10 Blogging Tips for New Bloggers and Social Media Marketers

10 Blogging Tips for New Bloggers and Social Media Marketers

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Social media marketing is much more than Facebook posts and tweets; blogging now needs to be a major component in your marketing strategy.  It is your hub from which all social media spokes spin off of.  It is the sun in which all social planets revolve around.  It is the ….OK, you get it.  You know you need to start blogging, or kick your blog in the rear and post more than once every 4 to 6 months!  Whether you are just getting a blog started, or you have finally realized that content marketing is critical to your business’s success and you are recommitting to it, I’ve compiled 10 tips for new bloggers or those fairly new to social media marketing, that will help you get it on the right track.

  1. Write about what you know and love.

    All social marketing is best when you can be SOCIAL, which means being yourself or sharing information that you are passionate about.  When you write out of a place of passion, instead of a place of obligation, your readers will know it, connect with it and love you for it.

  2. Write as if you are writing a letter to a friend.

    Some people make the mistake of writing for Google instead of people, stuffing blog posts with so many keywords and phrases that it is hard to read.  Others write as if they are writing an academic text book and they fill their posts with words that require the readers to keep a Webster’s Dictionary close at hand.  As you sit to write your blog posts, imagine a friend or potential customer sitting across from you, asking for help with a specific business challenge.  Now begin writing to them with the helpful answers they need.

  3. Always end with a call to action.

    You may feel that your goal is to simply educate or inform, and that you don’t want to come across pushy or salesy, but if you don’t present a “Next Step” or offer a way for your readers to find more information from you, you could be doing them a disservice and losing return visits.  Point people to your email signup form to receive your helpful tips via email, or offer a free TOP 10 List of resources you have compiled.  Even asking your readers to contact you or to follow you on Twitter is a call to action.  Don’t let the end of your blog post be the end of your relationship with your readers.

  4. Write 500-1500 word posts.

    If posts are too short they may not be indexed by Google.  While Google loves longer posts with a greater opportunity for relevant content, and search terms that people are looking for, the content site, Medium says, the average reader wants to spend no more than 7 minutes reading an article (approximately 1,600 words without photos or graphs—or 980 words with a couple great graphics). If you don’t have enough to write about, save it and do a little more research.  Is there a study or more content that you can link to in your post?  Can you find any supporting data or perhaps a post that shares an opposing view?  This could help you elaborate more on your topic.  Be sure you are providing enough value for people to want to come back and read more next time.  If your posts are too puny, you leave your readers feeling malnourished.

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  5. Be consistent.

    We all know that making time to write, even occasionally, is a big commitment, but if you want to grow your readership and community of followers, you need to blog on a consistent basis. Blogs that posted regularly (more than once a week) were proven to increase subscribers twice as fast as those that posted once a month. You will need to change your daily routine and behaviors in order to make time for daily writing.  Can you wake up 30-minutes earlier to spend time writing, or if you are more of a night owl, can you get your quiet writing time in while everyone else dozes off at night?

  6. Be patient when starting your blog.

    This is definitely not the Field of Dreams. If you blog it, they do not necessarily come.  Blogging is a commitment and it takes time to build a readership and work out the tone and direction of a great blog.  There is a lot that goes into the building and nurturing of a blog.  Whether it is learning to tag your posts and photos, discovering all the places you can promote your posts, or inviting influencer friends to comment on a post that they may be passionate about, and you may not have it all ironed out when you first start blogging.  Don’t wait until you have it all figured out to start blogging.  Start, and just know that you will tweak and morph it along the way.  Be patient and over time your blog will begin to shine!

  7. Build your email list—no more putting this off.

    Going back to #3 above here, you must start today, gathering an email list of people who enjoy your content enough that they would exchange their email address for it.  You may not have a newsletter or an email campaign YET, but as you build your blogging readership and your social media communities, you will want to have your list established to use at some point.  One of the most common regrets I hear from business owners and marketers is that they didn’t start building their email list when they first began.  If you don’t have an email service, go to MailChimp or Constant Contact and sign up right now…or right after you finish reading this post!

  8. Write great titles and work in keywords if you can.

    It’s not always possible without sounding like an obvious marketer, but where you can, use verbs–more action–less nouns.  You want your blog post to be opened and a snappy title helps that happen, but you don’t want to be so clever that you get the wrong audience finding the post and leaving as soon as they realize it wasn’t what they thought.  I once wrote a post about one of our community managers having the skills of Magnum P.I. when it came to digging in and finding the right people to connect with.  The problem was, I created a clever title, “Hiring Magnum P.I.” and it featured a great photo of the mustache-clad Tom Selleck.  We had the highest bounce rate of all time.  Everyone in the universe searching for the famous mustache man found my post and quickly left when they realized it was a site filled with social media tips and posts.  If you need help crafting that perfect blog post title, check out this great “Headline Analyzer” from Advanced Marketing Institute.

  9. Put your keywords in the first 100 words.

    Like your blog title, you want to work in your keywords early if you are able to do so in a natural way.  Google and other search engines are scanning your content to see if it is relevant to those searching for answers.  If you draw out your opening without getting to the point and giving hints in the form of keywords, you may not gain Google’s favor.  After writing your post, go back in and see if there is a natural way to work in your keywords and still sound conversational. If you stuff keywords unnaturally, not only will you lose the quality of your content, but Google could slap a penalty on your page for doing so.

  10. Make your post “referrable.”

    Before you hit publish, ask yourself if someone would send this to a friend.  Is this a great reference for someone to use, or just a half-baked post that needs a bit more time under the broiler? Sometimes we are so eager to get a  post out, that we jeopardize the quality. Think of the posts that you love to share with your friends and followers.  What makes them shareable?  Great quality, helpful tips, timeless information?  Keep that in mind as you write your posts.

We’d love to hear your blogging tips.  Share them with all of us in the comments section and let’s help each other continue to grow and improve our blogs!

If you are looking for DIY tips- check out this site, “Beginners Guide to Successful Blogging.”  If you need help actually writing or loading your content or having someone help regularly augment your blogging activities, contact us.  It’s what we do!

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I’d love to connect with you here or on Twitter : @GinaSchreck

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‘Tis the Season to be Using Social Media

 

The Holidays are upon us, and consumers are upping their phone usage, looking for Thanksgiving recipes, gift ideas, celebration outings, workout regimes… Now is a great time for businesses to develop an incredible online presence that consumers will appreciate and even have fun with.  Marketers can use social media to really connect with their customers.  Take the next few months to develop some fun, quirky social media campaigns to increase consumer traffic to your business!

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Use Social Media To Express Gratitude

November is the month of Thanksgiving.  Set aside a few days in the month to give thanks. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, offer incredible platforms to announce gratitude for your consumers, your vendors, your employees, your industry, and those who inspire you on a day-to-day basis.  You can even take a couple days to just express gratitude for those things that all people can connect with – family, friends, freedom, health…  Inspire thanksgiving within your customers, and keep them intrigued – who and what will you thank tomorrow?  Use pictures to visually show what you’re grateful for, and use videos to verbally tell your customers, “Thank You!”

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Use Social Media to Take People Back to Their Childhood

December is a great month to bring out some nostalgia in customers.  You can take them back to their childhood with a daily advent calendar, and encourage curiosity for what they will find the next day. In your count-down to Christmas, you can have visual doors or packages opening to unique tips and advice that only you, the expert, could offer.  Some days you could offer a few discounts or special promotions.  Have some doors open to reminding customers to breath, and others encouraging holiday cheer.

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Use Social Media to Help Your Customers Keep Resolutions

January is a month of resolutions.  It’s a great time to encourage customers to make their lives easier by using your services.  Use videos to demonstrate industry “how-to’s” that you will remind them they finally need to get around to.  Offer inspiration for becoming the person, or business that they want to be, and use the insider quirks that only you can.

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Use Social Media to Express Your Love for Your Customers and Community

February is another opportunity for businesses to capitalize on a holiday in social media.  Use a social media campaign to celebrate the month of love!  Tell your customers and your employees that you love them!  Show pictures of your employees loving what they are doing, behind the scenes, and share some quotes from satisfied customers, who loved what you did for them.

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Using seasonal social media marketing strategies can help you to develop fun, quirky, and creative social media buzz, and it can make your customers to want to connect with you more!

We’d love to hear your ideas.  What are some creative ways you can use social media to connect during the holidays? And of course if you need help connecting with your customers during the holidays…CONTACT US NOW! 

 

 

Reagan Sowa Social media blogging marketingReagan Sowa received her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southern Methodist University.  After working in various marketing positions for a few years, and helping her husband start and grow his business, she received a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Denver and now teaches Business and Marketing.  She loves connecting with people, as well as skiing, running, writing, and reading, but her favorite thing in life is raising her two amazing children.

Is It Time To Get Help With Your Social Media Marketing?

The first words out of Karen’s mouth, when I answered the phone were, “I just can’t do it all anymore.” I felt as if I were manning the phones at a crisis hotline. Karen owns and helps run a natural foods company. they make and sell packaged granola, nuts, and other snack foods that are sold in airports and Whole Foods stores. She actually gets into work at 4am to start baking and is there until 10pm doing other business-related activities, including her social media marketing. She was going NUTS! (Pun totally intended)

Are you getting tired of juggling too many activities to keep your business growing? Are sales declining because you don’t have time to follow up with hot leads and your marketing has been shelved because your creative brain cells have all been baked and fried? It might be time to bring in some help, and it might be easier than you think. Perhaps you can find a friend or intern to help with a few of the activities, or perhaps you want to outsource the entire kit and kaboodle (Here’s what that phrase even means: Kit and Kaboodle).

Let’s take a look at some of the specific skills that are involved in content marketing and social media management. This should help you identify the helper you need.

WEBSITE COPYWRITING

Great website copy is critical to help your site come up in search results. Your site is more than a boring brochure these days. It should be a resource of information and answers to your potential cusotmers most searched for questions. You need to find someone who can, obviously write well–good grammar and spelling–but finding someone who can sound like you is also very important. While your voice or tone for your website can be taught or assigned, you will want to think of things like words you tend to use and phrases that define who you are as a brand. Are you fun and witty? The copy on your website should show that. Are you conservative and professional, then the writing will need to follow that tone.

Ask for some writing samples. Check other pieces of content from your writer that matches or is close to your style. Keep in mind, you can have someone do the heavy lifting on your website copy and then you can “tweak” as needed.

Keep in mind a copywriter is typically not an SEO expert. If you are wanting this person to also go in and load the content and add meta descriptions, links, and tags, you will want to make sure this person understands how to do that. Don’t assume a writer knows anything about the backend of a website.

BLOGGING

Blogging is becoming more important as content becomes a greater driver of traffic to your site.  Gone are the days of just having your site stuffed with keywords that people might search for.  Blogs are different from website copy, in that they usually involve research and more specific industry topics rather than information about you and your brand. A blog post is not a promotional piece, it is more informational and educational. Finding someone who can blog for you, or even to augment your occasional blogging, is a great area to outsource.  Just like hiring a website copywriter, you will need to have some input, but with guidance they should be able to write interesting and helpful content for a blog post.

You can even schedule a short interview with the blogger once a month and that can be transcribed and turned into blog content, or you can simply allow the person to get to know about your business, your competitors and your industry.  With a little research and a little “letting go,” you can have a blog that is filled with wonderful and helpful content, rich keyword phrases and it will be great content to be shared on social media sites and recycled in your email marketing campaigns.   Like website copywriting, if you want your blog posts loaded to your site with tags, photos and meta descriptions, be sure to ask about these skills when looking to hire.

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BRAND MANAGEMENT

When you are busy managing your business, you might not have the time to watch what is going on in the big world wide web. While there are tools like Google Alerts and Mentions that send you notifications when your brand or specific keywords are mentioned on the web, your brand may be larger and require a more diligent and watchful eye. You may need someone who can help with monitoring your brand and keeping on top of responding to comments and questions that come in on all of the social networks like Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and more.  If you are posting content, you want to make sure you are also listening and replying to those you are working hard to connect with.  Hiring someone that has great customer service skills is critical. With platforms like Twitter, many disgruntled customers take their complaints to the tweets!  Social media’s real-time attributes have resulted in demanding response time expectations — a 2012 study found that 32 percent of customers expect a response within 30 minutes.

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT

Most people think having someone manage their Facebook page or Twitter account is as easy as throwing a few pictures or status updates up. They bring in their nephew or a friend’s daughter who has a Facebook and Instagram account, thinking that is more than qualified. I use a lot of electric gadgets and flip light switches all day, but that does not make me an electrician! Knowing how to load a photo on Facebook is NOT social media management.

The skills you will want to make sure your person possess include, great writing skills, since grammar and spelling are still important in today’s business environment. If someone is posting, “How R U doing?” even on Twitter, that should make your skin crawl. You also need someone who understands how to target your messaging and images to attract your ideal customers and stay true to your brand. Images are key to every social media channel today, so knowing how to edit photos to fit the different platforms is a needed skill. Understanding copyright laws as they apply to images and taking someone’s intellectual property, are also important in this oversharing world we live in.

There are tools available to make social media management more …manageable, like Sprout Social, Buffer, and Hootsuite. These allow you to plan your content ahead of time and schedule posts to drop throughout the week. This will free up some time and allow you to focus on the community involvement on social.

INTERNET or EMAIL MARKETING

Businesses need to combine social, blogging and email marketing to create a well-rounded digital marketing strategy, but this takes a lot of time for sure.  Driving traffic from social media to your website, to landing pages, to email signups to eNewsletters, a person could go crazy trying to do it all.  You can outsource it all or just pieces.  If you are looking for someone to help you with email marketing, you will want them to know how to work in your email tool–Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, just to name a few. If you haven’t even set up an email management service, tools like Mailchimp make it very easy with their templates and very low pricing packages.

If you can find someone who has done sales copy in the past, this is a plus. You want to create email campaigns that have strong call-to-actions and copy that converts. This is not your average blogger!

COMMUNITY MANAGER

If your goal on social media is to build a community where you can engage with current and potential customers, you will need to spend time being SOCIAL. This means doing more than posting content about you and your brand. It requires you to go onto other people’s profiles and other company’s pages to read, LIKE and comment there to be engaged in the community. It requires someone spending time looking for others to connect with to ensure your community is growing every day.

Community managers also need customer service skills, since they are representing your brand answering questions both on and off your own pages and profiles. Community management can take the most time since the person has to use search tools to find the right places to visit online, and be sure that those who come to your pages feel as if you are listening to them and valuing their comments and questions.

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So you can see, there are many pieces to your content marketing and social media management puzzle. The key is knowing which pieces you can take on yourself, and which pieces you can hire out for. Where is your time best spent?  The possibilities are endless.  Ask lots of questions when hiring someone.  Look for those skills that you either do not have, or do not have time for.

If this post has left you with millions of questions or just in need of a nap, lay down and contact me right away…Let’s chat!

social business, social media marketing, social management, Synapse, Gina SchreckWritten by Gina Schreck

Gina is the president at SocialKNX (and she has her team manage some of the pieces that involve numbers and anything requiring an attention to detail). Gina speaks around the globe on today’s marketing strategies to keep business relevant and thriving.

Connect with Gina on Twitter –>  @GinaSchreck

How to use Social Media to Connect with Customers

How to use Social Media to Connect with Customers

More and more, companies are utilizing social media marketing, but they’re not sure how to best do it in a way that attracts and connects with current and potential clients. Let’s face it: you don’t love getting bombarded with meaningless junk mail, and neither does your average social media consumer. Here are some tips to help you use social media to connect with your customers:

connect with customers with social media

Talk to them.

Get to know your customer! The first step is know exactly who your target customers are. What are their interests? What do they do in their spare time? What do they value? When and where are they online? Knowing your typical client gives you insight into what interests them, and how to better relate to them. Ask them questions when doing business with them, and note how they talk about your products during face-to-face interactions. Develop a consumer profile of your most typical or ideal customer, and post when that consumer is online, and blog about topics that are near and dear to that consumer.

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Talk like them.

As you get to know your customers, remember that the language they use in those face-to-face interactions is the same language they use when trying to obtain information online. Social media is a great way to engage your customers, but they will only want to engage if they can understand what you are talking about…and they will only find you if you use the language they would use when asking Siri or Google a question in their own, familiar, every-day speak. Bottomline; cut the technical terms and acronyms that only people in your industry use.

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Give them something to talk about.

If you want to engage your customers, give them the opportunity to respond to you! Use Twitter and Facebook and your company blog to ask thought-provoking questions related to your industry that will encourage customers to connect in digital conversation. Give your customers a reason to share the ideas that you post with their circle of friends and networks.

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Give them something to care about.

Don’t just blast your customers with information about your company – be a real human being! Relate to them on an emotional level. Using humor and compassion are great ways to get your customers to stop and pay attention to you. Relay a reason to celebrate. Share a funny or touching incident that happened on the job, with a customer, or in your line of work. If your customer can engage on a human level, they won’t passively scroll past another meaningless advertisement post.

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Give them a reason to trust you.

You are an expert in your industry. You have insider tricks and tools that the average person does not. So share them. Use social media to offer tips on how to improve your customers’ lives or their business, from the perspective that others – including the Internet – can’t.  Show them that you know what you’re talking about.  Often times, potential clients will read your tips and realize that they don’t have the time nor the means to do what you are suggesting, and you’ll win new customers as a result!

Remember, the average person – your customer – does not join social networks to see the newest and latest advertisement. They are there to connect. So get to know them and give them a reason to connect with you!

We’d love to connect with you and learn more about you and your business.  Let us know if you have questions or we can be of service to you in any way.

 

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Reagan Sowa received her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southern Methodist University.  After working in various marketing positions for a few years, and helping her husband start and grow his business, she received a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Denver and now teaches Business and Marketing.  She loves connecting with people, as well as skiing, running, writing, and reading, but her favorite thing in life is raising her two amazing children.

Facebook’s Decline In Organic Reach Is Nothing To Cry About!

We hear it every day, “Only 5 people saw my last post! What is Facebook doing?”  Well the answer is, they’re making money…lots and lots of money.   Sure you’ve seen a decline in Facebook’s organic reach, or in the number of people on Facebook who see your posts, but let’s look on the bright side….YES there is one.

The days of FREE Facebook are over, and the other sites like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are already on board or will soon get on board.  Even Ello, which touts its “Ad-Free” (almost sterile) social media site will eventually have to find a way to pay its employees.

 Facebook advertising, how to run ads on Facebook

Here’s the bottom line:  Facebook has over 1.4 BILLION (yes that Billion with a “B” Bob!) users.  The teens have all scattered and are on Snapchat and Instagram (which Facebook owns), so the people left are the ones who have money!

So how do you reach these people with money?  

One thing you don’t want to do is throw your money away on just getting more people to LIKE your page, since they won’t see the content anyway.  You want to drive people from Facebook to your website, to your blog, to your email signup page, to the landing page that gives them a checklist of the Top 10 Tools To Change Their Life (or whatever you do for them) and that landing page pulls their information into your mailing list.  This is far better than a LIKE on your Facebook page.

Facebook has something that is called the UNPUBLISHED POST ad, some call it a DARK POST, and it is a brilliant way for you to reach your target market, whether they have LIKED your page or not.  Your ad does not show up on the right-hand side of the screen with all the weight loss or Viagra ads either.  Your post shows up in the newsfeed of the exact people you want to reach.

targeted ads on Facebook

After you create your visually appealing and well-crafted Facebook ad, you can target it several ways.  

Here are a few examples

  1. Show your ad to anyone who has visited your website, or a specific page on your website. (Did someone look at your pricing or booking page but then leave? Dish up a great post to them the next time they log into Facebook.)  You simply add a tracking pixel (piece of code) to your website to use this type of ad.
  2. Show your ad to people are SIMILAR to the people who have already liked your page.  Now obviously this won’t work well if you have paid for a bunch of LIKES and they are not the target market with their pockets full of money to spend on your products or services.  You would want to use this option if you have a very targeted audience currently on your page…REAL fans!
  3. Show your ad to a very targeted group such as, men between the ages of 37-48 who live in Santa Clara California and who have also liked the “Dumb and Dumber To” Facebook page.  (Let’s all hope, for the sake of mankind, that it would pull a very small sampling!)

You can set an ad budget for $25 or $25,000.  If you are paying for clicks, and you set a maximum budget, you can safely test your ads and track results.

So wipe those tears away, be grateful that Facebook has gotten us all thinking more strategically, and start converting LIKES into LEADS! 

If you need help with your strategic marketing, we hope you would allow us to serve you. If you just have questions, I hope you will contact us!

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