Social Media Marketing Strategy – The Bitter Business

Guest Blog from The Bitter Business

Source: Social Media Marketing Strategy – The Bitter Business

This is a seven step guide to creating a social media marketing strategy to reach more customers and drive greater on-line awareness for your brand or product. For a business to really capitalise from social media, it needs to build a clear strategy that takes into account what are the goals, what are you trying to achieve, who are the target customers are and what is the competition is doing.

Social media marketing can be defined as the use of blogs, articles and content marketing, white papers, video and images to share on social networks to raise awareness to pull in the web traffic and prospects

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1st Step; Understand your social media goals

As with any planning in business, the first thing anyone needs to do when creating a social media marketing strategy is to understand what you want to get from it?. What are the goals (traffic, leads, likes, buyers, SEO) so you know the purpose of your social media efforts. For some businesses it is to do with creating or raising awareness of a brand or product. For some companies the focus will be on generating leads, increasing sales or driving website traffic. Larger companies many look to social media to build customer loyalty, increase community size or use as a communication channel. The key point here is the goal for your social media strategy has to go beyond simply gaining Facebook likes and Twitter followers.  The above examples are only a few areas a business could focus on, but depending on your resources a business should ideally focus on one primary or one secondary goal. Remember if you do not have goals, targets and measures of success then in all likelihood you are not going to accomplish any meaningful results from social media activity.

2nd Step; Create measurable targets and objectives

The second step is to now set clear targets and objectives based on the goals you have set. Remember the “S.M.A.R.T” method, so make sure your social media goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time based.

Let us take the example of a business with a social media goal focused on increasing sales, then you might decide that the target is to generate an additional fifty on-line leads a month via landing pages, whitepaper or eBook downloads. If on the other hand, the goal set is to create brand awareness, then a target could the number of times your brand is mentioned on the social media networks per month. Also worth noting at this point, your goals, targets and objectives for social media should be directly tied to overall business goals, and they should be achievable. Goals without targets, actions and activities are just wishful thoughts. It is important to make sure the objectives are time limited. For example, you need to achieve a 100 percent growth in on-line leads generated within the next six months, not at some vague point in the future.

Now that you have set the targets and objectives you need to make sure you can measure them. There are lots of social media tools to track and analyse activity and quantify your progress. These tools like Klout, Google Analytic, TweetDeck, Buffer or Social Mention to name a few, can let you know when your progress plus they will also help you to identify any trends early and adjust your activities if you have to.

3rd Step; Customer targeting – who do you sell to

So now, the goals, targets and objectives have been set so now you know where you are going, so all set, right?, well no because you still do not know how you are going to get there. You see a successful social media strategy is all about customer targeting, reaching the right people with the right messages. To do this, a business needs to understand “who do you sell to”. For example, there is no point in targeting everyone who has an interest in sport if you really want to target only those who are cycling enthusiasts.

The best way to do this is to draw up a buyer profile. What does the profile of your ideal customer or buyer look like? Make it personal and give them a name. Where do they work? How old are they? What social networks are they likely to be on? What is their income? How often do they cycle (as in above example) Do they have children? What brands do they like or dislike? What motivates them? The list of detail goes on. If you find that you have more than one ideal customer or buyer profile then create a persona for each.

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4th Step; Monitor the competition

As social media activity is mostly transparent, monitoring your competitions activity will tell you a lot about what works and what does not. After all, you are all targeting the same customer set. By constantly monitoring the competition, you have a fantastic opportunity to learn from their activity and actions.

This fourth step involves researching your competitors, maybe select ones your own size, in similar locations and some of the big ones. Find out what social networks they are active on, study their content (articles, case studies, whitepapers, videos, promotions, links). Is it direct or educational? What kind of industry references do they use? Do they talk about their product, markets, industry or brand and what if any other things do they focus on (events, discounts, and webinars)?

If for example you sell bicycles, do your competitors talk about how their bicycle brands perform in races or do they post cool cycling videos that just happen to include their bicycle range? Now see how well each competitor is doing on the social networks (followers, connections, mentions, comments, shares, likes) they get on their social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. This should give you a good insight into what social strategies work and which ones do not.

5th Step; Develop your content marketing messaging

OK, now that you have an ideal customer or buyer profile plus insights on your competition, next up on the list is to start developing your social media messaging. This is your top line titles and key messaging you want to share (writing the detailed content comes later); a list of key messages that you think will create awareness with your customers or buyers based on the profiles you have created in step 3. A suggestion is to target three or four buzzwords or better still “Keywords”, then break each keyword down into longer tail keywords so you build up a messaging plan.

Based on monitoring your competition a lot can be gained from adopting some of their successful messaging ideas and blending them with your own unique messaging that sets you apart — this has the effect of creating a unique voice in social conversations. Be creative, daring, controversial and educational as social media activity should be exciting, not dull.

6th Step; Select the social media channels

Depending on whether your business is B2B or B2C you will need to choose the right networks that are worth investing in for the products or services.

Most of us would agree that LinkedIn is a good platform to target for business buyers or business type sales while Pinterest would be better if a business is involved with retail or fashion. Some of these channels are obvious when you look at your buyer profiles and competitors but see if any other social media channels could pay dividends like Blogger, Scoop.it, Tumblr, Plurk, and Instagram.

As part of this exercise you should identify social influencers, these are the people who can help reach your target audience. Social influencers and respected bloggers have high levels of trust in their followers or readers and can be indispensable in creating social chat buzz around your brand.

7th Step; Build a content writing and sharing plan

The last but critical step is you need to develop a strong content writing plan based on your target keywords, you need to write and share (not just your own) engaging material. The content needs to align with your overall marketing messaging as in step 5 and be relevant to the social channels you will use. Content marketing is more than promotional blogs or product information; it has to add real value in the buyer’s journey to create awareness and consideration for your business within the audiences. Also if possible try not just stick to one type of media or theme, mixing videos, helpful guides, research papers,  images, info graphics, news and other formats will engage your potential customers far more effectively.

A golden rule to go with your seven step social media strategy is “Content marketing has to be constant” meaning a constant presence with great content across your chosen social media channels. Heed this note, every social media strategy can only be successful if you have an ongoing presence on social media networks, and that entails sharing fresh engaging content on a regular basis.

Games Based Learning

The use of “Game Based Learning” in schools and with teachers to improve student engagement in topics can have a measurable effect on student success in subjects like math, science, reading and languages. In the modern education system game based learning and brain training solutions have the potential to bolster teaching methods while educational games in the classroom are fast proving an invaluable tool to connect and engage students. Games in the classroom in any form have shown to increase student motivation through engagement.

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However to avoid confusion it needs to be pointed out that “Gamification” and “Game Based Learning” in education are not the same thing. So let us dig a little deeper into Gamification vs. Game-Based Learning.

The term “Gamification” within a school context would likely refer to the use of game-like principles when teaching. In a classroom setting this might be a teacher having a game and assigning points or rewards for various classroom activities like participation. So when a teacher assigns points to a student, uses a leader board, or hands out badges, he or she is using gamification. On the flip side, Game Based Learning means incorporating educational games in teacher instruction within the classroom for a range of subjects. These games can be subject specific like math or reading, help with overall cognitive and learning skills like “Brain Training” or even “Video Games” for computer classes. The important aspect of game based learning is they must have a measurable impact on the student in terms of grades, IQ, exams and learning ability.

Nowhere else is the use of games more important than education. The lack of student motivation can be easily demonstrated in high school dropout rates, every year approximately 1.2 million students fail to graduate from school. Some academics argue that this is due to current systemic flaws in the way students learn and acquire knowledge while others argue that schools are behind the times.<br.

So as a teacher, why use games based learning in the classroom?

Game based learning has the capability to change the way teachers run their classes and the way their students experience learning. In a classroom that uses game based learning, a teacher can assign online learning games or even videos for students to watch as part of classwork, outside of class as part of identified learning areas or even as homework. Game based learning can help students with collaboration, experimentation; improve problem solving skills, raise IQ levels and application of the concepts in math or science. So instead of using all the class time in rote learning, teachers become guides who are available to assist students to improve learning skills and the application of concepts across subjects.

Parents, teachers and students know that education as it is currently delivered is broken. Game based learning like SMART Brain Training can help make education work. Using games in education to improve intellectual skills and to make learning easier (especially for kids with learning difficulties) is a unique value proposition for both teacher and student.

Free Brain Training Offered to Schools

RaiseYourIQ is please to announce that it is now offering FREE brain training to any and all schools and teachers. Schools are invited to sign up and get free licenses to RaiseYourIQ  SMART Brain training which is an intervention based intellectual skills training solution for kids and students.

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SMART brain training has strong scientific evidence following 2 years working with teachers and schools. RaiseYourIQ published studies show that students, who completed the SMART brain training course which is based on research into “Relational Skills”, have significantly raised their IQ (10-20 on average) plus also improved on cognitive skills, problem solving, reading, literacy and language skills.

RaiseYourIQ co-founder and one of the leading researchers into “Relational Frame Theory” Doctor Bryan Roche states that relational skills training has been shown in published research to impact intellectual ability scores (measured using the WISC) and in independent research into relational skills have shown that our ability to understand abstract relations corresponds to scores on standard IQ tests (e.g., the WAIS and Kaufman’s brief intelligence test). One published research paper (Cassidy, Roche & Hayes, 2011) described how a range of different children (four normally developing and eight educationally challenged) were provided with a fully automated relational skills training method on a computer in once to twice weekly sessions lasting approximately 90 minutes across several months. IQ tests (WISC III) were administered before the relational training and several weeks following the completion of training.

At the outset of the study, the four normal children had an average IQ of 105 (ranging from 96-119). This is typical of normally developing children. Nevertheless, this average IQ was raised to over 130, which is called high functioning or exceptional. Children in this intellectual range are often referred to as gifted. The lowest IQ among the normally developing students following the intervention was 128 and the highest was 137. This means that these children’s intellectual ability was moved from average range to within the top 2 percent of the population concludes Doctor Roche. The affordable and easy access to educational interventions to hone the foundational educational skills of any child has the potential to democratize education states RaiseYourIQ Director of Learning, Doctor Sarah Cassidy.

RaiseYourIQ wants to offer any and every school free access to our SMART Brain Training. It can be quite impractical for a school to try to bring up to speed a child who is years behind in educational attainment due to a lack of investment in that child in their earlier years, by parents or otherwise. The identification of relational skills as the basic building blocks of intelligence, however, offers the possibility of re-mediating these deficits in a very efficient way so that educational efforts will be more effective and so that any child whether gifted, disadvantaged or with normal IQ can reach their educational potential in an expedited fashion.

To learn more about Brain Training and to sign up your school for free, please visit RaiseYourIQ Brain Training.

Brain Games – Science or Fiction?

Are brain games based on science or fiction?. Brain games should be designed to provide some benefit to the user that is meaningful in helping the brain along lifes journey. However a quick Google search will reveal sites with strap lines like “Give your brain a workout” or “Games that sharpen your mind”, strap lines that have little scientific evidence or academic research to support any boosts. The term “brain games” has been hijacked by software gaming companies hoping to sell thousands of apps leaving the real science based brain health companies wondering should they jump on the bandwagon. Maybe they could use punch lines like “Brain training helps you use 90% of your brain power”.

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It would be funny except brain training and brain games have huge real world brain health benefits for kids and adults to raise IQ, address learning difficulties and improve intellectual capabilities. People whether kids or adults who turn to brain games, do so in the vast majority of cases to improve their learning ability or remedy some intellectual skills. They will also be paying in the belief that this will help them for school or business. Brain games companies will happily take their money knowing apart for some fun games users will extract little or none real life or learning improvement as there is no science, no research, and no credibility.

Some brain games companies just copy or quote a few lines of research from a psychologist on brain training or cognitive health to try and gain customers trust. Then they just create some quirky games that might amuse but can never amount to anything else. People should be asking, can brain games really help improve my intelligence, what method and research has gone into a company’s brain products, has the brain game company any published research or clinical trials to support their business model. Brain games are part and parcel of cognitive health and psychology. Psychologists and scientists cannot just make up wild claims about their services. What sensible person would pay a doctor who told them they could cure them of some disease just by hoping around on one leg while clapping your hands? Well brain games companies who can “sharpen your mind” will gladly take your money based on similar claims.

Don’t misunderstand the point here, marketing and messaging a product is important, every brain training solution has a right to inform a potential customer the benefits of their product and it is all part of the packaging which consumers love. This article is all about asking customers, schools, educators or psychologists, who want to use a brain game to look under the hood, educate themselves on the real science and research going into brain health, is it a gaming company with a brain game product or a scientific based company with brain games.

To nail our colors to the mast, RaiseYourIQ (and we are not the only ones) are on the side of science. Why, well simply we are first and foremost educational psychologists who have dedicated over 10 years research into intellectual skills training using “relational frame theory” at NUIM University. The outcome which is we have devised a scientifically proven method to raise IQ and intelligence based on relational skills training which we called SMART. We have not copied, borrowed or just quoted this SMART brain training method, we created it, completed the research (and is still on-going today), done clinical trials, published articles in scientific journals and we even wrote a book on it.

The power of brain games within schools, education and business to improve intellectual skills and remedy learning difficulties is too big, too serious, and too important to be left to some large gaming companies who wish the science would go away. Only people can decide, brain games or game based intellectual brain skills training.

Brain Games

Brain games fits nicely into the area of neuroscience and education. As game-based-learning grows in popularity not just in education but in health and business brain games can play there part in improving intelligence. Psychologists and educationalists now understand more about learning games in brain cognition and neuroscience to enhance child and adult learning.

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The meaning of “learning” or “knowing” is shifting away from being able to recall and repeat information to being able to find it, evaluate it and use it compellingly at the right time and in the right context. Education and schooling still tends to focus on the acquisition of basic skills and content knowledge, like reading, writing, calculation, history or science. Many experts believe that career and life success today and into the future will depend on education or learning that treats higher order intellectual skills, like the ability to think, solve complex problems or interact deeper through language and media.

Brain Games and brain training games fit naturally in supporting this form of education and life skills. Learning games for the brain are designed to create a compelling platform that challenges the brain , where users come to learn and understand through self-directed exploration. They are constructed to deliver personalized learning and to use data to help players understand how they are doing, what they need to work on and where to go next. Learning games create a compelling need to know, a need to ask, examine, assimilate and master certain skills and content areas. Psychologists and education experts argue that brain games are, first and foremost, learning systems with real world benefits and that this accounts for the sense of engagement and entertainment players experience.

Brain games have also other attributes that facilitate learning. One of these is the state of being known as play. Much of the activity of play consists in failing to reach the goal established by a game’s rules. And yet players rarely experience this failure as an obstacle to trying again and again, as they work harder towards mastery and in so making the brain fitter. There is something in playing brain games that activates the tenacity and persistence required for effective learning.

Learning games to improve brain power has three key moments with important implications for learning whether at home or in the classroom. The first is when a would-be player approaches a game and expresses a wish to participate: “Can I give it a try? Or Can I join in?” The second moment comes when a player asks, “Can I save it?” In other words, “I am going to engage or invest time in this experience, which has personal value and meaning, and I’d like to pick up where I left off.” The third moment comes when a player attains a level of mastery in the game where a test or report can be shown the achievement.

Science and academic research is reporting that brain based game learning could be the Holy Grail in the quest to keep kids in school and on track to reach their true intellectual ability. Brain games are already widely used by teachers, parents, schools, business and other institutions with an interest in learning. Brain training games can function as doorways into content areas, introductions into specific skill sets and/or nodes in larger knowledge networks. But there is nothing new here; games and learning have enjoyed an association long before the dawn of the digital age. Brain games for the brain represents an exciting and limitless activity within the larger, highly engaging learning system that surrounds us all.

Brain training for Children

Brain training is suitable for children over eight years of age right up to students as it helps to raise IQ, making learning easier and inso assisting children in their education. The idea that our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is an inherited trait and cannot be improved has now been discard by most educational psychologists.

Recent and publicly visible studies published in highly reputable journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, report large and even long-lasting IQ gains by research volunteers who practice a brain-training type task called the dual n-back task.  This research program, run by John Jonides and colleagues at the University of Michigan, has found improvements in objective measures of fluid intelligence (one important aspect of intelligence) resulting from this form of brain training.

Even giants of intelligence research such as Robert Sternberg, have come around to the idea that intelligence is highly manipulable, subject to social opportunity, up-bringing, educational opportunity, and motivation. Moreover, such academics as Sternberg have argued that the nature-nurture debate it itself often misunderstood and the critical role of environment downplayed as a result a widespread misunderstanding of the concept of ‘hertiability’ as it applies to intelligence (see his book Intelligence and How to Get It).

Brain training for Children

 The RaiseYourIQ intellectual skills intervention is called SMART training (Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Training). We do not teach children and students anything that they can use in their examinations (e.g., how to multiply, the capital of Canada). Instead a RaiseYourIQ course will teach the foundational reasoning skills crucial to vocabulary acquisition and mathematical reasoning. In effect, we are giving kids, students and adults the tools to learn more effectively. Moreover our training re-mediates deficits in these skills bases that cannot be taught at school efficiently without extensive one-to-one assistance, plus SMART can even help children to catch up to and even surpass the population average in intellectual ability. The SMART brain training course can act as a springboard from which future learning occurs across all age groups. Brain training for Children.

Brain Training Helps the Mind to Focus

Braining exercises significantly improve the brains ability to pay attention and so learn more. In a recent study into online brain training solutions,  Naomi J. Steiner, director of the CATS Project (Computer Attention Training in Schools for children with ADHD) at Tufts Medical Center, and her colleagues found that computer-based attention-training exercises significantly improved the ability of kids with ADHD to focus and pay attention.

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This supports the research being carried out by the psychology team at RaiseYourIQ. SMART brain training covers all age groups to target intellectual skills training. The course is designed to train the part of the brain by using the brain’s capacity to change. Experts from the medical and psychology community agree that brain training would be appropriate for all children, but also to train attention and learning improvement in adults, even in the 50-plus group. Brain training can have different purposes at different ages whether it is to improve IQ or make learning easier, but there is always the same goal: improving brain function.

Scientists now know that adults use “metacognition”; that is, they think about how they’re thinking and learning. They are aware of how they can use the skills they’re learning to bridge their deficits. The focus has to be about training our brains to become better. Scientists are looking at attention skills as a spectrum. The objective is to have parents and teachers as well as the students and adults themselves identify problems—inattention, inability to complete assignments, forgetfulness, disorganization. They can take advantage of these techniques covered in the SMART brain training course to train their brains. This is a huge paradigm shift.

Everyone could benefit from brain training, whether it is delivered through practitioners or online as the technology has become more accessible. Business and school systems are becoming interested in brain training from a health perspective; giving access to these kinds of brain skills interventions to adults or children during the day is a dream goal.

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People ask “What does SMART brain training address? Quite simply, it helps people pay attention to learning more so raising IQ levels. An example is kids tell us that at school, they realized they were not paying attention but now we can bring ourselves back now.” As they continue to through the brain training course, people strengthen the part of the brain responsible for focusing.

Brain training also decreases hyperactivity and impulsivity. Hyperactivity is the lack of ability to control the body. Impulsivity is the lack of ability to think twice before doing something. What it looks like in business is answering a question without thinking. Or in the classroom it’s shouting out answers without raising your hand. Researchers also have found that brain training improves “executive function”. Executive function skills relate to the brain’s ability to orchestrate what it’s about to do. This brain function is extremely important as school, work and life becomes all about how good people are at organizing their time. More and more research is now proving conclusively that brain training has wide ranging health, self-improvement and educational benefits. For more information on the RaiseYourIQ SMART brain training course visit our website.