Social media – Social media business strategies blog Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:53:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Social media – 32 32 Google wants your business to invest in community engagement Wed, 03 Jun 2015 10:38:31 +0000 Continue reading ]]> mobile-phone

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamSearch has changed dramatically in just a few short years. Google now severely penalizes sites that are buying links or are invested in private blog networks. Sites that have dominated search in the recent past are being penalized or de-indexed, going from the first page to page 20 or being removed completely, stripping many ecommerce sites of millions of dollars in revenue.

Let’s unpack some of the recent developments.

Site optimization: This includes copy rewriting, internal linking, keyword research, Google Analytics and Google/Bing Webmaster Tools integration, integration of Sitemaps, structured data, title and description rewriting and organization, image ALT tag development, site submission, and content recommendation development strategies, etc. Much has changed, but site optimization is as important as ever.

Social media strategy for social signals: A site needs to be organic (never static), as Google tends to spend most of its attention on sites that are constantly changing and updating. In addition to editorial “blog” content, it’s always worth developing content, style, in addition to producing content only for social media. Using platforms like Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites, are essential. Actually, MaddaFella is really underutilizing its YouTube site with its expensive videos.

Authentic, organic, inbound linking: Content marketing is an essential part of developing a strong organic search reputation online. It must be unassailable, and completely white hat instead of being invested in tricking Google. That doesn’t work anymore – and will work less and less well into the future.

Influencer Outreach

What does Google want? Google wants to know that you, the site owners and employees, and your community, your prospects, current, and past customers, are engaged in the success of the store. This is in response to people’s time, talent, and treasure being spent more on automated systems, advertising, link-buying, and savvy inbound marketing programs than on doing what brick and mortar businesses have been doing for generations: community engagement.

Bloggers: while they may no longer be the only kings of the kingdom, bloggers have a lot of bang for the buck because not only do they have a lot of SEO mojo associated with their blogs, they tend to be shameless self-promoters and minor deities themselves. As a result, if you’re able to woo them with your message or pitch, they’ll spend an inordinate amount of their own sweat equity promoting their own content across their own social media platforms and profiles such as their own Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and even sites like Reddit, Digg and whatnot — including cross-posting onto LinkedIn, Medium, and other aggregator sites like Business2Community, Google News, and Yahoo! Do it! It’s worth it!

Facebookers: Everyone in the entire world is on Facebook. If you can find the right Page or Group, you could be as good as gold. And, if you’re willing to give it a go, you can become the go-to guy. You can become your very own influencer.

Tweeters: Twitter’s hard but worth it, if you can make the right connection. Don’t waste your time on small fries. It might even be worth it to search and discover the right hashtags, or even really spend your time and maybe a little money wooing one of the top Twitter influencers. They’re out there but they’re unicorns. I, myself, have over 50,000 followers but nobody really listens to me in a real way (though I do have my secret weapons).

LinkedInners: Apparently LinkedIn is a thing.  You’re on your own there.

Pinners: Ask someone else, though I really think becoming an expert in Pinterest would benefit you immensely, especially if you produce beautiful things.

YouTubers: My inner millennial is in love with all the top YouTubers except for Hannah Hart and Grace Helbig (not a fan, and they’re bloody everywhere, they’re YouTubiquitous!).

Social Media Marketing

Facebook, Twitter, Google+: You’ve probably got these sorted out already; though I seriously doubt that you are actually doing anything with Google+, though you should be.

Pinterest: If you offer products, you need to share your products on Pinterest, just make sure to link everything back from each product page of your website. Pinterest allows you to pin links and then choose photos that are featured on that page. If you’re just uploading product pictures to Pinterest, you’re doing it wrong.

Guest blogging: I hesitate to recommend this because there are so many d-bags doing this wrong. Be nice, be generous, be useful, be helpful, and make sure you tailor-fit your post to their site and their needs. Don’t lead with links, lead with valuable content.

Collaborative blogging: I used to just have (RIP) and then started MarketingConversation (RIP), a collaborative conversation marketing blog. Then JD Lasica invited me to contribute to, Mike Moran invited me to write for Biznology, Bob Fine invited me to write for The Social Media Monthly, and I’ve written for AdAge, Rosetta Stone, Huffington Post, and some other spots. Stop trying to be such a one-man-band: many hands make light work.

Editorial writing: A lot of my friends have serious success when it comes to writing for Fast Company, Inc, Business Insider, Huffington Post, AdAge, and all that — if you have the juice to command it. If you’re not already a known entity, you had better start off writing in earnest for your own blog or on sites such as Medium and LinkedIn.

Article cross-posting: One of the best things you can do, after you start producing content (for brand promotion, not SEO), is to do a little strategic cross posting. I think you should start with Medium and Linkedin.

Message boards and forums: Only do this if you’re already someone who loves and uses message boards. Forums take a long, persistent ride — a commitment to becoming part of a longer-term conversation, to become a member of the community. PS: this is the year of the message board!

You need to start now. You need to shift the money you’re wasting on SEO and advertising and spend it on setting up your other world, your social media doppelgänger, your social media shadow. Do it now.

3 Ways Your B2B Social Media Marketing Needs to Be Helpful Sat, 21 Mar 2015 19:17:18 +0000 Continue reading ]]> R-chie double structure arc diagram by Daniel Lai, Jeff Proctor, Jing Yun and Irmtraud Meyer by Duncan Hull

Illustration by Duncan Hull

Post by Daniel Kushner
Founder, Oktopost

The rise of social media over the past decade has forever changed the way businesses go about capturing, pursuing and closing leads. Nowadays, B2B purchasing only takes place once prospects have begun to truly trust a vendor that they’re looking into, as relationships are now formed far earlier in the purchase cycle, with buyers investing heavily in self-service research – often across several digital channels.

For vendors, this changing dynamic calls for enabling the research process. Today’s digitally connected B2B vendors know that educating and being generous with helpful advice on social media is the most effective way to position their companies as valuable partners.

Businesses and consumers alike are interested in investing far more on product research today than we did before the social age. According to Jay Baer’s Youtility, in 2010, when social media’s pervasiveness had begun to take hold, shoppers needed an average of 5.3 sources of information to make a decision. By 2011, that number had almost doubled to 10.4.

In order to achieve high levels of performance with your social media marketing, you need to remember how the B2B procurement process works from the perspective of the buyer. The research process can be heavy on resources, and the people whose job it is to perform the research are often not the same people who make the final sourcing decisions.

Here are three pivotal ways that your B2B social media marketing needs to be helpful.

1. Prove your ROI

How can the purchasing business profit from your product or service? There are two main ways of proving that your offer is beneficial. The first is if it solves a major pain point for the business. If your solution can save your prospects time, money or other resources, then you’ll have a much better chance of making a sale.

The second way to demonstrate the potential for return on investment is, of course, proving that your product or service will increase revenues for your B2B prospect. Either way, by emphasizing the business case for your solution, you’ll be giving researchers on the prospecting end powerful ammunition for convincing their superiors about you.

Perhaps the most effective tactic for talking up you solution’s usefulness as a profit booster is to share case studies on your social media channels. Publish content about businesses you have helped in the past, and share concrete numbers, before and after. The profits are in the proof.

2. Cut to the chase

Unlike the world of B2C marketing, where social media marketing emphasizes building “image,” brand equity and positive sentiment over time, B2B social media means getting down to the nitty-gritty.

Keep in mind that business people are usually overworked and have mile-long to-do lists, so the faster you can connect them with the information they need, the more likely they are to want to work with you. Some B2B consumers will happily click around dozens of websites, social feeds and resource libraries before they figure out what it is that they want.

But many businesses just don’t have that kind of time. Time is money for them, so success means presenting, as clearly and simply as possible, your solution’s value proposition, focusing on how you can benefit your prospect’s business.

3. Emphasize consensus

Remember – the person you’re interacting with may not actually have the authority to sign checks. One distinct challenge in B2B marketing is that you’re selling to a business and not to an end consumer. That means that your social engagement is likely to be with a lower-down employee in a prospective customer company, someone who may not have the final signing authority. It may simply be his or her job to do research and perhaps to build a report that highlights his or her top choices. The decision then may go to the researcher’s boss, or the researcher’s boss’s boss, or even a committee or board.

So B2B marketers often indirectly sell their products to someone that has no specific knowledge of your field of expertise. That’s why it’s so important to stay away from highly technical language and instead stick to the tried-and-true basics, as listed above. But perhaps most importantly, try to foresee what specific pieces of information the employee you are dealing with will need to sell your product or service to his or her superiors.

When selling to businesses on social media, your posts and interactions should enable the B2B procurement pipeline by supplying prospects with the paperwork, documentation and supplementary information necessary to expedite B2B processes. And when you put your solution in the context of universal truths, you’re effectively giving everyone involved, regardless of their placement on the totem pole, what they need to know to seal the deal. Do your prospects’ jobs for them, and they will be grateful to you for your service, and there is a higher likelihood of closing a sale.

Help that meets demand

The key to B2B social media mastery is, therefore, incorporating the dynamics of today’s procurement processes into every interaction.

Provide true value to the people you’re engaging with by always proving your product’s ROI, positioning your solution as the answer for all relevant pain points, and in a way that builds trust and enables expediting the contemporary B2B sourcing pipeline.

Best practices for nurturing B2B leads captured via social media Thu, 15 Jan 2015 21:42:01 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Post by Daniel Kushner
Founder, Oktopost

Thanks to the reality of social media’s astounding adoption rates, B2B marketers are finally moving away from the debate as to the value of their activity on the main networks. With so much of the world now spending significant amounts of time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and the like, it simply makes the most sense to leverage these platforms to reach your intended audience – this is where they are, so this is where you have to be.

Despite all the talk about silos being a thing of the past, B2B social media marketing activity is extremely different from B2C. Simply keeping your brand name at the forefront of people’s minds doesn’t cut it in sectors that involve such drawn-out and deliberate procurement processes. When your aim is driving sales for a product that targets fellow businesspeople, social media’s greatest impact is realized when it’s used as a mechanism for lead capture and nurturing.

Channels for Relationships of Trust

At its best, social media is all about conversations and engagement, and that’s the basis of effective lead nurturing too. Marketers who are great at building relationships of trust with relevant leads online prefer to identify prospects, discuss their solutions, distribute content and drive traffic to owned properties via social media. In fact, some 94% of the B2B marketers in the United States use LinkedIn as a key content distribution channel, and 88% use Twitter. What’s more, B2B marketers are increasingly citing LinkedIn and blogs as pivotal customer acquisition channels.

Clearly, social realms have finally matured enough to be considered serious B2B lead nurturing venues. But success here depends on maintaining a clear sense of strategy and goals. We’re easily confused into thinking that a high volume of likes, shares and comments means we’ve succeeded. B2B marketers should instead be thinking about how to encourage leads captured via social media to advance along the sales funnel.

When a stranger or a known prospect comments on a blog, likes a Facebook post, retweets a company tweet or chimes in on a LinkedIn Group discussion, this is an opportunity that should not be wasted. Any of these actions can be considered a micro-conversion and therefore a first step toward a purchase. Even a click from a social channel to your website is an important micro-conversion which, if nurtured properly, can lead to a sale.

Who, Why and What Next

When a B2B lead first interacts with a social media post, he or she is most likely to be at the research stage, and your interactions should be tackled accordingly. He or she may be interested in your product, but that doesn’t indicate that he or she has any idea yet if it will meet his or her needs, if it’s worth the price or if your company has any genuine expertise. Don’t turn people off by getting too sales-y on them.

Rather, this could the perfect time to share some educational content in a private message to start building the case that you have the solution to his or her business challenges. Once each B2B lead has advanced enough to be considered a marketing qualified lead (MQL), your sales team takes over and hopefully finalizes the purchase. Each stage of the funnel has matching content types and engagement styles that are most effective; keep these in mind, and you’ll be able to turn your social media activity into a lead nurturing powerhouse.

If you have access to advanced tracking data via premium analytics tools, you can easily determine each of your prospects’ closest-matching buyer personas and position in the sales funnel by correlating onsite activity with the decision making journey as you’ve mapped it out.

But even if you aren’t yet set up for this level of business intelligence, simply knowing what social media channel and post originally referred your prospect and what type of micro-conversions he or she has performed will already give you lots of clues into who your lead is and how interested in your product he or she is. Use this information to send messaging appropriate to personas and to stages in the funnel. With effective nurturing, getting the right message to your prospects at the right moments is the key to making a sale.

Choosing the Right Message

Follow these general guidelines to successfully use messages for B2B nurturing in ways that match various types of micro-conversions.

  • A lead that first comes to your awareness via a comment on your blog is likely interested in more information about the general topic of the post in question. Use this opportunity to answer the lead’s questions and establish a position of niche thought leadership and trust.
  • When someone initially connects with your company via Twitter, use the opportunity to engage in light, friendly discussion that goes in whatever direction your prospect determines. Provide informative advice and don’t hesitate to tell a prospect they should look elsewhere if necessary.
  • When someone micro-converts on LinkedIn, do some research into the company he or she works for. Determine what kind of issues they may be having and offer some well-thought-out, personalized insights, always emphasizing the benefits of your solution rather than its specs.
  • When a prospect responds positively to an automated email that includes educational content, he or she is likely ready to receive somewhat more sales-oriented content.
  • Once you see someone clicking through often to sales-focused content, address any loose ends you’ve been discussing with the prospect, and then you should be ready to hand him or her over to the sales team.

Tipping Point from Marketing to Sales

Your company’s marketing team nurtures leads until they’re ready for a sales call. If this happens too early, your prospects may feel pressured and jump ship, but if the sales team arrives on the scene too late, the prospect may have already closed a deal with a competitor. Determining the optimal set of circumstances that identify a lead as being sales-ready is a pivotal aspect of social-based nurturing.

As part of your company’s ongoing marketing operations, the sales and marketing teams must sit down together regularly to review trends and redefine what makes a lead sales-ready. Most B2B enterprises use complex lead scoring formulas for this purpose, whereby each lead accumulates points until reaching the magic number. Once a lead has been assigned a specific number of points, he or she is considered to be a MQL and becomes the responsibility of the sales team.

Points are awarded for each type of micro-conversion and any number of browsing activity patterns on your site, but they’re also awarded for segmenting data gleaned from other sources. For instance, a lead captured via LinkedIn might receive more points than one from Facebook. An executive at a company may be worth more points than a lower-level employee.

Additional segmentation patterns are likely to emerge as you engage in a regular sales-marketing feedback loop whereby conversion rates are correlated with MQL factors. For example, you may find that leads captured via social media on certain days of the week deserve more points, or leads captured via specific landing pages deserve fewer points. A good lead scoring program takes all these elements into account, assigns values to each action and parameter, and regularly reviews any needs to tweak these formulas.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

As with any marketing effort, lead scoring and nurturing is not a one-time project. Set up an initial lead scoring point system, but don’t forget to go back to it and rethink what exactly constitutes an MQL. External and internal factors will influence the lead nurturing process, so you need to be open to changing your system as necessary.

And keep in mind that social media is not just about getting likes on photos of kittens. It is an important tool in the lead nurturing process – one that can outperform all others and drive sales when appropriate emphasis is placed on leveraging data for optimized lead scoring and nurturing.

5 big ideas for Social UX success Tue, 11 Nov 2014 17:52:18 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

JD LasicaI‘m in Peru for the first time. Over the weekend I headed up to Cusco and spent a day at Machu Picchu (more about that at a later date at Cruiseable).

Today I spoke for the second time at the annual conference put on by Grupo de Diarios America (GDA), this one at the headquarters of El Comercio in Lima, Peru.

Three years ago, when I spoke in Santiago, Chile, I was the “social media guy,” urging media organizations to embrace the emerging social media wave. Now, the 60 or so participants are all on board.

So my talk today focused on social UX.

Social UX? Social UX is what you get when you combine social media and the user experience. Social UX is the result when users find themselves inside a media experience that connects users with other users. It’s an experience that’s open, transparent, shareable, emotionally satisfying and increasingly visual.

The presentation at top offers some blue-sky ideas for how media organizations, startups and businesses can use social user experience successfully. Topics include:

  1. Lay the SEO/metadata groundwork to appease the all-powerful Google gods
  2. Think evergreen
  3. Build a platform where your users are the content
  4. Use curation
  5. Embrace visual storytelling & rich imagery

Spend some time at 30,000 feet considering social UX before plunging ahead with developing a new site.

One dashboard to rule them all Sun, 26 Oct 2014 15:38:23 +0000 Continue reading ]]> cyfe

Collect all of your disparate web apps, services, feeds & APIs into one place

Target audience: marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

oktopostChris AbrahamOne of the great white whales for social media marketing is cracking the B2B code. Social media automation is another Moby Dick. Bringing it all together in a simple-to-use dashboard that takes all the data your marketing, advertising, selling, development, and engagements and brings it together simply and easily might be the most elusive of them all.  

I am exploring a couple of new and exciting services that have landed in a pretty mature and competitive space but are competing handily because they’re doing things a little different and a little better — and sometimes quite a lot.

Two of the most interesting are Cyfe and Oktopost. Here’s a look.


cyfe logoEven though most of us don’t have big data, per se, we have big-for-us data. Apparently, you can take all the data that you’re already generating and pass it through the Cyfe dashboard and out comes things like performance, conversions, the status of projects and campaigns — all through integrating all of the sundry web apps you’re already using here and there, including structured data that you can add as custom widgets, you can actually be rewarded with what we’ve all been wanting since Minority Report’s crazy-cool gestural dashboard.

Cyfe social dashboard

Explore your company, your business, your fans and followers, or your industry from 30,000 feet or really up close. You can explore how your ecommerce website is converting, who’s visiting your website, what people are saying about you online, the current state of your revenue goals and progress, who’s selling well enough to deserve some closer coffee, tracking the uptime and load of your servers, and even keeping tabs on your projects’ progress. There are a load of pre-built widgets you can bring in by default:




oktopost logoBack in July I had the opportunity to meet Valerie Levin over at Oktopost. What HootSuite is to B2C, Oktopost is to B2B. Oktopost helps you dig through the social media network you have already cobbled together and then really start cooking with gas.  It’s not about converting normal people into become customers so much as it is about converting prospects into clients. In addition, Oktopost helps you stay on top of your social media even when you’re not 100% committed to spending a lot of time conducting a social media marketing campaign.  Not only will Oktopost suggests posts for you based on your vertical, business, topic, or industry, they also have sophisticated social media marketing automation tools as well, including editorial calendaring.


Then, in the end, Oktopost helps you track your hard work, allowing you to not only see who, what, when, where, and why people are talking about you, your business, your industry, or even your competitors, you can even see where your potential clients, prospects, and even customers of your competitors actually are via geolocation. Powerful stuff. Oktopost even syncs with CRM and automation tools like Salesforce, Google, Gotowebinar, Marketo, Acton, Bitly, and Feedly. From soup to nuts.

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How to incorporate agile business techniques into your marketing Mon, 02 Jun 2014 12:03:16 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Agile business
The agile business philosophy adapts well to social marketing.

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, entrepreneurs, educators.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaAgile business – a philosophy that involves frequent, meticulous planning sessions followed by “sprints,” and then reevaluation – has been used in many industries to make businesses more flexible and competitive.

The success of agile business models has been so profound, in fact, that some enterprises are beginning to incorporate the concept into their social media marketing plans. Many are finding that the up-to-the-minute, real-time nature of social media is a natural framework for the agile business theory to flourish.

Social media spontaneity

All social marketing is about social interaction. According to one analysis, by placing more value on personal interactions – as opposed to external tools and processes – agile-business-based social marketing plans can have an extraordinary impact.

Take the example of Oreo’s off-the-cuff tweet during the Super Bowl blackout, which read “You can still dunk in the dark.” It was retweeted 15,000 times in 14 hours. When a social media marketing plan is shackled to a rigid, time-of-day-scheduled tweeting system, that kind of spontaneity is simply not possible. So build flexibility into your plan.

Respond, adapt, experiment

Brands that demonstrate the ability to adapt and respond in real time have the greatest advantage in the world of digital marketing. By adapting an agile marketing strategy – and applying it to social media – brands maintain the ability to break the schedule- and issue-driven models of social marketing that have become the norm.

Another key ingredient provided by an agile marketing strategy is that it allows room for experimentation. Like the Oreo example, agile marketing not only allows but encourages well-timed, well-intentioned experiments – often to the benefit of the company behind the Twitter account.

Real-world examples

In How Syncsort Became Agile, a company insider discusses their move toward agile marketing, which started with their development managers becoming scrum masters. This term is based off of a widely-used rugby definition, a concept that allows the team to self-organize and adapt under stress. Daily meetings and “sprints” – two key trademarks of any agile strategy – were led by scrum masters who used their skills to adapt and react to changes in real time. This is the essence of any agile business strategy, whether or not it’s part of a social media marketing plan.

The agile business philosophy has made many business models more efficient, streamlined and cost-effective. But recently, more and more enterprises have realized the benefit of incorporating the same philosophy into their social media and digital marketing strategy. The real-time, intuitive nature of social media has proved to be a perfect foundation on which to build an agile marketing plan. When adapted for digital marketing, agile business not only fits but excels.

Image at top by Dushan Hanuska on Flickr (CC BY SA)

Andrew Lisa is a freelance business writer. He covers online marketing and agile business planning.
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Enlist the power of the crowd for your next live event Mon, 12 May 2014 12:02:07 +0000 Continue reading ]]> apps

How to leverage your audience’s Instagrams, tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, Tumbls & G+s

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, SEO specialists, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.


Chris AbrahamIcan’t believe you’re still hiring professional photographers with expensive DSLRs who shoot your events live but time-delay the results by days and weeks. Yes, I am looking at you!

I am not saying you shouldn’t hire a professional team for posterity, the annual reports, and your organization’s archive. But why are you time-delaying your fundraisers, events, conferences, gatherings, jamborees, and rally by hours, days, and weeks when you have all the cheap-and-accessible tools all around you to take dozens of “good enough” images real-time, allowing hundreds, thousands, and millions of friends, family, fans, and potential donors, clients, customers, attendees, and members to get a selective and well-curated peek into all the cool stuff you do every day, as it happens, live, en masse, over the course of the entire event, instead of only the tightly-edited album you may only share with your current friends and family, all in one dump, at one moment, well after the event is far in the rear view mirror?

Yes, those professionally shot 16.2 megapixel photos may well be well-lit, hi-def, perfectly posed, and color-corrected, but they’re also planned, dull, and edited down to so few images that all you’re left with are some boring photos of some random “celebrity” at a dais, some sponsors, board members, and honored guests mugging in a huddle, some glad-handing photos, and maybe a snappy of plates of rubbery chicken on linen-festooned banquet tables.

Expand your reach beyond who’s in the room

Keep the pro shooters but look to others who might be willing to live tweet, Vine, Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumbl on your behalf, logging in to your Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts before the night begins.

Alternately you can follow my advice below and get the sort of impact you need from the events that you’ve spent a lot of money and energy on already — events that could really help your brand profile in the noisy, noisy, world — but at which there are only dozens to hundreds of attendees and not the thousands-upon-thousands you’ve acquired through social media marketing across all of your social networks and social sharing platforms. Plus, there’s the excitement of the check-in, be it checking in on Foursquare, Facebook, Google Plus (or even on Foursquare through Instagram, actually).

Live streaming, live-tweeting, Instagramming and Vine

2014-04-28 13.48.52When I know I need to capture an event via social media, I use two smart phones and several huge, portable, backup batteries. Strangely enough, too few people carry backup batteries for their smart phones.

My two smart phones are an Apple iPhone 5 and a Google Nexus 5. The 5 has passable battery life, the Nexus 5 dies within an hour the way I use it. As a result, I fill up two Radioshack Portable Power Banks, each with 6000mAhs, every night.

The best thing about porting around too many batteries and cables? Well, you can hook your staff and the folks who are attending up with batteries and charging cables and still have your battery needs covered as well. In fact, you might decide to buy a bunch of batteries and chargers and adapters and plugs and maybe even have a safe charging station where people can leave their poor depleted phones. If you play your cards right, half of the people in your banquet hall will be attending your event through the lens of the video display of their smart phone. No, not their camcorder, DSLR, or Canon snappy, but their smart phone, uploading their Vines, Instagrams, tweets, and Facebooks, blogs, Tumbls, and Plusses right then and there, an entire corps of paparazzi.

Make wi-fi an ally, and buy some wi-fi repeaters

Also, offer some really good Wi-Fi, try to not require a password, or make the password so easy and free that it’ll not be a trouble. I recommend buying a number of Wi-Fi repeaters, such as the NETGEAR WN3500RP Universal Dual Band WiFi Range Extender or the cheaper NETGEAR N300 WiFi Range Extender Wall Plug Version WN3000RP — they’ll allow you to fill your halls with sweet wi-fi, amplified from the distant, weak, signal that you’re all using at once. It won’t solve anything, but it’ll boost confidence and the number of bars people see on their phones. And, if I am really busy, I’ll just live in Instagram. I can take short videos on Instagram, a-la-Vine, and also some pretty neat filtered-and-edited images, be it #filter or #nofilter.

Train everyone how to promote your brand via social

2014-04-28 13.06.44If you’re Miriam’s Kitchen, you should bring me in! If you’re not, maybe you can pay me to come in to train up your staff on who, what, when, where, why, and how to properly and professionally document brand, organization, corporate, or foundation events, including location-awareness, checking-in, swarming. Make sure people understand constraint, what you’d like, filters, cropping, titling, descriptions, tagging, hashtagging, @-inclusions, profile-tagging, checking-in, and all the yummy stuff that make these things cool.

Spend some time sharing how Twitter is different than Vine is different than Facebook is different than Instagram is way different than Google+, a platform that makes it hard to ever even cross-post to it. You need to explain the difference between posting to Facebook and Google+ profiles versus Google+ and Facebook Page posting (it’s important). And then, be sure that people realize that every single person you photograph wants to look beautiful, skinny, happy, successful, fit, and kind, so don’t post any photos that show people with double-chins, belly rolls, closed eyes, or food and drinks up in their pie holes. Make sure every image you make and every post you commit to is flattering and lovely. Not because you’re trying to misrepresent the event but because if you post anything awkward, embarrassing, or unflattering, you’ll surely hear about it. Consider twice, post once.

Let your entire team post as your organization

2014-04-28 13.06.09This takes both training and trust, guys, but you’ll be well-rewarded for your trouble. Get together before the event and either pile all the smart phones on a table and let a couple geeks who know their way around Instagram, Vine, Twitter, etc, set everyone up on their own phone with direct access to the brand’s account. Alternately, maybe you can get a bunch of phones that are the property of the organization and hand them out for the night, already set up for the Wi-Fi and pre-logged in for all the sharing platforms you intend to you. Hopefully you’ve already trained everyone up and let them all know how to best fill out all the content you need before posting, including using filters and light photo editing skills.

You also need to inform people what to do if there’s a terrible auto-correct mistake, a miss-post, or a misspelling: delete it yourself? What if it’s been cross-posted via Instagram to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and the lot? Is there someone at a desktop who can be a live air-traffic-controller? Is there someone you can text or call? Is there someone who can monitor all the streams to quickly delete any and all posts that don’t make the mark (without hurting anyone’s feelings?)

Empower your attendees to live-tweet about you

2014-04-28 13.08.13I love to live tweet events for Vocus and Miriam’s Kitchen — for free. I love how lovely they are to me.

They invite me to things and spoil me and make me happy and amused — and when it comes to Miriam’s Kitchen, I am changing lives! I know there are loads of people who work with Miriam’s Kitchen who would love to be tapped as a either part of above-mentioned “Team Tweet” or as part of the friends and family Team Livetweet that the attendees are more than welcome to become. In the case of Miriam’s Kitchen “Mission Possible” fundraising gala, they’ll want to devise a hashtag that everyone can use for the event, maybe #missionpossible or #missposs14 or #missposs — who knows — as well as the proper mention in every post, including @miriamskitchen. Maybe the hashtag could even be #mp14 to make sure the hashtag is as easy and simple and short and east-to-include as possible — and is in every single social media post.

2014-04-29 09.37.13And, be really generous with the retweets, reblogs, reposts, starring, favoriting, hearting, and all that. I know I already said it but it demands repeating.This requires some training, of course, and something you’ve already offered to your team, but it also requires doting and appreciation, too. I always live tweet, Vine, Facebook, Tumbling and Instagram all of my volunteering at Miriam’s Kitchen. Every single time. Because I love them. However, I work twice as hard doing it whenever I get lots of love, appreciation, favoriting, liking, hearting, retweeting, and reposting. So, one of the mandatory jobs that the air-traffic-controller needs to do is engage all of the live-tweeting attendees! You need to. Maybe, you even need to set up a moderated and curated screen that features the social media conversation that’s happening, real-time. Hey, it works for professional sports teams with their fans, it works like catnip if you really want people to live tweet your event.

Keep it simple, keep it Instagram

Like I mentioned earlier, Instagram is easy. It’s all photo-based, it doesn’t really need too much writing when you’re in the lurch, and it does an amazing job of cross-posting across Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, and Foursquare. Only thing is, you’ll need to make sure you connect your Facebook to the correct place: Pages and not personal timelines.

Post to brand pages and not personal timelines

Instead of your own personal Timeline, if you’re a Team Livetweeter, you should like to the Facebook Page you need to be associated with. There are two ways: Either log in as someone who already has permission to post to your brand’s Facebook Page; or, the FB Page administrator needs to make you an administrator of their Facebook Page. Alternately, if you’re the admin, you’re responsible to add everyone who needs to post to your brand’s Facebook Page access to that page, by adding them all as managers for the course of the event. Then, if it’s no longer useful or necessary, remember to remove their access as managers after the event is over.

You can always pare down the flood of posts later

2014-04-29 09.37.04There will be too many posts over the course of your event, especially if you give every team member who wants it, access to tweeting, etc, on your behalf as you, real time, but that’s OK. The next day (or that night) you can edit, edit, edit. It’s OK. Or just leave it. If you’ve done a good job promoting your event or your conference well in advance to your followers, members, and fans — and if you let them know you’ll be live-tweeting (and which hash tags you’ll be using) — then they’ll forgive the flood. Let it be, let it go — enjoy the rush. But, it is worthwhile going through everything with a fine-tooth comb, looking for unflattering images or adding tags to untagged photos if you recognize people and are connected to them via social media.

This is a great opportunity to follow people who love you already. It’s also an opportunity to thank people personally for their help. I might even collect all the people who live tweeted (and retweeted and favorited and so forth, even if they were not in attendance) and then include them in a #followfriday love pile. If someone’s willing to tweet you, they’re worthy of your like; if someone’s willing to live-tweet you (for free) then they’re worth of your love.

Post best-of photos in an album afterward

2014-04-29 09.37.00When you get your images from those fancy Canon, Sony, and Nikon DSLRs, upload them and post those guys to social media, of course, but also create “Best Of” albums as well, highlighting the best life-tweeted, live-Tumbl’d, live-Facebooked, and live Flickr’d photos and posts into one big pile of appreciation and love, including not only the life-tweeting teammates but also the best-of photos and tweets from the attendees as well — and include attribution and links and so forth. They’ll love being part of that end-of-party page-3 mention, especially of they’re tagged and thanked. How do I know? Well, because I really appreciate it. It’s some hard work, I warn you, but they work will only take you a couple-few hours on the Monday afterwards (or even the Sunday after, if you’re a workaholic) but you’ll really make people’s day! And, they’ll brag, share comment, and make a fuss again and again, well after the event’s been long forgotten.

Remind your team to log off from your brand’s social media accounts

Don’t forget to get all of your trained up team mates and staff to unlink their social media accounts to your profile. Maybe even check, There are so many stories of people forgetting to log off from their corporate profiles only to tweet and post totally inappropriate photos that night after a few too many Fireball Cinnamon Whisky shots at the after, after party. I know you can do it. It’s so worth it.

2014-04-28 13.09.19I think I have made it more complicated and complex than it is because I really would love people to do live-tweeting in a super-big way.

I want a hundred people to be making a noise on behalf of fundraising events, symposia, or conferences. Every conference should be its very own SXSX! You can always scale everything down to just a few people. Also, ask your lawyers. Maybe you’ll need to post a note at the entrance letting people know that the event will be live-tweeted to social media and that their likeness will probably end up somewhere on the Interwebs, “just in case you’ve invited your secret lover to this event and don’t want the entire world — and your spouse — to know.”

Go git ‘em! I know you be able to rock it, move the chain, and get yourself your very first Twitter trending topic!

Main photo credit: Jason A. Howie via photopin cc

7 key tips on making sales via social media Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:07:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]> SM business
Social media can become the foundation of your business’s sales strategy.

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaSocial media sites are platforms for celebrity gossip, political posturing, teenage socializing – and big business. Many professionals have found that a few insider tricks and tips have turned social media into the dominant lead and conversion generator in their entire marketing strategy. But these methods aren’t reserved exclusively for social media marketing companies or social marketing experts.

Follow this guide to making sales on social media.

Social listening

1When it comes to eavesdropping on conversations regarding the product or service you sell and in the area that you sell it, Twitter is still the undisputed king. Use Twitter’s search function to find hashtagged topics that have to do with your niche, and then locate those who are unsatisfied with their current provider and approach them privately for true social marketing. Use Twitter to listen, not to talk.

Locate buyers with LinkedIn

2Use LinkedIn to find buyers within organizations. Most companies have a dedicated individual – or several individuals or an entire department, depending on the size of the business – who does all or most of the company’s buying. After finding specific businesses in your niche category, use LinkedIn to find who in that business makes the calls regarding purchasing.

Be ready

3When you find prospective buyers, make sure you’re ready if they decide to pull the trigger. Make sure you have not only the inventory, but a secure and functional website complete with shopping cart plugins and payment software.

Use Facebook for individual sales

4Experts in many social media marketing companies agree that Facebook is still the king of business-to-consumer sales. Use Facebook‘s targeted advertisements and build your own Facebook business page to generate leads and create a community of customers.

Use LinkedIn for business sales

5LinkedIn is a resource dedicated exclusively to business. It is this resource that is the strongest in generating business-to-business sales. LinkedIn is where you will find individuals within large businesses to make sales.

Always check the comments

6The comments sections of social media have become the message boards of today. If there is a post regarding your product or service, always read the comments that follow. It is there that a new resource is likely to gripe about existing services or inquire about how to find new provider.

Converse, don’t pitch

7Social media is a two-way street. People use it to listen as well as to be heard. Those who simply announce their service, advertise deals or pitch products are quickly written off as spammers or ignored altogether. Social media is for listening as well as talking. Engage, don’t broadcast.

Social media may have not been invented with sales and marketing in mind, but businesses have come to rely on social media just the same. Develop a strategy that revolves around customer engagement – not just selling and pitching. Use the right site for the right purposes, and watch the new era of selling pay off.

Photo credit: Flickr user Dragan Mestrovic

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who covers social media, the blogosphere and online business. Email him or follow him on Twitter at @andrewscottlisa.
Data integration! Key for a successful marketing campaign Mon, 31 Mar 2014 12:02:21 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Data integration
Data integration is the key to a successful marketing campaign.

Are your organization’s departments all on the same page?

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaData integration is a concept that every smart business is familiar with, and for marketing professionals, identifying and unifying separate data entities is especially important. Follow this guide to understanding data integration for marketing professionals.

Marketing data can be spread across many departments in a given company. Huge data warehouses that aren’t linked create a situation where data is scattered across multiple channels. Data integration is needed to provide a common pathway between customer databases, customer relationship management systems, call centers, social marketing campaigns and point-of-sale systems.

Email marketing campaigns

Data integration is a key component of every successful email marketing campaign. The more sources business owners can pull from, the more targeted and relevant their emails can be. Data integration unites fragmented data pools to streamline email-based marketing and reduce both redundancy and inefficiency.

Social media, social marketing

Social marketing is often a reason that businesses discover their data-integration infrastructure is lacking in the first place. Uniting your social media marketing plan into your larger, overall marketing concept is not simple. Harvesting the immense amount of data that comes from social marketing, however, can provide fuel for emails and direct-mail marketing.

Email marketing plus social media

Social media and email were born to complement each other as part of a larger marketing campaign. One simple and effective way to integrate the two is to simply install a “button” for each of your social media pages on every email you send.

Big data in the modern age

Scattered data must be consolidated and made readily available in one central location.

The nature of “big data” – enormous data-collection centers such as those used by national crime databases or real-time traffic providers – is changing as well. In “How to Unlock Big Data’s Big Potential,” Syncsort CEO Lonne Jaffort describes the maturation process big data has undergone in the last few years: “The consumer internet companies that first embraced Big Data technology like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Amazon and LinkedIn were able to infuse software like Apache Hadoop at the very core of their offerings.”

Big data for big business

More and more large, well-established businesses and government entities want to follow in the footsteps of the tech brands Jaffort used as examples. These established companies, however, already have massive technology environments to handle their data systems that have been built up over decades and which deal with incredibly large transaction volumes.

Consolidating and integrating your data is imperative. Marketing campaigns run on data, and having it doesn’t accomplish anything if it isn’t easy to access, search and retrieve.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about data management for small business. Email him or follow him on Twitter at @andrewscottlisa.
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Do your Twitter followers matter to your brand? Mon, 24 Mar 2014 12:01:55 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Hard at work

Think about the kind of Twitter users you follow back

Post by Tristan Anwyn

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

When you were at school, there was a good chance that if you got caught hanging with the troublemakers, you were considered guilty by association.

Nowadays, the company you keep online can affect your brand’s reputation for good or ill. Just ask Republican politician Newt Gingrich, who ran into a mini-scandal during his 2012 presidential campaign when it came to light that 92% of his Twitter followers were fake accounts.

So how does the company you keep affect your brand?

Guilt by association

When you follow an account, visitors to your Twitter profile can see that you’ve followed it and make assumptions about your brand based on whom you follow and interact with

If your brand is built on being family friendly, would you endorse an adult film company in your advertising?

It sounds preposterous when it’s put like that. But, in fact, that’s what you’re doing every time you add an account to your followers: endorsing it. When you follow an account, visitors to your Twitter profile can see that you’ve followed it, and make assumptions about your brand based on whom you choose to follow and interact with.

Building a good Twitter following is undoubtedly important, but indiscriminately following accounts isn’t the way to go. Following accounts that don’t offer good value in line with your own company message can damage your reputation.

Before you add an account, ask yourself if you want to send the message that you like that account and are happy for your brand to be associated with it.

Consider your reputation

What happens on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter. Google can index your tweets, meaning that what happens on Twitter is out there on the Internet for your customers to find for years to come. No, Google doesn’t index who you follow, but it will index not only your own tweets, but your @replies to other accounts, and their replies to you.

In essence, this means that if you tweet @ your favorite beer company that you can’t wait to ditch the office and get the party started, Internet users can see that and draw their own conclusions. What can seem like a light-hearted comment or a personal tweet that isn’t related to your official capacity has an uncanny way of coming back to haunt you.

Be careful who you follow on Twitter – and be mindful of the conversations you engage in, too.

More isn’t more

You likely wouldn’t want people knowing that you follow this guy.

When it comes to Twitter followers, too many companies take the attitude of “more must be better.” It’s easy to assume that following lots of accounts will make your brand look popular and active. However, if your follower list is mostly inactive or irrelevant accounts, your brand will seem unfocused and your Twitter will look random and unkempt.

Some people take the search for quantity to extremes by buying Twitter followers. These followers are often fake accounts, which can damage your reputation in more ways than one. Savvy internet users can use online tools to flag up fake follower counts, which as Newt Gingrich found out can make you look like a phony who is trying to buy popularity.

There’s more to it than that, though: Buying Twitter accounts can damage your reputation by damaging your followers. Fake accounts can contain malware. This means that your legitimate followers may find themselves on the receiving end of spam, or even become victims of hacking or phishing scams. Being associated with those kinds of accounts can do untold damage to your reputation.

Slow and steady is the route to brand success with social media

Building a good Twitter account can be a vital part of your brand’s online marketing presence, but stay aware that what you say and who you say it to can have a far-reaching impact on your reputation. It’s far better for your business in the long term if you build your Twitter reputation slowly, using real conversations with real people, maintaining a Twitter image that is honest, professional and authentic.

Whether your business offers advertising and marketing services, a wireless credit card machine to enhance sales with customers, or any other number of products and/or services, don’t underestimate the power of Twitter.

With that in mind, what steps are you taking to build a Twitter reputation that will boost your brand’s image?

Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, content marketing and SEO.
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