• 9 Harsh Truths About Your Social Media Marketing – and What to Do About Them

    Social media marketing has too often been portrayed as the silver bullet for the challenges brands regularly face. Need to improve your customer retention? Post more on social media! Need to expand your customer base? Post more on social media! Want to grow your business by 5,000%? Post more on social media! You get the picture. And while social media is certainly something that you can’t afford to ignore, we’re sorry to tell you that it’s not going to instantly – or even eventually – solve all your business problems. It’s a bummer, we know. But all is not lost. When you know the truth about social media, you can figure out how to best put it to work for your brand. With that in mind, here are 9 harsh truths about your social media marketing, and what to do about them. Some “guaranteed” social media tricks just won’t work for you, no matter how much they work for other brands. You can find all kinds of information online about social media tricks that are “guaranteed” to get you more leads, to increase your reach, to get you noticed by top influencers, etc. While there’s likely at least a grain…

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  • 5 Essential Components of a Top-Notch Digital Marketing Strategy

    Crafting a digital marketing strategy is a complex, ever-evolving undertaking. There are so many different elements that you can include: paid social ads, giveaways, influencer posts, Twitter campaigns, Instagram takeovers…the list goes on. So with all these options, how do you know what you absolutely must do, and what’s just a nice addition? How do you know what parts of a digital marketing strategy are truly essential? Take a look at this list to find out. Note that this list assumes that you’ve already completed the business planning portion of your strategy: setting goals and objectives, deciding on metrics, etc.  1. Powerful, original content  In today’s digital landscape, powerful, original, and valuable content is an absolute must. There are a few reasons why. First of all, great content will vastly improve your organic search rankings in Google – in other words, how close to the top of the first page your brand will be when someone searches using relevant keywords. Second, creating original content will give you and your fans something to share on social media. You can curate content all you want – and you should curate some, certainly – but if you don’t also have some kind of content…

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  • 6 Storytelling Secrets for Forging Connections with Your Customers

    Storytelling is as integral to digital marketing as pictures to a picture book. You can have all the clever tweets, amazing hashtags, and beautifully styled Instagram photos you can come up with, but if there’s no cohesive brand story behind them, they won’t win you loyal followers. Why? Because you can’t build a connection with a series of tweets, no matter how clever they are. And in the digital age, marketing is all about building connections with your customers. If you’re lagging behind in the storytelling department, put these tips to work for your brand. To tell a great story, start with the basics: Freytag’s Pyramid. Think about every Hollywood blockbuster you’ve ever seen. They’re pretty formulaic, right? You know there will be a buildup to the climax of the movie, the hero will face a serious obstacle, then everything (or at least something) will work out and the film will come to a satisfying close. We love to bemoan formulas because they’re so predictable. And yet, if you think about your favorite books, movies, or TV shows, they’re all built on a formula, no matter how well it may be hidden. That formula is based on Freytag’s Pyramid, otherwise…

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  • 4 Critical Tips for Getting the Most Out of Paid Social Ads

    Turning out high-quality content, working with powerful influencers, and using video strategically are all huge elements of any digital marketing strategy. Although these concepts have been around for years – decades, even – the way they’re being used today is an extremely recent development. However, just because the rules of marketing have changed over the past few years, prioritizing endorsements from “regular people” over celebrities and inbound tactics over outbound ones, it doesn’t mean that the entire playbook gets thrown out. There’s one strategy that people (and companies) that have something to sell have been relying on for hundreds of years: paid advertising. 313 years, to be exact: that’s when the first American newspaper ad, an announcement that a Long Island estate was for sale in a 1704 edition of the Boston News-Letter, appeared. That’s not to say that advertising looks much like it did back in the 1700s – or even the 2000s. As both advertising platforms and consumers become more and more sophisticated, advertising is undergoing changes on a yearly, if not monthly basis. Just look at digital advertising. A few years ago, you couldn’t advertise on Instagram (they opened up the platform to advertisers in 2015). Go…

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  • Social Media Management Hacks That Will Save You Hours Each Week

    When you’re managing social media for a brand, you don’t just bang out tweets and Facebook posts with abandon – at least, we hope you don’t. Instead, you might be spending 30 minutes putting together the perfect status update. Taking an hour or two to sift through the day’s industry news to find a few great news articles to share on your Twitter feed. Crafting your brand’s social media voice is a full-time job (literally: it’s called being a Social Media Manager). And because the internet never sleeps, social media managers need all the time-saving techniques they can get. Time-saver #1: Schedule your posts. Have you ever found yourself checking the clock at 4 p.m. on a Friday and thinking “Oh no! I forgot to send out that tweet / post that update / share the link to that influencer’s site!” Then you scramble to put something together that people will actually see before they leave the office for the weekend, and hit send at 4:58, the sweat running down your fevered brow? That’s not exactly a fun place to be. So instead of doing that, try scheduling your posts throughout the week. Use a social media management tool, like…

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  • 16 Invaluable Guidelines for Managing Your Social Media Comments

    Social media. It can really bring out the worst in people, can’t it? From all-out trolls to plain old rude and offensive people, social media threads can become perilous places. That’s especially true for brands, which must tread an extremely fine line when it comes to comments. Obviously, they can’t tolerate anything overtly offensive – but they also don’t want to be seen as exercising censorship over their followers. You want your fans and followers to feel encouraged to engage with your posts. You want them to feel confident that their views will be respected. And you want them to know that personal attacks and inappropriate comments will not be allowed on your site. How do you pull this off? How do you create an open, engaging forum for the exchange of opinions without allowing it to get out of hand? The answer: A robust, clearly-defined comment management policy. These 16 guidelines will help you get there. 1. Establish a moderator. You need someone who’s committed to moderating your comments every day – not every few days, not once a week, but every day. That way, you won’t log onto your social media page one day to find that a…

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  • Marketing to Millennial Parents: 7 Surefire Tactics

    It’s a hard pill to swallow, but we Millennials are no longer the youngest generation (thanks, Generation Z). Instead of college community service programs, trendy bars, and artisanal mayonnaise, many Millennials are finding themselves spending more time thinking about baby monitors, preschools, and nontoxic toys. That’s right: Millennials are becoming parents. In fact, 80 percent of new moms today are Millennials, according to a 2015 study by BabyCenter. which means that if you’re marketing to parents at all, you’ve got to have a strong grasp on what makes Millennials tick. So how can you grab these parents’ attention in the increasingly overloaded digital landscape? Here are 7 surefire tactics for marketing to Millennials with kids. Embrace diversity. One of the most striking features of Millennial parents is their diversity – and not just their cultural and racial diversity. Take a look at these stats from AdAge, for example: 4 out of 10 Millennial moms are single parents 67 percent of Millennial moms are multicultural 61% of births to Millennial moms are to unmarried women By 2020, 50 percent of U.S. children will be non-white While marketers have done fairly well in recent years breaking out of the WASP family model –…

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  • 4 Awesome Ways to Use Twitter Moments to Skyrocket Your Engagement

    Who among us hasn’t felt overwhelmed while searching through Twitter for something – news of an event, maybe, or views on a certain topic? By the time you scroll through the first 20 tweets on your screen, 10 “New Tweets” appear. It’s truly neverending. Twitter’s content overload isn’t going away. Around 9,000 tweets are sent every single second, which means there are about 58 million tweets, on average, each day. So how does your brand break through the noise? There are a few ways – Promoted Tweets, Pinned Tweets, Twitter ads, partnerships with influencers – but in this post, we’re going to focus on Twitter Moments. What are Twitter Moments? Even if you’re an avid Twitter user, you may not be that familiar with Twitter Moments. A Twitter Moment is a selection of tweets, curated by a particular user, on a single topic or event. You can find them by clicking on “Moments” in the top left-hand side of Twitter’s menu bar, right next to Home. Click on that lightning bolt, and you’ll see the Moments posted today. There are various categories, too, for Sports, Entertainment, News, and Fun. Once you click on a particular Moment, you’ll see a collection…

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  • The Immense Power That Virtual Reality Can Have for Your Brand

    If you’ve been paying attention, you know that virtual reality is being used for a whole lot more than scaring the pants off of gamers with apocalyptic zombie games. Manufacturers are using VR and its cousin, augmented reality (AR), to help employees learn how to operate high-tech machinery. Medical universities and hospitals are using VR for training and surgery simulations. But perhaps more than any industry (after the gaming and entertainment industries, that is), it’s marketing that is embracing VR and AR with open arms. It didn’t take marketers long to discover that VR has incredible applications for brands, whether they’re selling shoes or pitching the next season of a popular TV show. It’s easy to think “Hey, we should be using VR too!” when you’re brainstorming ideas for your next big marketing campaign. But how exactly do you employ VR effectively? How do you create something authentic, rather than gimmicky? You’re not alone in asking that question. Lots of brands are struggling to figure out what VR can do for them, and how to use it organically to spread their message. And while the medium will certainly continue to evolve with time, here are a few pointers on how…

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  • 20 Things You Had No Clue Google Analytics Could Do

    In 2017, more than ever before, data drives every aspect of business. From predictive analytics powered by artificial intelligence, to data-based operating systems that allow businesses to perform just about any task with an immediate backdrop of company data, businesses are growing increasingly savvy about how to use data to guide their every step. The story is no different in the realm of marketing. The most effective marketing decisions are data-driven these days, based on which tactics garner the most traffic, the most engagement, or the most conversions. And where does most of that marketing data come from? Google Analytics. Everyone knows that you can get website traffic information from Google Analytics, but what many people don’t know is just how much it allows them to drill down into the details of that data, and how they can use that nitty-gritty to inform every marketing decision they make. Here are just 20 of the things that Google Analytics can do – and how you can use them to your advantage. 1. Import data from other sources. Wondering where your social media stats fit into the big picture presented by Google Analytics? Need one central dashboard with all your marketing data…

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  • The Ultimate Guide to Buyer Personas

    Conventional wisdom used to hold that buyer personas were something only large businesses needed to bother with. Small and mid-sized companies often didn’t (and still don’t) develop buyer personas, for a variety of reasons. They’re time-consuming, for one thing, and some managers feel that time spent on a buyer persona could be better spent actually selling. For another, they can be very difficult to do correctly. Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself: you sit down, ready to create your first buyer persona, when you realize that you know a lot less about your customers than you thought you did. Naturally, this can be a disheartening feeling. What do you do with this feeling? Do you tamp it down and switch to working on something else – analyzing data from your company’s latest social campaign, or writing a new whitepaper, perhaps? Or do you get down to business figuring out what you don’t know, and making the best buyer persona your company’s ever seen? If you’re in the latter group, then this blog post is for you! First, what is a buyer persona? If you’ve never created a buyer persona before, then you may not know where to begin. Let’s start with…

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  • Sharing, Citing, and Stealing: Content Etiquette Rules for the Digital Age

    The Book of Ecclesiastes and Shakespeare said it long, long ago: “There is no new thing under the sun.” That was true then, in the days of stone tablets. It was true when Shakespeare was writing his sonnets. And it’s most definitely true now, in the age of the internet. It seems sometimes that you can Google anything – a dream you had last night, a thought that ran through your head this morning – and find 15 people who’ve not only had that same dream or thought, but written about it to boot. When you’re writing content for your brand, this can become a little disconcerting. How do you make sure you’re not inadvertently plagiarizing? When and how should you cite sources? What rules govern how you share images or content from other sites? If you’re new to writing for the web, it’s easy to get paralyzed by all these questions and not write anything at all. To keep that from happening, take a look at these content etiquette guidelines for some of the situations we often find ourselves in when creating or sharing content. Doing research for a blog post, whitepaper, or other long-form piece of content When…

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