We get this question quite often, “How do I create a personal brand or be seen as a thought leader in my industry?” Usually I know the answer they are hoping for. They want to hear, “Just post a few things a week on any social media channel and you will get asked to speak for thousands and make millions selling the wonderful services you offer.” If you want to build authority and create a personal brand, it will not happen quickly… and it definitely won’t involve pushing an easy button!
Everyone wants to be a thought-leader (even if that phrase makes many want to throw up a little in their mouth) but few will actually do the work that it takes for people to think of them first when it comes to solutions in their industry. Who is the person that comes to mind when you think of wellness? Business growth? Sales? Leadership? Now the question is, what made you think of this person? Did they write a book on the topic? Several books? Have you heard them talk about this topic over and over again? Have they been sharing content on this topic over a period of time? You don’t have to be THE expert or authority on a topic to get in the conversation and keep showing up.
Becoming the go-to-person or authority on a subject doesn’t happen over night. It doesn’t happen in a couple of months. It takes repetition and time. It also takes sharing your original ideas and your opinions and unique take on what is happening in your industry. This can include what others are talking about but it is coming from your unique perspective. Here are 5 steps to create a personal brand and be seen as a thought leader in your industry:
Define your topic.
Did you notice I didn’t say TOPICS? There are so many who claim to be experts in 87 different topics. They are an expert in communication… and leadership… and customer service… and ethics. I get it, you have lots of interests. You may even be like me, owning two very different businesses– a digital marketing agency and a coworking space. But if I start telling you I am an expert in ethics and sales and wellness, you won’t believe me. There is no way I have the time to become the authority in all of those areas… no matter how great I think I am at multi-tasking!
If you are an expert in leadership, what type of groups have you led? Perhaps you create helpful content around leaders in the non-profit arena, or leaders in the hospitality industry. The more specific you can be, the easier it is for you to create lots of great content that people in that industry will seek out. This doesn’t mean that people outside of this niche won’t find it helpful as well. It just means you are the go-to-person for leadership in this specific area.
Choose your format.
Do you love to write? Are you comfortable in front of a camera? Maybe audio format is more your style. You should make a goal of creating one piece of unique content at least once a week. It could be a blog post, a video tip, or a podcast. This single piece of content is then shared across your social network and even converted into different formats. We often take a video that a client makes and get it transcribed to turn into a blog post and then pull the audio to load into a podcast.
This might be where you start saying, “I don’t have time to create weekly content,” and that’s ok. Just don’t also say you want to be seen as a leader in this area. Don’t be that person who longs to be seen as an expert or thought leader but doesn’t want to put in the work. You can carve out 1-2 hours a week to create thought-provoking content in the format that fits you best. You can hire an assistant or a marketing agency to then magnify that message in several ways, but that first piece has to come from your intellectual property… or inside your head.
Answer YOUR public.
There is a website called Answer the Public that we use to see what questions people are searching for online. This helps us determine what content to write about. This concept is where you start to create content. Answer YOUR public. What questions do clients and potential clients search for on Google? What do they ask you when you are speaking to them? If you can’t think of at least 10 frequently asked questions that your potential customers are searching for, you may need to spend more time learning about your true customer.
Make a list of these FAQs and then one by one, create content answering them. Don’t tell us what everyone else is telling us. Tell us what you think. Tell us why you agree with the masses or why you absolutely don’t. Give it to us straight and don’t use corporately jargon and pithy statements that sound like a brochure. I hate it when I read a blog post and the person is telling me such obvious information that I leave feeling as if I wasted my time. When a leadership blog tells us to focus on being more authentic but doesn’t give specific and unique ways to do it, we want to shout, “Where’s the Beef?”
Being an authority doesn’t mean you know it all. It means you are out in front, learning, consuming all you can about your topic, and sharing your knowledge along the way. Do you listen to podcasts in your industry niche? What do you read to ensure you are staying involved in the latest trends and happenings for your business? I am always surprised when I ask people what they listen to or read to stay up on the latest news or trends in their industry and they can’t think of anything. Whether or not you are working to be seen as a leader in your industry, you’d better be learning, or you will become extinct!
There are podcasts and blogs on every topic under the sun, and if you find an area you cannot find one in your specific niche… you’d better be starting one ASAP! I start my day listening to shortcasts from my Alexa device while I make my coffee and feed the dogs, and then I listen to a few podcast episodes while I get ready and drive into work each morning. Do you pop in and join the conversations on Clubhouse or Twitter’s Spaces? These are all great ways to learn and to join in and start voicing your opinions. You don’t have to host the discussion to join in.
Keep showing up!
As I said in the beginning this will not happen over night, but when you are using today’s social media tools, it happens much faster than it used to. If you simply show up every day sharing tips, tools, resources, and your voice, people will start to listen…and follow you! The more you show up and focus your discussions around your topic, the more people will begin to associate you with that topic.
Can you think of other tips that you have used or that someone else has used to stay out front in your industry? We’d love for you to share here…and to give us your opinion! 🙂
If you’re one of the more than 113 million people that own an iPhone in the United States, chances are that you’ve already updated your phone to iOS 14.5. With this update, Apple is requiring users to provide explicit permission for an app to track, collect, and share data. So, after you’ve updated your phone, the next time you go into the Facebook app for example, a prompt will appear where you are asked to allow, or not allow, the app to track your use, and share your data. This is called a Tracking Transparency Prompt, and any apps that do not display the prompt will actually end up being completely blocked in the Apple app store at some point. Initial estimates thought that after the update, the number of users sharing their data will drop to between 10% to 15%, from roughly 70% today.
As a marketer, you most likely rely on social media apps to use this data so you can accurately target your audience for any ad campaigns that you may be running. Obviously, you want to make sure your content is getting in front of the right eyes! User privacy is something that is *very* important to Apple, so despite the pushback from Facebook, it’s highly unlikely that Apple will reverse course and change, or even get rid of, this new feature.
So, what do you do now?!
Initial data is actually more promising than we all thought, with opt-in rates much higher than previously anticipated: 39% overall and 26% average per app. Keep in mind those, these are just preliminary numbers, so this could change over time.
Our friends at Hubspot have given us a few quick tips to help navigate these privacy changes:
Believe it or not, there are other phone makers out there besides Apple! (Android, we are looking at you!) So, you can still target your ad campaigns to those users effectively and rest easy. Remember, when setting up a Facebook ad, you can specifically choose to target Android users.
Rely on your website a little more now. Make use of Google Analytics, or whichever analytics tool you prefer, to pay more attention to where your users are coming from, and what they are searching to get there. Then, you can create target personas or target audiences based on that data. (Data is king, remember! ?)
Revisit, and refine, your organic content. Take the time to go through your content and make sure everything aligns from your website to your social media. Remember, you want your messaging and brand to be consistent in everything that you post organically! Use any relevant data (back to bullet #2!) to help strength, or refine, your content strategy.
While this iOS update has many marketers and business owners concerned about their ability to target future users and generate quality leads, the true impact of this update won’t really be known until the full rollout is complete. Like in the past, us marketers have adapted to updates and changes, such as moving from traditional marketing to digital, and from one platform to the next. We will get through this together!
Email marketing is one of the most effective online marketing tools around right now. The algorithms that social media platforms use are always changing, so your content might not be getting in front of the amount of eyes you were hoping for. Email marketing gets you directly in front of the eyes of the consumer, so you don’t have to worry about some unknown algorithm affecting your ability to market to potential customers.
You can read more in the blog post linked above about why email marketing is huge right now, so we won’t repeat ourselves here! That being said, how exactly can you go about GROWING your email list to start email marketing? That’s where Landing Pages and Lead Generation (Lead Gen) come into play!
What are Landing Pages?
Landing pages are one-off pages (created on your website, or some email marketing services like MailChimp also offer landing page creation), that allow you to take the prospects that you’ve attracted and convert them to leads. One way of using your landing pages is to create a social media post or blog with a CTA that entices the customer to click, where they then get taken to a landing page.
Photo courtesy of Hubspot
Landing pages can be designed in a variety of ways. They can be set up so users simply enter their name and email to join your newsletter, or perhaps you’re offering a complimentary pdf on a subject they are interested in. When you don’t have a landing page, you can’t gather information about the people visiting your website, which makes it difficult to understand who they are, market to them, determine if they are even in your target market, and eventually convert them into customers. It’s also worth considering doing some A/B testing on your landing pages to see which one is converting more quality leads for you.
Lead Generation is the process of attracting leads (potential customers) into your sales pipeline with the hope of nurturing them throughout the buying process to help convince them why they should choose your product or use your service. In short, Lead Generation is the initiation of customer interest into products or services that you offer. Landing pages are one of the top ways to create quality lead generation for your business or company, AND build your email marketing list.
Here at SocialKNX, we can craft landing pages that will not only help you grow your email list, but also generate leads to help you grow. As your email list keeps growing, we can also create drip campaigns to keep your leads interested until they become a customer. Reach out today and let’s plant that seed!
If you hear those phrases one more time you’re going to scream, right?
It’s been one year since a world pandemic shut down most of the United States and the way we conducted business and marketing activities drastically changed. As marketers, now that a year has passed, we are forced to take a good look at the ways marketing has (rapidly!) changed in ways that might be permanent.
Preserving a focus on community and empathy was brought to the forefront of marketing efforts during the darkest days of the pandemic – and is definitely a marketing “trend” that is here to stay. The shutdown certainly caused anxiety and stress to be consistent emotions in our daily lives. As marketers, ensuring that messages are empathetic and compassionate is something that is necessary to continue, even a year later. You want to make an effort to be human and speak to consumers without the sales pitch. (Remember- marketing is all about creating that connection!)
And when was the last time you checked out those buyer personas you created? You may have had a crystal clear picture of your buyer persona in the past, but, as we know, things have changed! Businesses are finding all sorts of new buyers for their products or services. Think of all the family members that have learned how to use Zoom just for family get-togethers; Zoom isn’t just for businesses any more.
Have you started doing more online ads since the pandemic started? Well, that is also a “trend” that is going to stay consistent as consumers continue to go online to find the answers and solutions to their problems or needs. Additionally, your digital marketing efforts should still collect data in order to help craft your buyer personas and create impactful digital marketing campaigns using social media, email, paid ads, and more. Your data can help you decide where you’ll need to double-down on marketing efforts that are working and where you need to make tweaks to efforts that aren’t.
You know those 5 statements we opened this blog with? Hard truth: Those statements aren’t unique anymore! Consumers have become “blind” to seeing those statements and they are likely to just keep scrolling past your message. Continue to use phrases and words that are engaging and eye-catching and create that connection. Think outside the box! Remember, you need them to realize that your product or service is solving a problem of theirs!
The pandemic might have shifted the marketing landscape, but it has also created opportunities for brands to effectively reach and engage with consumers at different stages of the buying journey. As the economy continues to recover, there could be an increase in consumer spending, so you want to make sure you’re staying in front of your current and potential customers’ needs.
And of course, there’s social media! Many people have turned to social media for socializing and are now active on a variety of social media platforms- even those who swore they wouldn’t be on TikTok when the pandemic started! This surge in social media use has led to businesses putting a higher focus on building and maintaining strong customer relationships on social media, allowing marketers more efficient and effective communication with their audience.
So while we’ve passed the one-year anniversary of the COVID shutdown, it’s not necessarily a time for celebration. We’ve all adapted in personal and professional ways, and as marketers, we’ve adapted our marketing strategies. That being said, the primary goal of marketing efforts still stays the same: generate brand awareness, increase customer leads, create consumer loyalty, and ultimately grow your business.
We know you’ve heard it a million times by now: “COVID has dramatically changed the way marketers must do business online.” And while social media and “traditional” digital marketing avenues such as email marketing and website design are certainly important to keep in mind, Google Ads is another avenue you should consider trying out in 2021. COVID has also had an impact on how people are searching for things online, so the way you use Google Ads might (well, really it WILL) have to change as well.
When creating your Google Ads, they are some best practices to keep in mind. Sadly it’s not as simple as creating some compelling text copy to get someone to click! You have to make sure that your ad strikes that oh-so-fine line of being keyword-rich and also readable; that you have a creative landing page built out that the ad directs to; and that you’ve created a bidding strategy so your ads have a chance of making the coveted front page of Google. And that’s just the beginning!
Be sure the text in your ad is optimized for Natural Language Search (NLS). In a nutshell, this involves using text and words in “everyday language,” so basically, how you talk! This is getting more and more popular partly due to the increase in individuals using voice search to search for things online (think “Hey Siri..” or “OK Google…”). Using these long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search, will help you in optimizing your Google Ad. Google takes this into account when it prioritizes ads, so your best bet is to combine keywords with high potential for phrase matching with natural language.
It’s also important to make sure that your text for your ad does not repeat keywords (we can say it louder for the people in the back too)! Example of a “bad” ad copy: “Give your team digital marketing analysis tools with our data analytics solution.” It repeats keywords and offers no helpful solution at all, or accurately emphasizes what problem your company could help them solve. A better example would be: “Increase your client’s bottom line by up to 30% with our always evolving data system.” It sounds more natural, doesn’t repeat words, and clearly shows how it can help solve a problem. And, since it’s way easier to talk to your phone than try to type out a long, specific search phrase, natural language search doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. (Side note: Google Keyword Planner is also a great tool to use when planning your Ad)
Automated Bidding. Love it or hate it, it’s one of the best ways to get to the first page of Google search results. This means that you need a bidding strategy. Surprisingly enough, you’ll set yourself up for more success if your bidding strategy involves automation. This handy graphic from Google Support helps lay the foundation for your bidding strategy.
You might be thinking “Wait, I thought I could just ‘set it and forget it’ like my Crockpot dinner?” So this is kind of the case. You still might want to log in and evaluate the response that your ad is receiving and adjust the text accordingly. This approach has its benefits in that it can help you keep your cost down for the campaign and is an excellent way to get a feel for how Google Ads works. That being said, automated bidding where you start out with a cost-effective maximum spend can also give you the best shot at a well-received ad. In fact, Google offers smart automation for you to use that helps with your bidding.
Design your ads for mobile and desktop users. It might be easy to forget since the majority of us work from a computer, that people do a TON of searching from their phones (70% of all searches are on mobile devices, say what?!). The way a user searches also depends on the device they are using (remember how we talked about NLS above? You don’t really see people talking to their computers to search right?). You want to tailor your ads to the context and device by which you anticipate a user seeing them.
Evoking the “E” word in your ads. You guessed it: EMOTION. We all know it’s well-established and documented that evoking an emotional response in your audience is a MUST to get people to click. Sadly, you don’t have a lot of room to create an emotionally grabbing message in a Google Ad. But, you can still create an impression with the word choice and of course, your call-to-action (CTA). Be sure you are using phrases and words that match your branding. For example, maybe you’re a window cleaning service, so words like “faster,” “cleaner,” “shinier,” would resonate with someone looking for window cleaners. Like with your website, or any social media or email marketing, when you create the text for your CTA, you want to be sure you’re keeping the end-game in mind: what is the desired outcome from your ad? Is it a sign up for a newsletter? Is it a subscription? Is it a phone call? Always keep that in mind when you’re finishing off your Ad copy.
We know, that was a lot to take in and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg! Did you know that here at SocialKNX we can help you create amazing Google Ads to help drive business? Reach out today and let’s get started on making 2021 the year you get found on Google.