3 Ways to Get Noticed on Social Media

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While implementing a social media strategy is a great step for any organization, setting up accounts is only the first step in an ongoing process. Everyone is on social media these days and getting noticed among the millions of companies is a daily challenge for most marketers. Figuring out the right formula to attract attention and engagement is a process of trial-and-error and various strategies often land with a thud or a whimper. If you’re new to social media, but are unsure where to go from here – or if what you’re doing just isn’t working — we have a few tips to help you jumpstart your presence online.

Keep it casual. We get it – you want to push your company and products, and social media is just another business strategy for you. But you certainly don’t want to bore your audience and, these days, the organizations with the most effective social media accounts keep things fun and interesting. If you simply post about how great you are or use social media to push products on your audience, then you’ll be ignored. Mix it up with fun videos and memes, and articles that you think your followers might find interesting. This can make the difference between being a “don’t want to miss it” and a “hide from newsfeed” account.

Keep it visual. They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words and, these days, people prefer pictures and videos to articles and words. If you run a retail store, this can be a picture of a new item or if you are a financial services firm, a fun group shot of employees on a casual day or company event can go a long way. This can also include an “It’s Friday!” meme or a picture with an inspirational quote. And if you do have content that you need to post, make sure to include a picture – studies have shown that post with pictures garner, on average, 120% more engagement on Facebook than posts without.

Keep it consistent. Whatever the direction you decide to take your social media strategy, be consistent. Your users should know what to expect from you. For example, if you’re going to maintain a blog, commit to writing a post every week or every other week, and don’t let your Facebook and Twitter pages lie dormant for days at a time. Once you’re in, you need to be all in, which means that keeping your accounts up-to-date must be a priority. If you don’t have time to do this on a daily basis, scheduling tools can be your new best friend. Facebook has a built in tool and HootSuite can help you manage some of the other social media sites.

Where Do College Students Spend Their Money?

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College students are notoriously for constantly being “broke” – but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t spending money. In fact, according to a Nationwide study, three out of four college kids hold down jobs while they’re in school and 84% admit to having at least one credit card to help subsidize their lifestyles. While much of this spending goes to school expenses, 40% of it is actually labeled “discretionary” spending, which means that even though they’re keeping their college bookstores afloat, they’re also spending plenty of money at local pizza joints, bars and stores.

With this in mind, the power of the college student spender can’t be ignored. A research study from ecampus.com found that this segment of the population spend a whopping $60 billion each year on every day needs. Although $33 billion of this was tagged as “back-to-school items,” this category didn’t just include standard school supplies. It also accounted for things like dorm room furnishings and electronics.

What’s more, the ecampus.com determined that college kids spend $27 billion on things deemed to be “non-essential items.” According to the study, students ages 18-24 spend $5 billion each year on clothes and shoes, and $5.5 billion on alcohol. They spent another $2.4 billion on entertainment, which includes things like music, DVD and on-demand movie rentals, and video games.

Because college students live in that “sweet spot” of adulthood – where they have all of the freedom of being adults without any of the responsibilities – budgeting isn’t exactly their top priority and the spend money pretty much as soon as they have it. And although most of their money is earmarked for going out, they also buy plenty of other stuff, from beauty products to vacations.

The lesson to be learned here is that college students can’t be ignored as a significant market for businesses of all types to target. While they’re working their summer jobs and taking a break from classes, take some tie to evaluate your marketing strategy and determine how you can get a bigger piece of the spending pie. With the right mix of products and marketing, you can gear up to hit the college scene hard in August, when the spending cycle restarts itself and students are back into their routine of studying, working, and spending big on their lifestyle needs.

Be sure to check out the infographics below!

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Case Study: GoSmart Mobile Scavenger Hunt Is A Win!

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6 Tips For Marketing To College Students

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College students love to spend money – and with an estimated 18 million college students in America, there’s plenty of opportunity for businesses to capture some of those dollars. Today’s college-aged consumers are among the most tech-savvy and trendsetting in history, but the stereotype of “broke college kids” means that they’re often ignored when organizations develop their marketing plans. We have some tips on how to effectively market to this important group of consumers and get a piece of their $60 billion spending.

Provide back-to-school promotions and incentives. College students might have spending power, but they still look for deals. Take advantage of the sweep of back-to-school spending with deals and promotions. For example, if you run a restaurant, offer a free appetizer with the purchase of an entrée and if you work for a retailer, promote a BOGO or half-off special.

Understand your age. It’s ok to be old – but own it and understand that you might not know how to effectively market to much-younger people. Rather than try to hard or attempt to be hip – two things that will incite collective eye rolls among college students – consider hiring a recent college grad or college-aged intern who can provide some insight into what young people want.

Keep it simple. College students have short attention spans and a lot going on in their lives. They aren’t interested in convoluted messages or taking advantage of promotions that require jumping through hoops. Keep your marketing simple and to-the-point.

Use targeted marketing. If you think back to your own college years, chances are that you were attracted to much different things, language and aesthetics than you are now. So, why would today’s college students be attracted to the same advertising and marketing as people 10+ years their senior? Develop a targeted campaign using different messaging and designs specific to college students, and – when necessary – create different landing pages and social media accounts to capture this audience.

Invest in mobile marketing. College students have never known a world without cell phones – and many of them have used smartphones for almost half of their lives. They’re used to having whatever information they need at their fingertips – which means it’s critical that you be available through that medium. Investing in a great mobile site or app can help put you front-and-center among college-aged consumers, and ensure that you don’t miss the boat when students quickly search their phones for the nearest restaurant that serves cheap hot wings.

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5 instagram marketing tips

If your business has invested any time and energy into social media marketing, chances are good that you have a fairly strong presence on both Twitter and Facebook. Navigating these networks as marketing tools is old hat by now and most businesses have figured out what works and what doesn’t – but Instagram is another story. The photo-based social networking tool boasts more than 300 million active users, which means that it’s worth your time and marketing dollars to figure out how you can make this popular social media outlet work for you. We have five tips on how you can leverage Instagram for your business.

Use hashtags. A strong hashtag game is the best way to increase your profile on Instagram and reach your target audience. For example, if you run a catering business and you’re throwing up photos of delicious food without linking to anything else, you’re operating in a silo and you aren’t getting your work out there. However, adding hashtags containing food descriptions and things like #[insert city]caterer can help you get noticed by people scouring Instagram for accounts like yours.

Be consistent with hashtags. Are you getting how important hashtags are to Instagram? Make sure to consistently include some of the same ones with each post to build a community around your brand. This will also entice followers and other peoples to join in by linking their own relevant posts back to a specific hashtag you use.

Get creative. There are only so many pictures of your products and services that you can post, right? That’s why is behooves you to be creative. For example, if you run a bar, in addition to featuring posts of drinks and events, mix it up with a “dog days of summer” post that features a dog in sunglasses next to a drink at your establishment. Instagram users tend to be young and hip, so creativity goes a long way to engage them.

Find angles beyond your products and services. Just because your company isn’t necessarily visual or glamorous doesn’t mean that you can’t make Instagram work for you – but you will need to look at your operations from a new perspective. If, for example, you’re a mechanic, showing pictures of cars over-and-over can be pretty redundant. Try mixing it up featuring an employee’s pet as the shop mascot and feature its high-jinks – even if they’re staged. For example, a cat curled up in a tool box or peering from around a tire can – when matched up with a cute caption – be pretty follow-worthy. Call it “The Adventures of Max the Cat,” slap the same hashtag onto every picture, and you’ve got yourself a pretty a “must add” campaign.

Interact with other pages. As you probably know by now, social media is a case of getting what you give – and Instagram is no exception. To focus your campaign solely on your own page is short-sighted. To improve your exposure and increase followers, it’s critical that you follow other pages—especially industry-worthy ones – give away “likes” and add comments. 

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Confidence is a key component to a successful life. Our confidence is portrayed in many ways, from the way we carry ourselves to the way we dress to the way we speak. And while we might be the best at our jobs or know that we are worthy of love, certain words we use can give off the impression that we’re not absolutely confident in ourselves. Below are a few of the words that you should avoid using in speech and electronic communication.

  • “Actually.” Much like “sorry,” we use “actually” when it’s not necessary or stylistically doesn’t make sense. In many cases, it can distract from what you’re trying to say and dumbs down your statement.
  • “Um.” Chances are that you don’t use this word in written communication, but we often use “um” as a placeholder in conversation. Unfortunately, using it can make a person look unprepared. If you’re at a loss for words, pause rather than thrown in an “um” or “ah.”
  • “Hopefully.” When you state that you’re “hopeful” that something will happen, you indicate that you have no control over the situation or that you’re unreliable. Simply state that you “plan” to have a deliverable finished by a certain date or, even to be safe, under-promise and over-deliver.
  • “Kind of.” A statement like “kind of” (or “sort of”) is vague and shows a lack of commitment. Clarify a situation before making any kind of statement about it. After all, you can’t figure out a solution to something until you have a clear idea of what’s going on.
  • “Like.” This has become thrown around so much in our every day vernacular that most of us don’t even realize we’re saying. But 99% of the time we drop it into conversation, we’re misusing it and it waters down what we’re trying to say – and it’s really distracting.
  • Curse words. Intelligent and confident people can convey their thoughts without throwing around curse words. While you might think they give emphasis to whatever you’re trying to say, chances are that you’re really just offending someone.
  • “Sorry.” This word has really lost its meaning over the years. The majority of the time, we use it when no apology is even needed. For example, when asked if you can attend a conference call, saying, “Sorry, I can’t do Monday. Can we do Tuesday, instead?” isn’t necessary. Just state the times that you are and aren’t available. And if an apology is really necessary, say that you apologize for an action, not “I’m sorry.” By saying “I’m sorry,” you make it all about how you feel about a situation, rather than taking responsibility and apologizing for how you impacted someone else.

7 College-Aged Entreprenuers Who Became Millionaires

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These days, it seems like every college kid has aspirations of entrepreneurship. A Bentley University study found that two out of every three millennials – many of whom are currently in school – would like to start their own companies. However, the statistics on success rates of start-up organizations are daunting – according to Mashable, a quarter of all start ups will fail by the end of their first year and nearly all will be wiped out by their fourth year of operation. There are, of course, success stories – and some of those college kids who took risks and founded companies ended up as millionaires.

Steve Jobs – The Apple visionary is described as a restless kid who constantly got into trouble and couldn’t focus in the classroom. As he got older, teachers began to recognize his intellect and skipped him ahead in grades. After his high school graduation in 1972, he attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but he dropped out within a year. Upon returning home to the San Francisco Bay Area, he joined forces with Steve Wozniak and the rest is history.

David Karp – Tumblr founded David Karp never even bothered with college. He began learning HTML at the ripe old age of 11 and was soon developing websites for businesses. He bounced around the tech world for a bit before launching Tumblr in 2007, when he was 21 years old. He sold Tumblr to Twitter for a whopping $1.1 billion in 2013 and today has a net worth of an estimated $200 million.

Pete Cashmore – Born and raised in Scotland, Pete Cashmore founded social media news site Mashable when he was only 19 years old. The company has grown since its 2005 inception and currently boasts 42 million unique visitors each month. Despite rumors of offers, Cashmore has held onto Mashable and is estimated to have a net worth of nearly $100 million.

Austin Allison – Unlike some of the other entrepreneurs on this list, dotloop founder Austin Allison actually finished college, graduating with a degree in real estate development from the University of Cincinnati. He went on to law school – but had other things on his mind, developing a comprehensive software system to handle real state transactions. Allison dropped out of school in 2009 and launched dotloop – which has an estimated annual revenue of $10 to $15 million.

Michelle Phan – At 18 years old, Michelle Phan was just a teenager with a beauty blog. Two years later, she began recording YouTube makeup tutorials and quickly became an Internet sensation. Like any smart entrepreneur, Phan jumped on her popularity by launching Ipsy, a make-up subscription company with an estimated annual revenue of $120 million.

Mark Zuckerberg – Whether you love him or hate him, Mark Zuckerberg revolutionized the way that we interact. The Harvard University student – and eventual drop-out – founded Facebook from his college dorm room in 2004 with a few of his buddies before moving operations to Palo Alto, California. Although estimates of the company’s net worth seem to fluctuate, Facebook was recently valued at $245 billion.

Elizabeth Holmes – Former Stanford University student Elizabeth Holmes recently became the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, thanks to a revolutionary lab testing medical device that she patented when she was only 19-years-old. She went on to found her company Theranos in 2003, which is valued at a whopping $9 billion.

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By now, pretty much every organization understands that to reach a mass audience, it’s critical to have a social media strategy. However, a strategy requires more than just a bunch of posts – especially to reach the coveted millennial demographic – and announcements of company promotions. Millennials want brands to engage them – 62% of millennials report that they are more likely to become a loyal customer if a brand engages with them – but they are also pretty picky about what “engagement” means. This is a generation that embraces values like change, choice and collaboration – and they’re not afraid to turn their back on a brand that makes a misstep and offends them, something that McDonald’s learned the hard way, when they invited bands to play for free at South By Southwest in Austin, TX. People were outraged at the thought that a huge corporation like McDonalds would use artists for publicity, without compensation, and the campaign completely backfired, badly hurting their brand among enlighten and cultural savvy youth. Another big fail in 2015 was the #MYNYPD hashtag which was supposed to draw support for New York Police Department officers. Instead, it flung a lot of criticism their way. 

While you might not make big, obvious mistakes like McDonald’s, there are plenty of little waves you can cause that will be just enough to turn off the coveted millennial consumer. First and foremost, young people hate when organizations don’t take them seriously. This means everything from infantilizing them by telling them what they want or need – for example, pushing big, “practical” purchases like cars and houses on a generation that values experiences over ownership – to ignoring online reviews. In fact, how you choose to respond to online reviews – on Facebook, Yelp, Google or other channel – can be a death knell for an organization. According to Search Engine Land, 79% of consumers trust online reviews. And while a slew of positive reviews is ideal, how you choose to respond to negative reviews is sometimes even more important. Rather than delete or ignore criticisms – pretending like they’ve never happened – engage with the customer and work to fix the problem. This will go a long way with customers.

Another thing millennials hate is dishonesty. They’re not as trusting of corporations as past generations – which means that you’re already working at a deficit. Be honest. If you screw up, take responsibility. Don’t go out of your way to oversell. The Internet makes it impossible to hide much these days – so it’s pretty easy to get caught in a lie and once you’re found out, you’ll lose customers and future credibility.

It’s true: Millennials are a tough crowd. But they’re not an impossible sell. The biggest mistake you can make is to be something you’re not or underestimate consumers. Be real, be engaging and put the customer first, always. It’s not rocket science – but getting the formula wrong can be devastating for your company.

Tell us, have you made a big mistake with the millennial crowd? If so, how did you fix it?

Read more about the biggest social media fails of 2015 here.

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