Social Media Tips & Blog

Is Marketing Automation a Solution for You? Guest Post by Melanie Valenzuela

checklistUse This Checklist to See If Your Organization is Ready

When you checked your email this morning, did you find a message like this, “Dear John, have you been to Panama? You need to go today! Panama is the next big vacation destination. Get a discount if you book NOW!”? Did you spend time thinking about the offer? Would you want to get another, similar one tomorrow? Or would you respond better to, “Dear John, we’ve got some great information to share with you on the best value vacation destinations you prefer. Click here to download your favorite, and read when you’re planning that next trip.” Three destinations you’ve researched are listed.

Yes, marketing automation, done right, can help you seem more like a friend sharing information for someone’s benefit rather than a hard sell. Use the following checklist to see if this integrated solution could be exactly what your company’s digital marketing department needs….or not.

1. You Have Clearly Defined Goals. What are your goals? Automation can’t decide that for you. But it can help you achieve them once defined. All else is predicated on your definition so be sure your focus is crystal clear.

2. You Have Reasonable Expectations. Complete marketing automation is complex. Translated, this means you need to do your work to make the significant investment worth the money. Most companies don’t go as in depth as the system can provide and that’s when you hear negative comments. This isn’t just an email system. Remember adding ERP? Like that.

3. You Know What You Need. Keep in mind that you can purchase one or some components that you use most vs. buying an entire suite of automation. But you need to know your business well enough to know which will help you the most. Refer back to #1.

4. You Can Afford the Cost. A full marketing automation suite IS expensive, no one will deny that. That’s why some companies still choose to focus on content marketing and SEO. They feel that’s where their money is best spent. Where are you?

5. You Are Committed to Making It Work. You must be committed because you will need to integrate this automation piece with your CRM system. You’ll only get the maximum benefit when merging with all your client information. You’re adding another layer of information to what you have.

6. Your Staff Has the Technical Ability and Time to Learn the System. Speaking of complexity, many companies get bogged down here. It is a new layer to your system so there will be a learning curve. You staff will need the technical ability for the information you need. Is everyone not just willing, but able?

7. Your Sales Group Believes In the System. This is not just a marketing tool. This should be an integral way for your organization to reach its goals. That means sales will use the information as their own. Marketing will define conversion metrics and benchmarks and will share accountability for results. No squabbling siblings here.

8. You Will Commit to Personalizing More Content More Often. Yes, a full system will allow you to personalize content like never before. But you still have to do all the segmenting and personalize content on a regular basis. Do you have people dedicated to doing that? It will take more time than you currently spend because you’re wanting and paying for more information. This is the gem of the system. You’re the horse...automation can only lead you there….

9. You Know How to Use the Data. Even if your IT group knows how to report the data you’re asking for, you need to know what trends to look for and how to interpret the analytics. Which combination gives you the best information? How often and how much data will get you where you need to be? Do you still need some help figuring out your analytics?

Congratulations if you’ve done an honest assessment of your company and are ready to take the next step! Now it’s on to evaluating the marketing automation companies to find your best fit...

Marketing automation is meant to be a very powerful tool. It can help you create an informative and personal experience to convert people into loyal customers. You want to make sure you recognize the scope and commitment of resources it takes to make it work well.

If you’re hesitating, congrats on knowing your organization well. That doesn’t mean it can’t be a fit for you later down the road. If you want more information, talk to a digital marketing firm to help you assess your current needs. And the next time you hear someone’s opinion of marketing automation, you can decide for yourself if it’s the system or the user that needs the tweaking.

Author Bio:
Melanie Valenzuela has been writing about business topics for several years and currently writes on behalf of the digital marketing firm, Marketing Zen. When not writing, she can be found working on her world perspective through travel; or challenging her heart rate through tennis, running or attending a Kansas City Royals baseball game. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Set Your Social Media on Fire!

Set your social media on fire
Set your social media on fire

The number of social media users has increased by 176 million in the last year according to a recent article at Social Media Today. Kadie Regan, Social Media Executive for iSocialUK, says “it has become clear that social media really is #TheFutureOfMarketing.” In addition to a website and traditional marketing, solopreneurs and small businesses need to build a strong brand using focused social media and content marketing strategies.

It can be overwhelming to manage your social media marketing while starting and growing a business. It takes a lot of time and effort. If you choose to focus your time on your business, you may want to invest in having someone manage your social media marketing.

Here are some of the strategies we at Chief Virtual Officer implement to set social media platforms on fire:

  • Make quality connections.  Susan Gunelius, CEO of KeySplash Creative Inc. in an Entrepreneur article states, “It’s better to have 1,000 online connections who read, share and talk about your content with their own audiences than 10,000 connections who disappear after connecting with you the first time.” Focus on connections with people who are specifically interested in your message.
  • Consistently deliver content using systems. Consistent posting is vital. If you don’t share anything for a week or a month, your audience may stop following you altogether. We follow John Lee Dumas’ advice: “One of the best ways to grow your following and increase engagement on social media is to be there consistently. The first step is to put the right systems in place to keep your posts relevant, interesting and valuable for your audience.” Our team has specific processes they follow to ensure that valuable messages go out to your audience on a regular, consistent schedule.
  • Create and implement content marketing strategies. We analyze drafted blog posts and ensure they each have appropriate images and SEO, including titles, keywords, and descriptions. We create several messages for each post and push them out on all social networks over an extended period of time.
  • Share content from other sources. If you want your audience to share your content, you need to share from other sources also. We monitor our client’s social media accounts, regularly share and retweet relevant content published by others, and thank followers when they share and retweet.
  • Create a consistent appearance and descriptions across all networks.
  • Track your results and adjust strategies. Keep track of how many connections you have on each network and how many website visits come from social media links. Determine which networks drive the most traffic to your website and adjust strategies as needed. If you are outsourcing your social media marketing, ask your team to provide a monthly analytics report tracking the increase in website hits and social media connections and has a monthly phone call with each client to discuss adjusting strategies.

It takes time and effort to regularly and consistently create the quality content and personal touch of a top-notch social media presence.

The 7 Pre-Launch Social Media Marketing Strategies Every Author Should Try - Guest Post

Pre-launch marketing strategiesEvery year, authors publish somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books. How can you stand out? These 7 pre-launch social media marketing strategies will help you drum up buzz for your latest work long before it's printed up or posted.

  1. Build Up Your Build Up

A successful pre-launch social media marketing campaign is like a brilliant concerto: it starts soft, easing in audience in and slowly weaving a captivating spell, then grows in both intensity and volume until everyone within earshot – or, in the case of social media, eyeshot – can't help but pay attention. Map out your plan of attack and ramp it up the closer you get to your launch.

  1. Establish a Proprietary Hashtag

Piggy-backing off popular hashtags is a common way to gain traction on social media, but creating unique tags for a new product or upcoming event creates buzz while giving users a way to backtrack and find every relevant post. Red Bull had success with #givesyouwings and Audi promoted their uber-bright headlights with #solongvampires; use the same strategy by tagging updates with your protagonist's name or the title of your new book, and be consistent.

  1. Take Advantage of Existing Customer Loyalty

Your current followers are there for a reason. Encourage them to spread the word by offering referral deals, pre-order advantages, and other perks that reward brand fidelity while also encouraging grassroots growth. After all, 51% of Facebook users and 64% of people on Twitter are more likely to buy from the brands they already follow, and if they tell other people that's even better.

  1. Engage Each and Every Day

One of the most important social media strategies is also the simplest: just make sure you're interacting with your audience as much as humanly possible. In addition to posting updates and sharing your own POV with readers you should also reply to their comments and share their posts in a timely and respectful manner. Ignoring comments – even if they're critical – on your social media page is just like ignoring a ringing phone in your office.

  1. Stay Positive

It's a fact: the majority of consumers want nothing to do with negative branding. Of the 63% of consumers who said they had experience negative brand content, 50% said they weren't likely to read content from that brand in the future. Broadcast the best parts of your project and avoid putting down your competitors to keep your audience happy and hanging around for the long haul.

  1. Build a Team for Beta Testing

Half of shoppers surveyed say they've purchased a product or service because of a recommendation made via social media. Before you launch your book, put out the word on social media that you need a few "average Joe" proofreaders and encourage honest feedback. Your existing audience is already invested in your work and their recommendations to friends, family and their own followers could easily translate into sales.

  1. Slip in Some Sneak Peeks

The element of surprise can be a valuable thing, but if you continuously talk up your product without releasing any details you run the risk of burning out your buzz before launch day arrives. People love feeling like they have the inside track, so "leak" a screenshot of your eBook cover, put together a preview video discussing the story arc, or profile your main characters in 140 characters or less.

Author Bio:

Sophorn Chhay

Sophorn is an inbound marketer specializing in attracting targeted visitors and generating sales qualified leads. Through Trumpia’s SMS marketing automation solution he helps businesses and organizations communicate effectively with their customers or members. Trumpia is offering a free Mobile Marketing Success Kit so don’t forget to grab your free copy.

Facebook Updates for Your Author, Book or Business Page

Facebook Updates for Your Author, Book or Business Page
Facebook Updates for Your Author, Book or Business Page

Though Facebook updates can be longer than a Twitter update, you still want to keep it brief. People like bite-sized chunks, not huge mouthfuls. If you have more to say, include a link to your blog post with more details.

Keep your updates positive. This is not the place to publicly air your grievances or get into a negative conversation with a reader or client. If someone posts to your page about an issue or problem, contact them privately using the ‘message’ feature and arrange to talk with them personally via email or phone. Remember, anything you post on Facebook is in public view. You can come back and publicly share the positive outcome of course!

Post daily at a minimum but not constantly. I’d recommend no more than about three posts per day – and spread those out over the day. Keeping active on your page means you’ll be more likely to get more “likes” on your posts, more comments, and more shares. If you’re posting every hour though, people may get annoyed at seeing so many of your posts in their feed and then ‘unlike’ your page.

To increase engagement, post questions that encourage conversation and interaction. Be sure to also like and comment on other business pages as your own page to increase our visibility and interaction.

Now go have fun!