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Friday, 3rd January, 2014 | By Matthew Lewis | Category: Public Relations and Social Media

4 Resolutions to Become a More Savvy Social Marketer in 2014

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If you’re like the majority of business owners today, you definitely have your feet wet in social media marketing. How can you not at this point? Yes, this is me gently telling you that you should probably join the rest of the social marketing world if you haven’t already. The first time is gently; the second time I’m coming with a frying pan. No, wait — even worse — four thousand chain letters. Back to the point, shall we? Below is a list of four in-depth social marketing resolutions that every business owner — large or small — needs to embrace and implement in 2014.

4. Amp up your LinkedIn profile.

Let’s be honest for a second. If you’re a business owner in today’s social media saturated world, you’ve probably found yourself scratching your head from time-to-time when it comes to implementing a Linked In profile and/or business strategy. First things first: You’re not alone. You might be a Facebook or Twitter pro at this point, but LinkedIn is a mystery to you. You’re thinking, “Why do I need LinkedIn? Isn’t that for people looking for a job?” It most certainly is, but it’s also the new and improved way to network with your like-minded peers. It’s the virtual gateway to find new clients, connections and people who can really help your business thrive.

Here are some practical tips to enhance your LinkedIn presence for potential clients and business partners/connections in 2014:

1. Pay attention to your title.

Change your LinkedIn title to something more practical. Many people place their job title next to their photo. While this isn’t a terrible thing to do, I recommend placing skill sets, instead. For example, instead of writing “Founder and CEO of ____” write skills such as “training consultation,” “business leadership,” “digital advertising,” or whatever other skill applies to your business and performance. These words act as great SEO tools when people search for specific businesses who can deliver the work they need.

2. Show off your work.

Provide work samples in the first or second box that LinkedIn provides in its basic profile template. When potential clients and business partners/connections search for specific industry-related professionals, they want to see the work you’ve done in the past. It creates a virtual portfolio that proves you can deliver what you promise, and we all know one of the biggest pet peeves in today’s business world is business people who over promise and under deliver.

3. Give endorsements.

Endorse your current colleagues, friends and clients with skill sets. They, in turn, will endorse you for what you’ve done for them– or, what they see you/your business do well for the public. Think of it this way: It’s the golden rule in virtual form. The more LinkedIn endorsements you have, the more credible you look as a business owner.

3. Instagram that selfie.

If there’s any platform that today’s audience loves more than any other when it comes to sharing content, it’s Instagram. Instagram speaks our language through cool photos and short videos. It’s the perfect spot for business owners to create campaigns for those of us with … well, we’ll call it a reaaalllly short attention span.

Here are three tips to better engage (and find) your audience on Instagram:

1. Create a contest.

Radio and TV has showed us through the last three decades how much people love entering themselves in contests to win free or discounted stuff. Instagram (along with Twitter) might be the easiest platform for business owners to create a contest, therefore creating more customers and leads. All you have to do is create a hashtag (#) and ask your followers to submit a photo based on your contest stipulations. You’ll be surprised at how fast the contest takes off if you offer something of substance for free.

2. Give some love to your customers.

Everyone loves their time in the spotlight, and if you say you don’t, you’re lying. Businesses successfully using Instagram as a marketing outlet not only share, post and like photos/videos that showcase their product; they’re also posting photos and videos of their customers using their product. Think about that moment when one of your friends, family members or even acquaintances tells you about this amazing product and how you should try it. You treat the message with a little more credibility than a traditional TV or radio ad.. OK, with A LOT more credibility. That’s the motive behind sharing your customers’ experiences– it gives your potential and current clientele an authentic message about your product.

3. Use Instagram video.

Since the app added this feature in June, only 4% of today’s top business owners use it to their advantage. Did you know that a large percentage of today’s consumers are more likely to respond to a photo or video than written text? Instagram video is booming among its users, so make a video, along with those awesome photos, and get involved in the hype.

2. Pin your heart out.

Pinterest is booming. Let that sentence sink in for a second because a lot of business owners aren’t using Pinterest to their full advantage. Be wary, however, because Pinterest is not for every business owner. Pinterest is female-user dominated (86-88% female, to be exact). Pinterest is full of recipes, home decor, wedding ideas, crafts, art, and the like. If your business offers even an inkling of similar products to the list I just mentioned, get your hiney over to the pinning boards.

Just like any other social media platform, it’s important to build your presence through networking. This means talking to other like-minded pinterest users through pinning their @username along with your pin. This means commenting on and “liking” other like-minded users’ content and sharing it when applicable– much like Facebook and Twitter. What I hear most, though, from a lot of pinterest users is they love finding great ideas through boards and pins that other pinterest users have shared, but what they hate is not finding a link they can click to purchase this newfound shirt, pair of heels, bridesmaid gown, throw pillow, etc. It simply remains a mystery product, and the pinterest user is left to her own creativity to put such a look together. Don’t get me wrong; women are masterful creatures of creativity, so they’ll put it together, regardless. I’m simply telling you there’s an easier way to take the guesswork out of these pinterest users’ new projects.

Who knew successful pinterest marketing starts with something as simple as an attached link? Can we say “Hello, ROI” anyone?

1. Understand the data: Do what makes sense.

There is nothing more important than understanding your target market and creating marketing efforts from this data. If you own a business that has a target market of female, career-driven millennials, your social media marketing strategy is going to look a lot different compared to a target market of predominantly male, established baby boomers. Although we sometimes get excited about the latest and greatest social media trends, not every platform or feature is going to make sense across all target markets.

The best thing you can do for your business in 2014 is put a plan in place for continual market research. And guess what? Social media provides one of the easiest market research tools available today. Take advantage of and pay attention to the “free” data out there. I’m talking about trending hashtags (#), photo sharing, likes, comments, etc. What is your audience taking photos of on Instagram? What are they liking and commenting on, on Facebook? Who are they following on Twitter? What are they hashtagging and pinning? These are all important questions that need real answers this upcoming year.

Matthew Lewis
Matthew is a recent graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor's in communication studies. When he's not managing the formalwear department in a national men's apparel store, he's sparking conversation in the digital marketing and communications world. You can even find him serving up a saucy blog or two over at The Huffington Post, where he writes as a lifestyle and relationship blogger.