How To Find the Right Influencer For Your Brand

In our last post of 2017, guest blogger Tanya Sen shared Why Influencer Engagement is Important in Digital Marketing. Partnering with an influencer can boost your digital marketing efforts, but you need to put together a plan before diving into a relationship.

How To Find the Right Influencer For Your Brand by Clearly Conveyed Communications

A Partnership Made in Heaven… or Not

The success of your influencer marketing efforts will hinge on who you partner with. Is this individual or group a good fit for your brand? Will your audience — and theirs — believe the influencer uses your product or service? If not, you’re unlikely to see any real return on investment (ROI) from your efforts. The influencer’s posts or ads may draw high engagement due to his or her star power, but it won’t carry over to your brand.

Who Is An Influencer?

When you think of an influencer, you may think celebrity, but that’s not always the case. Especially in B2B marketing, it helps if your influencer has clout or expertise in your area or some type of tie-in. For example, uni-ball® partnered with legendary identity theft expert, Frank Abagnale, to promote the tamper-resistant ink in its pens. Abagnale’s story was told in Catch Me If You Can, and he now works with the FBI to help them catch identity theft criminals.

Micro-Influencers May Deliver A Big Win

When you’re looking for the right influencer to partner with, look closely at your loyal supporters or key personalities in your niche. This person may not have a massive following on social, but you’ve noticed he or she has an active audience interested in what you do — and this micro-influencer’s opinion on the subject. You may have found yourself a partner who can help drive your digital marketing efforts even though he or she has fewer than 10,000 followers and no celebrity status.

“Micro-influencers deliver 60% higher campaign engagement rates; moreover, those campaigns are 6.7 times more efficient per engagement than those with influencers with larger followings.” -Ismael El-Qudsi, MarketingProfs

Look For Star Power In-House

You may find the perfect influencer for your brand in-house. Do any of your employees have a special relationship with your audience? Whether through a memorable personality or exceptional service with a smile, one or more of your employees may be an ideal influencer. In addition, an employee advocacy program can help your employees become more comfortable sharing your content on social and promoting your brand.

“In an average company, only 3% of employees share company-related content, but they are responsible for driving a 30% increase in the content’s total likes, shares, and comments.” -Katie Levinson, LinkedIn

Integration Is Key

Wherever you find an ideal influencer, integration into your brand messaging is key. It’s not enough to pay someone — famous or not — to post about your products and services. The partnership needs to “fit” and feel right to both audiences. Launching a new product or refreshing your brand? Bring in an influencer early on and integrate him or her into your marketing plans. True integration brings authenticity and better results.

Summary

Influencer marketing can drive your digital marketing efforts — and sales — to new heights, but take the time to plan your strategy before jumping into a relationship. Don’t get wooed by a trendy celebrity or hot fad that doesn’t make sense for your brand. Do your research to find the right fit, whether it’s a micro-influencer, employee or thought leader in your field, and remember to integrate your influencer into your marketing efforts and overall brand message to increase your chances of success.

What celebrity/brand partnership works well? Is a bad fit?
Has a micro-influencer helped boost your sales or encouraged you to buy?
What employees influence your purchasing behavior at a company?
What brands do a great job of integrating influencers into their overall marketing efforts?

CCC’s Chief Influencer,
Jaime

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3 Ways To Capitalize on Marketing Trends in 2018

It’s that time of year: everyone is publishing their thoughts on the next big things in marketing. We’ve been keeping an eye on a number of projected trends for 2018 and year-end reviews from 2017. Here’s our take on how your business can capitalize.

3 Ways to Capitalize on Marketing Trends in 2018

More Quality, Less Quantity  

(We’re hoping) 2018 is the year that content marketing gets real. Due to budget cuts and information overload, along with some aha moments, brands started to spend more time creating and curating valuable content last year instead of sticking to rigid, conveyor belt-like content calendars. The result? Their higher quality content performed better even though they produced less of it, often much less.

“In 2017, our team cut email volume in North America by 50% while increasing engagement by 28%. That’s wild.” -Jon Dick, Hubspot

We’ve all been there. You need to send an email out tomorrow morning, and you’re running behind due to producing so much content. So you throw something together to stay on schedule. Stop. What value does this marketing email deliver to your recipients? What should they take away from it? If you can’t answer those questions, neither can your audience. (p.s. We’re not telling you to throw away your content calendars; just have some flexibility and keep your ultimate goal in mind.)

Less time spent churning out content creates more time for testing, analyzing data and developing or fine-tuning your strategy, including distribution.

Remember the Basics (Even in Our Brave, New Digital World)

Yes, social media and digital marketing have changed the game, but marketing basics still apply. Always keep your big picture in mind. Why are you in business? What are you ultimately trying to accomplish? Every marketing action should support this goal. Keep it in mind as you review your marketing plan or recent efforts. If you’re frustrated by your results, take a fresh look at what you’re doing. Could you achieve more with less? Is your audience on another platform, or have their contact preferences changed? It may be time to take a closer look at your buyer personas (or create them in the first place).

This sentiment was the basis for an article we published last year, Understanding Social Media Etiquette with Real-World Scenarios. We understand that social media and the digital realm can seem confusing and overwhelming at times, but it helps to take a step back and consider your actions in the real world (i.e. offline).

Get Personal — With a Human Touch 

Technology has improved marketing’s capabilities by leaps and bounds, but we can’t forget to add a human touch. Automation, chat bots, facial recognition, big data and more have allowed us to personalize a customer’s experience more than ever, but there are drawbacks too.

“All the pieces are now in place: AI, individualized personalization, emotional targeting, predictive marketing, automated creative generation, cross-device identity, location tracking and facial recognition.

This can delight some consumers and freak out others. So, a key skill for the best digital marketers will be understanding when to back off.” -Barry Levine, MarTech

Remember to be human when interacting with your audience online (and remember to interact with your audience in the first place). People like to do business with people, not faceless brands or companies. This is an area where small businesses have an advantage, as they can easily put a face behind the business name.

Use automation where you can to be more efficient, but don’t automate a human touch out of your online marketing efforts. Data can point your marketing in the right direction, but it requires human analysis to get there. Personalizing a buyer’s journey is fantastic, but don’t get creepy. Where is that line? That’s where you — and your human insight — come in.

Summary

While it can be tempting to jump on every trend or new platform, take time to think about your situation. What works for others, including well-known personalities, may not work for you. Focus on producing quality content that provides value to your audience, even if takes you longer. Mix your high-quality content with valuable content you curate from other reputable sources (and give them credit). You may be amazed at what you can accomplish with less.

While you’re focusing on creating high-quality content, remember marketing basics. They still apply in today’s high-tech, digital world. Social media has taken over marketing strategies everywhere, but it’s still a form of communication. Don’t forget to get social with your audience instead of just broadcasting content.

While you’re getting social, you’re being human — and that will continue to be a major part of marketing in 2018 and beyond. Technology is fantastic, but don’t get carried away. Add a human touch wherever you can, especially when interacting with customers, prospective customers and community members.

Good luck with your marketing efforts in 2018! We love to see companies doing marketing well. Have a question or need help with your efforts? Comment below, or contact us so we can help you communicate with your target audience.

p.s. Wondering about influencer marketing? We published a guest post, Why Influencer Engagement is Important in Digital Marketing, last week, and we’ll be following it up with a closer look at influencer marketing in 2018 next week.

A marketing (and espresso) aficionado,
Jaime

Let’s get social!
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Why Influencer Engagement is Important in Digital Marketing

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to welcome Tanya Sen as a contributor to the CCC blog! Enjoy her article below on the importance of influencer engagement in your digital marketing strategy, and learn more about her at the end of the article. If you’d like help with your digital marketing strategy, contact us so we can discuss your needs. Thanks for your support all year long, and have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!

social media on a smartphone

To be successful, companies and businesses have to constantly innovate and come up with marketing strategies that will deliver. These days no marketing plan is complete without a digital marketing strategy. The impact of digital marketing in generating brand awareness is tremendous, especially if you can get the right people talking about your brand.

These people are called influencers, and their recommendations and reviews carry a lot of weight with their audience. Influencers are any individual or group who can sway the sentiments of their audience in a certain direction regarding a person, brand, idea, or business.

Here are few ways in which an influencer will be able to boost your digital marketing efforts.

  1. Influencers enable you to reach out to a wide and loyal audience

The biggest advantage of communicating through an influencer is that you reach out to a wide audience. More importantly, this audience follows the content that the influencer puts out. So, if an influencer mentions your brand name, talks about it or retweets or shares your posts, they are amplifying your brand communication.

  1. Influencers help you to build a good network

Influencers help you to build a good network in multiple ways. First, whenever an influencer sends out any content, it generates a lot of conversation and discussion among their followers, which can lead to more brand-building. Not just that, they share or retweet these posts which means that your audience multiplies, increasing your visibility.

Second, through these conversations you can also identify other influential people. They can in turn influence their own audience’s opinion of your brand, resulting in a snowball effect and reaching a wider audience.

  1. Influencers deliver engaging content

In a survey conducted by Vocus and Brian Solis, 62% of the respondents said that they follow an influencer because of the content they create. Quality content is crucial to any marketing campaign. When you collaborate with influencers, they can create unique content to spread the message about your brand or product. And the best part is the audience is much more likely to engage with this content!

  1.  Influencers have established credibility with their audience

Another important factor that contributes to the large following of influencers is credibility. The expertise these individuals hold in a particular field combined with the good relations they maintain with their audience makes them reliable to people. Their opinion of your brand will most likely become the general opinion among their audience. A positive word from an influencer can do wonders for your brand.

  1.   Influencers are up to date with the latest trends and insights in their fields

Influencers are usually aware of the latest trends of the evolving social media platforms. They tend to be among the first to try these new trends, to discover new platforms to reach and engage with their audience. Through them, you too can get acquainted with such new ideas and employ them to interest prospective customers.

 

Author bio

Tanya Sen, Freelance Blogger

Tanya Sen

Tanya Sen quit her well-paying job to follow her dreams and become a writer. She is now creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals. Tanya is an avid traveler, having visited more than 40 countries. She loves to cook and try different cuisines. She now lives in Goa, India.

Understanding Social Media Etiquette with Real-World Scenarios

Google social media etiquette, and you’ll retrieve over 4,000,000 results (at the time of this writing). Clearly, it’s a topic that resonates with people, and in the ever-changing, real-time realm of social media, it’s easy to understand why people are confused on what’s appropriate and what’s not. Throw in trying to balance personal and business accounts on a variety of platforms, and we have a free-for-all on our hands.

Not sure if something is appropriate online? Translate it into a real-world scenario.

What can you do? When you find yourself facing a social media conundrum, translate it to a real-world scenario. For example, it’s popular nowadays to send new connections an automated sales pitch, er message, asking for favors left and right: retweet my pinned tweet, buy my book, follow me on a plethora of other platforms (where, coincidentally, your new connection blasts out the same exact content at the same exact time). You may find yourself wondering, ‘should I do this too?’

OK, let’s translate this behavior into real life. You stop in a coffee shop to get your fix, and strike up a conversation with a guy behind you in line. (It’s amazing the people you meet in coffee shops!) When you get to the counter, you ask the nice gentleman you just connected with to buy your latte. Of course! Who doesn’t do that, right?

If you think that’s nuts, I’m with you. You wouldn’t do that, and chances are, neither would anyone else. However, people do this every day in the digital world and think it’s not only acceptable, but expected.

Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL

But, here’s the thing. It blows people away online too, and not in a good way. Trying to become a thought leader in your field or connect with experienced industry professionals to learn from them? Don’t immediately hit them up for favors upon connecting, or you’ll be viewed as just another leach.

That may sound harsh, but it applies to networking in person or online. Connections aren’t things waiting to be used, they’re people to build relationships with. When you approach someone or make a new connection, look at how you can bring value to the relationship — not what you can get out of it. Eventually, this person may be able to help you, but not if you approach him or her immediately asking for favors.

Don’t Ask To Pick My Brain. (And 11 other tips for building a strong professional network)

Talk to influencers in any industry, and they’ll share tale after tale of people constantly hitting them up for favors. They usually want to help others, because people helped them get where they are today. But they’re people, and they don’t like being used.

So the next time you’re thinking about doing something online, remember to translate it into real-world (or offline) behavior. Does it sound crazy? Then move on. It’s easy to forget that we’re still dealing with human beings in our fast-paced, digital world. (Unless you’re talking to a chat bot, but that’s a subject for another blog post.)

Share Your Thoughts

Do you agree with this post, or is our online world a different place with different social norms?

What are your thoughts on sending automated messages to new connections?

What’s your best coffee shop story?

Straddling the offline and online worlds,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about social media etiquette, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Content Marketing: A Crucial Component of the Customer Experience

A stat from a recent article on content marketing caught our eye.

“Consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content on average prior to making a purchase.”

pexels-photo-296878

In the B2B world, buying journeys tend to run longer anyway, but consumers (B2B and B2C) are doing their homework these days. Studies show that 70-80% of people research a company online before visiting the small business or making a purchase with them.

Whether it’s leftover angst from the Great Recession or the availability of information today, it’s precisely why content marketing is so important.

Here’s a real-life example:

Recently, I stayed over in Park City, Utah, for a day after working a client’s conference in nearby Salt Lake City. On a whim, I decided to get a massage after spending the previous four days pounding convention center floors. I pulled up local spas on my phone, checking their hours, availability and services. Not surprisingly, I contacted the spas who had this information available online — not ones I had to call just to see if they were open. And the spas who had additional content available — more in-depth descriptions of their services, photos of their facility, online real-time availability, etc. — moved to the top of my list.

What does this have to do with content marketing? The information I sought was quality content created by (or for) these spas: descriptive services pages with quality photos, blog articles on the benefits of one type of massage over another, recommendations on how to maximize your spa-going experience. This is what consumers are looking for today before making a purchase or even contacting your company.

While I didn’t end up getting a massage, I did manage to take a break from technology and enjoy the magic of Park City. But not before I utilized even more content — a visitor’s guide from my condo, Park City Transit’s website — to plan my stress-free day.

We’re all consumers at some point, so don’t forget about your experiences as a customer when you put on your marketing hat. These experiences are valuable and can make us better marketing professionals, if we choose to use them.

Reader Feedback

How have you used content marketing to learn more about a business or make a purchase?

How do you use your experiences as a customer to become a better marketing professional?

What types of content do you prefer when researching a company or purchase?

A professional customer and marketing professional,
Jaime

 

Let’s chat (about content marketing, customer experiences or otherwise):
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4 Things That Social Media Can’t (or Shouldn’t) Do

The power of social media is impressive, but it can’t (or shouldn’t) do everything for your company or brand. Other areas need to carry their own weight too.

4 Things That Social Media Can't (or Shouldn't) Do

Here are four things that social media can’t do for your brand:

  • Fix a bad product — Product is king, at least in the sense that any advertising or marketing can’t fix a faulty product. Social media makes it even more important to provide quality products and services. Now customers have a forum to provide real-time feedback on their purchase, which potential customers around your community and the world can see. If you’re consistently receiving negative feedback on your social media channels, don’t try to cover it up. Fix the problem (i.e. the faulty product or service), and your social media conversations will be a lot more pleasant.
  • Replace a website — Social media helps level the playing field and opens up a world of opportunity to startups and small businesses. That doesn’t mean that it should be your only digital presence. A user-friendly, mobile-optimized website should be your first priority. Think of your online presence as a wheel. Your website should be the center with your social presences branching out from it. Your website is owned space whereas you’re renting your Facebook Page and other social spaces.

Related Reading: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Provide all of your website traffic — A well-built, easy-to-navigate website optimized for search engines is a win-win situation for your business. It draws traffic through search, even when you’re not working, and provides a welcoming place for prospects and customers to learn more about you online. While social is a great way to drive traffic, it can’t be expected to make up for a poorly performing website.
  • Be your entire marketing mix — Social media is a type of marketing, but it shouldn’t comprise your entire marketing mix. Depending on what you do, there are a number of excellent marketing opportunities, including on a limited budget. While so many people are on social media today, you’ll still miss potential customers by limiting yourself to social media marketing only. Know where your target audience spends its time to understand where you should be spending your marketing dollars.

Related Reading: 4 Retro Ways to Connect with Modern Audiences

We love social media and encourage brands to utilize this powerful tool. However, there’s a whole world out there, so don’t miss out on opportunities because you’re only getting social on social — and not anywhere else.

What else shouldn’t you expect social media to do for your brand or company?

What are your favorite marketing mediums besides social media?

Getting social online and off,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about social media, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Customer Experience: Starbucks Shows How It’s Done

Loyal readers of this blog know that I’m an espresso lover and Starbucks fan. Despite being a longtime, loyal customer, I do run into problems with the coffee behemoth once in awhile, like you will with any brand. What matters most is how your favorite brands resolve these occasional issues.

Starbucks logo on coffee sleeve

The famous twin-tailed mermaid, or Siren, makes me smile.

Earlier this week, I decided to run to my local Starbucks to grab lunch. In the midst of a chaotic day, I ordered a deli sandwich via Mobile Order & Pay in the Starbucks app. Upon arriving, I learned that the sandwich I had ordered was sold out.

The barista apologized and let me know what other sandwiches the store had and reminded me of the newly available (in our area) Bistro Boxes. I decided on another sandwich that I had been debating on ordering anyway, and my revised order was quickly filled.

The same barista, who took control of my situation, didn’t charge me the additional cost of my new order and promptly gave me two $4 coupons for future use. The best part was that I was still in and out of the store in 3-4 minutes so I stayed on schedule.

The substituted sandwich was delicious and paired nicely with my second latte of the day I brewed when I was back in my office (with Starbucks coffee, of course). Instead of leaving the Starbucks store peeved and empty-handed, the barista made sure that I walked away with a positive experience despite the hiccup.

How do your favorite brands handle the occasional hiccup?

Always drinking (or thinking about) espresso,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about coffee, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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The Dark Side of Social: How to Respond When Things Go Wrong

At CCC, we’re big believers in the power of social media and the value that it can provide to your brand. However, you need to understand the darker side of social so you’re prepared for anything that could go wrong or reflect your brand in a negative light.

Velvet Heart Promoted Tweet

Velvet Heart was trying to promote its new arrivals for spring, not trend with a mass shooting.

Recently I was on Twitter and noticed the name of a nearby town trending (regionally). I clicked on the link to see why it was trending and discovered a mass shooting had occurred at a retirement village. (My thoughts and prayers are with this community during this difficult time.)

While scrolling through the feed, I saw a promoted tweet advertising a retailer’s new spring arrivals. I was included in the audience targeted in this campaign, so the tweet showed up in my feed — no matter what I was viewing at the time. The advertiser had no say where its targeted audience members saw its tweet. (For more on Promoted Tweets, click here.)

Last week, I saw a news story about a guy who blew his lower leg off while shooting a lawn mower packed with explosives. As usual, an ad played prior to the video on the news site where I watched it. AT&T didn’t ask for its ad to play prior to a graphic video, but that’s when I saw the ad and its brand.

“A brand can’t control the message in the way it once did but it can still have influence.” –Jeff Barrett, CEO, Status Creative

These examples both point to why some brands and companies are so afraid of getting social — loss of control. On social media, it’s impossible to control every aspect of the message about your brand.

I’m not trying to discourage you from joining the conversation — just the opposite, in fact. If you’re a part of the conversation, you can help guide its direction and speak directly to your online community.

What if I hadn’t known that advertisers don’t control where Promoted Tweets show up? A user may have tweeted the advertiser expressing her dissatisfaction that the company would try to profit off a tragedy. That’s why you need to be aware of all the possibilities before jumping into something like Promoted Tweets. You can respond to say that you only chose to promote a tweet to a targeted audience, and did not use a trending hashtag or phrase inappropriately. If you’re not active on a social platform where a discussion breaks out about your brand, you can’t help set the record straight.

“While you can’t control the conversation,  you can participate and give fans a firsthand account of what’s going on at your company.”

Don’t worry about controlling every aspect of the conversation about your brand. Be prepared and know what you’re doing before jumping into social media in general, or a specific area, such as Facebook advertising or Promoted Tweets. Have a plan, but be prepared to adjust it as necessary.

Social media may not be easy for brands, but it’s worth it. Getting social can start a conversation that takes your business to new heights!

Are you struggling with your social media strategy, goals or execution? Let’s talk. We’d love to help you join the conversation and shine the spotlight on your brand.

Getting social (day or night),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about social media, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Share the Luck of the Irish with Your Clients & Employees

Whatever your background, we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick's Day revelers enjoy the celebration

St. Patrick’s Day by Courtney Collison via CC BY-SA 2.0 http://bit.ly/1QVmT1J

Here’s how to share the spirit of this holiday with your business family:

  • Throw an Irish potluck — Ask employees to bring their favorite Irish-themed foods for a festive event in the office. If you’re throwing a last-minute shindig, order in from your favorite Irish restaurant. Hand out fun promotional items, such as four leaf clover-printed sunglasses, green hats or four leaf clover beads. Remind everyone to wear green and punctuate the event with some fun Irish music (or March Madness)!
  • Enjoy March Madness during a St. Patrick’s Day Happy Hour — Invite your employees and/or clients to Happy Hour at your favorite local pub. Cheer on your favorite men’s college basketball teams (or the ones you picked on your bracket) with an ice cold Guinness in hand. If you’re feeling lucky, pick up the first round of drinks along with some hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy the camaraderie as you survive the roller coaster ride of the NCAA Tournament!
  • Hold a Luck of the Irish Contest — Invite your clients to participate in a themed contest celebrating this popular holiday. Anyone who places an order receives a mystery discount or gift. You can hold the contest digitally with a well-designed landing page, email marketing and social media promotion. Take the contest offline with direct mail, scratch off tickets and in-person visits. Don’t forget to create a hashtag and encourage clients to post their winning tickets on social!
  • Bring the Irish Spirit into Your Office — Encourage employees to wear green along with festive accessories. Reward the most festive, creative and other categories of your choice with gift certificates to your local pub, lunch delivered in the office or a day (or afternoon) off. Throughout the day, highlight your festivities on social media so fans can get to know the faces behind the scenes and see your fun culture.

St. Patrick’s Day 2016: How the World Will Celebrate From Dublin to Tokyo

However you decide to celebrate, have fun! May the Luck of the Irish be with you and your business always.

Cheers,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about green beer, holiday marketing or otherwise):
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