Word of Mouth: Networking as Marketing?

Networking is undoubtedly an important professional activity, but could you use it for marketing – or even as your sole means of marketing? By harnessing word of mouth’s power while providing a quality good or service with potential to help … Continue reading

Blogging to Opportunities

In today’s world of social media, it seems like everyone and their dog has a blog. (No, really – I’ve seen “dog blogs”!) However, blogging can and should be valued as a platform for differentiating yourself from peers and competitors. Not only is it a space to opine, but it’s also a way to find and create opportunities you never knew existed. Here are a few ways that blogging could lead you to bigger and better things:Â

  • Build a personal brand – A blog provides a platform in which you can share your personal passion and expertise, whether that be related to your profession or not. Some hobby bloggers have gained such followings that they’ve made blogging a lucrative full-time gig, like Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. Ree’s quirky personality and killer recipes made so many fans that she’s gained sponsors, national exposure on morning shows, and even her own series on The Food Network, not to mention publishing a cookbook. Her success is one in a million, but it showcases how much people connect with passion and stories, no matter in what specific area. If you’re an avid golfer, tell some of the experience that stand out from your time on the course. Draw analogies between your golf game and business or life in general. Help your personality shine through. Many bloggers have made their way to the corporate speaking circuit or the realm of consulting.
  • Increase your network – One of the interesting dynamics of today’s online world is that perfect strangers can find one another by connecting over content, whether it be vigilance over car-seat safety or a shared interest in bird-watching. Place relevant, engaging content in the blogosphere, and then take the time to find bloggers with a shared passion. If you comment on their blogs and engage in a conversation – not merely trying to direct traffic to your own blog – then you will be able to find like-minded online friends. Increased connections up your chances of professional opportunities, either from focusing your blogging energy on a professionally relevant issue or by making new friends who might know someone with the ability to get you to the job you need.
  • Keep current on what’s hot (or not) – Blogging can be a great way to learn what connects with people. See what people are talking about in the blogosphere, and notice what posts you write draw the most comments and debate. Don’t shy away from being a little controversial. Don’t purposefully incite a fight, either – but if you have strong opinions on a particular subject, be bold in stating them. Listen openly to those who counter, and respond thoughtfully. Not only will everyone benefit from a reasoned discussion, but it will also help frame you as an individual who is willing to take a stand.

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What Is Klout (and Why Should You Care)?

Social media measurers Klout announced that they reached the milestone of 100 million people with “Klout Scores” that indicate the individual’s influence from data across 10 networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare. That’s a significant chunk of online users … Continue reading

Leveraging Twitter for Small Business

When looking into Twitter success stories, a lot of the most obvious winners are major companies and national brands – Ford, Dell, Johnson & Johnson. However, if you think that means Twitter is only for the “big dogs,” think again. … Continue reading

Baby Steps Toward Social Media Prowess

Recently I was talking with a friend whose baby girl has just started to crawl. While watching footage of this little gal get around – hesitantly and haltingly at first – it made me think of how important it is … Continue reading

Learning from Successful Social Media Strategists

Business-to-consumer communication has been revolutionized with the advent of social media in the last decade. With nearly 80 percent of corporations now incorporating social media into their marketing and communication mix, the role of a social strategist is becoming more and more standard as a needed and respected part of the team. Mashable recently published an awesome infographic about what it takes to be a social strategist. Even if you have no desire to make social media your 9-to-5, what are some things you can learn from the social media managers and other social media professionals surveyed?Â

The characteristics identified as making these strategists successful at their jobs were, in order:

  • “I’m multi-disciplinary and can wear many hats.” (58%)
  • “I’m willing to take risks.” (46%)
  • “I can rally different stakeholders across the organization.” (45%)
  • “I can effectively lead a multi-faceted, cross-departmental effort.” (38%)
  • “I have experience in social media.” (37%)
  • “I have a long-term customer-centric vision for the program.” (24%)
  • “I can communicate the ROI to executive leadership.” (16%)
  • “I have been working at my company many years.” (13%)

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What stands out in these numbers to me is that the key to success for these strategists has less to do with ROI or long-term plans and more to do with the ability to innovate – whether that be juggling disparate responsibilities and trying new things without the fear of failure.Â

I’m convinced that the connection between the two isn’t coincidental, either. Those who are able to take on a myriad of responsibilities – from creating content to coming up with strategies, analyzing metrics and adapting accordingly, spearheading campaigns, and evangelizing social media to stakeholders – are likely to manage participation in a myriad of media as well. They know how to work with varied audiences through varied channels, connecting consumers with companies adeptly, and they also know how to translate the benefits of social media into terms executives can appreciate and get behind, regardless of the executives’ familiarity with social media themselves.Â

Proactive social media professionals are those who are able to change and evolve along with the new shifts that come in technology. They are the ones who remain on the bleeding edge of new technologies, adopting them early and then advocating experimentation with them. These forward thinkers use the new media intuitively and find ways to extract the maximum ROI from the tools (remembering that ROI in social media is less about sales conversions and more about building relationships and brand loyalty).Â

Likewise, to get the most out of social media, businesses need to be willing to try new things – and to try lots of different things as well. The benefit of social media is that most of the tools are free. Not having to invest much overhead to dabble in different platforms leaves businesses wide open to experiment with new initiatives and see what resonates with their customers. Be willing to adapt to and adopt new technologies and integrate them into different parts of the business cycle – from marketing and sales to customer service – and you’ll be sure to find what works best for your particular business niche.

http://socl.tk/1v0

Want to be Like’d? Be engaging

Everybody wants to be liked – especially in today’s Facebook world, where the thumbs-up “Like” button represents the ultimate stamp of approval from consumers to their networks. But how do you get the “Like” love on Facebook (and other crowd-sourced … Continue reading

Hitting the Relevance Bull’s-eye

Recently I came across a post on Social Media Explorer  that showcased a bull’s-eye graphic to discuss exactly what it takes to provide relevant marketing communication. Â

“Optimal communication takes place when a marketer can deliver a relevant message to a relevant audience in a relevant location at a relevant time,” wrote post author Mark Smiciklas.Â

This concept meshes with a social media quote I’ve lived by for several years. Steve Rubel of Edelman PR once spelled out his recipe for social media success: “Create high-quality content in high-interest areas again and again.” None of these ingredients can stand alone from the other. What you create will depend on who you’re trying to reach and where they turn for information, not to mention when they will be looking.Â

I’ll pose the same question Smiciklas asked: How can you become more relevant? Here are some thoughts on each of the categories needed to hit the relevance bull’s-eye with successful communication:

  • Relevant Message – What is it that you’re trying to convey? Try to boil your unique selling proposition down to an elevator pitch, a 60-second explanation of why your product or service matters. From there, try to hone in on a story that can express the message in a way that will connect with your audience. Is there a case study or success story that you can relate? Focus on the pain points your customers face. How do you offer a solution to this pressing problem? Why is your solution superior to others out there?
  • Relevant Audience – How defined is the audience you’re trying to reach? Targeting a specific group of people – or even multiple groups – will make all the difference in making your messaging effective. Speak to their unique needs and wants. If you have a product or service that benefits a general audience, then you may need to find a way to tell your story multiple times to multiple consumer profiles. Also think of how to tell the story – which medium is best. Will your audience watch a YouTube video, or are they more likely to benefit from a podcast or blogpost? One size does not fit all where effective marketing is concerned.
  • Relevant Location – Where does your target audience turn for information? As Rubel said, it matters to place your message in high-interest areas. Think about the model used in traditional television advertising or film trailers. Would you want to advertise chainsaws during children’s programming? Conversely, would it be effective to show a trailer of the latest My Little Ponies film right before a testosterone-fueled slasher flick? You want to connect with your audience where they look for information, whether that be mommy blogs, traditional news vehicles, corporate websites, or social media outlets.
  • Relevant Time – When will your target audience need the information you can provide? One of the top “news values” by which journalists judge a story’s importance is timeliness.  Even the best message will fall on deaf ears if it doesn’t matter to the audience at the time. Pay attention to current events. Is there a way to tie your story into a larger news item or story that has the public buzzing? Can you use the activities and emotions tied to the various seasons of the year to make your message hit home better? Tell stories that will resonate with what’s on people’s minds right now.

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Creating Content People Care About

“Content is king” has become a mantra for many social media marketers and website creators in today’s online environment. While this has become an undisputed point, two questions inevitably follow: what kind of content is best? How do you create content about which people will care? Here are the top two discoveries social media evangelist Ron Ploof made at 2011’s Confab: The Content Strategy Conference when he asked the 60 content creators in attendance for their top-three things they wanted to learn:

  • Storytelling is top – When asked what they wanted to learn from the Confab session “Content Rules: How to Create Content People Really Care About,” the No. 1 response from attendees was “Finding and Telling Stories.” Combine those votes with the ones for two additional story-related categories – “Connecting Stories to Business” and “Voice: Brand/Content Balance” – and 61 percent of the attendees wanted help with storytelling. This is no great surprise. People are wired to connect better with stories than with abstract principles. As Ploof’s said before, people have the attention span of a gnat online. However, if you find a way to present your company’s story that will captivate the audience’s attention and imagination, connecting with them in a real, personal way, then you can extend that gnat-like attention span. “The best online content creators combine the power of storytelling with education to tap into a reservoir of dormant attention,” Ploof said.
  • Executives need educating– Those in social media circles tend to think that by this point in time, the benefits of social media are a given. However, the audience’s desire for help with convincing executives that social media is an opportunity instead of a burden shows there’s still a need to show why it matters – it was the second-most requested topic from attendees. The questions they asked are enlightening as well. Ploof lists a few, including how to “focus execs so they/we can prioritize which story to tell” and “how to get execs to respect content development as a skill (and non-execs too)?” Content creation is a craft and skill that requires patience and creativity – it can’t be churned out, but it’s worth the wait when executed well. A large part of content creation is storytelling, as mentioned above. It seems like executives will either say they have no real story to tell or they’ll want to tell too many stories at once – famine or feast, so to speak. Help them learn to pace the process, prioritizing on what story is most important to tell the message and get the results they want right now.

http://socl.tk/1v0

Socialzing Offers New Curriculum

SocialZing.com Announces New Social Media Educational Curriculum

SocialZing.com is proud to announce that they have formed a strategic alliance with Market Motive to provide a Social Media educational curriculum to all SocialZing.com members.

SocialZing University

SocialZing University

Bedford, PA (PRWEB) April 02, 2014

SocialZing.com is proud to announce that they have formed a strategic alliance with Market Motive to provide a Social Media educational curriculum to all SocialZing.com members.

Chief Marketing Officer Brian McLane states, “We are pleased to announce our new relationship with Market Motive. As a recognized industry leader in Digital Marketing Certification courses, their experience and expertise will add to the existing suite of powerful social media marketing tools we offer. Our members identified a need in the market place for social media education. Most businesses would agree that social media marketing is a must in order to thrive in today’s marketplace. The challenge is that most of them do not know how to do it. SocialZing.com already provides a turn key solution with their proprietary autopilot system, but realizes that there are still 95% of business owners out there that are intimidated by the thought of having to learn how to market through social media, in their already busy schedules. SocialZing.com keeps true to its motto, Social Media Made Simple by providing this powerful educational platform, where members can learn at their own pace with educational videos and study guides.”

The SocialZing.com social media educational platform will be taught by Jennifer Evans Cario, through Market Motive. Jennifer is President of SugarSpun Marketing, and as a social media strategist has made a career out of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Jennifer is known for using accessible language and a common sense approach that delivers solid results while still allowing her clients to fully understand and participate in the process.

Jennifer is a highly requested speaker and trainer and is a regular fixture at the major online marketing conferences. She also serves as Adjunct Professor for Rutgers University’s online Social Media Mini MBA program.

About SocialZing.com

SocialZing.com provides cutting edge tools that allow business owners, and consumers to manage all of their social media from one simple dashboard. Dramatic changes are taking place regarding the way individuals and organizations prospect for new business. Traditional methods of outreach have been around for years such as print media, television, radio, cold calling, direct email, and email blasts. But today, with the advent of social media, smart phones and Internet communications; the models and channels of prospecting have mushroomed. Now with SocialZing you can extend beyond your warm market into new markets that years ago could never have been reached.

Contact

To learn more about SocialZing, please visit http://www.garypasek.com.

Robert Alvarez, VP Marketing
1655 Burlington Pike #221
Florence, KY 41042
Office: (859) 817-9403
Fax: (928) 244-8403
robert(at)socialzing(dot)com