How To Properly Implement Hashtags Into Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Hashtags can be very useful on social media both as part of a post, or in the comment section. When used properly, hashtags can be an extremely effective way to increase engagement and cultivate community online by serving as a tool to categorize ideas and unite like-minded people, resulting in an excellent way to build relationships with potential followers or customers.

It is all too common that many in social media marketing overuse hashtags and post as many as possible wherever they can. This, unfortunately, results in confusion and sometimes will completely change the intended message – eventually causing hashtags to work against you, not with you.

So what is the correct way to use hashtags?

Hashtags are best used with the intention to grow a conversation or to keep it going, thus, we’ve included a few tips below to help you get there:

Choose hashtags that are relevant. If you pick a hashtag that doesn’t make sense with your content, you’ll confuse your readers, almost looking like you’re spamming them. As an example, if you’re posting a photo of a meal in an effort to promote a restaurant, and you use the hashtag #kitchen, it can drop your image into a “bucket” of actual kitchens or home remodeling conversations as opposed to where you intended for it to go.

Investigate. Sometimes, you’ll find that a hashtag you were planning to use, might not mean what you think. Online, the meaning of your chosen hashtag is not always obvious just from the term you’ve chosen, which is why we always suggest taking a look before attaching your piece of content to that specific online category. A few spaces we’ve found that are especially tricky include brand names, anything to do with politics, or a hashtag related to charity.

Keep up with the trends. Different hashtags trend at different times, and knowing which ones are the most popular at the times you’re looking to engage will help you to capitalize on your hashtag usage. For example, if posting an old photo on a Thursday, you may choose to use the widely known hashtag #tbt, which stands for “Throwback Thursday.”

When used properly, hashtags can help communicate meaning and engage your followers. Used improperly, hashtags can result in mixed messaging and a confused audience, which is why we suggest keeping these tips in mind for a more streamlined social media marketing strategy.

4 Subtle Ways to Network Through Digital Marketing

Though traditional, in-person networking will always hold value, the growth of digital marketing has allowed business professionals the ability to network and nurture relationships remotely. In our fast-paced, busy world, we felt it would be important to share with you our top four ways to network and grow relationships on the internet.

Comment On Posts

Commenting on posts of your connections, showing your support, and engaging in general is an excellent way to show that you care about what your audience is doing and what they’re posting. Additionally, it creates the opportunity to spark a conversation that may result in a lead or a referral.

Follow Up Via Private Message

Following up with connections through a private message and being intentional about making an effort to network with every one of your connections will not only create relationships with your network, but it also heightens the chances of those connections becoming a referral source. Additionally, if there is no response, we suggest another follow up after the initial message in an effort to learn about the individual and strengthen that business relationship even more.

Generate Blog Content

Creating and posting engaging and relevant content on your website and sharing it across social media platforms shows your audience that you genuinely care about them and are passionate about sharing educational and resourceful information. Over time, your audience members will utilize your platforms as a hub for relevant and useful information and material.

Respond

Whether there is 1 comment, or 100 on your posts, responding to anyone and everyone will spark a discussion and show your commitment to every member of your network.

Three Reasons Your Small Business Needs Content Marketing

Marketing is a key component for both large corporations and small business alike. While many believe in traditional marketing practices, it is imperative that content marketing is taken into consideration and utilized wisely. If you haven’t pondered the importance of investing in content marketing, we invite you to read on and understand the true reasons why this element of marketing may be more important than you may have thought.

It’s What Your Competition Is Doing

Rest assured that regardless of whether or not you’ve chosen to pull the trigger on content marketing, your competitors are absolutely pushing out their message. When working to acquire new clients and establish yourself it is important to be intentional about creating informational and relevant content that may be useful to your audience members.

Brand Awareness

Taking advantage of content marketing will increase brand awareness and make you a well-rounded resource for your audience. Because many small businesses cannot afford to increase brand awareness through traditional ads, doing it yourself through something like blog content is an excellent way to gain the trust of your audience. For example, if you’re always discussing social media trends through your content, your pages will gain momentum and increase traffic to your platforms in regards to that specific topic.

Establish Credibility

Creating and publishing original content that comes directly from you helps to show your audience that you are an expert in your field. Not only are you displaying your knowledge, but you’re also providing it as a resource for your audience to learn from and utilize moving forward. Becoming a thought leader in your industry increases your credibility, ultimately helping to persuade potential referral partners or customers to want to refer business to you or to work with you.

The Lowdown On Social Media Paid Ads

If you haven’t already heard, platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have become a “pay to play” space, meaning in order to reach a large number of individuals within a specific audience, you’ve got to grab your wallet first.

While many are “all good” with utilizing a portion of their budget for social media advertising, they sometimes feel intimidated throughout the process, resulting in no social activity at all. Here we’ve broken down the process for you by profile. making the process easier to navigate.

First Things First

Before you start creating ads, it is important to define your budget, your audience, and what your goals are when it comes to advertising. Once those factors are decided, you can give yourself the green light to create and boost content on different platforms.

LinkedIn

In order to begin LinkedIn advertising, be sure that you’ve got a profile created and optimized. Then, you’ll decide whether you’d like to choose “self-service” or “managed campaigns,” depending on the type of experience you’re looking for. Next, you’ll choose your ad format, create the ad, select your audience target, and set your budget. Throughout each of these steps, LinkedIn is very self-explanatory and provides lengthy detail about each piece. Once the advertisement is posted, you’ll measure the results and make adjustments accordingly.  

Facebook

The advertising process on Facebook is very similar to LinkedIn, and is also very self-explanatory once you’re creating the ad. Right off the bat, you’ll pick from the list of choices regarding your objective, then you’ll set up your ad account and target your audience. From there you’ll enter your budget, determine your schedule, and create your posts. Facebook also gives you the opportunity to check and measure your results.

Posting organic content to social media will always be a valuable way to brand yourself as a well-rounded resource for your audience, but when trying to reach a large audience, a specific demographic, or to generate leads, paid advertising is the most effective.

Do I Really Need Email Marketing?

It is a common misconception that email is a “prehistoric” method for marketing purposes, and communication in general. While other marketing tools such as social media, paid search, and content are all imperative aspects to any overall marketing campaign, eblasts are often an untapped resource which can result in a missed opportunity for your business. Below, we’ll discuss five important reasons your business cannot go another day without email.

Simple To Track And Measure

When you send an eblast, you have the opportunity to analyze which types of content are performing well by seeing data on how many people are opening, reading, and visiting your site from each campaign. This is important when determining which topics are more popular to readers and what the ultimate return on investment is. As messaging, calls to action, and subject lines are edited, the option becomes available to see what is working and where adjustments need to be made.

Email Content Is Shareable

Not only can recipients of your eblasts forward your messaging to their family, friends, and coworkers, but there is also the option to share email content on social media. This automatically increases your reach far beyond your initial email list.

Stay Top Of Mind

There are strategic ways of not being “over the top” or “annoying,” but just staying top of mind and offering value to email recipients. Creating engaging and informative content and delivering it properly is a great way to not be forgotten by potential customers.

Target Specific Audiences

Because different audiences require different messaging, it’s not a secret that email marketing is not “cookie-cutter,” but more a tool used to segment different audiences and communicate appropriately to the right people, making it a very personal approach which can strengthen the relationship between a company and it’s public.

Drive Traffic

Not only is it important to include a link to your website in your eblast, but including a call to action can also drive traffic to your website as well. Providing your readers with a clear message on how and why they should visit your site, and making it easy for them to get there is an excellent way to increase web traffic.

Three Benefits of Having a Mobile Friendly Website

Sometimes, the idea of hiring someone to design your company website can feel like a daunting, unnecessary expense when your daughter’s boyfriend’s sister built the website for her fashion blog and says she can do yours for a fraction of the price.

The truth is, your website is the center of your entire online presence and without a site that is fully functional and user friendly across all platforms, you’re not only losing web traffic, but you’re leaving money on the table as well. Our team has found three important reasons why it is vital that your business has a mobile friendly website. In addition to the fact that, well, everyone surfs the web on their smartphone these days.

Improved User Experience

Without a positive user experience, your business will never reach its full potential. Because the vast majority of your potential buyers will look up your website before making a purchase (and many will find you via your website in the first place), it is important that you provide something that is clean, simple, and aesthetically pleasing. As we like to say, “the less clicks, the better.”

Streamlined Experience Across Devices

If the desktop version of your website feels completely different than the mobile version of your website, frequent visitors will become confused and discouraged. Due to the fast-paced, instant gratification world that we live in today, your potential customers are not going to search around your site and deal with slow downloads – they are just going to leave your site entirely. Having a well streamlined experience across all devices allows web traffic to become familiar with interacting with your brand and will find it easier to utilize your site, encouraging them to come back soon.

Improve Sales

It is no secret: a website that is easy to use, will generate more revenue than a website that is difficult to use. While circling back to the “user experience” element, it is pivotal that as a business owner you are making an effort to drive sales from all angles, and in this digital age, your website is an excellent place to start.

Three Best Practices Of Engagement On Facebook For Business Owners

As a business owner, Facebook can be overwhelming and confusing, sometimes resulting in the overall absence of engagement. We’ve decided on three main best practices that are important for a business owner to consistently engage with their audience.

Curate Informational Content

When posting and sharing content, make sure that it is informational and represents you as a well-rounded resource. For example, posting content related to life as an entrepreneur, productivity tips, or networking tips can be helpful as opposed to only posting product-focused content. Additionally, you may want to curate content that is relevant and educational in your industry as well. Remember that although we may feel inclined to “hard sell” and be promotional on Facebook 100% of the time, it is more important to brand yourself as a credible resource instead of trying to generate leads.

Do Not Remain Silent

It is easy to ignore or not pay attention to those who comment on or review your products or services, but it is imperative that you always respond with grace and professionalism. When someone posts a positive comment, you should respond with gratitude. When someone posts a negative comment, you should respond in a calm and collected manner that provides excellent customer service, but also ensures that the integrity of your brand is protected. Always remember that when you are responding to a comment or review, that you are actually responding to your entire audience and not just that one person in particular.

Support Others In Your Network

Supporting others in your network and even within your industry creates a professional relationship that has the potential to develop into a referral partnership. As an example, supporting and sharing the successes of someone in your industry who you may see as a competitor may be beneficial to you down the road if that individual networks with someone they are unable to service, but you are. Supporting others and having a “givers mentality” on Facebook will put you in a better position to build referral sources within your online community.

Three Personal LinkedIn Tips You Might Not Know About

When using personal LinkedIn, many know to update their profile photo, add their experience, enter a headline, and start connecting with others in their industry, or their industry of interest. What many don’t know, though, is that there are other actions that one can take to establish an even stronger brand and build more relationships.

Send Custom Connection Requests

When sending a connection request, LinkedIn provides the option to send a small message. Because of the high volume of connection requests many professionals receive on a daily basis, it is helpful to include a short, personalized note. This is especially helpful when connecting with someone you are particularly interested in building a relationship with or doing business with. For example, if you are a Commercial Loan Broker, and are interested in connecting with a Commercial Real Estate Agent, an appropriate message could look something like this: “Hello (name), I noticed that share a common interest in commercial real estate and thought it would be mutually beneficial to connect. Have a great rest of your day!” This small but customized message could increase the chances of sparking a conversation and provide the opportunity to network.

Publish Pulse Articles

A LinkedIn pulse article establishes your credibility as a business owner and proves your knowledge of your industry. We recommend that at least once per month, you write a post regarding a topic in your industry. Posts do not need to be more than 350-500 words, but are important in establishing to your audience that you understand your craft, and are passionate about sharing your knowledge with your network. With each pulse article, it is always helpful to include an image, even if it is a stock image off of a website such as Pexels.

Join Strategic Groups

Groups on LinkedIn are a digital community where individuals with a common interest interact and bounce ideas of off one another. Joining groups that are in your specific industry, or an industry you’d like to network in, is a fantastic way to connect with and learn from people who you may not have otherwise. It may also be helpful to post your pulse articles into an appropriate or industry-relevant group as well, as a way to establish credibility and provide insight to the other members.

5 Reasons Your Business Needs Social Media

If you haven’t considered social media for your business, 2019 is the year to understand why it is so important. With more than half the world using social media to engage with brands, it is imperative to have a well respected presence online. We’ve established five key reasons why social media for your business is an effective, inexpensive tool.

Humanize Your Brand

A solid online presence for a company includes multiple business social media pages, in addition to personal social media accounts for business owners and staff, such as Linkedin. This allows for potential customers and buyers to not only research your company and your products, but the individuals behind it as well as their credentials.

Stay Top of Mind

The majority of social media users log into their social accounts at least once a day, thus giving you an opportunity to get in front of your audience daily. Not only does this provide helpful information and resources to your followers and your community, but it also keeps them thinking about you.

Social Proof

Because social media allows us to engage so freely through comments, images, videos, and ideas, it allows potential customers to see how your products or services have worked for others. Positive reviews and engagement over time can be extremely persuasive to someone who is on the fence about doing business with you.

Customer Service

Social media is a very effective way to provide exceptional customer service. Whenever a negative or controversial review or comment is posted to your social media page, you are given an opportunity to provide customer service that will not only be seen by the person who posted it, but everyone else who comes to your page for information about your brand. It is important to remember that you are not just replying to someone who had a negative experience, but you are essentially also replying to your current and future buyers as well.

Crisis Communication

In the event that your brand does make a mistake, social media allows a business to get out in front of the situation and strategically communicate to its audience exactly what occurred, and what the company is doing to combat the issue. This creates a trustworthy and open relationship between an organization and the public, where followers have the ability to comment and ask questions. It is important to engage back with your community in a clear, honest, and positive manner to ensure that trust and integrity are not compromised.

Although some may find social media to be a burden or a waste of time, it is important to understand how it can be leveraged as a way to add value to your business and overall consumer experience.

How To Successfully Promote Your Brand Through Social Media and Content Marketing

By: Alex Vasilakos, Director of Marketing

The growth of your financial brand depends on attracting and retaining clients. In the modern market, some of the most successful strategies center on targeted content and social media marketing. If you’re ready to make this marketing strategy work for your financial brand, here are some powerful tips to improve your chances of success.

Why Social Media Marketing Is Important

First, it’s important to understand where there is room for improvement in terms of social media and content marketing. While many other industries have successfully navigated social media and developed effective sales content, the financial industry as a whole has been reluctant to move away from more traditional marketing methods, such as print. One of the challenges with traditional sales campaigns is that they can’t be effectively tracked or analyzed. However, targeting your audience through social media can be extremely effective. Most of your potential clients are already spending time online, so it’s wise to engage with them there instead of waiting for them to stumble on your website or find a print ad or a direct mail piece that you sent to them.

Benefits of Targeting Content Marketing

A modern content and social media marketing strategy offers many potential benefits, including:

• Aligning advertising budgets with consumer behavior

• Targeting potential clients accurately

• Efficiently generating leads

• Providing platform for developing relationships

Make Paid Promotion Work for You

The days of being able to connect with potential clients organically through Facebook and Twitter are a distant memory. Modern social media feeds continue to fill up with paid promotional content, so if you want to make sure your audience has the chance to see your posts, you need to invest in sponsored content. The upside of this trend toward paid content is that it offers advertisers an array of effective targeting techniques. Whether you are thinking of using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or another platform, you can get access to consumer data to help you truly understand your target demographic and tailor your content for maximum impact.

What demographic do you want to target? The data collected and analyzed by social media platforms can provide you access to any number of specific groups. Maybe you want to promote your factoring product or ABL program to businesses or individuals that have recently opened a business. Perhaps you are working on winning clients who are established businesses and potentially focus your efforts on targeting referral partners. You could develop sponsored content about a specific niche industry and how factoring can help cash flow during down time or when there is an upswing in orders.

There are numerous other options for targeted content. With all the useful data social media platforms have available, you can consider several targeted marketing campaigns, such as:

• Purchasing receivables for staffing companies

• Cash flow solutions that can help the renewable energy space

• Companies struggling to make payroll because they have open invoices

Improve Collaboration Between Your Sales and Marketing Teams

Although your sales and marketing teams may communicate every so often, it’s far better to have them actively collaborate on content and social media marketing strategies. Sharing ideas and reviewing data together can ensure both teams understand the goals of each campaign and the best way to reach them. Proactive collaboration can help everyone agree on how to define a good lead and what sort of metrics to use to determine success.

Ensure Sales Content Matches Your Target Audience’s Expectations

The more customized you can make your content, the better chance you have of making a strong connection with potential customers. A stronger connection means there is a better chance of converting that targeted individual into a client. By its nature, social media encourages users to desire a completely personalized experience, even in terms of advertising. When a customer feels like your post speaks directly to him or her, he or she is much more likely to pay attention and engage with the content.

However, developing unique, customized content can be challenging. Not only do you need to take into account different personalities and ages, you also need to tailor your content to fit the potential client’s location in the sales funnel. Content designed for an initial connection with a client should look different than content designed to close a deal. The quality of your posts is also important. People will likely ignore social media content that reads like a high-pressure sales pitch. Instead, focus on creating valuable, helpful posts that help your target audience feel like your company is both knowledgeable and caring.

Put It All Together

What does effective, valuable content look like? It depends on the target audience. For example, if you are creating a campaign to help improve cash flow for a business with factoring, your content should evolve based on your client’s situation. Your initial contact with your potential client should focus mostly on improving brand awareness and providing helpful information. You want the client to be aware of your services as he or she is considering the pros and cons of different alternative lending solutions.

As you continue to target this client with customized marketing content, your focus can move from brand awareness to the reasons he or she should choose your institution as an alternative financial solutions provider. You may want to focus on your turnaround time, recourse vs non-recourse options, or negotiating better terms with suppliers or take advantage of early payment discounts. Once you have succeeded in converting this targeted individual into a client, you can also promote your other financial products (if you have ones beyond just ABL and factoring), such as equipment financing, commercial real estate, or business term loans.

An effective social media marketing campaign can help you convert and retain clients. When you understand how to correctly engage with your target demographic and ensure your sales and marketing teams are working together, your content has a better chance of success.

https://www.factoring.org/files/commercial_factor08-18.pdf