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25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

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Social media has the power to grow your brand into a massive empire.

But if you aren’t careful, it can do just the opposite.

Take Snapchat, for example.

In 2018, Snapchat ran an ad game called “Would You Rather?”

One of the questions asked was if users would rather “Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown.”

The result?

Worldwide outrage and an $800 million loss for Snapchat.

Sure, the ad’s bad taste is pretty obvious. No one wants to play a game based on domestic violence.

But did you know there are other less-noticeable social media blunders that lead to a bad reputation and failure to grow your brand?

Here are some you should never do.

25 Social Media Blunders You Should Stay Away From

Stay away from these 25 mistakes, and your social media campaign will flourish.

1. Not Being Up-to-Date with Current Trends

In 2016, Wendy’s posted a meme of Pepe the Frog dressed up as their mascot.

What they didn’t know was that the cute cartoon frog had recently become an image of racism and white supremacy.

It’s not hard to imagine the response.

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

To avoid a mistake like Wendy’s, do a little research before posting anything on social media.

2. Posting Insensitive Content

Be humorous, but stay away from insensitive jokes.

We all remember the Yanny vs. Laurel audio clip that tore the web apart.

To jump into this trend, the U.S. Air Force’s Twitter manager posted this social media gaffe.

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

Just. No.

3. Confusing Your Business Account with Your Personal Account

It’s important to be entertaining and engaging, but don’t forget to distinguish between business posts and personal posts.

For instance, don’t post a photo of what you had for lunch on your business account (unless you run an organic diet-in-a-box food service).

4. Getting Angry When You Get Negative Comments

As your brand grows, you’ll get both positive and negative comments.

Remember, negative comments are there to help you improve.

Deal with them open-mindedly and try to solve the problem instead of lashing back.

Here’s an example from a buyer who complained at Toblerone’s Facebook Page.

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

Toblerone’s response?

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

When you put genuine effort into helping customers with their problems, you both appease customers and gain input for your brand’s improvement.

5. Skipping the Editing Process

Before posting anything on social media, edit it viciously.

Typos and grammar mistakes will be noticed, and they won’t do your brand any good.

6. Failing to Address Mistakes

No matter how strict you are with your rules and guidelines, mistakes will pop up now and then (because we’re all human, right?).

When they do, address them tactfully. You can even be a little humorous.

Take this example from The Red Cross addressing their social media specialist Gloria Huang’s mistake as inspiration.

7. Posting Only When Inspiration Strikes

On your personal social media account, you can post any time the mood strikes you. Or not at all.

Not so with your business account. In fact, the more you post, the more exposure you’ll gain.

Here’s a quick guideline from Volusion on how often to post on different social media platforms.

  • Facebook and Instagram: Once or twice daily.
  • Twitter: 5-10 tweets daily.
  • Pinterest: 5-30 pins daily.
  • Linkedin: 20 posts a month.

8. Forgetting Your Mission to Enrich Your Followers’ Lives

Starting a business isn’t all about boosting your earning potential. It’s about developing a product or service that’ll enrich people’s lives.

So when you take to social media, make it your goal to reflect that mission.

Share content that’s useful, relevant, and helpful to people. Enrich their lives.

Look how Great Escape Publishing does it on their Facebook page.

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

9. Sounding Too Salesy

While it’s a good practice to promote new products on social media, don’t overdo it.

No one will keep following a brand that constantly pushes them to buy something.

10. Ignoring Comments on Your Posts

Engagement is of top priority on social media. So when your followers comment on your posts, comment back.

Here are some tips on responding to comments:

  • Be friendly but professional.
  • Absorb what people are saying and write an appropriate response. Don’t simply reply with “Thanks for your comment!”
  • Be helpful. Your goal should be to leave users feeling satisfied.

11. Limiting Yourself to One Social Media Platform

Facebook is today’s largest social network, with more than 2 billion users.

While you should be active on Facebook, don’t leave out other popular social networks that cater to audiences beyond Facebook.

Some of these include Linkedin (660 million members) for business users and Pinterest (322 million users) for creatives.

12. Being Active on All Social Networks

Don’t limit yourself to Facebook, but don’t go overboard with activity across all social networks.

The key is to find which networks your potential customers are most active in.

For instance, if you’re marketing to business people, focus on LinkedIn.

If your customers are mostly Gen Z, pour your efforts into Snapchat.

13. Buying Followers

Although it’s tempting to grow your followers list fast, buying followers is a bad idea.

Numbers aren’t everything.

A single person who engages with your brand is better than a hundred who ignore it.

14. Leaving Out Photos & Video

Photos and videos, done right, are attention-grabbers.

For instance, this beautiful photo from the Emirates Facebook Page got more than 7,000 reacts.

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

15. Forgetting Your Target Audience

If your target market is the business world, leave out sharing Kylie Jenner’s latest tweet, or Taylor Swift on Jimmy Fallon laughing about her embarrassing post-laser-surgery video.

16.  Being Satisfied with the Generic

Find a way to make everything you post unique.

Here are some ideas that work:

  • Interview a satisfied customer.
  • Share a personal story.
  • Answer a question customers in your niche usually ask.

17. Not Making Use of Hashtags

Hashtags give social media users a roadmap to finding what’s relevant to them online.

Using the right ones will leverage your brand and get you more attention.

Look at this example of smart hashtag usage from Foyles Bookshop’s Twitter page.

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

18. Putting Up an Impersonal Front

Social media is all about connections.

Users want to talk to humans, not robots.

So make your posts relatable, friendly, and fun.

For instance, check out this engaging and humorous post from Taco Bell on Twitter.

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

19. Leaving Out Healthy Competition

Run contests on social media whenever you can!

You don’t have to offer a trip to Italy or a million dollars.

Sometimes, an Xbox Game Pass is enough to boost brand engagement.

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

20. Doing Everything Yourself

How do you manage 2 Facebook posts, 1 Instagram story, 30 pins, and 10 tweets in one day?

If you do everything yourself, your quality will deteriorate.

The answer?

Hire a tech-savvy, witty, experienced social media manager.

21. Not Using Influencers

Influencer marketing is a powerful strategy that promises a huge ROI.

For instance, how many of us have heard of Proactiv because of Kendall Jenner’s ambassadorship?

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

When choosing an influencer, don’t go for any random celebrity or expert who’ll pose with your product for money.

Jenner was a good choice for Proactiv because of her well-known acne issues.

22. Being too Casual

Leave out the slang, acronyms, and shortcuts.

“You are beautiful” works better than “U R GORG” every single time.

23. Not Getting Help from Ads

Posts from users’ family, friends, and favorite pages can easily drown your brand’s content on social media.

In this case, it’s a good idea to boost your marketing with paid ads.

24. Always Posting Your Own Content

Sharing content from other users related to your niche is helpful to your followers.

Also, it allows you to leverage your brand by identifying with well-known personalities and businesses.

25. Forgetting to Listen

The bigger your brand grows, the more it’ll be talked about.

Be sure you listen. Use tools like Hootsuite and Google Alerts to help you.

How to Avoid Social Media Blunders That Will Cost Your Marketing Campaign

You want your social media campaign to bring you up instead of down.

What it boils down to is knowing where to draw the line between good and bad marketing practices.

  • Be friendly but not unprofessional.
  • Be outspoken but not insensitive.
  • Be personal but not too casual.
  • Post your own content, but not too much of it.
  • Promote your products, but don’t be salesy.

Once you find the right balance for every aspect of your campaign, you’ll be on your way to success!

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, November 2019

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How to optimize your online forms and checkouts

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How to optimize your online forms and checkouts



Forms are probably the most important part of your customer journey. They are the final step where the user entrusts you with their precious personal information in exchange for the goods or services you’ve promised.

And yet, too many companies spend minimal time on making sure their form experience is a good one for their users. They don’t use data to establish where the UX problems are on their forms, and they don’t run form-specific experiments to determine how to improve their conversion rate. As a result, too many forms are unnecessarily driving potential customers away, burning potential revenue and leads that could have been converted if they had only spent a little time and effort on optimization. Two-thirds of people who start a form don’t go on to complete it, meaning that a lot of money is being left on the table.

This article contains some of our top tips to help optimize your forms + checkouts with the goal of improving their conversion rate and delivering more customers and leads.

Use data to identify your problem fields

While user testing and session replay tools are useful in identifying possible form issues, you should also be using a specialist form analytics tool, as this will allow you to quantify the scale of the problem – where are most people dropping out – and prioritize improvements accordingly. A good form analytics tool will have advanced insights that will help work out what the problem is as well, giving you a head start on creating hypotheses for testing.

A/B test your forms

We’ve already mentioned how important it is to nurture your forms like any other part of your website. This also applies to experimentation. Your A/B testing tool such as Optimizely should allow you to easily put together a test to see if your hypothesis will improve your conversion rate. If there is also an integration with your form analytics tool you should then be able to push the test variants into it for further analysis.

Your analytics data and user testing should guide your test hypothesis, but some aspects you may want to look at are:

  • Changing the error validation timing (to trigger upon input rather than submission)
  • Breaking the form into multiple steps rather than a single page
  • Removing or simplifying problem fields
  • Manage user expectations by adding a progress bar and telling them how long the form will take upfront
  • Removing links to external sites so they are not distracted
  • Re-wording your error messages to make them more helpful

Focus on user behavior after a failed submission

Potential customers who work their way through their form, inputting their personal information, before clicking on the final ‘Submit’ button are your most valuable. They’ve committed time and effort to your form; they want what you are offering. If they click that button but can’t successfully complete the form, something has gone wrong, and you will be losing conversions that you could have made.

Fortunately, there are ways to use your form data to determine what has gone wrong so you can improve the issue.

Firstly, you should look at your error message data for this particular audience. Which messages are shown when they click ‘Submit? What do they do then? Do they immediately abandon, or do they try to fix the issue?

If you don’t have error message tracking (or even if you do), it is worth looking at a Sankey behavior flow for your user’s path after a failed submission. This audience will click the button then generally jump back to the field they are having a problem with. They’ll try to fix it, unsuccessfully, then perhaps bounce back and forth between the problem field a couple of times before abandoning in frustration. By looking at the flow data, you can determine the most problematic fields and focus your attention there.

Microcopy can make the checkout experience less stressful

If a user is confused, it makes their form/checkout experience much less smooth than it otherwise could be. Using microcopy – small pieces of explanatory information – can help reduce anxiety and make it more likely that they will complete the form.

Some good uses of microcopy on your forms could be:

  • Managing user expectations. Explain what information they need to enter in the form so they can have it on hand. For example, if they are going to need their driver’s licence, then tell them so.
  • Explain fields. Checkouts often ask for multiple addresses. Think “Current Address”, “Home Address” and “Delivery Address”. It’s always useful to make it clear exactly what you mean by these so there is no confusion.
  • Field conditions. If you have strict stipulations on password creation, make sure you tell the user. Don’t wait until they have submitted to tell them you need special characters, capital letters, etc.
  • You can often nudge the user in a certain direction with a well-placed line of copy.
  • Users are reluctant to give you personal information, so explaining why you need it and what you are going to do with it is a good idea.

A good example of reassuring microcopy

Be careful with discount codes

What is the first thing a customer does if they are presented with a discount code box on an ecommerce checkout? That’s right, they open a new browser tab and go searching for vouchers. Some of them never come back. If you are using discount codes, you could be driving customers away instead of converting them. Some studies show that users without a code are put off purchasing when they see the discount code box.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can continue to offer discount codes while mitigating the FOMO that users without one feel:

  • Use pre-discounted links. If you are offering a user a specific discount, email a link rather than giving them a code, which will only end up on a discount aggregator site.
  • Hide the coupon field. Make the user actively open the coupon box rather than presenting them with it smack in the middle of the flow.
  • Host your own offers. Let every user see all the offers that are live so they can be sure that they are not missing out.
  • Change the language. Follow Amazon’s lead and combine the Gift Card & Promotional Codes together to make it less obvious.

An example from Amazon on how to make the discount code field less prominent

Get error messages right

Error messages don’t have to be bad UX. If done right, they can help guide users through your form and get them to commit.

How do you make your error messages useful?

  • Be clear that they are errors. Make the messages standout from the form – there is a reason they are always in red.
  • Be helpful. Explain exactly what the issue is and tell the user how to fix it. Don’t be ambiguous.

Don’t do this!

  • Display the error next to the offending field. Don’t make the user have to jump back to the top of the form to find out what is wrong.
  • Use microcopy. As noted before, if you explain what they need to do early, they users are less likely to make mistakes.

Segment your data by user groups

Once you’ve identified an issue, you’ll want to check whether it affects all your users or just a specific group. Use your analytics tools to break down the audience and analyze this. Some of the segmentations you might want to look at are:

  • Device type. Do desktop and mobile users behave differently?
  • Operating system. Is there a problem with how a particular OS renders your form?
  • New vs. returning. Are returning users more or less likely to convert than first timers?
  • Do different product buyers have contrasting expectations of the checkout?
  • Traffic source. Do organic sources deliver users with higher intent than paid ones?

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About the author

Alun Lucas is the Managing Director of Zuko Analytics. Zuko is an Optimizely partner that provides form optimization software that can identify when, where and why users are abandoning webforms and help get more customers successfully completing your forms.


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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

Now that we’ve officially settled into the new year, it’s important to reiterate that among the most effective ways to promote your business are Google Ads. Not only do Google Ads increase your brand visibility, but they also make it easier for you to sell your services and products while generating more traffic to your website.

The thing about Google Ads, though, is that setting up (and running) a Google Ads campaign isn’t easy – in fact, it’s pretty beginner-unfriendly and time-consuming. And yet, statistically speaking, no platform does what Google Ads can do when it comes to audience engagement and outreach. Therefore, it will be beneficial to learn about and adopt some smart bidding strategies that can help you get the most out of your Google Ads.

To that end, let’s check out a few different bidding strategies you can put behind your Google Ads campaigns, how these strategies can maximize the results of your Google Ads, and the biggest benefits of each strategy.

Smart bidding in Google Ads: what does it mean, anyway?

Before we cover the bidding strategies that can get the most out of your Google Ads, let’s define what smart bidding means. Basically, it lets Google Ads optimize your bids for you. That doesn’t mean that Google replaces you when you leverage smart bidding, but it does let you free up time otherwise spent on keeping track of the when, how, and how much when bidding on keywords.

The bidding market is simply too big – and changing too rapidly – for any one person to keep constant tabs on it. There are more than 5.5 billion searches that Google handles every day, and most of those searches are subject to behind-the-scenes auctions that determine which ads display based on certain searches, all in a particular order.

That’s where smart bidding strategies come in: they’re a type of automated bidding strategy to generate more conversions and bring in more money, increasing your profits and cash flow. Smart bidding is your way of letting Google Ads know what your goals are (a greater number of conversions, a goal cost per conversion, more revenue, or a better ROAS), after which Google checks what it’s got on file for your current conversion data and then applies that data to the signals it gets from its auctions.

Types of smart bidding strategies

Now that you know what smart bidding in Google Ads is and why it’s important, let’s cover the best smart bidding strategies you can use to your advantage.

Maximize your conversions

The goal of this strategy is pretty straightforward: maximize your conversions and get the most out of your budget’s allocation toward said conversions. Your conversions, be they a form submission, a customer transaction, or a simple phone call, are something valuable that you want to track and, of course, maximize.

The bottom line here is simply generating the greatest possible number of conversions for your budget. This strategy can potentially become costly, so remember to keep an eye on your cost-per-click and how well your spending is staying inside your budget.

If you want to be extra vigilant about keeping conversion costs in a comfy range, you can define a CPA goal for your maximize conversions strategy (assuming you’ve got this feature available).

Target cost per acquisition

The purpose behind this strategy is to meet or surpass your cost-per-acquisition objective that’s tied to your daily budget. When it comes to this strategy, it’s important to determine what your cost-per-acquisition goal is for the strategy you’re pursuing.

In most cases, your target cost per acquisition goal will be similar to the 30-day average you’ve set for your Google Ads campaign. Even if this isn’t going to be your end-all-be-all CPA goal, you’ll want to use this as a starting point.

You’ll have lots of success by simply leveraging target cost per acquisition on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but you can take this one step further by creating a single tCPA bid strategy that you share between every single one of your campaigns. This makes the most sense when running campaigns with identical CPA objectives. That’s because you’ll be engaging with a bidding strategy that’s fortified with a lot of aggregate data from which Google’s algorithm can draw, subsequently endowing all of your campaigns with some much-needed experience.

Maximize clicks

As its name implies, this strategy centers around ad optimization to gain as many clicks as possible based on your budget. We recommend using the maximize clicks strategy if you’re trying to drive more traffic to your website. The best part? Getting this strategy off the ground is about as easy as it gets.

All you need to do to get started with maximizing clicks is settle on a maximum cost-per-click that you then earmark. Once that’s done, you can decide how much money you want to shell out every time you pay for a bid. You don’t actually even need to specify an amount per bid since Google will modify your bids for you to maximize your clicks automatically.

Picture this: you’ve got a website you’re running and want to drive more traffic to it. You decide to set your maximum bid per click at $2.5. Google looks at your ad, adjusts it to $3, and automatically starts driving more clicks per ad (and more traffic to your site), all without ever going over the budget you set for your Google Ads campaign.

Conclusion

If you’ve been using manual bidding until now, you probably can’t help but admit that you spend way too much time wrangling with it. There are plenty of other things you’d rather be – and should be – spending your time on. Plus, bids change so quickly that trying to keep up with them manually isn’t even worth it anymore.

Thankfully, you’ve now got a better grasp on automated and smart bidding after having read through this article, and you’re aware of some important options you have when it comes to strategies for automated bidding. Now’s a good time to explore even more Google Ads bidding strategies and see which ones make the most sense when it comes to your unique and long-term business objectives. Settle on a strategy and then give it a whirl – you’ll only know whether a strategy is right for you after you’ve tested it time and time again. Good luck!

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

The world survived the first three months of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

But what are marketers doing now? Did your brand follow the shift Dennis Shiao made for his personal brand? As he recently shared, he switched his primary platform from Twitter to LinkedIn after the 2022 ownership change. (He still uses Twitter but posts less frequently.)

Are those brands that altered their strategy after the new ownership maintaining that plan? What impact do Twitter’s service changes (think Twitter Blue subscriptions) have?

We took those questions to the marketing community. No big surprise? Most still use Twitter. But from there, their responses vary from doing nothing to moving away from the platform.

Lowest points

At the beginning of the Elon era, more than 500 big-name advertisers stopped buying from the platform. Some (like Amazon and Apple) resumed their buys before the end of 2022. Brand accounts’ organic activity seems similar.

In November, Emplifi research found a 26% dip in organic posting behavior by U.S. and Canadian brands the week following a significant spike in the negative sentiment of an Elon tweet. But that drop in posting wasn’t a one-time thing.

Kyle Wong, chief strategy officer at Emplifi, shares a longer analysis of well-known fast-food brands. When comparing December 2021 to December 2022 activity, the brands posted 74% less, and December was the least active month of 2022.

Fast-food brands posted 74% less on @Twitter in December 2022 than they did in December 2021, according to @emplifi_io analysis via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When Emplifi analyzed brand accounts across industries (2,330 from U.S. and Canada and 6,991 elsewhere in the world), their weekly Twitter activity also fell to low points in November and December. But by the end of the year, their activity was inching up.

“While the percentage of brands posting weekly is on the rise once again, the number is still lower than the consistent posting seen in earlier months,” Kyle says.

Quiet-quitting Twitter

Lacey Reichwald, marketing manager at Aha Media Group, says the company has been quiet-quitting Twitter for two months, simply monitoring and posting the occasional link. “It seems like the turmoil has settled down, but the overall impact of Twitter for brands has not recovered,” she says.

@ahamediagroup quietly quit @Twitter for two months and saw their follower count go up, says Lacey Reichwald via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

She points to their firm’s experience as a potential explanation. Though they haven’t been posting, their follower count has gone up, and many of those new follower accounts don’t seem relevant to their topic or botty. At the same time, Aha Media saw engagement and follows from active accounts in the customer segment drop.

Blue bonus

One change at Twitter has piqued some brands’ interest in the platform, says Dan Gray, CEO of Vendry, a platform for helping companies find agency partners to help them scale.

“Now that getting a blue checkmark is as easy as paying a monthly fee, brands are seeing this as an opportunity to build thought leadership quickly,” he says.

Though it remains to be seen if that strategy is viable in the long term, some companies, particularly those in the SaaS and tech space, are reallocating resources to energize their previously dormant accounts.

Automatic verification for @TwitterBlue subscribers led some brands to renew their interest in the platform, says Dan Gray of Vendry via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

These reenergized accounts also are seeing an increase in followers, though Dan says it’s difficult to tell if it’s an effect of the blue checkmark or their renewed emphasis on content. “Engagement is definitely up, and clients and agencies have both noted the algorithm seems to be favoring their content more,” he says.

New horizon

Faizan Fahim, marketing manager at Breeze, is focused on the future. They’re producing videos for small screens as part of their Twitter strategy. “We are guessing soon Elon Musk is going to turn Twitter into TikTok/YouTube to create more buzz,” he says. “We would get the first moving advantage in our niche.”

He’s not the only one who thinks video is Twitter’s next bet. Bradley Thompson, director of marketing at DigiHype Media and marketing professor at Conestoga College, thinks video content will be the next big thing. Until then, text remains king.

“The approach is the same, which is a focus on creating and sharing high-quality content relevant to the industry,” Bradley says. “Until Twitter comes out with drastically new features, then marketing and managing brands on Twitter will remain the same.

James Coulter, digital marketing director at Sole Strategies, says, “Twitter definitely still has a space in the game. The question is can they keep it, or will they be phased out in favor of a more reliable platform.”

Interestingly given the thoughts of Faizan and Bradley, James sees businesses turning to video as they limit their reliance on Twitter and diversify their social media platforms. They are now willing to invest in the resource-intensive format given the exploding popularity of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other short-form video content.

“We’ve seen a really big push on getting vendors to help curate video content with the help of staff. Requesting so much media requires building a new (social media) infrastructure, but once the expectations and deliverables are in place, it quickly becomes engrained in the weekly workflow,” James says.

What now

“We are waiting to see what happens before making any strong decisions,” says Baruch Labunski, CEO at Rank Secure. But they aren’t sitting idly by. “We’ve moved a lot of our social media efforts to other platforms while some of these things iron themselves out.”

What is your brand doing with Twitter? Are you stepping up, stepping out, or standing still? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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