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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#AwesomeConsistency - Hashtags & Brand Awareness



Hashtags may have begun as a fundamental aspect of early Twitter’s success, but today they are a mainstay for many social media activities. There are a ton of people using hashtags in social right now, some are doing it well and others, well….not so much. You may be wondering what the hoopla is all about when it comes to hashtags and whether or not they provide real value to your online branding efforts?  For many professionals, the idea of the hashtag may seem unprofessional or even irrelevant. We’re here to tell you that if social media is a part of your marketing strategy, hashtags should not be overlooked.

Hashtags & Search

Are you aware that each of the social media platforms operates as its own search engine? Whether you are in Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, doing a search on any of these sites will pull up an abundance of information that you can’t get simply by going to Google. Each of the platforms is built with this search functionality whether you are looking for a person, a business, a feed, an interest, a job title…all depending on what you are looking for and where you are hunting. In fact, that is really how hashtags grew in popularity, as a way of organizing and searching Twitter to find groups of people with similar interests.

Interested in the origins of this powerful symbol? You can read all about it here.

Finding Your Audience

Researching and using the appropriate hashtags for your brand, business and industry narrows down the field and brings your business into direct contact with its target audience. If you know who your ideal client is, and what hashtags they are using, you’ve developed a direct channel of communication and the opportunity to build and grow new relationships.  To achieve maximum impact, spend time searching these same hashtags and either starting or engaging in conversations on places such as Twitter and Instagram.  Just posting them is a way for people to find you but a combination of posting and engagement is always going to make for a more impactful end result.

Branding & Identity

Creating, and trademarking, hashtags that are unique to your personal or corporate brand enables you to present yourself online in a way that is immediately recognizable to your audience. This can be especially beneficial when initially building presence or when attempting to tie brand concepts together. Once people are looking up your content by these unique identifiers, you can begin developing hashtag campaigns to truly grow presence and reach.

As with any marketing effort, understanding the tool and developing a strategy for using it wisely is the path to success. Spend some time discovering what the right hashtags for your brand are – Kim Garst has a great article on that topic here. Once you know your hashtags, have set some goals, and built a strategy for using them effectively, the returns will convince you of how powerful this approach can be.


Now, go out there and #BeAwesome with your social media marketing by incorporating hashtags!


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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#AwesomeConsistency - How Consistent Video Supports Company Culture & Expectations



We keep talking about how video, live video in particular, has the biggest impact in social media in 2017 - and that's just facts. If you are planning to incorporate video into your social media or marketing strategy on a regular basis, to take advantage of the benefits of consistency, then you will need a game plan for the videos you create. Why? Because your videos will become a part of your corporate and personal branding - they will speak to your company culture and visually demonstrate your mission, vision and values to your audience. Expectations will be the ultimate result of this effort so if you do not begin with the end in mind, you could miss the mark with your video marketing.

Company Culture

How do your marketing videos affect your overall company culture? It's a twofold approach. First, they act as an example to your team of what your business stands for both internally and externally. They can be used to showcase the brand, boost employee morale, and leverage both recruiting and retention efforts.

Not only are they a promotional tool for hiring the best talent, they build your company's online presence in a way that sets expectations for the audience. Video is a way of demonstrating what you stand for, what you do, and how you engage with others. It establishes trust and a level of comfort, as your viewers start to feel like they know you and what you stand for. This lowers any perceived or hidden barriers between you and your followers. Know, Like, and Trust - the social marketing triad - is established by posting videos regularly.

Starting with Video

The great thing about video marketing is that you can begin with as little as a cell phone or invest in really high-quality production experts - depending on your budget and what you are looking to achieve with your content. With the rise of live video, people no longer expect an expensive end result. Often, just sitting down, speaking to your audience, and responding when they engage is all that is needed to make video worthwhile.

Stay on Point

If you don't really understand your own branding yet - I mean backwards and forwards - then take time to fully develop your brand story before diving into video. Why? You are going to want to display those aspects of your branding that make you unique, interesting, and that differentiate you from your competition in your videos. Clear and concise content is what is needed to retain attention and audience.

Spotlighting

Do you hate being spotlighted or feel uncomfortable with the idea that it must be you on camera every week? Get creative or switch it up. Give your staff a voice by interviewing them. Highlight your products as they arrive or as you are packing them up to ship out. Show off your work space. Give viewers an insider's perspective on how and why you do what you do.

Have a Purpose

As with any decent marketing strategy, understand before you start what you are wanting to get out of this process. What is your call to action? Are you trying to connect with your audience and deliver your brand messaging to more people (reach)? Trying to grow your list / sales funnel (lead generation)? Do you want to flip viewers into paying customers (conversions)? Communicate what you need and what is important to you, and your business. In order to get your audience invested in you, they need to understand your "why."

If you haven't started creating videos for your website, email newsletters, vlogs, or social media - then now is a great time to start! Soon everyone will be doing it and it will be more difficult to #BeAwesome and get the sort of results you can get right now while this movement is fairly new.

Ready to brainstorm and talk strategy? Book a discovery call with me!


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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

#AwesomeConsistency - The Value of Blog Routines


Consistency is relevant to your brand in regards to ALL of your content, not just social media. When a business owner thinks about social media marketing, a blog isn't usually top of mind. However, blogging + social media can be a powerful promotion combination!

You've probably heard of other businesses that have been successful either as bloggers or on social media. This is not an either/or scenario as having a content plan for both will boost each individual effort.

Blogging

A company blog accomplishes a great many things. In this world of content marketing, it's difficult to justify not having one. A blog is great for SEO purposes since it keeps your page looking fresh and consistently updated so that the search engines crawl it on a regular basis. It's WAY better than an About Us page when it comes to showcasing your brand to your audience and allowing them get to know you - and what you do. It's an organic, non-pushy sales, marketing and branding tool that often requires little in the way of monetary investment but, when done well, reaps rewards.

Blogging + Social Media

There are a great many benefits to blogging but my favorite is that it makes creating social media content so much easier! Pulling content directly from the blog can be used to great graphics, infographics, quotes, etc. A regular blog means consistent, but still relevant, content to pull from without staring at the screen and wondering what to post next, or posting from the same well over and over. This keeps the content fresh and interesting for everyone involved!

Blog Promotion

Many bloggers experience the same problem and that is their audience doesn't necessarily think of hitting their website on a regular basis to read their blog. How do blog owners expand their reach and consistently get their content in front of people? They post their blog on their social media platforms! Linking back to your blog on various social media sites gets the information in front of the right people so that they drift to your website organically instead of relying on them to remember to visit your website. This also opens up the opportunity for people to share the blog with their own followers, boosting the reach that could have been achieved by the blog owner alone.

Blogging Routine

Since this month is all about #AwesomeConsistency - understanding the value of setting up a routine is essential. Your audience is being inundated with content - content consumption is at an all time high. Between algorithms, competition and short attention spans, it can be difficult to achieve the viewing numbers small business owners are hoping for. How do you stack the deck in your favor? Consistency. As with social media, having a consistent schedule trains your followers to expect your content on a regular basis. It keeps your brand, image, and content in the running and helps people find you. Having a break in content may convince viewers that you are no longer serious about what you do - that you are on hiatus - or that you are no longer putting the same focus into your work. Since there is more than enough content online to choose from, the potential that they will drift to your competition is high.

There is different advice when it comes to frequency and that it really depend on a lot of factors including your niche, your industry, and your time commitment. We recommend posting a blog at least once a month (at a minimum). The best results tends to come from businesses dedicated to posting weekly. Daily is too much and waiting longer than once a month is not enough. Find the middle ground that works for you so that you can commit to being consistent.

I can't wait to read what you post and watch you #BeAwesome using the combined powers of blogging, social media and consistency!


Be sure to Follow us and Let's Engage!



Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

#AwesomeConsistency – How Consistency Makes Your Brand Stand Out


In our last post, we talked about why consistency is essential to your social media strategy. The focus was mostly on what your audience expects in terms of presence. However, there are many reasons why posting consistently is a game changer for your social and one of them is brand impact. Not only are you vying every day for your target audience’s attention, you are competing against other brands to earn influence and credibility as well.

With our shortened attention spans and the flood of content being directed at us daily, standing out as a brand on social media is no walk in the park. Without consistency, it is difficult to adequately get your vision across to your viewers.  If you haven’t managed to deliver this in social, you can bet someone offering something similar has cracked the code. 

The businesses that are doing this will be instantly recognized – at a glance. You don’t have to read an ad to know if it’s coming from Nike or Apple or Disney. Your peripheral vision, and this instant recognition of their brand, is enough for an audience to immediately pinpoint whose marketing it is. 

How can you switch up your social postings to make them more consistent – and instantly recognizable? 

Schedule

The first step is putting together a solid editorial calendar. Having a set schedule for your posts will help you when creating content but also helps your audience know what to expect from you. Brands can also post above and beyond what their calendar entails as long as they stick to the consistent schedule. 

Style Guide

Having an overall idea of what your brand will look like online is a good idea but having it all put together into a branding style guide is even better. If you are investing any amount of time into developing your brand, then a style guide is necessary for maintaining consistency. Here are some examples of what a style guide looks like to give you an idea of what you will need to pull together.

Tone/Voice

Writers (and copywriters) fully understand how essential developing the right tone for copy can be. Having a brand “voice” will remind you how to remain consistent. Are you sassy? Professional? Informative? If you could describe your brand in three words – what would they be? 

First you have to define your voice and then you have to ensure that you are using the same tone in all your branding. Here is an article to help you get started.

Graphics/Images

Last, but certainly not least, is developing visual content for your online presence, marketing, and social media. 

“Visual content has become so prevalent that it’s no longer just a piece of the marketing industry, but its core.”

Kimberlee Morrison

To get attention today, you have to invest in visual content. Videos, graphics, memes, infographics, slide shows – all of these are visuals. Our attention spans are ridiculously short and a brand needs high-quality, stunning, eye-catching graphics in order to grab attention and get noticed. Consistency comes into play when developing these because you want your audience to instantly recognize you, and your brand, when they glance at content you’ve created. 


If you follow these guidelines, you will find that you are already ahead of the curve when compared to much of your competition. Creating your social media strategy, so you can #BeAwesome at what you do, should involve a plan ensuring your branding is consistent across all channels. 

Be sure to Follow us and Let's Engage!



Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#AwesomeConsistency - Frequency of Posts to Stay Top of Mind



Keeping up with social media posts can be a tricky thing – if you are posting too much, your audience tends to tune you out.  Posting too little can lead to a dropping off of followers. So what is the secret?  Consistency.  Consistency gives your readers and followers a predictable flow of information from you and keeps them coming back for more.

Consistency in Tone

The tone and voice used in your posts should reflect your company and its culture.  Are you laid back and willing to take a lighter tone or are you more professional and serious?  Take a look at the tone you want to represent your brand and stick with it – your tone should reflect the audience you are trying to attract.  Once you have set that tone, stick to it.  Be consistent, not only with the writing style and tone, but also with the content.  Every time you put a post on a social media outlet, you are releasing your brand voice to the public.  To make your brand more recognizable to new and old followers, consistency is the key.  Changing your tone or brand strategy too much can lead to consumer confusion.

Consistency Across Platforms

Your brand voice is your identity, and your identity should be consistent no matter the social media platform.  If you want your customers to know your brand as relaxed and witty, then it should reflect that across all social platforms.  Followers will be disappointed or confused and your brand voice will lose credibility without this consistency.  Focusing on keeping your tone and brand voice consistent will resonate with customers across all social media platforms.

Consistent Timing

Not everyone can post every day and that is ok. Whatever your schedule and preference, the key is to be consistent.  If you are posting every single day on Facebook but only twice a day on Twitter, don’t switch schedules.  What if you post every single day on Facebook for a year and then something happens that cuts into your time?  You have a couple of options – inform your followers that there will be a change coming in your posting frequency, or hire someone that does your posting for you.  The key is consistency – if your customers have to guess when they will see the next post from you, you could fall from top of mind and the audience may move on to the multiple other options available.  However, over inundating social media platforms with your brand voice can lead to content fatigue.  Pick a schedule, according to when your audience is most active online, and be consistent!

Consistently Relevant

Relevance goes hand in hand with consistency.  If you are updating your social media consistently with relevant posts, your followers will stay engaged.  An engaged follower is more likely to talk up your brand and bring in more followers.  It is important to not only be consistent with your brand voice and timing, but also with the relevancy of the topics you are covering.  Part of creating a brand that stands out on social media is maintaining consistency on relevant topics that are in the interest of your company and your followers.  In fact,  according to the Sprout Social Q3 2016 Index, 41% of consumers admitted to unfollowing brands who don’t share relevant information.


Consistency is important in so many aspects of your small business, but it can make or break your social media presence. To keep your followers happy and to gain a stronger brand voice and a strong reputation, be consistent in voice, timing, and relevancy across all social media platforms.

Be sure to Follow us and Let's Engage!



Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#AuthenticallyAwesome - Creating Authentic Partnerships



Those of us who own businesses tend to spend a lot of our networking time seeking out new leads and potential clients. I can hear you now, “Isn’t that the purpose of networking?” Absolutely.  However, if you are only seeking out new clients at these functions you are missing out on the valuable opportunity of building your list of power partners. What is a power partner, you ask? This article has a great definition and some examples of what makes a power partner.  Basically, this type of partnership involves small business owners that share your same goals, have a similar target audience, would not be considered competition, and that you can trust. 

An important part of building your tribe includes beefing up your list of power partners. This sort of professional relationships is quite symbiotic and allows both parties to benefit and support one another without stepping on each other’s “turf.”

While building a professional tribe may seem daunting and will require some practice, courage, and risk, once the relationship with your tribe has been established, it can be satisfying and mutually beneficial.  So how do you start?

Being Vulnerable

No, this does not mean that you have to share every personal thing going on in your life.  This means that you need to show that you are just as human – even the flaws and accomplishments – as the next person.  Don’t use jargon and big words in your communications just because you can – you aren’t trying to impress, you are trying to build a tribe built on trust and common goals.  Answer emails and texts as soon as you are able – even if it’s just to say “I got your message and I will get back to you.” 
Just be you.  This blatant authenticity will allow others to feel more comfortable around you and develop trust that will result in growing a tribe of Power Partners.  Yes, there will be those who reject who you are but no one needs that kind of negative energy within their tribe anyway. By allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable, the right people will be more drawn to your energy and will want to get to know you better.

Know Your Limitations

When the value of your time is taken into consideration, size does matter.  Studies show that most people can efficiently maintain up to 15 close relationships – this includes both personal and professional.  Determine the relationships you value most and build those.  Making your professional tribe too large can lead to less attention being paid to important details needed to maintain the mutually beneficial relationship.  The synergy developed by a tribe allows them to create something bigger and stronger than anything that could be created individually. 

Share Your Human Capital

The biggest way to build trust is to give more than you expect – this can be done by offering your unique skills to those within your tribe, helping others build their own connections that will benefit both parties, or just being a receptive ear when it is needed.  This help will not always be free, but it will earn the trust and respect from the members in your tribe.  Sharing your experiences and wisdom gained shows others that you are willing to put yourself out there to support them with what you have learned. Share the human capital you have gained to help others.  In return your tribe will step up to help you in times of need.

Give Credit  

The need for recognition is just as large a part of human nature as wanting to belong to a tribe of like-minded people.  Giving credit where credit is due may seem like a small thing, but it can build confidence and comfort.  Creating an environment where your tribe members feel comfortable being themselves while also creating an environment of trust and support. 

Share the Wealth

In addition to boosting confidence, it is important to keep in mind ways that making new connections is a priority for people when networking.  Assisting those within your tribe with desirable referrals that will be mutually beneficial can lead to good things for all parties.  Create these relationships not for your benefit, but because you know it will benefit the parties involved.  The goodwill that you are creating will make your tribe stronger.

Social Media Features

Social media is a good tool to build the bridges vital for business success and can yield some unexpected tribe members.  Featuring your power partners in your social media on a regular basis is a great way to support them and showcase their value to you. With any luck, they will reciprocate and share your information with their target audience as well. This is just one example (a very important one) of how creating authentic partnerships is healthy for everyone involved.


Building these authentic partnerships from your tribe may not be easy, and will definitely require a willingness to give more than you expect to receive.  However, building a strong tribe and working on meaningful connections through social media and in person will bring out the best in both you and your tribe. Plus, you will stand out as a shining example of how to #BeAwesome while networking and growing your professional community.

Be sure to Follow us and Let's Engage!



Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+,YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.