Make Money Selling Games You Stream on Twitch

Make Money when Watchers Buy Games on Twitch

Amazon-owned Twitch is now a place where you can both watch and make money streaming video games.

Earlier in the year, the streaming service had hinted about the launch of the digital games store, and now they are open for business and watchers can buy games on Twitch.

Make Money when Watchers Buy Games on Twitch

“In the spring of 2017 Twitch will be launching a new initiative to allow the sale of games and in-game items on Twitch. Partnered broadcasters that opt in can earn a 5 percent share of the revenue from purchases that originate from their channel page,” the company said in their official post. The games streaming service also added that there will be around 50 titles available this week, including Firewatch, Psychonauts, For Honor, and Telltale’s Walking Dead series among others.

Whenever you are broadcasting a game on Twitch, an offer to buy the game will automatically appear on your channel page regardless of whether you are opted in to receive revenue from purchases or not. However, to receive revenue for a purchase, you will have to be a registered partner.

Your viewers will also get a Twitch “crate” that comes loaded with a few surprises. This could be an exclusive emote, Twitch’s version o emoji; Bits, a kind of Twitch currency; or a chat badge, indicating the status of a contributor within the community.

The beauty about this setup is that you don’t have to do any selling. You just need to play and enjoy your game and you never know, you might just make some revenue out of it.

Image: Twitch

This article, “Make Money Selling Games You Stream on Twitch” was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

Whether we like it or not, social media has changed the marketing game for businesses in general. To start, businesses and customers have gained a new way to communicate with each other. Instead of the one-way communication we used to have before (brands reaching out to customers), now the interaction goes both ways. Customers can interact with businesses in real time and get backed up by millions of people in social media platforms. In turn, this puts more pressure on brands to be responsive and attentive.

In addition to higher levels of communication, customers also have the power to create content. Thus, brands don’t only have to compete with other brands for attention, but they also have to compete with regular people making content — which is, many times, the content that goes viral! You know — the cat, puppy, and kids videos and memes that get shared thousands of times.

Put simply, customers have more power than ever before.

They have more power to express themselves, create, and block advertisements from businesses. While many businesses may see this lack of control as a disadvantage, I encourage you to see it and use it to your advantage. Customers are already telling you what they want, so listen.

They are already showing you what they like with the content they create, so create similar and relevant content.

Most importantly, make them your stars by showcasing them in your content.

With this mindset, I’d like to show you some creative ways to acquire new customers, drive sales, and keep them coming back to purchase again.

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

Before getting into the tactics, I would like set some expectations and give you other valuable information to keep in mind. First, understand that your social media strategy may be a long-term investment, depending on the stage your business is in.

You’re going to have to have to make an effort to connect with your followers before you ask them to make a purchase, and building that connection takes time. The good news is that you can increase loyalty once the connection is built.

In addition, keep in mind that most people won’t make a purchase right away. Almost 20 percent of people need to see a social post or ad 5-8 times before making a purchase. Fortunately, you can get very strategic with remarketing advertising and get in front of your customers at the right time, with the right message.

1. Use Clever Ways to Sell Your Products Without Selling

The idea, here, is to find innovative ways to showcase your products in different contexts. It’s selling without directly selling.

People often use social media as a break from reality or a source for entertainment and are not actively looking to buy something, so they tend to block “buy from me” direct-selling ads. However, by giving them what they are looking for (entertainment), you can catch their attention and encourage them to make a purchase or, at the very least, follow you. Use the following ways to showcase your products:

a. Memes

According to Google, memes are “an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. A humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.”

Memes are often comical, which makes them entertaining and highly engaging. Use memes to your advantage to increase engagement with your brand while promoting your products and creating a “feel” or personality for your brand. Memes work well across all social media platforms.

For example, see how Gucci promoted their new watch on Facebook with this meme:

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

It does not directly say “Hey, we have this new amazing watch, come buy it,” but it uses a comical meme with a strategically positioned picture of the watch to promote it.

If you think memes are dumb, or they won’t work for your business, see what happened with Vans and the “Damn Daniel, back at it again with the white vans” viral video. A simple video made by high school students became a viral meme and helped Vans increase their sales.

Business Insider reported that Vans reported first-quarter earnings, on Friday, and beat expectations for profits and sales. It said direct-to-consumer sales spiked 20 percent, while online sales jumped 30 percent. Steven Rendle, the COO of Vans also added: “Of course, how could we not mention Daniel, as in ‘Damn Daniel’, which, as you can imagine, did have a strong impact on the sales of White Vans, which saw 100 percent sell-through in both retail direct-to-consumer and wholesale channels. “

Wow … all because of a simple meme.

b. Videos and Other Innovative Ways to Promote Products

Another way to sell without selling is to showcase products in real life. This can be done with the help of lifestyle shoots or more innovative creations, such as the post below:

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

This was another post by Gucci on Facebook to promote their new watch. It’s a visually appealing reminder that their new watch is out, without making a direct sell. The brand wisely made a whole series of engaging posts like the one above to remind their customers about their new watch. They used a combination of memes, videos, and simple images in the series. It is a smart way to promote a product in different and engaging ways without repeating the same message.

2. Use Influencers to Build Trust

Some of the biggest drivers of sales in social media and marketing, in general, are reviews and recommendations. A product suggestion from a friend, family member, or person one looks up to builds instant trust toward the brand: “If a friend likes it, it must be good.”

Instagram, in particular, is a great platform to use influencers to a business’s advantage. Choose someone who is an authority in your industry and have them wear or use your product. This is how Mac Cosmetics used influencers to their advantage:

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

They sell cosmetic products, so they partnered with a trusted source for makeup recommendations on Instagram: a makeup artist with almost 80k followers.

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

The influencer’s followers and Mac’s followers will see these posts and make a connection between the trusted makeup artist and Mac. This builds trusts and support for the brand.

3. Use Remarketing to Close the Sale

Mixed in with entertaining posts, you have to also advertise the more traditional way. This would be the more common method of offering ads that provide buttons which are linked to your website. Use them wisely by tracking conversions with tracking codes.

These tracking codes and other Facebook tools will allow you show remarketing ads to people who have previously visited your site or shown interest in your products. Targeting these warm leads will improve your chances of making a sale. Use the following recommendations when creating your next remarketing campaigns on Facebook:

a.  Custom Audiences

Facebook provides very powerful options to remarket to people who have previously visited a website with the use of Custom Audiences. You can create audiences based on the last time someone landed on your site and specific pages visited, or even create an audience using a customer list.

Using these custom audiences provides you a higher chance to drive sales because these leads are “hot.” They have visited your website, and they are familiar with your brand. These ads will encourage them to visit your website again and make a purchase or make their first purchase.

b. Engagement Custom Audiences

This type of custom audience allows you to target people who have previously engaged with your Facebook content. You can create an engagement audience based on people who have viewed your videos, opened your lead forms, or engaged with your Canva ads. Thus, these targets have not necessarily visited your website, just interacted with your content, but they are also “warm” leads. They already showed interest in your product or brand; it is just a matter of staying in front of them to encourage them to buy.

c. Lookalike Audiences

Once you set up your audiences, you can use lookalike audiences to expand your reach. These are people who are most similar to your audiences, so they will probably also be interested in your products. In addition, showing your ads to people who find them relevant can increase your relevance score and decrease your cost per lead. According to Facebook, eCommerce company Shopify saw a 2X decrease in cost per lead when using lookalikes of their website visitors.

Wrapping It Up

Social media can be a very powerful platform to gain new customers, nurture “warm leads,” and engage with existing customers to encourage them to visit your website again. However, you have to be innovative and strategic with your efforts. Use entertaining content to promote products without directly selling.

Also, use influencers to build social proof for your brand. Once you have built engagement and traffic to your site, you can easily remarket this audience to get the most out of your pay per click dollars and calculate your ROI. Finally, remember to manage your social media platforms closely and make optimizations as necessary.

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Acquire Customers with Social Media” was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

Whether we like it or not, social media has changed the marketing game for businesses in general. To start, businesses and customers have gained a new way to communicate with each other. Instead of the one-way communication we used to have before (brands reaching out to customers), now the interaction goes both ways. Customers can interact with businesses in real time and get backed up by millions of people in social media platforms. In turn, this puts more pressure on brands to be responsive and attentive.

In addition to higher levels of communication, customers also have the power to create content. Thus, brands don’t only have to compete with other brands for attention, but they also have to compete with regular people making content — which is, many times, the content that goes viral! You know — the cat, puppy, and kids videos and memes that get shared thousands of times.

Put simply, customers have more power than ever before.

They have more power to express themselves, create, and block advertisements from businesses. While many businesses may see this lack of control as a disadvantage, I encourage you to see it and use it to your advantage. Customers are already telling you what they want, so listen.

They are already showing you what they like with the content they create, so create similar and relevant content.

Most importantly, make them your stars by showcasing them in your content.

With this mindset, I’d like to show you some creative ways to acquire new customers, drive sales, and keep them coming back to purchase again.

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

Before getting into the tactics, I would like set some expectations and give you other valuable information to keep in mind. First, understand that your social media strategy may be a long-term investment, depending on the stage your business is in.

You’re going to have to have to make an effort to connect with your followers before you ask them to make a purchase, and building that connection takes time. The good news is that you can increase loyalty once the connection is built.

In addition, keep in mind that most people won’t make a purchase right away. Almost 20 percent of people need to see a social post or ad 5-8 times before making a purchase. Fortunately, you can get very strategic with remarketing advertising and get in front of your customers at the right time, with the right message.

1. Use Clever Ways to Sell Your Products Without Selling

The idea, here, is to find innovative ways to showcase your products in different contexts. It’s selling without directly selling.

People often use social media as a break from reality or a source for entertainment and are not actively looking to buy something, so they tend to block “buy from me” direct-selling ads. However, by giving them what they are looking for (entertainment), you can catch their attention and encourage them to make a purchase or, at the very least, follow you. Use the following ways to showcase your products:

a. Memes

According to Google, memes are “an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. A humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.”

Memes are often comical, which makes them entertaining and highly engaging. Use memes to your advantage to increase engagement with your brand while promoting your products and creating a “feel” or personality for your brand. Memes work well across all social media platforms.

For example, see how Gucci promoted their new watch on Facebook with this meme:

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

It does not directly say “Hey, we have this new amazing watch, come buy it,” but it uses a comical meme with a strategically positioned picture of the watch to promote it.

If you think memes are dumb, or they won’t work for your business, see what happened with Vans and the “Damn Daniel, back at it again with the white vans” viral video. A simple video made by high school students became a viral meme and helped Vans increase their sales.

Business Insider reported that Vans reported first-quarter earnings, on Friday, and beat expectations for profits and sales. It said direct-to-consumer sales spiked 20 percent, while online sales jumped 30 percent. Steven Rendle, the COO of Vans also added: “Of course, how could we not mention Daniel, as in ‘Damn Daniel’, which, as you can imagine, did have a strong impact on the sales of White Vans, which saw 100 percent sell-through in both retail direct-to-consumer and wholesale channels. “

Wow … all because of a simple meme.

b. Videos and Other Innovative Ways to Promote Products

Another way to sell without selling is to showcase products in real life. This can be done with the help of lifestyle shoots or more innovative creations, such as the post below:

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

This was another post by Gucci on Facebook to promote their new watch. It’s a visually appealing reminder that their new watch is out, without making a direct sell. The brand wisely made a whole series of engaging posts like the one above to remind their customers about their new watch. They used a combination of memes, videos, and simple images in the series. It is a smart way to promote a product in different and engaging ways without repeating the same message.

2. Use Influencers to Build Trust

Some of the biggest drivers of sales in social media and marketing, in general, are reviews and recommendations. A product suggestion from a friend, family member, or person one looks up to builds instant trust toward the brand: “If a friend likes it, it must be good.”

Instagram, in particular, is a great platform to use influencers to a business’s advantage. Choose someone who is an authority in your industry and have them wear or use your product. This is how Mac Cosmetics used influencers to their advantage:

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

They sell cosmetic products, so they partnered with a trusted source for makeup recommendations on Instagram: a makeup artist with almost 80k followers.

How to Acquire Customers with Social Media

The influencer’s followers and Mac’s followers will see these posts and make a connection between the trusted makeup artist and Mac. This builds trusts and support for the brand.

3. Use Remarketing to Close the Sale

Mixed in with entertaining posts, you have to also advertise the more traditional way. This would be the more common method of offering ads that provide buttons which are linked to your website. Use them wisely by tracking conversions with tracking codes.

These tracking codes and other Facebook tools will allow you show remarketing ads to people who have previously visited your site or shown interest in your products. Targeting these warm leads will improve your chances of making a sale. Use the following recommendations when creating your next remarketing campaigns on Facebook:

a.  Custom Audiences

Facebook provides very powerful options to remarket to people who have previously visited a website with the use of Custom Audiences. You can create audiences based on the last time someone landed on your site and specific pages visited, or even create an audience using a customer list.

Using these custom audiences provides you a higher chance to drive sales because these leads are “hot.” They have visited your website, and they are familiar with your brand. These ads will encourage them to visit your website again and make a purchase or make their first purchase.

b. Engagement Custom Audiences

This type of custom audience allows you to target people who have previously engaged with your Facebook content. You can create an engagement audience based on people who have viewed your videos, opened your lead forms, or engaged with your Canva ads. Thus, these targets have not necessarily visited your website, just interacted with your content, but they are also “warm” leads. They already showed interest in your product or brand; it is just a matter of staying in front of them to encourage them to buy.

c. Lookalike Audiences

Once you set up your audiences, you can use lookalike audiences to expand your reach. These are people who are most similar to your audiences, so they will probably also be interested in your products. In addition, showing your ads to people who find them relevant can increase your relevance score and decrease your cost per lead. According to Facebook, eCommerce company Shopify saw a 2X decrease in cost per lead when using lookalikes of their website visitors.

Wrapping It Up

Social media can be a very powerful platform to gain new customers, nurture “warm leads,” and engage with existing customers to encourage them to visit your website again. However, you have to be innovative and strategic with your efforts. Use entertaining content to promote products without directly selling.

Also, use influencers to build social proof for your brand. Once you have built engagement and traffic to your site, you can easily remarket this audience to get the most out of your pay per click dollars and calculate your ROI. Finally, remember to manage your social media platforms closely and make optimizations as necessary.

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Acquire Customers with Social Media” was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Apps for Creating a Digital Business Card

10 Apps for Creating a Digital Business Card

Just about everything has gone digital. Handing over a business card to a new business lead is no different. It’s just click or two away on your mobile device.

In today’s tech-savvy world, there are apps that design, store and send digital business cards to other mobile devices.

With digital business cards, you no longer need to rummage around a drawer overflowing with business cards to follow-up on a connection. These apps make it easier than ever to organize your connections.

Apps For Creating a Digital Business Card

Here are 10 apps that you can use to create your digital business card:

SnapDat

SnapDat is a free digital business card app that easily integrates with iPhone Address book. SnapDat business cards “SnapCards” can be shared though email or via the app. The app allows you to create multiple digital business cards for different purposes. And it’s convenient for both personal and business use.

CamCard

CamCard is among the best business card apps, and for a good reason. It is intuitive as it is able to read and scan cards in over 15 languages. It also allows you to import information from social media feeds. While you can try it for free, the app will set you back $5 per user per month for the Team package and $12 per user per month for the business package.

Knowee

Knowee offers several key features including, clickable links and thumbnails, an in-depth storage system, and you can also make direct calls from the card. The app has free Basic and Premium plans for a year, while the Business plan costs between 74 cents and $3.55 per user per month.

Inigo

This app allows you to manage your digital business cards in your app’s back office and create templates that you can deploy to your team’s smartphones. Inigo works with both Apple and Android devices. The standard version, appropriate for teams, is $5.49 per month, billed annually. A free version is also available.

Haystack

This is a modern business card solution that allows anyone to receive your cards even if they don’t have the app installed. Haystack also allows you to scan, share, update and store contact info with a simple scan of the card. You can also easily create your card from scratch. This app costs $4 per month for Premium plan and $199 per month for Enterprise plan. A Forever Free plan is also available.

eVaunt

This application allows you to create digital business cards with a responsive design that’s optimized for mobile devices and a unique web page address. eVaunt also allows you to embed a Google Map, upload a profile photo as well as display social networking icons.

OneCard

This is one of the best electronic cards out there. The platform allows you to create a digital hub giving your customers the option to choose how they connect with you. For instance, you can have a small bio telling a little more about yourself. You can also have a video introduction as well as all your social networks in one place. OneCard has a free plan, but if you are looking for pro options then you will have to part with $12 per month or $120 per year.

Clinck

Available for both Android and iOS, this free digital business card app allows you to create, store and send your contacts to all interested parties. Clinck allows you to add a personal message, photo, logo or LinkedIn profile, together with clickable links to your website.

about.me

Then there’s about.me which allows you to turn your page on the app into a shareable electronic business card you can send via email or your phone. You can share any combination of information from your about.me page including your email, phone number, photo and more. Your recipients can then save your details in their phone’s address book.

Icon

This is a digital business card app that allows you to create a rich, dynamic presentations culled from your social media content. Icon automatically aggregates content from your business’ social feeds including networks like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The app is available for both Android and iOS users.

Business Card Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Apps for Creating a Digital Business Card” was first published on Small Business Trends

New Twitter Location Sharing Feature Aimed at Businesses Talking to Customers in DMs

New Twitter Location Sharing Feature Aimed at Businesses Talking to Customers in DMs

Location is everything. It’s true.

And small businesses using Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) as a customer service platform can now personalize their responses better with a new locations sharing feature.

Using the Direct Messages feature on Twitter, companies can request to know the current location of a customer with a question. Knowing this information can help a business identify a customer and tailor their response based on where they are.

“Starting today, businesses building on our Direct Messages platform can request and share locations with people. Alongside quick replies, welcome messages and Customer Feedback Cards, this is yet another feature in the canvas we’re providing for businesses to create great human- and bot-powered customer experiences on Twitter,” says Twitter’s product manager Ian Cairns in an official blog post.

Twitter Location Sharing in Action

So, for example, a local towing company can now use Twitter location sharing to find stranded motorists in a flash if customers contact them for service.

Or, you can now easily lead customers to your closest open store, resolve customer complaints by identifying the correct store as well as enable ordering on the go.

New Twitter Location Sharing Feature Aimed at Businesses Talking to Customers in DMs

Customers, however, maintain control over the location information they share with your business.

“Businesses must first ask a person to share a location,” Cairns added. “That person can then choose to ignore the request, share a precise location, or pick a place name from a list — regardless of whether or not they are physically there.”

As Cairns correctly puts it, any business that seeks to deliver great customer experience must first understand a customer’s location for context.

The feature is still in beta, but you can apply to implement the new feature here.

Images: Twitter

This article, “New Twitter Location Sharing Feature Aimed at Businesses Talking to Customers in DMs” was first published on Small Business Trends

9 Methods for Keeping Your Social Media Content on Brand

9 Social Media Brand Management Tips

Social media requires a great deal of forethought: While it’s useful to draw attention, it is also easy to get off message. At best, this means momentary disinterest or confusion. At worst: Lost business. To prevent this, we asked nine entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC):

“What is one tip for keeping on top of your company’s social media accounts and ensuring all content is on brand?”

Social Media Brand Management Tips

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Hire a Social Media Coordinator

“Social media won’t necessarily bring in direct sales, but it can bring you visibility and brand recognition. Hiring a social media coordinator — someone who is experienced in and understands social media — is a great way to ensure your companies social media is relevant and on brand. Look at each candidate’s background and previous work before hiring to make sure you find the right person for the job.” ~ Jared BrownHubstaff Talent

2. Use Adept Interns and Review What They Plan on Sharing

“If you don’t have a dedicated social media manager, assign responsibility to your interns to manage social media accounts and content. Have a team member approve everything before it is shared or posted, and ensure the content is on-message and on-brand. Most of the content should be related to your business in some way.” ~ Duran InciOptimum7

3. Clearly Define Strategy and Processes to Stakeholders

“While there are a number of tools, such as HootsuiteSproutSocial or Mention, that can help with this, the most important aspect is to have a social media strategy in place. Once you have a strategy in place, you need to clearly define and communicate the individual processes. This way, stakeholders know what is on brand and what is not, as well as what the approval process is.” ~ Kevin GetchWebfor

4. Review Engagement Reports Monthly

“A monthly review of social analytics provides a snapshot of audience engagement. Not only does monthly reporting ensure that a company can stay on top of social media account activity, but reviewing the report can also offer new definitions of what is “on brand.” Your customers define your brand, and reviewing content with the best response enables you to give them more of what they want.” ~ Brett FarmiloeMarkitors

5. Use a Social Media Monitoring Service

“Use a social media monitoring service such as Google Analytics or HootSuite. Either will help you keep track of all of your social media accounts and assist in making sure that all content is on brand.” ~ Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

6. Create a Content Style Guide

“A company should maintain an updated content style guide that details its brand’s mission, voice and style. This guide should describe the brand’s tone (casual or professional), the appropriate types images to use (photography or illustrations), general content topics to avoid, punctuations to use, etc.” ~ Adelyn ZhouTOPBOTS

7. Set a Social Media Schedule

Create a schedule for delivering content, checking in on comments, and responding to questions or comments. This time frame keeps you focused on when you need to deal with social media, rather than having it just come up when you have a moment to check.” ~ Peter DaisymeDue

8. Automate Process Through Buffer

“The best way to stay on top of social media is by automating the process. There are many pieces of software that allow you to do that. Buffer is a good tool that allows you to post to multiple social media accounts, as well as schedule future posts. Before anything is published, you can review posts to make sure content is on brand.” ~ Volkan Okay YaziciStonexchange

9. Do a Social Media Audit of Your Channels

“A social media audit will help you understand which platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, are performing the best for you. Discover what channel brings in the most traffic and where your most engaged audiences are. Use that intel to decide where you’ll invest your time, and then set goals, such as how often you’ll post, or when. We’ve been able to keep a good cadence on social media now that we have a plan.” ~ Vincent WongmHelpDesk

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “9 Methods for Keeping Your Social Media Content on Brand” was first published on Small Business Trends

How To Organically Grow Your Brand’s Social Following

How to Increase Organic Social Media Growth

So, you want to build your brand’s social media following organically right?

Who doesn’t?

I mean, we’ve all spent too much money on social media ads just to see a slight increase in numbers.

Enough of that. You need a sustainable solution, one that you won’t have to keep dumping money into and wondering where it all went.

Here’s some good news, growing your social media following organically is easier than you might think. In this post you will find real, actionable steps that will grow your following.

Spoiler warning: none of these steps involve entertaining your audience with the latest memes in hopes that you’ll go viral. Nope, no fluff here. Just proven steps that generate real results.

How to Increase Organic Social Media Growth

Turn Website Visitors Into Social Media Followers

I know you care about social media, if you didn’t you wouldn’t be reading this. But what’s even more important than social media is your website.

Your website is and always should be your home base on the web. As a home base, one of the things it needs to do effectively is to direct traffic to other places your brand can be found on the web. Like your social media pages.

When a visitor lands on your website, it should be obvious what you want them to do next. If one of the things you want them to do is visit your social media pages, then you should be directing them there.

If you aren’t already doing this, then may I suggest that it’s time to redesign your site?

You need a home based that emphasizes and compels visitors to check out, and follow, your brand on social media.

With that being said, I suggest using one of the templates offered by one of the many leading website builders around. Why? Most of them offer ultra modern templates that are super easy to customize.

Here are some other tips your new site design to maximize your social media followers:

  • Include social media buttons above the fold AND in the footer of your site.
  • Put a call to action at the end of every blog post inviting website visitors to follow you on social media.
  • List all of your social media pages on your website’s contact page.

Repetition helps to make messages stick, so you want to repeat the message to follow you on social media as often as possible.

Integrate Email and Social Media Marketing

Now that you have your site turning visitors into social media followers, you’re going to want to do the exact same thing with your email subscribers.

Let me get on my soapbox for a second and explain why email is still important if you’re investing time in resources into social media marketing.

Even with social media being as popular as it is, users still prefer email. Here are a few stats to prove my point:

  • 58 percent of adult Americans prioritize email over any other form of communication.
  • 77 percent of people prefer email for receiving promotional messages.

Anytime that you send an email, make a post on Facebook, or send a tweet on Twitter  the chance of your customers seeing that one individual message is relatively slim.

Using email and social media together will improve the odds of customers seeing and interacting with your messages.

As Jay Baer of Convince and Convert puts it, Surround your customers with options to interact with your brand, and the chances that you will be able to interact with them at all go up considerably.”

See why email marketing is still important? Great! Here’s how to start building your list the right way.

Start Building Your Email List Now (If You Haven’t Already)

Let me go back to the subject of websites for a minute. On that website of yours, another thing you need is a landing page to capture visitors’ email addresses.

I know what you’re thinking already: I don’t have time for that! I’m busy enough as it is.”

This landing page is where your email subscribers will come from, so direct people to it as often as you can. Here are some quick tips:

  • Put a link to your landing page on your home page.
  • Link to your landing page at the end of blog posts.
  • Disperse links to your landing pages within your blog posts when it makes sense.
  • Tweet links to your landing page when appropriate, but not so often that it gets annoying.
  • Keep testing your landing page. If you’re not getting as many signups as you’d like, keep tweaking it.

Now that you know how to start building your list, or if you have a list already, I’m going to show you how you can use it to grow your social media following.

Here are some examples of things you can do with email marketing to organically boost those numbers on social media.

Put Social Media Buttons in Emails

The first thing to do, if you haven’t already, is to include social media buttons in your email messages. Link customers to the networks where your business is most active.

If your email subscribers aren’t connected with you on social media, a simple explanation might be that they just don’t know where to find you. Or they haven’t been asked to connect with you.

Let your subscribers know where to find you and include a call to action at the end of each email inviting them to connect with you.

Include Social Media Content In Your Email Newsletters

Give email subscribers an idea of what they’re missing if they’re not following you on social media. Start Including a ‘social media digest’ section in your email newsletters.

In this section provide a summary of your most engaging social media posts over the past month, such as most liked post on Facebook, most retweeted tweet, most re-pinned image on Pinterest and so on.

The idea here is to tease email subscribers with awesome content that can only be found on your social media pages.

Then invite your subscribers to visit your Facebook page to see the post. That will be hard to resist after they see how much your audience enjoyed what you posted.

Like I said earlier, there are only proven steps in this post. If you want proof that this works. Here’s a case study about how Calendars.com built a new monthly newsletter around this same idea.

This case study shows how Calendars.com integrated Pinterest, Facebook and blog content into their emails, which resulted in up to a 71 percent monthly increase in year-over-year open rates.

Offer Incentives For Email Subscribers To Follow You

When being asked to do anything, people want to know what’s in it for them. If you’re going to ask customers to follow you on social media, give them a reason why.

To encourage more email subscribers to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, or however you want them to connect with you, try offering an incentive like a special one day only sale will be triggered once our page gets 10,000 likes!

Or you can take a different route, and let subscribers know about a sale or promotion after it happens.

Here’s how that would work. In a an email newsletter you could announce to your subscribers:Our social media followers enjoyed a special, limited time fire sale over the weekend. Make sure to follow us so you don’t miss out on the next one.

This sounds like you’re leaving your subscribers out of an awesome sale, but the key is to have some sales exclusive to your email list every once in a while to balance it out.

Include A “Tweet This!” Button In Your Emails

You may not have heard of it before, but there’s a very handy tool out there called Click To Tweet that can help drive a ton of engagement on social media and more traffic back to your website.

How it works is simple. You just create the tweet you want others to send out, which can include links or images, and Click To Tweet creates an HTML code that you can embed into your emails.

For example, if you’re sending out an email about a new product you might include something like Our test audience increased their conversion rates by 30 percent in just one week!” followed by a link saying Click to tweet this stat!

When the user clicks on the link you can set it so they tweet out the stat along with a link back to the sales page to buy the product.

Here’s a live example: 82 percent of consumers open emails from companies. Click to Tweet this stat!

Build Anticipation

Build up hype around your social media accounts just as you would build up hype about the launch of a new product, or the launch of an amazing sale.

Let your audience know that some exciting news will be announced soon. Whether it’s in the next week, or two weeks, or month, or whenever. Set a date and build anticipation towards that date.

The only way your subscribers can get this news is by following you on social media. Remind them of this fact as you countdown the days towards your big announcement

For example, use your email list to hype up your social media accounts announcing something like, we’re releasing a new product in the next two weeks and our social media followers have the opportunity to get it before anyone else. Follow us now!

Conclusion

Did any of the above steps sounds too complicated? Did any of them sound like anything you couldn’t do?

See, growing your social media following organically is easier than you thought.

Here’s a basic recap of everything I went over:

  • Redesign your website to emphasize your social media accounts.
  • Set up a landing page to start building your email list.
  • When sending out emails to your list, encourage your subscribers to also follow you on social media.
  • Include a ‘Tweet This!’ button in your emails, as well strategically places social media buttons and some incentives to follow you.

Pretty simple, right? If you have anything else to add, I’d love to hear how you’ve organically grown your social media followers so we can learn from each other. Please leave a comment below!

Organic Growth Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How To Organically Grow Your Brand’s Social Following” was first published on Small Business Trends

20 Facebook Post Ideas Your Small Business Fans Will “Like”

20 Facebook Post Ideas Your Small Business Fans Will "Like"

If you want to connect with customers online, then you could almost certainly benefit from having a Facebook page for your business. But what should you post on that page to really appeal to your audience?

To answer that question, it can help to look at examples from some of the most popular Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) pages out there. Here are 20 types of Facebook posts that your customers are sure to “like.”

Facebook Post Ideas

Styled Product Photos

People on Facebook want to see fun visuals. So instead of posting information or plain product photos, share styled photos that show products in a unique way. This post from Chloe is a great example.

Commercials

Videos are especially popular on Facebook. So if your company has any video ads or commercials, especially short ones like this one from Coca-Cola, it’s a great place to share them.

Discount Notifications

If you’re having any kind of sale, you can use Facebook to share the details with your followers, or even offer exclusive discounts just for followers.

Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Facebook is also a great place to show your followers a bit of a behind-the-curtain look at your team and operations, as Virgin Atlantic does with these crew travel photos.

Events

Facebook makes it easy for you to create events and invite people to attend. Threadless’s page includes several examples.

Testimonials

You can also share stories and testimonials right from your customers, as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital does sharing some of the uplifting stories from its patients.

Quizzes

Quizzes can provide a simple way for you to get followers engaged with your content. This example from Disney Pixar is a great example.

Photo Sharing Threads

When you share a photo on Facebook, you can include a prompt to encourage your customers to share their own photos as well. National Puppy Day provided Petco with a perfect opportunity to do just that.

Re-posting Customer Photos

Chevrolet Camaro regularly posts photos that followers share of their own vehicles, which then also lead to shared photos from even more customers.

Throwback Photos

You can share a bit about your company’s history or some fun, nostalgic content. You can even get in on fun weekly themes like #tbt, as Turkish Airlines does in this post.

Live Demonstrations

For companies that sell products that might need some explanation or demonstration, Facebook Live can be a great way to show your followers.

Future Product Previews

You can also post photos or videos of products that you have yet to release, just to give your followers a preview and get them excited about an upcoming release. This can be specifically relevant for tech brands like Sony.

Brand Partnerships

You don’t have to use your Facebook page just to promote your own products or services. You can increase your reach by partnering with other brands to cross promote, like this post from Pepsi and Lays.

Recipes

Food and drink companies in particular can benefit from posting quick and easy recipes that include their products, like this video from Ben & Jerry’s.

Tutorials

You can also share DIY type posts or tutorials, either for projects that are actually useful or those that are just fun — like this one from Pringles.

Hashtags

Hashtags aren’t as popular on Facebook as they are on some other platforms. But they can still help you share themed posts and encourage sharing from followers as well.

Social Sharing

Chances are you have some other social media accounts in addition to Facebook. So you can share links to those accounts to help your Facebook followers find you elsewhere.

Mascot Fun

If your company has a mascot or character in its logo, you can post photos or videos of it with customers to add some fun to your page.

Helpful Articles

Not all of your posts have to deal specifically with your brand. You can also share articles and updates in other subjects that might be helpful or interesting to your target audience.

Holiday Greetings

On holidays, both major ones and lesser known celebrations, sharing a simple greeting can make for a popular post. You can even integrate your product into a photo or video like Fanta does here.

Facebook Like Illustration via Shutterstock

This article, “20 Facebook Post Ideas Your Small Business Fans Will “Like”” was first published on Small Business Trends

Pinterest Users Can Now Download Your Mobile App Right From a Pin

Pinterest Users Can Now Download Your Mobile App Right From Promoted App Pins

Pinterest is making it easier for you to drive users to your app.

The company has announced its Promoted App Pins are now available to all advertisers. This will make it easier for users to discover your mobile app and download it straight away.

Data Reveals Promoted App Pins Drive High-Quality Users

Israel-based internet marketing company Bidalgo did a trial run to see the impact of Pinterest’s new type of promoted pin in driving users. It found Promoted App Pins drive high-quality users that tend to take more in-app actions and make more in-app purchases than average users.

It also found keyword targeting delivered installs that were at least six percent cheaper and had 39 percent higher Day-3 Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) than other targeting options.

Weddings and bridal, hair and makeup, and fashion were the three best performing categories for Interest Targeting.

“Pinterest has quickly proven itself as one of the best platforms in the world to help app marketers drive large volumes of high-quality users,” said Peli Beeri, CEO of Bidalgo. “Promoted App Pins drive particularly good results because marketers can reach qualified users who have demonstrated a clear interest in their apps. We are extremely proud to be among the first Pinterest Marketing Partners to support Promoted App Pins, and we look forward to helping marketers leverage these new ad formats to grow their apps.”

Using Promoted App Pins for Your Business

Pinterest is a highly competitive platform with millions of apps vying for customer attention. With Promoted App Pins, it will be easier for users to find mobile apps that best meet their needs.

Promoted App Pins enable you to place install-oriented advertising within Pinterest users’ feeds. You can use them to target Pinners based on your brand’s objectives.

Post-install, Pinterest drives a high lifetime value for in-app actions, especially sign-ups and purchases.

Image: Pinterest

This article, “Pinterest Users Can Now Download Your Mobile App Right From a Pin” was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Hot Trends on Social Media Right Now for Main Street Store Owners

10 Hot Trends on Social Media Right Now for Main Street Store Owners

Social media offers a wealth of opportunities for main street store owners. By engaging with existing customers and reaching out to new ones, a small business can significantly enhance and promote its brand and ultimately improve its bottom line by utilizing and exploiting the unique opportunities social media provides.

The exhilarating world of social media is constantly evolving and the savviest of business owners keep up with these fluctuating social media trends. Small Business Trends takes a look at 10 hot trends on social media right now for main street store owners.

Hot Trends on Social Media for Main Street

User-generated Content

Caroline Barker, Content Marketing Manager at Main Street Hub, which helps thousands of local businesses manage their social media marketing and maintain their online reputations, provided Small Business Trends with some current hot social media trends for main street store owners.

One hot social media trend for main street store owners Barker highlights is user-generated content. The idea is simple. If customers are posting about your small business on their personal channels — share it! Just make sure to tag or credit them, and say thank you. These posts are great opportunities to show what’s happening in your business in real time and encourage new customers to give your business a try.

Facebook Live

Data shows social videos generate 1,200 percent more shares than text and images. Since Facebook Live debuted in 2015, the shrewdest of business owners have been capitalizing on sharing live-streaming videos on Facebook. By connecting your customers with your business via video, Facebook Live helps to increase the reach of your main street store.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is gathering momentum on social media channels. By sharing actual experiences rather than just information, augmented reality is creating new opportunities for brands to reach out and connect with their customers.

Real-time Content

According to Main Street Hub, audiences appreciate relevance and authenticity, so post about what’s happening in your business right now. You can tee up a Facebook Live feed or utilize trendy disappearing content like Instagram stories — but if you have a small team or a small budget, simply posting a photo of an employee, an event or something happening in the moment will get your audience engaged.

Chatbots

A type of artificial intelligence which can have conversations, chatbots are proving invaluable in helping the likes of main street store owners and other businesses communicate with customers and improve customer service by responding quickly to queries, questions and comments.

Messaging Apps

An incredible four billion users worldwide use messaging apps to communicate. With such a huge chunk of the global population utilizing this convenient way to communicate, messaging apps currently offer a tremendous opportunity for brands to exploit this presence. Perceptive business owners are using messaging apps to communicate one-on-one and develop relationships with customers.

Exclusive-to-Instagram Content

During 2017, it is estimated that a staggering 70.7 percent of brands will use Instagram. Instagram is definitely a social media forum small businesses cannot afford to ignore.

Main Street Hub says the coolest things to use on Instagram right now are their slideshow or carousel features, where you can upload multiple photos into one post, and Boomerang, where you can create a “mini video that plays forwards and backwards,” according to Instagram’s definition. Trying out new features on social platforms will impress your audience and vary your content.

Social Media eCommerce

The likes of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram now offer ways for users to buy products directly from their apps. With a growing number of consumers following brands on social media to search for products for sale, the shrewdest of main street store owners are leveraging these shopping habits within their social media strategies.

Create a Custom Snapchat Filter

Official statistics show that 158 million people are using Snapchat every day. This prolific use of Snapchat means it is a social media platform main street store owners should be utilizing to the maximum.

According to Barker, creating a custom Snapchat filter for the next event your business is throwing is the quickest, most economical way to capture a new audience on the platform. The website has a foolproof how-to list.  You can upload your own image or create one right on Snapchat, choose the date and time, and voila! You have a filter set up. Just make sure to let your customers know that if they’re using Snapchat they should scroll through to find your filter.

Mobile Advertising

Advertising revenue generated from mobile formats is increasing. On Facebook, for example, in 2016, 80 percent of the social media network’s $7 billion of ad revenue came from mobile ads. Savvy main street store owners and other small businesses are paying for mobile ads. The more creative and visually enticing the ads are, the better, as it will help get the mobile ad noticed.

Fargo Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Hot Trends on Social Media Right Now for Main Street Store Owners” was first published on Small Business Trends