Entries by Stephanie Schwab

How to Excel at Small Business Marketing: Top Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Track

In life, we measure all sorts of things. Weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar all help keep tabs on our health. Measuring cups and spoons ensure your built-from-scratch birthday cake comes out beautifully. “Measure twice, cut once” is a mantra among both professional carpenters and DIY home improvement enthusiasts. Measuring success in business involves paying […]

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Finding Your Brand Voice

Oscar winner Colin Firth could be the perfect person to ask about finding his voice – his virtuoso portrayal of a stuttering King George in The King’s Speech so cogently highlighted the frustrations of not having a clear way to communicate with a community. Some brands are equally tongue-tied, unclear about what the brand should sound like, leaving them either silent in social media or sounding haphazard and unrehearsed.

Get over your brand speech impediments by considering the following concepts, all of which play an important role in a well-rounded social media brand voice.

Memes for Marketing: Should You Use Them?

Is it possible to go a whole day online without seeing a meme? Wherever you look on social media, you find those amusing combinations of images and text sending a short, sharp message.

Originally a meme was simply “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” (Merriam-Webster) but now it can be a piece of content – usually visual – that spreads quickly and may even go viral. A case in point: all the memes around Donald Trump, many of which focus on his hair.

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How to Improve the Success of Your Marketing Campaigns with Analytics

It’s only a small snippet of code, but it’s the difference between knowing whether your marketing is working or failing miserably. I’m talking about analytics software, which packs a powerful punch in terms of helping you to understand your website, social media profiles and customers and letting you know whether you’re succeeding in getting attention for your brand and making your business better known.

How to Hire the Right Writer for Your Content

Never underestimate the value of great content to your business. Companies that get content right get more attention and more leads, and if their marketing funnel works right, that usually translates into more sales. But in order to get those benefits, you need to have the right writer for your content. Since the writer is creating content to represent your business, you can’t afford to leave it to chance. Here are some tips on finding the right writer to deliver on your content strategy.

How to Convince Your Boss Content Marketing is Worth It

“What’s the point of content marketing, anyway?” It’s a question many in-house marketers hear from those higher up the chain. It doesn’t matter that YOU know it’s worth it; the question is how to convince your C-level colleagues that this kind of marketing is worth their investment. My experience of doing this shows that there are four areas you need to cover to show what content marketing can achieve.

Why Businesses Should Care About Facebook Featured Photos

If you’ve been paying attention to your personal Facebook account in recent weeks, you’ve probably noticed a new feature: Facebook featured photos. Although this addition is currently available for personal profiles only, it’s worthwhile for businesses to pay attention to it, as there’s always a chance it might migrate over to business pages one day.

Before we look at this feature in more detail, here’s a reminder of why it’s important for businesses that value social media to pay attention to Facebook. Not only did it have 1.59 billion monthly active users by the end of 2015 (with 1.44 billion using mobile devices) but its audience is global, with 83.6% of users outside the US and Canada.

Why You Should Encourage and Share B2B Customer Reviews

There are many reason why you should encourage customer reviews in your marketing strategy. If you’re a software company, you can often find helpful reviews on software review sites. Using reviews from actual customers provides potential customers with real use cases, which can better help them make a decision whether to use your product, as well as improve trust in your company. Consumers today highly value other consumers feedback and opinions, and often rely heavily on reviews for purchase decisions.

The Bots Are Coming: The Rise of Chatbots for Business

If you know anything about science fiction, you know that there are two types of bots in the world: good bots and bad bots. Good bots, when implemented by businesses, can be a semi-automated way to talk to visitors on your website. Businesses, of course, want to take advantage of good bots while avoiding the bad. Since 2018 seems like it will be the year for using chatbots for business, let’s investigate how your business can use chatbots in your own marketing efforts. To start, let’s take a look at what bots are and how they got to where we are today.

How to Advertise on SnapChat Like a Pro

The online advertising world is getting increasingly complicated with a growing variety of platforms to choose from. Google and Facebook are the giants in the field: Google accounts for a 78% share of the total US search ad market and Facebook ads generated over $9 billion in revenue for the company in Q2 2017. However, marketers should be looking at other platforms, too, as they often have value with more precise targeting and specialized demographics.

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The Best Daily Activity Tools for Small Business Growth

In every niche market, the desire for growth among small businesses is ever present. Most people prefer to experience measurable growth as constantly as possible. However, if your daily activities are misaligned with the long-term goal of growing your business, that growth will continue to elude you for a long time to come.

Depending on the size of your business, you are probably wearing too many hats already. This means that with each passing day, you could have multiple responsibilities in management, leadership, marketing, accounting, customer support and many others. Consequently, you feel helplessly trapped in busyness.

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Tips for Creating Agile Teams

Creating an agile team is more or less considered as a must for today’s entrepreneur, assuming you have a small, bootstrapped business. As global trends show, more and more successful businesses follow lean startup model methodology; therefore, creating an agile company and adding additional layers of flexibility and responsiveness to your team structure can really boost your results. Luckily, it’s not all that difficult to create an effective organization. Following are a couple of neat tricks you can resort to in order to add agile in front of your team.

Your Corporate Social Media Policy

As a business owner, marketing manager, or executive, you may wonder if your company needs a social media policy. After all, nearly everyone we know uses a Facebook account, and lots of people are Instagramming photos of their families, or posting this weekend’s party on Snapchat. How do you protect your business when your staff are loose on the social web? Smart businesses have social media policies which govern the actions of employees in social media, whether on behalf of the company or while on their own time.

Influence Marketing: The Good & Bad of Following Up

“You gotta follow through all the way.” That’s what my dad, and later numerous softball captains, said over and over again every time I stepped up to the plate. (Mind you, I was no star softball player – just a casual work-league player who mostly warmed the bench.) I’ve taken that notion to heart in business, particularly, and try to be really diligent with followthrough on projects.

Apparently, many people who do blogger outreach and influence marketing do not adhere to the same concept.

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Why The Best Agency For You Might Not Be A Social Media Agency

Do you know who Danny Kaye is?

I think I can be appropriately curmudgeonly in saying that most kids today don’t know who Danny Kaye, the great 20th Century entertainer, is (was).

For those of you who are unaware, he was a huge star of his time, incredibly well-rounded, with a career that worked through stage, screen, television, records, and food. He died in 1987, after giving us the classic films such as “The Court Jester,” The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and “White Christmas,” as well as a variety show and a handful of special TV shows. Kaye was a classic comic, too, always pushing the envelope even in serious situations.

A Lesson in Re-Branding from Snap (Snapchat)

Yes, you read the title right, Snapchat is now Snap. A change of name in the fall told us that the brand is now planning on expanding itself to be more than a messaging network. Since its creation in 2011, Snap has been interesting, unique, entertaining, and fun! You know about the filters (maybe you have used the dog filter a time or two), the disappearing pictures, videos, and chats, the compilation of stories, memories, ads, spectacles, and discovering other news and current events.

Rebranding became necessary to Snapchat in the fall of 2016. You might find yourself in the same shoes now. You can’t hide from rebranding (and that’s a good thing), and you can’t ignore it. If you feel the pressing need to rebrand and don’t know where to start, take a page out of Snapchat’s book on the matter.

The Ins and Outs of Twitter Chats and Parties

If you’ve been on Twitter for an extended period of time, you’ve seen a Twitter chat and party or two. Maybe you’ve participated in or hosted one or two! It’s one of the ways brands and businesses are connecting on Twitter. Most importantly, chats and parties are a direct connection to your current audience and to the audience you’re trying to reach. We’ve had tremendous success in hosting Twitter parties for some of our clients! Our efforts yielded participation rates of up to 233 (averaging 185 per party) people and 8,194 tweets in just one hour!

3 Ways to Deliver Successful Content

Content marketing is the bridge between you and your target audience – it connects you to people you otherwise might never reach. The goal of your content is to get the audience so interested in your content that they can’t help but cross the bridge to your side. However, we all know that sometimes our content misses the mark and our audience isn’t interested for very long, or even at all! What’s keeping readers engaged? Your story is! What makes up your story? Your content!

How to Run a Remote Business With the Right Tools

There are many benefits to working remotely. Even if you typically work in a traditional office, you’ve dreamt about escaping to work from somewhere else from time-to-time. This is the lifestyle we at Crackerjack Marketing have adopted and loved for a little over six years now: our team is 100% virtual, and we all work out of home offices (or sometimes on the road when we travel for business or pleasure). While we believe there are huge benefits to working remotely, we do rely very heavily on digital tools to help our team stay in touch and in sync with each other.

Charitable Giving Campaigns Best Practices and Examples

Have you noticed the rise of brands implementing social media charitable giving campaigns or, as some may know them, “share-to-donate” campaigns? It’s no big surprise. After all, sharing on social media is what people love to do most. When you combine that with a good cause, you’ve usually got a recipe for success. Right?

Well, maybe or maybe not. While it’s true that this type of social media campaign could present a huge opportunity for your brand and your chosen charity, it could backfire on you and generate the wrong kind of buzz if not executed thoughtfully.

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How to Tweet Like a Pro

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you can probably tell we’re all aflutter about Twitter. Even though we wonder why Twitter is so darn difficult for people, we’re big advocates for using Twitter as part of your overall social media strategy.  It’s a powerful tool for building your business.

What do you do when the ideas just don’t flow as readily as you’d like? What can you do when you’re long on enthusiasm but short on compelling ideas for tweets? No worries! We’ve compiled a list of ideas you can use to get you through those difficult times as well as great resources for finding content to

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Why You Should Avoid Digital Sharecropping

Using social media is now a fact of life, but there’s one key mistake business owners have to avoid. If you have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or whatever social media is best for your business, that’s fantastic, but you must avoid the perils of digital sharecropping. What is it? It’s where you put your eggs in a social media basket and have no web presence of your own.

5 Ways to Get More Eyes on Your Blog Content

Creating blog content is one of the best investments you can make in promoting your business. The stats are clear:

Brands that create 15 new posts monthly average 1200 new leads each month.
Blogs increase the number of pages in the search engine index by 437%.
You’ll get 55% more visitors with a company blog.
Whichever way you look at it, blogging for business is a good thing. But not everyone will read your blog, so to get more from content marketing, use your blog content in other ways so that more people will see it and interact with your company.

How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck with Content Marketing

Everybody wants a magic bullet. And if you’re using content marketing to promote your business you may want it more than most. There are so many sites and types of content out there, so how do you find out what really works to you get great performance and return on investment, and content marketing value for your efforts?

The good news is, you don’t have to look far to find the answer, because Buzzsumo and Fractl have done it for you, analyzing 220,000 articles over a 6 month period from June to November 2014. The infographic is published on Hubspot. Here are some of the key findings, along with the lessons to learn about your content strategy.

Why It’s Worth Investing in Content Marketing

Many people don’t trust advertising any more, especially millennials. That’s why you need content marketing. If you create content that speaks directly and personally to your target customers, they are more likely to trust you. And if their friends also recommend your content, you will win their trust and loyalty and they are more likely to buy into your offer.

Content marketing lets you reach your audience in lots of different ways and helps your search rankings and online authority. But to get the benefits, you have to see content marketing as an investment. Not everyone does, even if they should.

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Exploring Mobile and Social Analytics

In my last post I explained some of the insights analytics offers to help you improve your marketing campaigns. This time round, I’d like to look at two aspects of analytics in more detail: social and mobile analytics. Over the last couple of years, Google has enhanced these features significantly, so it’s worth seeing what you can learn. The reason this is important is because the more you know about how your customers are using mobile and social, the better you can target your marketing.

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Will Your Customers Be Wearing Your Website?

Will your customers be wearing your website soon? The chances are that they will be. If you pay attention to technology news, you know that wearable computing (it’s exactly what it sounds like: computing devices that you wear) is set to make the mobile market even more mobile.

The most common devices are smart watches. These started by allowing you to manage smartphone functions from a device worn on the wrist. But some of the latest ones fly solo, so you don’t need a smartphone to use them. (Check out the Samsung Gear S for an example.) That’s the revolutionary part, and it’s why if you’re not ready for mobile market changes, it’s time to think seriously about what that means for your website and marketing. Google Glass may be wearable, but something that’s just like the watch you wear already, but better, is likely to be more popular.

The Power of the Ask – How to Encourage Social Sharing

Did you know that among the five most popular words on Twitter are the words please and retweet? That tells you something very important. If you want to encourage people to share your work on social media, sometimes all you have to do is ask. It’s a call to action, social media style. Most people can’t resist a heartfelt appeal mixed with a little politeness. That’s why one of the things it’s most important to master in your content marketing is the call to action.

Social Media Advertising: Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn, Oh My!

Ever wanted to know how to use social media advertising for your business, particularly your B2B business? Look no further – here’s our guide to advertising on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

We cover general advertising tips, plus capabilities and use for each of the three major social ads platforms.

Feel free to download and share this eBook direct from Slideshare. (Hint: View the Notes for the presentation by clicking on the Notes tab next to comments and statistics.)

7 Types of Content to Include in Your Strategy and Why {Part 1}

When creating content, a good rule is to make it deep and wide. That’s why you have to think beyond the blog when developing your content strategy. Don’t get me wrong; blogging remains one of the most important ways to increase your influence and authority and to grow both trust and traffic, but why stop there? To get the full benefits of inbound marketing, you need to create shareable content

Content Marketing: 5 Goals for Your Business

When using content marketing for your business, you probably have one, very clear main goal in mind: making more sales. However, there are a bunch of other goals that help you achieve this one. Having a firm idea of what they are will help you gain perspective and make sure your content marketing efforts are moving in the right direction.

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3 Ways to Use Mobile to Reach Millennials

Do you know a teen or young adult who isn’t tied to their mobile phone? According to Pew Research, 80% of 18-34 year olds own a smartphone – and they’re all using them a lot. If you want your brand to appeal to this audience, implementing an effective mobile marketing strategy is the way to go. But how do you capture the attention of individuals who are always on the go? A good start would be to capitalize on the channels that they always access on their mobile devices.

7 Habits of Top Digital Brands

We hear a lot about top digital brands and wonder what sets them apart. It’s not just a lot of luck. It’s not even offering a product or service that no one else sells. Instead, these brands earn this designation through hard work, creativity, and effective strategizing. According to digital agency 360i, there are 7 Habits of Highly Digital Brands – and adhering to most, if not all, of these habits can set a brand far ahead of the pack.

Reaching Teens Using Social Media

“The Young and the Restless” is not only a popular American soap opera, it’s also an accurate description of the teens today. According to Forrester Research, teenagers today, including the group considered “millennials,” have a strong need to be connected on the internet more than any other generation.

Teens are able to fulfill this desire because they have the time and energy to be active online on a regular basis, compared to other age groups. One of the best ways to gain the attention of millennials as your target audience, is to reach out to them via social networks. But with so many existing, not to mention up-and-coming, social media platforms, you can’t possibly delve into all of them to meet marketing goals. Instead of juggling several social networks to keep up with the ‘trend”, it’s smarter and much more efficient to choose networks proven to be popular, effective and easy to use.  Here are the five social networks where you can establish an effective inbound marketing strategy directed to teens.

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How To Apologize To Your Customers

There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle most things in life, and that includes crises of the technology hacking variety. Two recent hacking crises do an excellent job of illustrating how companies handle crises. One, involving Buffer, occurred in October 2013 and was handled quite well while another, involving Snapchat in January 2014, just wasn’t. One of the major differences between the crisis management demonstrated by these companies? The apology. Customers want to know that the companies they patronize care.

Here’s what Buffer did right.

4 Steps to Creating a Content Marketing Engine

Once you’ve decided that inbound marketing is right for you, what’s next? As enthusiastic as you may feel, it’s only natural to puzzle over how you’re supposed to go from being an traditional, advertising-heavy company to a creator and distributor of content that attracts, engages, and moves your audience through the marketing funnel. The answer? You need to create a content marketing engine so that content creation becomes easy and seamless. Here’s how.

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7 Key Assets for Inbound Marketing

You likely already have several key inbound marketing assets at your disposal. These platforms help you interest, educate, and entertain your audience, moving your prospects through the inbound marketing continuum. Your goal is to take your audience members, who are essentially strangers at the beginning of your relationship, and convert them into customers and brand promoters. How many of these marketing assets do you already have working for you?

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Creating Customer Personas for Inbound Marketing

Some things just aren’t one-size fits all, and content is one of them. To effectively engage your audience, you’ll need content that caters to the specific types of consumers you are trying to reach. And how can you get that? Start by creating customer personas that fit your audience members, and then tailor content to fit each persona. Essentially, you’ll use these personas to drive your inbound marketing strategies.

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What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing, while not an entirely new concept, has become quite popular, particularly with B2B marketers and with consumer marketers too. The reason for its growth is due in large part to some of the new ways that people communicate: via the social web and blogs.

Inbound marketing is actually a powerful combination of digital marketing methods, including content marketing, social media, SEO, lead nurturing and email marketing. And it’s considered today’s “new” way of marketing. In the old world of marketing, you could buy people’s attention – throw enough money at TV ads and you’d get a huge audience. But in today’s increasingly fragmented media market, and with those new communications methods, that’s very hard to do, so there has to be a better way.

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Social Listening Like a Rap Star

The social media revolution was – is – all about talking. It’s about putting your ideas out into the world to see how they connect and collide with others’.

But if the social media revolution is about talking, the social media revelation is about listening. (See what I did there? Eh, eh?)

Social listening is a hugely important piece of successful online engagement because it has everything to do with understanding our audience(s), developing a sense of empathy, and speaking to our customers in a language they can relate to. Unfortunately, though, it’s also the step that’s easiest to ignore. Why is that?

I think we ignore it because it’s genuinely hard, and it’s often overwhelming. It’s easy to get lost. For what should we be listening? To whom should we be listening? On which channels?

How to Promote Your YouTube Videos for Free

YouTube videos can be an important part of your social media marketing plans. However, creating high-quality, informative, entertaining videos isn’t enough. You’ll need reliable ways of getting the word out and securing the right kind of attention for your videos. Here are several free ways to promote your YouTube videos.

How To Throw a Social Media Party

My friend Sree inspired me a while back to think about how to throw a social media themed party, so I’ve been gathering some pins and links about food, decor and activities. Maybe you can use some of these ideas at one of your work or play gatherings.

Pros and Pitfalls of Sponsored Content for Brands

Recognizing that many consumers have become bored and disillusioned with traditional ads, many businesses are looking to create new types of advertising. Although technology makes it easier than ever to create and post attractive ads online, and many advertising opportunities are fairly inexpensive, consumers less likely to pay attention to them. Therefore traditional ad options just aren’t as attractive as they used to be. Sponsored content, also called branded content or native advertising, is filling a gap for advertisers.

Help! My 9 Year Old Wants To Be On Instagram!

What is the “right” age for a child to be involved in social media? This is a question I get asked a lot, both as a practitioner of corporate social media and also as a co-founder of the Digital Family Summit.

Some might think there is an easy answer. Nearly all account-based websites, by necessity of COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), provide terms of service which state that the minimum age for account holders is 13. As a parent, it might be easy to say to a kid, “the rules are 13, you can join when you’re 13, and that’s that.” But this answer is far too simplistic.

Is Your CEO Fluent in Social?

My four-and-a-half year old is learning the finer points of the English language. Like the fact that the plural of “mouse” is “mice,” not “mouses” or “mices.” Until I started teaching him these kinds of English nuances, I’d forgotten how hard it is to learn a language from scratch.

This got me thinking about how we’ve all learned social media. For my son’s generation up through the current crop of college kids, social media is part of the fabric of their existence. They don’t give any thought to the concepts of short-form text content, sharing video, or checking in to a location. But for most of us, most likely including you, we’ve learned social media the hard way: as if it were a foreign language we have to learn from the ground up.

3 Great Examples of B2B Companies Using Instagram

As far as image-driven social sites go, Instagram has proven its value for sharing fresh, creative content. Far from being merely pretty, Instagram provides brands with the chance to engage markets visually, establish an emotional connection, and increase their followers. However, B2B brands often overlook Instagram, believing it’s better for fashion, news and travel companies.

Is Facebook Right for Your B2B Brand?

If you read my recent post on Social Media Explorer, you know that I’m not really a fan of Facebook for B2B (business-to-business) businesses. That’s because Facebook is generally a personal domain. People may be willing to connect to brands which intersect with or enhance their personal lives, but I’ve seen resistance amongst Facebookers when faced with messaging from a B2B brand (clearly targeted at their business lives).

Mobile Is Not a Strategy, It’s a Necessity

Today’s world is growing ever more mobile. It seems that everyone, from the youngest grade schooler to the happy retiree, has at least some sort of mobile device, and it’s more and more likely that device is a smartphone. These devices aren’t used for just entertainment anymore. Today’s users rely on them for everything from driving directions and work productivity to research and shopping. Since you need to be where your customers are, you need more than a mere mobile strategy or mobile campaign. You need to make your business mobile.

What’s So Special About Twitter?

We all know that Twitter is a household name when it comes to social media, but just why is it so special? What makes this social media platform the success it is? I’m a huge, and therefore hugely biased, user and supporter of Twitter, and there are over 200 million other active users.

These are just a few of the ways that Twitter differs from other social platforms and why I think it’s poised for ongoing success.

Dead Social Networks: Lessons For All Marketers

Some social networks thrive and grow far beyond expectations while others start off with a big bang but go out with a whimper. Why? What is the difference between successful networks like Facebook and Twitter and those we’ve left behind, such as MySpace, Friendster and Second Life? Heed these 5 possible reasons some social networks fail – there are lessons for all marketers here!

What To Include In Your Corporate Social Media Training Program

Social media can have a profound effect on your company’s success, and creating a corporate social media training program can help you take full advantages of the opportunities it provides. Social media tools can only help you reach your goals if your employees know how to use them: not just adequately, but to their fullest potential. To get the most out of social media, get your whole team involved and provide an effective training program to ensure they know what they’re doing. Below are some of the most important things to include when creating a social media training program.

Twitter for Writers

I recently presented “Twitter for Writers” at the Business of Pet Writing Conference and at the ASJA 41st Annual Writers Conference.

Twitter is one of my favorite social media topics to present on; as a longtime user (I joined with my first, now dormant, account in early 2007) I’ve found it consistently the most valuable tool in my arsenal. It’s my go-to resource for news and information daily; I’ve learned about nearly every major world event in the last three or four years through my Twitter stream. I’ve also made amazing connections through Twitter, including wonderful friends as well as clients. Accordingly, I feel pretty passionate about why everyone should use Twitter (though I know not everyone will) and I think that passion comes through when I present about it.

Media Kits for Bloggers

Last night I was a guest of the Philly Social Media Moms, presenting to a great group of bloggers on how to create media kits. Jo-Lynne Shane hosted and my friend Cecily Kellogg helped answer questions and get everyone get into the trenches creating their own media kits right there at the workshop.

Basic Success Measures in Social Media

In a perfect world, before you can measure how well you’re doing, you need to know what you’ve set out to accomplish. But in reality, when you get started in social media, your objectives may be rather general. It will take time to refine and define your goals.  So let’s take a look at some of the basic success measures in social media which you can employ when you’re just dipping your toe in the waters.

One of the wonderful aspects of digital marketing is its measurability. Every day your efforts will speak to you, as you receive feedback that lets you know how people are responding to your content. This constant feedback loop allows you to constantly learn and improve.

Sweepstakes & Contest Rules for Bloggers (and Brands)

I’ve been really angsty of late, worrying about things I shouldn’t worry about. That’s the life of a Jewish mother, I suppose. But it’s also the life of a social media marketer who is valiantly trying to stay on the right side of the law. The FTC law on sweepstakes rules, that is.

No doubt most of you are aware that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regulates advertising and marketing practices here in the U.S. They’re the governmental group who has brought us the CAN-SPAM act (email marketing), COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) and, more recently, their Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which helped to bring about a more open and transparent level of disclosure by bloggers about their relationships with brands, organizations and events. The FTC is also one of the governmental bodies which regulates Contests and Sweepstakes (others being the Postal Service, the Department of Justice, and regulatory bodies within each of the 50 U.S. states).

What’s The Most Important Thing To Say About Your Business On Your Website?

With the advent of sites like Yelp and the wealth of ratings and reviews on Amazon and TripAdvisor, people have come to rely on recommendations from others more than ever. I know that if I’m shopping in a store and trying to decide whether to buy an appliance or a toy, I feel a bit lost unless I can look up what other people have said about it.

Testimonials mean a lot to potential customers. They lend credibility to your product or service. Here are four ways to generate testimonials.

How To Write A Powerful Twitter Bio

Your Twitter bio is one of the most important pieces of content you will write on Twitter so you’ll want to write a powerful Twitter bio to make the most of this small space in social. People will use it in search, to find people that match their interests. They will use it to decide whether to follow you back when you follow them. You only have 160 characters, so it’s important to make the most of every one. When you first get started, do the best you can to describe yourself but don’t worry too much, because your bio can easily be changed. There are different styles of bio but it’s best to stick to some general rules; at least until you become a household name, and then you can do whatever you want.

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We’re All Search Marketers Now

As social media grows and matures, it seems pretty clear that there are a few aspects of this integrated discipline that are becoming increasingly important, yet are undeveloped skills in most social media practitioners.  One such aspect is search marketing.

Just a few short years ago search engine optimization (SEO) was a highly specialized discipline, and primarily was being executed within standalone SEO firms and some digital agencies.   The guys (yeah, mostly guys, though a few gals too) who were search experts often had coding backgrounds, and they really understood the nuts-and-bolts of how the search engines, and websites, worked.  They used this info to help static websites get noticed by the engines, and then they extended that knowledge into paid search, also called PPC (pay-per-click) or search engine marketing (SEM).  Blogs came along and they figured out the best ways to optimize those too.  If you needed to build a website or blog, or run a PPC campaign, you knew who to call.

8 Types Of Content For Facebook Business Pages

Your Facebook business page is just one more point of contact for your business.  It’s a way for customers to reach you and a way for you and your community to have conversations.

Before we can answer the question of what to say on Facebook, you need to consider what type of image or personality you want to project. How does your brand “sound” when it talks to people? Are you funny, informative, authoritative, compassionate, serious, helpful, inspirational? List the words that describe the personal side of your brand and you’ll have a hint of what to say and how to say it.

What’s The Best Follower to Following Ratio on Twitter?

The answer is: It depends! When you first join Twitter and get started, you will mostly likely be following more people tand have fewer followers. When you’re just getting rolling, don’t worry too much about your followers.

Find people to follow who truly interest you. Keep in mind that when you follow someone who follows very few people but has many followers, it is not likely that you’ll get followed back. That’s fine. Choose important people to follow, but also choose those with a better balance of following-followers and it’s likely that some will reciprocate and follow you.

How To Schedule Your Tweets For Maximum Exposure

Sharing links with your Twitter followers is a great way to share industry-related information, keep your followers up-to-date and, and keep them entertained.  To do this, though, you need to be tweeting these links when most of your followers are online and likely to see them.  Given time zone changes and the differences in individual schedules, it can be difficult to know exactly when to send tweets for maximum effectiveness; even harder still is to be at your computer, ready to push the send button at exactly those times.

What Is A “Call To Action?”

You may have heard the term “call to action” and perhaps you even know how it applies to an advertisement or TV show. When you are watching a television ad and they say, “order now!,” that is a call to action.

In social media, most of your writing will probably not end with “order now.” If you want to see results, you do, however, need to have a call to action for any marketing effort, social media included. But since social media is more about establishing a relationship, establishing authority or humanizing your brand, the call to action is going to have a different tone than the screaming TV ad.

Use Social Media At Your Next Conference

I recently returned from the BlogHer Conference in San Diego, the largest gathering of women in blogging – at 3,200+ strong, we’re quite the amazing group. With BlogHer, Evo Conference and Mom 2.0 Summit all happening within 1-2 months of each other, I’ve been relying on a bunch of new (and older) tools and platforms to maximize my conference-going and networking. Some of these tools may be new to you, too so I’m happy to share them with you.

Social Media Safety for Teens

With back-to-school around the corner, now is a great time to talk to your kids about social media safety and smarts. Last summer I was fortunate to be able to present a series of seminars to a bunch of tweens and teens at an upstate New York summer camp. I think the most important concept we discussed together was the need to think about what you’re posting today, to avoid issues when a future college or employer looks you up online and discovers a youthful mistake.

Hopefully this presentation (click through to view on Slideshare.net) will help you to talk to your tween or teen about internet and social media safety.

Dirty Twitter Stream? Clean it Up with Lists!

If you’re following a significant number of people on Twitter, it’s likely your stream is pretty full. It’s fun to follow a lot of people, but with so many updates flying by, it can get difficult to focus on the conversation and people you care most about. You may even be tempted to start deleting some of the Twitter accounts you follow, but that’s a difficult decision. How do you decide who makes the cut? If you started following them to begin with, unless that account turned out to be a spam account, it’s not likely you want to un-follow them now.

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How To Survey Your Customers Like A Pro

Knowing your customers, understanding their wants and their needs, and getting feedback quickly on new products and services, is critical to your business success. One of the best tools available for getting that information is offered by a company called Survey Monkey. It’s free for a basic service that allows up to 100 responses per survey. For a relatively small annual charge, you can get thousands of responses and a wide array of survey types and analysis through simple or complex customer surveys.

How Twitter Can Help You Generate Business

Twitter can be a really great tool to help you find customers and to help customers find you. With over 140 million tweets per day, you can easily imagine that people are talking about your product or service. How you use it to drive sales is partly a matter of how well you search Twitter.

When you go to Twitter.com you’ll see a search box prominently on the home page. Start playing around with different searches and see what you can find that’s related to what you do. Are you a real estate attorney? Type in “real estate attorney nyc,” as follows.

How to Close A Social Media Account

While it’s nice to think that we’d all finish what we start, sometimes it’s not that easy. You create a Facebook page for your brand because you’ve got a marketing coordinator with extra time, but poof – the headcount is cut. Or you convince your CEO to start Tweeting, and she loses interest after about six weeks. It can happen to any brand….but there’s a right way and a wrong way to bow out gracefully.

Organizing Your Staff for Social Media

Just where does social media belong in an organization? Is it a marketing or public relations tool? Is it owned by customer service? Is it in a category by itself?  And – is it even important to put social media in a category? The answer is yes and no. You can implement social media strategies and enjoy success without choosing a classification. But classifying it may prove critical when you are creating social media policies and planning across the organization.

Why PR May Not Win The Social Media Agency Wars

The default position lately seems to be that social media is being grasped best by PR agencies, and a lot of PR agencies are winning social media business. As a former PR agency person who’s also worked in a social media shop, I’d agree that there are a lot of reasons that PR firms should win the social agency wars. But there are a lot of strikes against them too. Others have recently expounded on why social belongs in PR; I’m going to take the other side and outline where I feel PR is falling short and must catch up in order to win and deliver on integrated social media campaigns.

The Case for Social Media Agencies

Previously, I’ve written about how PR firms are missing some key skillsets that they need to win integrated social media business. The post generated a lot of great feedback, Tweets and Likes, and I think it’s because it really hit a nerve with a lot of agency folk – PR and otherwise.

So here on my own blog I’ll make the correlating argument that there is an opportunity now for pureplay social media agencies to really grow and thrive.  Of course, I’m completely biased, having spent nearly five years at award-winning social agency Converseon, and now as principal of my own social and digital marketing agency (I did work in PR for a year in between – so have some credibility on the PR side as well).  Please bear with me as I make the case and then tell me at the end whether you agree or not.

Gamification and Marketing

Mention Farmville as a potential marketing tactic to most marketers or brand stewards and you’ll get greeted by an “ugh, really?”  I have yet to work with someone, colleague or client, who plays social games online, so very few of them are convinced that gaming is the way to reach consumers.  But increasingly, gaming is an important and growing channel with regular new points of entry for engagement.

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Editorial Calendar Continued: Creating a Facebook Calendar

As a further extension to my series on editorial calendars, let’s talk about Facebook.  If you’re running a Facebook brand/fan page, you’ll want to create an editorial calendar for that, too.

Given how many friends people have, and how quickly status updates get pushed down on people’s home pages, Facebook recommends that brands post status updates at least twice per day in order to capture the greatest audience for your brand content.  That means creating (and posting) 10 to 14 updates per week (depending on if you include weekends – which Facebook recommends but most brands don’t do).  That’s a lot of content!

Editorial Calendar Continued: Curating Content for Twitter

In Tuesday’s post I described how to go about setting up a steady stream of tweets to populate your Twitter account.  The post covered the mechanics of the process, so now you might be wondering where to get all that content from.  Here are a few ideas for how to curate outside sources to provide relevant, timely content to your followers.

Editorial Calendar Continued: Twitter Editorial Calendars

In reality, a Twitter editorial calendar is less “editorial” and more “planning.”  Given that you’ve only got 140 characters to play with (only 120 if you want to leave room for ReTweets), it’s not like you’re going to create groundbreaking editorial content for your Twitter stream.  Therefore, what I use Twitter for, and what many of the people I follow seem to do, is to curate links to content I feel that my Twitter audience will be interested in receiving.  This can include my own content, of course, but will also include links to others’ content.  I also make use of Twitter to get questions answered, take the pulse of my followers, and to do some (very limited) self-promotion.

Here are the steps for developing a consistent, easy-to-manage Twitter stream.

Editorial Calendar Continued: Blog Calendar Template

I’ve had a couple of requests for a copy of the spreadsheet I’m using to track my blog editorial calendar, so I’ve created a Google Docs version that anyone can view and download.

In the spreadsheet I’ve included what I consider to be the most important fields that you should fill out while creating your calendar, as well as some columns for tracking your results afterward.

I’ve used similar structures in various ways with different clients, depending on their style and needs. Here are some of the things I think about when I’m crafting and updating my blog calendar.

Editorial Calendar Continued: 9 Ways to Program Out Blog Content

Hopefully now you’ve got a structure for your editorial calendar.  But it’s empty.  How do you determine what content to include in your blog?

The first place to start is to listen.  I’ve said before that I’m a huge proponent of social media listening, as that’s where you’re going to find the topics that are of interest to your audience.  You’ll want to also understand how you’re telling your brand story – what’s your voice, who’s speaking on your behalf.

So assuming that you know who your audience is, you know what you want your voice to be, and you know who’s writing (if it’s a multi-author blog), let’s look at some of the various ways to flesh out your editorial calendar for your blog.  These may not all be appropriate for you, just pick and choose to get the right balance of content for your brand.

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Brands Working With Bloggers – It’s Confusing

While I was busy last week getting my new site up and running, a major conversation was happening in the blogosphere about compensation for mommybloggers. This is a topic that I’m pretty passionate about, having recently moderated a panel about how PR and bloggers can work together, and as a long-time liaison between brands and bloggers.

From the brand side, there is certainly a great deal of confusion (and, dare I say, ignorance) about how to work with bloggers (of any type, not just moms). Here are the issues from my perspective.