Tag Archives: blog

Why Social Thought Leaders Are the Most Important Part of Your Executive Team

Most of us spend a good chunk of our day online in some capacity. We’re constantly absorbing content from various sources, analyzing and building on pieces of information, and learning from thought leaders who consistently push out high quality material.  Genuine thought leaders tend to do the same. They take in new ideas, compile them, and push out an even greater idea, continuing growth and fostering the cycle. This progression, and the development of thought leaders as individual experts, is contingent on the cultivation of new ideas.

In recent years, with the evolution of social networking, this notion has been injected with steroids. Gone are the days when thought leaders attended conferences and chatted behind closed doors with peers, discussing their apparent stranglehold on relevant creative thought. I repeat, those days are gone, and if you’re management teams still think that way, walk in to their offices and fire every single one of them.

Now, successful thought leaders, especially business people in positions of power, have realized the importance of the social web in fostering ideas, developing talent, and ultimately growing their businesses. By utilizing social media, thought leaders can recruit potential employees who demonstrate a complex understanding of a specific piece of subject matter, increase the number of quality ideas they see each day, and bolster their company with innovate thought, keeping them at the forefront of their respective industries.

Here’s a brief personal example – I now work for a Fortune 50, one of the largest companies in the world and a leader in our industry. Prior to coming aboard, I ran my own, rather successful digital marketing firm, Brandt Social. Although my current company has a network of literally thousands of recruiters across the country, I was contacted by a gentleman who is now my boss, and an executive at our company. While at first, I had little desire and certainly did not intend to go work at some giant firm where my talents would go unnoticed, I quickly learned that the gentleman who reached out to me was in fact a thought leader, who clearly used social as tool to stand out amongst his peers, foster talent, and cultivate new ideas. This differentiation was a major draw in my decision to come aboard.

Unfortunately, if your organization is lacking a genuine thought leader, your time frame is finite. Many managers, claiming to be thought leaders, whether they be a business person, an online personality, or an author, have been doing just the opposite, seemingly afraid of both new ideas and the talent that sprouted them.  This oppression not only hinders conceptual progression, but can ultimately burn out and deter top talent from fully developing.

In a business setting, whether you attribute it to jealousy, lack of adaptability, or narrow-mindedness, it is undeniably toxic. When managers, usually, self-described as thought leaders, prevent new ideas from spreading, regardless of their source, they are in a word, crushing the future of your business. New ideas are the foundation of not only the new “startup” business model, but of capitalism as a whole. When ideas get suppressed by a higher-up within your organization they force them one direction, out. As in, out of your entire organization. When this happens repeatedly, more than just ideas run for the hills. Top talent, potential recruits, and cutting edge clients want nothing to do with your business, regardless of your previous success. Remember, ideas are temporary, if you cannot adapt to innovative concepts or develop new ones, your days are numbered.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe and follow on Twitter: @BrendanBrandt

 © 2012 Brendan Brandt. All Rights Reserved.

Additional Reading

Thought Leadership 2.0 – http://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/how-to-become-a-thought-leader-online.html

True Professionals Don’t Fear Amateurs – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/12/index.html

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2 Real World Resolutions and Their Social Applications

We’re officially one week into the New Year and resolutions are in full swing. From weight loss to dietary alterations, we all attempt, regardless of sincerity, to alter our lives for the better. Fortunately for us, these common resolutions are not only practical in the everyday, but digitally applicable and can change our online image, better our reputations, and bolster our brands.

1. Be Punctual

Everybody’s rushed, we all oversleep, and sometimes, possibly often, we run behind. That being said, timing is everything, especially when we’re talking social. In a digital world where a Tweet sent 30 seconds ago is obsolete, business owners and professionals alike must be acutely in tune with the timing of their posts.

So, when is the best time to publish your content? The short answer, weekdays around 4pm. The long answer, it varies greatly between networks and target market. If you’re shooting for the highest number of active users, Monday through Thursday 1pm to 4pm is your go to, but, if like many, you’re shooting to reach educated, employed, professionals or business owners, you’ll need to post with a bit more precision. Professionals utilize social media during the workweek, early (7am-8am), at lunch on their smartphones (11am – 12:30pm), and when they head home (4pm – 5pm). Of course this is by no means an exact science, but by remembering the importance of timing you can significantly increase the visibility of your content.

2. Consume Less

Regardless of the product; alcohol, tobacco, food, etc., many resolutions involve the practice of moderation. While consuming “too much” social content may not have proven adverse health effects, it can certainly be detrimental.

While many talk about a “work / life balance” few actually practice what they preach, and of all professions, social entrepreneurs are they absolute worst. Think about it, I mean actually think about it, how many hours a day are you active on social media? For most, 2, 3, 4 hours, or even more when taking into account mobile usage, is not uncommon. Not only does this leave little time for you to focus on other, probably more important areas of your life, family, friends, etc., but it actually inhibits your ability to differentiate between high quality, important information and the irrelevant opposite.

The people you follow and subscribe to generate a multitude of information, while not all of it is relevant or quality, much of it is. However, after being connected for hours, witnessing a constant stream of information, you begin to monitor for certain keywords or topics, usually extremely niche, that pertain to your immediate goal or problem rather than foster creative thought and enhance logic. Occasionally you may hit the jackpot and read that perfect article or blog that sparks a revelation, but far more often than not, by zoning in for hours on end and unintentionally filtering out content, you risk missing hundreds of pieces of slightly less relevant information that when compiled, could have solved your problem or helped you reach your goal in a fraction of the time. It certainly seems that the old adage holds true, less is more.

 

At the end of the day, any resolution, socially applicable or not, is more than likely a good one and is well worth attempting. I wish you all the best as you strive for personal improvement in 2013!

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and follow on Twitter: @BrendanBrandt

 © 2012 Brendan Brandt. All Rights Reserved.

Additional Reading:

Best Times To Post Social Networks (Infographic) – http://socialtimes.com/best-times-to-post-social-networks-infographic_b104584

Maybe Using Less Social Media Is The Path To Online Success – http://www.businessesgrow.com/2012/05/30/maybe-using-less-social-media-is-the-path-to-online-success/

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3 Social Tools Smart Entrepreneurs Use and Why

While many understand that social media is an invaluable marketing tool for businesses, smart entrepreneurs see the true value in social and it has nothing to do with advertising. Here are 3 tools intelligent business owners use to grow their businesses.

“If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” –Benjamin Franklin

1. Twitter Search

Sure we all know how to use it, but Twitter’s search bar is wildly underutilized. The social network has quickly become the most powerful news and information aggregator in the world. Rather than browsing Inc., Forbes, etc. for news, try searching Twitter to see what you customers / potential customers are saying. Learn from their complaints, wants, wishes, and praise to prevent your business from making the mistakes of those before you.

After taking a look at your customer’s preferences, search your competition, see what they’re doing, what they’re not doing, and what people are saying about them. Taking into account your findings, adjust your marketing strategy accordingly, if they’ve seen success with a contest it might be in your best interest to do a bit of gamification, if they hosted a conference and it was a flop, learn from their mistakes.

2. LinkedIn Answers

LinkedIn Answers provides a forum for users to interact and find solutions to problems of all sorts. If you’re a small business owner LinkedIn Answers is your personal support center. Have an IT issue? Try LinkedIn Answers. Have a question about SEO? Try LinkedIn Answers. Bottom line, you have a question, they (users) have an answer.

To take it a step further, make sure you provide insight and help solve other people’s problems anytime you can. Not only will this ensure your questions are answered in a timely fashion and receive multiple responses, but it will help to establish you / your business as a thought leader and valuable resource within your industry.

3. LinkedIn Groups

Similar to their counterpart (Answers), LinkedIn Groups provide users with the ability to learn, teach, and share information of all kinds. Join groups in your industry and actively participate, share relevant articles, and learn from others. Groups’ real value lies in the fact that they are filled with like-minded people. If you own a hotel and need advice on staffing and payroll you probably don’t want advice from a SEO expert, fortunately your Group is filled with thousands of hospitality professionals, most of which are willing to help in any way they can.

While these are by no means “new” tools, they are certainly underutilized. As “social marketers” we often fall victim to tunnel vision and only look at intrinsic marketing value, however, it is important to remember that social provides an enormous wealth of information and at the end of the day knowledge is the most valuable tool anyone can have.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and follow on Twitter!
@BrendanBrandt
http://www.brendansbrainstorms.com

Additional Reading

7 Epic Marketing Uses of LinkedIn Answers – http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/29581/7-Epic-Marketing-Uses-of-LinkedIn-Answers.aspx

LinkedIn Groups Add Marketing Power – http://mashable.com/2009/03/20/linkedin-groups-marketing-features/

© 2012 Brendan Brandt. All Rights Reserved.

3 Ways To Promote Post Virality

Across the board, influencers are relentlessly attempting to differentiate themselves from the sea of 1,500,000,000 (1.5 billion) combined tweets and posts per day. While everyone wants to be the next Red Bull and blow up with half a million shares, virality is rarely ever achieved. Here are 3 tips to remember as you construct your next campaign and push for social infamy.

1. Want to go viral? Remember the basics.

When constructing a post remember what your audience, in this case anyone who consumes social content, is looking for. Make sure your wording, including a call to action, is interesting and concise. Chances are, if your introductory verbiage is bland, so is your content.

Avoid blocks of text. A few paragraphs are perfectly fine but nobody wants to read a wall of text. Break it up, use bullets, indents, and alter font (bold / italics) to create some visual relief.
Always include media. Let face it, we’re lazy and it’s much easier to glance at a picture or watch a video than it is to read, even if your text is short, say 140 characters, a picture or video brings a missing aesthetic element that will help your post standout.

Post on multiple platforms. Promote your content and make your call to action visible wherever you can. Publishing your information on various different sites will boost cross promotion, that is, a retweet on Twitter could ultimately translate into a comment on LinkedIn. At the end of the day the old adage still holds true, any publicity is good publicity, it doesn’t matter where that comes from. Fortunately, multiplatform integration has made simultaneously publishing one post to multiple sites extraordinarily easy.

2. If you want something, ask for it. Better yet, require it.

Unfortunately, you cannot expect your average social media user to retweet, reblog, or share something just because. While there certainly are some that do, it is important to remember that they are the exception and not the rule. However, by simply including a purposeful call to action within your post, you can often incite social consumers who typically remain on the sidelines into promoting your content. That being said, when aiming for virality, content creators should head in a different direction.
At risk of getting too far into gamificaiton, by hosting a contest, i.e. “Submit an offroad picture of you and your Jeep. The owner of the photo that receives the most likes wins a weekend at Jeep Adventure Camp! Users must share this post to win.” , influencers can directly drive virality.

For instance, the above post, includes not only a call to action “Submit an offroad picture of you and your Jeep”, but promotes sharing on 2 levels. First, and more overtly, the forced share – “Users must share this post to win.” The second tier of sharing or subshares, occur when uploading users (users who posted photos of their offroading Jeeps) ask that their friends, followers, connections, etc. interact on the host page, in this case Jeep’s Facebook, because the uploading user needs something (in this situation likes on their uploaded photo) in order to win the contest. This creates multiple waves of activity that drives traffic, prevents your content from going stagnant, increases total reach, and ultimately gives you a shot at virality.

3. Timing is everything.

Remember, social networks utilize the feed system, until a post starts seeing some activity, the playing field is level – the newer the better. With that in mind, it becomes clear that attracting shares and retweets immediately is the key to your dreams of virality. If you don’t see some activity almost immediately upon posting, there is a good shot your content will plummet into oblivion. In order to avoid this, influencers must time their posts properly. Social networks see a spike in activity early in the morning (8am-9am), late afternoon (3pm-4pm), and late night (10pm-11pm). While posting in these windows by no means guarantees activity, they gives content creators the best shot to attract users.

A word of warning.

The odds of achieving virality are certainly against you. Remember that it takes time, potentially multiple posts, and is much easier if you already have a substantial following. However, it can be done. That being said, if you’re a small business, make sure you can handle the traffic. Just because you can handmake 500 cupcakes a week does not mean you’re ready to handle 5,000 a day, no matter how delicious they are.

Merry Christmas!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter!
@BrendanBrandt

Additional Reading:

37 Viral Post Ideas You Can Use Today – http://www.skelliewag.org/37-viral-post-ideas-you-can-use-today-103.htm

How To Create Facebook Posts That Go Massively Viral – http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-create-a-viral-facebook-post-2012-8?op=1

Viral Digitial Marketing

© 2012 Brendan Brandt. All Rights Reserved.

2 Easy Ways to Measure ROI on Social Campaigns

If you’re familiar with the Rodger’s adoption curve, you understand that the innovators, early adopters, and early majority have already hopped on the social media bandwagon, are marketing online, and are reaping the benefits. Unfortunately, these marketing trends have not yet taken hold with the late majority and laggards. Many of the business owners residing in the latter two groups cite various, valid, reasons for holding out, most commonly, their “inability” to track the return on their social investment.

However, by leveraging tools like SocialBro and Google Analytics, diligently monitoring, and properly tracking your campaigns, you can measure ROI with relative ease. Here are 2 things you should take a look at when considering your return.

1. Have your marketing costs decreased or sales increased?

At the end of the day it’s about dollars and cents. Social media, and digital marketing in general, is far less expensive than traditional means. A Facebook business page and user generated content is free, a month’s worth of billboard advertising is roughly $1,000, you do the math. When working with business owners this is an easy idea to pitch, option 1, we save them money by cutting back, not eliminating (I would never recommend that – a topic for a different day), on traditional advertising and in turn decrease their marketing expenditures, or, option 2 add free digital marketing to their current traditional campaign and increase revenue, either way, we put more money in their pockets.

2. Has web traffic increased?

Not only is this an easily translatable, tangible piece of data that makes sense to business owners, it is by far, the easiest metric to track in the history of metrics. It really is a no brainer, by simply tracking the number of hits month over month, you can easily determine whether your social media campaign has seen some “success” or needs a bit of tweaking.

A side note on this – while increased traffic is great, it can certainly ruffle some feathers. If traffic increases 50% and sales don’t increase at all, you might reveal some underlying issues related to conversion, management, etc. that business owners may shy away from.

One final thought – at the end of the day, it is important to remember and relay, that although it does need to be leveraged correctly, social media is FREE, and any return puts you in the black.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter: @brendanbrandt.

Additional Reading:

Calculate the ROI of Social Media – http://www.briansolis.com/2012/10/calculate-the-roi-of-social-media/

5 Simple Steps to Measure Social Media ROI – http://socialmediatoday.com/node/463590

Rodger’s Adoption Curve – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_adoption_lifecycle

Rodger's Adoption Curve

© 2012 Brendan Brandt. All Rights Reserved.