Top 5 Discoveries (Going Digital) in 2015

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2015 has been an interesting year. It is an exciting time to be in marketing. There is so much happening and it really feels more like a sprint than a jog. Clients want more. Management wants more. Employees want more. Everyone is looking at data from their own perspective and in the end it will take vision, planning and collaboration to understand how complex this process is and how critical it is to insure that data processes are designed to be much simpler to allow for more flexibility and rapid growth in the future.

Here is a list of my top 5 discoveries in 2015

(1) Create and share content – The only way content can be successful is if it is shared and received. Social media channels are great channels to use for sharing content. In addition, it is also critical that information is shared  through other industry sites and/or liked to from other websites. Creating content that is valuable is the key.

(2) Linkedin – The best place to establish a presence with other professionals. The Linkedin Blogging Tool is powerful because it helped people share content with other connections and gets people much needed exposure for their message. In addition, Linkedin Pulse also looks at posted content and makes determination if the content warrants future exposure on the Pulse Network. Writing content that goes viral on Linkedin is awesome.

(3) Hubspot – A great software package that really looks at the visitors that are coming to your site and how to best capture their interest and ultimately get them to do business with you. The process is not as hard as you might think and the supporting reports are really informational and help marketers focus their time in areas where they can find the most success.

(4) Going Digital – This year I have read a number of books and articles on digital marketing and digital as a management strategy. Looking at digital from a high level, really gives you a better perspective of where you currently are with respect to managing data and where you need to be in the future.

(5) Updating Website Content – This year, I am in the process of overhauling some website pages and adding data that could add more value down the road. Have you ever considered taking the questions which clients have asked you, regarding your services and putting that information on your website? I created a FAQ Page and it has really generated a lot of traffic and alot of great keyword search related results because of the niche type of questions being addressed. In addition, I have worked on cleaning up sites to make them more simple in design to help facilitate a better mobile experience as well.

My advice to you is the following:

Work with the people you come in contact with. Make sure client service teams and account managers have the best information and processes available to them. Start by making a list of their needs. Once you have received this list, find ways to combine and consolidate lists to create formal digital projects.

Think like a radical customer. Don’t just build something to meet their needs or make little 10% gains. Look for ways to make big differences or 110% gains.

Find good examples of how companies have found success in the digital age and see if you can learn something from these experiences.

Work on a plan today if you have not already to see where you need to go with respect to building a digital company. You will quickly see how complicated the process is in the beginning. Take the time and map out your vision, you will start to see things more clearly and will be able to work towards a goal that will benefit not only your customers, but the people in your company.

The return on this investment is more phone calls, more emails, more client questions which translate to more new accounts, return business and increased revenue.

The conditions are right for you and your company to make a breakthrough, the key is to consistently work at this process day in and day out to see the results.

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Stop Retweeting – Seriously!

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Twitter RetweetDo you want a better experience on Twitter? Stop retweeting! 

Check out your home feed and you will see someone retweeted someone else’s comments. Why did they do that? What are they trying to tell me by retweeting? What is the point?

Look at the example image. Last night there was a great College World Series Game.  I’ve been attending the College World Series for over 30 years having lived here in Omaha most of my life. I was rooting for the underdog, Virginia. Virginia overcame injuries, poor regular season, opening series loss and more. Did you get that message from my retweet?

I guess my point is retweets are the thing to do on Twitter. In fact, with all the changes Twitter has made, it is sometimes hard to do anything else but retweet another person’s comments.

A few months ago, I made a conscious effort to stop retweeting so much. It was out of control for me and I wasn’t seeing any return from retweeting other people’s comments other than being a part of a larger group who were also retweeting the same comments.

Start Commenting More 

Now, I take a little more time and I copy/paste the article link and associated people mentioned and I add a short comment like the following, ” A must read for marketers”, “A good perspective”, “You should read this” , “Excellent article”  These short comments give people perspective on why you are mentioning their work.

In the beginning it bothered me because sometimes I would add the RT and sometimes I would leave it out. I am over that. People like to be mentioned and appreciate kind words much more than someone just retweeting their work with out a reason.

A few final tips

Don’t start a tweet with @username. Start with some text or a period in front of @username. You will get more visibility

  • When a Tweet starts with a @username, the only users who will see it in their timeline (other than the sender and the recipient) are those who follow both the sender and the recipient. Source: Twitter Help Center

Tweets retweeted by other people:  Source: Twitter Help Center

  • You can see Retweets your followers have retweeted in your home timeline.
  • Retweets, like regular Tweets, will not show up from people you’ve blocked.

Tweets you have retweeted:  Source: Twitter Help Center

  • If you retweet someone you follow, it will be visible on your profile timeline.
  • If you retweet someone you do not follow, it will be visible on both your home and profile timelines.

Did any of those statements make sense to you? I am sure some of you are more confused and others of you already knew this. It can be confusing and there are a number of rules that people are unaware of that are actually preventing them from having more influence.

Best Advice 

1) Start your tweet out with some text, not a @username

2) Don’t retweet – consider commenting. Take time and copy/paste link and names associated with the tweet and start a better conversation.

3) Be different than all the rest! People will notice your work as a result of these steps and you will be able to use your time on Twitter in a more effective manner.

A Simple but Effective Storefront Tip

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Visitor ParkingWhen you are meeting someone at their company, it is always a challenge to find a parking place close to the building.

What if you extended an invitation to your clients and actually invited them to park as close to your office as you could. Think about it. Today, many businesses reserve parking spots for handicapped or pregnant mothers. This is great and it does provide a very important service to these people.

However, what about your day-to-day clients? A few years ago, I suggested that our clients should get the prime parking spots at our company and not our top executives.

It is amazing what a difference this small change has made for our company in several ways.

  • We can now recognize our clients and guests and greet them appropriately as they enter our company doors.
  • This simple act made it easier for our clients to bring in their samples to be analyzed.
  • Our guests save time by not having to find a parking spot and they can come in and leave at their convenience.
  • It helps insure they will come back and it makes coming back more routine with less distractions.

I know this little approach may seem trivial, but overall I can show you statistics that show that the number of  clients, (new and returning) have substantially increased since we installed these reserved parking signs three years ago.

Parking SpacesIf you look at the customer experience through the eyes of your customer, you might also start seeing ways to improve their overall experience.

Consider reserving some parking spaces for your clients and see if it makes a difference for your company. You might be surprised at the outcome!

Moving to Another Level on Social Media

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another level on social mediaWhen I first started with social media, I was all about the follower counts on Twitter. I quickly learned that there were tools out there that could help me build a strong follower count very quickly. I quickly built follower counts over +20,000 on my personal account and 7,000 om my company account. The truth was, this was all a big waste of time. Even though numbers went up, the fact was no one cared about the information I shared, except for a few people. Those few people became the best connections I could have and they represented 1-5% of the total follower group. In addition, I was connecting with people, lets just say, if you saw them in person, you would never connect with them.

Next, I thought it was about having a presence on all social media platforms. I was on Twitter, Linkedin, GooglePlus, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Vine, Foursquare and Medium. Having a presence on social media is important, but trying to have a presence on many platforms is not a smart idea and it leads to a very diluted message that no one really saw or understood.  I learned that most of my clients are on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Each platform is a bit different and has its pros and cons, but it is much easier to manage time on a few sites than spreading a message over several platforms. I also try to have a presence on GooglePlus, because its Google and its important for me to be in the loop with what Google is doing.

Most of the information above is probably something you already knew if you have been working with social media platforms over the past few years. Here are the other items that have been difference makers for me and I see these attributes in some of the super people I connect with on these sites.

Make sure you have a Blog Site!
You need to maintain your own blog site on your own property. This is really critical. People need to be able to find you and your company and know that your  information can be found outside of social media platforms. This site needs to be updated on a regular basis and it needs to be mobile friendly.

Get Two ID’s – One Personal/Professional and One Company 
Take the time to setup two separate accounts. You need to build up your personal brand and your company brand. Hopefully, the company id can be managed by a trusted representative in your company. People need to see that your company brand is active online. The company brand should have its own id on social media platforms and its own blog site. Also, consider setting up your own personal blog site and presence on social media. I prefer to lean towards being professional with a little personal items thrown in from time to time. The value here, is that people start making the connection of you as a person and you as a company representative. When people combine the two, it can send a confusing message about the company and the person, especially if the conversation gets personal and negative. Protect yourself and use two id’s.

Share other people’s content and add your thoughts 
Too often, people like or retweet other people’s articles and that is all. Be different and take the time to tell people why you retweeted an article. Share your own comments about the article and show the writer and others that you really feel this article has valuable information. I really believe this is where the next level of social media is going. Providing recognition is really important in today’s world. Sharing comments is a way of showing others that the information you are reading is credible.

Social media and content marketing are coming together. You need both to have a successful experience. You need great content that is worth sharing and you need to know how to share that content online in a way that you can easily be found and heard. If you are not seeing results with your social media efforts, it may be time to step up  your game. Stop doing some things and start doing other things.

Picture Source: Pixabay