligence report. While a customer may visit your store once a week, they could see your social media posts in their feed multiple times during the week.

 

6. Social Media provides rich customer experiences

Even if you aren’t on social media, most of your customers expect you to be. Over 67 percent of consumers now go to social media for customer service. They expect fast response times and 24/7 support—and companies that deliver win out. A study by Aberdeen Group shows that companies engaging in social customer service see much bigger annual financial gains (7.5 percent YOY growth) vs. those without (2.9 percent)

 

7. Social Media helps generate higher converting leads

Social media increases sales and customer retention through regular interaction and timely customer service.

In the 2015 Sales Best Practices Study from research institute MHI Global, world-class companies rated social media as the most effective way to identify key decision makers and new business opportunities. In the State of Social Selling in 2015, nearly 75 percent of companies that engaged in selling on social media reported an increase in sales in 12 months.

 

8. Social media is cost-effective

Social ads are an inexpensive way to promote your business and distribute content. They also offer powerful targeting options so that you can reach the right audience. 

For example, if you run an ad campaign on LinkedIn, you can segment by things like location, company, job title, gender, and age—the list goes on. If you’re running a Facebook ad, you can target based on location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and connections. You can track and measure the performance of your social ads in real time.

 

9. Social media can make a big difference for your email marketing

Social media has completely changed the game when it comes to how small businesses think of email marketing. Sharing your email newsletter across your social networks can open your content up to a whole new audience and generate the type of buzz you’ve been looking for.

Not only that, but you can also use sites like Facebook to attract more readers by including a Join My Mailing List link right on your Page.

Together, these two powerful tools have reshaped the marketing landscape and have really leveled the playing field for small businesses trying to better connect with current customers and reach new audiences for their business.

 

10. Social Media helps build relationships

Social media isn’t about blasting your company’s sales pitch on social, it’s a two-way channel where you have the opportunity to enrich relationships with your customers. It gives you the chance to engage and interact directly with your customers to build a bond.

For example, social media allows tourism brands to create dialogue with travelers, therefore creating relationships with customers before, during, and after they have booked a trip with the company. This kind of social media dialogue between brands and customers is something traditional advertising cannot achieve.

https://blogs.constantcontact.com/why-social-media-marketing/
https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-for-business/

 

 

Hashtag2

Most communications specialists know how to take advantage of hashtags, whether it’s to optimize your posts, follow industry trends or keep tabs on a topic or event.

However, there are several ways PR pros can benefit from hashtags that are often overlooked, including:

Following the Right Hashtags

While trending hashtags get a lot of mention in the press, Ciaran Blumenfield notes they’re not always the most relevant to your company. 10 Hashtags Your Business Cannot Ignore identifies the categories of hashtags that are important for any business or not-for-profit organization.  They include:

  • Competitors
  • Industry topic
  • Industry experts
  • Industry conferences
  • Trade organizations
  • News
Analysis

Each business should then identify the hashtags specific to its industry and issues. Useful Twitter Hashtag Analytics Tools reviews three tools to identify influencers, find useful links and references, analyze trends and more. Among the tools listed:

  • Tweetbinder, which allows you to analyze chats to see who is engaged in conversations, who is most influential and which tweets and links were shared.
  • Tweetcategory, an iPad app that organizes your tweets around topics and hashtags.
  • Hash Tracking, which provides hashtag analytics like tweets, reach, number of contributors and their followers.

Benchmarking

How to Use Hashtags for Competitive Analysis delves into one key application of hashtag monitoring: benchmarking. If you’re tracking your competitors (and you should be) it’s also a good idea to evaluate which hashtags they’re using and how they’re performing, Blumenfield affirms. She includes the types of hashtags to keep an eye on:

  • Brand and Campaign
  • Events
  • Alliances and Partnerships
  • Community Conversations
  • Pop Culture

Measurement

Though not specifically about hashtags, 10 Ways to Measure Twitter Audience beyond Follower Count shares methods into measurement of reach and influence of tweets. As Nate Smitha explains, measuring your follower count helps you understand your Twitter audience and how to grow it more effectively. Measuring the reach and engagement of your hashtags is good practice to test what’s working and what isn’t.

 

For more information: http://www.cyberalert.com/blog/index.php/4-beneficial-ways-to-use-hashtags-in-pr/

The McRae Agency is now on Instagram!

Check us out:

pr_buzz on Instagram - Google Chrome_2

The Hidden Benefits of Social Media Marketing: Why Your Strategy May Be Working Better Than You Think

Stephanie Chandler, Contributor

Most businesses venture into social media expecting to see a big return on investment. The hope is that new customers will come in droves, and that the benefits and revenue generation will be huge. However, this is rarely the case. It takes time to build momentum with social media, and the benefits aren’t always as obvious as we would like.

If you’re feeling a bit skeptical about social media marketing and whether or not it’s worth the effort, following are some reasons why it may be working better than you realize.

1. Brand Recognition – One of the most powerful ways to use social media is as a brand-building tool. With social media, you get to decide how you want to position your company and what you want people to know about what you do. With consistent effort and great content, you can build a reputation for your brand around your company’s values, benefits, and advantages.

2. Community – There is nothing like social media when it comes to cultivating a community. When your followers become part of your community, you gain instant access to them. That means you can find out what challenges they are facing and what they like and don’t like about your offerings. You can engage in ongoing dialog that can be more valuable than any kind of paid market research.

3. Repeat Exposure – There is an old marketing adage that says it takes six to eight exposures to a product before a customer decides to buy. A clear benefit of social media is repeat exposure with your network. You have the opportunity to remind them over and over again about what you have to offer, which can shorten your sales cycles dramatically.

4. Authority – For coaches, consultants, authors, speakers, and other service-based businesses, social media can be very powerful in helping you establish authority in your field—making you the go-to resource for your target audience to seek out for help. Share great content, answer questions, and serve your audience, and you will inevitably build loyal fans.

5. Influence – As your following increases, your influence grows. Having a substantial social media audience creates a snowball effect that can attract new customers, media interviews, joint venture partnerships, and all kinds of other opportunities. It’s a bit like when you see a crowd hovered around something. You can’t help but want to see what all the fuss is about, so a large audience will only attract more interest.

6. Website Traffic – Many people don’t realize that social media can be a leading traffic generator. When you share blog posts, videos and other content from your website, you give your audience a reason to click through and visit your site. Once there, you have the opportunity to inspire those visitors to take action by inviting them to sign up for your mailing list, make a purchase, or call to schedule a free consultation. Install traffic monitoring service, such as Google Analytics, and if you are committed to your social media efforts, you will clearly see that social media brings traffic. Also, make sure that your visitors receive a clear call to action when they visit your site so that you can convert that extra traffic into business opportunities.

7. Ahead of the Curve – Whether you realize it or not, your prospects and clients are checking to see if you are engaging in social media. I always find it a bit odd when I’m investigating a potential service provider online and I can’t locate a social media presence or worse, I find Facebook pages that haven’t been updated in months, empty Twitter feeds, and a clear lack of interest in engaging. Social media isn’t a fad and it’s not going away. Even if it’s not your top priority, if you stay current with activity, your prospects will notice.

8. Mindshare with Lurkers – There may be days when you wonder if anyone is paying attention to your social media networks. But if your efforts are consistent, I guarantee that more people are paying attention than you realize. Give it time and you’ll start to understand what’s happening behind the anonymity of the internet. You will eventually hear from people who say, “I’ve been following you on Twitter for ages. I love your posts!”

9. Competitive Advantage – The reality is that most of your competitors aren’t likely doing a very good job with social media (most companies aren’t), which gives you the chance to stand out. Also consider the flip side. If you avoid social media, you leave a big opening that allows your competitors to capture your audience.

10. Big Wins – While many businesses large and small are trying to justify the cost and time investment for managing social media marketing, an important benefit often gets overlooked: Big Wins. For example, if someone from LinkedIn connects you with a significant government contract, then that would certainly qualify as a Big Win. If a major media outlet finds you on Twitter and interviews you for a national article, then that is also a Big Win—one that you can’t measure based on revenues directly generated.

Big Wins don’t happen often, but when they do, they make it all worthwhile. It’s easy to forget results like these six months down the road you’re trying to assess whether your social media efforts are paying off. But that one contract you landed could cover your social media marketing costs for years. And that major media interview could lead to subsequent interviews and a line item on your resume that impresses a corporate sponsor three years from now. Never forget to factor in the Big Wins in social media.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2013/03/12/the-hidden-benefits-of-social-media-marketing-why-your-strategy-may-be-working-better-than-you-think/

By Carrie Peterson | Posted: October 24, 2012
Social media is the new public relations of the marketing industry. Newbies think it’s the “exciting” marketing discipline. It is a great field, but it’s more than tweeting around the clock.Saying you want to work in social media, so you can play on Facebook all day is like saying you want to work in PR because you like people. Good for you, but that’s just not what we do.

These are the requisite traits for success in social media. It’s not as easy as it looks. You must be:

1. Nimble

Social media is the fastest-changing industry ever. You have to religiously monitor the environment and adapt quickly to change.

2. Educated

You have to be committed to reading constantly about social media and measurement, and searching aggressively for the latest trends and best practices.

3. Dedicated

There is little to no off time in social media. It happens 24×7, so you have to be ready to respond at any time. If someone posts something negative on your Twitter stream and you don’t respond for 24 hours, good luck finding another job in social media.

4. Clever

Social media enthusiasts are quick and clever. You need to be, too, or you will come off looking like your grandma or, worse, like a corporate mouthpiece.

5. Strategic

Social media doesn’t exist in a universe by itself. It’s part of a larger, strategic marketing mix. You must see and understand the overall goals, strategies, and objectives before you can implement social media tactics.

6. Meticulously organized

You have to write, post, monitor, respond and measure for countless social media channels. You have to be organized, but not such a perfectionist that you can’t move quickly, and it’s so important to have great monitoring systems in place.

7. Playful 

Some of the most successful social media folks are funny, lighthearted and don’t takes themselves too seriously. Hello, “NOT COOL, COOKIE!”

8. Analytical

Yep, that’s right. We don’t just sit around and tweet all day. We have to measure our results just like anyone else. Having science and math skills is a big plus.

9. Well-rounded

Though it’s important to be an expert in this category, it’s not good to be too focused on one skill. To truly be a valuable contributor, you need to understand the big picture of marketing.

10. Social

Yeah, that’s right, I said it: You need to be social to work in social media. Get out from behind the computer and have a few face-to-face conversations. Enjoy the life that you’re posting about.

Do you have another trait that you’d add to this list?

 

http://www.prdaily.com/socialmedia/Articles/13002.aspx

The fourth quarter of 2012 is nearly upon us, which means pundits, blogs, news sites, and more will soon ruminate on what it all meant.
Before the navel gazing begins, we can tell you that this is the year social media fully embraced the image.Meanwhile, Facebook also continued its social networking dominance (despite its nose dive on Wall Street).

And social media continues to benefit companies that use it as part an integrated marketing campaign.

All of that and more is represented in this snapshot of social media statistics from 2012 (curiously absent is mention of Pinterest):

According to The Weather Channel, Tropical Storm Isaac will make its landfall on the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico sometime Tuesday.
With Hurricane Katrina still fresh in the minds of many in that region, particularly residents of New Orleans, preparedness is the name of the game for big storms such as Isaac. That’s why the city has set up a NOLA Ready website and Twitter account to get information out as it becomes available.

“If the storm does something incredibly crazy, we will react to that, but at this moment there is no plan to evacuate the City of #NOLA,” one tweet announced Monday, followed by this quote from Mayor Mitch Landrieu:

“If you plan to leave, you feel comfortable leaving and you have a place to go, don’t wait. Now would be a good time to go.”

New Orleans officials were, quite understandably, unavailable Monday (a call to City Hall resulted in a busy signal), but local communications professionals mostly said city and state social media efforts in the face of the emergency have been handled well.

What they’re doing right

“The updates are engaging, informative, and timely,” says Sara Estes Cohen, an emergency response and social media strategist in New Orleans. “The profiles also respond to questions and statements easily and quickly.”

Some of the direct responses to citizens have come from the mayor’s Twitter account, often with the intent of correcting misinformation. The NOLA Ready account has mostly been answering questions about closings and transit changes.

Estes Cohen particularly says the state’s Twitter account for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has stayed on top of things well.

“I’ve also noticed that most parishes have mentioned their social media accounts on the news this morning and have been encouraging viewers to sign up for notifications, to check websites, etc.,” she says.

Tripp Frohlichstein of MediaMasters Training says the social media accounts are doing a really nice job of sharing links to information.

“This is great for a large percentage of people in the area,” he says. “However, it must be remembered that there are large numbers of people that don’t have access to social media, or simply don’t use it. So it is important they also use traditional electronic media to keep people updated.”

Jeff Zehnder of New Orleans-based Zehnder Communications says the mayor’s office has done “a stellar job” coordinating communications with parish and state officials to get information out through social media. He adds that the availability of social channels makes it much easier to spread word of what’s happening now, compared with when Katrina hit in 2005.

Potential missteps

Though the city’s social media efforts are thorough, Frohlichstein says they could be a little more personal.

“Perhaps it is implied, but I think it would enhance the efforts of the local and state governments to note that everything they are doing is to keep people safe,” he says.

For example, Frohlichstein points to a tweet from the governor’s emergency preparedness office:

“Gov @BobbyJindal: Authorized activation of up to 4,000 LA Nat’l Guardsmen if necessary for #Isaac; 700 fulltime Guardsmen working today.”

It should maybe read more like this:

“Gov @BobbyJindal: Authorized activation of up to 4,000 LA Nat’l Guardsmen if necessary for #Isaac to make sure we keep people safe and protect their property; 700 fulltime Guardsmen working today.” (That does exceed Twitter’s 140-character limit, but the point Frohlichstein raises is one of tone.)

Communications strategist and former CBS News correspondent David Henderson, who blogged about Isaac on Sunday, says he sees the NOLA Ready site and the Twitter accounts as mostly self-serving.

“The [NOLA Ready] website is too wordy, too generic, and too politically correct by presenting all the press releases of the various politicians,” he says. “It seems more about the local politicians than an emergency service for residents.”

Same goes for the Twitter accounts, Henderson opines. Most New Orleans residents will be getting their news by radio.

“Internet penetration in the region is considerably below the national norm, and social media, including Twitter, is even less effective for reaching people in the area,” he says.

Another problem? The NOLA Ready has some information available only in PDF form, which is a sure way no one will read it, Henderson asserts.

Internal emergency comms

What about how businesses in the storm’s path are communicating with employees? SAS doesn’t have any offices directly in Isaac’s immediate path, but it’s seen its share of big storms with offices in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.

“As long as it is a life-safety event, all communications are handled by our safety and security team,” says Becky Graebe, SAS’s internal communications manager. “There are communication tools in place for them to automatically post alerts to our intranet home page as a top-of-screen banner. The security team also has an Emergency Notification System that can be used to notify employees in that specific location.”

After the storm, earthquake, or other event is over, communicators post regular updates to the company’s Employee Voices blog and invite employees to offer support, she says.

Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.

 

http://www.prdaily.com/crisiscommunications/Articles/12519.aspx