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email_vs_Social

If there’s one thing you can count on in the digital world, it’s that most communities on the Internet love a good argument. When it comes to weighing the merits of email marketing and social media against one another, this adage holds strong with endless debates promoting both sides of the discussion. Unfortunately, for brands that are trying to fit both of these processes into an optimized and streamlined marketing strategy, this constant arguing doesn’t come close to answering the big question on everyone’s mind – which path is better for your company? To answer this dilemma once and for all, and ensure you’re not wasting a single dollar of your digital marketing budget, let’s delve into the benefits of both email marketing and social media management to see which one comes out on top.

The Power of Social Media

Since we primarily deal with email marketing, let’s start off with the challenger to the throne, social media. As marketing expert Jeff Bullas explains on his personal blog, there’s plenty that social media management has going for itself in terms of reach and potential benefits. For starters, there are currently over 2 billion active social media accounts on the web.

If you’re looking to dig a little deeper, this equates to a daily total of 4.5 billion likes on Facebook, 500 million tweets on Twitter, 70 million photo uploads to Instagram. Google+ also has an astounding 5 billion +1 button hits in this same time-frame. Needless to say, in terms of activity, it’s hard to deny that the world of social media is virtually humming with prospective clients and other interested parties.

Making the Case for Email Marketing

Of course, email marketing has plenty going for itself as well. In his look at the virtues of reaching out via the inbox, Stewart Rogers of Venture Beat points out that some sectors of this approach – namely mid-size businesses – enjoy an average return on investment of around 246 percent on the initial cost that goes into email marketing. For the smaller and enterprise-level businesses out there, these statistic still hits a more than impressive level of 183 and 117 percent, respectively.  As Rogers so eloquently puts it, email marketing is still the king when it comes to sheer impact, even if social media is a more expansive platform.

Which One’s Better for Your Brand?

So with this knowledge on hand now, it’s time to drop your social accounts and go all in on email marketing, right? While this kneejerk reaction seems right, Business 2 Community’s K.C. Claveria explains that it’s not exactly the best way to approach the situation.

Yes, email marketing offers up the biggest bang for your buck. In fact, Claveria points out that it should stand as the centerpiece of your digital strategy if you’re truly looking to maximize your impact with potential clients and consumers. However, email marketing operations truly thrive when you nurture and support these campaigns via secondary methods – like proper social media management.

Moving Forward with a Smart Plan

In order to get the most out of these two complementary outreach tools, it’s time to rethink your take on the discussion. Instead of worrying about which one is best, try to focus on promoting both platforms to the best of your abilities. As Pamella Neely of Web Marketing Today suggests, this all starts with finding simple and effective ways to integrate social media with your greater email marketing plans.

For instance, finding common ground between your inbox and social consumer segments can serve as the impetus for developing content for both groups. Once you have these offerings in hand, don’t be shy about letting each branch of your online community know that access to other similar selections can be had by joining the opposite platform. Acknowledging both outreach methods via your blog keeps this newly integrated trend moving in the right direction.

Additionally, you can also incorporate social share buttons on your email content as a way to help the truly stellar messages go viral with new online audiences. Even doing something as simple as using Facebook’s built-in opt-in feature can drive more traffic to your email contact list.

The big point to take away here is that as long as you’re willing to explore new territory, there’s no reason why you can’t bolster the reach of your inbox initiatives with the support of savvy social management practices. Considering how important both are to your digital prospects, it’s easy to see why getting behind these approaches can do wonders for your connection to the consumers that matter most.

 

whatsapp

Any time a brand is able to blend the appeal of social media with the power of SMS marketing, it’s hard not to want to jump on board and go all in with this approach. However, when it comes to the fervor surrounding WhatsApp, is this rising competitor to traditional SMS operations really a contender, or just another flash in the pan? To answer this question, let’s dig into the particulars of the WhatsApp platform, as well as where this outreach tool fits into your marketing operations moving forward.

The Skinny on WhatsApp

Of course, if you’ve never heard of WhatsApp before, chances are you’re sitting at your desk feeling a little perplexed right about now. According to Inc. magazine’s Lydia Belanger, this SMS alternative has picked up quite a bit of steam in portions of the world where cellular-based text transmissions are either unavailable or exceedingly expensive. For only about one dollar a year, users of WhatsApp can connect with friends, family, and select brands on a regular basis via in-app communications.

Outside of the notion that consumers in India and other emerging marketing can’t get enough of WhatsApp, there’s also the fact that the bigwigs at Facebook dropped a whopping $19 billion in cash, shares, and treasury stock to acquire this platform and explore future overlap between this app and the biggest social network on the web. Even if WhatsApp doesn’t come close to supplanting SMS marketing, those who reach out to consumers via social media outreach definitely have to stop and take note when Facebook starts making waves with moves like this one.

Understanding the Power of This Platform

In terms of raw numbers, Practical Ecommerce’s Samantha Collier notes that this platform – which launched in 2009 – currently lays claim to over 700 million users. Perhaps even more impressive than the sheer amount of people who have WhatsApp on their phones is the fact that over 70 percent log on and check their messages daily. It might not match up to the near 100 percent open rate experienced by SMS marketing, but for such a youthful new member to the digital marketing community, this kind of consistent interaction is a strong sign for the future of potential held within WhatsApp.

Can WhatsApp Really Displace SMS Operations

Now that you’re an expert on both SMS marketing and this rising contender for the throne, it’s time to talk about whether or not WhatsApp has what it takes to stake a claim as a suitable replacement for this form of outreach. While there’s no denying that the excitement and potential around WhatsApp is tangible, the reality of the situation is that texting with your customers still stands as one of the most effective and reliable ways to connect with potential shoppers and other interested individuals.

As Venture Beat’s John Haro explains, brands and marketers alike should tread carefully when it comes to abandoning SMS marketing for the untested waters of WhatsApp or any other new player in the digital world. Yes, leveraging WhatsApp might work well in situations when you’re trying to reach consumers around the globe, but for campaigns primarily operating out of North America, expecting a positive reaction by transitioning to a new platform is a fairly lofty goal.

Adding in that Facebook still hasn’t publicly released information on what exactly it plans to do with this latest acquisition makes the situation even more confusing going forward. If this social media giant institutes a new payment plan or other limitations for consumers or brands that utilize this platform, it could completely alter the dynamic of WhatsApp as it currently stands.

The Right Approach for Your Brand

The truth of the matter is that WhatsApp can be a powerful addition to your social media marketing operations – it just isn’t an applicable substitute for the power that’s held within an appropriately managed SMS campaign. Instead of trying to replace SMS marketing, a better course of action seeks to find a spot for WhatsApp in a complimentary role. Just like managing Twitter, Facebook, and other network accounts, leveraging this platform in a supporting role can help drive even more people to the main attraction – your optimized SMS campaign.

Should the time come for WhatsApp to take center stage, then this approach will have you ready and capable of making the transition while others fight with a steep learning curve. Until then, keeping the focus on SMS marketing is the best way to maximize the impact of your assets and reach the consumers that matter most to your brand.

 

pinterest

It’s no big secret that social media is the hottest thing on the web – and a major factor in the success of plenty of email marketing campaigns as well. However, there’s still plenty of brands who think that if you’re not working with Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, then there’s little to be gained by blending these two powerful portions of the digital world together. To help dispel this myth, and provide you with a more visually engaging alternative to the social media “Big Three,” here’s a look at how and why utilizing Pinterest can help give your inbox initiatives a major boost.

Delving into the Power of Pinterest

To start this discussion off right, we need to answer the big question that serves as the foundation for the rest of this conversation – is Pinterest’s audience really big enough to worry about? As Marketing Land’s Martin Beck explains, the answer to this question is an overwhelmingly emphatic, “yes!”

With over 50 billion “pins” posted to date, Pinterest has experienced a growth rate of over 66 percent in the past year. Aside from becoming one of the most explosive platforms on the web in recent memory, this visually oriented site also draws well from consumers who are on the go, relying upon mobile devices for 80 percent of its traffic.

Is There Really Room for Overlap?

With millions of people logging in daily, there’s no denying that Pinterest is a hot commodity. However, is it really worth building a branded page and using this tool to raise awareness for your email campaign based upon what you know about your target audience? Again jumping back to Beck’s research can help provide an answer to this question.

As you’ve already seen, mobile audiences can’t get enough of the site, so if your base of consumers also conducts its business from smartphones and tablets, chances are there’s already plenty of overlap. Additionally, Pinterest continues to see growth among more youthful viewers and international visitors alike. If any of these attributes serve as part of your ideal consumer profile, it’s time to start talking about when – and not if – you should make the jump into this social platform.

Putting Your Brand in a Position to Succeed

In order to raise awareness about your email marketing operations, and in a broader sense your brand itself, you’ll need to have a smart and sound strategy leading the way. As Sujan Patel of Small Business Trends points out, if you want to tap into this platform that lays claim to over 50 million users, you need to make a strong first impression.

Just like your inbox oriented content, appearing professional and inviting is a big deal for new members to your social community. Picking a branded cover photo, completing your profile information, and sorting and organizing your pins via appropriate board labels and categories all work well toward this goal.

Once you have the foundation in place, it’s time to start talking about the content that’s worthy of being pinned to your page. Generally, you’ll want to find an appropriate blend of content that intrigues the person on the other side of the screen and offerings that help espouse your brand persona and ideals. By keying in on both of these fronts and providing a unique and active experience for this audience, your brand can build interest among these viewers and drive more traffic toward your email campaign sign-up pages.

Going the Extra Mile

If your brand really wants to go above and beyond in terms of reach and awareness, Social Media Examiner’s Debbie Hemley suggests cozying up with other major players in your industry. Interacting with influencers on Pinterest allows your brand to reap the rewards of recommended pins and mentions that end up in front of substantial audiences. Naturally, these connections can’t be forced – you’ll have to work toward a legitimate relationship with these established members of the community. But once a nod toward your email marketing list and other endeavors end up on one of these prominent pages, it won’t take long for you to realize that all of this hard work hasn’t been in vain.

By now, there’s no doubt that Pinterest can play a major role in supporting your email marketing and other outreach operations. As long as you put these tips and tactics to good use and keep your brand open to exploring new opportunities on this front, you can move forward with confidence knowing that your brand is getting the most out of this constantly growing platform.

 

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As far as social media goes, it’s hard to top the raw reach and power offered by Facebook. Sure, it might not have a complete monopoly on the market, but this platform still stands as the top dog when it comes to using social networks to generate consumer outreach. Of course, having everyone vying for the same spotlight can make it pretty hard to get noticed as you try and build a following. If you’re about ready to give up hope and call it quits with Facebook, take a few minutes to read over these quick tips and tricks that could help you get back on track for converting your social presence on this front into increased email contact list membership.

The Too Little/Too Much Dilemma

The first place to look if you’re struggling to make a dent in your target audience is how often you post on this network. As Jesse Aaron of Business 2 Community explains, regardless of whether you’re trying to promote your email content or just gain a few more likes, committing to posting too often or not enough can end your chances of making a splash before you even log in to your account.

Unfortunately, when it comes to frequency, there is no magic number to aim for as you map out your social schedule. Generally, you’ll need to gauge the feedback from your audience and key in on high traffic and activity times – a little more on this later – as well as watch for opportunities to stay relevant and current with breaking stories. Social media is all about having your voice heard, so slipping in some non-promotional posts and offering insight or reactions to trending topics can help you break down the frequency barrier and keep your audience interested.

Make Use of Facebook Analytics and Data

Speaking of your audience, Aaron goes on to point out that there’s no reason not to know quite a bit about these people, considering the ample suite of data and analytics tools built into the Facebook platform. Not only can this information help you decide when and what to post, but it also has the ability to help splash a little insight into your email marketing operations and message content. Naturally, there’s not always this kind of room for crossover, but as you learn more about your Facebook audience and find this potential overlap, you’ll see that this type of efficiency offers quite a bit of incentive to keep pushing forward with both your social and inbox operations.

Take Creativity to a New Level

In terms of your actual Facebook posts and shares, AdWeek’s David Cohen recommends that you let your creative side off of its leash and have a little fun. Holiday themed offerings, “behind the scenes” insight into how your company works during daily tasks or special events, and even sharing the occasional meme or funny picture, fits the bill. People come to Facebook to let off a little steam and enjoy some digital rest and relaxation, so try and be the fun brand from time to time. If you can do this, you’ll find there’s plenty of opportunities later on to provide a quick glimpse into what’s going on in the inbox.

Ask Questions

As you probably know by now, faking or manufacturing interaction with your audience isn’t just a tough task – it’s virtually impossible. If you want to try your hand at some authentic back and forth, Victor Luckerson of Time magazine has a surprisingly simple, and effective, suggestion; ask a question.

Simply skipping the “statement” posts and requesting a response from your audience in the form of a thought-provoking or intriguing question can help get your brand name trending. The best part is that as followers respond, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to engage each person and present an active persona on behalf of your organization.

Don’t Be Afraid to Give Your Brand a Little Boost

Of course, sometimes doing your best just isn’t enough to get over the hump in this highly competitive social arena. For this reason, Luckerson goes on to point out that there’s nothing wrong with picking up some targeted ads or even cross-promoting with already established entities. Both of these methods might force you to readjust your company’s marketing budget, but the return in brand awareness – and eventually email list gains – should make this investment more than worthwhile. Once you’re on the map, putting the rest of these tips to good use, and spreading the word about your email content, should become a decidedly easier affair.

 

5_Quick_Tips_Google+

Social media and email marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly, Bonnie and Clyde, two peas in a pod, and virtually any other simile or metaphor you can come up with off the top of your head that relates to great pairs. It’s well-documented and far from earthshattering in terms of news potential, but there’s no way to skirt around the facts. However, what is a little surprising is the fact that Google’s favorite social project does fly under the radar a bit in terms of exposure – at least when compared to the amount of attention given to Twitter and Facebook. To help give your brand a competitive advantage over other organizations that are still fighting for dwindling share and reach on these other networks, let’s take a look at five quick tips that can help you become a big name on Google+.

Get Familiar with Gmail/Google+ Messages

One of the biggest things going for Google+ is the extended reach it offers for active members of the community. As Danny Sullivan of Marketing Land explains, Google+ users, including your brand, can send messages to anyone else on the network. While this message does show up in the social tab of the new Gmail interface, it provides an extra avenue for communication with individuals who might not be aware of your email offers and discounts. Adding that it helps promote your brand’s standing on this ever-growing network doesn’t hurt either.

Make the Most of the People Widget

After you start building up a list of followers on Google+, you’ll find that your posts start popping up in the people widget section of the Gmail interface. As Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch points out, highlighting recent posts and comments in this portion of the inbox serves as additional marketing real estate for your brand. Essentially, if you plan out your social media content with this concept in mind, you can create a deeper and lasting bond with your contact list that blends Google+ posts and the deals and discounts held within your current email content seamlessly.

Keep an Eye on Influencers

Of course, sometimes people don’t want to experience a deluge of marketing offers when they open up their inbox in the morning. With this in mind, Forbes magazine’s Kate Harrison suggests keeping an eye on influencers and developing content and social outreach that leans heavily on these major industry voices.

The end game for this method is two-fold. First, simply watching for relevant or interesting posts and links from these individuals on Google+ helps improve the quality of your email content. Additionally, if you can leverage your emerging position on this network into a relationship with these influencers, then mentions, recommendations, and exclusive content that your competitors can only dream of could stand as a well-earned reward for your hard work.

Understand and Utilize Google+ Analytics

Harrison goes on to note that for brands looking at any form of online outreach, from email to social and other digital strategies, the audience analytics offered by this social network are second to none. For instance, the “post ripple” feature tracks virtually every facet of a given submission to the platform. From distribution channels to top influencer interaction and sharing velocity, taking note of how users interact with this content can help shape and mold your email message moving forward.

Think of it as an alternate form of A/B testing. If something ignites your social circles on Google+, chances are it has a home in your next marketed message. Similarly, if you have a recent offer in the inbox that is doing well, there’s no reason not to double up and hit your social audience for even more conversions and brand awareness.

Optimize Your Profile

Finally, it’s no big secret that Google is the biggest name in the search engine business, so it makes sense to optimize your profile and rank higher on relevant result pages. Filling out all relevant entries, keeping your profile content up to date, and using accurate imagery all help kick this process into high gear. If you want to go to the next level, Cindy King of Social Media Examiner recommends using your profile to claim authorship for any original works generated on behalf of your brand.

Even if it’s just a simple industry white paper or report, connecting your social presence to these high value pieces of content can help increase the reach of your online persona. This, in turn, should help funnel even more interested consumers into your contact list, which means all the world for brands that are serious about taking the inbox by storm.

 

Email-Marketing--Building-a-Better-Bond

While it’s not necessarily breaking news, there’s still quite a few brands that aren’t on to the powerful connection between social media and email marketing. As for those who are “in the know” regarding this veritable match made in heaven, there’s plenty among this group that can’t see beyond the wide reach of Facebook and the SEO benefits of Google+. While there’s no denying the merits of these two major platforms, this oversight does present a strong opportunity for brands like your own to leverage the unused potential of Twitter. To find out just how your brand can start boosting conversions and contact list numbers 140 characters at a time, here’s a few tips to help build a better bond between your email marketing operations and Twitter presence.

Collecting Handles and Follows

One of the oldest tricks in the book for brands looking to build a bigger social presence comes in the form of slipping in quick connection requests at opportune times. With this in mind, why not try to connect with a simple request in the inbox or on the checkout screen after landing a conversion thanks to your creative email content? Twitter lays claim to over 284 million active users, so even if you only harvest a small percentage of followers for your email marketing operation, or the handles of prominent customers for later tweets and outreach, the potential for visibility among previously undiscovered audiences is through the roof.

Become a Major Player in the Right Hashtag Discussions

Of course, simply asking inbox viewers to follow your brand or identify themselves on the network for your marketing team only goes so far. To really spread the word about your email marketing operations, or any other related digital marketing content for that matter, you need to have your tweets seen in the right place, at the right time, and by the right people.

So how does a brand do this? The answer revolves around finding the right hashtag conversations. For instance, the constantly flowing discussion within #emailmarketing matters quite a bit to us, just as a brand in the home improvement industry naturally will gravitate toward #diy and #interiordesign. The big point here is that finding specific, narrow conversations and inserting your brand directly into the middle of these relevant discussions goes a long way.

Make the Most out of Retweetable “Snippets”

One of the best ways to accomplish this goal once you’ve honed in on the right hashtags is by making certain portions of your email content retweetable with a simple click by the viewer. As DJ Waldow of Social Media Examiner explains, highlighting the best “snippets” of your content goes beyond the basic plea of “retweet this!” and gives your inbox audience a great reason to promote your brand presence on Twitter to their followers. Incorporating tweets and quotes from industry thought leaders also fits into this tactic exceptionally well.

If you’re struggling to drum up some interest on this front, Waldow goes on to point out that incentivizing the process is not only fair game, put a pretty smart tactic as well. Whether it’s providing an additional entry into a related email or SMS sweepstakes, or simply unlocking some gated content in return for this action, giving your audience a reason to retweet the best parts of your marketed messages can go a long way toward getting this highly valuable content in front of the eyes of potential new members of your contact list and future customers alike.

Have Some Fun with Your Tweets

Above all else, don’t forget what makes Twitter so popular – it stands as one of the most fun and informative places on the Internet. Whether it’s sharing funny cat pictures or a link to the latest great industry white paper, people simply can’t get enough of these brief glimpses into the lives of others. In short, the average Twitter experience touches on quite a few emotions and subjects, so if you want to best leverage this platform to gain more traction for your email content and increase conversions, you can’t afford to approach this process from just one angle of attack.

To avoid disenfranchising your following – and ruining potential gains for your email marketing operations – don’t be afraid to mix in some lighthearted or engaging content. People aren’t always looking for sales-oriented content, so aim for a healthy blend of branded selections and curated content that’s both informative and enjoyable. By doing this, you’ll key in on the best of both worlds and keep users, both longstanding and new to the fold, coming back for more.

 

social-media-2015

2015 will be the year of social media. In fact, Jeremy Harris Lipschultz, a professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and contributor to The Huffington Post, suggests that nothing will influence online marketing operations more than how brands integrate these social platforms into the other facets of digital outreach. Considering that email marketing still stands supreme in terms of reach and conversion potential, it only makes sense to start with the bond between these two when building a plan that maximizes the gains of this rising social trend. To help get you up to speed and ready to reap the rewards of a more social 2015, here’s a few quick tips to strengthen the connection between this form of media and the content you ship off to customers.

Mixing Things up with Blasts and Shares

The first tip comes from Nicole Kroese of Business 2 Community and touches on the basic – but oft overlooked – practice of including social share links in your email marketing blasts and content. While it might seem like an obvious inclusion, plenty of brands fail to incorporate these simple buttons and hyperlinks into their content, which in turn results in missed opportunities for bolstering your social following while also enacting your standard email strategy.

If you’re shipping out webinars, white papers, or any other content that can go viral, you can help propel this content to viewership far outside of your established inbox audience by including a sweepstakes or giveaway promotion. People love the chance to win free stuff, so why not offer up something enticing in exchange for a like, share, or repost? This way, you’ll not only drum up some interest within your current community, but also enhance your ability to connect with viewers who might be unaware of your content and email subscription list.

Retarget Your “Cold Feet” Prospects

For brands willing to further entwine their email marketing operations with social media and digital marketing at large, Kroese goes on to suggest utilizing the powerful Facebook retargeted ad campaign tool when the time comes to attempt another conversion. By retargeting individuals that reached your landing pages after opening an email or social link but didn’t quite go all the way with a sale, you can advertise on the most relevant platform and keep your brand’s name in the discussion. There’s no guarantee that you’ll convert all of these shoppers who would otherwise slip through the cracks, but leveraging the power of social media and breathing new life into the deals and discounts found in your emails via a new medium is hard to pass up.

Make Unsubscribing a Positive

Not everyone stays subscribed to your email contact list, but that doesn’t mean you and these wayward viewers can’t stay in touch. As Pamella Neely of Web Marketing Today explains, just because someone doesn’t want to receive emails anymore, that doesn’t mean he or she is completely done with your brand. By adding in social like, follow, and favorite buttons on your unsubscribe confirmation page, you leave the door open for consumers that might just need a change of pace in terms of brand contact. Who knows? After enjoying your social content for a while, they might decide that it’s time for a change of heart and come back to the list. At the very least, you can keep your brand from completely being cut out of the picture.

Generate Web-Based Versions of Your Email Content

Similarly, building web-based versions of your email content is a great way to show these unsubscribed viewers what they are missing. Not only can your brand tweet, post, and share these deals and discounts as a way of promoting its email contact list and generating value, it also provides users with a way to share specific offerings with friends and family. In short, web-based clones of your email content extends the reach even farther of this already powerful tool.

Spotlight Exceptional Fans

Finally, any time you can add a little human element to your content, you’re doing something right. With this in mind, why not take the best posts, tweets, and other follower activity and add it into your email content? Having a “customer spotlight” section in your emails on a daily or periodic basis not only helps break up the “salesy” nature of many messages, it also gives people a chance to hear from their peers before accepting an offer. Combining this modern take on testimonials and other tips with your current content can help seal the deal and ensure you always extract the most value from email marketing and social media in 2015 and beyond.

 

The world of hip-hop is a polarizing industry, to put things mildly. While some love the genre and its varying styles and flavors, there’s plenty on the other side of the fence that have some not so kind things to say about this type of music as well. However, when it comes to SMS marketing, picking sides on this discussion matters little in the grand scheme of things. What’s more important is the potential lessons and strategies this segment of the music world holds for those willing to spend some time uncovering the clues. To find out if any of this insight fits in with your upcoming marketing plans, let’s delve into the finer points of some of the more engaging and innovative information employed by major names within the business.

Getting Creative Counts

To start off the discussion, there’s no better place to turn than Max Porter, of music industry news source Hypebot, and his look into the use of text message marketing by Keith Cozart. As one of the up and coming young artists in the urban Chicago area, Cozart employs a unique brand of SMS outreach that blends YouTube with the always available access to the text inbox found within his youthful audience.

While dealing with the constraints of house arrest during his rise to fame in 2012, Cozart commissioned a series of viral videos on YouTube that showcased his rap skills with friends and fellow artists. Aside from the good tunes, this burgeoning star also promoted his SMS contact list via the videos. As these offerings spread across the web, fans tuned in and signed up in order to receive alerts and notifications regarding concert dates, album releases, guest appearances, and much more.

Even if you’re aiming to promote more conventional products and services than those offered by Cozart, the message here is pretty clear. Combining other popular platforms, like YouTube or even email marketing, with savvy SMS practices is a quick and easy way to boost your contact list numbers.

There’s Power in Social Media

Porter goes on to note that letting social media followings go by the wayside, whether you’re in the hip-hop industry or working in another market, is a major marketing faux pas. In his illustration of this concept, Porter points to the nearly over 11 million followers of Kanye West. If even a small fraction of this base would opt-in to a marketing contact list, the return generated by this influx would be worthy of a spot in our case study series immediately.

Naturally, not every brand can boast follower numbers that rival a rap icon. However, the point still holds plenty of merit. If you have any sort of tangible presence on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Converting these individuals into a stable and engaged contact list is a quick and easy way to tap into a powerful SMS foundation that would otherwise go unused.

Every Demographic Loves Text Messaging

The final message you can take from the unexpected, but undeniable, connection between SMS marketing and the hip-hop industry is that both appeal and cater to demographics of all shapes and sizes. From the more youthful populations to the older generations, with over 5.1 billion people owning a smartphone around the world, as reported by Laura Varley of Digital Marketing Magazine, the odds of your target audience not responding well to SMS marketing is slim to none.

In fact, spend some time thinking long and hard about whether or not there’s a plausible scenario in which the individuals most closely related to your brand don’t respond well to access to deals and discounts via SMS messages. Having trouble? That’s because the reality of the situation is that modern culture revolves around smartphones and instant access, making it perfectly logical for the marketing moguls of the hip-hop world and other businesses to hone in on this platform during the planning of outreach with consumers and fans alike.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that following in the footsteps of this portion of the music industry is a surefire way to employ a successful mobile marketing program. While these tactics, concepts, and facts can serve as the basis of an SMS plan, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board if things don’t quite pan out. Even if it takes a little time, once you find the right way to deploy your deals and offers to the customers that matter most, the results and positive feedback will surely end up being music to your ears.

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In terms of raw power and the ability to connect with your targeted audience, few things even come close to deserving mention in the same sentence as email marketing, let alone having the potential to stand as its equal. However, there is one thing that takes an inbox initiative to the next level by adding an astounding amount of reach and power to the equation – social media. The only problem is that plenty of brands that try to combine the two fall woefully short, thanks to mishaps and implementation mistakes. To make sure your brand never ends up in this less than illustrious company, let’s spend a few minutes going over the five social media mistakes that have no place in your campaign as you attempt to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Misunderstanding the Relationship Between Social Media and Email Marketing

The first mistake on the list also happens to address the social media and email marketing connection from a distinctly big picture perspective. As Shea Bennett of the All Twitter resource explains, too many brands fail to see inbox connections and the social networking landscape as it rightfully stands – two sides of the same coin. Because both methods of outreach work so well together, thinking of the two as separate or disjointed parts is not only incorrect, but can lead to inefficiencies in your content development. By basing your strategy around the notion that email marketing and social media work hand-in-hand through each phase of connecting with customers, you can approach your upcoming campaigns with a mindset that promotes interactive and interconnected offerings.

Offering up a Drastically Different Social Page

In terms of the design of your social pages – from Twitter to Facebook and Google+ – Lisa Cannon of Business 2 Community notes that presenting a profile that drastically differs from the themes and design of your current brands website creates a jarring and disjointed experience that can turn your audience off in a hurry. Instead of operating these branches of your digital outreach as separate entities, consider taking a more streamlined approach that promotes continuity across all fronts. This way, your email content, social profiles, and official website all stand as a unified and professional representation of your brand.

Lacking Extra Content on Your Social Profiles

Another major mistake that can sink your social media operations highlighted by Cannon focuses on the lack of non-sales oriented content on profiles and accounts. While there’s nothing overtly wrong with sharing the same discounts and deals that end up in the inbox of your followers on these platforms, only offering this kind of content is a quick way to lose the attention of social viewers. Repurposing and sharing content from your site, as well as relevant offerings from around the web, helps differentiate your brand as a thought leader, which in turn completes the powerful one-two punch of valuable marketing offers and entertaining content.

Spreading Your Brand’s Presence Too Thin

When it comes to deciding on which networks best compliment your email marketing campaign, your answer should focus on quality and not quantity. As Bob Hutchins of Social Media Today explains in his look at properly utilizing these networks in a supporting role, spreading yourself too thin and trying to use every platform available is a bad idea. If you’re able to properly monitor, post, and interact on a multitude of social media sites, you’re much better off honing in on a smaller selection and maximizing your impact with the target audience this way. You can always spread to new platforms later if you’re comfortable with the position your brand holds on the original selections.

Failing to Respond to, and Acknowledge, Feedback

Of course, the whole reason social media even matters in today’s world is because it offers people and brands a way to constantly interact in a meaningful and enjoyable manner. If you’re not embodying this mentality, there’s no reason to log into Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform.

While posting discounts and updates about brand products and services is a nice place to start, if you really want to see your organization flourish, and your email contact list numbers start trending upward, don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit with your followers. Whether it’s answering questions or responding to comments and suggestions, showing that your company is interactive and can offer more than just the standard sales pitch goes a long way toward tapping into the power of social media. With this ideal guiding the way, and the rest of these potential mistakes in your rearview mirror, there’s nothing stopping your brand from enjoying a healthy and vibrant social media and email marketing campaign.

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It’s officially Small Business Month here in Canada, so there’s no better time than now to talk about how your business can connect with the local community and build some lasting relationships. Considering that people across the country can’t get enough of social media these days, as well as the fact that these networks play an integral part in any successful email marketing campaign, let’s spend a few minutes talking about how your small business can change up its outreach approach and hang with the industry big boys on Facebook, Twitter, and more moving forward.

Relationships Come First

Just like going through the process of requesting permission before firing off marketing emails, you can’t get ahead of yourself when it comes to connecting with your audience on social media. As Donne Torr of Hootsuite, a social marketing aggregation tool, explains in her look at the particulars of navigating these platforms from the perspective of a small business, emphasizing relationship building is a key part of the process.

Instead of spamming newsfeeds with requests to buy your products or join your brand’s email contact list, focus on interacting and conversing with followers and individuals who frequent related social circles. If you can present this kind of personable front for your organization, the potential for conversions will grow organically from this solid foundation.

Run with a Different Crowd

When it comes to picking the right network for your social endeavors, Emily Wight of The Guardian’s Small Business Network points out that business-to-business opportunities are better suited for LinkedIn than anywhere else. If your brand focuses on forging contracts and finalizing sales with other organizations before reaching retail markets, it makes sense to skip the casual appeal of Facebook or Twitter and opt for this more professional platform.

One of the best ways to engender this concept and make major headway in regard to professional relationships comes from posting in relevant industry oriented groups. The more you provide thought-provoking or conversation-inducing content in these groups, the more likely you are to notch a few more members on your contact list.

A neat little trick that works especially well once you join these groups is to repurpose your email or blog content into condensed posts. Naturally, you’ll want to freshen up these offerings and avoid simply copying the source material. If you can do this, repurposing is a quick and easy way to share something valuable on the network without spending hours trying to reinvent the wheel.

Find Ways to Stand Apart

Regardless of which networks you decide to incorporate in your approach, Nicole Fallon of Fox’s Small Business Center explains that it’s vital to the success of your campaign to stand out. While following in the path of the bigger names in your industry definitely requires the least amount of work, it’s also unrealistic to expect much out of this approach.

To really embody this mindset, Fallon suggests stepping out of line and doing something creative and fun. Whether it’s putting a premium on humorous or light-hearted content that adds a little levity to your followers’ coffee breaks or posting a weekly look into the daily operations of your organization (a video blog uploaded to YouTube works wonders for this concept), doing something aside from a few generic posts a day is the best way to stand apart from the masses.

Keep an Eye on the Competition

For the history buffs out there, Sun Tzu’s famous words of advice regarding knowing oneself and the enemy as well before a battle will ring especially true for this next social media tip. Specifically, Jean Moncrieff of Business 2 Community suggests spending some time looking at the profiles of your top three to five competitors in the industry. By doing a little “scouting” on these organizations, you can see what works and what doesn’t in terms of interaction and visibility, which in turn refines your brand’s approach before it even begins.

Spend Some Time Measuring Progress

Finally, Moncrieff goes on to point out that none of this work matters if you don’t spend some time analyzing your success and failures. Whether it’s keeping a pulse on the rise and fall of raw follower numbers and email contact list opt-ins or going a little deeper and recording the shares, likes, and favorites on individual posts, having some sort of metric in place goes a long way to finding out if your campaign is a finely tuned machine or if it’s closer to “fixer-upper” status. Regardless of how you measure your campaign, adding in some performance indicators, as well as the rest of the other tips covering social media success, can help your organization make the most of its time spent on these networks during Small Business Month and beyond.

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