• 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.
  • Greg Gerik
    Greg Gerik on September 16, 2014

    Shaking Up Social: Attending the Social Shake-Up in Atlanta

    Last year, the Social Shake-Up was one of the best social conferences to attend and this year promises to be even better. Here are a few of the hottest topics and sessions at the Shake-Up this year that are sure to deliver and drive this industry forward.
  • LPope
    Leah Pope on September 23, 2014

    Using Social Intelligence to Build the Sales Pipeline

    The social web has opened new channels for consumers to discuss products and brands, share opinions and ask for recommendations. Brands today must take a more responsive approach focused around interests relevant to the individual consumer. With the right tools in place, brands can uncover these opportunities, engage strategically and directly contribute to trackable lead generation.
  • What are you willing to sacrifice for business success? Think hard about it because at the heart of this question is what makes your business special.

    What are you willing to sacrifice for business success? Think hard about it because at the heart of this question is what makes your business special.

    You see many businesses only use the term ‘sacrifice’ when they are discussing the cost of the service or the cost of the product. You hear  – What can we sacrifice to hit that price point? What sacrifices can we make to reduce our costs?

    That is the wrong way to think about business; profit is created through understanding what you will NOT sacrifice.

    Sacrifice is important. Sacrifice is at the heart of defining your brand. The sacrifices which you WILL make, the sacrifices that you will NOT make, demonstrate who you are and why people will want to buy from you.

    Why you need to understand the sacrifice you are NOT willing to make

    Simply to define your brand. And there is more…. by understanding what you won’t sacrifice, you make

    1. Decision making so much easier.
    2. It easier for consumers to see what you stand for
    3. It easier to choose the right team, the right customer and the right offer.

     You see it is the sacrifices that you WILL not make which is what consumers buy from you.

    It is that principle that creates the premium over your competitors if…

    You stand by that principle at all times  AND you communicate it clearly AND to the people who value that principle.

    So what will you NOT sacrifice?

    Be honest. We can easily fool ourselves. Protecting our values is really, really hard. So when you answer that question….don’t choose something that you ought to believe or ought to do….

    Choose something that is so dear to you that even when times are hard, when sales are low, when the world is against you…you will NEVER make the sacrifice.

    Got what it is?….Understand it?…Do all the people around you understand it? Fabulous you now have the making of a brand to share with the world.

    While it’s clear that social media is here to stay, that doesn’t change the fact that individual sites are continuously changing everything from design elements to their core functionality.

    One of the biggest challenges of social media marketing is the constantly changing landscape of sites like Facebook. While it’s clear that social media is now a key component of the Internet and is here to stay, that doesn’t change the fact that individual sites are continuously changing everything from design elements to their core functionality.

    Whether a site makes a change because they want to provide a better experience to users or simply because they’re trying to make more money, what matters to you as a social media marketer is staying on top of these changes and knowing how to adapt your strategy. Since Facebook has made algorithm updates a frequent practice, let’s take a look at four ways you can prevent even a major update from derailing your social efforts:

    1. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

    Just about everyone who’s involved in social media marketing understands the importance of having a presence on all of the major sites. However, the reason this topic is at the top of the list is because it’s far too easy to focus most of your efforts on the site that’s working best. So while it makes sense to take full advantage of Facebook if that’s the network that’s generating the best results, that doesn’t mean it should come at the expense of staying active on other sites.

    2. Emphasize Cross-Promotion

    This ties into the previous topic. As part of your social media management efforts, not only do you want to ensure you’re not fully reliant on just Facebook, but you should also actively work to engage users between multiple social networks. Additionally, cross-promotion can include other online efforts like advertising, as well as offline efforts such as TV ads.

    3. Fully Optimize Performance Efforts

    The majority of businesses that have a presence on Facebook have seen the number of impressions they receive on their posts decline. While that’s frustrating and is definitely something that needs to be thought about, it doesn’t mean Facebook is worthless as a business marketing tool. The key is to dig into data and see what content has historically driven engagement, clicks and sales. Then using this information, future content efforts can be fully optimized to drive the best results.

    4. Make Email a Priority

    Over the last year, a significant percentage of businesses and marketers have realized the value of fostering strong email relationships. Since email is a very powerful tool for connecting with prospects and ultimately driving sales, it’s important to think of ways that driving email signups can be integrated into social marketing efforts. By getting creative with tactics like contests, businesses can successfully harness the power of social media while still taking ownership of their relationships with customers in the form of collecting email addresses.

    While there’s no denying the fact that Facebook can present some social media marketing challenges, as long as you make the right investments in Facebook marketing training and follow the advice we covered above, you won’t have to worry about an algorithm change completely derailing your efforts.

    Infographics serve a variety of purposes that make them very useful for Web 2.0. With so much information these days out on the web, people’s attention spans are very limited.

    The recent proliferation of social media has brought many new opportunities for everyday people to showcase their talents and provide information in different ways. Some do it with videos, others with photos and text. Another recent phenomenon that has sprung up in the past few years has been Infographics.

    Infographics serve a variety of purposes that make them very useful for Web 2.0. For one, with so much information these days out on the web, people’s attention spans are very limited. If they don’t find something visually appealing even if the content is great, there is a good chance they will pass right over it.

    Humans are, by nature, visual learners and Infographics can help you and your business stand out from the crowd. They provide a visual representation of information and research that has a high ability of getting noticed. They provide this content using color graphics, branding and typography in a way that can be easily understood.

    With the assistance of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Infographics now have the ability to be shared, create backlinks (which search engines love) and have the potential to go viral. More importantly they can become a powerful marketing tool.

    Creating Infographics though isn’t always so simple. Good work takes time and there are many hours of research, planning and illustration involved in making them effective. You don’t though need to be great in Photoshop and know a great designer to create one. Tools like Piktochart and Visual.ly can help give your data a unique look to let you stand out from the crowd.

    Infographics have come a long way over the past years and their popularity is souring. As a marketing tool they can easily help present you and your business as an authority in your field and an educational resource.

    For more information on how to best utilize Infographics in your marketing strategy contact Big Couch Media Group at http://www.bigcouchmedia.com.

    Photo Credit: Infographics and Marketing/shutterstock

    The illusory superiority bias is one of the more common psychological biases to emerge in our working lives, which suggests that we tend to think we’re an awful lot better at things than we actually are.
    The illusory superiority bias is one of the more common psychological biases to emerge in our working lives.  For those that aren’t familiar with it, it suggests that we tend to think we’re an awful lot better at things than we actually are.  In a professional context, research has shown it to be particularly pronounced in senior management circles, where a lack of candid feedback extenuates the illusion that things are actually pretty good.

    I wonder at times if the social business world is not suffering from this itself, in the sense that it often makes very grand and worthwhile noises about how it is underpinning a revolution in how work is done, with this transformation making work a more rewarding and engaging place for all employees, and a more innovative and profitable one for organizations.

    Is it though?  I mean really?  In the earlier days of social business the concept was much less established than it is now, so many companies and individuals had to sell the notion of social business as a concept.  That’s great, but a good few of those early advocates gradually began to drift away from social business as a risky and innovative change in workplace behaviours, towards the much safer (and presumably more fertile) ground of social business as a social marketing adjunct.

    Those that survived, and indeed those that have since joined the movement, have still been pushing the cultural change aspects of social business.  They’re still peddling the line that this is about creating a workplace fit for the 21st century, yet the reality appears to be that most are just trying to sell the installation of enterprise social software, and to justify that usage with the same sort of metrics that used to be applied to social media usage in general (likes, comments, shares etc.).

    Have our workplaces really changed?  It’s hard to see a great deal of tangible evidence for it, and I wonder if there is almost an omerta here whereby no one is willing to question whether the things we’d love to see happening really are.  The illusory superiority bias persists largely because of a lack of feedback, or a lack of accurate feedback to be precise.  I wonder if the social business industry either has the feedback, or has it and doesn’t really want to listen to it.

    Far be it for me to be critical of professionals working in the field who have to do what they can to pay the bills, but this movement is almost built upon the potential for a cultural realignment in how organizations operate.  It isn’t built on pushing out messages on Facebook or installing an enterprise social network.  Has the message become lost?

    For some small businesses, resources may not be available to have a full-time manager who could handle all social media activities. This is where automation comes in.
    Curating and sharing quality content is a brilliant way to build your brand's online presence.
     
    However, for some small businesses, resources may not be available to have a full-time manager who could handle all social media activities. This is where automation comes in.

    Social media automation can help you to stay on point with your marketing by giving you the time and space to focus on engaging with your audience.

    Take a look at this infographic from insuranceoctopus that illustrates how social media automation can work for your business.

    Click image to enlarge

    How Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Content Automation Can Work For Your Compnay - #infographic

    2 key takeaways:

    Not everything should be automated, but as a general guide 'your own awesome content as well as other's awesome content' is a great formula to get into the habit of scheduling ahead of time. Scheduling and sharing the thoughts and quotes, or retweeting the content of others - particularly if they're an important or valued in your industry - Sends a message to your audience that you're supportive of the industry you're a part of. It's a great way of networking.

    Remember that automation is not a replacement for genuine interaction on social media but it can help to enhance it by freeing up time to find great content to share and to have meaningful engagement with your customers.

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