<![CDATA[Chicago Social Media Marketers - Blog]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 18:08:04 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[Easily find out who your competitor’s social media followers are]]>Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:45:37 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/08/easily-find-out-who-your-competitors-social-media-followers-are.htmlWhat business wouldn’t want their biggest competitor’s client list? Of course they are not going to share it with you and trying to steal it is a crime but you can get the next best thing - their list of social media followers. The value of having this list is that many of their customers or potential customers will be included and this can help you with your own marketing efforts.

Luckily for you it is easy to get on Twitter and Instagram. Simply pull up your competitor’s page and click on followers and voila, right before your eyes will be every account that follows your competitor.

So what can you do with this list?

Analyze the list to determine the kind of people who are following your competitors. You can learn valuable demographic information such as where they live, what age group they are in, etc.  

Message the followers. This will take time but you can contact them through social media and quickly tell them your story.

Follow them. If you hit the follow button many of them will get a notification they have a new follower and some will look at your page to see who you are. You can only expect 5%-10% to follow you back but at the least you are getting your name in front of them.

Twitter and Instagram let us see who is following our competitors and you should be taking advantage of it.

<![CDATA[Using social media to grow your brand and build your business]]>Mon, 12 Jun 2017 16:02:11 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/06/using-social-media-to-grow-your-brand-and-build-your-business.html On June 8th Chicago Social Media Marketers participated in a business workshop “Current Strategies and Future Realities: Growing your Brand” at Venture Hub innovators incubator in Chicago.  This panel-style discussion included CSMM co-founder Alicia Forestall-Boehm along with Christopher S. Rollyson, Founder and Managing Director, Christopher S. Rollyson and Associates, Susan Barahia, Founder BesignOnline and Mark Carter, Founder ONE80, LLC. These industry thought leader discussed the latest trends on the use of digital media to build your personal brand. Communicating your value proposition is key to connecting with customers, partners and others. They addressed event marketing, service design, social media and trust/relationship building for Entrepreneurs, Creatives and Freelancers.

Below is the event transcript of Alicia’s informative discussion on strategies for creatives using social media to promote their businesses.

Almost everyone uses social media - it’s part of our everyday lives but are there benefits of using social media for business purposes? Yes is the simple answer. Frequent social media postings allow you to engage in a conversation with potential customers and clients and to ultimately grow your business. An effective social media strategy can enable you to build community connections through engagement and branding.

Here are 12 reasons why small business owners, entrepreneurs and creatives should be using social media and some strategic ideas to help you along the way.

1.      Branding – Create a recognizable identity for your product or service and replicate it from platform to platform.  This is extremely important for a small business. 

  o   Have a professional website
     §  As the internet becomes an increasingly important tool for artists, it is essential that you understand how to build an effective website.  Your website should not simply serve to display images of your work, it should tell the story of your artistic vision, and it should engage the viewer.  Consider your website as the official version of your artistic identity and proceed with its development accordingly. 
      §  Construct a narrative that weaves through your website telling your story and drawing in visitors. 

  o   Include your logo on every piece of communication. (business cards, signage, etc.)

  o   (If you’re in doubt about whether you demonstrate a consistent brand experience, take a look at all of your pages side by side)

  o   A special note to creatives: Artists need to remember that you are your brand!

2.      Create A Buzz – Get the word out about your products and services in a way that promotes online conversation.
  o   Strengthen in-person events with social media promotion

  o   Create a Facebook event page

  o   Stream, tweet and post live

  o   Support the event with blog posts, press releases, etc.

  o   Create a marketing hook that defines you and sets you a part from the crowd
     §  i.e. As a restaurant your message should be “We offer authentic Naples style pizza every night until 11 pm or until we run out of dough!” vs. “We serve pizza”.

  o   Generating buzz for your brand doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does require some outside-the-box thinking.

3.      Community Management – Community management means responding to people who have commented on your posts or have posted about you. Keep an eye on what other people and sites are saying about your name, company, or brand online – and respond to people who have commented.  The ultimate goal is RELATIONSHIPS.

  o   Don’t be afraid of negative comments.  It’s possible to receive negative comments. But, social media provides the platform to explain, to make things right. The fact of the matter is – if someone has something negative to say they can say it.  Ignoring them doesn’t stop the damage.  But, when you reply, you are seen as a business owner who cares, who wants to make the customer happy, and that you’re human. Social media is a two-way conversation, so go ahead and defend yourself – just do it proactively.  TURN A NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE

  o   Thanking someone for a nice comment takes only seconds and it will go a long way in getting them to support your business.

4.      Content Part One– On social media channels it is important to not only include self-focused content.  Not every post should be directly about you. People are less likely to follow you or read posts that are always self-promoting. Sharing informative articles will gain you followers and develop relationships.
  o   Provide a value to your connections with helpful, interesting and relevant content in your posts and comments.
  o   i.e. An artist should post about her art, the art world and her community.

  5.      Content Part Two - Video is better than images and images are better than words.

  o   Sharing videos that have been posted by others or create your own video.
     §  i.e. A musician can share a video taken during a rehearsal

  o   Present Your Human Side With Photos - Photos and other types of visual content are highly shareable on social networks.
    §  Posting photos of your business team helps to show your business as a human brand and build relationships with your community.

  o   Don’t worry about not having professional images - Studies have shown that consumers find amateur images more believable than staged professional shots.

6.      Establish Yourself As An Expert – Using forums and message boards to answer questions professionally will earn you respect as an expert in your community. People will look to you for answers, as a source of information.

  o   This is important for Freelancers

  o   LinkedIn is a professional networking site and is a great place to make comments, post links to articles, share your original blog posts or articles and make professional connections.

  o   Join social media professional groups.  These are also great places to have a conversation and network but they will also expose your brand to a larger audience.
     ú  This will direct your conversation to a specific niche – There are so many social networking, social bookmarking, and social news sites that are dedicated to specific niches.  You have the ability to speak directly to these people and not have all the other noise of unrelated topics getting in the way. If you are speaking their language, you have a better chance of them actually hearing what you are saying.

  o   Blogs  (why are they important)
     §  Valuable content on a consistent basis will make you look like an expert.
       §  They enable conversation. Two-way dialog
         §  Can provide excellent content to fuel other social marketing activities.
           §  Another way to put your brand out there

7.      Connecting With Influencers– Find ways to connect and engage with influencers online. Share and retweet their content. Mention or tag them in posts, and participate in discussions on their social media or blog posts. You never know where these types of connections can lead; and the potential to get a link or mention from a well-known industry expert will make your efforts worthwhile.

  o   i.e. For an artist – Comment on a Gallery’s posts, share them, etc.

8.      Choose The Most Effective Social Media Platforms - What social networks do your customers favor?

  o   One recent study on social media usage revealed that the average user has two social media accounts. While some users enjoy using multiple networks, others have found one that they love and stick with it. Bottom line -It’s important to keep in mind that your customers may favor one network today and in six months discover that another meets their needs better.

  o   Follow your customers and prospects so you can network in all the right places.
     §  Think about who you want to target and where you will find them

  9.      Use Social Media As A Source Of Information. Following individuals, businesses and organization is an easy way to stay up to date on new trends, techniques and events that can be opportunities to engage your audience or grow your business and brand.

10.  Social Media Provides Another Way For Potential Customers To Find You – If you’re not high enough in the search engines for potential customers to find you, they can still find you through social media.  So, even if you’re not on the front page of a Google search, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive traffic. Social Media has the potential to send you TONS of traffic.

11.  Social Media Marketing Is Much Cheaper Than Traditional Marketing And Advertising – Social media marketing shouldn’t cost a small business nearly as much as traditional advertising. And, if you do it yourself, it is basically free. However, it will cost you time.  Depending how much your time is worth, it might be worthwhile to hire someone to help with the social media marketing.

12.  Outsource Content Development As Needed - Can your business keep up to date with all the tasks associated with maintaining your social presences (e.g., reading and sharing good content, responding to users’ comments, asking questions to help engage your audience)?

  o   Studies show it takes a midsize company about 32 hours a month to effectively handle a single social media platform.

  o   Studies also show that the companies that have the most effective social media communications are those that have a combination of internal and external people doing social media.

<![CDATA[The social media sites your business needs to be using]]>Wed, 31 May 2017 19:55:25 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/05/the-social-media-sites-your-business-needs-to-be-using.html
The question we get asked the most is “Which social media sites should we be using?” There is no set answer for this question. It all depends on what business you are in and how much time you have to spend each day on your social media marketing strategy.

Facebook- We recommended Facebook to everyone. Not only is it by far the biggest social media site, it is the most read. One estimate puts the average user spending 50 minutes a day on Facebook. No other site comes close to that number. If you only have time for 1 social media site it should be Facebook.

Instagram- Instagram is great for businesses that are visual. Artists, travel companies and restaurants can use engaging photos to create a buzz about their business. Instagram is also a good vehicle to use to get noticed by new people. The right hashtag can get you seen by people who have never heard of you before.

Twitter- Twitter which had lost some of its mojo has been making a comeback. The positive is the ability to use hashtags plus the sharing feature makes Twitter a place where your message can go viral. The negative is that people follow many accounts but spend little time on Twitter. This means that most users only see a small percentage of total tweets on their feed. Use Twitter if you have news you want to get out on a regular basis or if people are genuinely interested in what you are doing. Celebrities and food trucks have had good success using Twitter.    

LinkedIn- Linkedin is a good site for B2B firms or for someone offering professional services. If you have useful information that business professionals will value then LinkedIn can be a great place to reach out to other professionals.

Social media takes time and effort to be done well and to bring you your desired results. If your time is limited it is better to stick to one social media channel and do it well rather than spread yourself thin over numerous channels, not doing any of them well. Resist the urge to link accounts and have Facebook posts sent directly to another site. There are several steps to having a good social media campaign and we have laid them out for you in previous articles.        

<![CDATA[Current Strategies and Future Realities: Growing Your Brand]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 15:01:14 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/05/current-strategies-and-future-realities-growing-your-brand.html

Join Chicago Social Media Marketers for a panel discussion with thought leaders discussing the latest trends on the use of digital media to build your personal brand. Communicating your value proposition is key to connecting with customers, partners and others. We will address event marketing, service design, social media and trust/relationship building for Freelancers, Creatives and Entrepreneurs. Networking will follow.

Panelists include:

Alicia Forestall-Boehm - Alicia is the Co-Founder of Chicago Social Media Marketers. An award-winning visual artist, she has over 20 years of experience with digital and traditional marketing.  She and her team assess the client’s social media marketing needs, execute and manage all social media activities—bringing a strong social media presence for each client. Chicago Social Media Marketers specialize in helping creative professionals, nonprofits and small businesses create and manage professional and effective social media campaigns.

Christopher S. Rollyson - For 30 years, Chris has helped executives make their firms or agencies stronger by leveraging new technology ahead of their rivals. He has advised global firms and technology startups at PricewaterhouseCoopers, led delivery teams at KPMG and advised brands like Sears, Kmart, UBS, Lions Clubs International, Micron and others at CSRA. He founded CSRA in 2006 to advise commercial, nonprofit & government enterprises work on experiential social media and social business strategy and execution.

Susan Barahia - Susan will talk about the different identities of a brand and how understanding what your value proposition offers is critical for business growth. She started her career in design by studying Architecture early on but finished her studies in computer science. After working several years in IT for corporate America, she ventured out on her own designing websites for small businesses. She also became involved in the entrepreneurial community by organizing monthly meetings for small business owners where attendees learned best business practices and found resources to grow their companies.

Mark Carter - Mark turns lack of engagement into profitable collaboration—by creating programs that attract talent, partners and clients. He creates events with focus and purpose, communicates through meaningful storytelling, and fosters collaboration to build teams of peers and advisors.

Date and Time
Thursday, June 8, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT

Venture Hub
4616 W. Fullerton
Chicago, Illinois 60639


$10 in advance
$15 at the door

Register here:

Refreshments will be available at the event.

For more information, contact: Andreas Vassilos at Venture Hub at 773-772-7300

The Venture Hub is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to promote entrepreneurship in Chicago's disadvantaged communities.

<![CDATA[Is Chicago America’s best birding city?]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 18:29:07 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/05/is-chicago-americas-best-birding-city.html

We have done our best to identify the different birds. There are a couple we could not decide upon and we are sure we mislabeled one or two. Please use the comment section to correct our errors

When you think of birding and where would be a great place to go see dozens of different and beautiful bird species in a single afternoon Chicago probably does not spring to many people’s minds. That is true for almost everyone except local Chicagoans who are in the know. Twice a year hundreds of different bird species, everything from tiny colorful warbler to shorebirds to hawks, literally come flying through Chicago.

Chicago is fortunate to be on the western edge of Lake Michigan which just happens to be on of North America’s biggest flyways during migration. While flying through modern skyscrapers may unfortunately not be a great thing for birds it is a wonderful opportunity for locals to see a wide variety of birds.

The birds can be seen everywhere, it is not that unusual to see a shorebird on the sidewalk next to a downtown skyscraper. Montrose Harbor’s Magic Hedge is Chicago’s best known birding spot and it is for a good reason. Experienced birders have seen over 60 different species in a single day.

For those working or living downtown that want to see some amazing birds over their lunch hour can head over to Ohio Street Beach. Located just north of Navy Pier the few bushes and trees in this urban oasis are loaded with birds at this time of year.  

<![CDATA[A quick, easy, effective and free way to bring more people to your website ]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 01:02:11 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/05/a-quick-easy-effective-and-free-way-to-bring-more-people-to-your-website.html
SEO for Images on Google
SEO for images on Google.
The most overlooked aspect of SEO (search engine optimization) or in layman’s terms, trying to get your website as high as possible in internet search results, is image SEO. According to Jumpstart nearly 1/3 of all Google searches are for images. That means millions of people are searching millions of images every hour. Look at the attached image of a search, content and images, for Chicago Skyline. Even thought this was not an image search, the top of the page is covered in image search results. So what is the importance of your image popping up in someone’s search results? When someone clicks on a photo that Google has grabbed from your website it enlarges the photo and shows them a link to your website. That means potential clients are just one click away when they see your image.

An image search is also a great way for the small fish in the internet world to compete with the big boys. Most small businesses only have a few hours each month to spend on SEO while big companies have entire departments devoted to improving their SEO. Small business simply cannot compete in regular search results. But the good news is that the most important (and time consuming) factors in regular searches play only a small role in image search results. So you can, with minimal effort, get your photos near the top of image search results which will ultimately drive traffic and customers to your site.

Keep in mind Google is not currently able to look over photos on your site and identify what they are and what they mean so it is up to you to tell them. 

6 Easy steps to getting your photos on the first page of search results.

1. First and foremost use captivating photos. By this I mean they should be interesting, eye catching and sharp. They do not have to be taken by a professional photographer. Studies have shown that consumers find amateur photographs more believable than staged professional shots. That said blurry or dull pictures will not cut it.

2. File name. Use a file name that not only describes what is in the photo but also use words that you think will match the search terms people that you want to attract will be using. For example, if you are a home decorator in Chicago name the file, beautifully decorated home in Chicago. 

3. Alt text. This feature is designed to help the visually impaired identify the photo. It is an important feature to employ for consumers and for Google. Google uses this to better understand what is in the photo.

4. Captions. Make sure the caption for your photos lets Google know what is in the photos.

5. Make sure the image is a standard image size and shape. Google is less likely to use an image that is oddly shaped, such as long and narrow or circular.

6. File size. There are a lot of misconceptions about high resolution photos. Image resolution really has a lot more to do with printed photographs. For online images, I recommend not using large file sizes.  A large file size will slow down how fast your site download and this may cause people to give up and leave your site. Download speed is a factor in Google’s search ranking algorithm. Alternatively, if a file is too small, the result will be a poor quality image and it will not get shown in search results. I recommend file sizes between 200 MB and 500 MB. 

There are other factors that will help determine how high up Google puts your image.

The actual text that surrounds the image on your website page. If you have an image of a cat on your plumbing page it probably will not get shown.

The amount of actual text that is on your website page. Google does not like to use images from pages that are all photos. Sorry about that photographers.

How your page ranks in normal search results. This is one factor that is not easy to fix but luckily it is not an important factor. 

<![CDATA[Using Google Maps to attract new customers]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:46:37 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/03/using-google-maps-to-attract-new-customers.html
Recently we were asked to give a social media campaign pitch in Evanston, a suburb that we did not know very well. Full disclosure: we are lovers of beer and are always on the lookout for new small breweries. The Chicago area is home to over one hundred breweries and there are some cozy little places tapping some great small batch beers. Of course there are also breweries and tap rooms whose beer offerings taste like something that your uncle just brewed with his home brewing kit!  So the challenge was to find an outstanding small brewery to visit in our trip to this suburb.

We could go onto Google and search for breweries in that area, wade through a bunch of listings trying to find a place that is located near our destination. But the best option is Google Maps. In the Google Maps app I can zoom into a specific area and then type the word ‘breweries’ in the search box.  We did this for Evanston and three breweries popped up along with their Google reviews. Naturally we started with the highest rated one and ultimately ended up going there. Well, we loved it and it has become one of our favorite local breweries, Sketchbook Brewing, which is in the charming Main-Dempster Mile section of Evanston. We did the same thing when heading to another Chicago suburb, Naperville, and ended up at Solemn Oath, another great brewery.

The lesson, besides that the Chicago area has a lot of great breweries, is that many people are using Google Maps instead of Google Search to find businesses, and reviews on Google can make your business standout.

Google Maps now has over 1 billion users and its popularity is growing. So what can you do, as a business owner, to make sure that people are finding your store? First and foremost make sure that it is on Google Maps. This is something you can do yourself. You will need a Google account, it can be your personal account, and then you need to follow the steps on the Google Support page:

1.     Open Google Maps and make sure you're signed in.
2.     Zoom in to the map where you want to add your business.
3.     In the bottom right, click Send Feedback.
4.     Click Add a missing place.
5.     Drag the marker where your business is, and add any relevant information.
6.     Click Submit.

Make sure that you add as much information as you can. Adding your phone number will let potential customers call you with a simple click. Photos are also important. We added a client’s art gallery in a small Indiana town to Google Maps and the cover photo received over 10,000 views in less than a year. You should also ‘claim’ the business so you have more control over the listing.

Now you will need review with high ratings that will encourage searchers to choose your business.  Getting 5 star reviews on Google is simple; provide great service or products. We know that it is not really that simple, but in today’s world reviews are more important than ever. 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So how do you go about getting great online reviews? Take a lesson from Realtors. Sites like Zillow allow Realtors to request reviews from their clients. You can rest assured they are not asking any of their unhappy clients to do reviews. You can follow their lead and ask happy clients to go onto Google and leave a review. One survey found that 7 out of 10 people will happily review a business when asked. Just make sure to ask them politely and ask them to leave an honest review.     

Author: Douglas Boehm, Chicago Social Media Marketers.

<![CDATA[Getting the most out of your Google AdWords campaign]]>Fri, 10 Mar 2017 18:28:59 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/03/getting-the-most-out-of-your-google-adwords-campaign.html
Google AdWords and other PPC campaigns can be an excellent way to attract new clients, especially for businesses that are not doing well in organic search. Getting to the top of search results takes time, money and expertise. A well-designed and properly implemented pay per click (PPC) advertising campaign can be an effective solution that can move your business to the top of the search page in just days.

However a poorly designed and executed AdWords campaign can be a big waste of money. You can spend thousand or even tens of thousands of dollars and never experience positive results. That is why it is so important to not only know what outcome you want from  your online advertising campaign but to know what  steps you need to take to ensure  that your online advertising campaign is doing what you want it to do. We have put together a quick guide to help you get the most out of your campaign. 

Set Goals- Do you want to raise awareness, bring in leads or gain sales? This absolutely must be your first step.

Track your results- Google AdWords makes it easy to generate results by creating a conversion and track it by simply adding a code to your website. A conversion shows you what happens after a customer clicks on your ads, such as registering on your website or filling out a contact form. When someone completes an action that you've defined as valuable, these customer actions are called conversions. If you want your campaign to bring in online sales, you can track whenever someone reaches your ‘thanks for your purchase’ page.  Google Analytics even allows you to closely track what someone that has been brought to your website via an ad is doing in your website.

Measure your results- It is easy for a retail site to see how sales are being driven by an online campaign compared to dollars spent on that advertising. When measuring leads, a value needs to be assigned to each lead. If your campaign is not bringing in more money than you are spending, you need to make some improvements or cut your losses.

Now that the big picture stuff is covered let’s look at the nitty gritty of getting the most out of your Google AdWords campaign:

Keywords- Using the right keywords is very important. You want to attract people that are looking for what you are selling. Someone who wants to buy a new computer and clicks on your ad only to find out your site sells cars is going to immediately leave your site. That costs you money and signals Google that your ads are of a poor quality.  If Google ‘thinks’ that your ads are not good, they will display your ads less or compel you to raise your bids making your advertising efforts more expensive. Try to use Phrase keywords rather than Broad words. While Broad words  reach the widest audience, Phrase words offer  a higher level of control. Google lets you pick between the two and while a Phrase keyword will get fewer impressions they will be better impressions, showing your ads on searches that more closely match the people you want to attract. After your campaign has run for a short period of time, Google will recommend new keywords for you. Look through this list and pick the most appropriate ones to add to your campaign.  

Negative keywords- Every time someone who will never convert clicks on one of your ads it means one less potential customer will click your ad. One of the best ways to keep that from happening is to use negative keywords.  Negative keywords are words that people put in a search that will cause your ad not to show. If you only sell women’s shoes you do not want someone searching for men’s shoes to click on your ad and cost you money. Adding the word  ‘men’s’ to the negative keywords of your ad will ensure that your ad will not appear in a search for men’s shoes. Be sure to check the search terms that are triggering your ads and clicks. Invariably you will find terms that you never thought of and that you do not want triggering your ads.

Set exclusions- AdWords lets you exclude different groups from seeing your ads. You can exclude geographic areas, genders or ages. If you sell women’s shoes, then exclude men from seeing your ads. If your company caters to retired people, then exclude the younger age groups.

Pick where your ads show- Google lets you pick very specific areas where your ads show. You can pick cities, states, countries or even pick a radius around your business. A restaurant will gain little from clicks coming from 500 miles away.

Adjust your keyword bids- Not all keywords are equal. Use higher bids for terms that fit your website well and use lower bids for more generic terms.

Ignore CTR (click through rate)- If you have a huge budget then CTR matters. If you have a small budget you will have to let some searches go. Adjust your keyword bids to maximize the number of good clicks not to raise your CTR. A high CTR and a low budget will quickly blow through your budget!

Adjust your ads- Google allows you to use several ads and they will rotate them for you. Once your ads have run for a while see which ads are getting you the best results, then either fix or delete the ads that are under performing.

Adjust, adjust, adjust- Figure out what is working and concentrate your efforts there. Figure out what is not working and either fix or eliminate it. A PPC campaign is not something you setup and then just walk away from. You need to keep an eye on it to make adjustments to ensure that  it is accomplishing your goals.

After the click: A great Google AdWords campaign can bring people to your website but that is only half the battle. Once they are on your site you need to convert them to customers or clients.

Pick a good landing page- The page in your website that  your ad takes people to is crucial. Your home page or contact page will not cut it. The landing page needs to convince them yours is the right business and it needs to get them to take the action you want.

Follow up- If you are a retail site and the visitor does not make a purchase you can have Google AdWords keep track of them and tailor an ad campaign, using a remarketing list, to reach out to them. If you are collecting leads have a system in place to make sure that someone in your organization contacts them as quickly as possible.

A PPC campaign can be difficult to manage and take up a lot of your valuable time. There are some options out there if you do not want to undertake it yourself. You can hire an experienced online advertising agency to setup a new campaign or overhaul your existing campaign or you can hire them to run your campaign for you.  

<![CDATA[Facebook is making a comeback among teens.]]>Tue, 31 Jan 2017 04:44:11 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/01/facebook-is-making-a-comeback-among-teens.htmlFacebook used to be dominated by teens and then a terrible thing happened (at least in their minds), their parents and other ‘old people’ started using Facebook. Nothing makes something less desirable to a teen than having their parents like it. Teens scattered to any social media site they could find that their parents have never heard of. First there was Twitter, followed by Instagram and then Snapchat, but now, parents have hopped on all of these channels!

But something strange has started to happen, young people are returning to Facebook. Not in droves but in significant numbers.  UBS Evidence Lab research found that 65% of teens go on Facebook daily. That is up from 59% just 2 years ago. It is the most popular social media site among teens.

So what does this mean for your business? It means that Facebook is a great way to reach teens. Smart social marketing strategy means getting them to follow your page or better yet, having them check in at your place of business. It is important to connect with this demographic on the other social media sites but this new research advises us to not overlook Facebook.  

<![CDATA[Social Media for Artists]]>Tue, 10 Jan 2017 22:48:04 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/01/social-media-for-artists.htmlPictureAlicia Forestall-Boehm
For most of you, social media is part of your everyday life. You know that it is an essential part of the doing business and is becoming more important every year. But the idea of using social media to promote your art is daunting and you would much rather be in the studio making art than sitting in front of the computer trying to promote yourself and your art. Even if you are able to generate enough sales to allow you to devote all of your time to your art, you really need to be getting people to notice your art on social media. Fortunately promoting your art on social media can be fun. Often artists work in a very solitary way, and social media can provide the opportunity to network with other artists, often from other parts of the world. They can offer feedback on your work and allow you to explore their world, allowing you to see their art as well.  And let’s not forget to mention the social media “likes” and comments! Who doesn’t like some praise and reassurance once in a while!

So we’ve convinced you that you have to take the social media plunge but where do you begin. You can hire a social media company that specializes in artists and arts organizations and they can take it from there. Or you can have them get you started; creating a social media presence for you and your art and then, you take over this vital promotion yourself.  Or you can follow the steps we have outlined below and do it yourself. 

Steps to a successful social media campaign for artists:

  1. Set up social media accounts just for your art. Your personal page is where you share life events while your art page is where you share your art. Your political views, photos of your dog and where you went on vacation do not belong on a business page so keep it separate. Your art business is part of you and you can and should share important art posts on your personal page.
  2. Facebook has made it easy to setup a business page. Click on the down arrow in the upper right corner of your personal Facebook page and click create page. Facebook even lets you choose artist as a page category. Follow their easy steps and make sure to fill out as much of the about section as you can. The best part is that you do not need a separate login. You can access you artist Facebook page from your personal page.
  3. Twitter, on the other hand, does requires a whole new account. Follow these 7 easy steps to setup a new account.  If you have an existing Twitter account you will need to use a different email address to set up this new account.
  4. Instagram, while an excellent channel that focuses on visual messages, really only works on a smart phone. If you do not have one then we recommend that you skip this step. To set up an Instagram account on your phone, download their app and follow their simple and straightforward directions. 
  5. Now you should decide which platform you are going to concentrate your efforts on. In the perfect world you have plenty of free time to ensure comprehensive social media campaigns on all of the different social media channels. In reality most of us do not have the time. Facebook is the most widely used and by far the most important site. We recommend concentrating your efforts here. Twitter works best for well know celebrities and businesses but it can get your art seen by a lot of people. Instagram is easy to use and a good hashtag (#) can get your art in front of a lot of new people.
  6. Make sure your page is visually appealing. After all you are an artist so you want your art to look its best. Using high quality photos is important but a good cell phone photo can be effective. The biggest aggravation is that the best size to use for photos is different for banners, profile photos and posts. This guide will help you optimize your photos for social media. 
  7. Post often. Posting every day is ideal but you need to be posting at least 3 times a week. 
  8. Post about your art, the art world and your community. Not every post should be directly about you. Sharing informative articles will gain you followers and let people know you are a serious artist. You can share anything from a great local art exhibit you really enjoyed, the work of fellow artists, tips for artists, a new piece you have created, chronicling your process or most importantly, where people can see your art. 
  9. Community management. Community management means responding to people who have commented on your posts or hopefully have posted about you. Getting your art out there is important but building relationships is the ultimate goal. Thanking someone for a nice comment takes only seconds and it will go a long way in getting them to support you and your art.
  10. Invite your friends to follow your new page. Facebook makes it easy to invite you current Facebook friend to follow your new art page.  On the right side of your business page there is a line that says “know friends who might like your page”. Simply click on it and invite the friends that you think will like your new page.
  11. Use social media as a source of information. Following artists, galleries and art supply companies is an easy way to stay up to date on new techniques, see what other artists are doing, see what shows are coming to your city and find opportunities for yourself.
  12. Have fun.                                                                                    

Chicago Social Media Marketers is a Chicago based social media company that works with artist, photographers and galleries.