Don’t Be Lazy with Your Social Media

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It’s easy to get a little lax during the summer, especially when the warm weather hits, and the patios are enticing you to come hang out. Just remember, your consumers are thinking the same thing. They’re excited for the summer, they want to drive to the beach, relax on their porches, have bbqs with their friends, and travel for the long weekends. So in-between your sunshine and beers, remember to be there for your consumers too.
Here are three approaches to consider as your brand engages with its audience across social:
1. It’s not about the social channels you have, it’s about what your audience is doing on those social channels this time of year. For example, they may be planning their summer adventure on Pinterest; capturing their new friendships on instagram, and/or tuning into the World Cup on Twitter. So what do you do about it? Engage with them in a way that’s conducive to their behaviors during this season and on that channel.
Tip: Don’t put out the exact same piece of content on every channel. #Lazy
2. Provide them with content that will help them get what they want and desire this summer. For example, if they’re looking for ways to enjoy their weekend, give them ideas and share your thoughts. No need to put your product/service on full display during that content messaging, but subtly demonstrate that your brand is more than just a product. It’s a brand that offers more and can be a daily (or regular) part of their lives — especially when the hot hazy summer days drop down upon us.  Be the brand they are excited to see content from as they’re on their long road trip killing time on their smartphone, swiping through instagram.
3. If you can’t do “real” time, plan ahead. Not every brand can monitor conversation 24 hours a day. Sometimes you have to plan for what’s going to be “popping” in social conversation. For example, we all know the World Cup is this month. Most brands have planned what types of conversations will occur, and will be ready to engage when that time comes. Another thing that happens every year is July 4th (oh yea, that awesome day with red, white and blue, and amazing patriotism, and yes bbqs too)…be ready for it in advance, but also allow for some day of changes to pop into conversation as news develops.
And while you’re sipping that beer, and laying on your hammock, just check in on your brand a few times here n’ there. You never know when that awesome opportunity to start a conversation (not just join) could be ripe for the picking.
Image Source: theprospect.net
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

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

5 Items to Test in your Brand’s Email Marketing Campaign

Most brands realize that when it comes to marketing, it’s vital to “test and learn, test and learn, and a  test and learn some more.” Split testing, or A/B testing, your marketing efforts is helpful for determining what practices are the most effective in reaching your goals.

Let’s take one marketing example to  apply how this would work: email marketing.

Five items to consider testing when investing in email marketing efforts:

  1. Subject Lines: If your email has an offer, or a newsletter, or a blog post – consider testing different subject lines to see which ones get more open rates. For example consider tweaking the subject lines for personalization, region, or just persuasive verbage. TIP: keep it under 50 characters.
  2. Images: Consider two different images in the email body to which ones may help persuade the reader to click through to the content. For example is it an individual in the image or the product that helps persuade the reader to click through or perform your call to action.
  3. Opening Paragraphs: Most individuals preview emails in their inbox before opening which includes the first couple sentences of the opening paragraph of the email. Focus on making these two sentences the most appealing and reiterating the subject line in some shape or form to reinforce why they looked in the first place.

To read my other 3 items to test which include opening paragraphs, CTAs, and the day and times to send out the emails, read my full post on Startup Fashion.

Image Source: http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2012/03/23/10-reasons-your-business-should-use-email-marketing/

Follow: These Steps to Successfully Market Your Event

Have you ever been to a trade show or a promotional event and you just knew that brand had not prepared enough? Don’t let yourself be that brand. Two words: Plan Ahead.

When it comes to online and offline events, online event marketing is key to success in order to engage your audience pre-event, during the event, and even after the event.

EVENT MARKETING written on blackboard background high resolution

Use your social media presence, your online prowess, and your awesome marketing team to succeed at marketing your event.

Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, you name it…

You know the age old saying, “be where your audience is”… if your audience is engaging with you heavily on Facebook or Twitter, why not help promote your event to them there? Start early and update as the event approaches with new tidbits they may want to know.

Do you have a cool speaker? Special giveaways? An early bird entry fee? Your audience wants to know! And don’t forget a fun branded hashtag to corral the conversation so you can listen in and so can your followers. That hashtag can be used before during and after the event in order to keep the conversation flowing and get a larger audience to over hear what an awesome event your brand is having.

Event Page(s)

Why pay when you can leverage free offerings. Eventbrite allows for advance planning of events, social media integration, ticket fees and more; a great way for people to easily purchase tickets or sign up for an event online or through their mobile app.

Best part – you can keep track of sign-ups as they happen and alert the attendees as needed.

To learn about the 3 other necessary steps to successfully market your event, check out my full post on Startup Fashion. And leave comments below with questions!

 

Five Ways to Utilize Data to Improve Marketing

Your marketing team should be relying on data to see what’s working, what could use improvement, and what should be squashed as an approach. Data may seem intimidating, but it can also be a marketer’s best friend. How? Keep reading!

1. Referral Sites

It’s important to monitor analytics in order to see which sites are the best referral sources for your website. Keep track of your top ten. For example, is your blog one of your best referral sites? Then maybe you should be beefing up your blog even more in order to improve its performance as a top referral source. Are some of these sites ones where you guest posted or advertised? Continue to do so, as these can be great avenues for your potential customers to find you, visit your site to lean more, and hopefully one day convert into actual leads and customers.

Furthermore, if your blog or another site isn’t in your top ten list and you were hoping it would be, you should figure out why it isn’t working and re-work that strategy. Or perhaps admit that it isn’t working for your target audience, and focus on the channels that are working to refer potential customers to you.
Keep readying about my 4 other ways you can kick ass in marketing with data — by clicking the link below for my full post on the Hubspot blog!
Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/27424/5-Ways-to-Instantly-Improve-Marketing-With-Data.aspx

 

Myth Buster: Social Media is Free

Many individuals who are just getting into the game of social media have heard social media is free or cheap due to the fact that many platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are free to sign up for and maintain on a daily basis. Free to sign-up, but not exactly free to maintain.

“A significant 58% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week and 34% are 11 or more hours weekly. It’s interesting to note that 15% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media.” (2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Social Media Examiner)

As the old adage says, “time is money” and time is not free. Marketers who want to increase brand awareness and engagement do not spend just 10 minutes here or there Tweeting and posting. They take the time to listen to what people are saying regarding their brand, what the competition is saying, what consumers are saying regarding the competition, and more. Then they take the time to respond, question, and comment in a relevant manner.

“Those with more years of social media experience spend more time each week conducting social media activities. For example, 63% of people with 3 or more years of experience spend more than 10 hours a week doing social media activities.Only 41% of those with 1 to 3 years experience spend that much time.” (2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Social Media Examiner)

Conversation in social media is not an overnight success like winning the lottery. It takes time, effort, and in turn money, spent on the people who “manage” the brand online. Those with experience in digital marketing realize the more time and effort spend in social, the greater the reward. Newbies, take note.

This was post was originally written for Socialnomics.

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. 

Interview: Julia Roy of Manilla

During SXSW in Austin, Texas Julia Roy, VP of Marketing at Manilla, and I took some time during brunch (and yummy bloody mary’s) to chat about her new career and why consumers should check out the cool and useful online application.

ME:  Why did you choose to work for Manilla?

JULIA:  I wanted to go back into the start-up world and do something that I really believed in. The app is something I would personally use and it adds tremendous value to people’s lives. I also wanted to see something from the ground up. Up until Manilla I had worked with some very big brands, and they already have a presence online. So you would normally augment whatever kind of sentiment and things they are already implementing. BUT, when you are at a start-up like Manilla, you have to strategize how you would use social to take a brand from “nothing” to “something” – I wanted to tackle that challenge.

ME:  For the readers out there, tell us why they should check out Manilla.

JULIA:  It would save you a lot of time! Right now you spend a lot of time managing your bills and it is a large consumer problem. Some people have a range of twenty different accounts including banks, credit cards, travel, rewards, and subscriptions. You get some in mail, some in email and with all the different ways you receive and pay bills, you can easily lose track. For example, you could have gotten this trip to SXSW for free if you  kept track of points! In short, Manilla helps you keep track. It’s not a social network but a personal application to help you manage your accounts.

ME:  And it’s free for consumers?

JULIA: : Yes Free!

ME:  That’s awesome. And we consumers definitely like Free. Could you explain more about the customizable options and capabilities for consumers?

JULIA:  It’s very customizable for user ease with reminders however far apart you want. You can also add your own accounts and Manilla will have any of those available for you. In addition if you don’t see one you use such as a store credit card, we can build that account as needed and/or on request. Typically we can build any request within a week.

ME:  Since I am a social media geek and I know you are too, how are you utilizing social media for Manilla?

JULIA:  We are using social for customer service and engagement. We are mainly focusing on Facebook and Twitter to start with. For instance, we don’t have a lot of video content yet, so YouTube is not a focus for us. The point is to make brand “real” and it’s a large challenge for a company like Manilla because we manage very personal information and in turn must be professional and build trust first on social networks.

Social is also a conduit to make sure we are responding to people talking about our brand and engage with them. We also run contests and promotions such as the 5K to people who sign up for the beta version!

ME:  5K? I want. I want!

JULIA: Continues to ease her mouth which is on fire from the bloody mary’s.

ME: So if you had to pick one tool you couldn’t live without when handling Manilla, what would it be?

JULIA:  CoTweet because it makes managing convos so much easier! Like Manilla manages your accounts, CoTweet manages my social.

ME: Going back to Manilla and it’s sheer awesomeness with convenience and organization – what is the one thing consumers should know about its advantage and asset?

JULIA: It will get you “Sys-te-matized!”

ME: Chuckling. Systematized?

JULIA: Yes! Manilla helps you get systematized! Psychologically all these bills and items to pay can crowd your mind and inhibit your ability to enjoy and relax. So Manilla helps you organize so you can relax and know Manilla is doing it for you.

ME: I like it!

The interview wrapped up with “cheers” over our bloody mary’s and a fabulous brunch. I definitely suggest each of you to check out Manilla for yourself. If you ever have any questions, definitely hit up @mymanilla for the answers!

10 Branding & Marketing Tips from “Mad Men”

I have recently become obsessed with the show Mad Men and watched Seasons One through Four in about a month. Crazy? No! Dedicated? Yes! While watching the well written, directed, and addicting show, I couldn’t help but relate it to my life and career in marketing. Here are a few of things I took away from the show…

(1) Just because you think the slogan/pitch is awesome, does not mean it is. It takes practice (and many errors) to get things fine-tuned and “awesome.”

(2) Don Draper is the Man.

(3) Having your brand featured on Mad Men is kickass brand exposure and awareness.

(4) Losing a large brand, could potentially lead to losing other brands unless you react and turn the situation around quickly.

(5) If the story is making your brand look bad – change the story.

(6) Traditional Media can still be effective if used well.

(7) “Sex sells.”

(8) How your consumer views your brand may not be the same way you view your brand.

(9) If you are a secretary on Mad Men you will get laid and/or married.

(10) An efficient and creative marketing/Ad team is not only important, but essential.

And did I mention, Don Draper is the Man?!