Social Media Management

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about social media but I thought in light of the topic, I would post my thoughts on the importance of a Social Media strategy on social media…to be more specific, on LinkedIn…so go ahead and jump over to LinkedIn and read my Social Media Strategy post, but be sure to come back to read about Social Media Management!

So now that you’ve read all about my 3 quick tips for how to get a social media strategy going, how do you manage multiple platforms and where do you even begin when it comes to a content strategy?  Well, take a look at the below graphic that helps with some of the mystery:

So, as the above shows, the basic steps for social media management are the following:

1. Research & Write
2. Publish Your Content
3. Social Broadcasting
4. Engage & Refer
5. Report & Refine

No WONDER this can be someone’s full time job! Steps 1 & 5 alone are a lot of work, so how do you plan and make the most of your 40 hour work week as a social media manager?

Start a calendar.

Based on your company and what product or solution it offers its customers know when those customers are most interested in your products, perhaps its a seasonal thing, and what exactly they want to know.

Let’s take an easy example and say that you’re in the pool business in the Northeast part of the country, you know that people will begin to open their pool around Memorial Day and close around Labor Day, those are your direct consumers, your B2C scenario.  However, from a B2B perspective, you need to be talking to your stores way before then, around March/April, to make sure they have stocked their shelves with the best product they can.  During those summer months, you should be sharing not only information about your product/service but also general pool related tips…how to clean & maintain a pool, fun pool games, pool safety, etc! You can recycle the same content just tailor it to each platform and perhaps do a bit of rewording so you can get the same point across.

But how do you come up with something to share? I go back to the calendar.  You need to have a plan in advance.  If the hope is to make people more aware of your company through social media, then share tips and general information, with a sprinkling of product related postings.  On the other hand, if you’re hoping to sell out all of your stock through your online store then post weekly sales through you social media outlets and in between, share good tips on how to clean & maintain a pool.

Now, where the fun begins is if you’re a company like Baquacil who sells their products nation wide. They haven’t even bothered with social media because they sell through distributors…and I assume hope they’ll do the marketing.  But for a company like Baquacil, they would need to be posting year round because in the West, a pool could be open all year. You would need to have a solid content strategy that covered all your bases and helped you meet all of your goals.

Good luck, and happy Memorial Day!

P.S. Here are some additional social media management resources:

Sprout Social –  “Sprout Social is a social media management tool created to help businesses find new customers & grow their social media presence.”

5 great tools to consider when managing your social media presenceSendible sounds amazing for brand management via social!

Hootsuite shares a great social media calendar & some great tips on how to best use your internal resources

Career Transitions

I saw a great quote on the Market Search website: “For many people a job is more than an income – it’s an important part of who we are. So a career transition of any sort is one of the most unsettling experiences you can face in your life.” – Paul Clitheroe

The above is very true.  Regardless of whether you were laid off, left your job for any number of reasons, decided to be a stay at home parent, etc that transition from job to no job can be difficult.  What matters is what you make of that time.

Here is what I’m making of my transition time:

  • First, and most importantly, I am enjoying the extra time I get to spend with my son
  • I am once again finding time to blog and read and learn more about marketing and all of its advances
  • I am of course filling every free day networking, searching, and following up with career opportunities
  • Allowing myself to enjoy the days at home and being a mom and wife

Your job search might become your full, or part, time job. But don’t forget about what makes you happy and make sure to do the things that perhaps you couldn’t find time for in the past such as advancing your skills, reading, relaxing and looking for that next great opportunity that allows you to go to a place that makes you truly happy, and not only because you’re getting paid again.

Account Based Marketing

Account based marketing focuses on the key accounts that will generate revenue.  In my B2B past, we viewed these as target markets.  When I created a roadmap for our marketing efforts, I would consult sales to better understand when certain markets were going to be making their purchases for our products and marketing to them leading up to and during that time.

Each market had its own demographic and its own buying time.  This kind of roadmap allowed for the department to put greater focus on specific times during a key time during the year.  It allowed us to hone in on our various initiatives and better analyze the results, rather than taking a shot gun approach and hitting all customers at once with one blanket message regardless of their interest, purchasing power, or specific need.

Account based marketing, takes some of the above into account and puts it into 5 key steps, at least according to Marketo’s findings:

  1. Discover & Define Your Key Prospects
  2. Define Personalized and Effective Messaging
  3. Determine Optimal Channels
  4. Execute Targeted Campaigns
  5. Measure, Learn & Optimize

What approach are you taking to ensure that you are focusing on key markets, or accounts, during the right time in their buying process?

Marketing Management

Marketing management – it means a lot of things to a lot of people.  Marketing seems simple, and so the trouble becomes that everyone thinks they are an expert and have the best ideas, and why doesn’t marketing “just do it.”

Well, some things can be done on the fly, as a test or as a last minute initiative, but for the most part, some kind of planning and thought has to go into a new initiative.  Simple things such as:

  • Who will do the work?  Can my staff take this new thing on, or should I drive the bus for a while until we get some steam under it?
  • Is there a strategy for this new initiative? (Does content need to be generated? Who will generate that content?)
  • Why are we doing this new thing? Is our customer base asking for it?  Is just one customer asking for it?
  • What is the return on our investment, monetary or time based.
  • Does this fit with who our brand is?  (ex: should we do a flash mob as a pharmaceutical company?)
  • Does this fit in to everything else we are doing and if not, at what expense will this come?  Do we stop investing in PR or advertising to focus on this new initiative?

All good questions, but unfortunately they are sometimes seen as push back and an unwillingness to “just do it.”  When in reality, as a marketer, you know the implications of just doing something, sometimes there are none, but often times it derails the team and the overall focus of the marketing roadmap that has been set out.  It might also confuse your customer base, which is an even bigger price to pay. Oh, and there is also the fact that if you just ask “how high?” every time someone says “jump!” you’ll be expected to ask that every time.

So what’s our lesson here?  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, in terms of convincing someone that a strategy is needed when they’re not used to having one, but what you can do is perhaps show the implications of doing this one thing instead of something else you are already doing.  Will doing this new thing really pay off in the long run?  If you realize that it might, then explain why you will be needing to put something else on pause.

It’s a slippery slope.  You have to educate people and explain the (who/what/when/where/why) and the reason that you even need to consider all of those things before “just doing it.”

Good luck!

Brand Management

Take a look at the brand touch point wheel below.  This gives a fantastic look at how a brand needs to be managed across all facets of a business. Then click through and read my “What Makes a Great Brand” post on LinkedIn, or just click through to my profile to find it.

Next, I would highly suggest checking out the book titled What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand Building Principles That Separate the Best from the Rest.

Management

What makes a good manager?  To me, it’s someone who:

  • Values his/her people
  • Encourages the staff to do more & do better
  • Shows the staff how to do more and do better
  • Shares ideas & listens to their ideas
  • Takes on tasks and doesn’t just delegate every little thing
  • Stays ahead of the crowd and keeps abreast of the new happenings in the industry and within the department
  • Learns fast, and puts an emphasis on knowing at least as much as their staff in the first few months
  • Allows the staff to run with their ideas & encourages them to be self starters & own their “piece of the pie”
  • Doesn’t micro manage but knows what everyone does
  • This one is a no brainer but needs to be said – doesn’t talk down to the staff and doesn’t put them down, especially in front of others
  • Pulls someone aside, privately, right away if something has been done that is out of line.  Address the issue right then, and move on
  • Shares business information as it relates to the marketing portion and shares where the team is with yearly goals & budget

All of the above are things I’ve had managers do for me and things I’ve tried to do for the people who have worked for me.  These are all stepping stones for me, personally but I’d like to think that I’m at least 50% of the way there.

I also believe that you have to treat people like you want to be treated.  By doing so, your staff will grow, thrive & do a lot more than what they were hired for.  They’ll be encouraged to spear head initiatives and own their work, rather than just being a drone who simply does what you ask of them and nothing more.

Those are just my thoughts.  What does a good manager mean to you?

Global Marketing Strategies

Who cares about a global marketing strategy, or central brand guidelines, or a cohesive language…right?  Well, when your brand looks different the world over, then it becomes a problem. Different marketing strategies will apply to different regions across the globe, but the general language and message should be the same.  The brand should look the same, the customer facing material should look the same, and most certainly the answer to “who are we?” should be consistent.

When you line up all the collateral, no matter in what language, it should look like it comes from one source, even if the internal information is specifically tailored to a specific market or region.  Below are my suggestions on where to start:

  • Gather the global marketing managers together and talk about what’s being done where
  • Understand what’s working, and what’s not, where and why
  • Discuss having a cohesive marketing plan
  • Begin to update your brand guidelines that include the information gathered above
  • Ensure that the brand guidelines address issues such as:
    • The look of the web, collateral, advertising, etc

It’s a long process but it’s absolutely something that is needed, especially if you are trying to build out your brand and are having issues with brand awareness in any of the global regions.

I also know that I’m not *the* expert, I’m just one gal with an opinion and someone who’s seen things done both ways.  So, here are some additional resources for your perusal:

Global Marketing Strategy (Four Benefits):

A global marketing strategy is one component of a global strategy. To be effective, it must incorporate all functional aspects of a business – from finance to operations to R&D…Don’t think for a moment that you can minimize country-to-country differences! Embrace them and develop your strategy in such a way as to complement the differences.

10 Businesses We Admire for Brilliant Global Marketing:

Unlike Craigslist, Airbnb has a fun, more user-friendly website that showcases the brand’s transparent, trusting personality. The website is now available in 21 languages with consistent information, style, and personality to appeal to like-minded users across cultures.

7 Recommendations for a Balanced Global Marketing Strategy:

Global marketing can indeed work, drive synergies and economies of scale whilst preserving specific local needs and cultural considerations.

However, as with most marketing approaches, the key to success is a balanced approach.  Not all marketing activities can or should be driven from the centre.

Digital Marketing Advances

seo-ppc-sem-ss-1920

There are so many new things happening in digital, and I have to be honest and say that I miss working with people in the know.

That’s a direct shout out to you, KoMarketing Associates and Klunk & Millan.

Most aspects of today’s marketing hinge on digital, but it has become a kind of “word of the day.” So let’s break it down and then see what all the new cool advances are.

Digital Marketing 101: It all stems from the web.  It is then parlayed into how your website functions on a mobile device and how well your website is found via search engines and PPC (i.e. SEM), hence…how well it is optimized. But, before we go any further, here is a quick reference.

In essence, “Digital Marketing encompasses all the activities a business conducts via the worldwide web with the aim of attracting new business, retaining current business and continuing to develop and evolve its brand identity.” Which really truly is most of what we marketers do all day, for the exception of maybe sending out flyers…although in some aspect that could fall into a sub bucket of digital as you are more than likely hoping that people will come back to your website to either purchase, download, or learn more about your product or service.

One major advantage of digital, or online, marketing is that everything is traceable. You can see how your website is doing, where your web traffic is coming from, the level of engagement customers have with your website, what the conversion factor is and most importantly of all, what marketing initiatives are paying off the most!

Digital Marketing Advances: So what’s “hot” right now that might be useful for you to at a minimum look into?  Well, none of it is rocket science but it’s good to get a pulse check and make sure that the things you think might work, are actually what some experts say will as well.

Below I highlight the portions of the article I think might get you the most bang for your buck, regardless of the kind of business you are running, B2B or B2C:

  • Facebook Look Alike Audiences – “Let’s say you have an email marketing database over 5,000 contacts and are in the heating and cooling industry. You can upload this onto Facebook’s advertising platform and target the EXACT demographic similar to your existing customers!” (This one is news to me and I think it’s pretty darn clever.)
  • Email marketing – “According to econsultancy.com, email marketing remains the best digital channel for ROI. Start strategizing heavily as to how you will make this for of online marketing work for you business in 2015!”
  • Blogging – “We like to refer to blog content as the match that starts the fire. When you write a compelling blog, it has the potential to rank well organically in the search engines.”
  • YouTube (owned by Google) – “By implementing videos into your online marketing mix, you can start to get search engine exposure for the videos that you upload onto YouTube! There are a lot of great tricks to obtain more video SEO Exposure. Choosing a proper title tag, uploading a transcript and embedding the YouTube video are just some of the tricks for optimal SEO exposure.”
  • Content Contribution – “If you want your content to be seen by more eyeballs and gain more exposure, start contributing content to other blogs in similar fields.”
  • Digital PR – “You can build off of the content contribution by implementing a Digital PR strategy. If you reach out to various media related websites and send them over a solid pitch, they might just write an article on your company or feature your CEO in a blog post.”

As you may notice, I did not include SEO on here…I would assume, hopefully accurately, that this is a no brainer if you want to succeed in digital marketing.  So focus on your title tags, meta descriptions, new content, alt tags, and link building and drive your SEO rankings up!

Good luck!

Marketing Syllabus

There have been times when I’ve toyed with the idea of getting in to teaching.  Let’s pretend that today is the day and put down a straw man of a Marketing Syllabus for high school students.

I would break the elective up in to 5 stages. But before divining in, we would look at B2B vs. B2C marketing and explore fun, and equally boring, examples of companies that fall in to the B2B & B2C spaces.  Companies such as:

B2C companies: Wendy’s & any hotel chain

B2B companies: Hubspot & Intel

B2B & B2C companies: Coke & Reebok (explore why that is)

The next step would be to explain what digital means, as people use the term rather loosely, as it does encompass many things, but most all of it hinges on web.

So what are the 5 stages that would take up the majority of the semester?

Stage 1: Digital/Social Marketing – explain how both of these work and how important it is to track metrics and show ROI

(explain ROI).  Also talk about PPC & SEO and explain how those two work.

Stage 2: Traditional Marketing – go over mailings, PR, advertising & emails – explain how far things have come and what agencies and marketing departments do.

Stage 3: Strategy – A strategy is the glue that holds it all together.  The strategy needs to hinge on company goals that marketing supports through the efforts mentioned above.

Stage 4: Metrics – Metrics/Analytics/Data/ROI/KPI’s – so many words and so many acronyms but all are important for one reason only, to explain what the department has accomplished.  Google Analytics is one tool to rely on, as are specific CRM systems & email platforms that would allow for customer tracking and their readiness to buy.

Stage 5: Exam! Creating a marketing roadmap for a specific business, either B2B or B2C – this would be my favorite part from the kids.  A number of companies in both B2B and B2C spectrums would be in a box and they could choose their assignment.  The assignment would come with some hypothetical information about the company as well as what the marketing department is expected to do.  The students would then need to put together a strategic roadmap of the various kinds of marketing activities that would drive towards a set of goals & show examples of some of those initiatives.

All kidding aside, this would be such a pleasure to teach as I have seen many things done before and many of them haven’t worked out for one main reason – the plan wasn’t followed and everyone was simply reacting to a bunch of “who’ll scream the loudest” scenarios.  Flexibility in certain instances is one thing, being completely unprepared for everything and being unsure of what you’ll do tomorrow is quite another.

What do you all think?  Would you take this kind of course? :)

P.S. Course two would be about new product introductions and planning for new product launches!