Last night, I started reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (and subsequently developed a strong feeling of jealousy that our Marketing Coordinator, Danelsy Medrano, saw her present at last month’s Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce event). I’m not sure what captivated me more: Sandberg’s journey to becoming COO of Facebook (a dream job, as far as I’m concerned), or the fact that I can relate to her experiences and dilemmas as a woman and a leader. Regardless, I couldn’t put my Kindle down and I’m paying for it today (sorry, SMO team, for the yawning).
Her memoir/manifesto/however-you-want-to-categorize-it (or not categorize it) helps give women the tools they need to succeed in the workplace by encouraging them to “sit at the table,” raise their hands, and let their voices be loud enough to achieve their goals – to lean in, rather than lean back. Naturally, as I read, I found myself applying the lessons from the book to my own career goals. Then I realized Sandberg’s advice can be applied to the social media marketing campaigns that we manage every day.
Here are three ways business owners can stop missing opportunities by leaning in when it comes to social media marketing efforts.
Do Not Sit on the Side!
Social media networks and strategies are constantly evolving. In fact, simply keeping up with the latest marketing tactics in an ever-changing industry can seem like a challenge itself. Sitting on the side and missing opportunities to build a community around your brand and ultimately convert fans into customers based on the fact that it’s too challenging is not an option.
Sandberg would recommend pursuing a social media marketing plan because it’s a challenge (and not just because she’s Facebook’s COO). Whether you decide to do your own in-house social media marketing, or you hire an agency, just make sure you “sit at the table” rather than on the side.
As WebiMax’s Director of Social Media, I’ve noticed that there’s one thing that all of our most successful social media campaigns have in common: the client’s willingness to take risks. A “one size fits all” social media strategy doesn’t exist, so I’ve found that coming up with customized solutions based on each client’s unique marketing needs is the most effective way to increase their online visibility. If you want to maximize the ROI of your social media marketing efforts, you must be willing to take risks that, at times, push you outside of your comfort level.
“Pursue Goals with Gusto”
The first step in creating a successful social media campaign is to clearly define the objectives you want to achieve. But, Sandberg would say, it’s not enough to define these goals then quietly “lean back” and hope for the best. Instead, business owners need to take on more leadership. Pursuing business goals with gusto by becoming thought leaders not just Following them, starting relevant and engaging conversations not just participating in them, and generating the content that your audience craves are ways you can lean in to your social media campaign.
If you hire an agency to help you achieve your goals, it’s important to bring as much enthusiasm to the campaign as if you were performing it yourself. The more passionate you are about the products/services/information that you have to offer, the more successful your social media efforts will be.
Are you seeking challenges when it comes to your marketing efforts? Are you taking risks and pursuing your goals with gusto? Don’t let opportunity pass you by; lean in to online marketing to make your business dreams a reality.
I hope you brought a few extra cookies to the lunch table, because with the way SEO is evolving, you’re going to need to make some new friends – and those friends are Twitter and Pinterest.
I’ve been SEO writing for several years, and the increasing overlap of the two circles in the Venn diagram of “content” and “social media” is the biggest change to which I’ve had to adapt. Now, there’s scarcely a time when I’m in the process of writing or posting a blog post, article, infographic, or what-have-you and I don’t visit one of these social media platforms. This is not to say that there isn’t a place in the SEO world for Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Yelp!, and the rest of the gang, because those provide a whole new slew of optimization opportunities. I’ve simply found that these two are a) largely accessible to content writers of any level of experience and/or expertise, and b) the ones that make it super easy to pigeonhole your audience.
Let’s delve further into how the writing and social media departments of SEO overlap, shall we?
When deciding on a blog topic, we know how important it is to choose a title that’s attention-grabbing. One way to go about that is to make sure it’s current and relevant. We’re a culture of short attention spans – we’re so connected that there are constantly a million different things competing for readers’ attention, and that’s why you need to be strategic if you’re one of those competitors. For this reason, you want to make friends with Twitter and, more importantly, its ‘Trending’ and ‘Discover’ tabs. Twitter is your inside source, letting you know what people are talking about right now – it lets you know what already has people’s attention, so all you have to do is stay on-topic so social media users can’t resist a click.
Keep in mind that hashtags are the best thing to happen to social sharing since sliced bread. Once you’ve posted your blog post or infographic, tweet it and slap one of those trending hashtags on it. Just like that, you’re automatically visible to the millions of people browsing that hashtag.
People go to Pinterest for ideas. You’ve got ideas, don’t you? Otherwise, you wouldn’t be writing that article or blog post. The best way to make use of Pinterest is to be creative: write a lively how-to blog post, or create an infographic with wild and interesting facts. (Another helpful tip from me to you: try not to get sucked in in the process.)
Once you create a pin of your post and post it to the relevant category, the nature of Pinterest does the rest of the work for you. You never know when something might go viral – I once pinned a blog post on bridal showers, and it got over 800 re-pins.
On the flip-side, if you don’t have ideas, you can be one of those people who uses Pinterest for just that reason. Go to the relevant category and see what’s getting the most pins – what are people interested in right now? On my feed right now, I can tell you that an article on how to make an all-natural slug repellent (yum) has tons of re-pins. It makes sense, it’s springtime and this is a current issue. Play off the seasonal idea since that seems to be working.
As I said before, one could easily make the argument for other social platforms and their usefulness, but based on my experience, these have the fewest limitations for both resources and sharing. They require the lowest level of craftiness (and don’t ask for any money, which is always a plus) for making what you share visible to a large audience, and it’s easiest to search for what’s popular on any given topic.
How does your content socialize? Comment and let me know, or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you think of Facebook, the most prominent name associated with the brand is undoubtedly Founder & CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. While his story and rise to success have been publicized in novels and films; Facebook’s COO has only recently come into the spotlight. Although Sheryl Sandberg has been a key player in Facebook’s growth since 2008, she has largely been “behind-the-scenes” of the social network. However, she recently made a significant career move outside of Facebook which is likely to help make her a household name, as well.
This year, Sheryl published her first book entitled, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Leadin which she discusses the roles of women in business leadership. As one of the most successful businesswomen in the world, Sheryl discusses the importance of women in business and offers insightful and empowering advice to professionals. Earlier this week, Sheryl was featured at an event hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce which I attended on behalf of WebiMax. During the presentation, she introduced her story to many business owners and executives in the region.
During the event, Sheryl spoke about Facebook and her role in the company. As Chief Operations Officer, she has had a hand in many of the innovations pioneered by network over the past several years, including Open Graph search and the Timeline feature, among others. Under her guidance, Facebook has become not only the world’s largest social network, but one of the most prevalent advertising and marketing outlets in the world which only continues to grow.
Professional Insights & The Future of Facebook
From a personal perspective, this event was very rewarding. Sheryl’s journey to the top of the corporate world was certainly arduous and her story is inspirational.
Surprisingly, I learned that the story of her growth as a professional parallels the growth of Facebook in many ways. From somewhat humble beginnings to international recognition, both Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook have experienced success which is certain to continue in the years ahead.
The Facebook Cover Photo –prime real estate for you to visually represent what your company is all about. Are you adhering to the latest guidelines? Is your cover photo compelling enough to draw user engagement?
Facebook has proven to a valuable asset for many businesses over the last several years and has helped many companies expand their online presence considerably. From “mom-and-pop shops” to some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands, Facebook has been targeted as one of the top marketing and advertising platforms on the Web.
In fact, Facebook is second only to Google in terms of unique visitors per month and this nearly unparalleled visibility gives the network a considerable audience (currently over 1 billion active users worldwide) and provides businesses an opportunity to have their products and services showcased around the world.
However, like all marketing and advertising zones, Facebook maintains guidelines which all of its users, including businesses, must adhere to. Following Facebook’s gradual deployment of the controversial Timeline feature last year, many companies attempted to capitalize on new functionality such as the Cover Photo. The large banner which spans the upper third of all Facebook profiles and business pages is, ostensibly, prime real estate for advertisers and marketers. Facebook understood this and created a set of guidelines strictly pertaining to the new Timeline layout.
The latest and arguably most important revision to these guidelines: Cover photos must now be primarily imagery and only as much as 20% of the photo itself can be composed of text.
This update is aimed at businesses which utilize the cover photo as an advertising tool rather than a branding resource. With imagery now playing a larger role than ever before, Facebook marketers and advertisers will need to utilize more captivating and engaging photos to gain exposure and increase brand awareness.
Going “Under Cover”
Facebook cover photos are still an integral part of the network and businesses should continue to recognize them as such, but while these photos are expected to be lighter on text in the months ahead, there are still several areas where text content is essential to create an effective Facebook marketing strategy. Profile/About fields, Timeline posts and image captions are more than just informational – they’re valuable!
These should be used to include links back to your site and critical information about your business, as they each represent possible conversion opportunities and can provide more relevant site traffic.
Like Search Engine Optimization & Marketing, Social Media Marketing requires a balance of skill, research, knowledge and data collection. Over the next several months, many businesses will undoubtedly unveil new Facebook cover photos in order to abide by the new guidelines and a new form of “Visual Social Marketing” will emerge as brands try to create more effective imagery. With popular networks such as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr at the forefront of an online “image revolution,” businesses will need to adapt in order to provide a more visually-enhanced user experience to remain successful in the highly competitive social media marketplace.
What images visually represent your company’s mission and values?
Last Friday, I attended the 2013 Paradigm Award ceremony at the Hyatt at the Bellevue’s Grand Ballroom in Philadelphia, PA and I was fortunate enough to witness this year’s honoree, Denise Morrison of Campbell’s Soup Company, accept the prestigious award. Presented by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the yearly luncheon was organized to celebrate and recognize prominent professional women in the area and their contributions to local businesses.
As President & CEO of Campbell’s, Denise’s guidance has helped the company achieve success across the board, but what intrigued me the most about Denise’s acceptance speech was learning that one of Campbell’s biggest apparent challenges as a business is adapting their model to the digital age.
While Campbell’s is a brand name that has long been synonymous with soup, several competitors have emerged in the industry within recent years and have quickly gained ground, both offline and online. This competition has given Campbell’s incentive to maximize their marketing efforts and reach a new audience on the Web while still striving to maintain their significant offline presence, as well.
Many of the Paradigm Award attendees understood Denise’s goal to build a stronger presence online, as these local business owners and managers have worked to enhance their marketing strategy in recent years. With a stronger focus on their social media marketing and on-site user experience, Campbell’s has been able to tap into the lucrative Internet market and businesses (both locally and nationally) have followed suit.
The Internet has changed many businesses on a fundamental level and even large companies like Campbell’s are no exception. As a truly forward-thinking and innovative CEO, Denise Morrison’s push to make Campbell’s a more Web-focused business has not only enhanced their brand recognition but helped to increase their revenue, as well.
WebiMax congratulates Denise Morrison on receiving the Paradigm Award and we look forward to next year’s ceremony!
For more on the Paradigm Awards, visit the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce website at www.greaterphilachamber.com/paradigm. Want to know when WebiMax will be attending a conference or networking event near you? Follow us on Twitter: @WebiMax to find out!
I love Andy Cohen.
For anyone who isn’t a reality TV junkie like me, he’s the Executive Vice President of Development and Talent at the Bravo network. He also hosts the Real Housewives reunion shows and Bravo’s late night show Watch What Happens Live.
Basically, he’s who I can thank for bringing level-ten drama and hilarity into my living room every night.
I could go on and on about the reasons why he’s so great, but I’ll spare you the countdown of my favorite WWHL moments and focus only on what’s relevant here: Andy Cohen has an exceptional ability to use social media to connect with his audience, build his brand, and generate buzz for the network.
As the Social Media Manager at WebiMax, I have a deep appreciation for the way he integrates his fans into all of his television episodes. Here’s a list of 5 social media tips that any brand or marketer can learn from Andy Cohen.
5. Be Approachable
Part of what makes Andy so successful on his late night TV show and in the social media world is that he’s as relatable in the WWHL Clubhouse as he is in his Facebook posts and tweets. He even takes Instagram “selfies” from his dressing room and shares them on Twitter:
When it comes to social media marketing, brands should make an effort to be personable. It’s this approachability that encourages the user engagement that is so important to a successful campaign. Humanize your business – put faces to the names of your execs; let their personalities shine.
4. Reward Your Fans
Andy Cohen is always rewarding his fans: he sends signed copies of his book to those who call into his show and he even invites super-fans to be guest bartenders in the Clubhouse through a video contest called “Raise the Bar.”
Turning enthusiastic fans into brand advocates who tweet and blog about your products or services is a smart way to get more value from social media marketing efforts. Rewarding these engaged customers for their loyalty will help you create a powerful marketing force that will generate sales for you. First, find out what these fans want the most and find a way to indulge those cravings.
3. Be Consistent
Every episode of WWHL has a formula: every night there’s a secret drinking game word; Andy announces his “mazel” and “jackhole” of the day; he has “game time!” with his guests; viewers call in with their questions for Andy or whoever is in the Clubhouse that night; and Andy takes a poll in which viewers vote on an answer to a question that usually has to do with the most recent drama on any of Bravo’s reality shows and announces the results at the end of the episode:
As an avid viewer, not only do I look forward to each one of these components of his show, but now I expect them. Consistency is a basic marketing concept that should be applied to your social media posts in order to create a sense of reliability that people respond to. The first 100 times I saw one of these polls on WWHL I didn’t bother to vote, but now I find myself wanting to chime in every once in a while – a perfect example of how consistent messages and methods boost engagement.
The key is to also be persistent. Just because you don’t get a ton of user engagement right away doesn’t mean people aren’t seeing your messages or relating to them. Being consistent and persistent with your content and strategies is an effective way to get the most out of your social media marketing.
2. Engage, Engage, Engage
In addition to the WWHL poll questions, Andy Cohen is constantly soliciting questions from his fans for his guests via Facebook and Twitter. Then he chooses the best questions to ask during his live show which makes the viewing experience interactive:
He built his persona by interacting with fans on Twitter and commenting on his show’s online forums, so Andy Cohen is a pro when it comes to engaging with fans. Integrating these tactics into WWHL and his Real Housewives reunion shows by reading viewer questions accomplishes two things: it allows viewers to participate in the shows they love, and it rewards those who take the time to enter their questions.
Social media marketers take note – fostering action and engagement by talking with your audience instead of AT them is most effective. Interacting with fans and followers by asking what they think, feel, and need encourages them to treat your brand like a true friend and ultimately encourages behaviors that help promote the brand.
1. Listen to Your Audience
A few months ago, Andy Cohen invited Jill Zarin, a former Real Housewives of New York cast member, to the Clubhouse for a special episode of WWHL to discuss how the decision was made by Bravo to fire her from the show. Andy explained,
We were looking to shake the show up. The viewers were the ones that, to us, dictated that they wanted something to change. That last reunion, I think you would agree, was incredibly toxic for everyone involved and when it was over the viewers and then the producers and then Bravo said ‘What can we do to change it?’
Notice how Andy listed the viewers first in the series of people who contributed to the decision to fire Jill and some of her cast mates. Because Andy Cohen is so engaged with the Bravo audience, he is in tune with what they want. And, he’s prepared to give it to them, as he proved when he awkwardly dismissed Jill from her role on the show.
Listening to your audience and giving them what they want is the most important part of social media marketing. Hearing what your customers have to say about your brand is only one part of the process; putting those opinions into action is the step that takes engagement and user feedback to the next level.
How do you achieve social media marketing success? Is there anything you think I’ve left off this list? Do you love Andy Cohen as much as I do? Share your thoughts by leaving me a comment.