Marketing Strategy – Social Media Example

Marketing StrategyCheck out this video about marketing strategy. It gives a great overview of how you should think with respect to your marketing initiatives. If you break it down, the process is really quite simple.

Where to Play and How to Win

Building on this video and applying it to Social Media I will tell you how I think:

Where to Play
Our company has limited the platforms to Linkedin, Twitter, GooglePlus and a little Facebook.

How to Win
We use a content strategy as indicated in a prior post, Is Content Marketing a Waste of Time. In addition, it really helps to start with content on a blog page or company website.

Finding ways to be different than your competitors is the key. What I am finding is if your company posts content on a regular basis, you are already providing a service that most of your competition is not doing.

Producing the right content is a huge advantage. This means sharing quality information for our company and wrtiing about topics that only a few people might be interested in. There is too much general information out there.

Being transparent. Many companies do not list names of their employees or their phone or address information on their website. Also, listing price information is also a differential factor. Many people purchase items like cars for example by comparing features and prices online. From here, they take that information with them to the auto showrooms because they have done their homework first.

Client Service. – I can’t stress how important servicing clients is, but it can make all the difference.

This is a short list, what other items would you add?

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Is Content Marketing a Waste of Time?

content marketingMany articles these days are coming down on content marketing because most people see it only in a siloed process. Many experts are now saying that too many companies are mass-producing content that has no value with respect to information.

The problem with these articles is that the whole article looks at content as a bunch of words with an SEO focus. Other articles talk about content should be “quality” content with fewer articles and more thought and care being put into the content.

The underlying problem is not enough information is written on the whole process. When the process is in place, content marketing is very effective and it can lead to a lot of business for companies. More articles should be written on the entire process instead of looking only at the topic of words and content.

In this article we will look at the whole process and hopefully, you will start to see content marketing in a new light.

Content Marketing – Create, Distribute, Service

Content marketing should be the starting point after you have done the following:

  • Developed your target market
  • Decided upon the type of content that resonates with your readers. (This takes planning, action and reevaluation)
  • Identified the resources to see it through

Create

Creating content usually works best from someone who can see the big picture. Ideally, an executive who has access to operations, sales staff, client service staff and other middle managers is the best person to create content. This person can identify targets to write specific content for. The higher this person is in the company, the more credibility this content is valued.

Distribute

You need people who can take the information created and get it to the identified markets. This process can be done traditionally through trade show marketing, direct mail, phone calls, visits to current clients/prospective clients and invitations to tour your own company, (Very popular, Very Transparent and effective)

In addition, email and social media channels can also help with getting the message out to others. Twitter, GooglePlus, Linkedin and Facebook are good places to start. Pinterest, Slideshare and Instagram are other channels. Finding quality resources for distribution is the key. People still interact with people.

Service

This area is often overlooked, but is vital. Client service is the key to content creation and distribution coming together. People interact best with people. These people need to understand your company and need to serve client needs through product/service knowledge. In addition, issues arise and these people are vital to resolving client issues and developing strategies to help insure those issues do not occur in the future.

Content Marketing works if you look at the whole process. Don’t believe the experts who think it is a waste of time. In the end, you need to get clients and content marketing is one approach that can work well if the pieces are in place.

Own Your Platform

Own your own platformGoogle is changing things up. GooglePlus needs to be connected to YouTube which needs to be connected to Google Places. If you have two gmail accounts, you might want to think about getting down to one. Google does not like duplicate content and wants to make sure a “named person” is tied to an email account. If one of these areas is broke, so goes your Google Ranking on Search. Believe me, I know. I liked to separate business and personal, but not anymore. In fact, Google wants to tie you to your work too.

Facebook wants you to buy advertising. If your company posts are getting about 20 – 50 views a day, you are doing very well. Forget about your message being seen by millions of viewers unless you want to associate your name with any person on Facebook. Not a good strategy.

Twitter is trying to get you to buy advertising or post more and get retweeted more so your tweets stand out. Trouble is, even if you worked at it for 8 hours a day, you still might not build up enough juice on Twitter to get noticed.

My advice – Go back to your own property, (website, blog site) and build up your content there and add some cool graphics or videos. Tell people about your property on social media and redirect people back to your site. From here, get them to connect with you via phone, email, online comment.

You can only control what you build and own. If Facebook, Twitter or GooglePlus went away tomorrow, would you still have content to work with or would you have to start over from scratch. I see too many people abandoning their websites for a chance to possibly make it big on one of these platforms. This is a very risky position to be in. Spend more time on your own sites and let the social media platforms fight it out for the best user experience.

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SmartPhone Marketing – Its Here

mobile marketingThe biggest distraction or opportunity might be right in front of our face. Can you go to any public place and not see someone holding, talking or typing some message on one of these devices.

In 2014, I have noticed the number of hits from these devices has increased dramatically. People are spending more time on their mobile devices and less time on their  computers and laptops.

What does this mean for marketers? Somehow, someway we need to get our message on people’s devices. I have asked people what they look at the most and I’ve heard the following: Games, Email and Social Media Sites. Developing a good, sustainable app is really hard. Believe me, it took me a couple of years to come up with a good concept.

What I have learned is the following?

Email lists and subscriptions are huge. If you can send regular messages to people, you are a step ahead of others.

Websites – Mobile View  – -Look at your site and make it more simple to read. Consider increasing the size of your font. Don’t assume people know how to make sites more viewable on devices.

Send email messages to people you meet after face-to-face contact or on a regular basis.

Post a little more on social media sites. It could be another way to keep your message on people’s devices.

Get on Google Analytics and monitor more. You will be able to see if people are finding you and your company on their mobile devices. You want to see a trend upward in mobile usage.

Find ways to also do the following:
(Tips for Results)

  • Keep your messages short for quick, easy reading
  • Highlight text to draw attention
  • Use bullets to organize information
  • Use pictures to convey your point!
  • Use url links to help direct your reader to the next place

Mobile marketing is not some program you buy or new advertising.

It is all about:

Attention Getting Messages
A Quick Read
Getting a Return Value

Now, start your mobile marketing plan today!

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

Advocate Building – The Next Marketing Trend in 2014

Advocate MarketingAdvocate Connecting – I think this will be the next big idea in marketing. The focus the last few years has beeen focused on engagement, follower/like counts and content marketing.

Every company needs clients to stay in business. This should always be a goal to attract and retain clients.

Now, companies more than ever need advocates.

Client Advocates (A+) – These are people who understand what your company does and what it stands for. They know this because they are very familiar with your products/services and they value their relationship.

Networked Professional Advocates (A) – These people connect with you via profession, organization, social media. These people want to be connected to great people at companies. These people may not directly buy products/services but they want to remain in contact and learn more about your company.

Friend/Family Advocates (A) – These people are always important. It is always good for people to have a general idea of what your company does and your particular role at the company. These people like to tell good stories about your business and are proud of being associated with someone in the business.

These different type of advocates can be found in a number of places:

  • Networking Events, Conferences
  • Social Media – (Facebook-Friends), (Linkedin- Professionals)
  • Community Events, Church, School
  • Industry Leaders, Key Contacts – Mayor, Congressional Representatives, State Representatives, Local/National Personalities

Advocate building will be the next big trend in marketing. It is time to recognize who these people are and make sure they are well aware of your company and the products/services it provides.

It is another metric to work toward that can easily be identified and communicated with on a regular basis.

What are your thoughts!

Followers or Advocates

Social Media AdvocatesSocial media has really taught me the difference between these two words. Let me take you back a second.

When I first started learning about social media and trying to use it as a way to reach people, I was all about numbers. My goal was to prove some type of ROI for my efforts. I purchased software that drove up my follower counts on Twitter. I quickly had over 20,000 followers. At the same time, I decided I wanted everyone to be my friend on Facebook so I could invite them to my company page. It worked very well, I was growing my company page by 10-20 people a day.

I had numbers, but these numbers were not translating into new clients or increased traffic to our company website. In addition, most of these followers were people I really did not want to engage with or follow. These people were simply numbers.

Now, I had quite a mess. My Facebook page was full of disgusting posts and pictures of people I did not know. My family was a bit embarrased and asked me who these people were. On Twitter, I got tired of all the crappy tweets that I stepped back and really wasnt that excited about logging on to Twitter.

This is really what can happen if you are all about numbers. Numbers are nice, but they do not tell the whole story.

Since this time, I have done the following: cleaned up my twitter account and followed fewer people. I am in control of who I follow and I want the best people, not just another random person. By taking this approach I have now built a group of advocates. As a result, my information gets looked at more and I actually take more or an interest in what these people are saying online. This is where the value on Twitter is. Twitter is a place for listening and a place for informing others. I have found if I listen more and respond to the higher quality information, I will see more results on Twitter and in other places: phone calls, new accounts, inquiries, and contacts at conferences.

Another area that has really taken off for me is Linkedin. If my goal is to connect professionally, why wouldn’t I spend more time on this platform then Facebook. It just makes good sense.

Now where is all this going…

I believe we are not that far away from going to another level. This level will be connecting with advocates. The terms of likes and pluses will be gone. Advocates are where people need to move to. We need to connect personally with others and let them know we are not that far away by keeping in contact with them.

Trust is going to be a a huge topic and people are going to quickly get tired of the “noise on social media“. Why not start today and contact those people who may/may not be clients necessarily, but good advocates. These people know who you are, what you do and what you stand for.

photo credit: ScoRDS via photopin ccSocial Media Advocates

Organic Search Traffic is Growing

Organic Search TrafficOver the past few weeks I have noticed an increase in web traffic that is being generated through organic search. More people are searching for information and have found our company site for that particular information. This particular content could be current or old. In fact, I am seeing a resurgence in people looking back at content I posted 2 – 3 years ago.

This information tells me that search is still vital as a part of the entire online marketing strategy. The key to this process working was the fact I never gave up creating content on our company blog site. The process takes time, but the good news is if you make the investment to put your content on your company webiste/blog site, you can see that hard work pay off in subsequent years. Try doing that with paid advertising or posting a tweet or information on Facebook.

It also shows another key element. If you want to be an authority on a particular topic, you need to revisit that information and continue to add more facts and information on that content.

Today, the focus is on content marketing in the present, but I would tell you, if you continue to write valued content on a particular topic over a longer period of time, you will see how this process can help serve your needs not only now, but well into the future.

In addition, don’t be scared off by Google’s recent [secured search] tactic. Look at the landing page data and see what type of content people are going to. Also, look at search queries. Lots of valuable information there to help you look for content trends and find content that readers are finding through organic search.

Don’t give on organic search content just yet. I see a whole new shift toward more organic content in the future.

News and Social Media

Social Media and The MediaThis year it seems we can’t go a day without a murder story, a shock-factor story or someone making inappropriate comments.

The second part of this happens to be social media. After the story is released, someone always says the following, “after news was released, the word quickly spread on social media platforms and it was the topic of conversation”. (This is the new word-of-mouth) Right or wrong, the media is always reporting that news traveled quickly over social media.

Social Media has become the communication device as well as the choice of distribution for “breaking news”.

Now, once in awhile a good news story will be reported and it will spread over the social media, but this type of news is definitely in the minority compared to the other news stories.

Stick to content and be careful about writing news information!

Talking about controversial issues or stating opinions on company blog sites is risky at best and should really be discouraged. Write about inofrmation that adds value to people’s lives. Tell more good stories! (This is very rare) Talk about topics that no one else is talking about. (This is a great way to get your content noticed) Be interesting and give people some information to remember.

This type of content may rarely go viral, but is that such a bad thing. Knowing your readers and giving them valued information should always be your goal.

 

Social Media Marketing – The Big Picture

Social Media Marketing 2104If you only read one article today, please read this article:

Marketing Should Drive More Than Just Awareness – April 30, 2014by Forbes Writer Daniel Newman

It is one of the best articles I have read on the subject of social media marketing and what your goals and objectives should be.

The article really gets at the point of how marketing has really gotten away from measuring results and is looked only at building awareness. It is much more!

This article has so many good points and I have reread it several times today.

Take a couple of minutes and read it. It’s one of the best articles you will read on this topic in 2014

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Narrow Your Audience

Narrow Your AudienceIf you want success on social media, follow fewer people and become more successful. It sounds a bit backwards and a number of social media experts would vehemently disagree with me and this approach.

The truth is I really do not want to follow everyone on Twitter that I come in contact with. I want to follow people for three reasons:

Connect Professionally – Other Marketers, Execs and CEOs
Connect via Industry – Agriculture, Environmental, Food, Feed and Fuel
Connect with Interesting People – Geeks, Inventors, Rising Executives, Young People, Mentors, Managers, Strong Valued People

When you make this decision, you really stop worrying about counts and you see the real benefits to using social media. Obviously some platforms are also better than others. I generally use Linkedin, Twitter and GooglePlus, (trying). Facebook for me is more about personal relationships and friends.

The results of this process are evident in the kind of phone calls, web inquiries and general conversations I have with people on a daily basis. I don’t get 1,000 phone calls or 5,000 hits to my website. What I typically get is about 10 phone calls inquiring about sales, 30-50 web hits from people representing some of the companies and industries I want to do business with.

Which would you rather have: A higher Klout score, 10 – 30 new followers a day or more of the “right” people contacting you and inquiring about doing business with you.

I know this process may seem like a backwards approach to you and many social media people will argue with my approach, but in the end I would rather be measuring dollars and cents versus likes and followers.

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Are you in position for the next “big” opportunity?

OpportunityThis is a good exercise to go through. Imagine a client who could bring you all kinds of business a the drop of a hat.

Now imagine that client just walked in the door and told you that he/she would like to move all their business to your company.

What type of reaction would you have? Initially, you might react like you just won the lottery. Then reality might sit in and you might say to yourself, oh my, we have a ton of work to do if we are going to be able to service this account.

My advice to you, start planning today for this ideal client. This is the difference between a proactive company and a reactive company. Where do you want to take your company into the future. What processes would you need to have in place to meet the needs of a “big” opportunity. Start prioritizing and working toward meeting the needs of your future, ideal client.

  • Get your production process in order,
  • Look at your current quality of employees and determine which employees will help you in the future.
  • Look at ways to improve client service, be ready to go to market

You never know when someone may be coming to your door with the big offer.

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Follow us on Social Media – No

Follow Me on Social MediaThis is the new form of advertising…You see signs and ads everywhere.

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Like us on Instagram

This type of advertising is very inefficient in my opinion. I see these signs like “sales” signs because companies finally getting in the social media game are trying to get people to go to their social media sites.

Companies who have figured out how to use social media effectively start with a product. That product is “valued information”. If you can provide valued information and communicate that to people who want that information, you have succeeded. The trick is understanding how to best know what your clients need.

A better phrase for companies to use would be.

“We are listening and sharing company insights on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram”

Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Can you imagine if people actually knew they had a voice and your company cared about what they thought. I go back to the original phrase of “Follow us on Social Media”. What value is there for the client by simply following. You need to give them a reason.

In addition, remember social media is not the end-all, be all destination. Social media is a channel, plain and simple.

Try this simple change and start telling people why you want them to follow instead of asking them to follow you. You will clear up a lot of confusion with respect to the way you use social media.

Annoying Smartphone Users

annoying smartphoneToday, everyone wants to look important with their smartphone and show how important they are. Frankly, it is making me a bit sick. Smartphones are the cool technology of today, but people are quickly becoming increasingly annoyed by the people using them. The trouble as I see it is people are being controlled more and more by their devices.

Some examples I see of people using their smartphone that makes me puke:

  • Make sure to leave their phone ringer on..So we can all hear that familiar “Android” word
  • Leave meetings to show how important a particular call is
  • Pulling out smartphone in middle of a discussion to text someone
  • Taking pictures of different items around them, to show people how they can use a camera
  • People bending down to look at their stomach to hopefully not bring attention to the fact that they are texting

What these items might be communicating to others

  • That person really gets a lot of personal calls
  • The phone is more important then our face-to-face meeting
  • That person really likes to bring attention to himself
  • Who is that person texting? Is it really that important

If you are leading a meeting and feel distracted, try the following.

  • Ask people to take out their cell phone and put it on the desk in front of them. It is amazing how people feel uncomfortable knowing that people can now see them reaching for their phone.
  • Tell people if the phone goes off in the middle of the meeting, we will stop the meeting and play “name that ringtone” or “name that tune, if it is a song”  People quickly silence their phones for rear of embarrassment.

Cell Phone Etiquette

Use your cell phone in the following ways:

  • If you are expecting an important call and you are with a client or an internal meeting, let everyone know before the meeting begins so they know that the call is really important. If you don’t want to make this announcement, then be courteous and look at your phone after the meeting.
  • Make sure your smartphone is always on vibrate when you are at work.
  • First thing, in the morning, tell the people you text the most during the day that you have a day full of meetings and you will not be checking your text messages. (This could save you a lot of embarrassment outside of work.
  • Find ways to be different.  Leave your phone in your pocket and jacket and learn more from others. Pretty soon, people will be too busy to share. We are headed there.
  • Carry an ipad or tablet and use it to take notes instead of your smartphone. (More accepting and looks better professionally)
  • If you need to always be looking at your phone go to your local airport or home and chances are you will have all kinds of time to look at your phone.

Whether we like it or not, smart phones are becoming another item that is consuming our time. Find a balance and start by using “real communication” instead of being controlled by your device. It really starts here!

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Brand Updates

Brand UpdatesWelcome to the world of continual updates and version changes.

It started with the introduction of Windows: Remember Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows NT, Windows 98, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8. I am sure I missed one somewhere in there. Now we are up to 5C or 5S on iPhone.

If you are not growing or updating your latest version, you could be dying.

People today, like to have the most current technology release and this concept is rapidly spreading to products like shoes, cars and fast-food with new sandwich introductions or meal items.

Businesses are taking it a bit further and growing through acquisition and changing their brand name as a result of that transaction. For the long-term small business, these type of updates are also necessary.

Your job as a marketer is to make sure your brand is seen as an innovative, current and always building on technology and process improvement. This task can be done through many different types of processes like the following:

  • brand name change
  • physical look change
  • updated equipment/fixturs
  • new marketing materials
  • more active approach on social media
  • introduce a new mobile phone app

My advice, start today and list some goals and strategies with respect to your brand. Think about the following concepts as you create your goals.

  • more brand exposure
  • become known more for a new technology
  • more sales
  • target a specific type of client
  • create an overall new image

Updates and new versions, the new way that people evaluate companies to see if they are growing or dying. Is this topic important to you and your company? It might be one of those differentiating factors that you need to be looking more closely at.

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A New Voice Mail Message Tip

ice Mail Message TipI can’t believe how powerful this one little change has been.

Let me ask you,

“Would you rather leave a message on someone’s voice mail or call them back at a later time?”

Voice mail is now almost a turnoff because of the delay in people getting back to us. Also, many voice mail messages are simply sales calls which ask the receiving person to call back. I have found from my experience that these type of calls, get a very low priority.

Isn’t it time to move voice mail into the current technology?

If you have a voice mail message at your office, I would suggest the following:

Provide a welcome greeting, tell people to leave you a message and also give people the option to send you an email. YES EMAIL!  Give people your email address in your message and spell it out so there is no confusion on how to send a message to you.

Through this process, I have been able to get people to send me emails which provide more detailed information, provide return contact information and I can get back to them in a much more productive manner. In addition, I have cut down on the number of voice mail messages I receive. This can be welcome news to those of you who are on the phone quite a bit.

I really believe this method is so successful because it is so different than the dry, boring voice mail messages that we typically we receive and people respond better to something new and refreshing.

Try it!

Servicing Clients – Faster and Faster

Faster Client ServiceThis is the way business is headed. Can you keep up with your client’s demands? If you can’t, they have many choices and they might leave. Keeping clients is now harder than ever. People are not as patient as they used to be and if they don’t like something that you are currently doing, they are quick to jump to one of your competitors.

Ok – Now take a deep breath. We may feel this on certain days, but the reality is this example is playing out more and more. This type of scenario really puts a lot of stress on your workforce with today’s resource constraints. It is a constant battle. Smaller businesses see this happening a lot and no one, workers or managers wants to go through a recession or see sales drop.

To help me get through these type of situations, I go back to client surveys.I look at what clients value most: values like speed, quality, service or price. Once I do a little more research into these areas, I look for ways to improve our current offerings based on these values. 

In addition, I seek employee feedback. Some of the best ideas come from discussing these topics with employees. Being a team requires listening at all levels. Getting input and establishing strong relationships with your staff is a necessity today.

Those companies that can service clients’s needs faster than their competition will be the leaders in their industries. The best approach is getting feedback, both external and internal. If you service your clients’ needs internally and externally, you will be successful. The trick is making it a priority everyday.

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Break Through Today on Twitter

Break Through on TwitterDo you think Twitter is still something for kids or only a few people. I want to introduce you to an app that really blows the lid off the whole idea that Twitter is just another social media app. Twazzup – Check it out! It will help you become a better person on Twitter.

Twazzup has so many cool features and the best part is that it is free and it has so much flexibility

You can type in key words and instantly see the following:

  1. How many tweets per hour on this topic
  2. Top people talking about these key words
  3. Top url links shared on Twitter regardin this topic
  4. Latest Google News Articles
  5. Track your own activity and see how it compares to others.

In addition you can type in a username like @brentpohlman and learn all kinds of information about that person like

  1. Top keywords used by this person
  2. His/Her top followers, (Based on follower count – Make sure you check them out first)
  3. Most active followers
  4. Latest Google News ARticles
  5. Top url links shared by this person

It is a great app that has a lot of information and it will help put things in perspective for you.

I have not found any other Twitter Analytics tool like Twazzup.

In a matter of seconds you can learn quite a bit.

Go and check it out and let me know what you think!

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Collecting Data – Time to get smarter

data managementOur current culture is one built on quick answers, fast turnaround, limited time, texting, more time on tablets on smartphones.

Getting quick information and knowing how to use it.

One of the areas that is coming apparent to me is that I need to spend more time gathering information at our company and worry less about the latest technology, gadgets or online tools.

All of this technology and time spent online requires one key element.

CONTENTWasted Time

Right now too many people are caught up in being technologically literate that they are really not focused on building new content.

Employee Productivity

Are employees as productive as they can be? Is anyone documenting the work that they are creating? This can be a problem especially in smaller companies

Client Data

Are your client service staff recording communications you’ve receivd from clients for future reference? Do you have a system to handle and document client inquiries? Are you tracking client feedback?

Procedures

Are you updating work procedures? Could you quickly bring a new hire up to speed with your current processes? Do you understand how your operations, shipping and receiving work to effectively communicate this process to a client or vendor?

Summary

As you can see data collection is not all about “big data”. Sometimes the basic data is being overlooked and by collecting it, recording it and reporting it, you could be saving yourself a lot of time and energy and improve service to your clients.

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