Tips for Small Business on Building an Engaged Social Presence [video]

The Magic @ Ball of Social Media with Special Guest Ted Rubin


In this episode of “Magic @ Ball of Social Media,” our video series in which experts answer small business social media questions, we sit down with Ted Rubin, a leading social marketing strategist, brand evangelist and keynote speaker. Rubin provides actionable tips about building an engaged social audience.

About the Author: Derek Overbey is the Senior Social Media Manager at VerticalResponse.

Derek Overbey
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When It Comes To Marketing And Advertising Not Just Any Visual Will Do

Back in April of this year, I wrote a piece entitled A View To A Thrill: Why Marketers Need To Get Visual, Fast. The article essentially served as a not-to-gentle reminder (at least that was its intent) to those in marketing and advertising of the power of the visual when it comes to reaching and engaging consumers.

What I wrote then is surely true today.

The power of visuals in marketing and advertising is not the future, it is the present.  Ok technically it’s the present AND the future but my point is this is not something that’s coming down the road nor is it a trend or a fad for that matter. Consumers want and quite frankly, expect to see some kind of visual aid, if you will, when it comes to marketing and advertising. These visual aids resonate and connect with consumers and spur them to take action.

However, based on new research it may not be just any old picture or image that will do when it comes to fully engaging and resonating and in turn prompting a consumer to take action AKA spend their money on your product, service or ware.

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Is There a One-Size-Fits-All “Giving” Ratio? ~via @InsideCXM


Any time a big digital idea comes along, especially an idea that shakes free from the status quo, the marketing masses have one simple question – how does it work? If that question can’t be answered with reams of data, the concept is often dismissed. It’s a pragmatic set-up that often works, but also risks missing the type of very important outlier that doesn’t lend itself to conventional metrics and analytics.

So, what’s this got to do with Return on Relationship (ROR, #RonR) and giving? Well, you may be wondering if there’s a perfect, one-size-fits-all giving ratio that’s sure to check off the requisite statistical boxes and deliver the desired results. It’s a natural thing to wonder in this industry, but it’s not as easy to measure as page-views, followers or shares.

Whereas an ad campaign can be broken down and measured in parts, giving is a more holistic endeavor. You can certainly measure the results of giving and gain insight into its positive effects on your bottom line, but there’s no magic number for the process. In fact, trying to determine exactly how much needs to be given ultimately undermines the intent of the process. Giving isn’t about instant gratification. It’s about long-term success.

Think about some of the mom-and-pop businesses in your hometown. Which ones are still there? What makes one convenience store, restaurant or small retail outlet survive and thrive, when similar business located in the same area fail? Prices, product quality and location all matter, but relationships are what truly separate the long-term success stories from the failures.

In the case of a small business, those relationships were, and often still are, built the old-fashioned way. That means talking to people face-to-face, getting to know them on a personal level, and remembering their name the next time they stop in to visit. It means addressing customer concerns in a prompt, respectful manner and guiding customers through purchases with a mutually beneficial end in mind. It’s about establishing relationships in a way that doesn’t lend itself to predetermined ratios.

Does that mean you need to operate a large corporation like it’s the general store on “The Waltons?” Of course not. Big data still has a prominent seat at the table, just not at the expense of recognizing that those data points represent living, breathing people.

Technology is often blamed for the impersonal nature of the modern business-consumer relationship. It shouldn’t be. The most powerful relationship-building tools in the world are hiding right in plain sight on our smartphones, tablets and laptops. The power of those tools is determined by how we use them.

Take social media, for example. One plan of attack is to get as many followers as possible, bombard them with carefully selected marketing content, ignore comment threads on posted content, rinse and repeat. To me, that looks a lot more like sending someone a catalog than it does building a meaningful relationship.

To get the most out of giving, we need to focus more on the “social” part and less on the “media” part. Have an active presence and use social media to genuinely interact on a personal basis. It’s an opportunity to build real relationships with customers based on timeless values, and in a far more efficient manner than simply waiting for those customers to wander into your brick-and-mortar establishment.

Is there a perfect ratio for giving? No, but that’s the point. So give, #JustBeNice, and don’t expect anything in return. After that, prepare to be amazed when what you get in return is far better than what you’d have expected in the first place.

Originally posted at InsideCXM JUNE 2, 2014 BY 

Simplicity—What’s Your Definition?



I recently read a blog post by Margaret Molloy, CMO of Siegel+Gale about her favorite quotes on “simplicity,” and the first sentence resonated with me:

“At Siegel+Gale, we often think of simplicity as creating brand experiences that are remarkably clear and unexpectedly fresh.”

I think that should be the mantra for any business, really—to create clear, fresh experiences for our customers—something so pure that it feels as delightful as plunging into a crystal clear pool on a hot day. If every organization focused on this, can you imagine the power it would create?

It’s funny that while we as humans crave simplicity, we also tend to get very busy making everything complicated. Why is that? What can we do to counter it? When I talk about #JustBeNice or #RonR, simplicity is the root. It’s the very core of true connection… yet it’s one of the hardest things to maintain.

Rhythm is another word that brings the feeling of simplicity to mind. It’s great when we experience it or watch it happen, but boy is it hard to keep up!

Stop worrying about what’s next, for a moment, and concentrate on defining what simplicity means to you… and how to make it part of your “Brand DNA.”

Marketing Isn’t Dead ~via @InsideCXM


In recent times several marketing and communications gurus have declared “Marketing is dead.” Indeed, many of the traditional channels for marketing, such as advertising, direct mail and cold calling, have lost much of their effect and impact. However, as long as there are businesses offering meaningful products and services, there will always be a need for marketing that communicates their value. Traditional marketing methods might be floundering, but new marketing that centers on communication is gaining traction. Marketing isn’t dead….it’s just different.  Here are the important changes you need to make to modernize your marketing in order to stay alive and thriving.

Seek to Be Found

Interruption marketing is a thing of the past. Consumers have become immune to the deluge of “buy now” messaging that crosses their path hundreds of times throughout their day. Before the internet, consumers followed a different path to purchasing. They saw an ad and often sought information and opinions from close and trusted sources like friends and family. Vendors or businesses may have also been researched through the yellow pages or another printed directory, and sales resources were contacted for information before a purchase was made. Except for the friends and family part, much of that has been thrown out the window. Now the majority of consumers do their research on the internet before making their purchase—beginning with social channels to ask friends, colleagues and peers for advice. Sales reps aren’t called until much later in the buying cycle—after most of the research is already done. Businesses must now strive to be found in searches and provide relevant information to socially-connected seekers in order to influence buying decisions.

No More Marketing to the Masses

The one-size-fits-all broadcast messaging now falls predominantly on deaf ears. With today’s digitally savvy consumers, businesses must now communicate on a personal level with messaging that is customized to the buyer. As soon as prospects enter your buying funnel, you should know who they are and where they are in the buying process. From that moment on, their email communications and website visits should be customized to reflect what you already know. Consumers expect socially integrated communications and cross-media campaigns that are tailored to their needs.

Look for Ways to Communicate Value Instead of Selling

Today’s consumers have a near insatiable need for information, and successful brands are filling that need by concentrating on educating and informing. Instead of selling, they highlight their expertise and the value of their products and services through multidimensional communications that feature videos, content-rich websites, social media streams, informational blogs, educational eBooks, and compelling infographics. The key is to keep your focus on your buyers’ needs. Do more listening on a variety of social channels. Make it easy for people to converse with you and share your content. Stop pushing for the close, and start delivering value at every touch point.

Converse to Convert

This is the most difficult transition facing marketers today. The digital/social transformation is forcing brands to transition from “Convince and Convert” to “Converse and Convert,” so today’s marketing and communications need to be a two-way street between businesses and prospects, from the top of the funnel all the way down. When you can make the mind-set switch from marketing as advertising to marketing as conversation, all kinds of doors open up for building and nurturing relationships that result in more conversions, loyalty and advocacy. Including the huge opportunity of employee advocacy. I like to say… Empower you Employees and they will Power your Brand.

Remember, there will always be a need for marketing that creates, delivers and communicates value to customers. Marketing isn’t dead. It’s just different, and what has changed is the method by which we communicate that value. So goodbye interruption, and hello conversation—it’s here to stay. Most importantly, being involved in those conversations is key to differentiating ourselves from the competition because it allows us to be ready to surprise and delight our customers no matter where they are in the buying process.

Originally posted at InsideCXM JUNE 30, 2014 BY