Social Media Holiday 2015 Checklist: Audience Personas, Creative Visuals, Authority Writers, Social Advertising and more

Feeling like the Grinch stole your social media reach? Most public relations pros, marketers and brands agree that social media has redefined how we reach and grow audiences.

As we transition into 2015, the good old checklists are starting to make their way into newsfeeds, as we begin the journey of reflecting, refreshing, renewing and resolving for a new year… and for many, a new way of thinking.

My last conference of the year was just last week in Vegas at SMX Social. While I presented at two sessions and attended about 10 other sessions, I found there was an overarching set of themes echoing from the experts. The obvious is behind us, it’s the not so obvious that brands large and small need to master in 2015 to make a difference.

Reaching the Right Audience

aimClear’s Marty Weintraub, coined the phrase “it only works, every time for a reason.” He’s referring to the art and science of targeting, building and curating by way of search and social personas. In 2015 we are talking more than just demographic research, the brands that will win in social and online marketing are the ones who have their finger on the pulse of their audience persona.

Problem: Content amplification to the right audience can be super time consuming and waste precious resources when dabbling with a learning curve of trial and error.

Solution: ReachRocket, powered by aimClear, is a low-cost solution that puts you in charge of your audience and amplification results at the touch of a button. The platform simplifies the process and gives brands the ability to drive extremely focused traffic from facebook to your website using the super sonic persona building. It only works, every time.

Getting Creative

Any old image won’t work anymore. Amateur art OUT, boring stock images will get you nowhere. Strong visuals with company news, blog posts and social media messaging is an art that needs to be mastered in 2015. One of the key ways to get noticed in the newsfeed is out-of-the-box, eye-catching visuals that resonate with your audience.  The statistics are overwhelmingly clear that visuals pay off and are a must. All reports indicate 2015 is destined to be the biggest year yet for brands adapting to social advertising and the campaigns with the freshest and best visuals are primed to get the highest CTR, reach, and engagement.

Hiring Real Writers

Subject matter experts, authority writers and industry influencers are the write way to content success in 2015. Along with investing in the creative side with strong visuals, brands armed with authoritative content writers will stand out in search and social and gain the most visibility. What are some of the credentials of a “real writer”.  They have a proven track record on the subject, come with a following, typically have clout that reflects topics of specialization and have influence over a community. Tools such as ClearVoice, BuzzSumo, InkyBee and, of course, Klout can help measure a writer’s potential.

“Authoritative authors tend to do better in search because their content generates the kind of responses that lead to actual, present-day search signals,” Mark Traphagen, senior director at Stone Temple Consulting and a Google+ expert said in my article published on Mashable.

Finding Your Inner-Shareability

If you ask Buzzfeed’s Creative Strategist Joe Puglisi how to make something go viral, he will tell you to focus on creating shareable content. Puglisi told the crowd at last week’s SMX Social to forget the obsession of “going viral.” Why do people share? He broke it down into three categories:

  1. Identity – making sure you are communicating to your audience
  2. Emotion – maybe it is cute, funny or shocking 😮
  3. Utility – it is helping your audience in some way

Shhhh….The secret to shareable content is combining all three to make it newsworthy. A mistake that many brands make is only focusing on one those factors versus all three. One example of a brand doing it right is Dear Kitten Video, at one time it was BuzzFeed’s most shared piece of content!

Embracing Social Advertising

Welcome to the pay to play world of public relations and social media marketing. Is it competitive? Yes. Is it difficult to navigate? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Yes. The beauty of social advertising is that it allows brands to reach the right audience, with the right content at the right time, plus it is measurable! When done right, your audience will appreciate it and it will build and strengthen relationships.

Marketing on Instagram 

Instagram, it’s interactive storytelling through compelling images and video. If you are not sure about Instagram for your business, consider these stats shared by Sway Group CEO Danielle Wiley at SMX Social:

  • 86 percent of top brands are incorporating Instagram into marketing strategies in 2014 Q4
  • Two-thirds of Instagram users 18-24 years old and mostly women
  • Engagement is 60x higher than Facebook
  • Millennials spend five hours a day on social media viewing mostly User Generated Content (UGC)
  • UGC is considered 20 percent more powerful than branded content

Instagram is a great way to launch a product, tell a story or create excitement behind your company. A brand doing it right is Ben & Jerry, using their Instagram newsfeed to share the peace, love and ice cream. The Ben & Jerry’s images serve the audience with a blend of humor topped with addictive product visuals designed to feed a community of 425k (and growing) loyal followers.

What’s on your social media checklist for 2015?

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