Push Notifications Generate More Leads Than Email

One of the most effective ways to reach out to new leads is to use push notifications. Especially with the rise of mobile-first users, marketers have begun to seriously consider the effectiveness of push notifications, and the consensus is that, when used correctly, the push notification can be a very powerful form of marketing, even more so than email, traditionally considered the go-to medium for high conversions.

In a world flooded with content coming at you from all sides, the competition among companies vying for business is tougher than ever. Not only do you have to generate more leads than your direct competitor, but you also have to contend against the various other content out there, be it social media, messaging, or even mobile apps and games.

In such an environment, marketers are constantly looking for ways to grab hold of a user and access their attention in a way that consistently leads to a conversion. This is true for B2B companies pushing marketing content just as much as it is for B2C companies offering deals and promotions on their products. B2B marketers who focus most of their outreach efforts on blog posts and other industry-specific content should take note: push notifications could be the next big step forward in promoting your company’s brand.

Here are four reasons why push notifications generate more leads than email

Emphasis on the “Push”

When it comes to B2B, it’s often the case that customers are coming to your site only for more insight into your product, whether it be customer service help for return users or product research for prospective customers. Such browsing may not go very far when it comes to establishing your brand or getting people to engage with your business beyond the point of sale.

In such an environment, there’s an understanding that “push out” marketing is the way to go. In contrast to “pull in” marketing, which is designed to draw users into a site through advertising, a push out tactic delivers the necessary content, or a link to said content, directly to the consumer, forcing them to interrupt their routine and interact.

As the name would suggest, push notifications abide by the push out model, which more directly engenders user interaction by grabbing attention with compact but enticing messages that encourage a quick response from the user.

Economy of Words

Speaking of those compact messages, it’s no secret these days that people have short attention spans. They’re also rather impatient; nearly 50% of users will leave a website if it doesn’t load in two seconds or less. Therefore, there’s a premium on getting your message across to users as efficiently as possible.

By nature, push notifications work in a tight space—either on a mobile device’s home screen or in a tiny window in the corner of a desktop browser—so they have to get the message across in a quick, effective way. Email, on the other hand, is a medium typically reserved for longer messages that require more focused attention.

Emails also require users to go to their inbox to read the message, whereas push notifications show up directly on the browsing screen. Your B2B customers may not be actively checking their inbox often for blog content or industry thoughts from your company, so why not deliver that content directly to them?

B2B businesses may have trouble getting people involved with their brands beyond the point of sale, but push notifications send users a gentle reminder that you’re out there, offering interesting content that’s relevant to readers who have done business with you.

Timeliness

Less than a quarter of all emails get opened within one hour of the email being delivered to the user. That doesn’t bode well if your marketing strategy hinges a lot on delivering breaking news in a timely manner or offering time-sensitive promos and discounts. Push notifications are great for time-sensitive content because they alert the user as soon as they arrive on the phone or desktop screen—the user immediately gets the message.

Such a system is great for B2C customers who engage in practices like proximity marketing, which relies on notifying the user of a deal when they’re in or near a store, but B2B companies can also benefit from the timeliness of push notifications. Take Chargebee, a billing SaaS, who recently had great success with push notifications. They found that opting for push notifications over email not only saved them time, but also gave their customers ease about not needing to share contact information in order to receive content updates. The results were staggering—a 200% increase in clickthrough rates, all thanks to timely, direct content that didn’t get lost in an email inbox.

Personal Touch

Emails are great marketing tools because they’re a relatively inexpensive way to send your message out to a whole lot of people at once. That’s just the thing, though: email is best when sending out a newsletter or message that applies to a great big audience. It’s not so great when it comes to reaching out to individuals, something that B2B companies should be paying attention to if they want to establish a brand that attracts consistent buzz.

For the same reason that people think Twitter direct messages might be more effective than marketing emails, push notifications can offer something emails cannot: a personalized experience. These days, many people receive more spam emails than they do legitimate, relevant ones. There’s no such thing as a spam push notification (although you can overdo how many notifications you send your users) because typically users have to allow the notifications to be enabled, and people can even customize specifically what kind of notifications they want to receive from certain apps and sites, so every push notification feels like a personal interaction with a user.

Do you think push notifications are primed to take over email in the marketing world? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

  • How To Develop A Brand Ambassador Program That Works

    Your products and services won’t sell themselves. You need to find ways to get them to your audience in the hopes of turning the latter into customers. One way you could promote your business is by hiring brand ambassadors who will help spread your word on social media.

    There are many advantages that brand ambassadors will bring to your company, but the most important is their ability to humanize your brand.

    The call for attention of some businesses falls on deaf ears. The tactics they employ focus too much on their brand instead of their audience’s needs and wants. Consequently, they are not able to establish an authentic relationship with their target market, which is crucial in increasing sales.

    Through brand ambassadors, businesses can put a literal face in their promotional campaigns to help people identify with their messages. By focusing on fostering trust among their audience, they will find it easier to convert people into customers.

    Now that you are aware of how important brand ambassadors are to your business, you need to develop a program that will attract the right people who will help promote your brand.

    Below are steps on how to build a successful brand ambassador program.

    Establish your goals

    While the ultimate purpose of every marketing campaign is to increase sales, not all, including brand ambassadorship, may guarantee you more customers.

    Each campaign is wired differently. Therefore, you need to temper your expectations and find the most scalable goals that your business can achieve with your program.

    Brand ambassadors can help your company earn more, but below are the common goals associated with them:

    • Build brand awareness – The ambassadors are responsible for creating positive buzz about your business to as many people as possible.
    • Create better social media content – They need to publish effective content on social media that aims to mobilize your target audience. Knowing which hashtags to use and the best times to post content is a plus.
    • Reach out to more people – They should find untapped social channels containing your target market and promote your brand them to extend your reach.

    The goals mentioned above are adjacent to helping your business grow its profit. For example, if your ambassadors discover new sources where your untapped audience resides, then you can expect more customers over a period.

    Identify the best performing social media platforms

    Like marketing campaigns, not all social media platforms are the same. Each has features that appeal to a particular group of people. For example, you should use Snapchat and Instagram if your business is geared towards teenagers. If you cater to professionals and want to establish thought leadership, then LinkedIn is for you.

    It is your job, therefore, to figure out which platforms make sense with your brand ambassador program.

    You can try your hands on all platforms to communicate your brand message, but you will be spreading your resources too thin. It is better to focus on specific social media sites most of your audience uses. Doing so allows you to develop full-fledged campaigns that are geared for optimal conversion.

    Attract the right people

    Looking for potential brand ambassadors can be a painstaking process. You want people whose values and qualities are in line with your company goals and objectives to lead your ambassadorship. However, some people pan out, and some don’t. It’s just a matter of trying again and again until you hit up with a person who can take your brand to the next level.

    Lay down the path to success

    Brand ambassadors will need your help so they can promote your brand effectively. Aside from clearly identifying your goals, you can create branded apparel so ambassadors can wear it while attending conferences and summits relevant to your industry.

    By flying them to those places, they can spread the good word about your brand to like-minded people and attract more than qualified people for your brand ambassador program.

    Lastly, you can help them improve their skills in promoting your brand by signing them up for different workshops and courses, as well as enrolling them to mastermind groups. Providing ambassadors with tools to succeed allows you to invest in their success.

    Find qualified influencers

    Anybody can be a brand ambassador. However, to unlock the potential of your program, your key is finding people who already has a built-in audience made up of thousands of people in your most relevant social platforms.

    Influencers will help fast-track your success in spreading the word about your brand. Since they have built a community through the years on their social media of choice, they know how to publish content that their audience loves. Therefore, they can help you create posts about your brand on social media that are guaranteed to reach most people.

    You can find influencers from the different sites featured in this post.

    On the downside, hiring established influencers may cost a lot more. If you have a limited budget for your brand ambassador program, then you will probably have to skip influencers for now.

    Track their performance

    Your brand ambassador program should be scalable to work.

    With your goals in mind, you need to find a way to measure the social media performance of your ambassadors. Compare their progress or KPIs to your goals over time and see if they were able to reach or exceed them. If so, reward your high-performing ambassadors with incentives dedicated to their needs. For those who weren’t able to meet expectations, you can scale back as you see fit.

    The idea of tracking their progress is to make them accountable as brand ambassadors. You need to reward the good performers and take corrective actions on those who aren’t performing up to par.

    Wrapping it up

    How you develop your brand ambassador program is indicative of how effective your ambassadors will be in promoting your brand. Aside from following the steps mentioned in this post, you need to understand that marketing campaigns that deliver results are founded on trust.

    Brand ambassadorship is all about bridging the gap between your business and consumers. If your ambassadors are making your audience believe in your brand, then expect to achieve your goals faster. Therefore, building your audience’s trust should be at the heart of your program.

  • How To Use Instagram For B2B Marketing

    Ever since its launch, I’ve been absolutely hooked on Instagram. Sure–most of us started off by ‘gramming our lunch with the Mayfair filter (guilty!), but Instagram has quickly proven itself as an effective visual marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re marketing your creative Etsy business or seeking to connect with prospective clients in B2B marketing, there’s a way to snap, filter and hashtag your way to success via Instagram.

    I currently manage Instagram for a nationwide retailer and I’ve learned a thing or two about the differences in managing Instagram for yourself and for a brand, as well as the tactics and tools that help support a successful Instagram marketing strategy.

    If your business hasn’t hopped on the Instagram train just yet–or you haven’t set a solid strategy–fear not! It’s never too late to get serious about your ‘gram game and begin to turn a serious ROI for your business through the platform. Keep reading for a few of my favorite tips for getting down to business on Instagram:

    Power up your Instagram presence with a business profile.

    One of the easiest ways to build up your credibility as a business on Instagram is by converting from a traditional profile to a business profile. This is a free feature that will allow you to easily add in a contact button, details on what kind of business you are and in-app analytics that will help you measure the success, relevancy and engagement of each piece of content that you post. The best part? It takes all of five minutes to get your business profile up and running.

    As with any switch, there are pros and cons to converting your beloved Instagram profile from a traditional profile to a business profile. Rumors have swirled around that business profiles are more susceptible to Instagram’s evolving algorithm, with the risk that their posts will be seen less than those of traditional, personal profiles. Regardless, I personally believe that the perks that come along with ease of access to contact your business and real-time, in-app analytics far outweigh the risks of a business’ content being seen by less Instagram users. Engaging content > more eyeballs any day!

    Craft a cohesive, on-brand feed that speaks to your audience.

    What can I say? We’re a society of people who like things that look pretty, and Instagram is the #1 platform to showcase just how great your business and services can look. This starts with the overall look and feel of your Instagram feed as soon as users visit your profile. What vibe does your Instagram feed give off on first glimpse – a string of random images thrown together, or an expertly curated collection of photos that’s appealing to the eye?

    Keep aesthetics at the forefront when planning out your Instagram content, as well as valuable information for your audience. Are you a software business that provides analytics solutions for your customers? Why not curate a weekly analytics tips for your audience in the form of a gorgeous Instagram graphic, complete with text overlay and logo?

    Your audience will be much more apt to double-tap all over your Instagram feed if your images are not only engaging, but also beautifully designed and appealing to look at. For beginners, I recommend Canva for text overlays and A Color Story for general editing–both are free apps that will save you a ton of time!

    Activate influencers to extend your B2B marketing message and reach.

    I work with bloggers and Instagram personalities on a daily basis, and can speak to how impactful they’ve been to my company’s Instagram growth and success. Although I work for a company that offers a tangible product, it’s very possible to work with influencers if your business offers a specific service as well. Knowing where to find and start with influencers can seem daunting, but with a little time and social listening your Instagram influencer program can be up and running in no time.

    For starters, are you keeping track with who is talking about you on Instagram and beyond? Delve into active social listening by regularly monitoring your inbound Facebook comments, tweets and Instagram mentions. I began working with my first Instagram influencers by pinpointing who was already organically talking about and advocating for my company’s brand, and reaching out to those users who had an audience size of over 1k. You don’t need to invest in an influencer marketing agency to have a strong influencer program–you just need to find out who your biggest brand advocates are and find creative ways to connect with and activate those individuals!

    How’s this for an example: through social listening, you’ve found that a prominent tech blogger has been plugging your business on social and loves your product. This blogger also happens to have a highly engaged audience on Instagram–lucky you! In this scenario, what should you do? For starters, establish a personal connection by reaching out to the blogger via email to thank them, and let them know that you’d like to work with them in a collaboration capacity. From there, the sky’s the limit.

    I’ve found that sponsored Instagram posts, Instagram giveaways and Instagram takeovers that communicate a specific call-to-action for engaging with your business are all successful ways to incorporate influencers into your Instagram strategy without being too sales-y or overt with your brand.

    So, how can your industry benefit from Instagram marketing?

    I personally believe that industries of all types will benefit from having a strong, on-brand Instagram presence. During my time working in social media I’ve seen industries of all types leveraging the platform to tell amazing stories and communicate beautiful visuals to their audience–from clothing brands, to tech products, to restaurants.

    The key to mastering Instagram marketing for your industry boils down to 4 major points: knowing your target audience and speaking directly to them, prioritizing engaging and on-brand visuals, giving users and influencers a reason to talk about you and advocate on your behalf, and leveraging the tools that Instagram offers its business users.

    Don’t be afraid to test new content on your feed–and test a lot to see what content sticks with your audience, and what content doesn’t! From regular images and text overlay images to inspirational quotes and video, each business has a specific type of content that will work best for them and their audience. It’s all a matter of trying, altering content and trying yet again.

  • {New Webinar!} How Citrix Increased Marketing Reach

    Rhonda Hughes is the Senior Corporate Social Media Manager at Citrix, and several years ago she was facing a challenge: how could the company mobilize their more than 9,000 employees on social media, and increase their marketing reach exponentially.

    In this webinar, Rhonda will share what research she did to find the right solution, how she ultimately decided to implement an employee enablement program, how they use their employee enablement program to expand marketing reach, as well as Citrix’ unique case study and tips and tricks that have helped them along the way.

    EveryoneSocial’s Lita Madlang will join with further details on the EveryoneSocial platform in particular and to answer any questions you might have.

    Click below to join us live on February 23rd at 11am Mountain Time. Bring your questions!

    How To Launch An Influencer Marketing Campaign

    Yesterday’s webcast on influencer marketing was a smash success, and many of you had questions on how to implement a successful influencer marketing campaign.  Here’s the recording in case you missed it.

     

     

    For those of you who had questions on how to implement an influencer marketing campaign using EveryoneSocial & NUVI, we created a little mini guide on the subject. Here you go!

    How to launch an influencer marketing campaign

    1. Identity your target market

    As we mentioned on the webcast, you first have to know who your target market is and what they spend their time doing. Look at all the analytics and demographics first (are your customers primarily 30-something women in marketing?) then dive deeper to find five or so sub-pockets within that core demographic. Perhaps many of them watch the same TV shows (like The Bachelor) or follow the same podcasts (like Pardon My French).

    Don’t assume they’re all sitting around reading marketing websites all day. Look outside your direct industry.

    2. Identify the influencers for that target market

    If you’re in the B2B space, you’ll want to start your search for influencers within four core categories: your c-level executives, your employees, your customers, and your partners. Then look at who already has a “personal brand” and a loyal following within each group. Perhaps your CEO is really active on Twitter and commands a following of millions (like Mark Benioff of Salesforce), or maybe one of your employees has a fashion blog on the side with hundreds of thousands of users.

    With NUVI you can identify who your influencers are based on the conversation, keywords, location or industry. Quickly determine whether to engage or not depending on the goals of your influencer campaign. For example, the conversation surrounding #TheBachelor has influencers like Entertainment Weekly, and Huffington Post. But, inside of the top influencers is Sports Illustrated…

    …Upon further review we see that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thinks #TheBachelor is “bad for our society.” If as a brand our target customer is influenced by sports, that might be a topic we’d want to stay away from.

    Feel free to reach out to Scott at Scott@NUVI.com for more information on how you can use NUVI to identify influencers (and influential conversations) your company should be part of.

    3. Incentivize your influencers to post about you

    In the B2C space, incentives are almost always financial. You might pay a blogger to mention you on Instagram, or at least offer her free product to do so. In the B2B space, incentive is almost always self-serving. As in, providing something that will benefit an influencers’ career or reputation.

    With c-level executives and employees, incentive might mean getting them publicity by publishing their blogs, having them on webinars, and inviting them to speak at events. For customers, likely the same, only here you want to make them look good in front of their bosses by showing that the program they are running with you is a huge success. And for partners, if you publish a blog of mine, I’ll publish a blog of yours.

    And then there are more tangible incentives. Host a “share-worthy” event and invite all of your employees, customers and partners. Have a hashtag that everyone attending can’t help byt want to share. By the end of the night you might have hundreds or thousands of people sharing about your brand to their social followers.

    With EveryoneSocial you can provide all of your employees, customers, or partners a professional news reader that connects to their social media accounts. They’ll be able to read relevant industry news, the company blog, as well as any blogs, Twitter accounts, or keywords they might be interested in following personally. And then they’ll be able to share that content to their followers via connected social media accounts.

    By doing this, a corporate blog article that might ordinarily reach 3,000 Twitter followers, might reach 30,000 Twitter followers thanks to 100’s of employees now sharing on your behalf. For more information, reach out to Elle at elle@everyonesocial.com or click here to schedule a demo.

    Thanks for attending our webcast and we look forward to seeing you on the next one.

    Sincerely, Scott & Elle

  • The Employee Engagement Survey From Edelman

    Every year Edelman puts out a fantastic employee engagement survey on how buyers and consumers perceive leaders, organizations, and content.

    Because of this topic’s relevance to social selling (and selling in general), I wanted to pull out the most salient bits. That said, I do recommend that you spend some time with the complete report, especially if you’re in a executive leadership role; we ignore these findings at our own peril.

    Takeaways From The Employee Engagement Survey

    As the saying goes, we buy from those we know, like, and trust. Out of those three qualities, trust is by far the most important. For us humans, it’s existential. Although we may live in a modern world (at least compared to the caves we were living in 15,000 years ago), most of our decisions still stem from basic needs and fears, especially when it comes to dealing with other, fellow humans. This is particularly true when it comes to buying and selling.

    Ignite your most powerful advocate, your employee. ~Edelman

    Peer-Influenced Media Are The Most Trusted

    As evidenced by the employee engagement survey, two out of the top three trusted forms of news and information–search and social media–are peer influenced (you could even say they’re peer driven).

    Newspapers, magazines, and blogs are trusted far less, with blogs falling at the bottom with only 28% trust (less than half that of search and social). Especially interesting when you consider how much importance businesses have put on blogs contrasted with the persistent skepticism (typically from within a business) around social.

    Virtually Every Purchase Is Influenced By A Peer

    59% of respondents stated that they’d recommended a company to a friend or colleague in the the last 12 months, whereas 75% said that the recommendations they’d received had impacted their ultimate decision.

    From a sales perspective, this should convey the importance of social media and engaging in a multi-threaded sales process. If you’re not making connections with the buyer and others they trust, you have far less ability to influence their ultimate decision.

    Peers, Employees, And Experts Come Cut On Top

    It couldn’t be more clear: people trust their peers, experts (people perceived to be objective and to have specialized expertise, and employees. The groups that are trusted less (by as much as half) include CEOs, NGO representatives, a member of a board, and coming in last and least a government official/regulator.

    I’d wager to say that this is a complete inversion of who most people trusted 50 years ago and a main reason why many corporations and media outlets struggle to properly leverage social media and other peer-driven channels.

    Employees Are Essential Advocates

    According to the employee engagement survey, employees are the most trusted to communicate on behalf of their companies on the topics of financial earnings and operational performance, business practices and crisis handling, and treatment of employees and customers.

    Interestingly, the only category people seem to trust the CEO to talk about is views on industry issues. All the more reason to empower employees to speak publicly on topics that have traditionally been restricted. With proper tools and training, a business can very quickly enable employees to become powerful advocates.

    Lots Of Employees Don’t Trust Their Companies

    Only 64% of employees in the US trust the company they work for. Numbers are lowest in Japan, Russia, and much of western Europe, and highest in new and developing economies of China, India, Brazil and Mexico. This is something that every CEO should be thinking about.

    Are you comfortable with nearly half of your employees not trusting your company? Based on our experience, there are many cost-effective ways to quickly improve trust, including supporting individual empowerment and increasing access to information.

    Employees Are Critical Influencers

    Of the top four trusted groups online, only employees represent a resource a business can actually employ to their benefit. The other three include friends and family, an academic expert, and companies that the person already purchases items from.

    Also consider the groups trusted less than employees: a CEO, a journalist, a well-known online personality, an elected official, a celebrity, and last and again least companies that they don’t currently purchase items from.

    Trusted Peers Influence The Entire Buying Cycle

    There’s been a lot of data around how much of the buying cycle is over by the time your sales team is contacted by a prospective buyer. However, even if they do you the favor of contacting your sales team, the reality is that trusted peers influence every stage of the buying process. Further, they most influence the final, critical stage: 75% of people in the final stage of buying report being influenced by a peer.

    We love this kind of employee engagement survey because it unequivocally substantiates the value of employee advocacy and social selling programs. Your employees–including your sales representatives–represent both one of your greatest and also one of your most cost-effective resources.

    Personal Branding Examples From Instagram

    It’s complicated. By day I work in marketing for EveryoneSocial. But by night I have my own personal brand. A loyal following on Instagram devoted to posts about fashion, French, and the (not so) occasional glass of champagne and slice of cake.

    Like many in the working world, the lines between my professional brand and personal brand are blurring. I try to say that I’ll use LinkedIn and Twitter for work, and Instagram and Snapchat for play, but inevitably the lines between business and pleasure get crossed. They’re both, after all, an intrinsic part of my personality, and my personality can’t be split into categories. Thankfully the two don’t contradict one another, but rather complement one another.

    Our personal life can absolutely benefit when we share our professional life. And our professional life can benefit when we share our personal life. Rachel Skarsten, for example, is an actress on Reign—one of my favorite shows on television—and she certainly posts about work from time to time. But if she only posted about work, I probably wouldn’t follow her.

    Thankfully, she also posts about her glorious hair (nailing that perfect “ash” is no easy task), her travels to Paris, the wedding she attended of one of her closest friends, and yes, sometimes unique behind the scenes fittings from Reign. I follow her, in other words, not because of her professional brand, but because of her personal brand. And sometimes that personal brand happens to get me to watch the latest episode of Reign.

    Because we don’t just love the actress, the entrepreneur, the designer, the makeup artist, the comedian, or the model, it’s the complete person we fall in love with. And that person makes up a powerful brand. One we want to follow, emulate, imitate, and ultimately buy from.

    Here are six of my favorite personal branding examples on Instagram:

     

    Sara Blakley

    Sara is the founder of SPANX, and she totally talks about her business on occasion. But we’re obsessed with her because of her inspiring #bellyartproject and the hilarious things her husband and kids do while she’s away on business.

    sara blakley

    India Hicks

    India has a clothing line she sometimes promotes, but in the meantime we love catching glimpses of her glamorous life on the islands.

    India Hicks

    Bobbi Brown

    Bobbi lets us peek in her makeup bag from time to time, but we follow her on Instagram because we have a thing for her #yachtlife.

    Vanessa Hudgens

    Vanessa sometimes shares #bts shots from her current acting projects. But she’s even more famous for the moody pictures she takes of her boyfriend Austin Butler, and the beautifully bohemian photos they take while traveling.

    Mindy Kaling

    Mindy will always tell us when there’s a new episode of The Mindy Project streaming on Hulu, but we can’t help but binge on the stunts she pulls with her coworkers and the amazing outfits she wears on tv shows.

    Caroline de Maigret

    Caroline is a French model and author of the book “How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are.” And having 470,000 followers on instagram didn’t exactly hurt her book sales. But it’s the glimpses of her Parisian life that really give her our gaze.

    This is the beauty of the personal brand: that there is no one thing that defines us. Because of this, when we use our social media accounts to reflect the multifaceted human beings we are – we become more relatable to those that follow us. And that’s why these personal branding examples are so powerful.

    How To Track ROI On Your Growth Hacking Efforts

    You know that thing Dropbox did to become a $4 billion company? What the Broadway musical Hamilton did to draw in 50,000 lottery ticket entrants on its first day, crashing its website?

    Growth hack.

    Actually, it’s not so much “hacking” as it is “growth.” Hacking suggests a quick, temporary, and often times inelegant solution. What brought these brands success though, was constant iteration and a focus on the long-term.

    “With growth hacking, [it’s true that] you are trying different strategies to see some short term growth. But it’s really important to take that knowledge you learn in that process and incorporate it more into the long-term strategies,” says Seiya Vogt, Director of Demand Generation at Bitly.

    So how do you track what’s working in your testing? And how do you continue to reproduce this small scale success over time at a greater level?

    Here’s how you can measure your efforts and prove ROI:

    Knock Down The Silos

    Consumers don’t engage in silos. So why would you work in silos?

    Today’s digital landscape is complicated. Americans now own four devices on average and the average U.S. consumer spends 60 hours a week consuming content across devices. Marketers have more channels to experiment with, but they also have to be where the consumers are. Which is everywhere.

    One of the best ways to be everywhere at once is to divide and conquer. Every team collects some sort of feedback. In a B2B company, the sales team has insight into customers’ pain points and biggest incentives to upgrade. The social media team knows which channels and devices consumers frequent most. In a B2C company, the product and operation teams know which products are most popular and where.

    Grow by building a strong internal communication and sharing data across teams.

     

    At Bitly, we recently used a growth hack to help our sales team better understand when they should reach out to prospects. The timing can be hard to pin down, so we used the messaging app Slack to pull insights that would help our team better understand the context and conversations that they should be having.

    Here’s how we did it:

    Work The Room

    Science says that humans crave control and are wired to reduce information overload. That’s why personalization is so powerful.

    We see politicians and world leaders use this technique all the time. They work the room using charisma. Crowds are drawn to these leaders because they feel like the message is being delivered to them personally. You can channel this kind of charisma too for your brand using demographic data and segmentation.

    Here’s an example of how we used Bitly to track demographic data recently. Let’s say that we released a new mobile app and based on historical data, we suspect that our biggest users are males 18-24 and males 25-34. But does this demographic engage more than other groups? Which social channels do they hang out on and what content makes them respond?

    By adding a layer of tracking on top of our existing efforts, we’re able to get a macro view of how each customer persona interacts across every channel and device. From there, we can create content that speaks personally to each customer’s needs and wants.

    Understanding where your audience is and what they’re engaging with at each step of the funnel helps you create the best strategy to win their hearts and their loyalty.

    Unplug & Think Offline

    Research shows that email open rates are on the decline. This may be true for a lot of brands because of updates like Gmail’s Promotions Tab that keeps certain promotional emails tucked away. The online space is also becoming ever crowded. That’s why we see a lot of companies investing in paid social strategies.

    2017 might be the time to try integrating online and offline marketing efforts. Maximize your reach by targeting your customers in places your competitors might not be investing in—like subway ads, event flyers, and business cards. Growth hacking is all about thinking outside the box, after all.

    Theater supply and fabric store Rose Brand uses Bitlinks to unite online and offline channels, figuring out how many people click to the website after seeing an ad in a magazine.

    “Since our demographic is still very involved in traditional media, we include Bitlinks in any print ads we run,” says Marketing Coordinator Anna Klimczuk. “By tracking clicks, we’ve been able to see a clear connection before the campaigns we run offline and the actions customers take online. In addition to linking it with print ad campaigns, we also use Bitlinks throughout our printed product catalogs. We’re able to easily redirect customers to online resources, which will help them make better purchasing decisions. Using tracked clicks along with Google Analytics data, we’ve been able to better understand the customer journey as it moves from offline to online, and the steps customers are taking that result in sales.”

    BarkBox created a similar marketing campaign for a print ad. By using a Bitlink to drill into more detail around an ongoing promotion, the company could track exactly how many interested people engaged with that touchpoint to learn more. If specific links were created for each and every print ad, wherever they appeared, the business could see which placements were most effective.

    It’s Not The Tool You Use, But The Way You Use It

    Growth hacking boils down to three main components: data, curiosity, and experimentation.

    Success stories like Dropbox and Hamilton didn’t hit it out of the park on the first day. It’s a culmination of small tests run over a long period of time. Growth hackers are constantly asking questions, testing out their hypotheses, and tracking each small test. Over time, the bigger picture comes together and you’re able to build out a lever or funnel that consistently drives growth.

    “It’s not one and done. You’re not going to try it the first time and hit gold,” says Jon Chang, Marketing Manager at General Assembly.

    That’s why tracking and measuring results is so crucial. You never know what you’ll find and when you’ll find the right strategy that sticks. But once you do, you bet you’ll want to have it documented to reuse time and time again.

    Want more growth hacking tips? Learn about Seiya Vogt, Director of Demand Gen at Bitly, Elle Griffin, Head of Marketing at EveryoneSocial, and Jon Chang, Marketing Manager at General Assembly’s favorite strategies, tools, and more in our “Growth Hacking 101” Panel.

  • Use Psychology To Increase Social Media Engagement

    Social media is undoubtedly one of the premier channels for customer engagement. According to reports, social media engagement takes up about 28% of the total time spent on the internet.

    However, just because your content is published on social networks, doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to get enough engagement. In fact, having a substantial amount of followers will not guarantee a boost in conversions or sales.

    Unfortunately, social media networks are full of distractions that can prevent your target audience from hearing your message. There are cute kitten videos, memes, private messages from relatives, and a lot of socialization going around.  Of course, there are also competitors who are out to steal your target audience’s attention.

    In time, businesses had to be creative with their social media campaigns. Whether it’s about using emojis to order pizza or hosting social media contests, brands needed a way to create a positive reaction in the social community.

    In this article, you will learn some of the best psychological hacks that will increase social media engagement.

    1. Show Them Proof

    Social communities are highly susceptible to the bandwagon. If a particular post, for example, has thousands of likes and reshares, then people are more likely to trust the information as well as its source. Realizing this trend, companies seized the opportunity to build social proof that establishes their credibility as information providers.

    Digital marketing experts identify five types of social proof:

    1. Celebrity Social Proof – Advocacy of famous people such as actors and social media celebrities.
    2. User Social Proof – Positive reviews or testimonies from past customers.
    3. Expert Social Proof – Endorsement of subject matter experts and other authorities in a niche.
    4. Wisdom of Friends – Recommendations of friends, family, and trusted people.
    5. The Wisdom of the Crowds – Proof in numbers (likes, comments, re-shares, re-tweets, etc.).

    Out of all these types of social proof, the wisdom of the crowd is one of the simplest to obtain. All you need is a social media tool or plugin that allows you to display the number of shares or likes your content gets.

    Just remember that this strategy can be a double-edged sword. If a reasonable number of likes can build trust, having zero can discourage the audience from even reading your content.

    As for the other types of social proof, each strategy requires a lot of research, planning, and outreach. Guest posting in established blogs, in particular, is a popular course of action. By leveraging the credibility of influencers, you can instantly gain social media engagement, exposure, and a way to win part of the audience’s trust.

    2. Imply Urgency

    Fear can be a very powerful and convincing emotion. Apart from losing something, most people are afraid of missing out on significant opportunities. They don’t want to be left out; especially when it comes to something that they truly value.

    You can tap into this fear by inspiring the sense of urgency. A time-tested strategy is to create limited time offers that give the audience two options – to take action or miss out.

    Another strategy is to focus on the negative. For example, if your company sells online security solutions to businesses, then you can emphasize the dangers of being vulnerable to security threats such as data loss and a ruined reputation.

    3. Use Visual Psychology

    Numerous studies have shown the link between particular visual content and their effect in a website’s conversion rate. These studies look at different visual elements such as colors, typography, and photographs. For example, Signal v. Noise managed to increase conversions by up to 102.5% by adding an image of a person.

    Keep in mind that visual psychology has numerous applications. By determining the specific needs of your business, you should be able to come up with a strategy will work for you. In color psychology, for example, using the colors blue, purple, and green can help catch the attention of the female audience. The color blue also generally denotes “authority,” and can be used to cultivate the users’ trust.

    Another strategy is to use human images to get the attention of your audience. Remember that humans are innately drawn to the gaze of other people. Therefore, you can use human photos to highlight individual elements such as a CTA or special offers.

    When it comes to social media posts, feel free to combine different colors and visual elements to achieve the effect you want. Apart from image sharing websites like Pinterest and Instagram, you can also apply visual psychology on featured images that are shared in networks like Facebook and Google+.

    4. Give Away Gifts

    Lastly, nothing motivates action more than the promise of rewards. Take note that, before every conversion, users need to know what’s in it for them. Giving them a straight answer in the form of discounts, freebies, promos, and free resources is an excellent way to boost engagement in social media.

    A rule of thumb when trying to increase social media engagement is to offer something that is highly appealing to your target audience. Remember that even overused tactics like free eBooks and coupon codes are still very useful in generating engagement. While there’s no need to resort to unique antics to get your audience’s attention, you should be willing to explore out-of-the-box ideas such as letting them decide where to donate for charity or featuring them on your corporate blog.

    Conclusion

    Take note that social media engagement is all about inspiring action, not just impressions. By tapping into psychological triggers, you can help your brand stand out from all the noise and be visible in the social space.

  • Marketing Hacking Episode One: Influencer Marketing

    Influencer Marketing Is The New “Word-Of-Mouth”

    Influencer marketing is an old idea turned new. It’s “word-of-mouth” marketing but fashioned in a new fangled way. Instead of friends and relatives giving us advice we look to the experts. People we see as the go-to resource on a given topic. And thanks to social media, we can follow those influencers, learn from them, and ultimately buy from them.

    That’s why we decided to host a webcast series on Marketing Hacking, and the first episode is on how to harness the power of you influencers using influencer marketing.

    Join Us For Marketing Hacking Episode 1: Influencer Marketing

    Featuring Scott Kendal Brown, Digital Marketing for NUVI, and myself Elle Griffin, Head of Marketing for EveryoneSocial, we’ll discuss (via webcam) how you can get your community to market your brand using the magic of influencer marketing.

    Let’s Stop Calling It Social Selling

    Over the past few years, Sales and Marketing teams have been inundated with the importance of “Social Selling”. Pick your favorite source and you will find all of the data behind why you should be leveraging social media to sell (Forrester, LinkedIn, etc.).  But recently, those of us in the field have started to see a backlash to this concept. Social Selling is just a fad, this is just a buzz word, no one has time for this fluff…

    Social selling isn’t going anywhere

    The problem is that the practice of social selling is not going to go anywhere. There are over 2.3 billion social media users globally and that number is expected to continue increasing. It is becoming more and more evident that those who do not add this to their current selling skill set will fall too far behind to catch up. With Millennials becoming more of the decision makers than any other generation, you either need to adjust or find a new job.

    What the naysayers don’t realize is that social selling does not mean directly selling your products on Twitter or LinkedIn. While there are industries that can do that, most will not see success with that strategy. Social selling means building digital relationships and being visible in your ecosystem so that when someone is ready to make a decision you will be top of mind.

    Think of it like a networking event, the payoffs are in the connections you make and that takes time to develop. You meet someone and exchange business cards (connect on LinkedIn), share a few emails to stay in touch (comments on LinkedIn posts and Tweets), invite them to lunch to remind them of why you are connected (Send a direct InMail with an interesting article), and answer questions when they call you looking for advice on a decision (via email). “Social Selling” is just a new way of building and maintaining relationships, and the best part is you can do it anytime from anywhere.

    What does it mean to build digital relationships and be visible?

    Listening, being engaged, and being helpful. It’s that simple. The most important thing you can do for social selling is to be helpful and connect on a personal level. Comment on your connections’ posts with thoughtful insight that shows you read their article. Send them comics that are related to a conversation you had. Reach out to them when you see there is news about their company and see how that impacts them. Be the friend you would like to have and you will see the benefits, both personally and professionally.

    When you pair this “relationship building” with your own frequent posting about your company and industry, you will stay top of mind. This will help you become the trusted source they are looking for when starting their purchasing process. Or perhaps they need advice on what companies to review, you will be the source they know is an expert in that field.

    Invest your time in this modern day communication and you will start seeing modern day returns. Remember, you aren’t expected to close deals on social media or even schedule meetings. You are only expected to form relationships and keep them. Let the other skills in your selling toolbox do the rest of the work.

    Any other name but “Social Selling”

    So, perhaps using the term “social selling” isn’t the right word. It makes the assumption that you are selling on social media when in reality, you are just being a decent human being. Whether you want to call it Social Helping, Digital Relationship Building, Influencing, or any other mouthful… just do it.

    Social Media Marketing Trends For 2017

    Facebook, Instagram, and now Twitter now have ‘live’ options. Amazon, Pinterest, and Instagram now allow you to make mobile payments on social media platforms. The trend is clear: a lot of change is coming for social media marketing this year.

    That’s why we wanted to share this video from our partner NUVI. In it, NUVI VP Erik Lamb discusses:

    • Facebook Live & Instagram Live & now Twitter Live (live is hot hot hot).
    • What are the demographic differences of those using live.
    • Video sharing is about to go viral: why you should get into making videos + how to optimize it for your target audience.
    • Facebook and the fake news fiasco: how this impacts brands.
    • Transactional social content: you can now make mobile payments on social media platforms. How Amazon, Pinterest, and Instagram are changing the way we pay.
    • Monitoring what’s being said about your company & how social listening can benefit your brand.


  • How Genesys Hacked Their B2B Sales Strategy

    At the recent Linkedin Sales Connect conference in New York, Diane Demeester, VP Global Sales & Services Operations at Genesys gave a presentation on how they hacked their B2B sales strategy. It was both the highlight of the morning sessions and the best presentation we’ve seen so far on how companies have used social selling to rapidly increase B2B sales results.

    Genesys sells consumer experience and call center technology to other businesses. They’re headquartered in Daly City, California, have over $1 billion in revenues, and have over 10,000 customers in 150 countries. They’re also an EveryoneSocial customer. And as Diane detailed in her below presentation, our platform, along with other solutions, plays a critical role in their social selling program.

    Here’s how Genesys developed a B2B sales strategy that outperformed previous strategies by 165%:

    Selling The Genesys Way

    As a global organization, Genesys has sellers all over the globe—in fact, the majority of their organization (including their sales team) is remote. The Genesys approach to selling starts with a simple principle: every seller is unique and creating a top-performing sales organization (especially one that spans the globe) requires harnessing and enabling their unique styles.

    In 2014, they rolled out their first social selling program with LinkedIn SalesNavigator (which we also use). Like most new tools, initial adoption was good, however there wasn’t much follow-up on support or structure. To put it plainly, of the sellers who attained quota during that year, only 4% were using social selling.

    This was not acceptable. In order to get continued support for their program from the executive team they were going to have to show how social selling lifted the pipeline and impacted revenue.

    In 2015 Diane and her team developed the Genesys selling model—Selling the Genesys Way—to provide additional support and structure. The key was weaving social selling into their entire program rather than merely including it as a component (note that there isn’t actually a component called ‘social’ anything). In Diane’s words, “discipline has been built into everything.”

    How Genesys Used ‘Social Selling’ To Close More Deals

    At this point, Genesys rolled out EveryoneSocial to facilitate their content and social sharing needs, and started capturing ‘social’ as a lead source in their CRM; not something they were previously doing.

    As a result, in February of 2016, Nicholas Dectis became active on social media. Nicholas is the Global Account Manager at Genesys and he’s held sales roles for more than 30 years—even before there were computers or CRM systems in place.

    As you can see in the below video (and this took some deep data digging on Genesys’ part), with social selling Nicholas was able to develop an opportunity in mid-April, which turned into a closed deal by the end of June. Further digging on the data showed that there were more than 200 distinct social selling activities that occurred relative to this opportunity.

    However, there’s more to it than simply demonstrating that social selling strategies can create and develop new opportunities. In today’s world, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get the attention of decision makers at the top of the food chain (CXO, SVP, VP, etc.). They don’t answer emails or phone calls, especially if they’re sent cold. However, they will connect through social, especially if other mutual connections have been established by the salesperson.

    The B2B Sales Tools That Won Genesys 165% Larger Deals

    For Genesys, 2016 numbers were a big improvement over 2014. With a structured program and the right tools in place, they’ve seen increased usage on the part of their salespeople on a sustained basis. Most importantly, they’ve seen that of those who attained quota, 17% are now social sellers. Further, reps who use EveryoneSocial and Linkedin SalesNavigator as a part of their overall social selling efforts have pipelines 2.2x greater than those that don’t. Think about that.

    Further, reps who use EveryoneSocial and Linkedin SalesNavigator as a part of their social selling efforts achieve 16% higher win rates. When combined with additional activities—researching buyers via social listening and connecting with that buyer via social media—win rates improved as much as 22% over those who weren’t using the tools.

    Finally, reps who use EveryoneSocial and Linkedin SalesNavigator as a part of their social selling efforts closed deals that were 42% larger than their non-social selling peers. And when those same reps posted content with which buyers interacted they increased their average deal size as much as 165%.

    How Genesys Employees Adopted The New B2B Sales Strategy

    Every seller is unique and uses social selling tools in their own way. Alice, the most successful manager in the company, uses social selling to open the door for her team. In EMEA Julian asked if she would have access to social selling tools before she accepted the job (a common trend we’ve been seeing—social selling attracts top talent). In India, Hari uses it to connect with admins where it’s culturally unacceptable for the rep to go direct to the executive.

    Bottom line: Social selling is no longer an adjunct activity, it’s a crucial part of your sales strategy that must be implemented. Educate and train your sales team. Allow them to own it until they really become good at it.

    Click here to download Genesys’ case study + infographic to learn more.


  • The 12 Days Of Blogging

    If you haven’t executed a blogging strategy within your organization, maybe it’s time to begin. Or perhaps your company has a blog, but the overall strategy could use a tune-up.

    Blogs make good business sense for any modern marketing organization. According to BlogHer, 81% of US online consumers trust information and advice from blogs. Companies that have blogs have 97% more inbound links, says Hubspot.

    B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not, yet only 33% of B2B companies use blogs, according to InsideView. What better time than the holiday season to get started on a regular blogging habit, and improve your company’s current blogging efforts?

    Follow these 12 days of tips to tune up your blogging strategy and execution plan:

    Day 1 – Pay attention to web analytics. Look for your top 10-20 blog posts, which are likely responsible for most of your blog traffic, and determine why they are driving interest from your prospect and customer base. Replicate what is working well, and use this information to help plan upcoming blog topics.

    Day 2 – Look for common themes or topic areas across multiple blog posts. Can this be built into a multi-part series on your blog? You may have already written the backbone of an ebook, and the content just happens to be sitting in five different blog posts.

    Day 3 – Begin a daily blog journal of ideas. Get in the habit of free writing ideas for 15 minutes every day. This will help you develop the discipline for consistent writing, and you can always revisit prior topics for further exploration.

    Day 4 – Mine for gold inside of customer surveys. You may even find hidden gems for your product team — look for words that resonate and topics that are important to your customers.

    Day 5 – Expand winning topics. Should this blog topic be exploded into a SlideShare or webinar topic? Should you be writing more blogs on this topic? Let the winning topics inform your entire content strategy for the quarter or year.

    Day 6 – Remember to social share blogs on a consistent basis. Sometimes we reserve our social shares for gated content assets, and forget about the lowly blog post. Have you shared this blog post through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other relevant social media networks for your target audience? Comb through older blogs, and share them with your networks, to reach new people who weren’t following you a year ago.

    Day 7 – Engage your influencers. Have you encouraged your influencer network to share relevant blog posts with their networks? How recently? How frequently?

    Day 8 – Make it an upcycling day. Spend an hour looking for high performing content. Instead of writing from scratch, spend time repackaging an existing winner into something new and better.

    Day 9 – Tell the story with a visual. Does this blog lend itself to an infographic?

    Day 10 – Do a video/audio interview. Can this topic be discussed in a video or audio Q&A between one of your influencers and a key customer? Could it be articulated through a whiteboarding session that you capture on video?

    Day 11 – Take it on the road. Should your CEO make this winning blog topic part of his next presentation at an industry event?

    Day 12 – Take a Content Creation Vacation. Give your team permission to stop creating new content for a week, or even a month, if you’re feeling brave. Enforcing a Content Creation Vacation is one of the best ways to remind your team to take stock of content that already exists, and encourage your team to find new content ideas in existing content.

    Once you’ve executed these 12 tips to a better blogging strategy, remember to check key metrics to evaluate how this focused energy will impact your overall blog performance.

  • Watch On-Demand: Social Selling By The Numbers

    If you haven’t embraced social selling you’re not simply missing out, you’re falling behind. In our upcoming webinar, EveryoneSocial Co-Founder and CEO, Cameron Brain will talk through the cold, hard numbers on social selling and and what you can do to get on board. This will be a must-watch session for all sales executives.

    Watch below & leave a comment. Cameron Brain will be answering your questions all day.

    What To Do With Inactive Email Subscribers

    One of our favorite email service providers, MailChimp recently put out a post on the value of inactive email subscribers —you know, the people you continue to send emails to that never seem to open or click them?

    MailChimp sends a LOT of email (four years ago they reported sending over 100M emails per day), which means they’re in a unique position to shed light on perpetually niggling questions about email best practices and ROI.

    After reviewing 6.6 billion sends from ecommerce businesses, Mailchimp found that inactive subscribers (defined as those who received emails from a company, but did not open them) were worth 32% of active subscribers. Said differently:

    Inactive subscriber purchases were equivalent to one third of the revenue generated by active subscribers.

    What about non-subscribed customers (i.e., people who buy things from your business but don’t subscribe to your emails) you may ask? Turns out both active and inactive email subscribers outperform non-subscribed customers in every way.

    Subscribers (be they active or inactive) ordered 25% more frequently, and when they did, they spent 6% more than non-subscribers. They’re also more likely to return; inactive subscribers were 26% more likely to make a follow-on purchase than non-subscribers.

    Mailchimp Graph

    You may not be running an ecommerce business (we don’t), however these findings are relevant to all types of email campaigns, be they to external or internal subscribers, for B2B or B2C businesses; it’s about the likelihood of your inactive subscribers taking action. In an ecommerce context that may be a purchase, in a B2B context that may be signing up for a webinar or downloading a piece of conversion content.

    Here’s how to address your inactive email subscribers:

    Start by identifying your inactive subscribers. Again, these are your email subscribers who don’t open your emails.

    Don’t prune them from your list! This is coming straight from the mouth of a large scale email service provider. Yes, this is the opposite of what marketers have been telling each other for years, however the MailChimp data backs it up: an inactive subscriber is a better customer than a non-subscriber.

    Continue to send engaging content to your inactive users. Probably a good idea to address them a bit differently than your active subscribers. Regardless, the point is to continue to send them emails.

    Encourage everyone to join your list. The overarching point is that having someone as a subscriber—be they active or inactive—is far more valuable than not having them as one. Continuously building your email lists should be a top priority.

  • 10 Brands That “Get” Employee Advocacy

    Employee advocacy is a powerful strategy for raising brand awareness in social media. While bloggers, thought leaders, and social media celebrities have an established following that can trust their views wholeheartedly, your employees can give the online audience a peek at your company culture. Furthermore, employees are approachable sources of information that can help prospects in case they have any questions regarding your products or services.

    However, why employees rather than a centralized account for your business? According to a study by Cisco, employee posts can generate 8X more engagement than branded content from the company. Furthermore, their social media accounts usually have 10X more reach.

    However, successful employee advocacy takes more than just asking your employees to post stuff online. You also need to develop a harmonious company culture, set policies that control what employees can post, and help them extend their social reach. Furthermore, you need a creative campaign that can give your employee advocacy program some traction.

    Here are ten companies that did employee advocacy right:

    1. Starbucks

    One of the commendable tactics in Starbucks’ brand advocacy strategy is that they refer to employees as “partners.” This simple decision granted employees the sense of belongingness and accountability for their social media activities.

    A crucial ingredient in their employee advocacy program is the comprehensive social media guidelines they made widely available to their partners. They also built dedicated social media accounts for their partners, which now has almost 44 thousand followers on Twitter and over 340 thousand likes on Facebook.

    2. AT&T

    AT&T’s employee advocacy program was dubbed “Social Circle.” Its main goal is simple: identify employees who are most active on social media and use their accounts to help promote the company. They also did not implement strict rules and allowed employees to use their personal voice.

    Although the plan is as straightforward as it gets, it worked very well for AT&T’s particular position. As a big company, over 2,300 members volunteered to spread behind-the-scenes information and news about the firm.

    3. IBM

    IBM is another major enterprise that benefited from their sheer size when it comes to employee advocacy. However, part of their success is due to their Redbooks Thought Leadership Program, which involved helping their staff improve their blogging and social media skills.

    In exchange, participants were asked to contribute to the Redbooks blog, whether it is about their personal experiences or insights about the company’s products and services. Today, the content is available via a desktop browser or the Redbooks mobile app.

    4. Bluewolf

    Bluewolf is an international IT consulting firm that truly valued employee advocacy. In 2012, they launched #GoingSocial, which encouraged employees to build their personal social brand. Take note that, for shared content to “feel” more authentic, they should come from a channel with an individual personality.

    Throughout the campaign, employees had access to tools and video tutorials that helped them establish their online presence. Given today’s cloud technology, implementing a similar strategy as Bluewolf’s #GoingSocial is more than doable to startups and SMEs.

    5. Zappos

    Zappos takes pride in having a free, tightly-knit culture. This culture shows in the way employees or “Zapponians” can tweet about their day-to-day operations. It does not matter if it is a costume party or employees grouped together in a meeting. As long as it is about the employees, it deserves a spot in the EyeZapp – Zappos’ official Twitter page for employee advocates – with the hashtag #CompanyCulture.

    As a result, the Zappos can attract not only customers but potential employees who wish to become part of the company culture. To inspire employees to participate, the company also keeps a leaderboard that lists the top performing employees in social media.

    6. HPE

    HPE’s employee advocacy strategy is unique due to their use of EveryoneSocial—an employee advocacy platform. It is a service that helps businesses unlock the power of employees in extending their social reach. With EveryoneSocial, the company was able to easily curate, manage, and publish content in their chosen social media channels.

    To help fuel their advocacy program, HPE offered incentives and guided employees on the proper way to interact with social media platforms. Gamification, in particular, is one of the effective tactics that increased the employees’ drive in advocating for the brand.

    7. Vodafone

    As a company built around connecting people, you would expect Vodafone to know how to connect the online audience with their growing company culture. However, their employees didn’t know what they can and cannot share at first. That is why their priority was to establish a social media policy that allowed employees to share Vodafone-related content.

    Apart from the approach of letting employees use their personal accounts, Vodafone also occasionally feature the skills of employees in their corporate blog. One example is when they talked about the astrophotography skills of their resident expert.

    8. Reebok

    The success of Reebok’s employee advocacy program revolved around encouraging employees to share their passion for fitness and then incorporating a provocative hashtag —#FitAssCompany. As a result, the company can easily track the content that employees were sharing and evolve their approach over time.

    Reebok also valued the openness within the organization and encouraged employees to be authentic. However, to keep the brand relevant, they wanted employees to focus on sharing fitness activities such as weight-lifting, running, and cycling.

    9. Sprint

    Sprint’s take on employee advocacy is through the Social Media Ninja Program. It started with 50 volunteer employees who can share company-related content in social networks they prefer. With the help of an editorial calendar and topic suggestions by the management, employees were able to communicate and develop a consistent brand.

    Today, over 3,000 employee volunteers always engage with the online community to maintain brand awareness. When it comes to rules, Sprint only has a few reminders such as don’t promise anything they cannot deliver and avoid giving out speculations.

    10. Dell

    Through Dell’s social media employee training program, over 10,000 employees are now engaging the online community and posting brand-related content responsibly. To inspire more employees to join, they will be granted the title “Dell Certified Social Media and Community Professional” upon completing the program.

    Conclusion

    Employee advocacy may not be a new concept, but creative ideas are not always easy to come by. Hopefully, the companies above gave you some inspiration for your employee advocacy program. The next step is to focus on developing your company culture and sharing them with the online community through your loyal employees.

    What I Learned About Social Sales From Pokémon Go

    Pokémon Go is all the rage these days. It was almost a matter of time before I saw the parallels between the game and social sales.

    What do social sales and Pokémon Go have in common?

    With stats claiming the augmented reality smartphone game attracts more daily users than Twitter, it has finally broken through what were once niche circles and is now considered mainstream. Just like social sales, otherwise known as ‘social selling.’

    I hear all the time in the market that social selling is just a buzzword. Sales professionals and sales managers often don’t believe it will last more than a few years. They couldn’t be more wrong! Social sellers, like Pokémon Go, are here for good.

    Take a look at business consumer trends. Take a look at what top performers are doing. The world has changed. The way people communicate has become so digitalized there is no way I can imagine the world ever going back.

    A few months ago, I had no idea what Pokémon was. I was born in 1978! Around the end of July I started seeing kids gathering in my neighborhood, on the streets, glued to their phones trying to “catch Pokémon.” They were completely obsessed with it.

    Tonight, I want you to sit and observe your kids and people in the neighborhood who are using their phones. You’ll notice they’re on them all day long, at every moment of every day. They’re texting, they’re on social media and now they’re playing Pokémon. This is the future.

    Social sales is not a fad, it’s the new way to sell

    Most senior leaders are most likely in their 40s, 50s or 60s and have children who are in their late-teens or in their 20s. But I want you to think about the logic of digital and social communication. Ask yourself: is this something that is going to continue? Or is this something that is a fad?

    If you’re still not convinced, let me tell you something: you’re acting like a luddite. You sound like my grandmother when my mom tried to get her on email. Stop acting like a dinosaur! The world has changed.

    You might say to yourself, That’s fine. I don’t need to change, because I’m only going to be in my senior leadership role for a few more years. My industry won’t progress fast enough, and by the time I leave, somebody else will have to worry about this, this digital transformation.

    However, if you have any intention of staying in or progressing in your senior leadership role in sales or marketing, you NEED TO think differently. If you don’t, you risk being left farther and farther behind.

    And if you think this is just a Silicon Valley thing, it’s not. I can tell you from personal experience that I’m watching digital transformation (which social sales is a part of) happen in every industry: the manufacturing space, the financial services space, the healthcare space.

    I’m watching it happen across every continent: in Southeast Asia, in Eastern Europe, In Latin America. Everywhere around the world, every industry, and all you need to do is watch people playing Pokémon to understand it.

  • 7 Tips for Creating A Call to Action on Social Media

    No matter which social media channel you use, there is nothing more important than a high-quality call to action. Here’s the secret to a successful call to action and why it can be a slam dunk for your business.

    Now I’m English, physically uncoordinated and admittedly, not the tallest guy on earth …

    That said, basketball isn’t exactly my forte. Still, I remember seeing highlights of Michael Jordan playing while growing up — he was unbelievable!

    Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the sport or know next to nothing like myself, while watching Jordan dominate the court in the nineties, it was almost impossible to keep your jaw from hitting the floor.

    Three-pointers, jumpers, layups — you name it, he did it better than everyone else.

    But, there was one athletic maneuver in particular that had a way of captivating me more than anything…I’m talking:

    The slam dunk.

    call to action

    It was aggressive. It was powerful. And in the blink of an eye, it had the capacity to inject thousands of people with enough energy to get them on their feet, yelling like crazy and smiling from ear to ear…

    Not bad for a day’s work, right?

    Fortunately, such a rewarding feeling is not only reserved for athletes like Jordan — you can achieve similar heights with great marketing!

    The Striking Similarities between a Slam Dunk and a “Call To Action”

    A few years after Jordan’s retirement, I found myself within a different arena of sorts: social media marketing. Thankfully, there’s no need for vertical agility or lean muscle out in the social sphere, but the field does have its own equivalent of the slam dunk — to be precise: the call to action (CTA).

    No, I’m not crazy! Hear me out:

    • They’re BOTH direct.
    • They’re BOTH highly authoritative.
    • They’re BOTH quick, timely and succinct.
    • They’re BOTH energetic — (the more energy, the better).
    • They’re BOTH compelling enough to elicit an immediate reaction.

    Oh, and there’s one more…

    • They’re BOTH extremely hard to achieve!

    Seriously, based on personal experience, has that last point ever proven to be painfully true?

    If so, I bring good news — though I can’t help you much with dunking a basketball on a 10-foot-tall hoop, I can teach you how to produce high-quality CTAs for social media.

    The best part? This process needn’t be a mind-numbing exercise…in fact, it should be real fun!

    Ready for some call-to-action clarity?

    Follow each of my seven tips below and you’ll be engaging with social audiences in no time.

    1. Make Your CTA Benefits Clear and Concise

    Social call to actions don’t have much time or space to generate an impact.

    So, it’s your job to be as clear and concise as possible when building one.

    To almost guarantee this happens, make sure your call to action both accurately and succinctly tells a person why they should take action.

    call to action

    Think about it — if there’s no obvious reason to click, comment or share…why should a potential fan or customer take the time to do so?

    They shouldn’t. And without clear, concise benefits on full display…they won’t!

    2. Build Urgency Right from the Get-Go

    You might not be a full-blown copywriter, but as a social media marketer, it helps to pull a page or two from their playbook — this is where immediacy comes into play.

    Urgency is a psychological trigger.

    For this reason, when producing the copy for your call to action, make use of words that escalate the action-inducing emotion in your readers.

    Check this out:

    • Option #1 – “Sign up for my one-of-a-kind course.”
    • Option #2“Don’t Delay! Sign up for my one-of-a-kind course today!”

    See the difference?

    Better yet, can you feel the difference between the two examples?

    call to action

    When your audience feels the genuine urgency (and exclusivity) of the action you’re requesting; they’re more likely to pull the trigger…following through on your CTA’s invitation.

    3. Give the Word ‘FREE’ the Attention It Deserves

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a broke student or a booming billionaire; there’s not a person on earth who doesn’t love a great deal.

    Sure, “25% Off,” “50% Off” and even “75% Off” are awesome offers. But if your CTA has the ability to use a certain four-letter F-word (not that one!), you’d be wise to make it the focal point of your next social CTA.

    I’m talking about “FREE.”

    call to action

    And one more thing…

    Instead of simply including the attention-grabbing term in your CTA, apply it in a way that makes it stand out. Whether made larger, emboldened, italicised or highlighted; place as much emphasis as possible on the fact that there’s a freebie up for grabs.

    Heck, even go crazy ****<<<<<LIKE THIS>>>>>****.

    4. Keep It Simple: Ask for Action

    It’s a tough call, but this might be my favorite point on this list.

    Why? The simplicity (yet equally acute power) is astonishing. Occasionally, marketers make times much harder than they need to be…

    CTA stands for:

    • Call
    • To
    • Action

    That final word is what matters most.

    Yes, you are passionate about your business’ many products and services, but a social call to action isn’t an opportunity to share information — it’s an invitation to ACT.

    Make this abundantly clear through the command verbs you use:

    • “Like”
    • “Click”
    • “Share”
    • “Comment”
    • “Download”

    If it’s action you’re looking for, go ahead and ask for it!

    call to action
    Such a simple addition alone will put you light-years in front of many of your brand’s fiercest competitors on social media…you’d be surprised at just how rarely these fundamental techniques are applied.

    5. Harness the Power of Header Images

    They aren’t utilisable across every social network, but many of them do allow users to feature a banner image on their profile page.

    This is true for heavy-hitting platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    But what most companies see as an opportunity to upload a large, high-quality image, in reality, is much more — prime real estate for high-conversion CTAs. BOOM!

    Get creative with this stuff — boxes, circles, arrows, thumbnails, colours, short-form invitations…the list goes on.

    call to action

    Not much of a designer? No problem…

    Using drag-and-drop tools like Canva, Skitch and Design Bold, it’s easy to customise header images within the correct size limits. This ensures they include the CTAs your social strategy needs to build an audience, provide value and most importantly: produce sales.

    6. Use CTAs within Post Images to Ignite a Conversation

    Using header images to creatively call potential customers to action is one method, but there’s an even simpler way to do it (while also pleasing the eye) — the images in your social posts themselves.

    Don’t get me wrong …

    It’s great to persuade, promote and propose within a post’s caption, but that’s old-school stuff.

    Social media is increasingly a visual format.

    Because of this, with over 500 million active monthly users, Instagram — the most eye-popping social device known to mankind — was definitely the first to light a fire under this technique!

    Using the same tools outlined in the previous tip, overlay an image with a clear-cut CTA before sharing it with your followers.

    call to action

    Yes, it’ll take a little more time to create, but substantially more people will stop to consider your request when it’s in the form of a bite-sized image. Visual recall is everything.

    7. You’re Human! Show Your TRUE Colours.

    Jordan chose to stick his tongue out while driving to the basket — it was his signature move.

    call to action

    Don’t worry. When creating your company’s next CTA, it’s perfectly fine to keep your tongue firmly in your mouth. Stick it out if you wish…but this may not improve CTA performance.

    However, do keep in mind just how important it is that you find a way to insert your tongue unique personality into your social CTAs.

    Social media will always be about building REAL relationships!

    To get the most out of such an innovative marketing medium, you’ll need to humanise your brand, giving it the individual flavour it needs to succeed.

    Be unique. Be yourself.

    Wrapping It Up (Or Dunking It Down)

    Developing a perfect social call to action isn’t an exact science…

    In fact, to find out what works for your particular business model, you’re going to need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands digitally dirty with some good old-fashioned trial and error.

    You must measure the efficiency of your social output. When a CTA falls flat on its face, kick it to the curb. When something works, do more of that and test variations…

    It really is that simple.

    The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll be creating CTAs that rival the imposing power of any one of Jordan’s rim-shattering dunks — until then, best of luck!

    * Image credits:

  • Get Your Employees To Post The “Right Stuff” Online

    Advocacy is important if you want to put your brand out there and engage the broad online community. Regardless of your industry, brand advocates serve as powerful promotion channels that consumers trust much more than advertisements and branded content.

    Statistics show that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from peers and brand advocates – the same level as for how one would trust a family member. Furthermore, 74% of consumers use social media to make purchasing decisions.

    Although most companies rely on bloggers, social media influencers, and even celebrities to promote their brand, some turn to their most credible advocates – their employees. However, it takes a lot more than just asking your team to share your web content on Facebook or Twitter. You need to develop a solid plan that will maximize the efficiency of your employees as brand ambassadors.

    Without further ado, below are the things you need to remember if you want to turn your employees into brand advocates:

    1. Build Personas

    First of all, make sure you develop a persona that best describes your target audience. Doing so will help inform your employees on who they’re trying to reach on social media networks. For example, should they cater to entrepreneurs, managers, or web developers? What are the common problems that this kind of audience has?

    You can use a note-taking tool like OneNote or Evernote to sketch multiple personas of your target audience and share it with the rest of your team. Organize information such as the audience’s objectives, demographic, and even hobbies to help your employees build rapport quickly. Doing so will also help employees with content curation since it is easier for them to identify topics that will capture the interest of your target audience.

    2. Establish Clear Guidelines

    Nowadays, almost everyone knows how to behave and interact with others on social media. However, since the image of your brand is on the line, you should not take any chances. Make sure you establish clear guidelines that will remind your staff on how they should communicate with the audience.

    A straightforward solution is to set up a social media policy that elaborates what employees should and shouldn’t do. It should cover how employees should segregate official company statements from personal opinions, avoid endorsing other brand or people and help maintain the security of social media accounts.

    Of course, your policy must also cover the basics, such as reminding employees to be respectful at all times. Also, make it a point that their primary focus with social media engagements is to be helpful to the concerns of the online audience.

    3. Develop Your Staff’s Online Presence

    One of the secrets for success in employee advocacy is to let them build their brands. Instead of treating them as mere “representatives” of a single company, the online audience will trust them more if they develop their brand and speak with their authentic voice.

    A good strategy is to let them create and use their social media accounts on networks like LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter whenever sharing the company’s content. Encourage them to speak their mind and let them share their personal insights in particular subject matters.

    If your company has a blog, make sure that posts submitted by employees are credited to them accordingly.  If possible, you can even help them set up their blog, so they can focus on building a readership. Let them have full control of their sphere of influence. Who knows — they may even end up as thought-leaders in the future.

    4. Share Social Media Statistics

    Monitoring the performance of your social media campaigns is a vital process. However, many companies leave employees in the dark when it comes to social media stats even though they participated in the creation or promotion of content.

    Bear in mind that letting your employees know how much likes, comments or re-shares their posts get is an excellent way to boost their motivation. You can use a social media marketing platform like Buffer to allow employees to track the performance of their contributions. While you are at it, remember that Buffer also allows you to schedule social media posts. Take advantage of this feature, so your content can reach the audience in the most suitable time.

    5. Focus on the Company’s Culture

    Last but not least, the best way to encourage employees to share content is to give them the right reasons. Remember that they cannot be authentic if they are forced to provide certain social media updates. Instead, they need to be genuinely inspired to share something they are particularly proud of.

    In the end, it all boils down to the type of culture the company offers employees. Are you sure they are having fun with the day-to-day activities of the business? Are you giving them enough opportunities to obtain materials worth sharing — like birthday parties, awarding ceremonies, and retreats?

    If you keep your employees happy and give them the sense of belongingness they deserve, they will naturally want to advocate for the brand. In turn, they will more likely to speak about the company in a good way and do their best to defend the brand when challenges arise.

    Conclusion

    Building advocates through your employees is a great way to make your brand more trustworthy in the eyes of others. As simple as it may sound, you need to have a careful approach and apply the strategies above to succeed.

  • Employee Advocacy Ideas For Your Holiday Campaigns

    The success of employee advocacy boils down to a tightly-knit company culture–and nothing brings the team closer together than corporate events.

    Nearing the end of another year, your organization is probably looking forward to the holidays. Without a doubt, it is one of the highlights of any company’s year. It is also one of the busiest times for social media networks, especially for image-sharing websites like Instagram.

    In addition to the opportunity to express appreciation, holiday festivities also provide your employee advocates with great content for social media. Without further ado, here are some of the best ideas to leverage the holidays for your social advocacy campaigns:

    1. Broadcast it Live

    One of the latest features that Facebook offered this 2016 is Facebook Live. It is an integrated, live streaming feature that enabled users to share moments and special events in real time.

    A few months after it was introduced, many companies were already seeing success with Facebook Live for social media marketing. For example, HubSpot used Facebook Live to give everyone a peek of their new office in Dublin. The feed garnered significantly more likes and positive comments than their average post.

    Remember that a live stream gives the audience a sense of exclusivity since they get to see the moment as it happens. Just do not forget to keep the feed short and sweet. Your audience is probably enjoying their holidays too, so a quick tour of your venue should suffice. You can also broadcast live videos of your company as you enjoy short parlor games.

    2. Use Hashtags Wisely

    Using trending hashtags during the holidays is an excellent way of increase the searchability of your social media posts. You can also come up with your holiday-related hashtag but hashtags like #HappyThanksgiving, #ShareTheCheer, and #Celebrate will provide more exposure for your social media posts in this particular holiday.

    Since everyone is probably already doing it, you should encourage employees to take and share photos of your company’s Thanksgiving turkey with the hashtag #Turkey. Do note, however, that using too many hashtags in a single post will make your engagement rate drop by around 17 percent. So before you load up on a ton of different hashtags, make sure everyone is well aware of the rules for successful employee advocacy. Tell your employees only to use as few hashtags as possible to maximize engagement.

    3. Create a Post-Thanksgiving Album

    As your staff continues to upload photos on Facebook, make sure you round them up and create an album for your post-Thanksgiving social media activities. Take note that these pictures can also be used on your blog or website in the “About Us” section. The album will also serve as a reminder for your social media followers that your organization consists of people who trust, appreciate, and enjoy each other’s company.

    Don’t forget to tag your employees so the photos can be visible to their social circles. After all, employees typically have 10x more social reach than your average corporate social media account. Since the content will be seen by people they already know, you can also expect them to receive more likes, comments, and re-shares.

    4. Reward Your Audience

    Remember that the holidays are all about giving back. Other than your employees, your loyal social media followers also deserve your appreciation. Let them be a part of your day to maximize engagement and win their trust.

    An excellent idea is to hold a social media contest such as photo sweepstakes, exclusive discounts, giveaways, and holiday-related trivia questions. Your audience may also participate in employee contests or act as judges. For example, you can let them decide which employee shared the best photo through the number of likes or an external poll. After selecting the winner, you can randomly pick one liker to receive a special prize.

    5. Leverage Holiday Themed Events

    Another way to boost your employee advocacy campaign during the holidays is to participate in events. For example, focusing on the Thanksgiving Day Parade—a live broadcasted event—will allow your employees to relate and participate in trending conversations.

    Sporting events such as Football and Basketball also have games that stir up conversations in social media. Apart from asking your social media audience who their favorite team is, you can also consider sending an employee enthusiast to cover those events live. If that will not get your sport-loving audience’s attention, then nothing else will.

    Finally, you can encourage employee advocates to engage the social media audience by providing tips related to the holiday. A good example is to provide holiday travel safety tips since many people are probably out to see their relatives. Apart from travel, employees can also provide advice on meal preparation, gift ideas, special holiday deals, and so on. To further increase engagement, your employees can try using the poll feature on social networks like Google+.

    Conclusion

    The holidays should bring people closer together. With the strategies above, you can take full advantage of this special time and maximize the engagement for employee postings.