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Archive for the ‘Social media marketing’ Category

Whole-Brained Approach to Marketing Is Most Valuable

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 2, 2014

whole-brain-marketing

Today, you need both creative and analytical/technical components to your marketing plan, if you expect to be successful in engaging customers.

By guest blogger Laura Carter

When we think about marketing, we most often think of creativity, innovation, and visual appeal, traits that typically come from so-called “right-brained” thinkers. However, a new trend is taking over, where “left-brained” or analytical thinking is just as valued and respected in the marketing world.

The main goals for marketing have always been to understand the customer and then guide him or her towards a purchase. The path that a buyer takes to that purchase has evolved over the years. According to the CEB Marketing Leadership Council, customers now progress nearly 60% of the way through the purchase decision-making process before actually engaging a sales rep. This places a heavy burden on marketers to deliver value and education early on in the buying process.

As a result of changing buying styles, businesses must embrace the role of technology in their marketing strategies. If you expect to reach and engage customers today, your marketing strategy must employ both analytic/technical and creative strategies. In other words, you need to have both geeks and creative types contribute to your marketing.

Those who don’t include technology and analytics will surely be left behind, if they haven’t been already.   Spending in this arena has already increased and is still on the rise. In fact, Laura McLellan of Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs.

The best companies must know how to generate interest using technology and turn that into actual revenue. They also must realize that their products and brand need to have a broad appeal that comes from a full right and left brain marketing approach.

With more money being invested in marketing technology, businesses want to see that they are actually getting a return on their investment. This often requires a more refined approach to analytics than what we have seen in the past. Modern marketers need to constantly monitor these analytics to know which areas to focus on and which areas to drop.

Marketers are not only expected to provide good marketing skills, but must also be able to track results with accurate analytics. They must also be able to merge fine details with creativity, analytics with the abstract, and logic with imagination to capture market share.

What marketing strategy do you use for your business? Is it a left-brained, right-brained, or whole-brained approach?

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, content marketing, lead generation, Marketing, Marketing automation, Marketing plans, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Trends, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Test Your Social Media IQ!

Posted by advantagemarketing on June 27, 2014

10025429_s

Now that it’s summertime, we thought it might be fun to have a quick quiz about social media. Let us know in the comments section how you score!

1. Who is the founder of Facebook?

a. Al Gore      b. Mark Zuckerburg      c. Bill Gates       d. Steve Jobs

 

2. Which social media uses 140 characters?

a. Facebook      b. Google+      c. Twitter      d. InstaSelfie

 

3. What should you NOT do on a social media site?

a. Comment on and “LIKE” others’ posts

b. Post inappropriate photos of yourself or others.

c. Provide interesting content such as quizzes, news or links

 

4. Which social media channel reaches more U.S. adults ages 18-34 than any cable network?

a. Houzz      b. Instagram      c. Twitter      d. YouTube

 

5. This is the world’s largest professional social network and is a fantastic place to find a job or to recruit.

a. LinkedIn      b. Facebook       c. Twitter       d. Pinterest

 

6. Which of these statements is NOT TRUE?

a.  YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.

b.  Houzz provides architects & contractors with the opportunity to showcase their work to home owners and design enthusiasts.

c.  A new member joins LinkedIn every second.

d.  Pinterest is predominately used by men looking for recipes and wedding dresses.

 

7. This social media network has features such as Pages, Profiles, Circles, Community, and Hangouts, that let you interact with customers and friends. It can also raise your Website in Google’s rankings.

a. Pinterest      b. Google+       c. LinkedIn      d. Facebook

 

Answers:  1. b    2. c    3. b    4. d    5. a    6. d

If You Got:     You’re:

6-7 correct     A Social Media Whiz

4-5 correct     Smarter than a 5th Grader

2-3 correct     A Social Media Beginner

0-1 correct     At the Starting Gate

 

Posted in Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Social media marketing, Traditional marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Twitter’s New Profile Layout

Posted by advantagemarketing on May 7, 2014

twitter-logoBy guest blogger Laura Carter

Twitter profiles now have a new look, aimed at being more eye catching and customizable. This new layout is now available to everyone and according to Twitter, focuses on an “even easier” and “more fun” way to express yourself or your business. There are a lot of cosmetic changes, but the way that you use Twitter is basically the same. The new web profile lets you use a larger profile photo, prominently display your best tweets and more. Here’s what to expect from this new web profile.

Header and Profile Photos

One of the most striking new differences is the large horizontal header image, very similar to the design on Facebook. Twitter will automatically resize your image to fit this space perfectly, but for the sharpest quality you’ll want to choose a 1,500 x 500 photo for your header. Profile photos are now bigger too, so chose a picture that is at least 400 x 400 pixels for the sharpest looking picture.

Streamlining Tweets

The new profile will highlight specific tweets and allow people searching through profile pages to find the specific kinds of tweets that they want more easily. Here are details on the main features:

Best Tweets

With the new design some tweets will have larger font than others. These are your best tweets, the ones that have the highest level of engagement. This helps make your most popular content easier for others to find. It also makes it easy for you to see exactly which content your followers are interested in.

Pinned Tweets

Have a tweet that you don’t want anyone to miss? Now you can “pin” that tweet to the top of your profile. This pinned tweet will stay at the top of your profile until you unpin it or change it. This could be useful for small businesses that are using Twitter and want to highlight a press release or promotion.

Filtered Tweets

There are several options for filtering tweets that are now easier to use since they are all together in one place, right under your header photo. They allow you to filter the tweets on your own page as well as other profiles that you view. You can choose between three options for filtering: tweets, tweets with photo/video or tweets and replies.

What do you think of the new Twitter layout and features? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Business, Marketing, Social media marketing, Twitter | Leave a Comment »

Leveraging Social Media – an AEC Professionals Circle Program

Posted by advantagemarketing on April 2, 2014

AEC New JerseyAEC Professionals Circle New Jersey is offering a program on social media and its potential to bring your company business. The event is called “Leveraging Social Media and Technology to Build Your Business,” and I’m so pleased that Advantage Marketing is teaming with AEC NJ as an event sponsor!

AEC Professionals Circle is a New Jersey-based organization that provides educational and networking opportunities to Architects, Engineers and Contractors.

The event will be held on Tuesday, April 8, and offers two 3-hour working sessions plus a lunch and evening networking. The folks at New Millennium Millwork are hosting the event at their Riverdale, New Jersey, facility. Frank Morales, Sandler Coach & Mentor, is the presenter and he’ll be doing a deep dive into LinkedIn and all the strategies and techniques that you can use to grow your personal network and prospect for business.

At Advantage Marketing, we’re known for helping our professional services clients craft content that positions them as the experts people want to hire, so I’m doubly excited to be premiering our Sticky Content Plan at this event. The Sticky Content Plan helps our clients build the information resources that bring customers to their doors. (You’ll be finding out more about the Sticky Content Plan in upcoming posts.)

We’ll also be running a fun social media quiz and offering prizes. We’ll be selling our guide, “Turn Your Practice into a Client Magnet” – which will soon be available online.

If you’re an architect, engineer, or contractor here in New Jersey, and you haven’t yet been to an AEC Professionals Circle event, this is the one to attend! AEC’s founder Shallon Gammon of Guiding Graphics, shared these top 10 reasons why this is a not-to-be-missed event:

10. Earn one CEU Credit while networking with decision-makers.

9. Learn HOW to build your network—online and in person.

8. Learn how to post your 30 second Elevator Pitch ONLINE.

7. Demystify Social Media channels and decide which one(s) will bring in new business.

6. Learn how you can have all of your documents, quotes, estimates, specifications, client information, and more for all of your projects with you, at all times.

5. Leverage your LinkedIn profile to promote your personal “brand” and proactively prospect.

4. Systematize attending networking events and consistently set and achieve realistic goals.

3. Find the right vendors to outsource services you’re not an expert on.

2. Acquire new customers through online recommendations, postings and word-of-mouth.

1. Learn how you can empower your friends, clients, prospects, and business associates to consistently give you referrals.

Here are the links to register:

RSVP for a Session: http://conta.cc/1fXBLLj

RSVP for the Social Event only: http://conta.cc/1cQF08r

Hope I see you there!

 

 

Posted in Business, content marketing, lead generation, LinkedIn, Marketing, Networking, personal branding, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Social media marketing, Thought leadership, Word of mouth marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Can Your Small Business Benefit From Pinterest?

Posted by advantagemarketing on March 18, 2014

PinterestBy guest blogger Laura Carter

So what exactly is Pinterest, how does it work, and why is it important to your small business? According to the insight firm Semiocast, Pinterest now has over 70 million registered users, 70% of which are active users in the U.S.  These numbers have helped Pinterest join the likes of Twitter, Google, and Facebook in becoming a major player in the social media market.

The content on Pinterest has grown tremendously over the past year and is no longer just recipes and do-it-yourself projects. Large and small businesses alike are realizing that it is a valuable tool for promoting business and driving sales.  In fact, studies have shown that Pinterest is responsible for over 41% of e-commerce traffic from social networking sites.

How does Pinterest work?

Pinterest differs from other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, in that it is primarily an image-based social media platform. It is a collection of your favorite images, quotes, products, recipes, and more that you “pin” to a virtual pin board and can reference at any time. When you use Pinterest for your small business,  you can pin your awards, project photos, books, sales notices,  or products for everyone to see.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Keep Boards Neat and Organized

It is crucial to pin dynamic, visually appealing photos that are high quality, colorful and relevant to your business. These images also need to be organized into specific boards. For example, if you are an architect,, you should have one board for homes you’ve designed, one for commercial buildings, and so on. Be sure to add links in the descriptions of pins and use hashtags to increase visibility. Choose eye-catching images for board covers that are representative of the pins on that particular board. Take the time to build up your page and choose pictures that inspire you and contribute to the overall authenticity of your page.

Make Your Website Pin Friendly

If your business already sees significant traffic, increase your Pinterest audience by making it pin friendly. Add “Pin It” buttons to all of your content. Doing this makes it easier for visitors to pin your pages and share them with their friends.

If you want to increase your website traffic, Pinterest can be a powerful way to direct new visitors to your site.  Have Pinterest-friendly, hyperlinked content on your boards to lead viewers from Pinterest back to your website.

Engagement Is Key  

As with all social media, engagement is important. Take the time to curate and pin images that are relevant. Follow “Pinterest etiquette” and don’t pin too much all at once since this will clog your followers’ feed and look insincere. Instead, try pinning images twice a day. Morning (10-11a.m.) and late evening (9p.m.-midnight) seem to be the best times for the majority of brands to pin.

Get active in the community and like, comment, and re-pin others’ content. Also answer questions and comments that others leave on your boards.  This will create a sense of genuine networking and will help build relationships with current and prospective customers.

With its own spin on social networking, and the advances and changes made to accommodate business accounts in 2013, Pinterest is proving successful for many small businesses.

Let us know how Pinterest is working for you by posting a comment in the Comments section.

Posted in Business, lead generation, Marketing, Marketing plans, Marketing Strategy, Pinterest, small business, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lead Generation and Trade Show Marketing for an IT Client

Posted by advantagemarketing on March 11, 2014

lead generation

Aujas, our California, New Jersey and India-based client, needed a lead generation and brand building strategy for the IBM Pulse conference and exhibit at the end of February. Teaming with their practice heads around the globe, Advantage Marketing brainstormed and developed their messaging, and then created display signage and service briefs to support their brand and promote their services.

We also ran Twitter and LinkedIn campaigns to promote their show presence. Aujas garnered well over 50 leads and lots of positive attention for their brand.

Thanks to Guiding Graphics for the design work and Graphic Marketing Group for printing – most of which was completed during one blizzard or another this February!

Need help with lead generation and brand strategies for trade shows or other marketing campaigns? Contact us for a complimentary initial consultation.

Posted in B2B marketing, brand building, Business, Consulting, lead generation, LinkedIn, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Professional service firm marketing, trade shows, Traditional marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Miss Out: Read Our 7 Top Posts from 2013

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 15, 2013

most popular marketing posts

Did you miss these top posts for 2013? It’s not too late to check them out!

Did you miss any of our best posts during 2013?

You can catch up here – these seven posts were particularly popular with Marketing Advantage readers.

(And we’d love to know what your favorite Marketing Advantage post was in 2013. Just leave a quick comment below to tell us.)

7 Ideas for Attracting Customers

I gave a talk recently to the Just Think B.I.G., Bernardsville, NJ, group about marketing tactics that attract customers. Many of the women business owners present knew their product or service really well, but didn’t always know how to attract the attention of prospective customers.

Marketing is all about getting people to know, like and then trust you. There are many ways to do this; here are the seven ideas I spoke about… Read more

23 Sales and Marketing Ideas for 2013

At a recent Executive Exchange Inc. meeting, business owners talked about how they will boost their sales and marketing efforts in 2013. Here are some ideas that were discussed… Read more

How to Market Your Business with an eBook

Less expensive than producing a “traditional” book, electronic books (or “eBooks”) exist in various formats, including MS Word files, Adobe Acrobat pdf files (one of the most popular formats) and HTML files (which can be read using a web browser). You might even consider converting your book to the ePub format, which is becoming a standard for e-readers… Read more

Does Social Media Fit in Your Professional Services Marketing Plan?
“How can we use social media?”

That’s a question I often get from partners and owners of professional service firms. They think social media is something they should be paying attention to, yet they are unsure where to start, or even if they should start, using it.

For retailers and other businesses that market products entirely to consumers, social media marketing – through Facebook, Twitter or even YouTube – has become accepted practice. It lets them to get closer to their customers, provide better service and earn positive word of mouth.  But what about professional service firms? Is there value for you in social networking? If so, which of the many social media tools is relevant for you? Read more

How Professional Service Firms Can Get Started in Social Media

In my last post, I wrote about how social media can help professional service firms become thought leaders for their target clients. I also talked about how to choose the most relevant social media for your firm.

Here’s a simple framework for fitting social media into your firm’s marketing plan. Think of three interactive segments that build on each other to benefit your practice: tried and true tactics, conscious outreach, and cutting edge tactics. With this framework in mind, you can choose the tactics from each segment that fit your firm’s culture, level of marketing expertise, and target market… Read more

15 Tips for Creating Engaging Content

Content rules. Whether you’re tweeting, writing blog posts, or contributing to a LinkedIn group discussion, it is content that drives conversations and connects your professional services firm to its social network. But creating content that your audience will want to read can be challenging. à Read more

29 Marketing Tactics for Building Know, Like, Trust – and Try

Is summer a quiet time for your business? Then it’s time to rev up your lead generation machine! Put one or more of these proven marketing tactics to work now and start getting prospects to KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST your business and TRY your products or services.

Remember: marketing is all about making selling easier – if not almost unneeded. Effective marketing eliminates the need for that pushy selling that so many of us dislike. That’s what these tactics can do for you… Read more

Have we left one of your favorites off? Drop us a comment, below and let us know which one!

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, sales and marketing, small business, social media and phishing, Social media marketing, Traditional marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WSJ Social Media Insights Apply to Consultants Too

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 2, 2013

social media for consultants

Consultants can benefit from these social media tips as reported in the WSJ’s Small Business Report

Today’s Wall Street Journal Small Business Report offered some excellent social media advice that consultants can apply to marketing their own practices:

  1. Be genuine. Don’t hire someone to speak for YOU. Although it’s fine to have someone post your updates, the posts should reflect your viewpoint and who you are. People respond to authenticity.
  2. Stop being a social media bore. Engage your audience by devising social media posts that are NOT all about you. Talk about a recent successful client engagement – without revealing sensitive client information, of course – or discuss timely news and events that are relevant to your consulting specialty.
  3. Have a few social media strategies. I advise my consulting clients on this all the time and WSJ experts agree: not every prospect or client is on the same social media channel. Your job is to find out which social media tool you can use to capture your target audience’s attention.
  4. Don’t let social media become your entire plan. Although everyone seems to be talking about using social media, it really is just one of the marketing and advertising tools you need to promote your consulting practice. Your marketing strategy should take into account the members of your target audience who use social media and may look for you there, as well as target audience members who may hear of you in other ways.
  5. Don’t let social media take over your business schedule. It’s easy to waste time on social media, especially if you’re new to it. Delegation is key! Find someone who can take on the day-to-day tasks, so that you can focus elsewhere. Set a fixed time each week to review your postings so you know what’s being done.
  6. Don’t try to do everything at once. Start with the social media channels you are most comfortable with, and where you will most likely find your best consulting clients. Once you have mastered that channel, start adding others.

Read more of the WSJ Experts’ advice.

Do you need help integrating social media into your firm’s marketing? Let’s talk! Sign up for a complimentary marketing assessment to get started.

Other posts you might be interested in:

Does Social Media Fit into Your Professional Service Firm’s Marketing Plan?

How Consulting Firms Are Tweeting, Using Social Media

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Consulting, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Demystifying Hashtags

Posted by advantagemarketing on November 26, 2013

demystifying hashtags

What are hashtags and why should businesses use them in their social media? Find out in this post.

“What is a hashtag and how do I use it?”

This is a question I often get during my Getting Started in Social Media talk. Here’s what you need to know about hashtags and how to use them effectively.

All hashtags start with the familiar ‘#’ which, to those of us who remember touch tone phones, is also known as the pound sign. According to Uriel Alvarado on the Intelligent HQ blog, they were cooked up by Twitter user Chris Messina in 2007 and later embraced by Twitter. Hashtags allow users to engage in real-time conversations. With hashtags, you can create topics and group your own tweets with others on a similar theme. The tags can also be used as a symbol of belonging to a group with the same interest or opinion. A popular – or trending – hashtag can also indicate that something is trendy, cool, or topical.

Social Media Sites Supporting Hashtags

Today hashtags are used on many social media channels, not just Twitter. The graphic below shows some of the sites that now support hashtags.

social media sites supporting hashtags

Why use a hashtag?

Hashtags can be useful even to those who aren’t social media wonks or pop culture enthusiasts. They can be used to publicize news, especially fast-breaking or urgent stories (think #ArabSpring, which broke on Twitter before the national media picked it up).

Businesses can use hashtags to advertise, promote an event, or start a conversation with customers and followers. Consumers can share positive or negative experiences with a company or brand via hashtags. The #loveVerizon and #hateATT hashtags are two recent examples of consumer experience sharing.

Using a hashtag in a social media update gives context and content to your post. For example, if you were participating in my Getting Started in Social Media talk at the American Appraisers Association National Conference in New York City, you might have posted this update to Twitter:

Learning a lot about using #SocialMedia for #marketing my appraisal practice from @LMKasprzak at the #NatlConf2013

Someone reading the above post would know you were at the conference and, more importantly, that you were learning something to help you advance your appraisal practice. The reader could also click on the #NatlConf2013 hashtag and see other posts about national conference events.

If you create a hashtag, you can register it on Hashtags.org, which also provides tracking. Twubs.com is another service that allows you to register and follow hashtags.  Although you can’t prevent others from using your hashtag, it may be useful to claim a hashtag that could be integral to discussion around a trademark, promotional campaign, or event, says Rebecca Murtagh on the Search Engine Watch blog. When you optimize conversations, content, and updates with hashtags, they become more visible to others on social media platforms and search engines, points out Murtagh.

Hashtags are also a great – and free! – research tool. If you want to know what your customers are talking about, what your competitors are doing, or how the media is treating a specific topic related to your product or service, track hashtags, says Murtagh. They are extremely useful in identifying the frequency and reach of topics, discussions, and tapping into audience sentiment.

Other ways businesses can use hashtags include:

  • Tracking mentions on the social web
  • Finding influencers engaged in a topic.
  • Attending a conference virtually and expanding your network with people in your industry
  • Branding a presentation, webinar or keynote speech
  • Participating in Twitter Chats on topics of interest or in your industry
  • Dealing with a crisis
  • Building a community around a brand
  • Extracting customer insights

Using Hashtags Effectively

Now that you understand what hashtags are and how they can be used, let’s turn to social media expert John Cade for some pointers on how to create an effective hashtag:

  1. Skip punctuation, spaces and hyphens. Your hashtag should read #artappraisalservices not #art-appraisal-services. Anything following the first punctuation mark will show up as text that is not clickable, and therefore is not actually part of the hashtag.
  2. Keep hashtags short. Shorter hashtags are easier to remember and are easier to type, especially on a smart phone.
  3. Use no more than 3 hashtags per post. More than three hashtags is considered spammy and can annoy your followers.
  4. Go with upper and lower case. #NatlConf2013 is much easier to read than #natlconf2103.
  5. Avoid redundancy. Another common mistake, says Cade, is posting a tweet that includes a hashtag of a word mentioned earlier in the tweet. For example, the tweet, “I really like blogging about appraising art. #appraisingart” is more effective when it’s written “I really like blogging about #appraisingart.”

Do you have more questions about hashtags? Ask away in the Comments section below.

Do you need help integrating social media into your firm’s marketing? Let’s talk! Sign up for a complimentary marketing assessment to get started.

Other posts you might be interested in:

Does Social Media Fit into Your Professional Service Firm’s Marketing Plan?

How Consulting Firms Are Tweeting, Using Social Media

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Social media marketing, Traditional marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Twitter’s Been Hacked. Don’t Leave Yourself at Risk

Posted by advantagemarketing on August 23, 2013

If you use social media sites, make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk!

Twitter hacked

Take these steps to protect your social media accounts

Various media sources have reported that Twitter was recently breached and login credentials for 15,000 users have been leaked.  The leaked information included user IDs and associated tokens, which are used to connect Twitter accounts to third party applications.

If you have a personal Twitter account:

  • Change your password as soon as possible.
  • Consider updating your account settings to revoke third party application access.
  • If you use the same password to access other social media sites or emails accounts, change those passwords too.
  • Use different passwords and employ a complex password, that is, one that includes letters, numbers and symbols.

Be wary of suspicious emails asking you to supply a password or other information.  It may likely be a phishing attempt.

For more about phishing and scams, read Social Media’s Dark Side.

Posted in Business, Consulting, Management, Marketing, social media and phishing, Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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