Long on LinkedIn right now…

I am long on LinkedIn right now and I think you should be too. The platform has really evolved, while also staying true to its roots.  After taking body blows for a while, they really hunkered down and fixed a lot of the flaws and I think that people should be leveraging it more.

It has really become a great place to distribute and consume content on a wide range of subjects and it remains the best way to get real context on people you wish to do business with in any capacity.  I can learn so much about those I am engaging with and lean on my own network to help me with introductions, references after the fact and/or research about what makes people tick.

I find that my University of Michigan degree it probably the strongest asset I have when it comes to this. There are just so many people I come in contact with that went there as an undergrad or to The Ross School of Business and Wolverines seem very motivated to help one another. #GoBlue

Second to that, is my reputation in the work that I do. If you are great to collaborate with and put out solid products and services, then people will be inclined to want to put in a good word for you. Remember it is very easy to look you up and see a connection in common, so it is mission critical that when that mutual relationship is contacted, that they endorse you.

“Doing the right thing is always the right thing” (couldn’t agree more @garyvee) and your legacy will matter in the long run and the short term too.  Your actions create a living resume and you want that resume to be stellar!  Act as if…

 

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On supporting retailers with paid social tactics…

On this episode, we talk about the importance of supporting your retail relationships with smart paid social media tactics. Landing a big order with a retailer is awesome, but once there you need to spring into action to make sure you stay there. We have talked about different ways to influence velocity reports before and it is a major factor in a brand’s success.

You cant just post an announcement and then hope and pray. You need to create compelling assets highlighting the partnership, push that content out via paid social and influencer support and create awareness that drives foot traffic into your partner’s store(s).  Plan ahead and have a campaign ready to launch as early as possible to have an immediate impact. Remember it is not about just getting on shelves, it is about staying there!

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On using Twitter Search to your advantage…

On this episode, I talk about using Search.Twitter.com to your advantage more for business. I think brands have given up on Twitter and/or have really demoted it in favor of Instagram (proper and Stories) and Facebook. That is fine, but it most certainly should not be abandoned.

Whether you use it personally or not is irrelevant, what matters is that a ton of people do use it religiously and are often using it to seek information and recommendations about a range of topics. The search feature is incredibly powerful because within seconds you can take a peek at what conversations are happening and chime right in.

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A simple search for “Vegan Protein Powder” will give you a breakdown of all people who are talking about that topic on Twitter. Not only can you find other brands to collaborate with, competitor brands to monitor and influencers to engage as secondary benefits, but more importantly you will find customers looking for advice.

For a brand looking to sell a product online and to introduce something new to a niche market this is everything.  As you can see below, these are three inquiries for recommendations on this exact topic in the past week.

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For me, this is gold. I can easily see who is talking about the itch that my product can scratch and I can chime into the conversation from the comfort of my own home?  Sign me up…

 

 

 

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Facebook Advertising hacks, for April 2018…

On this episode, I talk about Facebook Advertising in April 2018. With all the news and concerns about Facebook as a platform right now, we are seeing some excellent pricing on Ads and really solid metrics across the board.  Our suggestion is to lean in when others seem to be leaning away and reap the benefits.

I break down two types of Ads that are really performing very well right now. One is a Video Views campaign, which is fairly straightforward. Create some simple, but catchy videos and then run them on Facebook with the intent of targeted reach and consumption of that video as the engagement metric. The second is re-targeting users based on having engaged with your Instagram Account. This is no longer new, but I have found it is underutilized by any brand I work or speak with. Some tips:

Head over to the Facebook Ad Manager and go to the ‘Audiences’ tab. Once you’re on the Audiences screen, you’ll need to click the blue ‘Create Audience’ button and select ‘Custom Audience’.

Select ‘Engagement’ from the list of Custom Audience types.

Instagram engagement ads

You can choose to either create your new Custom Audience based on people who have engaged with your Instagram business profile, OR who have watched one of your videos on Instagram!

Instagram business account engagement or video engagement

Choose the ‘Instagram Business Profile’ option to create a re-targeting audience based on people who’ve interacted with your Instagram account. Facebook gives us a range of options to choose from when it comes to targeting our Instagram audience.

You have the choice of creating an audience of Instagram users including:

  • Everyone who engaged with your Instagram profile (this includes visiting your profile OR engaging with your content or ads)
  • Only people who visited your Instagram profile
  • Only people who engaged with your content or ads
  • People who sent a message to your business profile
  • People who saved any of your posts or ads

I suggest you allocate some funds and experiment with all of these to see what works best. If you have spent time developing your Instagram profile and that is where you are seeing the most engagement and awareness, then this is a way to really leverage it across platforms and see additional benefits.  Get involved!

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On trusting your “trainer” when it comes to social media…

I wrote a blog post last year about sometimes feeling like a personal trainer when doing my job as the owner of a Social Media Strategy. The post actually received some positive feedback and I wanted to get into the topic again. On this episode, I took it a bit deeper and added my thoughts via voice which is a more popular format it seems these days. However you choose to consume it, I think it is a simple yet important one to hear.

If you are hiring a trainer for something as serious as your health OR an expert for something as serious as your business’ marketing success, it is imperative to choose a good one and then let them do what they do. Dont second guess or undermine along the way, especially in areas you might not be super well versed in.  Remove the hedge, follow blindly and see what comes from it.

I know for certain it will lead to better results with Sircle Media…

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Instagram POV – Q1 2018

On this episode, I talk about the current state of affairs on Instagram. Organic reach in the feed is way down and brands need to be smarter about how they are adjusting to that fact. Some quick takes:

1- Posting more, is not the answer. In fact, it seems to accelerate the fall off in organic reach and impressions.

2- Stories are the jam. If you want to post more, just post there instead and watch the numbers.

3- Video View campaigns are cheap and effective.

Instagram is the place to be for brands, but the game has changed a bit for sure. Don’t be romantic about what got you here (i.e. Instagram Follower count, measuring likes and comments per post) and instead, go to where things are moving.

 

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POV on Instagram Stories – March 2018

On this episode, I talk about the compelling stats behind Instagram Stories.  Some compelling stats:

- 300 million active daily users

- Over 1/3 of Instagram users are viewing Stories daily

- Snapchat Story views have declined 15-40% since Instagram launched their Stories product

- Major Snapchat influencers are now posting 2x more on Instagram Stories than on Snapchat

- 1 in every 5 organic Stories earns a direct message (proving consumption is happening)

- Daily consumption of Instagram has skyrocketed since the launch of Stories (raising the tide for the whole platform)

If you aren’t taking Stories seriously, you need to recalibrate. This is a real platform in and of itself and should probably be the first focus when using Instagram and not in the second position. Experimenting with organic and paid Stories efforts will prove out the be far more beneficial than sweating the organic reach and like count on each Instagram post. That serves a purpose too, of course, but is less of a driver than before.

Invest in Stories more now and take advantage of the good times, before that starts to change for the worse and they less value. Don’t sit on the sidelines reading yesterday’s news. Grab your phone and start telling your brand’s story…

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On cutting out the term “blasts” from your email strategy…

In this episode, Chris talks about the term email “blasts” and why all marketers need to remove it from their vocabulary.  Not all prospects or customers are the same and many are in different stages of their relationship with your brand or business of course. Therefore, they shouldn’t be spoken to in the same way.

There are lots of different emails that should be in your rotation. Some emails are promotional (though not every promotion makes sense for your entire audience), some are content laden (such as newsletters or ongoings of the business) and some are behavior based in nature (based on a profile, an action or inaction etc.). Within those categories, there are many different variations and messages that should be used. Think about what you would say to each person receiving the email on a one to one basis and attack accordingly.

Email marketing is such an important part of your digital footprint and one that brands have abandoned or even worse, never really invested in the right way. As things evolve and you want to start controlling your own destiny and margins, it is a must-have part of the equation. Thinking about new ways to tactically communicate with your prospects and customers is very rewarding and even enjoyable. Not a blast though – we are not using that term here! ;)

 

 

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On balancing the art and science on social media…

On this episode, we talk about balancing the art (brand) and science (sales) in your social media strategy. For a brand looking to win online, it is imperative that you have a balance of both. It doesn’t need to be 50/50 but it also cannot be 100% on either extreme.

Sometimes brands try to be too cool with their branding and messaging and they lose out on sales opportunities. You shouldn’t get too cute with your imagery and copy and risk losing out on transactions. If you have a brander or designer running point, you risk leaning too far this way.

Conversely, if you have a salesperson or E-commerce lead running point you will tend to lean too far in the ROAS/ROI direction and come across too sales-y. If you are only looking for the money, then consumers won’t feel a brand connection and your product or offering becomes less relevant and important. You need to have a brand and a POV to stand out and be sticky in the minds of your consumers.

Our recommendation is to constantly be looking to find a balance that works for you. Look at your feeds, review your strategies and tactics regularly and listen to your audience. You don’t want to feel like an art gallery or a telemarketer. You want to convey who you are and what you stand for, and then make it very easy for those who are listening to transact with you. Social networks make this very easy to do, but the tools only work if you know how to use them the right way.

 

 

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On why PR Firms suck at social media management…

In this episode, we talk about why PR Firms are just not good at managing social media. PR is a very controlled messaging medium whereas social media is all about uncontrolled conversation. They want to say as much as they can, in as few words as possible and not get a verbal or written response and with social media, you want the opposite. You seek out the dialogue and then you must close it out with solid community management, which can be laborious and time-consuming. Also, in order to win these days, you need to be awesome at paid social, and both are just not PR’s game.

Disclaimer: Many PR Firms are awesome and can be game changers for brands. We have worked with plenty and can refer them at any time. Conversely, we stink at PR and although I could easily get clients to pay me for it, I stay far away. It is just not our game.

Both PR and social media are mission critical for brands looking to scale fast and gain exposure for their products. I just don’t think you can find one partner for both.  #my2cents

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