As we settle into 2014, marketers continue to reevaluate their strategies to determine how to better reach, nurture, and convert customers this year. When creating their 2014 marketing strategies, marketers are evaluating the different trends predicted by industry experts. One of the most discussed predictions for 2014 is the importance of creating highly personalized content across all different digital marketing platforms (i.e. website, blogs, social media, email marketing, etc.). In addition, a trend that I expect to continue to grow during 2014 is the importance of having an integrated marketing strategy that connects social media, SEO, content marketing, email, PPC, PR, and event marketing to create a cohesive experience for potential customers. Continue reading
We all know that content is king, and its empire is growing by the minute. This is more true now more than ever since Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update. One of the best ways to add content to your website is to create and maintain a blog focused around topics relevant to your company’s industry. A blog is also a great way for professionals to build their personal brand by writing about industry topics and trends. Continue reading
Do you have a mobile website or app?
Not sure if you should invest in developing a mobile site or app?
Don’t think you need a mobile marketing strategy?
MOBILE! It is what everyone is talking about, and for a good reason. Smartphones and tablets have changed the way that business can, and should be, connecting with consumers.
Check out these 50 facts on mobile marketing in the presentation below by HubSpot , and see if you still think you have time to wait to develop your mobile marketing strategy. Here are the 10 facts I found most surprising: Continue reading
Check out this great infographic below on 9 ways to create your personal branding strategy.
You can’t just create a LinkedIn profile and hope for the best, a lot of thought and work goes into creating and maintaining a personal brand. When creating your personal brand strategy, you need to determine who you are versus how you want to be perceived, or more who you want to become. Changing that party image to one of professionalism and experience. A few tips are:
- Define who you are
- Set specific goals
- Be original, don’t just be your job title
- Connect with those in your industry, create a network
- Start conversations and monitor your online personal brand
One of the basic rules of business is “Make the customer happy.” Companies know that a negative comment from one customer can quickly turn into ten.
The basic rules of business have not changed, but the power of the customers voice has grown exponentially. One negative comment can instantly turn into hundreds of shares and tweets, which can fuel blog posts and the need for large-scale damage control. While there is no way to guarantee that every single customer will be happy, there are many tools that can help you manage your brand’s reputation online. Whether it’s a comment about your company, or personal brand, there is a chance to turn a negative comment into a positive opportunity.
Monitoring Your Brand
How are you supposed to turn a negative into a positive if your never see or hear it. It is important to catch negative comments at the source before they spread out of control.
Several tools are available to track mentions of your brand. A free and very simple tool is Google Alerts. You can set up for alerts to be sent to you each time a new search result appears regarding your brand. Each day Google will email you mentions of your brand on news sites, blogs, video platforms, discussion books, and online books. If you really want to stay on ahead of the game, you can even set up alerts for mentions of your competitors.
Monitoring mentions on social media platforms requires more effort. Check comments and posts on your company Facebook page. Do a Facebook search every few weeks for your company name to check for any new groups with a negative connotation and groups’ whose membership has increased greatly. The same can be done with Twitter searches. Twitter search should be done on more frequently, a quick daily search for any brand mentions and a more intensive search once a week.
Responding to Negative Comments
You cannot respond to all comments, and users’ response expectations vary by platform. Facebook users are more likely to expect a response than Twitter users, because the comments and posts stay visible on a company page for a longer period. Twitter is a real-time feed, so users do not expect a response to every comment. A response from a company to a customers tweet is often seen as more “special” than Facebook responses, though both are very important.
If a negative comment is found during monitoring, it should be responded to in no more than 24 hours, less is always better. Responses should be honest, strong, empathic (but not too much and not emotional), friendly, and involve an actionable item, such as “Thank you for your feedback, please email us your phone number and our team will make sure to personally call you to resolve any concerns”. Above all, do not delete negative comments or mentions; this can turn a quick fix into a full-blown tornado of negativity.
Some of the first things that come to mind when thinking about brand strategy are logo design, tagline, company goals and values, messaging voice, sales platforms (physical location and/or website), and company culture.
While the above-mentioned form the basis of brand strategy, many smaller items can significantly affect the success of your brand strategy. Consistency is the most crucial factor when implementing your company’s brand strategy. When it comes to all creative materials, whether a commercial, print ad, in-store sign, website(s), or business cards, all should be direct extensions of the brand. This includes font type, colors, and voice.
The styling of creative pieces may change per campaign to reflect a particular message, but brand colors and voice should remain consistent. This will create an automatic connection for the customer between the creative piece and the brand. In addition, this reflects a positive and professional feel upon the company. When none of the creative pieces match, or there is inconsistency in voice across campaigns, this often portrays a lack of structure and professionalism on the brand.
Consistent font types are especially important in website design. Using different font types across a website, such as one font type on the ‘About Us’ page and an entirely different font type on the Homepage, can be confusing and difficult to read when site visitors navigate through the site. This can often also give the site an amateur look.
The best way to maintain consistency is to develop a global style sheet that can be applied across your entire site. A global style sheet will control the font types, sizes, and positioning, as well as the styles for images and tables. Using a global style sheet will ensure a universal layout and professional design for your website.
Today, social media week Miami hit it out of the park with some amazing speakers. I was able to catch two great discussions that were broadcasted live on LiveStream.
Oops! Social Media Mistakes and Learnings
The first discussion was “Oops! Social Media Mistakes and Learnings” which focused a lot on social media policies in relation to employee management. The discussion focused around a key point that I can not stress more; the importance of having a company social media policy in place BEFORE you begin using social media. While it is always nice to think that there will not aggressive, rude, or “sensitive” posts or tweets about your company, you need to be prepared for the “what if” situations.
For example, what if an employee tweets a negative and inappropriate comment about the company to their public Twitter profile? Having a standard or policy in place on what employees are allowed and are not allowed to say online, (in regards to the company) will make incidents such as that much easier to handle.
Not only should your policy include internal standards of maintaining your brand image in social media, but it should also include standards on how to respond to “sensitive” posts about your company by non-employees.
The key to monitoring your brand online is being honest, transparent, and quick to respond. Above all, do not ignore or delete negative comments. You do not have to address all negative comments in a public forum, comments are often addressed offline through Twitter direct messages or Facebook messages.
A great FREE tool that you can use to monitor your brand online is SocialMention. In real time, SocialMention aggregates all the user generated content that mentions your brand into one information stream. It pulls content from Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.
Other key takeaways from the “Oops! Social Media Mistakes and Learnings” event were:
- Try to keep all posts/tweets as organic as possible
- Create a conversation calendar
- Every engagement with a follower can be an opportunity
- When creating a social media policy for employees, balance maintaining company values and not scaring employees off from using social media
- Recommend to employees that they avoid talking about the company, but encourage talking about the industry
Personal Branding Through Social Media
The other event that I watched, was “Personal Branding Through Social Media”. During the event a tremendous panel discussed how to harness the power of social media to build your personal brand.
The panel included the following social media experts: Gabrielle Bozza from Made You Famous, Gerard Bush the Chief Creative Director of the BRPR Group, David Sugarman from Sugar Time Sports Management, Susset Cabrera the president of Peacock Public Relations, and Anne Owen the publisher of Miami magazine.
The panel discussion focused around creating a new persona; a digital reflection of who you are as a person and as a brand. When creating your personal brand you have to be prepared to defend yourself, your posts, and your tweets.
Some of my favorite takeaways from the “Personal Branding Through Social Media” discussion were:
- Put your personality out there, otherwise people will get bored
- You must be prepared to defend yourself
- Be consistent but don’t be overly careful
- Social Media – touch the world in 15 minutes
Also, if you want to watch either of these discussions you can find the videos for both the “Oops! Social Media Mistakes and Learnings” and the “Personal Branding Through Social Media” events on LiveStream. You can also watch all of the events live here: Social Media Week On LiveStream. If you do watch any of the events live, I highly recommended following the corresponding hashtag on Twitter as well. There are some great Twitter conversations, thought, insights that happen throughout the events. For example, today while watch these events I followed #smwmiami , it made the broadcast even more exciting and got great insights from the other viewers who were tweeting. To see all the Social Media Week 2012 events check out their website here.
Pinterest is truly the newest game changer. Since they launched (10 months ago) more than 13 MILLION users have registered. So why is Pinterest a game changer? Here, are a few reasons why they are not a forced to be messed with:
In the U.S., the majority of users are female, but in the U.K., they’re male. Like I discussed in a previous post, International Social Media Trends, platform use can vary greatly by country. While you may be using the same platform to reach customers all around the world, your audience may be very different in France than it is in China or the U.S.
Though Pinterest has not rolled out official brand pages, there are over 100 brands that are leveraging the new platform to reach customers. A feature that makes Pinterest a great marketing tool for companies is that it allows the ability to control who can pin to your boards. For example, as a company you may not want followers to be able to pin to each and every one of your boards, so Pinterest gives you the option to can create some boards in which pinning is restricted to the admin, others that allow multiple users to pin, and community boards in which anyone can pin.
So why should your company join Pinterest? Because Pinterest is driving more web traffic to other sites (such as your company’s website) than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube COMBINED! Just because Pinterest is the new “fad” doesn’t mean you should disregard its power. If you haven’t tried it out yet, I recommend it (though be prepared, it can be quite addicting).
You can not argue with the cold hard numbers on the power of social media marketing (well you could, but it would be a losing battle). This infographic from Mashable shows the power of social media marketing in regards to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and location based services (such as FourSquare) strictly through numbers.
So what can a strong social media campaign do for your brand? Well for Old Spice, one month after they launched their “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” social media campaign they saw HUGE jumps in their followers/fans:
- 60% increase in Facebook Fans (approx. 650,000 new fans)
- 2700% increase in Twitter followers
- Doubled YouTube subscribers
I would definitely classify the Old Spice campaign as more than successful!
In addition, this infographic breaks down the success of the Katy Perry Purr, EA Games Bulletstorm, Free the Children, Nie Widen Bohren, and Under Armour social media campaigns. How can you deny the power of social media when there are over 4 billion “things” shared on Facebook each day and almost 400 million Foursquare check ins during 2010 alone.
Via Scoop.it – Being Your Brand
Next time you pen an email subject line think twice about the words you’re using. Click the link below to see a great infographic showing the best times to send emails, when people read emails most (6 a.m. surprisingly!), and what words to use in the subject line. Using this info you can increase the number of responses and create a successful email marketing campaign. Make your email stand out from the hundreds which flood our mailboxes everyday.
Each day we spend about 2.5 hours emailing, both reading and writing emails. We also are quick to delete emails, selecting ‘delete’ for more than half of the emails we receive. Our emails typically fall into the following categories:
- 1/2 of emails are quickly deleted
- 1/4 of emails are archived to reference later
- 1/4 of emails we open, read, and respond (or follow the request)
It’s all about the subject line when it comes to emails, using the right keywords can increase your opening rate drastically:
- Instead of “speaker” use “conference”
- Instead of “join” use “apply”