Posts Tagged ‘social media marketing’

9 Social Media Crimes to Avoid

September 9th, 2011
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Given the prevalent use of social media among professionals, small businesses, huge corporations, and everyone in between, it still surprises me that the following 9 social media crimes are continually being committed, and it’s driving me nuts.

The funny part is that all of these crimes totally ignore the fact that social networking is SOCIAL.  Communicating on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter is no different than talking to someone in person, on the phone, via text, or through email, it’s just a new platform for doing so.

This post originally ran over at Network Solutions’ Grow Smart Business blog.  Many thanks to Amanda Fischer at Grade A Marketing for her help with adding crimes to this list.

OK, time to get up on my soapbox.  In no particular order, here are the 9 social media crimes you need to avoid making:

1. Sending LinkedIn invitations without personalizing the message

“I would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”  Great, but why?  And also, please remind me where we’ve met if we’re not super good buddies.  Throw in something you remember me mentioning for extra brownie points.  But basically, don’t be so lazy you can’t take 30 seconds to compose a short note to me.  It smacks of sloppiness.

2. Sending LinkedIn invitations to total strangers

If I had a dollar for every invitation I’ve received from complete and total strangers (who also ALWAYS commit Crime #1), I could go to a very nice restaurant for dinner tonight.  Doing this is akin to walking up to someone on the street who you’ve never met and asking them to be your friend.  It’s weird.

Instead, go through our mutual connections and request an introduction from someone we both know.  Or, for pete’s sake, take 30 seconds to write me a personal note and explain why you want to be connected with me.

When I get one of these invites, I reply very nicely with something like this: “I am so sorry, but your name doesn’t ring a bell.  Have we met?”  Then I go scream into a pillow.

3. Using Twitter like it’s a megaphone

By now, I can spot the Twitter spammers: they’re the ones who have 10,000 followers and 3 tweets.  But when I get a notification that someone is now following me on Twitter, I generally check out their feed to see what they’re tweeting, if they’re retweeting, if they’re mentioning other people and companies in their tweets, and if they’re having conversations with others.

If you are not doing any of this and just using Twitter like a megaphone to push out your own content and tweet your own ideas, I have zero interest in following you back.

4. Locking your Twitter account

Will someone please explain to me why it’s OK to restrict your Twitter account so only select people can see it?  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of Twitter? A few times a week, I get followed by people with locked Twitter accounts.  I have to then ask their permission to follow them back.  Not very social, is it?  Why don’t they just hang up a velvet rope around their account and hire a big burly bouncer while they’re at it?

5. Not sharing photos or videos on Facebook

Facebook is a very visual medium.  If all you do is update your status with text, you are boring, and by extension, so are your brand and company and products and services.  I like fun people and companies, as I am sure you do too.  I don’t want to work with boring people, and if I think you’re boring, I won’t work with you.

6. Friending strangers

Just as sending an invitation to total strangers to connect on LinkedIn is not cool, same over at Facebook.  It’s very stalker-ish behavior.

7. Using Facebook Groups as a sales platform

Do not start a group on Facebook and then use it as a sales platform.  As Amanda pointed out, the person who started the group is usually the only one contributing, which means the posts are one-sided, uninteresting, desperate and usually pushy.  It’s a social media tactic for those who are used car salesmen at heart.

8. Trying to connect with everyone everywhere

Repeatedly sending invitations to connect on multiple social networks – including ones that no one has heard of – will cause people to avoid you like the plague.  Social networks are only beneficial when widely adopted, and if I am already using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, why would I spend time and energy on a new, unproven network?  I am going to focus my attention on my existing networks and ignore EFactor, Referral Key, and FastPitch.

9. Sharing is not always caring

Amazing as it sounds, some people don’t seem to understand that no one cares what you had for lunch or what errands you ran this evening.  This is not newsworthy unless it is somehow tied to a major company success or failure, encountered a news item in the making, made an embarrassing mistake, or ran into a celebrity.

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen

Monika, President of Jansen Communications, is a marketing communications consultant with over ten years of marketing and corporate communications experience. By writing and editing fresh and succinct copy that is aligned with an organization’s overall marketing strategy, she positions her clients as thought leaders and energizes their lead generation and nurturing programs. Her expertise includes website content, blogs, newsletters, marketing collateral (brochures, white papers, and articles), and annual reports.

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Keywords as a Branding and Marketing Tool

April 9th, 2011
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When you write anything that is going to appear online, from website content to blog posts, press releases to case studies, you know that including the keywords that your target market uses to describe and find you is absolutely essential from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective.

But have you thought of keywords as a marketing and branding tool?  After all, your goal is to have your customers and prospective customers identify you with those keywords before they even think of any other companies that do what you do, right?  Time to start using the keywords your target market uses on a consistent basis in everything you write.

Here’s how to conduct keyword research and then start using those keywords to ensure your company becomes synonymous with them.

1. Conduct a keyword search

You may or may not remember what keywords your website is optimized for, but because your products and services—and possibly your industry and target market—change over time, you should start from scratch.

There are several online tools available that you can use to conduct keyword search.  Start with Wordtracker, Market Samurai, or Google Webmaster Tools, as they are the most popular.  Send the list over to the company that manages your SEO, just in case your website does need to be updated.

2. Choose relevant keywords

You might want to avoid super competitive keywords that pull up millions of hits, as you most likely will never rank high for those terms.  Narrow down the list of possible keywords to include more specific longtail keywords, aka 3 or 4 word phrases.

3. Integrate content with keywords

Now that you know which keywords your customers care about and search for, add them to all the content you write.

Integrating keywords is not always easy, depending on what you are writing.  Just randomly throwing them in can result in an eBook or press release that is awkward to read.  To help you integrate the keywords seamlessly, try using Scribe SEO, a plug-in that ensures your content is SEO-ready.  Once you get the hang of it, you can do it yourself.

4. Consistency = branding

Don’t stop at using the keywords in your online content.  Include them in brochures, your company’s tagline, your email signature, and on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

If there aren’t hashtags on Twitter for those keywords, create them.  If there are, include them when tweeting on that topic.

Also make sure everyone in your company uses the keywords in all of their communications with clients and potential clients.  The more you use those keywords, the more your company will be identified with them!

*****

Have you used any of the tools mentioned above?  Are there others I should include in the list?  Leave a comment below!

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen

Monika, President of Jansen Communications, is a marketing communications consultant with over ten years of marketing and corporate communications experience. By writing and editing fresh and succinct copy that is aligned with an organization’s overall marketing strategy, she positions her clients as thought leaders and energizes their lead generation and nurturing programs. Her expertise includes website content, blogs, newsletters, marketing collateral (brochures, white papers, and articles), and annual reports.

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Social Media Revolution: What Have You Done For Me Lately?

March 23rd, 2011

People seem so determined to quantify the effects of social media.  What is it doing?  What difference is it making?  Who’s benefiting?  How can it help ME?

Malcolm Gladwell published a piece in the New Yorker asking if Egypt needed Twitter to overthrow Mubarack.  He claims Twitter didn’t cause the revolution in Egypt, but that it was merely a tool.  We didn’t innovate the revolution.  The underlying causes weren’t limited to technology, and the people didn’t rise against tyranny so they could try and get to 10,000 followers.   Gladwell goes out of his way to humanize us, and take the credit away from Twitter and Facebook.

The punishment from the blogosphere was swift and merciless.  Brian Solis actually titled his response “Malcolm Gladwell, Your Slip is Showing.”  You couldn’t open a social media blog without finding a post bashing Gladwell.  Everyone claimed Egypt needed Twitter.  That revolutionaries wouldn’t have been able to unite without Facebook.  That Gladwell had lost it.  Very cute graphs and charts showing how many tweets were made and profiles updated were pushing the raw, unbridled power of social media.

The uprising in Tunisia was spawned by a street vendor who burned himself alive to protest the way authorities were treating him.  That is the power of the individual.  That is not technology.  Protestors took to the streets and were violently beaten.  As an Iranian-American I can tell you these are not uncommon events in the Middle East.  As few as five years ago, this could have been the end of this story.  Now, these incidents are recorded.  Video of the protests hit Twitter and within days a small protest in one town became a national cause.  TV stations were broadcasting the videos they pulled off social media.  There are no more veils of secrecy.  The world sees everything.  With all its benefits, social media also creates a much higher level of danger for the protestors.  If they had not been victorious, the government would know exactly who they were.  They would have paid with their lives.

Even in the recent tragedy in Japan, I’ve found many articles about how social media affected the response and news dissemination as I have about what actually happened there.  But I haven’t seen much about how social media is helping to reconnect victims, and groups are only starting to use social media for Japanese emergency relief donations.

Which brings me back to my original point.  Everyone is trying to jump on the social media bandwagon.  Everyone wants a piece of the action.  Everyone seems to have an agenda.  Everyone wants to give it credit for everything…or to diminish it.  The truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle.  Did Egypt need Twitter?  Need is a funny word.  They didn’t NEED twitter.  Would Mubarak have resigned without the power of social media?  Today?  Probably not.  Would he have been forced out eventually?  Maybe.

The power of social media lies with us though.  It makes all our thoughts, information, and events in our lives immediately accessible to everyone.  Like any form of power, it can be abused and used to our detriment.  If you’re new to social media, or just looking to get more out of it, here are some tips.

  • Be yourself – People often say you can be whoever you want on the internet.  If the person you decide to be isn’t you, you’re not helping anyone.  Winston Churchill used to say a lie got half way around the world before the truth put its pants on.  That is no longer the case.  The truth is right behind you, and it will catch up.
  • Be open – Not just with yourself, but to the ideas of others.  There’s plenty of room for debate, but just as social media strives for the truth, it doesn’t respond well to those it things are hiding it.  People will disagree with you.  Embrace them.  Teach them.  You’ll get your message across by appealing to the highest common denominator.  Try to quiet someone’s dissenting opinion, and you will be punished for it.
  • Be careful – The internet is forever.  Think about what you say.  You can’t take it back.
  • Be consistent – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t impact anyone in social media in that amount of time.  Keep plugging away.  People will pay attention if you have a good message.  They will care.  Probably not right away.

Could you imagine if the real world were like that?  With today’s instant video-capture,  global feedback, and the fact that social media gives EVERYONE a voice, that day could be coming.

Borzou Azabdaftari

Borzou Azabdaftari

Borzou is managing partner of Falcon Printing & Copying, a full-service printing and graphic design company in Tysons Corner, VA. His company focuses on building relationships and delivering the highest quality print materials, from poster to invitations to business stationery, to their clients. Passionate about printing to a fault, Borzou eats, breathes, and sleeps paper and ink, and his rare combination of intellectual curiosity, technical savvy, creativity, and interpersonal skills have transformed him from a print service provider only into a branding consultant as well.

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5 Ways to Generate and Nurture Leads with Useful Content

March 3rd, 2011
Book stack

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Bill Lapp

If you want to grow your company, you need to consistently attract, nurture, and convert prospects into customers.  You also have to cut through the noise and grab their attention.  In our information-overloaded lives, that can be extremely hard to do.

So here’s how to do it: Become a publisher and produce useful, interesting, and valuable content.  It could be an eBook, a white paper, survey results, study results, an insider’s guide, how-tos, tips and tricks, or an industry outlook/forecast.  By providing content on a regular basis, you will set yourself apart from your competitors who only offer coupons and promotions.  Even better, you’ll position yourself as an expert in your field.

You can also become a content curator.  That simply means sharing industry-related blog posts, articles, and information that you find interesting and useful.

Unfortunately, nurturing leads can take a while.  Ever hear of the “Law of 29”?  It states that a prospect won’t turn into a client until they have viewed your marketing message 29 times.  That’s right!  Twenty.  Nine.  Times.

It’s worth the effort, though: Companies that use lead nurturing have closing rates 300% higher than competitors who don’t nurture qualified and qualifiable leads (thank you to HubSpot for that statistic). 

There are 5 content-centric ways to effectively nurture those leads:

Drip Marketing

Drip marketing is a hilarious name—I always think of ice cream dripping down the side of a cone—but it is effective.  Using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, you can automate messages and send them out to your prospects over time.  So maybe you schedule messages to go out 2 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, and 1 month after initial contact with the prospect.  It’ll keep your efforts organized, and you will be able to analyze what messages and content mix work best.

Early in the buying cycle, send white papers, your newsletter, and/or eBooks.  By the middle of the buying cycle, send special invitations, datasheets, and/or demos.  At the end of the buying cycle, when you are ready for them to just decide already, send pricing, feature comparisons, and/or testimonials.

Blogs

Invite prospects to subscribe to your blog.  Let them know they will receive useful, interesting, and relevant information on a regular basis.  Engage with your readers by asking questions: do they agree or disagree and why; what has their experience been; should you write more on this topic?    By starting discussions with your readers, you are establishing a connection, or relationship, which is critical to moving them along the sales funnel.  After all, we are all consumers, and we all like to feel special and know our voices are being heard.

Newsletter

Publishing a newsletter on a regular basis is a great way to keep your name in front of prospective clients.  Articles should be industry-focused rather than company-focused, though a small feature relating to the company (employee of the month, product tips and tricks, etc.) would be fine.  Feel free to repurpose blog posts for your newsletter, and keep the newsletter short—it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to read.

LinkedIn Answers

When you meet a prospective customer at a networking event, send them an invitation (with a personalized message) to join your network on LinkedIn.   Once you are connected, they will not only see your activity in their weekly LinkedIn update, but, if you link your Twitter account to your LinkedIn account, and they will also receive the valuable information, blog posts, and articles you tweet.   

Social Media

Think of social media as a lead nurturing tool.  You might not even know someone is a lead until they’ve been following you on Twitter or Facebook for so long they’ve gotten 29 messages (chances are high that they don’t read everything you post).  This is why it’s so important to consistently send out useful, interesting, and engaging information, including outright calls to action.

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen

Monika, President of Jansen Communications, is a marketing communications consultant with over ten years of marketing and corporate communications experience. By writing and editing fresh and succinct copy that is aligned with an organization’s overall marketing strategy, she positions her clients as thought leaders and energizes their lead generation and nurturing programs. Her expertise includes website content, blogs, newsletters, marketing collateral (brochures, white papers, and articles), and annual reports.

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Marketing with Social Media: 6 Quick Tips for Content Sharing

January 20th, 2011

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: having a Twitter account, Facebook page, and LinkedIn profile is not enough.  You need to actively use social media for your business to reap any rewards (ie, generate leads and convert leads into customers).  That means you need to share interesting information with your audience.

The obvious places to start are with your blog posts and industry blog posts and articles that can affect your target market(s). Those are awesome sources of information.  I like to say that if it’s useful and relevant, share it.  But don’t stop there!  If you want to position yourself as an expert in your industry, get creative and produce and share content that many small businesses do not.  You just might just find yourself becoming a social media expert along the way. » Read more: Marketing with Social Media: 6 Quick Tips for Content Sharing

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen

Monika, President of Jansen Communications, is a marketing communications consultant with over ten years of marketing and corporate communications experience. By writing and editing fresh and succinct copy that is aligned with an organization’s overall marketing strategy, she positions her clients as thought leaders and energizes their lead generation and nurturing programs. Her expertise includes website content, blogs, newsletters, marketing collateral (brochures, white papers, and articles), and annual reports.

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