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…)

A commonly cited definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.” In today’s fast moving business environment, however, the new definition of insanity should be “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the SAME results.” That definition is especially applicable when trying to engage Generation Y.

Worldwide, there are 2 billion Global Ys (GYs) – a powerful consumer group between the ages of 18 and 34 who will represent more than $2.5 trillion in spending by 2020. This generation respects and expects innovation; more than 60% claim innovation is one of the most important qualities they look for in the brands they support.

With a little more than half the world’s population under age 30, the need to build brands that reflect millennials’ forward-thinking, creative characteristics is intensifying. Brands that understand GYs’ preferences, goals and aspirations will have a competitive advantage. (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…)

Social data and analytics are all the rage these days, but what precisely should companies do with the information they collect? In the case of hotel chain Best Western, the answer was to engage with customers through social media. It partnered with SaaS customer experience management company Medallia to boost TripAdvisor scores for participating properties.

In this Q&A, Michelle de Haaff, Medallia’s vice president of marketing and a self-declared social media junkie, offer their tips for successful social media engagement with customers, advice on how to handle social data and thoughts on ways that mobile is reshaping how brands and consumers interact.

Companies are collecting more data about their customers, but making sense of that data remains a challenge. What are some best practices for marketers who are trying to glean insights from the vast trove of social data available to them?

At the most basic level, you need a system for organizing that data,Michelle de Haaff benchmarks to measure it against and a process for tracking it over time. (read more…)