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10 Ways Agencies Need to Leverage Social

You may already realize that you should be using social media to promote your agency, but how do you know if you're making the most of it? To ensure that you're capitalizing on the opportunities offered by social media, I've compiled a list below of how you can leverage it. These techniques aren't just useful to your agency, but can be applied for your clients as well.

Here are 10 ways your agency needs to leverage social media:

1) Integrate your social accounts with your website.
This may seem like an obvious approach, but it's amazing how many brands and agencies overlook this area of opportunity. Integrating your social accounts into your brand's website should include the following:

1) Using social media connections as incentive to get access to discounts, offers, and premium content (An excellent example of this is Unbounce's viral social media template )
2) Having a call to action, asking readers to join you on other social networking accounts.
3) Placing social sharing buttons on your content. (Use tools like SharebarWibiyaFacebook Social Plugins )

2) Integrate your social accounts with your email marketing initiatives.
Your email marketing should not be isolated from your social media campaigns. Enable subscribers to share your email campaign's content across their social platforms. Also, within your email campaigns, add options for recipients to follow you on Twitter, "Like" your Facebook page, or subscribe to your other social media accounts.

Also, don't forget to promote your email-signup page in your social media accounts. For example, Facebook gives you the ability to incorporate applications that allow your audience to sign up for your newsletter.

3) Do quick market research.
Because of the real-time one-on-one interaction you can get with potential clients, you can quickly pose a question and get dozens of answers within minutes. Tools like Google Form, Kiss Metrics, or Jotform are excellent tools to for surveying your ideal markets.  You can use this question to solicit suggestions, feature requests, or to get "raw" answers that can help you get to know your target clients better.

This is much easier to do in social media platforms or features that encourage Q&A such as Quora (if you're targeting businesses), LinkedIn Answers or LinkedIn Groups (if you're targeting businesses or professionals), Reddit (it contains sub-communities on a variety of subjects) and Facebook Questions (if you're targeting consumers). Generally, people who are using these above tools are ready and prepared to answer questions.

4) Lead generation.
Social media is also a great way to attract new leads. Users tend to post or subscribe to their interests, hobbies, and favorites, as well as post their demographic data such as their age and location. This makes it easier for you to look for users who fit your business' target demographic and advertise directly to them.

5) Create your own community.
Social media is also incredibly useful for building a community around your brand. What major interest, problem, or opportunity is your brand all about? Figure this out and create a group for it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, and other social networks.

For example, your agency may be experts at promoting small businesses online. If that's the case, create your own online community of small business owners. Or, if your agency caters to startups, then start a community of startups. The members of your community don't necessarily have to be current customers, but if you keep providing value through your community, they will soon be inquiring about your services.

Social Media Today LinkedIn community

6) Study your competitors closely.
Odds are, your competitors have their own social media accounts. Monitor these accounts and take note of the tactics that work, as well as the tactics that don't work. Also, watch for any changes in their strategy - you don't want to be two steps behind them. Tools such as Hyperalerts.no allow you to monitor when updates and posts happen on your competitors or colleagues Facebook page.

7) Micro-test alternative market segments that your business can target.
Social media is also a great way to track who's interacting with or watching your brand. If you're on Facebook, one easy way to do this is to watch the demographics on your Insights panel.

Sometimes, unexpected people will be following you. Find out what these people have in common. Where did they hear about you? What are they hoping to get from following you? You may just unearth a new opportunity or a new set of customers to market to.

8) Get your customers more involved in your events.
Social media is an excellent tool for events planning and promotion. You can use it from gaging interest in an event, to inviting your followers, to publishing pictures and videos of the event itself. This helps involve your audience from the planning stage, building up hype as the event itself approaches. An excellent tool to use for events is Eventbrite.

You can even do live countdowns of the event itself via Twitter and Facebook to further incite their anticipation.

9) Find new talent to work with.
Apart from the sales end of things, social media is also useful when you're looking for new people to hire. You can easily see their portfolios or work history, as well as have an idea of what their personality is like based on their social media updates.

Social media searches are also a good way to quickly screen job applicants. You can easily look up their profiles and look for any "red flags" that will prevent them from being qualified to do their jobs.

10) Use your experiences and findings with social media to release reports.
Finally, once you've thoroughly applied the above 9 steps, you might have some interesting findings. You can share these findings with your clients in the form of a downloadable report, further asserting their confidence in your ability to handle their social media campaigns.

How do you use social media for your agency? Have you tried all of the 10 techniques above?

The Power of the Blog Comment

This is a guest post by Sean Fahey (@sfahey)Ceo and Founder of Vidcruiter.com

Over the course of this past year I've spent much time researching about online marketing, reading many discussions on the benefits of content marketing, blogging, and blog commenting, and how it can positively impact brands. At first I can honestly say I didn't see the value of commenting, with the exception of potential back links to my website.  So when I came across an article which spoke of a no-follow rule (which many blogs use to prevent any back links from being published) you can imagine my reluctance. I just didn't see the value.

Despite my skepticism, I'm a believer that we need to test things in order to make an informed decision. So I began commenting on various industry related blogs with the hopes that I could offer relevant information to the reader, potentially increasing brand awareness of my own company.

What happened next made me realize the value of commenting. To my surprise, I received a phone call from The National, one of Canada's most popular news programs. They wanted to feature my company (VidCruiter) in an episode on their national broadcast program. Naturally, I asked the reporter how he had heard about VidCruiter? His response: I read a blog comment on Slate.com (view the article here -  Robot Invasion )

Now just imagine. One simple blog comment landed VidCruiter coverage on a nationwide program that brands spend millions on to place a few commercials during that time.

(To view the clip, start it at 3:20)

So I ask, what is the ROI on that one comment?

Ok, so here's what I have learned. If you are ever questioning whether blog commenting is worth doing, I would say 1000% yes.  Of course, my situation is unique, but being present and active online will undoubtedly help you raise brand awareness at some point if you remain consistent.

What do you think? I would love to hear how blog commenting has positively (or negatively) impacted your brand? Are you a skeptic or a believer?

This article was a guest blog post by Sean Fahey the CEO of Vidcruiter.com.

Guest post: Sean Fahey (@sfahey) is the CEO of VidCruiter.com  (@VidCruiter), a video interview software company that helps improve the quality of hiring. He also and teaches at Universite de Moncton.

10 Ways Agencies Need to Leverage SocialThe Power of the Blog Comment ~ Dave Gallant