Archive for ‘marketing’:


Confession of a Social Media Consultant

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

By Brad Wester

secret-1142327_960_720 I’ve been a freelance social media consultant for several years, and I have a confession to make.

The power of social media is a myth.

You know that great idea you have for your next Facebook post? It’s probably worthless. I’m not trying to be harsh, and I’m not saying you have terrible ideas, but take a moment to think about it. How many people are going to see that post? Hint: not enough.

In 2015, Facebook organic reach dropped from an average of 12% to under 6%. This trend has continued in 2016. Facebook’s organic reach is low and continues to drop. Reaching less than 6% of your audience isn’t powerful. It’s time to stop posting and hoping for the best. It’s time for a plan.

The power of social media has always been a myth. The true power is in the planning – it’s in the development of a social media strategy.

Posting on social media without a strategy means your posts may be missing your targeting audience. You may be posting at the wrong times, creating the wrong content and using the wrong call to actions. You could be using improper tracking methods or relying on the wrong metrics to show success. Without a social media strategy, you’re at risk of wasting time and energy that could be spent more effectively on other parts of your business. You may even be hurting the future success of your Facebook page due to poor performance now.

Having a fully developed social media strategy is essential and should include the ability to track and analyze data in each step. Tracking data will allow you to determine what social networks you should focus on, what type of content is most effective, if it’s more effective to create a wide variety of content, simply promote high performing content to a larger audience and even how much you can afford to spend on promoting your high-performing content.

More social networks, including Instagram and Snapchat, are creating algorithms to determine what content to show users. These algorithms will continue to decrease organic reach and increase competition, driving up the cost of effective social media marketing. Developing a social media strategy will help you rise above your competition.

It’s time to stop posting and start planning.

 

Byline

Brad Wester is a freelance digital marketing consultant specializing in helping small businesses create engaging online experiences that generate leads and drive sales. Follow Brad on Twitter: @wester_brad.

Transformation Influencers: Rust-Oleum’s 1,000 Projects Campaign

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

There are more than 100 million searches each month on “how to” do something. Rust-Oleum, a nearly 100 year-old company, came to the realization that people aren’t really passionate about products as much as they want to change and improve their living spaces, creating something beautiful that they can enjoy.

Photo: Pinterest Screenshot

Photo: Pinterest Screenshot

With the insight that people want to improve and/or change what they love, Rust-Oleum (along with its agencies) set out to create 1,000 compelling projects to serve as inspiration and demonstration to consumers. Leveraging paid media and using data driven marketing to share a transformation story through images and video, they empowered bloggers and every day influencers to share their own inspiration stories, in turn driving awareness and a new excitement—a re-introduction of sorts.

Lisa Bialecki, Senior Director, Integrated Communications at Rust-Oleum, shared their journey with attendees of PRSA St. Louis’ recent Digital Communications Summit.

They conducted fast data analysis to identify exactly what people are searching for and where they’re looking to find this information. Using this research data, they created a blueprint of projects that they needed to create and feature—for example, 14% of the project would be devoted to the garden tackling things like planters, fences and stones, while 5% would be devoted to garage revamping items such as cabinets, hardware, organizers and the garage floor.

Their strategy included media partners, consumers, professionals and brand projects. Rust-Oleum created “an army of project enthusiasts,” Bialecki said, leveraging volumes of content–using print, blogs, web, video, Facebook and Pinterest. They also hyper-targeted banner ads to their audiences and created a new website for project inspirations with a user forum section—creating a community.

But it wasn’t just all traditional print, social media and digital. Rust-Oleum hosted DIY conferences. They held multiple blogger innovation summits in an effort to generate excitement for these bloggers to write about new products. One such summit included 18 highly influential DIY bloggers (from 15 key blogs) over a three-day period. During the summit, they took them on a manufacturing plant tour, a corporate headquarters breakfast and tour which included a marketing studio “hands-on” session. Through these “in real life” events, they were able to build a stronger awareness of new products, strengthen existing and build new blogger relationships.

This integrated PR campaign not only supported Rust-Oleum’s retail marketing but has resulted in 250 million project impressions to date and 3 million project engagements. Pinterest has become their number two driver to the website. Most importantly, unit sales are up 40% year-over-year. This is a great example of PR, marketing, advertising, digital and social successfully working together!

The Marketing Words That Work With Each Generation

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Words That Work For Each Generation BurrellesLuce Media Monitoring Public Relations PR Software Marketing Millennials Generation X Demographics can be a slippery slope – combining 15 to 20 years’ worth of people into one neat category? Not so accurate. As a result marketers and public relations pros alike would be remiss to think that one style of language will resonate across the generations.

There’s a lot more that goes into messaging – like targeting and segmentation – but putting that aside for this post, let’s take a look at words and language styles that generally speak to each generation.

Generation Z

Born between 1995 and 2010, the earliest part of Gen Z is coming into its own purchasing power. These tech savvy multitaskers also respond to discussion about sustainability and green products. They’re also constantly adopting the latest technology and want to know what’s next. Gen Z also cares about privacy (hence their tendency toward ephemeral social media like SnapChat), having control over their own preference and security settings, and tend to prefer visuals over text and short, bite-sized content.

Generation Y/ Millennials

Ah, the elusive target market unicorn. It seems everyone wants to market to Millennials but no one can agree on how. Well, that might be because marketers tend to lean too heavily on stereotypes instead of reality. Some Millennials are go-getters with steady jobs who carefully cultivate their own brand, while others are trapped by economic circumstance: overeducated, underemployed, and not as financially independent as they’d like to be.

A lot of millennials respond to off-beat, sarcastic humor, social awareness, and freedom. Being aware of so many social and civil rights issues, using inclusive language and imagery is especially important for resonance, and Millennials like to hear words like “global citizen,” “diversity,” and “community.”

Generation X

GenXers tend to be skeptical, especially of the government (which is what growing up during Watergate and the Vietnam War will do to you), so they’re not into hype. They’re also protective of their personal time, so Anne Loehr recommends using phrases like “It’s your time … “, and “You will benefit by …”   Be real, refrain from being overly optimistic, and since Gen X likes data, emphasize results.

Boomers

Since Baby Boomers control 70 percent of disposable income in the U.S., it’s pretty important to get your messaging right. Like all generations, they like humor, but prefer it to be clever and not mean-spirited.

Boomers like positivity and are enjoying their economic freedom, so provide options and create positive messaging instead of using the word “don’t.” Try to include messages that explain why you understand Boomers, how you make their life easier, or how you make their life better. Boomers tend to be idealistic and ambitious, so using legacy-oriented language, a bit of sentimentality, and lots of information will most help your message resonate.

Traditionalists

Traditionalists, born 1925ish to 1945, grew up in the Great Depression and WWII, so they’re frugal, traditional, and loyal – once you’ve earned that loyalty. Emphasizing a company’s legacy, stability, reputation, and trustworthiness are all important.

Words like “earned,” “honor,” “respect,” “reliable,” “value,” and “responsibility” all resonate with Traditionalists.

So when you’re writing your blogs, releases, or messages, be sure to keep in mind who your audience is and what language they respond to. And also remember that demographics are very general, so further targeting and segmenting will help you hone your message further and more carefully curate your words.

 

Becoming a Thought Leader: The Convergence of Marketing and PR

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
Visible Expert Thought Leader PR Marketing Hinge BurrellesLuce Media Monitoring PR Software press clipping

flickr user Alex Gonzalez under CC BY

by Lee Frederiksen*

Your marketing and public relations departments tend to function best when they work in harmony. Marketing strategies help build the necessary foundation to create quality relationships. And when you then take the time to nurture those relationships, it can have a positive effect on the reputation of your firm and how your marketing is received. Both marketing and PR are important to the growth of your business, so how can you simplify the process of them working together?

Our latest research and newly published book suggests that creating industry thought leaders, or Visible Experts, can provide significant benefits for both your marketing and PR departments. We interviewed 130 Visible Experts and 1,028 purchasers of expert services to further understand why these individuals are important and what tools they’re using to generate more leads.

3 Benefits of Having Thought Leaders in Your Firm

While the advantages of having a thought leader on staff go well beyond just three, these were the main benefits that the experts in our research identified about themselves.

1. Brand Building. Of all the Visible Experts we interviewed, 62 percent identified brand building as one of their most significant contributions. Firms that employ well-known experts on staff enjoy a better reputation and increase in brand awareness within their industry.

2. Growth and Business Development. An even greater percentage (66 percent) of respondents listed growth and business development as key benefits they bring to their firms. Through their ability to reach a wider audience, Visible Experts help to generate more leads and improve their firm’s reputation in the marketplace. This increased visibility helps firms close more sales and command higher prices.

3. Multiple Channels for Lead Generation. Thanks to their prominence, thought leaders have access to lead generation opportunities that reach extensive audiences, such as speaking engagements and major publications. Almost all of the experts interviewed regularly reap the benefits of more than one method of lead generation.

What Marketing and PR Tools Do Visible Experts Use?

In addition to understanding the impact that Visible Experts have on their firms, we also studied the tools they use to become more visible and reputable to their target audiences. Through our research, we found that the most successful industry experts use a combination of traditional PR tactics and modern marketing.

The most impactful tools and techniques that Visible Experts use are:

Visible Experts PR MArketing Thought Leader BurrellesLuce Hinge Marketing Media Monitoring Public Relations PR software press clipping

Through this list, we can see the need for rising thought leaders to expand their platform across multiple avenues. Books might be difficult and more time consuming to produce, but they provide the biggest impact. Traditional PR tactics like appearing at speaking engagements and writing articles are still important to the development of Visible Experts, despite the growing importance of modern online methods, like content marketing and producing blog posts.

In addition the greatest impact, we also wanted to know which tools thought leaders rely on to increase their visibility, that also have the greatest return on effort (ROE). Though the lists were similar, there were some surprises:

  1. Books
  2. Online video
  3. Blog posts
  4. Featured news articles
  5. Keynote addresses

Again, we see a good mix of traditional and modern methods, with online video joining the ranks. News articles climbed a few spots from our previous list, showing the importance of traditional media in promoting recognizable expertise. On both lists, writing a book tops the rankings making it not only the most impactful, but also the tool with the greatest ROE.

Becoming a Thought Leader

With the widespread benefits that Visible Experts bring to their firms, consider developing one within your ranks or becoming one yourself. The rise to high visibility expertise is easier than it looks, and having the right mix of PR and marketing tactics in your arsenal can help you get there.

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About the Author:

Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D., is Managing Partner at Hinge, a marketing firm that specializes in branding and marketing for professional services. Hinge is a leader in rebranding firms to help them grow faster and maximize value. Lee can be reached at LFrederiksen@hingemarketing.com or 703-391-8870.