There is no shortage of ways business owners can spend their time. For online business owners, we’re often optimizing for either 1) audience growth or 2) revenue growth.
One of the biggest questions we hear from business owners involves when to prioritize social media and to what degree. At SPI, we’re big believers in the power of email. But a lot of online business owners have built large audiences on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now even Clubhouse.
But when it comes to social media, things get more complicated if your business is not tied to your personal brand. Do you create social profiles for your business, or focus on your own social channels as a way to drive awareness of your business?
For the most part, SPI has not had any brand social media accounts. But we’re beginning to change that, starting with our new SPI Twitter account.
The Twitter-for-Business Opportunity
Twitter has changed a lot since it was created in 2006. For starters, the iconic tweet length of 140 characters has been doubled to 280.
Twitter also rolled out a feature called “Threads” that allows users to string related tweets together into a longer idea. Users had previously numbered their Tweets to denote what Marc Andreessen dubbed “Tweetstorms,” but now Threads make it easy to share longer stories in a cohesive way.
If you’re considering leveraging Twitter, be prepared to write!
As a result, there is a lot more high-quality writing on the platform than before.
That point is worth repeating: Because Twitter started as a “micro blogging” platform, it still caters first and foremost to written content as opposed to photos or videos (with the exception of memes). So if you’re considering leveraging Twitter, be prepared to write!
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Twitter’s user base grew. It was originally predicted that Twitter would grow 2.8 percent in 2020, but the pandemic changed that. In October, eMarketer revised their 2020 forecast to growth of 8.4 percent.
With the world reopening, Twitter is forecasted to close 2021 with 2.4 percent growth, followed by 2.0 percent growth in 2022.
Nearly 69 million of Twitter’s 315 million users are based in the U.S., but nearly 70 percent of all users are male. And according to Hootsuite, 57 percent of users are aged twenty-five to forty-nine.
If that sounds like your typical audience, let’s talk about how to use Twitter effectively…
How People Use Twitter
Before we can talk about growth, there are two ideas that we’ve come to believe as truths when it comes to user behavior on Twitter:
- People follow other people more than brands
- People follow accounts that are consistent and predictable
Let’s talk about each of these…
People Follow People on Twitter
Look at your own feeds on social media. As you scroll through, how many brands do you see as compared to individuals?
Odds are, it’s pretty skewed towards individuals.
And the brands you do follow…what do they have in common?
If you enjoy following a brand account, it’s likely that they have a very consistent and human brand voice. They probably don’t feel like a “brand”—they feel like a person.
Humans are social creatures. And when it comes to social media…we’d rather socialize with other humans than faceless brands.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a brand account. As I already noted, SPI just created our own Twitter account. Rather, this speaks to the importance of having a strategy and brand voice on Twitter that sounds like a real person. More on this in a minute.
People Follow Twitter Accounts That Are Consistent and Predictable
People on Twitter (or any platform) are looking for one of two things: 1) entertainment or 2) education. Which need will your account fulfill?
At SPI, we’re focused on education. We know that our audience follows us to learn about subjects like online business, podcasts, email marketing, affiliate marketing, courses, and community.
So our social media accounts need to fulfill that promise to our audience. If you follow SPI, you can expect to learn about those subjects!
What can people expect from you if they follow you?
The more consistent and predictable you are, the easier it will be to build a following, because it’s clear to a potential follower what they’ll gain by following you. Similar to email marketing, you need a compelling “opt in” to make it clear what you’re offering.
How to Grow Your Business on Twitter
So how can you make the most of your business’s Twitter presence? Like any other medium or platform, growth for your business on Twitter comes from publishing consistent, high-quality content! Namely, you’ll have an advantage if you are:
- Tweeting consistently
- Tweeting about a consistent topic (or related topics)
- Engaging in conversations around those same topics
The median Twitter user tweets once per month, while the most prolific users tweet 157 times per month, according to Pew Research. In fact, the top 10 percent of Twitter users account for 92 percent of the tweets on the platform.
One hundred fifty-seven tweets per month would be about five tweets per day … doable, but a lot! The point is, even if you’re tweeting once or twice per day, you’re standing out to the Twitter algorithm.
The more you tweet, the more impressions you’ll receive, and the faster you’ll grow!
You’ll get more impressions the more your tweets are “retweeted.” The retweet is much more powerful than a “like” from your followers.
And the more you tweet, the more likely you are to create something that resonates!
Another recent change to the Twitter algorithm is expanding the reach of tweets beyond someone’s followers. Twitter will now display tweets from accounts that people you follow have engaged with – even if it wasn’t a retweet.
This is a huge opportunity for your business, because it means more exposure to people who are not yet following you on Twitter.
But, again, the key is consistency in what you talk about about frequency in creating new tweets.
The Twitter “Community” Opportunity
One of the best ways to consistently engage in conversations around your topics of interest is by integrating into different Twitter Communities.
You’ll likely read references to “Marketing Twitter” or “Community Twitter” or “VC Twitter.” These phrases refer to Twitter “Communities” that are ideas but not official things to follow or engage.
These communities tend to form organically as individuals identify themselves as interested in certain topics and discussions. “Community Twitter” refers to the people on Twitter talking about Community-related topics. These communities are all relatively small, and you can find yourself inside the community simply by following the accounts actively tweeting about that topic.
Sometimes, people create Twitter Lists of the key accounts active in communities.
By following a reputable List, you’ll quickly experience what that Community is like. And by ingraining yourself in a community, you’ll build relationships and credibility within that space.
Creating Your Own Business Twitter Community
A recent Twitter trend involves helping create community and showing belonging through the use of emojis.
This was made popular in the 2020 US Presidential race when candidate Andrew Yang encouraged his followers to use the blue hat 🧢 emoji next to their names to show they were supporting the campaign.
We’ve seen this enter the business world too, and the team at Morning Brew encouraged their team to add a coffee mug emoji ☕️ to their names. Now, when you’re scrolling Twitter and see the coffee mug emoji, you may start to assume that the account is a Morning Brew employee.
But we see it in communities too. Recently, Dickie Bush created a 30-day writing community called Ship 30 for 30. As part of his onboarding to the program, he encourages people to add the ship 🚢 emoji to their names to show that they are participating.
These visual cues are a powerful way to create community, connection, and belonging.
The SPI Approach to Twitter
So how will SPI be leveraging Twitter?
Well, we are leaning into the idea that people tend to follow people. We’ve created the @teamSPI Twitter account (we’d love for you to follow us) but we’ll be using our platform to amplify the voices of our team.
We have an incredibly talented team here at SPI. And we focus on different verticals within the company, from courses, to podcasting, solutions, affiliate marketing, community, and more.
So instead of trying to cover all those areas with our brand account, we’re empowering our team to participate in the discussions and communities that they want to, and the @teamSPI account will amplify their voices.
We want to use the SPI platform to help elevate our team, and not the reverse.
So we invite you to follow along with us! Follow @teamSPI and you’ll be following our team and their unique voices and experiences as it relates to online business.
Here’s a tweet thread breaking down how we think about Twitter and how we’ll be leveraging it. Our goal is to get to 1,000 followers on the @teamSPI account as quickly as possible, and your help would go a long way!
The Benefits of LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn wouldn’t necessarily be the first platform that comes to mind when considering social media advertising. However, if you are a B2B organisation, the platform can allow you to reach professionals across the globe. LinkedIn allows you to generate brand awareness across targeted professional sectors and reach out to decision makers directly.
Advertising is all about targeting the right people. Users of LinkedIn tend to be older, professional and have a higher income than the average user of other social media platforms. So if that is your target market, LinkedIn offers a great opportunity to reach them. Professionals use LinkedIn for business networking purposes so users are generally in work mode so engaging with them should be easier than on other platforms.
Here we outline the six main advantages that LinkedIn Ads have over other social media platforms.
1. Variety of ad formats
LinkedIn offers a number of options for advertising:
- Sponsored content – this type of ad appears in people’s feeds, it is the least personal form but good for promoting content from your business page and encouraging people onto it.
- Text ads – these are only viewable by people using a desktop. With these you can choose the audience you want to target and you only pay per click.
- Message ads – these appear in users’ inboxes and are proven to be good for conversion.
- Video ads – great for storytelling, you can also retarget users who have watched the video, aiding conversion rates.
- Dynamic ads – these allow you to fully personalise your ad by showing user’s photo, name and title within the advert.
2. Generate high quality leads
The ability to target professionals and gain good quality leads is the primary benefit of LinkedIn ads. Users are looking at work-related content so will be more open to solutions for their business needs.
With more than 800 million users in over 220 countries and territories, LinkedIn is the biggest social network for professionals and businesses alike. 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions and the platform has been rated the best for lead generation by marketers.
By using LinkedIn advertising, you can access their Lead Accelerator feature. This feature allows businesses to follow their best prospects and offer more targeted ads directly to them. This includes remarketing to website visitors, which helps nurture leads, making them more likely to become customers.
LinkedIn allows you to target specific demographics, enabling you to create much more personal advertising campaigns. Facebook lets you target interest and behaviour based factors however LinkedIn is the right medium to use if you want to target individuals based on their industry and job. You can filter your audience by:
- Company name
- Company size
- Degree subject
- Job title
- Member skills
These variables make the platform the ideal choice for B2B organisations wanting to target decision-makers.
LinkedIn allows you to specifically target people who have shown an interest in your products. Matched audiences show you which users have visited your website and the pages that they went on. This allows you to target them with specific ads in the hope that they will return to your website and convert to a customer.
Matched audiences can be created with:
- Account Targeting – Uploading a CSV of company names to LinkedIn allows you to target decision-makers.
- Website Retargeting – Target the users who have visited your website and re-engage them to aid conversions.
- Contact Targeting – Uploading a CSV of email addresses of your contacts to LinkedIn enables you to nurture your leads and prospects even further.
5. Increased conversion rates
The ability to target specific groups, nurture them and remarket to them will increase your conversion rates.
A year-long study by HubSpot found that on average, LinkedIn ads convert users to leads at a 6.1 per cent conversion rate. This compares to 2.58 per cent for Google search ads.
MD of exhibition stand contractor Black Robin Exhibits, Alan Jenkins, managed to achieve a conversion rate of 8.2% with a LinkedIn campaign earlier this year, he said “We were delighted with the results, it wasn’t a huge investment, we could set the budget and the conversion rate was fantastic”.
6. High control
A big benefit of LinkedIn advertising is the high degree of control that you can have. You can set a specific start time for your advert and specify when it will end. As well as this, you can set daily budgets to ensure your advertising costs are kept at the right level for your business.
Setting up a LinkedIn campaign is not straight-forward due to the variety of advert types and different ways of targeting. But the platform has a number of advantages over other social media sites if your target market is professional businesspeople.
B2B organisations will be able to target specific demographics with personal ads, nurture and remarket to them. All this will increase conversion rates, making LinkedIn a valuable marketing tool.
Beginners’ guide to Instagram Reels
If you haven’t already heard the news, according to Instagram, they’re no longer a photo-sharing app. Shocking, right? The company announced they want to start focusing more on video content, like that offered through Instagram Reels, as opposed to being the original square photo-sharing app they’re known for being.
“At Instagram, we’re always trying to build new features that help you get the most out of your experience. Right now we’re focused on four key areas: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging.” — Adam Mosseri, Instagram CEO
This makes total sense because short, engaging videos (shown to us by hyper-accurate algorithms) have proven to keep our attention more effectively than ever before. So effectively that 93% of marketers who use video say it’s an important part of their marketing strategy. Additionally, users are twice as likely to share video content with their friends and family than any other type of content, including social media posts, blog posts/articles and product pages.
So if you’ve been hesitant to start making Instagram Reels or just needed a little encouragement, we’ll cover the basics, give you some ideas on what content to create for your business or brand, and help you understand the data behind it all.
But, before we do, let’s talk about why Instagram Reels needs to be included in your marketing strategy.
What are Reels and why should you start using them?
Instagram Reels rolled out in late 2020 and the feature has continued to increase in popularity. Reels provide creators with a way to produce and share short, engaging videos using a collection of mainstream music and user-generated audio.
With more advanced editing tools, such as speed controls, filters and transitions, you can effortlessly edit multi-clip Reels up to 30 seconds long, entirely within the Instagram app, which is amazing if you don’t want to use multiple apps and extra equipment to film, edit and post to social media.
Reels are definitely a useful feature of the platform as a whole that is worth exploring. When it comes to metrics, Reels receive 22% more engagement than videos posted directly to a feed. In addition to IGTV, Live and Stories, Instagram Reels are another great tool for you to use to get noticed on the platform and reach potential customers.
Nearly two-thirds of Instagram users are between 18 and 29, with 18- to 34-year-olds the most active age group. That means there’s a ton of opportunity for businesses to be discovered by your target audience on this platform. So, if your Instagram strategy needs a boost to stay top-of-mind and ahead of the competition, Reels could be your solution.
Instagram Reels small business content ideas
If your business is active on Instagram but hasn’t posted a Reel just yet, don’t worry, it’s not too late to start. Accounts that don’t follow you can find your content while scrolling on the Explore page, which is why it’s so important for brands to be active where their target audience is.
Don’t let lack of inspiration hold you back, here are some simple and effective video ideas:
The best way to increase your reach and engagement is to give your viewers value. If you can create something that is helpful, users are more likely to like it, share it with their friends and follow you for more. That ultimately, tells the algorithm your content is worth being promoted to others on the app.
For example, you can create shareable workout, cooking or crafting videos just by showing your step-by-step process.
Showcase your products or services
Highlight what makes your business unique with Reels dedicated to each product or service you offer. This could be a tutorial on how to best use your products or a way to update customers on new offerings.
Create original content
Easier said than done, but I know that behind-the-scenes content, user-generated content and FAQs are always a big hit with loyal audiences.
You also have a few different ways to get trending and possibly even viral. You can use trending hashtags, popular audio clips or filters and get discovered among other videos with those elements.
Re-creating a popular trend while highlighting your brand is one of the quickest (but not the easiest) ways for business growth with Instagram Reels.
How to optimize your Instagram Reels
Like with any social media platform, there are always hidden steps you can take to increase the likelihood your content gets seen and please the almighty algorithm.
For example, many users who create content for TikTok have started uploading those same videos as Reels. Seems like a logical time saver, right? Well, Instagram has not only clearly advised against re-posting content that’s “visibly recycled from other apps,” it has also updated its algorithm to recognize and prevent it from performing well on their platform.
That being said, here are some tips on how to optimize your Reels for the best results:
- Try to record (vertically), edit and add effects to your reels from within the app, rather than uploading a video you’ve created elsewhere.
- It’s also important to use text overlays, hashtags, audio, and descriptive captions to let Instagram add you to an algorithm relevant to the content.
- @ other accounts, when appropriate. Just like hashtags, you’ll get more reach by including their name in your content.
- Use custom thumbnails. Doing so will make it easier for users to find videos they want to watch when scrolling on your account. It’s also a great way to incorporate your branding and help your feed look cohesive.
- Sharing your Reels to your Stories and even on your feed will get more people to see it. You can share it when you post it or, if you have posted enough that day, share on a day when you don’t have anything else to post.
Algorithms are constantly changing, and not always for the better. Doing just a little bit of research to stay on top of current trends and best practices will pay off in the long run.
Understanding Instagram Reels Insights
Finally, you’ll need a way of knowing if your hard work is paying off.
Instagram has included a dedicated tab, which is similar to the Insights tab on your static posts and videos, that details the metrics relating to your Reels. With the Instagram Reels Insights, business owners can see important metrics like accounts reached, plays, likes, comments, saves and shares.
By knowing what type of accounts you’re reaching with your Reels and which content formats are most engaging with your audience, you’ll be able to adjust your content to better serve your target audience and grow your account.
Measuring these stats is the best way to make sure all the efforts you’re putting in to engage your fans is actually working.
Once you have a good idea of where your metrics are on average, try experimenting with the time of day, type of content and hashtags you use when posting your Reels. Start thinking of ways to get in front of new users with videos like tutorials, bloopers or more user-generated content. You could even share customer testimonials or success stories for added social proof.
Final thoughts on Instagram Reels
I know I personally struggled with the idea of including yet another item on my content creation checklist, but I’ve found that even just repurposing a few old clips from videos on my YouTube channel into Reels has proved effective in increasing my engagement and reach on Instagram.
Exploring a new feature of social media can be intimidating and overwhelming at times, but Reels seems to be a fun new way to expand your social media presence through the use of short videos. I recommend testing it out and seeing how well it works for you and your audience. You might find it to be your new favorite tool in your social media strategy.
5 Strategies to Drive Customer Engagement
Engaging with your customers is the key to driving sales and growing your company. However, some businesses are not sure how to do this effectively. It means that when they finally manage to engage with their customers, they are not entirely sure what worked. Knowing how to drive customer engagement is all about knowing your customers.
Here are 5 strategies that you can use to drive customer engagement.
Communication is the Key
Communication between your company and your customers is fundamental to engagement. If your customers are trying to talk to you about your products or services, then you should listen to them. Avoiding contact will simply drive them to another company.
Here are some tips you should follow.
1. Listen to Your Customers and Never Assume
If you have a customer that approaches you on social media or any other channel, it is vital that you engage them in a conversation. Their initial message might not be the complete story, so you need to work with them to find the right answer.
Once you have found out what the customer wants, go through your products with them and pinpoint what works for them. Your sales team must never assume that they know what their customers want, or they might find the customer goes elsewhere.
2. Seek Help with Engagement
Sometimes no matter what you try, you are unable to engage with your customers or retain them. It may be that there are strategies that you haven’t considered or lack the knowledge to implement.
This is where companies such as TCC Global can help. By helping you and your marketing team to engage with your customers and create brand loyalty, you can start to grow your business.
3. Respond Quickly to Questions
There is nothing more frustrating for customers than asking a question on social media and not getting a reply. Even a delay of a few hours can be enough to cause someone to look elsewhere.
If your business has a presence on social media, then it is vital that it is monitored at least during business hours.
4. Chat to Your Customers
There is a temptation to use your means of communication to just sell products. While this is an important part, there should also be more customer engagement through conversation.
If you find something interesting, tell your customers on social media. Reply to them if they answer you and keep the conversation going.
5. Blog About the Popular Questions
If you are seeing a trend in questions your customers are asking, then it may be a good idea to write a blog post about it.
Blog posts will drive visitors and potential customers to your website and from there they may go to your products. Answering these popular questions will also save time for your customers and build loyalty.
So, there you have it – 5 strategies to drive customer engagement. These are just a few of the ways your company can build a relationship with its customers and build a loyal following.
It is important to remember to stay engaged with your customers even after they make a purchase.
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