Sircle Squad Profile: Michelle Paltan

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We have a wonderful new intern, trying to earn a coveted spot on the #SircleSquad in 2018. Her name is Michelle Paltan and we asked her some questions to get to know her better.  Enjoy!

Full name/nickname?  Michelle Paltan, tons of nicknames–at Sircle my nickname so far is MP.

Age? 23

University and Major? The University of Tampa, Class of 2016. Advertising and Public Relations major, with a concentration in PR.

How did you find out about Sircle Media?  How ironic is it that I found Sircle Media through social media?  Not that ironic I suppose, since it’s how our whole world is functioning these days. So, Adam posted in a Facebook group for social media jobs and internships, that they were in need of Social Media Managers and interns. He touched upon the different types of clients they worked with and the culture at Sircle and I saw the opportunity and knew I had to go after it since it seemed too good to be true or to pass up.

Most surprising discovery/realization after working here? That it wasn’t too good to be true.  It’s a social media marketing agency that is filled with smart, scrappy, and hustling individuals that focus on different attributes that together, make up great social media marketing and strategy for clients.  I knew that this would be a great learning experience, but I didn’t expect how fast I would start learning first hand. Right out of the gate, I was working hands-on with tasks for clients and learning new approaches to managing the different aspects of social media like scheduling, strategy, creative content planning, and more.

What is the best part of your internship? This is hard to limit to one thing, but I would have to say the people.  There are many talented, bright, encouraging and intelligent people to learn from and to use as resources but at the same time, it is a small company where you aren’t being ignored.  You can ask questions, get critiques and share ideas, without feeling judged in any way whatsoever. The comfortable culture allows you to take away knowledge that you can apply to other areas beyond social media.  Whether you are interning for a Social Media Manager role, or on the creative/design side of the agency, you can still learn from other departments and figure out how to benefit from those different skills and resources.  What’s important in your work environment (and life in general I suppose) is who you surround yourself with. I can say that this culture is ideal for growth, learning, and self-confidence.  We also have a lot of fun along the way, which is a huge bonus!

What can you tell us about Adam or your supervisor? I’ve had the good fortune to work with Adam, The President, and Sara Lerner, The Managing Director intimately over the past couple of months.  Adam and Sara have been inspiring leaders that I will continue to look up to and learn from, regardless of where I end up in the years to come.  Adam has a great philosophy about life and business and is a mentor that is available to everyone who is a part of the company. He has developed a bulletproof method of creating success for clients and the employees at Sircle. Sara is a super smart, strong leader who has mastered the art of multi-tasking, problem-solving and developing strategy methods for social media that will yield success for all clients.

The advice you would give to a future intern? Attention to detail is the most important thing in everything that you do or create at Sircle. We work in both social media and service, so it is very important to be spot on with communication and deliverables. You must really be on the ball to be successful, that is for sure.

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On the long and winding road of entrepreneurship…

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Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It is a constant barrage of stress, issues, fires and losses, balanced (only sometimes) with flickers of greatness and short-term wins along the way. I have heard it often compared to jumping out of an airplane and only first starting to build the parachute mid-air. I think that visual is a fair one.

We are living in a time, where it seems kind of cool to run your own business and I think it is seen as the easier option when compared to being an employee at someone else’s business. It is not, this I can promise you. Sure, calling yourself a founder and hanging out and not working all day is very easy. Actually creating an enterprise that is built to last and showing continuous growth year over year, is a very different task. If you want to win in that game you need to know that:

1. The buck stops with you: You are now responsible for all of the decisions. Entrepreneurs have an incredible opportunity to create something from nothing, which you cannot generally accomplish when working for someone else. With this upside, comes the downside of making all of the big decisions about what must be done, when and how. You can’t wait for things to happen, or for someone to tell you what to do, you must make them happen for yourself.

2. You must always be working on “the now” and “the later”: You need to execute efficiently on the day to day work, while also planning and prospecting for the future. As an entrepreneur, you have to project your mind forward and think about next month, quarter, year etc. Nobody else is out there bringing you new business, managing your renewals and developing the brand. It is grounding to know that what you do, or don’t do, today, will have an impact on your business down the line. This creates a sense of urgency and forces the winner to constantly put in the “extra reps” to produce better gains.

3. You have to have thick skin and be able to endure rejection: When you try and sell your products or services you are certain to hear a lot of no’s. It never feels good, but it is much more personal and harder to take when it is your own baby. You have to be able to set (and then stay) the course, despite the many rough water days that lie in your path.

4. You have to constantly be learning and tweaking: You can never have a “set it and forget it” mentality.  I think a lot of entrepreneurs want to set up their business, get it to a point where it is humming and then work less and enjoy the fruits of their labor. While that might be the case for some very lucky ones, that is definitely an outlier. For most of us, you need to be iterating, researching and modifying processes each and every day. You cannot get comfortable and can never put your feet up and relax. It is a constant uphill climb, and while it is ok to look down and be proud of what you have built from time to time, you do need to look upward nearly all of the time.

5. You must know your numbers:  While this is admittedly not my strongest skill, it is such an important element of success.  Meaning, if you aren’t watching cash flow and managing your pipeline religiously, it can be game over, real quick. You need to set substantial “reach goals” and drive towards hitting them from an offense POV constantly.  On the defensive side of the ball, you need to plan for potential puddles along the path and manage your overhead each month. I personally lean towards being more aggressive and investing in my people (compensation, perks, food, and fun) and marketing (website, collaterals, video), so I need to make sure I score a ton of points on offense to win my games.

8. You are always on: As an entrepreneur, especially one with employees and paying clients, it is an all the time thing. While you definitely have more control over your hours and location, you will always be thinking about the business. Usually, those thoughts are about what can go wrong and/or what you are not doing well. It is an interesting feeling of never being good enough, which is an uncomfortable and sometimes defeating view for most.  There is no reprieve, it is always there.

At the end of the day, you have to be totally focused and committed, super gritty and the kind of person who is ok with constantly being consumed by your brand and it’s success.  Plenty of people are in this role without these traits, and they will not make it long term. It doesn’t make anyone better or worse, it is just the way it is. It might take a very long time to build, and you might never feel as though you have truly succeeded. I can say that the road is long and winding, but beautiful and exciting too. I wouldn’t have it any other way…

 

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On the ROI of video marketing…

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Measuring Return On Investment (ROI) of your video efforts begins with understanding what the videos set out to accomplish. If you go into the process knowing that video is more likely to be consumed than other forms of content it can change your POV a bit and better shape the conversation.

Video, is a tool that can be used by various departments within a business to help “market” their message. Sales, HR, Customer Service and Marketing all can benefit from the positive attributes of a well-positioned video message to tell their story. Attributing a direct ROI to video and breaking that down by the department can be tricky, making true video ROI a tough one to map out.

Let’s say you have a PowerPoint presentation that your salespeople use in pitches and/or in their email or LinkedIn solicitations for new business, how would video perform instead? Assuming you have a great product, with compelling unique selling propositions (USPs) clearly laid out in this presentation, perhaps a video format would produce higher consumption rates? It is a big commitment to sit and read through a long sales deck, but an animated video that brings the hot buttons to life might be worth 60-90 seconds of the end consumer’s day. If you can increase consumption rates, then you increase your sales conversion potential, which directly impacts the ROI of your sales team’s efforts.

When putting out any social media content, the major platforms (READ: Instagram and Facebook) will reward your video content over still images. So if you are measuring the performance (reach, engagement etc.) of your content, especially your paid efforts, then a video is going to deliver you more for your dollar, also known as a better return on your investment.

From a true marketing standpoint, it is not much different from a traditional marketing campaign. Comscore reports that on average a person watches north of 25 hours of online video a month, so it’s not the matter of trying to prove that online video marketing is effective. The Executives at every business, however, want to know that the marketing dollars are achieving the highest value and ROI while receiving the desired results.

So how do you measure ROI of online video?

  1. Know your objectives.
    The essential component of executing a campaign successfully is having clear goals. The simplest way to measure return on what you’re investing is knowing your target audience and what message you are trying to deliver. Your objectives may vary. For example, if you’re trying to promote product sampling, your objective may be to have individuals register for a coupon on your website after viewing the video. If you want to increase exposure and awareness of your brand or business, you might be simply looking at views to measure the total exposure of the campaign. Dividing cost, by views can give you a cost-per-view metric. Know what you want to see happen before you start.
  2. Social = Sharing = Exposure.
    Remember, ROI doesn’t necessarily have to equal a dollar figure. It can be social interactions, shares, conversations around your brand and recommendations by your brand ambassadors. If your video is getting shared by your target demographic and this audience is recommending your video to their friends, the reach and engagement are just as valuable as a dollar figure. Make sure you give them the opportunity to easily share your video!
  3. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
    Measuring online video ROI isn’t always an exact science and with a non-traditional platform, you have room to come up with creative and different ways to validate your efforts.  Online video can often drive traffic back to your website and one way is to look at what that traffic would have cost if it had been acquired by a push advertisement.

For example, comparing a pay per click model and the received traffic you can use the following:
Running ads on a website with $3 per click which results in 300 unique visitors to your website. This traffic of 300 people to your website is then worth $900. Although this approach offers an easy dollar figure, it’s crucial to note that the difference in pay per click banner ad traffic and organic post video engagement differs greatly and the value through organic engagement is much higher.

Online video enhances and creates the most engaging online user experiences. When it comes to ROI, the measurement metrics differ greatly depending on the specific goals. Success lies in the ability to target a specific audience based on demographic, geographic and contextual parameters. Being able to speak the language of your target audience and deliver a strategic message in a simplified format is a sure fire way to increase business. So grab your camera, and let’s do this…

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On being truly committed to social media in 2018…

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2018 is in our crosshairs and conquering social media is on top of every brand and business’ to do list. Owners, Chief Marketing Officers, and Brand Managers, are trying to answer a myriad of key questions including – “What is the ROI, what KPI’s should I be assessing? Do I outsource, handle internally, use a hybrid model etc.?”  You must have confidence in your product or service, have some goals you want to achieve and then you can deploy strategies and tactics that can work.

Of course, Video, Stories, Paid Social, Influencers, Voice (and others) are the hot-button topics that forecasters and marketers are chattering about, but before jumping into any of these you have got to get your head around the fact that social is not a sometimes thing, it is an always on-all of the time thing.  You have to believe it in your bones and you must be all in and not half-hearted in your execution. This is about your brand’s survival, act as if!

First, it is important to remember two very important facts: 

1)   Social Media is not a vertical like PR or Direct Response.  It is a horizontal layer that touches all aspects of a business and therefore shouldn’t lie solely within the marketing department.  It cannot only be assessed by ROI and KPI measurements, both marketing metrics.  It must be looked at more holistically than that.

2)   Prior to choosing whether or not to outsource or handle internally, you must sit down and really map out the business objectives.  Once you really know what you want to accomplish, you can then have a social media plan that is commensurate with your real objectives.  An expert can help you get there and internally everyone must be onboard.  You will quickly learn that it is impossible to dominate in social with one junior level salary allocated, so you either need to hire an agency (who can provide the bodies and skills) or invest in an internal team of more than one.

Business owners and senior management need to focus on growth and the underlying business and they often struggle with how to get social media started. A company’s voice in the social realm needs to be driven from within and then shaped and broadcasted by someone who knows what they are doing.  In the end, your goals don’t change with social media, they drive it!

The problem is that while businesses are sitting on the sidelines and reviewing proposals and plans, they are still doing most things wrong.  A sound marketing strategy is always recommended of course, but there is a very important interim step that is being overlooked.  It is mission critical to get “your house in order” as soon as possible so as to tie the tourniquet and stop any bleeding (i.e. loss of opportunities to engage).

Social media is just a new and en vogue term for the Internet as a whole, and social networks have just made the sharing of relevant and “important” information simple.  In order to be successful, you need to create content people care about and then give them reasons to share it.  You must have your own branded platforms that tell your story and encourage fans/followers and customers to engage with them. Simple right?

Once you really know what you want to accomplish on the Internet in 2018 (and beyond) then, and only then, can you really have a roadmap for a social media strategy.  Based on your real objective(s) you can craft a make sense plan to leverage the web accordingly.

With e-commerce, the main objective is to sell a product to a customer. It is highly recommended to have all platforms work to seed sale opportunities and to invite traffic back to product pages.  Try to reduce how many clicks it takes to get the user to take out their credit card and buy. There are different nuances associated with a website looking to sell product and the business should be thinking like a “store” in their online/social efforts.

For all brands (e-commerce focused or not), the main objective should be new user acquisition and not necessarily a direct sale on their own website. It is imperative to make the transition from social platforms to the website a seamless one and to use content outside of just product promotion to get them there.  It I also highly recommended to make signing up very easy and front and center wherever possible. Social platforms need to be tributaries to sign up pages where new users can/will be converted.  It might all begin with simple awareness campaigns, such as boosting posts, IG Ads and other reach based efforts, to initiate the acquisition. These should be a part of the mix for sure and then efforts need to be made downstream to pull them out of the river and onto the boat.

Regardless of your goals, social influence will dictate behavior.  Whereas a website is so important to help convert your objectives, it is often only a one-way conversation.  Nowadays consumers care less about what you say about your product and more about what others say about it.  The power of social is in helping customers become brand ambassadors and influencers about your product or service.

In the end, the most important thing is to not overthink social, or even worse to sit on the sidelines until you feel that you have it figured out.  There is a foundational responsibility to your business, to get started and to allow for users to spread the word about you.  Know your plan and then lay a social media strategy over it to help you get there. Just keep in mind that your business drives social and not the other way around. Every day that passes without a plan to improve will translate into lost business or lost WOM (Word of Mouth) traction.  What’s the ROI on that?

Good luck next year, I hope you crush it!

 

 

 

 

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