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3 Myths About Inbound Marketing

All businesses use their own jargon when discussing internal projects, and it can sometimes be a little confusing. Marketing is definitely not an exception to this rule, and inbound marketing is one of those often confused terms.

Inbound marketing is the creation of quality content that attracts people toward your business or product. “By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic.”  Even with this defined, there are still many people confused about what it means and there are many misconceptions surrounding inbound marketing.  Here are 3 common myths that surround inbound marketing:

Myth 1:  Inbound marketing is a fancy way of saying SEO.

SEO is actually a fundamental part of inbound marketing, but it’s just one part of it. Inbound marketing brings traffic, that traffic turns into leads, which eventually and hopefully, turns into sales.

Inbound-Marketing Graphic

Myth 2:  One person can handle doing all the inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing needs all hands on deck. It really shouldn’t be one person’s responsibility, there are many skill sets needed. It’s SEO, social media, content writing, design, development, strategy, project management, data analysis, business thinking, and audio/video production.

Myth 3:  Inbound marketing is formula driven.

Inbound marketing isn’t a to do list of things to check off:  writing blog posts, tweeting, publishing white papers and Facebook posts, and done! While these things are important, they don’t necessarily need to be done each day or week. Personalizing the content to your audience is the key to successful inbound marketing.

HubSpot agrees that “it’s a commitment to focusing on your customer/client, not you. It’s a focus on creating a business that matters. It’s a decision to be a human business that shows personality.”

At the end of the day, creating a big online presence for your business takes more than just a few clicks of the mouse. Inbound is a mindset. Specific strategies should be developed for this online presence.  Learn more about your consumer first and serve them what they want, and in turn it will help you build up your business’s personality.


6 Tips to Make Your Twitter Profile Stand Out

Twitter profiles are a great way to show your audience who you are and what you’re about in a creative way. Do you have a catchy yet captivating profile? Here are some tips to create a relevant profile that will get you noticed.

  • Go Against the Grain – Resist the urge to copy current Twitter profile trends. Check out what your followers have written in their profile and then do the opposite. Reading the same wording that everyone uses is not only boring, but it also may not convey the message you want to give to your followers.
  • Recognize Your Audience – Using the word ‘You’ in your profile makes the reader feel involved in your business. It creates personalization, which in turn makes your followers or potential followers feel welcome. It’s similar to saying hello or goodbye.
  • A Single Word – Less it more, a single word in your profile can show your creative edge while still getting your point across. Twitter Example #1
  • Update Often – Most Twitter users know that an occasional refresh of your profile will keep your followers interested. Renew your Twitter profile with relevant things that are happening in your marketing endeavors or your career.
  • Exaggerate, Playfully – Using an amusing sentiment in your profile attracts readers to want to read more of your tweets. Ellen’s whimsical profile includes, “Comedian, Talk-Show host, and ice road trucker. My tweets are real and they are spectacular.”  The obvious fib is fun and inoffensive to her audience, and it shows her spunky personality.Twitter Example #3
  • Keep It Brief and Use Links – Keeping your profile brief but to the point is a good technique to tell your reader who you are, what you are known for, and also an opportunity to link your website. Hashtags are a unique way to make your profile stand out too. SocialMedia Examiner advises you to, “Choose the most important thing you do; state them in a clear, compelling way.” Twitter Example #2

Being a creative writer can take some finesse. But it’s not all about the wit and the one-liners, it’s about gaining more followers that in turn will be more leads for sales or connections. Don’t let your creativity get you in over your head, use it smartly and often.


Reorganizing Your Marketing Strategy for 2015

In years past, the thing to do was to get on as many social media platforms as possible. Or write more blog posts, more twitter posts, more status updates on Facebook. While this technique may seem like a good idea, the quality of your work might be suffering and you’re losing traffic and/or potential traffic. This year, think about what you can trim off your marketing strategy in order to make your business more efficient and effective.

Take a look at your current marketing plan and make some honest decisions on what is actually working for your business and what is not. Then cull out the pieces that aren’t getting your analytics to rise.

Ginny Soskey from Hubspot Blogs writes about 6 things that should be cut from your marketing in order for it to be more effective. I’ve highlighted 4 that will make the most of your marketing.

  1. Real-time marketing – this was cute until it wasn’t. Remember the Oreo cookie ad that was tweeted during the 2013 Superbowl when the power went out?  “It was relevant, it was quick, it was witty, and the general public loved it.  So many marketers thought that real-time marketing was the next big thing,” explains Soskey.  Oreo Superbowl TweetA popular pizza company attempted this technique with the #WhyIStayed (a hashtag that supported domestic violence victims), and ended up insulting a large part of their audience. It was downright insensitive and got a lot of kickback.

    Real-time marketing can be effective, if it is used for pure purposes, and not that of viral ones.

  2. Using Social Networks that aren’t working for you – Did you know that the average B2B marketer promotes their content on six social platforms? Your strategy should reflect that of your consumers. Look at your metrics and see where they are coming from. Spend more quality time on the posts written for those social networks. This could be Facebook or even a niche social platform.

    Soskey offers this pro tip: “If your ultimate goal on social is to generate sales, be sure to investigate the entire funnel before cutting a platform. You may find one network doesn’t generate a ton of traffic but does convert that traffic into leads really well, for example. In cases like that, you probably wouldn’t want to cut the platform — instead, cut time from another platform that isn’t driving many bottom-line results.”

  3. Bad Stock Imagery – No one wants to look at a generic piece of stock imagery that barely even relates to your business. Instagram, Canva and other photography solutions should be put into practice. They are relevant, interesting and usually much more creative than the cliche man in a suit on a street with a pigeon sitting close by on a park bench.
  4. Not Optimizing Conversion Paths for Mobile – Making your call-to-action noticeable and user-friendly is key for mobile marketing. A hard to find or click link for a contest or a giveaway is an automatic out for someone who is using their mobile device.

This new year, trim the fat and start looking at your social strategies and make some positive changes in your techniques.


5 Steps to Optimizing Your Social Media Marketing Campaigns

You’ve probably already been doing these steps with search engine optimization (SEO):  checking your analytics, being sure your content sharability is easy to access, and knowing what your audience appreciates.  Social media optimization (SMO) has one focus:  increasing visibility of your business or products using social media. By using best industry practices and past performances, it will make your content the best it can be.

Jaysen DeMers, a contributor from Forbes,  provides 5 optimization techniques that will have your social media marketing’s closet bursting at the seams.

  1. Headlines:  An attention-grabbing headline is key to engaging your social media audience.  DeMers suggests using numbers within the headline, a clear, tangible benefit and a timely hook to gain the most interest in your blog posts or twitter posts.
  2. Strong Call To Action Social Media Posts:  If you want people to click onto your website, be sure to include ‘click below to download now’ or ‘click to read more’ or even a simple, ‘to learn more, click here’. Make it easy on your readers and have the URL embedded. Web-Buttons-free
  3. Make The Most Of Your Social Media Profile
  • Keep your URL in an obvious space
  • Complete every field on your profile for greater presence on social media sites
  • Use consistent images, format and voice throughout your profile
  • Link to a network-specific landing page.

4. Images, Images, Images:  According to the recently released Social Media Content Optimization Study, a survey done by Adobe and social CRM resource Software Advice, 82% of marketers said images were important or very important to their social media marketing.

5. Hashtags:  Hashtags allow users who may not be familiar with your business to find you. Using relevant words in your hashtags, a new reader may discover your business. Hashtags are the best way we have of making your posts and tweets as ‘findable’ as possible.Get-Your-Hashtag-On-684x260

Test out a variety of these strategies with your audience and see what works best for your brand and within your demographic. Not all of them may work with your already established audience, but they could draw in new users. So get started or continue optimizing your social media marketing campaign using these steps as a guide.


3 Examples of Successful Marketing Campaigns

You’ve probably heard the saying, “no need to reinvent the wheel”, and that can definitely apply to marketing.  When it comes to successful marketing campaigns, there’s no need to start from scratch.  Learn from what others are doing and figure out how you could do something similar using your brand and target audience.

Social Media Examiner came up with a list of 10 examples of successful marketing, here are the top 3 that we think really stand out.  We hope that these campaigns will inspire you to come up with your own amazing and unique marketing ideas!

  1. Dove.  Time and time again, Dove has created moving videos that are highly sharable and truly touch people’s hearts.  In these videos, they rarely mention their brand because they aren’t selling your their product, they’re telling an honest and beautiful story.  And that, my friends, is how you create a viral video.  (well, that or having your cat do something hilarious)  Dove also knows how to create engagement by encouraging their followers to tell a story about someone and then tag them in their post, as seen in the screenshot below.  Dove Facebook Post
  2. Humans of New York.  What started out as a lone photographer sharing his candid and startlingly honest photos of strangers on the streets of New York City has become a recognizable brand with a cult following.  How did he do it?  The photographer isn’t just sharing his photos, he’s sharing people’s stories.  Real people, raw life experiences, beautiful love stories, everyday struggles.  The snippets are short but impactful, and the fact that they’re all shared on Facebook makes it easy to create a following.Humans of New York Facebook Screenshot
  3. Starbucks.  Being one of the most recognizable brands in the world doesn’t mean that you can phone it in with your marketing efforts.  One of the reasons Starbucks has been so successful on social media is that they don’t just promote their products, they teach you how to use them.  In the example below, they show followers how long to brew various teas and what color it should be when properly brewed.  In addition to the helpful information, they included a beautiful visual image of the brewed teas as well. Starbucks Facebook Post

I think the common thread between all 3 of these examples is that the brands are not forceful in promoting their brands or products.   They tell a story or help you learn something new.  In today’s world of marketing, people are done being marketed at, they expect something more than that.

Do you have any successful marketing campaigns you’d like to share?  Please leave your ideas/experiences in the comments section, we’d love to hear them!


Should You Take a Social Media Vacation?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, a season of celebration for many, and for those who do not have holidays to celebrate this month it can serve as a welcome break while the business world slows to a crawl.  Depending on what type of field you work in, most people take at least a day or two off around this time, but what about social media marketers?  Can they take a social media vacation?

Social Media Break

This interesting article from Lance Ulanoff asks and dissects the very question, “Can I really take a social media vacation?”  Ulanoff’s case is slightly unique in that he himself is his brand, and all his tweets, vines, and other social posts are amusing quips that come straight from him.  Because he is his brand and the only person in charge of maintaining his sites, it does make it difficult for him to take a break.

There is also another thing that makes it difficult for Ulanoff to take a break.  He says, “there are times when I’m tired and I don’t want to Tweet, Vine or Instagram. I do so at those times because I fear my silence will lead to a wave of unfollows. I mean, I get this feeling if I haven’t tweeted for two hours. It’s a wonder I can sleep six or seven hours a night. I should be waking up at 1, 2 and 3 a.m. to post something, right?”  This is a common fear of social media marketers, that even a moment of silence will cause a mass exodus of your followers.

So, we’ve seen that for a solo entrepreneur, it can be difficult to detach from the ever present social media, but what about for a larger company?  Can they, and more importantly should they, take a social media vacation?

Chances are, your office is going to be quiet around the holidays because many people will be on vacation, which could make it difficult to push any work projects forward.  This might lead you to believe that by this logic, you could stop posting to your social media sites, but you would be wrong!

In my opinion, most brands should continue to regularly post around the holidays.  Here’s why:  With so many people on vacation what do you think they’re doing?  They’re at home on their computers!  They’re checking Facebook on their iPhones!  If you have a recognizable brand with a large audience or sell a tangible product, this could be an ideal time for you to post to a captive audience.

However, I will contradict myself and say that if you do not have a large social audience it may not be worth your time and efforts.  In this case, I’ll sign off on your social media time off request and say it’s fine to take a little vacation.

So, will you be taking a social media break this holiday season?

Facebook Introduces a New App: Facebook Groups

If you’re on Facebook you may have noticed that back in August they introduced, and then forced all Facebook users to download, a standalone app for Facebook messaging.  Well, they’ve gone and done it again, this time with Facebook Groups.

Facebook Groups App

Facebook Groups is a feature that already exists within the main Facebook app, and per this article from Mashable, their reasoning for breaking it out into a separate app is to “make it easier for power users to engage with their groups.”  Facebook also says that creating a separate Facebook Groups app will make the service faster on mobile devices.

The app also offers a new “discovery” feature which will recommend groups for you to join based on your interests.  This could become an interesting feature for business owners and marketers to promote their brand and discover new target audiences.  For example, if you’re a food blogger, you could create an open group like the one in the image below, “Cooking Diaries” and share new recipes with your group members.  It’s a new way to engage with Facebook users and we’re excited to see the creative marketing strategies businesses and individuals come up with.

Facebook Groups 2

Top 3 Tips for Supporting Your Brand in Social Media Images

In a world that is increasingly dominated by visual content, it’s a well known fact that if you want to maximize your social engagement, you better be including some darn good graphics and images.  But how do you know if you’re using them correctly to support your overall brand?  Social Media Examiner asks, “Do you use fonts, colors and clever effects to make your company’s images more recognizable?”

If you’re not using a consistent branding message across your visual content, you are missing out on maximizing your efforts.  

Social Media Images


Here are 3 tips to help you up your visual branding game in social media posts:

  1. Integrate Brand Colors.  This may seem like an obvious one, but the key is to use your brand colors in new and creative ways.  Use your brands color not only in your logo, but in text and images you use in your marketing materials.  Here you can see how Cadbury uses the colors purple and white in a simple, yet impactful Facebook post.Color Branding
  2. Use Clever Product Placement.  One way to market your product without using your brands signature font or color is to focus on the product itself.  The key here is the ability to identify the right setting.  Anna Guerrero says, “A good way to think about this is to identify the kind of experience you want your product or service to empower- this will help appeal to your target audience.” Visual Branding
  3. Choose Images to Fit Your Style.  What product, service, or experience are you trying to sell?  What does your audience typically respond to?  When you have your answers, find images that represent them.  Lululemon does an excellent job capturing the spirit of their brand with these two images.  They may not sell cereal, but their brand represents healthy living, so it works.  Branding Image

For more tips on how to create social media images that support your company brand, click here to read the full article from the Social Media Examiner.

The Only Facebook Cheat Sheet You’ll Ever Need

If you’ve ever created or managed a Facebook page, you’ve likely run into a few issues when trying to upload images to your page.  We’ve all been there, whether you’re trying to upload your company logo as your profile pic but it keeps cutting off the last letter, you have gray space around a shared image on your page, or most frustrating of all, your beautiful image is showing up as a tiny thumbnail.

It’s enough to push any good social media marketer over the edge, after all you’re so close to finishing a post only to spend half an hour fruitlessly trying one thing after another to get this blasted image to appear in full size.  Because social media posts typically perform much better with an image, ditching the graphic so you can just get this post up isn’t an option, and we all know how good Facebook support is. (Hint: It’s basically nonexistent.)

Facebook Infographic Smaller Image

If you identify with any of the above situations, then Christmas has come early in the form of this infographic.  This helpful infographic by details all Facebook post and ad dimensions, across both desktop and mobile.


Save this infographic on your computer, or if you’re old school you can print it out and pin it on your cork board for quick reference.

Facebook Infographic

How to Make Your Infographic Clickable in 3 Easy Steps

Infographics may be quicker and easier to consume than say, an eBook or long blog post, but there is one downside to marketing with Infographics.  What if the reader wants to learn more about a specific point presented within your Infographic?

Answer:  Add clickable links to your Infographics.  Problem solved!

Hubspot recommends using a free and easy tool called Thinglink in order to add links to your Infographics. In a blog post you can add links to more information, which allows your post to remain short and easy to consume while still providing extra information for readers who may want to dig deeper.  Adding clickable links allows you to provide the same amount of detail for readers, while keeping your Infographic from being bogged down by massive amounts of copy.

Here’s how to make your Infographic clickable in 3 easy steps:

1)   Create a free account on Thinglink and choose an image you want to tag.

2)   Upload your Infographic and add tags where appropriate.

3)   Share your clickable Inforgraphic on your website and social media profiles.

That’s it. Easy peasy, right?

Thinglink Screenshot

Full disclosure: there is one issue that could be considered a roadblock to some marketers.  All Thinglink links will direct traffic back to Thinglink’s website, not your own website. So the bummer here is that their website is gaining any SEO from these clicks, not yours. However, all your original posts promoting your infographic will link back to your website, so it’s not a complete loss of SEO.

Hubspot says, “Thinglink is a great option for making clickable infographics when you don’t have the time, knowledge, or resources to code your own.” While it is a definite con to lose any potential SEO from the tag clicks, the metrics you gain could outweigh this. What do you consider more important: SEO or having the ability to track your marketing efforts?