Four Great Tactics to Make Social Media Work for You

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Social media pages form one of the foundations of inbound marketing — they’re where you can post your valuable content, using a call-to-action to drive visitors to your landing page, where they may become qualified leads.

The challenge, of course, is making your social media pages stand out in the crowd.

You can find plenty of social media tips to boost your visibility on the web, but these four give you a range of options that suit your goals and resources.

Make it easy — then, fun. No visitor should have to search around to find your social media pages. Use naming standards for your home pages that make it immediately clear who you are.

Then, have some fun. Categorize your Twitter content — blogs, tweets and videos — with hashtags that engage, inform and contain relevant keywords – like these examples, which actually won “best hashtag” awards! (Note: hashtags are for Twitter or any other platform that allows for “click through.” They do not work on Facebook.)

Look beyond Facebook. While there’s no denying its paradigm-shifting impact on social media and personal relationships, Facebook is highly saturated — to the point where some analysts reported decreases in overall usage and app downloads in 2012.

That doesn’t mean you should shun Facebook, of course — it’s often the first choice for social searches. But you can also consider outlets that may provide a better fit for your services via a smaller, but more influential, audience.

  • For example, LinkedIn is the world’s largest business network for a reason — it’s highly credible, deep platform for making connections. If you are targeting B2B (business to business), some relevant connections from LinkedIn could put you in touch with influential people who may not otherwise pay attention to Facebook pages.
  • If you have B2C (business to consumer) goals and a product or service that is highly image-driven, Pinterest (which recently transitioned from invitation-only to all-access) draws millions of hits daily — particularly from women, who make up nearly 60 percent of its audience.

Find advocates. Most advocates of social media tips would agree: few marketing tactics enhance credibility like kudos from impartial third-party source. Satisfied customers, industry awards and good reviews boost your profile and are easy to link from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social sites.

You can go the extra mile by finding brand advocate — people who promote your products or services, but who are not on your payroll. Your best customer, for example, can star in a blog interview or host a how-to on YouTube. Such tactics would not only boost your credibility, they practically guarantee that the customer will be sharing the content on his networks.

Be a mensch. Not every message on your social site needs to be tied to sales. A company that reaches out to its community or the world at large is often seen as credible and trustworthy.  Use your media to publicize worthy causes; then put your money where your tweets are by donating products, services or money and encouraging others to do the same.

Want to get more personal? “Like” and share great posts from your customers’ pages, or those from your community.

Social Media Tips Can Work for You To Drive Links and Traffic
Yesterday’s marketing tactics have been largely eclipsed by inbound marketing, which reflects the way consumers behave today. Getting the most from social media will help you make your mark in this wide-open environment.

UPS and FEDEX Changes Are the Most Important in Over 15 Years

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Within the last couple of months, FedEx and then UPS announced some changes to their pricing structures. Although they tried to keep the news under the radar, industry analysts and consultants were quick to pick up the ball and run with it. It’s understandable that these shipping titans would downplay the announcements, considering the fact that this could be the most significant and dramatic cost increase to come out in the last 15 years.

In the past, both companies have applied a dimensional (DIM) charge to packages larger than three cubic feet. Beginning on December 29 of this year for UPS and January 1, 2015 for FedEx, the DIM factor will be applied to all packages regardless of size. (The policy is already standard for FedEx Express and UPS Air.) If you’re an e-commerce retailer or do any type of shipping, these next few months will be crucial for understanding the changes and developing a strategy to mitigate the increases.

How Dimensional Pricing Works

Traditionally, shipping charges have been based on the actual weight of most standard-sized parcels. DIM pricing uses a formula that incorporates the size and bulk of the item being shipped to arrive at its dimensional “weight”. This is done by calculating the volume of the shipping container and applying a DIM divisor, which is currently 166 for both UPS and FedEx. (Other carriers may use a different number.)

For example: a cubic-foot container would yield a DIM weight of 11 pounds (12″ H x 12″ L x 12″ W = 1,728 divided by 166). If the item you’re shipping has an actual weight of 11 pounds, you’re in luck. However, if it’s six pounds you’ll end up paying nearly double the old charge. The change will have the biggest negative impact on companies that ship light but bulky products.

What the Changes Mean for the Carriers

It’s estimated that these price changes will affect approximately one-third of all ground shipments, although that number will be diminished somewhat since companies have several months to prepare and modify their shipping methods. They will certainly result in several millions of dollars in revenue increases for both companies with little to no corresponding increase in capital investment.

The e-commerce boom is a major driving force behind the new policies. It’s caused a significant increase in business-to-consumer shipments, which are less desirable because they’re lighter and require individual stops to deliver single packages. On the other hand, business-to-business shipments provide greater revenues per stop because the packages are heavier and involve larger quantities.

What the Changes Mean for You

The most immediate concern is formulating a plan to adjust your own shipping policies to avoid a significant financial burden. Depending on your volume of shipping and size of your products, increases could be anywhere from five to 25 percent. If you offer flat-rate or free shipping to your customers, you’ll need to rethink that strategy or figure out another way to absorb the costs.

Fortunately, UPS and FedEx made the announcements earlier than usual to give companies ample opportunity to prepare. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Keep a variety of container sizes on hand so your employees can use the correct one.
  • Train all employees to calculate dimensional weight and pack items as densely as possible. Beware of expensive automated systems that claim to perform the calculations for you. It’s easy enough to do it manually.
  • New pricing won’t be in effect for the holiday season, but since it’s the busiest shipping time it’s a good opportunity to calculate projected DIM charges for a comparison.
  • Meet with your carriers to determine potential cost increases up front. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a change in contract terms. The greater your shipping volume, the more leverage you have.
  • Shop around. Smaller regional carriers may offer more pricing flexibility.

With some planning and creative thinking, you can accommodate these changes with a minimum of disruption to your operations. Start now and take advantage of the window of time before they go into effect.

As always Medallion is here to help when you outsource your warehousing and shipping to us you take advantage of our special negotiated low shipping rates helping to squeeze more profit from each dollar you sell.