Social media & online communities marketing

Social media has become popular and powerful enough that any website should be taking advantage of it. Is a cost-effective promotion tool for reaching thousands of potential customers without spending a single dollar on pay-per-click ads. There are quite a few widely known social media sites that are worth checking:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Profiles
  • YouTube or Vimeo (if you have or will have any video content)
  • Flickr or Instagram (if you have any graphics or images content)

Each of the site above has its own pros and cons and its target audience. There are also many other online communities that are worth a look:

  • Quora
  • Pinterest
  • Slideshare (if you have any presentations)
  • Scribd (if you have any document content)
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit

Depending on the industry you are in, there are many niche communities and social media service you may join (e.g. in software, this might include places like StackOverflow, Github, Hacker News, etc.)

Reaching people via social media

“ 64% of marketers are using social media for six hours or more and 41% for 11 or more hours weekly. More than half of this marketers who’ve been using social media for at least two years report it helped them improve sales.. ”
Social Media Examiner, 2016

Reaching people via social media

Using social media as a marketing tool can help you grow, here are some of the benefits

  • Increase brand awareness: Having a presence on social media, makes easier to your customers or users to find and connect with you. This way is more likely to increase customer retention and brand loyalty.
  • Higher conversion rates: Studies made by Hubspot reveals that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand, improving your probabilities of conversion.
  • Higher brand authority: Engaging and interacting with your customers regularly is a demonstration of good faith for some users. The more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to new users.
  • Increase inbound traffic: Without social media, your website traffic is restricted to users already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for keywords you currently rank for. Every social media profile is a path that leads to your website, and every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is an opportunity for a new visitor. The more quality content you post on your social media channels. The more inbound traffic you will generate, also increasing your leads and conversion rate.
  • Better SEO rankings: SEO is the best way to capture relevant traffic through search engines, but the requirements changes very often. Currently updating your blog, optimizing title tags and meta descriptions, and distributing links pointing back to your site is not enough. Google and other search engines make social media presence a significant factor in the formula to calculate your website rank. That means, if you want to rank for a given set of keywords, having a strong social media presence could be almost mandatory.
  • Richer customer experiences: Social media it’s a communication channel like phone calls or email. Giving thanks for a customer compliment or addressing a comment about a customer issue and taking action to make resolve the matter, it’s is an opportunity to prove your customer service level and improve your relationship with your customers.
  • Improve customer insights: Social media also gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information about what your customers are interested in and how they behave. You can measure conversions based on different promotions posted on various social media channels and eventually find a perfect combination to generate revenue.
  • Potential losses are minor: The amount of time and money it takes to create your profiles and start posting is minimal, compared to other marketing channels. Just six hours a week or a few dollars is all it takes to establish your presence.

You have a limited amount of time and resources that you can spend It’s very important to consider all these online communities carefully before choosing the ones you want to focus on. Setting up these accounts diligently is important – don’t just re-use the same short bio or snippet over and over. Spend the time to build fleshed out profiles that have comprehensive information and interact/network with peers and those with similar interests to help build up reputation on the site. Be sure that you are active and post updates approximately once per week. You don’t want to spam your connections, but regular postings will keep you top-of-mind and boost your thought leadership credentials. The effort is worth the reward – empty, unloved social accounts do virtually nothing, but active ones can drive traffic, citations, awareness and value.

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Create a website A-Z

A website design project is not only a work of art, it’s a carefully crafted product customized for the exact purposes of the website owner to showcase products, services or brand. There are numerous steps in the website design and development process.

Phase One: Information Gathering

Many things need to be taken into consideration when designing a website, that’s why in the beginning is good to sit down with all the persons involved and discuss as many issues as you can. This means that if the usage and operation of the website involves sales, inventory management, and accounting then all these departments should be involved in the whole process. Knowing the purpose, goals, the target audience and the kind of content of the site, will help the software service provider to understand the client needs and make the best decisions. For this you should consider some aspects:

PURPOSE

What is the purpose of the site? What defines your bsuiness and how do you wnat to represent it on the website? What kind of website will it be: an online store, corporate blog, portfolio… ?

GOALS

What do you want to achieve by building this website? The most common goals are either to share information or make money.

TARGET AUDIENCE

Is there a specific group of people that will help you reach your goals? It is helpful to picture the “ideal” person you want to visit your web site. Consider their age, sex or interests – this will help to determine the best design style for the website.

CONTENT

What your target audience will be looking for on your site? What appeals to their needs and desires? Are they looking for specific information, service or product…?

Phase Two: Planning

With the information gathered the designer team will create a sitemap of the website – a list of all main subject areas of the site, as well as sub-subjects. Sitemap is essential to develop the site and will help to understand better the navigation system.

Also in this phase will be decided which features and technologies will be implemented in the website – interactive forms, parallax animation, search engine, discount features, social media feed, etc.

Phase Three: Design & Prototype

Based in the target audience, the purpose of the website and the brand guidelines, the designers will create a prototype of the website. Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration here. A site aimed at teenagers, for example, will look much different than one meant for a corporate institution or an online store. The client will review the design and give constructive feedback.

In this phase, communication is crucial to guarantee that the final website will match the needs of the client. The designer and the client will work together, exchanging ideas, until they arrive at the final design for the site. Once the final design of the website is approved, the developers can start working.

Phase Four: Development & Testing

This is where the web site itself is created. The development team starts transforming the approved design into working website. Also in this phase the content provided by the client will be distributed and organized throughout the site, in the appropriate areas.

Various testing sessions will happen at the end of this stage to ensure the quality of the final work. The team will test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, test for last minute compatibility issues (viewing differences between different web browsers), ensuring that the site is optimized to be viewed properly in the most recent browser versions.

Phase Five: Deployment & Hand-over

Once the final version of the website is approved, it is time to deploy the site. Tested final work will be deployed to the server at the data center, ready for real-live usage. This marks the official launch of your site, as it is now viewable to the public. With this the creation process is completed.

The proper documentation and backend admin are handed over to the customer. On-site training sessions can be held according to the details and requirements set in the project’s contract.

Phase Six: Maintenance & Marketing

A good website isn’t a one-time event, but rather an extensible communication tool that requires regular updates to stay valuable, relevant and compelling for visitors. The maintenance plan should clarify roles and responsibilities for every aspect of the website.

Launching a website is a first step in the long process to promote your services, products or brand. Social media and online communities are great sources to generate inbound traffic, improve conversion rate, better SEO ranking, brand awareness, etc.

Creating and launching a new website is a big accomplishment. There are countless hours that go into designing, coding, reviewing, testing, and publishing a website. Once you’ve built a great website, keep the momentum going. Devote resources to regular maintenance, and check in with visitors regularly to identify areas for improvement.

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