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whistler social media marketing

Hiring a professional to manage your brands social media has immense benefits. With over 3 billion internet users around the world a social media professional could be your ticket to having your business seen and heard online.

If you’re familiar with social media, you may wonder why it’s best to outsource this part of your business to a professional. Even business owners who are confident and fluent with social media could probably make better use their time in other areas of the business. Agree? What may appear simple on the surface, the complexities of social media become quickly apparent when you begin to target your efforts and measure your results. Social media professionals can help grow your business online and improve your brands reputation. Here are the benefits of out-sourcing your social media to professionals.

Strategy

The most important tool for creating a successful social media presence is having a rock solid strategy. A social media professional will work with you to establish goals and objectives that will create the direction of your strategy. A social media presence without a strategy is like a train without a track. You’re moving, mostly forward, but are you actually getting to where you want to go?

A social media strategy will assess and define primary and secondary target markets which will determine the most appropriate social media channels to use. Once it’s clear what channels will be used a detailed posting calendar can be scheduled. Social Media professionals will use tools such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social to plan posts in advance. This avoids wasting time daily trying to figure out content. Spontaneous posting gets some of the best engagement and is important alongside scheduled posts.

A strong social media strategy is one that evaluates objectives, market research, channel coverage, hash tag strategies, target market, social media scheduling and engagement tactics.

Engagement

Social Media is much more then posting a few comments and pictures. A successful social media presence involves constantly building, networking and growing channels. It involves sharing meaningful information that helps your target market solve their problems and it includes sharing catchy, relevant and trending images, text and videos.

Being successful online involves a two-way exchange. A small portion of the content should be broadcasts of special deals, offers and events, but a majority of the posts should be about providing useful information to your fans and followers. Creating conversations around topics with fans and followers as well as industry and key influencers maximizes engagement.

Varied Skill Set

Social Media professionals have a varied skill set and can use graphic design, copy-writing and SEM skills to enhance your image online. Having appealing photos and videos, with catchy and concise copy that is delivered at the right time is key to increasing engagement. The importance of a varied skill set is often overlooked when business owners try to manage their own social accounts, or delegate them to front-line staff. Customers know a professional social media presence when they see it.

Reporting Metrics

Analyzing social media metrics is essential for determining if the goals and objectives set out in the strategy are being met. Metrics also provide insight on what’s working well, and what’s not working enabling a shift in strategy if necessary. Important metrics that your Social Media professional will monitor include Fan/Follower Growth, Impressions, Reach, Engagement, and Demographic Information.

With over 1.19b monthly active users on Facebook, 271m monthly active users on Twitter and 396m members on LinkedIn social media is the best vehicle to connect your business with current and prospective customers. As the online marketplace becomes increasingly competitive and complex across industries, having a professional manage your social media is more important than ever.

Cloud9 Marketing in Whistler, BC has Social Media professionals who provide results-driven strategies for a diverse range of clientele.  If you are ready to get serious about social media contact Cloud9 today.

facebook-engagement

If you haven’t noticed yet, Facebook’s organic reach has drastically declined. A post that may have reached a quarter of your fans years ago now luckily gets exposed to a small handful (if any). That’s right, the free ride is over and in order for you to be seen or heard on Facebook you will have to work really hard (or pay) for it. Besides investing in Facebook Advertising, engagement is key to your ongoing success. You can’t just slap up a few half-hearted posts and expect grand results. Like most things in life what you put in is what you get out; persistence, routine and a bit of money will be the success of your Facebook Page.

Create meaningful content

In the real world, no one wants to hear about what you had for breakfast, how you’re feeling moment to moment or your opinions and attitudes about the meaning of life. The digital world is the same. If you are constantly posting about ‘me-me-me’ people are going to simply tune out. In order to keep your fans happy and engaged create meaningful content that will benefit them! Do you offer some great products or services? Fantastic! How will it benefit your target market? How can you make it personal to each and every one of your fans? When creating meaningful content ensure you are using a beautiful or catchy image with a powerful status update or headline.

Have a call to action

What do you want people to do with your post? Do you want them to like it? Make a comment? Share it? Visit your website? Having a clear call to action is essential for making any type of progress on Facebook. When formulating a post ask yourself, “what do I want my fans to do with this information?” Perhaps you would like some basic engagement in the way of likes to increase post reach. Perhaps you want to create a conversation by asking for comments. Alternatively maybe you would like to direct your fans to your website and take advantage of an amazing deal or offer. Make this crystal clear. Not only will creating a solid call to action help you achieve your business goals but it will increase engagement and reach on your Facebook Page.

Engage with your Fans

It’s great to be in Facebook-land posting and talking away but it is all absolutely pointless unless you are listening too. When Fans engage with you, make sure the communication is a two way street! It is selfish and useless to create an amazing post with a great call to action and then abandon it like yesterday’s news. Keep the conversation going like your life depends on it! The more engagement you can get with your fans, the more meaningful your post will be and the more reach your page will get.

Stick to a schedule

Frequency and consistency are key to creating a base of loyal fans. To compete with every other business in the world on Facebook you need to stay recent and relevant in the minds of your Facebook Community. Creating a posting schedule using platforms like Hootsuite or Sprout Social can help you organize your posts in advance so you’re not wasting countless hours dreaming up posts while you could be using those valuable brain cells on much more important contributions. When scheduling your posts, ensure to switch up the content. No one wants to hear about your products and special offers day in and day out. What is appealing to your target market? Give them information that will satisfy their needs (and then slip in some information about your promotions or products too). Remember to research what is the best time of day to post for your industry. Knowing when your target market is online can make a huge impact on what type of engagement your posts get.

Pay for ads

If you spend money on Facebook advertising you shall be rewarded, and come on, compared to conventional advertising it’s pretty cheap! It can’t hurt to boost your page for a few days every month to generate new fans. One of the best features of Facebook advertising is how targeted you can be. By narrowing down your target market using geographic, demographic and behavioural characteristics you can essentially hand-pick who you want to broadcast to. Don’t forget to boost the odd post here and there too. If you have something you want heard far and wide- spend a few bucks and get that post seen!

It takes a lot of time, effort and persistence to create a successful Facebook Page with a loyal fan base. Not only is it a lot of work, but Facebook is constantly changing its algorithms to dictate how the platform operates. When operating a business, most business owners and Managers simply don’t have the time to effectively focus on their social media presence. At Cloud9 Marketing we help businesses small and large manage their online image. We understand algorithms, impressions and hashtags but most of all we understand how to get results online through social media, branding, content development, search engine optimization and more. Contact us today!

social-media-goals

You are probably tired of hearing how important social media is for your business. If you are like many you may be wondering how the effort spent on social media actually translates to a return on investment (ROI). It is not uncommon for business owners to delegate social media efforts to front-line staff, or take a stab in the dark themselves, with no notable results. Like any business venture, setting measurable goals is essential for ensuring the hours spent posting and tweeting is time well spent. Setting SMART goals on the most important social media metrics is essential for achieving results. Don’t recall SMART goals from Business101? They are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Below are 5 social media metrics with an example SMART goal for each.

Followers/ Likers

Think of Followers and Likers as your audience. These are potential customers who are interested enough in your brand to tune in to what you say and do. There are two ways to generate followers and likers, organically and through paid advertising. Organic followers are the cream of the crop as these people are genuinely interested in your brand and took their own initiative to follow what you do. Paid advertising is a great way to boost your followers/likers and social media advertising is targeted so you can ensure you are recruiting your target market through these ads.

GOAL: To increase followers/likers organically by 10% between September and December 2015.

If you currently have a following of 500 people a 10% increase would equate to an additional 50 followers. This is easy to measure and a 10% increase should be achievable for most businesses.

Reach

Reach is an important metric when posting on a Facebook Page. Reach is the number of people who saw your post. Don’t confuse reach for impressions. Impressions are the times your post was viewed keeping in mind your post could be viewed multiple times by the same person. Facebook algorithms have changed significantly over the last few years and organic reach is harder to achieve. To get the furthest reach on Facebook you need to pay for advertising. Measuring your paid reach is a good way of assessing how effective your Facebook ad campaign is.

GOAL: To reach 1500 people with Facebook ad XYZ between Sept 1st and Sept 15th 2015

As your ad runs you will be able

social media image sizes

Check out Sure PayRoll’s nifty cheat sheet for optimal social media images size. Definitely worth bookmarking!

social media for branding

As the year starts to wind down, it’s easy to become a little bit nostalgic. A lot has changed in the past few years – surely in your personal life, but in your business, too.

For instance, just think of all of the brand development opportunities that have arisen over the past decade with the advent of social media. Branding for today’s businesses is radically different than it was even just a few years ago.

Taking advantage of these opportunities is a given for today’s leading brands – and for a good reason. Here are just a few ways that social media can help take your branding to the next level.

Become Recognizable

Building a brand is about creating something that your customers and clients can identify easily. Social media can you help you expand your brand’s presence. You can be in front of your customers whenever they’re scrolling through their Twitter feed or checking out Facebook updates (which is virtually all the time) – now that sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Create a Consistent Voice

Your brand should be consistent throughout all channels, including social media. As potential and existing clients and customers become accustomed to your social media presence, they’ll come to recognize your voice, building familiarity with your brand.

Connect with Influencers

Use social media to embrace your brand’s biggest fans. Loyal customers are worth their weight in gold: not only can you count on their continued business, you can also expect them to introduce your brand to their own personal networks. With social media, you can build a direct relationship with those influencers, like offering your cheerleaders early access to a sale, a bonus perk with their order or booking, or sneak peeks into upcoming events and releases.

Establish Trust

Social media isn’t just for connecting with your biggest cheerleaders: it’s also for connecting with your future cheerleaders. Through social media, you can really let your brand’s personality shine, building relationships with new fans and earning that coveted brand loyalty.

Be More Than a Brand

Your brand is more than just a name and a logo and social media allows you to showcase that. Through social media, you can build a community that shows what your company is really all about. Customers and clients will gain a better understanding of who you are and what you do.

Share the Brand Love

Customers and clients are engaging brands like never before through social media channels. They’ll post a picture on Instagram showcasing a recent purchase, or will Tweet their praises after a positive customer service experience. Social media – both your own use and your customers’ use – can help others share a brand experience.

On the flipside, customers will take to social media to announce when they’re dissatisfied. Savvy companies will take this opportunity to fix the problem directly with the unsatisfied customer, turning a negative experience into a positive opportunity. People are going to complain whether the company in question is on social media or not – wouldn’t you like to have the chance to hear about the problem so that you can fix it?

Listen, then Strategize

Social media is a two way street – don’t forget to listen! Your customers and clients are constantly providing feedback on your brand through social media. Scan your Facebook page, see what blog posts are getting the most hits, and scour relevant hashtags – and learn something from them. Use your findings to update your brand strategy and to stay connected to your target market.

If you’re thinking about building your brand through social media (or improving your existing social media presence), don’t hesitate to get in touch with Cloud9 Marketing. We’re here to help – this is what we do!

social media business credibility

Imagine that you had the opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation with each and every one of your existing and potential customers.

That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? While it would be incredibly time consuming to actually accomplish this, social media allows a business to establish a more personal connection to customers than ever before.

Creating a strong connection with customers is a good thing: it establishes trust, builds credibility, and demonstrates the personality behind a company, distinguishing it from other competitors in the field. Here’s what you need to do to get there:

Be a Credible Source of Information

Show your fans and followers that you are an expert in your field by being the go-to source for relevant information. The more you share valuable information, the more you gain authority; the more authority you have, the more you are perceived to be an expert in your field.

Focus on Your Followers

Though it might seem counter-intuitive, your business’s social media is not just about you—it’s about your followers. While you definitely want to include news about your company and your product, you also want to maintain a balance by including other information that might appeal to those reading your social media content.

Take Customer Service to the Next Level

Social media provides a business the opportunity to show its customers that the company really cares. A sound social media strategy will allow you to keep your finger on the pulse, anticipating what your customers want and responding to any customer service complaints swiftly and appropriately. Social media allows you to connect with customers like never before: you simply cannot afford to miss out.

Interact With Your Community

Build trust with your customers by creating a bona fide community around your business. Encourage your followers to ask questions (and, of course, answer them!).

Engage community members to participate in your social media initiatives, and create a two-way dialogue with your customers. Don’t forget to listen: when you take the time to really hear what your customers have to say, you can gain knowledge that will help you improve your products and policies.

Let Your Customers Speak

The best way to boost your credibility is to let your satisfied customers do the work for you.

Encourage happy customers to share their testimonials on social media, and highlight their Tweets, photos, or posts on your own social media. It’s one thing to tell your customers how great you are, but it’s even more effective to have your loyal fans share their satisfaction with their own community. Begin to see your happy customers as brand ambassadors, and embrace them within your social media strategy.

Be Authentic

If you are not being fully and completely authentic in your company’s social media initiatives, then you are missing the point. It’s hard to build a connection with a phony person, and it’s even more difficult to do so with an inauthentic brand.

Use your business’s strategy and values to shape your social media strategy. Maintain a consistent, honest imagine across your social media channels. Give your customers a behind-the-scenes peek into the people and processes behind your product. Don’t be afraid to reveal your company’s true personality.

startup content strategy to build brand awareness

So you’ve just launched a new venture with a shiny new website. How’s traffic? Non-existant? Well, here’s how to change that with a solid content strategy.

Search engines use various methods to determine page rank and position in search engine results pages (SERPs). A large part of that is determined by relevant and credible links to your content, social media interaction, online discussion, articles and white papers, slide shares, videos, etc.

A start-up should focus on getting as much exposure as possible early on. There are several methods that help to build brand awareness, and they should all be considered.

It is very important to understand that without a solid content strategy that will genuinely appeal to users, social media efforts and other inbound marketing efforts will fall short and the return on investment will be very little.

Creating original content and utilizing tools such as article submission, eBooks, blogging, white papers, slide shares, videos and press releases will help to not only build brand credibility and improve your company website’s page rank (through link backs and shares), it will also give you something to talk about.

Once you have a solid content strategy and have built up enough of a library to feel it is worth presenting to the public, you reach out and you share it like crazy!

And that is where social media comes in. Social media is, in essence, the curation of content. It gives everyone the ability to share content as they see fit. This gives the end-user the control over how extensively your content is shared – unless you use fan blockers or other forceful tactics, which are not recommended if you want to build “goodwill” with your fan base.

If you do not have anything original or well-thought-out to share, people will simply and unapologetically move on and not look back. Which, of course, you don’t want. You want to be the source that people flock to for solid information and share with their friends, colleagues, coworkers and so on. But that is only accomplished when the product is good.

We get a fair amount of start-ups asking for just social media. And while a solid social strategy coupled with Facebook advertising and perhaps contesting can yield good results in terms of social media fan growth and engagement, it may not be the answer to increasing traffic to your web site and ultimately into the sales funnel or develop into leads.

So, is a content strategy important for start-ups? Most definitely.

whistler local social media marketing

5 Reasons why you should use a Whistler-based Social Media Marketer if you’re a Whistler business:

1. Local Knowledge: A Whistler-based social media marketer knows the unique local insider tips and info that is valuable to visitors. Secret powder stashes, advice on cheap food, and local’s hangouts. Want to convey a reason why someone should come up for that shoulder season weekend? Maybe there’s an awesome deal on at a restaurant or a great discount on activity that only a local would know about.

2. Timely, Relevant Posts: Social media and blog posts with relevant information is key, and can really only be accomplished while in-resort. A good example: a picture of the first snowfall or a pic accompanied with the “Run of the Day” tweet. That’s a lot more powerful than a link to the weather report!

3. Local Event Coverage: Having your social media presence at the events is so much better than simply posting that it is happening! Provide your followers with up-to-the-minute photos and updates. Plus, in-resort marketers know every little thing that is happening in Whistler, not just the big signature events. “Find unique #Whistler souvenir at the Made in Whistler Artisan Market – Every Saturday!”

4. Location Tagging: It appears a lot more genuine when your social media posts are tagged with a Whistler location. Especially if your posting about mountain or weather conditions!

5. Community: Posts are more engaging within the community, tagging local businesses through developed relationships is a great way for Whistler to help support each other. Plus, social media folks in town know each other, and they constantly share content – spreading the word.

Of course, this applies to any resort or business that relies on tourism to drive business. Social media needs to be genuine in order for it to work – and a company outside of the business area isn’t going to be able to deliver a genuine local voice.

Contact us here at Cloud9 Marketing to learn more about our local Whistler Social Media Management services.

social media marketing

What type of message does your brand send to your social media savvy customers?

Now that we are at the height of the social media age, companies can no longer succeed with such traditional top-down messages as, “We’re the best!” Nor can businesses drop out and remain silent, as Northwestern Mutual once did when it championed itself as “The Quiet Company.”

As the number of social media channels has increased, so has the importance of  communicating rapidly. Companies are now feeling the pressure to respond instantly across a variety of media platforms. They are under constant scrutiny, much like celebrities and politicians whose every move is chronicled by the press.

Companies need to decide on a captivating and consistent brand voice if they hope to market themselves effectively. If you own a business, consider these tips to start spreading your message with confidence.

#1: Determine the Personality of Your Brand

Most small businesses increase their presence organically, finding new clients and offering additional services over an extended period of time. As these companies evolve, they gain a reputation for the manner in which they handle business. Stepping back to consider the characteristics of your company’s personality is vital in determining your brand voice. Does your company come off as professional and serious, funny and laidback, or creative and edgy? You need to think about this because these traits are what bring you customers..

Here’s a good exercise you might try: Think of your company as a hotel chain or a car. Which would it be more like, a Ritz Carlton or an affordable motel? Would it be more like a Mercedes or a Prius? By thinking like this, you can define your company’s character and decide on the marketing voice that leads you to the most success.

#2: Identify Your Real Audience

It is important to remember that various audiences will react differently to the same marketing material. You need to focus on your main audience and adjust your message so that it reflects what appeals to that particular group.Your message also needs to fit well with your brand.

For example, you will want to use LinkedIn or Google+ if you are a B2B company; sending messages about your service offerings to your Twitter followers will not bring you much success. You must put your marketing efforts into the resources that are most likely to elicit a positive response.

To draw in customers, you should join forums that are industry specific and be sure to respond to threads. You don’t want to waste your time trying to get attention from the wrong groups of people. To find out what types of people your customers tend to be, use Facebook Insights to access the demographics.

#3: Use a Consistent Tone

In branding, there is no right or wrong when it comes to which tone you should use. However, once you adopt a certain tone, you will need to use that tone in all of your marketing efforts if you want to be successful.

For example, MailChimp, an e-newsletter company, chooses to stick with an informal tone. Whether its representatives are tweeting such messages as, “You’re most welcome, human friend. Eep eep!” or calling themselves “Pioneers in Banana Technology,” they always make sure to sound lighthearted and easygoing. Similarly, Woot! is always sure to discuss its deal of the day with wit as opposed to dull product information.

The idea is that regardless of which communication style you choose, you have to keep using it. You can’t make formal posts on your company’s Facebook page and think that it also makes sense to post funny videos through your company’s YouTube account. Such inconsistency will only drive away potential customers.

You may have more than one staff member posting to your company’s social media accounts. If this is the case, all of the staff members must be made aware of your brand’s personality and create content accordingly.

#4: Timing Really is Everything

In order to become a credible voice within your market niche, it’s important that you know when you should “speak.” If you wait too long, you’ll risk appearing out-of-touch. You can also run the risk of losing potential customers by jumping in too soon.

To stay informed, you should set Google Alerts for important subject matter relating to your industry.  That way, you’ll be ready to post commentary as soon as it becomes appropriate to do so. Google Alerts only take a few seconds to set up and send updates to your email daily or weekly. Having access to these updates will help you avoid communicating too rarely or too often.

If you contribute regularly to your media platforms, customers will get the impression that your business is running smoothly. If you do not do this and only post every few months, customers will think less of your company.

You should also keep in mind that it’s not always a good idea to post on social media sites just for the sake of writing something. You need to become familiar with a topic of conversation by reading through the feedback and comments before engaging yourself; otherwise, you might appear uninformed.

#5: Practice Makes Perfect

To become confident about your brand, you should practice using your brand voice by posting articles on your company’s blog. These articles will help your business by showing readers your expertise.

You can submit your best blog posts to article directories to spread your message further. You can also inquire about becoming a contributing author for other blogs and publication sites to increase your exposure. In addition, a few good social media posts can do a lot to make your voice recognizable in your industry.

Being familiar with your brand personality and target audience, using a consistent voice, speaking at the right time, and perfecting your message will all strengthen your brand voice and solidify your business identity. Following these simple guidelines will make you more comfortable with your audience and help it grow. You’ll learn how to write your own words, yet speak the language that appeals to your customers.

Contact us to find out how Cloud9 Marketing can help you achieve your Social Media Marketing goals.

content social media marketing

Is there really a difference between Content Marketing & Social Media Marketing?

There is definitely some overlap between content marketing and social media marketing. However, these types of online marketing are actually separate and unique. They have their own points of focus as well as goals and processes. To eliminate any confusion you might have regarding content and social marketing, let’s take a look at some of the factors that set them apart from each other.

Primary Focus of the Marketing Work

Social media marketing activity is concentrated within social networking sites themselves. Marketers with a social networking focus post their campaign updates directly onto pages on Twitter, Facebook, and other similar sites. When they create content, they specifically use these sites to reach their target audiences.

In content marketing, on the other hand, the focus of a campaign is the website for a brand or specific product.  Social networks are certainly used in content marketing efforts, but the networking sites are typically used to backlink to content that has been posted on the brand or product website.

Forms and Length of Content

In social media marketing, the content must be adjusted to fit the nature of the networking site that is being used. For example, text must be no more than 140 characters long if it is being posted to Twitter; likewise, marketers fare better on Facebook if they create games and quizzes. In this method of marketing, brands must use social networking sites in the same manner that everyday users do.

In content marketing, however, it is possible to post longer and more diverse pieces of content because a brand website is being used.  Brands can format their postings like media publishers do. They may publish blog posts, eBooks, videos, infographics, and more.

Objectives

Social media marketing and content marketing can both be used for a variety of purposes, but social media marketing mainly focuses on two goals. First, it is used to create brand awareness (i.e., to stimulate discussion and activity in regards to a particular brand). It is also used for the purposes of retaining and satisfying customers. Brands can use social networks to engage in direct discussion with their customers, who may have questions or issues regarding products.

The website-based nature of content marketing allows businesses to better focus on generating demand.  Well-developed content sends prospective customers to a brand’s website, bringing about lead conversions and possible sales.

Online Marketing: The Evolution

Social media marketing is currently the main focus for a majority of marketing departments. Content marketing is still a fairly new concept, and as such remains a less popular option at this point.

However, these two forms of marketing are interrelated. They are both part of the continuing evolution of marketing. The Internet has given every brand the opportunity to communicate with its customers directly, and social media marketing and content marketing both make it easier for brands to do this.

Naturally, social media marketing came first in the evolutionary process. This is partially because it allows brands to access users directly. In general, the content is also posted in shorter pieces, making the publishing process quick and easy.

In time, though, content marketing will have the edge as brands grow more familiar with the idea of being publishers. It is true that this version of marketing involves longer content of a higher quality and that brands must draw in audiences through their own websites. Still, content marketing has the potential to produce more powerful results by allowing brands to communicate more closely with their customers and find more leads.

Contact us to find out how Cloud9 Marketing can help you with your Content Marketing and/or Social Media efforts.