Social marketing – Social media business strategies blog Sun, 25 Mar 2018 22:10:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Social marketing – 32 32 How to Increase Your Brand Awareness Via Social Media Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:25:05 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Post by Adi Englander


Social media is one of the best places to market your business as there are over 3 billion users. While marketing your business with social media, you have three options. They are traffic, sales and brand awareness. You can opt for a mixture of these, but for best results it is best to choose one as the primary and the others as secondary.

As there’s a ton of information out there on how to drive traffic and sales with social media, in this article I am only going to focus on how to increase your brand awareness via social media.

Once you implement these tips and influence your audience they will be able to recognize your brand both offline and online. Let’s get started…

Have a unique content strategy for each social network:

Even though you might have a specific audience you want to target for your overall marketing strategy, you need to understand that your followers on each social channel will be different. They will behave in diverse ways and will like different forms of content. Hence, you need to create a unique content strategy for each channel. Always sharing the same content on each social network won’t get you the best results.

This content also needs to be well branded.

Tai Lopez 67 Steps

An example of someone who creates unique well branded content for each social network is Tai Lopez of The 67 Steps.

If you visit the above website you will notice that his blog is filled with helpful posts on topics like entrepreneurship and self-help as he is an investor and this type of content is what his main audience wants. Some of these are articles while some of these are videos hosted on YouTube.

tail lopez instagram

While if you head on over to Tai’s Instagram page, you will notice that his content is immensely different. Here he shares more entertaining content represented through images and short videos. Also, the content is well branded as many of the videos and pictures contain himself which is Tai’s brand brand.

When it comes to personal projects, it is best to brand it with ‘you’ i.e. pictures and videos of you. Logos and mascots work better only when you are promoting a company.

Consistently brand visuals:

Visuals have become an essential component while marketing on social media. This is because on established networks like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin visuals in the form of images and videos perform best. Also on the fastest rising younger networks like Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram you can only post images.

When posting images you can easily boost brand awareness by adding a logo or photos of you, like Tail Lopez on Instagram.

This way when your image and video content get shared or reshared people will always know that you created it. And those who have never heard about you will learn about you. If you want to go a step further you can hire a designer to create image templates that contain colours present on your logo and website.

branding social media images

An example of a company that consistently brands its social media images with its logo is Innocent Smoothies. Visit their Facebook page and you will find that they place a cute logo of their company at the bottom right corner of every image they share. When fans see this image on Facebook, they will always know who created it.

Partner with influencers:

Influencer marketing is probably the hottest form of marketing right now as it is a very effective way to get your message in front of your audience quickly. It is also very effective in increasing brand awareness as it can build you a loyal audience.

Influencers have already done the hard work of earning the trust of their followers, hence, when they publish your content on their social channels, tag your handle and recommend you to their followers, you become a trust worthy person or company too. After these people follow you, you can earn their loyalty with minimal effort.

Once you earn their loyalty, they will help propagate your brand. The influencer campaign itself will get you some impressions and thereby directly increase brand awareness too.

Hence, team up with good social media influencers and implement a few sponsored posts. Just make sure you only work with relevant influencers for this method. For e.g. if you are a company that sells photography products, only team up with photographers, don’t try and work with big celebrities just because they have millions of followers.

If you find the process of influencer marketing taxing, a great alternative is social media ads. They too can help you reach a bigger audience quickly. One of the best social networks for running ads is Facebook, as ads are cheap here.

instagram influencer campaign

An example of an extremely successful influencer marketing campaign that increased brand awareness is Rescue’s. This campaign got them 133 million impressions and increased their Instagram followers by 258%.

These are all the techniques you can use to increase your brand awareness via social media. They can all be easily implemented by making minor modifications to your current social media strategy. The first 2 shouldn’t take up too much of extra time. But the third one, partnering with influencers, requires investment of both time and money.

How would you increase your brand awareness via social media? Please leave your comments below.

Kimberly-Clark uses social quiz to woo talent Fri, 04 Nov 2016 17:00:56 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Welcome Original Thinkers WOTQuiz Kimberly-Clark WOT

welcome original thinkers quiz halloweenChris AbrahamAre you an original thinker? You can quickly find out by taking the Welcome Original Thinkers Quiz (WOTQuiz)—I’m an Adaptor:

“You enjoy exploring every side of an issue and like a wicked great maestro you tease out the positive in each approach. Your resourcefulness and ability to easily adapt to the latest input often makes you the one who finds answers to the most challenging questions.”

What did you get? Please be sure to let me know in the comments.

Kimberly-Clark created a BuzzFeed-inspired quiz to discover their own Original Thinker type and then are rewarded with a new emoji badge suitable for social sharing, as well as an invitation to find out about original thinkers at Kimberly-Clark.

BOOve over Silicon Valley, Austin, TECHxas, and the Big Apple; welcome original thinkers to Neenah, Wisconsin, where young creative chemical and product engineers can find the job of their dreams.

wotemojisKimberly-Clark is looking for bright, talented thinkers who are eager to explore ideas, solve problems, and be part of collaborative teams and a performance-based culture that is focused on being number one in its markets. They’re using this online quiz to help prospective employees learn what kind of thinkers they are, what kind of jobs they’d best fit, and in the process, show that the 144-year-old paper and personal-care products company and its Neenah home base are cool and offers a balance of life that’s probably more fulfilling than a lot of other places. Kimberly-Clark’s culture is one where employees can and do routinely turn their ideas into winning, profitable and life-changing solutions.

As part of this campaign, my agency, Gerris Corp, is helping Kimberly-Clark get the word out using an extensive and aggressive earned-media micro-influencer marketing campaign in close formation with Kimberly-Clark’s People Strategy department and their AOR, Relish Marketing.

01-ot-emojis-donotsaveover-13I first worked with Kimberly-Clark back in 2008 to help reduce the spread of healthcare associated infections and, after eight more years, we get to work together again. From HAIWatch to WOTQuiz!

Again, this is a campaign where we’re targeting influencer verticals in order to engage them, share the quick fun quiz with them, and then brief them on what the campaign’s about and why Kimberly-Clark is promoting a personality quiz in the first place.

So far, people are in love with the different types of personality types, including the dreamer, analyzer, disrupter, muse, adaptor, nonconformist, maker, and inventor.

Our goal is the same as the goal of the quiz: get folks to take the quiz, find out their Original Thinker type, and then share their emoji badges via social media, sharing with all their friends via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

01-ot-emojis-donotsaveover-14Sounds easy, but easier said than done. “If you build it, they will come” never works so we get to be the vanguard of the movement, sparking and catalyzing all viral-making fun!

In support of this campaign, we’ve built a gorgeous Social Media News Release (SMNR)—the nicest one we’ve ever built for a campaign, and we’ve registered a bespoke domain name,, to make sure everything is very simple and accessible to anyone we message.

Earned media micro-influencer marketing doesn’t need to be limited to consumer campaigns for unicorn companies like Skinny Coconut Oil. Earned-media micro-influencer marketing works beautifully in the service of hearts and minds campaigns such as quizzes, tests, and polls.

Let me know if you have any questions. If you’d like more information, feel free to contact me.

Via Biznology

Best practices in nurturing leads into sales Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:25:26 +0000 Continue reading ]]> pipeline
jasonwoodhead23 / Creative Commons BY

Are you analyzing and optimizing your sales pipeline?

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, Web publishers

Post by Megan Totka

MeganTotkaYour bottom line lives in your sales pipeline. Do you know where it’s breaking down? The sales process starts at first contact, when a customer browses your website. That first contact may initiate from a web search, a social media connection, or a marketing strategy. From that moment, you need to be nurturing your relationship.

While every buyer is different, you can use your data to analyze patterns and find out where you’re losing sales, and what buyers are likely to do next. Understanding the buyer decision process is the first step.

Your customers want to know how your offering fits into their lives

The wealth of information and ease of ordering almost anything online provides both great opportunity and intense competition. Winners and losers are often determined by the kind and amount of attention customers receive. Here are the best practices for nurturing different types of leads.

The first contact. When visitors come to your website for the first time, will they find what they came for? Product or service information might not be enough. Your customers want to know how your offering fits into their lives, they want to know they can trust you, and they want to feel good about buying from you.

Start your journey by offering in-depth information, case studies, user reviews, and customer recommendations. Give them an opportunity to opt in for more, and when they do, send them a warm welcome and an offer of help.

The unknown. The most common way to lose sales is through lack of data tracking. When your web analytics are on point, you have a wealth of information about your visitors: where they came from, what they did when they reached your page, what interested them most, where they went next.

Comprehensive web data analysis can help you redesign your website based on what visitors respond best to; add the kind of content they spend the most time on and refine your marketing efforts to maximize click-throughs.

Understand your customer to personalize the offers they get

Customer data fills in the rest of the blanks. Collect information from every source in your CRM (customer relationship management system), including social media, invoices, your sales and customer service departments. The more you understand your customer, the more you can personalize your offers.

The dropout. Study data trends to see where you’re losing warm leads. Follow up with people who chose to buy from somewhere else, and find out why. Once you’ve found the answer, fix the problem … and lure lost sales back with a highly targeted, personalized content.

Fixing the holes in your pipeline will take dedicated sleuthing. You’ll have to ask some uncomfortable questions, follow up with uninterested people, and check the notes in your CRM for comments from disgruntled customers.

The drifter. Potential customers can simply drift away over time. Keep their interest with well-timed contact, social media touches, and exclusive events. FOMO (fear of missing out) can be your best friend when consumers lose interest. Offer great deals for very limited times, on goods or services you know they are interested in.

Cross-channel marketing is especially useful here. By connecting with leads across on the social media channels they call home gives you unprecedented access to making the kind of emotional connection that leads to a deep customer relationship.

The sleeper. Old customers who bought once and haven’t returned could be a hidden goldmine. You know them, and they know you. You should have all the information you need to regain their interest and pull them in for a new offer. Even though most companies focus their spend on acquiring new customers, repeat customers are more valuable.

Never forget to show customers you value their business. This is where great customer service and personalized content comes in. Without overwhelming your contacts with invasive emails or other touches, offer them tips and updates, and ask for feedback. Keep in touch regularly, but don’t overdo it.

The secret to lead nurturing in any stage of the pipeline is targeting. Your emails and offers have to be interesting, and for that, make sure your email list is properly segmented. Consumers are bombarded by offers and accustomed to ignoring them. To get their attention, your offer has to be exactly what they want and need, timed to reach them when they are most likely to be interested.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at

How digital marketing is supplanting traditional advertising Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:35:49 +0000 Continue reading ]]> social-media-jigsaw
greyweed / Creative Commons BY

Behind the huge shift toward social & online media

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, educators, journalists, Web publishers

Post by Megan Totka

MeganTotkaThe world of advertising has undergone a seismic shift over the past two decades. The arrival of widespread Internet access, high-speed connections and an explosion in smartphone use has seen spending on online advertising (including social media campaigns) go through the roof.

In a recent report, eMarketer said digital marketing is expected overtake TV advertising in total dollar spending in 2017 for the first time, with recent and future growth fueled mainly by mobile and video sectors.

The picture is less sunny for traditional advertising methods. Market share of radio, billboards, print advertisements and TV has been shrinking for years, and will continue to slip in an increasingly digital world.

The impact of e-commerce

We live in an interconnected, 24-hour world. While in the past “shopping” consisted of visiting a physical store during open hours, consumers of today can easily research and purchase anything they want, whenever they want, from just about anywhere on the planet.

The growth of online shopping, from an ill-trusted, niche pastime 20 years ago to an entirely mainstream activity today, gives buyers more choice than ever before.

The sellers of today are in competition not just with their local rivals, but with companies on the other side of the country, and even the other side of the world. And this battle is not being fought on the street — it’s being played out in the digital world.

In that environment, online marketing has a huge advantage over traditional forms. A consumer sees an ad, and a click sends her straight to the vendor’s website where a purchase — impulsive or otherwise — can be made in seconds.

Traditional marketing still has its uses — it can still create interest and desire, reach them when they’re not plugged in, and influence brand perception.

There’s a reason Amazon, eBay, Microsoft and countless others continue to use traditional media to complement their online presence — because it still works. It just doesn’t work quite as well, or in the same way, as online methods.

Technology has opened new doors

Online advertising was possible as soon as the general public gained access to the fledgling Internet, but technology limited what marketers could do.

The rise of social media and messaging has spawned a whole host of innovative new ways to connect with, talk to and listen to consumers

A graphic designer could knock together a pretty static banner, but that was about it — file sizes had to be kept to a minimum because connection speeds were so slow.

Pop-up advertising was also possible, if the user’s creaky desktop computer and whopping 4 megs of RAM could handle the trauma of another browser window opening. Life for online marketers was tough; eye-catching, ear-catching or attention-grabbing was easier with traditional methods and tried-and-true methods were what businesses trusted.

That rapidly changed. Today’s connections are fast, devices are powerful and technology has evolved to allow online marketers to grab the attention of consumers in ways rivals clinging to traditional methods simply cannot match.

Video, in particular, has become a runaway success, due in large part to the increased use of mobile devices. On-the-move access has also made it easier for online marketers to tempt consumers into physical stores while they’re out and about.

Meanwhile, the rise of social media and messaging has spawned a whole host of innovative new ways to connect with, talk to and listen to consumers.

Traditional marketing, by contrast, is still a one-way conversation.

Habits have changed

Pew Research reveals 21% of American adults report being online “almost constantly,” and a further 42% log on several times per day. The figure for the 18-29 demographic is higher still — a total of 86% use the internet multiple times each day. In teenagers, it’s 92%.

Furthermore, it’s those with higher incomes — consumers most able to buy — who spend the most time online.

People are living big chunks of their lives online and we have enough experience to know they pay attention to advertising when they’re there, so it’s little wonder marketers are increasingly targeting their efforts to this sector.

That doesn’t mean “old school” marketing should be written off. It’s not like the whole population has stopped watching TV, listening to the radio or reading print media.

Though use of traditional media is declining, it’s still strong enough to make older forms of advertising relevant and attractive — especially to businesses targeting their products at the over-65s.

In this age group, only 30% are online more than once per day.

The changing way consumers behave has created a strong perception of online being the future, the growth market, the way forward, and savvy marketers can successfully sell themselves to businesses with this positive outlook and highly effective data-driven targeting. By getting to know customers, marketers have an opportunity to personalize ads and offerings that traditional methods will never match.

Meanwhile, traditional advertising media has been forced into an almost defensive method of promoting itself: “Hey, don’t ignore us, we can still do it!”

They can, of course — for now. But as technology continues to advance and habits continue to change, traditional marketing will become less and less relevant to businesses.

There may even come a time when it no longer matters at all.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at
10 rules of branding for your startup or small biz Mon, 19 Sep 2016 07:08:50 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Vincent-at-preso

Vincent Dignan at his “Growth Hack Your Sales” workshop in San Francisco (photo by JD Lasica).

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, PR pros, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, educators, journalists, Web publishers.

JD LasicaLast month I attended one of the most eye-opening startup marketing/growth hacking talks I’ve seen in years, so I wanted to share some highlights for you in a short multi-part series. (I used to do this a lot more often before launching a startup!)

The event, called “Growth Hack Your Sales & Personal Branding!” and held at Galvanize in San Francisco’s SoMa, drew about 70 attendees. It was part of a multi-pronged series of presentations put on by digital marketing wunderkind Vincent Dignan, who proved his social chops by raising $95,516 on Indiegogo for the series of digital guides, “secret sauce” courses and client consultations he provides.

Vincent, who’s young enough to pass for a teenager (and may well be for all I know), is constantly online and his writings have garnered more than 150 million page views and 50 million visitors. The lad is British but has a serious case of Silicon Valley fever, so hopes to move to the U.S. next year. (He’s also available to speak at conferences, and I highly recommend him.)

This event promised “a step-by-step guide of growth hacking methods & tactics for getting users, traffic and revenue,” and who could resist that?

Vincent’s 148-slide presentation flew by too fast for the attendees to dive in too deeply, but he seemed to have his finger on the pulse of millennials and the next generation of post-mass media consumers. Here are some nuggets I thought you’d like especially valuable.

10 rules of personal branding

Vincent conveyed these 10 rules of “personal branding,” which is less about personal branding and more about building a brand for your startup, small business or client’s company:

  1. No one cares about you.
  2. People only care about what you give to them or do for them.
  3. Be everywhere but choose text, video, photos (or all three)
  4. Use influencers but don’t rely on them
  5. Building your brand is 10% content, 90% distribution
  6. 1 in 5 good posts is all you need for people to remember
  7. Copy until you develop your own style
  8. Never say no to public appearances
  9. Scale worldwide as soon as possible
  10. Be vulnerable: say what people are really feeling.

Vincent Dignan in San Francisco
Vincent at an earlier workshop in San Francisco.

The main takeaways here (and I’m extrapolating from what I remember of Vincent’s points) are that it’s easy to mistake personal storytelling and transparency for self-absorption. Don’t focus on the job you’re doing or how much you’re producing. Focus on your users or customers and how you’re going to improve their lives/save them time/help them meet their goals.

We live in a multimedia, multi-format, multi-screen world, so don’t just focus on writing a text-based blog. The next generation of users/customers (don’t call them consumers) are especially absorbed by rich visuals. Engage with people in their own (visual) language.

Influencers can help you spread your message. But a lot of campaigns that rely on social media influencers come up short because the A-listers don’t have sufficient and ongoing buy-in to your product, service or cause.

Don’t rely on the assumption, “If you create great content, they will come.” They may not. You have to work, work, work to get the word out across multiple distribution channels. Build your email list. Build a devoted following and show thought leadership on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Not every post you create has to be a home run. But don’t create one middling, muddled post after another on the theory that quantity is more important than quality. It’s not.

In a hat tip to Andy Warhol (to say nothing of Picasso and Steve Jobs), Vincent advised us to copy and steal at first. Your own voice and style will come in time.

You’re your brand’s best ambassador, so take advantage of opportunities to appear before relevant audiences. Be proactive and approach event and conference organizers six months or more before their next event in your sector.

I wouldn’t recommend this to every startup or business, especially if you haven’t achieved product-market fit yet, but Vincent’s advice is to try to scale globally sooner rather than later by using tools such as Twitter and Eventbrite.

And finally, I’ve been talking about the power of “being vulnerable” in my own public appearances for nearly a decade. Authenticity is the coin of the realm. Remove the mask, discard the filters, share what’s true and genuine.

Vincent Dignan in NYC
Vincent at a growth hacking/personal branding workshop in New York.

More growth hacking tips

You might also like Vincent’s presentation “How to Attract Humans” at Startup Britain in 2015.

And if you’re in the SF Bay Area, you should check out the outstanding talks available at Galvanize SF. I’ll be attending “How to Go from 0 to 4 Million Users in 1 Year” next Tuesday.

And Vincent will be speaking the same night at London Startup Marketing on “Let’s solve your startup marketing problems…50 Key Growth Hacks To Scale Your Business.”

5 best growth marketing strategies for B2B Wed, 07 Sep 2016 05:21:23 +0000 Continue reading ]]> b2b
Image by TopRank Marketing / Creative Commons BY

Post by Michael Gorman

Target audience: Businesses, brands, B2B marketers, agencies, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs.

michael-gorman120B2B marketing continues on its torrid pace: The sector grew by 17 percent last year and continues to attract new businesses and customers. This impressive growth was achieved by companies that used specific development strategies with efficient marketing tactics and future profits analysis.

B2B includes not just blogs but videos, whitepapers, infographics, research reports and gamification

As outlined in this Forbes article, B2B (business to business) companies cannot grow if their marketing organizations do not experience the same, which means that marketing became the growth engine for the entire industry. This trend shows that the key to a successful growth strategy in the B2B arena is similar to B2C: focus on the product and customers. Moreover, B2B companies now do not stop experimenting and leaving the methods that worked well in the past but try new marketing strategies that take advantage of the latest technologies and techniques.

Below is the list of the best growth marketing strategies used by the most successful B2B companies in the industry in 2016.

Targeted content marketing

1According to the results delivered by marketing giant IDC research, most customers require between three months and one and a half years to make the decision to purchase a product. This trend shows that a brand should try and facilitate its recognition among clients to make them decide to buy its products. Moreover, it was discovered that customers need at least six pieces of content before making their decision, which makes it profoundly important to marketing success. Nowadays, B2B content does not mean blogs for reading but it rather encompasses a wide range of media and formats, including videos, whitepapers, infographics, research reports and gamification.

‘Contact us’ buttons in social media

2Social media has become increasingly important for marketing, including B2B. As shown in this 2015 Bizible survey, it was used by more than 50 percent of the global B2B marketers, outweighing traditional means such as TV and print advertising. Even though it was initially thought that social media might not work in B2B because of longer lead time, the real trends demonstrated that new methods of attracting customers work pretty well. For example, a Facebook paid update, with the Contact Us button embedded right in the news feed, contributes to positive exposure. In addition to Facebook, these call-to-action buttons have already shown their value when marketers use them on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Email marketing

3Although some people frown at email marketing as an outdated technique, the results of marketing studies show just the opposite. The Bizible study mentioned above, for example, suggested that around eight percent of marketers considered it a key tactic because it helped to contribute to ‘‘lead nurturing.’ It is a strategy at long-term communication with possible leads through various means to facilitate the brand’s awareness and advantages over others. Indeed, it continues to be a popular method for companies reaching prospective clients and customers today; for example, Aussiessay uses email marketing to guide the prospects through the conversion tunnel by using marketing automation along with social media. Well, email is here to stay, so the same might be said about email marketing.


4LinkedIn takes a prominent place among social media websites because of its advantages for B2B marketing. First and foremost, despite popular opinion, it is built for interaction between businesses as well, because millions of companies have created pages there. However, to take the full advantage, some specific strategies should be used, such as the ‘‘touchpoint’’ system. According to this strategy, the marketer should choose a number of people and connect with them — but when they confirm the request, different touchpoints are used. They can be pre-written content that aims to establish the connection with the lead; it is copied into the inMail and sent. When the potential lead responds, the process of building a relationship begins.


5This is the marketing growth hack described in a recent blog post on the popular marketing resource Twoodo. It totally makes sense because partners need to see the uniqueness of the brand that can be used for business and future growth. Therefore, a B2B company should personalize its content by adding the tags (contact name, company title, industry and so on) on everything it provides for the partners or customers. A number of successful marketing services use personalization, including MailChimp and Campaign Monitor, and they recommend doing this regardless of the sales cycle.


There are a number of ways in which companies can develop their business, but some of them may be more effective for specific outcomes. The strategies described above worked for B2B companies because they focused them on the most important tactics and prevented additional marketing spending. As a result, the businesses identified the methods that helped them to resonate with the target audience and guaranteed a return. Moreover, it is worth remembering that constant monitoring and control over the strategies is required to determine which ones provide the most effective performance.

Michael Gorman is an expert blogger in London. Michael stays on top of the trends in blogging, digital marketing and social media. Feel free to contact him on his Facebook page.
Advice for startups: Focus on your super-fans Fri, 04 Mar 2016 23:58:55 +0000 Continue reading ]]> taylor-swift
Taylor Swift brought fans to her house, baked them cookies and invited them to her concerts for free, said Jordan Stone, CEO of Huckle.

At Launch Festival, a top marketer discusses the importance of engaging your top brand advocates

Target audience: Startups, entrepreneurs, businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, SEO specialists, educators, journalists, Web publishers.

JD LasicaAt the 2016 Launch Festival, which is wrapping up today with an estimated 15,000 attendees, startup founders and teams got some solid, down-to-earth advice from Jordan Stone, the CEO of Huckle.

A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to please everyone. But you don’t really want to make all your customers happy. You want to focus on the 1 percent most engaged users of your product and make them ecstatic. And then you want to find another 100, 1,000, 10,000 users just like them. Otherwise, your product development will be all over the map before you get to product-market fit.

“Focus on the 1 percent,” Stone said on stage in the Cowell Theatre at San Francisco’s Fort Mason. “Take your customer base and go to the top 1 percent that’s obsessed with your product. Focus on the super users instead of the casuals.”

How to identify them? Find a tool that gives you access to granular customer metrics, he said. There are plenty in the market. Don’t just look at them as demographics. Drill down to see your top customers or users in the top cities using your product, then find out who those people are — and engage them.

Communicate with them through SMS, email, Twitter, FB, push notifications. “Make sure they hear personally from someone on your team,” Stone said.

Jordan Stone, CEO of Huckle, at the Launch Festival this week (Photo by JD Lasica).

Next, publicly identify, empower and reward a select few. One time-honored way to do so is with a points system or leaderboard. “Make those super-fans feel special, give them something to brag about,” he said. “Offer them rewards and experiences that money can’t buy.”

One extreme example he cited was his work with singer Taylor Swift, who has been known for the lengths to which she goes to make her fans happy. “We brought some of them to her house. She baked them cookies. She invited them to her concerts for free.”

Don’t do this in a vacuum. Let the other 99 percent know about it, he suggested. Stoke their FOMO (fear of missing out). Offer something exclusive to the top 100 contributors to your website each month.

Finally, while you should engage and participate in social media, Stone said, make sure you drive them to your site. “Have ownership over your entire community, Own the data. Don’t put all your eggs in the Facebook or Twitter baskets.”

I asked Stone about the approach put forward by Rob Fuggetta in his book Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers Into a Powerful Marketing Force that you should leverage fans’ enthusiasm for your product — but don’t compensate them, or else you’ll tarnish their evangelism.

Stone said startups need to start small and reward their super-fans any way they can — with prizes, T-shirts, giveaways, tickets, access to events, etc. But that once you get to 100 or more super-fans, “then don’t pay them.” Because you’re on your way.


Online marketing trends we’ll see in 2016 Mon, 11 Jan 2016 08:22:47 +0000 Continue reading ]]> clickagy
Clickagy: One way to slurp up the big data in your sector.

Get data-driven and adaptive in your online strategies

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, SEO specialists, educators, Web publishers.

Chris AbrahamIf you’re here visiting from a global Fortune 500 company, you may already know some of the online marketing tools outlined below because, until now, only enterprises could afford to innovate and integrate the sort of services and application development required to go from the standard WordPress + Google AnalyticsGoogle AdWords + MailChimp + Facebook set-up that most SMBs are rocking for their web presence and online marketing.

Adaptive websites

robotic-29431_1280I thought I was pretty clever when I realized that you can use regular expressions (regex) to do global search and replace across an entire website with either direct access to your back-end relational database or via a convenient plugin. Before that, we did it all by hand, which is pretty crazy since most websites currently running even the smallest company brand is database-backed! Even the freebie open source MySQL is actually capable of amazing things. So, there are amazing things you can do with just the set-up you probably already have running your WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and even your Plone site.

As you probably know, the more you leverage the power of your database by adding plug-ins, the impossibly slower and unresponsive your website will be — Google hates that! So, the good news is that an entire industry of intermediary services has been developed to act like a value-added useful buffer between your underpowered and affordable web hosting package both your visitors and, more importantly, Google.

robot-312208_1280You might be familiar with Zemanta‘s Editorial Assistantand Related Posts, a couple of very useful WordPress plug-ins, but there are also some powerful services that can live between your blog and their browsers. Tools like RevealedContext and SoloSegment easily allow you to add very sophisticated functionality by taking the mature functionality of the Content Delivery Network (CDN), which is known for acting as a globally distributed cache for your site, and then actually interceding and adding value and functionality without ever needing to touch your website.

The prices are coming down and it’s always nicer to outsource the functionality of your website to a service that’s always keeping up with the trends and constantly making smart updates and decisions on your behalf while you just need to keep your brochureware website current and updated with content while these services take care of everything else: the who, when, where, why, and how. It’s amazing stuff.

And, guess what? A lot of it’s free, some of it’s cheap, and a lot of the best solutions make more sense then ever. And the free ones? Well, they’re probably making all their money from slurping, analyzing, using, and selling your site’s real data — it just might be worth it for you. Want to learn  more? Pre-order Outside-In Marketing by James Mathewson and Mike Moran

Don’t worry: until now, none of your competitors have been as data-driven or nearly as adaptive or reactive as is currently even more than possible — but as of 2016, things are going to get mighty competitive as prices lower, things become easier and cheaper to implement, resource-wise, and then actually follow-up and use, every day.

Programmatic advertising for ad arbitrage

Until now, advertising has been a real challenge: aren’t we all overspending? Don’t you feel like no matter what you do you’re getting soaked? Well, it’s impossible. All the best keyword strings have already been taken. And, if you spend some time experimenting, there’s a lot of associated risk. It’s just like investing in the stock market: brokerages and agencies always have the advantages; and, high-revenue corporations can just absorb some bad decisions as part of a larger plan (which is, they can afford to make bad decisions).

Services like Clickagy use all the big data they’re slurping up to allow you to let their service do the same thing you and I have been doing mostly by hand

Services like Clickagy use all the big data they’re slurping up from everywhere, both real time and historical, to allow you to let their service do the same thing you and I have been doing mostly by hand by Keyword Planner, WordStream, and MOZ but real-time, dynamically, and whereas I might work across 10-100 keyword phrases, programmatic marketing can scale to an active keyword list in the thousands that adapts according to affordability, in order to avoid click fraud, and then follow all those ads all the way through to conversions and sales.

Things are evolving, prices are still very high, and the advertising industry is super-pissed that there’s now a technology that’ll pretty much cut them out of their lucrative ad-spend-dependent high-life, chopping out the highly-profitable click-fraud-fueled revenue, and the process isn’t as automated and B2C as it’ll become sooner than later, but if a programmatic advertising does its job right, advertising costs could easily be a quarter of what you’re used to and click fraud could easily become a thing of the past.

Keep your eyes on programmatic ad buying in 2016.

Marketing automation software for the rest of us

Until now, marketing automation software has only been accessible, affordable, and viable to enterprises.  Until recently, the buy-in started at $2,000/month and the sky was the limit. In the world of free, even SalesFusion’s $500/month has been too dear in a world where it seems like you can get everything for free.

Because small businesses have historically been so tight-fisted and because marketing automation platforms have historically done a terrible job of explaining what they can do and why automating your marketing and sales process is no longer optional and nice to have, it’s the only real way one can both optimize one’s time in a world where marketing, sales, content, direct marketing, email marketing, reporting, and remembering anniversaries and birthdays aren’t even remotely in your core competencies. I know that for me, my core competencies are social media marketingdigital PR, influencer outreach and engagement, reputation management, and Wikipedia curation services.

Well, you know how it is, right? The cobbler’s company has no shoes. But if you think about all the things you do every day by cobbling together 100 different disparate services, having all of those solutions packaged together into one integrated soup-to-nuts data-driven platform is finally something you’ll no longer be able to ignore in 2016.

What’s top of mind for you? 

Have an incredible 2016, from me and the Gerris and family.

What have I missed in terms of what’s coming down the pike and important in 2016? Pop them into the comments or let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

Building a dream e-commerce business Mon, 28 Dec 2015 09:28:50 +0000 Continue reading ]]> weebly

How cross-device platforms are the best tool to efficiently build and run any e-commerce store

Ayelet NoffThere is a growing new trend in business development, with more people than ever starting their own businesses while shunning the standard brick and mortar stores.

Take, for example, Ania and Rosie, who had always dreamed of building a jewelry store. However, as two 27-year-olds without the funds to rent out a space in London, they needed an inexpensive yet efficient way to make their dreams of selling their unique jewelry come to life. Undeterred by their lack of funds, Ania and Rosie came to the conclusion that heading online was the best choice. This led to the creation of an all-inclusive e-commerce store, Whistle & Bango, a made-to-order bangle company headquartered in London.

Due to the advancement of the digital age, and with more consumers purchasing exclusively online, new businesses are abandoning traditional stores and utilizing the power of the Internet. The allure of online stores is due to the struggle most new business owners face, balancing a full time job as well as their dream business, just like Ania and Rosie. Therefore, building a digital e-commerce store has to be more compatible than ever with a busy and on-the-go lifestyle. New business owners are looking for easy-to-use tools that will not only get the job done efficiently, but will also provide the ability for businesses to grow and develop within the short amount of time the owners have to work on their project.

E-commerce demands on-the-go platforms

Technology allows for on-the-go productivity to be more efficient than ever. New business owners can work during their commute, or on their lunch hour. However, rather than just focusing on their phone to help run a business, the key to productivity may lie on cross-device platforms. Cross-device platforms, which can work on a desktop, a tablet, or an app, provide an ease and functionality to online businesses that fits in perfectly to a busy lifestyle. Weebly is one such platform (disclosure: Weebly is a Blonde 2.0 client).

Weebly wants to help people start their own businesses, sell online, showcase their achievements, and communicate with visitors in a thoughtful and meaningful way

As a Y Combinator startup, Weebly wants to help people start their own businesses, sell online, showcase their achievements, and communicate with visitors in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Boasting an easy-to-use, drag and drop editor and industry-leading mobile app, Weebly allows people to edit their site seamlessly on iPad, iPhone and Android, taking their business anywhere. Weebly gives business owners the ability to work anytime, and keep up with the never-ending buying and selling that occurs online.

Furthermore, Weebly provides more than just a basic e-commerce platform. Weebly covers all business tools and functionality that modern e-commerce stores need, such as easy to use customer service, communication tools, and shipping options. Thus on their way to work, new business owners can answer customer questions, check on their sales, and update their store.

Embracing the digital age in the e-commerce world has led to a defining shift in the business industry. With businesses abandoning traditional stores in order to accommodate the growing desire to buy everything online, they are searching for new formats to effectively sell their items. However, having a highly functional and well designed e-commerce store is not the only necessity needed to be successful. Thanks to cross-device platforms, e-commerce businesses make it easier than ever to keep up with the ever growing demands of the digital age and new businesses.

7 rules of social media marketing Mon, 20 Jul 2015 07:33:46 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Daltons-in-Iran
Photo by Hamed Saber on Flickr (Creative Commons BY)    

Rule 7: Figure out what images resonate with your audience and share news and articles that increase awareness.

Post by Megan Totka

MeganTotkaIt seems like every small business understands the power of social media marketing – 99 percent of marketers feel social media is a crucial part of their communication campaigns according to a recent report by Regalix. In order to maximize your social media marketing campaign, it’s essential that you grasp its fundamentals.

Take a look at these seven rules that allow you to best serve your customers and develop your brand.

Home in on your area of expertise

1It’s smarter to go ahead and focus on your area of expertise instead of attempting to unsuccessfully be a jack-of-all-trades. Sometimes it’s tricky to find ideas to keep your social media fresh – ideas for content don’t always appear out of thin air. However, instead of caving and falling victim to a strategy that attempts to know everything about everything, build a strong brand though a highly specified social media and content marketing strategy.

Never underestimate the importance of influencers

2Time spent online searching for influencers in your market is time well spent. Look for online influencers who are likely to be interested in your business and its offerings. Take the time to connect with them and build relationships. If you can prove yourself as a wealth of information, they just might share your content with their own followers. This could place you and your business in front of a lot of new prospective customers.

Remember to reciprocate

3If you want others to share your content and spread the word about your business, you need to do the same for them. As you divvy up your time on social media, section out adequate time to focus on sharing content published by other people if you expect them to do the same for you.

Acknowledge every single person

4If someone inquires about your business in person, you should respond. So don’t ignore people who reach out to you via the Internet. Relationship building is one of the keys to social media marketing success, so make sure you acknowledge and answer questions when people approach you online.

Add value to every conversation

5Stop spending all of your time directly promoting your business because eventually people will stop listening. Think about why you like social media. Is it because you enjoy reading valuable content and developing relationships? I’d guess the answer is yes. Refocus your strategy and focus more on adding value and connecting people who would normally not reach each other. This will, sooner or later, turn people into believers.

Show your passion socially

6To get your business into the hearts of your target audience, you need to incorporate a purpose beyond making money. Your customers become your advocates when you show the passion behind your business. Whether your goal is to give back to the customers and community, make it known on social media and your business can win.

Understand what customers crave

7Curious how the most powerful brands use social media? They know that in order to market successfully on social media, it’s crucial to pay attention to the constantly evolving needs of your consumer. Turn yourself into a forward-thinking businessperson and figure out what images resonate with the audience. Share news and articles that increase awareness. Give your customers what they crave.

There comes a time when every business wants to energize its social media marketing strategies. Effective marketing requires that you are always learning more about your niche.

What rules of social media do you think are essential to empower and grow your business?

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for helps small businesses grow their business on the Web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Reach her at
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