28 Effective Ideas to Improve Your Sales Strategy in 2020 (Guest Post)

Guest Post from David Coen. The Full Post can be found here

Do you want to add a personal touch to your sales strategy?

Does reaching out and building relationships with important businesses and customers make you happy and increase the number of sales your business makes?

It’s true that strong communication between a business and a potential customer is crucial to enhancing sales.

Just think about it; let’s say you build a good daily relationship with your local newsagent. You become familiar with the people that work there and the value of the deals in the shop. This encourages you to return and buy more from that newsagent.

Today, you can bring this relationship to the next level by personalizing your sales. By capturing information such as buyer data, online purchases and social media activity, businesses can tailor sales to the customer in the most personal way possible.

Moving leads through your pipeline needs a clear plan and strategy. If you try to sell without a defined strategy, you are likely to miss out on potential sales.

A good place to start is determining how the sale will affect the customer’s business. You are likely to capture attention by making the customer aware of the positive changes that your sale will bring.

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This post shows you the best ways that you can improve your sales strategy in 2020, including keeping your first email short and sweet, creating buyer personas and using storytelling.

1. Keep your first email to the point: You need to truly engage your prospect in the first email. They will likely have hundreds of emails to get through, so yours really needs to stand out from the crowd. Keeping things simple and showing that you have done your research is a good place to start. You don’t need to pitch your solution immediately. Establishing trust with the lead is the important first step you need to take.  The first email is better off being short, possibly bullet pointed and as clear as possible. It should be clear why your solution is relevant to the prospect. You should arrange a meeting with the prospect in the first email. This is then followed by a simple summary of what you like to discuss.

2. Understand the company’s challenges.  Following the first call, you are likely to have a better understanding of the company’s challenges. This can be used for greater personalization in the next phase. For example if the business told you they had an issue with their CRM and you were selling this service, you can use this to your advantage. Sharing valuable content that provides solutions to the company is a good next step. By reaching out to them and sharing an article about alternative CRMs, you will show that you listened to your first conversation and care about helping them. Building a relationship with the prospect is always important to improving your sales strategy.

3. Add that personal touch to your sales strategy.  We all want to feel valued in a business relationship. This is no different when it comes to sales. Adding that personal touch when discussing a potential sale will set you apart from the crowd. This can be anything from finding out more about the prospect’s hobbies and interests, or the sports team that they follow. This is usually best achieved after an in-person meeting, where you can give them a handwritten note about something they are interested in. You can establish trust with them quickly as this is a physical connection that will help create a bond.

4. Become trusted.  Becoming trusted in sales is hugely important. Once you build a strong relationship with a customer, this can then snowball into further relationships such as becoming partners. A sale does not have to be the end of the relationship! Once you become trusted you will become a partner of the client. This can lead to upselling and more renewals, which will increase revenue for your business. You will also get more referrals from being trusted. It’s common sense that customers will refer to someone that they know and trust. Whether it’s a sales strategy for startups or a sales strategy for real estate, building relationships is key for improving your sales strategy.

5.  Don’t get it wrong! Making sure that you don’t get it wrong when it comes to personalization seems obvious. However it’s surprising how many people do get it wrong! You need to promote products that are relevant to the prospect. It’s also important to get the name, gender and other personal information right. You need to be sincere when reaching out for the potential sale, otherwise no one will take you seriously

6.  Be relevant. Always try and provide value to the person you are talking to. With this at the back of your mind, you will keep the prospect genuinely interested in what you are saying to them.  Your content needs to be tailored to the person you are talking to, so watch out for spam like emails or badly personalized content.

7.  Honor your commitment.  It’s important to deliver what you promised once you have built a relationship with the prospect. Let’s say you tell them you will provide a discount on the product. You need to honor this. If you forget to give them the discount or take too long in giving it to them, then the prospect might feel that the relationship is not being respected. This comes back to nurturing the prospect in the sales funnel and keeping them satisfied with the business relationship.

8. Be careful with personal information. It’s no secret that businesses are collecting more personal information about customers than ever before. This doesn’t make everyone feel comfortable though!  Be careful with the amount of personal information that you show to potential customers. They won’t want to feel as though you are stalking them!

9.  Create Buyer Personas.  It’s essential to develop clear buyer personas for your brand. With these in mind, you can target your product to the type of person that will be interested in your product. Having precise data about your customers is a must have, so make sure you have the best resources available to you. Let’s say you are developing a sales strategy for hotels. If you own a hotel that also features a golf resort, you can target your hotel to people who play golf. Similarly if there is a state of the art leisure centre you can focus on people who are interested in fitness.

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10. Provide the solution to the problem.  When you start your sales outreach, remember to relate to the problems that the business is facing. The potential customer likely won’t be interested in your pricing plans or product features at this early stage. That’s why it’s important to do your research to try to understand what issues the prospect is facing and how you can solve them with your product. This level of personalization will capture the prospect’s attention immediately. It shows that you have put work in to helping them. You understand what they are aiming to do and which obstacles they will face. Instead of talking about how great your product is, show how your product provides the solution to their problems. They are also much more likely to become loyal customers if you take this approach

11.  Showcase end results of your sales strategy.  Another thing you need to highlight when you are selling your product is the end results it will provide. They need to know exactly what will happen as soon as they start using the product. People want to know how their problems will be solved quickly and easily by using your solution.  If it’s the first time they are using your type of product, you need to show them how to get set up, how much time it will take and the amount of support they will have available to them. It would also be good to show them the expected results short-term and long-term from using the product. This will motivate them to stay with the product as they will also want to succeed

12.  Be flexible.  It’s important to remain open minded when trying to close a sale. Different businesses will have different objectives and issues, so you need to change your approach depending on who you are talking to.  Again, solving the problem of the person is key to being successful in sales. And everyone will have different issues! Make sure to always be open to solving the problem. Don’t say that you can’t or it’s not possible to provide a solution. If you are unsure of how to help the prospect, tell them that you would love to assist them and go away to research the issue. Even if this means offering a minimum order quantity you will come closer to closing the sale and remaining flexible to the situation.

13.  Start with smaller markets. Having clear segmentation for your product is crucial. You need to define small groups of people who share a common problem that you can solve. By doing this, your sales strategy will feel more personal and be much more effective.  Think about it –  your pitch will be so much better if you have a similar and smaller group of people to target. This will allow you to improve on certain areas of your sales pitch and help to keep the prospect engaged.

14.  Reach out to the decision maker. You don’t want to waste time talking to someone who doesn’t make the decisions in the company. Reaching out to someone who makes crucial decisions for the company’s future will always improve your chances of making a sale.  Finding the right person is an important skill to master. Platforms such as LinkedIn are probably best used for connecting and messaging the people in control. It also allows you to identify the CEO/Marketing Manager of the company by job title. You need to provide value upfront to the decision maker and initially not expect anything in return. By building the business relationship in this way, you can provide immediate value and get that value back as the relationship develops.

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15. Use storytelling. It’s true that storytelling is important to capturing your lead’s attention. Telling an effective human story that involves your products is sure to keep the prospect engaged. People have always been interested in great stories, and it’s no different when it comes to sales. Storytelling is also a great way of building trust with potential customers. You can tell stories of how previous customers overcome their challenges by using your product. This will make them trust you enough to go to the next stage and use your product.

16. Stay attentive during sales calls. This should be an obvious one, but you need to concentrate during your sales calls! The person on the line needs to feel that you are giving them your undivided attention. If you are calling from a busy and loud office space, try and move somewhere quieter where you can 100% concentrate on the lead.  Constant communication during the call is a must, as well as being an active listener. This will allow you to respond to anything the person asks you during the call. Keeping engaged really is an essential part of making that sale!

17.  Listen carefully to your prospects. Similar to the last point, but you really need to listen to what your prospects are saying. You will get valuable feedback on the quality of your product from these calls. This can be shared with your team to gradually improve your product and also to keep your prospects happy.  It’s also important to determine whether the feedback is valuable or not. Try not to share feedback or implement changes that don’t fit into your roadmap or from people who are not in your target market.

18.  Using the BANT framework.  It’s important to use the BANT framework when qualifying leads. This stands for budget, authority, need and timeline. Does the prospect have the funds to allow them to buy? Are you talking to the key decision maker in the business? Is it possible to solve their problems? Over what time period are they planning to invest in a solution? By asking these questions, you can quickly determine if the prospect has a need. If they have short answers then it could mean they are not interested.

19.  Knowing when to automate.  Streamlining your sales process with great automation tools will save you time. Automating steps of the follow up process is always a good idea.  Any task that doesn’t need you there should be automated with great software! Ask yourself the following questions; Can it be eliminated? Can it be automated? Can it be delegated?

20.  Getting the timing right.  Creating effective and timely follow-up emails is an important strategy. If someone doesn’t respond to your first email, don’t worry! You need to think about how you will capture attention in your follow up emails.  A simple message, asking for an opinion on the first email usually works well. You can also provide interesting results that have helped customers, or share valuable content. If you plan this email sequence over time, you are likely to get results!

21.  Use internal growth strategies.  Keeping an open mindset and trying everything with your sales strategy is always a good idea. If you are in any way unsure of your sales strategy, trying things like email marketing, video marketing or setting up appointments with people is a good idea. This will allow you to understand what’s working in your sales strategy and what isn’t. After implementing these ideas, make sure to follow analytics and decide which idea is working best.

22.  Achieve a win-win.  Trying to achieve a win-win is a crucial strategy in any area of business. You need to provide value to the person you are communicating with. This way both parties come out benefitting from the conversation.  Think about it from their point of view. You want to get a sale across the line, but they want to receive genuine value for their buck and be satisfied with the product. If you keep this in mind you are much more likely to succeed.

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23.  Be honest about risks in your sales strategy.  Be honest about any risks related to your product. This will be appreciated by the person you are selling to. As well as highlighting the best aspects of your product, you should tell them about any possible risks from using it. This will show that you are an honest salesman/saleswoman, and are much more likely to be trusted.  For example, with a sales strategy for solar products you would need to tell the prospect of any risks from using the solar product.

24.  Have a strong mindset.  You need to have a strong mindset when it comes to sales. There is no doubt that you will receive plenty of rejections when you start off. Becoming used to this and taking rejections as a positive is a good place to start. Any great business starts by having people who are not afraid of rejection and will continue to work on if they are being told no.

25.  Give demos of your product.  Showing the prospect how your product works in person is always a great idea. This will help them to understand how the product works, and how it might solve a particular problem for them. It’s best to meet the prospect in person and show them face-to-face, as this develops trust and a clear demonstration of how the product works.

26.  Using the PAS framework.  The PAS framework is a great concept to have in mind when approaching sales. This stands for problem, agitate, solution. Again, finding the problem that your product will solve for the prospect is essential.  You need to identify what the biggest problem is. Then, you need to agitate them by reminding them of how dangerous this problem is. You then need to present your product as the number one solution to solve this.

27.  Be Helpful.  This seems like an obvious one, but it’s always important to remain helpful. During your sales call or meeting you need to assist the person in the best way possible. Make sure to answer any questions quickly and clearly. When discussing a potential sale, you need to personalize for the prospect and ensure they know you have done your research.

28.  Ask for a referral. Usually when you ask for a referral there is rarely a follow-up. You can get higher quality referrals if you take your time and identify your prospects in advance. A good way of doing this is on LinkedIn where you can browse connections and previous companies they have worked for.  Giving your connection a referral candidate and handing them the ammunition to contact them straight away makes everything easier. 

And there you have it! These are 28 simple ways that you can evolve your sales strategy and grow revenue. From providing solutions to prospect problems, using the BANT framework and having a strong mindset, these ideas allow you to bring your sales strategy to the next level and create a better selling experience for both you and the prospect.

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David Coen is a Digital Marketing Associate for Design Wizard. Having completed an MA in Journalism and Certificate in Digital Marketing, David enjoys building relationships with bloggers and social media influencers! He realizes the importance of long-lasting relationships with like-minded businesses and aims to help them with easy-to-read content.

The Future of The Micro vs. Mega Influencer – Why User Generated Content is Poised to Win for Businesses

Guest Post from Matt Gibbs, Co-founder and CMO of UPshow

Millennials and GenZ might be the curated selfie generation, but a shift is happening, and businesses are taking notice. The cultural pendulum is swaying away from brand-sponsored mega-influencer-celebrity-endorsed posts to organic content that’s generated by people you know, or even those you feel like you know. Capturing more natural moments and promoting them within a more intimate circle of followers versus big ‘on the main stage’ posts is what’s now in-vogue. An industry 2018 Trust Barometer Report revealed that 60 percent of people no longer trusted social media and reported that immediate friends and family are better for recommendations than influencers.

That said, Kylie Jenner-esque paid posts aren’t going away, but they have become tarnished, and millennials and their younger counterparts are gravitating towards more natural interactions from those within their inner circle or for relatable micro-influencers. As a result, more brands are gravitating toward user-generated content to increase engagement and build trust and community.

According to a study, 56 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product that they’ve seen in real-life images posted by another consumer – a shift away from the rainbow-colored preplanned photos that dominated platforms like Instagram in late 2017.

UPshow, the company I co-founded, is a social TV platform that companies such as Crunch Fitness, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and ATI Physical Therapy are using to transform their customers into immediate influencers.  The platform entices customers to post on social media by projecting them on big screens in-venue. As a result, friends and family, also see and are often influenced by the posts. The content and choice to participate is totally in the hands of the consumer.

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Other companies also provide services that cater to this trend, such as Guest Crew and Woobox.  Their platforms harness user-generated content and boost it organically. Guest Crew leverages a community of organically generated influencers and Woobox turns user-generated content into contests.  Filtergrade uses professional photo grade filters (such as Adobe Lightroom presets) to help brands generate more professional quality shareable images that are unique and micro-influencers can use them too to make their posts mimic celebrity influencer quality.

It’s a new era for user-generated content and if brands want to appeal to younger audiences, such as millennials and GenZ, they need to embrace the social media trends that will improve their engagement rates by putting the power in the hands of the consumer in a genuine way.  

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Matt Gibbs is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of UPshow, a consumer engagement platform that transforms a business’s existing TVs into its top marketing assets.  Gibbs is responsible for branding, lead generation and advertising for the

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company. Gibbs is a genuine entrepreneur and trailblazer in digital media with deep roots in the Chicago start-up community. Along with college friend and UPshow CEOAdam Hirsen, Gibbs co-founded SparkReel in 2011. SparkReel created a more efficient way for friends and family to share mobile videos online and evolved into a social media agency that created user-generated content campaigns for Verizon, Oreo, Condé Nast, Apartments.com, among others. UPshow was born out of SparkReel when customers wanted social media engagement screens at events. Gibbs graduated from Miami University of Ohio and resides in Chicago, IL with his wife, two children and corgi.

7 Predictions from Vin Clancy regarding the Future of Social Media

On June 30, 2010, Mashable launched Social Media Day as a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. And eight year’s later social media is now at the heart of all global communications plans and deeply integrated into many peoples daily routines and lives. With the constant changes to  social media and new entrepreneurs being born everyday social media is the one component that all successful entrepreneurs, influencers and businesses have learn to understand.

Known for his cutting-edge growth hacks and genius business ideas Vin Clancy went from living on welfare in the U.K when he turned things around learning how to use the internet to make things go viral.  He’s just launched his new book Ace The Game: The 100 best growth hacks in the world right now” which is a can’t miss book this year.  You can learn more about Vin by visiting his website or blog and joining his growth club to receive strategies and tips to get ahead as a marketer.

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The future of social media and how to know which social media platform is best to use for your brand or business

Envy, 

That’s what a lot of you feel when you look at brands and influencers who generate huge amounts of traffic and sales from social media.

Don’t worry, I get it too.

Now a lot of these people are either: extremely talented, have a lot of money for ads, or have grinded their way to the top of the newsfeed.  And I have the utmost respect for the vast majority of them. But saying that, there is another reason why these people/brands reached the summit of their game. It’s because they got there first.

Speed is the most valuable asset to have in this game and striking fast and hard is ideally  the way to go about things. Over the past year a lot of people have asked me what the next big social platform is going to be.

Here are 7 of my predictions in regards to the future of social media.

  1. Pinterest isn’t used to its potential and is seriously underrated for driving traffic to blogs, this won’t last forever.

    With many people struggling to drive web traffic from Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to their blog many people are beginning to give up.

    Whilst I think people are seriously underating the importance of SEO, there are plenty of people I know who are KILLING IT with Pinterest. One of my ex-pupils generates 100,000 impressions a month using Pinterest a month for next to nothing.   
    I seriously wouldn’t underestimate this platform.

    There are plenty of useful automation softwares for it IFTTT, followlike, tailwind. Use these to auto-pin content and follow/unfollow people at scale.

    If you’ve got a blog or ecommerce store, and a pretty decent sales funnel, then I seriously would look at driving traffic there from Pinterest. Like I said, this won’t last forever.

  2. As Facebook throttles more and more traffic to websites, SEO will make a big comeback.

    Lots of people keep saying Facebook is killing the organic reach of pages. (I might be the first one to say this). It’s actually now been killed. Every post that a page sends out, that doesn’t have any money put behind it, and includes and external link gets seen by one, maybe even two people. What’s the point?

SEO is free (okay you might need to pay for some optimization tools, training or backlinks) but at it’s core optimizing blog posts for SEO is free.

So I reckon that more people at the bottom will be less inclined to dive into social media content marketing and more people will go back to perfecting the SEO for their articles/blog posts.

  1. Want to get the attention of high-ticket prospects through social media? Don’t waste your time, use physical and lumpy mail. This will always be effective in my eyes.  

People love receiving (cool) stuff in the mail.  Do you ever get excited about a package arriving from Amazon? I know I do!  So if you can physically send something to someone, do it.

Physical mail has a 95%-100% pickup rate, especially if it’s something large like a box.  Tip: Call up the office of your prospect (influencer/CEO) and say to their assistant “we want to send x a free pair of shoes what is his/her size?” Then buy the high ticket prospect a nice pair of shoes but only send them one. Tell them in a nice letter “Now I’ve got my foot in the door, I’ll happily give you the other shoe if you agree to go for a coffee with me”

Very cheeky and everyone wants the other shoe.

4. Learn how to grow a Twitch account, this will conquer the earth in the next decade.

This platform will be huge in the coming year, not just for gamers but for everyday folk too.  In fact, it’s huge now! The Amazon owned platform now has 100+ million unique users every month.

The channel IRL (In Real Life) has people live streaming everyday things from: painting, drawing, playing music, building things.  So why not get there first for your niche and find some new customers.  

Maybe I should set up the first live growth hacking channel before someone else does ….

5. People gave up on Facebook chatbots too quickly and no one has done them right yet. Everyone will have them eventually so make yours the best.

When Facebook chatbots came to town everyone went crazy for them, but I’ve seen less and less people rave about them.

For those of you who don’t know chatbots are essentially FB messenger broadcasts that pages can send to anyone who signs up to them.They’re super powerful with many still boasting a huge open rate.

Because people wanted to treat them like an email list they burnt out a lot of people who don’t want marketing messages in their Facebook messenger every other day.

Some of the best bots I’ve seen impart REAL value that people want in their inbox 3-5 times a month MAX.  What a lot of brands haven’t realised is that people have joined your bot it’s because they’ve trusted you.

They’ve allowed you into their inner circle that was previously reserved for their close friends and family. Don’t betray that by selling to them everyday.  (MsgHero and ManyChat are among for favourite chat bot providers)

  1. Too many businesses are always looking for the next shiny object

A lot of startups and businesses come to me and say “You’re the guy that can get traffic out of thin air using social media? Help us!” 

While there are a lot of ways to grow their traffic I always ask to see their current traffic, conversions and email list first. There’s normally a lot of things that people aren’t already doing with their current customers.

So look at your current methods before embarking on completely new strategies.

7. People are still using Twitter wrong

It’s not a broadcast network. It’s a one-to-one network at huge scale.  The half life of a tweet is so short, and the feed moves so fast, that hardly anyone following over 200 people will see your one tweet a day.

So use to either send out 24 tweets a day or just simply @ the people you want to contact instead!  There is software that will help you do this in an organic and human way (don’t go overboard), but this will allow you to scale and hit many people at once.

I reply to nearly everyone who tweets @ me and I’ve seen many a celebrity and influencer do the same. Start using it right.

That’s a wrap for the predictions (I’ll put my crystal ball away now)

So those are my predictions and observations about social media marketing in 2018.

Whilst this is the way I believe things will play out, It’s important to look back at times and check yourself before you decide to massively change course.  If it isn’t broken don’t fix it, this is also known as the “Learn, implement, review” system. This ties into you should work out which social media platform is right for your business.

To be perfectly honest it’s actually quite simple. To start with you should already know the major places your ideal customer hangs out online and that should be your starting point (if you don’t then you have bigger problems to address first!)

Most people try and go for a multi-channel approach and hit all bases. While I too recommend this, it’s very difficult to execute right from the off if you’ve got a small team or work on your own.

If you spread yourself too thin and don’t go in hard on one platform you won’t get any results.  I suggest picking one main channel to focus on, and then a secondary channel a little later down the line.

You need to then look at the competition and work out if they are having success by using this platform, then work out how you can start to attract people to your brand instead.

What do you think of Vin’s predictions, leave a comment below or send me a tweet @marissapick.



 

 

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Are we Addicted to Mobile Phones? Zenith Study finds People Spend 8 hours a day consuming media.

After dropping my kids off this morning I headed to Starbucks and on line I started to clean up my emails when a headline popped out and caught my attention,  People Spend 479 Minutes A Day Consuming Media.  A recent article published by Media Post highlights the transformation of global media consumption over recent years.  According to Zenith’s Media Consumption Forecast the average person spends 479 minutes, or nearly 8 hours a day consuming media which has risen 12% since 2011 (Click to Tweet).

What’s even more staggering is the projection that by 2020 people will spend 492 minutes a day plugged in with 24% of this time expected on mobile devices. (Click to Tweet)

I’m not sure why I was so surprised by the headline since looking around the line everyone’s face was buried deep into their mobile phones.  We’re living in a world where we can access whatever we need on demand and are totally addicted to our cell phones.   In fact, Americans check their phone on average once every 12 minutes – burying their heads in their phones 80 times a day, according to a study from Asurion.  (Click to Tweet)

The study also found that the average person struggles to go little more than 10 minutes without checking their phone and on average people check every four minutes. The below infographic highlights additional findings from the study and covers the reality of separation anxiety for people.  The most staggering example as to the addiction of our cell phones is the the revelation that four in 10 Americans would rather lose their voice for a day than lose their phone for 24 hours. (Click to Tweet)

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I’m totally guilty, and equally addicted to my cell phone.  I love to put my phone away and have “digital-free” time with the kids before bed without any distractions.  It’s always shocking to me when my 3.5 year old son Lucas picks up my cell phone and easily navigates between apps and videos like it’s something he’s been doing his whole life.  A swift reminder that he’s downloading my behavior and even more of a need for me to put my phone down and get on the floor and play with my boys. It’s hard, but doable and very necessary.
What do you think of the statistics included within this article? Are you addicted to your mobile device? I’d love to know your thoughts, send me a tweet or leave a comment below!

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!

.@MarissaPick Included in the #Nifty50 Top Twitter Women Writers Awards by @TomPick and @CKBurgess

I’m so honored to share with that i’ve been included in part of the 2013 #Nifty50 awards which honor 50 men and 50 women who actively engage on Twitter. With an impressive exposure of  more than 50 million people (according to topsy) this award has gone totally viral across social media with 7,000 tweets & retweets (wowzers!). 

The #Nifty50 was also featured in the new book by Mark (@mnburgess) and Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess), The Social Employee.  A huge thank you to Tom Pick and Cheryl Burgess who selected the #Nifty50 from people who according to the blog post both write and produce content and actively engage on twitter. As Tom’s editors note in the original post includes, we are in fact not related, although we do share a fantastic last name!

The 2013 honorees include both full-time (e.g., journalists, authors, or PR professionals) and part-time writers (e.g., bloggers), and include some of my influencers who I often find myself engaging with online and offline at industry conferences, this list which includes many who I look up and respect deeply! Make sure to follow & subscribe to Tom’s Twitter list as well!

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To see the full #Nifty50 2013 list please visit the Blue Focus Marketing Blog