While Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are excellent tools to engage existing customers, they serve a different function in the eyes of prospective customers than independent review platforms. Everyone knows your fans and followers love you; the best online review platforms are seen as more impartial and better places to research the quality of a business before making a purchase. That said, you can still leverage your social media presence into a compelling online review presence. Based on our observations of the 45,000 businesses with reviews on SiteJabber, below are our four best bets for doing just that.

Ask for reviews

Your Facebook fans and Twitter followers likely have profiles on leading review sites. Simply ask them to write you a quick review. You’ll be pleased to see that many are more than happy to — it just never occurred to them without your prompting.

Run a contest

Just like you may have offered giveaways or other discounts to gain fans and followers, do the same for reviews. (read more…)

Here’s a depressing reality for most marketers: 99% of brand-created content generates little to no engagement on social media. It turns out that most people have better things to do than like, share or comment on product-related posts, which means the vast majority of your social media and content marketing efforts are falling on deaf ears. So what’s a savvy marketer to do? Join the 1% of marketers doing well with social by following these six “newish” rules.

Don’t Try to Turn Social Into Direct Marketing
Content that you share on social channels or elsewhere becomes a lot more appealing to your target and a lot more effective to the marketer when the emphasis shifts from what you want to sell to what value you can provide. This means not trying to measure the effectiveness of (organic) social media on its ability to generate leads or close a sale, and instead focusing on metrics that primarily address current customer needs, and, secondarily, the interests of your prospects. (read more…)

After working with dozens of nonprofit organizations to help them strategize and improve the overall performance of their Facebook efforts, I’ve come to understand what successful pages have in common: Content that not only helps their target audience tell their story through engagement, but also adds real value to their news feed and their friends’ news feeds.

Drew-BernardIt’s not enough to post high-quality content that informs your target audience. Nor is it enough to post content that your fans enjoy consuming. For your content to be shared, it must be something your fans want to be personally connected with as it becomes part of their online personal narrative. As a result, page managers must create content that helps their target audience express themselves to their friends. In my experience, successful page managers repeatedly use these five strategies to create content that people want to engage and be connected with – and you can, too. (read more…)

Social media presents unique opportunities and challenges alike for small businesses. It provides an unprecedented way to amplify word-of-mouth marketing efforts, a bread-and-butter tactic for local businesses. But it can also feel daunting to compete with the social-marketing budgets of larger competitors.

A new mobile application called Perch is designed specifically for small businesses to better understand their social media presence. It lets them track customer reviews from across social networks, including Facebook, Yelp and Google, not just for their own businesses but for competitors as well. The app is from Closely, a company started by former MapQuest co-founder Perry Evans.

Perry EvansEvans has been helping small businesses use digital tools to improve their local marketing for years. We asked him for insight on how smaller shops can use social media to their advantage in today’s competitive market:

Is social media marketing the big equalizer between big brands and small businesses? (read more…)

Social media has matured into a mandatory marketing channel for brands. Today’s leading social networks have advanced advertising tools, social commerce features and mobile capabilities. The channel has come a long way toward proving ROI for businesses — and it still has plenty of untapped potential.

With all the shiny new tools and platforms digital marketers can use to maximize brand social efforts, the holiday shopping season will be a test of their ability to influence consumers and score a slice of the estimated $650 billion spent before the year’s end.

Offerpop analyzed data collected from more than 100 domestic and international digital marketers, and discovered marketing departments of all sizes are investing more in social media this year. In fact, 67% have already committed to a larger investment in social media than last holiday season.

But where is that budget going? What efforts, platforms, end goals does the increased budget support? (read more…)