Ok, so this is it – lets do this! Its my final post of 2015 and if your anything like me (and if your reading this I suspect we have a few things in common) you cannot wait for 2016 to begin, so you can start moving forward with your plans for the new year.  I personally have a lot of great stuff in the pipeline such as:

  • Growing This Blog & Reaching Out To As Many People As Possible, As Sociocaster Ambassador
  • A Content Creation Master Class Course (In Collaboration With Adi &  Sociocaster)
  • Publishing My First Book  (On Social Media)
  • Launching A Bespoke Physical Product Import Business
  • Growing My Web Design & Digital Marketing Agency

Its a really exciting and busy time! Its been an interesting year for me,I have gone from working in house as Director of Digital Development for a physical record store and major UK/European online music/pro audio retailer & distributor, back to freelancing and finally back to founding an agency and becoming a business owner again.

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It was great to hook up with Sociocaster and become brand ambassador – its been a very interesting experience so far! Social media marketing is something I am very passionate about – so its an honour to be featured here! I like to focus on pure information and stay away from any sales letter type stuff in my posts ! However as its kind of a reflective vibe today, I would like to say that as an early adopter (A paid user – I did not know the Sociocaster team back then) that Sociocaster is an incredible set of tools for social media marketing.  With Sociocaster you can:

  • Rapidly Find High Quality Viral Content & Use It Too Boost Engagement
  • Track All Metrics Of Your Social Properties
  • Create Amazing Interactive Videos To Capture Leads
  • Enter Keywords To Bring Up Videos In Specific Niches
  • Works With Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin & Self Hosted WordPress
  • Bookmarklet – Lets You Grab Content From Any Website
  • Built In Visual Editor – Create Viral Images Without Additional Software
  • An Incredible Link Gate 
  • Schedule Posts Quickly
  • Post To All Accounts At Once
  • Manage Unlimited Accounts 
  • Create Sub Accounts For Your Team 

There are just so many incredible features in Sociocaster, its impossible to list them all here. There are many great in depth videos on Youtube which show you everything Sociocaster is capable of. The great thing about Sociocaster is the team really listen to the users and continue to update and add new features all of the time. In 2016 there are several major updates that are currently being beta tested.

The most exciting update for me personally  as an agency owner is that we soon have:

  • Drag & Drop Calender Planning
  • A Client Dashboard 

The client dashboard is going to be an absolute game changer – inside this dashboard clients, will be able to make any edits or adjustments to content being posted they required. I think this is amazing feature as it allows you to let your clients to:

  • Have Some Control
  • Make Adjustments & Edits
  • Clearly See What Is Scheduled

A few years back a client of mine who owned a long running major brand in the UK said:

“I am trying to quantify what I am actually paying for” 

At the time I always used to try to educate my clients and bring them up to speed on:

  • How We Would Meet Their Business Goals
  • What Technology We Would Use
  • Why We Were Using It

That approach worked really well for the more tech savvy clients – but for the non tech savvy ones it was a terrible approach! There is no point overloading non tech savvy people with:

  • Data
  • Jargon
  • Non Visual Information

You have to accept that in some cases it does not matter, how you phrase it – how you explain – some people are incapable of processing the information. If you overload your client with information they can not process, they deem it to be meaningless! You could be telling them the most important break through in digital marketing history but if they can not understand what you are saying – it means nothing to them.

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Unfortunately the digital marketing industry has been over run by many rogue marketers who have made our job (as the good guys!) a bit harder. Having dealt with many established entrepreneurs – I have heard many horror stories of marketers:

  1. Promising Unrealistic Results
  2. Delivering No Results
  3. Charging Extortionate Rates

 

All of these factors have led to digital marketing have an image problem! In many cases business owners will not accept that their lack of understanding is the problem, and they will dismiss you as:

  • Some One Who Is Talking Rubbish
  • An Idiot
  • A Fraud

You can avoid this by having a tangible thing to show them immediately. It really is that simple – put something in front of them they can see, touch and interact with and you are immediately 100% more credible. You still have to close the sale and of course deliver awesome service but these kind of tools make our lives a lot easier!

2015 was a great year for social media marketing – one of the most significant developments was that Facebook Advertising has now jumped to the forefront of paid advertising platforms. As digital/social media marketers this has been an absolute godsend, finally business owners have started to understand the the value of building a community.

It does not seem so long ago I was sitting in my old bosses office and listening to him tell me how pointless he thought social media marketing was whilst forcing me to set up Google Shopping campaigns – which:

  • Took Weeks To Set Up
  • Required Us To Hire A Developer To Build A Custom Script To Pull Data From Magento
  • Was Expensive On The Click
  • Displayed Our Product Next To Cheaper Competition
  • Had Our Competitors Were Clicking Our Products

He would not take Facebook marketing seriously and instead we leaked a lot of money on Google Shopping. At the the time a lot of business owners had this attitude, but I am glad that now so many business owners have now had amazing results with Facebook and word has got around – that its finally being taken seriously! The question is no longer “how do we get clicks from Facebook?” – it is now “How do we get cheap clicks from facebook that convert” and this in my mind is a great step foward.

We are now in a position where building communities on social platforms such as Facebook & Instagram and converting them into paid customers and long term loyal fans of the brand is one of the most in demand skills in the world! It has taken some years for our industry to gain the respect it deserves – but I am pleased to say 2015 was a great year.

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We looked at live streaming and Periscope in this post  and looking back on to 2015 – I feel it was one of the most important launches. If you have not read that post its definitely worth looking at – as live streaming is set to be absolutely massive in 2016.  I have experimented with it extensively in the past few months and look forward to growing my community next year! I am currently looking at ordering a new phone with at better camera – so I can give my followers a fantastic visual experience.  As I am a keen bootstrapper I am currently trying to put together a solution for less than $250 that includes:

  • A Quality Mobile Phone
  • A Few Lenses
  • Lapel Condenser Microphone
  • Lighting

Its entirely possible and I will be doing a write up on this in early 2016. We truely are entering an era where we can reach our ideal target audience, provide high quality – well produced content, on a small budget. I find these developments on the accessibility of low cost hardware and powerful free live broadcasting – very very exciting! You should too!

I am going to finish this post by giving you 10 tips for 2016 on how to maximise your ROI in your social media marketing campaigns.

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1.) Plan & Record Your Strategy 

A large part of your strategy should revolve around content marketing. You can refer back to this from earlier in December post to see how to write an awesome content plan. The Content Marketing Institute has conducted research that has shown – planned and documented strategies produce much better results!  You really need to:

  • Have A Written Master Plan – All Team Members Must Read And Digest This! Leave Nothing To Chance Or Assumption/Interpretation – This Ensures You Have Professional Uniform Approach. Brief Everyone Involved When You Start Your Plan
  • Coordinate Your Content Plan & Social Plan
  • Be Consistent – Once You Start Stick With It!!!
  • Study Your Competitors

2.) Create You Social Media Plan

You need to incorporate a balance of the following:

  • Pick Your Major Platform (or Platforms)
  • Distribute Content On A Schedule (IE: Mon/Wed/Fri)
  • Schedule Engagement Hours – Get Involved & Speak With Your Followers
  • Incorporate Social Media With Your Overall Marketing Plan

3.) Adapt Your Content For The Platform

Each Platform has its own distinct flavour – make sure your content is optimized to get the most out the platforms unique qualities!

  • Each Platform Has Its Own Audience
  • Most Engagement Happens Via Mobile & Apps
  • Core Platforms Should Be: Facebook, Twitter , Periscope, Linkedin, Youtube, Instagram & Pinterest
  • Repurpose Content Appropriately To Save Time

4.) Use Video

Its important to use a variety of different kinds of media – pictures, text, animated gif, downloads – but the one you absolutely need to get on board with is Video.

  • Facebook is looking to increase its stake in the video streaming market – Video Views Are Insanely Cheap!!!
  • Next Year 80% of All Internet Traffic Will Be Video
  • Video Captivates And Creates Engagement

5.) Make Your Content Visible

Optimize your content to appear frequently on the platforms – you will need to read up on each platform to find out how. I will most likely do a post on this in January!

  • Use Paid Boosts
  • Repost Organically & Frequently
  • Get Your Peers To Share Your Content

Social media traffic has now surpassed search – so make your sure your visible and you will get traffic.

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6.) Set Aside A Budget

The days of free, widespread organic reach on the main platforms such as Facebook – have gone. It was great while it lasted by sadly its over! Its nothing to be too sad about though – we can now laser target our dream customer and have adverts appearing in the news feed in less than 30 minutes! Its time to take social media marketing seriously and by seriously I mean set aside a decent budget. I find it amazing that I have run other ppc/targeted platform campaigns that were eating up nearly $1000 in a few days (in testing) and now I can test and scale campaigns for as little as $150 – 300.

7.) Outreach To Influencers

Nothing beats getting in with someone who is influential in your niche! This a very old method – but nothing can beat having a trusted voice backing your brand. Its the most cost effective form of PR and is something every serious marketer needs to look at incorporating in their strategy.

8.) Be Social

One thing I notice with a lot of brands is that they are just not social. I have worked with more than a few business owners who have dismissed interacting with their followers as “messing around on Facebook”. Its absolutely essential you:

  • Answer Questions Quickly & Accurately
  • Respond To As Many As Possible
  • Show Interest In Them
  • Be Friendly But Professional
  • Stay On Topic

9.) Use the Right Tools

You need the right tools for the job and well as you can tell there are a lot of jobs! Running a full scale social media and content marketing strategy will require a few pieces of software/services. I obviously highly recommend Sociocaster as its definitely the best multi platform social media management tool for FB, Twitter , Linkedin & WP.  You will need to take some time to research tools for Youtube, Periscope, Pinterest & Instagram. The more you can automate the better – it saves you time and saves you money.

10.) Make Every Post Count

  • Have A Call To Action On Each One
  • Know What You Want To Achieve
  • Go For Quality over Quanity

I have been Gary O’Toole with Sociocaster! I hope you have enjoyed this post and gained some new ideas to implement in 2016. I will be back in the new year with a brand new video!

Happy New Year – Have A Happy & Profitable 2016

Happy

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