Should You Focus on Social Media or Content Marketing?

Social networks are crucial to the success of content marketing efforts. Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, YouTube and other platforms are used primarily as a distributor of links back to the content on the company’s, brand’s or organization’s website — not as containers of the content.

Social media can be effectively used for increasing brand awareness — generating discussions around the brand. Secondly, it is used for customer retention and satisfaction. Social channels can serve as an open forum for dialogues with customers, often around issues that they have.

The context of websites allows longer forms of content. Brands can publish blog posts, podcasts, infographics, videos, checklists and eBooks, etc.

The effectiveness of content marketing increases as the organization’s content marketing grows in maturity. Based on the B2B content marketing research, 64% percent in the sophisticated/mature phase state they are effective at content marketing, 23% in the adolescent phase say they are effective at content marketing, and 6% in the young phase say they are effective at content marketing. More information is provided on the Content Marketing Institute website.

Lessons Learned: Managing the Digital Marketing Beast

We all are constantly obtaining new skills and learning life lessons – often through challenges or failures. Here are some things I was reminded of in 2013.

If at all possible, small businesses should avoid the following:

  • Only one person assigned to marketing
  • Sales and marketing professionals not sharing information
  • Not addressing feedback received through social media channels
  • Lack of commitment and consistency.

Keys to success:

  • Be flexible, adapt to change
  • Listen and learn
  • Align social media and digital marketing goals with overall marketing goals
  • Review and frequently improve website content
  • Create a content development calendar
  • Assign priorities to creating content (high, medium, low)
  • Establish efficient workflows for content creation and sharing
  • Use social media wisely for sharing your news and  useful content
  • Commit to posting frequency / based on staff availability and skillset.

Things to remember:

  • Focus on impact and reaching your  marketing goals, not on the number of likes, followers and tools
  • Automated social media and e-mail marketing tools can make your digital marketing efforts look lazy, decrease authenticity.

Give and you will receive in 2014!


13 Tips for Building a Total Online Presence

Now as you are focused on your new year’s resolutions, here’s one more list:

1.   Use Quora to find questions people in your industry are asking.
2.   Create a listening station – read blogs and listen to podcasts to find great content ideas.
3.   Create landing pages and capture leads.
4.   Write good content that includes keyword phrases to improve SEO and network to get relevant sites linking back to your site.
5.   Email isn’t dead. Lead capture plays a big part in your email marketing efforts.
6.   Build a full Google+ profile and claim your +Local (Place) page. Focus on small circles in Google+. Promote with +1 button.
7.   Use online advertising and face-to-face networking to drive people to your website.
8.   Your audience will tell you if you are oversharing on social media. Make adjustments.
9.   Always use analytics (data) as a checkpoint for everything you do.
10. Use your e-newsletter to promote quality content.
11.  Schedule tweets to share them throughout the day (Buffer).
12.  Create Twitter lists of customers and add their social profiles to your CRM tool.
13.  Optimize your website for mobile devices.

Total Online Presence = Your Online Identity.


6 Ways to Grow Your Small Business

When Fortune magazine interviewed leaders of large and small firms, they received a few pieces of advice on how to grow a business. Perhaps some of their formulas could become growth-growing points in your small business.

* Find an edge over competition. Look at your industry’s biggest cost and time constraints and focus on those areas of your business.

* Describe your business in 1-2 words. Own a phrase that illustrates your product or service. Then Google it to see if you have chosen the right one. A beverage company used “enhanced waters” for example.

* Focus on one measurable priority for your company, not a dozen. For 90 days, focus on one problem area of your business.

* Control your cash flow. Construct a business model that fuels your growth without the need for outside financing.

* Use blogs, white papers, YouTube and Twitter to align your marketing materials with the phrase you own.

* Make changes faster. The fastest-moving companies huddle daily to drive their priorities.

Brochure, flyer or white paper?

I have never been a big fan of tri-fold brochures that attempt to convince me that I should buy a particular product or sign up for a certain service.   These marketing materials tend not to be persuasive enough due to the fact that information has been crammed into a limited space.  The customer benefits are not always obvious, contrary to emotional appeal – nice images, unusual fonts and unique paper may catch my attention, but not for long.

White papers appeal more to me as they provide logic through facts, statistics and quotes from end users or industry experts. They are not flashy, but usually filled with facts.  For me, they are much more informative. I consider writing a good white paper a real art form as the author has to be a good researcher, persuasive essayist and a marketer all at once.  At the same time, a good balance between the right amount of facts, images, quotes and often industry terms has to be achieved.  Case studies tend to focus on customer stories and testimonials whereas white papers add a touch of credibility through unbiased information.

High quality content is becoming increasingly important as people crave useful information and have access to growing number of information channels before making buying decisions.  All marketing materials, including white papers should educate; therefore we all need to become avid readers and dedicated students to continuously improve our writing skills.