Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

Business Development – What does it mean? Who is it for?

Business Development – What does it mean? Who is it for?

Is it the same for everyone?

If you now maybe having worked in a number of roles that you might consider as business development (BD), You should start publishing journey on LinkedIn with a bit of reflection. It often gets asked what the difference between straight selling and BD is, so if you try and define the differences (for your own sake, if nothing more!). To some degree, they’re different sides of the same coin.

Selling and BD go hand in hand.

There’s been in roles where there is strictly selling, others where there is a combination of sales and BD, and also in roles that you would consider true and pure BD. In all, however, Some would link to what would be considered BD within that particular business.

So the answer to the header title is no, BD is different for everyone and every business, dependent on a number of factors – budget, a size of a workforce, attitude to BD, etc.

What is ‘true and pure’ BD?

The sales process is one that involves a lot of people – product development, designers, pricing, marketing, technical, management – ‘front-line’ salesmen and ‘top-end’ management need to combine forces to deliver a product that their customers want.

If you walk into a shop to buy a pair of trainers, for example, this has been designed from the early stages by trained footwear designers, manufactured from these designs in a production process of sorts (industrial or bespoke, depending on the brand), marketed in the appropriate manner to raise awareness of the product, eventually landing on the shelves of the shop you’re in, with a friendly guy/gal willing to help you transact some business when you make the decision to buy them.

So where does BD fit into this process? What’s it all about then? The foremost word that comes up in the BD world is ‘relationships’. That’s pretty much what it’s all about. Good business development will help identify, maintain and encourage relationship building within a firm, building rapport with both suppliers and customers.

It helps strengthen the bonds between these links, supporting the marketing copy and material that establishes your product in the relevant marketplace. It helps provide information as to what the client needs to the ‘front line’ sales team, assisting them in closing the deal at the end of the process.

It helps inform management as to how the market is moving, providing insights into new developments of technology, social media and other digital avenues that the firm can take advantage of, to build and maintain loyalty.

It helps small companies access bigger markets and large companies engage newcomers. So a definition of ‘true and pure’ BD is ‘helping a business to develop its relationships’.

Plain and simple.

It’s networking on a daily basis; attending cutting-edge events to learn about the industry you’re working in; finding (er… stalking?) people on LinkedIn to see what events they’re attending and making sure you meet them there, in person, so that you can have that all-important introductory chat; it’s offering your loyal customers something more than a newsletter – why not run a seminar and invite them along to it? They might be happy to be invited.

The personal touch is always a winner. We hear more and more now about relationships marketing, social currency, engagement, etc. BD is the platform that most of this is built on.

Who is it for?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve worked in roles that have been classed as BD but have really been sales. I’ve worked in hybrid roles where you might do a bit of both. And I’ve worked in the ‘true and pure’ BD roles too. What this has shown me is that BD has a place in every business. You can’t ‘develop’ your business without a good BD strategy.

So whether you’re encouraging your front-line staff to sign up to a few newsletters, or get yourself down to a few networking events, or join a LinkedIn group and start up a discussion, BD is something that can’t be overlooked. It’s all very well to have a great product and a nicely designed website, with some great leaflets and a slick business card but, without the right approach to BD, no one is going to see it in the way you want to.

Having worked as a supplier to a lot of startups and growing SMEs, the one thing that I’ve noticed which has set apart the successes from the failures is their approach to BD. Develop the relationships – build a community around your business and your product just needs to do what it says on the tin. The rest will fall into place and you’ll have a strong, loyal customer base who are happy to sing your praises.

For that reason alone, if nothing else, BD is essential for pretty much any business going.

 

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Ways to Invite Your Followers Into Your Content Marketing

5 Ways to Invite Your Followers Into Your Content Marketing

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Is Marketing challenging to you?

Content marketing is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for both business and consumer brands today. As brands look to expand their reach online and engage audiences beyond ‘interruptive’ advertising, they’re increasingly looking to cultivate shareable content that is informative, entertaining and interesting.

Marketers regularly cite challenges around producing enough engaging content. A lot of the content out there today simply doesn’t move a brand forward. Content should always map back to a broader brand story that is aligned to a brand’s fundamental story.

Social engagement apps are shareable digital experiences that invite consumers (and their friends) into a social relationship with a brand. Done right, engagement apps can also create snackable, sharable content that is perfect for kicking off a content engagement relationship between brand and consumer, as well as for filling out the content calendar to keep the drumbeat going. They provide the mechanisms that encourage consumers to both create content themselves, and share that content among their own network. The value of marketing on social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn is not only the size of the audience, but also the networked graph of connected consumers. So that sharing of content from person-to-person is a critical opportunity to tap ‘earned’ reach.

Here are five ways engagement apps invite consumers to create shareable brand-themed content.

1. Let your fans and followers vote

Voting allows fans to have a say in the brand’s direction, whether it’s helping choose something as light-hearted as a t-shirt design, or as important as a magazine cover photo. With engagement apps, fans can vote for their favorite destination, product, design — or marketing theme — and share their vote. Those voting results, enriched by commentary and insights, can provide content that fuels other branded channels and provides wider audience insights into how the crowd thinks and feels about your brand. Vitamin Water successfully deployed this idea with its social ‘favor creator’ campaign back in 2009. More recently, Outside Magazine tapped social fans to pick the ‘Best Town of the Year’ in 2011, 2012 and again in 2013 — campaigns that also fed valuable content for both the print and online magazine.

2. Give your fans and followers a personalized brand experience

A brand experience tailored to a user’s profile provides fans with something unique that keeps them exploring. Engagement apps can deliver a personalized experience, such as a set of product and service choices, white papers and case studies, or even fashion outfits, and reflect the identity revealed in their profile data. The clothing brand Jones NY is currently leveraging followers’ LinkedIn profiles this fall with their Style Creator campaign, allowing executive women to have outfits suggested based on their professional LinkedIn profile.

3. Ask fans and followers to contribute brand-related content

Contributions from fans don’t just make the community feel like a more essential part of a brand, they also help brand marketers delegate content creation. Social engagement apps can ask fans to submit photos, videos, or other stories on a brand-related theme. That fan-submitted content can then enrich a brand’s own marketing channels. For example, Dressy.com is reporting engagement success by asking fans to submit photos based on themes such as weddings, to their brand website. Virgin Mobile recently created a TV spot entirely from consumer contest videos.

4. Challenge the knowledge of your social audience

Challenge your fans, to get their attention and their engagement. Challenges can take the form of quizzes or polls that test a fan’s knowledge. They can pose questions for which the answers are informative and useful, and themselves become shareable results. Earlier this year, Air New Zealand launched a “Kiwi IQ” quiz that challenged fans’ knowledge of New Zealand sights by asking them to decide whether a photo or fact was about Auckland or about San Francisco. On a similar travel-related note, Visit Norway USA challenged their fans earlier this year to answer questions about Norway facts — a question a day for a month.

5. Help fans and followers uncover profile insights

Fans will be more likely to come back to a brand if they learn something about themselves by interacting with your brand or branded content. With engagement apps, access to a user’s profile can yield valuable personal insights that the user may not have noticed. By logging in with social credentials, a fan or follower might be able to see patterns or relationships in their profile they hadn’t seen before, or might see how they become ‘matched’ to some brand-related identity or product. For example, Microsoft launched a “Nametag Analyzer” powered by LinkedIn’s professional graph that gave followers a new look at their job title, while at the same time was introducing them to Microsoft products.

Success on social means finding a brand voice that resonates with fans and followers. Having audiences contribute content, discuss content, and talk about wider themes that relate to a brand is a way to cultivate a more prominent voice.

Marketing on social shouldn’t involve just talking about a brand’s products and services endlessly. Delivering informative and entertaining content is essential. When social audiences participate in the creation of the content, brands can reach a new level of success and authenticity, unparalleled to what a brand could deliver on its own.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Types of Social Media and How Each Can Benefit Your Business

Types of Social Media and How Each Can Benefit Your Business

Image via Markus Spiske via Flickr modified by author

 

One of our favorite quotes, provenance unknown, is “You don’t really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” But how many of us tried explaining social media to non-users, such as our older relatives, or even the C-suite of our companies, and failed to do justice to all its benefits? The challenge is underestimated since the definition of social media is in the state of constant flux.

Nowadays, no type of social media is completely isolated from others, as major networks adjust their functionalities to offer more services to their users—recent examples of this include Facebook’s announcement of Place Tips, as well as Pinterest’s acquisition of new advertising technologies. To help you distinguish different types of social media, we highlighted the primary capabilities of different online services and illustrated each with examples of major players.

8 Types of Social Media and How Each Can Benefit Your Business

8 types of social media

1. Relationship networks

You can’t talk about types of social media without first mentioning major networks such as Facebook. While personal relationship networks aren’t the oldest type of social media, they can be called the most defining of them all. These channels were one of the first ones to offer public mini-sites, which later became known as profiles, with extensive information about the user, and most often require them to register with their real name. Relationship networks allowed us to keep all our communications in one place, on our Walls, Timelines or private messages, and share updates with our entire networks in one click. They vary from professional relationship networks that help you find work, connect with other professionals in the field, and share recommendations, to romantic relationship networks that help you find single users in your area.

Relationship networks also offer a unique chance for brands to connect to their users on a personal level. These days, it is necessary for most brands to have a Facebook Page or a Twitter account, in order to reach out to their audience online and answer any customer service queries that may arise.

2. Media sharing networks

This type of social network is defined by the primary type of media shared among users. Facebook and Twitter have amazing video and image-sharing capabilities; however, the majority of posts shared on these channels contain text. For channels such as Flickr or Instagram, however, images are the main focus—users have to choose, upload and edit image files before proceeding with anything else, such as captions or mentions of other users. Similarly, with sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, or apps like Vine and Snapchat, A video is the primary mode of communication.

When determining whether or not your business needs to establish a presence on a media sharing network, it’s important to consider your available resources. If there’s one thing the most successful brands on platforms like YouTube or Instagram have in common, it’s a thoroughly planned mission and carefully designed media assets, usually following a certain theme. To increase your business’s chances of success on media sharing networks, consult our extensive library of resources.

  • 8 ways to get more likes and followers on Instagram
  • Which social video platform is right for your business?
  • A guide to social video, and where it fits in your marketing plan
  • Instagram or Tumblr? Choose the right photo-sharing network for your brand
  • How to build the perfect YouTube channel

3. Online reviews

Location-based review services such as Yelp and Urbanspoon are getting more traction as personal social networks adopt geolocation, and more users choose to consult the Internet along with their friends for recommendations of best dining spots. There are sites to review anything from hotels, restaurant or your latest employer—and user reviews have more weight than ever before. Sites like Airbnb and Uber, the biggest service providers in the emerging sharing economy, rely largely on host and driver reviews, respectively, to determine who benefits from the service.

It’s vital for your brand to have the ability to leverage user reviews, whether positive or negative, to maintain client relationships. The Internet is a huge collective knowledge base, and more and more consumers choose to consult the public opinion online to determine whether the brand is worth their business. In order to do this in a cost-effective way, select a customer success team member to address reviews on sites relevant to your business. Entrust them with answering any questions or concerns from clients with average or dissatisfactory experiences, and see if there is anything that can be done on your end to turn a possible detractor into a fan. For more on this topic, read our blog posts on how to respond to negative reviews and online reputation management.

4. Discussion forums

Discussion forums is one of the oldest types of social media. Before we connected to our first university friends on The Facebook, we discussed pop culture, current affairs, and asked for help on forums. Perhaps it’s that unquenchable desire to get a share of collective knowledge that accounts for the wide reach and numerous users on forums such as Reddit. “The front page of the Internet,” as well as other forums like Quora and Digg, seldom require the person’s real name to register and post, allowing for complete anonymity, if desired.

However, while anonymity may be an attractive feature for some users, we don’t recommend that brands adopt it. This defeats the purpose of being present on such a network; your best bet at promoting your business on a forum is by sharing content relevant to a discussion, and participating in as many discussions as possible. Be very careful to avoid explicit self-promotion—if you can, leave a promotion of your brand to your brand ambassadors. Both moderators and users on networks such as Reddit are sensitive to advertising disguised as a post, and this can seriously damage the perception of your brand. The best strategy is to offer expertise in your field by joining an existing discussion and linking to an article hosted on your official blog or a how-to video tutorial, for example. You can also go the General Electric route and share cool moments from behind the scenes of your workday, as they did in this cool video.

5. Social publishing platforms

Social publishing platforms consist of blogs and microblogs, where long and short-form written content can be shared with other users. These platforms range from real-time interaction networks such as Twitter—which, while still officially placed in the category of microblogging platforms, is not normally included in the blogging category by most users—to Medium and Tumblr, which are battling it out for the title of the best interactive social publishing; to more traditional blogging platforms, such as WordPress and Blogger.

While the benefits of Twitter for business are too obvious to recount, a blogging platform is a different story. If your promotion strategy includes content marketing (and if it doesn’t, you might want to consider it), your business can gain visibility by keeping a blog. Not only does a blog help increase awareness of your business and generate more engaging content for your social channels such as Facebook, it can also help carve out a niche for your brand as a thought leader in your industry. If you find the idea of starting a blog as scary as scaling a mountain, here are some steps to help you get to the top:

  • How to start a blog
  • How to promote your blog on social media
  • Content marketing idea: customer success stories
  • Let your customers tell the story with user-generated content

6. Bookmarking sites

In the early days of the Internet (think “Hosting your own site on Geocities” era), content discovery online was a difficult task. Nowadays, there is a plethora of interesting, useful and enlightening content online, and sifting through all of it on your own is simply impossible. Of course, search engines like Google come in very handy when you know what to look for, but when you only have a vague idea of a content you’d like to read or watch, their bookmarking sites. These are web services like StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Flipboard, where users collect content from elsewhere on the Internet and save it to their account on the platform. This content can be private or public, and shared with other users. Often, these bookmarking sites will then suggest content similar to the links or images you have already saved on the network.

First and foremost, businesses can benefit from making their website bookmark-friendly. This entails optimizing the headlines and images on your blog or website for RSS feeds, making them easier to access and read for your audience. Your brand might also benefit from ensuring the articles or videos can be pinned with Pinterest’s browser extension. Finally, pay close attention to the images featured on your site or blog—these are the window displays of Pins, so you want them to be good representations of your content.

Secondly, bookmarking sites are great tools for content curation. You can create your own Pinterest board or Flipboard magazine to sort through the most engaging content on your topic of choosing from third-party sources, and showcase content from your own blogs. If your brand uses Hootsuite, you can then add content to your RSS feeds or bookmarking sites such as Pinterest or Flipboard right in your dashboard! Dive into some of our resources if you’re not sure where to start with your Pinterest or Flipboard strategy.

7. Interest-based networks

One of the most wonderful opportunities presented by social media is the ability to find people with common interests, no matter how niche these hobbies may first appear to be. In addition to Facebook and LinkedIn Groups and Google+ communities, there are whole networks dedicated to an exploration of interest—such as Last.fm for musicians and music lovers, and Goodreads for authors and avid readers.

Keeping an account on one of these interest-based networks may not be a wise use of your brand’s resources—you don’t want to end up with a neglected social media account. However, it’s another story if your customers and social audience all share a common interest, and you know this simply due to the nature of your business. Such is the case for publishing houses, for example, and their book-loving clients. A hobby or interest-based network is a good place to keep up with current trends among fans of a particular industry or its products.

8. E-commerce

Last but not least, a big trend emerging across all types of social media is the ability to view and purchase desired goods with a click of a button. Sites such as Polyvore aggregate products from different retailers in a single online marketplace and services like Etsy allow small businesses and individual crafters to sell their products without an existing brick-and-mortar location. Over the past year, e-commerce elements have been adopted by many networks whose primary functionalities place them in different categories, such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.

Many consumers, especially Millennials, are researching and making their purchases online. If the size of your brand allows is, an online store, or, at the very least, an online catalog is essential to attract Generation Y clients. E-commerce sites and sites with e-commerce capabilities, such as Pinterest, can be a good solution for brands who aren’t currently hosting an online store as part of their website. If your business doesn’t have an e-commerce partnership with a major distributor like Amazon, you may soon be able to incorporate Buy buttons into social networks like Twitter.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Social Media Marketing Goals

When using any marketing strategies, social media marketing has become the best medium utilized by many businessmen and entrepreneurs. For some businesses, having social media accounts does not change their sales marketing nor does their online business improve. What are the reasons their social media marketing efforts are not providing them the outcomes they were seeking?

It may be that the methods they are using are not ideal. Maybe they are making the same social media marketing errors as other companies. Social network marketing goals must be set. Various companies use social media differently, depending on their goals. What is the purpose of the campaign? Brand recognition? Customer relations? Increased revenue?

They must know their audience, acknowledge their presence, and build their trust. Because the audience must believe that they are very important, social media interaction is required. Social media marketing is undoubtedly the best method used by any online business. Defining the goals is the key to a successful effort. Know the purpose, define the target audience, and interact with the audience to understand and deliver what they want.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Reach Massive People by Blogging

There are more and more bloggers created every day. If you have a point to share about a product, service, business, events (the list goes on), many people choose to expose it online via their blog. With so many blogging services and platforms out there, how do you choose one? Even after you have chosen a blogging platform, service or network, can you still “Reach” enough people to make a difference.

We all know that blogging is definitely a numbers game. This is why so many bloggers are scrambling to create and promote their blogs on multiple platforms thinking they can reach more people. The greater the “Reach” can bring success to what you’re promoting. A big question is, how many people would you like to reach? Now that you have that number in your head the other questions is How do I do that?

MarketHive is the simple answer for many reasons. MarketHive makes it simple, easy and more affordable than any other option out there.  Before WordPress, Aweber, Constant Contact, Facebook and other marketing solutions is the CEO of MarketHive. He ushered in the industry of automated marketing back in the early 90’s known as the “Godfather of Automated Marketing”.  if that wasn’t enough he then created the first Inbound Marketing Network in the mid 90’s. Now he’s at it again with his new social Inbound Marketing Network for all entrepreneurs, built by entrepreneurs called MarketHive.

Don’t just take my word for it, see his video blow that talks about reaching massive people by blogging. This is just one component of his new business network and how it can impact any bloggers reach in a massive way.

If you’re a entrepreneur that specializes in helping others to succeed online, you owe your viewers this info. To get inside the MarketHive system for free more details is as easy as connecting any of your favorite Social Profiles by Clicking Here Now

Now you want to be telling others about MarketHive before they start telling you and others they know.

 

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor