Tagged social communications

The Best Money You’ll Ever Spend on SEO, Social, and Content

 

You may have all the technology and expertise in the world at your disposal, but do you have this crucial element to SEO, content and social media success?

the best money you'll ever spend on seo, social and contentDo you have a fantastic SEO platform? A beautiful piece of software, with all the data dots connected, and all the keyword bells and social media whistles that you could ever ask for? If your brand has a culture that is forward-thinking enough to recognize how crucial a tool like this is to the success of your digital marketing, then I hope the answer is yes.

But that’s not the only thing that demands your precious marketing dollars. Are you promoting your posts to precision-targeted audiences on Facebook? Gaining a following on Twitter by advertising your best stuff to key influencers? Utilizing all the many paid search tools to drive traffic to your brilliant content?

All these magnificent things are not cheap, but they are certainly worth it . . . IF you’ve also made another important little investment. An investment in great people.

Don’t underestimate what it takes to win in SEO, Social, & Content Marketing

It’s no secret that the biggest bottleneck in content marketing (and by extension, SEO and social) is TIME. It takes a huge amount of time to develop truly great content that delivers value, ranks in search, and resonates throughout social media. This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks that brands hit when developing their content marketing strategies and social plans. Most brands just don’t have enough people to actually execute what is needed to outpace competition and gain more ground in their markets.

I mean, on their own each thing you do for digital content doesn’t seem very daunting, and this is part of the perception that makes content ‘seem’ easier than it actually is. Seriously, how long does it take to write a 500 word blog post? But what about 4 or 5 of them? Maybe add a whitepaper in there, too? Throw together a handful of tweets every day? A few Facebook posts? Couple of things for LinkedIn? Pic for Instagram? And let’s not forget the time needed to crush it on YouTube. It adds up fast.

But that’s just reality, isn’t it? I mean, you can’t just ‘buy’ time, can you?

clock-1274699_640Yeah, actually, you can buy time.

What if I told you for the low, low price of a single person’s salary, you could flat-out BUY dozens more hours every week? Because that’s exactly what you’re doing when you hire people. Every person you bring on is paying your brand back with their time. All of it. Every day.

Hiring great people gives you their time, their expertise, and their knowledge to execute your strategies and tactics. Without great people to action those ideas and plans, they’re nothing more than decorations on Powerpoint slides.

1+1 = 2, mostly. Sometimes it’s 3. Possibly 4?

This is really basic math. When you go from one content writer to two, that’s instantly doubling the amount of content you can churn out. That’s two times the amount of original, fresh, relevant and valuable content for your brand to rank in search and share in social.

Yeah, it’s that simple, and it scales in huge ways. Once those two writers begin to develop synergies, sharing valuable research, conducting brainstorming sessions, etc, you’ll find that your content team becomes more than just the sum of its parts. They now have the support they need to do more than they could on their own.

Investing in people pays the biggest dividends of any dollar you spend in SEO, social, and content. People give you the ability to action what you’ve been told by all the data that you have in your analytics tools and platforms, and put in motion all the advice coming from your agencies and consultants. Great people and their time are the best things you can buy for your brand.

Marketing Doubleshot Podcast – Ep.11 – Pinterest the Search Engine & Agencies Making Software

In this episode, Jonathan Barrick and Josh Muirhead discuss how Pinterest and its search mechanics combine with other key aspects of the platform to bring power to digital marketers, and a recent article about how marketing agencies should be taking a good hard look at software as a competitive differentiator.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Pinterest – pinterest.com

25 Pinterest Stats, Facts & PR Best Practices – www.cision.com/us/2015/01/25-pin…r-best-practices/

Jim Dougherty – twitter.com/leaderswest

Why ad agencies need to become software companies – www.businessesgrow.com/2015/10/13/ad…re-companies/

Mark Schaefer’s {grow} blog – www.businessesgrow.com/blog/

Marketing Doubleshot Podcast – Ep.6 – Brands Mixing with Social Causes & The Optimized Personal Digital Brand

In this episode, Jonathan Barrick and Josh Muirhead discuss some of the latest news in social cause marketing, including Dove’s latest and greatest campaign, along with the dangers of not being prepared for what comes with social cause marketing. Also, we take a look at what it means to have an ‘optimized’ personal digital brand, and how you can start optimizing your own digital presence.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Dove’s ‘Choose Beautiful’ campaign -> www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DdM-4siaQw

Chipotle’s social marketing -> www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUtnas5ScSE

LinkedIn -> linkedin.com

Sam Fiorella -> twitter.com/samfiorella

Sensei Marketing -> senseimarketing.com

When a business ‘humanizes’, what kind of human will it be?

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by Jonathan Barrick

Social media is humanizing business, and few can explain how and why this is happening better than @garyvee, so I’ll let him sum it up before we move on:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UkiM3OaHxw?rel=0]

Video -> The Thank You Economy: How Business Must Adapt to Social Media

“We are living through the humanization of business. The reason that so many people watch my show, buy my books, why I’m one of the top 300 most followed people on Twitter, and by far the least famous or brand-recognized, is because I out-cared everybody.” – Gary Vaynerchuk on the ‘Thank You Economy’

Many books have been dedicated to this simple yet powerful theory, with more being written every day. Business consultants are dedicating their whole careers to helping businesses humanize themselves. Social media advocates all over the world have been heralding the rise of the humanized business as a wonderful era, full of respect for consumers and for the communities they form.

Wonderful words have been used to describe the traits of the humanized business:

Honest, Caring, Trustworthy, Open, Generous, Courageous, Dedicated, Appreciative, Respectful

And the list goes on, and on. Put it all together, and it sounds like an amazing shift for businesses. Heck, possessing all of those traits would make businesses better humans than most actual humans. Which is the crux of the whole thing. Not all humans possess all those traits, so why do we assume that humanizing a business will result in it gaining so many positive attributes?

Let’s be honest; Some humans are jerks. Some are selfish. Some are manipulative, deceitful, and greedy. Some are arrogant, boastful, and pushy. Some are just generally unpleasant, uncouth, and undesirable. It’s hard to deny that some businesses will fit these descriptions, too. Customer satisfaction rates and countless testimonials only confirm this to be true.

Of course, you can’t possibly worry about what kind of human everyone else’s business will be. You just need to look at your own, and it comes down to one thing: CULTURE. @markwschaefer hits the nail on the head in this interview with @brennermichael where he says: “The most over-looked factor in social media success is coincidentally the most important one — corporate culture.”

Without a doubt, it’s the culture contained within your organization that dictates what kind of human your business will be as the result of engaging in social communications. Does your company already care about each and every customer’s satisfaction? Does your company already care about it’s impact on the world around it? Does your company already choose to do business with ethical, well-respected suppliers and partners? These are the factors that determine social media success or failure.

Need an example of how this actually plays out in the real world? Check out the classic story of Boners BBQ as told by @unmarketing:

http://www.unmarketing.com/2012/01/10/worst-use-of-social-media-of-2012-boners-bbq/

imageWhat kind of human did social media turn their business in to? The answer is pretty clear. I have no doubt that the culture at that restaurant was like that long before the advent of social media. Behind closed doors, conversations like that wouldn’t have gone any further than the few employees ranting about it at the end of the day. Now? Their company culture becomes visible to all, and it’s not pretty.

On the other side of the spectrum there’s the famous social superstar company, Zappos. In their own words: “Your culture is your brand.”The definitive poster child for brilliant use of social media and exceptional customer service. This company is one of the most respected humanized businesses in the world, and they are admired far and wide for their amazing corporate culture. Their customers are their best friends, and Zappos lets them know it, day in and day out.

Social media is humanizing business, no doubt about it. It truly brings the inherent traits of your business to light like no other type of communications we’ve ever seen. However, if the traits of your corporate culture aren’t the kind of traits your customers look for in new friends, you might want to take steps to fix them before opening yourself up for the world to see. After all, every human needs to do a little self-improvement from time to time.

This article originally written for http://crowdshifter.com

Step-by-Step Social Media Presence Guide

The smart folks over at Intuit put together this brilliant easy-to-follow infographic for businesses that are either new at social communications, or are looking to boost the effectiveness of their social presence in 2013.

Any business struggling to wrap their head around ‘where to start’ in social will undoubtedly find this month-by-month plan extremely helpful in making a social media action plan less daunting and more achievable.

Link to Intuit Small Business Blog -> http://blog.intuit.com/marketing/manage-social-media-the-easy-way-in-2013-infographic/attachment/intuit_2013_socialroadmap/

Who I want to meet at Social Slam, and why.

by Jonathan Barrick

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Ok, so the title of this post is a bit deceptive because ideally I would like to meet everyone at Social Slam because it sounds amazing, but that’s likely not possible in the span of a one-day event. So, here’s a handful of brilliant speakers that will be dishing out the awesome in Knoxville in April, and why I want to meet them face-to-face and shake hands.

Dino Dogan – Dino’s the founder of Triberr, a tool founded on the principle that awesome bloggers helping other awesome bloggers distribute awesome content is a great thing. Triberr is a brilliant way to expand the reach of your content. I’d like to ask Dino what the future might hold for content sharing tools like Triberr, and what he thinks about the negativity surrounding automated sharing methods.

John Morgan – John literally wrote the book on no-BS branding. ‘Brand Against the Machine’ is an inspiring read. It provides real-world examples of what it takes to build a powerful and distinct brand with passionate advocates. I’d like to ask John what his opinion is on the power of small brands vs big brands in the age of social. Does he believe the passion of small brand advocates can overpower the big dollars of major brands?

Kim Garst – Do you recognize the hashtag #youcandosocial? If so, you’ve most likely seen it attached to tweets from @kimgarst. Kim is a content machine, producing & curating tons of smart marketing and social business articles. I’d like to ask Kim what she believes the core social strategies should be for unknown or obscure business types that don’t necessarily have thriving or passionate customer bases.

Mark Schaefer – The guy who founded Social Slam, author of {grow} blog and the books ‘The Tao of Twitter’ & ‘Return on Influence’. He’s wicked smart and a class act. I was fortunate to have met him at an event in Toronto in 2012, and I’d like to shake the man’s hand again. I’m not sure exactly what I would ask Mark at this point. His thoughts on the ongoing ROI debate? His premonition on the fate of the ‘new’ MySpace? His views on who the up-and-coming superstars of social business will be? Perhaps by April 5th I will have it figured out.

I look forward to seeing what Social Slam delivers. By the look of the speaker lineup, it should be a pretty incredible day of great content and intense conversations. I would love to hear from any other people headed to Social Slam who they’re looking forward to meeting, and why! What has you fired up for the event?

5 Promises Every Living Marketer Should Make to Themselves

by Jonathan Barrick

imageMarketers, I hate to say this, but we kinda suck. There’s an awful lot of stuff that we’re doing every day that is simply no good. It’s awful, in fact, and we’re better than this. At this point in time, we should be WAY better than this. We have the ability to connect to our customers in real-time, and understand them on a unprecedented level. We have the ability to send out complex information in formats that make it easy to consume and understand, anytime anywhere.

We have the ability to turn business around to a point where it’s no longer the brand with the deepest pockets who wins customers, but the brand who is the most awesome. Yet, we still trudge along doing things that hold us back like a ball and chain. I say, NO MORE. It’s time to break the bonds, make some new promises, and move forward.

1 – I will not make statements the brand can’t live up to.

Stop fibbing. Stop embellishing. Stop over-promising. Do these two things instead: Make realistic statements AND/OR Improve your product/service so that you deliver on your promises. People are sick and tired of being let down, disappointed, and underwhelmed, and they’re not hesitating to tell their friends. Falling short of expectations is no longer an option. Meet or exceed, or be called out.

2 – I will not view my customers as simply a means to an end.

Your customers aren’t there so you can ‘leverage’ them. I hate that word. Is there any term less respectful of your customers? They’re not numbers, they’re people that you have relationships with. Social media is helping to ‘humanize’ business, so Marketers need to humanize along with it. The value is in the relationships, not simply in the numbers.

3 – I will not pretend that ‘there is no ROI’ of social communications.

Everything you do has an impact, good or bad, that can be measured. Is this impact ALWAYS measured in dollars and cents? No. But it CAN be measured. The key is to identify what area of your business the impact takes place, and then measure the ROI as it relates to that specific area. Saving time on customer service? There’s your ROI. Getting new product development ideas? There’s your ROI. The dots are there for you to connect, so grab your pencil and start connecting.

4 – I will not brag about meaningless metrics.

Fans, likes, followers? No good. Decreased bounce rate, higher share of search, improved sentiment? Good. Give some context to your metrics, and they actually become worth talking about. “Because of X, we achieved Y, which led to Z.” This ties directly in to the ‘ROI’ situation, making it far easier to see what’s helping and what’s hurting. If you’re measuring something that doesn’t give you some kind of insight in to why something worked (or didn’t), then why are you measuring it?

5 – I will not ignore how people feel about typical marketing actions
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Banner ads suck. We all hate popups. Opt-in is good, opt-out is bad. Yet marketers continue making terrible choices in spite of overwhelming data that says ‘STOP!!!’. Make the commitment to yourself to stop doing things that people hate, and do more of what people love. Remember ‘do unto others as you’d have them do unto you?’ Well, replace ‘do’ with ‘market’ and run with that. If you ignore popups, blow past banner ads, and junk spam mail as fast as it comes in, then your customers are doing the same. Stop wasting time, money, and energy on stuff that sucks. Go for the stuff that’s awesome instead.

Simple stuff, don’t you think? You can boil it all down to this: Stop sucking, be awesome, and prove it.

This should be the mantra of every marketer alive today. Now, place your right hand on your business card, and repeat after me: Stop sucking, be awesome, and prove it.

This article originally written for http://crowdshifter.com

From Sprout Social Insights -> Twitter Success Story: Training Hospitality Students With Twitter

http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2012/12/twitter-success-story-college/

Happy to talk with Don Power from Sprout Social about my experiences integrating social communications (specifically Twitter) in to the curriculum of my college marketing class. It’s been a great tool for encouraging students to see social from a different light, and training them on the intricacies of communicating with customers in the social space.

From Sprout Social Insights -> Twitter Success Story: Training Hospitality Students With Twitter

Who Owns the Account? – Navigating the Minefield of Social Ownership

by Jonathan Barrick

When your job responsibilities include engaging in social media, are the contacts you make truly yours, or do they belong to the company?

It’s a divisive topic for companies who engage in social communications. If you put an employee in the position of representing your brand in social media channels, what happens with that account if that employee leaves your business? How should you set up these accounts, and how ‘personal’ do you make them appear?

Recently, the story of PhoneDog and its former employee Noah Kravitz brought forth a shining example of how things can go horribly awry. PhoneDog alleges they setup the account & username for Kravitz to use for business purposes. Over time the number of followers grew to over 17,000, and when Kravitz left to work for a competitor, he changed the account name to his own & continued to use it.

On the surface, the answer seems pretty clear. PhoneDog setup the account for business, so it’s theirs. However, there are different perspectives that come in to play in the world of social media that muddy the waters. For example, is it certain that the followers were truly following the ‘brand’, or were they following Noah? What’s the context in which this account was used? Does the context even matter, or does the original intent of the account override any personal factors rising from how it was used?

These questions can be extremely difficult to answer for some businesses, and the decisions you make here could have huge repercussions in the future. These are questions not typically addressed in your average social media policy, as they generally stick to covering things like behaviour and the types of content being shared, not the ownership of connections being made between individuals. Fortunately, there are some sensible steps you can take to easily maintain a ‘personal’ face for your brand AND minimize the risk of disruption if certain individuals leave your business.

In navigating this minefield, the first question you need to ask is “Will the account be used for BUSINESS PURPOSES?” If the answer is “Yes”, then I believe that the following criteria for the setup of social media accounts would protect both parties regarding ownership of accounts that are used for business purposes:

  • If the account was created under the individual’s personal identity prior to the beginning of the contract, the account remains property of the individual.
  • If the account was created by the company for the purposes of official company communication/representation, then the account remains property of the company.
  • It is appropriate for small businesses and sole-proprietorships to present themselves through the personal accounts of the owner, but it is important to keep in mind that any personal opinions shared through these accounts directly impact the image of the brand. It is nearly impossible to separate the brand of the business from the brand of the individual in these situations.
  • In larger businesses, it is appropriate for special corporate accounts to be created for each individual who will be participating in social communications, and these accounts should be designated as such. Example: A Dell employee named Jim might communicate on behalf of Dell on Twitter using the handle: @JimAtDell
  • Visually, choosing the right profile picture for the account is also important. Using the example above, it would make sense for @JimAtDell’s account to feature a picture of Jim with the Dell logo added to it in order to visually distinguish it as an official company account.
  • If the company will have multiple individuals contributing through the same account, it is effective to add the initials of the individual posted at the end of each piece of content to designate the person responsible for that posting. Example: An employee named Mike Smith tweeting through the @starbucks account would end each of his tweets with ‘MS’
  • In situations where multiple people are using the same social account on behalf of the company, it would be appropriate for the profile picture to be that of the corporate logo, or other universally applicable image not associated with any one particular individual. Although in certain situations, one individual may be designated to be the figurehead of the account, and therefore use of their picture along with a logo would be appropriate.
  • In certain situations, it may be wise to cross-reference the account of the individual and the account of the company in the bio spaces of each account. From the example we used earlier, Mike Smith’s @mikesmith personal twitter account bio might mention he tweets from @starbucks with the initials MS, and the @starbucks account might mention tweets from @mikesmith in its bio. This would help to ensure that business followers and personal followers are aware of the difference between the two.

Ultimately, every company needs to choose the approach that best suits their brand & their goals. And in the event that the one, singular face of your brand in social media decides to leave your business, the reality is that some of your fans WILL inevitably go with them. Of course, how many fans leave will depend on more than just how you approach each of the factors I laid out above. HOW they leave, WHERE they go, and WHY they left will all play a role in how things pan out for your business.

The best approach, of course, is to maintain a clear line of communication to the employees managing the accounts regarding the company’s expectations. Make it clear at the very beginning that the accounts created for the purposes of business belong to the company. They are communications tools just like laptops and cell phones, and the employee should understand that when they leave they must return all property. That includes Twitter accounts!

On the other side of the spectrum, companies must recognize that just like personal laptops or cell phones, a personal Twitter account stays with the individual. If you ask or require them to use their own equipment or account for company purposes, then you’d better respect their ownership of it.

This article originally written for http://crowdshifter.com