Referrals from all angles..

Sircle Referrals

I have written about how referrals make the world go round, on this blog before and once again I am reminded how true that is. Last week I received 6 referrals for business and they came from a variety of sources, all of which are appreciated more than the referrer knows.

Two came directly from happy clients, which are the most common types in my business. Those are obvious and awesome when they come to us and are a clear sign that we are doing great work for our clients day to day.

Great work and service, empowers WOM – Word of Mouth!

Two came from PR partners who had worked opposite us on brand relationships. Many of our clients have a PR Firm on hand and we are often forced into their sandbox and ordered to play nicely together. We used to get a lot of pushback from those partners as either A) they were trying to diversify and get into social media services and/or B) they just felt threatened by the new agency in the ecosystem. I have always said that we don’t offer PR and we believe that our efforts augment everything they do and vice versa. It is so nice to see that some of these firms have changed their posture, AND that they felt we offered great service and could pair very nicely with their offerings.

Teamwork does, make the dream work!

One came from the very type of relationship I referenced in my earlier blog post above. Someone I had mentored two years back, had landed at a new company and immediately told them they needed to hire us for their social media needs.

Long game, paying off!

The final and perhaps most gratifying one came from a former (and internal favorite) client, who left us abruptly earlier this year. They hired a new Director of Marketing who came in with their own ideas and agenda and ultimately pushed us out. This is hands down the number one reason for churn in our business and is so unfortunate, because if communication is excellent, it is usually unnecessary. Regardless, it was so great to receive this particular referral, as it was a statement that although we are no longer dating, they remain a fan and convinced that we add a ton of value. So much so that they recommended the client “hire us right away to learn and implement a real, make sense social strategy” and that client couldn’t wait to get started.

Client relationships don’t always end, just because they stop paying you!

I remain convinced that if you are passionate, provide great service, work hard and don’t lose your cool, that you can generate a referral funnel from all types of sources.  Everyone you come in contact with should be better off for having met you and you should leave an indelible mark on each of them. Do it, and they will remember you when the time is right and be your biggest advocates.

 

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Sircle Sessions: When is it time to hire an agency?

When running a business there are a myriad of decisions you need to make each day, week and month to be successful.  As a brand grows, you also need to start making some choices that will take you out of your comfort zone and allow you to leap forward, faster.

I always say that you shouldn’t hire anyone to do anything for you that you can do better and/or faster yourself. That being said, you also need to assess the bigger picture and realize that you can’t win by doing it all on your own. Sure, if you can save the cost (financial and opportunity) that might be best for you, but not if that means you aren’t focused on other areas of your business that might need your time and attention more.

Once a brand is in full stride and you make a threshold decision that you need to hire a person to handle social media (trust me you do) then an agency model makes a ton of sense. Most companies cant afford to guess wrong with this staffing move and given the price they want to pay, it is highly likely that they will with an inexperienced junior level employee.  Conversely, a high priced retainer that most agencies pitch is daunting and often leads to most businesses choosing to go at it alone.

An agency focused on outsourced social media management should toe the line and provide agency prowess at an entry level price point. Enter Sircle Media.

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Sircle Sessions: What the key areas of focus in social media?

Sircle-Social Sessions

Many brands are not taking a holistic approach to social media and are treating it like its own silo of activity.  The team responsible for social, is usually understaffed and is often not in sync with the rest of a company’s digital initiatives, which is a big mistake.

Social media management is a full time job and pulls from a lot of different talents.  You need to be able to write, create, navigate various social platforms and be able to have the understanding of digital, to have it all working pursuant to a make sense strategy. Once you have the right person or team in place, then it comes down to a lot of small ball work. Click the image above or here, for an excerpt from a recent interview on the topic.

It really needs to be a balance of content, engagement and growth tactics in order to have transformational social media results. Brands need to really invest equally in all three, if they want to experience a really meaningful impact:

  1. You must contribute to the community with good content that people will enjoy and want to consume.
  2. You cant just put out content, you must seek out conversation opportunities and then close the loop.
  3. You also need to have a content and engagement strategy that aims to satisfy bigger marketing or company growth goals such as: fan and follower aggregation, traffic to the website, email capture, awareness (reach, impressions, branded searches) and of course – sales!

Social media affords brands a very inexpensive way to speak with and listen to customers and prospects.  So many marketers spend so much time talking about why social doesn’t work, why it isn’t trackable or how it dosnt have an ROI, and if they spent half of that time actually putting in the work, they would be singing a very different tune.

In order to win you must be a daily practitioner, and continue to tinker around.  Small moves, can produce big results- but only if you are really in the game.

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Sircle Sessions: Where do brands go wrong with social?

Sircle-Social Sessions

I sat down for a recent interview and we went deep into a discussion on social media and how brands approach it the wrong way. Most get (or pretend to get) that they need it, but do not invest the right resources into making it work. Click the image above or here, to watch some of that conversation.

It has to be an all in mentality to win and you cannot be half pregnant. You must plant the seeds and then water them with time and dollars to make sure that they not only grow, but flourish. The brands who get this and approach it as religion rather than just tactics, are winning and I am proud to say we work with many of them.

Garyvee said it right when he stated that “social media is just a slang term for the internet-the math is straightforward: people’s internet consumption now happens on mobile, and the thing people do the most on mobile is use social media platforms. That is the internet now. If you don’t understand this, you’re behind. There is zero difference between “digital marketing” and “social media marketing.”

Social media is not a fad, it is the current state of the union. Not creating and putting out content and of equal importance not listening to and engaging with the community, is just not acceptable for any business in today’s day and age. Brands need to wake up and participate, or they are going to put themselves out of business.

 

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Why I Started Sircle Media and What Makes It Different?

SIRCLE MEDIA LOGO- WHITE

I sat down for a session with someone I have been mentoring recently and they asked me why I created Sircle Media and whether or not we are still consistent 4 years later with the original thesis.  It is a great question (from a smart young woman) and it got me thinking…

I created Sircle Media based on an observation that nearly all small businesses need to be engaging in and growing their digital and social agendas, yet most lack the ability to do so on their own. Couple that with the fact that most digital/social/web agencies don’t deliver a real holistic approach, nor do they take a client POV when creating and implementing against their strategies. As a result you have a gap in the market and I felt it needed to be filled.  We think like a client and we work to implement strategies that are consistent with our client’s goals taking into account their budget, business, inefficiencies and personal and vertical idiosyncrasies. We arm them to win, specifically for them.

Social media management in an outsourced capacity has become our biggest seller (by far) because it has become a “must have” and it is very hard to hire for the position.  You need someone who is motivated, clever and talented who can write (both in short and long form), can create content (through the lens or photoshop), can strategize and drive your social agenda and can oversee the communities on various social platforms.  They also need to know how those efforts tie back into a bigger digital strategy and need to have the business acumen to understand how to bring them all together.  It is impossible to find someone with all of these talents and who a company can afford, at the price point they typically want to pay.  We provide a collection of these talents all rolled into one entry level price point. It is a real USP and differentiator for us and something that most businesses we speak with are very attracted to.

I had been on the client side for 10+ years, having owned a large B2C company and we were big marketers.  I worked with all kinds of agencies and was always disappointed.  My client side experience taught me what I wanted and more importantly what I definitely did not want as a client. That helped shape Sircle into a customer service driven, client first mentality type of organization, that makes clients feel they are heard and well supported.  When I first started out, I did everything (literally EVERYTHING) myself and created processes and procedures that worked, pursuant to the core brand ethos of providing “Four Seasons Hotel Type Service” to all clients. Then I staffed, to fill the roles needed to deliver upon them and have been scaling and iterating ever since.

As we enter our 5th year, I remain more convinced than ever that brands need to have a real social and digital media strategy and that has only increased in importance over time.  They also need to have someone who can do it at a palatable price point AND who thinks with a company/client first mindset.  It is really gratifying seeing Sircle continue to grow, to exceed client expectations and to deliver upon that original thesis every single day!

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Social Media Manager = Full Time Role(s)

Sircle-SMMI think brands vastly underestimate how much work goes into social media management. I would argue it is not just a full time role, it requires multiple skill sets and is very hard to do through one individual. An effective Social Media Manager needs to know how to create assets via photoshop and/or a camera, how to write well, both in short and long form, how to implement digital strategy AND have the business acumen to understand how to bring this all together for the brand. Very few people possess all of these skill sets.

We created Sircle Media, primarily to solve this pain point.  When we started in 2012, this was a major problem for most brands and I would argue it has become even more so as time has gone on.  As the landscape changes at a torrid pace, the requirements only increase and the argument for the agency model becomes stronger and stronger.  We realize most brands feel that someone internally and “on staff” needs to handle social media for their company. We work hard to toe the line and provide agency prowess and support with an internal employee mindset.  This is the formula that wins.

We put together this video to help explain it a bit further. Check it out!

 

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