Five CTAs to Consider for your Brand’s Content Marketing

 

CTAs for branding and marketing content

When it comes to your website, email marketing, and social media, your content needs a call to action (cta). What is it that you want your reader to do? The CTA usually drives your audience to have an interaction with the content and engage (click, like, share) or potentially go somewhere else (such as your product page to purchase).

A great CTA can create responses from the audience and potentially convert them from a prospective customer to an actual customer (or a current one to a loyal one).

Here’s the thing though, not all CTA’s have to drive to a product or service.

Sometimes a CTA that leads to entertainment, valued content, or helpful tips is enough to make your audience excited for your product or service in the long run.

Here are 5 Alternative Calls to Action for Your  Branding and Marketing Content:

Email: Cross promotion between social and email is a great way to get awareness of your content. Perhaps include some of your Instagram favorites in your email newsletter and allow your readers to “share” their favorite with specific hashtag. Allow them to be a part of your community and potentially be highlighted in your email next time.

Website: Have them “subscribe now” to your newsletter for information on events or entertaining videos, not necessarily sales and promos.

YouTube: Instead of leading them back to the site to purchase a product from your videos, perhaps have a simple annotation to go to the next video. Let them enjoy more awesome content, because they’re obviously watching the video for a reason. They’re interested!

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion – to read the full list of CTAs including Facebook and tumblr, check out my full post here. 

 

Seven Paid Social Media Tips for Brand Awareness

First thing’s first, you need your goals (as with any marketing plan). Decide if your paid social media strategy will help for awareness of your brand being on that channel or perhaps help create engagement with a new campaign. Let’s assume for this post that you’re trying to gain awareness for your brand as you enter some new social channels. Different channels allow for different interactions with consumers as well as unique ways to target and reach them.

Some quick tips for each channel:

  • Facebook: A tough place to navigate without a budget these days. Ensure your facebook ads and sponsored posts have bold visual photos and videos. Within the feed a status update with just text will easily be skipped over. But a visual that can capture someone’s eye may allow a second glance, and hopefully a click for your CTA.
  • Twitter: Promoted Accounts and Tweets are the easy way in for awareness. Note, you only need promoted account tweet copy for the mobile ads, not desktop.
  • Instagram: Thankfully the budget has come down for brands, but the price tag isn’t cheap. If you want the extra boost go for it. But if you can manage to gain your audience through organic tactics such as cross promotion, hashtags, and influencers – stick to that.
  • Pinterest: Same as with Instagram. There are some great opportunities with Pinterest, but with the latest guided search opportunities, there are great ways to be found without needing paid promotion.
  • tumblr: The cool part about tumblr is that you rarely realize you’re looking at a sponsored post. The brands who have done it well, are sticking to the tumblr community ways of big images that captivate, and intriguing stories to keep you intrigued and hopefully follow the account for more. The cool paid opportunities include but are not limited to in stream sponsored posts for desktop and mobile. But one of the best places to really get your audience is through the spotlight ad. It allows full access to new members, as as tumblr continues to grow, so do the brand opportunities.
  • LinkedIn: I can’t say more about the targeting capabilities. You can reach your audience down to their job title. Need I say more?
  • YouTube: There are many ways to get your videos out there to your audience, but the preferred way is through Trueview in stream, in search and/or in display. The key with these ads  (especially in stream) is to have the most enticing part in the first 5 seconds. Otherwise your audience normally has the opportunity to skip after that time period.

Remember, the key for social media ads is not to just spend away all of your social media budget. But to test what posts are doing well and how you can gain more traction on those channels. For example, if you have a tweet that is doing well organically, boost it. Make it a promoted tweet to gain even more. Once you and your team learns which posts do better on particular channels, you can plan to boost certain ones ahead of time. For instance, if you are planning a Halloween promotion, you may want to ensure you have your spend ready for that week and have some posts to a/b test for the best copy, image/video, and link. And it doesn’t hurt to see what your competition is doing too.

Bonus tip – don’t skimp on the visuals. They work on every channel. Make sure they’re quality photos or videos and not just simple stock photography.

Image Sources: Instagram – lexus, michael kors

This post was originally written for Socialnomics.

Tips to Invest in Visual Content for the Digital Space

Content isn’t just about blog posts, whitepapers and only written content. Content can be anything from a Tweet to a TV Commercial. Unfortunately, some brands write a great article, and then just slap on a photo. The photo for that article is what will entice people on social channels to actually consume your content and potentially share to their audience. For example, when posting an article on Pinterest, unless your brand’s photo is visually appealing, the likeliness of someone clicking on it is slim to none. And who wants to Re-Pin an article with a blurry or unappealing photo? So before you choose any photo (or video), consider investing your money and resources to something that’s of higher quality and more engaging to your target audience.

Here are some quick tips to invest (and some ways that don’t break the bank):

1. Don’t just rely on your smartphone camera – It’s definitely easy and convenient, especially for apps like Instagram to shoot and share immediately through your phone. However, for better quality shots an investment on a good Canon or Nokia may be worth the few extra bucks. That way you can have more effective photo shoots of your products, services, influencers, and events with a little less stress.

2. Have a committed resource (or freelancer) – Taking photos isn’t a 5 minute job. It takes time to get the right shot. Additionally if your brand is committed to posting every day on channels like Instagram, Pinterest, and/or tumblr, you need the assets to do it. It’s ok to have multiple shots from one shoot, but it’s important to have variety.

3. Curate - Not only is this helpful to not put all the pressure on your brand, but it helps to highlight others in the community who also have great content. And if karma is real, it’ll definitely come back around.

4. UGC – Your consumers will like and maybe even love to be highlighted. I admit, when I posted a picture tagging Nordstrom Rack a couple weeks ago, and then the brand took notice not just by liking my photo, but regramming it to their feed – well I may have done a little dance or two. I was ecstatic. It was the ultimate compliment by a brand I admire. So not only is that a way to win over a consumer, but it’s more content for your arsenal!

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 5.43.42 PM

How to use your new awesome visual content wisely:

1. Facebook – Considering it’s almost impossible to get noticed organically on Facebook nowadays, the more you can do the better. Ensure that each post has a featured image that is bright colored (blue is always helpful), with the main product/service/person standing out clearly. It helps if it’s an image a consumer would be excited to share.

2. Twitter - Instagram will not show up in-feed anymore, so consumers have to click out to view the image. However if you post directly through Twitter than it will show up. It’s more likely that someone will click on your Tweet and the link in your Tweet if the image is enticing.

3. Instagram – My favorite as of late – can’t help it. It’s fun, easy to share, and addicting to follow others. Make sure your content stands out in the crowd. A helpful tip is to ensure you post regularly (daily) with pictures that are high quality – not blurry! The filters are fun, but most brands don’t use them because they take away from the photo and make them lower quality. Also if you want to feature your pop of color, don’t use a filter to take away from it.

4. Pinterest – Some people think you can only post images on Pinterest – not true! You can post articles, infographics, and more. However make sure that there is an image that goes along with said article that makes it pop and appealing to the crowd. Mashable does a great job of repurposing their blog content on this visual channel, which in turn leads to great referral traffic back to their blog.

And don’t forget to have some fun with it. Show off your brand with some behind the scene pics of your team, your product being made, your event being planned, or even let an influencer take over your instagram account one day to show their take on your event or brand.

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.  

Social Media: Understanding how your Consumers Use it

customers social media

Remember the days of using RSS Feeds? Seems like a long time ago; the shift into using social media as a primary source of information is something that has become very popular with a lot of people.  That’s why it’s important to have an understanding of how your customers use social media so that you can create your social media plan accordingly.

Here’s a quick look at how I use social media:

  • Twitter is my daily news feed from what’s happening locally to what’s happening globally. It’s my go-to for quick snippets, and long form content when I link out. Without Twitter I wouldn’t know half of what’s going on in my industry and the world sometimes.
  • Facebook is my brand go-to for the ones I’m passionate about. I won’t just “like” any brand and have them clutter my daily home page on Facebook – so if I like your page, that’s huge.
  • Pinterest is my guilty pleasure. It’s where I go to lust over things I want and pin away from friends or influencers who’ve done the same.
  • Instagram is my daily binge session with image content. I love following brands, influencers, and friends who share daily or moderately regular image content. It allows me to get a closer view into what makes that brand tick, what makes that influencer share such cool things, and what my friends really love.
  • tumblr is my go-to for quick consumable content from brands and bloggers I love. It’s where I read up on other fashion folks and why they do what they do, as well as lesser known folks who are just publishing their passions.
  • LinkedIn is where I read my thought leadership from people and brands I admire. It’s few and far between that I follow brands on LinkedIn, and even more selective on groups I join. The content and value has to be worth it.

See how each platform has a very different purpose for me?  I’m willing to bet that your customers are the same way.

Why this matters to your brand:

Understanding how your audience consumes content is half the battle. It allows your brand to shape your content strategically for each channel; in a voice that fits that place; in a way that is easily consumable, and in turn shareable by that specific audience.

The content you place on LinkedIn is not what you place on Pinterest.  Understand that while the topic may be the same (new collection, new event, new sale) the way in which the content is presented should be very different, based on how you see your customers responding.

To read more on how you can apply each of these channels to your brand and have a list of key takeaways, check out my full post on Startup Fashion

Nordstrom: A social media case example for any consumer brand

Nordstrom's social media approach

The well known retailer Nordstrom is proving itself to be an expert at engaging with its audience across multiple social channels, as well as connecting both online and offline for continued engagement.

On thing that Nordstrom ensures is that its visual content is available on whichever channel its audience prefers — providing insight into the latest styles available in the store, upcoming sales, and much more.

Let’s take a look at Nordstrom’s Social Media Approach

Twitter and Facebook

Nordstrom uses Facebook and Twitter to provide updates on daily specials and tips through their committed community managers. The community managers are helpful, quick to respond, and always give nice, sweet comments when consumers share their latest Nordstrom finds.

Going the extra mile: When customers have a question for the store, they often use Twitter to ask it.  Nordstrom, unlike a lot of major retailers out there, do actually respond within minutes including direct messages for direct answers needed.

Email Marketing

Frequent (but not too frequent) emails allow consumers to be alerted to the new trends available in store and online, as well as sales occurring at that moment so their customers don’t miss out on a great deal.

Pinterest and Instagram

Nordstrom’s Pinterest and Instagram accounts are always up to date with their latest trends.  They include highlights of bloggers and their best customers wearing styles from the store. When customers tag their latest purchases with Nordstrom handles or hashtags, they are automatically considered for a highlight.

tumblr

Nordstrom’s blog is especially unique because it isn’t just about the products but also gives consumers an inside look at Nordstrom’s take on fashion. This includes street style pictures from the week, which is great for a quick daily inspiration and feels almost like a service that the retailer is offering its customers.

Takeaways and Lessons to Apply to Your Brand

  • Use visual content that highlights your products in a way that the consumer can see the value, be excited to share it, and potentially purchase it.
  • Provide a path to purchase on appropriate channels.
  • The same content doesn’t live on every channel; allow diversity.
  • Allow the audience to be a part of the content; User Generated Content can allow your fans to feel special.
This post was originally written for Startup fashion – for the full list of takeaways and lessons for your brand check out my full post here
 

How to: Use Hashtags Across Social Media Channels

Hashtags.

Hashtags, which began on our phones, ok but really on Twitter for aggregating conversations in one stream related to topics, events, brands, and more. They’ve since become utilized across other channels like Instagram, tumblr, Facebook and more.

Of course they aren’t used the same across all channel and there are distinct differences for each channel and best practices for each. Below is a quick hit list on how to approach hashtags on some of the most popular social channels:

Twitter:

  1. Try not to use more than 2 to 3 hashtags (preferably 1 or 2) in a tweet
  2. Keep characters to less than 120 when placing a hashtag at the end of a tweet so when someone ReTweets, it’s not cut off
  3. Listen to the conversation on a hashtag before jumping in to ensure it’s appropriate for the brand and the tweet
  4. Monitor your branded hashtag conversations daily
  5. Having too many brand hashtags can cause confusion on when to use which – keep it simple

Instagram:

  1. Listen to see which hashtags are being used for your topics so you can hop into relevant conversations with your photos
  2. Try not to have a billion hashtags on each photo – people get lost in the clutter
  3. Do use some of the same hashtags often to create consistent viewership and loyal followers on certain categories

Tumblr:

  1. Hashtags are like metatags on tumblr so you can use more than you would on other channels to hop into more search streams – allowing more people to discover your content
  2. Monitor to see which tags are searched for on tumblr and tag your content appropriately
  3. Don’t mis-tag your content

Facebook:

  1. Less hashtags do better
  2. Try cultural terms rather than branded terms to reach audiences
  3. Monitor and have fun with it

Questions? Comments?

Note: this post was originally written for Social Media Club and my post can be found here.

Image by Maria Elena.

Futher Reading:

Facebook Part IV: Avoiding the Pitfalls

Facebook Avoiding Pitfalls

When it comes to Facebook, or any social media platform really, all brands make mistakes – whether an issue with a campaign or simply not using social media to its fullest potential,  it’s a good idea to try and steer clear of unnecessary pitfalls.

3 Ways to Help Make Sure You’re Avoiding Pitfalls

Not Following Through

When your brand commits to a campaign, you need to follow through on what you promise to deliver to your audience.

For example, let’s say your brand is doing a user generated content campaign where the audience gets to choose the name of your next collection. Afterward, if your brand doesn’t actually choose one of the names that was submitted, and your audience gets wind of it, there may be upheaval.  They were excited to participate and have this “special” and “exclusive” ability to help one of their favorite brands. They gave the love, now you must too.

Not Utilizing the Social Real Estate

Facebook provides a lot of social real estate; the about section, cover image, profile image, the tiles below your cover image, and of course your timeline. Use it!

  • Completely fill out your “About” section and use it to allow your audience to contact you and find you in other places (ex. Twitter handle, Phone #, address, email, website)
  • Use your cover image and profile image to show something about your brand – ex. the cover image can change with campaigns to show what’s the latest and greatest
  • The tiles below your cover image are great for apps, photos, and integrating more content (such as youtube videos). Customize these to fit your brand and catch attention.

To reed about the last and one of the most important pitfalls to avoid, check out my full post on startup fashion. Thx!

Facebook Part III: Facebook Graph Search

 

facebook graph search

So, some of us were “cool” enough to be selected into Facebook’s Beta of their Graph Search a few months back. Lucky us. We played around with the options of searching broader topics, friends of friends, images, and other such info. Now the Facebook Graph Search is opening to all users and has even more search options. What does this mean for your fashion business? Let’s break it down…

Consumers Can Now

  • Be connected to a larger network of people for business and pleasure
  • Find more of what friends like and recommend in the categories of music, brands, products, restaurants, places to visit, etc.
  • Find visual content that friends share specific to what users want to see (ex. Photos from a specific event or place)

Brands Care Because

  • Users can find your business on Facebook through their searches
  • Users can find when friends talk about your business
  • Users can find your services or products when searching for a specific want or need

What To Do

  • Ensure your Facebook page is kept up to date including your about section (location, contact info, etc)
  • Ensure your page is fresh with new and consistent content
  • Be visual with your content
  • Keep your images tagged appropriately
  • Ensure your content has search friendly keywords
  • Make it shareable and easy to find

Read more on what your brand should be doing and our prediction for how this affects you in the future on my full post at Startup Fashion

Facebook Part II: Best Practices for Posting on Facebook

posting on facebook

Last week we discussed “What your brand should keep in mind about Facebook Updates“.  In continuing with our series on how to use use Facebook for your fashion brand, we’re going to cover best practices for posting.

While there are some standards, best practices for posting on Facebook vary.  I will caveat the below by stating  two things:

  • It is imperative for each brand to test and learn to see what works best for your brand’s audience  - each brand is different and timing and posting days will vary.
  • Consider is the habits of your audience and the demographics. Are they mostly college students or working adults? Take note as this will impact not just your posting format but also your time and frequency.

Here are some best practices to start with as you begin to test and learn and determine what works best for your brand:

Posting Times:

  • Early Morning
  • After Work
  • Late Night

Posting Days:

  • Monday through Thursday
  • Friday tends to produce the least engagement and reach
  • Weekends work for some; while others have a harder time with it. This in one of those instances when you really need to test. Try   both Saturday and Sunday, morning, afternoon, and evening.

Note: We find Sunday evening to be a great time to post on Facebook.  Maybe that’s because you all are getting your selves geared up for the week ahead!

Post Frequency:

  • Not more than twice a day
  • Not more than 10 times a week

Because of the Facebook algorithm, posting more than twice a day tends to be a waste of time for smaller brands. The reach just isn’t there.

To read more tips on Posting Format and Style, check out my full post on Startup Fashion

Want more tips? Ask below in Comments!

Facebook for your Brand Part 1: Managing Facebook Updates

Facebook for your fashion business

Facebook – a channel, a sandbox, a social network, a place for brands and consumers to share content and engage – is continuously growing and adapting. In turn, brands need to adapt and change their strategy towards the channel as these changes occur – whether it’s the latest and great Hashtags, pictures being allowed in comments, or just another change to the algorithm.

In this 5 part series I will cover various aspects you should consider when using Facebook as a tool for growing your fashion business.

What your brand should keep in mind about Facebook Updates:

Hashtags:

  • User adoption is still just trickling in as hashtags are rolled out to the network audience.
  • Hashtags are not functional on mobile yet.
  • It’s a good time to dip one’s toes in and play around with using them in your posts (especially those that relate to Twitter content for cross promotion on campaigns). You may find that you like them.  You may find that you don’t.
  • Listening through tools will not work yet as this functionality will need to be integrated as it was done with Twitter before.
  • This will undoubtedly increase the ability to leverage a large audience and visibility around content, especially when paid options become available (prediction: down the road).
  • Repeat: Cross Promotion on various platforms is now easier.

Images in Comments:

  • This doesn’t work in mobile yet, but should be rolled out soon
  • Allows for greater sharing of visual content by fans. Think about User Generated Content and how this functinality can really build and grow a conversation within your comments.
  • An increase in monitoring and listening will undoubtedly be needed
  • An obvious movement towards more visual content on Facebook (as with Instagram, tumblr and pinterest)

To delve deeper into the Facebook Algorithm, check out my full post here on Startup Fashion

The Habits of Teens on Social Media

When it comes to social media there are tons of flavors ranging from the “generic” Facebook to the eclectic Vine and Snapchat. Teenagers are notorious for being experimental and checking out new things, and not just following the norm. When it comes to social media, it’s not much different.

1. My Mom’s on Facebook: Nowadays with the influx of individuals in their 30s, 40s, 50s and older joining and becoming more active on Facebook, teenagers are becoming less active or less willing to share as much on the platform. They feel it’s “less cool” and also don’t want their parents to see everything they share. Although there are privacy settings, it’s not the same when it’s not a place they can share so freely as they did before their parents joined.

2. Photos, Photos, and more Photos: We all know that photos are some of the most shared pieces of content across social media and when it comes to teenagers it’s not much different. Teens love to take and share photos, especially on apps like Instagram where you can play around with the filters and make them look unique and fun. Additionally, teens feel they can have just as good of a conversation on Instagram as they had on Facebook through the comments under pictures.

3. Privacy? - Teens although caring about not having their parents see their content, are sometimes more carefree with what they share. Some pictures show more than they should; they share contact information; and connect with as many friends and celebrities as possible – because they can.

4. tumblr - A quick and easy location for teens to blog about their daily lives, passions, and follow brands they love. It’s a way for them to expand on their careers during high school and college and get noticed sooner. Your resume only says so much, your blog can say so much more nowadays.

5. Try it and Move on - As the shiny object syndrome proves, there are so many social media channels that teens try new ones, get bored, and find a new one the following week. Some last longer, but they need real traction to do so including being easy to use, share, and have their friends join too.

What does this all mean you ask? If brands want to reach this target audience, they need to keep an eye on what’s hot for teens, and where they are interacting the most. It may be not facebook, but instagram, tumblr, twitter, and other easy to use and share platforms (especially visual) seem to be great venues to find and engage these teens.

Note: Some of this information was obtained through speaking with high school graduates and college freshmen and what they prefer on a daily basis and why.

Note: This post was originally written for socialnomics, and my post can also be found here.

Further Reading:

http://socialmediatoday.com/leaderswest/1494041/infographic-teenage-social-media-behavior-2013

http://www.edsocialmedia.com/2013/05/teens-social-media-5-highlights-of-pew-study/

5 Features to Consider with Facebook Global Brand Pages

Facebook gone Global or should we say local? Global brands can now reach a  larger audience  with these pages in the Facebook users’ own language. Great for brands and consumers. Here’s why:

1. Go local – Although targeting is available now for Facebook posts, it is a nice luxury to be able to have a whole page targeted to a particular area rather than just posts. Unfortunately small business are unable to do so (just yet).

2. Automatic referral to the right page – Consumers (aka Facebook users) don’t have to hunt for the global page they want; instead they’ll be directed automatically (although a person can choose another through a drop down menu if desired).

3. Combined Insights - We marketers all realize how important and invaluable measuring is in order to optimize our strategies. Luckily with Facebook Global Pages – brands can combine “likes” and “people talking about this” across countries. That helps in order to measure across pages, rather than going one by one.

4. Ability to communicate to global fan base already formed - Why is global valuable? Because most global brands already have a global fan base. Now it’s become even easier to communicate to each global fan. But what does this mean for content strategies – they are going global too (not just targeting one by one post). Get set…ready…crap…go!

5. Migration – one issue some brands may be concerned with is the migration or combination of multiple Facebook Pages they already have. Facebook appears to allow the migration of these multiple pages into one. How simple and easy that is – time will tell.

Want some real life examples – check out the movie Facebook Page forFrankenWeenie below….(when clicking on the carrot, you can switch “region” easily and simply if desired. It was already targeted to the U.S. for me).

 

NOTE: This post was originally written for Socialnomics and my original blog post can also be found here.

Questions? Comments? Let me know how you feel about Facebook Brand Pages in the comments below.

Three areas in Facebook’s Business Model to Question

A social network born out of a dorm room has come a long way over the past 8 years. Here are just a few stats to show its immense growth:

  • 901 million monthly active users (March, 2012)
  • On average more than 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook per day (March, 2012)
  • An average of 3.2 billion Likes and Comments generated by Facebook users per day (March, 2012)

Despite its growth and ability to integrate in many aspects of our lives, Facebook has some areas us marketers question. Is it really a social network or an ad network? If it’s for marketers, then where are the advantages for marketers?

Facebook Ad Reach is Minimal

Although most brands have planted themselves on Facebook by adding Fan Pages, switching to Timeline, and perhaps even gone down the road of paid advertising, it isn’t always so simple to reach fans. Facebook doesn’t make it simple, nor do they give the reach once thought or expected. Most brands unless they truly engage with their consumers (shares, comments, likes, etc) will most likely reach 17% or less. In short, to get to fans not only must your brand have mouth watering, tantalizing content – but you need to fork up the big bucks and pay to reach your audience as well. The content is one thing, the money is another.

It has become more evident as even some brands have decided to put less effort into this ad network instead of putting all their ducks on board. “In mid-May, just ahead of Facebook’s IPO, GM’s marketing executives said they would pull $10 million in advertising from the social network after judging the efforts had “little impact” in reaching consumers.” Are they just the first of many?

Mobile: Who Will Dominate?

“Analysts also think Facebook will face difficulties deriving revenue from the growing n
number of Facebook users who access the site using mobile devices, through which Facebook derives much less advertising revenue than through a desktop PC. Facebook rivals Google and Apple currently dominate the mobile arena.”  Although it’s key to have content mobile optimized, I know that I am even less likely to look or participate in ad content while I am on the go. As long as brands are not putting all their eggs in Facebook ads and Facebook content then the brands are marketing and strategizing correctly. There are so many other ways to get your content to where your audience wants it and where it wants it. Depending upon your brand platforms like Tumblr and YouTube may be better assets and drive more search traffic to that content. Mobile is great, but only if your content actually reaches your audience when they want it and where they want it.

Instagram Acquitision

Was this acquisition about being a “friend or foe?” Some wonder as now Facebook is looking into their own photo app for consumers – which looks quite similar to that of Instagram. I was initially impressed that Facebook had purchased such a great asset as Instagram – a photo app which so many upload to, view, and share on a consistent basis. Photos have such rich content that words cannot match at times – and Facebook realized the opportunity when they purchased the app. However, will they keep Instagram running and giving its audience what they want or will they use it as ammunition for their own photo app?

Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but there are definitely pitfalls for marketers and consumers alike. Which platform will your brand turn to next? My 18 year old sister (the new generation) said it best…”Why would I spend time on Facebook, when there’s Twitter, Instagram and so many others…”

Note: This post was originally written for socialnomics and my original post can be found here.
 
Additional Reading:
http://marketday.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/05/12069407-facebooks-problem-ads-arent-grabbing-users-analysts-say?lite 
Image Credit:
http://www.laferle.com/tag/quitting-facebook/
http://softsupplier.com/tag/facebook/

Three Examples Why LinkedIn is stronger than Facebook

Facebook may have over 910 million users, but it still has stealthy competitors such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn may not be where most individuals share their photos, check their newsfeed or share their daily status updates — but it is where businesses can flourish, B2B kicks butt through lead generation, and  ”likes” can have more weight.

Businesses Flourish

Facebook is a great place for businesses and fans to share content, but the types of content vary from all different spectrums: from Justin Beiber to brand news to business strategies to the Red Sox to pictures of  cat. In short, business content that is relevant to marketing, B2B, finance, etc may get lost in the clutter that is the Facebook news feed. On the other hand, the content on LinkedIn is largely related to marketing and business, and has a higher chance of being seen on the channel. It is purposefully designed for business-minded folk who want to share relevant content. In addition, it is a great platform for brands to distribute similar content and where many followers will look to find information on a brand, what they offer for a product/service, and the content related to it.

B2B and Lead Generation

So it is evident that LinkedIn is great for business content and businesses. But what else? “David Meerman Scott stated that LinkedIn’s conversion rate is now 2.60 per cent, less than what it was back in January, but this is far greater than its nearest rivals Twitter and Facebook, which has 0.67 per cent and 0.39 per cent respectively.” So what, you ask? In short, LinkedIn has competitive percentages when it comes to B2B lead gen due to the ability to target content, optimize for SEO, focus CTAs and utilize both company page and groups.  In addition, those who are visiting LinkedIn are visiting in order to post, read and/or comment on business content. The leads are prime for the picking.

“Likes” Have More Weight

On LinkedIn, people are more careful on what they post on their site, who they “link” to, and what they like, comment on and/or share. It is a site where people are judged for who they are career-wise. In short, if someone “likes” your post or comments on it or shares it — it holds greater value than it would on Facebook and Twitter where Likes and ReTweets are a dime a dozen normally. A recognition on LinkedIn = how many Likes or ReTweets? That’s still up for debate, but in my opinion, LinkedIn has a bit of a lead.

Last piece of Advice

LinkedIn may be a great place to invest in for businesses and those that are business-minded; but it is also easy to goof up if relevant content is not posted appropriately. Invest time to research first, target your content appropriately and grow your page within the channel over time. It is not an overnight success, but the trick is to maintain quality versus quantity.

Note: I originally wrote this post for Socialnomics – my original post can be found here

Additional Reading

http://thenextweb.com/asia/2012/02/21/growing-faster-than-facebook-linkedin-passes-1-million-members-in-indonesia/

http://writingontheweb.com/2012/02/21/the-pros-of-linkedin-vs-facebook-for-professionals/

http://www.simplyzesty.com/social-media/linkedin-4-times-better-than-facebook-twitter-for-b2b-leads/

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30030/LinkedIn-277-More-Effective-for-Lead-Generation-Than-Facebook-Twitter-New-Data.aspx

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2011/02/16/why-linkedin-is-more-valuable-than-facebook/

http://www.donhalbert.com/10-reasons-why-linkedin-is-better-than-facebook-and-twitter/

Keep your New Year’s Resolution: 5 Ways to Find a New Job with Social Media

So many New Year’s resolutions, so little time. The New Year is already flying by, and it’s no time for slacking off. Many individuals have
the desire and resolution to find a new job that will make them happy and put them in the right path for their desired career aspirations. Need some help?

Here are five great ways that social media applications can help you search better and also stay organized in your job search…

LinkedIn: In short, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, you’re already way behind on your job search. Job recruiters post on this networking social site, look through your profile for keywords related to their requirements, and filter through profiles in order to see who may be a good match. So here are some ways you can take advantage of this perfect social site for finding that perfect job you want this New Year.

Profile Picture. Make sure you use a single head shot for your profile picture so people can clearly see who you are. Preferably this wouldn’t be the same picture you have on Facebook where you may be friends at a party or bar. Think more professional.

Fill it out. Your profile should be filled out at least 90% to show your education, previous employment, and details of what skill sets you possess and could bring to the table.

Links. Take advantage of the social real estate. Use those link spaces and promote yourself. Have a blog? Show it off! Active on Twitter? Share your handle.

Recommendations. I could not speak more highly about having some recommendations…even if only a handful. Other people’s praise is not only golden, but a hot commodity when it comes to scoring a new job.

Job Search Tool. The best part of the LinkedIn search tool is that when you find a job match via your keyword search (which can be customized by location, etc) is you can see who in your network has a connection to that job prospect. The personal connection could just be your ticket to a new job. Use it!

Twitter: the micro-blogging site is an essential search tool that many overlook. Although it may seem intimidating to some and useless to others, it can be a rich resource to many, especially those searching for a new job. Key tips:

Follow the right people. Find the people in your territory who are prominent companies you want to follow, people from those companies, and those who post about jobs often.

Set up search feed for key words. Set up different search feeds for keywords you want to monitor for jobs you’d like.

Monitor. Don’t just set it and forget it. Monitor well and monitor often. You could also use Topsy in order to monitor keywords and have them sent to your Google Reader for convenience sake.

Blog: Having a blog and searching industry blogs can be essential to the job searching process. Here’s why…

Have it. Having a blog is like an investment. It can only help you in the long run. The key is to build one which is on a good domain (preferably one related to your topic or name), has a key focus, and shows you are an expert in that area – in turn showing your future boss you know your stuff.  

Search away. Many blog posts also offer job postings on the topics they focus upon and in the areas they are in. For example, Mashable is frequently posting open jobs. Subscribe via your Google Reader, Email, or check out their Twitter feed on a regular basis. Can’t hurt!

Google Plus: Just because it’s a new social network doesn’t mean it isn’t important and useful for a job-searching tool. Google is well known for its great SEO capabilities and is key when it comes to search. Build your profile, start following key people, and place them in the appropriate “circles.” It can only help to be more visible as long as you are following the right people, providing valuable content, and networking your butt off.

Google Alerts: As mentioned above, having searches set up is key. Google Alerts are essential in saving time and not going back and forth all the time. You can easily set up key search terms and then have them sent to you via email or via a RSS feed to your Google Reader (or Feedly) in order to check it at your convenience.  

Bonus: You are searching through job search sites, social networks, and Google-ing away, but so are recruiters. At the very same time they are also searching for “you.” So why not make it easier for them to find and reach out to you? Make your social sites job viewer friendly. 3 tips:

Headlines: Describe what you’ve done, what you want to do, and what you are good at.

Photo: Have a clear photo that is just you and preferably more of a headshot.

Share your expertise: Demonstrate what experience you’ve gained in each position you’ve held, accomplishments you’ve achieved, how you’ve assisted your companies to ascertain revenue goals, and more.

Still unsure about social networks and how much they can help? See below for a clear-cut example that companies use social networks just as much for recruiting too.

To check out more, visit: http://mashable.com/2011/08/28/social-media-recruiting-infographic/

Please note: this post was originally written for Social Media Club and you can find the original post I wrote here.

[Above Image Credit: http://mbahighway.com/2011/10/top-10-mba-job-search-websites/]

Sources:

http://laurenkgray.com/2011/03/02/job-hunting-via-social-media-using-linkedin/

http://pamsahota.com/social-media-at-work/how-to-find-a-job-using-social-media/

http://mashable.com/2009/01/05/job-search-secrets/

http://www.margieclayman.com/30-tips-on-how-to-find-a-job-using-social-media

http://mashable.com/2011/07/24/google-plus-jobs/

http://mashable.com/2011/08/28/social-media-recruiting-infographic/

 

5 Simple Tips for Using Tumblr

Recently I started utilizing my tumblr blog for unique, fun, and classic fashion I love, why I love it, and why it’s more unique through a digital scope. I love the simplicity of the platform and how it’s so convenient to post, even via the iPhone from my beloved instagram app. Lets just say, it’s my new love affair along with Instagram, of course.

1. Find your niche

As with any blog one starts, a focus point is key in order to not have a hodge podge of random topics and items. If you have a specific focus, then people will come to expect your post to be a source for information on that topic and hopefully one day come to trust it as an expert source or one just for fun to peruse. For example, Bergdorf Goodman started a tumblr for a few focus points, which include location, inspiration, visual and the team. It’s a great source to get to know the brand on a more personal level and dive deeper into what Bergdorf has to offer, aside from a retail establishment. It’s a source of iconic fashion, fun design ideas, and more. I especially love the “on location” segment which allows for an inside look into the brand, the models, and what it takes to get things “just right.”

2. Share or not to share

One of the best features (in my opinion) is the fact that you can so easily share your Tumblr blog on your social channels. It’s so smoothly integrated with platforms like Facebook and Twitter. For example, if you are on the go but want to share a quick post, do it from your phone, post, and poof: it’s immediately posted on your Twitter stream and Facebook Timeline. How much simpler could it get? And if you’re into (1) efficiency as well as (2) sharing your cool posts … tumblr makes it that much simpler for you.

3. Comments and Questions

Opt in and allow your blog posts to have comments and questions. Engagement is key when it comes to blog posts being visible and seen past your own computer screen. However, not only should you allow comments/questions, but you should respond in return as well as comment on other people’s blogs. It shows it’s not just about you and your own blog but also about the community of the platform and the people who appreciate the subject matter and people who contribute to it.

4. SEO it up

As with any blogger, you want your blogs to found, read, and shared by your audience. SEO plays a huge part in that, so optimize it to the best of your ability.

  • Keywords: Having rich keywords through your content, title, metadata, and URL are essential in order for those searching for that topic to come across your post. Not sure which keywords are the right ones? Check out Google Adwords keyword tool for some good starting points.
  • Meta Data: Google weights heavily on title tags so make sure your keywords are making it in there.
  • URLs: Your topic and keywords should also be in your URL in order for people to know easier that your post is about what they want to read up on, check out, and share.

5. Have fun – use instagram

I am a huge fan of integrating instagram along with my Tumblr. It makes for cool photography, great visuals, and a quick on the go post, such as me in my old office wearing my fave corduroy Toms shoes…

Check out mine – and tell me what you think. I am always looking for new insights, tips, and tricks. Share what you love about Tumblr in my comments below.

Thirty Beginner Social Media Marketing Tips and Tricks

I love when I see friends and coworkers hopping onboard and starting to embrace social media as a regular part of their work or personal lives. But as many people are still learning, some insider tips are helpful and crucial to their effectiveness on their social media channels. So folks, here are some tips and a “cheat sheet” slideshare doc just for you below!

Facebook

1. A Fan Page is for your company Facebook Page and a Profile Page is for your personal Page. Remember the difference or Facebook will shut your page down, and that would be a major “fail!”

2. Use the real estate available to you: Put up a great profile pic; have a bio; add links to your other sites!

3. Add pictures! Pictures allow people to see what your brand is about and realize it’s more than just a “logo.” Add pictures from events, conferences, demos, and just the regular everyday awesomeness in your office.

4. Be human! Don’t just post, post, post. No one wants to hear all about you, all the time. Ask questions, reply, and converse like you would in every day life.

5. Share other people’s posts. Engage and demonstrate you value content and opinions by others too!

6. Connect your platforms! Did you do a blog post? Have it automatically post on your Facebook page so others can have access to it easily and quickly.

7. Have contests or other exciting giveaways or events which encourage both online and offline participation with your brand via Facebook.

8. Update regularly and not just once in a blue moon. Fans get used to the regularity of posts and fall off your loyal fan wagon if you don’t keep up.

9. Use your Facebook Insights to monitor your success with your Fans and see why/when your Fans activity increases or decreases. It’s helpful for future campaigns and promotions.

10. Be relevant. Post content that provides value to your target audience, but at the same time add some fun stuff too. The 80/20 rule is a great way to start out.

As seen below, Laughing Cow Cheese is always a great example of engagement, being human, and providing great relevant content on a consistent basis.

 

Twitter

1. Get a Twitter handle as simple and close to the name of you or your brand as possible. Refrain from names like Tommy93737434 because no one will remember it.

2. Use the real estate given to you! Have a relevant 140-character bio which catches the eye of your target audience; have a great picture (as with Facebook) for your profile, and because some people still use www.Twitter.com versus Hootsuite,Tweetdeck, etc — make sure your Twitter background is up to par as well!

3. Be polite! Don’t just Tweet Tweet Tweet! This party isn’t all about you and the sooner you learn that, the less Twitter mistakes you will make! It’s a place for all of us to share, listen, chat together, and engage with one another. And the words “please” and “thank you” are just as welcome in this space.

4. Listen First. Talk Second. Set up columns in apps like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite in order to listen to your target audience easier and better. For example, have a separate column for clients, prospects, competition, etc.

5. Use hashtags for events, conferences, products, etc in order to promote more, and listen better on what people are saying re: your brand/product/event/etc.

6. ReTweet other people’s Tweets. It’s not all about your own content and opinion.

7. Give credit where credit is due when curating other people’s content.

8. Use the link shortener, it’s there to help you say more in this 140 character world.

9. Share links, photos, videos and more. It’s not just about articles and blog posts.

10. Follow Back! Don’t be too cool to follow, because on Twitter, we’re all a little nerdy!

Lululemon is a great example of a brand who knows how to ReTweet, ask questions, engage, and truly show each follower they have that they care about each one and what they have to say.

 

Blogging

1. Strategize on the content that you would like to blog about first. Focus on your marketing strategy and what value you would like to provide your target audience in order to avoid many of the common blogging mistakes.

2. Have an editorial calendar to keep track of topics, bloggers, and deadlines.

3. Have guest bloggers to add some spice to your regular content.

4. Post regularly, or people forget you have a blog.

5. Have share buttons easily visible so people can Tweet, Share and Like your posts.

6. Have subscribe buttons also easily visible so people can click and subscribe quickly and easily.

7. Allow people to comment on your posts. Monitor if you want to approve before they become public.

8. Having headings, subheadings, and list posts keep people’s attention more as they’re easier to read than prolific paragraph after paragraph.

9. Add visual stimulation with videos, embeds, pictures, graphs, and the like.

10. Have a voice that’s yours. Don’t be afraid to add a little pizzazz!

The Purse Blog is unique and quite visual with its pictures, and posts, which allow the reader to engage not only with the content they want of purses reviewed, but let them see first hand how awesome these purses truly are.

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 

Networking goes beyond the cocktail party

 

Remember going to a cocktail networking event, getting a few business cards, inputting them into your contacts when you got home, and emailing them to stay in touch? The traditional networking is not so traditional anymore…nowadays there’s so much more you can do before, during and after with the use of social media. Here are some my tips, especially for those just getting into the “game”…

 

a) Before

1. Check out the Attendee List and see who you definitely want to talk to during the event.

2. Look up their Twitter handles and introduce yourself beforehand. Be friendly and express your excitement in meeting them (without being stalker-ish of course).

3. Find out the networking event hashtag for Twitter so you can Tweet when you checkin on Foursquare or Gowalla and what’s happening at the event when you get there. Being prepared is key.

4. Have business cards (even if you don’t have a job). Moo cards are my personal fave.

5. Have your social networks up-to-date because more than likely people are looking you up (if not before, then after).

 

b) During

1. Check in on Foursquare.

2. Use hashable to introduce and keep in touch with people you’ve met.

3. Tweet about awesome things happening during the event. Did someone give a good talk? Tweet about it! Give them praise and mention them in the Tweet. And don’t forget the hashtag for the event!

4. See when friends or people you want to meet get there via Foursquare checkins.

5.  Don’t be shy, it’s a networking event for a reason.

6. Like a single person, be approachable and easy to talk to. Don’t just eat food the whole time…tacky.

7. When asked what you do, don’t ramble on for five million years. Have a 20-30 second awesome blurb in your head to share when needed.

8. Don’t ask them for a job, or a favor, the second you meet them. Get to know the person first. No one wants to be hounded the second they meet you.

9. Beware of being a jerk networker. When talking to someone…be there. Don’t look around for someone better to talk to. Be short, sweet, polite, and move on with grace.

10 . Enjoy yourself, make friends, and remember networking should be fun and casual. Enjoy yourself!

 

c) After

1.Definitely recommend connecting on LinkedIn and on Twitter. Facebook is for those you feel you are actually friends with (in my opinion).

2. Depending on the “sphere” the people work in, rather than emailing the person to stay in touch, you might consider a note on LinkedIn or a friendly Tweet.

3. Don’t forget about them the day after. Like any relationship, networking and building those relationships takes time. Keep tweeting and stay in touch with those individuals.

4.  Not wanting to connect with everyone you met? Remember, it’s a small world. You never know when you might run into them again.

5. Check out the hashtag and see what other people have said. See who you missed and connect with them online and express your disappointment that you missed them and hope to connect on or offline soon. Can’t hurt!

 

In short, new media networking is not replacing traditional networking but is complementary to it. It helps stay in better touch and to build relationships further rather than just randomly emailing once in a blue moon for a favor. Instead you can see what content they share via their blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. You can engage with them, and perhaps meet them for a coffee after the fact. In the end, talking in person is irreplaceable…new media is just another way to stay in touch and build relationships. Don’t be scared of it, embrace it!

And if you want to know more regarding personal branding tools, how to avoid social media mistakes, and more, check out the rest of my blog!

 

How to: Manage Social Media and Online Distractions

Are you like me? Are you on your Facebook, Twitter, email, and more, and still trying to do your work efficiently and productively? Tough, right? Digital media is both the angel and devil on your shoulder at times. But it does not mean you can’t throw that lasso around it and control your time rather than it sucking time away from you. How? Below are my ideas on how to stop wasting time, and have more time to breathe, work, and kick some butt in productivity.

1. Set aside time limits: If you constantly check your Facebook page, Twitter Feed, personal email, and more — it might be time for you to put some “dietary restrictions” on your online habit. For example, check your social stuff on the way to work (if you use public transportation), or the first few minutes while you drink your coffee and settle in, during lunch time, and/or before/after work. If social media is part of your job, avoid checking your personal stuff constantly, and focus on the brand you are working for. Keep the two separate if needed. For example, do you have a personal Twitteraccount and one for your brand? Use Hootsuite for one, and the Twitter page for the other or whatever suits your fancy for Twitter platforms. That way you aren’t constantly looking at your own when you should be working.

 

2. Anti-Social: Is #1 too hard? No self-restraint? You keep bingeing on Facebook? Have no fear, “there’s an app for that!” Anti-Social is an app that allows you to shut off your social life online while you do some work. You will not be able to go on Facebookor Twitter (or whatever else you specify) for the time you have chosen to shut them down. One glitch in the matrix, it is only available for Mac users. So for all of you who reach for the Facebook when you shouldn’t, this app may be just the ticket.

 

3. Turn your alerts off on your smartphone: Did you think you could sneak in a look on your Twitter feed on your phone and I wouldn’t notice? Tsk tsk! Instead of having your phone alert you every time you have a mention on Twitter or if someone posted on your Facebook wall, shut off these alerts while you’re at work. Too hard? Start easier. Put your phone on silent so you are less likely to notice when it buzzes or an alert comes through. It may be hard to go “cold turkey,” so start out light and figure out the right balance for your cravings.

 

4. Make Twitter lists & Limit News Feed: When you do go on Twitter or Facebook do you feel like you are spending so much time trying to catch up on all that has happened while you were away? Make Twitter lists so you can pay attention to what you want to hear about, and cut through the clutter faster. Seeing too many people on your Facebook news feed that you normally don’t pay attention to? Block them from showing up on your news feed, so you have the people and brands you actually care to hear from and see what’s the latest and greatest is on their end.

 

5. Consolidate: Too many social media platforms to check? Do you subscribe to all the “new and shiny” ones that come out? Consolidate! Lucky for us, there are great tools like Hootsuite, Seesmic, and Tweetdeck that allow you to listen and comment in one place for your social media desires. Want to post your status, do it all at once from one place to all your pages. Simple, easy, and efficient. Gotta love it.

 

6. Google Reader: Too many articles, blog posts, and news to keep up with? UseGoogle Reader to have it sitting and waiting for you in one place. Organize your RSS feeds so you can decide what you feel like keeping up with. Read it on the go, at home, or wherever. Why waste the time going to each website when it can come to you, all consolidated and easy to access, just for you?

 

Now that you know how to be more productive without sacrificing your social media and Internet addictions, ready, set, work! And when having issues with your “diet” just remember to be honest with yourself and set goals. Are you on Facebook for fun or business? Be respectful and mindful of your time. Do you feel better when you are productive and kick butt at work or waste your time checking your friends status updates? Be honest. Set Goals. And be productive.

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 

5 Small Busineses Who Do Facebook and Twitter Right

There are so many businesses throughout the country, often times the smaller ones are overshadowed by the larger ones. However, we cannot forget the little guys, the businesses who are kicking butt, but just aren’t all over our radar as Microsoft, Apple or Verizon may be. These small businesses are utilizing social media such asFacebook and Twitter to keep their target audiences well informed of their product/service and are showing it’s not about the deep pockets completely, it’s also  about the dedication and putting your all into a company/business you love and of course using the tools at your fingertips to reach your audience.

Here are five of my picks for small businesses utilizing Facebook and Twitter like they own it!

(1) Notch Session Beer: Founded by Chris Lohring of Salem, MA, Notch provides low ABV % beer for those who love a great tasting beer, without falling off their stool after drinking. Not only has Notch provided a killer tasting beer, but it has done a great job at going the extra mile with their social media resources. For example on Twitter, Notch does not just post about their beer constantly and ad nauseum. They provide fun facts, news, and invite their fans to in-person events to try the beer at local pubs (aka a “session”). Thus, Notch does a great job at utilizing Twitter to promote live events and engage audiences on and offline. In my opinion, Notch is just beginning, watch out folks, and don’t spill that beer!

2) Naked Pizza: A “natural” pizza offering with 10 grains and probiotics and more. Who knew pizza didn’t have to be all bad for you? That’s a great excuse to indulge in my opinion. And aside from the fabulous pizza, Naked Pizza has shown that social media can spread news like wildfire and arouse the awareness of both potential and current consumers. For example, when Naked Pizza was looking to open up in Dubai (spreading its wings), they decided to actually “talk” to people (in person and via social media such as Twitter) and get their thoughts and opinions on food and health. The idea of consumer involvement is not new, but it’s essential to the success of companies and their products/services. Consumers love to be involved and share their opinions and they will find a way to do it, even if you don’t give them that avenue personally. So, why not (like Naked Pizza) immerse yourselves with the consumers and find out what they really want. In the mean time, check out this cool video of how Naked Pizza did it via Twitter.

3) Coffee Groundz: A coffee shop that understood the awesomeness of free Wi-Fi and embracing tech and social like Facebook and Twitter. The coffee shop quickly became for social-media-aholics and the like due to the atmosphere, the culture, and of course, the coffee. This coffee shop does not just provide a great venue for drinking coffee, doing work, and catching up with friends, it also allows you to keep posted on what’s going on with the shop via Facebook and Twitter. For example (as seen below) they post events such as musicians who will be at the coffee shop. Like the Facebook page? Love that musician? Attend the event? Buy some coffee (or other yummy item)? I think that sounds like some fabulous Facebook ROI.

 

4) Roger Smith Hotel: The Roger Smith Hotel in midtown NYC is known for its devotion to the arts and embracing social media, and as of late become a go-to hotel for many social media VIPs and geeks alike. Why wouldn’t you want to stay at a hotel which embraces social media, has a great roof deck and a staff which is not just polite, but inviting, gracious, and off the charts engaging with each and every person who walks into the hotel (either in person or via Twitter,  Facebook etc). Not only do they useTwitter to interact, but there are special Twitter rates available for rooms. Awesome ROI and perks! I have also had the personal pleasure of meeting Adam Wallace, Director of Digital Marketing at Roger Smith, and can say without a doubt, that Adam, along with others at RS are dedicated to how social media touches each potential and current consumer, as well as in person. Have questions, hit up @rshotel and ask away.

 

5) Krista Photography: Krista, a Boston wedding photographer is not only delightful in person, but her photography is thrilling to view. She captures the emotion of every wedding, child, and special event in each individual photo. Impressive and breath-taking at the same time. And as a smart businesswoman she realizes the potential of utilizing social networks to show her photography, engage further with current clients who like seeing their pictures online, and illustrate to potential consumers that she is the photographer they want, and the pictures tell all. When looking on her Facebook Fan Page, you can see some great visuals of weddings, head shots, and more. Krista realizes that Facebook is not just for chatting with friends anymore, but a great tool to for her consumers to view, discuss, and comment on her work.

 

After delving into these intelligent and great businesses above and how they have dedicated themselves to utilizing social media to further their awareness, engagement, and conversion of people to customers I am inspired and look forward to seeing how these businesses continue to grow via their social media efforts. Now I have a desire to pick up a camera, grab a pizza, a beer, coffee, and chill on the roof deck of a great hotel.

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 


5 Social Media Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid

Would you go to a cocktail party and talk incessantly about how awesome you are? Would you not say thank you or please? Would you not listen to the person you are talking to? Obviously not. So why would you do such things in social media? Many people make mistakes on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, which they would not make in their daily lives. Keep reading for my suggestions on what mistakes to avoid and how to avoid them!

1. Being Selfish: Ever see that person on Twitter who just tweets and tweets about their blog, their product, their service, and where they went to eat and drink? Did you unfollow them, yet? I find it maddening and unfortunate when people think Twitter is just a loud speaker for them to blare out what’s on their mind and what’s going on with their business. Social media like Twitter and Facebook , like in real life, requires listening and conversing, rather than a one-sided conversation that leaves the others wanting to run out the door and lose the keys. Like attending a cocktail party, say hi, say thank you, say please, and be considerate. Listen to the other person “in the room” and converse. Don’t talk at them. Talk with them. Having trouble listening? I would suggest making a Twitter list of people you want to regularly listen to and engage with. Also, set up a search column or keywords on a Twitter client such asTweetdeck for words you consider relevant to you and/or your business so you can stay on target. Engaging doesn’t mean you are straying from your business goals — it will only help you further them!

 

2. Being a robot: I love when I look on my Twitter lists and I get bombarded with automated Tweets regarding a product, service or blog post. Even better…the auto DM. Can you sense my sarcasm? I understand and believe that scheduled Tweets can be helpful especially over periods of time when one is away on vacation, etc. However. when there are ten in a row, or the same Tweet over and over, and they are all self-promotional and no engagement…Fail! Like in customer service when you call to talk to a person and not a machine — in social media no one wants to “listen” to an automated “robot.” As in #1 above, take a minute and listen and tweet relevantly yet in a friendly manner, which initiates conversation, not robotic movement. That way you can curate content (if you don’t have time to create it), ReTweet others, and question and comment on what others are saying.

3. Expecting instant success: Unlike winning the lottery, social media does not mean instant gratification. One needs to put in effort, time, and work into increasing fans, followers, and creating actual relationships on each platform. Most people do not get married after the first date, and like on Twitter and Facebook people may not like your page or follow you right away. And if they do — it does not mean they are listening to your every word unless you make it relevant to them. Thus, you need to use tools to monitor your brand (free or paid) in order to see what’s relevant to your target market, your competition, and take the time to Tweet, post, and share awesome stuff that make your followers and fans want to run off and have a shot-gun wedding.

4. Spamming: Like spam email? Telemarketers calling your phone? Then why would you like people who spam your Twitter feed, your Facebook wall, or your blog? Like in #1 above, it’s not all about you and what you have to say. So do not think people care about a cool new link on your website…because they probably do not. Instead of spamming someone who spoke about an iPad, with your free offer to win one, how about adding value to the conversation. Have a relevant blog that gives good advice and content regarding your product/service/market. Consider asking a question, and if the person converses back, share relevant info that would help them. Creating awareness is one thing, but converting someone to a customer takes time. Not spam.

 

5. Not being real: As Julia Roy said at the Harvard Business School conference (Dynamic Women in Business) — “be real.” People can sense dishonesty and those who are fake from a mile away. You will lose admiration, fans, followers, and brand value if you are not real. People want real relationships with real people. Be you. Be real. This matters whether it is your personal brand or your company brand. Find your listening app of choice, whether it be Hootsuite, Google Reader, Tweetdeck, etc — think about what you want to say, comment — and speak freely. Add some sarcasm, some spark. Don’t be so stuffy because you’re afraid of what people might think. Be you. Be real. And have fun.

 

So, dear friends, marketers, community managers, and fellow social media geeks — do your best to avoid these five mistakes. Although there is more to social media than just these five items to consider, they are a great step in the right direction of building relationships, engaging fully, and creating awareness for one’s brand.

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 

20 Personal Brand Building and Monitoring Tools You Don’t Want to Miss

A little birdie told me that people love free tools? I know I sure do! So for your drooling pleasure, here is a “mega list” of free tools that can help you monitor your brand online, because without monitoring your brand presence, you may fall into the deep end without a lifesaver.

Ready, Set, Start drooling…

 1. Twilerts: A great and simple tool to consolidate and keep up with the Tweets on your brand. This app will email you whenever there are Tweets regarding your brand name and/or other search terms you set up for your convenience. Key word: convenience.

2. Backtype: Want to keep tabs on what people are saying regarding your brand, your conference, your product? Backtype is a real-time search engine that makes this simple and in turn helps you realize your “social impact.”

3. Tweet Alarm: Do you like Google Alerts? Well then you might love this because it’s basically the same concept except for Twitter, where you will be alerted when someone Tweets about your brand or whatever else suits your fancy. Simple and easy.

4. Tweetdeck: A tool I personally use to keep track of search terms, such as when people mention my blog post for oneforty. Great way to see what people are saying, when they say it, and in turn I can easily respond to their Tweets. Also great to keep tabs on a conference you may be planning or attending. You can follow along on the conversation and participate if you so wish.

5. Kurrently: Want yet another social search engine for your tool belt? WellKurrently not only searches Twitter for mentions regarding your brand or other search term, but also checks out Facebook so you are even more up to date on what’s being said regarding your brand.

 6. Social Mention: So instead of receiving info on Tweets and mentions separately from different platforms, Social Mention aggregates all the content that is related to the search term you provided into a single stream (from many social media platforms). This makes it easier to digest and view what’s being said about your brand.

7. Topsy: So Topsy goes beyond the typical social search engine and “indexes and ranks search results based upon the most influential conversations millions of people are having every day about each specific term, topic, page or domain queried.” Therefore you know whether a specific mention has been influential or not, and what type of positive or negative effect it may or may not have.

 8. Twoolr: Specific to Twitter, Twoolr allows the user to receive stats on hashtags, replies, ReTweets and who followed and/or unfollowed your brand. Helpful to see what people are saying, when they’re saying it, and who follow and unfollows you and when that occurs so perhaps you can correlate it to a specific event and/or promotion/campaign. However, I must preface that only some of these functions are available in the Free version.

 9. Twitter analyzer: As seen below, this tool is helpful to get a quick snapshot on a specific Twitter handle and the reach of that handle. This is a great way to analyze your own brand’ reach, the reach of a competitor, and/or the reach of an influencer in your product category.

 

 10. Crowdbooster: As Mashable quoted, this tool is “a user-friendly, color-coded UI that quickly and simply highlights your best tweets and areas for improvement.” In short it’s a great way to help with your Twitter marketing and analyzing how you’re doing in order to tweak your strategy if needed. The interactive graph that uses is a great way to quickly see what worked in your campaign and what did not. Crowdbooster is free for consumers and is currently in beta.

11. Cadmus: Finding it difficult to stay on top of the conversation when you’ve been in meetings and/or away from your computer? Well Cadmus is the quick catch-up tool for your stream in order to see what conversation you missed while you were away. Helpful for the multi-tasker.

12. PostPost: Are there specific influencers for your brand category (or competitors) that you specifically like to keep an eye on in “real-time”? Well this nifty tool is great to keep up with what they’re sharing, because PostPost focuses on search results from the people you want to listen to, rather than everyone in the social sphere.

13. HashTracking: Although in closed beta right now, you can still find out how your campaign is doing via the hashtag for your product/event/etc. Quick and cool insights to see the impressions and reach your hashtag had. Useful!

 

 14. Addictomatic: A real-time social search engine that allows you to create a custom page on the buzz that you want to know about. You can find out what people are saying about your brand on not just Twitter, but also blog posts, flickr,youTube, etc. And not to mention there’s a robot for their mascot. Love it.

15. IceRocket: A tool to help you keep up with the buzz that is trending. You can search specific terms that you want to keep track of and/or just see what is most popular in your segment.

 16. Summify: Too many mentions, posts, and Tweets to keep up wtih? Want it all condensed (from all of the networks you are present on) and in order of importance to you and your brand? Summify will “sum” it up for you! In short, you save time and there’s less noise — cut the clutter!

17. Mentionmap: Connect to your Twitter API and see what’s going on in your Twitter network. Who are the influencers who interact the most, and what are they saying. And who is most relevant to your target market.

 

 18. Proxlet: Is the clutter and noise getting to you on Twitter? LetProxlet help. It can block Foursquare checkins, hide Tweets based on certain hashtags, enable it so you only see links by users who are too noisy for your dailyTwitter dose and more.

 

19. Trendrr: This platform allows brands to listen, measure and respond to the conversation about their brand, their products/services, and other relevant items. Therefore your brand can see what people are saying, how they like your product/service, how they view your brand, and in turn your brand can respond, question, and comment to these users in real-time due to the use of this platform’s quick and easy organization for your convenience. In addition you can measure conversation in order to evaluate the sentiment and again this will assist in your gauging for communication and engagement with your target market.

20. Gruml: Use Google Reader? Have a Mac? Gruml (a download) makes it easy for you to “view and manage your feed subscriptions of your Google Reader account on Mac OS X.” On more tool to make your life simpler and more organized so you can consume content faster, more efficiently and with plenty of time to take action where and when needed on behalf of your brand.

Are you on “free tool overload” yet? . Have more free tools to recommend? Please do!

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 


How to: Get Started in Social Media in 9 Steps



Many companies have realized the potential of social media and the impact it can have on a brand’s awareness and competitive advantage. However, some of those companies are unsure where to start. My first recommendation, do not just set up a Fan Page on Facebook and Twitter handle and begin posting items. That would be unwise and counter-productive. However, I do recommend obtaining a Twitter handle that is your company’s name right away (so no one else does).

But where to actually start? Here are my thoughts:

1. What is your marketing business strategy?

Remember: marketing is a business strategy because it affects so much of the core business. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Compete more effectively against your competition? Generate leads? Improve customer service? Whatever the goals are, it must be defined. For example, when I did social media for a non-profit, I was told their marketing goals were to increase awareness of their brand and attendance at their events. With those two goals in mind, I was able to think more strategically on what had to be planned and implemented, such as increasing followers on Twitter and creating incentives to attend events (on and offline).

2. Listen

See where your target audience is in the social sphere. That way you can see which platforms your consumers are already on, how well your competition is doing, and where it may be most beneficial for your company to be present – whether onFacebook, Twitter, etc. Again, looking back at the nonprofit I worked for, I was able to see most of their fans were on Facebook and interacting more there. However, other nonprofits in the same segment were on Twitter and doing quite well with interaction. Two well utilized platforms that were being under utilized by this nonprofit. However, because I listened to what was being said, and on what platform, I was able to see where the nonprofit should be (along with other platforms/services too, of course).

Note: You can listen to your consumers via socialmention, Tweetdeck, and through other great free social media monitoring tools. Example: I used Tweetdeck to keep track of a conference I worked on and what people were saying via the hashtag.

3. Create Content

It is not enough to just be present on platforms and share information. One must have quality information (content) to share that is relevant to the target market in which they compete and are present. I recommend beginning a blog first, create enough content, so when you begin Tweeting, posting, sharing, etc — you have content for fans and potential consumers to go back to and read more and learn more about what you do and why they should be interested. Some say, content is king. I say content is the one tool in your toolbox you should never let rust. So however you put it, content is essential to utilizing social media and your marketing strategy.

4. Identify Your Target Market

From your marketing strategy you should know who your target market is. From Step 2 above, you should already be listening to see where your target market is in the social sphere, and what they’re saying. Are they complaining? Praising? Questioning your product/service? Wishing something was better? This is your chance to decide how you would like to listen better, respond in real-time, and how you will do this (see part b). 

5. Identify Your Platforms

The platforms are tools to your strategy and plan. After you saw where your competition is, where your target market is, then you could decide to also be present on those platforms, and/or ones you realize that are being under-utilized and take advantage of this “social realty space.” For example, is your competition tweeting away and engaging with the target market by promoting their service, pumping out their blog content, and answering customer service questions? Well, you should be too! Note, there are many platforms, and more and more are created daily. My suggestion, find your home base – whether it be Facebook or Twitter or whatever else. Focus on that platform (because that is where your target market is) but also utilize a few others in order to stay on the competitive edge and not fall behind.

Note: there are many platforms out there, but it does not mean you need to be on all of them. Choose what works best for your business and reaching your marketing goals.

6. Set a Content Schedule

As talked about in Step 2, you need content that is relevant. Furthermore, it is helpful to set up a schedule and/or editorial calendar to keep track of weekly/daily posts written by you and your colleagues. I suggest making a “content bank” full of great blog ideas for people to choose from, setting up a weekly schedule of when people will submit their posts, and when they will actually be posted to the blog (after reading over and making sure there are no grammar/spelling mistakes).

Having trouble deciding on blog post topics? Listen to what your community and target market is saying. Do they have “pain points” or certain areas of uncertainty? Answer them! For example, if your company is in the mobile market and people want to know about trouble shooting on their own. Show them! Key point here is to give the readers what they want. Listen first, respond quickly (or your competition will).

7. Corporate Social Media Engagement Policy

Concerned on what people in your company may Tweet or post? Set up some engagement rules so you feel better and/or designate one or two people to be in charge of posting and responding. I suggest a designated community manager, but with a higher level manager to also have access in order to show the company/brand is human and upper management likes to engage with their consumers too. It makes the brand feel more real and the consumers feel they are special.

Note, it is not always easy to respond to criticism and there will be people who respond harshly to your blog posts, Facebook posts, etc. That is the name of the game though — people are allowed to comment, and your brand has to decide how to engage and respond accordingly. Sometimes it is just a spammer, sometimes it is just a disgruntled consumer — each type of comment is unique to a brand and situation and does not necessarily have an automatic response. My suggestion, ignore/delete spam. Do not ignore a disgruntled consumer — because that may lead to more consumers who are against your service via word of mouth. Find out what you can do to help this consumer and avoid this happening again. If you respond quickly and assist, this consumer may tell people how great and efficient your response was. Thus, social media is fabulous for real-time response and consumer service issues (if used properly).

8. Measure, Measure, Measure

It is essential to monitor your success on these platforms. Use Google Analytics to keep track of your blog and traffic and how that traffic is coming to your blog. Is it direct or via social media tools like Facebook and Twitter? Which blog posts had the most traffic? This will assist in seeing what consumers responded and likes the most and allow you to strategize better for future posts. It will also let you see what did not work and how you can revise your strategy if needed.

9. Test it out

In my opinion the best way to get started is to try. After you have put together your plan, “jump in!” This was emphasized by Mike Volpe, VP of Marketing at Hubspot who once said, it is not enough to dip your toes in. So, get Tweeting, posting, and sharing. And remember, social media is not instant gratification. It takes time, like all relationships and business. So, be patient and don’t forget to have fun!

Note: This post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 

How to: Find a Job Using Social Media


Tired of using search engines and massive jobs sites to find a job? Wishing you could find great job opportunities a little easier? Join the club! I have been utilizing social media tools for job searching quite often lately because they help bring possible jobs right to your fingertips rather than searching for hours.

A. Google Reader and Google Alerts: Not only is this tool great for subscribing to blogs, but it can help job seekers subscribe to job listing by keyword and position. This way you aren’t doing a Google search everyday for the same type of position, but the search findings are delivered to your Reader or your inbox. Convenient, easy and free.

B. Five ways that Twitter can help:

(1) Utilize the Twitter reader Tweetdeck to keep tabs on job postings via job related search terms.

(2) TwitJobSearch: A search engine that aggregates job listings and posts on Twitter.

(3) There are specific people who post about jobs frequently. Find those in your neck of the woods that do so, follow them, create a conversation so you can build a relationship and seek help from them when needed.

(4) Follow the brands and places of business that you hope to work for. Engage with them, so you have a basis to show your deep interest before, during, after you have applied to work there.

(5) Twitter Advanced Search: A great way to search on the platform you already utilize and dig deeper into the job postings that are on Twitter in the past few days. You can do so easily by using hashtags (keywords that people add to their Tweets), search terms, etc. Also helpful to make sure you click “contains links” when deciding on your search, because job postings are more helpful when they click a link to the website posting. Want to know more…check out the quick 3 min video below by Mashable.

 

Note: Please remember to not spam when looking for a job on Twitter. It’s clutter and people won’t “listen” to you.

C. Three ways to optimize your LinkedIn Profile and Search:

(1) Use the 120 character headline to your disposal. Say something unique and catchy for when prospective employers check out your background. Nowadays your LinkedInprofile is virtual resume and pertinent to be updated frequently.

(2) Use the 3 “hot links” to your benefit. If you have a blog, link to it! Have a great profile on another platform? Link to it! Show your personal brand off!

(3) Use the job search and when you find a job that interests you, find someone in yourLinkedIn network that could recommend you. Network, network, network — the people you know are your biggest asset.

D. Facebook App – BranchOut: Like the appeal of people you know being able to recommend you? BranchOut is awesome for this. Although I am not a fan of usingFacebook apps often, this one is pretty handy.When you search for a job and click on a position you may be interested in — BranchOut shows who you know that can recommend you to the job. How much easier can it get? Dig it!

Two other items to consider…

E. Email Signature: Use WiseStamp to add your links from other social platforms in order for people to find you more easily. Emailing with a HR person at your possible future job? Now they can see how to link to your blog, website, LinkedIn (and more) at the click of a button via your email. Very convenient!

F. Blogging: Are you looking into a specific niche/industry? It could be helpful to start a blog on the topics of interest. Therefore, when the hiring manager takes a look at your background and Googles you (which they will do), and sees your blog, he/she will realize you are not just knowledgeable about this industry, but passionate about it too. It is important to manage your online presence and having a blog is a great way to demonstrate your expertise on the content. You can become an individual not only worth hiring, but a must hire.

As always, if you have other tools that you utilize to make job searching easier, please feel free to share. I, as well as my fellow readers would love to learn more tips and tools. And in the meantime, check out my Toolkit for your convenience.

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 

 

 

How to: Find Great Social Media Events to Attend


In every town/city there are Tweetups, Meetups, and other great networking and social media events going on. Especially in the winter, when we are stuck inside due to the snow and/or bitter cold, it is great to get out and “meet up” with fellow social media friends (and new friends to be). But how do you discern the “awesome” events from the “not so awesome” ones? There are so many events sometimes, that it’s hard to choose, especially when they’re on the same night. Luckily for both you and me, there are some great ways to keep on top of what’s going on, when it’s going on, and who’s attending (great to know prior to an event) such and such event…

Plancast: Want to know what your friends have “planned” for this upcoming week? Well Plancast is awesome for that — it allows you to see what events your friends are “planning” to attend and the details of those events so you can “plan” to attend as well. You can also add your own plans so your friends can stay on top of what you’re doing and attend with you. Also a great way to promote an event you want a little more awareness for. Another useful part about Plancast is that you can search by category, whether it be big conferences like SXSW or local startup events, etc. Useful, free and simple to use.
Meetup: Great way to keep up with what’s going on in your neighborhood on a regular basis. If you sign up for a specific type of “meetup” – whether it be social media related or wine or sports, you can have alerts sent to your email when people post about upcoming meetups. It’s helpful that you can decide how often you would like these alerts. In addition, you can sign up for however many meetups as you would like and/or set up your own if you don’t see one there that you want. New to the area? This is great for meeting new people and getting involved in your social media community. And what I think is super cool – is that it will show you events that are “trending” in your area (see below). Free to use.
Eventbrite: A kickass tool for finding, sharing, and planning events whether in your neighborhood or nationally. Great to see what your friends are attending, sharing events on Facebook and Twitter (whether you can attend or not) and seeing what’s the hottest event in your local neighborhood. Going on a business trip but need ideas of what to do in the evening? Use Eventbrite to see what’s going on and sign up for events while you’re away too. And if you decide to plan a local event, it has a great interface that’s easy to use, compatible to share on Facebook for a Facebook event invite, and great analytics to see what’s going on behind the scenes with attendees and tickets. p.s. Free.
Foursquare: You’re downtown and can’t decide which event to go to? See where your friends have “checked-in” and which event they decided to attend. A great way to meet up with your friends at events and/or see who’s attending which event. This is also useful for those who do not necessarily like to attend events solo and would love a friend or two to hang out with while mingling and meeting new friends. Free to use!
 Facebook and Twitter: You’re most likely already on these two sites, so you don’t even need to sign up. I find that I hear about events I want to attend through my friends on both of these platforms. A friend is usually Tweeting about an event they plan to attend and/or sharing a link on Facebook to the Eventbrite or Plancast event page. Useful for both local events that are happening each week and/or national events such as conferences. You can set up a search on Twitter for specific events too. Example if you want to be kept on top of everything happening around a certain conference, like SXSW, do it up. And/or make a list of your local friends so you can keep tabs on what events they’re attending. One word: Awesome.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are people in your social community that are Tweeting and Blogging and Sharing events on a regular basis. For example in Boston we have people like Tom O’Keefe (@BostonTweet) who shares everything and anything going on around the city from free ice cream to events. In addition we have Joselin Mane (@bostontweetup) who shares events on his website and Twitter handle regarding conferences, Tweetups, networking events, and more. Great way to keep up with what’s going on in your local community, because these guys make sure you know by making it simple and easy for you. As in Boston, I am sure each city and town has people like Tom and Joselin who share event info for your convenience. How to find them? Twitter is definitely one way.

What about once you’re at an event? Or after? My recommendation (if you’re shy) is to go with a friend so you can move around the room together. Don’t have a friend to go with you? See who’s going from the attendee list. Found a person you’re excited to meet? Most likely their Twitter handle was shared on the registration page, and you can Tweet them to say you’re looking forward to meeting them. Then when you get there, you have someone to talk to right away and can ease into the mingling with others. In addition, don’t forget to follow-up after the event whether via Twitter,Facebook, LinkedIn, email, etc. Building relationships takes work, and the networking events are just one part of this process.

Note: This post was originally written for oneforty. 

5 Ways to Sell Social Media Internally


Unfortunately, not all organizations/offices/companies are ready to jump on the social media bandwagon. There are still places of business which are hesitant to have a social presence on platforms such as Twitter and believe it is a waste of time and not worth the effort for their brand. So how do we get the CMO and other management on board? Is it possible to not have every blog post and/or Tweet reviewed by legal? It is definitely a battle for some offices, but not impossible. Here are some suggestions to help you persuade your office management that social media isn’t something to avoid, but something to embrace…

1. Internal Communication: With some places of business it may be best to ease into social media with an internal social system first. That way the management can see that social media is valuable for engagement and how it is not a threat, but useful. For example, Yammer – an internal communication tool for companies (used at many companies including Groupon, claims to be as simple to use as Facebook and Twitter. It includes microblogging, profiles, direct messaging, and other useful work tools. Thus, Yammer allows the ease of external social media but keeps items private to the company interaction only. Hopefully with an internal start, a push towards external use will be less difficult. For pricing info, view packages here, which include Basic for Free and Enterprise for $5/user/month.

2. Social Media Policy: When easing your company towards external social media a social media policy may help in order to ease the stress factors of upper management and the legal team. Items to consider in this policy include the following:

a) Purpose of using the social media platforms

b) Cite name and sources when relevant/necessary

c) Do not share confidential information about the company and/or clients/consumers

d) Exercise good judgment when sharing content

e) Be respectful

Of course there can be more specifics, but this a good start to ensure that using social media will not mean falling off a cliff. The use of social media would be to benefit the company by demonstrating to their target audience who the brand is, what the brand is capable of, and how the target audience should want to engage and be a part of the community the brand is building.

3. Social Media Plan and Involvement: Putting heads together and coming up with a social media plan/strategy would be helpful in order to ensure that blog content, shared posts, and Tweets are all on topic and relevant to where the company is hoping to be and heading. It will reassure management that there is a purpose and set of goals rather than randomly posting content. And a part of this plan, many companies include higher-up management such as CMOs and CEOs to be involved in the customer engagement such as Tweeting. Consumers have more respect for a brand when a higher-up is taking part in the conversation. For example, Zappos is a great example. The @zappos Twitter account is the CEO who Tweets on a regular basis with a mixture of professionally related items and personal – to show he is in fact just another person (humanizing the brand) and is willing to follow and chat with consumers. Then, of course, there is also @zappos_service which handles all the consumer service issues, questions and comments specifically. I think this is a great technique to show the brand is not just a name, but personable, and cares about each consumer. Higher-Ups and social media teams should use this as a possible model when putting together their social media plan because social media strategy is a part of marketing strategy, which is a part of the business strategy, which is how a business is successful. I think Zappos is showing us how success is more than tangible when you put in the effort.

4. Community Manager: Designating a specific community manager to be in charge would be key. That way this specific person would be the one in charge of ensuring: (1) valuable content is on the blog; (2) posts on Facebook and Twitter are on point; (3) comments (whether negative/positive) regarding the company brand are being “heard” and responded to in a timely manner. Therefore an experienced social media expert would be positioned to assist with the success of marketing for the company, and able to report to the head of marketing with success factors, issues, and potential growth. Just like any other department in a company, a specialized expert is helpful to ensure things run smoothly.

5. Email Marketing: It is helpful to use email marketing as a tool to help the launch of social sites for your company. For example, you want the people who subscribe to your newsletter and/or people in your email list to be aware of your presence – whether on your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, or other social platform. For example, MailChimp is a great tool to design your emails, and more importantly, track the success of your emails that went out. Did people open it? How many times? When? Etc. It’s a very useful tool for sending out bulk emails to make an announcement, such as your new social platform launch and/or just to spread  other cool news and company updates to your audience. Then you can also track the success of those who opened the email and then went to your Facebook page and “liked” the page, among other things. A great way to show management, that this easy way to spread brand awareness is not an option anymore, it is critical for companies to be involved or fall behind.

Although it may be difficult to get some higher-up management on the social path, it is definitely worth the effort. Whether you start out with an internal social network to show the ease of use, demonstrate the caution that can be used (without restricting or restraining) via a social media policy, explain the plan of attack that will be utilized (hopefully with the CMO/CEO taking part in some way), and/or designate a community manager who knows how to handle social media like he or she knows the back of his/her hand — social media can be implemented in even the most conservative places of business. Just look at law firms, who used to avoid it, and now embrace it. Best of luck implementing social media in your workplace, and when you do, do not forget to promote it, whether via MailChimp or another useful marketing tool.


5 Ways to Better Manage Your Online Presence



When managing your online presence – it is not enough to just have a Facebook profile page, a Twitter Handle, LinkedIn profile, and a website/blog up and running. There are at least a few social media management items you want to make sure you have tackled in order to increase your personal brand awareness.

1. Email and Social Profiles: How many times a day do you use your email? Countless, correct? Well, WiseStamp is a simple tool for adding your social links to your email signature — so every time you compose an email and/or respond people will see where else they can find you with the click of a button (see image below). For other options you can check out this Toolkit on virtual business card options. In addition to your email signature, make sure your website has the links to each of your social profiles, and is easily visible to new visitors. People like things at their fingertips, and having your social links easily visible is key to driving more traffic to your social profiles. In addition link your social pages, such as on your on your LinkedIn, have a link to your website, Twitter, etc. Make it easy and simple for people to find you, with the click of a link or a button.

2. Consistent Personal Brand Image: A consistent image across social platforms can be helpful. For example, if you have a different pictures for each platform, people may be confused and unsure if it’s really you, when searching. If you have a consistent image across your platforms, it will be easier to find you and it will create a cohesive and consistent message about your personal brand. A helpful tool is using Gravatar, which allows you to have “an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog” as well as on your own sites. Not only is it a globally recognized avatar, but it’s easily linked to WordPress.

3. Search: When you Google yourself, what is the first result? If it’s not your website, blog, and/or other pages, then you have a problem. If your name comes up first, it will also demonstrate that you are an authority in your brand category. Thus, some effort and time may be needed for SEO marketing. You can learn to do this for yourself, or you can get some assistance by companies who are pros at this. A couple things to remember when getting started: identify keyword opportunities (for your blog, your videos you share, etc) and do not forget the importance of inbound links to your site.
4. Balancing Professional and Personal Presence:
Part (1): I know some people believe that it is good to differentiate, keep your personal stuff, personal and your professional stuff professional. If you have two Facebook pages, it appears you have a double life and it can be confusing and it definitely adds to the clutter.  I understand if you’re afraid to share certain things like particular pictures or videos. However, that’s what privacy settings are for. They allow you to be smart, and still share be “human” with your brand. So why live a double life, when you can live one great one?
Part (2): If you are focusing on your personal social sites, do you identify who you work for in your Twitter bio and in your blog? My suggestion would be to add a disclaimer on your blog. For example, Julia Roy has such a disclaimer on her blog which states, “The views expressed on my blog and social networks are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, Manilla.” This way you protect yourself, and the place you work with against any issues that may occur regarding tweets, posts, and/or other items shared on your personal social sites.
5. Protecting Tweets: Afraid to share your tweets with anyone and everyone? Well that’s the point of Twitter community — sharing you tweets is key to (1) building your personal brand awareness on a main social platform, (2) letting people find and follow you easily, (3) sharing relevant content to all those who may be interested, and (4) engaging with people in a real and open-door manner.
Here are some additional tools I thought would be cool for you to check out when managing your personal brand online:
About.me: A newer tool that is awesome for pulling all your social platform information to one place, one profile, and best of all – with a clean and crisp presence. This tool allows you to create a profile page that contains a succinct bio, and links to all your other social platforms and web pages. Thus, it’s everywhere you exist, but in one place — making it even easier for people to find you and be aware of your personal brand. And the price is awesome: Free.
Flavors.me: A platform that allows you to show all that you are on one page including photos, videos, blog posts, feeds, and even your resume if you so wish. The pull of this tool is that it is very interactive and visual. It gives you the opportunity to be creative with your one page of content, yet keeping it simple for people to view who you are and where you are present on the web. Free sign up.


Lead Generation Made Simpler

Creating lead generation is essential to all B2B and B2C companies and can be very time consuming! However, there are some simple and easy-to-use tools for doing so that can hopefully cut down some of that time. Want to know the best part? You’re probably already using some of these tools! But now lets discuss how to use them effectively for lead generation.

Twitter: First and foremost, Twitter itself is a great asset for lead generation. Consumers and companies are both on Twitter for many purposes – whether it be to build their brand, create contacts and followers, increase engagement and promotion, and/or all of the above. First make sure your Twitter account is set up, you are utilizing it regularly, and your blog or web address is in the bio (whichever you use more for lead generation). What is needed to best utilize Twitter effectively: time and effort. It is a free social media platform, and it kicks butt at being in touch with the target market you are hoping to reach.

Need help on finding your target market on Twitter? Look at the next 5 tools below!

Twitter Search: the first place to start out is normally Twitter Search which is a part of your Twitter Account. I recommend going beyond the basic search options and utilizing the advanced search option in order to get more precise and relevant results to your specific company. Using advanced you can focus on people, places, dates, attitudes, etc. The places option may be key for companies looking for leads in a particular area, and people option may also be helpful when looking for people an “influencer” has mentioned.

Follower Wonk: A simple free tool that allows you search keywords in Twitter Bios in order to filter out individuals/companies you may or may not want to follow for lead generation purposes. You can search for individuals based on a specific keyword or you may use locations/names and/or filter out those who have a certain amount of followers (ability to find the influencers). In addition, this tool allows you to compare up to 3 Twitter folks and compare their stats, who follows them, their activity, and their unique versus shared followers. Interesting capability of this tool in order to see how a certain individual or company can be useful for lead generation or not.

Creating lead generation is essential to all B2B and B2C companies and can be very time consuming! However, there are some simple and easy-to-use tools for doing so that can hopefully cut down some of that time. Want to know the best part? You’re probably already using some of these tools! But now lets discuss how to use them effectively for lead generation.

Tweep Search: A tool that allows you to search through bios of all the “tweeps” on Twitter with specific key words. In addition, when you find someone or a company that you find to be relevant – you can then limit the search to their followers and search through there specifically. Narrowing a search is always helpful as there are so many people on Twitter.

Twithawk: If you couldn’t tell by the name — this app is like a “hawk” — looking out for you and your target marketing on Twitter. Unlike the aforementioned tools, this one is a paid service, which allows the Twithawk team to find the best target market matches for you from your specified search terms. Example: “TwitHawkperiodically (at the frequency determined by you) find tweets that mentioned “I need coffee” by users that are actually, currently, located within 5 miles of Queens such as‘@cracksh0t I need a coffee or anything with caffeine NOW’ or ‘@loxly This is so boring, I need a coffee… my one true love’ Then, TwitHawk will grab the tweets, and pop them in a list for you to check over, and you’ll be notified that you’ve got new matches to check over.” In addition, the TwitHawk team and app can help you keep track of tweets sent, noise, link tracking, and Google Analytics.

Tweetdeck: This client can be used on your desktop or on the-go and allows you to organize your followers and filter Tweets in order to assist in lead generation. Set up a column for saved search terms and question phrases (whether related to a product item, your company, a competitor, etc). Then, you can monitor and interact with people who are talking about your industry in a more organized and simpler fashion.

Three other tools you won’t want to miss:

LinkedIn: This is not just a platform for networking – it is an awesome lead generation asset! How to utilize this to your benefit? A few simple things: (1) customize your page; (2) Connect to Twitter (3) Create answer feeds (4) create an industry group (5) follow your target market (possibly those you already found via Twitter?) and (6) Share curated and created content! As corny as it sounds – Get Linked!

Your Blog: This is the content you create and then distribute through your channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It is a great asset to have in order to create lead generation, especially when people subscribe and give their email address to do so!

Facebook: Considering Facebook has more users than the population of some countries, it is definitely a tool you want to utilize to make connections, and hopefully convert those connections into leads. As with your Twitter page, LinkedInpage, and Blog – customize your Facebook to increase the amount of “likes” you may receive and engage those individuals to sign up for a newsletter or the blog you have (aka lead generation). In addition, when someone “likes” a page, others will see it, and may be prompted to do the same!

Recall that it takes time to build connections and more time to convert these connections and followers into leads. However, these tools can help decrease that time and make the time you spend on finding these connections (who will hopefully become leads) more effective.

You’ll never know how truly effective each tool is for your company until you experiment and play around with each of them. Enjoy!

 


Communication of Message

“How to communicate a brand message” for a product takes effort to be creative. 3 creative methods that I researched for the Sony brand (for a global branding study) include:

1. Creative Product Placement: Honda did a fabulous job at placing its CR-Z in a Facebook game in order to create brand awareness. It was also a very unique way for its audience to engage with the brand. In addition, HP placed its computers in Project Runway, which was a great way to show how easy the computers were to use and how cool they were for designers and others who love to geek out.

2. Consistent Spokesperson: Sony has had an issue with being consistent with its brand message. Using a consistent spokesperson could be helpful as Apple had done with Justin Long in its successful “Apple vs. PC” ads. Can you blame Apple for being named “Marketer of the Decade?” Although Sony used Justin Timberlake for its 3D TV ads, it was short-lived. It may behoove the brand to find a new “cool” spokesperson such as from a popular TV show like Glee. Just a thought.

3. User Generated Content: Nowadays UGC has become the norm and many brands are taking advantage. Sear, Chevy Tahoe and FreeCreditReports.com are just a few of the brands who have utilized UGC. For example FreeCreditReports.com had a summer long contest where bands would compete to become the new band for the ads. The winner would debut at the 2010 mtv awards. How cool is that? Sony could do something similar like having contestants produce songs and the winner could appear in a Sony Studios movie.Therefore, keeping the promotion of “innovation” consistent and utilizing the brand message “make.believe” where what you can imagine can come true.

In short – communicating a brand message requires effort, creativity, and consistency.

"I like it on…" Facebook Status Updates

Were you a part of this year’s breast cancer awareness viral phenomenon on Facebook? Last year it was what color bra you were wearing, this year it was where do you put your purse when you come home. A little bit of scandal with a bit of fun and lots of awareness for a great cause. How can you not partake?

“I like it on the dining room table”….what about you?