• Russ Fradin
    Russ Fradin on July 29, 2014

    Why Employee Advocacy Matters

    Employee advocacy is an emerging new marketing strategy where companies empower their influential employees to authentically distribute brand approved content, create original content, and in turn earn recognition and rewards for their activity and participation.
  • We have posted a number of times regarding Google+ Local Pages (which is now Google My Business) and why businesses, especially small/local businesses, need to claim their pages.

    We have posted a number of times regarding Google+ Local Pages (which is now Google My Business) and why businesses, especially small/local businesses, need to claim their pages. In particular, it has been our contention that Google+ Local Pages are essentially acting as your new landing page to your business, fulfilling many customer needs for critical information without them coming to your site. They are acting as your splash page.

    Recent improvements in the metrics reporting within the Google My Business system have given us further insight into the critical need for businesses to claim their Page as well as keep it up to date and promote it.

    For this example we've selected one business, a 1-location popular restaurant in a major city. For clarity, "clicks" in this graph represents: "Clicks to your website: Number of clicks to your business’s website from local search results in Google Maps, Search, and Maps for Mobile" That leaves a lot of possibility for variance as there are so many facets to Google Search and where your information is displayed, but unfortunately that's the definition we're provided with.

    Worth noting: this business is NOT active in Google+ beyond having a Google+ Local Page created, and some basic auto-posting from their blog. They have less than 100 followers and almost 0 engagement on their posts.

    Over the last 30 days, the business's information was displayed:

    • 43,217 times in search views (this is what we'll be focusing on)
    • 28 post views
    • 11 profile views
    • (totaling 43,256 views)
    From that information, it had actions of:
    • 7350 clicks to the website
    • 1240 clicks for driving instructions
    • 770 phone calls
    • (totaling 9360 clicks)
    This has a click through rate (CTR) of 21.6%.
    Putting this in context with the rest of the website's traffic
    Over the same 30 day period of time,
    • The website received a total of 23,722 sessions
    • Google Search resulted in 14,221 of those sessions
    • The website was viewed in Google for 23,463 impressions (via Webmaster Tools)
    • From all of Google Search, the website recorded 7,506 clicks
    • Google Organic Search accounted for 60% of all traffic to the website
    Takeaway observations from this data...
    Google Local Search clicks to the website were responsible for 52% of all of the Google Search traffic to the website, and 31% of the total traffic to the website.
    If we sum the driving instructions and phone calls as "goal conversions" (as those for a restaurant generally imply a firm movement toward a sale), this is an equivalent of an 8.5% bonus to the goal conversions of the website, as their goals have been fulfilled before the user even visits the site.
    Looking at the differences between the Google Webmaster Tools data of impressions (23,463) compared to the Google My Business search views (43,217), we can deduce that the Local Search displays are providing an additional 184% bonus search exposure to the business beyond the standard Google Web Search.*

    (* this is either an 84% bonus or 184% bonus, depending on whether GMB search views include regular search or not, but their description would seem to indicate that it does not, hence 184%)
    In summation, Google+ Local Pages and Google My Business needs to be a prominent piece of every small business's local strategy and search strategy. While this study is for one business in particular, from the data that we have observed for other businesses local businesses, this is fairly indicative of the results that we've seen, especially for B2C establishments. As the local search market grows, a local business's need to maintain a valid presence within the local search results needs to be at the forefront of their online marketing efforts.
    Our digital age is now in full swing with social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn having increasing popularity and even more reasons to join. As one of the fastest growing social networks, Twitter uses its 140 characters, real-time online news, and mobile multimedia platform to its advantage where user experience controls the way you interact with one another

    Our digital age is now in full swing with social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn having increasing popularity and even more reasons to join. As one of the fastest growing social networks, Twitter uses its 140 characters, real-time online news, and mobile multimedia platform to its advantage where user experience controls the way you interact with one another. If you are looking to interact with your target audience, finding a strategy that works best for you is very important.

    After reading this you should have a better understanding for how to build a valuable following on Twitter. This will increase your engagement and the overall value of each tweet. These 5 steps will help you to gain a solid following on the site with 271 million monthly active users

    1.  Set a schedule to engage on Twitter

    Twitter is a real-time news social network. Optimal engagement on Twitter can take place seconds after news is released. You need to make sure you are taking advantage of the “Real Time” aspect on Twitter. Get organized by setting a schedule on Twitter. Setting a schedule will lead to more consistency, which will increase interaction and your following.

    2. Constantly test and refine your strategy

    As you use Twitter in your everyday tasks, make sure that you are trying new strategies, researching new ways to interact, and then using them to refine the perfect campaign for your industry. Different industries, business’ and companies have their own ways to engage with their target audience and no two are the same, but some strategies do prove to be more effective.

    3. Creative outreach strategy

    Use hashtags, searches, and direct communication to connect with others within your industry. Your list will become much more valuable when your content will interest your followers. If you are an attorney, make sure you follow other lawyers in the same field. Comment on their tweets about their most recent blog or respond to a witty tweet. You will start to see the interaction skyrocket on your account when you dedicate time each day to an outreach strategy.

    4. Advertise

    A great way to instantly gain a larger following is to invest in advertising. With a simple Twitter advertising campaign, you are able to target specific industries and demographics that are interested in following you. Even though organic is a “Free” method, if you are pressed for time, there is nothing wrong with advertising to grow your following.

    5. Be active

    It’s as simple as that. If you want people to follow you, have good reason for them to follow you. If you are posting interesting and relevant news that users find to be useful, your following will continue to grow. Too many people don’t post enough compelling and consistent content. You can’t expect to be a Twitter all-star if you are not putting in the time and effort.  

    As Twitter comes close to reaching 300 million users, you will want to know what strategies work well for you and your industry and what messages will reach your target audience. The sooner you implement these helpful steps on how to build a valuable following, the faster you can an expert on the most powerful micro blogging website.

    You've probably come across one or two of Dove's exceptional PR advertisements in the past few years. They are amazing, awe inspiring, and in emotional at times. They have taken something like soap and turned themselves into a voice for women's beauty, and we love them for it. Let's take Dove's strategy and apply it to our own social media profiles.

    Any quality SEO company will tell you that keywords alone won’t help you gain clients. Your message - which includes copy but also image, logo, photos and more - is what really resonates with an audience. Dove is one of the hugest companies out there and they’ve mastered the art of branding. Small businesses and startups can take hints from Dove when it comes to marketing themselves and standing out from the crowd.

    Add a Negative Connotation

    This seems to go against everything you know about branding. Why would you ever want to put your product in a negative light? Sometimes adding a contrasting implication is actually a positive thing for your brand. Dove does this beautifully: it’s not a soap, it’s part-moisturizer. Now, of course, Dove is a soap, but that’s not what they want to be remembered for; there are plenty of soaps on the market. By contrasting the baseline item (a soap bar) against a better offer (a soap bar that’s really a moisturizer), you’re standing out from the crowd by elevating your product. Why would a customer choose a soap that isn’t a moisturizer? They probably wouldn’t.

    Small businesses can do this because they often specialize in a specific product or service. You’re not a copywriter, you’re a content expert. You don’t make flip-flops, you design comfortable footwear for beach bums. You’re better than your competitors. In an industry where everybody is selling the same thing, this is a way to sell something different to the same exact market. When you elevate whatever it is you’re selling, people don’t mind the higher price tag that goes along with it - you do, after all, have a premium product.

    There are two golden rules when it comes to taking this approach:

    1. Your product or service has to have something that does, actually, stand out - you can’t make it up. Figure out what you have that other similar companies don’t. Not coming up with anything? It’s time to take a good look at what similar businesses are lacking so that you know what gap to fill.

    2. Keep the contrast simple. You’ll have to continually repeat your tagline or whatever you’re using to communicate the standout aspect of your brand. The simpler you make it, the easier it will be for customers to remember.

    Make Good On That Promise

    Let’s say you’re ready to branch out while still keeping your first product or service in tact. A web designer may want to get into graphic design or a t-shirt designer may want to try their hand at creating matching socks. The promise should remain the same: just like your website, your graphic design is also animation-inspired; just like your t-shirts, your socks are made with green materials; just like their soap, Dove’s other beauty products are majorly moisturizing. Even if you’re offering a range of things, your key promise should remain the same - this is one of the best ways to get consumers to relate a certain experience to your brand.

    Gather a Following

    Even though Dove is a humongous brand, they still rely on views from real people instead of celebrities. For a small business, real people are the only way to go unless you’re willing to spend big bucks for a celebrity endorsement. Reviews are one of the best ways to gain new customers - if others have had a positive experience, then the customer who’s looking into your business can expect to have a good experience as well. When normal people promote your business, your company becomes relatable, which puts consumers at ease and instills trust.

    Marketing with your consumers instead of at them. Easier said and written down than done. I know, I’ve been there. Some days I am so tempted to create a banner ad, sponsor a self-serving tweet or drop a link to a recent ebook without taking the time to explain how it helps a potential consumer.

    Marketing with your consumers instead of at them. Easier said and written down than done. I know, I’ve been there. Some days I am so tempted to create a banner ad, sponsor a self-serving tweet or drop a link to a recent ebook without taking the time to explain how it helps a potential consumer. Some days I used to give in to the temptation and many marketing dollars later I would remember why those disruptive marketing tactics don’t work…

    Other days, hopefully most days, I’ve got my best marketing hat on and I collaborate with my consumers instead of creating ads and graphics that come at them like a swarm of mosquitos. Point being, I’ve tested out many strategies and marketing with my target consumers has brought my company some amazing new business.

    Don’t drop the ball and implement the easy but disruptive tactics. I’m about to outline my favorite ways and most effective ways to implement outreach marketing to collaborate with your audience. (Hint: you may want to print this one out and hang it on your wall by your monitor!)

    Email Network for Input

    Your network would rather feel like a part of your brand instead of an extension.

    If you email them for their input (as long as you don’t overdo it) you may be surprised how readily your consumers want to lend their voice. Ask them what types of content you should create, what resources they wish they had and implement quarterly surveys.

    List Their Pain Points

    Do it now. Make a list of all of the pain points your consumers faced that made them want to buy your product. Now, next to each pain point write down how your product offers a solution or eases this area of their lives. Take it one step further. What resource (blog post, video, Twitter chat, etc.) can you create that lends advice and feedback on each pain point? These resources of course will reference your brand but the focus will be to HELP not SELL. (The selling part just happens naturally)

    Be a Resource

    Leaping off my previous point. Be a resource for consumers. The marketing tactics you bring to fruition should be focused on educating and entertaining your consumer not selling your brand. This tactic also takes a very long time to implement, I would like to warn, but it’s so worth it. Pick a niche to specialize in and write about it, interview people on their views of it, tweet awesome posts about it and set up your Google alerts so you monitor the digital world for it in real time.

    Use Paid Tactics Wisely

    Paid tactics are fine, just make sure they fit organically and seamlessly in to consumers’ lives and routines. Instead of a blanket email blast, get a spot in an opt-in newsletter your buyer personas may subscribe to. Sponsor a tweet or create a FB update and make use of their targeting features. The most important thing to remember is to use these avenues to promote a resource not your brand’s homepage.

    Showcase Your Consumers

    This lifts your brand in two ways.

    1.     Your consumers feel like part of your brand and enjoy the recognition.

    2.     It makes your brand more relatable. Consumers want to see other people like them buying your goods.

    Case studies, interview posts, podcasts, videos are all great mediums to show how real people are interacting with your brand.

    Be Sharable

    When I was younger I aimed to be lovable and now I strive to be sharable. Creating easy to share assets helps spread your message through other influencers. You just have to make your content easy and interesting enough to share. Click to tweet’s in your emails are a beautiful thing I promise. Linking back to bloggers in your network prompts them to share your posts. Highlighting something about your consumers on Twitter is sure to get a retweet. Catch my drift?

    Do you have a favorite way to market with consumers instead of at them? Please share in the comments!

    When the President of the United States, a reality TV megastar, a cookie, an Ivy League icon and one of the world’s most prominent newspapers are communicating information to their target audiences via the same platform, you can rest assured the world has changed.

    When the President of the United States, a reality TV megastar, a cookie, an Ivy League icon and one of the world’s most prominent newspapers are communicating information to their target audiences via the same platform, you can rest assured the world has changed. Twitter has leveled the playing field when it comes to disseminating information – and recruiting fans and followers – for everyone from gods of industry to global leaders to academic titans. 

    Think Twitter hasn’t really changed the world? You’re wrong. Today, the Twitterverse is a vast matrix of messaging streaming from virtually every point of the world and every economic, religious, political, governmental and industrial persuasion. Twitter is the global bulletin board for what’s happening – right now.

    Here’s 10 Twitter accounts that validate the world will never be the same:

    @WhiteHouse – You can follow the latest from President Barack Obama and his administration. With 5.37 million followers and counting, The White House is tweeting consistently everything from the President’s latest land preservation moves to why the chances of a widespread Ebola outbreak in the United States are extraordinarily low. You can even get your questions about @LetsMove answered by The First Lady with #AskTheFirstLady. @LetsMove has 133,000 followers – and counting. If following @WhiteHouse isn’t satisfying your craving to keep up with President Obama’s speeches and events, good news – you can join more than 190,000 in following @WHLive. With all this immediate access to the activities and messages of The White House, one wonders how the administrations of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy ever got the word out! Well, at least President Obama doesn’t have to worry about such limitations – his Twitter account @BarackObama has more than 48 million followers.

    @CDCgov – You know Twitter has changed the world when 407,000 people are following the Center for Disease Control’s official Twitter account for daily, credible health and safety updates. With more than 10,000 tweets since May 2010, the CDC’s Twitter account gives immediate updates on all the viruses and outbreaks we need to worry about, as well as regular disease control prevention tips. Could keeping up with a deadly virus be any easier?

    @tim_cook – Why should you buy the iPhone 6? That must be a more important question than how to prevent Ebola, because Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Twitter account has more Twitter followers than the CDC. With 741,000 followers, Cook’s Twitter is updated with news on Apple products, services, events and innovations.  You can learn everything about the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus – just don’t expect any breaking news on anything outside of the Apple universe. When the CEO of a business (yes, Apple is a business) has more followers than the Center for Disease Control and even the White House’s @WHLive, you have to wonder how Twitter has changed the way people prioritize following current events.

    @NASCARNation – With more than 45,000 followers, the official Twitter account of NASCAR attracts worldwide racing fans. NASCAR drove onto Twitter in October 2011 and since that time has throttled more than 12,000 tweets, sharing kickoff parties, speedway news, event celebrations and everything vital to those who adore Talladega, Langley and Valvoline.  NASCAR shows its creative power with photos and videos featuring champions, pit crews, crashes, triumphs and fan favorites. You don’t need a helmet to brace yourself for NASCAR’s tweets, just a winning spirit and a love of racing in the age of 140 character or less posts. What does @NASCARNation prove to the world? Even racing fans put the brakes on for Twitter.

    @pmharper – Did you know that Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper has more than 550,000 Twitter followers? It’s true! Harper’s account opened in July 2007 and with a strong continuity and visual approach to Tweeting the account is loaded with public service announcements, event news, personal tributes, insightful global observations and the latest goings on in Quebec City – which recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of #R22R, the Royal 22nd Regiment and Valcartier Garrison, of which PM Harper is an honorary member. The R22R participated in all of Canada’s engagements – conflicts, peace missions and humanitarian aid missions. The PM’s Twitter account makes sharing the celebration of #R22R  all the more global. Thanks Twitter…and Canada!

    @BillGates – With more than 19 million Twitter followers, Bill Gates is Twitter gold. He opened its Twitter account in June 2009, and since that time has only tweeted just over 1,400 times. He’s a man of few words, evidently, but what he does share rings powerful. Gates tweets on issues impacting the world’s poor, income inequality, vaccines, solar startups and the lessons he has learned from his and @MelindaGates visits to India. Melinda Gates is no Twitter slouch herself, with more than 577,000 followers – proving that an affluent, visionary and philanthropic couple can dedicate their energies to great global causes and share their growing knowledge of world issues to inspire the masses.

    @nytimes – The New York Times, where the conversation begins! You can follow The New York Times for breaking news, special reports, links and retweets from New York Times journalists. The New York Times history began when James Gordon Bennett, Sr., founded The New York Herald in 1835. In 1841, New York Tribune, founded by Bennett and Horace Greeley, was born. Could Bennett and Greeley ever have imagined that their efforts would one day result in a leading beacon of news and information – and one impressive Twitter account? The New York Times covered everything from Queen Victoria’s Jubilee procession in 1897 to World Wars I and II and everything in between – and since – that has impacted the history of the United States and the world. In March 2007, @nytimes began tweeting – and it has no plans of stopping.  The Wall Street Journal followed The New York Times, launching @WSJ in April 2007 and, since its Twitter debut, sharing more than 95,500 tweets and gaining 5.16 million followers – proving Twitter’s presence reshaped the journalistic strategies of even the most prevailing, influential and historic titans of journalism.

    @KimKardashian – Why in the world does Kim Kardashian West have 24.5 million Twitter followers? It’s best not to ask such questions. The reality is, this reality star has built an empire from being herself – a walking, talking, tweeting brand. In the age of reality entertainment and social media celebrities, Kim Kardashian West is an epically spectacular example of how technology can fuel – and create – careers on a global stage. Thanks Twitter…sort of!

    @Oreo – Your favorite cookie is a Twitter superstar, with more than 440,000 followers tweeting and retweeting on the latest hashtags and creative marketing hijinks of this very popular cookie. How did a cookie get to be a social media monarch? Oreo attacked its social media platforms – with particular emphasis on its Twitter account – with timely and consistent content packaged with humor, seasonal tributes, belly laugh funny photos and videos and a quick-witted approach to making people want to eat Oreo cookies. Oreo incorporate Vine into its Twitter greatness, with games that are nearly as addictive as the cookie itself.

    @Harvard – When the Ivy League embraces a social media platform – it’s officially wonderful. Harvard University launched its Twitter account in May 2009, sharing its devotion to excellence in teaching, learning and research with a global audience. With more than 23,000 tweets to date and 412,000 followers, Harvard leverages its Twitter to celebrate global leadership, academic achievements, visionary scientific gains and even the birthday of Oscar Wilde. We won’t make a fuss that Standford University launched @Stanford in December 2008 and Yale University launched @Yale in May 2007. The lesson here is that even the Ivy Leagues recognized the emerging power of communicating on a social platform designed for the masses. If you can’t beat @KimKardashian or @Oreo, join them – even if you are Ivy League royalty.