Components of High Quality Content Marketing

As search engines continue to alter their algorithms , so they can provide users with the best and most relevant content on the internet, the importance of content marketing is being pushed to the forefront. However, content marketing can be quite overwhelming when first diving in, so it is important to understand the influence that content has on customers and the core components.

Content+, a online marketing agency in the UK, created a captivating infographic to explain the importance and structure of content marketing.

Below are my favorite take-aways from the The Anatomy of Content Marketing – The Heart of Online Success infographic: Continue reading

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16 Tip for Marketing on a Budget

Brianna Smith:

For a company to thrive, it is important that they always make sure that they get the most for their money. This is especially true for small businesses who can’t afford the large advertising campaigns that larger companies can. But don’t fret, there are many things that all you small business owners can do to market your brand, find new customers, and increase sales. Check out these 16 great tips on how to market on a budget from Transition Marketing.

Do you have any tips for marketing on a budget?

Originally posted on Transition Marketing Services:

Image Source: smallbiztrends.com

Clever Marketing Does Not Need To Always Be Expensive.

Small Business owners seldom have the budget for glitzy or high profile marketing and advertising. Small Business marketing often needs to be as unique and specialized as the business it represents. Here are a few tips for Marketing on a budget.

1. Get On Board With Your Local Press. Most local news outlets have resources available for the local small business community:

  • 1. You can go with a standard ad.
  • 2. A classified ad (billed per word).
  • 3. Issue a press release. A press release is a great way to get free exposure in the local media.

Check with your local papers and see what they have in place.

2. Support A Local Charity Or Campaign. This is something businesses should do either way, however by getting on board with community initiatives you can get a great…

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The Power of the Facebook Power User

With 526 million active daily users, as of March 2012, Facebook usage is continuing to grow. Facebook users are sharing, liking, and commenting on more content than ever before.

Of all Facebook users,  20-30% are considered ‘Power Users'; the most active and influential users on Facebook.

An active user is defined by the number of times they complete one of the “key” Facebook activities each month. The key Facebook activities measured include:

  • Receiving/sending friend requests
  • Tagging or being tagged in photos
  • “Liking” posts and comments
  • Sending/receiving private messages
  • Status updates
  • Commenting on posts Continue reading

Building Brand Loyalty with an Integrated Social Media Strategy

Lowes Pinterest Profile

I recently wrote an article for the Mudbug Media blog titled “Build a Following with an Integrated Social Media Strategy.” In the article I used Lowe’s Home Improvement store as an example of a company who got it right.

The following are snippets from the article about each component of Lowe’s strategy:

Lowe’s Facebook Strategy

The core of Lowe’s social media strategy is their Facebook page. With over 1.1 million likes (almost twice as many as the main competitor, Home Depot), Lowe’s has created a successful strategy to communicate with their customers using this social media platform.

Lowe’s leverages the best features of the Facebook timeline format, the cover photo and the history timeline.Lowes Facebook Page

For their cover photo, Lowe’s uses an attention grabbing photo composed of the top pins that followers have re-pinned on Pinterest. They also tie their profile picture directly into the timeline cover photo and use it to drive traffic to their Pinterest account.

The success of Lowe’s Facebook strategy is due greatly to their positive and real-time interaction with fans. Lowe’s responds to the majority of questions and comments within minutes. When a fan has a question about a product, Lowe’s not only answer the specific question, but frequently directs them back to Lowes.com and includes tips on how to use the product.

Check out the full article to find out how Lowe’s mastered the art of responding to negative comments and leveraged the other features of the new timeline format.

Lowe’s Twitter Strategy

Lowes Twitter ProfileWith over 47,000 followers, Lowe’s uses Twitter to answer customer questions and concerns, as well as spread community awareness. As with their Facebook page, Lowe’s does a great job of taking the conversation offline for any negative mentions by asking followers to email them at a Twitter-specific Lowe’s email address. They also respond to all questions, comments, and mentions, often within minutes of the original Tweet.

Check out the full article to find out how Lowe’s uses hashtags to give back to their followers.

Lowe’s Pinterest Strategy

The rapid growth of Pinterest has many companies overwhelmed, but Lowe’s has leveraged the user base and Lowes Pinterest Profilegrowing popularity create to a strong presence on the new social media platform. With almost 7,000 followers (and growing), Lowe’s is building a strong community around their brand on Pinterest. The boards on their Pinterest profile include topics that interest all their different types of customers.

Lowe’s uses Pinterest as a resource tool for customers to find fun and new projects. For example, they have a board for grilling recipes, which includes links to both the full recipe and grills available at lowes.com. Other popular boards on their Pinterest profile are craft, landscaping, and interior design projects using Lowe’s products.

Check out the full article to find out why Pinterest was the perfect addition to Lowe’s social media strategy.

Lowe’s social media strategy has been a success because they appear to understand that social media is a powerful tool for creating and maintaining relationships with customers. Visit the Mudbug Media blog to find out the five key factors that make Lowe’s strategy a success and to read the full article:

Build a Following with an Integrated Social Media Strategy

The Influence of Social Media on Sales

Brianna Smith:

Check out this very interesting article by Nick Martin, recapping his recent presentation at the International Customer Reference Program Conference in Boston. In the article he breaks down his presentation into the following two categories:

Impacting the Right Conversations Means Influencing the Bottom Line

Business need to understand the different stages of the customer life-cycle. In order for businesses to target their audience correctly during each stage of the customer, they must:

  • Research top influencers
  • Determine target search terms & phrases customers use
  • Calculate a customer’s desired outcome

Four Common Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

  • Don’t assume that your target audience is already following you
  • Focus on building followers
  • Defining social too narrowly
  • Optimizing for search AND social

I highly recommend not only checking out his presentation recap but also the full presentation titled Unlocking the Value of Search and Social for Customer Evidence on SlideShare.

Originally posted on My/Spective by Nick Martin:

This week I presented at the International Customer Reference Program Conference in Boston. It was really interesting to speak with the marketers basically in charge of harnessing the voice of customers to make an impact on their business. Attendees ranged from those who were looking to start a customer engagement program from scratch to those who sought to improve upon and evolve solidly established and successful programs they’ve already launched.

My presentation focused on exploring how to plan and packaging customer evidence in a way that capitalizes on the increasing convergence of social media, search, and content. My presentation came just a week after Google’s “Penguin” update which represented yet another hurdle for marketers attempting to  impact their target audience’s online experience without investing in really great content, so my talk seemed to be even more topical than originally expected.

After I got home I began thinking a little bit…

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Who Has the Better Ad Network? Facebook Vs. Google

The internet has been a buzz this week with discussion of Facebook’s IPO, and rightfully so. It seems like we have all been try to guess when and if it was finally going to happen. But, the loudest rumblings about the social media giant going public have been about the value of the company. There are lots of questions about the validity of the company’s worth, especially in regards to its advertising revenue source. While many stand by Facebook’s advertising offerings, I wondered if they were truly valuable and how they compared to the global internet leader Google.

Below is a great infographic that breaks down the advantages and disadvantages of the two biggest internet giants: Facebook and Google.

Who Brings the Most Value to the Table? Facebook vs. Google

In the Battle for Best Online Display Advertising Network

To determine which company offers the most value, they were judge on five categories: advertising reach, revenues/growth, advertising performance, ad targeting options, and ad formats. The following are a few takeaways from the competition:

  • While both companies have extensive reaches, Google’s network (including YouTube and Blogger) offers advertisers the ability to reach over 90% of the entire online audience
  • Every month, Facebook gets over 1 trillion pageviews
  • On average, Google ads have a click through rate 10 times higher than that of Facebook ads (sometimes even 36 times higher!!!!!)
  • Only Facebook offers targeting options for customer interests, education, likes, and work
  • Facebook and Google both offer demographic and location-based targeting for advertising campaigns
  • Facebook does not currently offer any mobile advertising options; however, Google does offer mobile advertising
  • Google offers advertisers multiple ad types and sizes, including text, image, video, and mobile game ads
  • Facebook ad’s are a “one-size-fits-all” format with a very limited number of characters

And the winner of the title for most valuable online display advertising network is……….

Really you had to ask?

Google wins this competition by a landslide. In all actuality, after reading these facts, I can’t help but wonder if Facebook wants to be a real competitor in the online display advertising network. Because it doesn’t really seem like it.

Do you think Facebook could even be a strong competitor to Google’s ad network? Have you done a Facebook ad campaign before, and if so did you see positive results?

Facebook vs. Google Display Advertising - Comparing the value of the world's largest advertising venues. [INFOGRAPHIC]

W© 2012 WordStream, Inc., a PPC and Search Engine Marketing tools company.

Stand Out With An Infographic Resume

Infographic Resume Timeline

With hundreds of applicants applying for every job right now, how do you make your resume stand out from the rest? One way is by creating an infographic resume.

My favorite tool for building a visual, dynamic, and interactive resume is Re.Vu. Re.Vu calls its self the “Cure for the Common Resume”. They not only offer free tools for creating your dynamic resume, they also let you select a custom Re.Vu url to direct people to.

There a many different options on Re.Vu to display your work experience, so you will never see two identical Re.Vu resumes. The idea of creating an infographic resume may seem overwhelming, but Re.Vu makes it very easy. By linking your LinkedIn account to your Re.Vu account, all your past and present work information is imported. This makes it really simple to create all the visual graphs, that make your resume pop.

When you begin building your infographic resume, create a biography that explains who you are and what you do, and upload a traditional resume so employers can download it.

Add Social Media to Your Infographic Resume

A great feature of Re.Vu is that you can add links to all your social media profiles to your infographic resume, including:

LinkedIn Facebook Twitter
WordPress Tumblr Google+
YouTube Flickr Stumbleupon
FourSquare Digg Blogger
Vimeo Slide Share Myspace
Picasa Posterous Reddit

Visual Timeline of Your Experience

You can also create a visual timeline, based on the information imported from LinkedIn. The timeline will visually display your work history. Below is an example of what the visual timeline looks like. You can include a detailed description for each entry that will appear on your profile in a popover window when someone clicks on an event.

Infographic Resume Timeline

Integrating Graphs Into Your Infographic

On Re.Vu you can create 9 different infographics to add to your resume. You can add one or all of the following infographics to your resume:Job Duties Infographic Resume

  1. Vital Stats: Your Top Quantifiable Achievements
  2. Job Duties: How You Spend Your Time At Work
  3. Skill evolution: How Your Skills Evolved Over Time
  4. Proficiencies: Your Skill Proficiencies
  5. Quotes: Something Fantastic Someone Has Said About Your Work
  6. Percentages: Your Accomplishments That Can Best Be Expressed As Percentages
  7. Pastimes: How You Spend Your Time When You Aren’t Working
  8. Interest: How Your Interests Have Evolved Over Time
  9. Languages: Languages That Your SpeakSkill Levels Infographic ResumeInterests Infographic Resume

Re.Vu also lets you display your portfolio in your infographic and upload work examples that potential employers can download. In addition, you can promote your resume through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also create a QR code to promote your infographic.  You can put it on  your business card to direct people to your infographic resume.  After you start promoting your resume, you can track profile views, resume downloads, and work example downloads on the profile statistics page.

Check out my Re.Vu profile for an example of the dynamic infographic resume you can make. View my profile page on re.vu page!

Using an infographic resume may not be the right approach if you are applying for a job in the accounting or scientific industries, but it is definitely a great tool for applying to jobs in the marketing, design, and media industries. Have fun building your dynamic resume!!!

Have you created an infographic resume before? Do you think you would use an infographic resume to apply for a job? Leave a comment below!!!

What Is Branding?

Brianna Smith:

This article breaks down:

  • What a brand is by definition
  • How the term ‘brand’ has evolved into something new
  • The difference between brand image and identity.

When developing your brand strategy, are you thinking about your brand from a marketers point of view or from your customers’ perspective?

Would you like to know which point of view will help you create a better strategy? Check out this great article!

Originally posted on Dr Brian's SmartaMarketing Blog Number 1:

What is a Brand?

The brand concept is well established in marketing. The first brands in a modern marketing sense were developed over a century ago. However, during the second half of the 20th century brands and branding became central issues in marketing. Most discussions of brands are related to physical products, especially consumer packaged goods. Only during the last 10 years or so has an awareness of the importance of creating service brands emerged. Now it is widely recognized that branding is a vital issue for service organisations as well.’ However, research into service branding is in its infancy.

The American Marketing Association offered the following definition of a brand as “A name, term, sign, symbol or any other feature that identifies one sellers product or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”2

From a Marketing Services perspective at least, two objections can be made:…

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Best Times of Day to Use Social Media

Social media is 24/7 but your customers/fans/followers are not on each social media platform all the time. So, the question becomes:

When is the best time to reach your customers using social media?

There a many factors that will determine the best time of day to use social media, including the platform you are using (i.e. Facebook or Twitter) and where your customers are located. The infographic below by Kissmetrics explains when the best time is to reach your specific customers.

Science of Social Timing Takeaways:

  • Over 80% of the U.S. population is located in the central and eastern time zones
  • Majority of Twitter users are more likely to Retweet after lunch and at the end of the work day. Customers are more likely to see your Tweet if it is scheduled for 5 pm.
  • Since Twitter is a real-time feed, it is important to Tweet throughout the day. This data suggests Tweeting 1-4 times an hour; however, this can be difficult when first starting social media. I suggest aiming for the following 4 times a day when customers are more likely to check their Twitter feeds:
    • Before 9 am
    • Lunch time
    • Around 5pm (the end of the work day)
    • Between 7-8 pm after dinner
  • Facebook posts can reappear in a customer’s feed as likes & shares increase of a post increase; as such, the time between posts can be greater.
  • Facebook posts have the most shares & likes during lunch hours and on Saturdays, these are both times when people are relaxed and have more time peruse Facebook.

Science of Social Timing

How often do you Tweet or post on Facebook? Do you think ideal posting times vary by industry? I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment below.

How to Talk-To Your Audience Not At Them

Brianna Smith:

Have you ever wondered “Why did my followers like my Facebook page” or “Do I add value to my audience”? Well, even if you haven’t thought about either of those things before I recommend checking out Nick Martin’s post about how to Talk TO your audience instead of AT them. Social media is not meant to be used to shout your message to your audience, it is about talking to them to start a conversation.

Originally posted on My/Spective by Nick Martin:

The concept that a message has to be tailored for the medium it’s delivered through isn’t new for marketers, yet somehow when the concept is applied to social media so many of us come up a little short.

It’s intuitive to most that a television ad should be different than a radio ad, a magazine ad should differ from digital display and so on because people use each channel differently. It’s the reason why video ads in digital are shorter than TV ads (lower audience captivity) and the best mobile ads take a persons location into account. Yet somehow, the same logic is not applied when applied to social.

Let me illustrate my point.

This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed which is comprised of a smattering of friends, a few brands I’ve by chance ‘Liked’ in my 8 years of being a Facebook user, and of…

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