Looking For More Engagement on Your Social Media? Here Are 2 of the Best Social Media Contests That Work!

Contests are proven motivators. Running contests on your social media can help you grow your followers, likes, interaction, engagement, and build email lists in a short period of time with little effort.

According to research, social media accounts that hold Instagram contests grow their followers 70% faster over three months on average, than accounts that don’t. That’s a big deal. If you’re not running at least one or more of these contests on your business’ social media, you are a part of that 30% not growing and engaging with your potential followers.

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So, we decided to give you three of the best contests that you can run to boost your social media for your business.

Follower Giveaways

People LOVE free stuff. One of the best ways to run a social media contest is to give away a prize or product to one of your followers on one of your social media platforms. The best platforms to use or this contest is either Facebook or Instagram and run the contest at random because it’s where people are most interactive. When posting this contest on your social media, the most successful way to get people engaged with your social media is to make specific rules for your contest.

Let’s say Shirts and Skirts, a young, female based retail store, decided to run this campaign. A great way for them to run it on their social media would be to post a high-quality photo of the item or prize, let’s say that it is a floral shirt, that Shirts and Skirts is giving away to one lucky follower. They may want to write something on the post like the example below:

“We LOVE #flowers! We’re giving away a floral shirt to ONE lucky winner. Be sure that you’re following us, like this post and comment your favourite flower emoji to be entered to win! Winners will be messaged this Friday at 11pm!”

You can also run variations of these posts. Other examples of is doing this includes “12 day giveaways”, “Repost this photo and tag us” types of giveaways. Giveaway contests are great for generating more followers, likes on your posts, and creating more engagement on your social media resulting in more leads.

Challenges

This contest can be both a long term or short term challenge, but is slightly more work than just doing a giveaway. A great thing about challenges is that your followers can participate in them and feel connected or a part of your brand/business.

The most important part of this contest is to think about how you can offer people ways, even small, to achieve success. What problem can you solve in their lives that this challenge can help solve and will result in moving them closer to buying your product? This challenge should be to inspire your followers to take part of this challenge for self-fulfillment. To let people find what your doing on social media, hashtag your challenge on every post.

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As an example, let’s say “Jenny’s Gym” wanted to run a challenge contest all over her social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram). Jenny decided she wanted to help people get more into shape this summer, but also while promoting her gym. To do this, Jenny posts a high-quality photo with the caption:

“This year is the year! We have officially kicked off our #FitForHawaii weight-loss challenge! We’re giving away a trip for two to Hawaii! Between June 1st and July 1st we want to see you get that summer body. Visit our website for details!”

On her website, people can sign up for the #FitforHawaii challenge to receive weekly emails of ways to win at that challenge and weekly motivation. During the month of June, Jenny posts updates or motivation to continue and not give up and do a draw from the participants to win the trip.

By creating this, Jenny’s gains more followers, likes, builds an email list, testimonials, Jenny is promoting and providing a place for the participants to come and complete their challenge.

When Running a Contest, Remember…

Before you run a contest on your social media, always do the following:

  1. Set objectives/goals

  2. Check out other contests (even your competitors’)

  3. Choose the type of contest you want to run

  4. Pick a unique hashtag that relates to your contest

  5. Decide on the contest prize

  6. Choose which platforms you want to run your contest on

Most importantly, have fun with it!

Everything You Need To Know About Creating Great Social Media Content

Understanding Social Media Content

Creating great content that people actually engage with is crucial to marketing your business on social media. By the way, when we say “content” we are referring to the actual creative posts you share on social media. That could take the form of a photo, video, or just a long format copy (text) post on Facebook or LinkedIn for example.

High quality content will help you get your brand in front of more potential customers, encourage people to follow you, and most importantly share your posts with friends and coworkers.

But more important then all of that, is the fact that content is how you connect with your audience. Your content is a representation of your brand, it can influence purchase decisions, increase the perceived value of your product/service, and massively impact revenue as a long term branding solution.

You want to be the business that stays top of mind, that your audience follows and looks forward to seeing each and every post!

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Types of Social Media Content

Your photos, videos or graphics should be as high quality and professional as possible. Social media content should not be blurry, over-coloured, or overloaded with test and/or other images. The description of your post is where you say everything you want to say, this is the place for text, not the actual image itself. There are always exceptions, but this is a good rule of thumb to start with.

Images/Visuals

Like we just discussed, all of your pictures and video content should be high-quality. Although having a professional camera to capture images for your posts is easier, it does not mean you need to go out and buy an expensive camera. A cheaper option is using your mobile device to take photos and videos by using tools like IMovie and Photoshop, as well as other apps such as Canva, to brighten and edit your photos to make them look more professional. You want to have content that people can clearly see and understand that makes them want to see more.

Consistency

Posting one post a week at 11pm every week or whenever you have time will NOT get you the results you want for your business. Try to consider the daily behaviour of your ideal customer. If your targeting college students, they’re likely taking the bus or other transit between 7-9am and likely browsing their mobile phones. This would be a great time to reach them!

You should be posting your content should be at least 3-5 times a week on every social media platform relevant to your brand to maintain relevance. Different people engage with different platforms, leaving one out could mean the loss of an entire customer base. Be consistent across as many as possible! Without consistency, you will start seeing less followers, less likes, and overall less traffic for your business.

Hashtags

Though many people think that hashtags do not work, they do! In fact they are absolutely essential to getting your content noticed outside of your existing network. For example #Lamborghini would put your post in front of anyone on the platform searching for Lamborghinis'.  Putting niche hashtags that match your business and what content you are sharing is a great way for people to find you! Such as #toronto.

Establishing an Audience

Remember that you are trying to attract an audience of ideal customers who can at some point purchase from you. When you create content, create it for them. A great way to understand is by asking these questions after you have created a post:

  1. Would my ideal customer relate to this?

  2. Would my ideal customer find value or entertainment in this?

  3. Would my ideal customer likely share this with their friends?

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A mistake that most businesses make is that after they create great content and post it, they don’t engage with their audience. You should be liking, commenting, and responding (all positively) on your audiences posts. This let’s people know that a real human is behind the content and the brand and every time you engage with a comment or a post your name will show up in their notifications. This will make them want to see who liked or commented on their post.

Creating a Content Calendar

Planning, creating, scheduling, and posting content can feel like a full time job. If you’re posting 3-5 times per week most people struggle to find the time. Luckily, you don’t have to create and post content minute by minute as you need it, you can actually schedule it ahead of time. When you have a variety of different social media platforms to post on, it makes it easier to schedule your content to be posted automatically, when you want them to be posted.

Some great content schedulers that will help you to post your amazing finished content are Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, Tailwind, and more. All of these are available on an app as well that you can download easily from your IPhone or Android so that you can create and schedule posts when it is convenient for you.

The only thing you need to remember…

All that it is great, but if you’re feeling a little bit of information overload there’s only one thing you need to remember. Before creating or sharing any piece of content, remember you’re creating content for real people. Every post needs to add value to someone’s live in one way or another. Sometimes that means nothing more than simply making them smile for second or two. Always put yourself in your customer's shoes and ask yourself, would I like this, would I engage with it, and would I share it. If the answer is no, start over.


Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail... Why Your Business Needs an Effective Social Media Strategy!

Why Is A Social Media Strategy Important For My Business?

The development of a strategic social media plan is a foundation that every business should seriously consider. Every successful business owner will tell you that a well-thought strategy is the key to any successful campaign or business initiative.

If you’re just “winging it”, you’re likely wasting valuable capital, time, and resources that would better be used elsewhere. To avoid this, take the time to clarify your brand and vision, and invest in the development of a detailed tactical plan to guide your social media efforts.

This will ensure that you and your team have a clear idea of how to move forward, what the expected outcome is, and how to go about measuring and achieving it.

What does all that mean? In short, you’ll make more money, faster, and easier!

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, keep reading and let’s get into how to correctly develop a social media strategy that works!
 

Developing Your Social Media Strategy

Before you start developing anything, let me first explain that there are actually two parts to any successful social media strategy. The first being a social media discovery, followed by a social media discovery brief, and the second being the strategy itself.

What is a “Social Media Discovery”?

Remember when I said a strategy is the foundation of any business initiative? Well, the discovery is the foundation of your strategy! Discovery is where you’ll clearly define your brand, your target audience, competitors, etc. and determine how you want to position yourself in the market. Most importantly, it’s where you’ll set your initial goals and objectives, deciding what you want from social media. This is something we do for every new client, and it takes the form of a 2-hour conversation either in person or via video conference.

The Discovery Brief

Once you’ve had some time to discuss and think about your business, brand, and determined what you want out of social media, it’s time to put that together in the form of a document also known as the Discovery brief. This is also something we do for our clients usually within 48 hours of completing the initial discovery session. The purpose of the brief is to take everything discussed in the initial discovery and spend some time researching and going deeper into a variety of the topics. Such as researching your competition and developing a competitive analysis.

A Discovery Brief consists of the basic, but highly specific and useful information about your business. Suits Social calls this a “Discovery Brief” because it’s all about learning (or discovering) more about your business and going beyond a name and product. As such, the process becomes more about discovering the value and untapped opportunities in your business as opposed to simply reviewing what you already know. We want to dig deep into what your company is, does, and why it does it. In this formal and organized document, ask yourself these questions:

  • What exactly is my business (Define in detail)?

  • What are my top 3 goals and objectives?

  • What is my value proposition?

  • What is my positioning in the marketplace?

  • Who and where is my ideal target customer, and how do I reach them?

  • Who are my competitors, what are they doing good/bad?

Knowing the answer to these questions are crucial to developing a powerful social media strategy and exponentially growing your business on social media.

The Social Media Strategy

A social media strategy is different from the Discovery Brief in that it clearly provides tactical step by step actions that will be taken to achieve your goals and objectives. Creating a clear path to reach those objectives and goals for your business.

To put it simply, this forward-looking dynamic plan outlines what you need to do, how you need to do it, how long it will take, what it will cost, and what you’ll get out of it. From when and what to post to detailed ad campaigns, and community management protocol.

Developing a detailed social media strategy minimizes the future risk of failure and consequences by keeping your efforts organized and manageable. When we develop a social media strategy for our clients, it typically runs between 25 to 30 pages and typically includes in the following items:

  • Action items for each goal and objective.

  • Budgets, timelines, and expectations.

  • Detailed buyer personas and messaging strategy.

  • Community and reputation management plan.

  • Organic content strategy:

Content Calendar

Creative media examples

Types of posts, contests, challenges, etc.

Media collection plan

  • Paid media plan (Advertising):

Target market research

Ad campaign outlines

Detailed targeting including location, age, interests, and more.

Ad creatives and copy.

Spending & expected ROI.

 

Why we do this

Going through the Discovery process and developing a social media strategy creates an overall clearer performance of your ideas, minimizes weaknesses and threats, and opens new opportunities to reach your objectives and goals for your business.

Every business should have a clear, organized Discovery Brief and social media Strategy that guides their efforts and budgets. Not only are they useful in the present, but  they are useful to use as a reflection later when measuring campaigns, objectives, and determining what worked or didn’t work for your business allowing you to constantly improve results and increase your chances of success over time.

Learn More

To learn more about the Suits Social Discovery and Strategy process, please email info@suitssocial.com or click here to book a free exploration session.


Top Canadian Social Marketing Agencies - We Made The Cut!

Clutch Announces Canadian Leaders in Marketing and Advertising.

Suits Social is happy to announce that as Clutch announced their leaders for Canadian businesses in 2018 in their annual Press Release, and we made the cut!

Our ranking and leadership came out in the social media research they conducted. We are a leader in the social marketing field, and in the greater marketing and advertising field at large.

Social Media research lead, Alaina Stevenson, from Clutch said, “Marketing and advertising is such a versatile field. I think that is what we are seeing reflected in the research – a growth of ideas and practices in play in the marketing world.” 

Everything is changing. Everything is growing. And everything is going digital. 

Social media is rapidly transforming into an ever-vital component of the business landscape. 

As a leader, Suits Social has become a staple in the social media management and business world, and Clutch, the leader in business services and reviews, clearly reflect that. 

As we continue to work and grow, we hope to be highlighted in next year’s press release as a leader as well, and all the years after that. 

For more information on Clutch, our profile and other business fields press releases, visit Clutch.co

 

 

30 Social Media Stats Every Business Owner Needs To See! (Infographic)

If you've ever had doubts about social media, how many people use it, and how BIG it actually is. This infographic should put a few things into perspective.

If you're business still isn't investing in social media, you're missing out on the biggest opportunity of the 21st century. 

Social media is the most powerful communication channel that's ever existed, and now we're going to prove it.


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5 Tips To Up Your Social Media Game In 2018

If you're still not using social media the way you know you should, 2018 is the time to do it.

To help you get started, i've put together my top 5 tips to up your social media game in 2018. Save them to your desktop, send them to a friend, but most importantly take action!

These are 5 things that most people are still not doing, and 2018 is the year to start.

Enjoy!

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Schedule Social Media Posts And Save Time With Hootsuite

Social Media's Important But It Can Also Get Overwhelming...

In recent times, the use of social media for businesses of all sizes has become almost imperative for exposure and ultimately success.

Though with so many different platforms (and the need to be involved on many of them), it can be difficult to manage what goes where. Posting to each social feed individually can become redundant, and time consuming. That is not a good combination for any business. You have probably heard of the phrase, “time is money”, right?

What To Do?

 If you are posting content to each social feed individually, STOP. It is time to look into a social media management platform such as Hootsuite, where you can manage all of your social media in one place. Now, lets get this out of the way, this is not meant to be an advertisement for Hootsuite, its just smart advice to promote efficiency for your business.

The Benefits

 With a free Hootsuite account, you can manage up to 10 social media platforms from one single dashboard. The ability to schedule posts to various feeds either automatically or in bulk, and then be able to view them in the content calendar is perhaps one of the greatest features of this platform.

Set up streams. View tweets, Instagram posts and more that are related to your followers, or to the interests of your business. Then, why not interact with them while you’re at it. All in one spot. See the trend here?

Analytics. One of the most important aspects to measure success is also a feature that is readily available within the Hootsuite platform. Whether you are a social media agency or a business who conducts social media from within, you want to be able to measure ROI, and this platform allows you measure growth with a simple click of the mouse.

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Other important features include the ability to add team members and assign tasks, create contests and campaigns that will generate leads, and access to over 250 applications and integrations.

There is a reason why some of the world’s largest organizations, including Visa, HBO, PayPal and Expedia are using this platform to manage the many aspects of their social media feeds, and it isn’t just a fluke.

Overwhelmed?

Looking at a dashboard filled with content from several different social feeds can be quite overwhelming, we get that. It can be downright confusing at times. But once you get the hang of it, posting and engaging with your social following becomes very efficient.

Whether you pick up on the platform right away, or whether it takes some time, the Hootsuite Academy is here to provide an educational program that will take you through areas that include platform training and even social marketing training.

Final Thoughts…

Now, once you get acquainted with Hootsuite, it is important to remember that you shouldn’t get carried away with it. Yes, it becomes so easy to post that you might be posting for the heck of it! Don’t. Instead, remember to post quality over quantity. But lets save a full discussion on content for another blog post.

Hootsuite offers much more, especially when upgrading your plan. Features can include custom analytics reports, additional contest templates, custom branded URLs, 1-on-1 training sessions and social media certifications (those look good on your resume).

Whether you operate a small business, or an enterprise, Hootsuite can help you manage one of 35 different social platform that assist companies promote their messages through curated content.

Social media presence is a key to success, but so is efficiency, so look into a social media management platform to turn time

Say Hello To Instagram – The Newest (Old) Tool For Business

More Than Just Selfies & Pictures of Food

Instagram, the platform that we are so used to viewing (and sometimes posting) those oftentimes-regrettable selfies to, has believe it or not, been around since October 6, 2010. So, it is not a “new” platform per se, especially in the highly digitized society that we live in today.

Aesthetically, it has not changed much over the years. In the grand scheme of things, it is not much more than a photo-sharing application to personal users. Though as you will soon learn, it has become much more than that...

Almost 7 years after its inception, Instagram for business has become a must-have tool for companies small and large, looking to compete for market-share in 2017 and beyond. If we as potential buyers can’t see creative photographic evidence, does it really exist? Does it interest us? Does it matter? Instagram can help your business with that.

What Is Instagram Really?

It’s easy to tell people that they need something, but if you don’t tell them why, chances are they probably aren’t going to listen to you (I wouldn’t). So the next couple of sections in this blog post will tell you why your business needs Instagram.

Registering your Instagram account as a business offers users several benefits that include real-time statistics on how promoted posts and stories perform, insights into how your followers interact with your posts, and the ability to neatly add vital information about your company, like business hours, location and phone number to your profile. Whether it be a photo, a video, or a story, the option to promote these wide-variety of posts with specific geographic targeting in the form of paid advertising is also available. Instagram was even kind enough to make the transition from a personal account to business account as easy as accessing your settings and selecting the “Switch to Business Profile” option. More information on available features can be found on the Instagram for business page.

The Cold Hard Facts

Still not convinced? Let me demonstrate how you are missing the boat by not joining this platform as a business. According to information obtained by Business Insider, Instagram as of September 2017, has two million active advertisers monthly, up from one million in March of this same year. Businesses are seeing its impact and performance. No it was not large corporations who have contributed to this growth, they have been there all along. Small and medium-sized businesses have driven this growth, and all indications point to continued growth.

As a business user, you don’t want to waste your time and resources posting to a platform that harvests little to no active users. Obviously. This is hardly a concern for Instagram, who also reached another impressive milestone in September 2017. The application reached 800 million monthly users, up 100 million since April 2017 and up a grand total of 500 million users since August 2016.

According to this same report, Instagram users under the age of 25 spend just over 32 minutes a day on the application, while those older than 25 spend just over 24 minutes a day on the platform. I could personally vouch for the above noted statistics, as someone under 25, I spend almost 45 minutes of my day surfing my Instagram feed and viewing stories (many of them businesses).

 

 
     Source: Business Insider

 Source: Business Insider

 

Final Thoughts

Are you a “dinosaur” if your business isn’t using Instagram?

I would say so. (Sorry, sometimes the truth hurts.)

With the amount of small to medium-sized businesses that have recently jumped on to the platform in order to advertise and promote, It would be hard to compete without making your presence felt here as well.

Instagram is not nearly as big in terms of active users as Facebook or Twitter currently are (you should already be there), but it is outdoing Snapchat and other well-known social media platforms, with a trend of continued growth that shows no sign of slowing down.

According to the above noted Business Insider article, 2.8 billion people, or 37% of the world’s population use social media platforms in one capacity or another (usage and interaction varies, of course). Knowing this, social media presence (and usage) for businesses, especially newer businesses without an existing large customer base, is almost imperative to succeeding in the modern business landscape.

You don’t have to necessarily be on all platforms to be successful though, but besides Facebook and perhaps Twitter, Instagram for business should definitely be a weapon in your businesses artillery.

Before you say... you or someone you know, has run a business for 50+ years and never needed social media, so why should you need it now. Let me leave you with my final thought on that.

You/They didn't need it for the last 50 years, because it didn't exist. Attention was on television, newspaper, directories, phone books, etc. Good chance you used those in the past 50 years? But today those are obsolete.

So if you're looking to stay the same size and work with existing clients fine... but if you want to grow your business TODAY, stop marketing in the year 1960, and start marketing to today's customers.

Your customers attention is on social media, yours should be too, and Instagram is a big part of that. 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

BLOW UP Your Business With Local Micro-Influencers

What are Local Micro-Influencers, how do you find them, and how can you use them to grow your business? 

By this point we all realize that social media is important for growing a business, there's no doubting that.

You've also likely heard about "Influencer marketing". If you have't it's basically when someone with a large social media following, partners with a brand/business to create a single or multiple pieces of sponsored content.

Essentially by paying someone with a large following to promote your products, you can get in front of a large audience in a very organic way.

Think "word of mouth" at scale... 

Because influencers have built great relationships with their following, the people that will see your product/service will trust the recommendation far more than a traditional ad.

The problem local businesses have when working with a large influencer is the cost, with top influencers commanding 6 figures or more per promotion. Talk about blowing the budget...

But don't worry...if you're a local business and not an international brand, there is an even better way for you to get the same effect as influencer marketing, for little to no cost.

The Alternative To Regular Influencer Marketing

It's called Micro-Influencer marketing!

A Micro-Influencer is an influencer on a much smaller scale, they usually have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, although opinions vary give or take a few thousand.

The idea behind Micro-Influencer's is very much the same as with larger influencers, but with a few added benefits.

1. Micro-Influencer will promote your business for free or for very cheap in exchange for free product, service, or commission on sales.

2. Their following is much more intimate, mostly composed of friends, family, and locals.

3. Because they don't often get brand deals (yet) their following is not bombarded with ads, so they're far more receptive to sponsored content.

These are just some of the benefits of working with micro-influencers.

But what about that whole "Local" thing? 

Local Micro-Influencers are simply Micro-Influencers that live/work in the same region as your business.

So if you're a car dealership in Toronto, you would look for car photographers or vloggers with a following of 1,000-10,000 that live within Toronto.

The benefit of local influencers is that they're "following" or "audience" will be primarily based around your place of business. Hence the term "Local Influencer".

Local influencer marketing is essentialy a word of mouth referral, but the person giving the referral isn't just telling one or two of their friends, they're telling thousands! 

How to Find Local Influencers

So you now you get what a local micro-influencer is, and it's important, but how do you utilize them? What exactly do they do, and how do you find them?

Well first let's start with how you find local influencers.

You can find local influencers in a few ways:

 
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That's how you find local influencers, but what do you do once you find them?

Once you find them you need to reach out, and provide them with an offer. Maybe it's free product, free service, discounted venue, or perhaps an invitation to an event. It all depends.

Sometimes you can leave it up to them, tell them your goals and let them be creative with how they promote you, but you'll have to make it worth there while, and usually that means compensation.

But if you're a little more creative, you can get influencers to work for free. How?

By providing them with a fun and engaging framework to be creative.

Host a local event, go on a coffee run with them, bring them in for a tasting, it depends on your industry but the concept is simple.

Create a fun event that they can't resist attending. Make them feel exclusive and special, and once they get there, it's in their nature to document and share. 

They'll wan't everyone to know about this super cool event their at!

Launching A Local Influencer Campaign?

Launching a micro-influencer campaign can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, and the process to do so will vary depending on your business.

For example, if you sell fitness clothing, you might just want to send a few influencers your clothing, have them take photos in it, and share with their following.

But if your a restaurant the approach is different, maybe you invite a few influencers for a "VIP Tasting" in exchange for them documenting the event and sharing it online.

For more information about my take on local influencer marketing, check out this video!

Feel free to leave a comment under this blog or in the video, and I'll be happy to answer any questions that I can!