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Online Marketing Advice You Need To Know Now

Marketing Tips and Takeaways from INBOUND17

Still spinning from INBOUND17, an annual marketing conference in Boston, where I spent four days with 20,000 other fellow marketers, I am excited to share some of the top takeaways and immediately actionable insights. These ideas will help you be strategic about what’s trending in online marketing, so you can stay ahead of the curve and become even more more connected to your clients and fans. Dive on in.

1> “Instagram is Facebook’s next Facebook”

So says Facebook’s (owner of Instagram) CEO Jeff Zuckerberg. Straight from the horse’s mouth, Facebook expert Mari Smith advised it is imperative to include Instagram in your social media strategy. When Facebook is putting their energy there, so should you, with opportunities for the fastest growth in growing your followers and increasing your brand awareness.

TAKEAWAY TIP – Connect your Instagram profile to your Facebook page for analytics about how to be more strategic with the right audience. Make sure that your Instagram is “on brand” with the rest of your social media profiles.


2> Video, video, video!

Yes, video continues to be the content darling with social media, especially with Facebook TV and video ads. Also from Mari Smith’s presentation, we heard how Facebook is (still) giving priority to videos created in Facebook—not only for posts, but also for ads. It is getting easier and easier to create more professional ads without having to spend a fortune on video production. Some of the video tools Mari recommended were Wave and Animoto.

TAKEAWAY TIP – If you haven’t started, start RIGHT NOW! Start experimenting and post something THIS WEEK! If you have started, take it up a level – especially if you have a great idea for video or television series.


3> Less is more. Quality over quantity.

20% of your content (the unicorns) is bringing in 80% of your traffic. Work it, be smart, be strategic. This message was repeated in many different forums with varying degrees of statistics. But the general message from all of the speakers I heard (Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot; Larry Kim, Wordstream, and Garrett Moon, CoSchedule) was that you should focus your growth (10x growth, not 10% growth) on these really big content ideas and winners.

TAKEAWAY TIP – Find your most popular content (check the analytics from your website and social media) and make a plan to make it work harder.

 


4> Be human and connect.

We all want to belong – but we need to be solid in belonging first to ourselves. With a new book out, called Braving The Wilderness, Brene Brown kicked off the conference with a most powerful call for everyone to be more engaged with their fellow humankind. Fresh from the front of the Houston hurricane disasters, she had real life stories and proof that we are capable of being humans together – not apart.

TAKEAWAY TIP – Call, touch, hug and/or really look at someone today and everyday! But also as we think of our companies and brands, it’s imperative to be OK and even stand out or stand alone in our authenticity.

 


5> Creativity happens whenever we solve problems.

I took comfort in being reminded that being a creator doesn’t mean you have to be an artist or designer, or really good at making things pretty. Specifically, Wharton professor and author Adam Grant had some very pragmatic suggestions no matter what you do or who you are for how to bring creative ideas to life …which often involve working with your grumpy outlier cohorts.

TAKEAWAY TIP – Have a plan for bringing your next big idea to life. Don’t assume the people who are like you or who like you are always going to be your biggest advocates and the people who can most help you succeed.


Check out my LIVE FB video from INBOUND here. And if you want more insight in how to apply these trends and tips to your online marketing strategy, set up a clarity call with me now.

8 Secrets to Successful Social Media Management

Earlier this month, I spoke at 341 Studios about “Social Media Marketing for Business” where I shared top trends, tools and tricks to help small business make the most of their social media marketing with an audience of small business professionals. It turned out to be a lively discussion, instead of a presentation! We covered the top social media platforms and strategies for making time for social media marketing.

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Here are some of the “secrets” we discussed:

1.     Choose 1 or 2 platforms and use them well: Be where your clients will be. Don’t try to be everywhere.

2.     Each platform has its own language: Try to customize content (tone, text and images) for each platform.

3.     Use feeds, searches and lists for content ideas: This is much easier with third party social media platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, PostPlanner, and Sprout Social.

4.     Use monitors to listen: Set up alerts to email you when your brand name or company are mentioned on the web. www.socialmention.com and www.google.com/alert are great listening tools.  Also, follow keywords and hashtags related to your business.

5.     Automate promotion of your blog posts via email and social media: WordPress assigns a special email address to post by email, or you can use RSS feed-based campaigns with your email program to get your blog posts out in a timely manner.

6.     Work ahead, schedule some posts in advance: You don’t HAVE to start your social media efforts from scratch every day, but always be ready to adjust to unexpected world and local events. Your social media cannot be entirely run on autopilot.

7.     Set time aside to engage and make sure your content is easily sharable: Don’t forget the social in social media! Make it a conversation, not a billboard.

8.     Take advantage of mobile: Your ability to interact quickly to mentions or posts can boost your brand and grow your audience.

What are your secrets for successful social media management?  Please share them in the comments below.  Interested in more tips and news, please sign up for my monthly newsletter and follow me (@sheesalt) on Twitter.

An original version of this piece appeared on 341 blog.

Making Time For Social Media

Last week, I was excited to speak at 341 Studios Roundtable Series about “Making Time For Social Media.”  January is the perfect month for entrepreneurs and small business marketing managers to gear up for growth with their social media and online marketing efforts.

After a brief discussion of the top six social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+, we launched right into the two most important tools for social media management: 1) a third party social media application (like Hootsuite or Buffer) and 2) an editorial calendar/checklist.

Are you using both of these tools in your social media management? Which ones?  Let me know in the comments. 

Planning for a productive year

Hopefully, by now, you’ve given some thought to several things that you would like to achieve this year.  Are you planning to roll out a newsletter, become a regular blogger, learn about social media (– or maybe you just want to simply commit to exercising more).  If you haven’t given it any thought, then take a few minutes to look at your (probably pretty blank calendar) for 2014 and think about what you would like to be doing and achieve this year?

Got your goal(s) in mind?  Great!  Write it down where you will review regularly so that you can remind yourself on a consistent basis what you are working toward.  You don’t want to get distracted by the everday-ness of life and loose focus on the big picture.

Now it’s time for the “secret sauce second step” as the big disconnect for many is getting from goal setting to actually making it happen.

Break down your goal into manageable steps – Many times we don’t reach our goal or even get started on the goal because it seems too lofty, unattainable or overwhelming or we don’t know where to start.  Breaking your goal down into manageable bite-size steps will help you get started quicker and more than likely will help you create productive habits that support your goals.

For many, Step #1 is simply doing the research.  As you are figuring out your steps also think about what other resources might be involved in reaching your goal.  Can you do this by yourself?  Will you need the help of others?  Are there costs involved or set-up work that needs to happen?

Here’s an example:  Let’s say you want to get 200 followers on your social media sites or your email list, your basic steps might look like this:

  • Step #1 – Research using the Internet, attend social media class or webinar
  • Step #2 – Set-up social media account or email service
  • Step #3 – Create profile or templates
  • Step #4 – Follow or subscribe to others in your space, to figure out best practices
  • Step #5 – Introduce promotion/announcement to encourage followers
  • Step #6 – Figure out how and where you are going to source and save content and content ideas for posting and sharing
  • Step #7 – Create a regular schedule* for sourcing, posts and responding.
  • Step #8 – Review what is working best for you and adjust accordingly.

As you can see, breaking down what might seem to be an overwhelming prospect now becomes an actionable attainable process.  The key is to ensure you make time for the process.

Put it on the calendar – Now you have laid out the steps required to achieve your goal, it is very important to make the time for each of these steps.   Get that 2014 calendar back out and start scheduling realistic time for each of these steps.  Don’t just write it down on your calendar as a “to-do”.  You should literally create an actual time slot or appointment for each and every step.

For some, planning forward scheduling time for each step in a manageable sequential time frame is the best approach.  For others, it works better to set a deadline date by which you would like to have the goal achieved and work backwards to the present day building in each step.  Either way you should ensure that you have a clear picture of the time frame you are committing to achieving this goal.

Think of it this way, it is not just a calendar, but it’s your life.  “Fill it with the things that deserve to be there,” advises time management guru (and a client) Laura Vanderkam.  Having a plan will not only make you more productive, it will lead to more fulfilling life.  You will be amazed what you can achieve in a year!

Here are some resourceful articles and downloads about planning, scheduling and executing particularly for small businesses focused on their online marketing and social media.

* Want to Be More Productive? Build Your Editorial Calendar – Dorie Clark
* Don’t Let The Small Business Time Vampire Drain The Life From Your Social Media Presence – Social Collectives
* Your Daily Blogging Checklist – The SITS Girls
*Online Marketing Calendar & Checklist (Click to download) – NancySheed.com

Please leave a comment below sharing your big plans for this year.  Thanks!