agilemarketing, content marketing, crisis management, How To, social media, twitter

Monitoring your brand online

Track the open web with Google Alerts

One way to ensure you are aware of mentions of you or your brand is to set up a Google Alert.

This tool has been around for some time, but many are still yet to adopt it, or leverage it correctly.

Visit Google alerts and you can use Google to monitor for news about your brand or industry. To ensure the results are relevant enter your search term  (the brand name or industry terms you’d like to see information for) and click show options.

You can select how often you whish to receive the alerts, “as-it-happens” or  a weekly digest. I find the as-it-happens setting ideal for responding to mentions in the news and gives me a chance to respond with immediacy, thanking the author for the mention.

From there you can choose “only the best results” and limit the country results to your country of interest. This is helpful for neighborhoods that take their name from the United Kingdom or other locations in the old world. There are a number of areas called Canterbury around the world, for example.

Build your brand and interact with your industry

One novel ways to use Google Alerts is for mentions of key themes that you wish to create content around, or be considered a thought leader for.

I have filters set up to monitor for specific exact terms that I use to inform me of movements in the industry . You could do the same, for example to monitor the green construction industry, with a search like: “SIPS” or “passive house” or “Blower door” or “airtight construction” .

Limit the results to your country and you will very quickly find those that are outspoken online in the industry and potentially the local online influencers. Cross referencing their social media profiles with a tool like Klout and you can have a basic understanding of their influence online, or at least you will know if many people find the content they share relevant.

You can then effectively surround yourself with online experts, build your knowledge and inform yourself to create interesting content that we know resonates with the industry.

A video introduction to Google Alerts

A few other searches you could try are:

  • competitor’s brand mentions – keep an eye on their activities
  • legislative terms for your industry – be the first to comment on a law change
  • misspelt brand terms – this is handy if you have a brand that’s hard to spell
  • negative industry terms – just to keep an eye on potential acquisition opportunities
  • unhappy customer terms – you can then use social selling techniques to introduce your brand
  • some fun terms to receive jokes or fun videos clips on a Friday.

Monitoring blog mentions and Twitter

Google may not catch all mentions of your brand and obviously doesn’t index closed social network posts or dark social media (Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Wechat for example).

Socialmention.com is a great free tool that provides a pretty accurate record of blog and Twitter mentions. They have a daily email alert service that you can subscribe to,or an RSS  feed that you can use to monitor your mentions.

Socialmention also provides some breakdown of popular hashtags associated with the posts and a register of the top profiles that have mentioned the term by frequency.

Again you could leverage this for industry insights and share relevant content with your audience.

Hopefully these tools can improve your interactions with customers and industry peers. I’d love to hear of any other tools people have used successfully.

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local business marketing online and social media
content marketing, facebook, How To, social media, twitter

Local Business Social Media and Online Marketing – To Generate Leads

Local businesses and salespeople need to really focus more on their online marketing. With the growth in mobile devices there is so much opportunity to have your business found through search engines or shared through social media from anywhere.

Even if you’re just a local Auckland business marketing to your suburb, you can also be discovered from anywhere. You need to have an online presence that shines for prospective customers.

With marketing online, the end game is getting a list of contacts that you can market to.

In the old days this was a physical address but now it’s the all important email address.

To get these emails we create an online ‘Sales’ funnel. The funnel will look like this:

  1. advertising driving awareness and traffic
  2. read magnets
  3. lead magnets
  4. marketing
  5. asking for the sale
  6. maintaining a relationship with your loyal customers

A read magnet is really good free content that people consume. It’s a gift to potential clients. The aim with this content is to make it so good that people feel that they need to reciprocate the gift by doing something in return.

They do this through sharing the content or downloading an eBook or booking a webinar. These items are your lead magnets. Valuable content that you may charge small fee for or you might just give away too.

Your lead magnet of course requires their email, and maybe some basic details.

(I have a lead magnet of sorts in my free audit tool).

From there you have the ability to market to them on a regular basis and take them down a funnel to ultimately buy from you or subscribe to your services.

Building an email list is the one thing that you need to make the main thing consistently.

With your funnel in place – we then drive traffic to the funnel using social media or paid advertising.

So how do I use Social Media?

To understand the best approach to this we need to understand traditional and modern media.

 

Traditional mass media

Television, radio and print media are platforms where you need to pay to get your content shared – they provide us with entertainment and education.

We watch/listen/read programs or publications that:

  • tell us what the latest news is
  • entertain us and make us feel better
  • educate us on how to be smarter, fitter, richer, etc.

In between TV shows (if we don’t Tivo or Sky record and jump over them) brands inject ads. We’ve come to accept its the price we pay for the entertainment they provide.  Local business marketing has had some take up for radio and TV but many find it too expensive and untargeted.  People that aren’t in an area they service see the message and often the leads are uniformed.

Social Media and more specifically Facebook has become mass media


We go there for entertainment and to keep up with our community.  People only share and interact with content that will:

  • tell us what the latest news is
  • make us feel better
  • make us look better (smarter, fitter, richer etc) in front of their peers.

But because these new online mass marketing channels like Facebook don’t have ad breaks we are very wary of brands, companies and local businesses putting ads in our news feed.

But Facebook is mass targeted media

We are still very reluctant to accept that it’s the price we have to pay for the entertainment social networks provide.

Local business marketing has take this up because they see it as inexpensive targeted. The smart ones pay to get their message in front of exactly the right type of customer. But what do they say?

The workaround for social media and online marketing

Some say the key to success in business is leading with generosity – being of service to your customers.

If we share educational content around the local services we offer we will be found online through SEO. People will share our content as the local expert if it is:

  • topical
  • makes them feel better
  • or is useful in making them feel smarter, fitter or richer in that area.

To help you create or share content that is topical and entertaining visit Google alerts to create an email that is sent to you as new content is indexed for:

  • topical news in your industry
  • local philanthropic news that could make them feel better

This is a fairly clinical description of how to be a relatable person online but sometimes we forget to be relatable and dive straight into selling.

In Browns Bay last week the if I was a local business in Browns Bay I would share photos of this and how you’re proud of the community getting involved.  While this won’t generate leads, you will be seen as a connector in your community and this topical entertaining content is relatable.

It’s not enough to just produce ‘content’ – Your Uniqueness your USP and niche has to shine 

People do business with people they know, like and trust.

Ultimately, regardless of our job or career, we are all salespeople. Some sell products or services, others buy-in on ideas or concepts and many are just convincing others to do their bidding.

We all have something that makes us unique as salespeople and that capacity needs to be your ‘angle’ online. Your unique selling point needs to come through as there are so many of us out there vying for eyeballs and dollars. Your angle allows you to create long tail keywords – which basically means when people look for something specific you have less competitors in search results.

There is one person online touting that they are “fluent in Agile Digital Marketing, Portuguese, Spanish and Residential Architecture”. Don’t bother Googling. I’m the only result.

We can add to this uniqueness our audience. This might be through simple demographic and geographic segmentation of your market. Even better would be creating a buyer persona. A description of your ideal customer that you can address when creating content. With this persona you can ask each time you blog, create a video, post on social media. Will this resonate with ‘Sam ‘ my ideal customer and does it help them on their journey with my business.

If we know our audience, our uniqueness and what problem we solve it is far easier to evaluate if a marketing any activity fits with our business.

We can then get your audience to “know” you online and create a loyal connections with people that share your posts and ultimately buy your product or service and encourage others to do the same.

Remember the more valuable the content the more people will perceive your products or services to be of even greater value.

There’s a tendency to hold back from divulging secrets online. Your secret is in the fact that you can combine your services in your unique way to create success for your small local business, yourself or your brand.

So what do you share in specific networks?

Not having a company profile for you local business on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter is a missed opportunity to:

  • create links to your website
  • be found or shared by other members of the network
  • to interact with your customers
  • to drive traffic to your read magnets – the start of your ‘sales’ funnel.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business social network, an online resume and content sharing platform for business people.

People use this network to find jobs or work and to learn from others how to be better professionals.

Sharing
Share content that is relevant to your local audience and that makes you be seen as the local expert. Respect that it is a business platform. Memes and potty humor has no place here – or anywhere you’re trying to be professional right?

Recommending
One other useful piece of functionality on LinkedIn are the recommendations

If you can, request a recommendation on LinkedIn and connect with each of your customers. LinkedIn even lets you suggest wording for a potential recommendation – this is an opportunity for you to incorporate local keyword terms and your speciality into the recommendation. Make it easy for them to recommend your services and products.

Connecting
LinkedIn is a great tool for collecting and maintaining business contacts. Use it to introduce contacts to others that may need their service. I call this Triadic connections. If you do this regularly and often, people will come to you and think of you as a connector – the local expert that ‘knows somebody that does X’.

Facebook

Facebook is the main social network for the majority of people in the English speaking world.  

People use this network to keep in touch with family and friends, sometimes to learn and regularly to entertain themselves.

Sharing
Remember people like to share content on Facebook that’s:

  • topical
  •  makes them feel better
  •  or is useful in making them feel smarter, fitter or richer in that area.

Get yourself set up with a Facebook business page and try to attain fans that really like your business.  As people discover your content and they’ll like your page to receive more.

Buying page likes can have a negative effect on reach – for each unengaged follower you acquire (people that don’t enjoy your content by giving it a like, comment or share) you decrease the reach of your posts.

Promoting posts and linking to your site is a great way to get traffic. Targeted posts – even at just 5 or 10 dollars a post allows you to target specific audiences on Facebook. In general for about 1.4 cents you can reach a person on Facebook.

We can also “retarget” those that visit your website with an ad to remind them to come back.  Once you have a database of emails (from followers on your website) you can use that list to market to them on Facebook and to what Facebook calls look-alike groups. Those with similar profiles – that would have a similar propensity to like, share your content and enter your sales funnel.

Twitter

 

Twitter is the second social network for the majority of people in the English speaking world.
People use this network to find out about breaking news and to share and discover content on specific themes.

Sharing
It is a great place to share content on your industry for all audiences. The users of Twitter are a small subset of your target audiences. That said,  journalists, gatekeepers and key industry experts are on Twitter.  Aim to use the fast-paced news focus of Twitter for newsjacking opportunities. You can follow trending events by clicking on a #hashtag and then using that hashtag within your message to reach others that are reading that stream.

Here are two examples of newsjacking:

  1. California trial lawyer comments on legal aspects of news to grow influence
    Mitch Jackson
  2. Hillary Clinton leveraged the #superbowl hashtag.

     

Instagram

The fourth big social network and owned by Facebook.
People use this network to share pictures of their world, motivational quotes and memes.

Sharing
A lot of brands, celebrities, authors and consultants use this channel to show behind the scenes, the personality of their brand in an authentic manner. The only clickable link from this mobile centric app is in you profile so it is challenging to drive traffic to your website without creating a sponsored post.

Google business

Although the google plus is not the most lively of social networks, creating a business page at https://business.google.com/manage/ allows you to register your details and confirm your location.

This is great when people search for your local business as it will show result near them. In this example you can see burger joints near me in Auckland. These results are pushing the organic or unpaid search results further down the page.

Burger Fuel and McDonald’s are paying to appear above the map results and the first organic result for arguably the better burger joint ‘Burger Burger’ only just features on the page.

Using Search Engines to drive traffic to your sales funnel

With your blog posts and read magnets in place, use AdWords campaigns and YouTube video preroll to reach your audience.

With search engine marketing your audience are seeking answers or products. You could choose to pay for exact matches on your product or service like the burger joints are doing above, and have some success with expensive short generic keywords.

Or you could look to use the long tail ‘more niche’ keyword phrases that are related to your read magnets.

If your read magnet is the perfect answer to their question then think of other ways you would phrase the question. Group those terms and and craft an ad that matches the question. This  can really gear up your lead generation and is really limited only by what you consider to be an acceptable cost per acquisition. To put it into perspective,  if you sell a set of tyres with a profit margin of $500 would you mind paying say $5 to have them visit your website and request a quote?

Running online advertising also has a secondary benefit of brand awareness. Google also offers the ability to retarget or re-market to people that have visited your website. The conversion rate for retargeting is significantly higher, but as you may have experienced you can get tired of seeing the same banners everywhere.

Creating end dates and rules around specific pages on your website will optimise the experience for your visitors and your costs. For example if a visitor has completed a purchase then retargeting them with the same product should end.

And with the world consuming more and more video you could explore pre-roll advertisements on YouTube. Again targeting topics and keywords related to your product, service or read magnet topics.

Using other websites and events portals to drive traffic

Groupon / GRAB One / Daily Deals sites

These websites allow you to create fires sales of certain products or services by offering a discount. They have their own existing social media networks, search engine optimisation and Adwords marketing that drive traffic to their websites. So why not leverage them to gear up your sales funnel.

Eventbrite / Meetup / event tools

Similar to the portals mentioned above. If you have an online or offline event coming up you could use these networks drive traffic to your sales funnel as well.


 

OK, so there’s a starter path for local businesses and consultancies to get started online.  I’d love to answer any queries you might have around how to go about specific areas like AdWords or SEO or Social Media. Just drop me a line or contact me. Contact Nick

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Scrum stand up
agilemarketing, How To, social media, Strategy

Using the POST Method to define online initiatives

The POST Method – is a method for defining strategy that’s been around for the web equivalent of a lifetime. Back in 2007 the good folks at Forrester coined the POST methodology. I’ve found it to be a fantastic tool for making strategic and tactical decisions around projects online.If you haven’t guessed it’s not a strategy around posting things on blogs or social media, it’s an acronym.

The method starts with People

Scrum stand up

Clearly defining who your target audience is and what are they like is key to any project – it labels who you are trying to reach. the tighter the description here the better. Most marketing and communication fails by trying to appeal to too wider audience. There’s a are a phrase I love around this – “If you try to please everyone, you please no one”.

Everyone with a pulse or middle aged men is not a defined target market.

Now you could leverage buyer personas – which are kind of like an ideal profile of your target. You could use existing client data to find the median person. the demographic and psychographic profile of your main customer.

One simple way to do this is to go check the demographics of your facebook page fans. I wrote a post on this last month for insiderCXM (reposted here) if you’re interested. With a simple look at your stats you can see your median age, sex, and their location. You might be surprised and find out you’re targeting the opposite, but lets hope it fits with what you were thinking. Dig a little deeper by looking at the pages they like and you can start to get a feel for their psychographic profile too.

Now if your target audience is not on Facebook or if you’re properly into this you should slo do some market research and interview some existing and or potential customers. its the best way to create the perfect persona.

What partnerships could get you to this audience?

The second part to this people equation is working out what partnerships could get you to this audience and how could help you communicate with them? Your research might show that they are all fans of a big sports team – so partnering with them and doing a little brandscaping might work.

Someone must be accountable for driving this to success

The third part is working out initial thoughts on a RASCI chart for the initiative, who is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed about it. You may not have all the seats, but for anything to happen someone must be accountable for driving it to success.

Ok so you’ve got a clear idea of who you want to reach and who’s involved. What do you want to tell them. What’s the Objective of what you’re doing? the O of POST.

Objectives: Here you can outline the message or action or goal you have for this audience.

What are your goals? Are you more interested in listening in order to gain insights? are you messaging to them or communicating an initiative or campaign? Do you want to engage with brand ambassadors or just get someone along to a gig? Once you know what you want, then you can drive how you will act.

That’s The Strategy – Let’s say I start communicating as the CEO with my fans on Facebook or Twitter – what will my company do if people reply – what if they say something bad, what if they have great ideas – how do I get them in a backlog , how do I prioritise them. This is the strategy – planning for how you change your relationship with customers? What do you want to get out of these relationships? Which direction do you want to take and what is the underlying proposition?

With these strategic decisions made – then and only then – do we get onto the final part. The part where most people start. You know the phrases – “We should be on Facebook, everyone’s there” or “are we tweetering this?”

Choosing the right Technology

It’s here you define the medium that best matches your audience, the message you want to give and how you will change your organisation when you meet your objectives.

you look at what applications or websites you should you use? SEO, SEM, and how much time should this take? This step reflects the choices you make in the first three steps. if the people you want to connect with aren’t on Facebook or hate video messages or will demand transparent rapid responses – something your P O and S answers have determined – then making a viral cat video to post on Facebook is just wrong.

So once again – People first, Objectives and goals next, Strategy and then LAST – Technology that will help you get there.

If you like to hear more about this and a few other things that I think are really useful, check out my latest podcast.

And you can subscribe here

on iTunes
or SoundCloud

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B2B, How To, social media, Strategy, twitter

Three core tactics in my Twitter Strategy

While I loath to call it a strategy, I have decided to take a strategic methodical approach to my use of Twitter.

I’ve decided to:

  1. Network, share and support a core group of influential people in my Dunbar 150 list – daily
  2. Participate in weekly #sshour social selling chats and one other #hashtag chat from a new, unrelated field.
  3. Post useful and insightful links to content from those in my 150 list and insightful sources

But why just three core things you say?

Stick to three focus points and measure their success

I have been reading the book Good To Great by Jim Collins. I which he thorough researches and presents the core elements of what’s behind great companies – those that outperform consistently over time. He summarises a good concise strategy very well.

If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any ~ Jim Collins.

Hence the three pronged approach I am taking on Twitter. They are each in different areas, are SMART and can be measured independently.

My Dunbar 150 list – or small group – allows for focused core networking

The UK psychologist Robin Dunbar did some quite thorough research into human relationships and the number of meaningful or at least memorable relationships we can keep. He came to the conclusion that the average person can only really keep – to some reasonable level – relationships with 150 people. If I think of my personal relationships this sounds about right. 50 odd work contacts, 50 odd friends, 25 family members and 25 business connections – give or take.

So hence my Dunbar 150 list on Twitter – it’s still growing, but will include a core group of people – people who’s Tweets are worth reading, they share good content and I really value their input to my time on Twitter.

Participating in #sshour now #SBizHour and other chats to discover new contacts

Being part of a larger hashtag based chat lets me discover cool new people on Twitter, to get different perspectives and a chance to expand my knowledge. I’ve also found myself following along with design hashtags, UX, customer service and just recently social C suite chats. All help me connect with more people and develop a breadth of knowledge.

Share really useful content

Finally, sharing stuff that is really of value is paying off. People comment on it and share it more frequently. If I take the time to explain why it is of value and also add a supporting visual element – content I tweet far more useful! I hope. You will get the odd motivational quote or bit of humour in the mix but I hope that in general you’ll get valuable content from my stream in 2015. Less noise, more signal I hope!

If you’d like to listen to this post I’ve made a short summary here:


On a personal note. Many thanks to those subscribed to my blog. I wish you all very happy holiday season and a great 2015!

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agilemarketing, content marketing, How To

How I work

Learning the best techniques, tools and apps to do your job is a personal journey we’re all taking.  I thought I’d cover the tools I use in content creation and hope you might find some useful.

And, having subscribed to shotkit.com for photography inspiration – here’s a shot of my kit.

My Desktop, HP ProBook, Sony Z1 and iPad Air

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Current computers: HP Probook laptop, 2014 Mac Pro (when our designer is off site), 2011 Sony Vaio touch VPC at home.

Current mobile devices: IPad Air, iPad 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 Z3 (a Christmas upgrade from Spark – waterproof and 20.1 megapixels of goodness with 4K video. Backups? = Z1, HTC SV and Samsung S2).

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

APPS for WORK

  • Evernote – for storing ideas, lists, research and contacts. I pay to have it auto save and back up – It comes in handy when you’re using it on multiple mobile devices.
  • Google Now – for finding the quickest public transport to my destination and recommending photo opportunities and new restaurants. Then the Auckland Transit app (far more accurate and useful than the Auckland Transport app and with all the functionality that it misses).
  • Foursquare (and the annoying sibling forced upon us – Swarm), for verifying the restaurant/destination is good and grabbing discounts
  • Email (OWA 365 and Gmail).
  • Trello for managing my blog, and work workflow and prioritisation of my backlog. I even have a ‘Home’ work board, for my DIY and home maintenance tasks.
  • Instagram– because I’m passionate about photography and know “the best camera is the one you have with you?”
  • SoundCloud – for recording thoughts
  • Dragon dictate – fantastic when you have to get something down on paper faster than you can type it.

APPS for SOCIAL MEDIA

Buffer, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, GPlus and Facebook (but Facebook only on my iPads so I can concentrate on my other feeds during the day).

APPS for BLOGGING

WordPress app – for blogging
Tinyletter for my newsletter
Typeform– for creating stock content and forms like my free digital marketing audit.

APPS for LEARNING

Last, but most important – Feedly – for consuming RSS feeds.

TOP TIP – I read from Feedly, and save content there and in readability. I then Buffer content for social media from there.

Zite, Flipboard and Swayy try to be my filters for new content although I rarely open them.

I do however skim read the newsletters from CMInstitute, Econsultancy, BCM what’s next and Fraggle when they arrive.

What’s your workspace like?
I live in Torbay and Waiake is my nearest beach where I work from home if it’s good weather – or on the couch at home.

I walk every lunch hour for the full hour

I telecommute on occasion but work is based in Newmarket, surrounded by three dormant volcanoes, Mount Eden, Saint John and Hobson. Each providing a good lunch hour stroll with enough incline to get the heart going and the mind refreshed.

I walk every lunch hour for the full hour and listen to podcasts.

At work I rotate from – my laptop sitting desk – to a  Mies van der Rohe seat – to a stand up desk with my iPad.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack?

Perform a stand up twice a day. Review what you’re doing, what’s working, what’s not and what you’ll adjust for tomorrow.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else? Simplifying.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Trello.

What do you listen to while at work? My colleague switches us through gangster rap and hard rock radio stations each day and I have a few DJs I switch to on SoundCloud like DJ Theresa when I’m in a creative flow state or Brazilian Samba or a

What are you currently reading? Good To Great having just finished

What’s your sleep routine like? To bed at around 22:00 or 23:00 and awake at 05:20 each day. On the weekends I get to bed when I tire (a little earlier usually if we’ve had a good day at the beach).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

 It doesn’t matter what you study at university, college or school, you’re just there to learn ‘how to learn’ the best you can. Get good at that, and everything else gets better. – David Allen (my grandfather).

Anything else you want to add? Dan Miller put the notion of teamwork well in a podcast I discovered this week.  A Clydesdale can pull 8 tonnes alone but as a pair they can pull 24, and with training 32 tonnes.

Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see BLANK answer these questions. I’d love to see Dan, Anya, AJ, Simone, Scot and Chuck answer these questions.


My gear

Computer writing desk
110 NZD – target.com

Knoll folding armchair
9,365 NZD – connox.com

Evernote Market
evernote.com
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How To

How To Create Animated GIFs From Video

Well it was my first BBQ of the year earlier this week so I thought I’d take a quick clip and convert it to an animated GIF.

gif-bbq

If you’d like to do the same here’s the five steps I went through.

  1. Record the video using a tripod or leaning against something solid. I used my Samsung GSII propped up on the hot tong handle (NOT as stable as it should have been and the heat made me rush).
  2. Save your MP4 to your desktop and open up Photoshop.
  3. Click File, Import, Video Frames to Layers. Cropping the video to manageable length of 10 or less seconds and work with 2 or 3 frames per second.  Image
  4. Click Image, Image size, and reduce to around 640 or less pixels wide, so your computer can render it.
  5. Click File, Save for Web and Devices. Play with the quality till your GIF reaches a reasonable size (mine is 500kb) and save.

You’re all done and ready to share.

For the bonus round – head on over to http://giphy.com for an indexed searchable list of GIF inspirations.

DISCLOSURE:

This post in no way condones or promotes the abuse of lolcats, PSY, Gangnam, Harlem shake or any other “trendy” MEME jacking in any way shape or form.

Use of the above instructional tutorial is subject to the creation of innovative, original, entertaining GIFs only.

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