Social Media Marketing

  • Dark Social: What It Is and How To Deal With It

    The Dark Ages, the dark side of the moon, fear of the dark… What do all of these references to the dark have in common? Ignorance, or the unknown. And that’s exactly what dark social is all about. Dark social refers to the ubiquitous practice of sharing content privately; that is, not sharing something openly via social media, where shares can be tracked by companies, but instead, cutting and pasting links or even whole blog posts into emails to send them to friends. This creates a dark spot for businesses and marketers trying to keep tabs on where their web traffic is coming from, and which content is encouraging engagement. And this dark spot is significant. According to a June 2016 report from RadiumOne, 82 percent of content shared on mobile is shared through dark social – via messaging apps, email, or text. That’s up from less than 50 percent in 2014. And although we’re all very familiar with Facebook’s “share” button, it turns out we don’t use it as often as we might think. Just 13 percent of content on mobile is shared via Facebook, and 10 percent on all other social networks. Worst of all, sometimes, in all…

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  • 5 Steps to Developing an Outstanding Brand Voice on Social Media

    Your social media posts say a lot about your brand. But are they saying the right thing? Because social media has become such a vital part of digital marketing, many businesses have found themselves creating hasty profiles on three or four social media platforms, and posting what they can when they can – sometimes, simply just to maintain a presence on the channel. While this is a fairly common situation, even among large enterprises with lots of resources, it’s hardly ideal. The problem is that you’re not telling a unified story. You’re not speaking with a defined, recognizable brand voice. And that means that you’re missing out on a major opportunity to connect with your customers. How do you go from having a haphazard social media presence to one that clearly identifies what your brand is all about? The key is developing your brand voice. Follow these five steps to get started. 1. Delve into your company’s culture. Your brand voice is really an expression of your company culture, so a good place to start is to spend some time defining that culture. Is your company youthful and on-trend, like PopSugar? Or is it established and traditional, like Farmers Insurance…

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  • Go Ahead, Be A Show-Off: 7 Steps to Establishing Expertise on Quora

    If you’ve read our blog for very long, then you’ll know that one of the most important elements of online marketing that we advocate is thought leadership. In order for people to get to know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you, you’ve got to establish yourself as a leader in your industry by showing off your expertise. How do you do this? Every single aspect of your online marketing strategy should be working towards this goal, from the topics you address on your blog and in your email newsletters, to the guest posts you write for your outreach efforts, and from your conversations on social media, to the keywords you choose for SEO. Taking an active part in the conversations going on in your industry is the best way for you to demonstrate what an authority you are in the field – and attract potential customers. By sharing tips and answering questions in a helpful – and not salesy – way, people will come to see your company as their go-to resource when they need information about your industry. And when it comes time to buy, they’ll naturally think of your brand first. LinkedIn Groups is…

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  • 5 Awesome Digital Marketing Strategies for Niche Businesses

    While the internet has changed marketing for businesses of every shape and size, perhaps one of the most transformed over the past couple of decades has been the niche business. Pre-internet, niche businesses had to have products or services that would appeal to enough people to support the cost of advertising – which meant that many potential niche products never saw the light of day. Today, the situation is different. Niche products still have to make enough money to support their advertising costs, like any other business, but those costs have gotten so much lower, and ad reach so much wider, that the niche product and service market has boomed. Just think about some of the niche products or services you’ve come across in the past few years. Print-on-demand T-shirts. Super-exclusive (and expensive) matchmaking services. Every subscription box service out there, from Blue Apron (meals and recipes) to Birchbox (beauty products). The reality now is that if you want to create a line of handmade journals targeting 28-35 year old mothers of gifted kids in Laguna Beach, California, you can do it – and with the right digital marketing strategy, you can probably even become profitable. If this sounds like…

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  • 6 Critical Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

    A strong business relationship, like a strong marriage, requires a lot of give and take. Your agency needs to have the knowledge, expertise, and moxie to give you the strong digital presence that businesses need to succeed. They have to stay on top of the latest developments in digital marketing, and be ready to try new strategies when the old ones don’t work. As a client, you need to communicate your needs openly and clearly. You need to be responsive with feedback. You have to trust your agency enough to let them seek out opportunities to build your brand, and when they do, be able to let them know what you think. Of course, just as in marriage, there’s also an undefinable element that can make a business relationship not just good, but great. It’s a sense of fit, of “clicking” – of knowing that you and your agency won’t have trouble staying on the same page. This isn’t something you can find out from an agency website. When you’re thinking of hiring a digital marketing agency, you’ve got to start by asking them the right questions. In addition to asking about things like their client base, history of success,…

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  • 51 Online Marketing Tactics That Get Results

    Here’s the thing, you guys. Every business is different, and the internet marketing strategies that work for one company may not suit the goals of another, and vice versa. (That’s why it can be a real plus to have an experienced online marketing agency on your side, like, say, for example… Marketing Zen!) So, to help out as many businesses as we can in one fell swoop, we’ve compiled this huge, humongous, gigantic list of 51 different online marketing tactics, so that you can wade through them all and pick and choose which ones would do the most good in your particular situation. Again, not every tip will work in every situation, so choose wisely. Take your company’s internet marketing resources into consideration when planning your online marketing activities, so you are only taking on as much as you can reasonably handle. And keep your business goals in plain sight the whole time, so that each and every tactic you implement will be in their service. So without any further ado, and in no particular order, here is our list of 51 online marketing tactics that get results. 1. Write a blog. Having fresh content on your business website is…

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  • 21 Common Questions About Social Media Marketing Answered

    Here at Marketing Zen, we often get questions from businesses about online marketing, and we do our utmost to answer every one. But it occurred to us recently that it might be helpful for us to put together a little blog series answering some of the most common questions we get related to web marketing. Today’s installment? The 21 most common social media marketing questions we receive, answered just for you! 1. Can social media marketing really help my business? Most definitely! It’s been proven again and again by business after business. In fact, 73% of businesses surveyed by Constant Contact in 2011 had already started using social media marketing with measurable results.  Not utilizing social media marketing can actually harm your business, since having an online presence on social media is simply expected of any reputable firm these days. 2. What are the benefits of social media marketing for my company? Whether your business is taking advantage of it or not, social media has forever changed the way that consumers communicate with businesses, and vice versa. Being accessible to your customers – and your prospective clients – via social media is a vital means of developing relationships with them…

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  • How to Market a Resort or Vacation Destination Online

    The travel industry has perhaps the greatest potential to grow and market online. Sadly, most hotels and resorts treat online marketing very much like they do traditional marketing – they setup a brochure website, and then forget about it. To truly engage an audience and sell more rooms, you need to look at web marketing as a living, breathing, entity. These online marketing tips don’t apply to local motels which would be best served by billboards and local marketing. Instead, I want to focus on true vacation destination hotels and resorts. Places people research and book in advance. Get the Basics Right – I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. No amount of marketing will make up for a poor product or service. If the rooms are dirty or checking in is a hassle, don’t expect marketing to make up for it. Of all the things people talk about online, hotels top the list. Do yourself a favor, take a percentage of your marketing every month, and use it to better the customer experience. Provide Tongue Candy – No, not mints at the front desk. But, stories that people will repeat when they go back home. I…

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  • How To Market Your Business on Instagram – A Complete Guide

    At only six years young, Instagram has exploded as not only a social media platform, but also as a versatile tool for marketers. It currently has more than 400 million monthly active users and 80 million photos generated per day. As a mobile-based application that gives users the power to share images and videos, the platform has an unparalleled engagement rate when compared to other social media sites. In a Forrester research study across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, they were able to confirm what marketers have long feared: engagement levels between people and brands are very low. Across five of the six networks studied, there was an average of 0.184% engagement from followers. Interestingly enough, Instagram blew these platforms out of the water with an engagement level of 2.261%, or about 10 times more engagement than Facebook and over 83 times more engagement than Twitter! Source Whether you’re already active on Instagram or looking for an introduction on how to get started, check out our guide below to creating a successful Instagram campaign! How to Set Up your Business Account In contrast to other social networks, Instagram is an app-based platform. So, the best place to start when setting up…

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  • shAMA: Ask Me Anything: How to Amplify Your Social Media Results

    In this week’s shAMA: Ask Me Anything, Shama shares tips on how to optimize your email marketing, get your employees to engage more on social media, and why it’s so important to create great content. For a transcript, scroll on down. Hey Zen Nation, Shama here! Welcome to another episode of Ask Me Anything, where you ask your burning questions and I do my best to answer all of them. Our first question comes from Aragon on Facebook – nice name! “What can be other good online marketing options other than social media, like Facebook, Twitter, etc. or spamming someone’s email?” So Aragon, boy, do I have news for you. One: if you’re doing email marketing you never have to spam anyone. You know, the olden days of buying lists and doing that, those practices are really coming to an end fast. What you want to do, though, is build up a permission-based email list. And it all starts with a good value, or something you can give in exchange for an email address, right. Whether you’re offering a piece of content, a webinar, a reported podcast, a guide to something – you want to make sure it is a…

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  • Shama TV: Is Social Media Fake?

    Another week, another Shama TV post! This week, Shama discusses the recent controversy of Australian Instagram model Essena O’Neil, who’s come out strongly against social media after amassing more than half a million followers on Instagram and almost 300,000 on YouTube. Watch the video to hear Shama’s take on what can be learned from O’Neill’s high-profile turnaround. For a transcript, scroll on down. Full Transcript: Hey Zen Nation, Shama here. Today we answer an age-old question: “Is social media fake?” Recently, an 18-year-old Australian Instagram model named Essena O’Neil has sparked quite a controversy around social media. She has come out with a very strong stance against social media claiming that a lot of her pictures were contrived and she wasn’t really happy when she was actually positioning herself as positive and happy and gleeful. She’s gone back actually to a lot of her Instagram pictures and re-captioned them with what she considers “the honest truth.” So, for example, she talks about taking hundreds of pictures just to get it right and going without meals just to look good for a picture. She has really come out swinging against social media and getting people to realize that a lot of what’s…

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  • How to Use Quora to Help Your Business

    Websites that allow you to pose questions to the internet at large have to be one of the both best and worst things web developers have given us. You can post the silliest, most random question—“What should I have for dinner tonight?”—and you’re bound to get a slew of answers, plus start an argument about the advantages of pizza with mushrooms versus pizza with spinach.