The #, and why it doesn’t mean anything anymore.

To start off this post, here is a funny skit that Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake put together showing us just how ridiculous hashtags have become #stophasthaggingeverything!

A year or more ago I wrote a post about hasthags and how to use them.  At that point in time, hashtags used to mean something, at least to me.  A friend complained that she didn’t understand how they worked because a niece of hers was hashtagging everything, we should have known then that that would be the trend of the future.  I explained that a hashtag was essentially a key word one could search for something on, mostly on twitter.  Now, we have hashtag phrases and everyone spells and writes things differently so there is no rhyme or reason for how to search on something.  The news outlets use it, celebrities over use it, and regular folk just hashtag everything and create long run on words.

So as the title of this post states, the hashtag, as far as I’m concerned, doesn’t mean anything anymore and I would love to hear the teenager’s take on it so we can all foresee the future.

What did you do today?

Keeping Your Blog Content Fresh

When I found and article on this topic last week I immediately made sure to follow tip number 2 and write my posting on this topic.  Bob Fine shares his 7 tips on how to blog daily, which I used to do, and how to keep your blog content fresh.  I think one of the missing elements is coming up with a blog that will cover topics that you yourself are interested in and want to learn more about.  There is nothing worse than forcing yourself to write.  I do definitely agree with Bob’s 5th tip on flexibility.  This blog has evolved quite a bit, and I’m sure has room to do even more evolving.  It started with the name “Our Unemployed Life” and then morphed into “Career Advice 101.”  This change came when I finally was no longer unemployed but still wanted to share tips, advice and just have a place for general banter sometimes.

So without further ado, here are Bob’s 7 tips for keeping your blog content fresh:

1. Self-discipline
2. Developing more blog topic ideas than you need
3. Improving your communication skills all the time
4. An audience that cares
5. Flexibility in some way, shape, or form
6. Comfort with brevity and incompleteness
7. Tools to make you better than you otherwise would be

What did you do today?  Did you read or write a blog post?

P.S. And to support the image at the beginning of this post.  I always welcome guest bloggers.  Please leave me a comment with the topic that you would like to blog about and I’ll write back to you right away.

Hubspot’s Marketing Predictions for 2013

Hubspot has once again outdone itself and has put together a list of 20 marketing trends and overall predictions for 2013.  I won’t go over all of them but I do urge you to download the white paper.  Here are my 5 favorite predictions and tips:

1. Campaigns Fade Out…: “The notion of campaigns have been around since the golden age of advertising. Campaigns are a defined series of activities, tactics and channels that often revolve around a common theme. And yes, campaigns have been good to us. But here’s the problem; their structure is often times rigid and can’t keep up with changing customer behaviors and rapidly changing technology. Campaigns are generally short-lived and not triggered based upon real-time actions or data, which can put the marketer at a disadvantage.”

2. Marketing Becomes More Accountable for Revenue Generation: “A recent Fournaise Marketing Group study found that 73% of executives don’t believe that marketing drives demand and revenue. Ouch.  In 2013, that will start to change. Marketing will play a more critical role in contributing to revenue generation. Marketing activities will not only be measured on traffic and lead generation, but will further optimize processes that directly impact sales growth. And to do that, key performance indicators (KPIs) under the marketing department will change.”

3. Be Mobile or Fall Behind: “In 2013, marketers will finally list mobile as a major line item on their marketing strategy. Not only will there be continued investment in mobile optimized websites and email, but we’ll see mobile take a more important role when integrating with marketing campaigns. By the end of the year, mobile will become a more strategic and must-have channel for many businesses.”

4. Social and Content Impact SEO Even More: “Over the years, good search engine optimization (SEO) was all about knowing the tricks of the trade. The SEO of  tomorrow will be less about having the right H1 tag or the right keywords on the page and more about creating really good, original content that is socially consumed and shared.”

5. Inbound, Not Automation, Becomes Priority: “Just a few, short years ago, marketing automation was the ‘must-have’ on every marketers wish list. Unfortunately, the ‘set-it and forget-it’ mentality of automation, while nice sounding, resulted in an unhealthy process of churning a database of email through a set “nurturing” process until they were spammed to death. The promise of marketing automation starts to fail because it is not supported by a solid inbound marketing foundation. Essentially, not enough leads enter the funnel to keep the automated machine running…In 2013, CMOs and senior executives will allocate more resources to creating a strong inbound engine – generating interest, traffic, leads, and conversions – to support the demand generation engine.”

BONUS PREDICTIONS: Content Curation & the Importance of Context

“Content is king, whether you like it or not. Creating more and more content will be among the top priorities for marketing teams in 2013. In addition to the increase in allocating budget to content creation, we’ll find increasingly more curation services and “content marketplaces” that will help marketers deliver more in a content-heavy world.”

“To do marketing better in 2013, marketers will need to go beyond simply creating content to creating a personalized experience for their target customer that’s seamless across multiple interactions. These experiences will leverage context to make a company’s marketing jive with the searcher’s proclivities – the things you’ve learned about your leads over months and years of talking with them. The things they do, the things they say, the sites they like, the products they purchase, their happiness level with your company – all to have deeper and more meaningful relationships and better results.”

Thank you Hubspot for driving home the importance of Inbound Marketing!

What did you do today?  Did you read Hubspot’s white paper?

P.S. This post got mentioned in Hubspot’s list of mentions.

Social Media Plan

This is a MUST share for everyone who is looking for a better way to manage a social media calendar. We all have our own way but if we don’t at least explore other options then we will never learn.

So in my attempt to learn I sampled upon a great article about the 9 social media tips to help small business and I plan on implementing tip number four in my future social media post planning. I truly think that having an idea of what your general plan will be will make creating a post for each day of the week much easier.

Now, are you ready for the best part? At the end of the article you may notice three links, don’t overlook them. It’s true that the best is left for last because the last link leads you to an Excel spreadsheet that will help you with your social media plan!  Now let’s all thank the Inbound Marketing Company.

What did you do today?

Siloing Your Social Media

So in the last two posts I shared with you Lee Odden’s opinion on the first two issues that people face with social media.  To recap, those two are, not relating your social media KPI’s to your business KPI’s and talking about the five “sins” of social media, failure to plan, only talking about yourself/your company and the other three :).

His last take on this topic is that often times marketing folks silo social media from other functions. These companies need to become more of a social business in general.  What he means is that marketing, PR, and sales shouldn’t be the only ones out there creating buy in from current and potential customers.  Every function of a business should be truly customer facing, even customer service and HR.  All five of these functions within a company should help build a community and a true brand.  The marketers of the company shouldn’t be the only ones creating interesting editorial pieces highlighting how great the product and brand is, we should all be recruiters for our company.  Help your business become more social!

What did you do today?

P.S. There are so many great things that I am learning from this social media seminar.  If you’re curious what these presenters are presenting on, you can follow #IETraining on Twitter on Wednesday’s and Friday’s between the hours of noon and two, eastern time.
P.P.S Read this article about the online training!

Planning for Social Media Success

The last post was taken from a webinar led by Lee Odden and I told you that in this, and the next, post I would share the other two issues with social media content.

So, the first issue, as covered in the last post was not relating social media to true business and overlooking how each KPI relates to the other.  The goals must relate!  The second issue includes five sins of how you broadcast your social content.

1. Failure to plan – just because the platforms are free does not mean that you should go at this important component of your marketing mix without a plan.  I am always creating posting schedules for the month ahead so that I always know what I am posting.  I can always add to it, but I at least have a base to go off of.

2. Self Promotion – At first, you may want people to know what your company does or makes but don’t just talk about yourself. Once it’s been a few months and you feel like people have a good sense of what your company is about, move on to being a thought leader.  Provide your followers with news that they may otherwise had to search for before.  Make them come to you on their own.

3. Give to get – Again, you want to create a community.  You want people to know that you’ll listen to them and that they can also rely on you.

4. Content isn’t great unless it’s shared – this is what social media is all about.  You may have some amazing case studies, but no one knows about them.  Share them with your audience!

5. Analyze – metrics are key, this is the only way that you’ll know what is working and what isn’t.  What do your followers respond to? What do they dislike?

The failure to do the above may send you into a tail spin and will me than likely make you fail.  Don’t fail!

What did you do today?

Stats to Work With

I am currently enrolled in a six week web conference entitled, Social Media for Business.  Yesterday we had our first two sessions on Creating Digital Leadership in a Social World, moderated by Erik Qualman, and Building Your Social Media Strategy in 8 Simple Steps, moderated by Krista Neher who dialed in from SXSW.  Just as I shared what I was learning during my Inbound Marketing classes through Hubspot I also plan on sharing tips and stats that I think are truly interesting from these 19 sessions.  So brace yourselves, this is going to be a long and sometimes deep dive into social media for business but I’ll keep it light and share the most interesting factoids with you.

So, here are the incredibly interesting facts I learned from Erik:

* 92% of people under the age of 2 have a digital shadow!!!–>That is insane!  All those baby photos parents post are creating a digital shadow for their kids!
* 91% of pre interview research is done online by recruiters
* 35% of people who were initially going to be brought in for an interview are told not to come in due to something that was found out about them online!
* Multitasking decreases your IQ by 10 points–>don’t text and drive or talk on the phone and type an e-mail!
* We are interrupted every 11 minutes at work and it takes us 25 minutes from that interruption to get back to what we were doing
* Write down TWO things that you must accomplish in a day. This will make you feel like you really accomplished something and didn’t just spend the day in meetings and answering e-mails

Finally, think about writing your life compass in 140 characters. Erik encouraged us to think about what we want our life to mean and summarize it in 140 characters!

Krista focused on creating a social media strategy and went through the 8 steps to do it successfully.  There really is no point for me to rephrase Krista’s words when she has a very eloquently written article titled 8 Steps to Building Your Social Media Strategy.

What did you do today?

Pinterest for B2B

Now, I know…I have discussed the Pinterest topic at length.  But, Hubspot just came out with an amazing blog article about Pinterest for business 2 business that naturally I just HAD to share with you.  As a graduate of Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University, I am a huge pusher of Hubspot articles and white papers.  I couldn’t have written a better piece on why Pinterest is a social media site to be reckoned with, ESPECIALLY for B2B.  How, you might ask?  Use these five easy steps!

1. Identify your most visual content: consisting of white paper photos, brochure photos, installations, manufacturing, user photots…the list goes on…
2. Send Traffic with Specific Links in Each Pin
3. Optimize Pinterest for Lead Generation
4. Build Your Pinterest Follower Base to Grow Company Reach: like and comment on other people’s pins, promote your Pinterest account, create the best boards for a specific industry/market
5. Measure Your Traffic and Leads

Personally, I began using Pinterest to get a better idea of what my wedding might look like, pin images of clothes I’ll never own, create diy projects for myself that I’ll never complete, and decorate (perfectly) the home that I have yet to own.  But why not dream big?!?

As I noticed a lack of a purely visual platform for our sales force to use during their calls and sales meetings I decided to turn to Pinterest.  I figured if it generated some buzz from the Pinterest community, then great.  But first and foremost, I wanted to help our guys out, and help our customers understand exactly what the company I work for is all about, in a purely visual way.

I already have a few tricks up my sleeve how to increase the viewership and interaction with our Pinterest page but I cannot wait to implement Hubspot’s 5 key points to Pinterest success for B2B businesses!

What did you do today?

The Top 10 Things Social Media Can Accomplish for a Business, Part 2

To continue on the topic from my last post I want to give you the last 5 of the top 10 things that social media can accomplish for your business.  I compiled these answers by asking a question on LinkedIn Answers. I asked the following question: What are the top 5 things social media can accomplish for a business? so here are the last 5 of the top 10.

6. Mark E. “Social media can boost SEO (search engine optimization). When companies post on social media sites they can use relevant keywords and links to their website; ultimately, elevating their Google ranking. “

7. Kenneth L. “…I linked everything together on “Linked In” and began answering questions at the “Answers” feature there as well as registering at many of the free applications for networking web sites on the Internet to see how that could benefit my work. Twitter, BlogCatalog, Facebook, Widgetbox, Friendfeed, Ning and similar free applications served my site well. “

8. Lee J. “Identify new sales opportunities.”

9. Nick R. “Reduces Customer Service Costs “

10. Robert M. “Facilitate research and development”

Do you agree with all ten points?

What did you do today?

Top Post #5: Why Keywords Rule LinkedIn

This post rounds out the week and covers a topic that has been talked about a lot lately.  The power of LinkedIn and how you should be using to your, and your company’s advantage.  Do you also think that keywords rule LinkedIn?  Well, here are some tips and tricks I learned from an online webinar led by Lewis Howes.

I knew keywords were important on LinkedIn but I had no idea how much.  You’ll thank me later for pushing you all to optimize your profiles.  Here goes, here are the top lessons I learned from Lewis’ webinar titled, How to Get Results Using LinkedIn.

According to Lewis there are five places that you want to ensure you have your keywords listed.  Ideally these are the same keywords so when someone searches for, let’s say “marketing professional,” you will come up at the top of their search list.  I have yet to accomplish this but these new tips are making me obsess over the powers of LinkedIn and networking.

So here goes, make sure your keywords are listed in the following five places:

1. Headline
2. Current job title/description
3. Past job title/description
4. Summary description
5. Specialties section

I’d love to hear if going through these steps help you get noticed more.

The other idea I got was to start a Career Advice 101 group on LinkedIn.  There are so many articles and ideas I get daily that I simply don’t have the time to write about.  I think the group will allow not only me to share advice but it will give a place for all of you to interact.  I will let you all know once I get the group up…and I hope you’ll join :)

What did you do today?