Tag Archives: Content Marketing

One Thing to NEVER Do When Relaunching Your Website

13 Feb

launching website

In the long checklist of critical items to execute when relaunching an organization’s website, there’s one that all CMOs and CIOs need to skip:  Do not make an announcement about the new website.

Relaunching your website is not news. It’s not a story. Don’t send out a press release or even write a Facebook or LinkedIn post. I’m sure building the new site was hard work and cost a great deal of money. You’re right to be proud of your new site. But I must tell you: no one else cares.
  
Your website is the place where you tell your story; it’s not a story that you have made changes to that place.

How Did We Get Here?

The traditional old media set a bad precedent. Newspapers regularly made big announcements to their readers about their own changes in format or style. Television is even worse. Every redesigned set on a morning show means a “behind-the-scenes-hey-aren’t-we-happening” moment for programs like the Today Show.

That’s fine if you have 5 hours of fluff to fill every morning on NBC. But your brand has only few seconds to grab a consumer’s attention online. Tell your story and don’t waste your shot by talking about the way you tell stories.

Take a Shakedown Cruise

Before you shine a spotlight on that new website, let your current customers and team take it on a shakedown cruise. If issues pop up, or some content is found to be inaccurate, you would rather work on a fix before too many eyeballs hit the site. Too many companies have wasted time, money, and credibility by driving consumers to a website that wasn’t ready for large numbers of visitors.

What Could You Announce?

Put your customers’ interests first. What does your news mean to them?

  • If you have new functionality on your website that a consumer might find compelling such as ecommerce, then it’s newsworthy.
  • If you have new video content or written articles that are relevant to your customers, then share it.
  • If you have news that affects your clients such as changing executives / contacts or new initiatives, then announce it.

What Happens In Vegas Stays On Facebook

25 Jan

#IFA2017 #qiiwords

 

A major theme for the International Franchise Association’s 2017 Convention is “Telling Your Franchise Story.”

I’ve been advocating and promoting ways to use social media at the IFA Convention each year since 2009. So, I am very excited about amount of content and programming dedicated to story-telling this year!

Here are five places where you can learn how other brands are telling their stories digitally during or before The IFA Convention:

1. Roundtable Discussion: “Digital Marketing for Franchise Development”

Monday, January 30, 9am
South Pacific Ballroom E – Mandalay Bay
(as part of the Digital Marketing and Tech Summit)

There are lots of great roundtables this year. If you’re interested in sharing your experiences and hearing some best practices from others, please join my table!

 

2. Panel: “Social Media: Today’s Secret Sauce for Telling Your Franchise Story”

Monday, January 30, 2:45 pm
Tradewinds E & F – Mandalay Bay

I am thrilled to be moderating this panel of marketing executives called “Social Media: Today’s Secret Sauce for Telling Your Franchise Story”

Here is IFA’s description:

Great brands rely on stories to define their brands. With the expansion of social media and consumers “24/7 mentality,” today’s brand journey must begin, build and extend onto social media. Whether you are looking to inspire, motivate or excite your customers and community, social media continues to play a key role. This session will include franchisors and franchisees who understand how to use this “secret sauce” effectively. We will also share how to use social media to tell the positive story of franchising because in today’s rapidly-moving market, we cannot simply raise awareness about our own brands, we need to seize the opportunity to educate consumers wherever and whenever we can about what franchising is and all the great contributions our businesses make. Come prepared to take away practical and tactical ideas from marketing pros that will make a real difference for your business.

Moderator: Jack Monson, Director of Digital Strategy, Qiigo

Alice O’Donnell, Vice President of Marketing, Massage Heights

Kathleen Kuhn, President, HouseMaster Home Inspection Services

Ali Rauch, Marketing Director, Chicken Salad Chick

 

3. Podcast: “Telling Your Franchise Story”

On last week’s episode of Social Geek Radio, we previewed the above session with panelist Ali Rauch of Chicken Salad Chick. Ali gave us the background on her brand’s “Every Chick Has a Story” social media marketing campaign.

http://socialgeekradio.com/2017/01/18/todays-secret-sauce-for-telling-your-franchise-story/

 

4. Podcast: “What’s Trending in Franchise Development”

This week on Social Geek Radio, we were joined by our good friend, Thomas Scott, for a preview of his IFA panel. Thomas shares ideas on how to tell your story and position your website to meet the needs of today’s franchise buyers.

http://socialgeekradio.com/2017/01/25/whats-trending-in-franchise-development/

 

5. Qiigo’s Contest: “What Happens in Vegas Stays on Facebook!”

My team at Qiigo is looking to have some fun sharing our cool new selfie sticks and giving away some cash and an Apple Watch! All you have to do is:

  • Grab a selfie stick at Qiigo’s booth and take a selfie
  • Post it on social media and tag it with #QiiWords
  • You’re automatically entered to win!

We’ll see you in the exhibit hall!

Qiigo #qiiqowords

 

Just Facebook and Nothing Else?

3 Jan

Facebook on iphone

 

In the distant future … like 18 months from now … we may look back fondly on this year as the time when we went to places on the internet other than Facebook.

We may also get a sense of nostalgia about other apps on our phones that are not Facebook or owned by Facebook.

Will we need anything else? Maybe not. And perhaps we’re already closer than you may think to a Just Facebook world:

Facebook Entity:                                           What It’s Replaced / Replacing:

Facebook Messenger                                  Texting

Facebook’s What’s App                              Texting

Facebook Ads                                                   Advertising anywhere else

Facebook’s Instagram                                 Snapchat

Facebook’s Workplace                                Slack, Instant Messaging, Your intranet

Facebook Marketplace                                eBay

Facebook Live                                                   Periscope, YouTube

and most importantly:

Posts from your Business Page                Website for your brand

Posts from your Locations’ Pages             All web pages for your entire organization

 

Website? What’s a Website?

If you serve up the right content to your customers in their own Facebook newsfeed, the need for them to click through to your website is minimized.

Are you trying to build traffic to your website or traffic into your business? Too many marketers have focused on web traffic for the sake of web traffic and sidestepped the obvious need to also make the cash register ring.

Some people will still click through to your site or landing page to confirm, but that’s fine. They are going to call / order / stop in / purchase anyway, so let them do so in the manner which makes them most comfortable.

 

The One Page That Will Still Matter: Google SERP

A similar argument may be made to grab those potential customers who search for the services you offer. If your phone number, hours, food menu, and map to your storefront are all on the Google search engine results page, do they really need to go to your website?
 
I’m not at all suggesting that you pull the plug on your website or ignore the need to keep it relevant. I suggest the opposite; good, fresh content on your site is more essential than ever to ensure that you show up on Google in the first place and have a full online experience for those who want more than Just Facebook.

 

 

 

What Is Twitter Now?

4 May

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Each week marketers talk about the latest new feature on Facebook and how they might use that feature to push their brand forward. We’re also frequently talking about Instagram, Snapchat, and a couple of revolving newcomers.

But many marketers are no longer talking about Twitter, or at least not as much as they were just two years ago. Lately most mentions of Twitter lead to conversations about the company itself and not how marketers are actually using it. Everyone wants to share ideas on the Twitter’s challenges, share price, and CEO rather than how they’re telling their own story on Twitter.

 

If Twitter’s not Social Media, what is it?

 

It’s News

As of last week, Twitter is listed as a News app in the iTunes store and is no longer categorized as a social media app.

I’ve always thought of Twitter as a news distribution channel. It looks like Twitter and Apple finally agree. The smartest Public Relations execs were releasing official news and statements on Twitter as far back as 2008.

If your side of the story is not coming up in Twitter searches, it’s just as inexcusable as not being seen on Google search results. Get to it!

 

It’s a Link Library

Twitter is to articles and blog posts what YouTube is to videos. It’s a vast vault of searchable content. Note, YouTube is also not really “Social” anymore, unless you count engaging with trolls…  

 

It’s a Customer Service platform

You can complain on your Facebook page all day about Brand X, but Brand X will never see it. You can complain on Brand X’s Facebook page all day and perhaps no other customers will see it. Tweet once and anyone paying attention will see it. Then the response clock starts running!

 

It’s the place to “Also Share” your social media posts

Twitter may not be the center stage for your content marketing, but it is a main gate. All social platforms must enable one-click Tweeting of your article, blog post, update, video, image, pin, story, audio clip, or future type of content. Even if you think most of your target audience is not active on Twitter, remember the Link Library idea above and make your content easy to find in any future Twitter search.  

 

 

 

Telling Your Business Story on Facebook

15 Mar

 alcohol-1239418_1920 

Facebook released the news that it now has 3 Million advertisers and has 50 Million businesses using Facebook pages. Or, as Facebook might see this, 47 Million businesses who have pages but have not yet purchased an ad!

2 of the top 3 business verticals using Facebook pages are services and local commerce; both are common industry types using the franchise model. The third, ecommerce, applies to all models. We don’t know how many franchise brands are a part of that 3 Million advertisers. However, based on the boom in ads we discussed at the IFA Convention summit on Facebook and Franchising, it’s safe to assume that a large number of the million new advertisers in the past year are in franchising.

As part of this milestone, or as a good excuse to roll out something new, Facebook has launched a new tool called Your Business Story.  

 

Telling Your Business Story

This new format is video that Facebook has made very easy to use. In fact, it’s so simple, you don’t even have to make an actual video! All you have to do is select 8 photos that are already on your timeline, select a piece of music, add a little text, and you’re done!  Get started here.

You can create as many of these short videos as you want. You can share them with your fans and you can also boost them, bringing us full circle back to why Facebook has rolled out this cool tool.

We saw a bit of a preview of these business stories at FranTech 2015 last October in Dallas.  But now that I’m actually hands-on, here are 3 things that jump out at me:

1. Video: Everyone talks about how the only thing thing that matters in online marketing is video. But a large number of business owners have no experience or knowledge in how to make a video let alone how to distribute videos in an efficient way. Facebook just made it easy.

2. Content Marketing: The other thing everyone talks about is story telling to attract customers. Again, Facebook just made it easy.

3. A micro elevator pitch: The text that businesses can include answers the question: “What’s your story? We’re in the business of ____________.” This short answer forces business owners to think about they do for customers in simple terms. No one will have the space or opportunity to drone on about customer service, being people persons, finding solutions, or other corporate dribble.

 

Telling Franchising’s Story

One of the key takeaways for me at The 2016 IFA Convention was incoming IFA Chairman Aziz Hashim’s speech.  Not only did Aziz mention social media (a first for any IFA Chair or CEO’s speech), but he also compelled the members to tell franchising’s story.

I think Facebook just made it easy for all franchisors and franchisees to tell Franchising’s story!

Tweet about Aziz

 

 

Posting Content Over Christmas Vacation?

13 Dec

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Some content marketers see the last two weeks of the year as down time. Do you?

You may believe that consumers will be spending time with their families, engaged in conversation, and too busy traveling to see your brand’s content.

This may have been true in 1989. But now at family gatherings, even Grandma is checking her phone. Families will be showing each other things they like online, the kids will be on Snapchat, Mom will be sharing images of her festive food and holiday loot with absent friends and family on Instagram, and Dad will read some blogs while checking email (and playing Clash of Clans).

 

More Travel = More Time on Social

Traveling once meant brands could not reach consumers while they’re away from their favorite media for a week. But now every extra minute delayed at an airport or sitting in the back of the Family Truckster means more opportunity for content to be seen. And let’s face it, after days together with family, most of us need to escape into our devices. 

griswold-blackhawks

If the Griswold’s Christmas was happening now instead of 1989, they would all have their faces buried in their iPads and iPhones.

 

New Devices = More Time on Social

And speaking of devices, people are getting new gadgets! Lots of people will be spending quality time spent with their new iPhone 6S or new iPad Pro. Give them something new and interesting to read! And if they didn’t get the gifts they wanted, they’ll be diving into Amazon to buy something else.

cousin eddie2

Even Cousin Eddie will be on Facebook throughout his extended visit.

 

Tips to Win The Season

Your competitors and many brand marketers are not paying attention and may have left an opening for consumers to see more of your stuff.  In the fight for attention, there may be a great opportunity with more consumers on social and fewer brands on social! Some suggestions:

1. Schedule posts ahead of time. I’m not suggesting that you work 24/7 over the holidays. Schedule two weeks worth of posts now for all of your brand’s pages. If you need some help on this check out Manalto.

2. Double down on Facebook. Play the odds with the platform with the biggest audience. The extra online activity outline above includes a stop at Facebook. Your focus here should be sharing videos, native Facebook videos, not links to YouTube. Bonus – Here are 10 new tips from a Facebook Product Manager on publishing videos: http://media.fb.com/2015/12/11/10-tips-for-using-video-publisher-tools-on-facebook

3. Holiday Reruns! If you don’t have time to create 2 weeks worth of content in the next couple of days, look back over the past few months and reuse some of your favorites.

 

Don’t Redo Your Website in 2016

8 Dec

chalkboard-620316_1920

 

“No one’s looking at our website. Quick – redesign it!”  

But if no one’s looking, then why waste resources? With marketers changing jobs so frequently, it’s easy to fall into the trap of changing websites along with the marketing professional.  The new head of marketing joins the company, and his first move is to redo the website. Why?

  • It’s what he knows how to do.
  • It has the old head of marketing’s mark on it.
  • He’s got a long list of loyal vendors or old teammates who can do the job.
  • Refreshing a website is safe, while trying something new is risky.

None of these are good reasons to change your current website!

And, the CEO knows just enough about marketing to be dangerous and say, “Sure, it makes sense to do a new website. The internet is important, right?”  

The problem is that no additional customers will see the new site versus the old site unless you are actively attracting viewers.

 

What should you do instead?

 

1. Turn your corporate website into a blog.

Maintain an active blog page as your “main” landing page of your company’s website. Keep it fresh with new stories about your customers, industry, and brand.

Search engines like articles better than corporate pages. And, so do your customers!

Links to your blog posts give you “stuff” to put on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Seriously, aside from fresh blog posts or articles, what else from your corporate site could you share on your Facebook that anyone would want to see? A link to your “about us” page or your pricing page? Hardly!

 

2. Focus on Facebook

A no-brainer? Yes, to some. But we still see resources going into audience-free corporate websites, rather than the online places where your customers are already living.

Your Facebook page isn’t even the most important thing to focus on.  The posts that you publish – and pay to boost – are what will appear on your customers’ feeds are the key.

 

The 2016 Model of Google +

30 Nov

GooglePlus-logos-02

 

Like an aging car model, Google+ has a fresh new look for the coming new year.

I was a huge proponent of G+ for many years. Since its inception, I have told countless peers, friends, clients, and all marketers that they must get on Google+ now, share your brand’s content, and engage! 

With the new model of Google+, I can tell you now that I’m not so sure how to tell a brand’s story there. And, the chances of engaging with customers are nearly nonexistent.

Of course, there’s still an important SEO factor. But this will be replaced by search results showing consumers your Google My Business page, Google Places page, and your brand’s website. (Until 2017 when we make all websites irrelevant and just drive people to your Facebook page. But I digress…)

Through the lens of content sharing and engaging, Google has succeeded in taking the social out of social media marketing. There’s just no one engaging. And most of all, I don’t see a path for marketers to pull in new fans and customers to G+ pages and compel them to “follow” the pages, when the pages are now harder than even to find. 

 

Recommendations for using G+

I recommend not spending much time or many resources on Google+. However, sometimes when everyone else is going another way on social media, it just might be worth hedging a bit and trying one more time, perhaps from another angle.

So if you’re marketer who’s not yet ready to give up on Google+, or if you’re true Social Geek and want to check out Google+ again, here are a few recommendations and tips:

G+ Tip: Use the mobile version only

It’s mobile or nothing. Maybe you’ll want to use the desktop version to set some things set up but then walk away.  There are just too many areas to make the desktop version usable by anyone. People? Well, business pages are here too. Pages? My business? All of the confusing navigation from the desktop version is missing in the mobile version – and I’m glad!

In the mobile version, there are only 3 areas:

1. Home – feed of updates from your friends and brands you follow (just like Facebook, and just like the “old” Google+).

2. Communities – like a more visual Facebook or LinkedIn Group.

G+ Tip: By sharing things here, we can reach and engage with people without “friending” them and letting them into our personal lives (what many are hesitant to do on Facebook).

3. Collections – like Pinterest or Instagram; you’re sharing images of your favorite things.

G+ Tip: When you add a post to Communities or Collections, it also adds to your timeline with an indicator that it’s also part of the other group. No need to add twice!

G+ Tip: share photos and text from the mobile version, try to avoid sharing links for now. An early glitch shows that when saving a link to a blog post, the photo I chose to be the thumbnail does not appear in the mobile version of the same post.

 

For further discussion on the new Google+, please check out this week’s Social Geek Radio podcast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curated Content Is Like a Holiday Rerun

18 Nov

Mr-Heat-Miser1

Just a few months ago, I was much more of an advocate for aggregating and curating content on social media channels. I saw the need for sharing content created by others as an important part of your digital marketing strategy.

However, it now may be time for many brands to tell their story more, and share others’ stories less.

Curated content is a rerun

When I speak with marketers about social channels and how content works with audiences, I frequently draw comparisons and analogies to television programming. Curated content is a rerun. As the holidays approach, TV networks will start relying more on reruns. What are they saying? That they’ve given up on having much of an audience at this time.

By running too much non-original content on your social channels, you’re saying the same thing.

Reruns aren’t all bad

Look at the huge ratings for constant reruns of The Big Bang Theory on TBS, and Seinfeld running in syndication for nearly 20 years. And every year networks trot out Rudolph, Frosty, Heat Miser, and the rest of the 40-year-old animated shows.

But it’s a rerun. It’s not original. When you share a lot of aggregated stories, your audience has probably seen it or something similar already. Worst of all, you may get a bit of credit for sharing the nugget, but your brand is not the star. You’re telling someone else’s story.

As mentioned earlier, I used to be much more of a proponent of posting content created by others, especially popular content. My aim was to promote the idea of just getting something on those empty pages – and with any luck, something popular. But now no one is paying attention to your Facebook page anyway; they’re focused on their Facebook feed. And hopefully you get a little portion of that feed where you’ll have the opportunity to get their attention.

Be the TV Programmer

So think of your page as your own TV network, and use curated content only to fill those holes when you don’t have a new blog post or original video or podcast to share. And when you do share others’ stuff, it may make sense to get share the work of business partners, channel partners, friends in the industry, and other marketers you know. Perhaps they will reciprocate on days when their programming is running dry too!

 

Pumpkin Spice Marketing

19 Oct

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Add one of these phrases or adjectives to any post about your product or service and I will bet that you’ll increase interest and attention by 50%:

 

  1. Pumpkin Spice
  2. Big Data
  3. Content Marketing
  4. Cage-free
  5. Craft
  6. Organic
  7. Sea Salt
  8. Engagement
  9. Sriracha

Okay, I’m half kidding, but it seems to work. Where you take it after getting that attention is another story!

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