Tag Archives: Twitter

When is the Best Time to Tweet?

According to Twitter, over 500 million tweets are sent every day. With such a large volume of updates, how can you increase the chances that your company’s tweets are reaching your followers?

Here are two free online tools to accurately identify when your Twitter followers are online. For optimal engagement, experiment with scheduling your tweets during the more active times of the day.

1. SocialBro

Social Bro is a free Twitter analytics tool that lets you explore the demographics of your Twitter followers as well as search for new followers. To determine what time to tweet, use the Best time to tweet tool found under Tools > Best time to tweet. This report will display graphs of when your followers are most online by the day of the week, and by the hour of the day.

SocialBro best time to tweet

From the charts of our VA Partners Twitter account, you can see that during the week our followers are most active on Wednesday, followed by Tuesday and Thursday. During the day, our followers are most active around noon and early to late afternoon.

SocialBro - best time to tweet by day of the week SocialBro - best time to tweet by hour

To analyze your own Twitter account, download the free Social Bro extension for Google Chrome, or visit SocialBro for a free trial. The free version allows you to analyze up to 100 users.

2. Tweriod

Similar to Social Bro, Tweriod analyzes your followers’ online activity to determine how many of your followers are online during different days of the week and different times of the day. Based on an analysis for 1,000 of VA Partners’ followers, on weekdays, the most followers are online later in the afternoon, peaking at around 5pm. On weekends, the online activity of VA Partners’ followers is the highest between 12pm and 6pm.

Tweriod - hourly graph for online followers, weekdays Tweriod - hourly graph for online followers, weekends

Recommendation

Use Social Bro and Tweriod to determine when your Twitter followers are online. Based on the results, try scheduling your tweets during the days and times you have the most followers online.

How are you currently deciding when to tweet? Do you know of other Twitter tools that help you determine the best time to tweet?

To learn more about how to grow your business with B2B sales or startup marketing, contact us at Venture Accelerator Partners or download one of our free B2B sales & marketing white papers.

Become a social media rockstar in 5 Easy Steps

Social media management is far from an easy job.

Being a great social media manager often means lots of effort and longer hours than you had expected. For entrepreneurs with already limited time, this can be a major problem. Thankfully, there are some great tools and strategies out there – many of them free – which can help you out.

Here’s a few tips that can make social media management a little easier.

1. What’s Your Social Media Strategy?

As with everything related to sales and marketing, you should always have a strategy. What you hope to accomplish and how you plan to achieve it will help you set the parameters for the work that lies ahead. When it comes to managing social media for a business, you need to create a detailed map and navigate your initiatives accordingly.

2. Content Calendar

This is your map of all your ideas and you should be following it closely. It will help you stay organized and keep you on top of all the different channels you may be looking after. Use a traditional calendar or an Excel spreadsheet to map out all the types of posts you want to make, on what channel, and when. Ideally, this will keep you posting regularly on all your social media platforms for all the targets in your strategy.

3. HootSuite

If you’re already on it, great! If not, HootSuite is a social media management system that allows users to preschedule posts, shorten links, and utilize basic analytics to see how well they’re doing. It will save you having to manually update your accounts at various times throughout the day, and can help you prepare for weekends and holidays when you still want to be active. There is a free and paid version depending on the amount you’re willing to allocate to the tool. We made the leap from Tweetdeck to HootSuite a year ago and haven’t looked back.

4. Twitter Lists

Twitter is one of the most commonly used social media platforms, whether you’re a B2B or B2C business. You’re likely following many great accounts that relate to your industry (at least you should be) that can provide you with great content. If you haven’t already, organize these accounts into groups and create lists for them. The next time you’re searching for new content on something in your industry, it will already be there and easy to find.

5. A Clipping Service

Finding great content to share can become a time consuming challenge. What are known as clipping services can help. They can provide you with all the relevant information that fits a defined category of keywords. Three services come to mind: Google Alerts, TrendSpottr and Mention. These clipping services will automatically email you content that fits your criteria so you’re always in the loop. They can also act as a great tool for media monitoring!

If you’d like to learn more easy ways you can solve your social media management challenges, feel free to reach out to me.

Why you should be using a social media content calendar

In a world of content marketing, the one with a plan is king.

Now that the production and curation of quality marketing content is widely viewed as the best way to engage customers and drive meaningful leads, it’s crucial to have a plan that lets you take advantage. And in a world where social media has become a primary means of communication, insightful timing and dogged consistency are the keys to success.

A social media content calendar, a detailed management schedule of how you plan to leverage social media to support your sales and marketing activities, will help keep you focused, save you time, and enhance your social media ROI.

Here are 3 reasons to create a social media content calendar:

  • Integrated Sales & Marketing Support Social media is a tool to support your sales and marketing strategy – not a sales and marketing strategy unto itself. Aimlessly tweeting or posting links to Facebook without an overarching strategy doesn’t add a whole lot of value. To be successful, social media can’t exist in a silo. It must be closely integrated with all other marketing and sales elements to be worthwhile, and a content calendar can help align your social media efforts with your greater strategy. For example, if you’re planning to launch a new product in February, use your content calendar to plan your social media efforts now. Plan to write a series of blogs that help define the problem and demonstrate the need for a solution; schedule a series of escalating tweets and Facebook posts that shift the conversation towards awareness and desire as the launch date nears; plan a Facebook contest that will spur continued engagement post-launch.
  • Better Efficiency & Organization As the number of social media tools used in B2B marketing continues to grow, it’s certainly a challenge to keep track of everything. At VA Partners, our social media content calendar lives in an Excel spreadsheet that gets updated and assessed on a week-to-week basis. Though seemingly simple, our content calendar saves us a huge amount of time and effort with regards to researching and scheduling social media activity. It’s a wonder for 3rd party content curation too, providing us with a guideline/template from which to source great material from top industry sources. Other key benefits are that it keeps us focused and on message, prevents overloading on a single topic, and keeps everyone on the team on the same page.
  • Take Advantage of Timing Different social media tools work best at different times. For example, research has shown that content posted to Facebook garners the most shares around 6:00pm, the most likes around 8:00pm, and Facebook also seems to be more effective at driving engagement on weekends. For its part, Twitter seems to be most effective at driving engagement between 3:00pm-6:00pm (in terms of RTs). Of course, the best time of day will vary for every company, but using a content calendar can help ensure you’re using the right tool at the right time to reach the right audience.

Given that it’s the holiday season, it also seems worthwhile to mention that looking ahead is never a bad idea. Identifying key dates throughout the year (whether they’re holidays, birthdays, customer milestones, etc.) will help ensure you don’t miss out on an opportunity to leverage a special day to engage with customers, employees, or partners.

Does your company use a social media content calendar?

If you’re looking for help streamlining your social media efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Choosing the Right Social Media Tools for Your Startup

By now we’re all aware of the importance of social media for marketing and sales. There’s no marketing tool that can rival Facebook’s usability and visual nature. Except for Pinterest. And Twitter’s interconnectivity and speed is unrivalled in the history of mass communications. LinkedIn is the only avenue for B2B marketing and sales that matters. The list goes on and on.

As a free (or nearly free) tool, social media has become a pillar of startup marketing and sales strategies. But with so many social media tools at your disposal, it can often be hard to know exactly where to start and which tools are worth your time and effort.

While I’m a firm believer that creative marketers can successfully leverage any platform, it’s a reality that some social media tools will be better than others for building relationships with the customers you need to reach. Here are 3 questions to ask yourself when considering what social media tools you should be utilizing:

1. Who is your target audience? Understanding who your target market is, where they are, and what they are looking for must be at the centre of your marketing, sales, and social media strategies. The medium is the message, and unique target markets will respond differently to different social media tools. If you’re a startup focusing on reaching young, fashion-savvy teenage girls, Pinterest is probably a good place to invest your time since 68.2% of Pinterest users are women, it’s a visual platform, and its social atmosphere should resonate.  If you sell standardized industrial widgets? Take a pass. It’s unlikely the foremen you sell your products to spend their workday browsing for the latest hip fashions. There are better uses for your time and marketing budget.

2. What are you trying to accomplish? The key question here is “What sort of behaviour am I looking to drive in my target market?” It’s immensely important to define your goals. If your focus is raising awareness, you should be using a different set of tools than if your focus is seeking out prospective customers to add to your sales funnel. It may sound odd, but some social media tools are inherently more ‘social’ than others. To create a marketing buzz, focus your efforts on social media tools that allow for easy sharing and are organized based on user interests like Twitter, Pinterest, or a blog.

3. What are the limitations of the available tools? Take the time to thoroughly understand what each social media tool can offer your business. Will your target market respond better to a link to a relevant website on Twitter or an interactive video on YouTube? Are the unique benefits of your products and services best communicated through text or photos? Answering questions like these will quickly narrow your focus. Many websites also provide businesses with a host of helpful tips and programs that can be of great value to a startup. Place an emphasis on tools that provide quality analytics programs so you can analyze your efforts and make adjustments as needed.

Don’t try and boil the ocean. As labours of love, startups are already time consuming enough. While social media can be helpful in prospecting for customers and nurturing relationships, not all businesses are well suited to every social media tool. The best social media tools for your startup are the ones that will help you connect and collaborate with customers, build the right relationships, and optimize your content for maximum ROI. To find out more about how Venture Accelerator Partners can help you with your marketing, sales, and social media, check out our website.

 

Pinterest for B2B: What to know and how to start

Many small businesses ask themselves the same question when deciding whether or not they should embark in the newest social media platform: Is it worth my time? I recently read an ebook by Hubspot on Pinterest for B2B. For those who are unfamiliar with Pinterest, it is a social platform that relies on the sharing of visuals images. On the surface, it is easy to see how Pinterest benefits B2C companies, but how may it helped B2B organizations?

Below are is a list of various questions you may be asking yourself about Pinterest. I have provided a few points that may help you make a decision about fitting Pinterest into your marketing strategy:

What is Pinterest?

  • Visual social media platform where users share, like, comment and follow people and boards to pass along information in the form of images and videos.
  • How popular is it? Pinterest saw 155% growth in one month, beating out Linkedin and Google+

How does Pinterest fit into the marketing strategy of B2B organizations?

  • What kind of businesses should be considering it? Businesses that highly utilize videos and images in their core messaging. Keep in mind that you want to be where your customers are. Do some research beforehand to see if your current customers and prospects are using the platform.
  • Pinterest provides connectivity to Facebook and Twitter. Users can sign up using their Facebook or Twitter account, therefore, posting their Pinterest activity to these separate social networks as well

I set up a profile, what now?

  • Optimize your profile: Include your company name, logo, brief description, links, keep the setting ‘hide your Pinterest profile from search engines’ checked OFF
  • Want to be successful? Avoid blatant self-promotion. Even a sales person will tell you that no one likes to be ‘sold to.’ Keep your content educational and informative.
  • Start by creating pinboards in order to build a reach and network. A pinboard is like a Twitter list; it is a tool used to consolidate information pertaining to one particular topic of interest. Remember to utilize your company’s keywords in the title of pinboards for SEO purposes and to clearly communicate what your board is for.

I’ve set up a profile. Is there anything else I should know?

  • There are 2 kinds of follows:
    • 1) Follow a board: Users will receive all information posted on a particular pinboard. It’s similar to following a list on Twitter.
    • 2) Follow a user: Users will receive updates every time your company posts an update. It’s similar to following someone’s Twitter handle.
    • When developing your pinboards, remember some of these great tips:
      • Feature visual content; Pinterest is a visual social network
      • Create pinboards about your company so users can see the people behind the brand. Example: Executive Managament board with headshots of your team.
      • Utilize strong visuals from blog articles to promote your blogs
      • Create a user generated pinboard; allow other Pinterest users to add to your boards
      • Utilize hashtags; Pinterest supports the use of hashtags.
      • Measure, Measure, Measure! Remember to measure your efforts by using a tool such as Google Analytics. Identify how many users are coming to your website from Pinterest and set goals for inbound traffic. For example, increase your Pinterest inbound traffic by 20% per month. Also use analytics to understand what works and what doesn’t; are people visiting your blogs from Pinterest and not your newsletter page?

Hubspot has a lot of great resources if you’re looking to brush up on your marketing knowledge, or if you’re interested in learning something new. Give us a shout if you need assistance putting your thoughts into action and want to start executing a strong marketing strategy. To get weekly tips, sign up for our RSS feed and take a look at our blogs on sales, marketing and social media.

For more information on our part-time sales and marketing services, visit our website.

 

 

 

The medium may be the message, but the message still applies

Last September, I wrote a blog titled “The Medium is the Message” and how it applies to our social media efforts. As mentioned in my previous blog, McLuhan’s theory was not made for the internet and social media, however, his theory applies none-the-less. When stating “The medium is the message”, McLuhan believed that it was not what we said, but the way we said it that mattered most. Although McLuhan was right in saying that the way we send our message is important, we cannot neglect the message itself; this is where the importance of copywriting comes in.

Copywriting is essentially the value of your company, its services and products in writing. In order to ensure you accurately portray your brand to your customers, prospects and even competitors, here are a few tips to get you on your way:

  1. Assign someone to do the task. Startups and growing organizations suffer from inadequate resources to get things completed. Find the person in your company that handles the majority (or all) of your Marketing efforts. This person will have some prior insight into how your company should be communicating with your audience.
  2. Prep yourself before writing. We won’t all be superstar copywriters at first, but a bit of help can lead to success. Attend webinars, read whitepapers and even take a copywriter in your neighbourhood out for a coffee to pick their brain for an hour.
  3. Make a copywriting plan for each medium. Put a copywriting plan in place for your Social Media outlets, Whitepapers, Email Newsletters and Website. Having copywrite for each medium put into a plan and templated will make it easier to pass it on throughout your company. It will also serve as a back-up source of information in case any of your employees need a refresher.
  4. Keep a content calendar. A content calendar can be done on something as simple as Microsoft Excel, or it can be done on Google Docs. Either way you choose to track this information, make sure your entire team is on the same page. This way, the timeline and expectations for each source will be known by all your employees. Mark Evans speaks also speaks on the importance of content marketing and how it applies to our Marketing efforts; check out his website for more information.

If you’re looking for help on your copywriting efforts, or simply looking for resources on Copywriting techniques, reach out to myself or sign up for our monthly newsletter filled with great information, suggested readings and events on Sales and Marketing.

 

Tips for Starting a Linkedin in Group

Recently VA Partners launched a group on Linkedin called “Sales and Marketing for Canadian Startups”. Linkedin groups have a number of benefits for member such as sharing content and making connections, as outlined in a previous blog post. However, from the perspective of a group owner there are different things to consider when it comes to Linkedin groups.

When I was doing research on how to start a Linkedin group I came across a number of resources with great guidelines. These include articles from Hubspot and Social Media Examiner.The recently published article “How to Run a Successful Linkedin Group” featuring Sourov De and Chris Hebert has some great tips as well.

Below are some tips I have gathered:

Marketing:

  • Develop a digital marketing strategy to gain momentum in attracting members. Use social media platforms such as twitter to spread the word. Other outlets can include the use of your newsletter. You can use these platforms to not only present the launch of the group, but to also provide continual updates on the group’s progress.
  • Use connections that individuals have on Linkedin to send out personal emails encouraging them to join the group to by outlining what benefits it could offer them. It’s important to only invite people who will actually consider joining.

Content:

  • Since the group is encompassing both sales and marketing it’s important to vary the topics of the content that is being posted as well as the sources that they are being drawn from but still maintain the overall topics of sales and marketing.
  • Formulate questions and post them as discussions to allow members to engage in conversations.
  • Comment and like discussions that are posted by other members in order to show that you are involved in the group’s discussion board.

Monitoring:

  • Decide whether an open group or a closed group is more appropriate for the goals of your group. Some factors that play a part in making your decision include:approving members, approving discussions or allowing updates without any approval. The decision to have an open or closed group will alter the amount of time you will regularly spend on the group.
  • Set up group rules for members to refer to. This also shows that this group is meant to facilitate only relevant discussions. It indicates to members that the group managers are involved in the group’s progress and are committed to making it one that will be beneficial to its members.
  • Develop a way of addressing spam and other promotional material. First, it’s important to create guidelines on what is considered spam and what isn’t.Utilize the personal message feature in Linkedin to connect with anyone who is posting things that aren’t relevant to the group

It’s important to realize that once the group has been launched many of your pre-planned ideas may need to be adjusted. For example there can be lot of activity on the group’s discussion board so you may reduce the amount of content you post.Continue to develop your plans to cater to your groups demographic.

Take a look at the group “Sales and Marketing for Canadian Startups” to see the results of the efforts that are put into creating a Linkedin group. For more information about how you can make the shift in Marketing for your team, or for help getting your Marketing efforts off the ground, take a look at how we can help.

Marketing Showdown: What startups can learn about marketing from corporations

Last week I attended a webinar from HubSpot titled “Legendary Marketing Showdown.” Hubspot compared large corporations to each other in terms of their marketing efforts; such companies included Pepsi vs. Coke and McDonalds vs. Burger King. Although small businesses and start-ups follow different tactics than corporations, there is still something to learn from these bigger companies in terms of marketing tactics. The following are a list of tactics that I took from the webinar which are applicable to small business and start-ups.

Are you as social as Pepsi? Pepsi uses each of their social media platforms to promote their campaigns and provide their customers with information on how they can get involved. Don’t simply rely on your website as an outlet to promote your campaign. Use Twitter and Facebook to communicate to your audience what you want them to do to get involved in a campaign; for example “Enter your email HERE!”

Does your blog page welcome input from others? Having a blog is a great idea and it’s even better if you’re consistent with your efforts. To take it one step further, start including blogs on your website from some of your partners. By providing content from authors outside your company, you are providing useful information to your readers you may never have before and you are enhancing your link building; if you let someone on your site, there’s a good chance they will return the favour.

Twitter is not for chit chatting. Coca cola is a brand guilty of using Twitter to chat… and only chat. Social media is a great way to communicate with your audience, respond to customer feedback and have discussion around topics relevant to your company, but don’t get caught up in the conversation. Use social media as a tool to promote your brand, become a thought leader and provide useful information and avoid using it solely as a platform to talk.

Are you providing links for your tweets? Burger King is guilty of sending out tweets without a link. Although it is possible to provide useful information in 140 characters or less, you want to ensure that the majority of your tweets (ex. 7 out of 10) include a link that sends readers directly to your website or a 3rd party source of information (another good way to enhance your link building). Sending readers to your website through a link is a great way to enhance your website traffic, providing you with more prospect opportunities. Take a look at our Twitter stream as an example.

For more information on how you can enhance your marketing and social media efforts, visit our website. For answers to your marketing and social media, send us a tweet, linkedin message, email or call!