Five Must-Have Marketing Skills for a Startup Marketer

 

marketing skills

In the startup world, when you’re beginning your new business, everything is going really fast. You’re wearing twenty different hats a day. One minute you’re the marketing manager, the next you’re the project manager, and yet another you’re the production manager.

Unfortunately, with the speed of the startup scene, sometimes certain skill sets fall to the way-side. So instead of letting that happen, make time to ensure that certain marketing skills are kept polished; whether it’s through workshops once a month, webinars, or just diving in with a good old business book.

Here are five key marketing skills that every brand must have. 

Storytelling

This is a unique skill that any marketer needs in order to be successful. It allows a brand to be unified across channels, allow consumers to understand what the brand stands for, and believe in the brand. It allows for the human side to come out and connecting with consumers on a deeper level. In addition to online storytelling through images, video, and written content, storytelling transcends to in-person interactions with customers.

Thinking Mobile First

When it comes to marketing your content, realize that people are always on the go. The one device that is always on them is their phone (and most likely a smart phone). Therefore, when creating your content and social strategy, designing your website, and/or strategizing your e-commerce efforts, it’s valuable to understand how your content will live on mobile devices first, then tablet, then desktop.

Differentiating Social Media Channels

It’s important to understand how each channel works, what it’s used for, which audiences are on it, and how best to distribute content within those channels. For example, one brand may be better suited for YouTube with its variety of videos,  while another may consider creating a tumblr blog for aggregating their content in one place for a community that is hungry for discovering and sharing cool stuff. Each channel is different and provides different features, which may enhance your products or services. Being knowledgeable on the ones that best fit your brand and your competition is helpful in creating the best marketing plan to be successful now and in the future.

Understanding SEO

This is one of the underpinning of being successful organically. Although Google makes changes on how people will be successful with their SEO tactics, it’s important to keep up. Whether it’s tagging your content with the right keywords, getting more shares on social, or distributing on partner channels for a larger audience – make sure you take the time to understand how SEO can play to your benefit.

To check out my tips around Data and Why it’s important to Understand all of the above, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Image via colinlogan

Five Tips to Building your Band of Brand Loyalists

It’s easy to find someone to sponsor your brand and your brand content, but to find someone who will do it without a paycheck, now that’s when you’re in the loyalist category. Loyalists are excited about news from the brand, new content put out, they follow them on social channels, they are advocates on behalf of the brand, and they are current customers. They’re the ones you can count on when shit hits the fan, and some mishap happens, or the brand is being bashed for something that was misunderstood by others. Those loyalists will speak up, they will stand behind the brand, and they will continue to be a customer. In turn, those loyalists will inspire others to consider the brand. Or at minimum, create some awareness that “this brand” is worth checking out.

So how do you create brand loyalists? There is no “follow this checklist” and you’ll have a band of loyalists at your door. It takes time, and it takes effort, and it’s different for each brand. However, there are some things that are important for each brand to consider as they figure out what works best for them.

Here’s a quick list to have in your back pocket at all times (but please don’t be fooled by the word, quick):

1. Transparency - Be transparent and honest about your brand. Either way the consumers will find out the truth, so why not tell it yourself. Brands like Toms may have it easy as their stories inspire others to act, give back, and truly love the brand. Others have it harder, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to tell your story in a way that impacts and connects others.

2. Have the best customer service ever - Customer service can make or break many customer relationships. Brands like Amazon have impeccable customer service to a point that they don’t question when something is wrong, but aim to fix the problem swiftly and make up for it. I remember one time when an item I purchased was delivered to the wrong location, I was so disappointed. Within 12 hours, it was in my hands due to their customer service help. Impressive.

3. Create Connections that Make an Impact - Customers don’t want to be treated as “just another wallet to take from.” They want to be appreciated. It can be as small as remembering their name when they walk into a store, or reaching out to them via a Tweet to say thank you. Nordstrom does a great job at this, when they say thank you whenever their mentioned by their followers on Twitter. It’s a small token, but it’s appreciated nonetheless. Whatever the effort, the effort is worth it to make a connection with your customers.

4. Give Value through Content - Providing value is a key component for any brand. Content is one way to go about that. For example, IBM has over 5 unique tumblr blogs, where they pump out different content on a daily or weekly basis. They are keeping their customers hungry for more – through consistent, quality, and fun content. It’s educational and entertaining – which is no easy feat! Take pointers.

5. Always be there - Your customers aren’t going to go to your website to see what you’re up to (at least not regularly). So be where they are. Be where they with thoughtful value and appreciation for their time. Provide them with content they want, customer service they deserve, a please and a thank you. And having a sale on your products, doesn’t hurt either!

In short, relationships that brands have with consumers are much like regular relationships. They take time to build, and can end quickly. Take the time to build a trustworthy one with true honesty/transparency, keeping in touch, being emotional, and offering true value. With time, that relationship will blossom and become amazing. Some will last a lifetime, others will fade. In the end, it’s better to have build some that lasted a few months than none at all.

This post was originally written for Socialnomics and my full post can also be found here. Thanks!

My Current Brand Crush (Maybe Love): Sole Society

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We, as consumers (and definitely marketers) have our crushes, our flirtations, and sometimes we commit to a brand we truly love. I’m currently having a major brand crush on Sole Society. Why? A few simple reasons:

1. They have a great affordable fashion line

Sole Society is known for “affordable fashion” – making it attainable for most women who adore looking great, but not breaking their bank to do so. The brand offers up items that are both on trend, but also classic. They partner with style inspirations like Julianne Hough to design their lines. And as of late, obtained Andrea Wasserman as CEO. I knew I liked her when she replied to me on Instagram, but the fact that she came from Nordstrom (my other major crush), demonstrates her ability to choose working for brands that put the consumers first. And that brings me to my next two points…

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2. They market themselves with style

Sole Society can be found on most channels, which allow for visual content to be at the forefront. They’re avid posters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. My favorite is when I am able to get an inside look into what shoes they have yet to even put on their website or in stores. Getting an inside peek at the new colors, designs, and lines for the upcoming season is a brand lover’s dream. We feel like we have been let in on a secret that others don’t know about. Marketers, take note – this is a great tactic to get your consumers to come back for more!

Additionally, Julianne Hough who has her line on Sole Society gives sneak peeks through her Instagram channel too. Although she can afford shoes much more expensive, it’s great to see a strong, stylish female partnering with a brand the average female can afford and feel like she’s wearing high class style. And tying an influencer with a fun-loving spirit like Julianne to a fun-loving brand like Sole Society is a perfect strategy to get consumers to turn their heads at the brand – creating both awareness and consideration.

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To read my 3rd reason for totally crushing on Sole Society (and it’s major) check out my full original post on Marketing on the Rocks!

5 Tips for Starting your Career in Digital Marketing

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It feels like a lifetime ago when I considered transitioning from law to marketing – yes you heard right, law to marketing. I had been watching my roommate Julia Roy, venturing into the twittersphere and launching her personal brand as a digital strategist, and saw first-hand how much more fun she was having. And at the same time, I wanted to throw my law books out the window. Long story short, I followed suit soon after, and realized that digital marketing was a much better fit for me personally and professionally. But how did I start, and what got me here today? Here are a few tips I learned along the way…

1. Read, Read, and Read Some More

Sign up for regular email newsletters from blogs and websites you will enjoy perusing daily or weekly. It’s important to stay up to date on the latest and greatest when it comes to new social media channels, new mergers between platforms, updates to channels and how it will affect marketing to audiences, so on and so forth. For example, I subscribe to MashableFast CompanyTechcrunch and others that are similar. Aside from blogs that are specific to marketing, I like to subscribe to more tech related blogs, because technology is constantly affecting how we market and how we reach out audiences (ex. iBeacons).

Yes, it’s not always easy to read everyday, but it’s important to try to set aside some regular time to at least skim the headlines. My tip: follow your faves on Twitter and set up a Twitter list so you can see what’s new, in real time.

2. Learn by Doing

One thing I learned right away is that you can read about marketing and the best strategies, but you can’t truly understand, implement, and teach others until you do it yourself. Jump in and just try it out. For example, when I see a new channel that could be interesting for my clients and their audiences, I immediately sign up and try it out for myself. I view it as a customer to see what type of content I would want on there, how I would engage with it myself, and would I want to engage with brands on it. In turn, I figure out what are the tactical items to consider. For example, Snapchat is about instant consumption, while Vine and Instagram can be viewed multiple times and shared whenever and wherever you want. These are just a few examples that brands and marketers need to put into consideration when determining where to play, the content to produce and distribute, and which audiences matter to them and why.

3. Take yourself offline

Sometimes you just need to log off. Attend a networking event in your city and talk (not on Twitter, but face to face) to other marketers in your industry. It’s a great way to exchange ideas, find a mentor, and just enjoy being among like minds. I also recommend doing it at minimum – monthly – in order to stay on top of what is happening within your city’s marketing industry.

You’ll want to know the 2 other tips around blogging and my bonus tip! This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks, so check out my full post here!

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos; John Sutton

Influencer Marketing: Avoid These 5 Brand Mistakes

“Influencer Marketing” – the latest buzz phrase in the marketing sphere – but is your brand doing it right? There are multiple pitfalls, which are easy to miss even if they’re right in front of you. So instead of running towards the finish line, tread carefully and strategically for your brand’s benefit and ensure you have chosen the right influencer with the right tone, brand fit, and appropriate audience.

Avoid these pitfalls along the way:

1. Not understanding the definition of an Influencer

First and foremost, what is an influencer? The word means different things to different people and brands, and rightly so. There are different types of influencers, and your brand needs to decide which ones are right for their brand messaging, their target audience, and the unified effort. For example, celebrities are considered influencers due to their large following on social channels and otherwise. And then you have experts, journalists, personal branders, and topic authorities. So which one is right for your brand and your campaign – #2 should help with that.

2. Forgetting to put together an Influencer Strategy

An influencer strategy, like a social media strategy, channel strategy, and/or content strategy — is significant because it allows a brand to determine which influencers are right for the brand, how they will be reached out to, how they will be worked with, and what the goals and learnings will be from the program overall. Without this, you are just tweeting to random people and pulling at straws and may turn up with the short one. And no brand wants that.

3. Missing the brand fit

When you evaluate your list of influencers it’s important to ensure that the ones you’re considering are not opposed to the brand in any way. For example, it would be poor form to choose an influencer which may have spoken badly of the brand, a product of the brand, and/or some partnership/program that the brand was involved in. Additionally, it’s important that the influencer(s) fits the brand image in a way that isn’t too controversial (unless that’s what the brand is hoping for). For example, if the brand’s image is about being conservative, eco-friendly, and about local efforts, than it may help if the influencer has similarities in those areas or strengths that will help influence those areas as well.

4. Only using tools to find an influencer

This is a huge error that can cause the wrong influencer to be chosen. Although there are many tools out there that will help one get a list of influencers that may fit the brand/campaign, the human touch is still necessary. For example, 10 awesome influencers may be brought down from an initial list of 100 or more, which helps with efficiency and time to get down to the ones that mater and could have an impact for the brand. However, it’s important to look back into the person’s history (especially regarding #3 above), check to see the conversation that the person is having on their social channels, and ensure that the tool was accurate in its assessment. For instance, is the audience of that influencer one that matters to the brand? If not their influence is less likely to make an impact and bring awareness, engagement, and/or positive sentiment towards the brand as it had hoped.

5. Lack of authenticity

Since he or she is an influencer, they’re obviously authentic, right? Not, necessarily. For example, if an influencer is being poked by a brand a second, he or she may be writing sponsored content on a regular basis. Then where’s the original content, the content that matters to their audience. It’s important that the influencer has a balance of content that is still their own because without their own, personal, un-biased opinion, the authenticity is lost, and their influence is less valuable.

Looking for more input to ensure your influencer marketing starts off on the right foot? Reach out in the comments below!

This post was originally written for Socialnomics

Best Practices: Email Marketing for your Brand

 

Email Marketing Best Practices

Email marketing, a marketing method most brands use to reach out to their prospective and current customers, can easily become an annoyance customers runaway from. So how do we as brands enable our email marketing to work for us, and not against us?

Let’s look at some email marketing best practices that will help optimize your efforts…

Look and Feel; Think Mobile First

As with websites and social content, it’s important to consider mobile when deciding on your email content, the design, and your messaging. Responsive email design is helpful because it allows your email to be read on both desktop, mobile, and tablet.

However, to ensure that your design works for each device it’s important to test your content. For example, test to ensure your images show up correctly, your headline is able to be read clearly, and the primary messaging is easily scannable, consumable, and shareable.

Use an Editorial Calendar

Your team probably already has an editorial calendar, which allows your brand to schedule out your blog posts, tweets, FB posts, and pins. Adding your email content within this calendar will help see a large-scale view of the content you are putting out, the types of customers who receive it, and what channels are distributing it.

Overall it will keep you organized to know which topics are being published, and in turn which ones do the best. It’s even more helpful the following year when you look back to see what worked the previous year. For example if product sneak peeks were a hit, than the next time around you’ll want to make sure you do it again.

Personalize your Content; Start Simple

Personalizing content for email can go in many directions, especially if your audience is segmented in multiple ways. However, it’s often easier to start simple. Perhaps to do some a/b testing to see which content performs better for different regions of the country, gender, and/or age group for starters. That way you can ensure that Texas is not receiving the same winter content that Maine would get in January.

No customer wants to open up a generic email sent to the masses – it’s always nice to see one that is at least slightly catered to their interests, location, and who they are as a customer to your brand.

Pay Attention to the Details

The details, sometimes overlooked, are key when it comes to email marketing messaging. Your team needs to ensure that the email subject line, headline, first couple sentences (which are seen in a preview), and images are all put together in a way that not only entices the reader to read the email, but spend time with it, and potentially click your call to action – whether it leads them to your website, an offer, or your social media channels.

To read more on measuring results and cross-promotion on Social Media – Check out my Full Post on Startup Fashion!

It’s NOT too late to Clean up your Social Media Marketing this New Year

 

Clean up your social media marketing in 2014

When it comes to the New Year and Q1 of most business plans, we are constantly thinking what we should/could do to revamp our strategies, tactics, and presences online and offline. Where to start? Sometimes it’s about looking back and seeing what worked and didn’t; and other times it’s just about making small tweaks in order to optimize your brand’s performance on social media.

Here are 6 Ways to Clean Up Your Social Media Marketing in the New Year

Profile

Remember when you started on social media and you had to choose that pivotal logo or image to represent your brand? That image may still work, but sometimes you need to tweak your bio in order to describe what your business does today (especially if it’s expanded over the past year).

Tip: Use your google analytics and trends to see what search terms consumers use and look for when it comes to your brand and competition. Use those in your bio so you are easier to find and your description of your product or service is easier to understand by your potential customers. Remember, sometimes it’s not about saying that you provide “x” but using synonyms that your audience may also search for. Think like a consumer.

Follow Back

Over the past year, surely a large amount of people have found you, loved what you have to offer and in turn have liked, shared, tweeted, and followed you because they value you as a brand. Show them how much you value them too! Follow back. It is a two way relationship after all.

Re-evaluate Your Strategy

Your social media strategy is a part of your everyday tactics, each tweet, and each monthly theme. Look back to see which themes, topics, and content formats resonated most with your audience. Even though you may have loved that video of your holiday party you posted, perhaps your audience didn’t care for it. Or perhaps you didn’t post it on a channel where your audience wanted that video.

Tip: Look back and evaluate: (1) topic calendar; (2) content formats; and (3) time/day of posting said content. Start there and see where you land.

Channels

As in #3 above, it’s important to see what works, and what doesn’t. You may love posting fun vine videos, but perhaps your audience is more likely to engage with you on instagram. Be where your audience cares for your content, and where they want to engage with you. You don’t need to be on every channel just to be hip with social media.

To read more on Staffing Up and Thinking Mobile First – Check out my Full Post on Startup Fashion here!

Your Brand’s New Year Resolutions for 2014: Keep it Simple Stupid

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So if you’re anything like me, you may have a lofty list of things to achieve for 2014; perhaps forgetting how much time they’ll actually take. So bring yourself down to Earth for a minute, and think realistically. Instead of having 20 goals, consider 5 to 7 that you can span out within the first 6 months. Then in the second half of the year you can see what worked, what didn’t, and revise, optimize, and achieve more than you originally planned.

Where to start? Consider these tips while crafting your marketing and business goals.

1. Ensure all your goals are measurable – If you can’t measure it through things like engagement, referral traffic, etc – then you won’t know if it worked and/or what went wrong during your test phase.

2. Review your previous goals from 2013 – This is a great place to start, because it allows you to learn from previous successes and mistakes and see where there is room for growth. For example, if you started a video series in 2013, perhaps in 2014 there is room to grow it further with different genres or perhaps utilizing other social media channels to amplify engagement around the video content.

3. See how your departments can work together on resolutions – Since marketing doesn’t operate alone, it’s important to put your heads together and see how each department can help in crafting next year’s goals. For example, the tech team may have some great ideas on how to make your website “work for you” better. Tap their minds and figure out what is achievable. It may surprise you!

To read my other 2 important must-have goals for 2014 around budgeting and thinking outside the marketing box, check out my full post on Marketing on the Rocks

Image Source: http://www.business2community.com/marketing/

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

Recent Snapchat Updates & What it Means for Marketers

Snapchat, the mobile visual application that allows for instant consumption of videos and photos has come out with some recent updates.

Although there are fun little things like filters there are two things that stood out to me: (1) applying temperature through Weather Channel data and (2) allowing users to view one snapchat per day more than once (rather than letting it self-destruct).

What this means for consumers:

  • Like Instagram, consumers can now create more visually appealing content
  • Consumers can add more context to their snapchats
  • Consumers can re-watch snapchats that were too quick or too memorable not to watch again

What this means for marketers:

  • Snapchats that are about contests, hidden previews, product launches, or special events can be viewed more than once by consumers – allowing more interactivity and potential word of mouth
  • Brands can view snapchats submitted by consumers more than once, which allows for easier screenshots to view and assess for winners of contests
  • Weather.com has already gotten inside Snapchat as a potential partner – which has potentially opened doors for others with context that is fitting for snapchat users
  • There are more “tools” at consumer and brand disposal for making snapchat content more fun and relevant (filters, speed, temperature, location, etc)

What’s next in the photo and video app field?

Let’s see what Vine or Instagram come out with next…

 This post was originally written for Social Media Club and my post can be found here

Launch of: “Marketing on the Rocks” by Four Best Friends

So it all began a few years back when the four of us met through mutual friends and networking events around the city. We had social mentors in common, similar career inspirations, shopping habits, healthy living ideals, a love for boston, and most of all a quick love for one another.

Janet Aronica, Kristin Dziadul, Elisabeth Michaud and I are four best friends and four marketers in Boston. We each have a bit of geekiness when it comes to digital marketing, social media, and staying on top of what’s savvy and new. We tried GroupMe during SXSW, we’ve been on Path since before it became cool, we constantly tweet at one another in the midst of Gchatting, and support each other in all of our endeavors. I can’t say enough about how much I trust these girls personally and professionally. And that’s what brought us here today…

Over a couple adult beverages and some inspiration from fellow digital marketers in the space, we decided to work on a marketing project as a team. We brainstormed on what we could offer the Boston community and beyond as we each have diverse backgrounds from working with startups, individual consulting, agencies, big brands, and more. And then we realized – that’s exactly what we can offer. We are experienced in so many different areas and can offer unique advice and strategy because of it. And “Marketing on the Rocks” was born…

Want to learn more, and see what we’re cooking up? Check out the launch of our new site!

www.MarketingontheRocks.com

And feel free to reach out to us anytime for more info:

@pamsahota

@janetaronica

@kristindziadul

@emichaud

iBeacon Technology: Why it’s Awesome for Marketers

So we’ve had QR codes and location based services for some time now in the tech and social industry – and since Apple introduced their iBeacon (although this tech has been around for a while too) – we’re entering new territories as marketers and customers.

What are iBeacons you ask?
iBeacon’ is an Apple marketing term for a specific type of Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as BLE). According to Apple Insider – “Essentially, rather than using satellite signals to locate a device anywhere on Earth as GPS does, BLE can enable a mobile user to navigate and interact with specific regions geofenced by low cost signal emitters that can be placed anywhere, including indoors, and even on moving targets.”
Why this is awesome for marketers:
  • Imagine being able to send messages to consumers more contextually. For example, if your brand is trying to target consumers at a venue for an event; you’ll be able to know they’re there and send a message through your brand app to them automatically. Not only is this awesome, but it’s convenient for the consumer too.
  • Why is location so important? It creates the contextual relevance for advertising that otherwise isn’t already there. For example, being at a concert when you get an advertisement for a discount on food located at the venue is way more useful then getting that advertisement on a random day. It is then useful, easy to use, and actually relevant to that person.
  • Imagine your target consumer is parking at a large mall. You already know they have an intent to purchase, and now you can target them accordingly right through the device that is already at their fingertips. They’re probably already thinking what deals can I snag while I’m here – the mindset is there; the location is there; and the context is there.
  • What I think is even cooler? Sending messages or showing different visuals to a person as they walk by a display due to the iBeacon. For example, if someone sees a product they may like, perhaps they get a real-time demonstration of it right then and there.
Things we need to consider:
  • What if Blue Tooth is not enabled?
  • Unless the consumer is an early adopter and really into tech like this (as marketers like myself are); adoption will be slow.
  • Privacy is still a rampant issue that many consumers face and tech like this make some uncomfortable.
What do I envision?
I see this technology growing rapidly and taking shape in many apps and devices. However, I see mainstream adoption not truly occurring until 2015, when more people grow comfortable with this type of location and contextual detection within apps and devices.
Tip to marketers:
Be patient, but be bold too. Take into consideration the age old saying, “test and learn.”
Image source: google images

How to: Treat Your Social Media Fans Like Individuals

social media fans feel special

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers of followers, fans, and subscribers we have on our brands’ social media platforms. The numbers do matter; they help us communicate with more of our audience, and reach their friends and family too. But one thing you need to remember, despite how many fans you have – is not to forget the individual fan.

Each fan counts.

Here are a few ways your brand can help your social media fans feel special, and not just another number on your analytics page…

Respond to comments and questions in real time – This is the number one thing I look for in brands when I communicate with them, mention them in a post, or ask a question on a social channel. I look for some sort of validation that they’re listening to me as their fan.

For example, when I mention Nordstrom or Athleta on instagram, tumblr or twitter – I receive a mention back within hours. It’s usually a “thanks so much” and sometimes has a clever response and commenting on how great I am. What fan doesn’t love a little appreciation? In short, take time each day to appreciate your fans and respond back – even if it’s just to say “Thanks.”

Be yourself- Let your brand’s personality come through.  Don’t be afraid to show who you are as a brand.  This makes makes your ans feel that they know you, like they’re your friend.

To check out my third and bonus tip on how to treat your fans special and as unique individuals, check out my original post on Startup Fashion

Fun and Creative Ways to Use Snapchat for Your Brand

Snapchat for fashion brands

Snapchat, known as an instant and temporary consumption app for photos and video, has been rampant among the millennial generation. They use it to share their food, their shopping adventures, their nights out with friends, and even the brands they love to wear and shop for.

As per the Guardian, this past October, the Pew research centre claimed that 9% of American mobile phone owners were using Snapchat, which would suggest 26million users in the US alone. Among 18 to 29-year-olds, the percentage rose to 26%.

And brands have taken notice – and they are finding creative ways to utilize the app to their advantage.

Here are 3 ways that could be effective for a brand who wants to reach the Snapchat audience:

  1. Instant Giveaways – This can be a quick and dirty way to gain some fans on Snapchat. For example, the first 50 fans to follow your brand on snapchat could win a free tote bag made just for those fans. Not only is that fun for the fans, but hopefully more fans will come your way through word of mouth after the fact too.
  2. Sneak Peeks for Upcoming Product Lines– Brand fans love to feel special and get sneak peeks of new items coming out before others know. Imagine knowing that a new shoe line is being introduced with a celebrity partnership before the mass audience knows? It’s exclusive, it’s cool, and it’s using fun technology.
  3. Giving an insider look into an event – This is one of my favorite uses because it allows people to feel a part of an event even if they can’t be there in person. And using Snapchat to do so with its instant and temporary consumption makes it seem even more special when a fan gets an inside look. This is something that Rebecca Minkoff did to make consumers feel like they were part of Fashion Week.

Excited to learn more? You haven’t gotten to the bonus section yet on how Snapchat is more than just another photo app. Check out my full and original post on Startup Fashion for more!

 

Five Easy to Use Tips to Optimize your Brand’s YouTube Channel

 

StartUp FASHION Business Optimizing YouTube Channel

Nowadays with so many video content options from Instagram and Vine — it’s easy to forget about YouTube. However, it is still one of the largest search engines on the web and can be perfect for enabling your video content to be discovered, consumed, and shared across channels.

We’ve spoken before about the value of video content for your fashion brand, but how about optimizing your video content so people can find it?

Before jumping in or even if you already have, make sure you are optimizing your brand’s YouTube channel…

  1. Channel Title and Description – Having an easy to remember channel name is best, especially when people are using the search bar to find it. The description is helpful for SEO purposes, and it is key to remember that the first few sentences are seen most often (as the rest gets cut off unless you click for a full description). So make sure that the beginning is helpful in understanding the objective of your YouTube channel.
  2. Video Title and Description – Similar to the channel title and description, not only is it important to utilize keywords for SEO purposes, but it’s helpful to make it easy for people to know what the video is. If it’s too obscure, less people may click on it when searching; and in turn less people may share.
  3. Video Transcript – This may seem like a silly tiresome thing you have to do, but remember YouTube is a search engine. Capitalize on those keywords and SEO value of being able to use them in the transcript as well.

To read the rest of my tips, check out original and full post on Startup Fashion.

 

How to: Determine if you Should Develop a Mobile App for your Brand

The mobile app question is becoming an all too frequent one with brands these days. A better question is…”why do you want a mobile app?” Or how about “what will it achieve?” And also, “Is it better than a responsive website?” Yes, it’s true mobile apps are plentiful and more brands are hopping on board, from the useful app to the content distribution app to the game app to the “i am completely useless please don’t bother downloading me” app. What will your mobile app provide to your consumer? Is it worth the download? Let’s break it down with the questions you need to answer before you get started:

1. What is the purpose of the app? It is important to determine if the app will be useful or at minimum entertaining for the audience to use. For example, if it solves a pain point and brings forward a solution, that is great.

2. Will a RWD site be easier and more effective? This doesn’t mean RWD is a shortcut or a simpler solution. RWD may be a better solution for your audience depending upon their habits and your reasoning for wanting an app.

3. Can your brand build the app in-house? If not, it is important to determine if there are additional costs your brand may accrue due to outsourcing the project.

4. Where are your developers located? If they are located abroad, time zone issues may cause delays in efficiency (not always, but sometimes).

5. What platforms will your app be available on? It is valuable to understand where your audience plays – are they iphone or android users? If they lean more one way than another it may help to launch one one first, and then the other. Test and Learn.

6. How will you promote the availability of your app? No one will know your app exists unless there is some budget set aside to promote the existence of the app, not just on your owned sites, but potentially across social, newsletters, and paid search to drive traffic for downloads.

7. Can your team update regularly for bugs and fixes? This is important to ensure people don’t get frustrated and delete your app after a couple tries.

8. Will your app be an investment or accrue revenue? Having a revenue model in place is helpful, but not necessarily the primary reasoning behind an app. It may be to increase engagement and provide another way for consumers to interact with the brand.

9. Do you have a mobile strategy in place? I cannot stress enough that a strategy is helpful before even reaching out to developers. Just like one needs a content strategy or a social media strategy, a mobile strategy is helpful in order to determine the right look/feel, content, promotion, audience, and how to differentiate amongst the competition.

10. Does your idea already exist? If so, how is yours unique? This is always a tough thing, but sometimes if your app is already there, don’t bother. That being said, sometimes there is a way to differentiate and make your app stand out with a feature others have not implemented or don’t have the ability to implement.

This list isn’t exhaustive so if you want to add to this list, feel free to do so in the comments below. And if you want more advice on how to start out on your first mobile app (or your 2nd or 3rd), feel free to reach out as well.

NOTE: This post was originally written for socialnomics. You can see my post here.  
Image Source: http://blog.farreachinc.com/2012/03/27/app-store-optimization-aso/

Five tips for Producing Vine Videos for your Brand

Vine videos are not just any video content; they require specific expertise and care when producing them in order to cater to the vine audience as well as the mainstream audience. Some brands like Burberry have taken specific note to the “stop motion” feature and succeeded in doing it well. Others could probably use a little more “finesse” as you would put it. But enough about the brands who do it well and those who may not…here are a few things to consider when making your brand’s Vine videos (aside from ensuring you hold your camera horizontal and not vertical, of course):

1. Create storyboards: Like any other brand content, for example blog content, your team should plan ahead on the what the message will be, whether it’s part of a series,  how it folds into the larger marketing effort, etc. Once you have the strategy behind the Vine videos you want to create, storyboards help the producers create the content in a consistent and efficient manner. It also helps to keep the story aligned across several vine videos that may be in a series including the look, feel, tone, and voice.

2. Consider a freelancer: The majority of brands may not have “professional viners” in-house or those who deem themselves to be proficient at making these short form videos. That’s ok! If your budget allows it, consider finding these professionals and having them help your brand out with their expertise. It may be worthwhile not only to get started, but also to learn from them on stop motion. camera moves, and even simple things like the correct lighting.

3. Make your Vine Searchable: Like on Twitter, hashtags help your content be found easier within Vine and outside it. Using branded and common hashtags are important so that your content doesn’t get lose in the void of hashtags that no one uses. And in turn linking them with your own hashtags helps to build momentum around your brand.

4. Categorize it: The new feature (if you’ve updated your app recently) allows individuals and brands to categorize their Vine content in categories like Comedy, Art & Entertainment, Cats, Dogs, Beauty & Fashion, Food, Health & Fitness, Music, Nature, News & Politics, Sports, Urban and even the occasional “weird.” When publishing your Vine videos within the app it’s important to keep these categories under consideration, because like hashtags it’ll help your audiences see your Vine, share them, and get even more eyeballs upon your awesome content.

5. Cross-promote your content: Aside from your audience sharing your content directly from the app, it’s important your brand does too. But before you throw it across every social platform you have, consider which of your audiences would like this content in this format and this succinct of a message. It might be great for Twitter and your blog, but perhaps not Facebook and LinkedIn. Test and learn and see what works best for your brand.

Last but not least, don’t make it a one and done adventure into Vine. If your brand is really interested in this short video content, plan ahead and be sure i’s the right place for your brand because once you’re there, you should make an investment into creating and sharing more than just one video. And most of all, have some fun with it!

Note: This post was originally written for Socialnomics.

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
 

Five Visual Tips for your Brand’s Blog Presence

Branding |RedBalloon Advertisers |www.redballoon.in

Starting and maintaing a blog for your brand is a a crucial step when it comes to publishing content for your audience to discover, consume and share.

However, before pumping out all that awesome content, your team needs to determine how that blog will “look and feel” — how it will ladder up to the brand’s image on other owned sites, how the tone and voice will take shape, and how the blog will look visually to the consumer.

This shouldn’t’ be daunting, but it does take time to consider, plan, and strategize appropriately so your blog is a part of your marketing strategy and brand’s arsenal of content publishing.

1. To Theme or Not to Theme

Many blogs, whether it’s WordPress or tumblr offer a variety of custom themes that allow you to work within a set template.

The template allows for color changes, a preferred way to display content whether it’s the new Pinterest pinboard layout, or the gallery look, or keeping it simple with having it article style.

Whatever you choose, you can then add on widgets to allow for further customization such as social feeds, pulling in content from other sites, and even promoting products and services for people to purchase or subscribe to. In the end the theme helps those brands that don’t want to start from scratch, but would rather work from an easier starting place for a “look and feel” that fits the brand.

2. To Brand 

 Even before choosing the theme and the domain, it’s important to determine whether or not the blog will have branding specific to the brand/product/service. For example, some brands have a blog to offer fun entertaining content that has little to no branding; while others completely brand the blog with their name, logo, and more in order to show they are the authority of the blog and/or thought leader on the subject matter they are offering.

There is no right way to go about this, it depends upon the purpose of the blog and the goals of the brand. Both can serve great purposes.

3. To Be Social

If your brand has a large social presence or is trying to build on, it helps to cross promote social content. For example a fashion brand may want to pull in an instagram feed, while another brand may want to pull in a hashtag stream on a campaign they’re running.

I recommend ensuring there are social share buttons for content – more eyeballs, more consumption, more awareness of one’s content and brand.

4. To Provide Tone & Voice

One’s tone and voice is a part of the visual feel of the blog as well.

The tone can be fun and vibrant which goes along with a casual blog visually. Voice may be more instructional which may go along with a more conservative looking blog. Just remember to keep in consideration all the elements of your blog before putting it together.

5. To Provide Imagery

Imagery is essential to getting people to consume the content and share it. For example if it has fun visuals like a short video, comic strip, infographic – people are more likely to move towards it and in turn share with people they think would find it fun or informative.

Note: This post was originally written for social media club and my original post can be found 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:

Three Things you Need when Hiring a Community Manager for your Brand

Hiring a Community Manager

As your brand grows, your social presence usually becomes larger as well — meaning more social networks to manage and monitor on a daily basis. In the past, we’ve discussed the whether having a social media intern is a good idea.  But what about when you’re ready to hire some help?

Having a dedicated community manager is not only helpful but often mandatory for a brand to listen and engage with its audience regularly and in real time.

How do you hire the right person to manage your social community?

Here are a few factors to consider…

The Technical Chops

It’s important for a community manager not only to be able to understand the mechanics of a tweet, but also the analytics portion of things like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and other tool and platform specific metrics. The ability to decipher what the peaks and valleys mean in regards to the content being shared and the days/times you post is invaluable.

It’s also helpful to ensure that the person is familiar with the tools your brand uses, or at least quick enough to pick up on it in minimum time.

The Human Touch

Most brands especially B2C don’t want someone without a personality managing their social. They become the voice of the brand, and that voice can either increase engagement or halt it. Be sure to get a vibe for their personality and perhaps even get some example tweets or posts to see how they translate digitally.

Also, keep in mind that some people are better at certain platforms like Twitter and not so great at others like Instagram. When hiring a community manager, take the time to think about exactly what the role will entail.  Don’t just dump all your passwords on her and then disappear from the equation.  Confirm what aspects she will manage and what aspects will not fall under her umbrella.

Example: The  DKNY PR girl is a twitter master.  However, the last we heard from her at a conference, she mentioned that she has nothing to do with Facebook.

To read about my last and crucial tip for hiring a community manager, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Three Tips to Reach your Brand Influencers on Twitter

 

Twitter Influencers

Twitter is not only a great channel to consumer news and publish content, but a tool in our marketing arsenal, and most of all a great way to connect with our brand’s audience and influencers in the space.

Being a brand in today’s marketing world – it’s not just about “buying fans” or hoping they’ll swing on by your website. Today we need to strategize about how to develop and cultivate relationships with those that care about our brands and those that will voice those positive opinions to their audiences as well.

Follow and Connect

First and foremost, it’s great if you can follow back those who follow you, mention you, favorite your tweets, and RT your tweets. Those are the people who care enough to be a part of your community without you asking. Follow them back and show them the “love.” Take it a step further and thank them for mentioning you or liking your brand. Those little moments of brand love can go a long way, especially when the audience members don’t expect it.

Be Proactive

Take it a step further and join the conversations that these influencers are already conversing in. Are they asking questions? Answer them with information your brand may be able to help with – and of course don’t forget to use the hashtag being used so other people can follow the conversation too.

Tip: But be careful with this.  Use discretion about which conversations to just join.  If it’s a convo between only two people, it can seem weird and stalker-y to just voice your opinion. Look for conversations that involve several people and offer information without pushing any kind of sales.

To read the last tip on how to reach your influencers, check out my full post on Startup Fashion !

Three Items to Consider for your Social Media Marketing Budget

social media marketing budget

Contrary to popular opinion, creating and implementing a social media strategy for your business is not free. There are several things that your brand needs to consider and set up a budget for in order to have a consistent and loyal social media presence and following.

Here are 3 Things to Include in Your Brand’s Social Media Marketing Budget

Content Generation

Social media needs great content in order to do well and gain a loyal audience. You want your followers to be consistently excited for your tweets, posts, pins, snaps, and blog articles.

If you alone are not able to constantly produce this engaging and visually appealing content,you are going to need a person or people to help you write articles and edit them as well as create great video and beautiful graphics.

There could also be the need for stock imagery, or fun things like interactive visuals (through services like Thinglink or Stipple) to make your content more engaging.

Community Management

Social media is not about posting it and walking away. Channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, and others require constant moderation.

This moderation can include (but not limited to): comments, competitive listening, and what’s happening in real time so that your brand can take advantage and distribute the right content to your audience at the right time.

In short – this takes at minimum one dedicated person to do this every day (along with moderation tools which could have a monthly fee to help to somewhat streamline this process).

To read about the final item to include in your brand’s social media marketing budget, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Ten Things for your Brand to Consider when Starting a tumblr Blog

Why Aren't You Blogging?

When you decide to jump into the sea of blogging, planning is important.

Many brands choose tumblr and there are many great reasons to do so – including the built in community, which already lives on tumblr (not found anywhere else), the ability to discover content easily, and the paid options only available within tumblr.

When choosing tumblr to be your platform of choice there are a few things to check off as you set it up.

The tumblr checklist

  1. Choose a domain: Find one for your brand name of the theme for your tumblr. If you see your brand name is available and no one is actively blogging on it, I would grab that too.
  2. Choose a theme: Depending upon your marketing goals, it’s usually helpful to choose a specific theme to focus your blog around so your consumers understand the focus and know what to come back for.
  3. Set up multiple tumblrs: However, if your brand has a few different themes to pursue, perhaps it’s easier to set up a few different tumblr blogs on different themes. Companies like IBM have done that and it has worked well for them and their origination and curation of content.

  4. Customize your tumblr: There are a multitude of themes on tumblr to choose from for easy set up (free and paid versions). Then you’ll need your dedicated development team to make it your own. The great part about tumblr is you can make the look and feel anything your brand wants.

  5. Include disqus: Disqus (or another commenting tool) will have to be added to your tumblr to allow comments and moderation of those comments.

  6. Listen: Listen through the search bar to discover the conversation already occurring around the topic(s) you are exploring to tumble about. Additionally see who is writing about it or curating content to find the influencers in your category. With time your brand can organically build relationships with them, so with time they will hopefully reblog your content and share with their audiences (more eyeballs for your awesome content!)

  7. Schedule posts: When launching a blog it’s good to be armed with 10 – 20 posts ready to go. Schedule when your team would like to launch them in the first few weeks (perhaps 3 to 4 in the first week).

  8. Be a part of the community: As you launch your posts, don’t just push them out and wait for others to come. Find other content it – like it, comment on it, and consider re-blogging some for curating content.

  9. Activate paid (including analytics): When your brand has the initial budget to do so, consider using some paid media within tumblr to increase eyeballs on your new tumblr. There are a few different options depending upon your needs – for example mobile vs. web in stream ads.

  10. Test and learn posting times, days, tags: Experiment with the best days and times to post your content (as there are no specific best practices and depends upon your content, your brand, and your audience). See which tags work best for getting people to discover your content, consume, and share it.

Do you need inspiration?

Here are 6 tumblr blogs to visit:

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

Five Affordable Social Media Analytics Tools for your Brand

We all know that social media is not free especially when it comes to community management, creating content, and boosting posts to be promoted (ex.Twitter). Social media analytics are another cost that entails some investment when it comes to your marketing strategy and overall marketing goals. Of course there are always the free tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. Google Analytics help you determine what social sites are helping to drive traffic to your site and what campaigns are working versus those that need to be dumped or optimized. Facebook Insights is constantly evolving but overall it allows you to see what content your fans engage with, when and how often.

Here are 5 more to consider for your social toolbox: 
1. Topsy- Simple, easy to use tool that comes in a free (or paid) version in order to let brands monitor Twitter. One of my favorite parts about it is that you can see what hashtags are being used – how often, by who, and what the conversation is around that hashtag. This is a crucial step to take before using hashtags in your tweets, in order to ensure it is the proper conversation for your brand, your tone/voice, and of course your audience.
2. Hootsuite- I think we all know Hootsuite, but it is sometimes overlooked. It’s a great community management tool (free or very cheap) that enables a community manager to monitor, schedule posts, and manage multiple channels from one location. And it comes with an analytics portion which allows you to customize reports for easy analysis and sharing with management.
3. Twitalyzer- Quick, easy to use tool that allows you to monitor your competition (specifically for Twitter). Obviously not the only tool to use, but a nice tool to add on to your arsenal when needed.
4. Bottlenose –  Great visual of conversation going on around your brand in real time. It helps you visualize what your brand is connected to or who the influencers are and what they are influential about. Great for monitoring, targeting, and being able to engage in real time and not losing out.
5. Social Flow – Not free, but gives your brands an edge up when scheduling posts and tweets, to see when is the best time for your brand to hop into a conversation for your particular audience. It helps to ensure that you are using the write phrasing, and taking advantage of the best time and day for that particular social engagement – whether it’s during a live event or otherwise.

Bonus: If you have the budget to spend a little more money

Radian6 - Great listening tool to see what is being said about your brand, the competition, what’s occurring in real time, and of course the ability to hop into conversations with your customers and be a part of the community. This tool is perfect for finding your influencers, and engaging with them organically as it streamlines the process for your brand and makes the process way less manual and less cumbersome.

Not sure which one you want to use? TIP: Many tools will allow a free trial before you jump in with the fee, so always see if you can test out the tools first.
Note: This post was originally written for socialnomics and my post can also be found here.

Four Ways for your brand to be more Mobile Friendly

mobile friendly fashion business

As of May, 2013 – over 50% of U.S. mobile users have a smartphone device. Now that is a pretty hefty number to consider when strategizing your content (which includes images, videos, graphics, advertisments) for your target audience.

It’s important to think about how much time your current and potential customers spend on their mobile devices; not just for the content that you post on your website and social media platforms but also for the other ways that your business can be represented.

4 Things to Remember to Make Your Fashion Business Mobile Friendly.

  1. Content - Is your content mobile friendly? Is it quick and easy to consume on the go? The key is to figure out what your audience can do on their phones and what they are willing to consume. For example, not many people will fill out a huge registration form for a site on their phone. On the other hand if you make it two step form, perhaps with a social login, you could avoid that issue pretty easily. Second, is your content visually pleasing? More people are likely to check out photos, videos, graphics and other visuals on the go and read longer form content on their laptop or tablets.

  1. Apps – When selling products, it may be helpful to consider whether a mobile site is enough or if an app may be helpful for a specific purpose. Now, this is not to say everyone should have an app, but if there’s a demand, a need, and the ROI (return on investment) will overcome the cost you put in, then considering the development of an app could be worthwhile. For example, I find it easier to shop on the Nordstrom app when I’m using my phone for quick on the go purchases, rather than going to their mobile site where it’s harder to see the products I may be interested in.

    To read my other two tips on being mobile friendly in today’s marketing world – check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

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!

Video Content – Is it part of your content strategy?

Note: this post was originally written in June for SMC so some items may have changed since then in regards to Vine and Instagram Video. 

The best video camera – the one you have with you. Whether it’s the video function on your phone, Vine, or the latest, Instagram video – video is a form of content that both consumers and brands alike are having not just fun with, but utilizing to express themselves.  Is video right for your brand, and if so – which one?

Once your brand has decided to add visual content to its toolbox, specifically video content, it’s time to figure out how it will amplify the content you already have and fit into your overall content strategy. First step is to determine if it will involve short form video content or long form?  Once you have that figured out, you can delve deeper into the benefits of the popular choices to choose from.

Short Form Video Content

The 6 second Vine

Benefits:

  • Shoot and Share in minutes
  • Embed capability for your website
  • New ability to have drafts rather than publish automatically
  • Save to camera roll to publish later (or store)
  • A for effort when it comes to telling a story in such bite size form

Disadvantages:

  • Need to be quick with the functionality and patient when shooting
  • Shaky hands make the video lesser quality

The 15 second Instagram Video

Benefits:

  • Filters for making the videos have that “instagram” feel
  • Ability to decrease the shake of the camera
  • Can do 15 seconds or less (more time to tell your story)
  • Easily integrates with multiple social networks including tumblr

Disadvantages:

Longer Form Video Content

YouTube

Benefits:

  • The length of content can be longer than 15 seconds
  • You can annotate the content to have CTAs
  • You can create SEO opportunities to lead to the content
  • You can create playlists for series of content
  • Largest location to search for video content

Disadvantages:

  • Not as simple as shoot and share

Questions on how to start your first video account for your brand? Reach out below and well do our best to answer.

Additional Reading:

 

 

3 Small Businesses who Kick a Little Butt in Mobile

Most businesses understand the importance of having marketing goals, a content strategy, and even a social media strategy. Unfortunately some forget that mobile needs to be considered along with each of these, whether it’s to amplify marketing goals, extend content legs onto mobile, and/or leverage social where people are (everywhere they are). Small businesses are not at a disadvantage; they have the same tools in their toolbox. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how small businesses are utilizing mobile to their retail and sales advantage.

Mobile Payment: Rebecca’s Cafe: Rebecca’s Cafe, a small little cafe at the bottom of my office building (with other locations too) has made it simpler for me to get my morning coffee, especially when I’m in a rush. Why scrounge to the bottom of my bag for my wallet, when I can whip out my Level Up app, since my cell is always in hand, and just click to pay within seconds. Rebecca’s Cafe has made it convenient for their customers to keep track of their payments, earn points for that free coffee, and spend less time hassling with their wallets.

Mobile Payment: Lori Magno: Lori Magno, a friend and jewelry artist, was quick to hop on the mobile payment wagon. She realized it was simpler to use Square on her iPad to make quick and easy credit card transactions when selling her amazing jewelry. It not only avoids the pesky “oh I don’t have any cash on me, ” or “I only have a credit” to “no problem, just swipe here,” to ensure she achieves her sales and doesn’t lose customers.

Responsive Design and Click to Call: Goldberg Law: Lane Goldberg of Goldberg Lawsaw the need of a mobile friendly website since most individuals are on the go and doing their research from their phones or tablets. It makes it easier for people to quickly look into what his law practice offers, hours of service, how to reach him easily and even dig deeper into his blog content. In addition, Lane made it even easier for people to contact him, by adding a “click to call” action button. Such a simple thing, but so many people forget that not allowing your phone number to clickable can be a hinderance to a phone call…and even more so, a potential customer.

These three businesses are three of many who are doing a great job at adapting to the mobile landscape.

A pro tip I advise when considering to enter mobile is that your business doesn’t need to do everything, but should prioritize what is most important to reach your audience, and for your audience to reach you.

 

Note this post was originally written for Socialnomics and my original post can be found here. 

Further Reading:

http://www.experiencedmg.com/4-examples-stellar-small-business-mobile-websites/

http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/06/savvy-businesses-say-yes-to-mobile.html

http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/06/20/5-ways-small-businesses-can-succeed-in-the-mobile-era/