Your Marketing and Design Reading for The Weekend

It is a beautiful day in the Chicago area and I’m finishing up my blog post now to at least have a possibility of getting a breath of fresh air later. In the meantime, I hope this post helps you wrap up the week and take a well-deserved break from your desk.

A Day in the Life of a Social Media ManagerWoman Reading Newspaper

These types of article on what you should be doing and how long everything should take are very helpful to me. But they also give me a tension headache. It always sounds so logical and organized on paper but who’s day actually progresses that way? We don’t have a dedicated person for social media at Affinity Express, so that’s part of our challenge. But I don’t think content creation flows so smoothly, nor can social media practitioners can simply work through a checklist if they are paying attention and responding to what is going on.

Nevertheless, this is a good outline against which to benchmark yourself or your marketing team. But don’t get stressed out if this approach looks nothing like yours and you still get results. I like the advice that the social media resource should work closely with the demand generation team to create successful campaigns. It also makes sense to hire someone for this role who is a “digital native,” meaning entrenched in the internet and knowing the ins and outs of social marketing (regardless of age).

Twitter Rolls Out Cover Photos: How to Add Yours Today

On Tuesday, September 18th, Twitter launched its new profile page design and, in this article, Hubspot explains how to set it up and shares some examples from companies who have changed their profiles, including The Today Show, Comedy Central and Holiday Inn. Or you could check out Affinity Express on Twitter, since we already implemented our cover photo!

4 Tips to Evangelize Your Brand on Facebook

This article tells the story of a woman who owned a door company and discovered one of her designs was featured in a Lowe’s Facebook post as winner of “the ugliest door.” Instead of hiding at home and ignoring the phone, she turned this publicity into a more than four-fold increase in reach over the course of the week. How? By recognizing that the value of the company’s fans was not as much in being repeat customers but in evangelizing the brand.

This is the ultimate objective for business on Facebook: getting such strong engagement that your fans sell for you to all their friends and beyond. Social Media Examiner explains there are four ways to accomplish this for your company.

  1. Get Personal. A more informal posting style can humanize the brand, get more responses and increase the fan base.
  2. Get Visual. Visuals drive shares because people share photos but not words.
  3. Value Your Fans’ Contributors. Fans want to provide opinions, commentary and personal experiences, so provide the venue for them to do so.
  4. Measure Your Results. The only way you will know if your style, content and visuals are working is to monitor growth in new fans and revenue, although it is not always possible to track revenue if business comes through other channels.

As the door company owner noted, “You may not be able to measure how many buyers are coming directly from Facebook, but so many people use it as a reference. . . . Having a presence out there, it rounds out your brand. It gives people a forum to know you and it says you’re not afraid to be held accountable.”

Why Social Marketing Will Deliver a Positive ROI for Your Brand

If you are in marketing and use social media for your company, I am sure  you get asked why you spend any time or resources on it. That’s why it was great to come across this white paper. The simple answer to the question is, “If one in every two people in the world that has a internet connection is also a Facebook user, how can you afford to deny the value of social media to your marketing strategy?”

Another data point to consider is that 78% of respondents to a Marketforce 2012 study indicated that posts by companies directly influence their purchase decisions.

There are three phases of social marketing:

  • Grow: users become fans.
  • Engage: fans engage with brands via news feeds, tabs and canvas applications or social graphs on brands’ websites.
  • Monetize: as the fans build relationships with the brands, they move toward monetization and advocacy. Continued engagement enables actions, stories and messages to spread through fans’ networks and attracts friends of fans to the brand pages (earned media).

The white paper goes on to provide advice and examples on how to grow, engage and monetize fans. If you want proof that social media delivers positive ROI, you’ll be glad to hear that Starbucks fans and friends of fans demonstrated a 38% lift in purchase behavior within four  weeks of exposure to earned media (compared to the control group). Fans and friends of Target were 19% more likely to purchase in Target in the four weeks following exposure. Not convinced by examples from these big brands? Well, Eye City Vision in Central Texas had its two highest sales months since it was founded, with sales up more than 40%, after they launched a six-month long coupon campaign for $1,000 off Lasik.

The three-phase framework is cyclical and if you follow it, the white paper assures that key stakeholders within your business will recognize the value and ROI delivered throughout each step of the cycle.

When SEO is Boring and Nobody Cares How it Works

I couldn’t resist this terrific title and I was especially excited to read about the topic because we are currently working on improving SEO for one of our brands and putting together a plan for the entire company. Plus, it is always a challenge to explain why you need a budget for outside help or a new team member. But people pay attention the second they realize your site does not turn up on page one of Google organic search results!

So boring or not, SEO is important to you as a marketer and to your bosses, even if they don’t know it. I completely agree with Shaun Hinklein when he says explaining SEO can be boring because:

  1. You’ve probably done it a million times
  2. You sound like robot talking about Google AdWords, social SEO and the importance of quality vs. quantity.
  3. You know it’s more complicated than one sit-down can justify and that in itself makes it all the more boring.

Ultimately, the author suggested you just admit that SEO is boring to those who don’t get it and shovel through. Sounds like a plan to me.

I am always looking for great sources of advice, information, research and trends on marketing topics. Do me a favor and pass along any of your favorites. Enjoy your weekend!

About Kelly Glass
Kelly has been vice president of Marketing at Affinity Express for nine years now. She drives company strategy and all marketing activities.

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