How to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile for Social Selling

Social networks, such as LinkedIn, offer plenty of scope for finding prospects and building relationships. Many sales professionals prefer to use LinkedIn for social selling. So, how do they do it? If you wish to use your LinkedIn profile to build relationships with clients, your profile should be more than a professional resumé. A good profile presents a well-rounded image and is an interesting read. The way to make yourself seem valuable to clients is not to brag about meeting professional goals every single time. Remember that you are trying to attract clients, not recruiters. Here are six ways in which you can optimize your LinkedIn profile for social selling.

1. Choose a professional profile picture.

A good profile picture is sharp and shows your head and shoulders. A smile will make your picture more appealing. It will also make you look trustworthy. The background should ideally be as plain as possible. This ensures visitors will be focusing on your face, not on background objects. Take a look at your profile picture and ask yourself: are you easily recognizable in the picture?

2. Clarify your title.

Most people on LinkedIn use the professional title that is printed on their work contract. Essentially there is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes a professional title can include words that people from other industries are not familiar with. That is why it is a good idea to include a short explanatory or descriptive sentence to clear up any confusion.

3. Change your URL.

A standard LinkedIn URL contains a long string of numbers and letters. Getting rid of these extra characters will give your URL a more professional look. It will also make it easier for people to find you on Google or LinkedIn. You can adjust the URL by clicking the adjacent settings icon. This will take you to another page, where you can type in a new URL. Keep it simple. It is good practice to use your full name with as few additions as possible.

4. Write an engaging summary.

Your summary is one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile. A good summary is personal and interesting to prospects and clients. It should convey what you have to offer visitors who connect with you or respond to your InMail. Your summary should contain three elements. It should mention your passions and interests, it should talk about the organization that you are a part of, and it should contain a call-to-action. A call-to-action is, for example, an invitation to visitors to connect by calling or emailing you.

5. Share your Experience.

Showing visitors what you have achieved so far and what you are working on now is a good idea, as long as you present it in a way that is interesting and appealing to prospects and clients. This means no bragging about how good you are. Instead, try to write about how you can help others with the knowledge you have gathered in your career.

6. Add some rich-media content.

Adding rich media to your summary and experience makes it more likely that visitors will engage with your profile. Choose videos and presentations that are relevant to prospects and clients and that help them to get to know you better.

Once your LinkedIn profile has been rendered optimal for the purpose of social selling, you are ready to start making connections and building relationships. LinkedIn is the ideal platform to send private messages, such as InMails.

Kotton Grammer is an internet entrepreneur known for founding Kotton Grammer Media in 2013 a Multi-Million Dollar Internet Advertising & Media Company that specializes in search engine optimization (SEO).

Ways To Add Video To Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

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4 Ways To Add

Video To Your Social

Media Marketing Strategy

 

Are you keen to add video as an integral part of your social media marketing strategy? You can add YouTube search tool to social posts, embed videos in Facebook and even use Instagram to promote them to your followers. But for that, you need a well-organized strategy that works well with your social media plan.

Here are top 4 ways by which you can add video seamlessly to your social media marketing efforts:

1.Create the Right Video for each Channel

Each social network offers users the option to post video content. Before posting them, master the art of video one of the platforms first. For posting videos on Facebook, one should post videos that are viral in nature and include captions, since most users watch them without sound. More content can hence be digested for each video too. One can also use live broadcasts to show them product demos live too.

Likewise for Instagram, you can post brief videos to your feed and make them captivating and direct in the message, with an eye-catching thumbnail too. Alternatively, make Twitter content mobile-friendly and incessantly watchable too.

For youtube, your premium video content should come aces. You can youtube search tool for social posts since you can push your own videos for recommendations to users interested in similar content. Tackling Snapchat for video marketing is not easy, since one need to invest time and resources to devote to it on a consistent basis. Regular posting is key in this channel.

2. Define Goals for Video Content

To craft a strong video content strategy for social media, one should be aware of the purpose of video that could increase brand awareness. The educational approach for newsworthy content is the right way to go about it.

Also consider metrics such as site traffic, social sharing and social media, video views, shares, lead generation and the like based on business goals. The videos should be part of regular campaigns and themes that are consistent in terms of line of thought over time.

3. Develop Consistent Themes for videos

Always have a good social video theme attached to the purpose of your content and should work on audience anticipation too. You can have a campaign or theme on the making of your products or services, or some videos on the different benefits that are offered to customers with real-life scenarios. You can engage new users leveraging youtube search tool for social posts efficiently in this context.

Analyze what your prospects like to view and capitalize on the same with relevant social analytics and then fine-tune your theme for creating maximum impression.

4. Invest in Good Gear for Video

Most brands focusing on social media videos lag behind because of cheap video gear that lack quality. Always have good budget cameras, microphones, and other equipment that are perfect for your content-creation.

Go for in-house filming at first and then check out rental options later. A good camera with a lighting kit and a quality microphone along with tripod stand will be helpful. Editing with good software matters too.

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Advertising Trends That Are Revolutionizing Offline Marketing

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3 Advertising Trends

That Are Revolutionizing Offline Marketing

 

Technology radically changed advertising. You do not even have to look as far back as the television ads of the 1960s to see the significance of those changes. Advertising technology has raced forward every year for the last decade to become one of the most futuristic industries there is today.

Ten years ago, advertising was just finding its legs on the internet. There were banner ads, pop ups, and endless email distributions. It was an era of blind advertising where companies treated the online space like the real world. Advertising was about as targeted as billboards: if there was a high volume of traffic, that was all that mattered.

But in the last ten years, technology has empowered advertisers to become incredibly specific with how they target potential consumers. They can aggregate search data and social media data to paint incredibly precise pictures of who people are and what they want to buy. Gone are the days of blind advertising online. But while advertising technology raced forward online, it stalled in the real world.

Billboards became digital, but they never became smart. Physical store locations still hang signs in their windows to lure customers in, but have no idea who the customers are. Advertising in the physical world is ready for modern technology, and it may finally be getting it. These are three advertising trends that are revolutionizing offline marketing:

1.Targeted Digital Out of Home

Billboards project a static piece of marketing to the crowd of people that can see it. Whether that crowd is Generation Z kids in a mall or Baby Boomers stuck in traffic on a freeway, the ads they see are not customized to them. But new technology is allowing advertisers to aggregate a huge volume of data in real time about the people who are in close proximity to billboards and that is changing everything.

The technology is called targeted Digital Out of Home (DOOH) and it is effective because it can capture smartphone IDs when they ping wifi routers. Those smartphones are then matched to existing advertising IDs that catalogue online search and social media data. The result is an immediate profile of a whole crowd.

“Maybe the crowd is primarily millennials, or spanish speaking soccer moms, or people shopping for a new car of a certain household income; the digital signs can immediately serve an ad that best fits the demographic that is actually looking at it,” explains Jonathan Frangakis, co-founder and CEO of DOOH targeting company Mira. “This all happens in near real time. More specifically, aggregation, scoring and ad serving happens in less than a second, so the digital billboard is always adapting to aggregate crowd profiles.”

This technology does not mean that billboards will suddenly begin to serve ads based on your specific profile, but it will aggregate your profile with a crowd of others. That is a huge opportunity for marketers who have not been able to target demographics in real time in offline environments until now.

2.Online to Offline

As good as online marketing is at targeting customers, it does have a blind spot. A huge percentage of total commerce still takes place “offline”, meaning at physical stores. That does not mean that the ads are not effective, just that it is hard to track their actual success.

New advertising platforms in the online to offline (O2O) space are bridging that gap. There are a litany of platforms and none has emerged as the clear leader, but the concept is that users would connect their credit cards to the platform and then continue browsing the internet and shopping like normal. What changes is that when the consumer uses their credit card at an offline store, it can be traced back to an ad that they saw online.

Connecting online ads to offline sales has been called a trillion dollar idea and it makes sense why. If advertisers could only pay for ad impressions that turn into sales, then they would functionally have a guaranteed ROI.

3.Offline to Offline

Okay, so connecting a specific sale to an online ad is great for marketers, but what about the $7.3 billion spent on offline marketing? How can advertisers calculate the effectiveness of those marketing expenditures?

New technology is working to unravel that mystery, too. The space is new and is not technically called offline to offline, but the attribution model effectively does just that. Companies offering this service use algorithms and data captured from online searches to calculate the likelihood a consumer saw a TV commercial or billboard prior to making a purchase.

While not as proactive as targeted DOOH or Online to Offline technologies, it is nonetheless a critical piece in connecting offline advertising to actual revenue. Marketing in the modern era requires actionable data, so efforts to retroactively establish what inputs drove a particular purchasing decision are becoming more important. ”

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Easy Ways To Grow Your Social Media Following Quickly

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7 Easy Ways To

Grow Your Social Media Following Quickly

 

Before I dive into this, let’s get one thing straight:

You are not your social media followers.

You are not your likes on Facebook.

You are not your views on Snapchat.

You are all singing, all dancing….

Wait, this isn’t Fight Club.

But let’s be serious:

Your social media follower counts don’t actually matter that much.

I’ve previously written about how I’ve been able to grow my Instagram to over 100k followers and generate millions of views on Slideshare – I’m guilty of using these numbers to highlight success. But in reality, it’s the quality of those views and followers that matter most. It’s the number of followers who send personal messages on Instagram explaining how much they love the content you publish. It’s the late night emails from people who found me on Slideshare explaining how one of my decks helped turn their business around.

It’s these stories that truly matter.

It’s these connections that truly matter.

It’s the increase in revenue that truly matters.

But to get these stories, you do have to reach people.

Over the years, the content I’ve developed has reached millions. Some of it has been luck, but some of it has been done through strategic initiatives and tactics like I’m going to outline in this post.

I’m often asked: How can I grow my following?

So in this blog post, I’m going to provide the exact answer that I used when someone asked this question on Inbound.org and repost it here.

I hope you can take some lessons from it and increase your following on social media.

Let’s get to it…

1. Run Targeted Contests

I’ve seen and worked with brands running contests on Facebook for years and it works. It works wonders. The challenge is: If you give away an iPad, Costco gift card, Macbook Pro or new hoverboard – it’s very possible that the people who enter your contest will consist of everyone and anyone. If you want to grow your following, you want to ensure that the followers you’re acquiring are relevant and potential customers. So make sure the prize you’re giving away is high quality and aligned with the interests of your audience.

I’ve used Gleam for contesting and have found great results.

2. Content Curation

It’s easy to spend hours looking for content to share on social media.

Content curation is the act of sifting through the noise to find the signal. The best content curators understand that content curation isn’t about content aggregation. It’s not about sharing for the sake of sharing – it’s about finding content that will educate your audience and in most cases, uncovering content that your audience hadn’t come across before.

I’ve found that time can be better spent doing other things like creating great posts. Since Buffer shut down their content suggestions feature, I’ve been using GetCrate.co to find and share content more effectively. It’s a great tool (I’m a founder) and it saves me tons of time for content curation and uncovering the best articles to share online.

3. Automated Engagement

When there’s a relevant event going on or that I’m attending, I use Narrow.io to automatically Like tweets sent from anyone who users the event hashtag. It’s especially helpful when you want to have a way to save all the great quotables to digest later on. It also puts you on the radar of the event attendees arming you with people checking out your account.

But please note: With great power comes great responsibility. You don’t want to automate your account so you’re the type of ‘social media guru’ who adds everyone they interact with to a fake list. You don’t want to be the ‘social media guru’ who automates a DM to their followers immediately asking them to read their blog post or join their Facebook group.

4. Retargeting via Emails

Rather than spending money targeting people who I’ve never connected with, I like to use Facebook custom audience and target leads who have downloaded ebooks, courses or connected with me on LinkedIn. The CTR tends to be higher and CPC lower.

5. Tweet Optimization

Thread your tweets back to one another so your old tweets show up in a users timeline. Rather than letting old tweets disappear, reply back to your older tweet, remove the @mention that Twitter auto develops and upon pressing send – the tweets will link up.

6. Paid Advertising

There’s no question that paid media works best on Facebook. If you have the budget, invest in spending some cash on acquiring followers who have interests that line up with your page.

I ran an experiment a few weeks ago where I wanted to see how many followers I could get for $50 and was able to acquire about 2,000 people who are pretty engaged and interested in the page itself.

7. Cross Marketing & Promotion

Tell people on one channel that you’re also on another channel. Share it via your Facebook Page and even your Snapchat account.

You’ll be surprised by the amount of people who follow you on one channel but not another. On Snapchat (and now Twitter) you can easily access your personal QR code which can be distributed on other networks.

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Twitter Marketing Tips From A Pro With 1.8 Million Followers

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3 Twitter Marketing

Tips From A Pro With 1.8 Million Followers

 

Out of all of the social media platforms, which one is the best? Well, they all have their advantages and benefits for your business. For those of you who have found Twitter as your social network of choice, or if you are currently still deciding, there are certain strategies you can use to operate your Twitter account like a pro.

When it comes to building your Twitter marketing, you must learn from the people who have been there and done it before. Twitter marketing influencers are everywhere and there are plenty of people you can take a look at, however, one person I want to look at individually is Nathan Pirtle, owner of Work With The Coach, who has an amazing 1.8 million followers on his Twitter account.

Now Nathan doesn’t have any special powers or insider knowledge of how to make Twitter magically happen for him, but he does have some special strategies in which I want to share with you today. These will help your Twitter marketing soar and you will begin to make the most out of this social network.

1. Treat Twitter Like Your House

You wouldn’t keep your house a mess would you? If you do you probably don’t have a lot of company over. Same thing applies here. Treat your Twitter page like your house. If your house is messy and everything is a wreck, most people aren’t going to stay there. But if it’s clean and organized, people will want to stay longer and hang around. It’s simple ergonomics. When people are comfortable, having fun, or being informed they will stay.

As a good housekeeper, you want to have a place for everything and have everything in it’s place. It’s Feng Shui for the home and it makes our mind feel better about our atmosphere. With Twitter, there is a place for everything you do.

Take notice of your pinned post. It’s the billboard for your home on Twitter. This is what everyone is going to see. Make it a good one. Allow it to help people in some way or point them in the right direction in their pain points. Remember to keep track of these pinned posts as well so you can determine if this tweet is ‘in the right place’. By tracking the metrics you will learn what your followers are enjoying and what they’re not. Keep something up which will cause them to take action on your pinned post.

2. Retweet yourself

Oh no you didn’t!

When Twitter began to allow us to retweet our posts they gave us a great gift. A lot can get lost in the noise on Twitter. Your followers will be active on your stream and this is something you need to track.

By tracking the best performing tweets and then retweeting them allows other followers to see what they might have missed from you earlier. Retweeting yourself may sound like a bad thing, and I’ve even heard you shouldn’t do it, but if you want the maximum results from your followers, start smashing the retweet button on your best posts and your conversions will rise.

The perfect tweet doesn’t just happen either. Search hashtags and keywords that marries what you want to talk about with what your audience likes and you will begin to see this tweet take shape. You must search for the perfect post to retweet. Even though you haven’t created it yet, you can. It’s like being in a huge crowd of people and there’s one person who wants to hear what you have to say. Target that one person by searching what they love on Twitter.

3. Tell Your Story

Building your personal brand is an important aspect on Twitter as it is on any social network. Your brand allows your audience to feel connected to you on a personal level. But this is where most people get it wrong because they don’t want to admit their mistakes, misfortunes, and failures.

Studies have shown that it’s against the human will to admit their own failures and defeats. Given these facts, it’s easy to see why most people will sidestep this action and go straight to the successes for their brand building. However, this is a drastic step to remove as it causes you to place yourself on a pedestal over your followers.

You want to tell your story the way it happened. Failures and all. Mistakes, while dramatic at the time, are now funny and a learning experience for your followers. Best of all, you have now humanized your brand to your followers. You’re just like them. You make wrong decisions sometimes and you’re not the god of marketing who never wills failure. Admitting failure builds trust inside of your community and, by telling your story, you bring about a more personal side of your brand. In turn, this brings more reactions over on your Twitter feed with your community.

In Conclusion

For Nathan Pirtle, 1.8 million followers on Twitter is just the beginning. He’s still reaching for new relationships, building more clientele, and creating more trust than he’s ever created over on the Twitter platform. Most importantly, he started with, and still uses, these three important tips for his marketing plan on Twitter.

Why not follow the lead of this Twitter giant? Break down the walls of your marketing barriers over on the Twitter platform and try some of these tips today!

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Major Social Media Trends You Shouldn’t Overlook

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3 Major Social Media Trends You Shouldn’t Overlook

Graduations, Weddings, Births, Holidays, Star Wars … yawn. Let’s get to the good stuff for the coming year that’s going to shape your marketing strategy.

Here are three major social media trends you absolutely shouldn’t be overlooking in 2017.

1. Big Platforms are Shedding the “Social” and Elevating their game

Facebook boasts almost 1.8 billion monthly active users (MAUs). And the crazy thing is, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In 2013, younger demographics began deserting Facebook in droves, seeing it as “uncool”. Mark Zuckerberg responded by loosening the platform’s attachment to the Facebook label, effectively “unbranding” the social media giant. At the time, its acquisitions – including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus VR ProGeo OY – continued to function as standalone apps, without any apparent connection to Facebook. The idea was to diversify by breaking all the activities into usages: segment and conquer, as they say.

And it worked.

Zuckerberg’s strategy cemented Facebook as the world’s undisputed social leader. But in the digital world, things can change at the speed of a swipe, a tap, or a click …

Indeed, growing media giant Snapchat could well spice-up the social landscape. Sure, its user base is only about 20% of Facebook’s, but Snapchat makes up for its size disadvantage with engaging video content that resonates with the 18 – 24 year old demographic. It’s an environment that Facebook has struggled to secure.

According to the latest Edison Research study, Facebook (including Messenger) remains the most popular social platform among Americans 12-24 years old, with 32% saying they use Facebook most. Snapchat registered second with 26% – but here’s the troubling news for Facebook: while Snapchat leapfrogged past Instagram by gaining 11% in just one year, Facebook lost 11% over that same period.

There may be more tumultuous seas ahead as the current generation continuously seeks-out new platforms to satisfy their whims.

But regardless of their recent gains, Snapchat isn’t wasting time patting themselves on the back. They’re repositioning their brand as a camera maker and are diversifying beyond their flagship app (just Like Facebook). As CEO Evan Spiegel explained in a recent blog post:

“Now that we are developing other products, like Spectacles, we need a name that goes beyond just one product – but doesn’t lose the familiarity and fun of our team and brand.”

This could pave the way for serious new lines of business for this ambitious young company.

Snapchat’s strategy is representative of a growing trend as networks ditch their “social” tag. Pinterest is now a “catalogue of ideas,” rather than a social network. Even Twitter followed suit – in April, they switched their designation from a “Social Network” to a “News” app in the Apple Store. What’s behind the shift in social strategy? It’s about evolving social media’s role from a fun distraction, to a vital everyday behavior… just like breathing.

There are several routes that social networks could take to achieve that level of importance – they could merge into existing conglomerates (Linkedin acquired by Microsoft) build their own empire through diversification (Facebook or Snap), or try existing as small “outsiders”. One thing is certain: they’re building momentum as big (digital) brands.

And as fragmented as the landscape was, the time of consolidation has arrived.

2. Ride the wave of “Super reality”

Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, Gear VR, HTC Vive … they may not be household names just yet, but these Virtual Reality (VR) headsets will be knocking at your door soon enough. For the uninitiated, VR is an immersive experience in which your head movements are tracked in a three-dimensional world, thanks to the use of headsets and mobile devices. And this year, ALL the major players from the GAFAs to Mainstream Media like The New York Times want a bite of this juicy market.

Speaking of juicy, you probably heard of a little game called Pokemon GO that blurred the line between the physical and the digital. This wildly popular app gave players just a taste of augmented reality … and left them starving for more.

And, of course, there’s mega-influencer, Facebook. At their F8 conference back in April, Facebook unveiled its roadmap for the next 10 years. As expected, it’s heavily focused on AI / VR and AR.

With the acquisition of Oculus Rift, Mark Zuckerberg is already making good on his Virtual Reality ambitions – and there’s plenty more to come. Thanks to their acquisition of Two Big Ears (a spatial audio company) Facebook is creating an ambient information environment. Here, people will tap into the experience so easily that it will flow through their lives like electricity or blood through their veins.

Zuckerberg recently announced that the future VR headsets will be the size of a normal pair of glasses, and will handle augmented and virtual reality at the same time. It’s a path that resonates with Google CEO Sundar Pichai as well. “In the long run,” Pichai pointed out, “we will evolve from a mobile first world to an AI first world.” But even that sounds rather tame compared to Zuckerberg’s medium-range goal of… teleportation by 2025. You read that right.

But Facebook isn’t the only one with bold plans. Snapchat has long had augmented reality inspired Lenses, and now they’re rumored to have big plans moving forward. First, they purchased smart eyeglass developer Vergence Labs in 2014. And then there was the launch of Spectacles in September and it’s rebranding to Snap. Even Twitter, seemingly mum on the subject, hired a Director of VR and AR to “Empower us all in the spatial computing revolution.”

What’s the key takeaway for brands? Social Networks are no longer standalone. They’re becoming more like electricity – less visible and yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives. As Dan Lynch (Interop and SRI International) wrote:

“The most useful impact is the ability to connect people. From that, everything flows.”

Brands will need to adapt to this new “ambient information environment” by integrating new technologies such as VR, AR, and IA.

The challenge for brands lies in creating “electronic empathy” in order to connect humans in a deeper, more profound way.

3. Chatbots have arrived… but they’re not alone

As consumers dump traditional networks in favor of messaging apps, brands are taking notice.

2014 marked the first time brands reached out to consumers via messaging apps. Companies such as Feeligo promote the use of “branded stickers” in private conversation areas, for advertisers to connect with their audiences. These customized digital stickers immerse consumers in the universe of the brand, and are available free within the platforms.

In 2016, chatbots emerged as another major trend to watch. Chatbots are applications that reproduce codes of a conversation in order to generate automated communication with users. Thanks to chatbots, it’s now possible to order an Uber, manage dinner reservations, and secure airline tickets all via text message. Convenient, fast, and accessible via smartphones, bots may well revolutionize online sales and give birth to “conversational e-commerce” – a whole new Social AI customer service. As chatbot technology develops on messaging platforms, we expect it to become much more prominent in 2017.

But before you put all your eggs in one basket, it’s prudent to consider the following:

  1. The human connection – There is strong evidence to suggest that brands are best served with a balanced approach: AI and Human. For instance, Facebook’s virtual assistant ‘M’ employs human-powered interactions. This produces a more authentic glimpse of its users’ desires than just automated chatbots could.
  2. Chatbots as a Co-star – With all the expectations, it’s worth noting that chatbots are but one tool in your marketing arsenal. When targeting the “dark social” world (sharing which takes place in private), it’s no longer the brands that initiate dialog with their consumers, but users who initiate a dialog with brands. This flips marketing strategy on its head and forces brands to cultivate a more personalized human connection, while maintaining the privacy of their audience.

The key takeaway? Chatbots are valuable, but they can’t do it all. Brands need diverse forward-thinking marketing strategies.

Adidas is an excellent example of a brand completely redefining its influencer marketing through dark channels – back in May, Adidas launched communities for hyper-connected football obsessives. These “Tango Squads” (about 200 members each and growing) operate on direct messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Line. They’re managed by an Adidas in-house team that shares exclusive content and product news with the squads before it is publicly revealed through Adidas official channels.

Why the bold move by Adidas?

Their global communication director, Florian Alt in a post for Marketing Week, put it this way:

“It’s not about sheer reach, what the hyper-connected kids bring is mass awareness. These are the guys who will push out your stories and content. They give it longevity and authenticity, because they are talking in a private messaging environment. If it comes as a referral from your mate, you’re much more likely to pick it up than if it comes from a brand.”

Alt went on to argue that content is perceived as far more authentic if distributed to 500 kids with 2,000 followers each, than if it’s delivered to one global influencer with a million followers.

It’s a major strategy shift for large brands, but there’s no arguing with the results. And if brands of all sizes wish to grow their relevance with desirable demographics, they need to follow suit and tap into the world of dark social.

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Must-Read Digital Marketing Guides to Beat Your Competition

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5 Must-Read Digital Marketing Guides to Beat Your Competition

1. Content Marketing

Want to read a definitive blueprint for creating a killer content marketing plan? Or perhaps you are more interested in finding out how to use storytelling as a strategy to build trendy content. Whatever it is that you need to perfect in your content marketing plan, this Content Factory guide has an answer for you. This is the only guide you need to read before launching a content marketing plan or updating one. The guide is complete with highly detailed and informative articles on each crucial subtopic related to content marketing. There is a lot of reading involved, so you may want to set aside a handful of hours to get through it all.

2. SEO

Sick of all those click-bait SEO articles that repeat the same information over and over? Then refer to this advanced SEO guide from Quick Sprout. Quick Sprout is possibly the most popular SEO marketing blog on the web right now. It was launched by Neil Patel, a prodigious SEO marketer who has been in the business since he was 15. The guide is short but is packed with highly useful information. It touches on all the important information you need to know before proceeding with an SEO plan. It’s not as detailed as the Content Factory guide mentioned above, but it is an excellent start to hone your existing SEO plan.

3. Social Media

When you want to begin with a social media marketing plan, you need to first know the 24 rules in social media marketing. This is a basic guideline for developing a Facebook or Instagram marketing strategy containing all the foundational information you need to know. The guide is easy to read and provides ample examples. Some data graphs will help you visualize important facts. Social media marketing can be a convoluted space. That’s why a guide like this is a must read before you even begin. Even if you are well into social media marketing, this guide will most likely have several things that you haven’t learned yet.

4. Blogger Outreach

How exactly can a blogger conduct an outreach plan without it ending up being spam? Nowadays, it’s getting increasingly difficult to get consumers to give up their emails. This blogger outreach guide will help you develop a sensible strategy that will not result in losing your loyal costumers’ trust. The guide is written in a very simple language with fun examples and connotations. Sometimes it’s very tiring to read long articles, but not this one. You will come out with a strong understanding of blogger outreach after reading the linked guide.

5. Analytics

Data analytics is a tough subject to understand and implement a plan. There are a lot of big words and concepts involved, like macro goals and data optimization. If you are utterly confused about data analysis and how it can help you improve your site, then refer to this Kissmetrics guide. It’s written in a simple manner so even laypeople can understand. Concepts are illustrated with graphics and examples to help you apply the ideas to your website. This is a must-read, introductory article for website data crunching.

Once you have read all of the articles mentioned above, you will be well prepared to perfect your marketing plan and face the competition head on.

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Turn Your Hobby into a Profitable Business Venture

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How to Turn Your

Hobby into a Profitable Business Venture

 

Do you have a life skill that you’re currently only using in your free time? Though you may assume it’s only suitable as a hobby, there’s a chance you can monetize it and turn your talent into a money-making business venture. That’s if you know what you’re doing, of course.

How to monetize your hobby

Hobbies that could potentially be monetized and turned into businesses include painting, woodworking, baking, web design, dog training — literally anything that provides value to others.

The problem is that many of us are afraid to take action, even when we know we have a marketable skill, because we are afraid of failure. We fear that if we attempt to monetize a hobby and fail, we’ll no longer feel joy or satisfaction from the activity at all… or others will regard us differently.

This can be a scary proposition that may prevent many talented individuals from pursuing their dream. If this sounds familiar to you, then listen up.

Trying to monetize a hobby isn’t easy, but on the other hand, it certainly isn’t rocket science. With a little preparation and strategic execution, you can enjoy a positive result. Here are a few tips:

1. Create a plan

In order to begin monetizing your hobby, you have to devise a game plan. This plan will obviously have to be tweaked along the way, but it’s worthwhile to have a strategy in place from the start.

This is something Tom Hess, a successful guitar teacher, regularly tells his students if they express an interest in someday becoming music instructors as well. He advises them to start part-time and gradually shift into full-time work.

“Fill up all your available time on nights and weekends with students and save all the money you make (do not spend a penny!),” Hess says. “Once you have saved enough money to cover four to six months of expenses, quit your job and go all-in to build your guitar teaching business even further.”

This may not be your particular game plan, but you need one of some kind. There’s nothing smart about diving in blindly and hoping things work out.

2. Get your first sale

You don’t need to go from hobby to million-dollar business in a matter of days. Your number one goal in the beginning stages is to get your first sale. Whether that means making a $5 sale or signing a $5,000 retainer, your first sale is the hardest and most important sale you’ll ever make.

There are plenty of strategies for actually getting your first sale, but it all depends on the product you’re selling. If you’re selling a service, you may want to start by offering a free trial and generating some word of mouth. If it’s a product, good product placement and advertising in the right places can lead to a sale. (Social media is especially powerful if you’re trying to reach the masses with minimal resources on hand.)

While you may believe in your product, it’s important to remember that other people have no reason to believe in it. You haven’t proven yourself yet. Hustle hard for that first sale and then turn one sale into two, two sales into four and so forth.

3. Maximize your time

For many people, working a full-time job and then spending extra hours pursuing a hobby isn’t practical. Between kids, significant other, friends and social requirements, you simply don’t have enough hours in the day.

In the initial stages, you’ll have to get creative about how you use your time. Perhaps you need to wake up an hour earlier than you’re used to and get some stuff done before your regular job.

Alternatively, it could mean involving your kids in your hobby so you can spend time with them while still accomplishing new things.

4. Build an online presence

In business today, everybody needs an online presence to generate activity. This means creating and maintaining a website, social media profiles, and everything else that goes into branding yourself as a professional.

“Keeping consistency in the way you present yourself will give you a more established image, which in turn will result in more fans,” graphic designer Christopher Young says. “If you are unsure of how to start, look for established musicians that produce similar music and borrow from their ideas. Art is not created in a vacuum; it’s okay to draw inspiration from other people’s work.”

5. Network
A few people will stumble across you online, but a lot of business success happens via word of mouth and networking. You have to be prepared to be active on this side of self-promotion, as well.

Find clubs, conferences and groups in your specialty that cater to other professionals in the niche. You’ll learn a lot at these events and get the chance to mingle with people who are at the same stage as you, and preferably a little further. Just be sure you have an elevator speech prepared for moments like those.

“People are bound to ask ‘So, what do you do?’ Have an ‘elevator speech’ ready so you know exactly what to say,” artist Quinn Dombrowski advises. “It only needs to be a few sentences — a minute or less — about who you are and what you do. If they’re interested, they will follow up with additional questions.”

6. Treat it like a job

The final piece of advice is to treat your hobby like a job. If you want it to become your main source of revenue someday — or at least a sustainable second stream of income — then you have to give it the attention it deserves.

Carve out time to work on your hobby, read about the industry, learn about sales and marketing and dedicate yourself to steady improvement. This is how to achieve positive results.

The longer you wait to take action, the more you’re likely to talk yourself out of pursuing your hobby. Though it wouldn’t be wise to dive in prematurely and present a low-quality product or service, you don’t want to overthink the challenge either.

If you’re looking for more information on how to turn a hobby into a revenue-producing job or side gig, you can learn a lot from listening to what others have done. Two really wonderful websites are Side Hustle Nation and I Will Teach You to Be Rich. Each offers exceptional business advice that sort of bridges the gap between hobby and business.

There’s also something to be said for learning through trial and error. If you’re good at what you do and there’s a market for your hobby, then there’s no reason why you can’t monetize it and earn a second stream of revenue. Dive in and see what happens.

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Top Social Media Sites to Market Your Small Business Locally

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30 Top Social

Media Sites to Market

Your Small Business Locally

 

The coming of social media has really been the game changer in the way we carry out business marketing and related activities. Their birth has made custom targeting of prospective customers a breeze. It has enhanced our ability to communicate directly with those we seek to reach.
However, are all social media websites best for business use? Below we disclose to you some of the best platforms to use for your business. Here goes the list.

Local Social Media Sites

Facebook

This is by far the most popular social media website, boasting more than 1.5 billion active monthly users. This platform is particularly great for small business that are looking to advertise products or events.

Yelp

Yelp is the king of reviews. While it might not be structured like may other social networking sites, Yelp has more than 140 million active users. It is widely trusted and having positive reviews and ratings on the site might actually see you acquire lots of new business.

Google+

While it’s no Facebook, the fact that it is a Google product makes it quite attractive. Google has also put in more and more resources into the platform. Its SEO value makes it a must-use tool for any small business.

AngelList

Looking to raise some extra funds for your startup? Well you need to try out AngleList, a social network that connects startups with investors.

Twitter

Twitter’s value lies in its ability for your posts to go viral. You can use the platform to post your business updates, recent news and more. Hashtags play an important role in building your posts momentum so ensure you use relevant hashtags.

LinkedIn

Consider this as your online resume. You can list your business history, core objectives and skill as well as a recommendations from customers. A sound LinkedIn profile might see you win incredible business offers.

Instagram

This platform helps you to eliminate clutter, highlighting your products and services in a very visual way. While it works best with products, you can still use the website to show business accomplishments such as involvement in charity, travel, parties and so on. Use the platform as a push tool to other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Pinterest

Like Instagram, Pinterest is another interesting visual sharing platform. Pin clickable images that lead back to your website. With more than 100 million users, you don’t want to ignore its marketing power.

Tumblr

Though a bit confusing for first timers, Tumblr is a truly interesting tool that allows you to post videos, photos, chats, audio messages and quotes. You can also reblog your favorite posts.

Foursquare

Foursquare is a location “check-in” service that allows your customers to tell the world that they are in your place of business. They can as well share this info with their friends. Like Yelp, this is a must use platform for all small local businesses.

YouTube

Besides being the second largest search engine, this site is also owned by Google and so when it comes to search engine optimization, their videos are more likely to appear on Google’s top search results. Use it also as a feedback platform.

Affluence

Are you an accomplished businessman looking to connect with other industry experts, then you need Affluence. This is more of a private social network where industry experts connect, share information and engage in meaningful conversations

Quora

This question and answer platform allows you to set yourself as an expert in your field. Offer consistent, credible answers and see traffic to your website increase.

Meetup

Are you trying to extend your event marketing campaigns, network with industry professionals or launch new products? Well, you need Meetup. With millions of users, Meetup is a powerful local networking and organizing tool for small businesses.

EFactor

This is an online community that’s specifically designed for entrepreneurs. It is the largest network of entrepreneurs and boasts over 25,000 vetted investors.

Biznik

Biznik is a community of small businesses and entrepreneurs dedicated to helping each other succeed. It is one of the very few online communities that advocate for collaboration rather than competition.

Ecademy

This is network is dedicated to businesses that are looking to create contacts and share knowledge. It offers offline and online networking events as well as global networking groups. The platform has been around since 1998.

Gust

This site is solely dedicated to professional investor relations right from pitch all the way to exit. The platform provides the right infrastructure for identifying opportunities and managing the investment relationship.

JASEzone

Looking for a business partner? JASEzone is the right platform for you. This platform makes it easy to find both potential customers and business partners.

PartnerUp

Like JASEzone, PartnerUp is an online networking community that allows small business owners and entrepreneurs to find the resources and expertise they need to grow their business. Use the platform to connect with potential advisers and partners.

Focus

This website focuses on helping businesses to make decisions as well as share expertise in functional areas of business.

Reddit

This is a social news and entertainment platform where you can submit contentsuch as text posts and direct link. The site users also to determine the best posts by voting submissions up or down. The best submissions appear on the main page.

Snapchat

Snapchat is an image processing application that has quickly grown in popularity. You can use this application to share promo codes, demo your products or even partner with influencers as a strategy to increasing your brand awareness.

WhatsApp

Use this widely popular instant messaging client as a customer service tool. Use it to quickly pass on internal communication or create a group as a way to advertise your products or services.

Periscope

This is a live video streaming app. Use it to advertise your products, announce new products or as a means to collect feedback from viewers. You can as well use it for tutorials.

BizSugar

BizSugar is niche resource as well as a social networking site for small business owners, entrepreneurs and managers. Use the platform to share blog posts, podcasts, videos and articles among other content. (In the interest of full disclosure, BizSugar is owned by Small Business Trends LLC.)

StumbleUpon

This is a social media bookmarking site that allows users to “like” websites and add them to their profile. This site could help you generate good traffic but you have to make sure you deliver great content that will earn you likes.

Delicious

This is a social bookmarking web service for discovering, storing and sharing web bookmarks. It could prove to be a highly reliable site for tracking all mentions of you or your business in the press or even monitoring competitors.

Digg

This is a news aggregator with a curated front page that selects stories specifically for the Internet audience. Use it to get business news that directly impacts your business. Digg also supports sharing of content to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Plaxo

This is an enhanced address book tool for networking and staying in contact. Use it to grow your business contacts.

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Instagram Hacks You’ve Been Missing Out On

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5 Instagram Hacks

You’ve Been Missing Out On

 

For professional content creators, Instagram is core to their livelihood. Some people are paid to be good at Instagram – but what about the rest of us? Here are a few secrets of the Insta-elite that even us plebeians can use to up our game.

1. How to: Add paragraph breaks within your description

You might have noticed that influencers’ Instagram posts can appear cleaner than yours. One reason for this is that many expert creators have learned a trick that allows them to insert paragraph breaks within their descriptions.

Here’s their secret: Write your description copy with the intended breaks in the Notes app on your phone, or in an email draft. Then, simply copy and paste the entire block into Instagram. Another way to do this: In the Instagram form field, press “123” in the keyboard and the Return button will magically appear.

2. How to: Hide hashtags below the fold

We get that you want to grow your following – but #realtalk, not everyone wants to scroll through the 37 hashtags you’ve associated with your one-of-a-kind street-style or adventures in nature. The best ‘grammers in the game know how to reap the benefit of hashtagging without inundating their followers.

They do this through a simple trick you might have noticed before. Since Instagram cuts off description copy and creates a continuation icon after a certain word count, you can use spaced out dots to push the hashtags below the fold. This ensures that your content is searchable.

3. How to: Never miss your friends’ content

With the new Instagram update, you’ll be lucky to catch all of your friends’ posts. A quick way to make sure your besties don’t get lost in the shuffle is to head to their profile pages and click the three dots at the top right-hand side of the screen. Select ‘Turn On Post Notifications’ and Instagram will nudge you when that user shares.

4. How to: Create a custom location in Instagram

Instagram recently made it more difficult to add custom locations to your posts. The workaround for iOS users, per Later, is to open Facebook and hit “Check In.” Once there, type in your desired location name and press Add Location.

Set up the business within Facebook – you will need to post your check in to Facebook (just hide the post if you don’t want it out there) – and then search that location within Instagram. Android users have slightly different instructions, found here.

5. How to: Make your nature photos really pop

One of the best photo-editing apps around is Google’s Snapseed, yet not many people seem to know about it. Snapseed is especially powerful when it comes to editing photos of dramatic cityscapes or scenes from nature.

For example, HDR and Drama filters make shapes and colors more accented, and the Ambiance filter adds dimension. You can even isolate areas of the photo to selective edit. Be advised: There are dozens of features, so a bit of a learning curve is involved.

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