Category Archives: Social Media

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Social Media for Nonprofits: 7 Tips for Success

The use of Social media is a great way for nonprofits to expand their mission. The Global Web Index 2015 report shows the average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day. What does that mean for nonprofits? It means that social media can become a powerful tool. It provides a way to tell your story, recruit volunteers, increase donations and share your mission.

As I welcome my new client, Legacy International, to Danielle Ricks Productions, I am looking for ways to do just that. Legacy is dedicated to promoting peace by strengthening civil society and fostering a culture of participation worldwide. They train and mentor community leaders, youth, professionals, and governmental and non-governmental administrators, helping them to develop and implement practical, community-based solutions to critical issues.

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Like many nonprofits, Legacy manages multiple projects. But it’s often hard to find your voice in the digital space while you are busy doing the good work of your mission. Here’s where social media comes into play to help in an effort to market and increase brand recognition.

There are seven social media strategies that nonprofits should consider when developing their social media plan. I’ll use each of these for Legacy International and you may want to consider these tips when developing your own social media strategy.

1. Set Your goals. Why are you in the social space? Is it to raise money? Maybe you need to recruit more volunteers. It could be that you need to get the word out about your mission to partners, supporters and donors. Each of these has a different social media strategy. Know why you are in the digital space before you get started.

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2. Determine Your Target Audience. Will you be speaking primarily to the people you serve, those benefiting from your services, the general public, or to the people who are dedicated to keeping the NPO afloat? Maybe you’ll be speaking to all of these audiences. That’s fine, just know who your audience is so you can develop your online voice.

See3 provides an excellent case study example with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and how they tell their stories.

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3. Choose Your Platforms. There are a lot of social media sites to choose from. Do you need to be in all of them? Your target audience will dictate where you put your social media energy. Have an audience of teens, you may want to be on Snapchat. Need to reach the parents of teens, you may want to be on Facebook. Need to reach government agencies and news organizations, Twitter may be your best bet. The target audience will dictate the platform.

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4. Create Your Content Strategy. This is where the bulk of your social media energy will go. Determining what, when, where and how you will share your content. You’ll want to keep in mind three key things:

  1. Your Voice – Who are you and what do you stand for?
  2. Frequency of posts – How often will you post and why?
  3. Patterns for engagements – What gets shared when?

If you need help developing an effective content marketing plan, you can check out my blog post here.

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5. Ready, Set, ENGAGE! Once you have determined your audience, your voice, and your strategy, it’s time to engage your audience. Be prepared to answer questions, field inquiries, share great stories and motivate your audience.4

6. Track and Measure. After ninety days or so, you’ll want to evaluate how you are doing in the digital space. Take a deep dive into the analysis and data. Keep an eye on likes but keep an eagle eye on shares. A like is a click of acceptance. A share means I’m personally invested in the content and I want others invested in it as well. Determine what strategies worked and which ones fell flat? What resonated with your audience and what does that tell you about your story telling, your mission, your followers

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7. Almost done! The last step is to start all over again at number one and continue the cycle. Determine who on your team will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of your social media strategy and maintaining the integrity of the brand, voice, and mission. Reevaluate your plan every three months and make adjustments accordingly.

The most important part of all of this social engagement is to be social. Be authentic and have fun. Have social media strategies that have worked for you? Share them in the comments below. Need help to develop your social media strategy, please let me know.

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Tips To Help You Visualize The Life You Want In 2016!

2How is your vision? I’m not talking about your eyesight. I’m talking about your vision for the future. If you want to get clarity in this new year, you may want to think about creating a Vision Board. A Vision Board is a simple yet powerful visualization tool that can help you bring the things your desire into fruition. Maybe you want to increase your client base, build better relationships or create a more balanced work/home life. Whatever vision you would like to create for yourself in this coming year, a Vision Board is a great way to get started. Exactly what makes up a Vision Board? It is literally a board that will display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your manifest into reality. The board is made up of a collage of images, pictures, and affirmations of your greatest dreams and desires. I like to create my Vision Board at the beginning of the year to set my intentions for the coming months.

Exactly what makes up a Vision Board? It is literally a board that will display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your manifest into reality. The board is made up of a collage of images, pictures, and affirmations of your greatest dreams and desires. I like to create my Vision Board at the beginning of the year to set my intentions for the coming months.

To get started, you can go through magazines, catalogs, or print articles from websites that support your vision. Start cutting out photos, sayings, and words that support your dreams or goals. You can also write your own sayings or take your own photos to add to the board. I suggest add color, glitter, ribbons, fabric or anything that will stimulate the senses. For you techie types, you can grab digital images and pin them to a Vision Board you create in Pinterest. Get as creative as you like. But dream BIG! This is no time to play small.

Once you have a collection of the items that support your dreams, glue them to a poster board or tack them on a cork board. You can arrange the board via themes or mix it up multiple concepts for variety. Size doesn’t necessarily matter. I like to use a large board that I’ve covered with sayings and photos that support my dream. However, I also like the idea of using an 8 x 10 board that you can frame and put up on the wall. When you are done, snap a photo and make it your cell phone screen saver. That way, you are guaranteed to look at it each and every day.

When you are done, placement is very important. Originally I placed my Vision Board in the hallway. I  passed it every day, several times a day, but soon I stopped “seeing it” and by that I mean, I stopped focusing on the meaning and intent of the board and eventually never gave it more than a glance.  Once I moved my Vision Board into my bedroom, where I could see it upon falling asleep and upon waking, things started to really change for me.  However, I’ve heard stories of people putting their Vision Board away for years, forgetting about it, only to have the things on the board materialize in their lives much later.  I do not think that is as effective as focusing on the vision of your dream each and every day. Looking at it. Giving your intention your fill attention. That said, I’d encourage anyone using a Vision Board to manifest their dreams to apply focused attention on its content every day.

Whether you find a Vision Board party in your area where you can share the creation of building your dream with others, or if  you create one on your own, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Decide the theme of your Vision Board– Are you visualizing your career life or personal life?  Each one of these aspects of your life could have a very different theme.
  2. Post images that support your dream – Cut them out, print them out or make them yourself. The most important thing is that the images sure support your dream.
  3. Place your Vision Board where you can see it – You want to commit your dream to memory and have it become a part of your subconscious. Put your board where you can access it and keep it top of mind.
  4. Look at your Vision Board daily – Focus on the theme, the pictures and maybe more importantly, the feeling the images bring to mind as you see your dreams manifest.
  5. Do dream is too BIG – Don’t limit yourself by the reality of what is. You are in dream mode. Visualize all your dreams coming true. Assume no lack and no limitations. Don’t let the rational mind take over. You are working with creative energy and anything is possible.

Eventually, you will see some of the things on your vision board start to materialize.  But this isn’t magic. It only works if you work it. Another tip, do not be afraid to make changes to the board as the year progresses.  Take away or add things as your dream for yourself becomes clearer and more focused. Also, think about getting an Accountability Partner who can help you hold your vision and keep you on track. You can also share your new vision to your social media accounts. Trust me, your followers will hold you accountable.

Here is a look at my vision board that built for 2015.

Vison Board 2015
Here is a look ay my vision board for 2016. I’m excited about the possibilities!

Vision Board 2016

 

What will you be adding to your vision? Need help getting started? I’m here to help. Just fill out the form below and let’s start writing your NEW STORY for 2016!

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Six Ways Nonprofits Can Start Using Social Media TODAY!

When I spoke at the Daily Do Good conference, I shared ways nonprofits can use social media as part of their marketing strategy. Most nonprofits know they should use digital and social media as part of their marketing strategy, but many are not getting the most out of their social media plan? Some many not even have a strategic digital marketing plan or know where to get started? Want ways nonprofits can get started using digital and social media as part of a strategic marketing effort? Below is the video from Daily Do Good talk where I highlight ways nonprofits can use social and digital media.

Here are some things I hope you’ll walk away with. When we talk about social media we are talking any two-way communication that is open to the public. This includes some spaces you already know about, such as, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others you may not have thought as being social, such as  email marketing campaigns or crowdfunding opportunities. The most important part of social media… in my opinion… is the “social” aspect of the engagement.

Digital media refers to audio, video, and photo content that has been encoded or digitally compressed. Digital media marketing then, is the use of this content to promote your brand or mission. Are you with me? For instance, let’s say you have a lot of photos either from historical references or from current events. These visuals help tell the story about your organization or mission and that’s what’s this is all about. Right? Good story telling.

When you hear digital content, what comes to mind. If you said “video” you are right on point. If you don’t know already, video is the single most important element in any social media strategy. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LiveStream, Youtube, or the new hot social space, Periscope video is King. So what does that mean to you and your organization? The content you should think about creating and marketing for your business is video. Period. Research by Pew Internet shows that more and more  people–across demographics–are watching online video. So whether your supporter base is made up of millenniums or seniors or a demographic somewhere in-between, they’re likely to watch videos on the Web at an astounding rate. And, of course, you want to be where your customers are. Right? With social media and video marketing in mind, how can you get started?

Technology and more specifically social media is NOT a cure-all, but done correctly, you can increase your visibility, donors, and cause. To get started, it is important for organizations to be very clear about what their objectives are and invest in crafting their story from day one. Most of your supporters will rarely check your website for updates. Meaning they likely only think of you and your cause now and then. Having them like your page on Facebook or follow you on Twitter provides you with an opportunity to appear on their feeds and give them daily reminders of your mission. From your social media sites, you can drive supports to your website, and after later donations, volunteers, and raise general awareness for your cause. How do you do that? How do you drive traffic to your social media accounts? You’re taking notes now, right? You start by including buttons linked to any and all platforms that your organization uses. Think about recording important events or, better yet, Periscope the event and share with your followers LIVE.

There is a lot to cover when we talk about social media for nonprofits. Here are six key takeaways you may want to focus on.

  1. VISUALS: A study conducted by Professor Albert Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA showed that 93% of communication is nonverbal since visuals can be processed by the mind 60 thousand times faster than text. With this in mind, it’s crucial to tell the story of your mission using appealing visual elements across all of your social platforms. Post pictures or video on sites like Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, etc. You may have seen dog shelters do this. They take video or photos of dogs that came to them in very bad condition. Then they show a healthy, happy dog that is nursed back to health. It’s a complete story. Told visually.
  2. FREQUENCY: Consistency is so important. Non-profits often only post to their social accounts when they have an event or a campaign. Work on building relationships throughout the year… before you need them. Also, it’s best to vary the types of post you use on social media, whether you’re running a campaign or not. Try to mix in press releases, with stories of the people you’ve helped, spotlights on volunteers along with information on upcoming events, and reminders of how easy it is to donate or contribute to your cause. Having a social media plan will help you with this. Post too much could put you in the “unfollow” zone. Don’t post enough and you won’t reach your target audience. If you need help getting started, check out my blog on Developing a Social Media Plan here.
  3. VOLUNTEERS: Create a volunteer social media corp. Your volunteer social media corp should be designed to amplify your messages. By ‘amplify,’ I mean they will share your messaging, not speaking on behalf of the nonprofit. To make sure the volunteers are empowered to amplify messages on your behalf, you can create a Facebook group or Google+ community where you can share the messages that are most important to the organization. Once the volunteers get the hang of it, you might want to start training them to become your social media community managers for your social sites and help you manage your weekly and monthly social media plan.
  4. SOCIALIZE: So many nonprofits broadcast only. However, you don’t want to make your posts a one-way conversation. Like I mentioned earlier, the most important part of social media is the social part of the engagement. For nonprofits, that will call for you to humanize your cause in a way that is relatable and actionable. You’ll want to pull on some heart-strings. Think about making your posts as conversational as possible. Listen to your audience and show them how important they are to your cause by responding back. That means replying to comments on your blogs, Facebook page, Twitter posts and comments on Instagram and Snapchat. Make an effort to comments on posts by other organizations or individuals who support your cause. When this is done correctly, your efforts will result in increased followers that will turn into increased donors, volunteers, and revenue.
  5. STORYTELLING: As I said, you will want to humanize the purpose of your cause. Relying on only phone calls, fundraisers, and direct mailings is no longer enough. If I get one more phone call from my local cultural theater house, I’m going to poke my eyes out! But, if they share a great story about their new play, I’m in! Show your audience what they are missing by not joining you. Or show them how you are changing the world. For nonprofits, emotive content is inherent in your makeup. In this regard, nonprofits are in a better position to use social media more effectively than most big brands. You have, or should have, a community that cares deeply about what you do. Having a well-crafted story will give you tons of content to share and resonate greatly with your audience.
  6. CROWDFUNDING: As a non-profit, you’re always looking for new ways to raise money. One option that has quickly caught on is crowdfunding. It is an easy way to raise money with donations from a large number of people. This  growing trend towards crowdfunding has created lots of new revenue streams and models for investment and funding. Before you jump out there, however, there are many things to consider. Nonprofits should take the time to research all the available options. Some crowdfunding sites charge a fee and others do not. It would be wise to do your due diligence to find the best option for your nonprofit. Then, when you are ready, remember that your crowdfunding campaign pitch is your first point of contact with potential donors. For your pitch to be effective it is crucial to plan ahead and include all the elements that make a compelling story. To learn more about how to develop a crowdfunding pitch, read my 5 Tips For Your Crowdfunding Pitch here.

Social media will continue to have a huge impact on the nonprofit sector. But, like most things in the digital world, social media is evolving quickly. Do not expect your website or social platforms, and blog to hit overnight. Social media and content marketing requires time and patience—so does building an online audience. It can take several months to see results from social media marketing. If you don’t have the time to manage your sites, think about hiring a digital media specialist. The team at Danielle Ricks Productions is ready to help!

 

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Five Digital Media Updates Making Headlines

3Here are five digital media news stories ripped from the headlines. I’m most interested in Amazon’s entry into the Internet of Things, one of my tech obsessions and Periscope’s new On Air Button. I’ll be using Periscope to do a live broadcast of my “Social Media For Nonprofits” talk at The Daily Good Conference and to broadcast the breakaway sessions. I’ll report back on my user experience with the web page interface after the conference. In the meantime, here are my picks for the top five digital media news stories making headlines.

Variety: Snapchat Shutters Original Content Channel

Snapchat is laying off members of a team assigned to a channel on its Discover platform devoted to original programming, dubbed Snap Channel.

The closure has prompted the exit of Marcus Wiley, a former executive with broadcast network Fox who was brought on to figure out how Snapchat would build up its programming lineup. Since his hire in May, Wiley led a group of 15 that has been disbanded, with some being pink-slipped and others being reassigned elsewhere in the company.

Until its removal from Discover a few weeks ago, Snap was the home of short-form content produced internally at Snapchat since launching in January. The channel was once home to ‘Literally Can’t Even,’ a split-screen comedy series starring and written by Sasha Spielberg, daughter of Steven Spielberg, and Emily Goldwyn, daughter of John Goldwyn”

TNW: Periscope now has an embeddable ‘On Air’ button for broadcasts

“Periscope now has an On Air button for websites that tell everyone when a broadcast is live.

It’s a useful little tweak that anyone can use. All you have to do is enter your Periscope username (typically your Twitter handle without the ‘@‘) into Periscope’s button generator, and it creates a code so you can embed a button into a webpage. Your username takes the place of the ‘broadcaster’ text, seen below.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 1.40.32 PM

Periscope’s On Air button also comes in two sizes, and automatically toggles when a broadcast goes live.”

Re/code: Twitter Unveils New Video Advertising Strategy

“The company is taking a different approach to video ads. More precisely: Twitter is adopting YouTube’s video advertising approach. What that means is that publishers and video makers can upload their video to Twitter, and Twitter will attach short ‘pre-roll’ ads in front of those clips and split the ad revenue with the video owners. Which is how YouTube, the world’s biggest video site, does it, too.”

TechCrunch: Amazon Launches AWS IoT — A Platform For Building, Managing And Analyzing The Internet Of Things

“Make way for another big player entering the Internet of Things space. Amazon today is announcing its long-awaited IoT platform for AWS at its re:Invent developer conference in Las Vegas. As Amazon describes it, it is a managed cloud platform ‘that lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applications and other devices.’ The platform, which is launching in beta, will be able to support billions of devices and trillions of messages, ‘and can process and route those messages to AWS endpoints and to other devices reliably and securely.’ AWS IoT will integrate with Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon S3, Amazon Machine Learning, and Amazon DynamoDB to build IoT applications, manage infrastructure and analyze data.”

Advertising Age: Reuters Is the Latest to Try Reinventing News With Digital TV Service

“Early next year, the company plans to introduce Reuters.TV, an ad-supported digital service that allows subscribers to receive personalized video content created solely for the platform. Reuters.TV will cost a monthly fee, but the company declined to say how much it will be. The service will initially be available on iPhones and iPads.”

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Five Digital and Social Media Stories Worth Reading This Week

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Here are five stories pulled from the headlines to get you up-to-date this week on digital and social media news. I’ve done the research for you. You can thank me later.

It’s the year of the “Influencer.” IBT: In Search Of The Real Thing: Why Global Advertisers Like Coca-Cola Are Ditching Celebs For Little-Known Instagram ArtistsPULL QUOTE: It was all about selfies for Christine Adelina, until May 1, 2014. That’s when the 22-year-old student and obsessive Instagram poster from London learned her large following on the photo-sharing app could translate to some decent income. After attending a meetup for Instagram “influencers,” she switched from bedroom and bathroom selfies to artistic portrayals of the world around her, now spending at least three hours a day on the app. And brands are gawking — handing over ad dollars to Adelina and other so-called influencers, anywhere from $300 to thousands of dollars depending on the deal, to join their marketing campaigns. While some sponsorship deals simply reward users with gifts for sending out company-related Instagram posts, others are contracted. Take Nabisco’s #PuttingOnTheRitz campaign, for example. That marketing strategy to promote new Ritz Crisp and Thin crackers — to which Adelina and a handful of other contracted influencers submitted two photos for this June  — reached 7.5 million people. One post from British blogger Tanya Burr, who boasts 2 million Instagram followers, drew 110,000 likes.

It’s the latest sign that Madison Avenue and its counterparts worldwide are recognizing the pitch power of organically born social media stars like Adelina and Burr. They can be just as influential, or even moreso, as celebs like the Kardashians. Consumers, the thinking goes, may connect more readily with individuals who lead lives like their own. “For ‘Putting on the Ritz,’ we were very interested in getting people involved. The campaign seemed more real,” said Jana Soosova, social media campaign manager at London-based PHD Media.

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While Instagram influencer Christine Adelina’s post was not the highest traffic-driver for the #PuttingOnTheRitz campaign, Nabisco paid for and endorsed the submission as part of its marketing strategy.  – Instagram Screenshot 

Earlier this month, Instagram introduced its first ad product for businesses. The system allows companies to quickly create standard ads, target them to selected users and include direct-response buttons (like “Buy Now” as seen on Facebook, Twitter and Google). The move will spur more ads on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app — and fuel Instagram’s predicted rise to $2.8 billion in revenue by 2017.

Marketing jobs have gone digital and they are asking for a lot from their employees! MarketingProfs: The Most In-Demand Digital Marketing SkillsPULL QUOTE: The most in-demand job titles identified by the analysis were digital marketing manager and marketing manager. Those roles may be especially hard to fill given the wide range of skills required: Companies seeking marketing managers tend to look for proficiency in several disciplines, including social media marketing, SEO, PPC, content marketing, Google Analytics, and digital marketing. Other digital marketing job titles with a high volume of listings are digital marketing specialist, marketing coordinator, SEO specialist, Web developer, account executive, and social media manager.

If you’ve paid attention today, you’ll see Kanye West trending on Facebook (kill me now). What does it take to becoming a trending topic on Facebook? IBT: In Search Of The Real Thing: Why Global Advertisers Like Coca-Cola Are Ditching Celebs For Little-Known Instagram Artists – PULL QUOTE: But how exactly does Facebook decide what to put in the Trending queue? And why is it that trends sometimes show up hours if not days after they may be trending somewhere else? Facebook shows you things in your Trending line-up the same way it shows you things in your News Feed: Algorithms. It takes into account a few personal things, like where you live and what Pages you follow. But primarily it looks for two broader signals: Topics that are being mentioned a lot and topics that receive a dramatic spike in mentions. You can’t have one without the other. For example, Kim Kardashian is mentioned often on Facebook, so the total volume of mentions is always high and isn’t a good indicator of whether or not she’s part of a trending topic. Instead, Facebook looks for a spike in mentions relative to the normal chatter around Kim and other celebrities, too. Things that trend aren’t just the most highly mentioned people or topics. They have to be tied to some kind of relevant event.

Right now I’m rocking a Misfit. I ‘m using it as a replacement to my UP24 because I can swim with the Misfit. Am I missing out on not having an Apple Watch? ReadWrite: The Wearables Market Is Exploding, And Apple Is Stealing The Show – PULL QUOTE: Second only to Fitbit, Apple Watch rules the smartwatch scene.  A new report published by IDC paints an intriguing picture of the wearables market as it looks in the middle of 2015. The market grew 223% over the course of the previous year, and Apple—new to the sector and with only one wearable to its name—was bested only by Fitbit, in terms of devices sold during the last three months. That puts reports of rather underwhelming Apple Watch sales into perspective. (Apple hasn’t released official figures of its own, of course.) While the smartwatch has yet to make an iPhone-like splash so far, with nearly 20% of the market, but it’s already threatening to dominate the nascent wearables movement.

I’ll admit it, I’m developing Snapchat campaigns and have totally forgotten about Vine. Apparently, that is not a good thingQuartz: Vine is a sleeping giant (while everyone is focused on Snapchat)PULL QUOTE: A funny thing happened to Vine, Twitter’s short-form video app, after its initial buzz wore off: It kept going. If you haven’t checked lately, Vine, launched in early 2013, is still a thing. It has evolved from a social “Instagram-for-video” built atop Twitter into a unique mobile entertainment platform with its own style, format, and celebrities. And as mobile video continues its long-awaited rise, Vine has built and maintained an impressive audience. Vine serves more than 100 million people across the web every month, according to the company, delivering more than 1.5 billion “loops”—its term for video views—per day. Meanwhile, comScore says Vine reached 34.5 million unique visitors in the US in June across desktop and mobile—roughly the same as Snapchat, which has grown rapidly over the past year and is valued by investors at $16 billion.

 

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Social Media: Trends And Tips for Social Video Marketing

3You know that social media is an important element of any marketing strategy. But do you know the single most important element that you should add to your social media plan? It is video. Whether it is video on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LiveStream, or the newest kids on the block, Periscope and Meerkat, video should be the content you add to your marketing strategy.

Here are video marketing stats we can’t ignore:

  • According to Nielsen, 147 million Americans watch video on the internet
  • 87% of online marketers use video content according to Outbrain
  • According to Online Publishers Association, 46% of users take some sort of action after and after watching a video and 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online, according to comScore

More and more people–across demographics–are watching online video. And, of course, you want to be where your clients are. Right?

Here are five ways to develop a social media video marketing strategy:

  1. Decide What Story To Tell: A good place to start is to produce a video about your company and your services. Testimonial videos or an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) are also a great way to showcase your skills. Having an event? Think about live streaming.
  2. Choose The Right Platform: Research your options before committing to any one platform. If most of your audience is on Twitter, try Periscope. If you need a wider reach, use YouTube.
  3. Length Is Everything: Research by Visible Measures said that you have 10 seconds to grab the viewers’ attention. Make your video pop right off the top.
  4. Know Your Audience: Is your audience looking to learn more about you or more about the services you provide? Think about sharing video tips to your viewers so they’ll get to know you and what you have to offer. I’ve done a series of social media tips here.
  5. Engage Your Audience: Think about adding interactive elements to your video. Include in-video links.YouTube has “cards” or you can create your own links. You could also add a survey to encourage engagement.

Need help developing video content for your social media plan? Fill out the form below so we schedule your FREE one-on-one consultation.

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Five Tips To Help You Develop An Effective Content Marketing Plan

4Social media, mobile technology, and word-of-mouth marketing have been serious game changers. People are getting their news and entertainment online, watching TV on mobile devices and subscribing to newspapers and magazines on tablets.

According to Entrepreneur.com, a Hilaire survey discovered that print, TV and radio advertising is being replaced with non-traditional means of content marketing.

So just what is content marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute reports:

Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

The trends in content marketing tell us three things:

  • Traditional advertising, as we use to know it is dead
  • Content marketing has replaced traditional advertising
  • Having a winning content marketing strategy is the single most effective way to get leads and turn leads into business revenue

How do you use content marketing to engage prospects and customers?You do this via blog posts, social media sites, videos, and photos. Done correctly, this will generate leads, enhance your brand identity, and put your company’s expertise on display. But your blog, Facebook page, and Tweets are just a means to get your message out. The real value is in the content that you share. Where can you get started?

Here are five ways to develop a content marketing strategy:

  1. Have A Plan: No, really, have a plan. Far too often people forget that they must plan for the success they desire. Thinking they can wing it is the #1 mistake most folks make. Your plan should support your brand’s mission and goals. It will include the unique value you are looking to provide. It should also outline the obstacles and opportunities you may meet as you execute your plan. Preparation is the key.
  2. Start Writing: When readers find themselves consistently reading a brand’s content, they start to see that brand in a new light, not only in terms of credibility but also likability. You can start a blog, contribute as a co-contributor to someone else’s blog, or submit articles to your industry trade magazine. Not much of a writer? Do a video blog or an audio blog.
  3. Listen To Clients: Not sure what to write about? Start off by writing down the questions you repeatedly hear from your clients. I guarantee those questions will spur ideas for articles or blog posts that would be valuable to your audience and may even land you a few new customers.
  4. Identify Your Audience: Know the specific audiences for whom you will create content, what their needs are, and what your content engagement cycle will be. Will you post once a week across many social networking platforms or several times a week across only two social sites? Knowing your audience will decide your level of engagement.
  5. Schedule Your Posts: I don’t know about you, but I’m always busy. If you are as well, invest in a “Social Media Management Tool.” There are many to choose from, but one of the most inexpensive (there is a free version) and intuitive tools is Hootsuite. It will help you keep track and manage your many social network channels and free you up to do those other posts… which… by the way… can also be scheduled. Need help coming up with a social media plan? Read my blog on ten ways to develop a social media plan.

What content do you have to share that will help drive business to your company or advance your organization’s mission? Let me know if I can help you master just the right content marketing strategy for your business that will turn prospects and online community members into leads and clients. Fill out the contact form below so we can get started strategizing.

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Stories Making Headlines in Digital and Social Media News This week

3I pulled the social and digital media headlines from across the interwebs so you wouldn’t have to. Here’s what you need to know to get up to date this week..

Fast Company: How Periscope, Meerkat, and Snapchat Will Change How TV Covers News, Sports, and Weather – The $70-billion-a-year television business (in the U.S.) has been under attack from all sides—Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and other services are all stealing attention (and revenue). But amid the shift to on-demand entertainment, traditional TV has doubled down on what only it can offer: live events, particularly news, sports, and weather. Easy-to-use, mobile live-streaming services could upend what has been the last sacrosanct aspect of the TV industry. This doesn’t necessarily mean doom and gloom for TV networks; in fact, it creates a universe of fascinating possibilities for them to reimagine their businesses. [ED NOTE: Just last week my media partner and I did a Periscope, Meerkat and LiveStream event for a Baltimore Reporters Roundtable. These easy to use platforms made the programming accessible and allowed my Digital Media Mavens partners and I to share our content across platforms in ways that would have been impossible just a few short months ago. You can watch an archive of the live stream here.

CopyBlogger: The Disgustingly Simple Rule for Web Writing That’s Often Hard to Swallow – Web users are mission-minded. Cramped for attention. Bent on standards. And uninterested in learning new navigation methods. What you have to remember is that people don’t go to the web to window shop. They go there to drive 60 miles per hour — and look at billboards. Thus, there’s only one good reason why you should learn how to write clear, concise and compelling copy for the web… [ED NOTE: If you need some tips who writing for your blog, you can check out my blog post, I BLOGGED FOR 21 DAYS STRAIGHT. HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED]

Mashable: Facebook Messenger now gives context about the people contacting you. – To make new connections less jarring, Facebook Messenger is introducing a new feature on Thursday that gives you bits of information about someone messaging you for the first time, whether the person is one of your Facebook friends or not. The Messenger team is rolling it out to iOS and Android users in the U.S., UK, France and India over the next few weeks. [ED NOTE: That’s not creepy. Not creepy at all. You know I’m kidding… right]

More of Facebook, because, well, it’s FACEBOOK!

Re/code: Microsoft, Facebook, Google And The Future Of Voice Communications – All of a sudden, it seems like Facebook, Google and Apple are climbing all over each other to own the voice interaction, and specifically, the phone conversation. They’re in a race to compete in the most valuable part of “social” — as if they’ve forgotten, until now, just how much humans ultimately value one-on-one conversation.

2

Your End of Week Social and Digital Media News

InsertITWorld: How Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google compare on user privacy – Nearly three-quarters of people with access to the Internet use social networking sites, a number that has skyrocketed since early 2005, according to the Pew Research Center. As social networks continue to permeate our everyday lives, so do the privacy and security risks associated with our accounts. Here’s a look at how Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ stack up on user privacy and security settings, plus instructions for finding and updating these options to maintain control over your account. [ED NOTE: If you haven’t done a Facebook Privacy Checkup, click here to get started TODAY!]

Re/code: Periscope Added a Million Users in Its First 10 Days – Buried amidst the chaos that was Twitter earnings this afternoon was a small nugget on the popularity of the company’s new live streaming app, Periscope. CEO Dick Costolo said on the earnings call that Periscope added a million new users in the app’s first 10 days on the market. It’s a relatively impressive number considering competitor Meerkat was at 120,000 users three weeks after it launched. (Periscope, of course, benefitted from the buzz Meerkat generated and also the fact that it had a well-known owner to help push the news.) It’s unclear if Periscope was able to sustain that growth — when pressed for more metrics on the app and its user base, Costolo declined to share anything. Periscope launched in late March after Twitter acquired it back in January. The app is still not yet available to Android users.

NewsCred: How Brands Marketers Can Grow Their YouTube Audience – In the brand space, the leaders are Disney and Samsung, which have nearly three billion and one billion views on their channels, respectively. Not surprisingly, one of the top B2B channels is Google Analytics; it has over 11 million views and 113,000 subscribers. Once you hit your stride like these creators and channels, you can foster brand loyalty, close leads, and provide content to the people who matter the most to your company: your customers. NewsCred spoke with two huge YouTube channels, Rooster Teeth and WatchMojo, about what they did to achieve a high subscriber count, billions of views, and a dedicated audience.

MarketingProfs: Bye-Bye to These 10 Web Design Trends – When technology is ever evolving, change is the only constant. Take, for instance, the realm of Web design. Design trends come and go. Some may only breeze by while others last longer. Either way, design trends come into being and fade because of changes in technology and user demands and expectations. As long as human beings desire improvement and expect more, design trends will continually evolve. And we need to learn to adapt accordingly. Often, that means saying goodbye to design trends that are no longer working. So here are 10 Web design trends that are among the fading; you should ditch them if you want to keep with the competition and increasingly demanding audiences. [ED NOTE: Must read]

For All Your Media Needs

For Your Media Needs

Are you tired of seeing black women portrayed negatively in the media? I know I am! In an effort to combat that image, Danielle Ricks Productions and RixStar Studios have joined forces to create our first offerings for R&R MediaWorks. We are pleased to roll out two joint ventures that will focus on debunking the negative images of black women in the media and instead, tell the true story of who we black women are as dynamic, powerful, vulnerable, caring, professional women of color.

Our first offering is and EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for Denise J. Hart. She is a speaker, author, trainer and coach extraordinaire. Click on the YouTube video to hear her story.

 

Coming soon!

The Things Black Women Are Tired Of Hearing, a web series that takes a look at the lives, minds and psyche of women of color. Click on the YouTube video to check out the trailer and sign up to get notices so you will be the first to know when the web series hits the Internet!

 

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Digital

Digital Media News: Closing Out The Week With Five Things To Know

Ripped from the headlines, here are five things you should know this week for your digital and social media professional development.

Copyblogger: The Savvy Marketer’s Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages – Ever wonder what you could do to stop people from bouncing off your landing pages? You work hard to polish your sales copy. You’ve even recorded a snazzy demonstration video. But when you check your site’s analytics? You feel soooo frustrated. And the worst thing is … you don’t know what else you can do. How can you improve your conversion rates? Use the 40 tips in our landing page checklist to see where you’ve gone wrong. Or, use the checklist to create a landing page from scratch. See your email list grow faster, your webinars sell out, and your product sales go through the roof.

Here's What's NewRe/code: Twitter vs. Meerkat – Meerkat, the undisputed belle of the 2015 SXSW ball, was hobbled by Twitter’s mid-festival announcement of its acquisition of rival Periscope. The social video-sharing app had achieved a healthy dose of buzz for its savvy integration with the Twitter platform. Yet within hours of the news of its Periscope acquisition, Twitter fired the torpedoes: Informing its upstart rival that it would no longer have access to Twitter’s social graphing capabilities, which allowed Meerkat users to automatically push their livestreams out to their Twitter followers without building a separate contact list in the Meerkat app. Platform owner has significant power. Startup building on that platform is vulnerable. Platform owner capitalizes on its clout and attempts to move in for the kill. Sound familiar? It’s the hypothetical worst-case scenario so often cited by proponents of Title II net neutrality regulations — proponents including Twitter itself. [ED NOTE: This is the one to watch]

POLITICO: The Mobile Election – How smartphones will change the 2016 presidential race -As Hillary Clinton prepares for the formal launch of her campaign, and as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are neck and neck in the polls, roughly two out of every three American adults, or 64 percent, own a smartphone, according to a new report from Pew. On the consumption side, the rise in mobile will “change politics the same way it is changing American life broadly,” said Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed. “People will organize and persuade on mobile devices and apps, the same way they live on them more broadly. Though mobile usage is highest among younger Americans, news consumption is “common even among older smartphone owners,” as “four-in-ten smartphone owners ages 65 and older use their phone at least occasionally to keep up with breaking news.” On the media side, the rise in mobile usage will increase the number of citizen reporters, whose influence on recent political campaigns has been quite significant. Video footage of an errant remark — from George Allen’s “Macaca” moment in 2006 to Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” moment in 2012 — can have more influence on a political campaign than any traditional news report.

Forbes: The Rise Of The Female CDO – The Chief Digital Officer is one role where women are outpacing men by two to one, according to a FierceCIO article citing research by Gartner , which also notes that the number of CDOs who are women has been growing dramatically every year. There are certainly some prominent examples, including Rachel Haot, CDO for New York State (and previously the City of New York), who was chosen Chief Digital Officer of the Year in 2014 by the CDO Club. Others include Jessica Federer at Bayer , Linda Avery of the Federal Reserve and Julie Bornstein, who holds the positions of both CMO and CDO of Sephora . [ED NOTE: Yay! That is all.]

1Harvard Business Review: Defining Strategy, Implementation, and Execution – It is striking how much confusion there is between strategy, implementation, and execution. Is “strategy” a matter of making choices about where we want to go, where we play and how we win, of setting goals and actions, about how we create and capture economic value over time? Is “getting things done” what we mean by implementation or execution? Do you “execute” or “implement” a strategy? And can you separate these from strategy formation? For strategy wonks like me, thinking about the definitions of these ideas provides endless fascination. For many business leaders, however, I find that the semantics matter a lot less. And that’s too bad because the semantics should matter. There are meaningful distinctions between strategy, implementation, and execution that are helpful to running a company or business in the real world. Ignoring, blurring, or getting them wrong creates sloppy thinking, deciding, and doing at all levels of an organization. Let’s start with strategy.

Social Media News Jpet

Five Things To Know In Social Media This Week

I searched the headlines for the hot social media topics of the week. Here are five stories to help with your professional development in the social space.

Twitter Blog JpegFrom TechCrunch: Twitter Officially Launches Its “Retweet With Comment” Feature – “Twitter just officially launched its “retweet with comment” feature, which it began testing last summer. “Retweet with comment” allows users to embed a tweet in their own tweets, which lets them get around Twitter’s 140-character limit when they write their own commentary. The feature is now available on Twitter’s site and iPhone app and will be available on its Android app soon. [ED NOTE: This is WAY cool!]”

From WaPo: Snapchat’s controversial emoji update: An explainer for the old and/or confused– “Nothing prematurely ages you quite like social media. Are you upset about the big Snapchat update? No, okay, you’re probably old. You didn’t hear about the update? Positively ancient. You don’t even use Snapchat?!?!??! Dinosaur!! Allow me to inform you, oh fossilized one, that Snapchat yesterday made some changes to its popular messaging app, which have become something of a flash point among the teenage set. But if you’re older than, say, 17, the very substantive, concerning implications of the update are not apparent immediately.” [ED NOTE: After reading this article, we can all be happy with the notion that we are not dinosaurs!]

YouTube JpegFrom Re/code: YouTube to Video Makers: Join Our Subscription Service or Go Somewhere Else– “YouTube is getting ready to launch an ad-free subscription service. And the world’s largest video site is flexing some muscle to make sure its new product is as big as possible. YouTube is doing that with new rules that will make it difficult for video makers to keep their clips out of the new service, which should come out in the second half of this year. The key change: YouTube “partners” — video owners who make money from ads on their YouTube clips — will need to let YouTube put their clips in the ad-free service, too. If they don’t, YouTube will make it nearly impossible for a casual visitor to find the videos. It will classify the clips as “private,” which means the only people who can see them will be those preselected by the video owner. YouTube says it will share subscription revenue with video owners whose stuff gets viewed, and it isn’t requiring video owners to keep their stuff on the site exclusively. So the new rules likely won’t pose a problem for the majority of video makers.”

From ReadWrite: Yahoo Has Apparently Decided It’s Time To Really Cash In On Tumblr – “Yahoo is planning an internal reshuffle that could effectively end the independence of its most popular acquisition, the visual blogging platform Tumblr. The Information reports that CEO Marissa Mayer spoke about the major changes inside the company at an offsite meeting with executives. She also reportedly asked Tumblr CEO David Karp which Yahoo executive he’d like to report to from now on. Yahoo spent $1.1 billion to acquire Tumblr in May 2013, and it looks like the company is finally planning to seek a return on that investment. Tumblr’s highly visual format makes it possible to serve native ads—that is, ads that are barely distinguishable from the content around them, and thus less intrusive to users.”

From The Verge: Facebook launches standalone Messenger for web browsers – “There’s now a web browser version of Facebook Messenger to go along with the standalone smartphone apps the company is making everyone use. No, Facebook the website isn’t taking away your ability to chat with friends. After the controversy that surrounded divorcing the two central features on mobile, Facebook is adamant that Messenger isn’t leaving Facebook.com anytime soon. Instead, Messenger for the web — which you’ll find at Messenger.com starting today — focuses solely on simple conversations and leaves the other parts of Facebook that can be distracting to the primary site.” [Ed Note: I don’t use Facebook Messenger. It’s the one place where you cannot get in touch with me. It’s my own private rebellion]

There you have it. You’re up-to-date on the hot social media topics for this week.