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How to Manage a Mentoring Relationship

How to Manage a Mentoring Relationship

Below are some guidelines for setting up and running a successful mentoring arrangement:

Set regular mentoring meetings

A mentoring relationship is one of mutual trust and respect. So meet regularly, and lead by example. The mentoring conversation may be informal, but treat the overall arrangement with formality and professionalism.

 

If possible, conduct mentoring meetings away from the mentee's normal working environment. A change of environment helps remove the conversation from everyday perspectives.

Be honest and open

If you're not honest, a mentoring meeting will probably be a waste of time for both of you. Discuss current top issues or concerns. Sometimes an honest exchange leads to the mentor and mentee deciding that they don't really like or respect each other. It's better to know up front and build from this sort of understanding, rather than have it hurt the relationship.

Build sustainable improvements, not quick fixes

Use the mentoring session to exchange views and give the mentee guidance, and don't just give the mentee immediate answers to a problem. A simple answer to a problem is rarely as valuable as understanding how to approach such problems in the future.

Play by the rules

Establish some rules or a charter for the mentoring arrangement, with desired outcomes. This could be a set agenda for points to cover, or some performance goals for the mentee to pursue outside of their regular appraisal structure. (One of the key reasons that mentoring can fail is that there's a fundamental misunderstanding about what's expected from the mentor and mentee.)

Most mentoring arrangements work best when they're outside of the day-to-day line management relationship between people. That doesn't mean that you can't mentor the people in your team, but it's often best to have a mentoring relationship that crosses reporting lines.

In a small organization, you may not have this option. If this is the case, make sure everyone knows when you're acting as a mentor, rather than as a manager.

Key Points

Mentoring is a great way to progress a person's professional and personal development, and help create a more productive organization. It can also be very rewarding – for the mentor and the mentee.

Treat the mentoring relationship with the respect it deserves. Focus the relationship on the mentee's needs, and use the powerful skills of smart questioning, active listening, and value-added feedback to achieve the best outcomes from your mentoring.

To keep the mentoring relationship on track, set regular mentor meetings, be honest and open, and don't look for quick fixes. Mentoring is a long-term commitment.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Mentoring Skills

Mentoring Skills

Using Your Knowledge and Experience to Help Others

Whether it's some advice for a friend on helping them look for a new job or guidance for a child embarking on their first day at school, many of us regularly use our knowledge and experience to help and guide others.

But this type of help and guidance isn't just useful for our friends and family – by mentoring in the workplace, you can help people increase their effectiveness, advance their careers, and create a more productive organization. Being a mentor can also be very rewarding.

In this article, we'll look at the benefits of mentoring, and the skills you need to be a good mentor. We'll also look at setting up and managing an effective mentoring relationship.

Benefits of Mentoring

Mentoring is a relationship between two people – the "mentor" and the "mentee." As a mentor, you pass on valuable skills, knowledge, and insights to your mentee to help them develop their career.

Mentoring can help the mentee feel more confident and self-supporting. Mentees can also develop a clearer sense of what they want in their careers and their personal lives. They will develop greater self-awareness and see the world, and themselves, as others do.

For an organization, mentoring is a good way of efficiently transferring valuable competencies from one person to another. This expands the organization's skills base, helps to build strong teams, and can form part of a well planned Succession Planning strategy. Many apprenticeship schemes are based on the principles of mentoring.

There are two main types of mentoring:

  • Developmental mentoring – This is where the mentor is helping the mentee develop new skills and abilities. The mentor is a guide and a resource for the mentee's growth.
  • Sponsorship mentoring – This is when the mentor is more of a career influencer than a guide. In this situation, the mentor takes a close interest in the progress of the mentee (or, more commonly, the protégé). The mentor "opens doors", influencing others to help the mentee or protégé's advancement.

Skills for Mentoring

To be a good mentor, you need similar skills to those used in coaching, with one big difference – you must have experience relevant to the mentee's situation. This can be technical experience, management experience, or simply life experience.

To be an effective mentor, you need to:

  • Have the desire to help – you should be willing to spend time helping someone else, and remain positive throughout.
  • Be motivated to continue developing and growing – your own development never stops. To help others develop, you must value your own growth too. Many mentors say that mentoring helps them with their own personal development.
  • Have confidence and an assured manner – we don't mean overconfidence or a big ego. Rather, you should have the ability to critique and challenge mentees in a way that's non-threatening and helps them look at a situation from a new perspective.
  • Ask the right questions – the best mentors ask questions that make the mentee do the thinking. However, this isn't as easy as it sounds. A simple guide is to think of what you want to tell the mentee and to find a question that will help the mentee come to the same conclusion on their own. To do this, try asking open questions that cannot be answered with just yes or no. Or ask more direct questions that offer several answer options. Then ask the mentee why they chose that particular answer.
  • Listen actively – be careful to process everything the mentee is saying. Watch body language, maintain eye contact, and understand which topics are difficult for the mentee to discuss. Showing someone that you're listening is a valuable skill in itself. It shows that you value what the person is saying and that you won't interrupt them. This requires patience, and a willingness to delay judgment.
  • Provide feedback – do this in a way that accurately and objectively summarizes what you've heard, but also interprets things in a way that adds value for the mentee. In particular, use feedback to show that you understand what the mentee's thinking approach has been. This is key to helping the mentee see a situation from another perspective.

Remember, mentoring is about transferring information, competence, and experience to mentees so that they can make good use of this, and build their confidence accordingly. As a mentor, you are there to encourage, nurture and provide support, because you've already "walked the path" of the mentee.

Also remember that mentoring is about structured development – you don't have to tell the mentee everything you know about a subject, at every opportunity.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

More on How to Build a B2B Inbound Marketing Machine

More on How to Build a B2B Inbound Marketing Machine

The many levers that will get your B2B inbound marketing machine humming

 

 

This post is part two of a series discussing what B2B marketers need to do to build efficient inbound marketing machines. Today, we'll discuss content promotion, influencer outreach, lead nurturing, marketing and sale alignment and reporting.

In part one, we dove into goal setting, buyer persona development and content creation. If you want to give that a read, you can find that post here. Without further ado, let's get to it. We have a lot to cover!

Content promotion

Creating great content is only the first part of the inbound marketing battle. Once content is produced, successful distribution of your content is a crucial piece of an inbound marketer's job. We asked Nick Lucas of When I Work for his thoughts on content promotion, and he came through with a couple great tips:

  • Content promotion begins the minute you finalize your topic and/or title
  • Be strategic when you're outlining your post and deciding who you want to mention
  • Focus on people that can help you out the minute you publish
  • Look to Product Hunt—a lot of the companies on there are just as hungry for attention as you are

The key takeaway here is that content promotion can't be an afterthought. In fact, it's just as core to your content strategy as SEO. As a content producer, you should be thinking strategically not just about what keywords you're targeting, but also who you're mentioning in your posts or linking to.

With the production complete, promotion then turns to the different channels and promotion strategies that can be used to put your content in front of your target audience.

Social media

Remember those buyer personas we talked about in part one of this series? Now that we know where they find their information online, you should share your content there. These channels might vary depending on the space that you're in, but the core B2B distribution channels are Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. Promotion to these channels can be handled effectively by creating an editorial cadence to promote your posts, it might look something like this:

Online communities

Another great way to share and repurpose your content is to post it to different online communities. For example, in the marketing and sales space, this could take the shape of posting content to Inbound.org, GrowthHackers, Reddit, and OnStartups. When doing this, don't just promote your own content. You can also build your profile and trust by sharing, upvoting and commenting on the content of others.

 

 

This takes time, but can lead to both steady referral traffic as well as large spikes if one of your posts hits the trending page. For example, we saw a huge spike in traffic when one of our posts trended on GrowthHackers.

Quora can be another effective channel. Find questions that are similar to what you addressed in your blog post. Then you'll have a great jumping-off point to leave a thorough and in-depth answer as well as a transparent link back to your post. In a similar vein, blog posts can also be turned into presentations and posted to community sites such as SlideShare.

Influencer outreach

According to McKinsey, marketing-inspired word of mouth generates twice the sales of paid advertising, along with customers that demonstrate a 37-percent higher retention rate. One of the best ways to get your content in front of a larger audience is through influencers. These are the people who are trusted leaders in your space and have established large followings themselves. If they share your content, it not only helps establish your company as a credible source of information but also allows you to expand your reach quickly. This is where inbound becomes, "all about the hustle," if you will. You need to create relationships with these people.

Paid media

As the content marketing space has become increasingly crowded over the past few years, we've seen the rise of paid content promotion in the form of sponsored content and native advertising. These channels offer great ways to give your content a boost and reach more targeted audiences.

LinkedIn is one of our preferred channels for B2B sponsored content because it allows you to be incredibly targeted, all the way down to a company, category, industry size, job title and seniority. According to LinkedIn, after Adobe started sponsoring posts, its audience was 50 percent more likely to agree that, "Adobe is shaping the future of content marketing."

Of course, LinkedIn won't be the right channel for every business, so assess your options and make an educated hypothesis that you can test when you start to promote your content. This way you can see an appropriate return on your ad spends.

Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is incredibly important for a couple reasons. Inbound marketing is very different than traditional marketing in that your content will likely attract an audience that has a similar pain that you're addressing, but may not actually be a good fit for your business.

Lead nurturing is important here because it allows you to profile your leads over time and ensure that only leads that are a good fit are passed off to your sales team. The other reason is that lead nurturing is so important is that nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

At New Breed, we like to break lead nurturing into two distinct types that we call speed one and speed two marketing, a term coined by Jake Sorofman of Gartner. "Speed one" refers to time-sensitive, product-focused campaigns with the goal of driving qualified prospects through the funnel as quickly as possible. "Speed two," is a broader content strategy that nurtures leads who are not yet ready to buy.

It's during these speed-two campaigns where your inbound strategy will make the most impact and your content can be used to build trust and engagement with your prospects over time. This is best done by creating nurture streams targeted toward each of your buyer personas to illustrate your value proposition and present them with options to re-engage. In some instances, these campaigns can even run for a full year, with an email cadence at 1, 4, 7, 14, 21, 30, and 45 days, and then every two weeks after that.

Marketing and sales alignment

It's been illustrated again and again that businesses that have aligned marketing and sales teams generate more revenue and see a larger ROI on their marketing and sales investment. This was most recently seen in HubSpot's State of Inbound report:

So what does this mean for your inbound marketing machine? It means that you need to build a strong marketing and sales operations infrastructure and align goals across teams, essentially sales team becomes marketing's newest and most important customer, or that a revenue team is formed.

Start by creating a service-level agreement between marketing and sales team that will dictate exactly when a lead will be passed to the sales team, how leads will be qualified, when they will be contacted and how many contact attempts must be made. Then implement a marketing-qualified lead workflow to manage this handoff, and ensure that your sales team is trained on how to follow up with these inbound leads.

Next, create the ability for feedback to be passed back and forth across teams, ensuring that sales had the opportunity to explain why leads have been disqualified and the sales-enablement tools that help progress the sale. This can take place in formal meetings between teams and also documented as properties within your CRM and marketing automation platforms.

Reporting

Now that your inbound marketing and sales machine is humming along, you want to be sure you can carefully measure its performance and fine tune the engine. The State of Pipeline Marketing report shows that "opportunities sourced" is the primary success metric for B2B marketers. This is because these bottom-of-funnel metrics provide a more accurate look into the true contribution of the marketing team than vanity or top-of-funnel metrics alone.

With opportunities sourced as your end goal, it's important to select which attribution model will allow you to best measure the success of the tactics you're executing on. This will allow you to measure exactly which tactics, channels, and campaigns are driving the best results.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

How to Build a B2B Inbound Marketing Machine

How to Build a B2B Inbound Marketing Machine

"inbound marketing had a 76 percent likelihood of being the marketing approach of choice for B2B companies,"

 

According to data from HubSpot's State of Inbound Marketing report, "inbound marketing had a 76 percent likelihood of being the marketing approach of choice for B2B companies," compared to outbound marketing tactics. That's an overwhelming percentage! However, the same report showed that proving marketing ROI is the single biggest challenge that marketers face today.

This disconnect suggests that it's time for B2B marketers to take a step back and look to inbound marketing fundamentals. That way marketers are setting themselves up for success (and showing their bosses the fruits of their labors).

In today's post, we're going to dive into the key elements that make the B2B inbound marketing machines hum.

What is B2B inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is the process of helping potential customers find your company, often before they are even in the purchasing stage of the buyer's journey. By creating content that your prospects love, you can build brand awareness and preference. By leveraging content that is relevant to your audience and targeted calls to action, you can pull this traffic through the funnel and ultimately drive new revenue for your business.

One of the biggest impacts of inbound marketing—that is often overlooked—is the increased opportunity for customer engagement. By developing content that your personas love, you are also educating and engaging your existing customer base. Too many marketers forget about their existing customers in their marketing strategy, but in leveraging inbound for engagement, you will grow net-new revenue and also increase expansion revenue from your existing customer base.

Goal setting

Unlike direct tactics such as PPC, inbound is somewhat more complicated to measure, so it's incredibly important that you have clear goals at the outset of any inbound program. For B2B companies, especially those with an inside sales team, it's best to work backward from your revenue goals to determine marketing's responsibilities. If you're looking for more guidance on how to do this, you can check out this post, where we discuss these steps in detail.

Data from Bizible has shown that the primary metric for B2B marketing success today is the number of opportunities sourced. So even if sourcing opportunities is the end goal, it's important to realize that content marketing and SEO take some time to build. One of my favorite illustrations of this is from SEO Moz, highlighting the "Gap of Disappointment."

Once you're through that gap, content can provide lasting and compounding returns on your investment in a way that no other marketing channel or tactic can.

The point being, if you're investing in inbound, make sure you give yourself enough time to reap the fruits of your labors.

It will take time but once it pays off, it pays off big. And if it helps, you can keep these statistics in mind while you push through the gap:

  • Companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7 times more leads than those with fewer than 10
  • Companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5 times more traffic than companies who do not blog
  • Companies that have more than 52 blog posts see an increase of leads by 77 percent

Buyer persona development

Market segmentation and buyer persona analysis go hand-in-hand. Whether your business is a young startup just getting traction, is looking for a beachhead to cross the chasm, or is an enterprise expanding into new markets, having an in-depth understanding of your audience will be the key to your success. This is especially true when success hinges on consistently producing content that addresses your leads' problems and keeps them coming back for more.

Once you have your goals, take the time to analyze and understand your target audience. Know who they are, and ask questions like:

  • Where they fit in the buying cycle
  • What their challenges are
  • How they would define success
  • Where they spend time online

Content creation

Based on your buyer persona research, you should have a good idea of the type of content that your buyer personas like to consume. It might be webinars, blog posts, whitepapers, e-books, templates, webinars or videos. The list goes on and on. However, for most B2B marketers, blogging becomes the foundation that attracts potential customers to your site and is the jumping off point to any other content you produce.

Blogging

When it comes to blogging, it all starts with keyword research. This means targetting longer semantic keyword queries rather than highly competitive and specific keywords. These long-tail keywords are perfect for targeting with blog posts, and allow you to target very specific keywords to your niche to drive highly qualified traffic. 

Before you start doing this keyword research yourself, I highly recommend reading Neil Patel's post, on how to uncover hidden gems.

The next question we hear all the time is, "How often do I need to publish blog posts?" First and foremost, prioritize quality over quantity. But when it does come to quantity, HubSpot data shows that B2B companies that published posts more than 11 times/month generate 1.75 times as many leads as those blogging 6–10, and 3.75 times more as those blogging 0–3.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Creating Value in Your Business Ecosystem

Creating Value in Your Business Ecosystem

The metaphors of keystones and ecology help you think about your business environment,

Wal-Mart's and Microsoft's dominance in modern business has been attributed to any number of factors, ranging from the vision and drive of their founders to the companies' aggressive competitive practices. But the performance of these two very different firms derives from something that is much larger than the companies themselves: the success of their respective business ecosystems. These loose networks—of suppliers, distributors, outsourcing firms, makers of related products or services, technology providers, and a host of other organizations—affect, and are affected by, the creation and delivery of a company's own offerings.

Like an individual species in a biological ecosystem, each member of a business ecosystem ultimately shares the fate of the network as a whole, regardless of that member's apparent strength. From their earliest days, Wal-Mart and Microsoft—unlike companies that focus primarily on their internal capabilities—have realized this and pursued strategies that not only aggressively further their own interests but also promote their ecosystems' overall health.

. . .

The Keystone Advantage

Keystone organizations play a crucial role in business ecosystems.

Fundamentally, they aim to improve the overall health of their ecosystems by providing a stable and predictable set of common assets—think of Wal-Mart's procurement system and Microsoft's Windows operating system and tools—that other organizations use to build their own offerings.

Despite Microsoft's pervasive impact, it remains only a small part of the computing ecosystem.

Keystones can increase ecosystem productivity by simplifying the complex task of connecting network participants to one another or by making the creation of new products by third parties more efficient. They can enhance ecosystem robustness by consistently incorporating technological innovations and by providing a reliable point of reference that helps participants respond to new and uncertain conditions. And they can encourage ecosystem niche creation by offering innovative technologies to a variety of third-party organizations. The keystone's importance to ecosystem health is such that, in many cases, its removal will lead to the catastrophic collapse of the entire system. For example, WorldCom's failure had negative repercussions for the entire ecosystem of suppliers of telecommunications equipment.

By continually trying to improve the ecosystem as a whole, keystones ensure their own survival and prosperity. They don't promote the health of others for altruistic reasons; they do it because it's a great strategy.

Keystones, in many ways, are in an advantageous position. As in biological ecosystems, keystones exercise a systemwide role despite being only a small part of their ecosystems' mass. Despite Microsoft's pervasive impact, for example, it remains only a small part of the computing ecosystem. Both its revenue and number of employees represent about 0.05 percent of the total figures for the ecosystem. Its market capitalization represents a larger portion of the ecosystem—typical for a keystone because of its powerful position—but it has never been higher than 0.4 percent. Even in the much smaller software ecosystem, in which the company plays an even more crucial role, Microsoft's market cap has typically ranged between 20 percent and 40 percent of the combined market cap of software providers. This is a fraction of the more than 80 percent of total market capitalization of the much larger ecosystem of computer software, components, systems, and services that IBM held during the 1960s.

Broadly speaking, an effective keystone strategy has two parts. The first is to create value within the ecosystem. Unless a keystone finds a way of doing this efficiently, it will fail to attract or retain members. The second part, as we have noted, is to share the value with other participants in the ecosystem. The keystone that fails to do this will find itself perhaps temporarily enriched but ultimately abandoned.

Keystones can create value for their ecosystems in numerous ways, but the first requirement usually involves the creation of a platform, an asset in the form of services, tools, or technologies that offers solutions to others in the ecosystem. The platform can be a physical asset, like the efficient manufacturing capabilities that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing offers to those computer-chip design companies that don't have their own silicon-wafer foundries, or an intellectual asset, like the Windows software platform. Keystones leave the vast majority of value creation to others in the ecosystem, but what they do create is crucial to the community's survival.

The second requirement for keystones' success is that they share throughout the ecosystem much of the value they have created, balancing their generosity with the need to keep some of that value for themselves. Achieving this balance may not be as easy as it seems. Keystone organizations must make sure that the value of their platforms, divided by the cost of creating, maintaining, and sharing them, increases rapidly with the number of ecosystem members that use them. This allows keystone players to share the surplus with their communities. During the Internet boom, many businesses failed because, although the theoretical value of a keystone platform was increasing with the number of customers, the operating cost was rising, as well. Many B2B marketplaces, for example, continued to increase revenue despite decreasing and ultimately disappearing margins, which led to the collapse of their business models.

eBay shares the value it creates with members of its ecosystem.

A good example of a keystone company that effectively creates and shares value with its ecosystem is eBay. It creates value in a number of ways. It has developed state-of-the-art tools that increase the productivity of network members and encourage potential members to join the ecosystem. These tools include eBay's Seller's Assistant, which helps new sellers prepare professional-looking online listings, and its Turbo Lister service, which tracks and manages thousands of bulk listings on home computers. The company has also established and maintained performance standards that enhance the stability of the system. Buyers and sellers rate one another, providing rankings that bolster users' confidence in the system. Sellers with consistently good evaluations attain PowerSeller status; those with bad evaluations are excluded from future transactions.

Additionally, eBay shares the value that it creates with members of its ecosystem. It charges users only a moderate fee to coordinate their trading activities. Incentives such as the PowerSeller label reinforce standards for sellers that benefit the entire ecosystem. These performance standards also delegate much of the control of the network to users, diminishing the need for eBay to maintain expensive centralized monitoring and feedback systems. The company can charge commissions that are no higher than 7 percent of a given transaction—well below the typical 30 percent to 70 percent margins most retailers would charge. It is important to stress that eBay does this because it is good business. By sharing the value, it continues to expand its own healthy ecosystem—buyers and sellers now total more than 70 million—and thrive in a sustainable way.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

What about the Business Ecosystem

What about the Business Ecosystem

“A country can become complacent about its assets.”

What do you mean by “enriching the business ecosystem”?

 

What do you mean by “enriching the business ecosystem”?

Ecosystem” conveys the idea that all the pieces of an economy come together in particular places and that their strength and interactions determine prosperity and economic growth. In Silicon Valley, there is a sense that you prosper only because you’re surrounded by lots of resources that make it possible to succeed, beyond what your own entity controls. Think of it as your garden, where you need fertile soil, seeds, and other ingredients to make things grow.

I chose “enriching” carefully because it not only means richer nutrients in your garden but also the sense that we want continued prosperity. We want more people to feel they have rich lives and opportunity ahead. That is important.

In the mid-1990s, I worked on helping communities around the country adapt to disruptions from the Internet and globalization—trends that were very good for the prosperity of the country overall, but had communities worried about being left behind. I developed the idea associated with this transition from the industrial to the digital in World Class: competitive communities had to reach the highest standards in the world because your customers and employees now knew what the highest standards were, and didn’t necessarily need you to access them—they could go even outside their country. Those developments pointed to networks and larger systems—what cities and regions and small businesses needed to do to remain prosperous.

I identified three archetypes then, suggestive of different kinds of ecosystems. Greater Boston, like Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas, prospers because of thinkers—if you innovated and had new ideas, you attracted resources. Companies gravitate to new ideas because innovations sell at a premium in world markets. Spartanburg-Greenville, South Carolina, exemplified makers. It became a global manufacturing hub and attracted foreign companies by investing in American workers, especially in the skills needed for an advanced manufacturing of, first, textile equipment and eventually automobiles. Today, that area has become the new Akron (while Akron has moved on to new technologies): it leads in making tires, having broadened its manufacturing skills. My third model was Greater Miami, a region of traders that went from being a sleepy southern city to an operative capital of Latin America, attracting finance and logistics and many companies’ Latin American regional headquarters. In each of those places, leaders created a regional theme and invested in aligning many organizations to support it.

What factors make that ecosystem function better?

Four issues strike me as key: turning ideas into enterprises; linking small and large businesses; better connecting education to jobs; and encouraging cross-sector collaboration. Each focuses on actions on the ground, in different regions, within our national and business contexts—whatever those may be. Let me give an example. Civic leaders in Milwaukee are creating a global hub for water-related businesses by linking manufacturers of pipes and controls with entrepreneurs who are creating urban fish farms, and both with new research centers—including the nation’s first graduate school of freshwater sciences.

The first is how ideas become enterprises. This has been such a great U.S. strength that we haven’t nurtured it. A country can become complacent about its assets. There is an assumption that small start-ups create the lion’s share of jobs, but since the financial crisis they have lost their leading position in terms of the number of jobs created. And the start-up survival rate slipped a little—slightly less than half survive at the five-year mark.

For all the money poured into scientific research, very little was finding its way into the marketplace. Basically, MIT and Stanford were taking the lead in finding ways to license ideas that have commercial potential. Elsewhere, there was a tendency to emphasize the revenue from selling a license, rather than whether an enterprise created jobs. Knowledge is the best resource we have. It wasn’t any particular industry that made the difference in the transformation and prosperity of Boston and eastern Massachusetts—it’s our fundamental ability to keep creating new knowledge. So, how do you make sure that knowledge creates jobs, and those jobs reach all parts of the community and that knowledge will be translated into a global competency?

There is evidence that if you make the connections between knowledge creators and businesses tighter, you can increase success. Compared to stand-alone business incubators, university-based incubators tend to keep more people in the community to start their enterprises and tend to have higher success rates, because they are able to connect small enterprises with mentors. Small business needs capital but it also really needs expertise—so Harvard’s new Innovation Lab is a fantastic thing.

Another aspect of moving from knowledge to enterprise to jobs is collaborative knowledge creation. It’s very difficult to manage, but if you get a number of companies collaborating with a number of universities, you have a better exchange of ideas, and you’re also more likely to have competition among them to apply the knowledge. The semiconductor consortium in Albany is an example. A university had already invested in a technology of the future and that attracted investment from lots of companies, no one of which would want to make that investment alone. In time they will want to have their own proprietary piece, but then you can get the business-school students excited about the opportunities in these fields and you begin to thrive locally in the global economy. That’s thinkers plus makers in Albany.

We have long relied on federal funds from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health for the basic research that supports innovation—private companies cannot support enough basic research on their own. We have seen how in biomedical science, subject to suitable controls, networks productively connect publicly funded research and privately funded companies, hospitals, and other local institutions. We need to continue those investments, but those and other federal expenditures have to be better targeted because not every city needs a semiconductor consortium or a biomedical focus. You want to invest in places that can take the best advantage of certain strengths, and then have other places find their key assets, so they can compete for some of that funding, too.

 How do new ventures operate more successfully in a stronger business ecosystem?

That’s the second idea: small businesses—particularly new enterprises—often need larger-company customers. When they’re in the purchasing stream, they do better. In fact, tech companies funded by corporate venture capital often also got a customer who helped improve the product. I’ve done a very informal study that shows that dominant companies in seven different technology sectors might have had better partners earlier. Every small firm benefits if it can get more business from large ones. It’s not just revenues; they also get competence and opportunity.

So, how do you connect small to large? We should have a national call to action with commitments from big companies to mentor and connect with smaller enterprises. Procurement became global because it was more efficient to consolidate global purchasing. But global supply chains are cumbersome. Many would rather buy here if they could find more sophisticated suppliers more easily in the U.S.

I was a consultant to IBM and mentioned this idea; they ran with it and created Supplier Connection—a universal vendor application, kind of like the common college application. They announce opportunities through Supplier Connection to thousands of small businesses. Initially, about 16 big companies started with a few purchasing areas—and expansion plans are in the works. Everywhere I’ve spoken about these ideas, civic leaders get very excited about linking small to large in their own region.

What about the linkage between education and job skills?

We have been talking about school reform since I was a child in school. Preparing people for the workforce is getting more critical today: up to three million jobs are unfilled because of an absence of vocational skills—“middle skills.” Germany is an economic success because of a manufacturing system in which people apprentice to learn skills. Sometimes they then go on to four-year colleges and get advanced degrees, but skills apprenticeship is a much more prominent part of the workforce.

Where do those skills come from? Community colleges are suddenly the darlings of the U.S. policy world because they’re the only entities we have that are supposed to prepare people for occupations. Every tech area of the country has a shortage of software engineers—who need some programming, but not a four-year degree. You can send data anywhere. Are we going to outsource those jobs?

In fact, community colleges haven’t been well connected to employers—and their graduation rates have been incredibly poor. In Chicago, fewer than 9 percent of those who start have graduated within six years. It’s the problem of disconnection. But when connections between employers and community colleges or training centers are strong—for curriculum development, customized job training, post-graduation interviews—outcomes improve dramatically. There are growing consortiums where leaders of organized labor, community colleges, high schools, businesses, and representatives of the elected officials sit down together to talk about skills needs and who’s going to help deal with them. The two-year colleges in Spartanburg and Greenville were the secret to that manufacturing center. South Carolina is still not the most prosperous state, but it would have been Appalachian poor if not for Governor Dick Riley (later U.S. secretary of education) focusing on the community colleges in collaboration with the industrialists.

It strikes me as such a no-brainer, but there’s no real national policy here. What an opportunity: the evidence is that you get better outcomes in terms of people finishing their two-year programs and getting jobs when there’s a closer tie to employers. This is a way for people to learn useful skills, ways of thinking, science and technology. Rethinking education and work is ripe for innovation. New York City opened its first six-year high school in 2011: a partnership of the schools, the community-college system, and IBM. Urban students, selected randomly, start college courses as early as tenth grade; when they finish grade 14, they will earn a high-school diploma, an associate’s degree, and a job interview with the company. New York is already expanding this model, and Chicago has adopted it with other technology companies.

Does that amplify your concept of place-based business ecosystems and connections among actors “on the ground?”

Yes, as I was looking for ideas to solve a lot of problems at once, the final one is community leadership and collaboration across sectors. Even if we suddenly had a national program throwing money at community colleges, you still need community leaders talking to each other—where people agree on certain priorities, align their interests, align what they do behind those priorities. Those with management competence can help those without—whether public helping private or vice versa. Those collaborations are fruitful and a source of exciting institutional innovations—from universities incubating ventures to six-year high schools to regions becoming world-class by focusing on areas of knowledge that also stimulate local businesses.

In general, every social and economic institution has come together on the ground in business ecosystems like Boston or Albany. You can have national policies for X, Y, or Z, but they intersect in particular places. I return to that because everything wrong with America is more easily fixed, can become right with America, on the ground. That’s where you have less partisanship. People are fighting in Washington about the size of government, but local civic leaders, private businesses, and ordinary citizens see connections in their own particular place. That’s always been an American strength. We can’t compete with China’s national government, tearing down an area and having an entirely new city in a year or two. That’s not how we operate. Our strength has been from the ground up. National policy can certainly facilitate things—or not—but you don’t have to wait for a government law or allocation.

If I were handing out federal funds, I would give more money to those who prove they’ve got such a partnership, who have a commitment to collaboration across sectors and who create institutional innovations. There’s a role for businesses large and small, government, and civic leaders dedicated to their regions. Local is beautiful, even if national can sometimes get ugly.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

The Basics of Advertising

The Basics of Advertising

Think you have a great product?

Unfortunately, no one's going to know about it unless you advertise. Advertising, if done correctly, can do wonders for your product sales, and you know what that means: more revenue and more success for your business. But be warned: it is not a panacea.

Below you will find a list of what advertising can and can't do for your business, along with the steps you can take to start using advertising to your business's advantage.

What Advertising Can Do For Your Business

  • Remind customers and inform prospective customers about the benefits of your product or service

  • Establish and maintain your distinct identity

  • Enhance your reputation

  • Encourage existing customers to buy more of your product/service

  • Attract new customers and replace lost ones

  • Slowly build sales to boost your bottom line

  • Promote your business to customers, investors, and others

What Advertising Cannot Do For Your Business

  • Create an instant customer base

  • Cause an immediate, sharp increase in sales

  • Solve cash flow or profit problems

  • Substitute for poor or indifferent customer service

  • Sell useless or unwanted products or services

Two Important Virtues of Advertising

  • You have complete control. Unlike public-relations efforts, you determine exactly where, when and how often your message will appear, how it will look and what it will say. You can target your audience more readily and aim at very specific geographic areas.

  • You can be consistent. Presenting your company's image and sales message repeatedly to build awareness and trust. A distinctive identity will eventually become clearly associated with your company. Customers will recognize your brand and product quickly and easily if you're consistent in presentation.

Two Drawbacks of Advertising

  • It takes planning. Advertising works best and costs the least when the planning and preparation are done in advance. For example, you'll pay less per ad in newspapers and magazines by agreeing to run several ads over time rather than deciding on an issue-by-issue basis. Likewise, you can save money by preparing a number of ads at once.

  • It takes time and persistence. The effectiveness of your advertising improves gradually over time because it's impossible for every customer to see every ad. You must repeatedly remind prospects and customers about the benefits of doing business with you. The long-term effort triggers recognition and helps special offers or direct marketing payoff.

Getting Ready to Advertise 

Use the following steps to help draw a blueprint for your business's advertising plan:

1. Design the Framework

  • What is the purpose of your advertising program? Start by defining your company's long-range goals, then map out how marketing can help attain them. Focus on advertising routes complementary to your marketing efforts. Set measurable goals so you can evaluate the success of your advertising campaign. For example, do you want to increase overall sales by 20 percent this year? Boost sales to existing customers by 10 percent during each of the next three years? Appeal to younger or older buyers? Sell off old products to free resources for new ones?

  • How much can you afford to invest? Keep in mind that whatever amount you allocate will never seem like enough. Even giants such as Proctor & Gamble and Pepsi always feel they could augment their advertising budgets. Given your income, expenses, and sales projections, simple addition and subtraction can help you determine how much you can afford to invest. Some companies spend a full 10 percent of their gross income on advertising, others just 1 percent. Research and experiment to see what works best for your business.

2. Fill in the Details

  • What are the features and benefits of your product or service? When determining features, think of automobile brochures that list engine, body and performance specifications. Next, and more difficult, determine the benefits those features provide to your customers. How does your product or service actually help them? For example, a powerful engine helps a driver accelerate quickly to get onto busy freeways.

  • Who is your audience? Create a profile of your best customer. Be as specific as possible, as this will be the focus of your ads and media choices. A restaurant may target adults who dine out frequently in the nearby city or suburban area. A computer software manufacturer may aim at information managers in companies with 10-100 employees. A bottled water company may try to appeal to athletes or people over 25 who are concerned about their health.

  • Who is your competition? It's important to identify your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what your competition offers that you lack – and vice versa – helps you show prospects how your product or service is special and why they should do business with you instead of someone else. Knowing your competition will also help you find a niche in the marketplace.

3. Arm Yourself with Information

  • What do you know about your industry, market, and audience? There are many sources of information to help you keep in touch with industry, market and buying trends without conducting expensive market research. Examples include U.S. Government materials from the Census Bureau and Department of Commerce. Public, business or university libraries are also a good option, as are industry associations, trade publications, and professional organizations. You can quickly and easily learn more about your customers by simply asking them about themselves, their buying preferences, and media habits. Another (more expensive) alternative is to hire a professional market research firm to conduct your research.

4. Build Your Action Plan – Evaluating Media Choices

  • Your next step is to select the advertising vehicles you will use to carry your message and establish an advertising schedule. In most cases, knowing your audience will help you choose the media that will deliver your sales message most effectively. Use as many of the above tools as are appropriate and affordable. You can stretch your media budget by taking advantage of co-op advertising programs offered by manufacturers. Although programs vary, generally the manufacturer will pay for a portion of media space, time costs or mailer production charges up to a fixed amount per year. The total amount contributed is usually based on the quantity of merchandise you purchase.

  • When developing your advertising schedule, be sure to take advantage of any special editorial or promotional coverage planned in the media you select. Newspapers, for example, often run special sections featuring real estate, investing, home and garden improvement, and tax advice. Magazines also often focus on specific themes in each issue.

5. Using Other Promotional Avenues

  • Advertising extends beyond the media described above. Other options include imprinting your company name and graphic identity on pens, paper, clocks, calendars and other giveaway items for your customers. Put your message on billboards, inside buses and subways, on vehicle and building signs, on point-of-sale displays and on shopping bags.

  • You might co-sponsor events with nonprofit organizations and advertise your participation, attend or display at consumer or business trade shows, create tie-in promotions with allied businesses, distribute newsletters, conduct seminars, undertake contests or sweepstakes, send advertising flyers along with billing statements, use telemarketing to generate leads for salespeople, or develop sales kits with brochures, product samples, and application ideas.

  • The number of promotional tools used to deliver your message and repeat your name is limited only by your imagination and your budget.

The Advertising Campaign

You are ready for action when armed with any knowledge of your industry, market, and audience, have a media plan and schedule, know your product or service's most important benefits and have measurable goals in terms of sales volume, revenue generated and other criteria.

The first step is to establish the theme that identifies your product or service in all of your advertising. The theme of your advertising reflects your special identity or personality and the particular benefits of your product or service. For example, cosmetics ads almost always rely on a glamorous theme. Many food products opt for healthy, all-American family campaigns. Automobile advertising frequently concentrates on how the car makes you feel about owning or driving it rather than performance attributes.

Taglines reinforce the single most important reason for buying your product or service. "Nothing Runs Like a Deere" (John Deere farm vehicles) conveys performance and endurance with a nice twist on the word deer. "Ideas at Work" (Black & Decker tools and appliances) again signifies performance but also shows reliability and imagination. "How the Smart Money Gets that Way" (Barron's financial publication) clearly connotes prosperity, intelligence, and success.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

What about Advertising

What about Advertising

Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services you use free of charge. We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive, and as relevant as possible. For example, you won’t see pop-up ads on Google, and we terminate the accounts of hundreds of thousands of publishers and advertisers that violate our policies each year – including ads containing malware, ads for counterfeit goods, or ads that attempt to misuse your personal information.

How Google uses cookies in advertising

Cookies help to make advertising more effective. Without cookies, it’s harder for an advertiser to reach its audience, or to know how many ads were shown and how many clicks they received.

Many websites, such as news sites and blogs, partner with Google to show ads to their visitors. Working with our partners, we may use cookies for a number of purposes, such as to stop you from seeing the same ad over and over again, to detect and stop click fraud, and to show ads that are likely to be more relevant (such as ads based on websites you have visited).

We store a record of the ads we serve in our logs. These server logs typically include your web request, IP address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request, and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser. We store this data for a number of reasons, the most important of which are to improve our services and to maintain the security of our systems. We anonymize this log data by removing part of the IP address (after 9 months) and cookie information (after 18 months).

Our advertising cookies

To help our partners manage their advertising and websites, we offer many products, including AdSense, AdWords, Google Analytics, and a range of DoubleClick-branded services. When you visit a page that uses one of these products, either on one of Google’s sites or one of our partners’, various cookies may be sent to your browser.

These may be set from a few different domains, including google.com, doubleclick.net, invitemedia.com, admeld.com, googlesyndication.com, or googleadservices.com. Some of our advertising products enable our partners to use other services in conjunction with ours (like an ad measurement and reporting service), and these services may send their own cookies to your browser. These cookies will be set from their domains.

How you can control advertising cookies

You can use Ads Settings to manage the Google ads you see and opt out of Ads Personalization. Even if you opt out of Ads Personalization, you may still see ads based on factors such as your general location derived from your IP address, your browser type, and your search terms.

You can also manage many companies’ cookies used for online advertising via the consumer choice tools created under self-regulation programs in many countries, such as the US-based aboutads.info choices page or the EU-based Your Online Choices.

Other technologies used in advertising

Google’s advertising systems may use other technologies, including Flash and HTML5, for functions like display of interactive ad formats. We may use the IP address, for example, to identify your general location. We may also select advertising based on information about your computer or device, such as your device model, browser type, or sensors in your device like the accelerometer.

Location

Google’s ad products may receive or infer information about your location from a variety of sources. For example, we may use the IP address to identify your general location; we may receive precise location from your mobile device; we may infer your location from your search queries; and websites or apps that you use may send information about your location to us. Google uses location information in our ads products to infer demographic information, to improve the relevance of the ads you see, to measure ad performance and to report aggregate statistics to advertisers.

Advertising identifiers on mobile devices

To serve ads in services where cookie technology may not be available (for example, in mobile applications), we may use technologies that perform similar functions to cookies. Sometimes Google links the identifier used for advertising on mobile applications to an advertising cookie on the same device in order to coordinate ads across your mobile apps and mobile browser. This can happen, for example, when you see an ad within an app that launches a webpage in your mobile browser. This also helps us improve the reports we give to our advertisers on the effectiveness of their campaigns.

To opt out of personalized ads in apps on your mobile device, follow the instructions below.

Android

  1. Find Google Settings in one of these places (depending on your device):
    1. A separate app called Google Settings
    2. In your main Settings app, scroll down and tap Google
  2. Tap Ads
  3. Switch on Opt out of interest-based ads

iOS

Devices with iOS use Apple’s Advertising Identifier. To learn more about your choices for use of this identifier, visit the Settings app on your device.

What determines the ads by Google that I see?

Many decisions are made to determine which ad you see.Sometimes the ad you see is based on your current or past location. Your IP address is usually a good indication of your approximate location. So you might see an ad on the homepage of YouTube.com that promotes a forthcoming movie in your country, or a search for ‘pizza’ might return results for pizza places in your town.

Sometimes the ad you see is based on the context of a page. If you’re looking at a page of gardening tips, you might see ads for gardening equipment.

Sometimes you might also see an ad on the web that’s based on your app activity or activity on Google services; an in-app ad that’s based on your web activity; or an ad based on your activity on another device.

Sometimes the ad you see on a page is served by Google but selected by another company. For example, you might have registered with a newspaper website. From a piece information you’ve given the newspaper, it can make decisions about which ads to show you, and it can use Google’s ad serving products to deliver those ads.

You may also see ads at Google products and services, including Search, Gmail, and YouTube, based on information, such as your email address, that you provided to advertisers and the advertisers then shared with Google.

Why am I seeing ads by Google for products I’ve viewed?

You may see ads for products you previously viewed. Let’s suppose you visit a website that sells golf clubs, but you don’t buy those clubs on your first visit. The website owner might want to encourage you to return and complete your purchase. Google offers services that let website operators target their ads to people who visited their pages.

For this to work, Google either reads a cookie that’s already in your browser or places a cookie in your browser when you visit the golfing site (assuming your browser lets this happen).

When you visit another site that works with Google, which may have nothing to do with golfing, you might see an ad for those golf clubs. That’s because your browser sends Google the same cookie. In turn, we may use that cookie to serve you an ad that could encourage you to buy those golf clubs.

Your visit to the golfing site may also be used by Google to show you personalized ads when you later search for golf clubs on Google.

We do have restrictions on this type of ad. For example, we prohibit advertisers from selecting an audience based on sensitive information, such as health information or religious beliefs.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

More Social Media Marketing Tips

Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros

 

#01: Use Social Updates to Write Blog Posts

Take your most popular tweets and Facebook posts, or the ones you feel most passionately about, and use them to develop blog posts. You don’t have to write three pages; you don’t even have to write four paragraphs.

Seth Godin is one of the most successful bloggers in the marketing world, and he writes in two- to three-sentence paragraphs. He’s a master at expressing ideas that are thought-provoking and easy to read. People are pressed for time these days and content can be overwhelming, so make it valuable and easy to read.

Another way to get ideas is to comment on the things you read, such as other people’s blogs and newsletters, media publications and anything else relevant to your business. You’re already absorbing the content and you probably have opinions when you’re reading it, so go ahead and comment on those blogs.

One benefit of commenting is that people will start recognizing your name; another is it gives you material for a blog post.

For example, I save the comments I write in my email drafts folder and I use the subject line as a label for the topic. After I’ve saved the drafts, I can come back and turn these comments into blog posts. I can even make the comment itself the blog post. After all, it’s still my writing. (Check out Meddle, which makes this whole process easy and allows you to share/syndicate your comments to your social platforms with a few easy clicks.)

 

 

Use Meddle to help with your blog posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#02: Give Context to Pinnable Images

We live in an age of information overload and short attention spans. When it comes to capturing your audience’s attention, take full advantage of every chance to communicate your message in a way that they’ll engage with!

The best way to gain and keep your audience’s interest is by using an effective visual content. Visual social media platforms like Pinterest can be a fabulous traffic source if used correctly.

When designing Pinterest graphics, make sure your readers know “what’s in it for them.” Take a look at the images below. They’re two separate styles of blog graphics for the SAME article. The top photo makes sense when it’s seen on the blog itself. However, when you take the photo away from the post, there’s no frame of reference for it.

Add a title that tells viewers exactly what they’ll get if they click on the pinned graphic.

The bottom graphic, on the other hand, uses text to tell viewers exactly what they’ll get if they click on the pinned graphic.

Always include the title of your blog post on your graphic. That way, when you pin it to Pinterest, users will have a frame of reference and want to read it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#03: Become a Resource on Facebook

Over the last year, Facebook has been slowly making algorithm changes that have limited the number of people who see a page’s Facebook post. Pages can use these algorithm changes to their advantage by thinking of their page as a user resource, rather than a promotional tool.

Build a page your customers would enjoy and then use that platform to delight them. Deliver posts that educate, entertain, inspire and inform to reach a wide Facebook audience.

#04: Manage Time Effectively

How much time do you spend crafting blog posts? Sending emails? Sitting in meetings?

Even if you have a good idea of where you’re spending the bulk of your time, you may often feel there simply aren’t enough hours in your day. Getting a handle on time management is a huge challenge for business owners.

Try a time-tracking tool like RescueTime to improve your daily productivity and devote more time to the areas that need it most.

RescueTime is a great time-tracking tool.

For example, let’s say you spend a great deal of time interacting on Facebook and Twitter, but you’re not seeing a lot of results. Meanwhile, your email marketing campaigns are intermittent at best, although you know the results are there for the taking.

Adjust your daily schedule so you spend more time on email marketing and see if it drives more sales. Remember, digital marketing depends on the trifecta of social, blog and email. If you neglect any one of them, your entire strategy could suffer. However, give them each a little love, and you might just see explosive growth.

 

 

 

It’s all about finding a balance that works for you and your business.

#05: Expand Reach With LinkedIn Publisher

If you haven’t already done so, take advantage of the free content publishing feature on LinkedIn called Publisher. It can increase your exposure to your target audience and help build your credibility as an expert in your industry. In fact, LinkedIn Publisher can greatly expand the reach of your business on LinkedIn, regardless of your network’s size.

For example, after Wendy McClelland added her third post, Why I Say NO to Coffee Meetings, she received more views, likes, and comments than she ever could have expected.

Wendy McClelland’s post, Why I Say NO to Coffee Meetings.

Wendy’s following is just over 1,500, but this published post got more than 61,500 views, 350 likes, and 500 comments! 60,000 people outside of Wendy’s network were exposed to her and her work.

While most posts will not achieve such extreme reach, all posts have the potential to reach new people.

Each time you publish, all of your connections and followers will receive a notification. The post also has a chance to be included in the email LinkedIn Pulse sends out to its members with suggestions for posts that might interest them.

 

LinkedIn Pulse sends out an email of noteworthy and recommended posts.

To increase your chances of success with Publisher, create professional-looking posts that address the needs and pain points of your audience. Make sure you avoid adding spammy or promotional information.

Post valuable content that your network will share with their connections and your reach will grow even more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#06: Focus on One Social Media Channel

Unless your company is a big brand, it’s unlikely your customers are scattered across multiple social media channels.

Therefore, to make the most of your limited resources, find the one channel that is densely populated with your ideal customers and inhabit it like no other.

#07: Automate Curated Content

If you run a small business, creating or curating content can be relegated to the back burner. The problem is that an erratic publishing schedule can alienate your audience and break trust. There’s a way around this.

Schedule a baseline of curated content. While there are a number of tools out there that can help, lately I’ve been choosing to use Hootsuite’s new Suggested Topics under its Publisher tab.

Use HootSuite's Suggested Topics tool to find curated content.

Select up to three topics of interest, then let Hootsuite find content that’s relevant to your audience.

Let Hootsuite find content that’s relevant to your audience.

As I mentioned, this is baseline content. If you want to rock your social media marketing, you still need to create and curate your own posts, as well as engage with your audience. However, this tool lets you stay in front of your audience even when you’re making sales calls, writing proposals and brewing that second pot of coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#08: Create a Social Update Library

One thing that holds many businesses back from actively posting on social media is having to come up with ideas for what to post. When you batch content and social media update creation, it’s much easier to come up with interesting ideas for status updates relating to that content.

Whenever you create a piece of content (article, podcast or video) for your blog or website, come up with a list of 10 to 20 social media posts at the same time that can be used to promote that piece of content.

This same concept will work for your product pages, sales pages or any other piece of content you want to promote.

Batch social updates as you create content.

Once you have a list of social media updates, add the updates to a spreadsheet to keep track of them all in one location. This can be a simple spreadsheet that includes just the update and a link to the content, or it can be a more elaborate one that tracks all of your content and social media updates for multiple networks.

 

This will save you a lot of time over the long run. Also, you build a library of tweets and status updates that you can use for years to come. Whenever you need to schedule some updates, just come back to the spreadsheet, create a .csv file, import it into a program like Hootsuite and you’re good to go.

#09: Publish Long-Form Content on LinkedIn

By publishing new and previously published content on LinkedIn, you can grow your audience and network while increasing your status as an expert.

Through this open publishing platform, your original content becomes part of your company’s profile, is shared with your trusted network and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals ever assembled.

 

This post gained more visibility when it was picked up by editors.

#10: Target Website Visitors with Social Ads

It takes a lot of time and effort to attract visitors to your website. When you do attract relevant visitors, it’s important to maximize the potential of that visit even after they leave your website.

There are now great retargeting options where you can follow your website visitors to other sites like Twitter and Facebook, and encourage them to take further action.

For example, to target your website visitors on Facebook, display “page like” ads and encourage them to become fans. This currently costs us 15 cents per fan. In return, we get a relevant fan and another place to reach our audience.

Website owners can target past website visitors with ads like this on Facebook.

Your potential customers don’t see all of your communication, but with good marketing tactics, you can improve your chances of showing up in their social streams!

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Social Media Marketing Tips

Would you like to improve your social media marketing?

Are you up to date with the best social media tips and tools?

#1: Mine Twitter to Grow Your Audience

While “if you build it they will come” is a great line from a movie, it’s a terrible marketing plan. To succeed on the Internet today, you have to create content that ignites and engages an audience. However, if you are a new blogger, you should probably spend more time developing an audience than creating your content.

Here are three easy but overlooked tactics you can use to build an audience on Twitter, which is arguably the best platform for this.

Once you’ve been on Twitter for a while, you’ll notice people will place you on public Twitter lists. Lists are generally categorized by a special interest or geographic location. For example, I might be on lists for “marketing experts,” “bloggers” or “business educators.” Find a relevant person to follow, and then dig into his or her lists. You’ll likely find a goldmine of interesting people to follow who will hopefully follow you back.

Use Twellow to find and follow targeted users in any category.

There are many apps to help you find new followers, but one of my favorite places to find targeted followers is Twellow. This useful and free site is like the yellow pages for Twitter, and you can find and follow targeted users for every category, industry, and interest imaginable.

Use specialized Twitter search prompts. Unlock the basic search functionality right on the Twitter screen by learning a few of the specialized prompts. This is one of the most powerful market research tools available. Follow this link if you want a complete tutorial on Twitter search.

With these tactics, you can expand your audience to reach people who are seeking your products and services.

 

 

 

 

#2: Analyze Past Content to Improve Posts

Most businesses analyze the effectiveness of their social media after they publish. Now, there are tools available to analyze data for content curation before you post. Here’s how to use Buzz Sumo to leverage the data of what has already been successful in terms of social sharing.

First, enter a keyword that is part of your social media content strategy. BuzzSumo will provide you with a list of the top-performing content in terms of social shares according to your keyword.

BuzzSumo shows you the top-performing content in terms of social shares.

Next, because some content performs better on some networks than others, you can curate content by social network. Armed with this data, you can increase the effectiveness of your content curation by publishing content that has a greater chance of success on a specific network.

You can also filter content by type (which is ideal if you’re looking for videos or infographics to curate) or filter by time period. The latter lets you find content that’s been most popular in the last 24 hours or evergreen content that’s been popular over the last year. The choice is yours!

 

 

#3: Optimize Visual Content with Links

Visual content can act as a “gateway” to more valuable content. When planning visual content to post on social platforms, think in terms of how it can drive traffic back to your website, products, and services.

For example, in this SlideShare deck, Constant Contact included a link back to a resource page listing multiple blog posts with related content.

When fans click through, they arrive at a page of value-added blog posts relevant to the SlideShare topic.

Link a short video back to your website from your YouTube Account or from your Instagram profile link and make sure you provide expanded content around the video. For example, Final Cut King drives his fans on Instagram back to longer content on his YouTube channel by asking them to click the link in the description of his Instagram account.

 

 

 

 

 

Final Cut King uses a call to action asking people to click on the link in his descriptions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4: Maximize Twitter Real Estate With Images

“Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter (visualize them here on Internet Stats live), which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year.”

Creating the best possible tweet has never been more important. Adding visual appeal to your tweet is a very smart way to get your most important content noticed.

You can add up to four images per tweet or one fantastic image if you want. The choice is yours! To add multiple images, use regular Twitter. This isn’t available on any of the third-party sites. Here’s an example of a tweet with multiple images on Twitter.

#5: Switch Up Content Formats

Over the past two years, I’ve moved to adapted written content for multiple platforms, like YouTube, to increase my reach and visibility.

For example, by turning one of my List25 articles into video every week, I’ve grown the YouTube channel to 1.3 million subscribers and amassed over 200 million video views. A similar tactic with WPBeginner articles has grown subscribers to over 8,000, and the channel has increased sales for my WordPress plugins.xxxxx

We turned List25 articles into videos.

Changing content formats doesn’t have to involve just videos. You can also convert snippets from your existing articles into images—which tend to have better reach on Facebook. These images allow you to leverage the power of social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram.

Here’s how I shared a Tip of the Week image on the WPBeginner Facebook page.

 

Convert blog posts into images for your Facebook page.

Have you written a lot about one specific topic on your blog? Why not combine those articles into an ebook and use it to build your email list? If you’re not changing any content format to improve your overall reach, then you aren’t maximizing the full potential of your content.

 

 

 

 

#6: Create a Social Media Channel Plan

So many organizations feel overwhelmed by the need to create content for every social media channel on the planet. Or worse yet, many brands create one type of content and then blast that content onto every social platform. If that’s you, you need a social media channel plan.

Most likely, your goals are different on each social platform. Since that’s the case, the content you develop for that platform needs to be different as well. Here are the components for your channel plan.

  • The Channel (For example, Facebook.)
  • The Persona (Who are you specifically targeting? Please choose one.)
  • The Goal (Is it a sales goal, cost-savings goal or are you trying to create a better customer experience?)
  • Primary Content Type (Textual, video, infographics?)
  • Structure (What does a general post look like?)
  • Tone (Playful, sarcastic?)
  • Channel Integration (How will this channel work with your other channels for maximum impact?)
  • Desired Action (What user behavior do you want to achieve?)
  • Editorial Plan (Every channel needs its own editorial calendar.)

And this is exactly why content marketing isn’t easy. But if you leverage a social media channel plan correctly, you’ll be able to double down on the channels that work for you and be realistic with your resources on the other channels.

#7: Deliver Content Consistently

One of the best ways to grow your following and increase engagement on social media is to be there consistently. The first step is to put the right systems in place to keep your posts relevant, interesting and valuable for your audience.

Enter Edgar. I found out about Edgar a couple of months ago and love the platform.

Edgar allows you to create your own content categories so you can keep track of the specific types of posts you’re releasing; this ensures you don’t overwhelm your followers with the same types of posts over and over.

Manage content categories and avoid repeat posts with social media scheduling tool Edgar.

You can also schedule repeat posts indefinitely, so your content schedule never runs dry. Plus Edgar allows you to upload custom images for your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts.

As you build your content library, update your schedule with the categories you want to release and when. Then let Edgar take care of the rest.

 

Build a content library, update categories and schedule posts in Edgar.

Leveraging a social media scheduler like Edgar has saved me time, helped me grasp the big picture when it comes to my social media marketing strategy and allowed me to stay on top of my game when it comes to delivering valuable content to Fire Nation.

 

 

 

 

 

#8: Host Private Hangout On Air Events

Social media success is so often about having a conversation with the right people. If you already think in terms of building segmented lists, then you may appreciate knowing that you can effectively list-build on Google+ in many ways.

Use a private community alongside regular Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) events, so you can host a dedicated, private experience while having conversations with the right people.

In doing this for our Academy, we’ve noticed two trends:

  • Around a third of community members watch the event within a day.
  • About 8 to 10 community members also join the event as participants.

Unlike with public communities, when you initiate your event within a private one, the members receive an event invite/notification. This is a perfect way to break through the noise and reach the right audience.

Find the right audience by combining private Google+ communities with HOA events.

In both scenarios, the event will be listed under the Event tab, as well as on the right-hand side of the community.

Selling is increasingly personal, so face-to-face time with your community makes a huge difference. Also, the ability to quickly give them access to links/resources results in a great customer service experience.

 

 

 

 

#9: Use Hashtags Strategically

If you want to be successful with your social media plan, stop random acts of hashtagging and use a good hashtag to tie all of the pieces of your campaign together.

Use a hashtag that is easy to spell and easy to remember. To make sure your hashtag isn’t already being used for something else, check for it on all channels prior to using it for your campaign. Once you create your hashtag, follow and join the conversation!

To follow your hashtag, use sites like Social Mention and Sprout Social. Use TwiPho for searching images on a hashtag.

 

 

 

 

TwiPho allows you to search Twitter for photos and images on a hashtag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#10: Test Pinterest for Your Brand

I’d always believed Pinterest is best for organizations that have something visual to show: fashion, food, sports. But a friend recently proved me wrong. An organization that provides software as a service to a very narrow audience tested pinning their blog posts to Pinterest. In some cases, the images from the blog posts were original—infographics, their product in use or PowerPoint decks—and in others, they used a paid Shutterstock account. They built boards based on their brand personas, representing five different segments, and got to work.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

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