Get the word out on your company by posting a steady stream of short-form content.
One thing is for sure, businesses like yours will always need an effective way to get their messages out. One of the best ways to do so is through microblogging. Producing short, snappy updates on your company is a great way to build connections with your audiences and promote your business goals and initiatives. Here is what you need to know.
What is Microblogging?
As the name suggests, microblogging is a form of blogging defined by short posts that seek to maximize engagement. Twitter has largely been the leader in this space since the mid-2000s, but many other options have emerged since then. Microblogging is no longer solely about posting short text-based messages. Today, it also encompasses video and photography-based blogging.
Why Should You Care About Microblogging?
But why should you care about microblogging at all? The data shows a clear correlation between blogging and tangible business benefits. According to recent data, “Companies with blogs produce an average of 67 percent more leads monthly than companies that don’t blog.”[i] What’s more, “Businesses that blog get 55 percent more website visitors than businesses that don’t.”[ii]
How to Get Started
While you can simply hop on Twitter to start microblogging, there are a variety of other options to explore. Let’s look at other tools agencies can use to tell their brand story:
- Short-Form Videos: You have probably heard by now, but sites like TikTok have come to dominate the cultural sphere, taking up the space once occupied by Facebook. The attraction to these sites is obvious. TikTok lets you easily create compelling videos for your prospects and customers. Statistics show potential customers prefer videos over other forms of content.
- Photo-Sharing Services: Similar to video, utilizing photos when sharing company updates leads to higher engagement levels. Therefore, leveraging a photo-centric site like Instagram for your microblog is a great way to expand its reach. And if you don’t want to limit yourself to just one, there are ample alternatives on the market just waiting for you to investigate.
- Tried-and-true: Never discount some of the tried-and-true social media sites. For instance, LinkedIn is a great option for posting long-form, thought leadership content to grow your profile on the network and simultaneously increase your professional network.
- Other Options: Of course, we could probably list microblogging options forever. Medium is yet another example of a low-cost site that offers a useful way to position your firm as an industry leader. And you can use it to post content featuring text, photos and videos.
Microblogging is a Key to Your Digital Strategy
Today’s business opportunities are on the internet. Including blogging in your digital strategy can grow traffic and raise brand awareness, not to mention drive leads and increase your overall profitability.
[i] Content Marketing Infographic | Demand Metric
[ii] Study Shows Business Blogging Leads to 55% More Website Visitors (hubspot.com)
With 2023 right around the corner, it’s time to get your marketing ducks in a row
The proverb, “Time waits for no one,” is highly applicable to the annual year-end sprint for businesses. Not only do companies need to close out the year on a high note, but they must also get a jump on next year’s strategic marketing plan. In this blog, we’ll examine how you can start putting a framework together to develop your plan and move your business forward.
A Quick Primer
Putting together a strategic marketing plan can seem overwhelming, but it is not that difficult. That’s because a strategic marketing plan can largely adhere to a simple format, which is:
- Marketing Goals
- Marketing Strategies
- Marketing Tactics
- Evaluation Methods
Now, each element of your plan needs to build organically off one another. For instance, once you have your annual goals in place, the strategies you decide on need to naturally lead to achieving each goal. A similar process will occur for your marketing tactics: Think of them as a step-by-step process for bringing each strategy to fruition.
Also, remember the benefits of making your SMART. Last year, we wrote a blog on what that means, which you can read here. Let’s get a summary:
- Specific: Don’t simply say something like: “I want to increase my customer-base.” Instead, consider the specific number and types of new customers you would like to obtain.
- Measurable: Attach metrics to your goals. This involves benchmarking where your company currently is so you can assess whether your marketing has moved the needle.
- Achievable: It’s important to “dream big,” but your final marketing plan should include goals you can reasonably hit.
- Relevant:Spend time ensuring your goals are relevant to your organization’s priorities. Be honest with yourself. Will that exciting new marketing project or initiative really help you achieve your business goals? If not, perhaps it’s worth thinking about other ways to allocate your time and resources.
- Time-sensitive: Goals are great, but they also need a clear timetable. Without a timeframe, core aspects of your marketing plan will begin to break down.
Leverage Top Trends
For small businesses, there are plenty of new developments in the marketing world to consider implementing in your 2023 plan that can help you achieve better customer relationships and higher profitability. Here are just a few trends we’re seeing:
- Video Content is King: According to research, more than 50 percent of viewers prefer to consume online content in a video format.[i]
- Partnerships: Forming strategic partnerships can help you reach new markets and gain higher levels of engagement. Of course, remember to keep it compliant.
- Interactive Content: As part of your content marketing efforts in 2023, you may want to experiment with interactive material in the form of polls, quizzes, calculators, assessments and more.
- Conversational Marketing: Chat bots, artificial intelligence and machine learning can be lumped under the umbrella term of “conversational marketing.” They offer clear advantages over traditional methods by supporting two-way conversations. If you’d like to get a basic introduction to chat bots, check out our full blog on the subject.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: The way a business conducts itself socially is increasingly a top concern for customers. How big is this trend?
- 87 percent of consumers will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about.
- 92 percent of consumers say they have a more positive image of a company when it supports social or environmental issues.
- 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.[ii]
These figures paint a clear portrait and present an obvious takeaway: Being community responsive and socially responsible pays off in real dollars and cents.
Don’t Leave it to Chance
Your business is too important to leave something like how you promote it to chance. This makes your strategic marketing plan about as important as it gets. While strategic marketing can get complicated quickly, having even a strong framework in place, one marked by SMART goals and aligned with your overall business priorities, can go a long way. Pairing this with the field’s top and emerging trends can optimize your efforts further, positioning you to obtain strong customer connections and lasting profitability in the new year.
Want a deeper dive into creating a strategic marketing plan for 2023. Check out this helpful article.
[i] Content Trends: Global Preferences (hubspot.com)
[ii] How Corporate Social Responsibility Connects Us to Consumers (corporatewellnessmagazine.com)
Remember, not all leads are the same.
Anyone who has ever dabbled in marketing knows how complicated it can get. From preparing campaigns to working on branding, sometimes it feels like you need a pair of extra arms to get everything done. Yet seen from another lens, marketing is also relatively simple, as these individual activities often revolve around a singular purpose: generating leads. But as you likely already know, not every lead is a good lead. Let’s look at how to ensure that yours are qualified.
What are qualified leads?
A qualified lead is a lead that has been brought into your ecosystem and evaluated by your sales team as being worth pursuing. Qualifying leads is important for any business but especially for smaller firms with limited time and resources. By applying the right amount of scrutiny, you can decipher whether they truly intend to work with you and where they are in the buyer’s journey. Armed with this knowledge, nurturing your leads and turning them into customers becomes much easier.
Map to buyer personas
One of the first things to do when reviewing leads is to determine whether they map onto your “buyer personas.” Back in 2020, we covered what goes into building effective buyer personas. Not only must you establish your target audience’s demographics, like gender, age, geographical location and language, but you need to also think about psychological factors like motivations, goals and frustrations.
As you can probably guess, a good way to determine if your leads map onto your buyer personas is to include the right information fields on your website’s lead generation form. For instance, if your ideal buyer persona is between ages 35-50 and is a tech-centered real estate agent, you need to request that information from anyone who is filling out your form.
Remember the buyer’s journey
It is not enough to have a lead map onto a buyer persona; it also needs to be in the right stage of the “buyer’s journey.” The different psychological stages a lead moves through include:
- Identifying that they have a pain point or problem (awareness),
- Researching potential solutions (consideration), and
- In the case of a real estate agent, eventually deciding to work with an agent whose services best fit their unique needs (decision).
Using your customer relationship management (CRM) software can help determine where your leads are in this process. For instance, if you have your email marketing software integrated with your CRM, you can easily check and see which contacts are performing which actions in relation to your marketing emails. If a lead has received your emails before but has yet to open them or interact with an element like a hyperlink, then they are likely not ready to enter into a relationship with you.
See, what’s likely happening here with these theoretical leads is that they are interested enough in your business to not unsubscribe from your mailing list, but are not actively absorbing what you are trying to communicate. Therefore, they likely do not have an acute pain point that requires an immediate solution provided by your products or services. When leads are in that state, they may be unlikely to respond to a hard sales pitch and will require further nurturing.
Lead qualification models
Once you ensure that your leads map onto the basic parameters of your buyer personas and are in the right headspace to make a move, you may want to apply additional scrutiny. You can accomplish this by deploying a lead qualification model, such as:
- BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing)
- CHAMP (Challenges, Authority, Money and Prioritization)
- MEDDIC (Metrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Pain point identification, Champion)
- ANNUM (Authority, Need, Urgency and Money)
- FAINT (Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, and Timing)
Each of these models have their own pros and cons, but each can also help someone working on the sales side of things to make an effective and informed decision on which leads merit pursuit.
Your ticket to better leads
Let’s face it; few things are more exciting in business or marketing than the prospect of working with a new customer. A new lead kicks off this process, which makes it tempting to spring into action and do everything in your power to convert the lead.
However, it’s smart to qualify leads before you move forward, or you risk overextending yourself and doing a lot of work that will ultimately fall flat. A steady, strategic approach, where you leverage all available sources of information, is a better way forward. It allows you to better allocate finite resources and expand your client base as a result.
Gather round the social media crystal ball and see what’s coming next.
For the last few years, if you haven’t been on TikTok, you haven’t been on social media. Former heavyweights such as Facebook have been losing their luster, and TikTok has rapidly usurped its role as being on the cutting edge of digital communication. Things can change quickly online, especially within social media.
What are forward-thinking businesses supposed to do? How can one effectively plan a social media strategy when the space is continually in flux? If you are asking yourself those questions, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s explore emerging trends in social media and what they mean for business leaders who want to leverage them for competitive advantage – now and in the future.
As mentioned, while older social media platforms have waned in popularity of late, others have emerged to take their place and a chunk of their market share. Here are a few of the top sites that have left a mark in recent years and are worth keeping an eye on going forward:
- Clubhouse: Clubhouse emerged during the first year of the pandemic, offering users a way to form synchronous, audio-only connections between the audience and the speakers. Businesses can consider leveraging the platform to increase the profile of high-performing content pieces or host a dialogue between an industry thought-leader and their target audience.
- CaffeineandTwitch: Both Caffeine and Twitch have built steady followings since their launches in 2018 and 2021 respectively. Each of these platforms are video-based, giving users and businesses a powerful way to connect with audiences, position their brands and generate engagement. The success of Caffeine and Twitch also highlight that video is the future when it comes to social marketing – particularly if you need to appeal to the Gen. Z market.
- BeReal: BeReal has been adopted with great gusto by Gen. Z. While the full scope of its business applications has yet to be determined, this is a good application to investigate if you’d like to cultivate a highly authentic social presence for your brand.
Paying to Play Will Continue
Last month on this blog, we discussed whether it is now necessary to supplement your organic social media activity with paid promotion. The conclusion we drew is that it has become increasingly difficult to gain the results you may want to see through organic marketing alone. Going forward, this will likely continue to be the case; however, where you spend your marketing dollars is likely to shift. Studies show that consumers prefer ads on sites like TikTok far more than others.[i] Pinterest is another site that has proven itself to be a good bet for advertisers, generating strong ROI for those who choose to deploy its advertising functionality.[ii]
Using Social for Customer Support
While it varies amongst different demographics, customers increasingly expect to interact directly with brands via social media. The gravitation of customers away from the phone and toward online platforms for customer support has been in the works for awhile now, but it truly went into overdrive during the pandemic. To succeed with customer service in this space, businesses must familiarize themselves with how different platforms support one-to-one customer interaction and then make a customer care plan.
The data on this subject robustly backs up these claims. 64 percent of people claim that they would prefer to message a business digitally than hop on the phone.[iii] Despite this, a huge number of businesses have not yet invested in their online customer care, which can be detrimental to their brands, operations, and future profitability.
Embrace the Future
Nothing lasts forever, especially not in the digital sphere. But while that can be intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. New trends are emerging in social media that will allow businesses to accomplish strategic goals far more easily, whether that be hosting authentic online content, advertising more effectively, or improving customer care. Keep your finger on the pulse, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new and emerging technology. That will continue to be key to social success.
[i] Kantar finds ads on TikTok are seen as more inspiring, trendsetting and enjoyable than on other platforms | TikTok For Business Blog
[ii] Advertising on Pinterest: How to Get Started | Pinterest Business
[iii] 5 Reasons Travel Brands Should Focus on Messaging | Facebook IQ | Meta for Business
Do you have a content marketing plan in place?
Modern business runs on content. Without it, you’ve got no publicity for your products or services. And without publicity, you’ve got no sales. To avoid shooting yourself in the proverbial foot, business leaders must prioritize having a content strategy in place, including an acute understanding of how, when and where the content will be produced. Here’s how to get started.
First off, what do we mean when we say content? Well, content is merely a shorthand for any piece of media that helps promote your business or position your brand. It can have many uses, from intangibles like raising awareness to concrete actions like driving conversions. Your content can take on many forms – including blogs, social media posts, infographics, eBooks, videos, search engine ads and much, much more.
Establish your business objectives
You should never create content haphazardly or just for the sake of it. Instead, connect it to clear, specific and concrete business objectives. Anything less is just a waste of time and money, and let’s be honest, no small business owner has an excess of either!
Think strategically about channels and audience
Once you have your business objectives fleshed out, you need to think about your audience and channels. Ask yourself how your target audience gets the information it needs? Where do they spend their time? The days of customers coming to you are long gone. You must bring your content to them.
Next, determine what type of content you are going to create. Remember, not every asset will work well with every channel! For instance, putting together and sharing a long-form, all-text post is not a good idea on Facebook, which favors smaller amounts of text paired with engaging media assets like photos and especially videos. Similarly, it can be tempting to jam your corporate newsletter with everything and anything your firm is doing, but resist that temptation. Focus instead on who the actual audience is and tailor your messaging accordingly. If you operate B2C, your newsletter should focus on customer tips, educational resources and content that drives an emotional response. Conversely, if you do B2B marketing, you should feature items like industry news, technical information about your products and services and content that drives a logical response.
Gather your resources
Now for the fun part: It’s time to write. Of course, this can pose significant logistical challenges. You must ask yourself the question of whether you have the external expertise already in house or if you need to obtain outside support.
Remember, it’s not enough to have someone who can write but can’t wrap their mind around your company or industry. Similarly, having the best subject matter expert in the world won’t help you much if they can’t put pen to paper and express themselves clearly. You need both, and luckily there are a lot of options for businesses to explore. We live in a world of flexible work and side hustles; there are a ton of highly skilled freelance writers out there if you know where to look.
Here are a few things to consider if you choose to look outside your firm for writing support:
1. Go to where the talent is: Seek out sites dedicated to freelance work, such as Upwork and Freelance Writing.
2. Do your due diligence by looking at their portfolio: A good and experienced writer will have samples of their work readily available for interested prospects.
3. Look for past experience that overlaps with your business: Keep in mind that it doesn’t need to be an identical match; but something in the same ballpark will help the writer get up to speed faster.
4. Ask for referrals or ask them to produce a paid test piece: It is perfectly appropriate to want to look before you leap. But remember, time is money, and if you want a writer to do a trial run, it needs to be paid.
Never discount the power and value of effective content in helping promote your business and increase your revenues. Remember the adage: “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around, does it still make a sound?” Well, the same holds true for your company. You can have a fantastic business model and an unbeatable team in place, but if nobody knows about it, it’s like it doesn’t exist. Adhering to these best practices can help you build out an effective content strategy and start producing assets to build better customer relationships and drive more sales.
Want to take things further? Learn about building a content calendar to further enhance your marketing strategy!