Get It Straight: You Need A Digital Consultant

Sircle-Digital Consultant

Every single brand that is looking to transact (sell via e-commerce, capture emails/signups and/or even just to inform via content to facilitate offline business) needs to have a digital team with the savvy and prowess needed for today’s online ecosystem. The statement makes a lot of sense and most people reading it are probably nodding their heads in agreement, but the problem is – most don’t!

I find that most marketing teams are generally leaner than they should be and more often than not they are overworked and under skilled for the ever changing digital landscape.  A skilled sailor needs to be steering the ship and they have to be armed with information so they can implement meaningful change for their company. We created the Digital Deep Dive about a year ago to help look under the hood, assess the landscape and then deliver a roadmap for improvements and it pays off in a big way.

Once you know where to go, you then need a team with the chops to implement changes and get the work done. It doesn’t have to be Sircle Media, but it does need to be done by someone with the knowledge and the skills (and the landscape is constantly evolving mind you) to get you there.  Some companies just don’t have anyone who can “get er done,” and they desperately need an outsourced team. Often though they might have the right leader, but the department is so understaffed that they cant get to the changes that need to be done. That is really dangerous, because the necessary fixes are known, but nobody will make them.  It is like knowing you need to pave the potholes in the road and just ignoring them until a few cars blow out.  It is an accident waiting to happen and that should be unacceptable for a brand or business looking to not just survive, but actually flourish online.

I came across this article which is such strong support for our “Digital Consultant” offering.  Regardless of what direction a brand wants to go in, it is so valuable to have peace of mind on the state of the union. Then, once they have uncovered the areas that really need fixing, an outsourced digital consultant provides the ongoing support, that will provide high impact for a fraction of the price of a full time hire (or group of hires) that a company is probably not going to be willing to make.  So this becomes a real value proposition play, rather than being too expensive.

For any business owner, brand manager or digital marketing department head, I implore you to sit for a moment today, and think about your digital plan of attack, as it stands right now. Is it where it needs to be?  If not, then it’s time to get to work!

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Win of The Week- Customer Service 2.0

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With social media, the sexy topics are content creation, influencer collaborations and even the paid efforts that lead back to measurable KPI’s and ROI’s.  Those are the things most clients and prospects want to talk about and will ultimately use to gauge whether social media efforts are working. While they are both important, they are more about talking than listening, and it is in the latter category where brands should be focused a bit more.

We believe that content and growth efforts are 2/3 of the puzzle, but engagement is where you really can set your brand apart from the pack. One of the most important roles that a Social Media Manager fills is – Customer Service Manager. In today’s day and age, people will chime in and comment about bad (or good) experiences and it is mission critical to have your ears open to the feedback.

Our client Bombas cares very much about servicing their community, referred to as The Hive. Like any brand they have had negative and positive feedback and commentary, and together we remain committed to auditing, listening and tackling their needs head on. Sometimes it can turn a negative comment into a positive one, or even a sale.  As you see here:

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Remember, your community is watching and sometimes they will chime in and have your back when others are complaining too.

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They appreciate authenticity and that a brand actually does care. This is the “blocking and tackling” component of social media and while it doesn’t show up on the scoreboard each day, it is everything if you want to win online.

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In general the commitment to being a great community and a brand who actually cares is a long play and not a short one. It is a daily grind and takes a lot of man hours and work, but in the end of the day it is all about creating something that is built to last.

 

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Gratitude Attitude

Gratitude

Despite the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur and the hard work and hustle needed each and every minute, I spend most of my days feeling a real sense of gratitude.  Not just for being alive and healthy (knocks on wood) or for my beautiful wife and amazing family (luckiest guy around), but for being given the opportunity to do what I love and work with and for amazing people.

My team comes in every day and works so hard for my company, despite all of the noise and distractions in this market.  LinkedIn recruiters, friends at other jobs, others traveling the world and a grass is always greener mentality that exists in the back of the minds of young millennials can really cause confusion and aggravation.  Despite all of these things, they focus and dedicate themselves to growing our vision together and for that I am forever grateful and humbled.

My clients have many options out there when it comes to social media agencies, yet they put their trust and faith in Sircle Media. That is something I take very seriously and I work hard to prove them right each and every day.  Not only do they come and stay, but they refer other brands and business owners – the ultimate stamp of approval for a service business like mine.

In the first 3 months of the year, I received 14 referrals of which 9 committed to some work and the rest were given great advice or guidance and were very pleased with the value I brought them. I cant even begin to explain how much it means to me, so Monica, Mark (both of you), Mike, Emily, Jen, Carina, Josh, Zach, Ben, Joseph and Naomi- THANK YOU!

We live in interesting times, and there can be a lot to be stressed out about for sure.  I choose to take a different POV and instead I value the good in people and the relationships I continue to create and foster. In an age of constant communication and noise, it is incredibly helpful to stop, pause and appreciate!

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Win Of The Week-(Indirect) Facebook Advertising $ales

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We have a pretty robust Facebook Ads campaign in motion for our client Deliver Lean, that involves various components including clicks, conversions, lead ads and dark posting.  It has proven to be a very cost effective and targeted method for generating business, especially for this e-commerce focused and geography restricted company, out of south Florida.

The brand recently expanded their regions to go much further north in Florida and we were able to serve up Ads (like the one above) that specifically targeted fans of their competitors who lived within these new zones.  The primary focus is to get people in these cities to click thru to the site, so we can then build up our retargeting efforts with new ammunition and hit them with some additional, targeted content and Ads that speak to their specific needs.  Building this funnel takes a little bit of time, but it is very worthwhile to help convert brand new users to your product or service.

Very early on into this new campaign we had a comment on the Ad, which was a clear buying question and needed to be responded to very quickly. Our Social Media Manager replied and then teed it up to the client’s internal sales team to handle as a hot and viable lead. All the more reason why a brand needs someone managing the community and not just running Ads with “a set it and forget it” attitude.

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The sales team contacted the prospect right away and converted them to a new paying customer.  This is a clear Facebook conversion, but one that didn’t actually click thru to the site from the Ad. It might not show up in Google Analytics, but it is a Facebook produced sale nonetheless. We served an Ad, had an immediate inquiry and closed it out very quickly.  If we weren’t paying close attention, we might have missed it and that would mean lost revenue.  Social media is a full time gig and it needs to be monitored on a constant basis. In this instance, Deliver Lean (and Ashley) benefited from a social media team that was listening. #winning

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Win Of The Week: Accelerated Content Reach

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Fresh off the heels of our last post about Influencer Marketing, we had a nice little win for one of our clients that we wanted to share.

We reached out to the blogger, The Fit Mitten Kitchen as part of our influencer outreach program for one of our CPG clients. She was very interested, but upon review that client didn’t feel she has enough of an Instagram following and passed. Our team got together and decided she would be a great fit for our client Modern Oats instead and we set it up.

We sent some product to the influencer and she posted it on her blog as part of a delicious looking recipe, pictured above. She also pushed it out on Instagram and it earned 250 Likes and 35 comments, which is nice value for the price we paid.  The fun doesn’t stop there though.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 1.45.14 PMHuffingPost Taste then went ahead and regrammed the picture to their 100,000+ followers and it earned an additional 1474 Likes and 31 comments. Some of those followers went ahead and followed our client’s account immediately afterwards too, so add that as value on top. This accelerated reach and engagement were not the intent, but is an ancillary benefit of being in the game.

We also have some great looking content that we can now share in our feed and have developed a relationship with the influencer (on her way up) that we can/will leverage as we move along. #Winning

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Can We Influence You To Do Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing- large

We love influencer gifting for a myriad of reasons.  Not only does it get your product into the hands of someone from your core demographic, but it also gives you highly targeted exposure to their audience.  Now, not all influencers are created equal, so we would definitely analyze their accounts, their audience and their engagement before working with them. That being said, if you find the right ones, they can pay off in a big way.

We employ a “some is better than none” approach at Sircle Media (small influencers can be excellent allies) and we dont think you have to shoot for the moon either. Meaning you don’t necessarily have to work with people with really massive audiences to make a mark. The truth is, they are probably not priced right, so you are overpaying and not actually getting value for your spend.  The big players might be great, but that doesn’t mean their financial structure is a good buy.  For our clients we prefer to find those who are on their way up and their pricing is commensurate with their reach and value prop.  Playing that arbitrage game right can make all the difference, especially for those who micro analyze data and ROI/KPI metrics on things like this.

We like to encourage website visits whenever we can so we can generate traffic, retargeting opportunities and build look a like audiences based on their profiles.  So when you send a target demo influencer there, you are seeding your other marketing efforts with some very solid ammunition.

One proven method is to get the influencer to buy something from the website that we credit them for with a unique discount (or one time free) code.  Not only should they receive and review (or snap photos with) the product we send them, but we also want them to experience the website UX too. If they are writing a review we would love for them to mention how great the website is and/or if they aren’t you could still get some solid “free” feedback from someone with a lot of experience shopping online.  All upside!

Best bet is to create unique, one time use codes that they can use for the engagement and that expire after that one usage. This way you get the experience, but hedge against the risk that the code gets out to the masses and everyone takes advantage of discounted prices.  With a one time use restriction, we are big buyers of a broad macro approach. Meaning if we can bring in a lot of people (which odds are wouldn’t have purchased from you otherwise) than that is a smart move and worth it to acquire a new customer. If you have confidence in your product and your CRM skills, then that client should be able to be turned into a repeat client and the LTV (lifetime value) is more valuable than anything else.

Don’t be nervous, be proactive when it comes to influencer engagements.  They also will help you with the new Instagram algorithm changes, but that is the subject of another post coming soon. Employ some offense and put yourself in a position to win.  Play the game and reap the benefits!

 

 

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On Hiring The Right People

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You know that great employee who goes above and beyond, sending emails on the weekend with an idea, proactively suggesting improvements for the company, or just spreading goodness about your brand? This kind of employee is what makes a business, and I have had the good fortune to work with many of them.

What I have learned more than anything in my four years running Sircle Media is that the right hires mean everything. Without good people who work hard and believe in the cause, it’s very difficult for a business to succeed. The wrong person, or worse, an unhappy employee, can be crippling. (Trust me, I’ve seen that side of the coin, too.) The time spent on your staff recruitment and personal and professional development is critical if you want to win.

Interested in learning how to hire the right people? I’ve noticed that the best employees at Sircle fall into two categories.

1. The farm system

An intern at our company continued to work with us over multiple semesters, knowing deep down that this was definitely the place for them. The nice part for me is that I was able to assess their skills and sense of responsibility. We had the chance to pick the cream of the crop amongst many candidates seen side by side. Most of my best employees have come to me this way.

2. The grass-is-greener system

I have also found success in bringing in people who have worked at other social and digital agencies for a year or so. They have a good feel for what they like and don’t like in an employer. When they feel it deep down in their core, they work harder and they become amazing advocates for the company.
I am a big believer in hiring based on the person, and then training them on the skills. Many other companies will use headhunters to find the individual with all of the boxes checked and the experience in specific areas, but if that person is not a hard and motivated worker and doesn’t play nicely with others, then they are useless in my book. Every company is a community, and that community needs to be comprised of good people who care and contribute positively.

That is one of the things that attracted me to WeWork when I signed my lease in February 2015. I loved that the values at WeWork mirrored mine, and it offered credibility in what I was promoting to my staff. The mantras of working hard, always hustling, and doing what you love are very close to the core ethos at Sircle Media. I have a small company of 10 employees, but now they feel part of a bigger organization thousands-strong and one that espouses the same belief system as mine. It has actually helped me recruit new, great people, as they get the upside of working for a small company that is housed within a larger one.

This post was originally published on Creator by WeWork.

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