We know, you’ve heard it over and over the past year: COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way that businesses and organizations interact with current, and future, customers. Businesses shifted their marketing strategies to digital means (in particular email marketing!) to reach out and stay connected with customers, and email and social media became the main channels to inform people about new business hours, virtual opportunities, virtual events, and more.
So, since COVID is showing no immediate signs of slowing down, how do the changes you pivoted to in 2020 shape the way you’ll go about email marketing in 2021? Here are some things that we think you should keep in mind as you plan out your email marketing strategy for the year.
#1: Email is by far the most effective online marketing tool
We all know that the algorithms that social media platforms use (we’re looking at you Facebook) are always changing and can be murky and hard to understand. Email marketing gets you directly into the inbox of your customer, so you don’t have to worry about some unknown algorithm affecting your ability to market to your potential customers. In fact, active email accounts surpassed 5.6 billion in 2019, and that number that is surely expected to grow into 2021 and beyond.
Additionally, social distancing forced customers to go online to view or purchase products and services, leading to an increase in sign-ups for email newsletters. Take advantage of this trend by setting up landing pages so your customers can easily sign up to join your email list.
#2: Make sure your content is engaging and authentic
Ok, so you’ve gotten those new email newsletter sign ups, now what do you include in your newsletter? The content in your email needs to be eye-catching and relate to the customer. You must be offering something valuable to the person reading it, but also creating a connection for that reader to your business. Think of it this way- you’re trading your email for your subscriber’s time. Someone took the time to open your email (because the title was SO CREATIVE!) so make sure you’re giving them the value they are looking for to “make it worth their while.”
Before you start creating your content for your email, stop and think about how you are helping your customers succeed- what does the product or service that you’re offering them DO? Does it help them save time? Help them feel connected to a community? What problem is your business helping them solve? Also be sure that your email content tone and personality accurately reflects your brand and will resonate with the email receiver.
#3: Personalize and automate your emails
Building on #2, the biggest advantage to email marketing is the ability to personalize AND automate. You can send targeted emails to each subscriber- making each one feel special. Take the time to think about the user experience from your customers side, and what they are looking for when they visit your website. Use any feedback from customers to consider how to target and create customized content more effectively. Knowing your customers’ journey and gaining insight on the customer by collecting data like demographic information, individual likes/dislikes, feedback on your company and it’s offerings can only strengthen your ability to send targeted and personalized emails that will encourage your customers to take action. Emailing your customer an offer that doesn’t resonate with who they are is a surefire way to get them to unsubscribe.
Automation of your emails, also known as drip campaigns, are also a great way to ensure the emails your customer is receiving are relevant and timely. The last thing people want to see in their inbox is a useless or uncalled for email. Drip emails usually perform better than regular emails since they are triggered by specific actions taken by the customer. Drip campaign emails create a “friendlier” vibe and aren’t overwhelming- all the emails come in “drips,” so the customer is getting the exact information they want.
In 2021, it’s likely that this trend in an increase in e-commerce purchases and email signups will continue. Make sure you stay one-step ahead and take these few ideas into consideration, as well as think about emerging trends (such as paid-newsletters) that could help brighten up your email marketing.
Here at SocialKNX, once you have someone in your content universe, we can help you grow that budding relationship! Whether it’s setting up welcome emails, nurture sequences, or sending monthly love letters that continue to build that connection, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call today to see how we can help you with your email marketing in 2021.
My family moved to Hawaii when I was in the 7th grade. We lived on the south side of Oahu and across the street from Ewa Beach. I never learned to surf, although I did try several times. I just loved spending hours out on the water watching surfers catch wave after wave. The “Golden Hour” was the best time to be out there. Right at sunset.
When the waves died down, many of the surfers would head in to party on the beach or go home, but those who had the patience to stay out on the water, were often rewarded with more big waves.
I think of this every time I go to a movie and insist on sitting in my seat until every last credit has rolled across the screen because I have been rewarded with seeing great bloopers or shorts that the filmmakers put at the end as a gift to those who were patient. (I know there are websites now that will tell you if the movie has anything worth waiting for, but I never check. I sit and wait, mostly to torment my family.) Here is one of the best from Monsters Inc.
Right now, a lot of surfers have paddled back to shore and are heading in because their business has slowed or come to a complete stop during COVID-19. During tough financial times, many people cut all marketing and then they sit complaining that their business has been killed by the crisis. I want to urge you… stay on your board. Stay out in the water. When that big wave comes, and it will, you want to be out there in front ready to ride.
Here are 3 Things You Can Be Doing on Social Media While You Wait for That Wave to Come:
1. Start showing up on your social channels via LIVE video.
Whether it’s Instagram LIVE, Facebook LIVE, YouTube LIVE or even Periscope (to go LIVE on Twitter). Go LIVE! (If you have been approved by LinkedIn earlier in 2019 you can go LIVE on LinkedIn as well)
LIVE streaming allows you to connect on a different level with your audience. It is where you are actually CONNECTING personally, not just promoting or sharing information. Sure you can (carefully) promote or share information, but when you’re LIVE you can actually have conversations with your audience. Answer their questions. Call them by name (which often freaks people out because they suddenly feel EXPOSED as if they were suddenly put on camera in their underwear) and let them know you see them. Use a tool like StreamYard to add branding elements and be able to have multiple people on screen together.
Don’t just go live once. Schedule a live broadcast at least once a week. If you can pick the same day and time it will help others start to expect it and even put it on their calendars. Be there for your community. Ask how people are doing and what you can help them with. If you are wanting to promote something, make sure it is something that would be truly helpful to them at this time.
I was listening to a podcast by Mark W. Schaeffer and he said communicating with your community during a crisis is like being at someone’s funeral. It’s great to ask, “What can I do to help?” but it’s not ok to ask, “Would you like to buy my latest book?” Be wise and be considerate of what people are going through in these difficult times.
2. Make sure you are staying active on your social channels daily.
You might think you don’t have anything to say right now, or that you don’t want to be promotional at a time like this. When we say show up, we mean share helpful and interesting content daily. Maybe it’s a poll, asking your audience what books or podcasts they are enjoying right now. Maybe it’s a tip that most people don’t know.
Ask how you can help. Ask how people are doing. Share what you’re doing to stay active or what you are learning during this time. Write down the top FAQ’s that you hear about your industry and answer them one or two a week. There are so many ways you can show up right now. Stay out there and be visible.
3. Go through your older content and look for ways to repurpose it.
Do you have a blog that lists several tips? Perhaps you can elaborate on it and turn it into a helpful tip sheet to use as a lead magnet. Can you take a topic you wrote about years ago (or months ago) and create a new video or podcast on that topic with a fresh twist? Make a commitment to reviving one old piece of content a week. You probably have a treasure trove of content. [check out this old blog post of mine about mining your attic to repurpose and create new content].
This is the time to be planning, stay active, and watch the horizon. You should already start to see the swell happening. If you are staying in front of your audience and offering helpful tips and resources, you can bet this is going to be a great ride … perhaps your best GOLDEN HOUR yet!
When you hear the word influencer what comes to mind? Kim Kardashian? Peyton Manning? When you think about using influencer marketing for your business do you immediately think it would be cheaper to run a 5-second commercial during the Super Bowl? Let’s look at what an influencer is and how you can employ influencers into your 2020 marketing mix.
Definition of Influencer
First, you need to realize that we are all influencers at some level. Your children are influencers of what you buy at the grocery store. You may influence your coworkers or social media audience to try an app or software that you recommend. The number of followers that show under a profile pic does not define an influencer. An influencer is someone who can persuade a group of people—large or small–to take action.
A micro-influencer is someone who has authority in their field but may not be a celebrity. Like the woman who runs a large networking group in your city, or the mom blogger who has several thousand fans reading and engaging on her blog but not millions…yet. The outdoor enthusiast or local tennis star that has a great following on social media but isn’t selling a course or product…yet!
Identifying the Ideal Influencers for Your Brand
Who are your ideal customers? Have you really spent the time identifying them specifically? If so, here are a few questions to answer to start identifying your ideal influencers:
1. Do you know what other products, services, and places your ideal customers love?
2. Who are the leaders in your industry that people trust that may not even be selling anything?
3. Who is writing informative or educational articles that people share but who are not directly competing with you?
An example I will use is in marketing our coworking space, The Village. My target audience is entrepreneurial women and small teams working remote. They are 30-55 years old. These women are attending networking events for entrepreneurs, they follow blogs about working from home or working on remote teams. Many juggle working from home with raising families and may read Colorado Parent’s Magazine.
Building Relationships with These Influencers
There may be times you need to just pay for an influencer to promote your fitness product or a big launch. There are websites to help you identify, select and measure the success of the campaign. Some of the sites show the fee that the larger influencers will charge. Most paid influencers will have a page on their website showing their fees and what you will get for that fee.
You can check out sites like Social Bakers and Upfluence to look for those higher-paid influencers, but I want to talk about those micro-influencers who just might make a bigger impact for very little, if any payment. Let’s look at the steps to establishing a relationship with your list of influencers and incorporating them into your marketing strategy.
Find each of your influencers on the social channels you want to attract your customers. Connect or follow them and read through several of their posts. Don’t look like a scary stalker liking and commenting on every single post but select a few that truly resonate with you and post a thoughtful comment. We love using emojis in the comments to get the comment to stand-out (other than the flame and 100% ones which just scream SPAMMER).
I may sound a little like the character played by Will Smith in the 2005 movie, HITCH but some of you may need a “dating expert” to be very specific with you. So after commenting on a few posts, wait a day or two and then send a DM to each of your target influencers, not to introduce yourself and talk about how awesome your product or service is, but simply to thank them for sharing helpful or interesting content and give an example of something in their post you really found helpful or interesting. [more on being LIKEABLE here]
Watch their feed for interaction and engagement. Who is engaged with this person? Are they the type of people you have in mind as your ideal customer? Pay attention to the types of conversations your influencer prospect is having. Is he or she mentioning other products? If you spend time courting an influencer and all of their fans are not your ideal customers, you are barking up the wrong tree.
What to Pay Your Influencer, If Anything
Keep engaging daily or at least a couple times a week, so you are coming up on their radar. If they have not already replied back to you or thanked you for all of your interaction, send a second DM asking if you can send them something to get their opinion or thoughts. Let them know that you feel, based on their expertise, their input would be so valuable to you.
Based on their response you may find that sending a product or goodie basket is all you have to “pay” to have them talk about your brand. You can also offer an affiliate’s commission to your influencers, in which case you will want to set up a program to track that on sites like Share-A-Sale, GumRoad, or other affiliate programs that make this easy for you to track and payout commissions.
Whether you pay commission or per blog post they write, be sure to use reporting to track how much traffic is coming from this influencer’s site and how much in sales. You want to make sure your time spent courting them is worth it and aligns with your business goals.
Be In It for the Long Haul
While this process may be much more time consuming than just paying an influencer to pitch your product, it is much more sustainable. Often a paid influencer will mention you once or however long you are paying them, and it can come across as inauthentic. If they are being paid, they will also have to disclose that, causing their audience to see it as an ad, not a true endorsement. If you focus on building a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship with your influencers you could live happily ever after!
We’d love to hear from you. Have you used influencers in your marketing? What questions do you have for us?
Who cares about the galaxy far away, when you have customers swarming around waiting to be pulled into your universe right here?
We’ve all heard that content is KING. We may have even heard that video content is QUEEN, which, aside from most card games, always trumps the KING! But, what good is it to create lots of content if you don’t have a plan in place to attract people to the content once it’s created? And even when people come to consume a piece of content you created, what is your plan after that?
Many people put a lot of hours into the creation of a single blog post, video or even website content but then they put no thought into how it will be promoted or what the next step is, and they wonder why no one is finding them. [Read More at- If You Write It They Don’t Necessarily Come]
I’m going to talk about a lot of different content pieces, and I don’t want you to get overwhelmed. You don’t need to create all of these at once, and you can get help with many of these pieces (I know a great team who can help! 😉) but when you do create a piece of content for your marketing, you need to know its role and its place in your content universe.
Your Website- THE SUN
The core of your universe, or your sun, is your website or your physical space (i.e. your store, your office, etc.). It is the place you want to ultimately get people to come to so they can contact you or purchase something from you. If your website is old and outdated or doesn’t have strong calls-to-action for people to contact you or buy from you, this should be your first step. You need a clean website without pages and pages of text.
Donald Miller of StoryBrand says it best, “If you confuse, you lose!” Your website needs to be clear and yet answer the questions people are coming with. If you feel that explaining what you do is complicated, imagine what people coming to your site are thinking.
According to Donald Miller, there are three questions your website must answer in the first 10-seconds someone lands there:
What is it that you offer?
How will you make my life better?
What do I need to do to buy from you?
There are too many websites that never clearly tell people how to actually work with the company. Go look at your website with the eyes of a stranger. Does it answer the three questions above, QUICKLY?
Too much text on a site will also cause your potential customer’s eyes to glaze over and they will leave. It’s too much of an investment that you are asking them to make. I have a hard time when people send me an email filled with text, don’t think people will invest loads of time on your website right away. Have links and buttons to “read more” or “learn more” but don’t make it over-whelming for someone just stopping by to read a blog post.
Here’s the harsh reality, no matter how much you just love the 16 paragraphs you have on that home page, even your mom isn’t reading it. As the popular meme goes, “Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!”
Once you feel that your website will help you convert more of those who come to it, let’s focus on how to get more of those ideal people heading your way.
Your Larger Pieces of Content- THE PLANETS
There are planets that are orbiting around the sun. These are pieces of content that your audience members want and need. These should have a natural gravitational pull that brings people from the piece of content into your core for more. Planets come in many forms:
A challenge series (one tip a day delivered via email)
Live Video Shows or Interviews
Shortcasts (Alexa briefings or Google capsules)
You may have some of these planets directly on your website or they can be delivered through an email or social media post. Your planets can have planets within them as well. For example, you might write a blog post and within that blog post you have a graphic or box that has a “DOWNLOAD OUR TIP SHEET WITH 25 WAYS TO SAVE TIME.” This is a great way to see if your readers are ready to move forward and commit by giving you their email address. I call this a lead magnet delivery campaign.
Keep in mind, as sad as it may be, not all of our ideal customers will be drawn to every piece of content we create. For this reason, you need to continue to create a variety of content pieces to see which ones land with your audience members.
If your content is helpful or interesting and leaves the reader wanting more from you, they will take the next step. So let’s move out into the stars!
Your Social Media Posts -THE STARS
Your stars are the social media posts (and sometimes email pieces) that are pointing people to the planets. They are small, byte-sized, shiny objects that are attractive to people. Your social media posts should be visually appealing, drawing people in to get to know, like, and trust you. They give enough information to entice. They will have short captions that attract attention and make people want to click or be pulled into your orbit.
Email messages can fall into this category since the purpose may be to pull them in closer to your core, but typically a person is already close if you have their email address. This is where you might want to look at how you can segment your email list to create smaller groups to get more personal with –that’s a topic for another post.
The key with social media content is you need lots of it. Just like stars in the night sky, not everyone will see every post. Some go by like a flash and won’t even catch your attention, while others stop you from scrolling immediately, drawing you in. You will need a variety.
Many people feel that posting one or two times a week is plenty of content on their social channels, but what they don’t realize is, like a shooting star, most people miss the infrequent post and so they never get pulled into your universe. If you’re promoting a new blog post, you might want 3-5 versions of social posts, each with different headlines and images pointing people to the post. This gives you five chances to capture someone’s attention.
Don’t forget that your social posts are not just for pushing out promotional content either. You want to mix in a healthy dose of “social” content to allow your ideal audience to get to know and like you. Social posts that do well include a peek behind the scenes in your office showing how you prepare for projects or your work team in a brainstorming meeting. Anything that lets people come in a little closer to learn more about the personality of your brand.
Ask questions to see whether your audience likes listening to classical or pump up music on a Monday morning. Share your favorite quote. That’s the social part of social media.
NEXT STEPS? What do you want your audience to explore next?
Now that we have explored your content universe, you will start to see how important each piece is in your marketing strategy. Nothing works when it sits alone. If you only have a website, you’ve got to work harder to get people to find you. And once people are on your website you will have a lot of work to do getting people to know, like, and trust you if that’s all they know about you.
Is it possible to only have a website and not need the planets and stars in your content universe? Of course, it is. When I have an immediate need for a plumber, if I don’t already have a relationship with someone, I’m going to Google, but then I will take the time to read the reviews on their Google My Business page, which is also a social channel.
Can you use only social media to get business and never need a website? Sure, you can. There is a cupcake truck that drives around Denver selling only cupcakes. You can find out where they will be and what flavors they will have stocked only through their social media accounts. So, you may have something so desirable that people are going to know about you through word-of-mouth and they already like you, so you just have to show up! That’s my kind of business.
The key is, you will shorten your sales cycle and increase your conversions when you have your content universe in working order. So once someone has been drawn to you through a social media post and goes to your website to read a post or watch a video… then you have to ask what do you do to keep them engaged with you? This is where the lead magnets and email campaigns come into play.
Often, we spend a lot of time and stress trying to drive more traffic to our websites, but we don’t think about what the person will do next. We don’t have a next step identified and so the person reads some information and then clicks away to another website. We think our “contact us” page is enough of a call-to-action, or even worse our “sign up for my newsletter.” Who wants another newsletter clogging up their inbox? Why not, “Get our weekly free tips and tools,” or something that sounds like something people would actually want.
When we attract people to our website to read a blog post, we have to think, “THEN WHAT?” What can I offer my reader when they finish, to give them a little more? What can I give them that might allow them to think of my brand a little longer and perhaps allow me to connect one step deeper with them?
You will want to start creating lead magnets and content upgrades for your blog posts or other content on your website to encourage people to exchange their email address for something of greater value. Let’s use the example of a content upgrade in one of your blog posts.
If you were an electrician and had a blog post about the “25 tips to keep your family safe around electricity in your home.” You could then create a printable tip sheet for parents to use with their children to help educate them on the “Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts Around Electricity”. You could have a second sheet that provides readers with “20 Hidden Electrical Dangers Lurking in Your Home.” Of course, your contact information is at the bottom of both sheets. All the reader has to do is enter their email address and download these great resources. Who wouldn’t want these? Since you are an electrician and you want to know who lives in your neighborhood, you could ask for their mailing address along with the email address and then mail out a card with tips on a magnet.
When your blog reader gives you their email address, you make sure you have a statement on the form they fill out mentioning you will send monthly tips and resources to keep their family safe at home, and they are automatically added to your list. Now you need to think of ways to nurture this relationship.
Perhaps you send a welcome email with a short video letting them know you are so glad they are focused on keeping their family safe and that if they are ever interested in having a free home inspection for them to give your company a call. Always mention ways they can stay in touch and find more tips and resources on your social channels. You want to stay top of mind and in front of your potential customers as often as you can
Now you send a regular email with additional tips and resources, perhaps seasonal tips along with additional information that you know a homeowner will find helpful. It doesn’t have to be a sales pitch in an email, and it doesn’t have to be daily or weekly. You are nurturing the relationship. Building trust.
At the end of each email message be sure to offer a free consult or perhaps a summer special or holiday safety check, along with your contact information. Never make people search for your contact information. I’m always surprised how many of these emails I get where they expect me to click over to their website to find how to contact them. Call me lazy, but that’s just too much work!
When this family needs an electrician, who are they going to call? They have now gotten to know you, like you and trust you because of the information you have shared. They certainly wouldn’t dare call someone from a random Google search.
Make sure you’re not collecting email addresses the way many people collect social media fans. If you are adding people to your list and then not doing anything to stay in touch and nurture the relationship, what’s the point? And then when you want to sell something to this list of people, how likely will they be to purchase from you?
WHAT NEXT? LET’S PUT IT INTO PRACTICE TODAY:
Here are 3 things you can do today to start building your content universe:
Create a content inventory of your current assets.
Add all of your blog content, video content, any lead magnets you currently have, etc.
Make a list of ideas for possible lead magnets and content pieces that you will plug into your calendar for creation.
Draw out a simple content map with your website being the sun, the pieces you have floating around the sun and then begin the craft some social media posts to start shining on those planets!
If all of this has your head spinning… RELAX! We can help you with any or all of these activities and we love working with our clients to move from just having social media posts thrown up on your profiles to having a strategy in place to drive more leads to your business!
When we hear the word BRAND, images may pop into your head of the Starbucks mermaid, that Smiling “A” that means Amazon or the little Apple with a bite out of it. These are such recognizable brands, that there is no question what they are “known for.” How did they do it? How do we become “known” for something?
The first thing to realize is your brand is not necessarily what you say about yourself or your company–although you can absolutely help shape it. Just because you put something on your website or social media bio, doesn’t mean that others will believe you. You have to prove it… and have others share that same proof for you.
Your brand is what others say or feel about you. You may say you are an expert in the real estate arena, the animal photography industry or in Italian women’s shoes (in which case you and I should be best friends), but if you aren’t putting out some sort of content or product that people talk about, share or otherwise come in contact with, your desired brand will have a tough time becoming known.
WHO ARE YOU?
To begin crafting and influencing your personal or professional brand you have to start by identifying what you want to be known for. Notice I didn’t say what you are good at. Many of us have talents or skills that we don’t even want people to know about. My ability to train dogs to roll over and do the moonwalk is not a skill I am ever going to want to be “known for.”
Perhaps we don’t enjoy doing something, or we have “squiggled” or pivoted on to a new career track. We have to start by creating a list of skills and attributes that you want people to associate with you and your brand. When people are talking to their friends or co-workers and one of these topics come up, you want them to say, “I know who’s an expert at this” or “I know who you need to talk to.”
WHO or WHAT ARE YOU BECOMING?
Now, what are the skills you’d like to be known for but haven’t yet mastered? Is there an area you’re developing? This is important when you’re starting over, re-entering the workforce, or making a pivot in your career. Don’t minimize these skills and don’t wait until you have that proverbial 10,000 hours of expertise before you start to weave it into your branding plan. Finish this sentence:
I am becoming ___________.
Starbucks started out as a coffee roaster and BECAME the “third place” for people to come and hang out. Lululemon started out as a maker of surf and skateboard shorts and BECAME synonymous with yoga-pants. The Knot started by writing articles for unique and counter-culture wedding ideas and then BECAME the go-to planning site for all things “wedding!” What are you becoming?
START BEFORE YOU’VE ARRIVED
When you are working in a new area and BECOMING the expert or resource, you want to share this journey with the world. Jump into the conversation. Share what you are learning and doing. If you are launching a product, bring us along on your journey to involve us in your process. We love to come along when someone is learning, growing, and going somewhere we want to go as well. If I am on that same journey or wanting to begin, your content will inspire and educate me, even if you have not “arrived.”
I know you can’t get great until you get started, so the longer you wait to begin, the longer it will take for you to get great. Start. Learn all you can, and share the nuggets of learning along the way.
WHO WILL YOUR BRAND REACH?
The next step is to understand who your brand wants to reach. Who is that ideal person that will connect and “get you?” This is important because it will shape HOW you share your expertise and brand attributes. Go beyond the “what gender, age, and income level define my ideal client.” Dive into the psychographics as well. What is your ideal customer interested in? What do they hate? What are the things your ideal customer would be doing during the day? How about on weekends? What does he or she read or watch on television? Where do you think she shops? How about online? What problems does she have that you can help her with? What are her pain and frustration points?
This may seem unnecessary, but it is so important to get this right. If you try and create content for everyone, you will create content for no one. The more targeted you can be with your products, services, or content, the easier it is to attract the right audience and the greater loyalty someone will have for you.
WHAT WILL YOU CREATE AND SHARE?
Content comes in so many forms. Written articles, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, webinars. What will you create to solve a problem for that ideal person you identified earlier? If you need a starting point, simply write down the top FAQs your ideal customer would be asking Google, SIRI, or Alexa. Now take each of those questions and answer them in different formats—blog posts, articles on other websites, videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, etc.
Be sure to stay focused on your overall goal for your brand. This doesn’t mean you can’t share any other content on your social sites or that you can’t be involved in other side projects, but if someone you don’t know, looks at your body of work, can they tell what your area of expertise is? If you suddenly post political rants or lots of information on other topics, it begins to dilute or pollute your brand. Do a self-audit. Scan down a page of your social media channels. What would someone say you were known for if they looked at it? Would YOU follow YOU?
WHERE WILL YOU SHARE IT?
Today there are so many channels to share your content. You can share your content on websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, and Podcast channels and so many more. The question is often, “Do I need to be on all of them?” Absolutely not. I like to say, “Choose one and NAIL IT, before you decide to SCALE IT!” Select the social channels that you believe your audience is most active on. If you’re not sure, there are ways to do a bit of research first.
Look across the different social channels and search for your peers, competitors, and customers. Where do you find them hanging out? Are there groups they are participating in? Search industry and conference hashtags on each channel. This can pull up content that can help you discover where you might want to be found as well.
Start with one or two social channels and be consistent. Don’t spread yourself so thin that you can’t keep up with it. Sharing and participating on social media channels is more than just blasting your content out to the world. It requires you to participate in the community as well. Comment on the content of others. Ask questions in groups or share your expertise there when others ask questions. It’s the “social” part of social media.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO HAVE CONTENT OUT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE?
This is another common question. There isn’t a hard and fast rule, but there is a direct correlation between frequency and the number of people who will be drawn to your content. Obviously, if the content is not good, people won’t share it or want to consume it, but even good content produced once ever 3-6 months is not going to do you much good if you are trying to establish a brand.
Many people want to be known like Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, Marie Forleo, or Adam Grant, but they don’t want to do the work those people do when it comes to creating and sharing content. The people who are considered thought leaders in their industries are sharing video content, blog posts, writing books, newsletter content, podcasts, and everything in between.
Start with a goal to write or create one piece of good content per week. This can be you answering a question or giving your opinion on a topic that has come up at work or in the news. Work to create a habit to write or record something every day, even if it doesn’t get published or used. By doing this daily, you will begin to get better and you will end up sharing more content more often, and in turn, you will become known for this.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME?
I get it. We’re all busy and our time is more limited than ever. This is why it’s hard to become a “thought leader” or well-known brand. If it were easy, everyone would do it. To stand out requires sacrifice somewhere. You can hire someone to do the writing and sharing for you (hint hint…that’s what we do at SocialKNX), or you can put in an extra hour each morning or each evening to do what others won’t do.
You can sacrifice evening television time for writing time. You can trade a couple hours of sleeping in on the weekends and get up to work on your personal or professional brand. When someone asks, where they should spend their time, my answer is, “it depends.” I can tell you where NOT to spend your time. Don’t waste it watching television. Don’t waste it attending meetings you don’t have to be in (don’t even get me started on this one).
Become a high productivity content creator. While you are waiting in lines, at appointments, at soccer practice, pull out your phone or notebook and jot down ideas. I love using Evernote for this. I have notebooks in there for podcast guest ideas, blog post ideas, Alexa and Google Briefing tips to create. When I sit down to create I don’t have to waste time thinking of ideas.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Now it’s your turn. What will you create to begin crafting that brand? What are you BECOMING? I’d love to hear in the comments below or on any social channel. Connect with me –> @GinaSchreck on any social channel and tell me what you are becoming. I can’t wait to hear!
Everyone thinks they can “do social media.” If someone has a Facebook or Instagram account, they think they’re suddenly qualified to be a social media marketer. Today, digital marketing requires a variety of skills just to survive in this ever-changing industry. To do more than survive, but to stand out and shine, these are 7 skills social media marketers need to master. You may have all these skills yourself, or you may team up or hire out for some of them.
Here are 7 skills that I feel every social media marketer needs to stand out:
1.Great writing skills
So, this one seems so obvious, and yet I still feel this is an area most of us are lacking. To write well online is very different from writing essays or text messages. I see horrifying grammar and spelling all over websites and social media posts. This shouldn’t be happening with all the auto-correct tools like Grammarly out there. By-the-way, Grammarly has a free tool that allows you to load your entire post or article to have it checked or you can add the Chrome extension to your browser and have the Grammar Police follow you EVERYWHERE on the web! Find them… use them…and start writing better!
The other side of that coin is the far-too-formal writing. Our English teachers must have beaten us all in school, because most people still write as if they are writing a research paper, instead of speaking to their ideal audience. On Social media or blog posts, it is best to write like you would speak… conversationally. Sit across from the table with a cup of coffee and talk to people through your writing. It’s a social channel, not a term paper. Check out HemingwayApp for tips on making your writing more readable.
2.Customer Service Skills
Someone just asked me today, what skill is hardest to hire for. It’s definitely customer service. Everyone is a “people person” in an interview until they have to deal with PEOPLE. In social media marketing, you have to be prepared to take the hits online from people who are hiding behind a keyboard and want to vent. If you work in an agency, you will also have to take the hits from the customers who don’t like something you wrote or the color of the image you’ve used.
When you own a business, you are willing to go further for customers to solve a problem, versus someone who is “just working” on that job. I get it. You have to find people who want the best for clients to be managing your social media. It can get ugly online.
3.Basic SEO Understanding
While you may not know how to optimize your website using tools like SMRush or MOZ, but you should know the basics of SEO as a social media marketer. There are lots of blog posts out there that give more information on this. A great one is Keyword Research for SEO, by Yoast, but there are some basics that you should know if you are writing content for your website or writing any social media content. Know what ALT tags and keywords are. You need to be tagging your images on blog and website content.
You should know what your main keywords and phrases are that you want to be found with. What are the top questions people are typing into Google or other search engines for your industry? What content do you need to write so it comes up as a match to those questions? These are keywords and keyword phrases. You not only want to learn how search engines match your content, to the questions people are typing, but you also should start considering the questions people are SPEAKING into search (Google, Alexa, and Siri).
As you write content always keep your reader or searcher in mind. How are you providing valuable content to answer their questions? What clues are you giving Google on what your content is about? ALT tags give clues in every image, as does the title of that image.
4.An Eye for Design
With all content, we want to make sure it is visually appealing and able to capture someone’s attention in a matter of seconds. People don’t read anymore…they scroll. As social media posts go by, it’s the images that stop the eye traffic. When your images are boring, corny, not sized right, or missing altogether, your content will get fewer eyeballs on it.
There are lots of beautiful photo sites and ways to manipulate them to make them POP. We now have tools like Canva that make creating beautiful graphics a snap. If you don’t have an eye for design, you might be trying to stick 150 words in yellow font across a dark blue square. Stab me in the eyes already! The good news is, there are hundreds of great templates, and you can even take free mini-courses on design right from Canva.
5.An Eye for Details
With so many platforms and so much going on at once, it can be easy to slip up and schedule the wrong content on the wrong platform. Without an eye for detail, you may not catch the misspelling of the company owner’s name on a very important blog post. YIKES… it happens. Too many companies still throw the job of social media management to someone who already has 47 tasks to do each day. Most people think social marketing is easy. You might be the person trying to do it all. You know, it can be a full-time job!
Social marketing is about putting your brand out there in front of the world…quickly. You don’t have time to have an editing committee review every social post (and I do know for a fact there are such things). Social moves too fast and the posts have a short life span, but you need to have a keen attention to detail.
If you’re a person who moves fast and doesn’t pause before hitting that send, or post button, you’ll hear about it from your readers. How do I know this? Well… let’s just say with social media, it is going to happen to the best of us. Everyone turns into an editor as soon as they read anyone else’s content, so be sure to re-read posts, even out loud, one more time before publishing. It will at least cut down the number of times you find that goofy typo right after you hit, SEND.
Details also come in the form of schedules in this industry. There is usually a lot of content going out on different platforms and you may be waiting on graphics or webinar dates and links. Things are best when planned in advance and put on a scheduler with reminders. Using content calendars or team tools like Asana or Trello is almost essential today.
6.Willingness … NO … A BURNING DESIRE to Learn
This skill is probably the most important in social media marketing. Because there are always new tools, platforms, and techniques, you will always have to be learning. It’s one thing to be willing to learn, but you must WANT to learn. You must LOVE the process of learning. Don’t sit back and wait for someone to spoon-feed you new information. As a marketer today, you must have an insatiable appetite for learning and experimenting.
When I meet someone in this industry, I ask, “what are some of your favorite blogs or podcasts?” If they don’t have an answer, it tells me they won’t last long or go very far. It’s an industry like few others in that it changes daily and the only way to keep up is to be in a constant learning mode.
A common question is, “What book can I pick up to learn social media?” By the time a digital marketing book is published and sits on the shelf of a bookstore, it’s outdated! I was the technical editor for the Complete Idiots Guide to Social Media and as we would finish one chapter, the one prior already needed changes. Conferences, podcasts, videos, classes, and blog posts are the way to keep up in this industry. Stay thirsty my friend!
While this last one isn’t necessarily a SKILL, it is a required attribute for a successful social media marketer. Be willing to pick up and try new things. As you hear of a new platform or tool, jump in and start playing with it. Create accounts to check out how others are using it and what is going on in there. They don’t all pan out, but you will always learn something and you will meet interesting people along the way.
In 2009, I was working with teams at IBM who were meeting in a virtual space called, Second Life. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen. It was amazing and creative. I would log in as an avatar and we could share slides, speak to one another and learn in incredible virtual environments. I met people in there that I still interact with regularly, and have even done business with a few of them. Never hesitate to jump in to take a look at different tools. Be adventurous.
I’d love to hear from you. What other skills do you feel are necessary to be successful in digital marketing? Which of these skills do you need to work on the most? I’d love to know.
As a social media marketing agency in Colorado, we employ a variety of people that possess these skills. If you need to augment your own skillset, give us a call…or a tweet! If you’re interested in learning—jump into our DIYsocial Community where we share regular tips, tools, and resources to help you stay ahead in this social media marketing space.