• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on January 22, 2015

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • MCohen
    Marcy Cohen on January 21, 2015

    Could a Pair of Bedazzled Bowling Shoes Lead to Social Good?

    What if 2015 became the year when the collaborative model didn’t just make it easier to buy groceries but helped emerging economies on their path to inclusive growth? What if it could be a force for social good?
  • Social media platforms are not just distribution channels but a conversation channel where people share experiences, opinions, values, feelings and dreams. So the next time you market on social media, engage your audience by telling them your non-linear brand’s story and what it means.

    In a newsroom, you will often hear people say: If you can’t tell your story in one sentence, then you don’t have a story. The same is true with branding: if you can’t tell your brand’s story in one social media post, then you let go of a golden opportunity —opportunity to inspire, connect, and build a loyal following. People have this fondness of reading through what’s going on with other people and how others feel. A wedding proposal story, for example, is always a hit.  Stories like these make you happy, giddy, emotional, and important just because it was shared with you.

    This is how social media marketing must look like: like a story. For the target market to fully grasp what your brand is about, they have to feel that they are a part of it. Your brand has to look real and human. Branding consultant and author Jim Stengel said that today’s most trustworthy brands do not necessarily have the biggest sales or market share but what makes them successful is they have created personal relationships with consumers. In an interview with Entrepreneur.com, Stengel said that building emotional relationships result in “much stronger affinity, a much stronger business, and much stronger growth.”

    Social media platforms are not just distribution channels but a conversation channel where people share experiences, opinions, values, feelings and dreams. So the next time you market on social media, engage your audience by telling them your non-linear brand’s story and what it means. Without being hard sell, you can move consumers from “sharing” to “purchasing” just like 40% of social media users in a recent study published by Vision Critical. You can drive consumers from just “trying you out” to being “loyal to your brand.”

    Here are seven keys to effective storytelling on social media for brand marketing:

    Share humble beginnings

    People love fairy tales and happy endings.  In this storyline, Apple is a knight in shining armor.  What could be better than starting out a would-be great company in your father’s garage?  Apple sold that story and consumers bought it. Consumers did not buy the Apple brand; they brought what the brand symbolizes: innovation and inspiration. Having an iPhone does not only mean getting the best technology, it means being part of history. Apple makes you feel deserving of great things.

    Not all brands have Hollywood-worthy stories like Steve Jobs and Apple but every brand has to start somewhere. Reflect on your brand’s beginnings and struggles then captivate your audience with them.  Make people want your success and inspire them to start their own.

    Empower with your brand

    Craft your social media content in such a way that it empowers your audience. Learn from sports brands like Nike and Adidas: “Just Do It” and “Impossible Is Nothing.” These brands did not tell you how they made their shoes but they told you what you can do with them.  We will always remember the way Michael Jordan just did it and how Lionel Messi conquered the impossible.  This is storytelling at its best --- tell the story of your brand by sharing what it can do to people and how it can make them more powerful.

    Focus on emotions

    Engage your target market by rousing their emotions and tugging on their heartstrings.  For example, Coca-Cola is selling not beverage but happiness. The objective is to delight customers from their Facebook accounts to vending machines. You can do the same by making your social media content competitive, more emotional and sharing moving stories consistent with your brand.  Let’s say you are branding a makeup company, focus not on shades or how long it will last on your face but make the idea of beauty something human, attainable, and something that will make you feel better about yourself.

    Get personal

    Storytelling is about giving non-linear content and capturing the human experience. Forget being technical and smart if that would only make your content sound impersonal and distant. It is only when you sound like you understand and feel your consumers that they begin to take notice and eventually trust you. So, get close and personal.

    For example, when you post a link to your website as part of your social media content, make sure that it will include helping consumers make decisions based on their lifestyle and aspirations, make appropriate recommendations, and ask them what they want and what they think with the objective of getting get to know them better (i.e. user reviews and profiles).

    Sell an experience

    Think about this: why do people love having coffee at Starbucks? For sure, it isn’t really the best coffee in the world but it arguably gives you the best coffee experience. That is the Starbucks story that sets them apart from the rest: their coffee shop feels like home. When you step into a Starbucks shop there is always business going on, some sort of connection. People here catch-up, make business decisions, or simply relax.

    Remember Starbucks when you map out your own social media marketing strategies. Share content of how your brand is offering an experience and not just function and utility. Your product is only a part of the story; it is not your story.

    Be truthful and consistent

    When you “storify” your brand, don’t lie. Be truthful and don’t make promises you can’t keep. If your story goes something like “We know your time is precious so we get the job done in an hour,” do it in an hour.  If you have a logo and tagline that works, stick to it and be consistent.  Make your consumers feel that your brand is honest and dependable.

    Use images

    Any story will look better when shared with visuals. Look at how Dove does it with their emotional videos or how carefully PR managers of Obama pick the images they will post on social media. A compelling photo could tell your brand’s story and make people stop and take notice.  Using images will also make your story competitive across all social media channels.

    Don’t just share content on social networks, tell it. Remember that your customers are human beings not just number and logistics. It’s time to review your brand and make it into a narrative with authentic characters or events and exciting experiences. Stories transcend time, distance, and cultures —everybody, everywhere at any time, loves them. So give those statistics and specifications a rest and focus on what really matters —your story.

    Not every piece you publish on social media has to be epic. Now that that weight is off your shoulder, you can relax. Don’t get me wrong, publishing epic content is great but you can do it every single time. No one (or business) is ever 100%. There is no need to stress about publishing epic content every time you hit “post” or “publish.”

    I’m here to tell you something really important…

    Not every piece you publish on social media has to be epic.

    Now that that weight is off your shoulder, you can relax. Don’t get me wrong, publishing epic content is great but you can do it every.single.time. No one (or business) is ever 100%. There is no need to stress about publishing epic content every time you hit “post” or “publish”.

    Good, quality content is always important. It’s what helps you earn respect and a following – even clients. However your audience doesn’t expect perfection with every post. Yes, you’ll publish some duds every now and then, but you know what? It’s okay.

    Let me share with you why not every post has to be epic…

    You want to stay relevant.

    A lot of times what some deem as “epic posts” are not relevant to the topic or industry of that particular business. It’s very important that businesses stay on-topic – that’s why you were followed in the first place.

    Every now and then it’s okay to go off-topic but don’t do it just to try to be epic. There is no sense in risking losing followers to be epic.

    You need to show some personality and be relatable.

    When you try to write an epic post, many times the language turns robotic and you lose the fun, personal approach. You’re on social media to engage with your community and to do that, you need to show them who you are. I understand some companies and organizations are very limited in this arena, but just do the best you can with what is allowed.

    At the same time you need to be relatable. Show people what’s going on in the Monday morning meeting. Talk about something great (or bad if you choose) that happened. Allowing your audience to see you’re a real person just like them will help them to relate to you and then you can start building the relationship that will lead to a loyal customer.

    If you aim for perfection every time you will wear yourself out.

    It can stressful enough crafting the perfect social strategy for your business and planning your content. Trying to be epic each and every time will simply overwhelm you and you’ll totally miss the target. As a perfectionist, it’s hard for me to accept I can’t have perfect content all the time. If someone tells you that you have to be perfect 100% of the time, they’re lying. Or at least setting you up with unrealistic expectations. Don’t stress over it. Make it your goal to publish good, quality content that is going to show you are real and that you understand your audience. That will make you epic.

    Now you can sit back and relax. And enjoy a nice cup of coffee.

    What are your thoughts? Should every piece of content be epic or is that expecting too much?

    What’s the future of AMS? This seems to be the question that has haunted association execs for more than 25 years when the initial association management system hit the not-for-profit marketplace.

    What’s the future of AMS? This seems to be the question that has haunted association execs for more than 25 years when the initial association management system hit the not-for-profit marketplace.

    You get a different answer depending on who you speak with, but put on the spot were 5 of the industry’s leading AMS provokers for a panel discussion at ASAE’s 2014 Technology conference held in December at the Gaylord National Harbor just outside of Washington DC. Represented were Teri Carden, Founder of ReviewMyAMS.com, an online AMS review service; Sig VanDamme, CCO and Founder of NimbleUser, an enterprise Salesforce-based AMS; Mark Patterson, Senior VP at Aptify, another well-known AMS provider; Loretta DeLuca, Founder and CEO of DelCor, a well-established technology consulting firm; and the token sass master, Mark Dorsey, CAE, Executive Director and CEO of the Professional Ski Instructors of America. This team was moderated by the quick-witted David Gammel, CAE, Executive Director of the Entomological Society of America.

    Though this group could have been locked in a room with no audience and had plenty to heatedly debate on the future of AMS, the conversation with the standing-room-only audience stayed cordial yet provided plenty for attendees to chew on in regards to the future of AMS.

    A few takeaways:

    Cost: It’s no surprise that the AMS is the financial beast of most associations and despite the squirming of a couple of the panelists (haha) there was the unfortunate mention that the near future of AMS costs will not change. Loretta brought up the obvious but not the always-thought-about fact that, “The AMSes that are easier to get into are the ones that are easier to get out of,” and mentioned that SAAS models tend to be the most flexible in that regard.

    Mobile: Mobile, moblah, blah blah, blah, blah. That’s basically what we heard. AMSes should have been there done that and had the t-shirt on it. But why? Why are we still talking about our technology systems being mobile? Well, they all aren’t there yet and it’s affecting our members and our staff. There was discussion about how much of the AMS could truly go mobile. Certainly member-facing forms and ecommerce will have to adapt, as well as some specific functionality that the staff may need in settings such as meetings and events, but the panel was unsure if there was even a need for the entire system to be made available as a mobile interface or app.

    Is the AMS part of the solar system of technologies or should it be the sun?

    Now, here’s where I think several of the panelists could’ve gotten bloody noses had they really been locked in a room to bout it out. The traditional thinkers of the group felt secure stating that the AMS should be the single system holding all precious data for the organization. The thought behind that is breaking down silos and creating more efficient reporting, engagement, etc. However, more unconventional thinkers (see John Mancini’s recent e-book) are begging the question that since our reliance on AMS has been… well…unreliable for so long, why not diversify the data and depend on some of the other core-competent systems to well… be more competent. Additionally, the systems on the market for specific functions have become so mature and full-featured that it may be unreasonable to expect the AMS to capture that functionality again. Integration amongst various systems and the AMS is now the norm for almost everyone.

    Training: It’s not always the AMSes fault and that’s one thing the panel did agree on. Associations are notorious for ignoring the fact that training is an ongoing expense that has to be accounted for when budgeting and planning professional development. But then again, the question was brought up on why our systems are so complex that they require training? For now, the answer is clear – training is a must. For the future? Associations should budget appropriately for AMS training, especially beyond implementation.

    Implementation vs Technology:

    Teri had a first stab at the question regarding which is more important—the implementation or the technology—and quickly pointed that a perfect implementation can be overridden by a buggy and poorly developed system. However, she stated that both of these are in the dark shadows of customer support. By way of a word cloud, she pulled the top 20 words from the 260+ published reviews on ReviewMyAMS.com and 3 of the top words are customer, service, and support. There’s no question that she’s echoing the sentiments of end users of more 40+ systems—support is the top priority.

    Unfortunately none of the panelists uncovered a silver bullet to what’s in store for our systems but one thing’s for sure, as long as these conversations continue to be exposed, association professions will have the strength to rally for higher expectations in regards to cost, implementation, ongoing support and intuitive features.

    Several follow-up conversations about the panel discussion revealed that attendees were really ready for a good ole-fashioned boxing match so maybe a lockup and heated debate should be in order. I hate to say it, but only the future will tell.

     

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    (photo credit)

    I used these marketing methods on Linkedin just 1 hour per day (or less) and it got me 3 clients in less than a month. If you're looking for a proven and tested method to market at Linkedin, then I urge you to try these out.

    How EXACTLY do you use social media to get clients? This guide answers just that.

    To be even more specific - as the title suggests - I’ll share with you the methods that I used to get 3 clients in less than a month while spending only about an hour (or less) a day in Linkedin.

    Let’s face it, there are gazillions of publishers out there posing as “gurus” sharing their tips and tricks on how to get clients from Linkedin, but when you look at their tips, it’s so broad and generic that it’s basically USELESS!

    It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? Especially when you’re dead serious about getting results out of your Linkedin marketing efforts (I’ve been there too).

    You’ve probably heard of people telling you to “connect” with other users. But what they failed to tell you is, how exactly do you connect? There are also those who’ll tell you to “optimize your profile” without really telling you what to do.

    Sounds familiar? These are just some of the many things these so-called “gurus” flaunt as their best Linkedin advice yet none of them are worth squat.

    Now I’m clearly not guru. I’ll tell you that straight-off the bat. But if you’re sick and tired of hearing these useless tips, then I can share with you the actual Linkedin marketing methods that I’ve personally used that has been getting me clients. The best part is, these tips are very actionable yet simple to use you’ll surely be able to use them immediately.

    * Warning - Take the time to REALLY read and digest the tips shared on this post. These are proven and tested to work and they WILL get you clients if you’ll stay committed in using them.

    Let’s get going.

    1.) Welcome your new connections THE RIGHT WAY!

    When people accept your invitation (or you accept theirs), I hope you aren’t leaving them hanging.

    It’s during these occasions that you can genuinely “connect” with them. Here’s what I did to a recent connection that I’ve gotten that has then become my client.

    After I welcomed my new connection by using my usual template (I’ll add this at the bottom if in case you want to use it too), he immediately replied saying that he was in fact - by good coincidence - looking for someone who can help him with writing high quality articles for his clients.

    He wanted me to work on a comprehensive write-up that’s pretty much comparable to how this specific article about CFNA bill pay was written. While I don’t really specialize in writing about credit cards, I emphasized how I should be able to write something for him that’s of comparable quality or something better. The only challenge I raised was how I needed the deadline extended since he needed it done within 24 hours, and I’m swamped till after 2 days.

    After I showed him some samples of my previous work and have ironed the nitty gritty things of how we will collaborate, we’ve then started working together. The best part is… I’ve also gotten a couple of referrals from him which helped me grow my client base.

    Here’s the welcome template that I’ve been using that’s helped me easily and seamlessly open a conversation with my new connections.

    “Hi their first name,

    How's everything in the city they are from? I'm glad that we are now connected.

    I’d love to explore if there are any opportunities for us to collaborate. Can you tell me more about what you do?

    Kind regards,

    Jimmy R.

    Freelance Writer

    Guildofbloggers.com”

    Just take the time to send each of your new connections this template. You’ll be amazed at how some of them will straight-up send projects over your way.

    2.) Publish an epic long form post AND leave a clear call-to-action at the end of your post

    There are two things that I want to emphasize in this tip.

    1.) Your post should in fact be “epic”. By epic, I meant something that provides massive value or something that solves A LOT of your reader’s problems. If you’ll give your readers a couple of “AHA!” moments while reading your posts, you’ll know that you’ve published a winner.

    2.) Have a clear call-to-action. When I said “clear”, I meant giving them only one CTA. The thing is, there are people who add 2 - 3 CTAs on their posts making it confusing for their “would-be” clients to act on their CTAs.

    It’s exactly because of this that you need to have a clear goal on why you’re publishing a long form post. Is it to get more shares and increase your brand awareness? Or are you looking for leads?

    Whatever it is, just stick to one CTA then sprinkle it a couple of times within your post. Just make sure that your CTAs are inserted smoothly so it doesn’t look spammy.

    We all know that Linkedin’s users are usually (if not all) are professionals and business owners. It’s precisely because of this that Linkedin is the prime platform for you to publish your post since the people reading it have the capability to do business with you. Or in short - become your clients.

    * Bonus tip - If you're wanting to learn just how the A-list bloggers are writing their content to generate more engagement and traffic, you can check-out the article that I wrote just recently about the Content Marketing Tips: 12 Sage Advice From World Class Writers.

    On this article I've emailed several elite bloggers and asked them for their 1 best writing. I urge you to take the time to read the post and benchmark on their best practices.

    3.) Round-ups + tip number 1

    Here’s the gist of this method. You need to think of an article theme (e.g. 10 business experts share their advice…, the top 10 marketers and their humble beginnings…, etc.).

    Once you’ve thought of a theme, you’ll then message your Linkedin connections telling them that you’d like to feature them in your article. You’ll then proceed by telling them that all they have to do is share their ideas about your article then you’ll add their name and their link in the post.

    Once they share their ideas and you’ve published your post, you’ll then have to share the live link to your post then ask them to share it. Be nice when asking - but do not beg.

    Wait, there’s more!!!

    In addition to sending them the live url and thanking them, you can ask them if there’s an opportunity for the both of you to collaborate and that you’d love to learn more about what they do.

    The last question will help uncover any possibilities of the both of you working together.

    Here are a couple of tips to make this strategy work:

    1.) If you don’t have a lot of followers, therefore, not having enough reach for your post to make it enticing enough for them to be featured in, you can tell  your connection that you’ll spend for advertisement for the post so it gets read by thousands of users.

    Of course, you’ll have to stick to your word and advertise your post.

    2.) When crafting the article theme, make sure that it’s something that your prospects want to be a part of. Can you imagine what kind of reply they’ll give you if you want to include them in your article about “The 10 Losers that You Should Never Connect with…”?

    On the flip side of the coin, if your article is about “The 10 Inspiring Entrepreneurs Worth Following…” (or something to this effect), they won’t have any qualms about wanting to be featured in your post.

    Conclusion

    If you haven’t been getting any results from your Linkedin marketing campaigns and you’re about to give-up - DON’T! There’s no doubt that Linkedin is an awesome place to look for clients. I know this for a fact.

    Since none of your previous marketing methods are working, try the ones that I’ve shared above. You’ll be amazed at the kind of results you’ll get.

    We are pleased to announce that we have finalized the agenda for this year’s The Social Shake-Up on June 9 and 10 in Atlanta. We have five tracks this year, and they are chock full of interesting, timely, and pertinent subject matter. Friday is the last day for our early bird special—so buy your pass now for 50% off!

    Happy 2015!

    I’m pleased to announce that we have finalized the agenda for this year’s The Social Shake-Up on June 9 and 10 in Atlanta.

    We have sessions designed to help make you a better marketer including "Content Marketing: Creating content without diluting your brand's core message," and sessions to ensure that you have a handle on your data and how to use it including, "Big Data on Demand: What it means for your customers and how to keep their trust."

    Also, we'll be lucky enough to have the CDC join us to tell us how they managed the Ebola outbreak from a social perspective. Those are just a few of the 40 breakout sessions you can attend over two days at The Social Shake-Up. 

    Friday is the last day for our early bird special—buy your pass now for 50% off!

    We have five tracks this year, and they are chock full of interesting, timely, and pertinent subject matter.

    Creativity:

    This track will feature such topics as how to innovate using social and digital platforms, new approaches for traditional industries, companies that are taking creative approaches to solving specific challenges, and how to drive innovation at companies of all sizes.

    Collaboration:

    This track will focus on different aspects of the sharing economy including the Makers Movement, collaborative companies, and crowdsourcing for idea generation and product development.

    Conversation:

    This will explore the different ways companies get their stories in front of clients and consumers. Topics will include storytelling and listening, content marketing, social and digital communications, and contextual marketing.

    Data and Analysis:

    Focuses on how companies can better understand, analyze, and create actionable strategies around data. Topics will include how to use data to drive customer insights, understanding sentiment analysis, and using tools and platforms to create customer engagement strategies.

    Challenges:

    This is a new track that we developed after hearing your feedback about including more case studies at the conference. It will be an opportunity for you to learn directly from top practitioners at today's leading social brands how they overcame an obstacle or solved a problem at their company.

    Don't forget that Friday is the last day for our early bird special—buy your pass now for 50% off! While we’ll continue to offer other deals, this is by far the best offer you'll get, so book now and save big.

    And I’ll see you at the Shake-Up in June!