Don’t let your marketing head home for the holidays!

When the weather outside is frightful, your holiday vacations become so delightful! Whether it’s time for a little R&R in another city, state or country, it doesn’t mean your marketing should go on a two week hiatus as well. After all, people still open their smartphones and laptops, keep up with the occasional email, read their social media streams…well, you get the idea.

Here are 5 quick and easy tips to maintain your marketing presence even as you head out for the holidays.

 

Have your social calendar filled out BEFORE you take off

Social media calendars are extremely useful, even when you aren’t going on vacation. They help map out what, who, why, how, where and when you are going to post to each of your social media accounts. The internet is swimming with social media calendar templates that are easy to use! Fill out the information for the days you will be gone, including the message you are sharing, link you will use, image to be included and time to be posted. Don’t forget to specify which social media platform you will post the messages to.

 

Link your business Twitter from your personal cell phone

Assuming you already have the free app on your phone, you can link your personal and business account on your cell phone. To do this, pull up your Twitter account and tap on the profile image. There is a little blue arrow by your profile name, tap it and tap “Add an existing account.”

Once your accounts are linked, you can switch back and forth by tapping the profile image at the top of your screen. Send tweets, retweet an interesting article, or update followers with your experiences on vacation. Follow the calendar you created before you left, and your vacation will be a breeze.

Word to the wise: just be careful you’re in the right account before you tweet a personal opinion to your business account. It’s an easy, but avoidable mistake if you take the extra second to check which account you’re in.

 

Utilize Facebook’s “scheduled posts” feature

If you don’t subscribe to a social media distribution service that allows you to schedule social media posts, Facebook has a scheduling tool that is stress-free. Gather the content from your calendar and head to Facebook and enter each post, link and image into the post generator. Once you are ready, click the little arrow next to “Publish.”  A drop-down box will appear that has a few different options. You will select the “Schedule” option. From there, you can choose the time and date that the post will publish to your followers. It’s as easy as that!

 

Choose “topics” for Twitter

When inputting the information into your social calendar, coming up with specific Twitter posts is nearly impossible.  The goal is to deliver accurate information that happens at the drop of a dime. Instead of putting the exact message, image, and URL into the calendar, focus on selecting various topics instead.

Some examples would be:

  • Retweet an interesting, industry-relevant article
  • Share a new blog post
  • Tweet a picture of your travels
  • Share an old, but still relevant blog

Use your social media calendar to keep ideas for what you want to post and when. Additionally, the search feature on Twitter allows you to find articles or tweets on the topics you choose right from your cell phone since you now have linked accounts. The person you left in charge of the campaign will also be able to easily locate and publish tweets with a guide for what topics to cover and when.

 

Repurpose relevant blog posts

If you know you already have quality content that can be reused or repurposed while you are away, don’t be afraid to share it again! Be sure that if there is any data in the blog, it’s updated, and the topic of the original blog is relevant to today’s audience. What’s the point of having all that information if you only share it once? If a certain article really captivated your audience the first time, it may reach new followers that you’ve acquired over the recent weeks or months. Change the headline slightly or use a different message and photo when posting to social media. Even though you are using content you already have, make sure to tailor it slightly to match current wants and needs of your followers.

 

Those were our five easy tips to help you keep up with the campaign while you are on holiday. Vacation should be about relaxing and spending time with the ones you love. Don’t let the pressure of maintaining your holiday PR campaign stress you out. Plan ahead, make posting accessible, and share quality content you already have. Most importantly, enjoy your vacation!
About Alyssa Bowholtz: Alyssa is a marketing and communications intern at Manzer Communications. She writes for the PR over Coffee blog and also helps with everything from managing social media activities to helping grow the company’s Austin Startup over Coffee map. Manzer Communications is an Austin marketing agency for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and PPC, email marketing and media relations.

Speak Up: Building a Brand Voice For Your Business.

 

In any business venture you have many decisions to make. Type? Mission? Name? Hours of operation? Etc. The good news is that since you’ve decided to start a business or just want to improve an existing one, then you have overcome your first major hurdle.

So what’s the next step? Before you can start to market your services and dive head first into social media to let the world know how great you are, you first have to define your brand’s voice.

What do we mean by a brand voice? More than simply words and phrases, your ‘brand voice’ is the overall tone of your business and how you connect with your customers. It’s important that you craft a voice which clearly identifies with your business and its customers.

Here’s some good news: it’s time to get creative! Your voice can be whatever you want it to be. Formal? Humorous? Conversational?

So now the big question: how do you establish your own brand voice? Consider that it will impact all of your business communications, which means you will need to spend some time on it. Sounds daunting?

Not to worry! It’s easier than you may think, especially if you review the following.

 

Know Your Audience

What does your customer look like? What are their interests? You can’t begin to develop your brand voice if you don’t have a clear picture of your audience. More than simple demographics, you really need to take a deep dive into who they are, how they talk and what they believe. Customers have more options than ever these days to find products and services that align with their own values and interests. If you can’t define your customers and what they want, someone else will.

Say you own a store that sells clothing and gear for babies and toddlers. Your brand voice would naturally include a reassuring tone, friendly, even nurturing. You want new parents in your community to see you as a trusted resource for baby clothing, baby gear and other items to make the parenting experience easier.

 

Know Yourself

What is your brand? What are your company’s values? In order to successfully market your business and create a cohesive tone, you absolutely have to know everything about your business. Whether you’re a huge conglomerate or a small home-based startup with one employee, effective outward communication starts within. Consider this step your communication mission statement. What image do you want your business to reflect? Only you know.

Say you are a former Army Ranger or Marine and recently launched a CrossFit gym based on the kinds of day-to-day fitness challenges you experienced on deployments in Afghanistan.  Well then you might want to create a brand voice that has a rugged, never-say-die quality. The business is built on your identity, after all. The more your brand voice reflects that the truer it will be to your experience and the more it will resonate with customers.

 

Know Your Competition

The next step after identifying who you are and what your business represents is to know everything about your competitors. Unless you are creating an entirely new space, you will need to spend time researching the marketplace. Will you copy others or will you create unique content? Clear messaging is crucial but you must first decide what that messaging will be and if it will be presented differently from those who have come before.

For instance, say you are a custom software development company but instead of working with disruptive technology companies like your competition you tend to focus on older, more traditional companies in need of software modernization. In that case, your brand voice would skew toward a more mature, level-headed and even conservative tone and style designed to appeal to executives in traditional industries like manufacturing, distribution and financial services.

 

Be Flexible

The marketplace is dynamic. Businesses like yours have to be ready to adapt and change quickly. Maybe a new disruptive product is being launched or a new app is forcing you to create a new strategy as you currently only exist in brick and mortar. Whatever the change is, you must be prepared and that includes adjusting tone and style of your brand voice as needed. What worked yesterday may not work today and likely won’t work tomorrow.

For example, today we are seeing a steady push toward egalitarianism in the marketplace so adopting a male-centric voice may not work unless you happen to be selling athletic gear designed exclusively for men. Even The Home Depot’s brand voice, while still distinctly male, has softened to encompass the female DIYers that make up their customer base.

Bottom line: Your brand voice matters. To make yours stand out from the competition, be authentic to who you are and, most importantly, who your customers are and what they expect from you. A fine-tuned brand voice will allow you to speak much louder than your competitors and it will help you to resonate better with your customers, you just need to take the time to find it.

 

About Dave Bennett: Dave is a marketing and communications professional at Manzer Communications. He supports clients with social media, blogging and tech marketing and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications is a digital marketing agency in Austin for tech companies companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and PPC, email marketing, and media relations.

Personal branding tips for founders and executives on Twitter

Twitter is an effective social media platform to help build and bolster the brand of startup founders and business executives. While it may not have as many users as Facebook or Instagram, Twitter is hands-down the best social network for sharing opinions and news with a large group of people. In short, it offers the best opportunity find, follow and engage with influencers, customers, bloggers, reporters and more.

Unless you’re already famous, however, building a significant following on Twitter isn’t easy. The thing is, getting people to pay attention to your content isn’t just about tweeting interesting content, although that certainly plays a major role. It’s also a question of learning how to get other people’s attention, either by interacting with them or sharing their content — preferably both.

The following is a brief excerpt from an Insights note on personal branding for C-suite and founders on Twitter released today by Manzer Communications.

What should you be tweeting about?

Post about topics that are relevant to your brand. That doesn’t mean you should you shy away from posting content relating to other interests or events, especially those in your own life.

While your primary offering to the Twittersphere is indeed your knowledge and expertise, people actually enjoy experts they can relate to on some kind of personal level. So don’t be shy about sharing a more personal side — your favorite coffee or tea, a view of you networking at an industry conference, even a favorite food truck when you’re traveling on business. Just be sure that those personal moments convey a coherent identity and personality that aligns with your corporate brand.

Caveat: No sense in showing a trip to a tattoo parlor if you happen to be a CEO of a staid financial services company handling retirement accounts for seniors. But if you’re a founder of a BMX accessories company in Boulder selling mostly to a younger customer base, go for it!

What should your content look like?

There are three distinct categories of Twitter content (Production, Curation & Aggregation), and your Twitter content should feature a mix of the three. That said, always strive to put a personal touch on as many of your tweets as possible. Retweeting another person’s content will often be noticed, appreciated and sometimes reciprocated. For the most part, however, that serves their brand, not your own. The ultimate goal is to have others do the same for your original posts. Hence the need to share valuable content in the form of insightful opinions about trending topics.

Want to learn more? Download the Insight note on executive and founder branding on Twitter today!

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications is a PR and tech marketing agency in Austin  for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Mythbusters: Marketing Edition

b972ce7e359d54e2dd3b3e805a6a92214bd25d17As the marketing industry changes and develops, it’s only natural that misconceptions will come out of the woodworks.

Whether you’re an emerging brand or a veteran of the industry, it can sometimes be hard to determine which marketing myths should be taken with a grain of salt, and which should just be completely ignored.

Here are five myths busted, so you can be properly informed when going into your marketing planning.

Marketing is the same as advertising

If you go around believing that marketing and advertising are one and the same, keep reading. While the two go hand in hand, they are still very different. According to the American Marketing Association, “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Marketing focuses more on the technical process of creating awareness and understanding your customers by getting inside of their head. It is much more overarching than advertising. Advertising is a component of marketing. It is focused on the creation of actual items to drive promotions through mediums such as print, radio, television, billboards, etc. If you use the terms marketing and advertising interchangeably, it’s time to stop.

I don’t need social media

Social media seems to touch every part of our lives, so neglecting it for your business is a mistake. Social media isn’t just a way to connect with friends, but is an asset for sharing your business’ content and information. Customers like to conduct online research about products before making a decision. 74% of people will consult social media to help decide which product to buy. Typically customers will see it as a red flag if your business does not have some sort of social media presence. Social media is a way to provide customer service and connect with your customers on a more personal level. Even if you feel like you’re not in an industry where social media is necessary, don’t neglect its importance.

Marketing is too expensive

While it’s true that you will eventually have to spend some money for an effective marketing campaign, you might not need as big of a budget as you may think. Depending on which area you want to spend your time and money (social media, paid media, inbound marketing, etc.), there are ways to cut expenses when needed. Take influencer marketing, for example. Many brands feel the need to shell out the big bucks for big-name influencers and celebrities to promote their product when there are plenty of smaller, niche influencers who will charge a lot less for a partnership. Some will even take non-monetary compensation! If you don’t have a hefty marketing budget, get creative with how and where you want to spend your money.

It worked for them, so it will work for us

While there are general strategies that should be implemented for most marketing campaigns, not everything will work for everyone. For example, a B2B tech company wouldn’t utilize an Instagram campaign like a consumer retail business would, because that’s not where their audience is. Their audience is most likely on LinkedIn, which means they’re better off focusing their time and energy there. To get the most out of marketing, your brand has to utilize the tactics that will reach the right audience, in the right way.

All you need is a good website

Your brand could have the best website in the world, but that doesn’t matter unless people know it exists. That’s where good marketing comes in. Through social media, content marketing, SEO and other tactics, your website can be seen by a much larger audience than if it just sits there on its own. To increase traffic to your website, start by feeding it into as many places as you can — social media, blog posts, contributed posts, etc. And even if you’re not an SEO expert, you should at least know the basic keywords related to your industry and utilize those to increase the chances that your brand will show up during Google searches.

 

How to prepare for an interview with a reporter

smiYou’ve reached an exciting point for your business! You’ve been approached by the media to participate in an interview about your company.

This can be both exciting and nerve wracking for you, especially if you’ve never been interviewed before. Make no mistake, an interview with a reporter can open a lot of doors for your company. Media coverage can transform your company exposure and brand awareness in your geographic or industry market, so you definitely want to be on your A-game for the interview.

Leave a positive impression of your business and dominate your upcoming interview with these tips.

Anticipate questions

Whether you’re being interviewed about company news, a product launch, or for thought leadership, you need to anticipate questions of all kinds. You never know what kind of curve balls could be thrown your way, so try your best to do enough preparation for the tough questions. Research previous interviews that have been done by the reporter you will be interviewing with to get an idea of their style. They may ask similar or even the same questions. Look up common interview questions online and prepare answers for the questions. The more preparation you do in advance the less anxious you will be about the interview.

Research industry trends

When being interviewed, you want to be seen as an authority figure in your field. One way to do that is by staying up to date on the current industry news and trends. Before your big interview, it’s a good idea to brush up on current events outside of your own company.  It is better to be over prepared, because the last thing you want is to be in the dark on an important current event. Spend the week leading up to your interview surfing the web for relevant articles about topics in your field. The more you know, the more confident and knowledgeable you’ll come across.

Outline a clear message

Before your interview, take the time to outline your key purpose. What do you want people to gain from watching your interview? Keep this question in mind throughout your interview to stay on track. It is always a good idea to organize your thoughts before anything, from writing a memo to giving a presentation, to being interviewed by the media. Understanding your message will make it easier for you to answer tough questions. It will also cause you to be less nervous and appear more confident. Outlining your central theme ahead of time will make you less likely to contradict yourself when under pressure.

Practice

Practice makes perfect! Interviews can be tough because all of the focus is placed on you, but it’s a great chance to get your name out there and create buzz for your business. The more comfortable you are during your interview, the smoother it will go. Ask your family, friends, or coworkers to run through some practice questions before the interview. You can also practice alone by talking in front of the mirror. Whatever you do, don’t jump head first into an interview without any sort of preparation. You can’t take back your words, so be sure to practice enough to choose them wisely.

 

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Tips to increase inbound leads

wpid-curata__eb0b5ff031fbfea14c625c2a441907cbGrowing your inbound leads is necessary for a B2B business to be successful and profitable over time. Inbound lead generation refers to the process of creating ‘owned’ content on your website that attracts visitors and converts them into leads. Once you have leads, you can then nurture them into sales opportunities and close them over time.

So how do you increase your number of inbound leads? Here are our top tips.

Develop a buyer persona

If you don’t understand your audience, your marketing may end up completely off message. Connecting with your audience is key for increasing your number of inbound leads. The struggle most companies have with driving inbound leads is being able to deepen audience engagement. One way to get around this is by creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your client. It embodies their thoughts, feelings, and goals. This information is used as a guide for your team to better pinpoint who you’re trying to communicate with, paying special attention to what motivates them to buy.

Create more content

Having enough content is vital for your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts. Your content must be relevant to your audience and include keywords that will draw people in. If your content isn’t very good, your visitor bounce rate will be higher. The point of your website content is to drive people to your site, keep them there and convert them into leads. Having an active blog and creating a diverse variety of content will help drive more traffic to your website. By utilizing your buyer personas when brainstorming content topic ideas you will end up creating content that is of interest to your main customer base.

Promote your content

You’ve worked hard to create your content, so don’t neglect showing it off! Don’t let your blog posts sit idle on your site, waiting for someone to find them. Social media is highly effective in gaining visibility for your company. The more people who are aware of your company, the more leads you’re likely to snag. The more places and more often you share your content the more likely people will be to engage with that content. Don’t waste an opportunity by leaving your content unshared!

Improve your call-to-actions

Your call-to-action (CTA) is arguably one of the most important pieces to the puzzle when trying to generate inbound leads. This is the part that encourages people to act, rather than just observe. Make sure that the message of what you’re offering through your call-to-action is clear. Rather than simply saying “Download now”, be more specific and tell your audience exactly what benefits they would be gaining by downloading. Whether your call to action is on your website or in an email, use colors that contrast and make your CTA pop! You don’t want your message to be lost in the noise, so be sure to make it stand out. You should also include a call to action on every blog post and on the most relevant pages of your site to really drive it home.

Don’t become discouraged

Whatever you do, don’t become discouraged when chasing after inbound leads. Results will not happen overnight. The process takes time to build but as long as you create a solid foundation for attracting leads your hard work will ultimately pay off.

 

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

6 Ways to Avoid PR Blunders on Social Media

3-Lessons-To-Learn-From-Big-Brands-and-Their-Social-Media-MistakesNo matter how prepared you think you are, mistakes are bound to happen. As a business, you want to reduce the amount of negative attention you receive as much as possible.  

Whether you say something you regret in the heat of the moment or someone misinterprets your message, what you say can potentially lead you into hot water. PR blunders will happen, the important thing is how well you react to them.

To limit the amount of PR fires you are putting out, keep these tips in mind.

Be clever, not crude

In whatever message you are sending out, it’s important to remember your audience. Some companies, such as Wendy’s, have gone viral on social media by becoming known for their sarcastic responses to customers. Wendy’s has become successful in this strategy because they figured out a way to connect with millennials on Twitter in a playful, entertaining way. The secret behind Wendy’s Twitter success lies in the fact that they are clever with their responses and are in an industry where their behavior on Twitter is more acceptable. Keep in mind that this strategy has to be used very carefully as it can quickly become offensive or insulting. There is a fine line between being clever versus crude (or inappropriate), so it is important to pay attention to your word choice when crafting messages. Before you send out a message, ask yourself and your peers if a reasonable person in your industry would be offended by your words.

Avoid hashtag disasters

Hashtags can be a great asset to networking or gaining awareness for your business. They can also be a recipe for a PR mishap. A “bashtag” is when a hashtag becomes a platform for sharing negative information about a company. It starts with a well-intentioned social media campaign, but for some reason or another quickly backfires. An example of this is when McDonald’s launched a campaign using the hashtag “#McDStories”. The intention of the campaign was for customers to share lighthearted stories about their memories of McDonald’s. The impact of this campaign quickly went south, however, when people started sharing McDonald’s horror stories instead. Before you start a social media campaign, weigh your options for how things could go awry. A failed campaign can do much more harm to your business than a successful one can do good.

Create guidelines

Making sure everyone is on the same page about the tone and mission of the message your company is pushing is crucial. Consistency allows for your brand to build a reputation and become better established in your audience’s collective memory. Creating guidelines serves as a “cheat sheet” for employees to understand the game plan for how to react and how to craft messages. Writing out your strategy makes it easier to follow, and it makes your team more accountable for following it. Establishing rules early on helps avoid future disasters because you already have a plan in place.

Monitor activity

You never know what people will say on social media, so don’t forget to regularly monitor your accounts. Be on the lookout for negative comments on your posts so that you can react accordingly. You should also monitor what people are saying about your business through reviews sites like Yelp, or on their own personal accounts. Be sure that you have included a process for responding to negative messages in a professional manner.

Double check everything

It’s easy for mistakes to slip through the cracks, so make sure that multiple sets of eyes take a look at the content you’re putting out in social media. Double or triple check everything that you do to ensure that it is as close to perfect as possible. You don’t want to accidentally let a typo slip through. While typos normally just illustrate a careless mistake, you never know when your typo could accidentally turn a normal word into something offensive. You can’t completely erase a mistake, so it’s important to have a solid system in place for editing content.
About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

1 2 21
%d bloggers like this: