Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Facebook: for Social Media Marketing


“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” - Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO.

To many people, Facebook is a way to connect with friends and family, show off a recent adventure, find old classmates, follow celebrities, find recipes, fight for social justice, and the list goes on. For others, it is a perfect place for the world of marketing comes to life. With over a billion user worldwide, Facebook is one of the best tools an organization can use for marketing. As Mark Zuckerberg states above, "People influence people," so it is essential for businesses to have the buy-in of a baseline of fans and followers who will share your content with their network. 

Facebook was launched as a social network in 2004 and has been diversified into a news source, a place to share adventures, or a way for businesses to connect with existing and new consumers. There are over a billion active users on Facebook, about 44% women and 56% men. The majority of users are aged 18 to 34 years old. The U.S have the most users at 13%, followed by India at 10%, and Brazil at 7%. The top languages are English (42%), Spanish (10%) and Brazilian Portuguese (7%). The top 5 categories liked/followed on Facebook are clothing, movies, products/services, restaurants/cafes, and fictional characters. (Data pulled from Facebook Audience Insights.)

Facebook Pages

The main feature for marketing on the platform is Facebook Pages, which can be used to create and grow your brand presence. You can also use Pages to build and nurture relationships with customers. There are different categories of pages that include: 

  • local business or place
  • company, organization, or institution
  • brand or product
  • artist, band, or public figure
  • entertainment
  • community or cause
When naming your page, be sure to pick a name that is directly connected to your business name or brand. Do not use offensive language or the word "Facebook in your title. Use or logo or a clear picture of yourself as a profile picture and use a cover photo as well to make your brand stand out. If you have a preferred audience, you can add that during the setup process or at a later date. Be sure to fill out the description and about sections as well. Once your page is launched and you have published a few posts, you can invite people to like the page and track page insights to see what content is performing well. 

Facebook Groups

For some businesses or communities, a Facebook Group may be a better fit, as it is even more suited to a two-way dialogue. You can have an open group, a closed group where you have to accept requests to join, or a private group, where only people you invite can access the group. Each of these types of groups has unique benefits, such as exclusive first looks at products or conducting focus groups. You can also use the Events feature to publicize new product launches or events at a local store to drive traffic. Two additional features provided by Facebook that can help guide your content and ads are Audience Insights and Pages to Watch.

Audience Insights

Audience Insights gives you the opportunity to gather and study information about various audience groups on Facebook. You can narrow your search down to a particular geographic area, specific job titles or roles, a specific industry, gender, age range, and more. Facebook then presents you with information including demographics, household information, purchasing trends, Facebook activity, likelihood to click ads, and Lifestyle breakdowns of demographics through Personicx.

Pages to Watch

The Pages to Watch feature allows you to follow competitor Facebook pages or pages you admire and want to emulate. You can compare total page likes, changes in likes from week to week, posts this week, and engagements this week. This information gives you reliable data to benchmark against. To use this feature, you need at least 100 page likes and choose at least 5 Pages to Watch.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are a great feature you can use for various business objectives, such as boosting posts, promoting your Facebook Page, drive traffic to your website, increase conversions on your website or raise attendance at an event. The tool allows you to target specific groups, set an adjustable budget within your means, and get real-time data. You can test different ads, copy or imagery to see which yields the best results. Facebook Insights lets you track your ads so you can learn from past experiences to reach your business goals. 

There is so much more you can do with Facebook for Social media marketing. Each of these tools warrants a standalone post, and we will be bringing that series shortly. For now,  you can visit Facebook Business for more info on what the platform can do for you. 

What are some ways you use Facebook to promote your business or personal brand? What are some tools on the platform you use? Share your knowledge and experience in the comments below. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

10 Important Social Media Marketing Platforms


Social Media has now undeniably become a crucial component in marketing efforts. A company's social media pages can sometimes even rank higher in searches than its website and social pages, and profiles are known to improve SEO and ranking. Organizations, be they Business-to-Business, Business-to-Consumer, or Non-Profit, can all benefit from having a strong brand presence online. Solely being present on social media platforms is not enough. You also have to have a strategy in place that aligns with your other marketing directives and initiatives, then use the platforms that will best aid and represent your brand well. You also need to build and manage communities that are mutually beneficial to your company, consumers and industry partners.

There are numerous social media platforms and systems companies can employ. In this post, we will look at the following ten platforms and what their unique strengths can be: Blogger, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, PinterestSnapchatTumblr, Twitter, and YouTube. Some companies may find that only one or two of these platforms serve their mission, brand, and goals well, while others may need a combination.

Blogger (or the blogging platform of your choice) can be an essential part of your marketing strategy. Blogging helps increase brand awareness and ranking in searches by strengthening your SEO. A good ranking in SEO is strongly correlated to the amount of valuable and on-topic content you have tied to your website and brand. Blogger is free and easy to use, which makes an excellent starting platform for novice and experienced marketers. Other blogging platforms include WordPress, Tumblr, and Medium.

Facebook can be a great marketing platform for companies, organizations, and individuals looking to build and nurture relationships and communities with new and existing customers. The platform allows you to give followers first views of new products or gain input into customers wants and needs. You can also track and gauge sentiments about your brand and take quick action when needed. The platform currently has over 1.7 billion users globally, and that population skews slightly female. Peak traffic on Facebook is typically in the middle of the week between 1-3 pm. It is essential to post regularly and communicate with followers.

Instagram is a mobile-based photo and video sharing platform. The platform has over 500 million users and is quickly growing. Instagram gives companies, celebrities and public figures a platform to share behind the scenes aspects or company culture that followers would otherwise not have access to. It humanizes businesses and can make people more endearing. Instagram can also be a great place to collect data about unique niche cultures and groupings of people that maybe not be found on other platforms through hashtags and other keywords.

Google+ has over 300 million users, typically tied to a Gmail, Chrome, or YouTube account. While many argue that the platform is not the strongest of social media marketing platforms, it has some significant benefits. Since Google+ is a Google platform, it helps increase your visibility and ranking in searches. If you are a local company, it is highly beneficial to have a Google+ business page and take advantage of the ability to list your physical address. When people search for your company, an address card with a link to your website will pop up, making it easier for local customers to find you. Read more about Google My Business (formerly Google Local) here

LinkedIn is the world's leading professional social network with over 450 million users. It is an excellent way to connect with companies who currently partner with for cross-promotion or to scout new potential partners. It can also be a great place to see what your competition is doing that is working or not working, so you can learn from them. You can also give more detailed information about your company and employees, and feature products and services. One of the most powerful features of LinkedIn is being able to connect with new talent for your workforce. Potential applicants can learn more about the company culture and open positions, and you can scout people you think would be a good organizational fit.

Pinterest has over 100 million active users, a majority of who are women. Users create pinboards with their favorite products, designs, and styles to share with others and get inspiration from others. People can usually discover new content and products from browsing other boards created by other users and companies. It can be an excellent way to do research and gauge consumer interest. Popular topics on the platform include fashion, beauty, interior design, weddings, art, travel, and photography. Pinterest works best for companies with products or D-I-Y services.

Snapchat is a video and photo application that allows you to send messages that last for a maximum of 10 seconds. It has over 200 million users who tend to be teens, but there is also a large group of users aged between 18 and 39. Snapchat has quickly become a great place to advertise in a fun way to a younger demographic. You can create Geofilters, which allow you to share where you are with a fun overlay on your photos or videos. So companies will use these filters to promote new product launches, build brand awareness or even promote new movies. This platform can also serve as a great way for companies, celebrities and solo entrepreneurs to connect with customers or show what happens behind the scenes. 

Tumblr is a combination of a blogging and a social sharing platform. It has about 555 million users, the majority being between 13 to 19 years old. It is a creative platform that can be used to nurture brand loyalty from a young age. Companies can use this platform to gather data on consumers, promote new products and services, and recruit new talent. Popular topics or tags on Tumblr include beauty, music, TV shows, video games, and movies. 

Twitter is a microblogging platform where you send out short, 140-character messages to your followers and others on the platform. There are 313 million active users, who are mostly Millennials and young professionals. Twitter can be a good way to create two-way connections with customers, partners, and vendors. The platform can be a great way for businesses t learn about the sentiments about their products as well as habits that may inform on product needs and uses. The platform can have profound impacts on a company's sales and marketing, product development, customer service, and talent acquisition.

YouTube, with its over 1 billion active users, can be a valuable marketing tool for different kinds of companies.The platform is the second largest search engine in the world, so it is important to put content our to ensure your voice is in the mix of what people are saying about your products and services. According to Nielsen, Youtube reaches more people in the 18-34-year-old category than any cable network. The platform can help a product or service campaign show uses of new launches and is an excellent way to interact with customers and get feedback.

This is not a complete list of the platforms a company can use for social media marketing. Based on where you conduct business in the world or your business needs, platforms such as Skype, WeChat, and QZone could fit your strategy better. Be sure the research the part of the world you are doing business in and what platforms they use.

In the coming weeks, I will be taking a deeper dive into each of these platforms to discuss the various features that can be beneficial for a marketing strategy. Which platforms do you use for your business and why? Please share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Data used in this post was gathered from Statista, Hootsuite, and the SO ME Academy.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Grow Your Skills... with Udemy!


In the wise words of Internet Inventor and Pioneer, Vinton Cerf, "they say a year in the Internet business is like a dog year, equivalent to seven years in a regular person's life. In other words, it's evolving fast and faster." This highlights the need to work smartly and swiftly in digital marketing,  but also stresses the need for continuous education and learning in the field. There are many platforms you can use for this purpose. I would like to feature one, in particular, today, Udemy.

What is Udemy?

Udemy is a massive open online course (MOOC) platform that allows people of all backgrounds and experience levels to take courses and grow their knowledge. The courses available range from free guitar lessons all the way to insightful Social Media Marketing certifications like SO ME Academy's Certification. (Read our review here). These courses are often created by influencers and experts who have trusted experience in their various fields. 

How it works

You create an account on with your email. You can then sign up for courses you are interested in that are typically set up by industry influencers and experts. In August, Udemy changed its pricing model, such that at most times, courses are either free or cost between $20-200. Prices can be discounted by the instructor or Udemy down to a minimum of $10, so keep your eye out for sales. 

Once you pay for a course, you have lifelong access to it, usually including any changes made. You can take the courses at your pace. Most have videos which come with various case studies, white papers, and other documents to enhance the learning experience.

NK and Udemy

I have known about Udemy for a while and didn't take any of their courses until a friend of mine suggested an SQL course. I was hooked. Since then, I have taken courses to improve my grammar, improve my Excel skills, and earn a Social Media Marketing Certification. I am currently signed up for a personal brand building course by Gary Vaynerchuk and some courses to help me branch into other digital marketing fields like web design and SEO.

In short, Udemy can be a great way to diversify your skills or deepen your knowledge of existing skills. If you have taken a Udemy course before, what are some good ones you would recommend? Please share in the comments below. To learn more about Udemy or take any of the courses offered, click here

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

So Many Changes...


You may have noticed I have been absent for a while. Well, my friends, a lot has happened since you last heard from me. My roommate got married, I moved out of my old apartment to the other Twin City to live with my younger sisters, I am starting school again and I got a job as a Digital Marketing Specialist with a non-profit called LeGen Leaders. I am very excited for all of these new changes and the impact they will have on my life. 

I am going back to school to do a Masters Certificate program at the University of St. Thomas called the Digital Experience. I will be taking the following courses:

  • Brand Management
  • The Creative Process
  • Digital Marketing Fundamentals
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Digital Marketing Experience
At the end of each semester, I will be sure to post about each class to share a bit about what I have been learning and see if you or someone you know may be a good candidate for the program. For now, you can read more about it here. 

Now a bit about my new job: LeGen Leaders is a non-profit that aims to educate and empower foster care youth aging-out of the system who want to work in the construction field. Since the organization is a start-up, I am getting to get to build all the social communities and processes from scratch with the team. What else could a girl ask for? It is going to be an exciting journey. 

I will still be blogging and will post content twice a week. You can continue to look forward to Digital Marketer Spotlights, certification reviews and digital marketing tools. I will also be exploring company campaign reviews and digital marketing platform reviews. I would love your suggestions on any topics that you would like to learn more about. Please comment below or email me at

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Thanks for reading!