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Archive for the ‘Best Practices and Workshops’


Do awareness months and days work? 6 best practices 0

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Rob Petersen

awareness months

Awareness months and days continue to grow each year because health awareness continues to grow.

The United States has almost 200 official awareness months and days. And that’s not counting all the unofficial ones. Here is a list of just the major months.

Like a birthday or anniversary, having a time set aside during the calendar year gives some assurance a topic will receive attention. Awareness months are a way for organization to stake a claim and establish “we’re here.”

Do awareness months and days work?

Here are 6 best practices for awareness months and days.

  1. DEFINE SUCCESS: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month raises an estimated $6 billion dollars a year. The ALS Association raised $115 million in one month with the Ice Bucket Challenge and helped scientists discover a new gene tied to ALS. Hearing Awareness Month is for the over 36 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss. The goal is to get them to have their hearing checked at an audiologist. Whatever your vision of success is, make sure you have established goals. And take a strategic approach to how you get there. Is it a big win? Or a series of small victories that add up?
  2. MAKE IT EASY TO PARTICIPATE: October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month from the Department of Homeland Security. They promote weekly education, a slogan (Stop. Think. Connect) and simple ways to participate with 10 best practices. They are: 1) Surf Only on Secure Connection, 2) make smarter passwords, 3) stay up to date on updates, 4) set up authentication, 5) utilize technology, 6) know fact from fiction, 7) don’t open sketchy files, 8) log out of everything, 9) back up information and 10) talk to your family. This are simple way to raise awareness and get involved.
  3. BE EXPLICIT ABOUT ACTIONS: Don’t assume an awareness month is going to create any actions unless you tell people exactly what you expect them to do. One of the reasons the Ice Bucket Challenge was such a success was the ALS Association was very explicit about what they wanted people to do by telling people: How do I participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?
    1. ACCEPT: Accept the challenge;
    2. RECORD: Take a video of yourself dumping a bucket of ice water over your head to increase awareness of ALS;
    3. UPLOAD: Upload your video to social media, tagging/challenging at least three of your friends;
    4. GIVE: Make a donation to support the ALS community.
  4. SECURE PARTNERS: Long standing awareness months can’t make it without partners. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, for example, actively solicits partners on an on-going basis by letting them know: 1) About NBCF, 2) our programs and 3) how you can help. The latter shows way individuals to corporate partners can get involved
  5. CREATE TOOLKITS: Healthfinder.gov provides toolkits for several National Health Observances. The toolkits provide resources for organizations like schools, healthcare providers, health departments, and more to raise awareness about critical public health issues, like the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Whether you have government resources or you’re doing it on your own, materials that can be given out to educate and instruct are a requirement.
  6. THINK INTO THE FUTURE: Awareness months are created for the long term. They require human capital, financial resources, support for many sources and measurement. As a result, you should be clear about what success looks like and how you apply learning to the next year.

If your organization is up for the task, awareness months can be an important annual addition to business planning. Do these best practices show you how awareness months work?

27 surprising facts about collaboration in the workplace 0

Posted on October 01, 2017 by Rob Petersen

Collaboration

Collaboration is a cooperative arrangement where two or more parties (who may or may not have worked together before) work jointly toward a common goal. When collaborations works, the collective “know how” creates results not possible without the collective interaction.

With this kind of promise, is it working in the workplace?

Here are 27 surprising facts about collaboration in the workplace. They show why it works and why it is or isn’t working in our businesses today.

WHY IT WORKS

  1. Managers are the Number 1 way that people feel supported by their organization. (Forbes)
  2. 90% of employees believe that decision-makers should seek other opinions before making a final decision. (Salesforce)
  3. 88% agree that a culture of knowledge-sharing correlates to high employee morale and job satisfaction. (Oscar Berg)
  4. 88% believe collaboration accelerates decision making. (Next Plane)
  5. 75% of employers rate team work and collaboration as “very important.” (Queens University)
  6. Women are 66% more likely than men to help others in need  – an action that typically costs more time and energy than sharing knowledge and expertise. (Oscar Berg)
  7. 60% of respondents have experienced change in their way of thinking due to collaborations. (Oscar Berg)
  8. 56% pointed out collaboration-related measure as the factor that will have the greatest impact on their organization’s overall profitability. (Oscar Berg)
  9. 56% of respondents said that they were happier when they collaborated. (Oscar Berg)
  10. 53% are confident that collaborations are having a positive and tangible impact on their organization. (Oscar Berg)
  11. Compared to two decades ago, the time managers and employees spend on collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more. (Oscar Berg)
  12. Over 50% of employees and managers identify time saved completing tasks as a benefit of collaboration.
  13. 49% of Millennials support social tools for workplace collaboration. (Queens University)
  14. 33% of organizations are using social collaboration tools across all departments. 50% of those surveyed expect that number to increase in 2017. (Next Plane)
  15. 30% want to collaborate more, with women slightly more collaborative than men. (Oscar Berg)
  16. Men are 36% more likely to share knowledge and expertise than women. (Oscar Berg)

WHY IT IS OR ISN’T WORKING

  1. 97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment with a team impacts the outcome of a task of project. (TINYpulse)
  2. 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. (Salesforce)
  3. Less than 50% say that their organizations discuss organization issues truthfully and effectively. (Salesforce)
  4. 40% of employees believe that decision makers “consistently failed” to seek another opinion. (Salesforce)
  5. 40% of organizations lack a collaboration strategy altogether. (Dimension Data)
  6. 39% of employees believe that people in their organization don’t collaborate enough (Professional Service Centre)
  7. 20% to 35% of value-added collaborations typically come from only 3% to 5% of employees. (Oscar Berg)
  8. 20% of organizational “stars” don’t contribute to the success of their colleagues after they have hit their own numbers and earned kudos for it. (Oscar Berg)
  9. Only 18% of employees get communication evaluation at their performance review. (Queens University)
  10. People tend to lie more when collaborating on a joint effort when they believe it will result in a better outcome for both, if they engage in collusion. (Oscar Berg)
  11. People primed to think of themselves in an organizational context (e.g., co-worker) felt less motivated to reciprocate and did reciprocate less than those in an otherwise parallel personal (e.g., friend or acquaintance) situation. Organizational contexts reduce people’s obligation to follow the moral imperative of the norm of reciprocity. (Oscar Berg)

The facts say to me although the vast majority of people believe there are significant benefits to collaboration, what we believe is not often what we practice and do.

What do these facts about collaboration say to you? Are they are a surprise? Does your business need help is creating a culture of collaboration?

8 surprisingly simple steps to conduct a content audit 0

Posted on June 19, 2017 by Rob Petersen

content audit

Content audit is an analysis of the all the content your organization is responsible for. A content audit is a cornerstone for content strategy, SEO, social media marketing, corporate communications, digital advertising, brand guidelines, style guide and your voice and tone.

While the analysis involves quantitative measures, much of the process is qualitative. It involves identifying high-quality content, removing low quality content and establishing guidelines and standards. The areas that usually are most inspected are the content on your website and social media pages.

The goal of a content audit is to raise your company’s profile and build trust. A few reasons why a conduct audit makes sense are:

  • 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing in their marketing strategies
  • 73% of major organizations hire someone to manage their content marketing strategy
  • 56% of marketers believe that personalized content promotes higher engagement rates (source: Content Marketing Institute)

Here are 8 surprisingly simple steps to conduct a content audit.

  1. START WITH A SPREADSHEET OR LIST: In order to do any audit, you have to begin with an inventory. A spreadsheet or list is what you’ll need. A simple set up is create column for: 1) Webpage URL’s, 2) Page Titles, 3) Descriptions or snippet of essential text, 4) Date published or created and 5) Actions (whether, at the end of the audit, the page  stay, goes or is reworked).
  2. IDENTIFY WHAT’S UNIQUE AND DIFFERENTIATING: Look at your inventory and see what your content  says about you, your company and your products or services. What’s unique and differentiating? Why should your audience take note and care? How do you keep it fresh? Avoid being repetitive. Add news?
  3. MEASURE INTEREST AND APPEAL: Objective measurements such as Pageviews, Search Rank, Links and Shares, Comments, Likes, Views and Re-Tweets for social media pages are considerations to measuer. They can all be found in a web analytics tool like Google Analytics or through search queries and review of your social media pages.
  4. ASSESS ACCURACY, DATE AND WRITING PROFESSIONALISM: The relevance of your content is influenced by its recency, reliability and writing. Examine content by how often you write about it, what is included (e.g. images, video, charts, contact forms) and how well it’s written. Ask yourself if your believe your company is publishing quality content?
  5. EXAMINE SEO ELEMENTS: Review the Page Titles, Keywords, Meta Descriptions, Headings and Alt Image Tags. Are target keywords and phrases used on the page? Are page descriptions and metadata employed appropriately? Are headlines optimized for search? Search engine optimization (SEO) begins and ends with content. So evaluating to what extent content conforms to best practices in search is an essential part of an audit.
  6. EVALUATE WHAT NEEDS TO BE ADDED AND REMOVED: Now, you are ready to determine what stays, goes, is reworked as well as any organization or reorganization. If you are revising or refreshing a website, a content audit provides learning for site architecture, navigation tabs and drop-down menus.
  7. JUDGE FOR CONSISTENCY OF VOICE AND TONE: How do you express yourself? What is your attitude to people know something about you?. They are essential qualities that should be consistent because they create trust and help others determine if they would like to get to know you better.
  8. PLAN FOR SUCCESS: Now you’ve done the hard work. And you have a template, game plan and actionable scorecard for seeing improvement and success. Examine progress periodically. Once a quarter or even twice a year is a good schedule for reviewing your content audit.

Once it’s done, a content audit is a valuable company asset. A great piece for learning, insights and actions.

Do these steps convince you of the value of a content audit? Are they simple enough to follow? Do you need help conducting one for your company?

 

 

14 key facts on website speed. 4 top tips when it’s slow 1

Posted on October 24, 2016 by Rob Petersen

website speed

Website speed has long been recognized as a important factor that impacts search engine rankings. And a top factor in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Slow website speed creates a bad user experience, one that may result in visitors not coming back to your website or going to your competition. And that it even more important than search rank because search engines don’t buy products, people do.

Is website speed a concern for your site? If it is, what can you do about it?

Here are 14 key facts on website speed. And 4 top fixes when it’s slow.

14 KEY FACTS ON WEBSITE SPEED

  1. 80% of a Web page’s load time is spent downloading the different pieces-parts of the page: images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc. (Yahoo)
  2. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site again. (KissMetrics)
  3. 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that is too slow to load. (Fiverr)
  4. 51% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that crashed, froze, or received an error. (Raven)
  5. 47% of consumers expect a website speed page load in 2 seconds or less. (Innovation Insights)
  6. 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online. (GlobalDots)
  7. 40% abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. (KissMetrics)
  8. 38% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that wasn’t available. (Shoprocket)
  9. 22% is the average increase in website load speed per year. (Radware)
  10. 18% of mobile users will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in less than five seconds. If it takes more than 10 seconds to load, 30% will abandon the site. (KissMetrics)
  11. 5 seconds is the average page load time this year (Pingdom)
  12. A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. (Econsultancy)
  13. If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year. (Amazon)
  14. Users begin to drop off a site when its response time is longer than 2.5 seconds. (Forrester)

4 TOP TIPS WHEN IT’S SLOW

  1. WEBSITE HOSTING: The website hosting provider and technology you choose can have a significant effect on your page load times. Dedicated hosting solutions are preferable over shared hosting so you do not have to worry about other websites on the same server as yours slowing your website down.
  2. ENABLE BROWSER CACHING: The first time someone comes to your website, they have to download the HTML document, stylesheets, javascript files and images before being able to use your page. That may be as many as 30 components and 2.4 seconds. Fortunately, certain website platform like WordPress offer caching plug-ins. They require set up and testing but can be a big help with your website recognizing and quickly processing the many elements it has to.
  3. OPTIMIZE IMAGES: Oversized images take longer to load, so it’s important that you keep your images as small as possible. Use image editing tools to: 1) Crop your images to the correct size. For instance, if your page is 570px wide, resize the image to that width. 2) reduce color depth to the lowest acceptable level and 3) remove image comments.
  4. OPTIMIZE CSS DELIVERY: CSS holds the style requirements for your page. Generally, your website accesses this information in one of two ways: in an external file, which loads before your page renders, and inline, which is inserted in the HTML document itself. When setting up your styles, only use one external CSS stylesheet since additional stylesheets increase HTTP requests. Two resources to help are: 1) CSS Delivery Tool. It tells you how many external stylesheets your website is using and 2) instructions for combining external CSS files.

If website speed is important for you, a good tool to examine website speed for your site is Google PageSpeed Insights. This is a good resource to get started, help understand your website speed and what top tips will be the biggest help if your website speed is slow.

Did this teach you something new about website speed? Do your need help with yours?

What I learned from (at least) 14 social media mistakes 6

Posted on July 21, 2013 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

Social Media mistakes

  •  90% (over 9,000,000) businesses say they actively engage on social networking sites
  • 74% find it valuable
  • 42% say 25% of new customers  find out about their business from social networking sites  (Source: Mantra)

The numbers indicate businesses find value in social media.

My experiences started a few years ago when the numbers were lower. I didn’t have a guidebook. My most valuable lessons came from mistakes.

Now, I teach social media at both Rutgers CMD and the University of California. I have an ebook, 166 Case Studies Prove Social Media Marketing ROI (downloaded by 55,000+ on the sidebar of this website. it’s free). A decent portion of company revenue at BarnRaisers comes from social media related activities.

I’m still learning from mistakes.

Here’s what I learned from (at least) 14 social media mistakes I’ve made.

  1. TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE TAKES TIME: Social media is “earned” media (not “paid”). It takes more time to build an audience you earn. Most people, including myself, underestimate. But an “earned” audience stays with you longer than one you pay for and is worth the effort.
  2. GRATITUDE TO OTHERS WORKS MUCH FASTER THAN TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF: It was humbling at the start to look at how slow an audience builds until I stopped telling and started thanking others. Chris Brogan said to talk about others 3X as talking about yourself. It was very good advice.
  3. YOU CAN’T BE GOOD OR BAD AT SOCIAL MEDIA; YOU CAN ONLY BE YOURSELF. Initially, I wondered if my contributions were good or bad. It would have been better if I wondered if I was being myself.
  4. RELEVANT CONTENT IS A BRAND’S 2nd MOST VALUABLE ASSET: After a product of service, relevant content is a business’ most relevant asset. I found the valuable posts came from people who were able to teach someone something new.
  5. LISTEN TO THE RIGHT METRICS: There was a time when I thought a Klout or Kred score was worth pursuing. Now I know the metrics in the Google Analytics of your website that show the social networks (Traffic Sources) where your audience comes from is a much more valuable guide.
  6. TECH DOESN’T WORK AS WELL AS TOUCH: I’ve never relied on automated posts. There nothing wrong with sending the same message out on different social networks. But I was concerned that it relied too much on tech, I would miss the opportunity to touch.
  7. SHOW UP CONSISTENTLY: You don’t have to be on social networks 24/7. You do have to be there consistently and at the same time usually helps. You’ll find your audience looks forward, even relies, on seeing you and that’s a way to earn their trust.
  8. RE-PURPOSE YOUR CONTENT: You’re going to be putting in time so why not make the most of it. The time you put into your content can be re-purposed. For example, a blog can be re-purposed as an email newsletter. A series of blogs on the same topic can be made into an e-book.
  9. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT FREE: The commodity in social media is time, not money. I didn’t realized how valuable that commodity was until I had less of time because of social media. Value your time appropriately.
  10. LOOK FOR HOW YOUR AUDIENCE EVOLVES: Foiled Cupcakes owner Mari Luangrath built her cupcake business to +600% above forecast by building relationships on Facebook and Twitter. As her audience evolved to corporate accounts, her attention went more to LinkedIn.
  11. ALL COMMENTS ARE NOT EQUAL: When I initially got comments like “I’ve bookmarked your blog” I thought I was doing something right. It was actually spammer trying to get links. You have to look at the email address of someone writing a comment.
  12. DON’T BE AN OBSESSIVE EDITOR: I’ve spent, and spend, way more time editing than the attention the obsession to editing yields in visitors. I’m not discouraging people to pay attention to details. But, if you wait for everything to be perfect, you’re likely not to start.
  13. DO IT FOR THE FRIENDS: Fellow Rutgers CMD faculty and friend, Mark Schaefer, is a well known name in social media. When he started, he did it for the friends. Why wouldn’t you. Your friend can come from any social network and from all over the world.
  14. INVITE MORE OFTEN: I thought if I invited people to join my networks, it might seem as if I’m too pushy. Now, I realize that, without actively inviting others, I just have less fans and followers.

When you started in social media, did you make the same mistake I did? What have you learned? Have you learned more from your our successes? Or your mistakes?

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    BarnRaisers builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI. We are a full service digital marketing agency. Our expertise is strategy, search and data-driven results.



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