social media marketing

New Report Reveals the True Impact of Social Media Marketing for Business

IMPACT-SOCIAL-MEDIA-052715

The way social networks have impacted our personal and professional lives is far greater than most of us could have anticipated. While we were battling with our friends over getting cut from their top friends list on their Myspace profile, we couldn’t have imagined the impact of social media today. The evolution of social networks in the past 10 or even 5 years has been truly remarkable.

Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report holds valuable insight into how marketers are incorporating social media, how much time they’re spending and what is on the horizon.

With  92% of marketers reporting that social media is important to their business, it’s clear that marketers believe social media holds weight, but what is the true impact on their business?

Social Media Marketing Case Studies: Learning Moments and Key Takeaways From #SMBMSP76

TopRank at #smbmsp76

Here at TopRank Online Marketing, we believe in the power of collaborative learning. Our team members’ backgrounds in diverse aspects of marketing; including PR, communications and SEO; allow us to work together to manage all aspects of digital marketing for our clients, including social media marketing.

However, the social media marketing industry is unique, in that the majority of social media expertise is learned from experience: either ours or that of our peers. That’s why we love attending industry events to get the scoop on creative new social media marketing best practices.

One such event is Social Media Breakfast, which is hosted in downtown Minneapolis’ 514 Studios. Last week, eight TopRank employees attended a Social Media Breakfast session on social media case studies that explored some inventive social media campaigns that local marketers are running for their B2B and B2C customers.

Marketing Tips For Utilizing the Private Social Network MeWe

MeWe-mobile

From James: Today’s post is the first in a series of four articles on social media marketing – all part of a contest within TopRank Marketing for a chance to attend Social Media Marketing World. Watch for the next post in the series on using social media for customer service.

They call it the “privacy revolution.” People are wanting more privacy when interacting online, so they are gravitating to new private social networks, like Ello and MeWe.  How do marketers capture this audience and engage on social channels without advertising or company pages?

For the purpose of this discussion, we will concentrate on MeWe. In her predictions post, Phyllis Khare touts the potential of MeWe among the newcomers in the realm of private social networks.

The Super Bowl of Content Marketing Audits – Optimized, Socialized & Integrated

digital marketing audit

With the Patriots win last night, I can’t help but try and squeeze a football metaphor into this post. See? It got your attention!

Like football of days past, mainstream Digital Marketing has evolved. From a focus on single channels like email or search, to multi-channel programs and even into omni-channel – all are driven by the importance of creating compelling experiences for buyers. Or fans.

While companies with mature, sophisticated and budget rich marketing programs are riding this digital marketing wave, the practical reality is that many companies are in need of a clear plan for expansion. Creating a consistent user experience across channels, online and offline (kind of like winning the Super Bowl) is a lot easier said than done.

How to Be Creative AND Brand Compliant in Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Ask social media managers about “brand standards” and you might elicit some uncomfortable expressions. Brand standards, created to ensure uniformity with brand messaging and imagery, can sometimes feel like restrictions for creative social development.

“Do I really need to include all these brand logos and elements in every social message?”

The answer (most often) is yes, but don’t let this dampen your spirits. Maintaining a consistent brand identity is vital for long-term business growth, and you can still flex your creative social muscle within brand guidelines. Here are some tips that can help you stretch your brand’s identity to its creative peaks:

Our Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts of 2014

Top Social Media Marketing Posts 2014

It’s that time of year again – time for a round up of our top social media marketing posts for the year.

2014 was full of social media marketing changes ranging from major news feed visibility drops on Facebook to the sputtering of Google+. While often cited as difficult to measure, marketers are increasingly optimistic about social media. According to a Duke University study, social media represents about 9% of marketing budgets and is expected to increase to 21% in the next 5 years.

Suffice it to say, marketing with social networks is a hot topic! Also, it’s no surprise that blog posts connected to our involvement with Social Media Marketing Examiner dominated this collection. Based almost entirely on overall popularity, these posts include coverage of the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry report, liveblogging of the Social Media Marketing World conference and posts drawn from the SMMW14 conference eBook we created.

20 Magicable Takeaways From 5 Social Media Marketing Case Studies at @smbmsp

Social Media Gnome

On Friday nearly a dozen members of the TopRank Online Marketing team had the privilege of attending a packed house at 514 Studies downtown Minneapolis for Social Media Breakfast aka #SMBMSP72.

The topic? Social Media Marketing case studies. And gnomes. And bacon. And made-up words like “magicable”.

Featuring case studies about local and national brands including Land O’ Lakes, Thomson Reuters, Axonom and two Fortune 100 technology companies, presentations were given by Jaclyn Grossfield @jaclynanng, Casey Hall @CaseyHall_ and myself.

While the Minneapolis / St. Paul Social Media Breakfast events are always well attended, this one was particularly so because of the insatiable interest in practical social media marketing insights. That and maybe the introduction of the “Social Media Gnome” pictured above. Instead of “Elf on a Shelf” think of him as a “Gnome in Your Zone” watching to make sure you’re following best practices. [Cue laugh track]

3 Ways to Optimize Your Brand’s Social Media Marketing Success

Grand Canyon

While nearly 90% of companies are using social media for marketing, the distance between “using” and “succeeding” is of Grand Canyon proportions.

In the early stages of social media marketing maturity, business use of social media tends to go through a series of phases from not doing anything to beginning to monitor social channels to sharing content and building community. Eventually, they find their way to some form of social sales or social commerce.

To jump start the move towards a social media marketing strategy that starts to align with measurable business outcomes, here are 3 ways many companies can optimize their approach to social media.

Integrating Search, Social Media and Email Marketing – @Shoutlet Webinar Recap

Silos Are For Farms, Not Marketing

It’s a good thing we had a team of marketing “silo busters” present for a recent webinar hosted by Shoutlet.  Not only did this triple threat of marketers help break down the barriers between SEO, social media marketing, content marketing and email marketing, but we shined a spotlight on how to integrate.

Why is integration between search, social and email important?

Simple, it works.

It works for customers and what works for customers, works for reaching your marketing goals.

The most basic of marketers have some understanding of how their customers discover information on the web. They know their buyers’ preferences for content types and topics. Most marketers also have an idea of what offers will compel those customers to take action.  When you map that customer journey out, it is inevitable in nearly ALL cases that search, social and email play a role in bringing the customer through the buying cycle.

Welcome to the Funnel, We Have Leads & Names – Jason Miller of LinkedIn at MnSummit

GnR Jason Miller MnSummit

Photo credit: Jason Miller

If there is anyone that can leverage a rock and roll metaphor for content marketing, it’s Jason Miller @JasonMillerCA, Senior Manager, Content Marketing at LinkedIn (LinkedIn is a TopRank client).

And at the first ever Minnesota Search Marketing Association Summit, he did not disappoint.

Content marketing can often seem like a never ending sea of songs, and only the best tunes emerge as a hit. To separate the harmony from the noise, companies need to start with a content strategy that begins at the top of the funnel. With high-level and in-demand concepts, marketers can attract customers in droves, like fans to GnR show. Attracting attention and creating demand at the top of the funnel will keep your content tour rich with new fans. But how?

Integrate Social Media Marketing With All of Your Online Marketing Efforts

integrated marketing social media

Integrating content across channels of discovery and engagement like social networks is an important part of optimizing for the customer experience. In fact, according to the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 83% of marketers stated they have integrated their social media and traditional marketing activities.

Social Media contributes to all aspects of the customer journey, so integrating social media marketing with overall online marketing efforts just makes sense if you want to connect the dots for customers from education to action. But how?

I recently did an interview on this topic with Roza Tsvetkova of Komfo in Denmark and thought I’d share it here:

What is new when we talk about social integration? What is key to the integration of social media with the other online marketing efforts?

Social Media Marketing Lessons From the Movies: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty Woman, Spaceballs & The Blues Brothers

Social Media Lessons from Movies

Chances are you’ve seen at least one of these movies:  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty Woman, Spaceballs or The Blues Brothers. Chances are even stronger that you’ve quoted one of them at least once or could describe a scene in one.

I grew up with a Blues Brothers poster on my wall, had memorized the songs from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by the time I was five, have a weird habit of watching Pretty Woman almost monthly, and know every line of Spaceballs. Needless to say, I like classic (and funny) movies.

The cool thing about classic movies like these is that they can teach us lessons and inspire us to think about things in new ways.  I had a that kind of experience after attending a recent Minneapolis/St. Paul Social Media Breakfast where I was inspired by Tony Saucier, George Fiddler and Sarah Panus’s insights into social media marketing.