The Point

Archive for the ‘Social media/social media marketing’ Category

Aug

Who Cares What Chris Brogan is Drinking?

Chris Brogan

“Be real before being virtual” is a favorite little axiom of mine coined by personal branding expert William Arruda. “Will the Real You Please Stand Up” is favorite new book of mine by social media expert Kim Garst. And what follows is a favorite article I orginally wrote for Convince and Convert.

Each focuses on the all-important theme, authenticity. Enjoy…

You know who Chris Brogan is, right? If so, you can skip the following paragraph.

What?!? You don’t know the name? Chris is the publisher of Owner Media Group, CEO of Human Business Works, a publishing and media company, a keynote speaker, marketing consultant to major brands, and the bestselling author of eight books. Marketers want a piece of Chris. He’s also one of the good guys. He means and does what he says.

Chris is also a big drinker.

Chris writes a personalized, no-muss, text-based email to his massive list of subscribers every Sunday night. He launches into each one by telling you what type of coffee or tea he’s drinking. He really does.

Recently he wrote:

I’m having some Vietnamese French style coffee (have you had that before?), and it’s yummy! What about you?

A week or so prior, he wrote:

I’m drinking a delicious though simple yerba mate with chai spices (Yes, Indian friends, I know that “chai” means “tea,” but that’s the label). You?

He appears to be a fairly discriminating connoisseur of tea:

I’m sitting here in my local Barnes & Noble sipping a double dirty iced chai, Barry, and I’m thinking about preparation and how just a little bit goes a long way.

But who the hell cares what he’s drinking?

I’ve been reading his emails for a year or more because they are great. Super genuine. Informative. Fantastic reads.

It always feels like I’m getting an email from a friend. Why? Because I am.

Is this mega-star of new media really my friend? Well, as it turns out we’ve never actually clinked teacups, but Chris cares about me. He’s always on the lookout for ways to help me grow as a business owner and person. He ALWAYS asks me to write back. I often do. He ALWAYS responds. That qualifies as a friend, my friend.

I must admit, I was scratching my head for quite some time when Chris insisted I get acquainted with his cup of tea or java every Sunday night. I couldn’t help but think, “Who cares, dude?”

I’m onto you now, Chris.

(more…)

Aug

The Ultimate Shortlist of Social Media Tips [Infographic]

I’m onto you. You love social media. You can’t get enough.

You can’t get enough followers, shares, comments. You can’t get enough tips from experts. There’s never enough time to do it, so you hunger for knowledge about how to use social media effectively as possible.

I learned that when I read this, The 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner. The report listed the top five questions social media users ask. Atop the list was, “What social tactics are most effective?”

I did my best to answer the question by gathering 59 tips from the results of using the question in a search. Then I synthesized the tips again by shortening both the list and the tips and creating the infographic below.

More advice for optimizing your social media efforts

Just getting started with social media? Read this beginner’s guide.

Want to learn how to inspire readers to respond? You’ll find this post useful.

Want to master visual marketing on social? Here you go.

I can also offer you tips for mastering LinkedIn and SlideShare.

And now, here’s 30 Effective Social Media Tactics, an infographic I hope you’ll like and share.

(more…)

Jul

100 Ways Your Company Loses to Better Online Marketers

It's a jungle online

It’s a jungle out there.

Online marketing has become a wild animal. But you don’t have to be a gorilla to dominate. Nor do you have to go ape and do absolutely everything. However, you do indeed need to understand what’s working for the leaders of the pack.

I thought I’d survey the landscape and give you my take on how the most cunning companies are killing it with online marketing tactics. So here you are: 100 ways companies are thriving on the wild, wild web.

(more…)

Jul

The A-to-Z Guide to SlideShare [Infographic]

The A to Z Guide to SlideShare

There’s a greater than 4-to-1 chance you’re missing out on a gigantic opportunity to put your content in the path of your prospects.

See, according to the new Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 85% of marketers don’t use SlideShare. I’m going to tell you why you should consider getting started and in addition to this post, I’ll share with you a new infographic, “The A to Z Guide to SlideShare: Your Cheat Sheet for Mastering the World’s Largest Business Content Community.”

The reality is SlideShare is misunderstood

I suppose one could define a social media platform various ways. Like the seven networks outperforming it in terms of use, SlideShare is a site where you can publish and share content. However, unlike most of them, discussion and interaction between members is nearly non-existent.

slideshare is a global hub

SlideShare describes itself as a global hub of professional content. In this realm, it ranks alone at the top. Just as YouTube’s focus is to democratize video, SlideShare’s is to do the same for presentations. Unlike YouTube—and more like LinkedIn (which owns SlideShare)—SlideShare targets business users.

SlideShare’s audience is bigger than you might think, is terrific for lead generation, and is populated by people actively seeking information and resources (not dissimilar from a search engine, in that regard). And that audience is hungry for information. ~ Jay Baer, author of “Youtility”

SlideShare traffic is driven largely by search and social. Over 70% come via direct search. Traffic from business owners is 4X greater than Facebook. Traffic is truly global. More than 50% are from outside the U.S.

As you see from the traffic numbers in the image above (from “Introduction to SlideShare for Business”), its reach is enormous. Still, in consulting with B2B clients daily, I often find myself the first one to introduce them to SlideShare.

I explain, “SlideShare gets 60-million visits per month. Your website or blog does not. You should be on it.” (All credit goes to Todd Wheatland, author of “The Marketers Guide to SlideShare,” for that one.)

Now I’ve explained it to you too. So we’ll move on to…

(more…)

Jun

Eye-Popping, Reader-Stopping, Social Media-Rocking Visual Marketing

Eye Popping Visual Marketing

Presenting Visual Strategies for Smart Content Marketing

It’s often said, a picture is worth a thousand words.

But are they worth a thousand bucks? They can be because they start conversations. They attract attention. Pictures help you tell stories. They stop web surfers and turn them into readers, which is often a crucial first step toward winning a customer.

In this age of information overload the competition is fierce and the noise level is immeasurable. Getting you to read this article is a major feat. I’ve done something right.

We’re human. Our ability to take in information may be large, but it’s limited. Our attention spans are short and getting shorter.

As marketers, our first and most pressing goal is to get noticed. The challenge then evolves to keeping the reader’s interest for a short spell and making some sort of connection during the brief moment in time.

This decade’s seen explosive popularity of image-centric social channels like Instagram and Pinterest. Every social media network not considered to be visually magnetic is moving fast to overcome the problem.

And every marketer who hasn’t yet mastered the nuances of visual marketing needs to get on it. If you’re not acing the aesthetic parts of content marketing, you can expect to see your audience engaging with companies that are.

Your content needs to feature photos, images, and visuals that woo and wow. I’m hoping the rest of this post will help you understand how get it done effectively.

(more…)

Jun

LinkedIn Best Practices for Developing Your Personal Brand

LinkedIn Best Practices

It’s time to master LinkedIn, the personal branding epicenter of the Internet.

LinkedIn enters into every conversation I have about personal branding.

It comes up in the daily conversations I have about content marketing and new media advertising. And whenever I’m tasked with helping people get started with social media marketing, the discussion always includes LinkedIn.

There has never been a more powerful business networking tool than LinkedIn. Everything that fuels the ascent of your personal brand lives and breathes on the network. It’s the online center for meeting people, sharing content, and creating and building business relationships.

If you’re a LinkedIn slacker, that is, you have a presence, but are not active on the network, the following facts may give you the nudge you need:

  • LinkedIn has more than 350 million users from 200+ countries.
  • B2B marketers rate LinkedIn the top social media for delivering B2B content and most effective for generating leads.
  • 40% of LinkedIn members check in daily.

Even if you enjoy other social media more, I want you to understand LinkedIn must be a part of your media mix. To help you make the most of LinkedIn, I’m going to walk you through best practices for developing your personal brand with the many opportunities the network offers.

You need to rock your profile

You’ll shoot yourself in the foot if you rush through the process of creating a profile. More so than on other social media, your profile will be visited and read.

Because the personal brand is so central to the LinkedIn environment, you’re given a big and flexible canvas on which to paint a picture of yourself. Put some effort, thought and creativity into rocking your public profile top to bottom.

  • A professional headline — Just below your name you’re given up to 120 characters to populate your “headline” field. Consider beginning with a tagline to make a first impression. Next, enter a healthy dose of keywords describing yourself and your areas of expertise. You want to be found via relevant searches. Try to showcase your strengths without being pretentious.
  • Photo — Your profile is 11X more likely to be viewed if it includes a photo. Your photo should be a high quality headshot. Look into the lens to make eye contact and smile. Weirdness and creativity will not serve you well here.
  • Background — LinkedIn allows you to upload a background image to serve as your “cover photo.” Choose an image that reflects well on your brand.
  • Contact info — This section asks for the usual suspects, but be aware you can override some of the defaults as you like. For instance, you can edit the standard links with the name of your blog and website.
  • URL — LinkedIn issues you an impossibly long and anonymous URL, but it’s easy to customize it with your name, which makes it much easier to remember and share.
  • Summary — Use the summary section to tell your story as you would on an “about” page. Include keywords for search purposes, but compose your summary in a warm way aiming to answer basic questions about your skills and inspiring visitors to keep reading.
  • Showcase your work — LinkedIn makes it easy to showcase your work via its integration with SlideShare. Upload the media of your choice to SlideShare and choose “Add to LinkedIn profile.”
  • Experience — Populate the fields in the experience section with your work history to present your credentials as you would in a resume.
  • Add media — In both the experience and education sections you can display documents, photos, links, presentations, or videos. Using a video will help make your profile stand out.
  • Skills and endorsements — This section allows you to select your skills and present endorsements given to you from LinkedIn members. Listing your skills gives members a 13X boost in profile views.

linkedin-skills-and-endorsements

A lot of people feel the endorsements section is lightweight, but I believe when the endorsements begin piling up it helps support your personal brand with a credibility boost.

  • Recommendations – Written testimonials are presented here, which are even more powerful than endorsements.
  • Additional information and summary elements — There’s a crazy long list of optional sections you can add to your profile: groups, certifications, publications, projects, honors, organizations and more. Publish the things you feel are credentials and/or conversation starters and order them as you like.

view-my-profile-on-linkedin

When you have your profile rocking the way a personal brander should, you can promote it
by
snagging a LinkedIn badge and placing it on your blog and website.

The name LinkedIn suggests building relationships

Far too many think of LinkedIn strictly as a place where you find a job or recruiters find you. While employment’s a big part of the LinkedIn picture, when it comes to professional development, there’s very little you can’t find on LinkedIn.

In addition to being the network for building your personal brand, LinkedIn’s an ideal place to promote your content, generate leads, find partnership opportunities, conduct research and recruit.

You accomplish all of the above by connecting with LinkedIn members. Let’s look at how it’s done.

Grow your network—Access the “people you may know” section by searching for it. (Features get moved around often.) LinkedIn does a scary good job of populating the list with, you guessed it, people you may know. Here, you’ll find their faces, titles and companies.

You can send an automatic invitation with a single click on “connect.”

If you’ve imported your email contacts list via “add connections,” LinkedIn shows you their email address and the option to send an invitation by clicking “add to network.”

Other options include:

  1. Run an advanced people search.
  2. Find alumni.
  3. Ask for introductions to the people LinkedIn identifies as second degree connections.

Of course, in your travels across the network you’ll also come across people you’d like to connect with. Making a connection request invokes a default email message, which reads “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.” You can—and should—write a more interesting greeting if you’d like to make a memorable first impression.

Join groups — One of the platform’s most useful features is LinkedIn Groups. There are millions of groups catering to all business interests. Groups generally exist to share content and ideas. They also provide another way to identify and make meaningful connections.

Use keyword searches to get started finding relevant groups. The results will give you some insights into the group’s charter and also indicate its size by member count. You may also want to examine the profiles of your connections, prospects and clients to see which groups they participate in.

You can join up to 50 groups with a free account. Some will require approval from the group’s moderator. Over time, you’ll find it more meaningful to focus on a small number of active and interesting groups, however you won’t know until you sign-up.

You also have the option to start your own groups, public or private. Creating a group is a cinch, but understand that managing a group takes a fair amount of time.

frequency-of-groups-digest-emails

Fair warning: You’ll receive a barrage of email if you don’t tinker with your email preferences.
This screen shot shows you the options for group email settings.

Deliver valuable content

Your quest to develop a strong personal brand calls for developing and sharing original content as well as curating additional content you believe serves the interests of your connections.

In recent years, through both the development of new features and the integration of services LinkedIn has added by way of acquisitions, the network has become a giant content marketing hub for individuals and companies.

Share your thoughts — As is the case with all social networks, you need to contribute to the conversation. On your LinkedIn home page, “share an update” presents a blank field in which you can write your thoughts, upload a photo, and paste a link if you choose. LinkedIn doesn’t yet offer the option to share video this way.

A pull-down menu allows you to share your update publicly, strictly with your connections, and via Twitter. Of course, if you elect to share via Twittter, your update will be limited to Twitter’s 140-characters restriction.

If you’d like to notify a LinkedIn member you’ve mentioned him or her in an update, enter @, followed by the name. The feature also works to mention companies.

Start a group discussion — You start discussions within your groups by giving your comment a title and then writing details, which you can designate as “general,” “job” or “promotion.” You cannot add media types here. In some cases, you can include links, however some group moderators discourage or prohibit it.

Link to a blog post, article, ebook, presentation, or whatever is relevant to the discussion you’re starting. Asking questions tends to be the best way to invoke a meaningful discussion. Ask a great question and you may inspire hundreds of responses from members.

Stay tuned-in because your question is likely to beget additional questions. Often, healthy debates follow and you’ll likely want to express your point of view.

Go one-on-one — In the course of your updates and discussions you’re likely to want to engage individually. LinkedIn enables you to do so via LinkedIn email. If you’re looking to nurture a “pen pal” relationship into something more, this is how it’s done.

Publish blog posts — In 2014, LinkedIn took a bold step toward becoming a content marketing hub by introducing its own publishing platform. I was offered the opportunity to join its first-round pilot and jumped in.

One of the first posts I contributed was about the platform itself and became a hit (relatively speaking). Read “I Pledge Allegiance to the New LinkedIn Publishing Platform (For Now)” to get my detailed thoughts. I’m not as bullish now as I was then, however I do believe:

  1. LinkedIn has created the easiest blog publishing platform anywhere. It’s very intuitive and nice looking too.
  2. Publishing a blog post—of any length—on LinkedIn is a wonderful opportunity to reach your ideal audience and support your personal brand.

The reason I’m slightly less excited about the platform today is being that it’s now open to all members, there are tons of posts published every day. As such, quality is all over the map and it’s more difficult to stand out and get the shares required to reach thousands of readers.

That said, on any given day, a great post stands the chance of getting picked up by LinkedIn’s personalized online magazine, “Pulse,” which often does find a large audience and can inspire oodles of shares and comments.

LinkedIn’s loaded with content

SlideShare

In 2012, LinkedIn acquired SlideShare, the world’s largest community for sharing presentations and other professional content. SlideShare allows you to post presentations, infographics, documents, videos, and PDFs. SlideShare boasts 60 million unique visitors a month.

I’m a big fan of SlideShare and consider it a significant element of my personal branding efforts. I publish content there often and have contributed to its blog numerous times.

marketing-and-social-media

In 2014, SlideShare launched a “Keynote Author” (top influencers) section giving the designation to top contributors and I’m thrilled to have been selected.

SlideShare is integrated with LinkedIn making it easy for you to present your SlideShare content on your profile page. Use the feature to showcase your portfolio or any type of content that supports your personal brand.

LinkedIn Pulse

In 2013, LinkedIn Today became Pulse (as a result of an acquisition). LinkedIn Pulse delivers professional news tailored to your interests. It’s home to the robust “LinkedINfluencers” blog, which features exclusive posts from hundreds of carefully selected industry leaders across many topics. The news aggregator is available on the LinkedIn site and via smartphone apps.

Another level of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is largely free. However, the company does offer paid services. If you join as free member, you’ll learn of the paid options soon enough. LinkedIn is very good—and aggressive — at promoting its premium services.

LinkedIn Premium accounts — You’ll do fine developing your personal brand on LinkedIn without investing in paid services, however you should be aware premium accounts are offered. The premium offering provides a number of value-added services, some of them useful to power users.

Premium accounts are available to general users and there are specific offerings for recruiters, job seekers and sales professionals.

LinkedIn analytics — The free analytics provided by LinkedIn to individual members are a far cry from deep, however they will reveal people who have viewed your profile, how you rank among your connections and some additional insights.

demographics-of-your-readers

Some of the free analytics are note-worthy. I found it interesting LinkedIn helps you understand the demographics of your readers.

LinkedIn advertising — LinkedIn’s advertising options are many. The programs offer powerful B2B targeting features to reach the audience you choose among its nearly 350 million members.

linkedin-advertising-homepage

If you’d like to learn more about expanding your reach on LinkedIn and using its targeted ad programs, I highly recommend you download The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, authored by my friend Jason Miller of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

the-sophisticated-marketers-guide

Miller’s guide is packed with tips from marketing leaders as well as insights from the LinkedIn marketing team.

LinkedIn company pages — LinkedIn company pages are a smart play for social media marketers. With their many features, company pages can help you engage followers with news and content and take advantage of lead generation opportunities. The analytics provided for company pages are more robust.

Interested in learning more? 5 LinkedIn Company Page Tips to Enhance Your Marketing is an informative post from Jason Miller on Social Media Examiner.

The brand called you

Many credit author Tom Peters for creating the term “personal branding” in The Brand Called You, an article he wrote for Fast Company magazine in 1997. In it he wrote:

“The key to any personal branding campaign is ‘word-of-mouth marketing.’ Your network of friends, colleagues, clients, and customers is the most important marketing vehicle you’ve got; what they say about you and your contributions is what the market will ultimately gauge as the value of your brand. So the big trick to building your brand is to find ways to nurture your network of colleagues — consciously.”

I suspect if Peters were to update the article today he’d say your involvement on LinkedIn is absolutely critical to your success.

Note: This story first appeared on the KISSmetrics blog and was also syndicated on Entrepreneur.com and StartUps.co

 

Jun

What Social Media Tactics Are Most Effective?

Most Effective Social Media Tactics - 59 Tips

Have you read the “2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report?”

Each year, Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner delivers the report, which includes data summaries of their massive survey along with his insights.

First up in the latest edition is the Top 5 social media questions marketers want answered.” Question #1:

What social tactics are most effective? Michael wrote 92% of marketers want the answers.

Reading this inspired me to roundup all kinds of answers. I did a search using the exact question (actually I added the word “media”). In the screenshot below you’ll see what I found. And below the screenshot, I’ll share with you the most effective social media tactics according to the highest-ranking blog posts and pages. (more…)

Jun

Social Shares: How to Inspire Readers to Respond

Social shares hero

You value social shares, right?

I don’t want to hear about how vanity metrics are worthless. Getting more followers should have a positive affect and inspiring them to share your content is one of the big reasons to get involved in social media.

It’s not easy to place a dollar value on social shares, but it’s easy to understand why they’re valuable. Social shares are a form of word of mouth marketing. A most valuable commodity at the ultimate price point: free.

If you’ve written about how to inspire social sharing, thank you. I might be sharing your ideas in this guide. I searched and surfed a good bit because I want to dive deep into the psychology and practice of social sharing.

I want you to go away with new ideas for inspiring readers to respond to your content by clicking and commenting, endorsing and engaging, sharing and suggesting their fans and followers check out what you have to offer.

Why do people share online?

Sharing content is not a new phenomenon. However, in the information age, we’re hyper-share-happy. We share more content from more sources. We share with more people, more often, more quickly. (more…)

May

Twitter Profiles: You Eggheads Crack Me Up

Twitter profiles

 

It’s time to stop yoking around with your Twitter profile picture

I’m Twitter-obsessive. No apologies. Twitter rocks.

I also feel I’ve got the hang of it, but not just mechanically. After a couple of years of trial and error, I’m accomplishing the objectives I have for the medium.

I’m getting the Twitterati to read and share my work. I’m discovering great content and resources. I’m expanding my influence, albeit at a slow and steady pace. But, mostly, I’m building relationships.

Relationships begin with an introduction.

In the case of Twitter (and social media in general), your profile picture is a big part of that introduction—your first impression.

What do you do when you meet someone for the first time?

You shake their hand. You tell them your name. You smile, I hope. “Nice to meet you” isn’t an amazing opening line, but provided you’re sincere it’s a reasonable place to start.

Have you taken these common-sense practices to Twitter? It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t. They want to be creative. Kooky. Show-offy. Mysterious. All kinds of things. Sometimes they’re just plain clueless.

These alternate strategies suck eggs.

Granted, that is my opinion; but hey, it happens to be my story.

My opinion is you should be conventional with your Twitter picture. That box where you can upload anything you want, provided it’s no taller or wider than 160 pixels, should be populated by a nice photo of you.

You should…

  • Have it shot by someone who can handle a camera.
  • Have the photo well-lit.
  • Crop it as a close-up.
  • Look into the lens.
  • Smile.

But Twitter profile pictures are all over the place.

It’s clear that many a tweep doesn’t see it my way. They see the 160px square as an opportunity for self-expression.

Here’s what I see when I see such  profiles. (more…)

Mar

Headline Advice to Confuse You and Kill All Creative Impulses

Data about writing headlinesWhat do I know about writing headlines?

Yesterday I was asked to lead a headline writing session at a major marketing conference. I accepted. I’ve done it many times before and enjoy it.

An infographic I created about headlines (presented below) is one of my most popular pieces of content. I’ve written several posts featuring headline writing tips. I get interviewed on the subject all the time. In fact, recently I landed a nice piece of business from a CEO who heard me dispense headline advice on a podcast with Copyblogger’s Damien Farnsworth.

I’m a loyal reader of the HubSpot blog. It’s one of the best. I’m also a contributor to it. In fact, the most popular piece I wrote for HubSpot was my first, Copywriting 101: The Principles of Irresistible Content.

Writing effective headlines

Sooo… when I saw HubSpot and Outbrain had collaborated to produce “Data Driven Strategies for Writing Effective Titles & Headlines,” of course I got my hands on it (but that’s not my hand above).

The 28-page paper reports findings on clickthrough rates, engagement and conversion drawn from a number-crunching study of 3.3 million headlines from paid links. (Outbrain is a content discovery platform, meaning it puts sponsored content in the path of website readers. It’s new media advertising, basically.)

The data is pretty damn shocking…

… and confusing… and frustrating… and counter-intuitive… (more…)