Social Media Marketing Campaigns

Any marketer or social seller should know how impactful personalization can be within their marketing. Epsilon research recently found that 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers a personalized experience. Personalization allows you to provide specific content to a very targeted audience that will find it most relevant. But that can be difficult on social media where you aren’t interacting with a single person, but a large number of followers at the same time. You can’t create content for one specific follower, the rest of your followers would never want to interact with it.

A 2017 study by Monetate, found that 79% of companies that exceeded revenue goals had a documented personalization strategy in place within their marketing operations. That’s a pretty strong correlation. Finding ways to inject personalization into your social media strategies, where personalization is much harder to pull off than in, say, paid advertising or email marketing, can re-shape the way that you think about social media.

But to understand how you can increase personalization in your social media marketing, let’s define what personalization is and how it works. After that, we’ll outline specific strategies for injecting personalization into your social media marketing campaigns.

What is Personalization in Marketing?


Consider a sales presentation. Good salespeople know that for a sales presentation to really hit home, they have to customize that presentation to their audience. You wouldn’t present a soccer training program to a hockey team. That is personalization at its most basic level.

But it goes much deeper. In sales presentations, personalization is all about catering that presentation to your audience’s specific needs. Some customers want to know more about specific features. Others want hard facts and statistics to illustrate the assertions that are made in the presentation. Others may want to have specific objections and concerns answered. Each member of the audience has different needs in terms of what they want to hear from the salesperson. Getting a feel for your audience and being able to deliver the things that they want to hear about your product is the trick, both in sales and in marketing.

Think about the last time you shopped on Amazon. If you bought an iPhone, you would probably see accessories on your “recommended items” list for some time after you made the purchase. This is a good thing both for the company and you. You want to see those accessories. After all, you just bought a new iPhone and want to make sure that they have the tools to get the most out of it. The company wants to sell more products and increase their average order value. It’s a mutually beneficial and personalized addition to their website.

Put into as simple of terms as possible — marketing personalization is a strategy where businesses use audience analysis, analytics, and data to deliver relevant messages to their target audience. This means putting the information that you collect to use in creative and interesting ways to grab your customers’ attention and deliver a better overall experience with your company.

Customers Want Personalized Content


Personalization doesn’t just work, customers actively want it. The type of recommendation systems that have worked in the favor of Amazon, Netflix, and other huge technology companies can be just as effective for small, diligent eCommerce companies.

Smart recommendations and personalized content aren’t seen as something that is a nice addition to digital sellers, it’s something that all companies must have. Customers expect it. Check out the results from a 2016 poll from Accenture:


Recommendation

Customers have made it clear, they want relevant recommendations and personalized content. They want brands that get to know them the more they interact with each other. Consumers want brands that remember them, who they are, and what they want from the company.

In some channels (like email marketing), personalization is straightforward. There are creative ways to use the data that you collect. But emails are direct communications with people that have subscribed to your list. You should know at least something about them based on that fact. When it comes to social media, finding ways to inject data for true personalization into your campaigns can be difficult. Most of your followers will have never engaged with a single piece of your content. And those that have may be difficult to pinpoint.

Benefits of Personalization in Social Media


Now, with those basics out of the way, , let’s dive a bit deeper into the real-world advantages that you can expect from using it. The benefits are numerous and will reverberate throughout your business once you have a consistent way to facilitate interactions that are more personal across all of the social networks that your company maintains a presence on.

Reasons for personalization include:

Increased Social Media Engagement

People interact with personalized content more readily. Over time, you will see an increase in engagement you receive from your following. A study from eMarketer showed that 56% of CMOs experience higher response and engagement rates with personalized content. 47% found that they experienced more timely and relevant interactions. This increase in engagement will also cause your following to grow more rapidly than it otherwise would. Personalization helps to get your audience engaged and involved with your content.

Improve Ad Relevance and Advertising Costs

Facebook and other social media networks want to show ads to their audience. Ads that feature personalized and tailored messages will generate more positive feedback from users and will receive a better Facebook relevance score. This score will directly affect the price of your advertisements. Ads that receive higher levels of positive feedback and engagement will receive a higher relevance score. Ads with higher levels of negative feedback will have a lower relevance score. Put simply — personalized ads cost less and produce a higher ROI.

Generate More Warm Conversations and Leads

Your following ismore likely to interact with your content when that content is tailored to their interests. This will lead to more conversations with prospects and ultimately, more sales of your product or service. Personalization leads directly to an increase in the ROI of your social media marketing investment.

Grow Awareness and Brand Loyalty

Personalization helps you catch the eye of your customers and keeps them coming back for more. When you become recognized as a provider of high-value content that aligns with their interests, they will develop an affinity for your brand. It makes your audience recognize that you care for them, based on the fact that you have published content that is specifically aligned with what they want to see. They return that favor with interest and loyalty to your brand and your online presence.  


Grow Awareness and Brand Loyalty

How Can You Personalize Social Media?


Now, for the big question. How can you actually personalize your social media? While technically possible it’s not feasible for most of us. Interestingly, you can achieve this goal with 10,000s of tailored messages if you are willing to spend enough money. This was shown in the work of Cambridge Analytics’ for the Trump campaign.However, neither you nor I can target each individual social media update to a specific person. That would be too expensive and too time-consuming. However, you can use a few tools and strategies to narrowly target individuals within your following and create content that will align with their biggest concerns.

Like any social media marketing strategy, injecting personalization relies on a smart balance of automation and manual management of your social media accounts. You personalize what you can in terms of public-facing content, and use that as a springboard for warm conversations with leads, highly personalized customer service, and better content for your following.

You can’t expect for every action you take on social media to be hyper-personalized for a specific persona that you would like to target. But you can target them a bit more broadly within your content, and use advertisements and creative strategies to bridge the gap.

Let’s take a look at some of the best strategies for injecting personalization into your social media marketing campaigns:

Audience Analysis

Like any ROI-producing marketing campaign, generating a return from personalization on social media starts with smart audience analysis. You can’t personalize and individualize the content that you share if you don’t fully understand who you are sharing it with.

So, learn about your audience. Use the customer personas that you have put together for other aspects of your marketing operation and analyze how those fit within your social media followings on the different platforms. If you haven’t done that yet, start today and define your target audience and buyer persona by using a template. Get to know your followers by interacting with them and asking them questions that are tangentially related to your product. Their answers to these questions will provide you with a lot of information and context about your audience.

Other data and information that you should seek out as you analyze your following includes:

  • Demographic data
  • Likes and interests
  • General social media activity
  • Followed influencers
  • Customer journey analysis

Once you have enough data on hand to make informed personalization decisions, you can begin injecting it into your social media marketing campaigns through a variety of strategies.

1. Retargeted Advertisements


Retargeting is the practice of showing advertisements to people that have already been to your website. When they visit your website, a cookie is placed on their browser and then that cookie is used to show advertisements to them on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Retargeted ads produce an extremely high ROI for a number of different reasons. First, these ads are shown to people that are already aware of your brand. You know they have already visited your website. You can pinpoint the exact pages they visited and how much time they spent on them to determine what advertisements will be the most relevant to them. That leads us to our next benefit of retargeted social media ads — they are perfect for personalization.

Because retargeted ads are shown to users that you have already had a chance to collect data about, that gives you data to work with for personalization. If they recently bought a product from your company, you could show them related products or accessories they might be interested in. If your visitor interacted with a piece of your content, you can send them to a landing page for a product that is directly related to the content that they interacted with. You could deliver coupon codes to prospects that abandoned their cart, like this:



Retargeted Advertisements

Retargeting is only done through paid advertising systems but should play a big role in any effort to increase personalization on social media. By combining retargeted ads with sharing content that is laser-targeted to your customer personas, you can stand out and catch the attention of your ideal customers on the platforms you are active on.
Automated Targeted Interaction & Engagement

Social media marketing campaigns rely on your ability to find the right balance between by-hand interaction and automation. You would think that automating personalized content is impossible, but that’s not entirely true. You can personalize automated updates by tagging individuals that might be interested in the content you are sharing. A popular strategy is to tag an influencer or two and share a hashtag with the update that will help it to catch the eyes of your intended audience. An influencer retweeting or sharing your update can help to rapidly expand its reach and get your social accounts in front of customers.

Finding the balance between automation and genuine manual interaction is important. If an influencer did share your update, you should be in the comments interacting with people who react and growing your awareness manually.

2. Personalized Videos


Personalized video content is a somewhat recent trend on social media, but one that is predicted to play a huge role in the personalization of your social media marketing campaigns. Tools like Idomoo and Vidyard have added features for personalization within your video content.

Vidyard, for instance, allows you to input specific data about a customer into your videos including:

  • Names
  • Company Names
  • Email Addresses
  • Homepage URLs
  • Phone Numbers
  • LinkedIn Pictures


Idomoo merges data and video to deliver experiences that’s meant to create higher and more measurable ROI. Both companies use dynamic elements that are rendered on a frame-by-frame basis to include real data about your prospects within the content of the video and not just through an overlay. These videos can be used in social media advertising campaigns, or through genuine outreach and interaction. For social sellers, this kind of technology could be a godsend and help you to get your proposals viewed more often.

3. User-Generated Content


User-generated content is perfect for personalization campaigns and is often overlooked. This kind of content encourages more sharing and engagement on social media.

Let’s take a look at a recent example. In this example, the team from Kimpton, a premium hotel brand, actively seeks out photos and updates that are shared by their guests. When appropriate, they ask if they could share the photo on their own social media accounts. While doing this, they share terms and conditions for the interaction with the prospect.

User-Generated Content

This is a great way to increase interaction with customers and bolster the amount of social proof that you share on your accounts. They don’t just share that content on their social media accounts, either. The terms that the user agrees to give them permission to share the content on their website as well:


Kimpton

Don’t you think that users that have had their pictures and content shared on the Kimpton website will be likely to share it with their friends and family as well? This highly-personalized approach might be manual, but it helps to develop a lasting connection with guests and expands the reach of each piece of content. You can make it scalable by focusing part of your social media activities only on this highly-engaging and ROI-producing outreach. If you’re on your own, you could even task a virtual assistant with this.

A Powerful Tactic


Personalization is extremely powerful in any marketing campaign. While it is more difficult to find ways to inject personalization into social media marketing campaigns than it is through other channels, there are some viable strategies that can help you to connect directly with your ideal customers in a personal way. Social media personalization will always require a careful balance of automation and by-hand engagement, but companies that are able to find that balance will enjoy large boosts to their social media ROI.

Share some strategies that have worked for you or how you have personalized social media and content campaigns.

 
Personal Connection With Your Audience

What is a brand? When we are introduced to someone in real life, we seek to learn more about them. We ask questions that give us a brief overview of their life and the type of person that they are. We listen to their stories, ideas, and opinions. It’s a part of getting to know someone and, in our personal lives and in business, becomes a part of their personal brand as we perceive it.

Brands go through the same steps when customers evaluate and get to know them. A prospect might find your website and become intrigued. Maybe your messaging really hit home with them. They check out your product, verify that it covers their most pressing needs, and then they begin the process of getting to know your brand- just like they would a person. The goal is to get to know the brand, it’s promise, value, and benefits on a deeper level.

We try to unearth the story of a brand. We prefer to shop with brands that share our values, beliefs, and concerns. We check out what people are saying on social media about those brands, their products and maybe even their employees. We read reviews that other customers have left about a product or service. We read the brand’s blog posts and learn about their founders and executives. When you’re looking for a B2B partner, it pays to really do your homework before committing to an expensive solution and individuals as well as businesses want to make sure they’re in good company and don’t end up with questionable acquaintances.

The secret weapon for building a brand that your customers relate to is brand storytelling. By sharing stories and anecdotes about your business, industry, product, and employees, you give your customers a window into your operations, your inner workings and what makes you unique. By giving them a peek behind the ‘green curtain’, customers and prospects get to know your business more intimately and get to understand the “why” behind what you do.

Your brand isn’t just what you tell people. It’s what everyone believes about your brand based on the signals that you send, both negative and positive. Brand storytelling is our tool for taking ahold of these narratives and helping our customers see through the noise to see the qualities that make us love a company. We are all hard-wired to love stories.

What is Brand Storytelling?


Brand storytelling is any piece of content that shares a story about your brand, in the broadest sense. Any story that you tell that relates to your brand in some way is brand storytelling. It gives your customers and followers insights into your company and creates more opportunities for them to connect with your brand on a personal level.

Brand storytelling comes in many different forms. It could be a video case study that details how you helped a prominent client. When you describe your interactions with that client, you are telling a story about your brand. Sharing a story about the early days of your company, doing an interview with one of your employees, or giving your followers a video walk-through of your office — all examples of powerful brand storytelling.

Too many people try to put brand storytelling in a box, where you are expected to tell stories about actual events, without examining how they can creatively make those stories more impactful by packaging them in different ways. In the examples at the end of this post, you’ll see some high-level examples of brand storytelling that are a bit more creative.

Brand storytelling is channel neutral. You can tell your stories through a blog post, social media updates, video, podcast, or live speech - or even a comic strip. The medium you use to tell your story is less important than the story itself. Ensuring that you tell stories your core customers will connect with is important for building brand awareness and loyalty. Effective brand storytelling can turn happy customers into true advocates and promoters.

Brand Storytelling

How to Make Your Audience Love Your Brand StoriesWhile there is no formula that you can use to create your brand stories. That said, reading up on proper narrative structures in your chosen medium helps you improve the effectiveness of your stories. In particular, I’m a huge fan of The Hero’s Journey. And once you start recognizing the various stages, it becomes addictive to discover them. Especially in Movies. In the meantime, here are a few tips you can follow to ensure that your content connects with your audience and hits all of the beats of a good story.

Say Something Unique


Think about the movies you love. A big part of the reason why you love them is because they do something that you like that helps them stand out from the competition. Maybe it’s an unexpected plot twist, a quirk that they give the character, or the way the relationships play out throughout the story. While most movies follow similar narrative formulas, no one wants to watch a movie that is a complete copy of another popular movie. The same is true for the content and stories that brands share.

Make sure your brand story has something unique to say in each campaign. If you are talking personally about something that happened to you, your company, or your employees, filling in the details should be enough to make your story unique. Nobody else can tell these stories, and you should lean on those personal anecdotes as a resource to make your content personally unique to you.

Design Stories for Your Audience


It may seem like common sense, but a quick look at the types of stories many brands tell might leave you asking — who is this for? If you aren’t designing stories for a specific customer persona you are missing the mark. Don’t tell stories for your own benefit, or for the benefit of your employees. Make sure that you are telling stories your audience actually wants to hear because the story conveys some insight or guidance. Or maybe it’s just entertainment value. Either way - know your audience.

Mostly this means that your audience should be able to relate to your stories. Maybe your story centers around a particular business problem your key customers can relate to. Maybe it touches on a personal story on the sacrifices that you make as a dedicated professional. Your story can take any shape. But take a moment to consider what your audience and you have in common and try to touch on those points throughout your story.

Show, Don’t Tell


This is perhaps the most common advice given in creative writing classes across the world. In some ways, it’s over-recommended. Sometimes we do want to tell. Still, as it applies to brand storytelling, far too many creators get caught up in telling when they should be doing more showing.

If you were telling a story about how your brand helped a client, you wouldn’t end the story simply saying that your recommendations “performed well.” Instead, you’d want to provide data and statistics that back up your assertions. How did specific changes result in measurable outcomes for your client? Don’t just talk about your work. Show the results of the work you did in an illustrative and practical way whenever possible.

Consistency in Storytelling


Stories themselves should be self-contained and tell a complete story for your audience. But that doesn’t mean that each individual story shouldn’t be building toward a larger narrative. Before creating your first brand storytelling campaigns, you should outline some of the main points that you would like your stories to make when taken together.

For instance, if you are running a company that offered several lines of all-natural and green skincare products and you really wanted to push the green angle — some brand themes that you might want to push in your stories might include:

  • Responsibility
  • Transparency
  • Mindfulness
  • Low environmental impact
  • Sustainability

These could be the overarching themes you could leverage to represent your brand. Then, you convey these themes with the actual stories you tell. For instance, responsibility and transparency would be well-conveyed in a story about how your founder traveled to the locations where your ingredients are sourced to ensure they meet your very stringent standards.

Character-Driven & Personal


You wouldn’t want to read a story that was a bulleted list of the events that took place. That’s not even a story. That’s just a laundry list. Effective stories are character-driven. They draw on our emotions and help us relate to those characters. Brand stories should contain the same ingredients any great story does — a protagonist that overcomes challenges on their way to success (or failure), an antagonist (business problem), and secondary characters. Make sure that when you tell brand stories you are telling them in full.

Tell your stories from the perspective of a single person to improve their impact. Speaking from the first-person can help make stories seem more personal. First-person stories are generally easier to write, making them a good introduction to brand storytelling for first-time storytellers.

2 Real-World Examples of Effective Brand Storytelling


In this section, I want to share some high-level examples of brand storytelling. One of the aspects you will notice throughout these examples is that effective brand storytellers don’t just view the stories they tell as individual articles. Instead, they are chapters in a book - part of a larger strategy that helps dictate the way consumers perceive their brand. Ultimately, brand storytelling helps define their target market and position their brand within that market. Dannijo Uses Personal Storytelling to Drive Their Lifestyle BrandLifestyle brands are, more than most, in a position to benefit from brand storytelling. Customers want to see themselves living a specific idealistic life when they use products from lifestyle brands. Telling stories of the way that other customers have integrated their products into their lives can help to show customers what their life could be like with those same products.

This fact isn’t lost on Dannijo, a brand founded by sisters Danielle and Jodie Snyder in 2008. From the very beginning, they embraced storytelling as part of their broader marketing strategy. In an interview with Fast Company , Danielle Snyder explained their focus on “creating narratives that are so compelling to consumers, they want to build your products into their lives.” That’s a perfect representation of the power of storytelling. Amazing stories make your customers want to make your company and products a part of their lives.

Dannijo’s brand storytelling has been immensely successful for the company. Today they have more than 176,000 followers on Instagram. That social platform plays a key role in their strategy. Here, Dannijo showcases snapshots of their team, their business, the lives of the people that wear their product, and the brand draws attention to its products by highlighting when celebrities use them.

celebrities

They also take things a bit further as far as follower engagement goes. They often hold inspirational #ConversationPieces.Great hashtag. On that topic, check out our article on hashtag marketing for more examples. In these #ConversationPieces one of the sisters interviews another influential person. Danielle and Jodie (and the other guests) use these chats often to share personal anecdotes and tell stories about their rise to success in business as much as hardships in their personal lives. This content isn’t directly connected to their products, but it doesn’t need to be. It speaks directly to their target audience.

Zillow Uses Their Internal Data to Create Narratives

For the second example, we want to call out Zillow, a U.S.-based online real estate marketplace. In recent years, the company has become the frontrunner in online home sales. Today, their database contains data for more than 110 million homes, including data for value estimations, the square footage of each home, nearby attractions and amenities, location data, and aerial photographs.
Zillow doesn’t let that data go to waste. The company has made it a priority to leverage the data it collects to help customers better understand their brand, the housing market, and develop personal connections.
Take a look at this post that shows where millennials can find affordable homes. Here, Zillow combined publicly available data about average millennial- wages with their own internal data on home prices in cities across the U.S.

Check out their findings:


home prices

In another example, Zillow used their data to determine the 20 Best cities for Halloween Trick or Treating leading up to the 2017 Halloween holiday. They determined these cities based on home values, how close the houses are located to one another, the crime rate of the city, and the size of the population under 10 years old. They then created an infographic that illustrated their results.

Zillow

These are both great examples of Zillow taking what would otherwise be extremely dry user data and turning it into something interesting that still points back to their main product — a comprehensive real estate database. Zillow does an excellent job bringing data to life through real-world examples, featuring millennials, parents with trick-and-treating kids (and many more) and combining boring data and making it relatable, relevant and interesting.

Brand Storytelling Drives Awareness, Interest, and Loyalty


Brand storytelling will help your business throughout all phases of the customer life cycle. By showing your customers that you are a brand that can solve their problems and share their beliefs, you can help facilitate that initial awareness in your company and products. As they learn more, that awareness develops into a genuine interest. Later, after they’ve become satisfied customers, those same traits that made them interested in you in the first place, will also make them some of your most loyal customers.

Have you ever done any brand storytelling? How’d that work out for your business? Comment below!

 
Develop Brand Awareness

You see it all the time. A company or a person posts a Tweet or an Instagram post that links to a piece of content, followed by a dozen (or unbelievably, sometimes more) hashtags. If you’re at all like me there might have been a point where you wondered — “What is that really doing for them?”

Most of the time, the answer is simply: nothing. However, that isn’t meant to be a statement on the effectiveness of hashtags in general. Hashtag usage can be extremely rewarding, but only when it’s done in a smart way. Forward-thinking social sellers, digital marketers and social media managers can benefit from the audience and awareness growth that hashtag marketing brings to the table.

In this article, we’ll explain what hashtags are, why they work with audiences, and we’ll cover some of the typical strategies used in hashtag marketing to grow the reach of social updates.

Why Do Hashtags Work?


When Twitter first debuted hashtags, I’m not certain that they fully understood the magnitude of what they created and the widespread uses their feature would receive. The feature still acts as it did when it was first launched, although Twitter has bolstered up the systems around it to make hashtags easier to engage with. The feature was so popular that it was eventually adopted by other social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn — making it a key feature in the social marketing world.

Initially, hashtags were created for content tagging. When you share a piece of content, you can tag it with a relevant #hashtag, which will make it easier for people to search for this keyword on the respective platform. That is still true today, despite the ballooning number of ways that users use them.

Today, hashtags help users in a few key ways:

  • Content Tagging. The original purpose hashtags were created for. The most common use of hashtags is still for the use of signaling content categories and topics. It helps to make topics easier for users to find.
  • Community. Hashtags have become so large that communities pop up around their use. If you were to search for #MariahCarey, #JustinBieber, or any other popular musician, you’d likely see a smorgasbord of fans (and not-so-fans) discussing them on any of the popular social networks.
  • Events. Any large event can be searched for and discussed using specific hashtags on social networks.The #SuperBowl hashtag is a great place to see discussions during the big game. In a B2B sense, industry awards ceremonies and conferences are great examples of events that have hashtags pop up around them.
  • Conversational hashtags. Ever see a hashtag around a specific topic for more in-depth conversation. You see it all the time on Twitter, where discussions arise around topics that influencers push to their audience.


Studies have shown that Tweets and Facebook posts that include 1-2 hashtags typically receive more engagement than those with zero or those with 3 or more.

Facebook & Twitter

Hashtags work because they are helpful. Social networks are inherently very messy. There is a lot of noise, with thousands of users sharing their thoughts on different topics any given second. Hashtags help us to break through that noise and find our niche and the conversation we’re interested in. They give us a way to easily discuss the topics that are important to use and find that island of community in the sea of social networking.

Now let’s dive into the different hashtag marketing strategies that are most commonly used to grow the reach and presence of a social post or topic. In each section, I’ll provide examples of popular brands using each method to get the gears turning on how you might be able to integrate hashtag marketing into your own business.

Types of Hashtags to Use


Using hashtags isn’t enough. If you aren’t smart in the way that you use them, you’ll see no more engagement than your typical hashtag spammer does. Finding smart and effective ways to use hashtags will not only expand the reach of your social posts but will help to improve your brand awareness overall as you consistently appear in specific industry-related hashtags.

In this section, we’ll cover the different types of popular hashtag marketing strategies we see continually delivering results to brands.

Trending Hashtags


Trending hashtags are perhaps the most common hashtag marketing strategy and arguably the most impactful when done well. The trending hashtags that show up on Twitter and Facebook drive a lot of eyeballs to the posts that perform well and use those hashtags. For most companies, the trending hashtags will rarely align with their business or service, but keeping a close eye on them can yield creative opportunities to tie your brand to a current trending topic.

The brand exposure can be astronomical if you are in the right place at the right time. This can’t be shown any more clearly than during news events that trend, when news publications often have the most popular Tweets in the category.

Let’s look at an example


Do you remember the Pokemon Go craze? Pokemon Go was a Pokemon mobile game that allowed players to catch Pokemons out in the real world using a GPS system. The game was a huge hit and had brought in more than $1.8 billion in sales by Summer 2018, just two years after its release.

The game was trending on every social network. That fact was not lost on Warby Parker, a prescription eyeglasses company. While their business may seem wholly unrelated to the Pokemon Go trend, they found a simple way to make the most of the hashtag and use it to their advantage:


Warby ParkerNothing earth-shattering in terms of engagement, but a simple post with a few digitally-added Pokemon in their office with some of the employees caught a small wave on the trending #PokemonGo hashtag and got them noticed. This example is great because it shows a fun side of their team that customers don’t usually get to see as well.

Community Hashtags


Community hashtags can be a great way to connect with a very specific audience. Some might say that they are another version of branded hashtags because many influential brands have communities that pop up around them.

Using our earlier example, a quick search of the #JustinBieber hashtag pulls up a long list of fans celebrating the person and the music and a few voicing their dislike as well:


fans celebrating


It comes as no surprise. People are always sharing their opinions on Twitter. Let’s look at a brand example. Nike is a company with a lot of fans. At any given time, there are dozens of loyal supporters discussing Nike products, advertisements, and news on Twitter.

Supporters

These brands see genuine communities grow around their brand and products. Often, brands will use their own name as a hashtag in an attempt to get a sort of social media community growing around their brand. While this strategy will only work for companies that have passionate and loyal customers, it can be a great way to help people find information about your company regardless.

One example of a smaller company using this hashtag marketing strategy comes from West Elm, a furniture and home decor company. They tag all of their Instagram photos with the #MyWestElm hashtag and ask that their followers to do the same when sharing pictures of their furniture.


Westelm

This allows the company to showcase a variety of styles in their products and provides would-be customers with social proof that their products are loved and appreciated by their customers.

Campaign Hashtags


While the West Elm example highlights a long-term branding approach to social media, there are shorter, more focused ways to use hashtag marketing to grow your social presence. Campaign hashtags are used as part of a social media marketing campaign or contest. They typically have a start and end date — however long the company will be running a particular campaign.
Some of the common types of hashtag campaigns that we see having success socially typically promote things like:

  • Discounts
  • Holidays
  • New products
  • Giveaways
  • Contests
  • Causes

One excellent example of a company promoting a cause through a hashtag campaign comes from Divine Chocolate USA, who used the hashtag #BCorpMonth to celebrate B Corporations, which are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and legal accountability.  


Divine

While marketing hashtag campaigns have a limited lifespan, they can make a big splash in a short amount of time when they connect with your audience.

Event Hashtags


Events make for a great opportunity for hashtag marketing. They have a built-in audience of attendees, those that wish they could attend, and the rest of us that are on the outside looking in, wondering what all of the fuss is about.

For example, posting updates about popular industry conferences can be a great way to not only schedule some interesting coffee meetups during the conference, but it can help your brand to gain more visibility throughout.

Here’s a good example of using a conference hashtag to bolster brand content:


Pubcon Pro

Once Pubcon had wrapped up, the company published a detailed wrap-up of the event. Then, they promoted this content on Twitter and other social networks using hashtags that were associated with the event.

Chat Hashtags


Do you know what a Twitter chat is? A Twitter chat is essentially a public discussion that organizes itself by hashtag. Let’s say a teacher’s union wanted to take a day to discussion teaching salaries in the US. They might choose to do this under a hashtag like #TeachingPayChat or something similar. Not only does this approach help chat participants to find discussions to take part in, but it increases the visibility of the cause to users outside of their group that normally wouldn’t participate.

Here’s a an example of a few Tweets from a Twitter chat called #BlogChat:


Twitter Chat

In other words, a Twitter chat is simply a way for people (and brands) to have somewhat organized discussions around a popular topic. If you are able to find a Twitter chat that closely aligns with your brand or product, it can be a powerful opportunity to get your product in front of an ideal audience.

If you want to find Twitter chats (scheduled ones, anyway), I recommend keeping a close eye on the TweetReports Twitter Chat Schedule page.

Content Description Hashtags


Simple, but often effective. Simply tagging your updates with useful hashtags that describe your content can be an effective way to increase their visibility. For instance, if I were to promote this post on social media, I might use a content descriptor hashtag like #SocialMediaMarketing or #HashtagMarketing. This will help searchers who are interested in content around those subjects to find my post.

There are many companies that keep a close watch on hashtags that are related to their industry. They use it to find brand partners, customers, and answer questions for authority building. Appearing in content description hashtags can be a solid way to network and find like-minded companies to partner with.

Product or Service Hashtags


If you have a company that offers multiple products or services, hashtags can draw attention to the different sides of your brand. This is incredibly helpful when your products have different audiences.

These hashtags can help consumers to perform research on a product. Sifting through your catalogue can be difficult if you have a large range of products and services. A product or service hashtag makes it simple for consumers to find information about that product.

Take a look at this example from GoPro, while promoting their GoProPlus:


GoProPlus

If you hadn’t guessed already — the elephant ends up kicking the camera and damaging it. This is a fun and lighthearted way to promote new selling points for their Go Pro Plus line. The post did very well, receiving more than a whopping 100,000 likes and 600+ comments.
Hashtag Marketing ToolsNow that we’ve covered popular hashtag marketing strategies, we have to recommend a few tools that will make your life a whole lot easier. These tools will help you generate, track, and research hashtags for your social media marketing campaigns:

  • Influencer Marketing’s Instagram Hashtag Generator. Simple. You upload a photo, then build a selection of relevant hashtags that you can use when you share the image.
  • All Hashtag. Great all-in-one tool. Started out as a simple hashtag generator. Today they offer a generator, creator, and detailed hashtag analytics.
  • Ritetag. >An excellent and super-simple hashtag generator from RiteKit. Ritetag provides instant suggestions for images or text.
  • Hashtagify. A complete system that helps you to find, analyze, and grow your hashtag marketing strategy. Provides real-time data and insights about any hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.
  • ExportTweet. If you don’t mind paying for great data, ExportTweet allows you to track hashtags, keywords, and accounts. It provides in-depth hashtag reports that help you to make data-based decisions in your hashtag marketing.

Those are just a few of the many hashtag-centric tools that are available today.

Use Hashtag Marketing to Grow Your Social Reach


Smart hashtag usage isn’t about spamming as many hashtags as you can into each update. It’s about finding smart, strategic ways to get your social media updates in front of your ideal audience. The strategies in this article should help you to get the gears turning on how you can implement effective hashtag strategies into your own social media presence.

What do you think? If you’ve used hashtags in a unique way or have questions about hashtag marketing, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

In today’s digital world, social media engagement is essential to a business’s success. Through social selling, SocialSellinator help you find prospects, drive inbound leads, build relationships and grow recognition for your brand. Our passion ensures that our clients utilize social media to its fullest potential. Our journey began with managing social media accounts only in Silicon Valley. But, to see how we stack up to competitors in our industry worldwide, we’ve joined Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews platform.

Based in Washington, D.C., Clutch offers a database of information to prospective buyers that are in search of a business partner. They evaluate companies in various industries based on certain qualifications: industry expertise, social media presence, and former client projects. We’ve stacked up well in Clutch’s analysis, and we’re proud to announce that we’ve ranked on their list of the best graphic designers in 2019.

What we’re most proud of, though, is our client reviews. A completely unique aspect to their platform, Clutch actually conducts telephone interviews with our former clients to hear how well our work has served them. The positive feedback so far has been humbling, and we’re really excited to share the first review we have on our profile: 


We strive to make our process intuitive and unique for each of our clients’ needs, so we’re glad to hear our process has been achieving results that make our partners proud to work with us.

Marketing Solutions Provider

Clutch has two sister websites, The Manifest and Visual Objects, and we’ve achieved high positions on both of them. The Manifest, where we list as a top social media agency in San Jose, is a collection of industry reports, how-to lists, and agency rankings. Visual Objects, where we place as one of the top digital marketing agencies, offers visual compilations of past projects for each company on the site. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be featured so favorably on these third-party platforms, and we’re eager to see how the online visibility boosts our own brand recognition in the new year.

We’re grateful to our friends at Clutch for including us in their research, to our former clients for taking the time to share their reviews, and to all who have helped our company grow. We hope to continue providing excellent customer service and delivering social media campaigns that get our partners closer to their goals. Feel free to reach out to us today to get started on a new project!

Clutch
 
Stages of a Social Media Marketing Funnel

It would be nice if B2B customers showed up fully-informed and ready to buy. Most of the time, that simply isn’t the case. Customers require some nurturing and education on their way to making a big investment in their business in buying your product or services.

The process of walking the customer through that nurturing process takes place during what is known as a “sales funnel.” A sales funnel is the way that customers move through the process of becoming aware of your product, to ultimately buying it. These funnels cover a wide range of conversations, channels, and metrics that you use to evaluate how efficiently you walk customers through that process. According to Salesforce , 68% of companies have not identified or attempted to measure their sales funnel.

But — social media doesn’t exactly lend itself well to a traditional sales funnel. The process of engaging with prospects is different than it would be if they found you through a Google search or advertisement. While the “social media marketing funnel” does share similarities to a traditional funnel, there are some key differences:

What Does a Traditional Sales Funnel Look Like?


Traditional sales funnels all have the same basic set of steps and flow. While the actual actions may differ slightly from one company to another, they still walk the prospect through a series of steps that lead toward them not only purchasing your product but becoming an advocate of your solution:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Engagement
  • Action
  • Advocacy

Here’s a visualization of the process:


process

Source: Buffer

No matter what kind of product you are offering or what tasks are included in this process, the same basic formula applies to nearly every transaction you make. Prospects learn about your solution, develop an interest, engage with your brand, and buy your product. In addition, consulting companies like McKinsey have developed more refined approaches to the traditional funnel. In particular, I like the consumer decision journey by David Court, Dave Elzinga, Susan Mulder, and Ole Jørgen Vetvik, which is less linear and more complex. It reflects a multiude of influences and decision-points that a buyer/prospect is exposed to.

How Can That Be Applied to Social Media?


When it comes to a social media marketing funnel, the actual stages don’t change. However, the tasks associated with a social media marketing funnel will be unique to that channel, and may even have differences based on the platform that you are using.

Here is an example of how you can fill out a social media marketing funnel with tasks that align closely with a traditional sales funnel:

funnel


As you can see, this social media marketing funnel applies specific actions to different stages of the funnel. In the beginning, when prospects are building awareness of your product, they view and follow your business on social media. That eventually leads to more overt engagement in the way of mentions and direct messages. It shows how persistence throughout the process of familiarizing yourself with a prospect pays off. 44% of salespeople give up after just one rejection, but success in social selling relies on a constant stream of interactions to build familiarity. Giving up after just one rejection would result in a lot of lost sales for most successful social sellers.

The conversations help to set the stage of the sale and nurture your prospects through the buying process while they develop familiarity with your company and product. A 2018 survey by Hubspot revealed that only 69% of marketers feel their top priority should be converting leads into customers.

Keep it Natural with Social Selling


At its core, social selling attempts to simulate a traditional sales funnel in a social media setting. The process of building awareness, then engaging with and educating prospects are core to the prime tenants of effective social selling strategy.

Social media selling relies on a more natural, conversational process than developing sales through other channels. By mirroring a traditional sales funnel and mapping out the different tasks and associated with each phase, you can help yourself to better understand your own selling processes and optimize them as time goes on.


 
Social Media Marketing Consultant

Are you interested in hiring a social media consultant but aren’t exactly sure what qualifications you should be looking for?

Fear not, because it’s easy to get lost when hiring a social media consultant. There are so many of them out there, each of them with a range of experience and expertise that might make them suitable for specific clients. But you don’t care about what a consultant can do for someone else as much as what they can do for you, right?

Trying to decipher which consultant will be the right choice for your business can be tough. When prospective clients come to us at SocialSellinator, there are a few criteria that we look at to determine whether or not we would be a good fit for their business. We encourage all companies that are evaluating social media consultant to evaluate these three traits first and foremost to determine fit:

1) A Track Record Filled with Positive Results


Would you trust a social media consultant that can’t seem to get their own social media ship floating? If they have fewer followers than you (or seem to get very little engagement on the platforms they are active on) that should be a huge red flag, signaling that they might not be the best person to work with.

By that same token, they should be able to provide you with a proven track record of results for their clients as well. There are a million so-called “social media experts” out there claiming that they can generate returns for their clients, but how many of them can actually prove it? So many prospective clients come to us having been burned by other consultants.

Have they been able to drive business results for their clients? How about website traffic originating from social media? Look into their published case studies. Ask for references. Ask about their experience. Make sure that they can deliver what they claim they can and can verifiably prove that they have done the same for other companies.

2) Alignment with Your Business Goals


For you to have an ideal outcome from working with a social media marketing consultant, it is important that both parties have a full understanding of what success from the engagement actually looks like. It’s important that expectations are outlined and in alignment before the engagement begins.

A good social media marketing consultant will be able to recommend different strategies for different goals. For instance — a company that is more interested in baseline sales would be more likely to need a Facebook ads service than a service that will drive organic engagement over an extended period of time. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work unless that one-size fits with your business goals perfectly. Always insist on a custom-tailored strategy.

3) An Understanding of Your Industry


It can’t be overstated how much an understanding of your industry will help a social media marketing consultant to devise a strategy that generates a return. Social media is a crowded field. Specialization gives you a leg up by ensuring that the consultant you choose to work with has a deep understanding of your customers. They should know how the industry works and how their strategy will work to your benefit, based on their experience working with companies similar to yours.


 
Best Social Selling Tools

Here at SocialSellinator, we rely heavily on a wide range of different tools to help us manage social selling campaigns for our clients. As you can imagine, it becomes quite a pretty complicated task once you are managing dozens of different social accounts across many brands. In truth, what we do wouldn’t be possible without the suite of tools that we use.

Out of the more than ten different tools that we use to manage these campaigns, each tool varies in terms of importance. There are three tools that stand out above the rest, in fact. These three tools are at the forefront of every strategy that we put together, driving our campaigns and helping us to generate positive ROIs for our clients.

If you are looking to put together a stack of social selling tech that will help you manage your campaigns, connect with your most important clients, and create a reliable social presence that will generate you leads for years to come, I recommend starting with these three social selling tools:

1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator


LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the best social selling tool available today, bar none. No other tool has access to the huge amount of data that LinkedIn has on their hands. Sales Navigator is a $70 per month subscription that drastically extends the platform’s features to include a number of sales tools that help you to identify prospects, make contact with them, and make connections with your target audience.

Truth be told, social selling wouldn’t be nearly as effective for us without LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It is without a doubt the more powerful tool in our arsenal and helps us identify and reach out to clients who fit our ideal client avatar.

2. HootSuite


Hootsuite is a powerful tool when it comes to managing a range of social accounts across all of the popular platforms. It makes it easy for us to manage different brands and schedule high-impact social posts across all of our accounts. Additionally, since personal conversations are such a big part of social selling, you can use the platform to manage and monitor your conversations across accounts as well.
The deep analytics offered by HootSuite are great for tracking your efforts and seeing how different tactics are working across different social networking platforms. While there are many options out there for social media management, Hootsuite stands above the rest in my opinion.

3. HubSpot CRM


When you’re engaging in conversations with hundreds of prospects across multiple platforms, managing those relationships can become quite that task. HubSpot CRM is the perfect solution. HubSpot might be known for their inbound marketing software, but their customer relationship management tool is available for free, giving you room to grow if you decide to subscribe to the rest of their tools at a later date. HubSpot CRM is free, simple to use, and contains all of the necessary features for tracking your interactions with prospects while giving yourself room to grow in the future.