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12 lessons learned when interns do your social media 3

Posted on May 19, 2013 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Social media interns

With colleges out and students looking to make their mark or start a career this summer, here comes a rite of passage: Putting interns to work doing social media marketing for your business.

After all, who knows more about social media and spends more time on social networks? What business doesn’t want people to “Like” them on Facebook? Why wouldn’t it be a great idea?

It rarely is. As both an owner of a digital marketing agency and MBA faculty at Rutgers CMD who teaches digital and social media marketing, I hear it from both sides. Interns, who generously give of their skills and time, don’t get much from the experience. People who hire them then say they tried social media for their brand but not much happened.

Do businesses get what they pay (or don’t pay for)? Here are 12 lessons learned when interns do your social media marketing.

  1. HAVE WITH A BUSINESS STRATEGY: Having interns do your social media is not a business strategy. Giving them a  focus on the desired business results is a much better place to start.
  2. TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE ON THE INTERNET TAKES TIME: The internet is one of the most effective and profitable places to build an audience but it doesn’t happen overnight. Thinking the work of interns in a few months can change the course of your business is probably not going to happen.
  3. KNOW WHO TO ATTRACT: Social networks are great for building relationships that couldn’t have happened through normal channels like email and the phone. Having followers on Twitter or a robust Pinboard on Pinterest doesn’t matter if your audience is on LinkedIn. Relationships that lead to sales can’t be created until your customer is clearly defined.
  4. IDENTIFY ADVOCATES: There are many case studies of businesses where social media played a pivotal role due to advocates who made strong, authentic recommendations. Louis Pasteur said, “chance favors the prepared mind.” The odds of advocates influencing your business are much greater if you spend time looking for who they are.
  5. CREATE A “VOICE” FOR YOUR BRAND: Social media marketing is different from traditional marketing. It’s a conversation, not a monologue. Intern shouldn’t be expected to know the dialogue you want to make happen. You need to tell them.
  6. HAVE PLENTY OF RELEVANT CONTENT: After your product or service, relevant content is your most valuable asset. Interns can’t  make this up, you have to provide it at the outset with the establishment of key topics. Then, they can help you develop a content calendar.
  7. MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS A DESIRABLE PLACE TO VISIT: People like to business with people they know. If your social media efforts starts to show progress, your audience will want to get to know your better. Don’t disappoint them with a website that doesn’t live up to the quality of your social media content and conversations.
  8. INTEGRATE SOCIAL MEDIA WITH OTHER MARKETING INITIATIVES: Social media works, but it works much better when it’s integrated with all the other marketing efforts and each are supporting one another.
  9. HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY: Every business should be guided by standards and values. If a real social media example helps, GM has a blog called Fast Lane. It’s written by their senior executives. Their social media policy is one companies big and small can learn from and we can all learn from GM.
  10. CREATE AN ACTIONABLE SCORECARD: It’s more important to learn than to be right. If you’re wondering what a “Like” has to do with sales create an actionable scorecard of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that you can look at regularly, provides insights and helps you take action.
  11. EMPHASIZE WHAT’S WORKING AND PULL BACK ON WHAT”S NOT: Some initiatives will work better than others so spend time interns have generously given you pursuing what’s producing results and de-emphasize what’s not.
  12. VIEW TIME AS YOUR MOST VALUABLE, NOT YOUR MOST EXPENDABLE, COMMODITY: Many businesses start their journey with interns viewing their time as something that, for a limited duration, is expendable. There is a different way to think about it. That is, given what interns can do with the right direction, the time they’ve given you is invaluable because it’s capable of producing extraordinary results.

Are you having interns do your social media marketing this summer? Do these lessons help teach you how you should be putting them to work?

36 reasons why I blog 3

Posted on January 27, 2013 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

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The reason I began to blog was inspiration I got from others’ blogs.

It wasn’t a plan but what I lacked in planning was made up in heroes. People in my field who blogged were knowledgeable, smart and generous in spirit with information and ideas I found of great value. They stood out, seemed genuine and real. They still stand out. (A  few of the posts that served as inspiration years ago are listed at the bottom).

It motivated me to start, learn and stay with it. After that, I learned there were many benefits to blogging. What are they? Here are 36 reasons why I blog.

  1. It’s how to have 1-to-1 relationship with 1-to-many
  2. Nothing works like writing about what you know
  3. We want to share what we know with others; it’s in our DNA
  4. Studies show no other form of digital expression is better at securing trust (source: eMarketer)
  5. People return to a place where they know they will learn something new
  6. It’s never stopped being gratifying to teach someone something new
  7. It’s synonomous with the term, personal brand
  8. It’s how you find and attract people who share the same values
  9. Your audience is global from the moment you begin
  10. It’s friendships and bonds you couldn’t have developed any other way
  11. It’s how to put you personal values into your profession
  12. Blogs get through to people in ways that an email or phone call never could
  13. Blogs provide the means to move between personal and professional with credibility
  14. Blogs help people get to know you; people like to do business with people they know
  15. It is the best way to drive traffic to a website
  16. The search engines recognize and reward those who continually put out fresh content
  17. Each and every one of your blog posts are individual web pages, indexed by search engines to build your brand presence
  18. A keyword strategy is easier and more effective to execute through a blog than any other digital medium
  19. Blogs help with long tail search term rankings and keyword phrases you never would have found otherwise
  20. Other bloggers link to you; the search engine recognize your authority in a particular niche or market.
  21. Relevance and authority are the two attributes that drive search rank; blogs are designed to accelerate both
  22. The algorithm of search engines, especially Google, recognize original content and “social authority” from blogs more and search tactics like “metadata” and “metatags” less
  23. The content and keywords that drive people to your blog is very measurable
  24. The content from your blog can be re-purposed to  many other aspect of your content or communications plan (e.g. email marketing, social media marketing, PR)
  25. This re-purposing of content doesn’t re-duplicate anything; it sends your message to new audiences
  26. Although there are lot of tips for blogging, the only way to really go wrong is not express yourself genuinely
  27. We all have a story to tell
  28. Blogs make it easy for others to share what you have to say
  29. It’s a direct and authentic way to ask readers what they want to hear and grow your audience with their collaboration
  30. It’s how you can do market research without research and travel costs
  31. Ir brings peace of mind
  32. It forces you to think better and smarter
  33. It brings out your innate ability to create and share ideas
  34. Like everything, you’ll get better at it the more you practice
  35. You’ll lead a more intentional life
  36. You may just inspire someone, like the posts below did for me, and there no greater legacy to leave than to inspire others.

These are reasons why I blog. Are they the same as yours? Are there any I missed?

If you blog, do they help to keep you going? If you don’t, do they motivate you to start?

Here are a some posts that inspired me:

David Berkowitz: 100 Ways to Measure Social Media

Chris Brogan: Grow Bigger Ears

Mack Collier: How Much Does Social Media Cost Companies

Peter Kim: Social Business ROI

 

5 simple steps to starting a blogger relations program 9

Posted on September 22, 2012 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Percent of companies who blog

Over 60% of companies have a blog. According to survey research, here are the business benefits they see (sources: comScore, eMarketer, HubSpot):

  • 95% report higher search rank
  • 75% of us read at least one blog a day
  • 70% say blogs influence what we buy
  • 55% of companies with blogs drive more visitor to their website
  • 45% track additional revenue to their website
  • 43% of companies now use blogs for marketing purposes
  • 36% of companies say a blog improve perceptions

Blogs work because they are a dynamic source of content. They are the ideal vehicle for use of a brand’s primary keywords; they increase the number of pages on search engines where you are “indexed.” When you use links in text to other websites, they raise your “authority” and search rank.

They send a signal to the search engines that says: Hey, there’s something going on here! Most important, they are a relationship builder bar none to connect with people who share your interests, values and are willing to help you out.

But don’t think, if you build it, they will come because this rarely is the case. You need a little help. If you reach out and thank others who share your interests, they’ll likely respond in kind, refer others and your audience will build much faster.

A blogger relations program  is not hard to create. Here’s how to do it in 5 simple steps and why every blog should start one.

  1. IDENTIFY OTHERS BLOGGERS WHO SHARE YOUR VALUES: Go to a blog search engine like Technorati, Alltop or Topsy, for Tweets that feature blogs. Twitter is actually defined as a micro-blogging site.  In the search query box, type in keyword(s) for your area of interest. Technorati can be searched by either blog or post and offers something called a Technorati Authority Ranking. This is the number of other sites who have linked with a particular blog in the last six months. Here’s how it works, let’s say you own a bike store, type in “biking” and you’d be astounded by the number of biking blogs and relationships you could be building through blogger relationships.
  2. UNDERSTAND THEIR AUDIENCE: Go to Alexa. Type in the url of the blog you are interested. You’ll  get the rank (global and US), keywords, demographics and even see the sites (by name) that link to the the blog in question.
  3. LOOK AT THEIR BLOG OR WEBSITE TRAFFIC: Go to Compete (who we also endorse on the side bar as a marketing affiliate). Type in the url again. You’ll get a graph of website traffic for the last year and whether it is increasing or decreasing.
  4. EXAMINE THEIR SOCIAL OUTREACH AND FOLLOWINGS: After you compile a dozen to two dozen bloggers, spend some time with their blogs and get to know the bloggers. Also, get to know them through their social networks that they list on their blog (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+). Start to look at the quantitative numbers with the qualitative assessment of your values and goals.
  5. CONNECT, ENGAGE AND BE GENUINE: Write a comment to those who you are interested in building relationships. If it’s genuine, it most likely with get a response. You’ve also just established a link as well as a relationship.

One of our clients, Circle Foods in San Diego makes TortillaLand fresh, uncooked tortillas, TortillaLand is a business built on blogger relationships. In looking at the social media landscape, it was discovered that cooking bloggers were writing about the brand, featuring recipes and even taking pictures with their smartphones. Blogger relationships were pursued and the outreach generated awareness, advocacy and trial. Blogs became a primary platform for building the business.

A friend of mine, Susan Borst, was intrigued with the idea of blogger relationship efforts. When I described how to go about it, she said: “You should write a blogpost about it.” Susan is very good at leading you to an idea.

I never advise a business to get into blogging without first identifying their blogger relations. Do you think blogs should have blogger relations efforts?

 

21 ways blogs feed content marketing efforts 4

Posted on March 26, 2012 by Rob Petersen

content marketing and Thanksgiving leftovers

For any business seeking to attract and gather an audience, relevant content is an essential requirement.

But the creation of that content can understandably seem like a daunting task. Where do you start? What do you create? How much time does it take? Who do you bring to the table?

Content marketers use the phrase, “content curation,” to describe the development of content and and sharing of it in different forms such as articles, videos, pictures, tweets, songs or other pieces of digital content. A more relatable expression might be “Thanksgiving leftovers.”

With a Thanksgiving celebration, you take the time to prepare a great meal and gather those you care about; then, the leftovers extend the specialness of the day for some time thereafter. Content marketing works in a similar way.

Many consider a blog a main dish of a content marketing program. Here are 21 ways blogs feed content marketing efforts.

  1. BLOG POSTS: Are rich with content, serve as outreach for new consumers and are great for capturing the attention of search engines through keywords and regular updates that the search engines value. Relative to a Thanksgiving celebration, a blog is a main dish in any content marketing program. If your business blogs regularly, you WILL BE effective at content marketing if you WANT TO. Here’s how.
  2. EMAILS: Can be a slight adaption of a blog post, perhaps with a different call to action, that goes to an predetermined list of consumers. It has the advantage of tracking exactly who reads your content.  (You have their e-mail addresses).
  3. NEWLETTERS Are pretty versatile adaptations.  They can be print or digital.  You can distribute by mailing, handing out or e-mailing them.  You can have monthly, quarterly, or even yearly newsletters.  They can be 1 page, 5 pages or 10 pages long.  And finally, you can include all different types of articles – from how-tos, company news, and business trends to customer stories, FAQ’s or new product information.
  4. EBOOK: Is an extension of your blog. Take that blog content, edit it, repurpose it, add value to it. String it together in a logical and coherent manner. Dress it up with pretty pictures and formatting. Lo and behold, you’ve got yourself an eBook.
  5. WHITE PAPER: With a simple change in tone of your blog post to to educate readers and help people make decisions, you’re on your way to creating a white paper from your blog.
  6. IMAGES: Used in any of items mentioned so far are indexed with the search engines. The more you use, the more they make your content more interesting and help your raise search rank.
  7. INFOGRAPHICS: Are growing in popularity for companies hoping to build effective linking strategies as well as execute on viral campaigns because infographics are frequently downloaded and passed around for their visual impact and content.
  8. VIDEO: In and outside a blog is a powerful tool for corporate content marketing strategies of any size. They are are boom for internally produced video projects and consumer-generated video alike.
  9. LINKS: Everyone wants to know when someone is talking about them. So it is with content marketing. When people link to your site or blog, you can find out through tools like WordPress and Alexa, you can check out who linked to you and form good relationships and can links in return. The end result is you turn into an “authority” in your industry, one of the search engine’s most important criteria.
  10. COMMENTS:  Getting noticed by industry bloggers and establishing a relationship with them over time can be beneficial to your business and your marketing efforts. The relationship can work both ways. Leaving comments that add to the conversation helps boost value of their blog post. Comments also establish links.
  11. EVENTS: 56% or companies with content marketing programs use events to build face-to-face relationships (source: PulsePoint Group). And 74% and use social media. How’s how blogs help.
  12. FACEBOOK: Distribute content from the blog, email or newsletter to your Facebook page and those who “Like” you and extend your influence among fans.
  13. TWITTER: Tweet your content and Re-Tweet the content of others whose content you admire and you have one of the most powerful and cost effective outreach vehicle any company could want for content marketing. In fact, Twitter is defined as a micro-blogging platform.
  14. LINKEDIN:  LinkedIn has 120 million-plus registered users. It couldn’t be easier to share an update with connections that links to your blog. Of those who use it, over two-thirds access it multiple times a week and is fast gaining in terms of share freqency with Facebook and Twitter.
  15. GOOGLE+: Although still trailing behind Facebook and Twitter, every marketer will need a Google+ strategy. Through Google+, you see a photo of yourself in search and pull in metadata you’ve chosen for my Google+ profile.
  16. PINTEREST: Is the fastest growing social network since Facebook, you can pin your images and interest to pinboards  (which also link to your Facebook page). If women are your target who make the purchase decision for 90% of all products, Pinterest is 70% female.
  17. PODCASTS: Are an easy way to generate guest content and a quick-turnaround format, podcast can also transcribed to generated rich, written content.
  18. WEBINARS: 46% of companies use webinars and 70% believe they are an effective marketing program. A way to make the most of them is to use your images and videos and make the content as interesting as possible (source: Content Marketing Institute_
  19. SURVEYS: Use online surveys at the end of your blog to get to know your prospects, create a dialogue and lead them to your product or service.
  20. CASE STUDIES: Take examples from your content to build case studies to show customers what in it for them. On this blog, we have over 100 case studies of the ROI of Social Media, Social commerce , Social CRM and SEO
  21. USER GENERATED CONTENT: The best advocates for any business are customers themselves. Encourage user-generated content and video. It’s a boon for marketing purposes, particularly if you request submissions that fit into your overall content marketing strategy.

The comparison to Thanksgiving is deliberate. Although it may seem like a paradox, you attract more attention to yourself when you recognize others more than promote yourself.

Do you agree with these 21 ways? Have we missed any you would like to share?

 

In 2012, 1 out of 2 companies will have a blog. 23 reasons it should be in your business plan 0

Posted on October 14, 2011 by Rob Petersen

 

One of the steadiest trends in social media is the company adoption rate for blogs. By 2012, 44% of companies (or roughly 1 out of 2) will have blogs.

Here are 23 reasons it should be in your business plan.

WEB TRAFFIC AND SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION:

  • MORE WEB TRAFFIC:  55% of companies report more traffic to their website due to their blog (source: Hubspot)
  • HIGHER SEARCH RANK:  97% receive more links from other websites which is a primary factor for raising search rank. Google algorithms are more likely to recognize your company as an “Authority” and this is their primary criteria for determining search rank (source: Hubspot)
  • QUALITY LINKS:  Links from blogs are recognized as “quality” links by search engines and an integral part of any search programs by SEO experts (Source: SEOmoz)
  • COST EFFECTIVENESS:  In addition to high quality, links from blogs are cost efficient because they occur with just a comment on a blog and a reply back
  • KEYWORD IDENTIFICATION:  Keywords, especially in the headlines and first paragraphs of blogposts, send a signal to the search engine that content is continually being updated and the website is dynamic
  • GREATER SEARCH PRESENCE:  Companies with blogs report 434% more indexed pages in search engines (source: Hubspot)
CONTENT CURATION:
  • EMAILS:  With very modest changes, a blog serves as an email.  This way, it reaches current prospects while the blog works as outreach
  • EBOOKS: Blogs around a common theme can be compiled into an ebook for downloading and lead generation
  • WEBINARS: The primary points in a blog, once outlined, can be turned into a webinar for interactive engagement
  • FACEBOOK POSTS: Key content in a blog can broken out as relevant Facebook posts
  • TWITTER “MICROBLOGS”:  One of the primary reasons for being with Twitter is to be a microblogging platform with the use of short links.
  • LINKEDIN STATUS: In your status box, people can learn more about you and your company
BLOGGER RELATIONS AND ADVOCACY
  • SHARE CONTENT: Want to build a relationship with an industry thought leaders? Acknowledge those who views you admire; share their content and ask if they’d share yours
  • GUEST POSTINGS: Ask an industry thought leader to post as a guest on your blog
  • TECHNORATI “AUTHORITY” SCORE: Technorati gives an “authority” score by blogs and posts. It is score from 0 to 1000 and it represents the number of links within the last six months. It’s a great way to find the bloggers most relevant to your category
  • COMPETE WEB TRAFFIC METRICS: Compete measures the web traffic of blogs. Its lets you let see trends for a year or longer
  • ALEXA MEASUREMENTS: Alexa let you see the audience demographics, keywords and the actual website that link into your website or blog
1-TO-1 RELATIONSHIPS
  • LISTEN TO CUSTOMERS: 75% of customers post comments on blog regarding product and customer services; 88% use blogs for research and browsing and 91% click through to a company’s website (source: Shop.org)
  • BUILD A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP: All it takes is a comment and a reply to take the next step and have a 1-to-1 relationship. People like to do business with people they know
  • SELL DIRECT: With an SSL certificate and a PayPal account, you can sell product and service directly from a blog
RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)
  • CUSTOMERS READ BLOGS: 75% read at least one a day (source: Sherpa)
  • BLOGS INFLUENCE PURCHASE DECISION: 75% say blogs effect purchase decisions, either somewhat or very much (source: Sherpa)
TRUST
  • MOST TRUSTED SOCIAL MEDIA SOURCE: 64% of people trust the information from a blog. That is, if the blog is written by a person at the company. People like to do business with people they know (source: eMarketer)

Is a blog is your company’s  business plan for 2012? Any reason why not?

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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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