Eye On-line

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We’re calling it “eye2eye on-Line” but it is a form of communication that we are all familiar with.  How many of us spend several times per day checking our Facebook pages or scrolling through our LinkedIn updates?  LJF Marketing is in the business of communicating and interacting with our followers via social media and that gives us an opportunity for valuable, authentic communication.

A recent article posted on http://www.planitizen.com gave advice to city planners to encourage the usage of social media, “Social media is a flexible method of communication, it promotes your work to a larger audience and connects with decision makers while interacting with others who share the same thoughts.”

According to http://www.convinceandconvert.com:

  • 55% of Americans have a social media profile
  • 22% of Americans use social media networks several times per day
  • 47% say Facebook has the greatest impact on their purchasing behavior

Many articles on social media suggest setting goals for developing and maintaining social media sites.

At LJF Marketing, our goals are simple:

  1. Provide usable engaging content so your job is made easier to grow your business.
  2. Hope that you share our content and contact information so if someone you know needs marketing assistance you would recommend us.
  3. Help you develop your social media sites and help you grow them by developing content for you, provide regular posting and follow up with comments to maintain your reputation.

Our intent for LJF Marketing mirrors other small businesses, to strengthen our relationships with our customers, extend our reach to other business owners and one of the ways we do that is to grow our social media networks.  Inc.com featured an article by Jayson Demers of Audience Bloom “39 Ways to Get More Social Media Followers”.

In the article, he mentioned being consistent, knowing your audience and being a good social media citizen.  He, along with others we have read also pointed out locating influencers in your industry and mentioned the site Buzzsumo to help you identify those influencers.  Another tactic is to find and follow others with whom you would like to develop a relationship.

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Our #socialmediainabox link above gives you details on what we can do to assist you with your social media.  Contact us at 281.367.3922 or visit our website http://www.ljfmarketing.com.

Keep your eye on this blog for more eye2eye marketing.

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Mix it Up: Creating the Best Content for Your Audience

In our recent social media posts, we referenced Bill Gates’ article from 1996 about how content would be definitive of a brand’s success on the Internet. We think he was right.

But do you know what defines quality content, or how to create it?

Quality content is content that engages users. On social media, the most measurable way to see that is through viewing the number of likes, comments, retweets, or shares generated by a post. There are ways to view the number of clicks a link receives as well. If content is resonating with the people you target, you’ll see higher numbers.

Creating content doesn’t always mean generating it – a better phrase for creating quality content is curating quality content. Your content can be articles that you like, some business-related and some that reflect the personality of your business. It can be pictures from company events. It can even be current event-related, if that’s what you suspect your target is interested in. A few guidelines though:

  1. Content plans should be unique to your business and should reflect a personality. Define what that is before you create your content.
  2. They should be a mix of different media and topics. This is where mixing it up comes in. In general, people use social media for live updates, so it’s wise to provide new information with every post; you can discuss the same topic a few times, but you should be shedding new light on it. The same old stuff gets, quite frankly, boring, so avoid reusing it (even though you would want to do that in other forms of advertising).
  3. Your target audience should reflect what you post. LJF Marketing wants to target people who need marketing expertise, so we try to provide some of that for them. A daycare would post information relevant to parents and even single parents, more specifically.

Follow these guidelines and you will be on your way to social media success.

… And while we’re at it, is there a content type you prefer to see? If you like what we’re posting, subscribe to our newsletter here. If you really like something, let us know by following us and commenting through one of the many media available to you: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or right here.

PR is Presence in the Community

We may use our Facebook often, but, as we’ve established, public relations is much more than just using Facebook; social media is one small part of public relations that influences a brand’s identity, so Facebook has an even smaller scope of impact.

Think of it in terms of yourself – if you have big news, you would probably make a phone call to your friends and family first. After letting the information dissipate to your business colleagues, you would put the news out on your social media outlets. Generally, you will not put the word out on Facebook before your closest confidants know your news.

That’s where having a presence in the community comes in.

Is your company involved in giving back to the community? Do you attend events and functions for your local chamber of commerce? Have you built your network to its full potential and has your network had the opportunity to see what you’re passionate about?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your business is likely missing out on an important piece of its identity – you! Our recommendation is to get involved in some aspect of your workplace’s community because you are the face of your business.

Reasons to get involved:

  • Share your individual passion
    Becoming involved will allow you to make contacts and work as a team on projects with people who have different personalities and backgrounds. These undertakings allow you to share experiences in ways that are not possible during a regular day at the office. Your business relationships will quickly grow deeper and will likely result in long-term opportunities.
  • Brand recognition and awareness
    When you make acquaintances at events, people start recognizing your name and company; essentially, this can have the same effect as advertising but with more personal touch. When people view your business as represented by a person, rather than a faceless entity, they are more likely to do business with you.
  • Enhance brand image
    If your company sponsors an event or charitable cause, attendees will again, notice your name. In business terms, this is a win-win situation, because not only are you sponsoring something you are passionate about, but attendees will think of you as a company willing to support a good cause and be involved in the community outside of the business.
  • Put a face with a name
    It’s simply nice to be able to put a face with a name of a person whose company you’ve always heard of. Making this irreplaceable human connection is a good reminder that companies have human beings who happen to work for them. There is comfort in knowing the faces that exist beyond the Facebook page.

Once you develop contacts through community involvement, you will find yourself with individuals who support your business and WANT to hear when big things happen.

Any questions? Ask and we’ll answer below.

  • Don’t forget: if you like our content, sign up for the LJF Marketing monthly newsletter by clicking here.

Reassessing Your Social Media Plan

Social media trends are constantly changing, so it is a wise idea to look at your social media plan every so often to see if you are keeping up with the trends. If you don’t try to capitalize on current trends, your reach may not be as vast as it could be. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re reassessing your social media plan:

Q: Are there any new forms of social media that have popped up in the last 6 months?

A: Probably, but it would seem the real question is: “are they useful?” MySpace, for example, recently tried to reinvent itself. We’ll see if that helps them long term, but it’s an example of a new social media platform in the market. If it looks like your business could benefit from being active on a new platform, you might want to add coverage for that platform into your current social media plan.

Q: Is your current activity generating anything (i.e. comments, likes, retweets, etc.)?

A: If it’s not, you need to focus more energy into the activity that is. If so, try increasing the amount of content you post a little bit, and see if you have the same results. If I’m posting links 5 times a week to Facebook with no feedback, then I should spend more time on Twitter (if that’s getting more of a response).

Q: Is there any research on the social media industry right now that I could look at to tailor to my needs?

A: The answer, is of course, yes. Look at different blogs and see what you find. Social Media, as a discipline, is always changing. Look at the information you can find and make sure you tailor your plan to work with it. For example, there are some times where it’s better to post on Facebook than others; however, when Facebook grew a lot, they changed because companies started blocking Facebook at work.

Any questions? Ask and we’ll answer in the comments below.

  • Don’t forget: if you like the content we’re providing, sign up for our monthly newsletter by clicking here.

Eat Even More Ice Cream Using LinkedIn

We haven’t talked much about LinkedIn; however, it can be crucial to your business’ success and your professional life in general. We’ve outlined some thoughts to reach out to others on LinkedIn. With enough time and persistence, showing a genuine interest in your network connections will give you the opportunity to ‘grab ice cream’ with them.

Follow up every couple of months or when something major happens with your connections:

  • Especially with people you don’t see very often, it is nice to hear that people are thinking of you every couple of months. It will make it more likely that when the opportunity does arise for you to work together, things will work out, because you don’t simply come to them when you have a problem or need something.

Recommend someone:

  • LinkedIn has a tool, called “endorsements”, where you can endorse the skills listed on a contact’s profile with just a click. It takes just a little of your time, but will pay dividends – because who doesn’t like someone who says something nice about them?

Be active in groups:

  • You’re in a group, so why don’t you stay active? It’s definitely good to be a part of some larger groups, but exercise moderation and join some smaller groups so you can actively form relationships with the group members.

Reach out to people who have viewed your profile:

  • Use discretion on this one. If you have never met the person, this is probably not a wise thing to do. However, if you met this person recently, or have met them multiple times, then it’s probably a good idea to send them a note and try to connect.

Pass along leads:

  • If you see that someone in a related field is looking for a job and know of an opening at your company (or elsewhere) that they are qualified for, it wouldn’t hurt to send them the link to the posting. Even if that’s not the job they end up with, your contact will remember you when the tables have been turned or when they discover a new business opportunity . . . they will think of you.

Remember: LinkedIn is NOT Facebook or Twitter. Your network is made of professional contacts, so always exercise caution in what you say. You can be somewhat casual, but refrain from making any tasteless jokes or anything you would not want to get out in the public.

Ice Cream Social Tips and Tricks

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Does your marketing need a boost? We suggest that you “eat more ice cream.” That is, learn to break up the routine of daily work and meetings to strengthen relationships with your contacts. A prominent example of how we apply the “eat more ice cream” philosophy at LJF Marketing is the way we try to schedule ice cream appointments to keep the mood light, refreshing and interesting, as opposed to the predictable coffee date.

Now, it’s very possible that you might think social media can’t relate to your business. Planning events and meetings is one of the most useful things you can do with it, but don’t take my word for it… click here to learn what’s in it for you when you take advantage of social media’s full potential.

So, how does this relate to social media? Well, Facebook makes it easy to host an event or meeting, big or small. Hosting an event showcasing your business’s personality is the perfect remedy to a drab business day… perhaps you can have an ice cream social of your own with these tips!

First, you need to create an event. Have your info ready for what you would like to name the event, the details of the event, the location and the date and time.

  • On your social media page, go up to the top right corner, to “Edit Page”. On the drop down menu, click “Update Public Info”.
  • Now, notice the sidebar on the left. Click on “Apps”.
  • On the Apps section, you’ll see the “Events” app. Before creating the event, make sure to adjust your visibility settings under “Edit Settings”; if you don’t want the event to be visible on your timeline, this is where you change that setting. After you’re satisfied with the settings, click “Go to App” to set up your event.
  • With your information handy, simply fill in the blanks. Note that all events for your company’s Facebook page will be public, even though you may edit your events settings so that they don’t show up on your timeline.
  • If you’d like, you can choose to allow only administrators to post updates to the event. If the goal is to generate a lot of buzz about it, I do not recommend this setting; if it is a business event, consider this option to avoid spam or unnecessary comments.
  • After you have filled out all the information, click “create”, and your event is born!

To invite people to the event, simply copy the URL of the event’s page, and send to your colleagues via email. This will do two things: show your colleagues the event page so that they can state if they are attending, and encourage people that don’t already like your Facebook page to like it.

If you’ll look up in the right hand corner (after you’ve created the event) you can now edit settings. Here are some functions to take note of.

  • Posts, pictures, or shares – these function similarly to when they are on your general timeline; they show up in the newsfeeds of your attendees. You can share it with other organizations and pages.
  • Event Photo – add either your logo or a photo related to the event.
  • “Repeat event” – This feature makes the Events feature of Facebook a useful scheduling tool. If you have a standing meeting every week, then it will probably save you a lot of pain to use this. It also gives you the opportunity to communicate on a project with an expiration date without creating a group. You can repeat the event by clicking on the settings symbol in the right corner.
  • “Export event” – Useful if you have a calendar linked to your phone, work computer, or home computer.
  • “Promote event” – As a part of Facebook’s advertising features, you can promote your event as an advertisement. This is useful if it’s a public event and you are trying to get as many people in the doors as possible.

We hope this will help you plan your next event easily. When you know how to use the events feature the right way, your Facebook approach is just one less detail to worry about.

Even if you don’t think social media will help your business, contact us to find smart, innovative ideas that are the perfect fit. You can find our information at LJFMarketing.com.

Marketing Research Done Right – Getting to Know Your Audience

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When you are thinking of conducting market research for your company, it’s important to do it the right way. You may think back to the hours you spent on research projects in college and high school. In my youth, I thought I would never use that stuff again! However, the steps you took then will help you conduct successful market research now. Luckily, if you have social media outlets, some of this can be done yourself!

Follow the steps to get to know your audience in a whole new way.
*For the purposes of this blog post, pretend I am a women’s boutique owner in a college town. This is a completely hypothetical situation.

  • Step 1 – Identify a problem. Say that I end up putting a lot of things on sale at the end of each month and losing money.
    Example problem: Everything ends up on sale.
  • Step 2 – Choose your topic. You’re not trying to solve a problem here (though market research can have that positive side effect). Pick something general you want to find out about your market that may relate to your problem.
    Example topic: College students’ spending habits
  • Step 3 – Find basic information. While basic trends and common knowledge come from some parts of the truth, don’t simply rely on stereotypes; having a general understanding of your target audience is an essential foundation that will help you move into deeper subject matter. Wikipedia can be a good place to start for finding basic information.
    Example info: College students use Facebook a lot. Some students also have a lot of discretionary income from their parents, but most live on a budget.
  • Step 4 – Refine your topic. What is unique to your market but still relates to other markets? This part is where you narrow your search to make sure you actually get relevant information. You should also decide whether you want qualitative or quantitative information.
    Example: College students’ spending habits/budgets for clothes in Texas
  • Step 5 – Conduct research. Using relevant sources (i.e. sources with more credibility than Wikipedia) find information and studies on your refined topic. You can also do customer surveys through Facebook, conduct focus groups, etc. depending on if you want qualitative data. Make sure you are consistent in your research approach in whatever you decide. Take notes on your findings.
  • Step 6 – Summarize your findings.
    Example: Female college students spend 25% of their money on clothes. The average amount of extra money college students have is $500/month.
  • Step 7 – Apply and assess implications to your business.
    Example: Since most female college students are on a budget of some sort, it might be worth it to offer a wide variety of items that vary in price points. This would accommodate the needs of smaller and larger budgets.

We also found another great article that can be a vital resource for you in this process.

Remember: we’re here for all of your marketing needs. Contact us if you have any questions.

 

Do you take the time to go through the research process to understand your audience in a new business venture? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.

The Power of Planning

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Planning is obviously important when it comes to how your business operates – and it applies to social media. You probably know what message you want to send, but the execution is a little more complex.

Here are some quick tips to help guide you when planning out your social media. Take these into account before the day you want to post and it will make your life so much easier.

  • Plan to post your message to all of your social media platforms.
    Doing so will help you go up in Search Engine rankings, as well as keeping any of your followers on different platforms from missing the memo. You might not have the same followers on each platform, so if you want everyone to hear your message, say it – everywhere! But when you do, make sure you…
  • Plan to tweak your message for each platform.
    I cannot emphasize this enough – all social media platforms are NOT the same. They are very different animals. If you’re wanting to get the word out about a charity your company is volunteering for, you will need to construct the status update for Facebook different than the tweet for Twitter. For example, you might post on Facebook, “We really enjoyed helping out with this charity this week. Thanks to everyone who came out to help!” with a picture from the festivities, whereas on Twitter you would say “Had a great time with this charity today and can’t wait to help out again! #service”. Both allow people to chime in with a response, but the Twitter one is more casual.
  • Plan to schedule posts.
    First off, decide when and how often you want to post. Then, map out a schedule on a calendar for each social media platform. You can either set reminders for yourself to post at a certain time, or use a scheduling tool – like Hootsuite – to make sure the posts go out on time. Also, keep in mind that a post at 12 at night is not likely to spark much conversation – you’ll want to thoughtfully research and consider the time of day you post.

These suggestions will save you time and money in the long run. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us and we will set something up to meet with you.