Month: November 2013

How to Use LinkedIn Groups to Create Close Relationships with Your Target Audience

by

Report after report shows that LinkedIn is the top network for B2B social media marketing.

While it is an effective channel for getting your content in front of your best prospects, the benefits go far beyond that. You'll achieve much more meaningful results if you focus on developing relationships with your target audience through LinkedIn groups.

RELATED CLASS: Holistic Integration with LinkedIn Innovation

Here's how to use LinkedIn groups to improve your B2B social media marketing, and develop close relationships with the people most likely to buy:

1. Setting Your Goal(s) & Expectations

Let’s be aggressive and assume your overall goal for using LinkedIn is to increase your revenue growth.

The bad news: As much as we wish there is one magic step to achieving this, there simply isn’t. We need to follow a path that enables us to create deep meaningful connections with our target audience.

The good news: this is certainly something you can achieve through participation in LinkedIn groups.

Action Step: 

  • Create a series of smaller, achievable expectations to move you along the path to achieving our goal. My suggestion: “Effectively participate in the ‘right’ LinkedIn groups for you, with the outcome being to create visibility & credibility for both you and your business.”

2. Find and Participate in the “Right” Groups

Not all groups work the same. However, a common theme is that by posting valuable content, meaningful questions, and smart comments, you can build trust with other participants, and people tend to do business with those they trust.

As an example, let’s assume you are a patent attorney. Would it be to your benefit to participate in a group that is focused on promoting that new cupcake store at the edge of town?  While it might be a fun, social thing to join, can you offer value in line with your expertise, and would the members of this group be seeking that? Probably not.

You should look for groups that are populated by the target audience for your services. They are actively seeking your value and with effective participation, and you can create visibility for yourself & credibility to your expertise.

RELATED CLASS: Best Practices for Building a High-Impact Demand Generation Strategy

Action Steps: 

  1. Focus on finding five groups that enable you to really effectively engage your target audience.  This may take a little experimentation to achieve.
  2. Look up some profiles for people in your target audience, and see which groups they belong to.
  3. Plan to join multiple groups and test each one out. Keep doing this until you find the five that you really want to participate in. Once you have your five, work to sustain the effectiveness of your communication in those groups. Try to avoid haphazard participation.

3. Participate Effectively in a LinkedIn Group

Once you are comfortable with the flow and participation of the group, start posting frequently.  Post relevant and valuable content, start discussions, comment, and like posts.

What does success look like?

Over time, you should begin to see more people interacting with you and your profile.  This includes: comments, discussions, likes, views of your profiles, growth in your —hopefully growth in new prospects. If you are not noticing this after an appropriate amount of time, step back and determine if you are effective in your participation, or if the activity level of the group doesn’t support building this deep engagement. If so, leave the group and find another.

Action Steps:

  1. Join a group, become comfortable with the way that group functions, and begin to participate
  2. Set up a schedule to post a topic for discussion (i.e. could be something you are talking about, a question, or an article, tip sheet, etc.).
  3. The key is to make sure it is something that your target audience would value.
  4. Make sure you check the group every day and add at least one activity (post, comment, like, share)

Note: A simple way to measure “effective participation” is for you to consistently show up as an “influencer” in the group.

Closing thought… it is better to be an active participant in 5 key groups related to your target audience than it is to just another faceless member of 50.

Convert conversations into sales by identifying buying signals.

Watch Buying Signals: The Key to Social Media Salesand learn how to turn social media into a quality lead stream for your business. You'll see how to use keywords and listening programs to identify buying signals—and then hone in on the people ready to buy. After watching, you'll be ready to separate the signal from the noise, and start optimizing your social and content activity for increased sales. Get instant access to this class now.

 


8 Reasons to Use Pinterest for Marketing

by

If your business sells products or services online, you need to explore Pinterest as a potential weapon in your online marketing arsenal, especially if you market to women. Reports show anywhere from 70-80% of users are female! With that, here are 8 reasons to use Pinterest as part of your digital marketing strategy.

RELATED CLASS: How Pinterest Can Help Your Brand

1. Pinterest is growing in leaps and bounds.

According to Compete, unique monthly visitors grew close to 32,000,000 in October. Pinterest has almost caught up with Twitter in terms of adult U.S. Internet users (15% compared to Twitter’s 16%).

 

2. Pinterest drives website traffic.

For the most successful pinners and brands using the network strategically, you can drive significant amounts of traffic. MarketingCharts reported Pinterest now drives more traffic to websites than Twitter, StumbleUpon, & Reddit, and others—combined.

3. Pinterest pins have a shelf life of over one week!

Compare that to the life of a tweet (5-25 minutes) and a Facebook post (80 minutes). People pin photos on Pinterest to share with friends, to collect and to save for later when they are interested in buying.

4. Pinterest users are more likely to become buyers.

Many pins are linked to websites where you can purchase the item, and pinners are much more responsive to this – in fact, pins with price tags get 36% more likes!

RELATED CLASS: Pinning for Profit

5. Pinterest shares almost rival email.

If your goal is to get your content shared, Pinterest can help you do that. Shares via the network have grown by at least 59% this year.

Pinterest Shares Chart

6. Pinterest has a completely different culture than other social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram.

Pinterest works more like a Vision Board, rather than an off-the-cuff, in-the-moment statement of what people are eating or where people are hanging out.

7. Pinterest is highly addictive.

Pinterest users are not passive—they are more likely to participate on the site than the typical social media user who reads and scans but never takes an action (also called “lurkers”).

8. Integration with other social media sites.

You can push your pins out to Twitter and Facebook to drive engagement and get more followers.

Learn how to use Pinterest to drive referral traffic and boost brand awareness.

Watch How Pinterest Can Help Your Brand, and walk through the necessary steps for getting up and running on Pinterest. You'll discover how to leverage the network to drive significant referral traffic, and learn exactly how to create pins that people will love, share, and visit. Get instant access to now.

 


29 Social Media Tools for the Busy Social Media Marketer

by

social media toolsAre you using the right social media tools to manage your social media presence?

As the demands on social media marketers increase, it can be difficult to find time to do everything. But there are some great tools that can help you save time and increase the effectiveness of your efforts. In conjunction with our infographic on "The Day in the Life of a Busy Social Media Marketer" (see the post), here is our full list of over 29 time-saving social media & content tools you can use on a daily basis. Start by picking a few to test—it will make your life so much easier.

RELATED CLASS: Best Practices for Integrated Content & Social Media Marketing

Going to work

Depending on how you get to work there are some applications that can help you get ahead before the day even starts.

1. Downcast is an iPhone and Mac app for listening to podcasts.  You subscribe to your podcasts and then download them when you have a wireless connection.

2. Evernote is a great note taking application that is available on your phone or desktop.  Quite often we come up with the bones of an idea but we’re not sure where to store it.  Evernote is great for capturing that idea. 

3. Zite is an application you can use to catch up on the latest industry news or blog posts.

Early morning creative time

Early in the morning is a great time to get some creative and planning work done for the day.  Create content, share content, or maybe kick off a marketing campaign. 

Writing blog posts

4. Hubspot is a good platform for creating and sharing your content. Or use WordPress (#5) where you can publish great content at the touch of a button.

Email Marketing/Automation

6. Aweber: At this part of the day you might open up AWeber to create your newsletter for the day or schedule some updates for later on.

7. Infusionsoft: You might use Infusionsoft to create some automated emails for your new subscribers.

Kick off a competition

Facebook competitions are a great tool for building awareness of a new product or promotion or just building engagement and new fans.

8. Agorapulse and ShortStack (#9) provide competitively priced solutions that you’ll have up and running in minutes.

Schedule out the content

It makes perfect sense to schedule out some content on social media.  After all, we can’t be available 24 hours a day! 

10. Dlvr.it automates the delivery of blog content to a variety of social networks.  When you write your new blog post you want to make sure that your audience gets it.  You have a very busy day ahead of you so automate what you can.

11. Bundle Post helps you find and schedule out the most relevant content to your audience. 

12. PostPlanner will help you find and schedule out Facebook content.  The content discovery engine will search the Internet and find the most popular content based on your niche.

Mid-Morning Catch up

It is mid-morning already, time to check how things are going.

13. Mention: A monitoring tool that will keep an eye out for mentions of your brand, product, service or competitor.

13. Viralheat: A full social media management tool that has a very useful monitoring solution.  If you want social media management and monitoring in the one solution Viralheat is definitely one to consider.

14. Feedly: Catch up on all the blogs you have subscribed to using this really nicely designed and user friendly web and mobile application.

15. Scoop.it: A content curation platform where the members of the community find great content and organize it into boards.  By following relevant people on Scoop.it you can save a ton of time finding content yourself.

16. Buffer: A content scheduling application.  You find content on the web and click a button to ‘buffer’ it, which places it in a queue where it waits to be delivered at the next available time slot.

17. Triberr: Make your content available to the tribes in Triberr and they will help share it out.  A community of bloggers hungry for your content.

18. Hootsuite: For organizing, monitoring and managing your day to day interaction on Twitter, Hootsuite is a very useful tool.

19. Sprout Social: If you want a more visually appealing platform with better reporting options, Sprout Social is also a popular choice.

20. Nimble: If you understand the value of building relationships through social media then Nimble is a perfect tool to help you track the people and interactions and ultimately build relationships.

Lunch-time check-up

21. Flipboard: Why not catch up on a bit of reading using Flipboard which is an alternative to Zite.  We’ve listed a collection of great blogs so you can catch up on the latest in your industry.

Mid afternoon coffee

You might be experiencing a lull but the coffee will perk you up!

22. Disqus: Check the comments on your blog and respond.  Disqus powers so many blogs and it’s really powerful.

Time to give Hootsuite a quick check to see if your name or company has been mentioned. Have a look through your stream to find any conversations worth engaging in.

23. GroupHigh: After writing your great content it’s time to go out and promote it. GroupHigh has a database of 15 million blogs that you can search to find relevant people to reach out to in order to promote your content.

24. Littlebird: This tool is in beta but has a lot of promise. It’s a platform for identifying key influencers validated by peers on any topics.

25. Buzzstream: When you do a lot of blogger outreach it’s difficult to keep track of all the conversations and the results. Buzzstream helps you manage this.  

Time for the gym: podcasts!

A nice relaxing run on the treadmill. But while you’re on the treadmill you might as well catch up on some great podcasts. 

26. Entrepreneur on Fire: Listen to John Lee Dumas grill the entrepreneurs to get those nuggets of information we all can learn from.

27. MarketingProfs' Marketing Smarts: Listen to Kerry Gorgone as she interviews a wide variety of really interesting marketing and entrepreneurial people.

28. Amy Porterfield: Amy runs a very successful online business and shares lots of great information from her own personal experience and from her guests.

29. Social Media Examiner: Founder Mike Stelzner interviews the top marketers in the industry and delivers results every time.

Down time

The only tool we need for downtime is a TV.  Time to relax! 

Bonus! Time for bed (you really should be sleeping...)

It’s coming up to bed time but we are keen to see how the day went. Check in on your results with these tools.

30. Google Analytics: Check to see what goals you achieved and traffic obtained. 

31. Kissmetrics: Find out who was interacting with our site and what they were doing.

32. Tailwind: Find out who is pinning our content and what content is trending.

Night night!

31.Notepad & pen:  Time to go to sleep, but in the middle of the night you wake up with an amazing idea. No gadgets or tools—just a notepad and pen!

Final Comments

As you can see you can be kept very busy with social media. Consider the tools you are currently using and see if you can use other tools that will make you more efficient and effective.

We all like some ‘down’ time so we hope the ideas and tools we have provided here will help.

Have you used the tools listed above? Would you add any to the list?

Do you want to grow your Facebook audience?

Watch Tips and Tricks for Successful Facebook Growth, and learn how to effectively engage your Facebook fans and grow your fan base while doing so. See what works, what doesn’t work, and get insider tips to implement immediately. Get instant access to this class now.

 


A Day in the Life of a Busy Social Media Marketer [infographic]

by

The demands on social media marketers continue to grow and distractions are everywhere. For many of us, it's challenging to efficiently manage the day-to-day tasks involved with the constantly-changing landscape.

With that, it's important to streamline your social media initiatives as much as possible, in order to save time & stay focused. Our friends over at RazorSocial created this nifty infographic about the day in the life of a social media marketer, and the social media & content tools that can help you stay efficient, and knowledgeable about what's happening in the industry.

RELATED CLASS: Best Practices for Integrated Content & Social Media Marketing

I love how passionate the RazorSocial team is about social (big shout out to our friend and RazorSocial founder Ian Cleary!). His team even included ideas for efficiently including social media as part of your evening / bedtime activities!

But don't forget, we gotta separate my friends 😉 If we're constantly plugged into technology and the web, we're never plugged in to the people and world around us—and missing out on the most important parts of life. 🙂

Is this what your average day is like? Leave a comment below...

social media tools info graphic

Infographic by: http://www.razorsocial.com

 


6 Sources for an Endless Supply of Brilliant Content Marketing Ideas

by

content marketing ideasContent development requires careful thought and planning. And it can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Content can come from anywhere really, but how you create it depends on who you are trying to reach and what you are trying to accomplish.

RELATED CLASS: Executing Winning Content Marketing

Once you understand your ‘content goals,’ here’s how to find topics to write about, and develop an endless supply of brilliant content marketing ideas:

1. User reviews.

Read your reviews. Note if there are benefits or features that are pointed out more often than others. Use those as topics for your next blog post. And pay attention to the comments that others leave after reviews. If you can identify questions that are frequently asked, you can devote a post to just that topic.

RELATED CLASS: Measuring Content Marketing Success

2. Customer service and sales departments.

Survey your customer service agents and sales people to find out what questions/complaints/praises they hear most often from customers and prospects.  Use those to develop a list of topics to write about.

3. Employees at your company.

Employees talk to their friends/family/clients/each other. Ask them what questions they hear most often about your products.  Form some blog posts around those. In addition, employees can be great authors. Have each employee in your company write about a topic they feel is relevant to your customers, company or industry.  You can even make an event out of it where for 2 hours one afternoon, everyone focuses on writing about a business-relevant topic of interest to them. 

4. Case studies.

Case studies are short stories about how a customer successfully used or uses your product. These are often used in B2B marketing. The best source of case studies is your customer service or sales departments. Ask them about the customers they talk to and have them identify a handful that were positively impacted by your company. Call the contact person there and ask if they’d mind being interviewed for a case study you’d like to post on your website. You can explain that it can be good press for their company and that they’ll be able to approve the finished article. You can even offer to share their URL in the story. Set expectations regarding length of time the questionnaire will take and even offer to send it to them in advance of the interview. You can do your interview over the phone or in person.

RELATED CLASS: Best Practices for Building a High-Impact Demand Generation Strategy

If you are going to have the interview in person, I recommend having someone videotape the conversation for later use on youtube or on your website (you of course have to ask for permission from the person you’d be filming…and you’ll want to get that consent in writing). If your product services multiple industries, it’s a good idea to develop at least one case study per industry.

5. Interview industry leaders.

Identify someone who is respected in your industry and see if they’ll agree to an interview. It's great press for them and identifies your company with a thought leader.

6. Social media conversations.

Read what people are writing about your industry or your products specifically to identify hot topics to write about. You can find relevant topics using hashtags on Twitter, or look for conversations on Facebook or Linkedin that have generated a lot of comments. It's a great way to enter the conversation.

Do you want to nurture more leads to revenue with relevant content?

Watch Creating Content That Converts: Lean Content Marketing for Lead Generation, and in just 30 minutes, you'll learn how to create a high-impact content marketing plan and put it into action immediately. Plus, you'll learn lean content marketing techniques to save time and resources, and how to build your content program around themes and personas. This class is available with a FREE trial to the Online Marketing Institute. Get instant access now.

Content That Converts

 


5 Social Selling Tools that Deliver Real Leads & Closed Business

by

ibm social selling

Via InsideView

You can spend all day, every day, wasting an enormous amount of time on the social web.

Or, you can focus your time and energy on tools that deliver measurable value for your business—real, qualified leads, growing sales pipeline and closed deals. Sales & marketing professionals that leverage social selling techniques close more business, and you can too. In fact, InsideView reported that IBM saw a 400% increase in sales in 1 quarter after launching a pilot social selling program.

If you’re more interested in the latter, here are 5 social selling tools I recommend you take full advantage of moving into 2014:

1. Socedo

The bottom line on Socedo is qualified leads, using your existing assets and offers, at a significantly lower cost than paid search and many of your other paid channels. Socedo finds relevant tweets based on keyword, bio content and location, then automates a follow-up process that culminates in a personalized, customized direct message offering a download, white paper, webinar registration, whatever you want. RELATED CLASS: Buying Signals: The Key to Social Media Sales

It's very easy to start leveraging Socedo to mine Twitter for real prospects, all integrated into demand generation offers you already execute to compare on cost and conversion. In my tests thus far, acquisition costs and conversion rates on my control landing pages have been significantly better.

2. Little Bird

Type in any categories, keyword or phrase and you’ll receive a rich report of the top influencers (Little Bird calls them “insiders”), ranked by how many other influencers in that category also follow the individual.

If you’re trying to accelerate the reach of your content via others who have significant influence with your target audience, I can’t imagine a more efficient tool to use. It works for categories, brand names, hashtags, conferences and more. I use it weekly to find and engage new influencers for our business and for our clients.

3. LinkedIn Contacts

A few months ago, LinkedIn allowed users to consolidate contacts from a variety of sources into a single, dynamic database – from Yahoo, Google, Facebook and more.

Why is this important?  Because now, every morning, you can receive an email that summarizes, across all of your social networks, who has a birthday, who’s celebrating a work anniversary, who changed jobs or titles, who was quoted in the news recently and more.

All great opportunities to generate a new, value-added impression for yourself or your brand. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a simple “happy birthday” message turn into a business conversation. RELATED CLASS: Holistic Integration with LinkedIn Innovation

4. OFunnel

Referrals are the lifeblood of any consistently successful sales or business development professional. OFunnel helps you filter specifically for the referrals you most want from your direct network.

Simply tell OFunnel what companies, individuals or titles you’re targeting, and they’ll let you know whenever someone in your direct network connects with someone you need to meet.

Great way to ask for a direct introduction and make quick traction towards a new business opportunity.

5. Slideshare

Content marketers may be familiar with Slideshare already, but it continues to increase in importance for sales & business development professionals as well.  Its ability to rank highly on Google makes placing all of your content—white papers, collateral, even sales and feature sheets—a must on their platform.

For example, I posted a one-pager featuring an end-of-year service offering we launched a few weeks ago and it’s generated hundreds of views and several downloads—with no promotion whatsoever.

Slideshare also allows you to post an optional, customized registration form on top of your content, which regularly generates new leads from companies and decision makers who are already engaged with our content.

There are dozens of great tools out there, but these are some of my favorites that I’m using regularly to find new leads and sales opportunities. What are you using?

Convert conversations into sales by identifying buying signals.

Watch Buying Signals: The Key to Social Media Sales, and learn how to turn social media into a quality lead stream for your business. You'll see how to use keywords and listening programs to identify buying signals—and then hone in on the people ready to buy. After watching, you'll be ready to separate the signal from the noise, and start optimizing your social and content activity for increased sales. Get instant access to this class now.

 


5 Types of B2B Buyers Your Content Needs to Influence

by

different buyersThe B2B technology buying process involves more decision-makers than ever. If you want to create content that helps you attract high-quality leads and turn them into customers, you must tailor your content for all of your audiences. This means you need to develop content not only for early-, mid- and late-stage leads, but also for all of the stakeholders within your customers’ organizations.

According to a TechTarget Media Consumption Report, “corporate IT buying is a team decision-making process with 95% of IT buying teams having more than 2 members. The majority work in teams of 2–7 with a significant number of teams having 10 or more members.”  RELATED CLASS: Best Practices for Building a High-Impact Demand Generation Strategy

Here are examples of people who may be involved in the B2B technology buying process, along with what they are looking for in your content:

1. Researchers                                                                        

Researchers are typically junior employees whose boss has asked them to research a specific product or service. Although these people usually do not have buying power, they have a lot of influence.

Researchers are often the first people who will visit your website to gather information. You want to make it easy for them to find what they need and pass it along to their boss. They may download your white papers or check out your blog to see if they like what you’re talking about. It’s also a good idea to provide them with a PDF overview of your products or services – such as a data sheet – so they can easily forward the information to their boss.

2. End users

Your end users want to know that your solution works and will make their lives easier. Provide them with case studies and unbiased reviews from customers who have used your products and services. End users may also be interested in attending webcasts, watching demos, participating in forums and joining user groups.

3. IT influencers

If you sell technology products or services, your customer’s IT team will want to know how your solution will impact their network. Will it simplify things or make things more complex? How easy is it to implement your solution? How will it affect their network security? Be sure that your marketing materials address these concerns. You may need to create separate content geared specifically toward IT to answer these questions. RELATED CLASS: Content Marketing Implementation: Executing Winning Content

4. Finance decision makers

Financial influencers will want to know if your product or service is worth the investment. After all, they are the ones who will sign your checks. Be sure to demonstrate your value in all of the marketing materials that you provide them – such as case studies, ROI calculators, data sheets, brochures and webinars.

5. Executives

Executives want proof that your products or services will help them reach their business goals and achieve ROI. Make sure that all of your content discusses the key business challenges that your customers are facing and how your solution helps to solve these challenges. White papers, case studies and ROI calculators can be valuable when you want to influence an executive.

Figure out who your key stakeholders are and create buyer personas for all of them. This will help you gain an understanding of their needs and the types of content that will most appeal to them.

Do you want to nurture more leads to revenue with relevant content?

Watch Creating Content That Converts: Lean Content Marketing for Lead Generation, and in just 30 minutes, you'll learn how to create a high-impact content marketing plan and put it into action immediately. Plus, you'll learn lean content marketing techniques to save time and resources, and how to build your content program around themes and personas. This class is available with a FREE trial to the Online Marketing Institute. Get instant access now.

Content That Converts

 


Digital Marketing Talent Spotlight: Shelly Lucas of D&B Reminds Us to ‘Give It Our All’

by

Over the past few years, I've had the chance to get to know Shelly Lucas, Senior Marketing Manager at D&B/Hoover's. We met through the Hoover's Twitter account while I was hosting a weekly Twitter chat about marketing. Shelly (AKA @Hoovers @DnBUS) was the only business account that consistently attended and interacted with other attendees. I was always so impressed and excited by this, because I see very few other businesses take the time to really leverage Twitter for building and nurturing meaningful relationships. As our State of Digital Marketing Talent study found, great talent in social media marketing is hard to come by.

RELATED CLASS: Twitter Tactics for Higher Engagement & ROI

With that, I wanted to learn more about Shelly and get her thoughts on B2B social media strategy, so I asked her these 8 questions. I'm a big fan of her and once you get to know her, I think you will be, too.

You can follow Shelly on Twitter @pisarose and connect with her on LinkedIn here.

1. How did you get started in online marketing?

Shelly: I started thinking like an online marketer in graduate school---not by studying marketing, but by thinking about the ways we make meaning. When we write something, it becomes a dialogue the moment it’s read. A book can be 100 years old, but its context is organic. It’s always interplaying with contemporary readers’ experiences. In that way—in its relevance and interpretation—it’s continuously being rewritten…and retold.

If you’re good at social media marketing, you understand before you can put yourself in customers’ shoes, you have to understand their context. You have to be willing to listen intently to what’s said--and what’s unsaid. This requires a certain fearlessness. Social conversations may require you to build upon, question, or unravel your own truth. You have to be ready, willing and able to establish an emotional connection within an ambiguous and constantly shifting landscape. It’s like dancing to a song you never heard before—with one or more partners—with the world watching.

2. What were you doing before becoming an online marketer?

Shelly: I taught college English for several years, and then left academia to wear many hats in corporate communications, PR, analyst relations, and traditional marketing.

3. What was your first job?

Shelly: A simultaneous server, cashier and dishwasher at a local pizza parlor. I was 14. Before that, I sold greeting cards door-to-door, earning $1 per box. I used that money to buy holiday presents for my family.

4. Our new State of Digital Marketing Talent report revealed that 70% of new employees expect to advance or be hired for upper-level positions before proving themselves. What advice do you have for those looking to break into social media marketing?

Shelly: Social media marketers with staying power rarely break into the field in a sudden viral explosion. More often, their success is the result of a painstaking, tireless and wisely calculated strategic effort. If you don’t have patience, you won’t last long in social. Brightly burning candles with short wicks need not apply.

5. One of the respondents to the study said, "people are either marketers, or digital, but rarely both." Do you agree with this? What do you consider yourself?

Shelly: Each of these roles is often missing skills of the other, but this will eventually remedy itself. Marketers can no longer push their brands on prospects; they have to learn to influence folks within the scope of individual preferences. So we’re back to context. It’s inescapable with mobile marketing and wearable technology. Digital marketers, on the other hand, may be good at online engagement, but do they understand the buyer’s journey? Do they design a digital experience that not generates clicks, but also supports the brand promise? Do they have solid industry-specific knowledge?

6. What are the most common mistakes you see B2B companies make on Twitter?

Shelly: They’re not experimenting enough. A lot of B2B brands concentrate on sharing content created by marketing and PR, which is great, but what about creating content specifically for social? How can you take an existing message and make it socially engaging? You don’t need a huge team to do this. Just be opportunistic and work smart. If your Twitter followers like visuals, consider swapping out a Twitpic of a report’s bar graph with a quirky photo and a creative lead-in. Or what about extracting highlights from the report and turning it into a slideshow with fun vintage illustrations? You could even pose a question on the very last slide with a hashtag, encouraging folks to continue the conversation on Twitter. Of course, whatever you do should fall within your brand’s guardrails, but you may have more latitude than you think.  RELATED CLASS: Twitter Tactics for Higher Engagement & ROI

7. What is the most common mistake you see people make when hiring social media marketing talent? How can they solve it?

Shelly: They’re more worried about candidates’ familiarity with social platforms, listening tools, and promotional campaigns than they are about their business acumen. I doubt any hiring manager would turn up her nose at a social media applicant’s PR and marketing experience, but most aren’t willing to pay for it. They don’t understand the huge liabilities and opportunities of social. Are most fresh graduates ready to be on the frontlines of a brand crisis when it breaks on Twitter? Companies should invest in seasoned talent, which can mentor a more junior team—and the rest of the organization if it chooses to embed social in its culture.

8. What song best describes your work ethic?

Shelly: “I Lived” by One Republic. Like a lot of people these days, I spend most of my waking hours working. Owning every experience, and being truly present in every moment, is what I strive for.

Thank you Shelly, for sharing your insights and letting the OMI audience get to know you! I checked out "I Lived" by One Republic, and loved it. It's a great reminder that life is a gift and deserves all the very best of you—your talent, your enthusiasm, and your passion. When working in marketing (or any field for that matter) starts to feel monotonous, you can still find meaning and give it your all. I'll try not to forget that!

[media url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us3AuW7_yC8" width="580" height="400"]

 


5 Critical Steps for Integrating Paid, Owned, and Earned Media

by

integrate paid earned and owned mediaThe first webpages were digital billboards for businesses. They were one way conversations; talking to a world-wide-web of strangers. Web 2.0 has changed everything of course but how exactly are these advances converging to help businesses deliver a rich and engaging presence online? Even more important, how can businesses effectively harness this phenomenon?

Paid, Owned and Earned Media

Advertising has been adjusting itself to every new conversation medium that emerges and the web is no exception. There are more types of ads available online than any other medium. Advertising is great for a quick boost in exposure but it disappears as soon as the budget is pulled. Over time it grows expensive. This type of paid media is important and easy to do today. RELATED CLASS: How to Leverage Earned & Owned Media to Create Effective Paid Media Programs

Our websites are the prominent remnant of web 1.0. We control the content as we do with our social sites and our email campaigns. This represents owned media. We have the say and we are the gatekeepers. In the long run, the impact of owned media grows slow and steady over time.

Earned media is the new part of the mix. This is a result of web 2.0 and the social nature of the internet. Sharing, conversation and interaction are now available online and this now the public and your customers are generating content about you. Blog posts, comments, re-tweets, etc. All of this makes up earned media. The impact of this is great and it can grow quickly.

convergence paid earned owned media

infographic via theviewfromhere.ca

 

The Convergence

Effective marketing today means a concerted effort to direct messaging through all these channels. A new product for example can be announced on your website, an ad, a social posting and on blogs. Understanding how to plan for this is key. Here are the 5 steps required to make this a reality:

1. Refine your ROI.

More importantly, define the R. Your return may be more than sales. It could be email registrations, an increase in organic traffic or product demos

2. Find your internal evangelists.

Source content from within your organization by locating and empowering evangelists in every department. R&D may have great info you can talk about; Operations may have great insight into what could be highlighted based on their pipeline. By building cross-functional teams you will have an endless source of content to share and will also help determine the appropriate channel for their conversation

3. Create an editorial calendar.

Develop an editorial calendar that covers everything from annual events to hourly updates. This could include holiday promotions, trade news or conventions and even your #FollowFriday tweets. This will further align your staff, your goals and your workload. RELATED CLASS: Content is Opportunity: Developing Content for Every Stage in the Buying Cycle

4. Test and measure.

Without a scoreboard, how do you know if you've won? There is an old saying in the ad business that goes, "I know 50% of my advertising works and 50% does not, but I don't know which 50%". Thanks to the web we can know. Not just ads either. We can track links, clicks, returning visitors, visitor medium and more. You should know what works and what doesn't and make decisions from that data

5. Work in 90-day increments.

Your business has a vision statement and a marketing plan will work towards that but teams will be most effective working in 90-day timelines. At the end of that period, you can reflect on what worked and what didn't then adjust and plan for the next 90 days.

Start Today!

Web 2.0 is here, the convergence of paid, owned and earned is here. Get your team ready and begin today. We can't guess what new technology will be essential tomorrow but by being entrenched in an advanced marketing plan, process and flow will keep you on the cutting edge.

Learn how to save money in your paid media programs by leveraging earned & owned media.

Watch How to Leverage Earned & Owned Media to Create Effective Paid Media Programs, and discover proven strategies to ensure your message and content gets in front of your best prospects at exactly the right time. You'll learn how to get the most mileage from every piece of content you create, and keep customers and prospects coming back to your website to consume your content. An integrated approach is key! Get instant access to this class now—FREE.

 


6 Characteristics of the Brand New Social Customer

by

There’s a new kind of customer in town. She is intelligent, decisive, seeks social proof, needs information to quantify or justify her “buying” decisions, prefers shopping online, waits for the right moment to make her purchase, and looks for social warranty.

The social customer looks for social validation. She looks for information before buying. She spends countless hours researching her products and services and looks for any word – negative or positive – about any particular business or brand. According to the Digital Influence Index report, 89% percent of consumers surveyed use search engines to make purchasing decisions. RELATED CLASS: The Digital Marketer's Guide to Mastering Search and Social Media

This is the new economy and we have a new kind of customer to deal with. What exactly are the characteristics of this brand new social customer?

Let’s explore:

nonchalant loyalstThe Nonchalant Loyalist

The new age, social customer is nonchalant. She can drop loyalty at a moment’s notice. She is too quick to take action and she’ll have a tendency to go moody in a flash. She has no patience and she won’t take no for an answer. If she expects something and you can’t give it to her, she’ll flee. She’ll find your competition before you can trace her down with a retargeted advertisement. If she hears one negative word about your service (and your lack of response to that negativity), she’ll know you don’t care.

If you don’t care, she won’t buy from you.

She is indifferent to your investments, your brand value, and those millions of dollars spent on advertisement money. She’ll read your blog until you are in her good books. Positive can turn negative in her little tight world of social networks.

The Conversationalist

Do you have a question? Do you need answers to a problem that’s burning your insides? Would you like to know why you “feel” in a particular way? Do you realize the repercussions of that symptom – that health problem you were too embarrassed to share with your friends? Welcome to the new age of conversations.

The Internet is one huge water cooler and you have conversations about everything – spreading across a wide range of communities. Your new customer is an incurable conversationalist. She gets out to talk, to share, and to ask questions. She seeks answers to her burning problems and looks for solutions from a morass of answers that’ll pile on top of one another.

On the Internet, everyone is an extrovert. There’s just no way to stop these conversations from spreading. The best you can do is to involve yourself in those conversations and make a difference by solving problems.

The Review Addict

The post-recession breed of social customer needs information before they decide to put that money down on the table. Before they dine out, they check out the restaurant’s reviews on Yelp. Before they buy a smartphone, they check out the latest on Engadget or Gizmodo. Before they launch their website, they wade through the technical abyss at SitePoint.com or WhoIsHostingThis.com. You get the idea…

Is your customer looking for social validation for any brand or business? She is likely to visit Facebook fan pages or Twitter feeds for those keywords in question.

Your new social customer is a review addict. She thrives on social proof and she’ll do all she can to find out more about you. Everything about you that isn’t on your advertising, sales letters, emails, or website.

The Natural Communicator

Socially savvy customers tend to have clout. They have influence and they are likely to have people listening to their opinions. They are expressive and eloquent. They are powerful communicators and are natural observers. They find square pegs in round holes and they’ll leak information out before you even begin to look around.

Basically, businesses and brands ought to behave. You have to respond to comments, attend to issues, solve problems, and cater to demands customers make. Social customers don’t tend to send out one-on-one emails on your ticket support system. Even if they do, what you do next determines what goes out on their social network feeds.

Today’s customers aren’t tight introverts. They are, in fact, beneficiaries of a brave new world that also accommodates introverts.

They know how to communicate with power, passion, and authority. In fact, their followers or readers trust them more than they trust you.

demanding customerThe Demanding Expectant

Customer service for many businesses took a new route because the traditional way of serving customers just won’t work anymore.

Today, customers are super-demanding. They need answers yesterday. They’d expect businesses to solve problems even before they arise. The profile of today’s social customer is such that businesses roll on auto-mode to predict bottlenecks in their services and issue callbacks for products before customers point it out.

Today’s customers just expect. They want you to be proactive about your business. You can’t just launch and sit down to count cash. You’d, in fact, have to be on your toes – from launch to close.

Your customer is demanding, almost child-like, emotional, and unforgiving. They now demand with a huge soundboard that involves tools such as social media, blogs, and communities.

What’d you do?

The Pampered One

Over time, customers get used to anything. By the time you are reading this, they are already pampered by your competition. Your new age social customer feels empowered by the amount of information she has. She loves the reassurance she gets from social media where her fans, followers, or friends and she won’t hesitate to share what she knows about your brand or business.

She has more friends than ever. She is habituated to act in a certain way, visit certain sites for her specific needs, read a few publications for information consumption, and get all the attention she didn’t even ask for from your competition.

Either you get her attention or someone else will.

You might now begin to think that today’s customers are impossible. They aren’t. They just developed new habits. As marketers, our job is to adapt (again) to these new trends. We ought to plug into this new customer behavior. We’ll have to cater to these new habits.

This is exactly how traditional marketing alone won’t fit into the overwhelming job of making your customers come to you. You’ll need an intelligent mix of digital, traditional, and trust-based marketing to get the job done.

What are some of the other habits your customers/readers/subscribers would have developed?

Learn how to create a smart integrated online marketing strategy.

Watch How to Create a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy, and develop your roadmap for digital marketing success. Learn how to effectively integrate your efforts across all channels, the key components of an effective strategy, how to structure your plan with the RACE and SOSTAC frameworks, and more. Put your strategy on the fast track to success—watch this class now. Get instant access now.