Generating New Content

Marketing business salesHow do we engage our audience with interesting content? Is coming up with content a challenge for you? We understand that developing engaging content is the toughest part of any marketing strategy, so we looked at some questions to ask yourself while trying to find ideas.

1.  What are the challenges that face our industry?

By figuring out the pain points of your industry and what your customers need, you can work with your team to develop helpful content to address the challenges that arise. Create case studies showing how businesses have overcome the challenges that face your industry and the lessons to be learned from common experiences. Addressing pain points is a great way to get conversation going.

2.  What are people talking about?

Are your customers asking questions? Every question a customer asks is a potential for a new piece of content, so do your best to answer them. Explore Linked In groups or Google+ communities for what is being talked about in your industry. Join the conversations taking place online and establish yourself as the go to source for relevant information.

3.  What are your competitors doing?

Monitoring what your competition is up to is a great way to see what is working in your industry as far as content is concerned.  See what content is finding traction and find a way to use a similar strategy yourself.

Social-Media-Listening-Image-two4. What is happening outside your industry?

Research a completely different subject and figure out how it applies to your industry. See what you can learn from different industry sectors and identify what could be applied to your business specifically.

5.  What is the latest industry news and trends?

If you are truly immersed in your industry, this should be the easiest source of content. Knowing the latest trends and industry news can help spark conversation. as long as you keep ahead of industry reports.  Conduct your own surveys and conversations to increase engagement and provide new insights that you may have overlooked.

Every insight is potentially a piece for great content.

Hopefully, if you ask yourself these questions while coming up with your content, you should find that it should be easier than anticipated.  Remember, don’t be afraid to ask your audience questions and use user generated content.  With these questions in mind, coming up with dynamic, relevant content should be a breeze.

Reasons Your Content Isn’t Working

Hand holding a Social Media 3d SphereSo you think you’ve tried everything with your social media marketing plan but you still can’t get your pages to take off? Well worry not.

Plenty of people have found their social media falling flat in the last year, mostly due to the many changes that effected the social media landscape.

Facebook and Google changed the way their algorithms work, Instagram added video and Twitter… is still Twitter. You are should be thinking about “farming” customers instead of “hunting” them. Even if you are creative and thoughtful with your content, there are still reasons why your current strategy might not work.

1. You Aren’t Being a Problem Solver

In this day and age anyone with a question immediately goes to the internet (read Google) for an answer. Blogs are a great way to solve peoples problems before they even know they had them.  That’s why list blogs are so popular, because they often walk people through their problem with step by step solutions. Problem solving shows your audience that you know what they want, thusly more engagement always surrounds posts of this type. Establish yourself as the go to source for answers by putting answers out there while you wait for the questions.

2. You Don’t Use Images

We cannot stress this point enough, but IMAGES increase ENGAGEMENT substantially.  Audiences would much rather read an article that has more pictures than words because it communicates faster.  Hardly anyone has the time to read a 2000 word blog post, but people will check out a 500 word post that has 20 pictures as examples.  People want to be visually stimulated, not sucked into a word jungle, so with everything you post, make sure the pictures are good and present.

3. Your Community Doesn’t Care Social-Media-Listening-Image-two

Is the content you are producing for your community or is it what you think it wants? Knowing who your audience is and what they care about is the cornerstone to any marketing strategy. If you are giving your audience what they want, your content should be successful.  Use the analytics tools that most social networks have to learn more about your target demographic and which of your posts gets the most engagement.  This should allow you to understand where your audience is coming from and where to give them what they want.  Remember, not all content is good for every channel.  If your community is most active on certain networks, save your best content for that without neglecting the other platforms you use.

Social media management is a full time job because content creation is no joke.

However, the best content in the world goes no where without a good strategy to reach your audience and deliver what they want. Always listen to your feedback and don’t forget the pictures.  Good luck!


Social Media Myths Busted

MythbustingIt’s now 2014 and social media is easily one of the most talked about topics in the last decade. Thousands of people are now “experts” on the subject and will offer you conflicting reports on what you should and shouldn’t do on social media channels.  What isn’t talked about much are the myths associated with social media use and how you can bust them.  Here are the most talked about myths in social media and how you can break them.

1) Social media marketing has no ROI

With so many users online, how could social media not increase your ROI if you are using the channels effectively? Reaching as many customers and potential new ones as possible with relevant information that will interest your audience will definitely bring in ROI. Make sure you are putting your best content out there for the benefit of the customer, not to make them buy something.

2) The More you Join the Better

The wonderful thing about social media is the number of choices and options to use for platforms.  Your instinct is to join as many of the different networks as possible to increase your visibility, but unless you have a lot of free time to keep these channels active, it’s best to stick to a few that you really understand. Pick the channels that are best suited for your content and focus on making them great.

3) You need more posts to be successful

Number of posts does not automatically equal success. In all actuality, there is a fine line between posting too little and too much.  Stick to relevant, quality posts every so often without spamming your customers or it will negatively impact your page.

4) Monitoring your social pages is not important

We cannot stress this enough. It is VERY important to monitor the growth and status of all the social channels that you manage. How can you tell what content is successful without checking on your metrics at least once a week? You can’t, which is why monitoring your content is so vital to the growth of your pages.

cash_cowright15) Social Media is a cash cow

The point of having social media pages for your business is to connect your with people, not to make direct sales or fundraise.  This simple concept escapes many businesses because they want to see direct results from their efforts.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work this way because it goes against the first tenant of social media, which is to be SOCIAL.  You should see an increase in indirect sales and customer satisfaction with your product if you are managing your pages correctly, but direct sales from social media will be rare.

Social media can be scary and daunting, but don’t get caught up in misinformation on how to best manage your pages.

If you keep it simple, monitor your content and listen to your audience it should be a breeze.


What to Ask a Marketing Agency

shutterstock_104707244We know that managing your company’s social media pages can be a time consuming task.

There are many media management firms that will take over your pages for a price. If you are thinking about outsourcing your social media marketing to an outside agency, there are several things you should consider before turning your pages over.

Firstly, can the agency use their influence to gain more traction for your brand and reputation? Ask about their understanding of influence and how to use it for media marketing. Does the agency have any connections that overlap to your industry? Do they represent competitors?

Don’t write off an agency just because they represent your competitor, as they should be constantly monitoring any brand they represent, and therefore should be in tune with the most cutting edge marketing solutions.

Another thing you should know is that the best user-generated content is usually produced by professionals.  Agencies generally employ copywriters who’s sole job is to write copy, or content, for publishing on various channels, be it blogs, facebook posts or tweets.  This is one of the benefits of outsourcing your social media and should be considered.  For most small business’s, copywriting is not something with a dedicated job position, so the time and skill to write good content is often overlooked or done poorly.

The last thing you should ask is if the agency will focus on specific digital channels for your business or try to cover all of them.

The best marketing strategy is to hone in on what will work for your business and not try to spread yourself thin.

Not every business is visual enough to warrant having an Instagram account but may benefit from a Pinterest page instead. Focusing your best content on select channels will ensure your audience is getting the most out of it, so make sure the strategy fits your business.

Third party marketing agencies exist to professionally put out creative content related to your business. If this is something your business is considering, don’t be afraid to ask what they will do for you.  After all, that’s why you will be paying them, not the other way around.  Putting your reputation in the hands of an outside party can be daunting, but if you find the right agency, it could be a match made in heaven.

How to Respond to a Social Media Crisis

crisis_managementSOSDo you know what to do in the event of a social media crisis? How do you defend yourself and your brand online? We’ve covered how to prevent social media meltdowns before, but now we will cover what to do when it happens to you.

Remember that your brand reputation matters, online and off, so it’s important to know who your critics are and where they are coming from.

Are they an upset customer? How about a competitor? Or is it just a troll who is seeking attention but no real solution?

First and foremost you should act quickly.  Avoid sitting on your hands waiting for answers and do your best to respond quickly and appropriately to any concern or criticism.

Next, take charge of the situation and assure your fans that you are in control of the crisis.  You will put people at ease by not only addressing their concerns quickly, but letting them know you have a good grasp of the problem.

You should be prepared to handle the reality of the situation and deal with the facts.  If someone is critiquing your product or a customer experience they had, allow them to vent but also try to rectify the problem at hand by engaging with them.  Dealing with the crisis as it arises will show others that you aren’t just trying to let it blow over.

To avoid any misconceptions, use all of your company resources to communicate what has happened and how you are going to fix it.  Encourage dialogue before others have a chance to spread negativity like wildfire.  Again, engage with the critics and nay-sayers before they accuse you of ignoring the problems they have.

reputationLastly, you should make sure you deliver on what you promise to do.  If you are handling customer concerns, do what you need to do make them happy.  Allow people to come back and say that you handled the crisis well instead of poorly.

There are many large and small companies that have made mistakes on social media, so don’t beat yourself up when they happen.

Remember that mistakes are part of learning and the experiences that don’t break you make you stronger.  This is especially true of crisis situations.  Make these moments your time to really shine and handle anything that comes your way.  You will be happy that you did.

The “Right Time” to Publish Content

It’s odd to start an article with the phrase “the right time to…”, because there really is no right and wrong in social media.  There is a large grey area around what works and what doesn’t because there is no predicting viral posts.

There is, however, a way to figure out what times are right for YOU.

A great place to start with any social measurement is checking your network analytics.  Facebook has Insights to help you see how your posts do and when they do best.

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Check here weekly to monitor how your posts have been doing and adjust your schedule as necessary to maximize your reach. Pay close attention to what kind of posts get the most engagement and try to post those during your peak user times.

Other social networking sites don’t have built in tools like Facebook to view your metrics, however, there are services that range from free to expensive that will give you everything you need to know about your social accounts.

Regardless of how you choose to monitor your metrics, you should make sure it is being done.  Experimenting with your post times and days is the only way to figure out what works and what doesn’t.  Try making a post on the weekend and making a similar post during the week.  Change up the times of day that you post. Trial and error will determine what your audience will see more of, so don’t be afraid to try new things to get engagement.  If a post doesn’t do as well as you thought, don’t be discouraged. Instead take it as a learning experience about what not to do in the future.

Marketing business sales

After a few months of observing your own trends with your content, you should be able to pick up a discernible pattern.

Follow your own data and tailor your posting schedule to the trends.  Don’t take someone’s word about the best times to post because they can only speak to their content, not yours.  So get out there and put your pages under the microscope.  Good luck!

Best Twitter Practices

twitter-featured1You may not fully understand Twitter, but as a marketing tool it’s invaluable.  Twitter allows it’s users to communicate more directly with followers in short, easy to digest pieces that can be photos, videos or links to outside sources.  The tweet feed is active pretty much 24 hours a day, leaving the possibilities for global reach wide open.  The problem most people have with staying active on Twitter is maintaining a real presence that is valuable to a follower base.

We’ve looked at some key points to show the real you and engage with your followers on a more human level.

  1. Be grateful – Thank new followers each time you get them, even if there are many.  It’s well worth the time to invest in personally thanking followers as well as people who retweet your content.  After all, these people are helping to increase your reach and spread your messages.
  2. Relate to current events – No one lives in a bubble, so feel free to use current events, be it sports events or social to relate to your content.  A great way to mention current goings on is to use humor. Don’t be afraid to be hip and current, your audience will appreciate it.
  3. Share Insights – If you notice you are getting a lot of frequently asked questions, share your insight on the problems. Tweet tips and other helpful tid bits relating to your industry to really boost your value.
  4. Share local insight – If the bus near your shop always runs late, tweet about it. The people that are local to your business will connect with you ever further if they know that you deal with the same local issues they do.  It’s all about being personal, so connect to those closest  to your business.
  5. Make Jokes – Everyone hates Mondays, so it’s ok to make lighthearted humor of the things that bind us together as humans.  Weather is always a great subject, but steer clear of things that may insult or inflame members of your audience. Don’t be afraid to make people smile.
  6. Reminisce – Talk about the past in your industry and how things have changed for the better or worst.  Remember what it was like before? I can guarantee others do too.
  7. Ask Questions – Asking questions is a sure way to let your audience know that you care what they have to say.  Make sure you respond to the answers, or the point of listening will be made moot.

These are just a few examples of the many things that make Twitter more personal.

Take the time to follow accounts that are actively doing things the right way.  Take cues from accounts you like and put your own spin on it.  There is a fine line between personal professional and personal personal, so make sure you keep that in mind when coming up with your content. Good luck and happy tweeting!

Never Do This (on Your Company Pages)

Social-PlatformsSocial media has become a prime platform for businesses to engage and interact with prospects and customers.

Problems arise, however, when company representatives, or even owners, do things on social media that jeopardize rather than help the business.

Here are a few things you should avoid doing on the company’s social media page.

1) Sharing Too Much Information

One problem with social media is that anyone can share anything they want to share. Avoid sharing too much information, regardless of whether it’s personal or business related. Sharing too much information online where anyone can access it can lead to identity theft.

2) Getting Personal

Never share personal opinions or posts on the business social media page. It’s important to keep personal opinions and affiliations separate from your company. Posting updates with political slants, religious beliefs or personal opinions can end up doing more harm than good if you end up insulting prospects and customers. Keep updates business related and as unbiased as possible.

3) Mixing Up Personal with Business Account

Most company owners or representatives have their own personal social media pages along with a separate company page. Check to see which account you are logged into prior to posting. One of the biggest mistakes that an owner or representative can make is posting a personal update to the business account because they are logged into the wrong account.

business-people-yelling-at-each-other-300x2994) Criticizing Other Companies

Stay away from bashing other companies. All companies have competitors, but the business’s social media page is not the place to attack or criticize your competition. It looks bad on your part and can cause customers and prospects to avoid doing business with you because of your actions.

5) Selling Before Engaging

Social media is an interactive platform where companies and consumers can interact with one another. While the ultimate purpose for a company to have a social media page is to sell to prospects and customers, selling should not be the first thing the company does. Instead, try to engage the audience to build a relationship and build rapport with them prior to trying to get them to buy.

6) Going Off Topic

Another major mistake companies make on their social media pages is veering off topic. Your prospects and customers are interested in your business because of your industry. For example, a hotel’s social media page can share travel information, hotel information, airline deals and more. These are all topics related to its industry and topics that its audience seeks from the hotel. The hotel social media page should not be sharing information on politics or the latest political campaign. This information is irrelevant to the hotel industry and could offend some potential visitors.


7) Arguing

It is inevitable that someone is going to post something negative on one or more of the company’s social media pages. Avoid lashing back at the individual or engaging in a back and forth argument. Arguing on social media creates a negative environment and can leave a bad taste in the mouths of your prospects and customers. Immediately lashing out and acting on emotion will not only make you look bad, but it’ll make your company look bad as well. It could create a potential PR nightmare.

Social media can be an effective marketing tool for companies. The key is to making it an effective marketing tool by using social media properly. Avoid making these mistakes when posting to your company’s social media page to avoid losing business. 

Why Video Drives Sales

20130612_142504We know that content is king on the web, but what type of content drives the most engagement out of your audience. Simply put, video is on the top of the food chain. Youtube is the largest and most popular video site out there, and is one of the top search engines used.  What it comes down to, is if you are trying to sell products or services, adding video to your online strategy is a must.

The average tweet has a shelf life of 3 minutes. Facebook posts have 3 hours.  The average video lifespan is 4 years.

That is astounding. That makes video a greater long term investment than other traditional social media marketing. Not to mention, Google gives higher rankings to videos over text format because it gives more information in a shorter amount of time.  If that isn’t reason enough to get into making video, we have a few more surprising statistics that should convince you.

The average web user spends 88% more time on a website with video than on one without.

Most users will spend at least 2 minutes watching a video that educates them on a a product they plan on purchasing.Marketing business sales

This means that the most effective video is 2 minutes or under, so keep that in mind when planning video projects. 75% of executives or people with purchasing power watch work related videos on websites once a week.  Videos build trust, relationships, and credibility in an easy to watch, share and educational format.  Video attracts 2-3 times more monthly visitors than text sites and increases engagement about as much. Furthermore, almost half of all viewers say they are more likely to seek out information on a product or service after watching an online video about it.

Simply put, video not only drives more traffic to your site but it also sells more products and services.

Making the dive into video can be scary, but it’s well worth the investment if you do it correctly.  Stay tuned for more from us on how to make video and how to market yourselves online.  Thanks for watching.

How to Do an Instagram Scavenger Hunt

instagram-contest-usopen-cropDoing a user scavenger hunt on Instagram is a great way to not only get awesome audience engagement, but to differentiate your business as an organization that knows how to use social media successfully.

Not to mention, it’s a fun way to generate great content.

Instagram is one of the best visual social media platforms, so use that. It can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it.  Depending on the audience reach and potential involvement, it generally makes things a lot easier to manage if you keep the rules simple. Here’s one way to develop a scavenger hunt with limited hassle that boosts your social media presence across multiple platforms.

  1. Establish your rules and prizes. What is needed to win? You could choose a list of things that need to be photographed to win. Make sure you include a way for you to find the images like tagging your user name and using a event specific hashtag.  Also, you have to give people a reason to participate.  Small or large, people love free stuff. Prizes can range from actual goods to a shout out or mention on your page.
  2. Figure out a way to distribute clues. This is where the cross platform social media usage comes in.  Plan out specific times or days when you will put the clues out and decide which platform to use.  Facebook and Twitter work well and will give your new fans a reason to follow your accounts.  Keep in mind that too many Facebook posts can turn off fans that aren’t participating, so if you are going to have a lot of clues, maybe stick to tweeting.
  3. Promote, Promote, Promote. If you want to have a good contest, make sure the word gets out about what you are doing. Create a cool graphic or several to put out across all your social channels leading up to the actual challenge.  Visuals are a lot more eye-catching and memorable than plain text. If you are centering around a specific live event, put out flyers or post cards with the information so people have a paper guide.  Engagement starts before the hunt is on.
  4. Monitor and Pay Attention. A scavenger hunt is exciting and should be a fun experience for your company.  Enjoy watching the submissions that come in and pay close attention to who’s achieving your goals.  If people are having a hard time meeting specific rules, make it easier by altering them or giving extra help with clues.  Hunt’s where no one wins are not only embarrassing, but discourage potential new fans from liking your company.  Stay timely with choosing your winners. If it’s first come, first serve, make sure you know who’s first by staying on top of submissions.
  5. Award prizes and thanks your participants.  This seems like a no-brainer, but people enjoy being rewarded.  Feature your winners or even non-winning submissions on your website or social media pages.  Your brand will benefit from the exposure as well as the gratitude. Photo scavenger hunts are an excellent source of content centered around your brand and image, so use that to your advantage.


Companies big and small are experimenting more with exciting and unique ways to increase engagement across social media channels. Research what works and what doesn’t.  Success marketing campaigns are often simple but effective.

Don’t be afraid to walk off the beaten path and make your ideas your own.

You may be surprised by how popular your campaigns become.  Good luck!