Five Social Media Tools for Marketers

Social media is constantly evolving as are the tools available for marketers to improve their brand and audiences within their social media channels and campaigns.  Below I’ve outlined the Five Tools I’m using currently using or have my eye on to leverage within my 2017 plans.

1. Tweriod: One of the questions I get asked all the time is how to find out when your audience is online within Twitter, and what the best times to tweet are.  Well, I stumbled upon Tweiod a few years back and have been spreading the word ever since! Tweiod gives you the ability to start tweeting when others are listening by providing you the best times to tweet.  The tool analyzes your tweets and followers tweets and provides a detailed analysis of when your audience is active, and when you should start tweeting for maximum visibility and engagement.  Paired with a scheduling tool this is a marketers dream to amplify engagement and build long term success!

So how does it work? You sign in with Twitter allowing the tool read access to get a list of all of your followers and their tweets.  The tool runs it’s analysis and when finished will Direct Message or Email you an update.  It provides a breakdown showing the most exposure when you tweet over a specific day, weekends, or a combined view.  They provide an upgrade to their premium plan depending on the number of followers you have ranging from $3.99-$15. I run an analysis every quarter or so and adjust my tweets accordingly.

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2. Livestream provides the ability to broadcast live to a wider Facebook Audience.  They announced recently the ability to install the app within your company Facebook page and then choose whether you want to broadcast from your smartphone or computer.  CFA Institute has been working with Livestream since I joined to broadcast high quality sessions from our global events to a wider audience.  We’ve got a channel full of broadcasts we’re always working to integrate these into our social media audience and raise visibility to a wider audience.

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Once you’re live you’ll be able to engage viewers though comments and your users will have the opportunity to engage with each other providing an interactive broadcasting tool.  Following the end of your event your broadcast will continue to be available for people to find and engage with.  We’ll be integrating this into our 2016 Events Strategy and I will report back on how this works within our mix.

3. Click to Tweet: If you’ve visited by blog before (or have paid any attention to this post) you’ve already noticed I’ve included click to tweet buttons within a good amount of my content.  As a content producer my goal is to make it simple and easy for readers (like you!) to share my content across social media (and Twitter).  Click to Tweet is hands down the easiest way to promote, share, and track your content within Twitter.   You login and create the message you want tweeted including hashtags, handles, etc and it generates a basic link for you to paste into your content.  You can simply hyperlink the words click to tweet or develop a visual image to easily drive engagement.

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We recently integrated this into one of our marketing campaigns within an email an saw almost 500 tweet from our click to tweet button in the email within the first 12 hours, a total success for our first try.  The free plan allows your five links with auto shortening and tracking and upgrades range from $5 monthly for unlimited links to $500 a year for an enterprise plan to manage multiple accounts (ideal for a business).

 

4. Rafflercopter: One of the tools I have my eye on to integrate into my social media marketing mix this year is Rafflecopter.  Social Media is all about engagement, and Rafflecopter provides an easy way for you to create a content to get people engaged with your account and build your following.  I’m a sucker for entering any raffle where I have a chance to win something (really, anything!) and this tool keeps popping up within my feeds! I see endless opportunities for brands and marketers to incorporate this into tool into their strategy to mix things up and make it fun.  Hey, after all everyone likes a chance to win something with 51% of US millennials would share information with companies in exchange for an incentive (USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future). Click to Tweet.

It’s easy to get started, signing up takes a matter of seconds and once you’re logged in you can setup a giveaway within a few minutes.  You first choose your prize and decide how people can enter through numerous options (and yes, you can click more than one!).  Next you’ll setup a time parameter and set your contest live! They’ve got a free trial you can easily get started with, and it’s inexpensive to continue with their upgraded plans.

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5. Pablo by Buffer: The human brain processes images 60,000 times quicker than text and 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.  Social Media Platforms and Images go hand and hand for success with research by Twitter sharing that adding a photo URL into your tweet can boost retweets by an impressive 35%. Click to Tweet.

Pablo by Buffer makes it easy to design engaging images for your social media channels within minutes.   The Buffer Blog (one of my favorite sources of content) has a post here about how to get started and integrate into your mix.

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The tool provides ready to go templates, images, and quotes for you to use and it makes it fun to style you image adjusting your font or color, switching the photo from blurred to black and white, and adding a line of text or an icon in.  It also allows you to upload an image of your own to overlay with text.  We use this all the time during events to highlight speaker quotes in live time and drive engagement online.   Once you’ve developed your image you can easily share to your social channels, download, or add into your buffer scheduling matrix.  The only downside is they’re desktop only, hopefully a mobile version will come soon for those of us on the go, but to make life better, it’s completely free to use!

What do you think of the tools I’ve suggested? I would love to hear if they’ve helped you at all, and please take a moment and share your favorite tool with me within the comments or send me a tweet!

4 Tips for Building a Social Media Strategy for Your Personal Brand

This September I’ll be speaking with April Rudin during CFA Institute’s Alpha and Gender Diversity: The Competitive Edge Conference in Boston.  We’ll be delivering a pre-conference workshop on building a strong personal brand through social media.   In a nutshell social media is the crucial piece for managing and establishing your personal brand online. Not only is social media free it also provides accessible tools to communicate with infinite “niches” to fit into.  It allows us to stay hyper networked 24/7 while gaining instant access to information.  After our session in Boston we’ll be able to connect with conference delegates and stay in touch and continue conversations in live time.

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So, What Exactly is Personal Branding? Within Barry Feldman’s Blog Post he nailed it: You, my friend, are a brand. Therefore, personal branding is the process of managing and optimizing the way that you’re presented to others.  While self-help management techniques are about self -improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging (i.e. You’re a brand. I’m a brand.  We’re all brands, whether we aim to be or not.)  

Below I’ve outlined a summary of our presentation sharing Four Tips for Building a Social Media Strategy for Your Personal Brand.

Tip #1: Determine Your Area of Expertise

Before you can establish your personal brand it’s important to determine what sets you apart from others.  The world of personal branding is flooded so you just can’t choose a general field like “marketing” or “social media.”  It’s more beneficial to focus on finding a specific niche so you’ll have an advantage to prove that you know what you’re talking about and stand out.  Although your audience might smaller, it will also be much more relevant. Your area of expertise should be something you’re authentically interested in.  After you determine your 1-3 areas of expertise it’s important to prioritize becoming a thought leader-producing content regularly and staying on topic and therefore gaining trust.   Before long you’ll have proof of your expertise!

Tip #2:  Remember that your digital reputation stays for life!  Treat it as if it were permanent

Sharing across social media will help draw others to you and help grow your personal brand.  Although social media can be overwhelming and confusing remember that it was initially setup as a forum to start conversations, providing the perfect forum to add value and drive engagement.  While it’s important to take a proactive approach to generating social media engagement by getting involved within your community.  However, be smart along the way and remember that so much depends on reputation- so you should guard it with your life.

It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have.  Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.- Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk stated it well, it’s important to remember that a reputation is your greatest asset follows you everywhere you go.  The web is permanent, and anything you say is etched into a digital presence that isn’t easily removed.  Being thoughtful in what you publish and engaging others tactfully goes a long way in positioning yourself in the right light.

Tip 3: Assume Everyone Can Help You

Think of being and influencer Like Being an intern, everyone MUST prove themselves.  As you work on building your social media footprint and generating engagement it’s important to remember to always respond and assume that your followers, fans and connections can help you.  Social Media 101 states that engagement and conversation always outweigh self-promotion.  It’s important to have an opinion, ask questions, and follow people back on social media (really…it’s okay!).  When you get unusual followers, specifically the good ones, always reach out with a personal comment/message.   I’ve been fortunate to amass a large social media footprint by actively participating in conversations within my community and taking time out of my day to retweet, share content, and engage with my followers.  Remember, social media has little to do with what we say about ourselves, and has everything to do with what people say about us.

Tip #4: Understand Exactly What NOT to Do on Social Media:

Although this may seem like a given, and I’ve covered some basics of what to do, it’s also important to address what NOT to do within social media.

  • Don’t complain about your job, co-workers or your boss (hint: see tip #2)
  • Don’t share too much information- think about how you can separate your digital & personal life
  • Don’t have an incomplete social media profile (if you’re not going to take the time to set it up then why bother keeping it active)
  • Don’t have an inappropriate, blurry, logo, or unprofessional photo (hint: a selfie or photo of you with drinks isn’t suited for your LinkedIn profile)
  • Don’t reference illegal activities- anything you wouldn’t do or say in front of a police officer shouldn’t go on social media!
  • Don’t be too self-serving or phony- remember You eventually become who you are who are on social media…You can only fake it for so long.  If you are a pain in real life, you will be a pain on social media. 

Conclusion: Hopefully these tips have been helpful in thinking about how you present yourself online. Establishing a personal brand on social media is something anyone can do, start small, stay focused, and drive engagement through your actions.  Social media is a powerful way to amplify your message, whatever that message may be, whatever the audience.

I would love to know which of these tips might work for you, leave a comment below or send me a tweet @marissapick.  As a reminder, you can follow the conversation online during CFA Institute’s Alpha and Gender Diversity: The Competitive Edge Conference September 14-15th by following the #CFAWomen hashtag.

Five Steps to Improve Your Social Media Strategy

Have you ever wondered why some businesses succeed at social media while others fail? The difference is a solid social media strategy.  3 in 4 consumers make a buying decision based on online content wouldn’t you agree that consistency and a strategy is crucial?

Social media was once seen as the wild child of the marketing department but the times have changed and the industry has matured.  It’s a great place for brands to have a little fun but it also has a real and measurable impact of a businesses’ bottom line.

Social media can no longer live in a silo, it must work in tandem with the rest of your business strategy.  Whether you’re looking to reinvent your current strategy or you’re just looking to get started the five steps below will help you create results.

1) Define Business Objectives and Goals

The first order of business with developing a social media strategy is clearly defining your goals.  Goals are the fuel to propel your online efforts and they give context and purpose to what would otherwise be a random one off social media tactic.

Goal setting is a staple of all marketing and business strategies and social media is no exception.   Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California conducted a study and found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

Surveying key business stakeholders and asking questions is essential. Prove your teams worth by tacking the questions head on and understanding business obstacles and social objectives that can help brands overcome them. Some questions to help you get started:

  • Who are you looking to connect with?
  • What are your goals of using social media?
  • How much time can you commit to managing your social media?
  • Who will be responsible for running your social media?
  • What does success look like?

2) Understand and Know Your Audience and Focus on Networks that Add Value

As you’re posting and sharing on social media have you taken time to determined if you have a defined focus? Do you really understand the needs of your target market?

The better you can describe your audience and potential clients or consumers the more likely that your message  will capture their attention.  As you develop your audience personas you’ll see that the problems you’re solving for each market will be considerably different.  Knowing exactly what your audience needs and ways to find and meet them is important while providing content or engagement in a real and specific ways.

Each social network has its own strengths and weaknesses and each social media marketer should carefully pick and choose which networks they wish to take advantage of.

Each network provides a baseline of analytics to review your follow and fans online.  Simply asking your audience for their social media profiles is helpful as well as you’re capturing data with a registration form of other lead nurturing campaign.  Most CRM databased have places to house this information and as you’re segmenting and building audience specific campaigns this data will be essential for social media success.

3) Stand Out Online

In a busy and crowded social media world where a cookie-cutter approach is the norm, creating a differential as a way  to stand out online is a must.

The average attention span in 2000 was around 12 seconds but with the mobile and digital revolution it’s deteriorated quickly. Now, the average attention span of a human is eight seconds while a goldfish is believed to have an attention span of nine seconds. Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information. 

In order to use social media to its best, start by examining what your company means to your customers. You must determine not only what is unique about your business, but also how that uniqueness compels customer to keep coming back.

It’s important to review your messaging matrix daily to understand whether your message is benefitical and valuable or just contributing to the online noise.  Using social media effectively helps you stand out from the crowd. Understanding what makes your company, your culture and your customers unique will help you make your messages unique, too.

4) Create a Cross-Platform Strategy

It’s important to research and understand exactly how, when and why your audience is using social media.  Successful companies and brands determine where their time is best spent.  Understanding the audience and demographics and understanding how demographic groups use social media in a distinctive ways is crucial.  The bottom line? It’s vital to identify your customers preferred social media platforms so your strategy and focus and direct.

Just because a network has billions of users doesn’t mean it will have a direct contribution to your brand’s objectives. Instead of trying to be everything to everybody, focus your efforts on networks that hold the key to your target audience and objectives.

Social has long lived within the marketing department, but that doesn’t mean it can’t (and shouldn’t) have a hand in nearly every business function, from human resources to research and content marketing. To create a fully integrated social media marketing campaign, you’ll need to involve and integrate multiple departments, especially if your goals have a direct impact on them. Work with all your teams to determine how you can best support their goals and what key performance indicators are important to them.

5) Track, Measure and Adjust Along the Way

Tracking and measuring your social media efforts should be the backbone of your social media strategy. It’s sometimes difficult to measure and track social media success however setting clear KPI’s and updating often and along the way is crucial.  Social media is useful is useful in many ways, however it can turn into a tremendous time suck if you’re not paying close enough attention to where your time and effort is best spent.

That’s where analytics and analysis come into play.  Leveraging information available within your analytics dashboard to learn as much as possible about what content and actions are making the biggest splash across your social channels is key.  Evaluate how and why some content works and why some may fall short .

Takeaways: 

Sprout Social provided their readers the below seven step social media marketing checklist. It’s helpful if you’re reviewing your existing strategy and trying to determine how you check out.

Not everything will work on social media and that’s okay.  You can’t have success stories without failures along the way to provide a solid learning experience. The key to a successful strategy is to track, measure, and adjust along the way to determine what is working and how to do more of that.

Video and visual are must haves within my 2016 social media strategy, I’d love love to hear your thoughts on this piece and what you’re looking to do this year within your social media strategy.  Leave a comment or send me a tweet @marissapick.

 

 

 

 

 

Four Trends Marketers Shouldn’t Ignore

Are you wondering what you should be keeping an eye out in 2016? Look no further, within this post I share key findings from recently published reports from PulsePoint and PageFair and Adobe highlighting key trends and stats marketers can’t afford to ignore.

1. Content Marketing is King!

If you’re vaguely familiar with Content Marketing you’ve heard heard the term “Content Is King.”  A report published by PulsePoint found that by 2017 content marketing budgets are projected to double, and 83% of marketers believe content marketing will go “programatic” by 2017. (Click to Tweet)

When most of us think about real-time content marketing, we think of examples like Oreo’s tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, when they advised customers that they “can still dunk in the dark.” That tweet was a great response to an unexpected occasion and the birth of the awareness of real time content marketing.

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Keep in mind that real-time content does not always have to be spontaneous. The majority of real-time content advertising and marketing can be prepared to some level by maintaining a close eye on preparing and trending topics material that replies to a broad range of scenarios.  Brand who are setup with strong content marketing strategies will rapidly set themselves apart and cut through the noise and “win” within this arena.

2.  Content marketing and native growth will outpace display and search

Brands, agencies and publishers reported that content marketing and native are both important to their organizations and strategies. But are the ad dollars and digital inventory available to back them? The answer is yes as both supply and demand are expected to grow over the next two years.

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While display and search still command most of the ad dollars, 37% of respondents to PulsePoint’s study named content marketing as one of the largest spending buckets.  That gap is only set to narrow, as content marketing and native ads both are both projected to see increased budgets over the next two years. The other format tracking slightly behind is digital video since the formal draws a higher audience engagement which is pivotal for brands with upper funnel campaign objectives.

 

3. Ad Blocking Is Rapidly Expanding, and Costing Publishers Billions of Dollars.

The number of consumers using ad blocking software worldwide has increased 41% year-on-year to 198 million monthly active users according to a report by PageFair and Adobe. (Click to Tweet)

Ad blocking is increasingly a challenge to marketers and it’s estimated that the click-through rate across all ad formats and placements is only 0.06 per cent.  Now users are able to be more discretionary than ever about which content they want and what they don’t.

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Currently ad blocking almost always happens via desktop computers, however ad blocking on mobile could soon become a mainstream phenomenon.

The rate of ad blocking varies country by country. The US has an estimated 45 million monthly active ad block users, up 48% year-on-year which across  Europe, 35% of the internet population (77 million users) used an ad blocker at least once a month.  The report also found that ad block users are usually young and technically savvy and predominantly male.

4. Mobile Emailing Marketing Remains in The Mix

Email is a channel which can’t be ignored however with the rise of wearable technology and mobile marketers must work towards firming up their email marketing strategy.

A study from Moveable Ink found that in the first quarter of 2015, 67% of all U.S. email opens occurred on a mobile device  and 75% of those were smartphones. (Click to Tweet)

The growth in mobile is staggering and the shift is undeniable as tablets and wearables are now being dubbed the “new inbox.” Marketers must ensure their messaging is “mobile friendly,” personalized, and optimized for success.

What trends do you think Marketers should watch into 2016, leave a comment below or send me a tweet.  

Three Social Media Marketing Myths Debunked

Social Media is similar to Pandora’s Box.  It holds powerful tools which can help boost your business to new customers, retain loyal ones, and help to engage online within the digital world, or if can be a ton of wasted resources if not used properly.  Along with anything new comes a lot of misconceptions.  Although you maybe questioning the most efficient ways to maximize social media with your audience, don’t give up! Here are three major myths I come across which I’d like to take a stab at debunking.

Myth #1: I Don’t Have Enough Content to Fill my Social Media Feeds 

Social media outlets are fast paced and constantly changing.  Content gets posted online, flooded, pushed down, and becomes irrelevant quickly and before you know it.  Although this may seem like a wasted effort it reminds us that it’s important to repost the same content in different ways to best represent your brand.  Getting creative and thinking of interesting and exciting ways to share your content while avoiding making it seem too repetitive is important.  People often miss things, forget them, and if it’s evergreen content, then it’s always useful.  Putting a new spin and angle on how you repost it will help it live long and prosper. One of my favorite tools is pablo by buffer or canva, both can help quickly create visual content to accompany your content, and did I mention they’re both FREE.  Remember, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text (click to tweet this) so visual content within social media is a MUST if you want to stand out and drive engagement!

Myth #2: My Social Media Channels Can’t Show Personality

Although your content should be targeted around your industry and demographic to best optimize, don’t be afraid to show personality.  Behind your brand you’ve got REAL people following you and engaging online.  Even if it doesn’t directly relate to your brand, product, or service spreading some humor can help to humanize your brand’s message.  We’ve found quotes, funny gifs, and office photos and interesting news articles helpful at CFA Institute.  Have a little fun, let your hair down, and get creative with your social media posts!

Myth #3: My Demographic Is Older, So Social Media Isn’t Relevant or Worth It

Contrary to what you believe, the older crowd is quite active on social media.  According to comScore Mobile Matrix the average tablet minutes spent on social networks per visitor is up 115% from 2015 in the 55+ age bracket.   According to FastCompany the fastest growing demographic on twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket (click to tweet this).  This demographic has grown 79% since 2012. For Facebook this group has jumped 46%, for Google+ 56%.

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Not broadening your brand to reach an older age group, or ignoring their presence on social media outlets will severely limit your company’s potential for growth.

What do you think of these three myths debunked? Would love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below or send me a tweet, thanks!

10 Types of Content we CRAVE!

If your content doesn’t resonate with your audience, then they won’t follow you where you want to take them.  For content marketers, this is a cardinal sin. It’s important to ask yourself what kind of content universally resonates with people.  Social Media is all about engagement, and driving conversation.  Content is fire, and social media is gasoline, so having a basic understanding of what resonate is imperative. Inspired by Scott Aughtmon’s post for Content Marketing Institute I created a list of 10 types of content we all love to consume.

  1. Content that tells us a story
  2. Content that inspires us to action
  3. Content that challenges our assumptions
  4. Content that evokes emotion
  5. Content that takes us along a journey
  6. Content which helps to educate as well as entertain
  7. Content which provides a fresh point of view
  8. Content that reveals secrets
  9. Content that encourages us to never give up
  10. Content that surprises us

It’s also important to keep the four rules below in mind as your creating content as you’re working to influence, inspire, and drive action.  You don’t necessarily need to have each of these types of content within each piece you produce, sometimes one is enough.

  • This is the kind of content we never get tired of.
  • This is the kind of content we always have time for.  
  • This is the kind of content we don’t forget.
  • And this is the kind of content we want to share.

I hope these provide some inspiration to get your content marketing in shape! Please leave a comment or send me a tweet and let me know what kind of content you crave!