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How to Become an Influencer in Your Field

How to Become an Influencer in Your Field

Going to trade shoes and industry events are a great way to network and a tried and true method of becoming well known in your industry. But in the digital age it doesn’t need to stop there. Social media provides us with a terrific opportunity to grow our connections and share information. That shared content often comes from an Informational Leader or Influencer. Informational Leaders are considered the best in their field and are either known locally, nationally or even globally. Their content is top quality and is shared throughout the industry community. If you’re looking for a bigger following for your business one of your goals should be to become an informational leader in your field. Here are some actionable steps you can take to becoming your industry’s next authoritative voice.

 

Don’t be afraid to promote yourself

In the past five years I’ve worked in social media, I have been extremely lucky to have to worked with some influential and experienced individuals in their field. The biggest hurdle for many of my clients has been their hesitation to promote themselves both on social media and offline. Lack of self promotion would hinder the success of even the most well known person in an industry.

Self promotion doesn’t always have to involve “ME! ME! ME!” content, at least overtly speaking. Self promotion can be achieved by offering useful knowledge to your followers and community at large.

Periscope is a new app on the scene that is great for building a large following. Users can create a mini-live webinar where they talk about a certain subject of their choosing and those watching can post comments that will pop up on the screen. Hosting instructional or AMA (Ask Me Anything) Periscope sessions are a great way to interact with followers in real time. The feedback you get is instant and can further guide you in making better-targeted, elite level content. If viewers can’t be there for your live scopes, they have 24 hours to see a replay. This way you can still promote the scope for a day afterwards.

Traditional webinars are another popular choice to post authoritative content. Sites like GoToMeeting, AnyMeeting and even Google+ Hangouts are just some of the popular webinar platforms out there. Webinars can be as short as 15 minutes or a few hours long. My suggestion would be to stay at around 1 hour or less, unless the topic at hand is a little more complex than what can be covered in an hour.  As a social media manager I’m constantly learning. I’ve sat in on many, many webinars over the years. In my experience as a webinar attendee, I’ve heard several speakers spend upwards of twenty minutes talking about themselves! Sounds unbearable, and it can be, but the content provided is usually worth it. Webinars are also a premier vehicle to upsell your audience. The way this works is you give a chunk of useful information in the webinar but promise the whole shebang in the eBook or educational series. This is how many informational leaders make a big chunk of their income.

 

Become an Influencer by connecting with Influencers

You may already know some of the big names in your industry. Find them on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Instagram and follow them. Often they will automatically follow you back, but make sure you have some valuable content of your own on those platforms in case they are selective about who they follow. Then check out who they are following and add those people as well.

If you don’t know your industry’s heavy hitters there are several ways to search for them. Google “Top 10 (your industry) Blogs” or “Top (your industry) on Twitter”.  Go to LinkedIn Pulse (under Interests) and search for topics and influencers. There are even apps that help you find keywords, articles similar to yours or influencers such as Topsy, FollowerWonk and Buzzsumo.

Once you have identified and followed the influencers in your field, ENGAGE. Like, comment on and share their posts. If you get a response you may even be able to email them your articles in the future.

 

Create an eBook

When I suggest writing an eBook to my clients they often get a little uneasy. They believe it’s too much work, takes too much time and the results wouldn’t be worth the effort. Nothing could be farther from the truth! An eBook doesn’t have to be novel length and in fact many eBooks I’ve found useful are merely reports that are ten pages or less. If you have great content that would be helpful to others this would be a great place to present it. As mentioned previously, you could easily upsell an eBook through a webinar or even just promote it on your social platforms.

There are endless programs that allow you to publish your eBooks online for cheap or totally free. Lulu, BookTango and Kindle Publishing are popular examples. You can even create an inexpensive published-on-demand hard copy of your book on CreateSpace, which would be a great giveaway at

 

Publish Through LinkedIn and SlideShare

LinkedIn has a few ways to publish your authoritative content, one by publishing an article right on your home page and videos through SlideShare.

Publishing through LinkedIn has proved to be successful for me. It has helped expose me to larger audiences and got my business’ name out there. I’ve even scored consultations through my LinkedIn posts! LinkedIn has gotten me a ton of views, likes and shares. A post or two have even gone viral. The great thing about posting on LinkedIn is that when I publish content my connections plus anyone who follows my updates gets a notification.  That’s a great feature for anyone who’s trying to become an informational leader. Posting directly on LinkedIn will put a face to the name and content is shared easier, faster and with more of a qualified audience. Your headline should be as engaging as the content you’re writing, so be sure you pick something that will catch the eye of your readers. Try using CoSchedule’s Headline Analzyer. It will grade your potential post title and give you suggestions on how to optimize it.

I bet you would like to be a LinkedIn Influencer, right? If you post frequently enough on LinkedIn it could increase your following to LinkedIn Influencer level. LinkedIn Influencer was a title given to about 500 professionals who publish their content on the site. Their articles and videos come up on newsfeeds and are easily searchable through LinkedIn Pulse. To become a LinkedIn Influencer you must be invited by LinkedIn, so it’s not something you should count on. Instead, write like an Influencer. Research a popular Influencer in your field and see what popular content they have. Then elaborate on what they’ve discussed. That could be a response, an “unpopular opinion” write-up, or how that topic as effected your business. You can even link back to their original post.

If your content is visual SlideShare is the place to share it. There are 70 million users per month on the site and it receives 500% more traffic from business owners than all other social platforms. You can upload your content at SlideShare and not only benefit from the traffic on that site but it’s easy to share it everywhere else. And it’s a terrific source for finding leads for your business.

 

Questions and Answers

Whether it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, asking or answering questions is a great way to increase visibility and engagement. Showing what you know and giving quality input will get you seen by your community. And don’t be afraid to ask a question in industry groups as well. Interacting on social media is a two way street; if you want to be noticed you must engage.

 

Now you know that to become an informational leader there are three basic steps.

Step 1 – Create useful, engaging content.

Step 2 – Publish it everywhere.

Step 3 – Connect with Influencers

If you are stuck on Step 1 we can help because that’s exactly what we do. Contact me at info@contentandcreativity.com or call 610.937.5187.

Ten Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

Ten Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

If your business doesn’t have a presence on Instagram, it’s time to reconsider your social media strategy. Here are the top ten reasons why Instagram is right for you.

  1. You need a new way to market to Millennials

The majority of users are in the 18-29 age group and chances are your business services Millennials, whether you know it or not. Due to everyone and their mother (in my case, literally my mother) joining Facebook that platform’s popularity has waned for both the Millennials and Generation Z. It’s not uncommon for members of my generation to be exclusively on Instagram, and since Instagram now has 400 million users and counting this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon. So if you don’t have a considerable presence on Instagram you are not effectively reaching the Millennial market.

  1. If you’re looking for more engagement online, visual content is how to get it.

It’s a fact that visual content on any platform receives more likes, comments and shares than plain text. On Instagram visual content, whether it be graphics or video, is paramount. Of course, the caption for the photo or video is very important, but most often a “double tap” happens because the viewer likes what they see.

  1. In need of a digital portfolio? You’re in luck.

Instagram can work for many different types of business’ and industries, whether they offer products or services. For example, many hairdressers and makeup artists use Instagram extensively by posting photos and videos of their work and relevant tips. Ultimately, it turns into an easily accessible, free portfolio for those in the personal services industry.  With the help of relevant hashtags you can easily promote yourself and your work and gain not only a following of potential clients but connect with other colleagues around the world.

These Insta-folios are so effective, that it’s even landed someone a job or two.

  1. You want to connect to your audience, but don’t have a lot of time.

With the help of scheduling software like HootSuite it’s become even easier to create a full range of content for your followers to enjoy. Now you can post from a desktop computer, whereas before Instagram was a purely mobile app.

  1. You want to connect with other businesses in your area (and beyond).

Big businesses often team up on Instagram to expand brand awareness and engagement for both companies. (See #BlueApronXZola!). This is something small businesses should take advantage of as well. Contact other complimentary local or national businesses and ask if they’d be interested in cross promoting. The most popular way of cross promoting is a one-day “Account Takeover”. A takeover usually involves the complimentary business creating branded posts for your Instagram page and visa versa. This can be a win-win for both companies because it creates awareness of your brand in a different but relevant audience.

  1. Uninspired? Get insta-spired.

Instagram is full of inspiring quotes in attractive graphics. Whether you catch one on your photo feed or find one in the explore tab, there’s a quote graphic for everyone! If I’m ever experiencing the dreaded creative block I look to Instagram to find content to curate on my account. Apps like Repost are available for both on Apple and Android. Repost allows you to screenshot the original photo and copy the caption. That way you have a steady flow of content but you’re not stealing someone else’s work.

  1. Need quick and real feedback? Instagram can do that.

With the help of relevant hashtags feedback is just a post away. The best way to get feedback on your Instagram posts, your products, or anything else is to simply ask.

  1. It’s the perfect platform to reach niche markets

It is becoming more and more difficult to get your business noticed on Facebook everyday. If you’re looking for a bigger range of exposure you are required to pony up some cash for it. Fortunately that’s not the case with Instagram. Since such a low percentage of small business owners even Instagram, this platform is wide open for promotions and can provide a wealth of opportunities for your brand.

  1. Looking for more leads?

According to Shopify, Instagram has the second largest average order value.  Simply put, Instagram users are buying more high ticket items than every other social platform other than Polyvore.  So if you are struggling get leads that turn into sales, Instagram would be the platform for you to try. Not only do Instagram users buy more often than almost other platform users, but they spend more money as well.

  1. You can (finally) advertise on Instagram.

Instagram was bought out by Facebook in 2012, but just recently has Instagram started to venture into paid advertisements and posts. Advertising on Instagram is now available for all businesses, no matter what size and budget, through Facebook’s Power Editor. This is a great advantage for businesses who want to advertise on Instagram and Facebook concurrently since you will be able to view the metrics of both ads on the same platform. There are three different types of advertising spots: a carousel ad (multiple photos you can swipe left to see more), a single photo and a 30 second video. Like Facebook’s ads there are different projected goals and budgets to choose from.

 

So now you know the reasons why Instagram is right for your business. Are you still unsure you have enough time to use it to your business’ full potential? Then it’s time to call Content + Creativity! Our seasoned team will help you craft a clever, cohesive brand message that will span all your social platforms. Call us at 610.937.5178 or email us at info@contentandcreativity.com and we can discuss a custom plan to fit your business’ needs.

Crafting a Cohesive Brand Message with Instagram

Crafting a Cohesive Brand Message with Instagram

As the premier photoblogging platform, Instagram has grown like wildfire and brands were quick to take notice. Apart from maintaining company websites and separate social media accounts, large and small businesses alike have begun to explore the benefits of brand promotion through Instagram.

In early 2015 Instagram clocked in at 300 million active monthly users, and about 75 million use the social media app each day. According to the Pew Institute 53% of users are in the 18-29 age group while the second largest demographic is ages 30-49, which is 25% of the Instagram population.  If your business caters to these age brackets and has been looking for a new way to reach them, Instagram is the right platform for your business.

If you want your business to be a part of the Instagram success story, follow the tips I’ve outlined below.

 

Sync up.

Connect your Instagram to your Facebook. This can either be done when you set up your Instagram account or at any point in the settings tab. This way your photos will be on your Facebook newsfeed as well as Instagram and your current base of Facebook followers will know where to find you and like your Instagram page.

 

Hashtag every photo.

My partner Rhonda has previously written about the use of hashtags and how it can create a successful brand message, and we both recommend that every business should create their own unique hashtag. This will establish a feed of your content and your fans’ relevant photos that is easily searchable and viewed. Content + Creativity’s unique Instagram hashtag is #CCInstaWisdom and we tag any relevant quotes or social tips that may help our followers and the public audience.

Remember to put your lists of hashtags in the comment below your caption to avoid looking spammy. Try to keep it to 10 hashtags or less. You should use any relevant trending hashtags whenever necessary.  I must stress relevant. There’s nothing more desperate looking than a user tagging a photo with every trending tag at the moment.  It will make others unfollow and ignore you completely. Trending topics can be found under the bottom tab that has the looking glass icon.

 

When your audience speaks, LISTEN.

Whether you have a brick and mortar establishment or are strictly online, any business owner can appreciate a glowing testimonial or a positive exchange with customers.  In days past, when these conversations occurred you probably only told your spouse and kids at the end of the day. Platforms like Instagram now give you a place to share positive experiences with your customers to your audience. With their permission, take a photo of the customer or the email exchange and post it with a quick explanation of the situation.

I’ve written previously about how much of a timesaver curated content can really be.  A great way to gather readymade content and photos is to skim your unique hashtag using the search function in the explore tab.  Once you find a photo you like, contact the owner and ask permission to Regram their content. Regram is a free app that takes a screenshot of a specific Instagram photograph so you can repost it onto your page. It will give the proper credit in the photo which is very important. People don’t like seeing “stolen” content on your page, and will either unfollow or leave a negative comment. Despite the automatic attribution to the source in the photo itself, be sure to include a clickable link to the username in the caption. Some examples of what to post via Regram can be pictures of customers at your store, using your product or even fan art.

 

Don’t just post, interact.

Sure, a consistent posting strategy is important. I’ve written a piece previously about how to market to Milennials on Instagram and that was one of my most important suggestions. But offering great content will be only half of your strategy for success on Instagram. The other half is interacting with your followers and other brands. You can’t expect high levels of engagement on your posts if you don’t talk back!

Try exploring relevant hashtags in your field of business. Let’s say you own a local bakery and coffee shop in Philadelphia. You see a Seattle based coffee shop post their best cappuccino artwork. If you like the photo, double tap, which shows up as a “like”. Showing your interest in other brands doesn’t take away from yours, and in fact it may cause a user or two to check out or even follow your page.

 

Finally

Instagram is not the platform where you need to constantly churn out genius-level content. In fact, this should be the most lighthearted platform in your 4 social site arsenal. All you need to worry about is finding fun, entertaining and ultimately shareable posts for your followers to enjoy. Sometimes the silliest things can go viral on Instagram, so be on the lookout.  Happy posting!

Successful Social Media Strategies for Real Estate Agents

Successful Social Media Strategies for Real Estate Agents

Marketing on social media is the perfect method for realtors to generate leads and interest for their listings. The most successful real estate agents are active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and most see better results than what they would achieve by mere advertising alone.

Here are some tips to get started.

Create a blog and post on a regular basis.

Although showing the houses you have on the market is important, you also want to disseminate useful information about home buying and selling or home owning. Your goal should be to become an authority in your market and a trusted source of information, as well as the realtor people think of first when they are ready to make a move. Followers of your blog will remember how knowledgeable and helpful you have been and reach out.

Your blog can be a page on your company-provided website or you can set up a free and easily maintained personal page at a site such as WordPress.com. Wherever you blog its important to remember to post regular update, even if your posts are fun or timely but have nothing to do with real estate. The content on your blog becomes your material for posting on the social sites.

Post Photos

Use Facebook and Instagram as extensions of your blog. For Facebook, you can create a detailed photo album for each listing. Unlike personal pages, your professional realtor Facebook page should be without any privacy restrictions. That way anyone in the general public can view what you have to offer, and your content is much easier to share.

Instagram is purely visual, so you can be creative with this medium. Post a photo collage or a quick video of your listing. Videos can also be used for testimonials, quick house tips or whatever might be helpful to your followers. Don’t forget to post hashtags so all of your photos and videos can get the exposure they deserve! Some of the many popular hashtags for realtors are #realestate, #forsale, #realtor, #househunting and #homesforsale. It would also be wise to create a unique hashtag for yourself that spans all social platforms. That way it will be that much easier to find all of your listings and important information.

Network

Any realtor will tell you that a large part of success in the industry is due to networking. Not everyone is looking for a house right at this moment, but perhaps in the future they will, or they may run across someone else who will. You want your name to be the first that comes to mind when the opportunity presents itself.

LinkedIn is a great social platform to connect with colleagues or people you’ve done business with in a more professional setting. As with the other social platforms discussed, LinkedIn is an extension of your blog. You want to get in on the conversation on LinkedIn. Join relevant and local real estate groups, respond to questions and mingle with other agents. Also publish your complete blog posts, because your articles become part of the LinkedIn feed and will be seen by many people.

Interact directly with leads

Both Facebook and Google+ are great for interacting with potential leads. Google+ has a tool called Hangout where you can host a video conference. This would be a great way to impart real estate wisdom to potential homebuyers with an even more personal connection than your blog. With Google Hangout coffee shop meet-ups is a thing of the past. Also, this is a great way to meet with a larger number of people at once and not feel like you are taking that much time out of the day to do it.

First step for Facebook is that you should make it a point to have your own professional page for your real estate clients and colleagues to follow. As a part of the millennial generation, I can say for sure that most people my age are more likely to check Facebook before even going to Google. This can be because the ease of Facebook’s search engine or just simply we are always on Facebook.

Facebook is another avenue where you can build the accessibility of your brand. You want to be a realtor that others come to for real estate advice and help. Linking back to your blog posts along with posting relevant curated content is how you establish that accessibility. Being a realtor relies on extremely responsive customer service, so you need to be visible and where your customers are.

Amp it up!

After you become comfortable with your social media marketing you may want to add email marketing to the mix. You can develop your mailing list by offering a free report that is of interest to your audience in exchange for an email address. Advertising on the report on Facebook should result in a growing list of subscribers. Your content could be a newsletter, a personalized market report, or just notices of your new listings and sales.

 

Do you need a clear social media strategy but don’t know where to start?  We can help design and execute a cohesive brand message that will make you stand out from your competitors. Contact us today at info@contentandcreativity or call us at 610.937.5187 and let’s create a custom social media strategy together.

Make a Difference: Social Media Strategy for Non-Profits

Make a Difference: Social Media Strategy for Non-Profits

Five years ago I started my journey into the Social Media business and throughout the years I’ve worked with a number of non-profits, charities and religious organizations. One thing they all seemed to have in common was their desperate need for a stronger social media strategy, especially one that they could keep up with.  Unfortunately, smaller non-profit organizations run into some issues with this, either because they don’t see the value of social media or simply don’t have it in the time or budget to have someone working on it on a full time basis. Oftentimes it’s left to someone with little to no experience with social media, which results in less than stellar results.

 

Countless opportunities to reach a new audience.

People of all ages partake in social media every day. Facebook has become the frontrunner of all social media sites, but there are many thriving, popular online communities where your cause can find a home. You can grow your audience organically or run ads on various social sites to gain enthusiastic followers and donors. It is possible to target your ads towards a local audience, a professional group or anyone who expresses interest in your cause or similar worthy endeavors. And targeting high-income individuals can greatly increase the chances of larger donations.

 

Brand explosion is just a viral video away.

Who could forget the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? A simple video campaign that challenged friends, colleagues and family members to choose between donating $100 or to drench themselves in icy cold water raised over $115 million dollars for the ALS Association in 2014. What a truly incredible feat.

Of course not every campaign could come close to the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but the potential of a viral sensation both to raise money and awareness is always possible. Also, video marketing can help promote your next big event. Creating a unique hashtag attached to all the details about the event can help condense all the information for your followers, and is also a way for you to easily monitor what people are saying. Any amount of buzz around the event through social media is a surefire way to bump up attendance.

 

Activism made easy.

When someone believes in a cause they tend to share it with their followers and friends over various social networks. Over the years, Facebook has helped facilitate activism and charitable giving through their native apps like “Causes”. As a non-profit with a growing online fan base, it would also be wise to reach out to other relevant non-profits over social media and plan to team up for an event. Smart phones are making it even easier to connect with your audience online. Invest in mobile advertisements for new followers, donations or to promote your next event.

 

Public relations are in your control.

You know how difficult it is to get the press to cover your organization’s activities and events, and when they do they often get things wrong, or focus on an angle that isn’t helpful. Your social sites are where you can direct and control the information you want the public to know. Social media can be a way to provide your audience with some insight as to where the donations are going and how your activities are improving the local community and the world. It is also a place where the organization can project its integrity and good reputation.

Non-profits, more than any other type of entity, will live or die by how well they are perceived by their supporters. There are countless websites that provide information about how money is allocated for each charity, and the last thing you want is for these websites to be publishing false information and hurt your reputation.  It is unfortunately very common to have the first search term in Google be your company’s name followed by FRAUD. Don’t let this happen. Be proactive with your online presence. It’s better to deal with a social media crisis as it’s happening than after it’s too late to repair the damage.

Now that you are aware that getting your non-profit organization involved with social media marketing can result in a larger audience, more donations and higher public visibility you may want to know how to get started. We can help! Contact Content + Creativity info@contentandcreativity.com or 610.937.5187 to find out what we can do for you.