• 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.
  • Duo Consulting
    Michael Silverman on October 15, 2014

    4 Reasons Drupal Is the Best Social CMS

    It turns out Drupal and Social Media are a match made in heaven. Because of Drupal’s system of modules, integration with external websites can be as easy as installing a module that fits your site’s needs. And once these modules are installed, you will have a central place to manage profile information and plug-in modules, such as follow and share buttons.
  • Facebook loves sharing because it reinforces social and social is what Facebook is all about. And so before you know it, you’ve created your own framework for inducing massive virality around your business or around your topic of interest. This is the type of virality that will get you the numbers and, eventually, the conversions you seek.

    There was a time when all the rage in online marketing was grabbing as many relevant domain names as possible. The SEO-savvy would then leverage these domains to create microsites that linked and redirected traffic back to the main site. This resulted in a higher Google pagerank for the main site. In the algorithm-focused eyes of Google, the website must be important because it received a virtual vote of confidence from all these other sites. The SEO gurus had found a way to take advantage of and benefit from the internal workings of the search economy on the web.

    Fast forward to today. Google has undergone several algorithm changes, the rules of the game have drastically changed and the web universe has a new master – Facebook. Now if you’re an online marketer you know that buying additional domain names is not as effective as it once was. For starters, you need to work hard to get each one to rise up the pageranks otherwise the backlinks could do more harm than good to your main site’s own pagerank. That may be okay if you’re talking about another one or two domains and websites. But what if you had more? That’s a lot of work for an uncertain ROI.

    Facebook changes the game. Instead of buying additional domains and creating additional sites, why not create or buy additional Facebook Pages? (Long pause for effect while you allow this to sink in...)

    Facebook Pages are the new “in” platforms in the age of social media marketing. They are the social media equivalent of domains. People created these pages to feature their interests or businesses and many have built quite a following. But in reality a lot of people do not like their Pages. They don’t like managing them, they don’t like running them and they’re not making any money from them. If the Page aligns with your subject matter or your business, why not acquire it?

    Here’s what’s in it for you. If you own several Facebook properties you could share content among these properties. And that’s the simplest thing for you to do on Facebook. But just as Google once highly regarded votes of confidence among domains, so, too, does Facebook highly regard sharing among entities within its platform.

    Facebook loves sharing because it reinforces social and social is what Facebook is all about. And so before you know it, you’ve created your own framework for inducing massive virality around your business or around your topic of interest. This is the type of virality that will get you the numbers and, eventually, the conversions you seek.

    So, to summarize:

    1. Seek out people with Pages that align to your business or interest. Keep your eye out for Pages with a large number of Likes.

    2. Get to know the person behind the Page and make him or her an offer.

    3. Run the Page and build it up.

    4. Share content among your Pages.

    5. Put in place your funnels

    There is one thing that Google and its assorted trawling bots love, and that is fresh content. But often, creating bespoke, singular content is an expensive process. So how do you get the most out of new content? This post will identify new content opportunities from old or existing content.

    There is one thing that Google and its assorted trawling bots love, and that is fresh content. If that fresh content is also linked from established websites, then Google has every reason to believe the content is quite good, and will rank it higher.

    This, of course, is brilliant good for the content creator, and the website where the content is housed. Fresh content is the key to this process – the oil that keeps the engine running if you like – and is critical in a healthy inbound marketing strategy.

    But often, creating bespoke singular content is an expensive process. So how do you get the most out of new content?  Hopefully this blog will go some way to identifying new content opportunities from old or existing content:

    1. Switch the format up

    As an example, if you’ve run surveys of your clients or market, then reformat them. Don't forget to tweak for SEO as you go. Here are some options:

    • Video summary of the findings to YouTube
    • Press release
    • Segment the full report – show industry cuts
    • Social media sharing of research nuggets (Social Media B2B do this very well, embedding tweetable nuggets into an article, like this article on content marketing stats)
    • Create an infographic from the summary
    • More social media sharing and discussion
    • Micro poll your users as to whether the results still stand true
    • Publish results from the micro poll

    2. The Friday roundup / in-depth piece

    Give followers a lean-back post to digest on Saturday or Sunday. Branding Magazine sends out a summary listing of their hot posts of the previous five days. Good for those relaxing on a Saturday morning with bacon and coffee. In contrast to a round up – The Economist has a lean back section for a more in-depth read on existing topics and themes.

    3. Get all analytical

    Find out which of your posts were the most popular in terms of traffic from various search terms. Promote them on social media.  Rework those that are off target.

    Use Topsy to compare trending hashtags, or trending phrases and really target your next article.

    4. Think of your old posts

    Continuing the analytics theme – give your old posts will little traffic a tweet or a share if there’s something relevant in the news related to that post. Use this one sparingly though as it could annoy your close followers. And tailor it to each audience!

    If your blog is on WordPress, you may even want to consider the plugin Tweet Old Post which will automate it for you.

    5. Newsjack

    Your products or services might not be famous yet but helping out someone in a broadcasted bad situation can be powerful content. Oakley sent a new model of sunglasses to those leaving the Chilean mines a few years back – it was global news and everybody saw it. It gave others the chance to create loads of content around them.

    It could also be a way to reassure your clients that this won’t happen to them – like password protection. A great example of newsjackking was Lastpass providing a tool to check if your LinkedIn password was stolen. They re-purpose this piece each and every time a new website is hacked or comes to the limelight for security breaches.

    6. Croudsource an article from your comments area

    I love when people point out an idea you’ve missed on a comments section from another article or blog. Use those ideas and expand on them in another post.

    Your Turn

    Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments section. I’d love to create another post!

    New businesses are eager to take part in social media for marketing. Owners read all the blog posts, articles, and e-books and believe that they are ready to experience explosive growth by tapping into the power of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. However, it is important to have a clear roadmap in mind before jumping on the social media super highway.

    New businesses are eager to take part in social media for marketing. Owners read all the blog posts, articles, and e-books and believe that they are ready to experience explosive growth by tapping into the power of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. However, it is important to have a clear roadmap in mind before jumping on the social media super highway. Take advantage of these six secrets to help your company achieve hyperbolic social media growth.

    1. Planning is Everything

    It is vital to create a cohesive and comprehensive plan before creating social media profiles and communicating with followers. The first part of the plan includes setting goals for your efforts. Are you looking for new leads? Do you want to handle customer service issues via this channel? Or perhaps you are just looking for a way to chat with people on the network to gain feedback for future offerings and advertisement strategies?

    As you try to define your goal, you need to research the different social sites. Determine which sites your customers utilize and how they use them. Does everyone in your market focus on a few sites or are they scattered across all of them? Look at your competitors to see what sites they use and how they communicate with their followers.

    Take all of this information and create a social media strategy. Pick one or two sites to start. This way you can focus your efforts and try a few different tactics to gauge response. It will also reduce the amount of time you spend on social media so that you can complete other important business tasks.

    You also need to schedule the frequency of your social media postings. Create a calendar that spells out what topics will be covered, when they will be posted, where they will be posted and who is responsible for the content. Update this calendar as necessary so that everyone who contributes to social media efforts will understand what is expected of them.

    1. Utilize Tools

    There are plenty of tools and dashboards available that will help you streamline and automate your social media presence. You can monitor your accounts, schedule posts and post to multiple sites at one time. If you are interested in using social media for customer service there a tools to help you with that as well. These tools will integrate with other office software. Sales departments, marketing personnel, even call center outsourcing companies can have access to the information you collect on social media sites to help your customers and leverage your business goals.

    Spend some time research the tools and dashboards to find the one that suits the needs of your company. Some of them are free and many offer trial periods to make sure they are a good fit before you invest in them.

    1. Limits Are Important

    Goals and tools will help you to create limits for your organization. Social media is a time suck for your employees if you don’t set boundaries. Limiting the number of sites you use to connect with your market will help reduce the amount of time spent on social media. Scheduling your posts will also help in this regard, but you need to set other limits.

    Limit the amount of time your company spends monitoring these sites and responses from followers. You also need to limit company expectations. It takes time to create an effective strategy and your company won’t be an expert immediately. Don’t set unrealistic goals for sales staff or your call center outsourcing personnel with feedback from social media. And the community may not respond overwhelmingly at first. It can take six months to a year to see real results as personnel monitor and adjust their efforts to gain new followers.

    4. Content and Engagement

    Marketing shouldn’t be your main goal with social media. People want to talk to people and see the real face of the company. Communications with people on these sites needs to be open and honest to encourage feedback. You need to offer links to useful information you find on the Internet, tips to solve real problems, and fun facts. Monitoring the shares and retweets your posts receive will help to determine how effective your postings are.

    1. Leverage Experts

    On every social media site, there are market experts who have the ear of your potential customers. If you create a relationship with them and post relevant content, these influencers will share it with their audience. Not only does this leverage your reach but the opinion of these experts will mean more to the people in your market. The followers trust these influencers and if they show you, content has value then more leads will approach your site and become customers.

    1. Follow the Buzz

    Following conversational trends regarding your company, your market and your competitors will help your company achieve growth. It will provide you with information to your call center outsourcing experts when they talk to your customers. These trends will also help your sales staff when they create presentations for new leads. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your market will help you become an industry leader and market influencer.

    Social media is an effective tool for company growth. If you set goals and limits, you will be able to have an effective strategy that will create sustainable development. Leverage the tools available so that you can streamline your efforts and ensure that employees are able to gain the information they need when they need it. And when you create relevant content, you will be able to increase engagement and reach market experts who can add credibility to your efforts. By taking advantage of these six social media secrets, you will be able to tap into the power of social media and achieve hyperbolic growth.

    When social selling on Twitter, how can you make your profile more eye-catching and less boring to decision-makers? Don’t be afraid to show your personality by sharing your opinions, personal news, and pictures, as well as mentioning and RT’ing others.

    As someone who actively uses Twitter -- as in, someone else is not in control of my account, and I check my feed just as often as my notifications -- I pull up my Twitter on a daily basis.  I follow a mix of people, mostly marketers, salespeople, creatives, and professionals in high tech, so I see hundreds of tweets in my feed every minute. Not only as a Twitter user but even more so as a marketer, it is exhausting to wade through the crap to find real opinions, fierce conversations, debates, or even a genuinely funny joke.

    I don’t want to visit your profile and scroll down only to be rewarded with a bunch of tweets with bit.ly links, random jargon, and nothing else. Check out these two profile feeds side-by-side, and be honest, tell me which one you think is more engaging? (Full disclosure: the one on the right is mine!)

    Twitter feed comparison


    The left one might as well be a spam account. It’s just a bunch of articles, vaguely related to your profession, with no commentary. There are a lot of offenders out there, doing this right now; you might be one of them? The right profile has color, different articles, hashtags, RT’s, and it gives credit to other users and authors.

    I’m not judging. But I am saying that if you want to be a successful marketer or salesperson, with real social selling expertise (or even just an interesting and engaging profile), you’re not there yet if your profile looks like the one on the left.

    Just be aware, decision-makers, especially those in marketing roles like myself, will be looking at your profile, so optimize it for engagement instead of keeping it updated for the sake of keeping it "updated." Here are a few things that may be hurting your engagement and credibility on your Twitter profile.

    You don’t RT, mention others or even use hashtags.

    Twitter's mission is “to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” Usually, the word “share” implies “with others.” So where are the people you’re sharing with? Are you reaching anyone if you don’t put at least one hashtag on your tweet? Are you giving any credit to the company or person who wrote the blog post or information that you’re sharing? Take a few extra seconds to find the writer of your post on Twitter and tag them. Research a hashtag beforehand to see how many people are posting into it, and then include a relevant one at the end of your post. Next question: are you even engaging with others? Do you read people’s updates, and if so, are you RT’ing the posts you enjoyed reading?  RT others so that your profile isn’t consistently your picture and more importantly, to share other people’s ideas and not only your own.

    You don’t share your opinions, as gritty as they may be.

    Sharing your personal opinion, you mean actually stating whether you agree or even worse disagree with someone’s strategy or point of view?  Really, what is wrong with offering your views on a subject matter? You may spark a conversation or debate with someone, and, if handled wisely, this could boost your reach and your follower count. And worst case scenario, someone unfollows you - yep, they turned the blue “following” button to grey - but if it’s due to someone not agreeing on a strategy, concept, or just having a different opinion, that’s OK.  It’s time to stop being afraid of your followers and start asking yourself how can you get more of your followers engaged in conversation? When I see a Twitter feed of a sales or marketing professional that has no commentary whatsoever, I tend to find myself unfollowing them at some point. I get bored and their usual format always gets lost in the mix. Once a day, find an article that you want to say something about, and tweet the author including your comments or share the post and ask what your followers think, do they agree or disagree with the article? Twitter users will be happy to see some personality, engagement among your community, and overall -- that you’re simply human.

    You don’t share personal news or pictures.

    I’m sure you’ve seen the profiles: “mountain climber adventurist,” “avid runner,” “loves lakes,” “obsessed with photography.” But then when you scroll down, you see nothing. Your profile information needs to match up with what you share. If you’re obsessed with photography, you might want to share your Instagram photos every once in a while. If you’re an avid runner, give your readers an update on how you did on your most recent marathon, what new running shoe you purchased, and whether you love them or they’re giving you the worst blisters (no need for a blister picture here though). Even if the purpose of your account is primarily social selling and business, you shouldn’t be afraid to use it to show your personality, too. It’ll help you become “real” in your prospects’ eyes, instead of a canned seller they’ve seen and heard before. You could even pin these posts to the top of your page so it’s the first thing visitors see.

    Don’t be lazy with your Twitter account. Make your profile approachable, and work on your Twitter messaging to reach prospects when social selling. 

    Do you need some help to get started with your social media marketing plan? If you want to attract and engage social-media fans and followers — and convert them into paying customers — you need to map out a clear, goal-oriented social media plan.

    Do you need some help to get started with your social media marketing plan?

    If you want to attract and engage social-media fans and followers — and convert them into paying customers — you need to map out a clear, goal-oriented social media plan. If you don’t, it will be obvious to your fans and target market that you are disorganized. In addition to damaging your brand, you’ll risk losing sales by sending your audience to your competitors.

    If you’re starting from scratch, it can feel overwhelming.

    You know that others have been successful at social media marketing, but there are so many moving parts that creating a plan of your own can be daunting. If you are brand new to social media and looking for a straightforward way to start, follow the advice below.

    12 Steps to Social Media Marketing Success

    1. Research and know your audience. What topics and interests are they are most social about? What problems are they trying to solve? What are their pain points?
    2. Use the same social networks as your audience. Are Facebook and Twitter their platforms of choice? Do most of them use Pinterest and Instagram? Go where your target audience is to create awareness,engagement, and brand ambassadors.
    3. Identify your KPIs (key performance indicators. They measure progress toward your goals. What do you want your social media efforts to accomplish? What does success look like in quantifiable terms?
    4. Write a social media marketing playbook. The playbook should detail your KPIs, audience profiles, brand personas, campaign concepts, promotional events, contests, content themes, crisis management plan, etc. Make sure to tailor strategies that are unique to each of your social media channels.
    5. Align the people at your company with the plan. Get everyone on board with your strategy. Divide responsibilities among your team, such as who is in charge of posting to your blog and each social media network, who will respond to comments and @mentions, and who will own metrics tracking and reporting.
    6. Set aside some time at the beginning of each week to prepare. Take 30-60 minutes to schedule tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn posts, Pinterest pins, and other social media content. Come up with some original ideas, links to your own content, and links to outside content that is useful or interesting to your audience.
    7. Develop a content marketing calendar. Use one of the example spreadsheets I’ve created as a starting point to plan content topics, headlines, related links, desired scheduling, name of authors, etc.
    8. Post content that is relevant to newsworthy topics and events. As soon as breaking news comes out about anything related to your brand or industry, you should share your opinion and become part of the conversation.
    9. Treat all of your social channels differently. Don’t post the same message everywhere – remember who the audience is on each platform and how they interact. What works on Facebook will fall flat on Twitter, and vice versa.
    10. Assign someone to act as a customer service rep. It’s vital to be responsive to user generated content, comments, and feedback (positive or not). CRM (customer relationship management) is a fundamental to social media marketing success.
    11. Schedule metrics reporting. Reporting metrics can occur weekly, monthly, or bimonthly depending on your goals and desired outcomes.
    12. Reanalyze your plan on a regular basis. If something in your plan isn’t working, switch it up or do some A/B testing to determine what your audience responds to better. Use 2 versions of your content simultaneously and measure to see which one is more successful and use it going forward.

    12 steps to social media marketing success

    Infographic via BIGEYE

    top image: social media marketing / shutterstock