Is LinkedIn the Missing Piece of Your Marketing Puzzle?

linkedin engagementAre you using LinkedIn? Why not? Even if you’re working in the consumer space, LinkedIn might be the missing piece of your marketing puzzle.

LinkedIn marketing opportunity

QuickSprout does a good job presenting the importance of LinkedIn as part of your marketing strategy (see infographic below). To prove my point, here are a few stats from the infographic:

  • LinkedIn, the smallest of the major social networks, still boasts over 2.5 million members and growth of nearly 200,000 new users per day.
  • More importantly as a marketing opportunity, LinkedIn is sticky with over 200 conversations  and nearly 8000 searches per minute.
  • Best of all, firms find 3X greater visitor to lead conversion on LinkedIn compared with its bigger cousins — Twitter and Facebook.

Increasing engagement on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a large, engaged network, but are you getting your share of eyeballs?

Is LinkedIn sending enough traffic to your site?

Are you converting the traffic LinkedIn brings you?

If you need some tips to help increase you ROI from LinkedIn, check out this post about using LinkedIn for lead generation.

But, LinkedIn is a business site so, if you’re a consumer products company or work for a B2B company, driving traffic from LinkedIn doesn’t really make sense. So, maybe you’re not on LinkedIn. While it’s true you won’t use LinkedIn for lead generation, you should still have an active profile and build engagement on LinkedIn. Here’s why:

90+% of job search is on LinkedIn

Whether you’re a company who might hire new employees or an employee who might need a job someday, LinkedIn is your central hub. And, don’t wait until you need to hire or need a new job to join — engagement takes time.

Start now and begin building your community. Join groups. Upload content from your website. Be active by commenting in groups and on content posted by others.

LinkedIn as a learning tool

LinkedIn is very different from other social networks. Users have little patience with folks who upload cat videos and they quickly disconnect from folks who send annoying sales spam. LinkedIn recently experienced an uptick in spam that present fraudulent opportunities (offers to lend money, notifications that you’ve received money, etc) like those that plague email. I think the trend is declining as LinkedIn does a good job of eliminating these accounts.

While you won’t find LinkedIn as much fun as Facebook, you’ll learn a lot and have the opportunity to establish yourself as an influencer.

Pulse, a new feature of LinkedIn, is a one stop shop for professional news and updates. Here’s what LinkedIn had to say when they launched Pulse in Nov. 2013:

Pulse and LinkedIn technology have been fully integrated to offer a more relevant news experience with content tailored to your professional interests both on the Pulse app and on LinkedIn.com. This is just the first step of many we will be taking to ensure you’re getting a consistent and seamless content experience that is tailored to you. Starting today, LinkedIn Pulse will become the main vehicle for our social news experience across mobile and desktop and will replace LinkedIn Today.

Of course, LinkedIn added Pulse as a way to make LinkedIn stickier, and it’s working. Now, average Joes can publish long-form content (just like a WordPress blog) and it gets folded into Pulse, making it a great tool for users wishing to gain a reputation as an influencer in a particular field.

Connect for real world networking

When I travel for business, I hate eating alone and love to meet new people. I use LinkedIn to let my network know where I’ll be and invite them to meet me in person for coffee, a meal, or just to chat. I’ve met some really great people this way and built a loyal network from folks I’ve met in person.

  • Loyal network members become brand advocates; sharing my content across multiple social networks and driving their followers to my website.
  • Folks I’ve met through LinkedIn have recommended me for speaking gigs or introduced me to potential clients.
  • Interactions with my LinkedIn connections generates lively discussions that often turn into content marketing ideas.

Your turn

Let me know how you’re using LinkedIn as a business professional — either for your brand or to market yourself.

Need help?

We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies.  Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get the 1st chapter of our book – FREE, or contact us for more information on hiring us.

Hausman and Associates, the publisher of Hausman Marketing Letter, is a full service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and social media.

 

linkedin engagement

 

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Marketing Mix Model: Back to Marketing Basics

marketing mix modelsI hope you’re enjoying my series on Back to Marketing Basics as much as I am. Not only are marketing basics fundamental building blocks of firm performance, the Back to Marketing Basics series explores how marketing is a living thing — evolving over time. Today, I wanna talk about the 4 P’s marketing mix model and what it means for firm success.

4 P’s

If you’ve ever had a marketing course, you learned the 4 P’s — this marketing mix model around which a basic marketing plan revolves. As academics, we’ve long argued that this arcane framework no longer fits the reality of marketing in the digital era where power shifted toward consumers — where many of argued it should have been all along.

Recently, practitioners entered the fray, with their own take on whether the 4 P’s still fit, whether they should be replaced by the 4 C’s (or 5 C’s) or whether we just change the P’s into a different 4 P’s or add a couple to make 7 P’s. In researching this article, I even ran into a SAVE framework (courtesy of HBR) that has some value. I even entered into the debate a couple of years ago — with classic net neutrality — by showing some alternatives to the original 4 P’s marketing mix. But, do any of these REALLY work in a digital environment?

Why your marketing mix matters

As originally proposed, the 4 p’s of marketing reflect the internal environment (also called the situation analysis or controllable factors). These elements of a basic marketing plan

Ok, so maybe you just think this is some semantic discussion and who cares what the marketing mix looks like. We’ll, you’d be dead wrong. Because the marketing mix controls most other aspects of marketing strategy and focuses firm attention on certain elements of their business, having the “right” marketing mix makes a BIG difference in firm performance. After all, the marketing mix is at the center of a basic marketing plan.

Now, I’m willing to concede that subtle difference in the marketing mix probably occur in different industries. But, I wholeheartedly believe there are more similarities about the marketing mix than there are differences. Of course, B2B marketers and service marketers might argue with me. Let them!

The NEW marketing mix model — SACK

What would I put in my marketing mix model? Hmmm. Good question.

I’d SACK the competition

Solutions

People have problems and they buy solutions to their problems. They don’t buy products.

I don’t need a hammer. I have this problem of attaching 2 pieces of wood. The hammer helps solve this problem for me.

And, folks only want the “best” available solution to their problem. Create a crappy hammer and I’m just not that interested. Your solutions also defines your competition. In my hammer example, Liquid Nails also solves my problem of attaching wood together. Make sure you’re always the BEST solution in the room — and it’s OK to tell the market that, but better to show them.

Inherently, the best solutions provides value to the consumer — both tangible and psychic value.

Alignment

I really hate companies that are incompetent. Building competence means aligning your business processes. Hiring the right people, motivating them to do their best (read carrot, not stick), create a learning organization (rather than “always be selling”; “always be learning”), and constantly evaluate your processes. Remember, according to Deming, 90% of all failures are due to process. Build competency into your firm and stay competent as the world evolves.

Community –

Obviously, customers MUST fit into a key spot in your marketing mix model. Make customers happy and most other things take care of themselves.

Customers are most happy when embedded in a pleasing social environment — a community. We’re not solitary creatures and love being around other folks to share stories, feeling, and crazy cat memes. Give your market a place to build community and a flagpole to gather around, and they’re happy. For instance, Secret deodorant created a campaign around “Mean Stinks” which takes on school bullying. Consumers rally around the flagpole and support the brand.

Communications (OK I fudged the K a little, but so does the classic 4 P’s marketing mix model)–

Again, a no brainer. But, rather than using marketing communications as a way of “telling” your market about your brand, use marketing communications as a way to “showing” them the value of your brand. That means less advertising and more storytelling; fewer brand communications and more engaging your market. Marketing communications should focus on building community.

Need help building the “right” marketing mix?

We can help. Whether you need a complete marketing strategy or just some help with your marketing mix. You can request a FREE introductory meeting using my vCita pop-up or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.

 

 

 

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9 Essential of Content Marketing

SEO Dilemma - Content Marketing versus Link Building
MOZ Blackboard Friday on Content Marketing versus Link Building for SEO

Content marketing is increasingly important in a world dominated by the Google algorithm and for good reason. Google’s constant tweaks of its search algorithm seeks to present searchers with the most relevant, timely, and valuable content and defeat the aims of techno-nerds who try to game the system to get their crappy content to rank well. Bing does a similar thing with their algorithm.

In fact, in a recent post, Rand of MOZ (formerly SeoMOZ) made some great arguments in favor of content marketing — not the least of which is that content marketing uses multiple search and social channels to build your online reputation and is thus less at risk from Google’s whims. Check out their Blackboard Friday on Link Building versus Content Marketing implications for SEO.

Why content marketing ?


This presentation contains some great data supporting the use of content marketing including:

  1. 70% of consumers prefer to hear about your products/ services through articles than advertising.
  2. 55% increase in web traffic when a company adds a blog to their website.
  3. 97% more inbound links (the most important element of traditional SEM campaigns) when a company adds a blog to their website.
  4. 60% of consumers feel better about your brand after reading your content.

Implementing content marketing

These are great arguments for a sound content marketing strategy. But, how do you implement a content marketing strategy?

  1. Identify your target marketing and their pain points.
  2. Discover who’s already talking in this space. I use SocialEars and SproutSocial to help me hear conversations out in Cyberspace. Share their content on your own social networks and gather ideas to support your content marketing strategy. Link to these sources liberally. SocialEars has a unique feature allowing you to upload your content and search for additional links to similar content. Remember, content marketing should be about both creating and curating valuable content for your target audience.
  3. Plan an effective content marketing strategy that keeps creating fresh content for your blog on a regular basis. This is really important for SEO. Curate content from trusted sources on a daily basis. Be sure to share this content in a format appropriate for each social platform — Twitter works best with links, Facebook with images, Pinterest with images, YouTube with video, etc.
  4. Vary content types. The Internet is increasingly visual so be sure to include a variety of visual format types. Create a YouTube channel and produce videos on a regular basis. Embed them on posts, but be sure to summarize the content as there’s little SEO value in just embedding a video. Create a Pinterest account. Currently, more traffic comes to websites from Pinterest than any other social network.
  5. Ensure quality content by researching each post and writing carefully. Edit your posts before pushing the publish button. Create a voice that resonates with your target audience and avoids jargon unless your target audience shares your vocabulary. Don’t write “teaser” copy that promises solutions that the content doesn’t provide — I find Hubspot particularly guilty of this.
  6. Write great headlines and snippets to entice readers to read your posts. On Facebook, don’t use the easy link sharing. Instead, upload your feature image and write a short description that makes fans curious to read the entire post.
  7. Craft each post around SEO keywords. Use Hashtags on Facebook and Twitter to make your posts more findable. Use effective on-page SEO (I use the Yoast plugin to help with this).
  8. Follow-up by answering comments and thanking folks who share your content. Your content marketing should be the basis for building your online community.
  9. Measure. Analyze. Decide. Don’t just post content and hope it resonates with your target audience. Analyze posts to determine the best times and days to post and which content resonates most.

Need Help?

Let us help you create a winning content marketing strategy or subscribe to our email newsletter to learn more about content marketing, analytics, marketing, and other advice for optimizing your marketing strategy.

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Social Media Success: Give a Sh*t About Customers

Sorry, can you say “Shit” in avideo platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player respectable blog post? But, some businesses simply don’t GET how social media works and instead bury their heads in the sand ignoring customer complaints on social networks. (Besides, I’m quoting Gary in this video).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — you CAN’T ignore social media. OK, maybe you don’t want to dedicate the time or resources to creating a social media campaign or maybe you’re afraid of social media — maybe you’re afraid someone will say something bad about you and don’t want to give them a platform for doing that.

Well, NEWS FLASH — they’re ALREADY complaining about you. You’re just NOT listening.

And, you’re PISSING OFF your customers by ignoring their complaints.

Social media: WOM on steroids

Before social media, businesses could just ignore customer complaints because, in the grand scheme of things, a few dissatisfied customers couldn’t impact your ROI — at least not so you’d notice. But, social networks changed all that. A single disgruntled customer complaining on Twitter, can have a serious impact on your bottom line when their complaint is amplified through 1000’s of Tweets and millions of followers. Ignore that, and you’re soon dead (as a company, not literally).

Businesses incorporated this policy of ignoring customers into their culture. They knew, if you bottled up a few media types by inviting them to your expensive boxes for sporting events and sent a few bottles of expensive scotch at Christmas, you were safe. Some of you might remember Pres. John Kennedy. His affair with Marilyn Monroe was a secret until long after his murder because the media and secret service kept it quiet and his presidency was safe from personal scandal. Now, compare that with Anthony’s Wiener (Anthony Weiner, former senator from NY). The man exercises poor judgement in sending images of his junk to a paramour and, because of social media, it’s the rare person who hasn’t seen them (BTW, he seem inordinately proud of something quite ordinary, but I digress). In this case, the media COULDN’T ignore the scandal without looking silly, since so many folks saw the images through a social connection. The same is true of Tiger Woods, who paid the ultimate penalty for an extra marital affair when folks began sharing images of his car wrapped around a tree and wanted to know why.

Social media success: handling complaints

Now, maybe these cases were inevitable in a world that’s increasingly connected, but YOUR firm doesn’t have to fall victim to this fate IF you handle complaints properly. Here are some tactics for handling complaints in social networks:

Don’t hide: don’t delete

The WORST thing you can do is delete complaints you see on your social platforms. In the early days of the internet, companies thought they could bottle up dissatisfaction by buying up domains like: “Microsoft sucks” and “I hate Apple”. Well, it didn’t work. And, social media is so omnipresent that you can’t just hide your dirty laundry away. Instead, face complaints head on, preferably quickly and openly.

Be proactive

If you notice a problem with your product or service, explain the problem, apologize, and offer a solution BEFORE folks start complaining about your brand. Hey, we all make mistakes. Own them, fix them, and move on. People respect that.

Generate community

It’s really hard to hate a nice guy. So, get to know folks and build a community. People will overlook a lot if you are likable and present in your community, offer support, and donate to their charities.

We also know that lots of product “failures” are really human failures — the product worked just right, but the consumer didn’t use it right. Your community is a great help here. They can offer solutions and consumers don’t feel so dumb when it’s the community telling them they did it wrong.

Evangelists might also pop up in your community. These folks defend your brand when others attack you, which also carries more weight than when you try to defend yourself.

 

Effective complaint handling

The hallmark of effective complaint handling is to:

  1. respond quickly
  2. make the customer whole (as if the failure never occurred)
  3. empathize
  4. validate the customer’s feeling
  5. be open and honest — a little mea culpa goes a long way

Your turn

What do you think about the video?

Share your experiences with social media complaints. How have you handled them? What worked? What didn’t?

I’m always happy to hear from my guests.

And, if there’s anything I can do to help you, please contact me. Let me also offer some free resources you might find valuable. First, I have a FREE 66 page ebook on getting started on blogging and why you should. I also have the first 2 chapters of my new social media analytics book available FREE to folks willing to provide feedback.

 

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Use Instagram for Ecommerce: 3 Tips

use instagram for ecommerceWhy use Instagram for ecommerce.

If you want to get heard and your products in front of a target audience, Instagram is your best bet, as it is an excellent platform for customer engagement and retention.

Competing in an oversaturated online market is hard and simply setting up a flashy ecommerce site is not enough to draw the sales you want. Using social media strategies to promote your online store, creating a community and turning your ecommerce site into something more than just a place to buy products actually helps increase sales.

As you might have noticed, there’s unparalleled growth in digital marketing, especially in mobile and visual platforms. While Facebook usage dropped slightly in 2013, sites like Pinterest and Instagram continue to build massive amounts of traffic.

So, the question now is:

How do you use Instagram for Ecommerce?

The power of Instagram is that it allows you to connect directly with current and future customers—developing a relationship that leads to sales, as consumers tend to shop with retailers they feel like they can relate to and “know” the brand. Transparency on Instagram allows you to build that relationship with your customer.

Harness the power when you use Instagram for ecommerce by following three steps:

1. Engage with customers already using Instagram

With over 100-million users actively using the app, there’s a good chance that some of your customers are posting photos of the items they bought from your online store. Pay attention to what they’re saying– positive, happy reviews are great word-of-mouth exposure for your ecommerce site and boost sales.

using instagram for ecommerce
Negative comments are an opportunity for you to reach out immediately and turn the bad experience into a good one. To err is human, and reaching out to your customers to address the situation reveals that there is a genuine and invested human voice behind your business. Developing that rapport is key to gaining consumer trust, which, in turn, can lead to customer loyalty and increased sales.

2. Repost shares to improve content longevity

Posts shared socially usually have a short shelf life. As new photos are posted, older ones are moved further back on a user’s feed. Convert Instagram posts from customers into content that’s part of your online marketing efforts.

Launch a page on your Ecommerce site dedicated to Instagram photos showcasing your product. Alternatively, you can create a blog post using the favorite Instagram posts of the day, week or month. Repost Instagram photos featuring your product onto Facebook or Twitter or other social media outlets. Not only will using these images in other outlets “reward” your loyal customers and followers, but also prolong the visibility of these customer-generated posts. Thus, using Instagram for ecommerce by building a community.

Another bonus from reposting customer Instagram photos is that now you can link the image to the corresponding product page on your ecommerce site.

3. Join-in with relevant posts

Up to this point, you’ve been letting the customer lead the conversation. Enter the conversation and establish your voice with content that your followers will enjoy and want to share.

Give your customers a glimpse at behind-the-scenes corporate culture to create that sense of transparency and camaraderie. Post photos of new products as you would use them and add shortened links in the comments—but don’t bombard your followers with heavy promotional materials. You want to establish rapport, so post and share like a real person, rather than a company looking for a sale when you use Instagram for ecommerce.

With Instagram, you can target your desired audience and engage them in a conversation, developing a relationship that can lead to excellent word-of-mouth and loyalty. In a saturated ecommerce world, savvy consumers tend to buy from retailers they trust and “know.” Instagram can be used as somewhat of a shortcut to build that feeling.

This is a guest post from Marcela De Vivo.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer for HostPapa in Southern California whose writing specializes in e marketing, web hosting, health and travel industries. As the owner of Gryffin Media, she follows these tips to engage her audience and expand her network.

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