Brandsplat’s Secret Recipe, Part II

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Brandsplat's Secret Recipe

 

(Editor’s note: This is the second installment in our Secret Recipe series. If you missed the first helping of our tips on content marketing greatness, click here.)

Main ingredient alert: We’ve reached the part in the Brandsplat Secret Recipe where we disclose a big, protein-dense tip on successful content marketing. It’s the one that has moved more than one client to accuse us of using slight of hand and other forms of magic to boost their website traffic and conversion rates. (Hey, we’re not above that; if your coven has any tips, please let us know.) But getting more visitors to your site isn’t magic — nor is getting them to offer up their email address for your newsletter or to engage with your company or brand on social media. more

Five Things You Might Have Missed!

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Happy Friday! From Facebook pages gone ugly to blunt billboards, we’ve rounded up all the social media marketing, digital branding and online marketing news on a list we call our Five Things You Might Have Missed.

1.) Blogapalooza: Topping our list is a new study from Neilsen that is music to our ears: Blogging is back and bigger than ever. According to Neilsen, blogging is on the rise and the three major platforms — Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr — account for 80 million unique views in October 2011 alone. This is great news for blog writers and blog readers and more proof that if you blog it, they will come.

2.) ‘Sync. Tweet. Save: This brilliant Twitter marketing campaign from AmEx is a game changer. For the first time, the brand will use specially-created hashtags to reward card holders with bonuses. Each time AmEx customers tweet about using their card to buy coffee or get gas, for example, their cards get bonus points. It’s social media savvy meets rewarding customer loyalty.

3.) Pretty Ugly: The unpretty side of social media reared its ugly head this week in a controversial and popular Facebook contest called “The Most Beautiful Teen.” Parents were horrified when news of the page, which calls upon teens to sound off on the appearance of other teenagers, surfaced. Teens being teens, the comments got out of control and Facebook shut down the site — but not before the media hopped on the story at lightening speed.

4.) Hot Dogs in Hot Water: Those rascals from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine are at it again. This time, it’s a billboard that states Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer. (Alrighty then.) Sometimes it’s the blunt and simple messages people remember most.

5.) The Fed Tries Twitter: And finally, the Federal Reserve took to Twitter to clear up its much-maligned messages and image. We say bravo, Fed. If Twitter marketing can work for Charlie Sheen, then anything is possible!

Brand Management: How Social Media Can Impact Your Brand Image

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Brand Managment

There is nothing new about the concept of branding in business, and with the new technologies that pop up each day there are more and more opportunities for a business to work on expanding its brand. Among these opportunities, social media presents an inexpensive and easy way to relay unique messages. With the proper brand management, social media experts are showing businesses how to get their messages directly to the consumer.

Creativity and Originality

The most important place to start with any social branding efforts is to ensure that a compelling brand statement is already in place.  And if it doesn’t have the right kind of supporting content, no amount of promotion is going to be effective.  Every piece of information shared must be in line with the company’s brand and each piece should demonstrate, directly or indirectly, why that brand is better.

The truth is that you can hire the best social media experts in the world to help with your brand management and get absolutely nowhere if you don’t already have a clearly understood branding statement.  You need to know what sets your company apart from the competition, and come up with some creative ways to express that. Once you have the overall strategy in place, your social media manager will be able to get the appropriate content to convey your brand image.

Always Stay Consistent

Of course, anyone can get set up on social media, so don’t feel accomplished just because you have a Facebook and Twitter page for your business. For these pages to help with your branding efforts, you must remember that consistency is key. In this case, consistency is not just making sure that everything you post is in line with your brand image, but also that you are consistently posting new content to keep your users engaged.

This is one of the biggest struggles that new businesses face when working to get their message out there, and one of the primary reasons that businesses find their social media presence to be a source of great frustration. The truth is that for someone who does not understand how to use social media channels properly, this type of branding is a waste of time. For those who are engaged with social media, they find that these channels can be one of the easiest and most powerful ways to brand. This is ultimately why so many companies turn to social media experts when it comes time to help with brand management, and why those companies are able to produce such impressive results.

Don’t Miss an Opportunity: Understanding Facebook for Business

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Facebook for Business

Social media has taken a significant role in the marketing and operation of businesses in the digital age. This influence has been so profound that it has produced an entirely new type of marketing job in the form of a social media marketing specialist. Before hiring anyone to manage the social media for your company, it is important to have a basic understanding of the impact each social media community can have on your marketing efforts. In terms of Facebook for business, the key is to engage customers so that you remain at “top of mind” when the time comes to use your service.

Facebook is more about Branding and Customer Retention, Not Acquisition

It is important to understand when establishing a Facebook presence what your goals are. As any experienced social media marketing specialist can explain, each outlet has different uses in the marketing world, and Facebook is no exception. Many times, people think that if they set up a Facebook account for their company they will magically start getting likes, and their brand will simply explode due to all of the extra exposure. This is unrealistic.

Though Facebook will occasionally lead a customer to your company, and can be quite effective in that regard for certain industries, the simple fact is that the platform is not intended for businesses.  However, Facebook can work as a great tool to keep your business on your customers’ radar. By regularly posting updates, your product or service can stay fresh in peoples’ minds.

Your Only Expense is Time

Though there is the option to purchase Facebook ads, which can be very effective, the cornerstone of a successful Facebook marketing strategy does not require any paid advertising. The real keys to success are simple: keep a consistent voice and remain true to your brand, regularly make posts, and engage with customers. If your business is small, you may even be able to devote enough time each day to do this yourself.  If you can afford it, you can hire a company to monitor your account and keep your content fresh.

Ultimately, the key to success on Facebook is the same as any other marketing program. You need your message to stay in front of customers, and let them know that your value. By establishing this connection, you can help ensure that your business comes to mind when they need your service.

Hiring Again? Give Us a Try

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Hiring Again

Does it feel like you’re always hiring another communications person? Depending on the size of your company, you either have one person wearing multiple communications hats (writing press releases, handling social media and SEO, performing public relations work, writing blogs, managing your brand, creating videos… you get the idea) or one or more communications persons per category. Regardless, turnover is a pain (and sometimes crippling). This is why Brandsplat exists — to take on these worries for you and ensure you get consistent, spot-on communications without the headaches of turnover. Our stable of writers and communications consultants stand at the ready to assist you.

Case in point: Last week, we were able to help a client save gobs of money when he needed to replace two employees. Rather than hire another two employees with all the costs of benefits like medical/dental and paid time off, he came to us and was able to hire three of our freelance communications experts part-time AND get more years of experience and service out of the deal.

And don’t forget that turnover costs are largely hidden costs: Lowered productivity, overworked remaining staff, lost knowledge, training costs, interviewing costs, the HR staff that has to recruit your next hire, etc. An article in Inc. Magazine says these costs can run as high as 150 percent of the employee’s annual salary — “significant enough to make retention a high priority for your business.”

We have nothing against companies hiring workers on their payroll. But if you’re tired of hiring someone who’s not exactly what you need and watching them stay only long enough to start really performing before getting hired away, it’s time to consider hiring through Brandsplat. We’re experts at finding, training and retaining great people so that you don’t have to. When you’re ready to outsource your headaches, contact us.

Content Curation: Expand Your Audience without Expanding Your Workload

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Content Curation

In the digital marketing age, inbound traffic to your website is the primary concern when looking for ways to expand your marketing efforts. To accomplish this, it is important for a business owner to develop a well-planned content strategy that includes a variety of methods for pulling in new readers. Content curation can be one of the most powerful ways to bring in new readers without committing too much time or resources.

What is Content Curation?

In its simplest form, content curation is simply taking updates, news, articles, etc. from a specific topic and sharing it with your audience. This can be as simple as taking an article written on the news and posting it as a link on your blog. Sometimes curation gets seen as some magical way to take other people’s work and use it to pull in new customers on your own website. In reality, there is absolutely nothing magical about curation, but like any other part of a marketing strategy it can go a long way in helping to bring more visitors to your website.

Though there are a variety of factors that influence a website’s search engine ranking, inbound links are one of the best methods to improve this ranking. By using content curation, business owners enable themselves to post new content as often as they like, which makes it that much more likely that someone will share a link to the business’s website. Through this principle, curation can help to draw in users who would never have found the site if it only contained original content.

Where Does This Fit in With a Content Strategy?

A complete content strategy requires a schedule where every post is determined ahead of time. This means that original content will be posted on a regular schedule and that curated content will be included on a complimenting schedule. Though some individuals have used curation to accrue a large Facebook or Twitter following, this strategy is useless to a business owner without some original content. Remember that the goal of any business is to convert leads into sales, so having an effective, original content schedule is just as important as having curated content.

Regardless of how you schedule it within your marketing strategy, content curation is definitely a tool that any business should strongly consider when looking to expand its audience. The time investment is much less than constantly posting original content, and hiring someone to manage your content curation is less expensive than hiring someone to write original content. Despite this, remember that this type of curation is only part of your strategy and without original content you will never be able to convert these extra views into customers.

5 Reasons Every Business Should Be on Twitter

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The internet is full of social media platforms and it seems difficult and sometimes impossible for a business to keep up with all of the latest trends. To make matters more difficult, social media consultants never seem to agree on what the best approach is for a business, which adds another level of complexity. When determining the best social media strategy, many business owners fail to realize that Twitter can be one of the most powerful tools to use.

The List

  • Branding: Twitter is very personal. Presenting information in 140 characters or less is not always easily accomplished, which makes tweeting a creative process. By using Twitter properly, a business owner can greatly enhance and build upon its brand’s image.
  • Viral Promotions: Though social media isn’t always the best at new client acquisition, Twitter’s unique structure can actually help bring people in. With the social aspect of Twitter and the re-tweet feature, customers can share promotions with their friends on Twitter, which can actually help to draw in new potential buyers.
  • Competitive Insight: By monitoring the Twitter feed of competitors, an individual can see what that company’s clients are saying about its services. This can allow a business owner to tailor his or her own marketing and branding efforts in a more effective fashion.
  • Build Loyalty: Once again, Twitter is a personal platform. Staying in touch with customers in this fashion helps people feel closer to a business. Rather than seeming like a distant company, people begin to perceive these brands as unique individuals capable of personal communication.
  • Receive Immediate Feedback: Because of its unique presentation and personal feel, Twitter allows for immediate feedback from clients. By simply putting the “@” symbol before a business’s Twitter handle, an individual can tweet directly to that business and say whatever he or she wants. Unlike an e-mail or phone call, this makes the customer feel like he or she is directly in contact with the person that matters.

Understanding the Importance

For most businesses, these advantages can be a significant game changer, especially if it involves repeat business. The reality is that most social media platforms will not directly affect new client acquisition very much, but it can make a real difference in keeping existing clients. Furthermore, it can build awareness for what your company does on a daily basis, which can go a long way to helping your business grow.

Value First, Business Later

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In the digital world that we live in today, effective content creation makes up the cornerstone of a powerful marketing concept. This is why finding an experienced content manager has become such a high priority for so many large companies, and also why businesses of all sizes need to start looking towards the web as their number one marketing tool. The internet has unlocked an abundance of free information for consumers, and when they are considering any buying decision, content is always king.

Many companies think that they can stick to the old marketing model: tell the consumer what it offers and how it is better than the competition. Instead, today’s content manager needs to take a new approach. The real secret in today’s marketing is to show, not tell. For content creation, the old adage that “actions speak louder than words,” rings absolutely true.

What does this mean to the modern business owner?

If you are worried that you might have to give something away for free, then you are right. Remember, the internet has made everything more convenient for consumers, including the availability of information. Buyers have come to expect something of value before they are willing to invest their hard-earned money in anything. Staying competitive in today’s market means offering value first, and if you can’t stomach that, then get used to watching your competition from behind.

How do you start giving away this value?

One of the simplest ways to get this value to your potential customers is to set up a weekly blog. You can post once or twice a week or even more often if resources permit. Make the topics relevant to your customer base. If you are a home improvement company, have someone write articles on simple DIY innovation projects. Or, if you run an auto shop, consider posting tips or videos on how to do very simple mechanic work, even as basic as checking and adding motor oil. The truth is, you don’t have to give away your deeply guarded secrets, but you do have to provide value.

Is blogging something you would like to get started on? If so, check to see how Brandsplat can provide quality ghostwriters to help get your message across and start delivering that value you need today. Remember, a little added value today can mean a lot of business tomorrow.