Back to Basics: 5 Tips for Becoming a More Effective Community Manager

Your main goal as a community manager is to advocate your brand on social networks, find and engage potential customers in an online community and deepen the customer’s relationship with the brand. Sounds easy, right?

Wrong. Community management is challenging. Customer expectations are becoming increasingly more demanding, and the customer now has more control over brand reputation than ever before. While this is a real challenge, there is also a huge opportunity for brand messaging that delivers clear, consistent and valuable content to the customer community. As a community manager, it’s important to not only link the customer community to the brand, but also to instill the brand goals and objectives throughout the community.

One in every three minutes customers spend on the Internet is spent on social media and messaging accounts, and when customers engage with the brand on social media, they expect a response within four hours even though the average brand response time is 10 hours. Clear, consistent and valuable content to the customer community must also be timely to be meaningful.

Below, you’ll discover 5 tips for effective community management that will help you take advantage of these opportunities:

#1 – Create a Good Customer Experience

We live in a world of content overload where it’s easy for users to get lost in the sea of endless content. This makes it difficult for them to find exactly what they are looking for, when they need it.

To create a good customer experience, provide consistent brand messaging and a similar look and feel so that customers can easily identify your brand’s content and find comfort with the familiarity. With each platform, craft your messaging and the types of content to the audience using that specific platform.

#2 – Engage With Your Community on a Human Level

Anonymity is the enemy. While some believe that an anonymous response, or one that simply identifies the brand, is good because the customer directly interacts with the brand, an anonymous response doesn’t connect on a human level.

Put a name and a face behind the brand’s responses to the customer, humanize the message and develop a trusting relationship. A personal response will provide a better customer experience for your online community.

#3 – Encourage Conversations

There are many types of messages that can be crafted for social media networks, and each network is better suited for certain types of messaging over another. In every case, it’s important that the customer finds the message to be valuable and relevant to fit their needs.

Create messages that are easy to understand using simple language that encourages further participation through conversation. Avoid jargon and speak to the customer’s needs. Find ways for these conversations to also be between the customers themselves. Encourage the online community to engage with itself and the brand by asking specific questions.

#4 – Conversations Should Include Brand Leadership & Executives

Getting the active participation from brand leadership is hard, but the relationship between the brand and the customer is strengthened through this type of conversation. Some common reasons why leadership doesn’t participate are because they don’t have enough time, or they don’t exactly know how.

Make the communication as easy for your leadership team as possible and show them the value of their contributions. For example, create a publishing or editorial calendar for their communication to carve out a specific time from their busy schedule. You can also use the next point to help them see the value that the brand gets from their time and effort.

#5 – Use Data to Improve Engagement

Each social media platform has an analytics tool that can provide helpful insight into metrics to measure your effectiveness. Use these insights as a baseline and continuous measure of engagement.

Social media analytics tools, among other tools, help understand how your brand will measure success and find out if your efforts are working, opportunities for improvement and provide you with information to make actionable decisions for the future.

Here is a list of a few analytics tools to help you measure success:

  • Google Analytics – lets you measure your advertising ROI and track social networking sites
  • Sprout Social – helps you monitor, measure and engage with your social media management insights to uncover valuable trends in responsiveness and engagement
  • Hootsuite – lets you save time by managing all of your social media marketing efforts from a single dashboard
  • Sprinklr – is a social engagement platform that unites customer-facing teams to create better, personal experiences for your customers
  • – allows you to shorten, share, manage and analyze your favorite links from around the web
  • Buffer – helps you manage your social networks by scheduling Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn messages

Putting it All Together

Sure, your day is already packed, and juggling your many tasks isn’t easy. Rather than lose your balance and drop all of those plates, implement these 5 tips to be a more effective community manager. The connection between your customer community and your brand will be stronger for it.

Still Need Some Help?

Developing relationships with your customers in an online community isn’t an easy feat. If you’re looking for help strategizing the best solution for your brand to build awareness and create deeper and more meaningful connections between your brand and customers, we’re here to help. Contact TopRank Marketing today!

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11 Content Marketing Tips to Build Your B2B Business

As the father of an 8-year-old boy, most of my disposable income is tied up in little plastic bricks. In my house, you’ll find thousands of them in bins, several elaborate sets on display, and a distressing number of the (razor-sharp) things underfoot.

I’m not complaining, really. I have as much fun building with them as he does. And as a marketer, having Lego around is a good reminder of the value of content marketing. Great content can drive marketing goals while providing something of real value to its target audience: The Lego Movie was a 90-minute commercial for Lego, but it was also entertaining and heartfelt. I laughed, I cried, I bought $ 100 worth of tie-in toys… everybody won.

Your B2B offering may not have that Lego coolness factor. The Industrial Turbine Movie is unlikely to score with critics or with audiences. But content can still help you build your business.

If you’re just getting started with content marketing, start with this guide to content marketing strategy. Then use the following tips as an advanced class to make your content even more valuable to your audience. And, most importantly, to connect that audience to your business goals.

10 Content Marketing Tips to Build Your B2B Business

#1: Find the Intersection of Brand Expertise and Customer Needs

The Venn diagram of what your brand wants to talk about and what your customers want to learn about is never going to be a perfect circle.

The value lies in the overlap of your brand’s knowledge and your customer’s questions. It doesn’t help anyone to write informed content on an irrelevant topic, or uninformed content on a relevant one. Find out where your Venn diagram overlaps and start there. Then add a unique angle—something your brand is uniquely qualified to bring to the table.

#2: Help Prospects Succeed at Their Jobs

Note that you’re not just addressing the intersection of your company’s solution and customers’ needs. If your only helpful advice is, “Buy our product, here’s how it solves your problem,” you’re not really serving the audience.

B2B marketers frequently hear, “This content doesn’t address our product’s features, so it’s not relevant.” But anything that helps your potential buyer do his or her job better is acutely relevant. Helpful content builds brand recognition, establishes trust, and leads to loyalty when it’s time to make a purchase.

#3: Start with a Single Channel

In his book Content, Inc., Joe Pulizzi suggests focusing on just one channel for publishing your content. Create a repository of content on your owned real estate, using organic and paid social to drive traffic back to your home turf. The end goal should be creating a destination for visitors, who can become subscribers and eventually customers.

#4: Beef up Your Core Content

Before you start filling out your editorial calendar, make sure your site has a bare minimum of useful static content. The most compelling, viral blog post can’t get business results if your site lacks some of these basic building blocks:

  • An “About” page with your company’s philosophy and mission statement
  • A product page that explains exactly what your offering is and does.
  • A differentiator page explaining why your offering is unique.

#5: Encourage C-Suite Thought Leadership

Make sure there is a variety of voices in your content. That means tapping internal subject matter experts, certainly. But it’s also worth encouraging executives to contribute to content as well. Your C-suite is influential both in your organization and in your industry. Help them see the real business value of thought leadership content in building an audience, accelerating sales cycles, and lifting brand recognition.


#6: Collaborate with Influencers (and Prospects)

We’re pretty sold on influencer marketing at TopRank Marketing, for at least a dozen reasons. Influencer co-created content helps you reach a wider audience, boosts your credibility, and helps build mutually beneficial influencer relationships, for starters.

Start seeing your prospects as influencers, too. The next time you’re creating an influencer asset, look to people working at your most valuable target companies. Promote their content, make contact, and ask them to share their expertise. Working together to make something cool is a great way to start a relationship.

#7: Set a Cadence of Quality

How often should you publish content? As often as you can without sacrificing quality. If you can publish in-depth, supremely useful, world-beating content every day, go for it. But it’s better to post one great piece of content a week than 7 mediocre ones.

Set a cadence you will be sure to keep up with, and publish regularly to get your audience in the habit of visiting your site.


#8: Plan a Full-Funnel Content Mix

It’s easy to focus on bottom-of-funnel content—the ultra-specific stuff designed to lead directly to a purchase decision—because that content is perceived as having the greatest effect on the bottom line. But if all your content is at the bottom of the funnel, you don’t have a funnel.

Plan to cultivate a healthy content balance that addresses every stage of your buyer’s journey. That means more top-of-funnel than bottom-of-funnel content, and middle-funnel content that connects research to purchase intent.


#9: Create a Variety of Content Types

Nothing against the venerable white paper, that staple of B2B content marketing, but modern buyers are looking for a little more variety. Spice up your content mix with infographics, short video, SlideShare presentations—anything that adds visual interest can make your content stand out from the crowd.

When your content plan has diversity in content type, funnel stage, and authorial voice, you’ll be far better equipped to make your site a destination for readers.


#10: Include Logical Next Steps

Building a business with content is all about laying out a journey your customer can take. Their path may loop, move backwards, or leap forward, but each piece of content should clearly point them to the next destination. Every asset should have at least one call to action, whether it’s to read a piece of content further down the funnel, download an asset, subscribe, or schedule a demo.


#11: Gate Assets Sparingly

A gated eBook is most B2B marketers’ go-to lead capture tool. It’s a fine tactic, and one that we regularly employ to great success. It’s important, though, to make sure you have a healthy portion of ungated content. And it’s vital that your gated content provide value that’s worth the customer giving up their contact information.

For the most part, save your gated content for middle and bottom-of-funnel content. Keep the content highly specific and targeted at those most ready to purchase, and you can pre-qualify your leads. Gating top-of-funnel content can lead to either a high influx of low-quality leads, or (more likely) precious few people making the conversion at all.

Lego of Your Fear and Start Creating Great Content

You don’t have to be a billion-dollar toy corporation to create content that moves people to take action. With these tips in mind, you can develop a relevant, dynamic, compelling content marketing mix. Superlative content gets results, whether you’re selling little plastic bricks or million-dollar cloud software solutions.

Need help building your content empire? Learn more about TopRank Marketing’s content marketing services.

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SearchCap: Google Search Analytics for jobs, Google AdWords CTR analysis & retargeting tips

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. The post SearchCap: Google Search Analytics for jobs, Google AdWords CTR analysis & retargeting tips appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Digital Advertising Tips: 5 Scenarios Perfect for Pay-to-Play Tactics

In today’s competitive and content-saturated digital landscape, it’s no secret that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to connect, engage and inspire action from our audiences using only “free” or organic marketing tactics.

As a result, digital advertising, often dubbed “pay-to-play” by marketers, is steadily on the rise. In fact, last fall, eMarketer forecasted that digital advertising spend would surpass TV ad spending for the first time in history by the end of 2016. And that trend is definitely expected to continue.

However, despite rising ad spend, consumers are actively avoiding our ads, according to a 2016 HubSpot Research report. For example, four out of five consumers reported that they closed a browser or exited a website because of an autoplaying ad or a pop up.

So what’s a marketer to do? As HubSpot so eloquently put it: “Marketers who want to connect with potential customers must supplement their target’s online experience, not interrupt it.”

To me, this means leveraging digital advertising when it makes sense and executing it in a way that enhances user experience. With that said, below I offer a handful of scenarios perfect for pay-to-play tactics, and tips for making them resonate—rather than repel—your target audience.

#1 – When you want to maximize the reach of top-performing content.

Chances are that your team has a huge portfolio of existing content—and some of those pieces are likely driving continuous traffic and engagement, and—depending on the content type—leads. As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden often says: “Content isn’t King. It’s the Kingdom.” So why not get the most out of the kingdom you’ve built?

Identify high-flying pieces of content at every stage of the sales funnel, and give them a refresh if needed. Depending on where the content falls in the funnel, use your audience knowledge or customer personas to select your advertising channels and targeting options. In addition, created tailored and channel-optimized messaging for each piece you want to promote.

For example, when it comes to choosing your channels, if you want to promote an attract-level, how-to blog post, you might choose a sponsored post option on Facebook or promoted tweets on Twitter. If you’re looking to promote an engage-level white paper, you could choose to go with an account targeting campaign on LinkedIn.

Read: Working Together in Perfect Harmony: Digital Advertising + Content Marketing

Get the most out of what #content kingdom you’ve built with the help of #digitaladvertising.
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#2 – When you need to drive action under a tight deadline.

Are you hosting a webinar in the near future? Or are you hoping to drive “last-minute” registrations for an upcoming event your company is hosting? If so, digital advertising is a huge opportunity to create buzz and drive targeted traffic to your signup pages.

As always, use your audience knowledge or customer personas to help you select the right channels and targeting options, as well as craft personalized and compelling messaging. In addition, launch your campaign with multiple versions of your ads. This not only helps reduce the fatigue users could feel after seeing the same ad over and over, but gives you the opportunity to see what’s working and what’s not so you can make tweaks. After all, this is a short-term campaign, so you’ll want the ability to quickly make adjustments that will inspire action from your target audience.

#3 – When you’re fighting for search visibility in a competitive industry.

Driving search traffic is always an important objective for any marketer. But for those working in competitive industries, especially those battling well-established brands for search rankings, organic tactics may not be enough and a paid search campaign focused on top keywords may be out of budget. But, as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way, according to TopRank Marketing Digital Advertising & SEO Manager Steve Slater.

“If you have a tough road for organic SEO ahead of you, you can look at creating content around super long-tail, informational queries and bidding on them [in AdWords],” he said. “Oftentimes these queries are cheap and they can drive traffic to your site.”

Bid on super long-tail #keyword queries if you’re facing a tough organic #SEO road. @TheSteve_Slater
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#4 – When you’ve created awesome influencer content.

From influencer research and nurturing to creating the glorious finished product, any piece of influencer content you’ve created has likely required quite a bit of work—and you absolutely want to see it reach its full potential. Digital advertising can help you maximize your reach—which can benefit your organization and the influencers you’ve worked hard to cultivate relationships with.

For example, let’s say you created an eBook featuring insights and tips from 15 industry experts. The influencers have the unique industry expertise and audience following that made them a perfect fit for the content. One way to promote your eBook, as well as take advantage of your influencers social audience, is to craft a paid Twitter campaign that specifically targets your influencers’ followers who exhibit specific behaviors such as demographics, company size or interests.

Read: Boost Your Social Media Advertising Success with These 6 Pro Tips!

#5 – When you’re a startup.

Whether you’re a niche startup or looking to break into a competitive industry, digital advertising can help jump start your digital marketing efforts—and even deliver some quick wins.

For many startups, gaining brand awareness is often a key initiative out of the gate. According to Slater, leveraging Google Display Network is a great option because of its targeting capabilities and its affordability.

“It gives you the ability to create multiple ads at scale with the ad builder tool,” he said. “You can even create responsive ads at scale—something that’s a great option for startups that don’t have the budget for a graphic designer.”

In addition, you can target the website that you want your display ads to be placed on by keyword topic. Or if you want to level up your targeting, you can use affinity audiences—or even create custom affinity audiences,” Slater added. “All this to say, the display network is a pretty affordable way to get your brand in front of your potential audience.”

Are These the Only Scenarios Fit for Digital Advertising?

Absolutely not. Digital advertising can be a staple part of your ongoing integrated digital marketing strategy. From TopRank Marketing’s perspective, the continuous work you put into building organic awareness and engagement through creating great content, thought leadership and an awesome experience is your foundation. This is how you begin to build your brand from the ground up—and that has staying power.

But adding digital advertising—whether it be paid social, paid search, remarketing or sponsored content, or a combination of paid tactics—into the mix can be the icing on the cake or a leading tactic. It just needs to make sense for your industry, audience, business objectives and budget.

In what situations have you had the most digital advertising success? Tell us in the comments section below.

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | Digital Advertising Tips: 5 Scenarios Perfect for Pay-to-Play Tactics |

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9 SEO tips for better Google Image search results

Before you start exploring voice search, make sure you’ve optimized your site images as fully as possible, suggests columnist Wesley Young. Find out why and how to take advantage of this often-neglected type of search. The post 9 SEO tips for better Google Image search results appeared first on…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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SEO for Copywriters: Tips on Measuring SEO Impact – Next Level

Posted by BrianChilds

Welcome to the newest installment of our educational Next Level series! In our last episode, Brian Childs shared a few handy shortcuts for targeting multiple keywords with one page. Today, he’s back to share how to use Google Analytics to measure the SEO impact of your content. Read on and level up!

Understanding how to write web content for SEO is important. But equally important is knowing how to measure the SEO impact of your content after it’s published. In this article I’ll describe how to use Google Analytics to create reports that evaluate the performance of articles or the writers creating those articles.

Let’s start with some definitions.

What is SEO content?

Search engine optimized content is the strategic process of researching and writing website copy with the goal of maximizing its impact in the SERPs. This requires having a keyword strategy, the ability to conduct competitive analyses, and knowledge of current ranking factors.

If you’re a copywriter, you’ve likely already been asked by your clients to create content “written for SEO.” Translating this into action often means the writer needs to have a greater role in both strategy and research. Words matter in SEO, and spending the time to get them right is a big part of creating content effectively. Adding SEO research and analysis to the process of researching content often fits nicely.

So the question is: How do I measure the effectiveness of my content team?

We go in greater depth on the research and reporting processes during the Moz seminar SEO for Content Writers, but I’ll explain a few useful concepts here.

What should I measure?

Well-defined goals are at the heart of any good digital marketing strategy, whether you’re doing SEO or PPC. Goals will differ by client and I’ve found that part of my role as a digital marketer is to help the client understand how to articulate the business goals into measurable actions taken by visitors on their site.

Ideally, goals have a few essential traits. They should:

  • Have measurable value (revenue, leads generated, event registrations)
  • Be identifiable on the site (PDF downloads, button clicks, confirmation page views)
  • Lead to business growth (part of an online campaign, useful to sales team, etc.)

Broad goals such as “increase organic sessions on site” are rarely specific enough for clients to want to invest in after the first 3–6 months of a relationship.

One tool you can use to measure goals is Google Analytics (GA). The nice part about GA is that almost everyone has an account (even if they don’t know how to use it) and it integrates nicely with almost all major SEO software platforms.

Lay the foundation for your SEO research by taking a free trial of Moz Pro. After you’ve researched your content strategy and competition with Keyword Explorer and Open Site Explorer, you can begin measuring the content you create in Google Analytics.

Let me show you how I set this up.

How to measure SEO content using Google Analytics

Step 1: Review conversion actions on site

As I mentioned before, your SEO goals should tie to a business outcome. We discuss setting up goals, including a worksheet that shows monthly performance, during the Reporting on SEO Bootcamp.

During the launch phase of a new project, locate the on-site actions that contribute to your client’s business and then consider how your content can drive traffic to those pages. Some articles have CTAs pointing to a whitepaper; others may suggest setting up a consultation.

When interviewing your client about these potential conversion locations (contact us page, whitepaper download, etc), ask them about the value of a new customer or lead. For nonprofits, maybe the objective is to increase awareness of events or increase donations. Regardless of the goal, it’s important that you define a value for each conversion before creating goals in Google Analytics.

Step 2: Navigate to the Admin panel in Google Analytics

Once you have goals identified and have settled on an acceptable value for that goal, open up Google Analytics and navigate to the admin panel. At the time of writing this, you can find the Admin panel by clicking on a little gear icon at the bottom-left corner of the screen.

Step 3: Create a goal (including dollar value)

There are three columns in the Admin view: Account, Property, and View. In the “View” column, you will see a section marked “Goals.”

Once you are in Goals, select “+New Goal.”

I usually select “Custom” rather than the pre-filled templates. It’s up to you. I’d give the Custom option a spin just to familiarize yourself with the selectors.

Now fill out the goal based on the analysis conducted in step #1. One goal should be filled out for each conversion action you’ve identified. The most important factor is filling out a value. This is the dollar amount for this goal.

The Google description of how to create goals is located here: Create or Edit Goals

Step 4: Create and apply a “Segment” for Organic Traffic

Once you have your goals set up, you’ll want to set up and automate reporting. Since we’re analyzing traffic from search engines, we want to isolate only traffic coming from the Organic Channel.

Organic traffic = people who arrive on your site after clicking on a link from a search engine results page.

An easy way to isolate traffic of a certain type or from a certain source is to create a segment.

Navigate to any Google Analytics page in the reports section. You will see some boxes near the top of the page, one of them labeled “All Users” (assuming segments haven’t been configured in the past).

Select the box that says “All Users” and it will open up a list with checkboxes.

Scroll down until you find the checkbox that says “Organic Traffic,” then select and apply that.

Now no matter what reports you look at In Google Analytics, you’ll only be viewing the traffic from search engines.

Step 5: Review the Google Analytics Landing Page Report

Now that we’ve isolated only traffic from search engines using a Google Analytics Segment, we can view our content performance and assess what is delivering the most favorable metrics. There are several reports you can use, but I prefer the “Landing Pages” report. It shows you the page where a visitor begins their session. If I want to measure blog writers, I want to know whose writing is generating the most traffic for me. The Landing Pages report will help do that.

To get to the Landing Pages report in Google Analytics, select this sequence of subheadings on the left sidebar:

Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages

This report will show you, for any period of time, which pages are delivering the most visits. I suggest going deeper and sorting the content by the columns “Pages per session” and “Session Duration.” Identify the articles that are generating the highest average page depth and longest average session duration. Google will see these behaviors and signal that you’re delivering value to your visitors. That is good for SEO.

Step 6: Review the conversion value of your writers

Remember those goals we created? In the far right columns of the Landing Pages report, you will find the value being delivered by each page on your site. This is where you can help answer the question, “Which article topics or writers are consistently delivering the most business value?”

If you want to share this report with your team to help increase transparency, I recommend navigating up to the top of the page and, just beneath the name of the report, you’ll see a link called “Email.”

Automate your reporting by setting up an email that delivers either a .csv file or PDF on a monthly basis. It’s super easy and will save you a ton of time.

Want to learn more SEO content tips?

If you find this kind of step-by-step process helpful, consider joining Moz for our online training course focused on SEO for copywriters. You can find the upcoming class schedule here:

See upcoming schedule

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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You Know Influencers: 5 Tips to Unlock Powerful Employee Advocacy

[Editor’s Note: I am pleased to introduce you to Will Peterson, another new contributor on Will is an Account Manager that services many of our B2B Enterprise clients. Welcome Will!]

Don’t look now, but you’re surrounded by influencers. You may not realize it, and they may not realize it themselves, but you and everyone you work with carry an immense amount of potential influence. Read on to discover how to uncover a powerful hidden force that can add significant value to everything from your company’s social media presence all the way down to its bottom line.

Everyone is influential about something. @leeodden
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Are you in a book club? Do you share recipes with friends? Are you an avid reader and contributor of motorcycle racing forums? Anytime you’re discussing your interests with someone else, be it online or in person, you are exerting your influence on that discussion. The same goes for your employees, team members, and coworkers. Without going too much into the weeds about how to exactly define an influencer, we can safely say that your co-workers, team members, and employees each have their own sphere of influence. A look at some recent research shows that 88% of employees are personally active on at least one social media site. That means your people have people, and they are talking to them, tweeting at them, and sharing with them. So how do you encourage all that potential social influence to work for your team?

Influence the Influencers

Your employees or fellow employees are also consumers, and consumers in this day and age know how to sniff out a salesy marketing pitch. That being said, consumers trust other consumers, and according to multiple studies on trust, we know employees are seen as more credible than executives. Employee advocacy is a powerful marketing tool and encouraging your employees to speak as influencers about your company is a wonderful way to increase brand engagement. Follow these steps to capitalize on that trust and help your employees tap into their influencer power.

#1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. Remind your employees that their positive comments about your company on social media make life better for everyone. With an improved online profile, your company will have an easier time recruiting top talent, earning top clients, and keeping top customers. Once your team realizes that they are only helping themselves, they will be more motivated to share!

One benefit of employees sharing their high opinions of our company has been TopRank Marketing being named one of the Top 100 Places to Work in Minnesota two years running. This has helped tremendously with hiring great people!

#2. All Social is Good Social

Not everyone has social media accounts on every channel. I barely touched my twitter account until I joined the team at TopRank Marketing. Now I regularly post about clients, company mentions in the news, and other marketing-related topics there and on my LinkedIn page as well. I don’t do much on Facebook however, because I’d rather keep it more personal and less professional. Don’t force your employees to use one channel over the other. If they’d rather sing your praises on Google Plus than Pinterest, encourage them to do so!

#3. The Right Tool for the Right Job

My dad always says you can do anything if you have the right tool for the right job. Make your employees lives easier and introduce them to Buffer, Hootsuite, or some other social media management tool. These can be incredible time savers and will increase the likelihood of your influencers getting the word out there more regularly. In just a few minutes each week, they can appear to be full-time social media mavens.

#4. Prevent Writers’ Block Before It Strikes

Some employees may fret that they “just wouldn’t know what to say” about their company. Not to fear, the Weekly Social Messaging Email is here! Send one email per week with some content ideas for your team to share. This could be anything from recent mentions in the news, client updates, relevant news stories for your industry, or even personal victories for your team members. The point is to get them comfortable with the process and help them build their voice on social channels so their spheres of influence hear it more often.

#5. To the Victors Go the Spoils

Track engagement of your company’s social mentions and let the team know who the biggest sharers (aka influencers) have been for the past week. Using a tool like Hootsuite Amplify, LinkedIn Elevate, or Dynamic Signal can create ease of use and make tracking a snap. Make it a challenge they want to win! Offer an extra drink at the company happy hour or a piece of company swag for the top dog each week! This kind of gamification is a great way to encourage participation among employees.

Practice Makes Perfect

Now that you know the benefits of tapping into the marketing influencers around you at work, and some of the ways to encourage them to get active on social media, get out there and make it happen. Your employees will feel good about this easy way to contribute to the success of their company.

What else can you do to influence your influencers?

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

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Declare Independence from B2B Influencer Marketing Blunders: 5 Tips for Success

Today marks the birth of American independence. While it took collaboration, respect and strategic thinking to persuade Continental Congress to formally adopt the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago, the impact and importance will forever be remembered throughout history. This is a lot like influencer marketing (although, Congress will not be involved).

Just like the Declaration of Independence, it has taken a long time and a lot of work (on the part of marketers and journalists) to get influencer marketing where it is today. In a recent report conducted by Traackr, Altimeter Group and TopRank Marketing, data shows that only 15% of B2B brands are running ongoing influencer programs, which opens up huge opportunities for the future of B2B brands and influencer marketing.

With primary objectives like increased brand awareness and reach and driving lead generation, influencer marketing is a highly strategic marketing tactic that is rising in the ranks for B2B many brands.

It’s a known fact that influencer marketing should be implemented, but how can you successfully execute ongoing influencer relationships?

Identify the right influencers and nurture long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial for your brand and your influencers to captivate your audience and bring them value. To help you achieve this, below you’ll find 5 common influencer marketing missteps, tips to get it right and advice from top influencer marketing experts to declare independence and implement successful influencer marketing campaigns to achieve your brand goals:

#1 – Don’t Just Look for Influencers with Large Social Followings

The first misstep is very common and proves to be misleading for many brands because often times, influence is equated with the number of followers, fans, and likes an influencer has. It’s tempting to look to celebrities and other popular figures to increase reach and awareness, but this isn’t always the most effective option.

TIP: Identify influencers whose brand goals and objectives align with yours. Micro-influencers, those who have a smaller following, but are more focused on a specific topic, can be very powerful collaborators who can make strong connections with your audience.

Reaching out with poor design using a Gmail address doesn’t motivate engagement @leeodden
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#2 – Guest Blogging isn’t the Only Option

One way to implement an influencer marketing campaign is to ask for a contribution via a guest blog post. While technically this is seen as influencer marketing, you probably won’t get the results you desire. A guest post alone won’t help educate and inspire your audience, you must do more.

TIP: Use an integrated approach to the content campaign with your influencer. Give them guidelines and ask them questions. Use their answers, in their own words, and employ social media to amplify the co-created content.

Influencers are likely to add commentary if there’s an existing relationship @JoePulizzi
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#3 – Money Shouldn’t Drive Your Influencer Relationships

This touches on a much larger topic that influencer marketing is transactional. I hate to break it to you, but the money driven, pay-to-play approach isn’t a scalable model. Often times, influencers are turned off by this type of interaction.

TIP: Instead of putting a price on the influencer engagement, think of it as a long-term relationship. With each interaction, social mention, personalized email and in-person contact, you are strengthening that relationship and helping it grow. It could be as simple sharing content to your network that the influencer has created previous to your partnership.

Reach out directly and make it personal. Do NOT delegate this critical step @heidicohen
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#4 – Your Brand Must Give Up Some Control

For many of your marketing efforts, your brand will have complete control. However, having the ultimate cosmic power will likely get you trapped in a little genie bottle where you’ll be stuck on a lonely island with no influencer contributions.

TIP: Let loose the reins a little bit and set guidelines and clear expectations for the influencer, but give them some control over the messaging and design. The influencer has a committed following who is familiar with their brand, don’t confuse the audience by imposing.

Don’t tell me your story, let me tell my story. LESS fabrication, MORE facilitation @TedRubin
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#5 – Don’t Stop Communication After the Campaign is Over

Stopping the communication after the close of a campaign will make more future work. It’s common for B2B brands to end communication with the influencer after the campaign. The time and energy you spent nurturing the influencer will be wasted if this happens. It’s the “one and done” mentality, and no one likes the feeling of being used, and neither does your influencer network.

TIP: Keep the communication channel open and use an ongoing approach to your influencer marketing program. Share the co-created content and send pre-written messages to your influencer so they can share it with their networks on various platforms including social media. Thank your influencer for their contribution and continue to nurture the relationship, even after the campaign is over.

Influencers are indeed interested in seeing the fruits of their labors @lieblink
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You May Have Won the Battle…

Influencer marketing is an essential component of any successful B2B marketing strategy. To stand out amongst the competition, it’s important to approach influencers with tact and respect. Heeding the advice of these 5 marketing experts and influencers, and focusing on the relationship, rather than the result will help your brand thrive in the B2B marketplace.

Need Help Incorporating Influencer Marketing?

We’re here for you. Contact TopRank Marketing for help declaring your independence from bad influencer marketing.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | Declare Independence from B2B Influencer Marketing Blunders: 5 Tips for Success |

The post Declare Independence from B2B Influencer Marketing Blunders: 5 Tips for Success appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: 6 Tips for Helping Your Marketing Team Work Better Together

Who doesn’t love a good inspirational quote on the power of teamwork?

Teamwork makes the dream work.

TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More

Teamwork: Simply stated, is less me and more WE.

Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.

There’s no “I” in team.

We’ve all heard them. We’ve all said them. But can we all say that our marketing teams actually live by them?

For you marketing managers out there, there’s little doubt that you strive to support and enable great teamwork within your organization. After all, you’re likely managing an integrated marketing strategy that requires all hands on deck to get something cohesive and effective out the door. However, breaks in communication, bottlenecks, missed tasks, discontent and finger pointing can still be a daily struggle.

At TopRank Marketing finding ways to work better together has become a core business objective. From implementing agile marketing principles to launching a new project management system to a more collaborative hiring process, we’re doubling down on teamwork to not only create a great work environment, but also help drive great work and the best possible results for our clients.

As someone who works very closely with a diverse team of marketers, I wanted to share a few tips that can help you build trust with individuals on your team, and foster more and better teamwork.

#1 – Get to know your team members—and encourage them to do the same.

Let’s face it. We spend a lot of time with our coworkers—perhaps even more time than we do with our families in a given week. So why not get to know each other better on both a personal and professional level?

On a professional level, marketing managers and each team member should have a deep understanding of each other’s respective skills and strengths. Taking the time to learn these things makes it easier to delegate tasks and gives everyone insight on whose brains they can pick for advice.

On a personal level, we all have hobbies, interests and dreams outside of work. When we pay attention and show interest in a person’s life outside of company walls, we build a personal connection that fosters trust, friendship and compassion. And in my experience, having a personal connection to a coworker or supervisor absolutely drives more collaboration because we all care about each other, and all want to do our best to lift each other up.

Get a deep understanding of each other’s respective skills & strengths. #marketing #teamwork
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#2 – Define individual and team goals.

Goal setting is a critical piece of any initiative as goals help guide your overall strategy. As a result, if you want your team to come together, you have to make sure they have clearly defined goals for themselves and as team in front of them.

Gather your team members for a goal setting session so they can document what they want to accomplish both together and individually. Use the objectives you’ve outlined in your marketing strategy as the ultimate goals, and encourage them to outline items that will help reach those goals and what success actually looks like.

If you want your #marketing team to come together, get clearly defined goals in front of them.
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#3 – Outline individual responsibilities—and understand how they intersect with others’ duties.

Each individual has an important role to play within the larger team, and there needs to be clarity in who is responsible for what—as well as how their work has an impact on other members of the team.

During your goal setting session, outline each team member’s roles and responsibilities, and encourage everyone to weigh in. At the end of the session, not only will every member know what’s expected of them and their peers, but also feel like they’ve had a say.

There needs to be clarity in who is responsible for what. #marketing #teamwork
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#4 – Determine how you’ll communicate.

It’s certainly no secret that communication is vital to the success of any team. As a result, every team should establish a communications plan to help ensure people are in the know and accessible to each other.

At TopRank Marketing, we have an “open door” policy. This means that at any time, a team member can pop by with a question or for a quick strategy session. Of course, sometimes we need to be heads down and don’t want to be disturbed. So, recently we’ve added colorful flags to each of our desks. If the flag is up, send an email or stop by later. If the flag is down, we’re open for business. As far as task management goes, we use Workfront as our project management system to communicate details and deadlines.

For larger teams or those working remotely, Slack can be a fantastic option. As Beverly Jackson, Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy for MGM Resorts International, told me in a recent “Behind the Marketing Curtain” interview: “Communication between team members is crucial. And if you have team members who are always on the move, sometimes you can’t catch them by phone and email isn’t fast enough. We use Slack to stay in touch, and share things in small bursts.”

Establish a comms plan to keep people in the know & accessible to each other. #marketing #teamwork
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#5 – Hold regular standups.

As part of your communications plan, consider holding regular, in-person standup meetings. Inspired by Scrum and agile theories, these meetings should be about 15 minutes in length, and serve as a check-in to ensure everyone is on the same page and there are no hurdles in the way.

Depending on your organization or the task at hand, your standups could take place twice a week or every day. I’d recommend starting with daily, and then adjusting down based on your needs.

Hold regular, in-person standups. #marketing #teamworktips
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#6 – Eliminate work silos whenever possible.

No matter the industry, “eliminating silos” is often cited as key to better collaboration and success. But how? For marketers, it may be easier than you think.

As previously mentioned in this piece, most organizations are operating an integrated marketing strategy featuring several interconnected tactics such as social media marketing, content marketing, SEO and paid search. Chances are each of your team members specialize in one of these areas and a waterfall workflow is in place. For example, your SEO team needs to conduct keyword research before your content team can plan and create content. But these are perfect situations for deliberate and meaningful teamwork.

At TopRank Marketing, we’ve begun to eliminate the waterfall workflow in these cases. We’re having live working sessions in which the SEO, content, paid, social, analytics and account folks are in one room, working on all the tasks for a specific deliverable at once. This allows us to work more quickly and strategically, as well as continue to build trust and camaraderie with one another.

Eliminate waterfall workflows when possible boost efficiency & strategy. #marketing #teamworktips
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Teamwork Really Does Make the Dream Work

If there’s anything that I’ve learned in my time at TopRank Marketing, it’s that I can’t achieve marketing awesomeness on my own. I need multiple perspectives. I need specialized expertise. And I need to know what time happy hour is starting on Friday.

By digging into who your team members are, understanding their strengths and passions, and creating an environment where everyone is heard, your organization can achieve your marketing dreams.

What tactics has your organization employed to foster better teamwork? Tell us in the comments section.

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: 6 Tips for Helping Your Marketing Team Work Better Together |

The post Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: 6 Tips for Helping Your Marketing Team Work Better Together appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®