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Add Influencer Marketing to Your Planning

January 23, 2017 Leave a comment

influencerInfluencers are thought leaders, experts in their field, strong communicators or advocates who have strong reach or credibility with the target prospects of your organization. They can sway people to your organization often suggesting they consider your product or service.  Therefore, you need to include influence marketing into your marketing planning and activities.  This influence marketing needs to have a long term mindset as it involves creating trust with these influencer  individuals which takes time.  By engaging with the people at the top of their industries, you find credibility among their contacts.

This post will answer the following questions:

  1. Who are these influencers?
  2. What are the benefits of building influencer relationships?
  3. What are the elements of an influencer marketing plan?
  4. What are some of the action items to attract influencers to your organization?
  5. What would you like these influencers to do?
  6. How can you return the favor to influencers if they assist your organization?

Who are these influencers?
Well they could be:

  • If law firm, lawyers from other law firms that don’t have your firm’s specialty
  • Bloggers in your desired market
  • Consultants who install products related to your product
  • Speakers who are respected in your marketplace that present at association meetings
  • Current customer that is the president of a respected association
  • Media or academia persons with a focus in your particular area

What are the benefits of building influencer relationships?
There are many but here are a few that I came up with:

  1. Partnering with influencers in your marketplace assists getting your message in front of your target audience and accelerates conversions to customer / client status.  They can increase website traffic and getting new leads.
  2. The more trust influencers have within their industry, the more likely they can push your prospect further along the buyer’s journey.
  3. Influencers are great at getting your brand known by discussing, promoting and sharing content.
  4. Lowers cost of sales as their recommendation did not need an expensive campaign and prospects are found without a great deal of sales and marketing efforts.
  5. Shorter sales cycle as the influencer recommendation eliminates the first part of the sales process which involves getting known and establishing trust.

What are the elements of an influencer marketing plan?
You want to develop focused value-add relationships with your influencers which necessitates a plan including the following elements:

  1. Determine the budget, goals and responsibilities – For influencer marketing to work it needs to be made a priority including having a budget.  Document the goals that you want for this marketing program.  Make sure that there are marketing resources available to assist with the necessary marketing activities.
  2. Finalize the influencer type(s) – Brainstorm with others and determine who your target influencer types are (bloggers, media, consultants, etc.). Document your findings.  Need to know who influences your buyers.  These influencers types should be mentioned in your buyer personas.
  3. Discover specific influencers – Now that you know the type of influencer, get down to the specific persons that can impact your business and your buyer’s decision making process.  This discovery is not easy.A tool to use is BuzzSumo, where you can search keywords and discover the Twitter handles of accounts haring similar keyword-related content.    Filters allow you to sort influencers by reach, authority, influence and engagement.  This tool identifies websites and social users with serious influence.  Find the most influential content for any topic, domain, or author as well as the influential users that shared and linked to it.  Find individuals who have an established voice and social presence.  Or if you don’t want to do the search yourself, go to an outsider, such as through freelance.com, to do the search and come up with the list of influencers and their contact information.Look at their reach (blog subscribers, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, YouTube subscribers, books sold, Instagram followers, etc.).  See how much engagement they get such as retweets or comments on their blog.  Look to see if they communicate to others and affect people.
  4. Understand the needs of the influencer types – These needs are much like what is included in buyer personas.  Monitor the community to understand them and what they need.  As you make the list of influencers, determine how you can help them.
  5. Determine the necessary action items – Brainstorm with your marketing team and come up with the list of action items.  Document these action items.  Put the necessary tasks on the marketing calendar and any expected costs onto the marketing budget.  Tailor your actions to the individual influencers.
  6. Do the determined action items – You want to build trust with high quality content and engagements.  Keep track of your efforts, just like other marketing programs, in your marketing project management system.
  7. Perform measurements and make adjustments – Measure the performance of your engagement with the selected influencers on improving your brand and increasing revenue.  Keep track of the source of your leads especially if they came from specific influencers.  Report the efficiency and effectiveness of your efforts.  Review these efforts and make any necessary adjustments.  Look for new influencers and repeat cycle.

What are some of the action items to attract influencers to your organization?
Every organization is different in how they market to their buyers, donors and prospects.  Every market is different.  And who influences these markets are different.  But here are a few actions that can be done to attract influencers:

  1. Since you might not have their email addresses, direct message (DM) via Twitter the influencers to start out a conversation.  Ask them to check out your website, check out a specific content piece of yours or check out your blog.  And most importantly ask them how you can assist them.
  2. Schedule a meeting with them at a conference they are attending or at your office to discuss how you can assist each other.  Remember they might be promoting their business or efforts as well.  Try to meet them in real life (IRL) as that enhances the relationship.
  3. Create your influence relationship management (IRM) system.  Get their contact information (including name, position, organization, twitter id, email, phone number (if possible), something unique about them (President of an organization), website URL and/or blog post URL).  You need this info so that you can contact them and to keep track of the relationship.
  4. Join associations that the influencers are a part of and that your target audience attends.  You might be a member already but increase your efforts by following the association blog, following their social networks and staying more engaged with the association.  Influencers usually appreciate involvement with associations.
  5. Attend conferences that influencers and your target audience attends.  Review the conference content and speakers.  Look for influencers at these conferences.
  6. Sign up for webinars being done by the influencers.  Gather information from these webcasts and communicate thanks to the influencers after the webinar.
  7. If you have a product and you want the influencer to recommend your product, consider sending them the product for free.
  8. Create a nurture campaign to keep them informed of your company, your services and your products.  This might be a newsletter or scheduled emails with information (blog posts, webinar mentions, ebooks, etc.) that they might find valuable.
  9. Follow their social media networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, blog, YouTube channel, etc.), monitor the networks and engage with them such as retweeting their posts.
  10. Invite them to speak at your user conference or be included in a marketing piece such as an ask the expert document.

What would you like these influencers to do?
Be creative, but do encourage them to do the following:

  1. Mention your product or service to those in the marketplace.
  2. Share your content via their social media networks such as Twitter.
  3. Retweet your organization’s tweets to their large number of social media followers.
  4. Contribute a guest blog post to your organization’s blog.  Hopefully they will share that post on their social media networks.
  5. Be interviewed for a blog post or a video for posting on your YouTube channel.  Hopefully they will share this content on their social media networks.
  6. Contribute to an eBook or an article that you are publishing including those that are asking for expert opinions.  Hopefully they will share this content on their social media networks.
  7. Ask your organization to be on a panel of speakers at an association meeting.
  8. Present in one of your webinars or at your user conference (and make sure you record these presentations).

How can you return the favor to influencers if they assist your organization?
Remember that this is a 2 way relationship and you need to thank them when necessary by:

  1. Give them a call or send them an email thanking them for their assistance
  2. Offer to collaborate on projects so that they have more ownership of the content you want them to promote
  3. Exchange an email unrelated to any content you are promoting.  For example, if you saw that their blog was nominated for an award, send a brief congratulations email
  4. Thank the influencer in a tweet for any help they offered you that week
  5. Follow their social media networks
  6. Share their content
  7. Engage with them thru their social media posts (comment on their posts)
  8. Promote their events or their speaking engagements via your social media networks

The concept of reciprocity is simple: if someone does something for you, you naturally want to do something for them.  Although every influencer is different, when developing these relationships, remember to be as authentic and personable as possible.  Respect and genuine interest are what will make these valuable partnerships last.  A blog post can become outdated and a tweet can be forgotten, but what will last are the genuine connections you create with influencers.

If you have not already done so, you need to start building your influencer network now.  Make influencer marketing a consistent part of your marketing plan.  Find the relevant people, reach out to them, and build a relationship to support your organization’s sales and marketing efforts.  Hope this influence marketing post helped.  Feel free to comment back on your influencer efforts.

Photo credit: StockSnap.io (132)

Marketing Series for Legal Professionals

December 28, 2016 Leave a comment

This is my 11th blog post for lawyers and law firms this year and I thought I would have one post that combined the previous 10 posts into one post for easy access.  The series of posts covered a variety of topics including nurture marketing, social media, blogging, digital presence and planning.

You need to market your law firm to survive and grow.  There is a lot of competition out there.  Selling legal services requires it be a trust sale.  Marketing is different for all law firms depending on your size, your specialty and your geographic area.  Tailor your marketing to fit you.  Hope that these ten marketing related posts for law firms helps.  Enjoy.

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Nurture Marketing for Gaining Legal Clients

Client Retention for Law Firms

How Should Law Firms Measure Social Media

Gain Clients with Email and Social Media Marketing

Why a Law Firm Should Have a Blog

Law Firm’s should Review their Social Media Efforts

LinkedIn – A Few Suggestions for Lawyers on Its Use

Lawyers, Please Firm Up Your Digital Presence Now!

10 Ways to Successfully Market Your Law Firm

Time for Law Firm Marketing Planning

Hope that these posts were beneficial to your law firm.  Let me know if I can assist you in any way.

Time for Law Firm Marketing Planning

December 19, 2016 Leave a comment

At least once a year and preferably 4 times a year, a law firm needs to plan their marketing efforts for the future, in order to perform efficient and effective marketing activities, that will allow them to attract and retain clients.  And the plan should include an estimated budget, necessary resources and calendar of activities.

Make sure you adapt your plan as additional information comes in that affects your clients, your legal specialty, your internal resources or your law firm.  The firm needs to quickly respond to change so that it has a competitive advantage over other law firms. Welcome change.  Don’t be reactionary, be proactive.   This post contains my thoughts on the marketing planning for law firms.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

A photo by JOHN TOWNER. unsplash.com/photos/bZXQ6zUmqkw

Communication – As always stated, communication is key.  Make sure while creating your marketing plan that you have gotten feedback from others in the firm.  And make sure you gather feedback from those individuals after you announce the plan as they might have additional information that you didn’t have when creating the plan.  You want to establish trust with others in your firm.  Living up to your plan goes a long way with others.  Also don’t forget to create a marketing plan for your marketing plan.  Do internal  communication so that others in your organization know what the plan is.  Also put the plan in a public place, like an intranet, so that others in the firm can see it at any time.

Internal – During your planning determine what tools you need to be more efficient and effective in your marketing activities.  Maybe you need to implement a marketing automation solution like Hubspot, an email tool like Constant Contact or maybe a new social media tool like Hootsuite.

Calendar – Establish a calendar and make sure that events, webinars and campaigns are listed on an estimated calendar or timeline. Don’t overload activities in a certain month.  Make sure activities are spread out over the year

Alignment – You can’t do a plan without knowing the firm’s objectives.  Have them in place as they affect budget and the activities that need to be done.  Don’t want to waste time or money on activities that won’t happen.  Make sure that plan is aligned with the plans of the firm.  Mention in the plan how the firm wants to be positioned and known in the market

Resources – Have a discussion on if you need additional resources to accomplish your plan.  Do you need a marketing coordinator or do you need to establish a relationship with an outside writer for blog posts?

Budget – As you determine the activities that are on the plan, determine an estimated cost for these activities so that an estimated budget can be determined.

Competition – It is OK to review your competition and tailor your marketing plan to beat the competition.  Who are the 3 law firms that you consider to be your 3 largest competitors.  Check out their website.  Determine what they doing for social media and blogging.

Activities – Your plan should contain brief thoughts on many items including listing the possible activities that the firm will be doing such as:

  • Events – Decide what events (trade shows and conferences) that the firm will attend, exhibit at and present at.  When finalized put these events on your marketing calendar.  Check out my post on what to do for events and my post on how to promote your event.
  • Social Media – Firm up your goals for social media activities such as how often to post and what are the objectives for each of the social media channels. Social media needs to be integrated with other marketing activities and your marketing plan should keep this in mind.  Check out my post on social media for law firms.
  • Webinars – Determine your expertise, select presenters, select when webinars should occur and get them on your marketing calendar.
  • Website – Decide on what major changes you need to make your site.  Maybe you need a new page describing a specialty.
  • Associations and Directories – Review which ones to continue to be apart of or which new ones to join.  Make a public list of renewal dates, costs and objectives of each of the associations and directories that your firm partakes in so that it can be referenced by others in the firm.  Make sure the costs for these are in the budget.
  • Collateral – Determine the major collateral pieces that should be created.  Review current collateral and see if any of them need a refresh.  Maybe this is the year to do a law firm brochure, or an eBook on your legal specialty or an infographic.
  • Blog – Finalize the frequency of posts and the types of posts.  Also determine the next few blog post topics and the writers for these posts.  Check out my blog post on why law firms should be blogging.
  • Emails – Figure out the email sends (either target or newsletter) that will done for finding new clients or informing existing clients.  Check out my blog post on emails.
  • Campaigns – Campaigns contain various marketing activities such as webinars and email blasts that are connected around a specific theme.  These campaigns need to be integrated for effectiveness and done at the proper time.  Firm up the activities for the campaigns and the appropriate call to actions.  Check out my blog post on nurture campaigns.

Additional Thoughts:

  1. An item that should be included in the plan is community involvement and cause marketing.  Have a honest discussion with others in your firm on how your firm can help others and hooking up with an organization that you can work with.
  2. Make sure that you review the past year on what worked and what didn’t work.  Make sure in the marketing plan that you increase what worked and fix what didn’t work.
  3. It is important that in the plan you have included marketing to existing clients.  Maybe it is time for a client newsletter or a client survey.  Client retention is important to a law firm and feel free to check out my blog post regarding the subject.
  4. Consider having something new from the previous year in your marketing planning.  Maybe it is time to start a blog or create a firm overview video or join the local chamber of commerce.  You need consistency in marketing but you need to be changing as well.  Keep it fresh.
  5. Make sure you have a solid foundation as continuous attention to marketing fundamentals enhances agility and efficiency.  Check out my blog post on a marketing foundation.
  6. Don’t spend so much time on the plan that you don’t execute.  I love the Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines quote, “We have a strategic plan, it’s called ‘doing things’.”

Good luck in your planning.  Let me know if I can help in any way.

Photo Credit: StockSnap.io (125)

You are What You Read – Always be Learning

July 30, 2016 Leave a comment

I am a big reader.  I think you should always be learning and to do that you need to read.  It is fun to discuss with others the books you are reading and enjoying.  I was disappointed when LinkedIn discontinued as part of a person’s profile, the books that they had read.  I would get comments all the time from connections on the books that I had read.

Many individuals don’t read books anymore.  They are going more to videos or blog posts.  These are fine, but sometimes you need more detail and that means books.

Reading is listening to others. And that is how you learn, learn from others and their experiences and knowledge.

Books clear your mind.  Books educate you and make you more creative.  Carve out time to fill your mind with useful stuff.  Unplug and read.  Stop playing solitaire and cut down on your FaceBook posts.

A few thoughts:

  • Read anywhere, anytime.  Have a book with you (or eReader) and grab a few minutes of reading in those in between minutes while doing something else such as waiting at a doctor’s office, waiting for a table at a restaurant or waiting for a friend for coffee.
  • I like to read books on business trips or vacations especially on planes.  Sometimes business books but mostly mysteries or science fiction.  Take advantage of those long stretches of time to read a lot.
  • To get the full value of the book, when done reading, summarize it in a book journal. Writing down the main points of the book helps to lock the lessons in your mind.  And your journal will be a resource for you to review at a later time.
  • You don’t only have to read books.  I like to read content from a few of websites such as http://www.marketingprofs.com and http://www.thesaleslion.com.  Great information on these sites.  I like to read print magazines including Sunset (love to learn about new places to travel to) and Time (try to stay current on news).
  • Don’t forget to find books on subjects that are outside of your comfort zone.  I enjoy science fiction books every once in awhile.  I read the Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars series and it was fascinating on the teamwork that was necessary and the interpersonal relationships between the adventurers.  Don’t always read the same type such as mystery books (which I read a lot of).
  • Doesn’t matter if physical book  or eReader (great for long airplane flights) or audio books (especially if you are in the car a lot or working out at the gym).  Just read.
  • One suggestion is to follow the 5 hour rule that Ben Franklin used in his adult life.  Invest 1 hour 5 days a week in deliberate learning.  Make it a habit and be part of your routine.  During this time set personal-growth goals and experiment.  Franklin’s 5 hour rule reflects the very simple idea that, over time, the smartest and most successful people are the ones who are constant and deliberate learners.  Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are big readers. Oprah Winfrey credits books with much of her success and says “Books were my pass to personal freedom.”
  • Plan out the reading and learning.  Set aside time just for reading and learning.
  • Prioritize your reading and keep a list of books and articles to read.
  • I get a lot of what I read via suggestions from others.  Talk among your friends and colleagues and ask them what books they are reading or their favorite books.  Maybe they will share with you a copy of their favorite book.   The reading of the same book is a relationship building event.
  • Read what you are in the mood for.  If I’m in the mood for a mystery book, it doesn’t matter how good the business book is, I won’t like it.
  • Pick the best time for you to read.  Don’t force it.  Maybe it is when you 1st wake up.  Maybe it is during lunch in a park, or maybe it is laying in bed right before you fall asleep.

Reading is personal.  To achieve your goals, you should always be learning and reading is an important part of learning.  Go grab a book and start your enhanced reading journey.  What are your thoughts on reading?

Categories: Personal Tags: , , , , ,

Do Your Personal Marketing Plan

July 11, 2016 1 comment

You spend all day marketing your organization or helping others market themselves. You’re obviously passionate about marketing.  You have developed these wonderful skills to help others get the word out about their organization, their products or their services.

But what about you?  Are you marketing yourself properly?  Have you created a marketing plan on yourself that you are executing on?  If not, start!  This post will give you some suggestions on plan creation and the reasons why.

PersonalPlan

I know you are busy, but honestly it makes little sense to work so hard for others and not bother to do the same things for yourself.  Remember that you will probably not have an advocate that is going to promote you as well as you can.  Take control of your image.  Perception is reality.  Give others the accurate representation of yourself.

Marketing yourself should not only be when you need a new job.  It should be all the time. Take on marketing yourself as your personal challenge and an ongoing project with no end date. Creating a name and reputation for yourself, especially in the organization you  you work for (and maybe outside your organization as well), shapes your future.  There is a symbiotic relationship between any organization you work for, not matter if law firm, B2B technology company or non-profit, and your personal brand.  Smart organizations embrace this behavior because they understand the value in nurturing talent.  It is a Win Win.

Very few people understand marketing and how difficult it is.  Everyone has marketing advice but very few individuals can do the marketing.  That makes it difficult in your promoting yourself.  You need to explain what marketing does, how difficult it is, why you do it so well with the team you have around you and how marketing benefits the organization.

Write you plan down.  Plans are usually more successful when written down and viewable often.  Keep in a place where you see it all the time.

So what should be part of this plan?  Well, consider the following:

  1. Consider doing blog posts.  Let others see your knowledge and your writing skills.  Let’s face it, a lot of marketing is writing and communicating.  Be heard.  It doesn’t have to be a personal blog.  If your company has a blog or others you know have a blog, feel free to ask  how you can contribute a post.  LinkedIn is a powerful tool.  Make sure that you are connected to others in your organization and post/comment to LinkedIn often so that your contribution can be seen.
  2. Consider doing presentations.  It can be lunch & learn presentation to others at your organization teaching them marketing.  Or you can present at conferences or local area events such as Chamber of Commerces.  Let others hear your knowledge and see your presentation skills.  Again, communication is key in marketing.  Be seen.
  3. Mentor others and contribute what you know to others.  Give back to others.  Don’t hoard knowledge.  Share ideas with peers.  Always be open for discussion and brain storming.  Make a list of who you should mentor and others that you should share more information with.  Remember, if your boss is not sharing your knowledge and promoting your greatness, you might have to find ways to share your knowledge and achievements not through your boss.  Part of your plan should be assisting others.  You gain respect when you help others.  You learn when you train others.  You show that you are a team player which is a great way to market yourself.
  4. Make sure that you market others, share their content, put them in the spotlight. Don’t even worry about directly promoting yourself.  The smartest way to market yourself is actually to make it not about you.  Look for opportunities to promote others.  Make it part of your mindset.  Email a job well done message to others and copy others this email.
  5. Email often.  Make sure that you email updates regarding any projects you are involved in.  Be the person invited to meetings as they want your contribution.  Email out meeting notes.  Be top of mind to others.  You want them to think, “Oh, I better <insert name> about this.
  6. Set tasks.  Whatever tasks you have in your personal marketing plan, make sure that they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based).

So, why have a plan and promote yourself? Here are some reasons:

  • Get promoted, get more money  or find a new job is the obvious answer.  It is a competitive world and it is the little things that matter when it comes to promotions, pay raises and who gets that coveted job.
  • You feel better about yourself.  It is nice to be respected and have others say good things about you.
  • Your success is your organization’s success.  People buy from people.  So if they like you and respect your work then there is a more likelihood to purchase.  And great people want to work for other great people.  So the more people are impressed with you the more attracted they will want to work with you.
  • Since you are known as a great marketing person (since you marketed yourself so well) you will be assigned the most rewarding tasks and projects.

You are the marketing professional.  Market yourself.  You have made marketing plans for companies.  Now, make one for yourself.  Hope that this post helped and got you started.  Let me know how it goes.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , ,

Attending a Conference – Make the Most of It

Attending events, shows and conferences are important for you and your organization that you are representing.  Make sure that the maximum benefit is gained by you attending.  There is a great deal of preparation work that needs to be done before an event.

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Here are some tips and what to do before an event, during the event and after the event:

What to Do Before an Event

  1. Determine your objectives – Before you get there (and probably need to do to get approval to attend the event) write down your goals for the event.  Your minimum goal, your primary goal and your visionary goal.   And document action items necessary to achieve these goals.
  2. Get there early and stay late – Don’t be rushed at an event.  Great conversations are before the event starts or after it ends.  People are usually more relaxed at this time as they don’t have the pressure of attending certain sessions.  Feel free to contact people that are attending the event.  Make your travel arrangements early so that you are in the appropriate hotel for the event and you are not stressing out about your air arrangements.
  3. Be prepared – Before the event, use the event hashtag (#) on Twitter to find out who is going to the event and what they are talking about.  Follow them.  Feel free to reply back to some of them and strike up a conversation.  See if you can get the Twitter user names of the speakers that you are going to their sessions.  Determine the people you would like to meet at an event including friends and presenters. Get to know them through their blog and watching any YouTube videos they have done.  Do a web search on the event and read any blog posts concerning the event.  Make a list of questions or things you want answered at the event especially after a  speaker finishes their presentation.  At meals is a great time to ask your table mates questions you have.
  4. Pack right – Don’t forget the following: business cards, comfortable shoes, jacket or sweater (session rooms can get cold), spare batteries, necessary chargers (phone, camera, iPad, etc.), memory cards and flash drives
  5. Create a folder in your inbox specifically for the event – This is where you want to keep track of everything from your hotel confirmation, airline ticket information, conference registration and any emails from people who want to connect at the event. This way, you don’t have to search all of your email at the last minute looking for something important.
  6. Plan your path – You’re spending good money (yours or your organization’s) to be there, so take a moment and review the schedule of events. Plan the sessions you will be attending as well as the hospitality events.  Socialize.  Get your money’s worth.  Make sure that you attend a session that does not tie directly to what you do.  Go to something out of your comfort zone.  Try to go to sessions by some of the up and comers in your industry. Plan on attending the sessions that are at the right level for you, and will give you the most useful information.
  7. Know your elevator pitch – It is a good idea to have a concise description of yourself and your organization to share with others.
  8. Update your social media network profiles & blog – People are checking you out before an event just like you are checking them out.  Your social media profiles or blog could be your second impression on people.If you have a blog, make sure your blog is current with new posts. If you know you’re going to be super busy around the time of the conference, just make sure to schedule some awesome content on your blog for the week of and maybe even the week after.
  9. Get your phone and tablet apps ready – Be sure that you have those apps you will need ready to go before the event so you’ll be mobile prepared the moment you get there.
  10. Check out last year’s photos and videos – Not sure the dress or the atmosphere at the event.  Well, last year’s photos and videos are a good place to find out.  Usually on the conference website.

What to Do During the Event

  1. Collect business cards – Write on the back of the card the information that you need in your reply back to them after the show.
  2. Do Social Media – Tweet about the event.  Use the event hashtag. Follow the Twitter posts about the event that use the event hashtag.  Take photos.  Post to Instagram and Facebook.  Do a video.  Post to YouTube.  Gather information for a blog post.
  3. Take great notes – Remember you want to refer back to them in your write up and for your lunch and learn session.
  4. Have fun – be social and network with others.

What to Do After the Event

  1. Update database – Get the business card information into your database (such as your CRM system) as soon as possible.
  2. Document – Write up your notes and action items from the event.
  3. Communicate – Send thank you notes to those that you met and the organizers. Send an email to the individuals whose cards you took with the promised information.
  4. Do photos, videos & blog posts – Upload your photos and tag them on Facebook and Instagram.  Get those videos edited and posted.  Write that blog post about the event and post.
  5. Monitor – Follow the Twitter posts that occur after the event is over.  There might be some blog posts written about the event of items you missed at the conference.
  6. Educate – Hold a lunch and learn to your department regarding the event to share your knowledge.

Hope the above was helpful.  Get the most out of your attendance at your next conference or event.  Let me know via comments if you have other tips and tricks on making your conference attendance more beneficial.

Technology Companies Need to Start Social Media Now

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

SocialMediaAll technology companies need to have a business plan and that plan needs to contain a marketing plan.  And that marketing plan needs to contain social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and blogs.  If your company has not started using these tools then this needs to be the year to start.  Don’t over extend yourself but get the ball rolling on social media.  It is not going away.  This post will cover a suggested plan on social media for those just starting out with it.

The hope for adding social media to the marketing plan is to create more buzz and discussions about your company.  Social media is a lot of little things that hopefully will create more activity and sales of your company’s products and services.  For social media to be successful it needs to be integrated with your existing marketing of live events, case studies, webinars, etc.  Social media needs to part of your company’s culture.  A culture change takes time to accomplish and will require educating your company’s employees about social media and the company’s plan for social media.

A goal of the social media marketing plan is to include the social media needs, wants and ideas of different departments in the company including Support, Product Development (if applicable), Professional Services and Sales.  Social Media improves the communication to and from clients, prospects and partners.  It also allows for gathering of information on competitors and their products and/or services.

Goals – First write down the goals that you want to accomplish with social media.  Here is an example of some goals:

  • Getting started on social media so that social media becomes part of the marketing process with possible increased effort on social media during 2011.
  • Improve company perception with prospects.  As competitors begin using social media more and more, your company will need to do so as well to be perceived as a caring, involved, organized, leading edge and professional company.
  • Improve company’s digital presence so that your company is found easily and more often on the internet when searched for by individuals.
  • Communicate out to those interested in your company in the communication method that they desire.  Many individuals prefer the use of such tools as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to get information.  Your company would use social media to promote events you are exhibiting at, notify customer about trainings, announce webinars, mention client case studies and inform about the company’s products and/or services.
  • Improve communication into your company by people with the communication method that they desire.  Many individuals are comfortable and prefer using tools such as Twitter and Facebook. They use social media to provide product feedback, mention support issues, make enhancement requests and request information.
  • Improve monitoring of competitors and their products and/or services so that your company can quickly respond to their offerings.  This will be done by monitoring the competitor’s digital presence and social media efforts.
  • Improve monitoring of mentions of your company and its products and/or services on the internet.  Some of these mentions might be requests for information which should be responded to quickly.  Some of these mentions might be negative which also need to be responded to quickly.
  • Increase traffic to the company website and improve search engine optimization as social media will provide more linkage to the site and will make the site more ever changing.

Components – Once you have your goals set, define what you are going to do.  Classify your social media tasks as phase 1 and phase 2 items.  Do not try to take on more than you can handle.  For example select Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Alerts for phase 1 while YouTube videos and Blog will be done in a 2nd phase.

Facebook

Facebook is the leading social media tool.  Many individuals use Facebook as the way to stay up to date on the activities of friends and organizations that they care about.  Technology companies have created Facebook Fan pages so that those with an interest in their company can get information easily and quickly.  A Facebook Fan Page usually has a more casual feel to it than a company website.  Pictures and lighter tone pieces are used on a Facebook Fan Page rather than on the company’s website which is more formal.  Facebook Fan Page should have a similar look as the company website.  The target audience is clients, prospects and partners of the company who use Facebook.  After the Fan Page is created, promote it on company website, mention in newsletters and add to email signatures.  Set a goal such as to update Fan Page at least once a week with an update on company event, webinar, training, product release or service offering.

Twitter

There are those that desire to get information via Twitter.  Twitter information is fast, current and short (140 characters).  Twitter is an excellent tool to drive individuals to a website so that they can get more information about events, products and/or services.  Anyone can be a follower of a particular Twitter account.  Therefore the desire is for anyone that has a Twitter account and would have an interest in your company for them to sign up to be a follower of your company on Twitter.  Twitter Profile Page should have a similar look as the company website.  Target audience is clients, prospects and partners who use Twitter.  After Twitter account is created, promote account on company website, mention in newsletters and add to email signatures.  Set a goal to send at least 5 tweets a week on company events, news releases, webinars, training, product releases and/or service offerings.  Tweets can also be industry related.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known as the business professional’s social media tool.  It is a great tool to find individuals and companies.  LinkedIn has the ability to have a company page and create groups which have members that are interested in the group subject.  Therefore your company can create a group that is targeted for your company’s clients and partners.  LinkedIn does not require as much care and feeding as Facebook and Twitter.  Initially, LinkedIn will be used by your company as a way for people to find your company.  The LinkedIn company profile will drive people to the company website.  The target audience is business professionals with an interest in your company.  The initial strategy is to create the profile and maintain accuracy.  It is also recommended that all the upper management of the company have individual LinkedIn profiles so that they can be easily be found by other individuals.

Google Alerts and Competition Monitoring

It is important to know what is being posted about your company, your products/services and your competitors on the internet.  This is done by setting Google alerts on specified terms.  If these specified terms are posted on the internet Google will send you an email notification.  These emails will need to be reviewed with the appropriate person in the company notified if something needs to be responded to.  Also someone outside of your company will need to follow competitor’s Twitter account and competitor’s Facebook Fan Page.

YouTube

YouTube is a highly searched tool for videos.  Videos are less than 10 minutes in length and usually are not very formal.  Many companies put training videos and product information videos on a custom YouTube Channel which they control.  Many individuals at your company will need to assist in the creation of videos including selecting topics and presenting in the videos.  Target audience is clients, prospects and partners who access YouTube looking for information on your company, your products and/or services.  The strategy is to announce videos on company website, mention in newsletters, send out Tweets and post on Facebook Fan Page.  Set a goal to post at least 1 video a month once you have started posting videos.

Blog

A blog is a great way to show expertise and to provide information to those that want it.  There are multiple blog tools that can be used with WordPress being the most well known.  The blog should be integrated into the company website.  A blog is time consuming as it does take time to write the blog posts.  Consistency is important to having a successful blog.  Blog posts will probably need to be written by multiple people at your company who have the expertise necessary for the posts.  Target audience is clients, prospects and partners who would like to see information related to your company, your company’s products and/or services.  The strategy is to announce blog posts on website, mention in newsletters, send out Tweets and post on Facebook Fan Page.  Set a goal to post 1 blog post a month once you have started your blogging.

Calendar/Costs – Now that you know what you are going to do and why you are going to do it, create a time line or calendar of when you will be tackling these social media tasks.  Mark down when you are going to set them up and when you are going to promote them.  Create a reminder to do your postings and monitoring.

All most done.  Now you need to estimate what this is going to cost you.  Many of the additional costs to do social media are in the marketing labor necessary to setup, post and monitor.  Many of the tools used are no cost items for the basic versions.  Create an estimate on the number of additional hours of marketing time it will take to do these social media tasks.  At a minimum count on 1 to 2 hours every business day to be spent on social media for the company.  If you don’t have the resources to handle this consistent effort then look into getting an outside consultant to assist setting it up and doing some of the initial work.  But for it to be successful you still need to be involved.  Once the social media process is in place, consider bringing on an intern to assist with the social media activity.  If YouTube videos are on your list, I recommend purchasing a good video camera.  Estimate cost to be around $500.  I know that time is your most precious resource but if done correctly your efforts in social media will pay off.

Incorporate social media into the company’s marketing efforts.  Social media will increase the communication with the company’s clients, prospects and partners.  Hopefully, this increased communication will increase the number of leads and sales.  Remember that the social media plan will need to be reviewed on a regular basis.  It should be a living, ever changing document.  Wish you great success.