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Combining Social Selling Strategies with Great Content and Marketing

 

Social Selling Ideas

I’d like to share a portion of an article below by Tenfold that offers some good reasons for “social selling” including the need for great content. This is something Scribe Syndicate can really get behind. We have partnered with web design companies and marketing firms because:

  • many businesses need to upgrade their websites or build new ones,
  • then generate some useful or educational material for their audience through regularly scheduled blog article and social media posts,
  • before finally maximizing their presence online with their marketing firm.

As a result, we now have social media posting packages that can also include monthly blog articles, priced to suit small to medium size companies. You can start with a small package including daily postings on three social platforms and tack on one blog article per month. Graduate to daily, weekly, or monthly postings on three social platforms and at least four blog articles per month. You can choose to let us select images that suit your topics from popular free image sites or use your own stock image accounts or photography.

We know you want to grow, so we can work with your web design company and marketing firm or guide you to a recommended partner who has the same goal – getting you to the top of your industry with quality, organic content that works best with your SEO marketing and audience, while boosting your reputation as the best resource for your service or product. Read the following excerpt from the Tenfold article below.

According to Tenfold, you need to “… be where your market is. Right now, they are online.”

What Is Social Selling?

Social selling expert Koka Sexton describes social selling as: “Leveraging your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights, and relationships…. But at a very base level, it’s how a salesperson uses social media to listen and engage with decision makers that are on these networks, asking questions and looking for help.”

It’s different from social media marketing which builds brand awareness on social media. With social selling, your goal is to engage and build relationships online through focused useful content and active participation in social media conversations.

Why Social Selling?

 

Forrester study has found that most companies see a long- and short- term value in social selling. Almost half of these have a social selling program in place; while 28 percent are in the process of developing their own programs. 36 percent actually believe that the future of sales is in social selling.

How Do You Get Started?

It is one thing to be online and a part of the social networks. It is another to do social selling right. Social selling needs to be viewed as an investment, and not a waste of time.

 

  • How do you reach out to the decision makers and buyers on different social media platforms?
  • How do you become the “voice” of the industry and get these buyers to seek you out and listen to what you have to say?

It starts with your content. Offer relevant content with valuable solutions to common pain points. Get involved in business groups and community discussions. Be helpful and available for discussion.

See the entire Tenfold article on How Enterprises are Adopting Social Selling including an exclusive interview with Neal Schaffer, one of Forbes Magazine’s Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers.

Sources:

Goldman, M., Tenfold, 2018. How Enterprises are Adopting Social Selling, https://www.tenfold.com/sales/how-enterprises-are-adopting-social-selling 

 

 

 

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5 Guidelines for Using Social Media Effectively

5 guidelines for using social media effectively

I’d like to share this article from Tenfold Marketing with my followers who are still struggling with why they need to create and maintain an online business presence.

Using social media in a business setting isn’t a new concept, yet many companies simply don’t see any value in it. To some, these websites might not seem like anything more than a place to share selfies, and pointless daily updates, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Every minute, there are meaningful conversations happening on social media, and to willingly exclude yourself from this expansive atmosphere is a disservice to your company. TwitterFacebook, and other social sites are important to use, not only because there are tangible user benefits to them, but because your presence there also signals that you’re active in the social marketplace. If you, or your company is ready to join the digital world, make sure these 5 guidelines for using social media are understood before jumping in headfirst.

1.  Use it

Getting started with a brand new social media account is probably the hardest part of the entire process. Nobody wants to send their tweets to four followers, as few, if any, will see your message, and you’re not likely going to get any engagement. Not only will the content be sent into a void, but some will find speaking to an empty auditorium embarrassing.

Well, get past that.

Every social media account in history has started off with zero followers, no subscribers, and no likes. Building a following will likely be tedious and time consuming, but starting the process now is undoubtedly worthwhile. It’s like the ancient Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” Except, in our case, it’s a little less profound.

The best time to start a social media account was five years ago. The second-best time is now.

During the process of growing your user base, there’s one vitally important point to keep in mind: Don’t buy followers. It might help your vanity by being able to point to a follower count of 10,000, but if none of them interact with you, or care about your product, then what’s the point? It’s a waste of money, and we’re constantly seeing crackdowns on fake and bought accounts. It won’t help you grow your user base, and a likely scenario is that all your bought followers will eventually be purged, causing you to start all over again, not to mention the embarrassment and loss of credibility at being found out.

2. Use relevant media

According to Kissmetrics, content with images gets 94% more views than those without. While that’s true, we need to clarify exactly what that means. It’s not enough to just attach a photo to a tweet and sit back and watch it flourish. The image needs to be relevant to what your message is about.

If you see a Tweet with the text “Here’s how you can take advantage of social media” with a photo of a bushel of apples, chances are, you’re not going to click on that link.

However, finding a photo that perfectly matches your message is easier said than done. With PixabayKaboompics, and other high-quality image sites, it’s likely that you can find something that’s at the very least tangentially related to your topic. Of course, there are paid alternatives which will open up a treasure trove of images, but if you’re stuck under a tight budget, or none at all, you’re left without an easy solution. Fortunately, there are other alternatives.

If you find yourself having trouble nailing down that perfect image, why not try creating it? While that might sound like a tall task, with Canva, a site that provides you with easy and intuitive tools to design your own images, it’s simple. They have numerous pre-designed layout options, and thousands of photos, grids, frames, shapes, illustrations, icons, and charts for you to incorporate into your design. Long story short. Don’t settle for a photo that’s somewhat related to your topic. Create one that connects to your message.

canva example pic

3. An active social media account = increased customer loyalty

Having a social media account accomplishes a myriad of things, but out of all the benefits, there are two that stand out. The first is that it lets people know that your business is an active member of their social world. Without a way to connect with consumers and potential partners online, people may dismiss your company altogether.

When it comes to dealing with a business, I look for their channels on social media. If they don’t have a social presence, I don’t consider them serious in business. – Maria Johnsen

The second reason is that having an active account creates loyalty between your company and your (potential) customers. According to a study done by Texas Tech University, “companies who effectively use Twitter and engage in conversations with their followers were most likely to gain brand loyalty from those individuals.

Simply engaging with your customers will have a dramatic payoff. Just five-to-ten years ago, it was fairly difficult for companies to speak with individual customers. While you could always call the support line, wait times could range anywhere from non-existent to over an hour, and those waits, which haven’t gotten better, are hardly a way to grow customer loyalty and satisfaction. But now, with 140 characters and the click of a button, a consumer can reach a company in seconds, and have their specific issue addressed.

4. Using social media correctly, humanizes your company

Let’s do a quick experiment. Check out Microsoft’s official Twitter account and compare it to Starbucks’. Both offer products and services that have become integral pieces of everyday life, yet their timelines have vastly different looks. For the most part, Microsoft’s is full of their own tweets, and retweets of articles that either mention a revolutionary product they’ve created, or those that mention their CEO, Satya Nadella.

On the other hand, Starbucks’ Twitter feed is filled with retweets of satisfied customers, as well as their own content. They interact and engage with their user base, which allows their customers to connect with Starbucks in a way that you can’t with Microsoft.

Currently, Microsoft’s pinned tweet is about someone named Patrick De Armas, who uses the “Microsoft Surface Pro 3 to create and manage his work.” On the surface (pun not intended…ok maybe it was), this is exactly the type of content they should be pushing on social media. It showcases their product in a unique environment and reinforces the idea that the Surface is a multi-faceted tool.

That message on its own is perfect, powerful, and exactly what Microsoft should be trying to accomplish. The only problem is that this specific example is a part of their features program, which is focused on in-depth stories. Unfortunately, these pieces require extensive planning. It’s not something that can happen organically and spontaneously. That’s not to imply that these posts are bad, in fact they’re fantastic, but what Microsoft should also be focusing in on is taking advantage of posts like this.

microsoft image for tenfold

Twelve words and one photo has shown that Microsoft is invested in the average consumer, and that they’re willing to go above and beyond to make sure the affected user is taken care of. While this specific customer might not be as important to Microsoft as the previously mentioned De Armas, the consumer type is arguably just as important, if not more so. A post like this shows that Microsoft cares about someone who might spend just $250 per year with them; and they should be broadcasting that fact to their 7.74 million followers.

Users want to feel like “there are actual people behind the accounts they are interacting with.” Unfortunately, not every company understands this, and simply refuse to interact with the customers who populate their mentions.

5. You can convert on social media

The idea that you can turn Tweeting, Facebook posting, and LinkedIn sharing into tangible sales might seem like a fairytale, but it’s not far-fetched at all. Social selling is a way for you to engage and connect with customers on an individual level, in ways that weren’t available ten years ago. If this concept is new to you, we’ve put together a five-step process on how to “jumpstart your team’s social selling.”

  • Optimize your social media profiles
  • Research your targets
  • Listen
  • Make connections. Initiate conversations.
  • Be a source of excellent content

Social selling isn’t going anywhere soon, and it would be in your best interests to start learning how to use it to your advantage, now. Just like building a following on social media can’t happen overnight, neither will the results from social selling efforts. It will take time and effort, but once you’ve broken through, the results will be worth it.

With the various social media sites that we’ve been given over the years, it’s important to understand how to best utilize them. While we’re often quick to dismiss these social channels, it’s paramount that each one is vetted to see if there are tangible benefits from using them. Even an app like Snapchat has a place in the business world. From a marketing standpoint, it’s a fantastic tool for promoting live events, giving people a sneak peek into your company’s daily workflow, or providing an early look at new material. The point is, be open to new technologies, and ways to connect with consumers. They could very well be the breakthrough your company needs.

Thanks for sharing your insight, Tenfold authors!

Source:

Sincavage, D., Tenfold Marketing Blog, 2018. https://www.tenfold.com/social-selling/5-guidelines-for-using-social-media-effectively

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Mainstream Marketing Technology for the Legal Cannabis Industry

legal cannabis marketingFrom start-up companies to big investors, there are things you need to know about this “budding” industry. It’s hard to get the metrics for funding and it’s difficult to grow and expand a business without available reports and statistics to help brand and market your product. Maybe this article will help.

A Short History of Legalized Cannabis in the United States

In 2012, legal medicinal cannabis was finally realized and it should be one step closer to mainstream in 2018 as adults in California, Massachusetts, and Maine marketplaces pick up the pace for normalization of recreational use in America.

More medical marijuana is sold in California than anywhere else in the United States and the addition of legal recreational use is expected to grow the state’s already exploding market to $7 billion a year, according to the Associated Press. They are followed by continually increasing consumer markets in both Colorado and Washington, according to a report from Boulder-based BDS Analytics.

Recreational customers in both Washington state and Colorado increased cannabis product spending a combined 66% since 2015 to reach over $1.5 billion in 2016, and early projections showed yet another huge increase for 2017.

Aside from revenue, legal cannabis will also bring millions of dollars in investments and thousands of new jobs to these states. More than 10,000 people have already been employed in Washington’s legal cannabis economy. [1]

Marketing and Advertising Technology Is Critical to Business

Unlike traditional businesses, legal cannabis faces a unique dilemma. In the last few years, entrepreneurs, executives, and investors had almost no solid information to base business decisions on and had to rely mostly on instinct. “They didn’t have the types of financial information, benchmark data and in-depth market insight necessary to assess the competition, target investments and tackle new opportunities.” [2] But now it’s possible to hire the right marketing and advertising expert to find and filter this data and design, brand, and provide content that is compliant.

This gets around the following issues:

  • The federal government currently doesn’t track the industry and detailed demographic information on jobs, the number of companies or taxes paid is not readily available.
  • Each state approaches the cannabis industry differently. Some provide in-depth data; tax revenue generated, the names of licensed companies, and monthly or annual retail sales, but most states don’t.
  • Entrepreneurs and investors usually find information on their markets by searching for filings and financial statements of publicly-traded companies. The cannabis industry reports that are publicly available are generally unaudited and only represent a small portion of the marketplace.
  • Medical dispensaries are required to operate as non-profit, but their tax returns are not formally recognized by the IRS and are not publicly available.

The Marijuana Business Daily Factbook 2017 conducted a survey showing “investors who have already pumped money into the cannabis industry are planning on putting capital into nearly as many marijuana businesses in 2017 as they have in all previous years combined,” and “investors plan to invest half a million dollars on average in marijuana businesses this year alone.”

A huge number of new businesses entering the cannabis space has raised the level of competition and start-up costs are rising making it even more important to know how to approach the industry, a specific niche or market segment.

Enter Tetrah Marketing

Despite challenges, the industry still requires many of the same goods and services as mainstream companies. A huge number of secondary companies – businesses like Tetra Marketing – have sprung up offering traditional services in line with federal and government regulations and guidelines. Some cater to the cannabis industry exclusively; some serve multiple markets. Tetrah has a separate company for its traditional customers that has served many businesses in both the private and public sectors, including government and military contracts, since 2010. They have access to in-depth information that some of their competitors don’t which gives their clients an edge in their marketplaces.

If you are one of the forward-thinking owners of a cannabis start-up or are an existing company looking to differentiate yourself as you expand locally or across state borders, you will need to navigate an industry that has complex rules to marketing and advertising as well as marketplace data that is hard to find. Investors want to back initiatives using solid financial numbers and information along with an analysis of existing competitors. An analysis of the competition is just one of Tetrah Marketing’s vast array of services for a non-traditional industry; a one-stop shop for all things marketing in the world of marijuana.

  • legal cannabis marketingWeb Design
  • Branding
  • SEO
  • Content Marketing
  • Print Collateral
  • Compliance
  • Workforce Management
  • Insurance

If you are serious about your cannabis business or just want to say hello and ask some questions, fill out a service questionnaire, call Don Klos at 704-491-9504, or email at him at hello@tetrahmarketing.com.

[1] Black, L., 2017. Next Year Will Be Huge for Legal Weed, http://www.thestranger.com/weed/2017/10/11/25458111/next-year-will-be-huge-for-legal-weed?utm_content=buffer9d111&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

[2] Marijuana Business Factbook 2017: Executive Summary © Copyright 2017, Marijuana Business Daily, a division of Anne Holland Ventures Inc. Marijuana Business Daily, https://mjbizdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Factbook2017ExecutiveSummary.pdf

View this article on LinkedIn too.

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The Secret for a Successful Life and Business in 2017

personal and business developmentWe live in an age that loves the peculiar and the original evidenced by reality shows, presidential elections, and entrepreneurial creativity. If ever there was a time to let your unique personality gleam, it is 2017. Your business image can be carried through your exclusive life story to connect with the public on a whole new level of rationale.

Your business identity is securely connected to characteristics of your personality. Think about how you arrived at your current profession and where your passion first derived. Start with the details of what you do and why it is important to your clients.

What led you to develop your expertise and share it with your clients?

What makes you remarkable?

The answers will lead you to the niche that takes the most advantage of your unique personality traits, skills, and innate abilities. Act on this.

Believing in Success

Your customers know why they chose you and you need to listen to the positive comments and feedback as you discuss business. Believe in the image you project to them and repeat it to new clients with confidence. This is how others feel about you and it may be more accurate than your internal view which you have carried with you for most of your life and likely needs an overhaul.

Talk about what you have learned and know about your industry. Make a list of your successes, awards, and achievements and prepare to be amazed. Convey your passion to the media by taking advantage of opportunities to share your story. Thank people who share your praise with friends, co-workers, and clients by maintaining relationships and returning the favor.

Strengthen your story by revisiting it weekly or monthly and watch it evolve with new perceptions as you fine-tune your vision of your business acumen and character. A fresh look keeps it compelling.

Disregard the notion of stepping out of your comfort zone and embrace what comes naturally. Whether attending events, networking in-person, or using social media. Make sure you are relaxed in your environment so others feel at ease with you. Choose the venues that make the most sense and that you are familiar with, using them as often as possible. People simply need to know where to find you. Your social networks are necessary, but you don’t need all of them if you are consistently present and focused in one business initiative at a time.

Everyone is capable of following a pattern, trend, or recipe for success. Dare to determine your own personal direction and see where it takes you. There is an element of fear for many of us in exposing who we are and making changes. Many times, we know what to do but don’t act on it. A new year brings us opportunities to evaluate the best way to make decisions in our life and business image. Take you first step by taking inventory of your special talents, dig deep, and share them with others. There is no one else who can do exactly what you can do…believe it.

happiness in life and business

 

Sources:

Zetlin, M., 2016. 9 Surprising Ways Just Being Yourself Can Make You Remarkably Successful, http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/9-surprising-ways-just-being-yourself-can-make-you-remarkably-successful.html

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Best Ways to Differentiate Yourself Online

individualityDifferentiating yourself from others inspires confidence in those around you.  It shows that you are comfortable trying new things and incorporating what is unique and distinctively valuable instead of relying on established and often dated perceptions. This personal sense of self carries over to relationships we create and business concepts we generate. The thing that motivates us to take pride in our moral compass and exclusive talents can be what makes our business stand out from the rest.

Deconstruct Your Mental Process

Your business is built by you and contains your personalized fingerprint. Examine your original thought process for beginning your company to find the basis for why you felt your business would be better than your competitors. Don’t underestimate your ideas because they are usually better than you realize and only you can adequately explain why. This means that only you can clarify what sets your product or service apart from the rest. You are not just selling this concept; you are representing an idea or situation that your audience will want to gravitate toward.

Practice Empathy

When you are focusing on the customer solution, step into their shoes and show them that it’s not just your materials and features that will improve their lives, but your vision of how a company should operate and appreciate its customers. There are plenty of products and services out there, but you’ll treat them with respect and make it a fun experience. They will choose your environment.

The Right Combination of Push and Pull

Customers often ready themselves to make purchases by having a set of expectations based on past experience. Take them in a less predictable direction by highlighting the emotional investment, value of accessible information, a simple process, and a new way of thinking. Let them come to you when they have finished evaluating your offer and determined a need. If they believe in you and your process, they will return prepared to purchase and share their discovery with others.

Know What Works

Your online presence should reflect your thinking with the latest tools and strategies that make you searchable across several platforms and devices with updated ideas and fresh presentations. Don’t exaggerate what your company offers; keep it simple and honest. You know you have great content if it gets their attention in 30 seconds, makes them want to sign up for a free offer, engage with comments, or download free webinars. Monitor reactions and note best times of day for responses, the demographics being used, and the trends that led you to your targeted audience. Be approachable and consistently available to solve the consumer’s problem. social media tools

Advice

Remember that your competition is no longer local. Online industries are worldwide. Know your goals, messages, and advantages that separate you from others and result in a lifestyle improvement and better customer relationships. Remove any clutter from your websites and social sites so you are easy to identify and find when visitors need you. Embrace technology and change, bolstering positive reactions and flexibility to stay sharp. Creativity within your niche is paramount. Hire an agency to work with you if that is what it takes to get you there.

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Landing Pages and Microsites

landing pages, micrositesLanding pages and microsites steer consumers to information regarding your business and opportunities to take action.  You need to know what your goal is in order to develop a path that leads your visitors to the specific material they need. Knowing the difference between landing pages and microsites can help you target the right visitors and guide them to the appropriate advertising campaigns.

What are Landing Pages?

Landing pages are connected from a social media post or an email capture page and filter out the rest of the website in order to reinforce a specific campaign message. They get your visitor to react with a particular action, to download, sign up, or make a purchase.

  • They are very direct; eliminating opportunities for distraction, while optimizing all aspects from headlines, text, button colors, and placement.

landing pages

  • Their goal is maintaining consistency of brand and design to the main website. It is easy to test other versions of landing pages because they have few elements involved and there is a distinct gauge to find which one is working.

However, if viewed at the wrong buying stage, you might risk losing that viewer’s engagement. Also, the simplicity that makes the design consistent can also restrict content and tone.

What are Microsites?

Microsites are not a summarized version of your website. They are small sites with a few pages built around a focused message and a variety of content serving one exact area of your business. The microsite can be dedicated to an academic program, a special offer, or another campaign.

  • They are less driven for immediate action and more toward comprehensive exploration of a product or service without navigating the bulk of your website.

 

  • Their goal is creative and flexible design and content structure, further occasions to engage, and testing new ideas before going site-wide.

micosites

However, they require very specific content and can weaken brand identity, have a vague call to action, and pose challenges involving administration of that particular site.

How to Use Them

Many people aren’t making near the progress they could by being unaware that a major goal for online marketing is taking the consumer to a specific page of your website with a single purpose. A dedicated email signup page is a great example. Landing pages get the consumer decision right away, and microsites give customers reasons to keep coming back to get to know your brand and decide if they see value and relevance for what you’re offering.

 

Advice to Business Owners

Technology can force your hand on whether to use microsites or landing pages.  Your content management system may not be able to integrate third-party forms and it’s easier to create pages. Consider the cost of creating dedicated content and hiring an agency to build a microsite. It can be overwhelming to do one on your own. Your content management system should allow you to share all content materials across microsites even if the design and content are altered.

References

Kilfeather, K., 2013. Landing Pages or Microsites? The Debate Rages On. https://www.percussion.com/blog/2013/December/landing-pages-or-microsites-the-debate-rages-on

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Visual Storytelling with New Video and Display Technology

multi mediaVisual storytelling depends on talented use of graphic designs, photos, infographics, and video. While great content is extremely significant, adding something visual enhances it, making it more aesthetically pleasing and meaningful to your viewers. It needs to catch the consumers’ interest and make a quick, positive impression in a micro-moment. We use YouTube for tutorials, Facebook Video for breaking news, and Instagram and Periscope for behind-the-scenes clips and events starring our favorite brands.  Video consumption is increasing rapidly across all devices for its ability to tell stories to create brand awareness.
What is It?

Your business website and social media platforms are likely using a combination of images, designs, and video to communicate with customers but you need to expand its potential. Studies have confirmed that posts with pictures get more likes and shares. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter all use visual content along with great headlines to draw more people. A website should show your sense of style. If you’re not able to tweak it yourself, have someone help you to optimize your site with your specific audience in mind. It’s all about creating your brand story through quick splashes of expression with visual intrigue. New technology is about to make video a better, more interactive, marketing venue.

Who Needs It?

All types and sizes of businesses will be able to grow the use of video in the next few years with technology that has better quality and quantity of display. Its use is expected to rise quickly over the next 5 years altering the way we take this information in and relate with it. 80% of the world’s Internet traffic is predicted to entertain, promote, and inform us with video content by 2019.

 

Bigger businesses have already begun researching new platforms and interconnect options as well as industry standards for digital display technology. Video is allowing customers to relate to large corporations through the character of the company instead of a faceless brand. Businesses with larger audiences have many websites with several landing pages, and microsites. Video and display experts have more tools and flexibility to create visuals for numerous applications, platforms, and markets.

 

technology ideasAdvice for business owners

Investing in video content, marketing, and advertising should be at the very top of every brand’s digital marketing strategy. Be aware that video is not after the immediate response, but engagement and branding through customer testimonials and inspiring passionate connections between consumers and brands.

Create interactive videos and let customers decide what part of your advertisement relates specifically to them, rather than controlling the experience.  Empowered customers will stay engaged and interested.

Create customer testimonial videos. Let customers get behind the camera and talk about your brand giving them a chance to have their voice heard and a sense that their opinions count.

References

Grayson, S., 2014. What You Need to Know About the State of Online Video Display Advertising, http://www.b2bnn.com/2014/11/need-know-state-online-video-display-advertising/

Source: Video Marketing Strategy: 17 Tips to Win Video in 2015 http://www.reelseo.com/resources/video-marketing-strategy-guide/#ixzz3uKvQIz6l

Source: Spincreativegroup.com, 2015. http://spincreativegroup.com/building-consumer-trust-through-video-marketing-by-spin-creative-a-creative-agency-video-production-company-seattle-san-francisco/

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