Tag Archives: web designer

Leveraging Your Contacts: 4 Tips in Upping your Social Selling Game

social media tips

As there’s more than one way to skin a cat, I’ve also come to understand that there’s more than one way for you to sell your products. Last week, completely on a whim, I decided to participate in a local walking tour that aims to educate both locals and tourists about some of the hidden attractions along the route. It was actually pretty fun and I’m somewhat ashamed to say that there are actually a number of places that I’m unfamiliar with even with two decades of living in this city.

Still, the biggest surprise comes right at the end of the tour when I exchanged contact information with other participants and, thinking that we might get together again for another walking tour, was instead bombarded with no less than three business opportunities. Everything these days, it seems, are networking events. If you’re willing to go that far, everything can be turned into a sales channel as can be seen in social media platforms where opportunities to make new acquaintances have been turned into this giant marketplace by social media services and marketers through the practice of social selling.

We’re not here to make friends

I still remember that innocent time in 2008 where Facebook was a way for me to, if not make friends, at least get in touch with other people in that wide circle we call college. Even though I’ve lost touch with a number of people I met during that time, I’m still quite indebted to Facebook as the platform provided me with plenty of opportunities to connect further with people that I recognized from that one class we shared. Just as how Facebook was quite effective for the purpose of finding new people to hang out with, it should be of little surprise that Facebook (and social media platforms in general) can be quite effective as a platform to peddle your products and/or services.

In theory, the practice of social selling is a separate entity when compared to the practice of social media marketing with the key differentiator being the issue of revenue generation. In practice though, the lines between the two can get a little blurry as the practice of social selling can involve more long-term strategies that might not generate revenue immediately but more about raising awareness on the value proposition of the brand, which technically falls under the general umbrella of marketing. No matter what term you use however, social media can be a valuable platform in expanding your businesses’ reach.

The downside however is that social selling can be somewhat tricky to ace. The popularity of social media platforms is still a recent phenomenon and with the likes of Facebook and Instagram constantly updating and adding new features to their respective platforms, it can be quite hard to get a handle on nailing the practice of social selling. As customer trends change and technology progresses, what works today might not produce the same result so it’s important to take the following 4 tips in mind when considering your social selling efforts.

Carefully monitor activities around your brand and your industry

As social media platforms have grown astonishingly massive, with both Facebook and Instagram boasting more than 1 billion users, it’s getting harder to find prospective leads in that ocean of people. Luckily, most platforms come with monitoring tools that should make your job easier in trying to discover prospective leads. Find relevant keywords or hashtags and take a look at the activities around your competitors to scope for potential leads. As your business and the public awareness of your brand goes bigger, you might be able to simply wait for potential leads to come to you but for small businesses who are just starting out, engaging with potential leads is definitely the way to go.

Pay close attention whenever your brand is mentioned or tagged

Another way to scope out for potential leads is to drop by whenever your brand is mentioned or tagged in public. There’s a chance that these mentions aren’t going to be complimentary but instead of shying away from confrontation, these negative mentions could actually be used as an opportunity for you to set things right. If it turns out that the fault lies with you, this provides you with the opportunity to show that you care while if it’s not your fault, this could prevent your reputation from being damaged further. For complimentary mentions, you could simply drop by in the comments and scope out other commenters or those who liked the posts for potential leads.

Connect with influencers and other important figures

Around a decade ago, when small businesses aren’t as plentiful as they are now, my buying process was pretty simple. There were only a couple of boutique denim and leather shoe brands to pay attention to and finding the most ideal pair of jeans or shoes wouldn’t take too long. Fast forward ten years later however and the landscape is as crowded as Bondi Beach on a summer’s day and I have to rely on curators in the form of influencers for my decision making process.

I’m not talking about influencers in the style of the Hadids, Kardashians and the Jenners but more along the lines of microinfluencers with relatively small but loyal followings. These microinfluencers won’t make gossip headlines anytime soon and are usually only known to those with a keen interest in the industry but are highly regarded within their specific niche. If your business targets aficionados and those with an appreciation for the finer things in life, these microinfluencers should be of particular interest.

Try out targeted ads

If you’re looking to expand your reach beyond what you’re capable of doing on your own, you might want to try out paid/targeted ads. As these social media platforms try to further commercialize their platforms, these ads are going to be even more prominent (if they haven’t already) and you might reach a point where your organic marketing efforts simply aren’t working. Targeted ads can also be useful if you’re in the middle of a campaign as the extra incentives might prove to be enough to entice prospective leads.

Keeping Your Enemies Closer: Using Social Media for Competitive Analysis

social media tips

If there’s any trend worth observing in this 21st century is how these contemporary times has made activities that would typically be described as frivolous into something considerably more substantial. You can for example turn your hobby of playing video games into an actual, bountiful living or you can simply upload photos and videos of you in social media into an actual career. That last part there is particularly important as the use of social media is still stigmatized as something silly even though they can be particularly useful as long as you know what to look for from social media platforms.

For one, as social media is where the majority of the younger generation spends a part of their time, platforms such as Twitter or Instagram make for an incredibly fertile ground for the purpose of marketing. Social media platforms allow you to do research on your target market and connect with them directly. However, what’s less known is that those very same platforms could be used for the purpose of competitive analysis where your company can scout your competition and see if there’s anything they’re doing that might be worth considering.

The importance of competitive analysis

No matter how specifically niche your business is, you’re bound to have some competition and your competition typically range from bigger, more established businesses to younger, more agile startups. The common sense is that as a business, you’re going to have to find an edge over these competitions to be successful as a business but when you’re going toe-to-toe with businesses with more brand recognition and resources, there might not be a lot you can do. Whatever the case, competitive analysis can be useful in helping you figure out the landscape for your industry.

In layman’s terms, competitive analysis is the practice of data gathering and analysis of other players in your industry and how they handle their businesses and how they deal with customers. Competitive analysis doesn’t fall under the umbrella of corporate espionage because you’re only dealing with data that are publicly available and this practice has long been a mainstay in responsible business practice. In today’s business world, competitive analysis can be incredibly useful because they might help your business survive even when you’re operating with a disadvantage by helping you finding your niche.

If you can’t be better than your competition, try being different instead. The goal of trying to find your niche is to try a segment of the market that’s still relatively untapped and figure out how to enter that market. Using competitive analysis, you can find out what segment your competitors are focusing on and the kind of audience they’re trying to attract and use that information to carve your own slice of the market. Social media platforms can be incredibly useful here as they provide you with all of this information in a single spot.

Establish who your competitors are

The first thing to do is to try and not to limit your scope simply on other businesses of similar sizes and price range. While you might not be directly competing with businesses that are operating in a different segment, market overlaps here and there is to be expected and checking these brands out will help you in finding other segments to fill. If you’re just starting out, it’s incredibly important for you to try and establish yourself outside your competitor’s shadow and that can be achieved by being unique.

Find out how they’re using social media

Some brands use social media simply as a marketing tool while others use them as sales channel and a customer service channel on top of their purpose as a marketing tool. You can also see which of your competitors are getting more engagement in a platform and how they interact with their customers. Follower and like counts aren’t the only metric you should pay attention to and you might want to try posing as customers and try to interact with your competitors on social media just to see how they handle things. For now, focus on gathering and categorizing these data first before trying to make sense of them.

Check out what influencer they’re keeping an eye on

I’m not talking about the Kardashians or the Hadids of the world; I’m talking about industry-specific influencer whose contents are of a specific niche. For example, I know of several accounts that are knee-deep in the world of denim that are fairly influential even when their follower count is negligible compared to some of the more popular influencers. If you’re trying to establish credibility within the experts of your industry, getting to know these industry-specific influencers are a must and this is just one of the many ways social media competitive analysis could help you.

Use all of the collected information to help your business

By now, you already have an idea on who your competitors are and if you’ve been doing your homework, you should already have an idea on the strengths and weaknesses of each account and how they position themselves within the market. With this information, you should be able to make a decision on whether you’re capable of directly competing with your competitors or if it would be too time-consuming and expensive to try intruding in their domain. If it’s the latter, you should try exploiting existing gaps in the market where none of your competitors excel in.

From all the data you’ve gathered on their social media accounts, you should also have an idea on which account is receiving more engagement from customers. It’s important to underline the social part in social media as ideally, you want there to be more activity in your social media feed. What kind of content they’re using, how they respond to queries on social media and the frequency of updates all have an effect on customer’s engagement and you want to use these information to figure out your own social media strategies.

The Plain Language Movement: The Importance of Simple Language in Content Marketing

content marketing tips

Please excuse my vanity for a moment but I like to think of myself as a somewhat respectable writer. I’m almost definitely never going to with either a Nobel Prize in Literature or a Pulitzer but when push comes to shove, I can confidently say that I could write better than the average Joe/Jane you find walking on the street. Even with all of my capability as a wordsmith however, I have the absolute confidence that I could never write as well as the kind of people that works in a corporate legal department. I have right now in my hand a by-the-numbers employee contract and I am amazed at how they could make something so simple sounds needlessly complicated.

If you’ve ever read an employee contract or any other similar form of legal documents such as the ubiquitous terms and conditions agreement, I have the absolute faith you know what I’m talking about here. Legal documents are some of the most obtuse writing the human race to the point that there’s an official government website in the United States of America dedicated to making government communique, especially legal documents, more digestible to the average public. This website is part of the larger plain language movement all over the world and it’s this philosophy that I believe is also relevant to content marketing services and other marketers.

Jargon-filled marketing

Have you ever read a press release or a company profile only to find that you have absolutely no idea what they’re trying to say? Join the club then, my friend because that is exactly how I feel about how most car companies handle their marketing in the past few years. I’m not exactly much of a petrolhead but I do like to follow what’s going on in the greater world of automotive and motorsport and as a result, I get to read a lot about what companies are saying about their new cars and all I can say is the words they’re using and how they use them is a lot which might sound like a good thing even though in reality, it’s kinda not.

Earlier this year, the American Automobile Association or the AAA did a study on the various driver assist systems available in the market and group them based on what they actually do. Based on their findings of 34 automakers in America, they found a total of 20 different variations for adaptive cruise control systems, a system that automatically adjust a vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead. The variations include “distance assist”, “high-speed dynamic radar cruise control”, Mercedes-Benz’s “distronic plus”, etc. A turd by any other name is still going to be a turd and having 20 different ways to describe what is essentially the same thing is just going to be confusing for customers.

The beauty in simplicity

There’s this webcomic that I infinitely love called Strange Planet created by Nathan Pyle that examines this issue in an absurdly humorous way. The gist of the comic is that there’s these humanoid beings not unlike ours that participates in the usual human behaviors but describing them in a strangely familiar way. One notable example is a parent tucking in their kid into bed but instead of saying “sweet dreams” like you would expect, the parent instead said “imagine pleasant nonsense”. On a purely technical level, these two phrases carry the exact same meaning but if the former is delivered in perfect English, the latter feels like having English translated into German which was then translated into French then into Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Spanish and back into English again.

I completely understand that as a writer, you’d like to showcase what makes you better than everybody else but the mark of an exceptional writer is not someone who sounds like they memorized the contents of every thesaurus known to man but someone who’s capable of conveying the complexities of life using simple languages. As a prime example, I would like to shine a spotlight on the winner of the 2017’s Nobel Prize for Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro. Among his contemporaries, Ishiguro is known for the simplicity of his prose. There are no obvious theatrics in the language that he uses and yet I’m comfortable in saying that at their best, Ishiguro’s work is an emotional tour de force.

The beauty in brevity

Another point I’d like to make is the beauty of brevity. I’m not saying here that you should make blog posts containing less than 1,000 words every single time but even when you’re doing an in-depth piece revolving around a subject, you want to be as brief and as straight to the point as possible. Purple prose, the act of using extravagantly flowery text characterized by an excessive use of metaphors, is a risky technique to employ in literature and they can be even more damaging in the world of content marketing as they’re wholly unnecessary. Try using less complex sentences and break them down to smaller, simpler sentences whenever possible.

That being said, don’t be afraid to use analogies

When used clumsily, analogies can add unnecessary burden to a text but for me personally, I find them to be an excellent tool when trying to explain a relatively complex subject or when I’m trying to prove a point. The whole philosophy of the plain language movement is to simplify obtuse text into something anyone can easily understand and what better way to do that than to use a common analogy as an illustration? Analogies can also be a useful tool for writers to try and inject some of their personality into the writing without having to add unnecessary complexity to the text.

Using conversational language in marketing

The final and most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to language in content marketing is to simply write how you talk. This is plain, simple common sense and yet I’ve lost count of how many supposed writers I know of that can’t even follow this one simple advice. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about the latest developments on Brexit or your thoughts on this year’s The Bachelor; all you have to do is make sure that your writing sounds equally natural. Try reading what you just wrote and if you feel awkward saying them aloud, that’s a surefire sign that your writing could use a little bit more time in the oven.