It is not new to hear that Facebook has once again chanced their algorithm. Their reasoning, to make a better experience for Facebook users, pushing more updates from friends and family, meaning even less will see your business page posts. I don’t know about you, but I am not buying it. For a long while it has become clear that Facebook has turned into a pay-to-play platform and now it is even more apparent. Before this last update, only 2-5% of those following your page saw your updates and now it is even less. Facebook is pushing you to engage with their ad platform and pay to reach not only new customers, but even those that have already liked your page.
In my industry, there are tons of people who claim to be social media or marketing experts, but very few practice what they preach. For me in my business, I never recommend digital strategies that I have not practiced myself and learned how to execute properly. Would you trust a plumber to fix your issues if they had never done it before?
As I am sure most of you have seen in the last few years a shift in marketing. The public is beginning to no longer tolerate marketing and branding that is superficial. With the explosion of social media, brands that are authentic and transparent are the ones seeing HUGE success. Is your marketing and branding transparent, does it move people in a positive and genuine way? I don't want to get on my soapbox, but today is one of those days. In recent weeks I have seen a large influx of brands and celebrities taking a stand to be authentic and use their marketing to cause REAL change in our culture and our thinking. These few examples below have seen the way our culture has been affected by superficial marketing and making women feel they are incomplete the way they are.
Stand Against Photoshop
Colbie Caillat cannot stand the way the Photoshop and brands have displayed women in marketing and she is using her brand for change. She is completely transparent and vulnerable for the world to see in her latest song "Try" and this not only has gotten her publicity, but genuinely helps women feel confident in their own skin.
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The Always brand has chosen to not just sell a product, but use their marketing to create change in the mindset of how women are viewed.
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Positive Body Image Stuck in Your Head
Up and coming artist, Meghan Trainor recently released her first single "All About That Bass" and it has gone viral. Through her self-acceptance message in her music she has become a sensation overnight.
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What do these examples mean for YOUR marketing?
- Be Authentic & Transparent
Fans will rally behind brands that show who they are to the public.
- Stand for Something
These brands and artists are taking a stand for what is important to them...do the same in your marketing.
- Realize You Impact Your Customers
Don't get stuck behind selling a product or services, but realize every interaction with your customers is an opportunity to add value to their day. Making their day better will build a stronger tie to you and create brand advocates who will vouch for you.
From these examples you can see how being authentic and making positive changes in the lives of their audience has helped them see results overnight! This is not always the case, but brands that add value and take a stand for authenticity will win in the end.
What are your favorite brands that are transparent and cause positive change in your life and/or business? Comment below and continue this discussion.
The Marketing Dame
The biggest question I am asked from business owners is...."What social media platforms should I use for my business?" It is a great question and one that is not easily answered as not all social media platforms are created equally. As I am unable to speak to specifics, I will give a few guidelines for various platforms to assist in your social media efforts.
Just as this quote states, the key to picking a social media platform is choosing the ones that the majority of your customers are on. Some companies have the resources to be on all social media platforms, but for most businesses social media is time-consuming which is why you must pick the platforms that will give you the best reach and engagement with your customer base.
Now for social media platform overviews:
For the time being Facebook is still one of the most widely used social media platforms for businesses today. One of the things I like about Facebook is the customization control you have on Pages and this allows you to direct people to the areas of your page using 3rd applications. Since such a large majority of the population is on Facebook it is likely that your customers are on this platform. Of all the social media platforms, Facebook is the one that has the best and most strategic advertising options as well. This means if you want to invest in advertising on social media, this is the platform that will allow you to target more narrowly than the competing social platforms. So as a general rule, I normally recommend the majority of businesses to have a business page.
Twitter in my opinion is a platform that has a lot of functionality to create conversation with customers and it is far easier to gain a following on Twitter more quickly than other platforms (granted there are strategies to do this). The problem with Twitter is that this platform can feel hit or miss if you are not using it properly and do not understand how to use it...such as the use of hashtags. As a general rule I always encourage brick and mortar businesses for have a Twitter account since it is far easier for a customer to tweet at you at your location than searching for your other social media platforms. Also if you are planning on hosting events I recommend Twitter as it can be used for easily tracking conversations using hashtags.
LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B businesses. This platform features your professional self and is great to connect with other businesses. Do not expect to be pushing much B2C business, but for those of you wanting to get your foot in the door and network, it is the platform for you. The key to LinkedIn is being consistent and sharing content that is valuable and not continually self-promoting. People want to grow professionally on LinkedIn and if you add to their growth through sharing knowledge they are more likely to do business with you.
If you have a website that is very media and photo heavy, Pinterest may be for you. The main goal of Pinterest is to be a source of website traffic, which is done through "pinning" images from your website. But be careful, promoting too much of your own content and not engaging on other content on Pinterest is social etiquette faux pas. For general industries that are popular on Pinterest, simply take a look at the large search categories, such as Weddings and Food & Drink.
Nor for a platform that is even more photo friendly...we have Instagram. This platform has gained a lot of exposure lately and will continue to see growth in the years to come. This platform is becoming popular because it seems to be a quieter space as compared to platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Businesses that will see success on Instagram are those that produce quality photos. Typically businesses that are B2C tend to have better success on this platform. If you are unsure if you should engage on Instagram, think through the eyes of your customers and whether they would likely engage in photos of your business and its culture.
Vine is a relatively new platform and many brands are getting on the Vine bandwagon. In my opinion Vine is great if you have creative video concepts. If you struggle with creating lots of creative content Vine might not be for your business. This platform is a large form of entertainment so if you are going to engage, be entertaining as those are the videos that will be more likely to spread.
Now YouTube may not seem like a social platform, but it is. Honestly I wish that most businesses were on YouTube as it is a HUGE driver of SEO for your website and online traffic. YouTube is owned by Google and if done properly will get your better results than blogging alone. Most businesses think that in order to see success as a brand on YouTube that you must have professional videos, which as we all know can be extremely costly. In reality the key to YouTube is adding value to people and that is more important than spending tons of money with professional videographers. I always recommend having a few professional videos for your website, but simply using your computer camera is enough to get your point across on a daily basis.
If you would like help figuring out which social media platforms you should invest your time and energy on, email or contact me today.
If this post struck a chord with you and you are ready to increase your exposure online, then look no further. I am here to help you be able to get back to what you do best and I can handle the rest.
Click the “Contact Us Now” button to get started. If you would like a sample of the ideas we could generate to help your business, click here for a free digital marketing report, custom-made for your company. Even if you are not in Tulsa, I also do have consulting available for you to purchase to get one-on-one help from me to kick-start your next project, company, idea…the skies the limit. Click here for more info on those services.
Mentoring has been a key to building up employees for centuries....but picking a mentor within your organization or mentoring an employee should be only a fraction of your mentoring ability. When I was job hunting right out of college, training and mentorship were a vital factor in the companies I chose to interview. How else would I grow in an job if there was no one within the organization that was willing to teach me the path to success. Unfortunately while I was job hunting I found something disturbing in today's workforce....very few companies valued mentoring. Most places I interviewed with were surprised at my desire to learn the basics of a business and work my way up. It was only later that I realized that most of these managers were more concerned about their own skin than training an employee to excel in their job. Now years later it was this and so many other lessons that drove me to start me own business, but in the process I completely lost the opportunity to have a co-worker mentor me.
While growing my business I began to network and soon discovered the need to find men and women that could be a soundboard of wisdom as I entered my new venture. It was during my networking events that I encountered individuals that took the time to invest in me and my future. It is because of my networking that I avoided many pitfalls within my business when I first started.
Now I am not saying stop mentoring your employees....because that is a VITAL part to a company's growth and building your company culture. But with many businesses engaging in networking you may run across some people that you can take under your win and give your guidance and expertise. On the other side, you should not use your networking opportunities just for the sake of networking, but as a way to expand your inner circle and seek out people that can help you grow both personally and professionally. Below are some keys to look for when picking mentors in your networking circles:
- Pick mentors from different backgrounds and even industries. People from different walks of life will have a different perspective and you will have access to a larger knowledge base.
- Pick mentors that have seen success. When picking a mentor you want to pick ones that have reached a level of success that you wish to reach in the future. This does not mean they must be in your industry, but they have seen success and failure in their career and learning from them will help you grow. In order to reach success they will have had a few failures and the lessons from those experiences your mentor had could help your future.
- Make sure there is room in their schedule. Executives and business owners are playing a balancing act and you do not want to add to their stress by sucking away their time; therefore be mindful that you pick people that do have a little wiggle room in their schedule. You do NOT need to meet with them constantly but ask to pick their brain every once in a while and ask for the expertise.
As the quote above states....networking and mentorship are blurring....do not miss out on the opportunities to mentor or be mentored. You must take the first step towards growth or helping someone grow. Leave me a comment below and let me know the experiences you have had in "Mentworking."
If you are seeking a mentor and would like to connect, click the “Contact Us Now” button and I would love to be of assistance.
As a marketing consultant I constantly get asked the question....should I advertise in TV, radio, in this publication and that. Today there are so many options on where businesses can advertise that it can truly overwhelm businesses. Some businesses have large ad budgets so they can risk throwing money at multiple avenues, but for small business owners one wrong advertising decision can mean creating very thin margins and the stress of paying bills. Over the years my solution to this problem is two-fold. Here is the process I guide my clients and my own business through on a regular basis.
1. Do Your Homework
Businesses are constantly asked to advertise, especially new businesses. When I worked at a boutique hotel right out of college it seemed as if every advertising avenue knew I was new in town. Within a month of starting I was approached by almost every publication in town...the Tulsa World, Tulsa People Magazine, Oklahoma Magazine, Brides of Oklahoma, and various others. Every single publication wanted to show me their reach and all of their stats, which to a non-marketer looks appealing. But you must take a look at each publication and ask yourself if your target market is within the advertisers target market. The point of advertising is reaching customers who align with your business which is why choosing correctly is key.
The main element that helps solidify if you should advertise with a certain company is checking with their current customers. Look to see if there are companies in your same industry within the publication....next pick up the phone and start calling some of the companies already advertising with them. Ask these companies if they have seen increased exposure and customers in their business since advertising with the company. If they say they cannot tell, then odds are that it is not worth it to have a presence in that company.
Another few items to think about....advertisers will always puff up their stats to get you to buy on the spot. Don't be swayed by numbers but take your time to do your homework to see if it is a right fit. Another pitfall many places try to catch companies in is social media. Many will say that they will promote you on social media and use their large following base to impress you. Again...DO YOUR HOMEWORK....they may have a large following but look to see how they are promoting their current advertisers. As many of us know just one post a month will not reach all of their followers. There are many factors that go into getting the most exposure you can out of social media but advertisers that throw social media around as a huge perk to advertising is all smoke and mirrors...do not be deceived.
2. Track, Track, Track
If you decide that there is an advertisement avenue that fits your needs and is a good fit for your target market, the next thing you MUST do is track your ad. Simply having an ad is not enough if you have no way to track the tangible results of the ad. Examples of this include a special promotion that you are only running in that publication, such as free coffee with purchase of x. You can have keywords in your ad that customers can say at checkout and then your employees can track how many people are redeeming your ad. Another clever way you can track information is having a phone number on the ad that is used only for that ad (you can easily get a free Google Voice number and use that so you can track how many calls you receive).
This may sound like a post against most traditional advertising, but I assure you it is not. In my experience though many advertisers are just trying to make their sales numbers and do not really have a heart for helping your business. It is because of this that I implore you to proceed with caution if you are planning on advertising. You always want to choose the marketing options that are going to give you the best ROI...it may take time but if you use these suggestions you will be prepared to find the right advertisers to help your business.
If you would like business counsel on advertising and your current marketing strategy, give me a call. Click the “Contact Us Now” button or call the number at the bottom of the screen to get started. If you would like a sample of the ideas we could generate to help your business, click here for a free digital marketing report, custom-made for your company. Even if you are not in Tulsa, I also do have consulting available for you to purchase to get one-on-one help from me to kick-start your next project, company, idea…the skies the limit. Click here for more info on those services.
Over the last few weeks being more productive has been on my mind. Running a business and personal life can take a toll and creating healthy boundaries can become extremely difficult. After working with an amazing life coach I had am epiphany....spending time scheduling and creating healthy boundaries relieves stress and actually creates more time and makes you more productive. Let me explain...let me know if any of this sounds familiar....working a high stress job, like creating a startup or running a business, means the lines between work and personal life can blur. Being the heart of any business means that the job always comes home with you and it can be difficult to turn off your brain and simple engage in your home-life without the constant stress and worry of your business looming over you. If any of this sounds familiar read on...
My life coach gave me a challenge of scheduling out every hour of my workday for at least one day. At first I was hesitant but decided to go along with the experiment. Do you know what I found? I discovered that my scheduling out my entire day hour by hour with my tasks to complete that I was more productive and was able to disengage at the end of the day. Instead of working into all hours of the night I purposely stopped my workday at my designated time and was able to actually enjoy my home life and accomplish more not only in my business but in my personal life.
Setting healthy boundaries in your work life will surprisingly create more productivity and will allow you to embrace and enjoy your personal life. So take this experiment. Schedule out every hour of your workday for one day and you will see all the time you are wasting and how much free time this will create to finish your work. Disengaging at the end of the day will allow you to schedule out the next day and remove the looming cloud of work to complete until the next work day.
After your day of scheduling, leave me a comment on this post and let me know how setting healthy boundaries made you more productive.
If this post struck a chord with you and you would like business coaching assistance, then look no further. Click the “Contact Us Now” button to get started. If you would like a sample of the ideas we could generate to help your business, click here for a free digital marketing report, custom-made for your company. Even if you are not in Tulsa, I also do have consulting available for you to purchase to get one-on-one help from me to kick-start your next project, company, idea…the skies the limit. Click here for more info on those services.
As usual my blogging inspiration for the day comes from my daily life and today I was shocked by a local Tulsa company...thus the need for today's post. Business has changed over the years and with addition of technology there are many ways that customers can find your company, ranging from traditional and digital avenues. In the information overload it is essential that prospects are able to find you easily. According to Jay Baer, the author of Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype:
In 2010, shoppers needed 5.3 sources of information before making a purchase decision. In 2011, just one year later, shoppers needed 10.4 sources before making a purchase decision.
First of all...you can see that the age of technology has drastically changed the way customers show. The next issue to discuss is....where are these sources coming from? The answer is anywhere from traditional media such as print advertising, TV, radio, brick & mortar storefront, online, social media, etc to word of mouth. Now this is not a pitch to tell you to be on ALL forms of advertising and ALL forms of social media because for me not all advertising is created equal for every company. But with that, it is essential that people are able to find you.
Now for my story....today on Facebook a friend of mine asked for a recommendation for a certain product that she was looking for in town. She had tons of comments and suggestions and I knew of a vendor from an event I had attended that would be a perfect solution for her. Unfortunately I did not have their contact information....so what did I do? You guessed it? GOOGLE! But much to my surprise this company was nowhere to be found....not even in the Yellow Pages (yes I know...shocking)! Thus my next step was to contact a client of mine that had worked with them in the past...but much to my surprise even my client has trouble finding the information. We managed to find their email, but it was no longer working. Finally they were able to get their phone number and I was able to help my friend.
Now for the lessons to be learned from this experience:
1. You are in business...prospects should not have to work to find you.
There are so many businesses in today's modern world and for the most part if you make finding your information difficult for the customer, they will use your competitor instead.
2. Being able to be found on Google is ESSENTIAL in today's world.
If the company had a website or was listed in an online directory ANYWHERE on the internet, Google would have been able to direct me to their information. Obviously as a digital marketer I always recommend having a customized website for your business as this will typically be what people see first when searching for you.
3. If your competition is online, you need to be too.
For this particular story, this vendor is in an industry that is very involved on social media which is why searching for them was that much more frustrating. If you are in an industry that has a heavy presence online, if you are not there you will likely lose out on new customers.
4. Make sure your information is up to date.
This should be a no brainer, but regardless it is something that can get overlooked. Make sure that your contact information across the web and traditional media is directing people to your most current information.
Now for your challenge....take a minute to see your business through the eyes of new customers. How would you search for your business? See where the holes might be in your current strategy and make an action plan to improve this year.
We all are familiar with the famous Thomas Edison quote, " I have not failed, I just found 10,000 ways it won't work." This has been inspirational for so many throughout the years, yet I do not think many of us really sit and ponder the true struggle Edison went through. This brings me to today's discussion...in order to succeed you must see failure.
When I say failure I do not mean bankruptcy (but perhaps in some cases), but more failures throughout your life, career, and business that you have encountered. Unless you are Jesus I am sure that we have all seen failure in our lives and seeing failures in our business can be costly and disheartening. Just as coal comes under extreme pressure to become a valuable diamond, we can see overwhelming pressure and issues that force us to see our businesses in a new light.
To me personally, failure means you are at the point of change. Without failure it is difficult to grow your business into something that can last the test of time. I believe that entrepreneurs are more familiar with failure since running a business does not come with a manual and mistakes will be made. Those that are able to pick themselves up and move past failure are those that see success. Difficult times force change and it is up to you to embrace a learning experience or to reject it and stay stuck.
My own mini personally story of failure that is most relevant to where I am today dates back to my days of job hunting in Tulsa. I interviewed with almost every Tulsa Digital Agency and continued to hit my head against a wall in frustration. No one would hire me and that process led me to a dark place of feeling like a complete failure. Now years later I can look back at that experience and see how those hard times helped mold me into the business woman I am today. I could have chosen to be upset and stay in a state of depression, but instead I took the jobs I was not extremely passionate about because I knew I needed to grow and learn before I would see success down the road. The lessons I learned in those jobs I had before starting my company are now so precious to me because they taught me how to overcome adversity in the business world and how I wanted to run my company.
This year I want to be a place of encouragement and growth to embrace the journey of running a business and being open to the speed bumps along the way. Ultimately we are all on a path and it is up to you to pick yourself up when we stumble. We have the ability to choose to have a positive mindset and move forward.
Feel free to leave a comment below, tweet, Facebook, or message me with your story of failure and success in your business.
We are in our third week of the New Year, which means everyone is in full throttle when it comes to their resolutions. Having New Years resolutions for yourself are a great way to start the year by focusing your energy on change for the upcoming year. The same concept should apply to your business as well. Here are some tips for setting resolutions in your business: 1. Write Them Down
So many times we say we have resolutions, but writing them down will solidify them and keep you more committed. If you have a business with employees, print them out and place them in a communal area to remind people of the positive changes you are wanting to make in the business this year.
2. Measure Your Progress
Just like any business plan you make, you must have a measure of success. Plan small goals to reach your resolution and set the dates for checking your progress to keep you and your company accountable. Creating an action plan will ensure your business makes the necessary steps towards success.
3. Make Adjustments
After your first evaluation of your progress towards your resolution you may need to see the reality of reaching your resolution. This will take you truly taking a look at the progress you have made and make necessary changes to carry out the business goal.
4. Set New Resolutions
At the end of the year, access your progress you made towards your goals for the previous year. Then create new resolutions for your business for the new year, taking into account the growth you saw in the previous year.
As an example, here are the resolutions I have made for myself and business for 2014:
1. Blog at least once a week.
To do this I am actually doing a kick-start program by committing to blog once a day for the next 100 days. This goal was inspired by the video below and the GiveIt100.com movement. The blogging resolution will help me grow as a writing to reach my goal of writing an eBook and will help with my SEO for my company website (gotta love hitting two birds with one stone).
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2. Grow my knowledge through continued learning.
This goal has been on my mind for months and as I was driving back home from Texas I began implementing this goal by subscribing for Audible. If any of you are like me, I have piles of business books that I never seem to be able to read, which is why I want to make refining my skills through learning a priority. Each month I get 1 free audiobook for $14.99 that comes directly to my iPhone and I can listen to it in my car, gym, wherever and this will help me reach my goal. P.S. If you do sign up the code FREEBOOK may help get you 2 free audio books when you sign up.
3. Make accounting a priority.
As a consultant and small agency, accounting is an essential part of running a business. In all honesty it is my LEAST favorite part about running a business, but it is a necessary evil. Therefore this year I am going to set aside more time to take care of my books and to start I am purchasing a Neat Receipt to help me manage my receipts and stay more organized. My action plan for this is to work on my books at least twice a month.
Now that you have seen my goals and ways to help you stick to yours, comment below with a few of your own for your business and how you plan to stick to them.