10 Laws of a Converting Social Media Strategy

Using social media for your business can help to elevate your audience and customer base. With more than two billion people using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms, you can achieve some serious exposure and therefore increase the chance to succeed.

Beginners in social media marketing often find the task of converting the audience daunting. Of course, there are numerous factors that influence the outcome of a social media strategy, such as experience. Lack of previous experience with social media audiences can result in some challenges.

This article is here to ensure that these challenges are eliminated even if you have little or zero experience with social media. It brings you ten laws that all effective social media strategies follow to provide the best possible outcomes.marketing-1466313_1920

Abiding by these laws will help you to build your brand on social media and create a foundation that will serve you well in the future. Let’s begin.

  1. The Law of Accessibility

Social media users encounter hundreds of posts every day. For example, 55 percent of them watch video posts every day, according to BrandWatch. Along with other posts, this translates into gigabytes of information.

With so much content out there, you need to do your best to stand out. Don’t disappear after publishing some posts. Always be available. This involves a constant effort to publish and participate in conversations with other users.

  1. The Law of Patience

The exact statistics are unknown but it’s safe to assume that the competition in social media is fierce. For brands, this means that immediate success is just impossible. There is no way you can become well-known and profitable overnight.

This law states that you have to commit to the long-term strategy instead of hoping for a quick success. You don’t want to get your heart broken, do you?

  1. The Law of Focus

Surveys show that people trust the brands that concentrate on something specific instead of being an expert in everything. It’s just better to avoid positioning yourself as jack-of-all-trades because you will turn into a master of none.

The law of focus is important for your social media strategy because it teaches you to focus on building a strong brand that specializes in something specific.

  1. The Law of Influence

Social media users now turn to influencers for information and entertainment more than ever. According to Influencer Orchestration Network, 86 percent of women use the experience of social influencers before making a purchase. The same source also suggests that 51 percent of social media marketers say that videos produce the best return on investment.

You’ve probably guessed what this law is all about. Use social media influencers to increase conversion.

  1. The Law of Listening

The idea of this law is pretty simple: instead of always talking, listen to what your online audience is saying. A customer-centered social media strategy is more beneficial because it helps to identify the most attractive content for potential customers. By listening, we mean reading the content of social media users and joining discussions to add some value to them. As the result of meaningful discussions, a brand can gain a positive reputation and image.

  1. The Law of Quality

People who are involved in discussions with the brand on a constant basis are quality followers who need to be kept close. They are the ones that keep the conversation going and build the image of the brand, so their importance should not be underestimated.

Even one quality follower is worth much more than a thousand people who don’t interact with the brand after the initial contact. Quality reigns supreme in this case.

  1. The Law of Value

As mentioned above, social media is a highly competitive environment. Brands that don’t value the conversations of social media users will inevitably fail. Those that try their best to create quality useful content for their target audience survive.

This is the law of value: your social media strategy must include only helpful content for your target audience. No value = no interest.rules-1752406_1920

  1. The Law of Reciprocity

Converting social strategies involve taking interest in the content of social media users. Why? It would be unreasonable to expect them to take interest in your content if you don’t comment on and share their posts as well.

In simple words, a good relationship starts with a favor. The outcome is beneficial for both the brand and its followers.

  1. The Law of Acknowledgment

Making as many connections as possible is one of the primary objectives of brands on social media. No person should be ignored if he or she tries to contact you. Acknowledge them and try to establish positive relationships from the day one.

Otherwise, contacting you again won’t be an option for an ignored person. That’s the law.

  1. The Law of Compounding

This law is connected to the law of value reciprocity. If a brand produces interesting and helpful content for its followers, there is a good chance they will find it good enough to be shared on other social media platforms.

As the result, your content will provide more exposure, therefore better online presence for the brand.

This piece was originally written by Tom Jager for the Heyo Blog

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Why UGC Contests Work for Marketing

Why User-generated Contests Work for Marketers
UGC Contests Create a Dialogue with Consumers – Given the current online marketing landscape, it’s critical for savvy marketers to engage consumers in an open, two-way dialogue. By allowing consumers to contribute to marketing campaigns through photos, videos, text and user-voting, campaigns become personal. You can learn a lot about what resonates with your core consumers in a very short period of time based on what they share with you on the site, as well as what they send to friends and family as contest participants transform into viral evangelists for your brand.
Contests Virally Spread Your Marketing Message – Assuming your contest site is built well and with the right viral tools at the disposal of users (see tips), user-generated contests can be a great way to virally spread your marketing message. What is unique about contests is that entrants have an incentive to promote themselves in order to get the votes needed to win the contest. And as we’re learning, in a digital world with a lot of noise, consumers have a higher level of trust and interest in content referred by their friends. This provides brands with an amazing way to expose their message to a new audience of engaged consumers.
Photo, Video, and Essay Contests Build Community Around Your Brand – Creating a contest microsite with built-in social networking features provides the landscape for your customers to talk about the promotion. What’s a contest microsite you might ask? It’s a standalone web site or sub-section of your existing brand web site that is dedicated to the contest and fully customized to your look and feel. In addition to contest rules, guidelines, user entry forms and voting it should utilize key social features allowing visitors to share and interact with the contest entries and each other. Depending on the theme of your contest, this interactive conversation could be focused on your product or brand specifically or something with which you want your brand associated with.
They Allow for Safe Participation in Social Media – Some brands are reluctant to turn over control of their marketing to consumers for fear of what the masses might say. Contests can provide a great way for brands to safely participate in social media. By clearly outlining rules and guidelines for entering contests and making smart use of prescreen and moderation tools, your brand can remain protected.
Contests Grow Your Customer Email Database – Because of the viral nature of entrants reaching out to friends and family to promote entries, contests can be a great way to build your customer database for future marketing efforts. It goes without saying, however, that users must opt-in to receive future marketing messages.
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Campaign of the Week! Frigo Cheeseheads – “Build a Bright Future” Contest

Frigo Cheeseheads – “Build a Bright Future” Contest

Frigo Cheeseheads - "Build a Bright Future" Contest

Frigo Cheeseheads – “Build a Bright Future” Contest

This is a really great concept that allows anyone to nominate a teacher by uploading a video or an essay explaining why their teacher should win.  Then there is a Votigo period to engage the community and finally the judges will announce the 60 winners!  Here is another post on Why UGC (user-generated content) Contests Work for Marketing.

http://cheeseheadsbrightfuture.com/

How it works

How it works

The UGC Gallery displays the video and essay thumbnails which allow users to expand to full size, vote, and share across social media.

UGC Gallery

Videos and essays

Enlarged view.

UGC full size view

UGC full size view

Please enjoy checking it out and let us know if you have any thoughts or questions about the campaign.  Feel free to contact us to learn more about Votigo and how you can create one of these types of campaigns for you or your clients.

 

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How to Run an Amazing Facebook Sweepstakes or Contest in 8 steps

A Facebook Contest or Sweepstakes is a great way to generate more ‘likes’ for your brand, engage your audience and spread brand awareness. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to be complicated! Follow these 8 Steps for Running a Successful Facebook Contest or Sweepstakes and watch the entries roll in!Screenshot 2017-04-04 13.22.59

Step 1: State Your Objectives

Having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your promotion will help determine if a contest or a sweepstakes is right for your brand. For example, if a high number of entries is your goal, an enter-to-win sweepstakes is probably going to receive the most entries, since they have the lowest barrier to entry on the social promotions spectrum.

Step 2: Outline The Promotion Details

This includes defining the timing of your campaign, how winners will be determined, what your prize is, and a variety of other considerations. For example: What information do you want to collect during registration? How do you want to use that information down the line for future marketing purposes?

Step 3: Follow The Rules

When running a Facebook promotion, it’s important to follow their guidelines. The team here at Votigo makes it a point to stay completely on top of all of Facebook’s rules and regulations, and we’ll always make sure that the campaigns that you run with us comply with them. In addition to Facebook’s promotional guidelines, you’ll also want to make sure that you create your own contest or sweepstakes rules and make sure that you are compliance with any relevant state or federal regulations. This is also something that Votigo can help with so just let us know if you need that!

Step 4: Design Graphics

Depending on your specific promotion and what time of features you are using, this can vary from a simple header graphic to more advanced design and customization. Either way, a few general rules will always apply: Make sure the imagery is eye-catching and inviting to the user and make sure it conveys the important details for the campaign like how to enter, what you can win, etc…

Step 5: Launch!

Once your promotion has been designed and set up, it’s time to launch! Make sure you test the user flow to make sure it’s exactly how you want it, and that it’s clear for users to understand. Once all of these pieces are in place, it’s time to publish your promotion to your Facebook page and start getting more engagement with your fans!

Step 6: Promote Your Campaign

You’ll want to actively promote your promotion in order to get entries and votes. Rely on all the channels you typically use to communicate with your audience (like social media, email newsletter etc…) in order to let them know about the campaign.

Step 7: Moderate and Manage

After your promotion has launched, you need to continue to manage it. This will depend on the format of your campaign but for example, if you’ve asked people to submit photos in order to enter, part of your campaign management will involve pre-screening these photos to make sure they’re appropriate. You’ll also want to keep an eye on entries to make sure that they are coming in steadily, and adjust your promotion efforts accordingly if needed.

Step 8: Use the Results

Running a Facebook contest or sweepstakes is a great way to get leads and quality user-generated content, so make sure you use your results! Nurture new leads with an email campaign or another promotion. Get creative with how you use any photos or videos that were collected during the campaign. Use the information you collect during registration to learn more about your audience and tailor future marketing activations based on this knowledge.


Ready to put these tips into practice with your next Facebook promotion? Click here to speak with an Account Representative today!

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Instagram #Hashtag Promotions Update

On December 11th, Instagram will be deprecating some features within their existing API.  The following features will be unavailable after that date:

  • Commenting – to post and delete comments on a user’s behalf on owned media
  • Public Content – to read any public profile info and media on a user’s behalf
  • Likes – to like and unlike media on a user’s behalf
  • Subscriptions – to receive notifications when media is posted

In advance of this release, we’ve updated our platform enabling you to continue to create hashtag campaigns.

New Campaigns
In order to create new Instagram hashtag campaigns or keep your existing ones running, you will first need to make sure your Instagram account is a business account.  Here’s a quick tutorial from Instagram – Creating a Business Profile on Instagram.

Once that has been completed, you’ll need to link your Instagram business profile to your Facebook page – Linking an Instagram account to a Facebook page.

Now, you’re all set to create new Instagram hashtag promotions in the Votigo platform.  We’ve added a quick authentication button within each promotion type –

Add Instagram Business AccountNOTE: As part of this update, content posted on Instagram will be required to include a @mention of your brand in order for Instagram to pass it to Votigo.

Existing Campaigns
If you are currently running a Votigo campaign that is accepting hashtag entries from Instagram, you will first need to complete the steps noted above to create an Instagram business profile and connect it to your Facebook page, then follow the instructions found in this doc – Instagram Migration.

Note: As with new promotions, entries will be required to include a @mention of your brand.  You may need to update your user facing copy to communicate this to entrants.  All content posted prior to this update will be retained in your promotion.

If you have any questions, please reach out to our support team.

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Instagram API Platform Changes

Instagram recently announced changes to their API platform with some features being disabled immediately and others removed in the near future.

Let’s review the changes and what they mean for your campaigns running on Votigo –

The following capabilities will be disabled immediately (previously set for July 31, 2018 or December 11, 2018 deprecation):

  • Follower List – to read the list of followers and followed-by users
  • Relationships – to follow and unfollow accounts on a user’s behalf
  • Commenting on Public Content – to post and delete comments on a user’s behalf on public media
  • Likes – to like and unlike media on a user’s behalf
  • Subscriptions – to receive notifications when media is posted
  • Users Information – to search for and view users’ public content
  • Some information on Public Content returned through hashtag and location search – Name, Bio, Comments, Commenters, Follower Count, Following Count, Post Count, and Profile Picture

The following will be deprecated according to the timeline in the near future:

  • Public Content – all remaining capabilities to read public media on a user’s behalf on December 11, 2018
  • Basic – to read a user’s own profile info and media in early 2020

The only impact this will have on your Votigo campaigns is the ability to require that a user is following the brand in order to submit and entry via hashtag.  Unfortunately we can no longer access their follow list.

You will still be able to create an Instagram photo or video contest within the Votigo platform.  All public posts containing your promotion specific hashtag will be pulled into our system.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at support@votigo.com

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Press Release: Votigo Powers the #MyGivingStory UGC Contest for 92Y and #GivingTuesday

Votigo Powers the #MyGivingStory UGC Contest for 92Y and #GivingTuesday

#MyGivingStory contest acquires over 800 submissions in the first two weeks.

Boulder, CO – November 16, 2017

Votigo, the leader in online promotions, announced today that it successfully launched the #MyGivingStory campaign, a social media storytelling contest created in a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the 92 Street Y in New York City and as part of the lead up to GivingTuesday on November 28, 2017.  The goal of the campaign is to deepen the conversation around why giving back is meaningful to individuals and what inspires them to give, whether it is time or money or goods or something else. The contest asks “everyday givers”  to submit their own story and an optional photo or video. The stories are displayed in an online gallery of stories, where the public can vote for their favorites. This voting will determine the finalists and the winner(s) will receive grant money to be given to the nonprofit organization of their choice.   Two first place winners will grant $10,000 each.  Two second place winners will grant $5,000 each.  And two third place winners will grant $2,500 each.  In addition to those grand prizes, the contest offers other incentives and prizes, include a bi-weekly sweepstakes for a small grant, the Most Popular NonProfit Award, and an Excellence in Spanish award.

“We are thrilled with the outcome of the contest both in terms of the heartwarming and inspiring quality of the storiest we have received, as well as the quality of Votigo’s platform and professional services.” says Abby Graf Subak, organizer of the #MyGivingStory at 92Y,” “… throughout this whole process Votigo has been excellent to work with in helping us to achieve our goals. So many of our world’s important conversations now take place online and in social media. It is the Votigo platform that has allowed us to create a meaningful way to engage people and organizations online.”

Votigo created a custom User-Generated Content Photo / Video / Essay Contest microsite that allows users to upload directly from their computer, smartphone, or tablet and then easily share their stories and spark conversations across Twitter and Facebook.   These written stories, photos, and videos are being shared not only on the platform, but also by nonprofit organizations and the GivingTuesday organizers to remind people of the impact their giving can have. The contest is open to residents of the USA and available in English and Spanish.

“We were extremely excited when 92Y approached us to design, build and administer the contest.  We love what 92Y is doing with their #MyGivingStory and Giving Tuesday and we’re thrilled our technology and expertise was able to help them achieve their marketing needs.” said Jim Risner, Co-CEO of Votigo.

Campaign Results (in only the first two weeks of the campaign) :

  • 800+ High Quality Video, Photo, and Essay submissions
  • 38,000+ Votes
  • 290,000 Page Views
  • 230 Social Shares

The contest remains open to submissions until November 30 at midnight, with voting continuing through Dec 7. We hope that this is a win-win for individual storytellers and organizations. Even if they don’t win one of the grand prizes, they will have shared their stories, and hopefully inspired many others to give, too.

With Votigo’s Online Promotions Platform and professional services, businesses and non-profit organizations have an unmatched tool for acquiring and engaging customers across social channels, the Web, and Mobile devices.  Brands and Organizations can run promotions, user-generated content contests, sweepstakes, and other interactive marketing campaigns that help to spread awareness of their campaign, acquire new customers, and engage existing customers.

About 92Y
92nd Street Y is a center for the arts and innovation, a convener of ideas, and an incubator for creativity. Founded in 1874, it seeks to create, provide and disseminate programs of distinction that foster the physical and mental growth of people throughout their lives. 92Y offers thousands of programs from its New York headquarters and creates community far beyond its four walls, bringing people from all over the world together through innovations like the award-winning #GivingTuesday and the Social Good Summit. It’s transforming the way people share ideas and translate them into action all over the world. All of 92Y’s programming is built on a foundation of Jewish values, including the capacity of civil dialogue to change minds; the potential of education and the arts to change lives; and a commitment to welcoming and serving people of all ages, races, religions and ethnicities.

#GivingTuesday is an international day of philanthropy, originally established as a refocusing on the season of giving, after the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Since its inception, #GivingTuesday has grown into a global movement with hundreds of thousands of organizations and individuals participating, generating hundreds of millions of dollars for good causes worldwide.

About Votigo 
Votigo is a leading online promotions company with a Software-as-a-Service platform and professional services that supports premium, full-service solutions and easy-to-use self-service tools for brands and their agencies including Live Nation, State Farm, Dos Equis, A+E Networks, and Starwood.  Votigo’s technology platform allows brands, agencies and enterprises to acquire, engage, and manage their customers across major Social Networks, the Web, and Mobile.  Founded in 2006, Votigo has offices located in Boulder, Colorado; San Francisco Bay Area, and Hyderabad, India.  Votigo made the Inc. 500||5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America in 2013 and 2012.

Contact Votigo:  pr@votigo.com, 800-519.1850

Contact #MyGivingStory: Abby Graf Subak, 347-446-8254, mygivingstory@givingtuesday.org

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Marketing Campaign Ideas for Back-to-School

Running a Back-To-School contest or sweepstakes is a great way to engage your social media audience during a peak retail window. As students and parents rush to prepare for the new school year, they’re looking for inspiration and offers that will help them make purchase decisions. And with so many brands competing for their attention, giving this audience a reason to engage with your brand early on gives you a better chance of building a relationship that will last well beyond the Fall. The point is, Back-To-School is Around-The-Corner so it’s time to jump on it.

Here are some Live examples to get your creative juices flowing!

back-to-school-picks-us-teachers_1-1

The good news is there are a lot of ways to break into the back-to-school conversation, no matter what your brand’s product or service offering is. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Visual Marketing Campaigns. Even though attention is starting to focus forward into the school year, there’s still a great opportunity to invite users to share their summer fun with your brand’s community for a chance to win a relevant back-to-school prize. Run a photo or video contest where people can submit their content for a chance to win. Registration will be required for entry, allowing you to continue to grow your marketing communications database.

Screenshot 2016-07-06 10.24.58

  • Instant Win or Hashtag Promo with a Discount Code. Drive traffic to both eComm and Brick & Mortar purchase settings by running an instant win or hashtag campaign where all winners receive a discount code towards the purchase of a product or service that fits into the back-to-school landscape.

Screenshot 2016-07-06 12.01.18

Unsure of where to run your promotion? Facebook Contests are a great way to reach a wide range of customers, while Instagram or Twitter will each reach a different demographic. Maybe you want to capture customers who are already visiting your site – in which case a contest microsite would be more relevant.

Struggling to figure out how to insert your brand into the Back-To-School conversation? Our Customer Success team will help you strategize on the best way to leverage this energetic shopping window in a way that makes the most sense for your brand. Contact Us to learn more or to schedule a demo with an Account Representative.

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8 Steps for Running a Successful Facebook Contest or Sweepstakes

A Facebook Contest or Sweepstakes is a great way to generate more ‘likes’ for your brand, engage your audience and spread brand awareness. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to be complicated! Follow these 8 Steps for Running a Successful Facebook Contest or Sweepstakes and watch the entries roll in!Screenshot 2017-04-04 13.22.59

Step 1: Determine Your Objectives

Having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your promotion will help determine if a contest or a sweepstakes is right for your brand. For example, if a high number of entries is your goal, an enter-to-win sweepstakes is probably going to receive the most entries, since they have the lowest barrier to entry on the social promotions spectrum.

Step 2: Outline The Promotion Details

This includes defining the timing of your campaign, how winners will be determined, what your prize is, and a variety of other considerations. For example: What information do you want to collect during registration? How do you want to use that information down the line for future marketing purposes?

Step 3: Follow The Rules

When running a Facebook promotion, it’s important to follow their guidelines. The team here at Votigo makes it a point to stay completely on top of all of Facebook’s rules and regulations, and we’ll always make sure that the campaigns that you run with us comply with them. In addition to Facebook’s promotional guidelines, you’ll also want to make sure that you create your own contest or sweepstakes rules and make sure that you are compliance with any relevant state or federal regulations. This is also something that Votigo can help with so just let us know if you need that!

Step 4: Design Graphics

Depending on your specific promotion and what time of features you are using, this can vary from a simple header graphic to more advanced design and customization. Either way, a few general rules will always apply: Make sure the imagery is eye-catching and inviting to the user and make sure it conveys the important details for the campaign like how to enter, what you can win, etc…

Step 5: Launch!

Once your promotion has been designed and set up, it’s time to launch! Make sure you test the user flow to make sure it’s exactly how you want it, and that it’s clear for users to understand. Once all of these pieces are in place, it’s time to publish your promotion to your Facebook page and start getting more engagement with your fans!

Step 6: Promote Your Promotion

You’ll want to actively promote your promotion in order to get entries and votes. Rely on all the channels you typically use to communicate with your audience (like social media, email newsletter etc…) in order to let them know about the campaign.

Step 7: Moderate and Manage

After your promotion has launched, you need to continue to manage it. This will depend on the format of your campaign but for example, if you’ve asked people to submit photos in order to enter, part of your campaign management will involve pre-screening these photos to make sure they’re appropriate. You’ll also want to keep an eye on entries to make sure that they are coming in steadily, and adjust your promotion efforts accordingly if needed.

Step 8: Use the Results

Running a Facebook contest or sweepstakes is a great way to get leads and quality user-generated content, so make sure you use your results! Nurture new leads with an email campaign or another promotion. Get creative with how you use any photos or videos that were collected during the campaign. Use the information you collect during registration to learn more about your audience and tailor future marketing activations based on this knowledge.


Ready to put these tips into practice with your next Facebook promotion? Click here to speak with an Account Representative today!

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Using Keywords to Define User Intent Online

Keywords are the basic foundation of any SEO strategy, and they are typically used as topical concepts to cover throughout your content. All too often, they’re simply used as guideposts that can help you outline your content’s topics of discussion.

To use keywords in such a way, is to waste their true potential. Instead, content creators and SEO professionals should be looking at the intent behind the keyword. What was the searcher’s purpose when they entered that phrase or topic into Google? Join us as we discuss finding intent and applying it to your strategies.

Understanding User Intent

Every single person that uses a search engine has some kind of intent behind their inquiry. They don’t just type in something because they feel like it. They have a reason behind their search. Google seeks to understand this intent and provide results in the SERPs that meet the needs of that search.

MOZ founder Rand Fishkin once described the main categories of search intent as such:

  • Navigational – The searcher is looking for a specific website, but they don’t know the URL, or they’d rather do it this way.
  • Informational – These are searches that result when people are looking for information or answers about a specific topic. A search like top 10 hosts, for example, would be informational in nature.
  • Transactional – This is when someone is ready to purchase a product, find a local company, sign up for a subscription, etc. They have a specific product or type of product in mind, and they’re ready to buy.

Knowing this, you can use your analytics, your keyword research, and various queries around your brand or industry to better understand which type of intent your keywords have behind them.

Applying User Intent to your Keyword Strategy

Doing your own research into specific keywords or intent begins with understanding the meaning behind the concepts your customers are searching for. You should also target long-tail keyword variations, which reveal intent far more than a single word or concept.

For example, if I were to search for “roaches,” then most of the searches will incorporate something about extermination. From this, you could infer than people searching for “roaches” are most likely looking for a solution on how to get rid of them.

It’s also worth noting that searchers tend to go through these categories, one-by-one, when they are on the journey towards making a purchase. Knowing their intent can also give you an idea of where they stand in your sales funnel.

You can use this as an opportunity to modify your calls to action (CTAs),, and cater your pitch to the intent of the users on that page. This also extends to the language you use on your pages. Remember, you’ll get further by honing in on intent than you will by trying to just broadly target keywords.

Understanding your user’s search intent will give you power over your content in a way that simple metrics like search volume never could for your keywords. It will also apply to other aspects of your business, like social media. Remember to look for detailed and long phrases (long-tail keywords) as these will offer more insight into where the customer stands in their buyer journey.

Final Thoughts

User intent is the true power of keywords in today’s SEO world. You should look beyond things like search volume and instead seek to understand the meaning behind what your users are searching. This will give you the knowledge you need to create targeted content that fits their needs.

This article was originally written by Amy Winer for the Heyo Blog

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