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How to Incorporate Visual Elements Into Your Marketing

August 14th, 2012

Today’s topic of the day was on how to incorporate visual elements into your marketing  to pack more of a punch.  With all of the options online sharing options including video sites like Youtube and Dailymotion and image sharing sites such as Flickr, Instagram, and Pinterest, it is almost criminal not to make use of them in your marketing efforts.

Below is a recap of the topics covered if you were following along with us on LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter.

visual-marketing

From Hubspot

19 Reasons You Should Include Visual Content in Your Marketing [Data]

Pretty pictures are the best. But you know who likes them even more than your readers, leads, and customers? . . . Whether you’re already a champion of visual content and just want a little affirmation, or you’re interested in dipping your toes into the burgeoning visual content space, these 19 statistics should help you make the case for doing just that.

using video in your marketing

From the Young Entrepreneur Council

8 Ways to Make Your Video Marketing Efforts More Effective

QUESTION: HOW CAN I MAKE MY WEB VIDEO MARKETING EFFORTS MORE EFFECTIVE?

BE REAL AND GET REAL

“I can’t stress this enough when you sell or market your business – be real with people. Most customers out there want to know who they can trust and how your business/product can help them. So in your web videos make sure and don’t do the same old boring marketing videos that push things on people because 9 times out of 10 they hit “stop.” Let them see the real side of your business.”

using infographics in your marketing

From the Washington Post

How Can Businesses Use Infographics?

“Infographics can be great as part of presentations, newsletters or other research content. It keeps people’s interest by lending a storytelling and visual element to what can be sterile research. People do want numbers and statistics to back the information they’re reading, but there’s also a huge demand for text-based information to be more visually pleasing.

using images in your marketing

From businessesgrow.com

Six Ways Visual Content Marketing Can Blow Your Mind

Whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, people love showing and sharing images online. And it’s not only the “normal” crowd. In the tech and marketing world, it’s infographics and cartoon-based marketing campaigns that get spread just as fanatically.

About the Topic of the Day

Each week day, we cover one aspect of running or promoting a small business.  Get in time updates by following Legacy Marketing on LinkedInGoogle+ or Twitter, or subscribe to our blog for a daily recap.

Press Releases and Social Media

August 1st, 2012

press releases and social media

While the core goal of any small business marketing effort should be developing and deepening client relationshipshow that is accomplished is constantly changing.  New competitors move in, old customers move out, new markets develop, and new media emerges.

This is especially true when it comes to anything related to online marketing such as  local listings, search engine rankings, social media, online video, etc.  I can’t tell you how different my promotion routines are from just six months ago, let alone last year.

As the saying goes, ”One thing you can always count on is change.”

Taking the Old and Blend with the New

Just because there are shiny new promotional toys in social media such as PinterestGoogle+, and Facebook, it doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon the tried and true methods of traditional publicity.

A perfect example of how to blend old with new media is combining social media exposure with press releases.

Before the control of news dissemination was wrenched out of the hands of the traditional media outlets such as newspapers, radio, and TV,  press releases primarily served as a method to try to generate enough interest in reporters to publish a story in their publication.  The decision to publish was in the hands of the publication itself.

However, after the explosion of online publishing and the maturation of search engines that could not only index massive amounts of pages and information, but also quantify and categorize it into (mostly) relevant results, the power in publication has shifted.

Now, not only can a business use a press release and be ensure that it will get exposure online, with careful strategy it can also ensure that it gets in front of the eyes of interested consumers.  It is not dependent on a particular news outlet for exposure.

Using Social Media with Press Releases

Beyond the multitude of opportunities for online publication of press releases, social media networks can also serve as an additional source of exposure. There are two ways social media can bolster your business awareness.

The first is by exposing your information to different segments of your market.  Each social network has fanatics that will use that platform as their primary source of information.  Some people do their research on Pinterest, others on Facebook.  If your news release is not circulating on that site, the odds are that segment of consumers won’t see it.

Social media marketing allows you to publish where your audience hangs out.

The second way integrating a press release with social media benefits your business and company web site is by providing social proof.  Put more simply, in Google’s eyes, social proof confers authority.

Social as Links

One primary factor determining search engine rankings (beyond on-page content and on-site structure) has been links to the site or page.  Those links from other web sites (also known as “backlinks”) are seen by search engines, and Google more so than others, as “votes” of authority for that site.

For the past year, there has been a lot of discussion and intimation by Google that social would begin to factor more heavily into the search algorithm.   The impact of this has especially been seen in the past six months.

Change Continues

Yes, change continues, but you don’t have to let change completely upset your apple cart.  Find ways to take the best of the old and strengthen it with the innovation of the new.

Updating LinkedIn Company Pages with Hootsuite

July 16th, 2012

linkedin for businesses

LinkedIn is a social networking platform designed to connect people on a business level.  Job seekers can connect with company contacts. Businesses can publicize their job openings and recruit qualified candidates. Professionals can connect with others in their field.

There are many ways that LinkedIn can be used to establish yourself in your industry.

As with any social networking platform, one component is status updates and connecting with your contacts.

In another tutorial, I share how to automatically publish a blog post or article from your site onto LinkedIn. However, you may want to publish a link to the post again later on or publish other status updates.  While you can do this directly from your account on LinkedIn, most of us have other things to occupy our day rather than sitting on a social site.

YouTube Preview Image

It was previously possible to link your Twitter and LinkedIn profile. Any Twitter status updates would automatically display on your Twitter profile as well.

However, this did not solve the problem of posting updates to your company profile.

Regardless, this integration was recently discontinued and is no longer possible.

So what is the solution?

Whenever possible, I try to create a situation where I can publish once and promote on as many networks as possible with a single click.

I like integrated solutions.

My business social network accounts are part of my content schedule.

The service that I use to manage this schedule is Hootsuite.

Fortunately, Hootsuite announced their addition of LinkedIn Company page updates just prior to the announcement that the Twitter and LinkedIn integration was discontinued.

Updating LinkedIn with Hootsuite

  • LinkedIn Profile
  • LinkedIn Company Page
  • Hootsuite Account

Add LinkedIn Profile/Company Page to Hootsuite

  • Click on the Getting Started Tab
  • Click on Add another Social Network
  • Select LinkedIn
  • Click Connect with LinkedIn

Once you have imported your profile and company pages, you can then post or schedule updates.

Posting an Update to a LinkedIn Company Page

  • Click in the Compose Message box
  • Select the profile/page you would like to post to.
  • Either click “Send Now” or click the calendar icon to schedule posts in the future.

To include a link, paste it into the “Add a Link” box and click “Shrink Link.” Any clicks on the link will then be tracked in the Hootsuite reports and analytics.

By using Hootsuite, you can integrate your LinkedIn profile and company pages with your business content schedule easily.

Try a 30 day free trial of HootSuite.

 

Why Businesses Can’t Rely on Facebook for Free Promotion

June 13th, 2012

linkedin for businesses

Promoting your local business used to be fairly straightforward.  Fifteen years ago, marketing a small business most likely looked something like this:

  • Put an ad in the yellow pages.
  • Print some business cards.
  • Put a couple of flyers together.
  • Put a sign up.
  • Network with prospective customers and local businesses and ask for referrals.
  • Run ads in the local papers occasionally.

This has dramatically changed in the past decade and social media networks are frequently used as the main conduit of connecting with customers online.

One of the most frequently used social networks for businesses is Facebook.  The ability to create a page for your business and the potential and ease for your customers to spread the word about your company and services is hard to beat.

The problem arises when that Fan page, on a platform and space paid for by another for-profit business, is made to be the main online funnel for your business.   Last week I talked about stewarding your assets and building and nurturing your customer list.   The goal should be directing those fans and Facebook audience into a medium that you control such as a newsletter subscription, signing up for an account on your web site, subscribing by SMS, etc.

The Impact of Facebook Fan Page Changes

So what happened with Facebook?

Obviously if you use Facebook at all, you’ve seen the new Timeline.   As a user I hate it, but the layout itself isn’t the biggest issue for company or brand pages.  The three biggest Facebook page changes that affect businesses are:

No More Welcome Pages

Before the change, if someone who wasn’t already a fan went to the Legacy Marketing Facebook page, they would have landed on this page.  The option for directing new visitors to specific information was very cool.  In addition, you could create menu links for your page that appeared in the left column.  Those are now also gone that have been replaced with . . .

Horizontal Info Icons

Instead of having the ability to direct new visitors and create items in the Page menu, now there are customizable icons that are display in the information bar.  Customizable to a point.  While you can add icon links to custom pages for your Fan page, only three will display in the information bar (there are four total, but the photo icon cannot be moved.)  A visitor would have to click the “more” arrow to see any of the additional icon links.

So you have to choose which three you want to spotlight at a time.  This is an example of the custom icons we created for the recent March of Remembrance.

facebook icons

Fan Page Update Throttling

The most serious change, the one that will have the most impact, is that Facebook has begun to throttle the number of fans that see your status updates.  If a fan hasn’t interacted much with your page, the odds are your page update won’t show up on their newsfeed.

Kind of defeats the whole purpose doesn’t it?

Your purpose anyway.  It’s great for Facebook’s business model because then they can sell you more exposure through their Reach Generator.

So the question is, is your online marketing and Facebook campaign building a customer base for your business, or are you creating a distribution channel that Facebook controls access to and will charge you for the privilege of reaching?

 Update 6/14/2012:

As I was writing this post yesterday, apparently George Takei was also venting his frustration on the changes to the visibility of fan page status updates.  Mashable has a story on his comments as well as Facebook’s response.

Stewarding Your Company Assets: Lead Generation & Customer Retention

June 4th, 2012

The most valuable asset in any business is their book of business, or customer relationship.  Whether a product or service based business, this is essential

I think that most small business owners know that this is true; however, many times it appears that this key factor is left out of their marketing strategy.   If they have a written marketing campaign, often it is a schedule of promotions and ads targeting new customers, completely ignoring the old.  Even worse is when thousands of dollars are spent on an ad campaign and absolutely no focus or attention is placed on tracking the response or getting those new customers/contacts on a contact list (email, text, Facebook, etc.)

Growing Your Assets

If the most valuable asset in your business are your current clients and customers, each and every marketing effort that you make should reflect that.

What are you doing to turn each and every contact from your advertising campaign into a new or potential customer?

Do you have a follow-up and development strategy for existing customers or those potential customers that are on your list (do you have a list?

What efforts are you making to connect with current clients, particularly your best ones, to deepen that relationship?

Same Goal, Different Delivery

I think sometimes business owners can get overwhelmed with the constantly changing options for promoting their business.  Traditional and online methods intersect and merge.

But while the delivery method may have changed from 30 years ago, the goal remains the same, to connect with customers.

If you keep that in mind, it is easier to focus on what is most effective for your business.

Today on Twitter, I will be spotlighting ideas for lead generation and ways to improve customer loyalty.  Follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook to catch the conversation.

Profiles are for People

September 4th, 2011

linkedin for businesses

Let me preface this by saying that this post is a little bit of a rant.

Let me also say that I know if you are a small business owner, that there is a lot of “stuff” that you probably never thought you’d have to deal with when it comes to marketing your business on the internet.

I know when I went to business school, this wasn’t part of the curriculum.

Then add social media into the mix and it can be overwhelming, I get it.

But this is one of my pet peeves:

Profiles are for People

As in, a Facebook profile is for a person, not a business.  If you have a business or web site you want to promote, you need to create a page, not another Facebook profile.

This is a pretty simple concept that a lot of people don’t seem to understand.  I get Facebook “friend” requests all the time from businesses.  I am not a “friend” with the the business, I am a friend of the business owner.

Do I accept them?  Actually, if they are local, I usually do.  It irritates me, but at least they are out there trying.  I’m not going to get snippy about it.  One example of this is the Humble ISD Education Foundation.  I’m not going to give the school foundation a Facebook snub just because the person setting it up didn’t know what they were doing.

So I usually just mumble a little under my breath and make a note to have a talk with the sender the next time I run into them.

But today I got a “connection” request on LinkedIn from “Texas Social Media Expo.”

texas social media expo

I almost can’t even explain how stupid that is.

Again, profiles are for people.

What makes it especially stupid on LinkedIn is that the whole purpose of the platform is to connect with other people that are maybe a little further out of your immediate sphere.   Do you need to make a contact with someone at a particular company and need an introduction?  If you have a friend of a friend of a friend that has a connection, LinkedIn will identify it.

The whole point is that LinkedIn networks you through the companies in your current and past work history, education, and any associations.  Creating a new profile for every single business you have defeats the whole purpose of that.

There are company profiles that interact with the personal profiles.  You can create events on your personal profile and invite people to them.  You can also create a LinkedIn discussion group for a particular topic.

Who is this person who sent me this?  I have no idea.

The craziest thing about this is that it is for a social media expo!

Does anyone else see the problem with this?  Does this seem incongruent to anyone else?

I am assuming that whomever sent this must be the organizer of the event.  If they have so little understanding of the basic principles of social media, what does that say about the credibility of what they are presenting as a whole?

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