Is Your Brand Engaging Your Customers?

Now that I’ve talked about what works for B2B, it’s important to cover the B2C landscape as well…although quite honestly these tips can also be implemented in a B2B scenario as well.

A recent Wall Street Journal article written by Geoffrey Fowler titled, Best Practices for Engaging With Consumers Through Social Media, talks about covering some basic steps to engagement.

Engagement means something different to every company.  To one it might mean getting the most followers, to another the most ReTweets while to a third it might mean that a certain number of people show up to a free event or webinar.

I’d like to take Geoffrey’s 5 rules/steps to success and add my own thoughts to each.

The 5 steps are:

1. Listen and measure– If you do nothing else, you have to implement social media and LISTEN to your customers.  This will allow you to be ahead in the case of a marketing emergency and also let you in on what your consumers talk about and like.  Take a look at your numbers and see how people are interacting with your site…meaning, MEASURE.

2. Do market research through Facebook Ads–  There is a lot you can learn about your audience through social media and especially Facebook Insights, which your company can have access to once it has at least 32 followers.  You find out demographic information, who interacts with your postings, how and how often your postings get shared, etc.  Once you have gathered this information you can create pointed ads for your audience.  Once launched, Facebook Ads will supply you with the following information:

  • Ad performances metrics
  • Demographic metrics: information like age, gender and location of the people who are clicking on your ad (view our privacy policy)
  • Social metrics: metrics that show when your ad is viewed by someone who is friends with a fan of your Page, Event, or Application.

3. The Boss should Tweet– There are many people who say that people listen to the CEO more than they may listen to what the branding folk say.  I think the notion is that whatever a CEO says is regarded as the final word.  Basically, I think that having a CEO share information about the goings on of a company and what goes on in a certain market gives credibility to a brand and its messaging.

4. Empower all your employees to participate– Having others in the company tweet, post or contribute to a blog gives a brand a personal feel.  It’s not just a PR agency or one marketing person’s look at the world but numerous people’s opinions.  You can look at it another way, there’s no “I” in Team.  And social media is one GIANT team which thrives on the community aspect.

5. Monitor for compliance– And, number 5 goes hand in hand with number 4.  If others in the organization are encouraged to participate in social media then there need to be rules.  The basics?  No bashing of the brand and no bad mouthing the competition.  Also, no sharing of trade and insider secrets.  Got it? 🙂

What did you do today?

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B2B Companies Prefer LinkedIn

Melissa Miller of Hubspot recently published an article titled, LinkedIn is More Effective for B2B Companies, where she shared a graph from one of Hubspot’s recent studies and explained why one social media platform worked better than another for a  B2B scenario.

It’s often hard for companies, and other agencies, to understand how to approach social media from a B2B perspective. Everyone knows that sharing coupons and promotions directly with your customers, i.e. followers, is an easy and almost free kind of advertising for a company.  But for a company that does not have direct customers things get a little tough.  From my perspective a B2B company should start with LinkedIn.  Twitter and Facebook are important monitoring tools but in terms of getting a message out and connecting with professional individuals, LinkedIn is spot on, followed by a blog.

For a B2B company, it’s important to remember that creating a good message and consistent and worthwhile content is the name of the game.  You also have to monitor what your competition is doing and keep an eye on any bad press, and that’s where Twitter and Facebook come in, also very important.

However, LinkedIn allows for that personal connection and gives you the ability to build yourself up as a credible source.  Whether it’ a member of the sales force contacting a new connection or the company creating thought leadership groups and a consistent message through out its profile, everything about being on LinkedIn screams professional and business.  For B2B companies, you have to have a good relationship before you can really reap the benefits and learning how to use LinkedIn is the first step for anyone who is interested in succeeding.

LinkedIn isn’t meant for companies who want to lure in customers through flashy and pointed ads, it’s meant for companies who want to build a relationship that is centered around business.

What did you do today?

Career Advice 101-LinkedIn Groups.

I recently created a spin off of this blog on LinkedIn by creating a LinkedIn group titled, you guessed it, Career Advice 101.  I wanted to create an open space for people to ask questions and seek advice from knowledgeable individuals.  Just like my Twitter account, I wanted to keep this group private.  I wanted to make sure that we didn’t just have random followers but people who are actually interested in hearing and sharing career related advice.

I also wanted to create a group so I know, from a marketing perspective, what LinkedIn groups can offer a company.  As you know, I’m always ready to learn something new and creating this group allows me to do that.  I am always open to advice about how to make this group successful.

So here is what I have learned so far…

Lesson 1: You can create a private or public group.  This depends on how you want to spread your message and to whom.

Lesson 2: I would advise that a logo be associated with the group.  I just feel like a logo adds that seal of approval for a group.

Lesson 3: You can send mini ads, a.k.a. announcements, to everyone who is following your group.  This announcement can be about a new discussion or a new event that may be of interest to the group members.

Lesson 4: You can add a news feed!  How cool is that?  Whatever your group focus is, you can have a real live stream of news on your page relating to that topic.

Lesson 5: Last and certainly not least, make sure that you have a good group description, especially if your group is private.  People need to know what you’re about and this is your moment to shine.

How are you using LinkedIn groups?

What did you do today?

LinkedIn Company Pages, What You Didn’t Know!

As you may know, I recently sat in on a LinkedIn webinar.  The webinar did not cover LinkedIn company pages but since the webinar, I have been spending more and more time on LinkedIn and am simply blown away by all the things one has access to, for free!

As someone who is responsible for the look and feel of a LinkedIn company page here are my top 5 must have’s for a successful page:

1. A logo and company description.  Yes, these may be thought of as two separate entities but in my eyes these are the basics of a brand/company.  People need a logo to associate with just as much as they need to know what a company is all about.

2. Make sure to utilize the products/services tabs.  You can highlight your newest products and services without always guiding people to your general website.  In the products/services tab you can add a photo, product description, YouTube video, company contact, disclaimer and product specific url link.

3. When you click on your general product/services tab you can create an overall product description.  Make sure to fill in the general description section and make sure it’s different from your company description.  Basically, if you have more than one opportunity to let viewers find out about your company, why would you say the same thing more than once?  Wouldn’t you want an overall company description and one that is product specific?  Tell everyone why your company matters and what sets your product apart from competitors.

4. Did you also know that you can make the product descriptions market specific?  You can have a default description but also specify that LinkedIn show a different description dependent on where a viewer is from.  I have yet to explore this, but if it’s possible to have a description in several languages that would just make my day!

5. Last but not least you have the ability to have up to three FREE banner ads.  All you need is a photo or .jpg of a specific product and a url for a landing page of where you want people to land on.  What marketer would say no to free advertising?

By no means are these 5 steps “it.”  I am amazed on a daily basis about what I can do.  If you’re looking for sample pages that execute the above points well, take a look at the New Balance and Dell company pages.  I also look for any other tips or corrections to the above tips.

What did you do today?

Earth Day and the Kentucky Derby

Happy Earth Day everyone!

I hope you are enjoying your Friday, and if you are looking for a way to kick start your morning then why not bring in a reusable travel mug to your nearest Starbucks and have them fill it up for free today?

Or, if you’re thinking about spring, then head over to a local Lowe’s early and get one of the thousands of trees they are giving away for free!

Anyways, a sunny, but chilly, Friday calls for country music which makes me think about the fact that I have always wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby.  I don’t know if it’s so much about the actual horse races, as I’ve never actually seen one, as it is about the fashion and overall atmosphere.  I would LOVE to wear a fun yet simple dress and leave all the drama to my hat. And…I’m sure after a couple of mint juleps I could certainly get into the races as well.

Here goes, my picks for some fantastic derby fashions:

I would also love to own any one of Lesley Humphrey’s paintings.  My personal favorite would be “Ladies First.

Which is your favorite hat…what did you do today?

5 More Job Search Tips

Alesia Benedict who is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com. As you may have guessed, I’m taking her great tips in regards to job search milestones and sharing them with you!. These are all milestones I have written at length about myself but it never hurts to get an experts opinion.

Alesia thinks that there are five major milestones one must achieve during a job search.  It all begins with identifying your target companies, followed by tailoring your resume and cover letter, “Emphasize skills and accomplishments in your resume that align with corporate needs. A slight adjustment may be all that is necessary to present yourself as the perfect candidate. Don’t rely on references to float your resume to the top of the pile. The cover letter and resume must stand on the merits of your experience, skills, and potential for contributions to the company’s bottom-line.”

Step three is to follow up after an interview.  Alesia talks about several ways to do so, “When you follow up, remember to use a number of different strategies. Traditional thank-you letters and e-mails can both be appropriate. When managing group interview situations, you may prefer to use email and a brief phone message to keep your name and credentials fresh in the mind of each interviewer. You will also want to follow up with the initial contact person for your cover letter.”

As I’ve said before, it’s important to keep going.  No matter how well an interview may have gone, you have to keep looking.   You are only done when you have an offer in your hand. Alesia’s advice seems to be on par with my advice.  “Even after the interview, keep in contact with your network and maintain your job search efforts. Part of the challenge in current job searches is how protracted the process has become in a tight job market. Think of the process as a marathon and pace yourself.”

And last but not least, you have to maintain a good record of your applications.  Make sure you have a way to keep track of the jobs you have applied for, the ones you are interviewing for and ones you were rejected from.

I hope Alesia’s tips helped.  Take look in the following categories in my blog to get more tips:

Getting Hired
Job Search Techniques
Resume Tips
Interview Tips

What did you do today?

When Does Your Boss Know Too Much About You?

Back in my interviewing days I went to a company that helps companies assess their employees and candidates.  At first I thought it was pretty neat.  But when I was told about the results of my assessment and the results were on par with who I am I began to feel a little uneasy.  Not because I had a trait I wouldn’t want someone to know about I just felt uncomfortable with the fact that people I had met for the first time knew as much about me as my long time friends.

What I also felt unsure about was the fact that managers in this particular company obviously knew EVERYTHING about their employees, in terms of behavior, and would use different tactics in different meetings in order to get the most out of certain employees.  It may be an effective tactic but when is too much too much?  I don’t know if I’d feel OK with a manager thinking they’ll know exactly how I might react to a certain situation.  How do they know for certain that I may not react differently.  And will I be penalized for not fitting a certain point on a chart?

What do you think?  Can knowing your employees behavior almost down to a t a good or bad thing?

What did you do today?

In other news, I have created my Career Advice 101 group on LinkedIn.  If this link didn’t work, just search for “Career Advice 101” in the groups section.  I hope you’ll join!

Why Keywords Rule LinkedIn

Wow, I got my mind BLOWN last week during a 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?

Social Media 101-Part 2

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, this week I attended a seminar led by Holly Lett.  The seminar was one of many presented by Rockhurst University Continuing Education Center.

Today I wanted to share some real tips from the seminar which focused on social media for business.  Holly went over the “Big 5” of social media and although we all know about these mediums I think it’s important to share this information because often times we forget about the basics.  Here goes…

1. LinkedIn: Used to build a network of professional colleagues and connections to build relationships that boost your success and reputation.
2. Twitter: Used to interact with others in 140-character posts in real time through sharing content, posing questions, responding to others, and learning from industry leaders and market representatives.
3. Facebook: The personal profile is used to connect with friends and family to share news, photos, and videos, and play games.  The business page is used to build an online community surrounding your business where people can interact with you, make suggestions on products and services, and feel like they’re the “insiders” because you show them pictures, offer them special deals, and let them see behind the scenes.
4. Blogging: The business blog is used to establish credibility by sharing expertise with the intention of building readers and encouraging comments.
5. Video: Video is a quick, relatively simple, and cost-effective medium that doesn’t necessarily require expensive equipment or professional talent.  Video can show, not tell, what you want your market to understand, often in an entertaining way that is more intriguing to consumers.

I hope these basics have helped refresh your memory about what medium should be used in which situation and lets all thank Rockhurst University for their great material.

Have a good weekend and what did you do today?

Social Media 101-Part 1

Yesterday I attended a great seminar led by Holly Lett.  The seminar was one of many presented by Rockhurst University Continuing Education Center and the great perk we got at the end was a certificate stating that we had completed .6 CEUs/6 contact hours of Continuing Education.  Having said that, I encourage everyone to look into the courses and seminars offered by Rockhurst University.

Today I wanted to share my notes with you.  First and foremost, I apologize about the randomness of the notes but these were the main points I thought I wanted to jot down.

Although I feel like I know a good amount about social media I always learn something new, because social media is always evolving.  Here are my notes, I hope you find them helpful and thought provoking, because as I’ve said before, you can always learn something new from something old.

1. In order to succeed in social media you must be able to tell a story. This will build relationships.  Ex: non-profit organizations are very good at telling stories.  Do you want to save a pet after seeing the commercials with Sarah McLachlan?
2. You must ask yourself, “What do our customers want to know about us?” You should also ask, “where are we with our customers?”  Do you need to resolve a problem through your social media?  Do you need to promote a new discount?
3. Just because social media is low cost it does not mean it is low thought.
4. What helps people, helps business.
5. Marketing is communication with the expectation of response.
6. Don’t worry about looking bad, everyone makes mistakes. Worry about how you will look when the problem is fixed.
7. LinkedIn gives you a warm path to decision makers.
8. When blogging, use “online magazine” format.
9. Functionality, content and design: the 3 critical functions of a site.
10. Outbound marketing: the company has control.  Inbound marketing: the customer has control.

Top 3 social media mistakes:
1. Failure to establish a social media policy.
Who will be the public face of the company?
Who can blog/tweet/chat on behalf of the company?
Who will respond to questions regarding policy?
2. Failure to define “social media.”
3. Failure to adequately train on etiquette.

What did you do today?
Friday I’ll share some real social media take aways from the seminar that you can implement right away.