Why You Need Twitter Lists and How To Organize Them

Why You Need Twitter Lists and How To Organize Them

Why You Need Twitter Lists and How To Organize Them

If you only follow a few hundred people on Twitter, it’s relatively easy to see what they post and keep up-to-date with their content.

Likewise, if you only have around two hundred followers, you can quite easily see their comments on your content and who has taken the time to react and share it.

The problem comes when you start following several thousand or more people on Twitter and have around the same number of followers yourself. How on earth are you expected to keep up with all those people, gauge what impact you’re having, and know who is really engaging with you and your brand?

Well, the clue is in the title of this post! You need to start building Twitter lists. Obviously, you’ll still look at your Twitter stats occasionally and explore what’s trending, but building Twitter lists will make your time on social media shorter and more efficient.

Twitter lists are essentially filtered timelines, which means that – bonus! – you can use them to grow your own following.

Here are six Twitter list suggestions that you’ll definitely find useful, and will help boost your engagement and efficiency over time.

1. Influencers

Whatever your niche, there are sure to be certain influencers who lead the way, providing excellent content and advice to help those coming up in the industry. These influencers will also showcase their knowledge to build their reputation and drive traffic to their blogs and sales funnels.

They are incredibly useful people to follow and study. You can learn from their content, but you can also learn from what they do and who they interact with. Why not check out their own Twitter lists, and see what you can find?

You’ll be able to keep up-to-date with the latest news in your industry, discover emerging trends, and gain insights that could boost your business in the process simply through creating this Twitter list.

Not only that, but if you’re trying to get guest blogs on influencers’ websites or set up a joint venture with them, replying to, retweeting and liking their posts is a surefire way to grab their attention.

The above list of influencers by Ari Herzog is particularly good. You’ll see that the people he has added to the list are all incredibly influential in the field of digital marketing/branding.

2. Competitors

Following your competitors and keeping an eye on them is an essential part of building and growing your business, and Twitter lists provide a perfect way to organize them so you can easily see your competitors’ posts and news without losing them in the enormous stream of tweets.

Taking the opportunity to look at their news and their product and service announcements means you’ll know if they’re about to bring out a product that directly competes with yours. Better yet, you’ll potentially get ideas for your own business from seeing their posts. While I’m obviously not suggesting that you copy their ideas, there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from your research.

Your competitors’ stream also offers a valuable resource when you’re struggling over blog post ideas or what to post on social media. Look at their content, and see what performs well and gets the most engagement. That topic will likely work for you, too! Just make sure you give it a twist or write from the opposite slant, rather than just regurgitating their article.

Look at who’s following them, too. They might be potential customers that would also be interested in following you. Note that you don’t need to actually follow your competitors. You can just add their Twitter handle to your ‘Competitors’ list and you’ll get access to all of their tweets.

3. Sidekicks

These are the people who are regularly engaging with your content and your brand. Adding them to a Twitter list is a great way to make sure you can easily keep up with their content, retweet them, have conversations and share their content in return. It’s also a fantastic way to build relationships and a real sense of community around your business.

Having a dedicated ‘Sidekicks’ list ensures you won’t miss any mentions and retweets from your engaged and loyal followers. You may even find  suggestions for new products or services, or even just get ideas for products, services or blog posts when you swap comments and content with them.

Think of it as a way of making sure you’re paying their endorsement forward, and rewarding them for their continued interaction.

Up above, Aaron Lee has created a list of ‘Super-Sidekicks’ which contains Twitter users who have shared his content in the past. This gives him a single, dedicated place to refer to if he needs to invite people to share his content or if he just wants to reach out to people who have interacted with his brand previously.

4. RSVPs

These are the people who attend events or live Twitter chats that are relevant to your industry. There are two things to note here.

Firstly, Twitter chats are, by their very nature, full of engagement and conversation. What better place could there be to find people who are likely to continue the conversation and become some of your most active followers? Build lists of the people who you regularly see in the chats you are interested in, or those who join in with the chats that you run.

Again, you could get ideas from their insights and thoughts, and you could attract more like-minded and engaged followers in turn.

Secondly, building a Twitter list with an events focus can give you several advantages. If you’re attending events, whether online or in person, you can get an idea of who is attending before you go, research their interests and their company, and build your relationship prior by connecting with them on Twitter. You can also find out about any companies that are exhibiting and make effective use of your time by planning in advance who you want to make time to meet.

During events, you can follow the live Twitter stream to keep up with the latest happenings, too.

If you’re someone who organizes events, you’ll also find that building a Twitter list for attendees, speakers and exhibitors is a great way to build excitement, increase attendance and keep the conversation going after your event.

The team at Social Media Examiner created this list of speakers for their Social Media Marketing World event. This list is effective for two reasons: firstly, speakers can find out who else they’ll be sharing a stage with; secondly, attendees of the event can subscribe to the list to find out who they’ll be able to see at SMMW.

5. Bloggers

Along with ‘Influencers’, having a Twitter list that’s dedicated to ‘Bloggers’ is a brilliant way to build relationships with people who you might want to do business with or swap guest posts with.

Not only that, but it makes it easier to find content that you can share, and that you know your followers will love. It will help you come up with ideas for your own content and show you who’s truly at the top of their game.

At TweetPilot, we have The Best SMM Blogs for this exact reason. We’re constantly on the look-out for the best and latest social media marketing content, but trying to find it in and amongst our over-populated feed can be time-consuming and fruitless.

By creating this list, we made a one-stop platform to source the latest content from the leading social media marketers so that we can quickly give it a read and decide if it’s worth adding to our Buffer schedule.

6. Clients/Customers/Employees

Keeping up-to-date with your customers, clients and employees helps you stay across their news, investments, profits, products and services. Perfect if you’re a marketer, social media strategist or writer, as you can find requests for pitches or job opportunities where you might offer your services!

You can also share your clients’ news and posts by commenting on them and helping them publicly celebrate their successes. This will build your relationship with them and create trust. If you have a huge social media following, sharing posts can become a lucrative service in its own right or, at the least, boost the rate you can charge for your primary service.

In my view, employees should be in here too as, like your customers, they have a close personal tie to your brand. I’m in no way advocating creating a Twitter list to spy on your employees – rather, this list should be used so that your brand can interact in a positive way with your employees, and encourage them to share the same content you share.

Buffer have a great-looking list of their employees on Twitter which is completely public (part of Buffer’s ethos is to be totally transparent). Have a look through it and you’ll see how positively all their employees engage with the Buffer brand.

Basic Twitter list etiquette

Before you go, let’s chat about the unwritten (until now!) rules for creating Twitter lists.

When creating lists, you can set the privacy setting to public or private. This is an incredibly powerful tool, so use it wisely! Keep your list of ‘Competitors’ and ‘Clients’ private, but keep your list of ‘Sidekicks’ and ‘Influencers’ public.

Just as you don’t want your competitors to know you’re following them or to hand them a list of your clients, you do want to build handy resources for your own followers and become an influencer yourself.

Think carefully about what you want to call the lists you create. ‘Blogs I Follow’ may be accurate, but ‘Super Helpful Expert Blogs’ is better because it is accurate while providing a nice ego boost for anyone on the list. That can do wonders for building your relationship with them as well as your unique brand.

Lists can also be as creative as you are. If you have a niche interest or special expertise in an area, consider creating a list as a public resource in a neat spin on adding value for your customers or following. For instance, if you are in the skincare business, would your customers appreciate a list of international stockists?

However you use your Twitter lists, hopefully by now you can see the many advantages of having them, and how much easier it can make life on Twitter!

Guest Author: Lewis Crutch is the co-founder of TweetPilot a suite of Twitter tools to help you follow, unfollow, engage and discover on Twitter. Follow him at @TweetPilotHQ.

The post Why You Need Twitter Lists and How To Organize Them appeared first on Jeffbullas’s Blog.

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5 Key Local Social Media Marketing Tactics [Infographic]

5 Key Local Social Media Marketing Tactics [Infographic]

Social marketing makes sense for digital businesses, right? They’re online-based, so of course their marketing would be digital.

Well, kind of.

There are many web-based businesses that have had incredible success with traditional print/outdoor/TV/mail marketing efforts, and there are many local brick-and-mortar businesses that have enjoyed explosive growth through digital marketing.

When it comes down to which avenue you choose (or which combination, more likely), the “type” of business you are has little to do with it.

So, when I hear brick-and-mortar businesses say social marketing hasn’t worked for them in the past, or that they’re “too late” to the game, I say, ‘no way’. Social marketing can and does work for local brick-and-mortar businesses. We’ve seen it work at BuzzPlant with countless local businesses in Franklin, TN, from restaurants and coffee shops to retail and event spaces.

Why not you?

Today I’m excited to share with you five local social marketing tactics, which are based on 2,139 survey responses and 75,000 data points accumulated by Brandmuscle. Their findings have been summarized into the infographic below, providing some great insights for local brands.

5 Key Local Social Media Marketing Tactics [Infographic] | Social Media Today

A version of this post first appeared on the BuzzPlant blog.

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Facebook’s New Crackdown on Platform Mis-Use – and The Potential Impacts for Your Page

Facebook's New Crackdown on Platform Mis-Use – and The Potential Impacts for Your Page

As part of their ongoing effort to reduce the spread of misinformation and fake news across their network, Facebook has released a new paper which outlines how their investigations show government-backed groups have been using The Social Network to manipulate public opinion – and what Facebook’s now doing to stop it.

Facebook Cracking Down on Platform Mis-Use – and The Potential Impacts for Your Page | Social Media TodayThe report looks at what they call ‘information operations’, which, is a more complex mis-use of their system.

As Facebook explains:

“In brief, we have had to expand our security focus from traditional abusive behavior, such as account hacking, malware, spam and financial scams, to include more subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people.”

These efforts include a range of processes, including:

  • The creation of false accounts pretending to be people you know in order to facilitate the spread of information through more networks
  • Co-ordinated Liking of certain posts to boost specific messages
  • The creation of Groups which spread veiled propaganda masked as genuine information

The motivations of such actions can be complex – as noted by Reuters:

“Though the goals may often be to promote one cause or candidate, or to denigrate another, another objective appears to be sowing distrust and confusion in general.”

In terms of the latter, groups might, for example, spread misinformation for both sides of a political party with the intent of increasing tensions between supporters.

The discovery of this more complex form of manipulation complicates matters for Facebook, which had initially said that fake news on their network had little impact on public opinion, considering it accounts for only a small percentage of content. But the spread of that information, and the means through which their network can be used to sway opinion, makes the material itself somewhat less of an issue – it’s the network effect and reach that such groups are utilizing.

Facebook’s now putting new measures in place to combat this – including improved detection (using machine learning) and suspension of suspicious accounts – which is definitely a positive, but it is worth noting that those measures could have impacts on your own Facebook Page reach.

For example, before the recent French election, Facebook removed over 30,000 fake accounts, helping reduce the impact of such operations. But because those false profiles will often also like real Pages to make them appear more legitimate, the removals also impact other Pages – The Guardian, for example, says they’ve seen a drop of around 20,000 Likes linked to fake accounts across Guardian-branded pages in recent months. That, again, is not necessarily a bad thing – as Facebook says:

“Removing inactive Facebook accounts from Page audience data gives businesses up-to-date insights on the people who actively follow their Page and makes it easier for businesses to find people like their followers through tools like lookalike audiences.”

Those fake profiles are never going to engage with your content, so removing them can only benefit overall engagement – and thus reach – in the long term. In the short term, however, there may be an impact.

For one, you may see a drop in your Page Likes – never a good thing, but there could be a good reason.

To find out if those Likes have been removed due to suspicious activity, head to your Facebook Insights tab, click on the ‘Likes’ tab, then click on any day to see the like activity on your profile.

From there, you can click on the ‘Unlike sources’ tab to see why those likes have declined. If the majority are due to ‘Suspicious account removal’, it may be due to Facebook’s wider removal actions.

The other impact could be on reach.

As explained by Facebook’s News Feed VP Adam Mosseri in his recent F8 session, the News Feed algorithm takes into account a range of factors when assessing what content to show each user, including – as highlighted here – “Previous negative feedback on author”.

That would extend to negative feedback on Pages, which unlikes are – and when those Page likes are removed from your Page, they are, in fact, listed as ‘unlikes’.

That could result in your subsequent posts seeing lower reach, reducing your chances to maximize click-throughs.

The good news is that if such removals are due to Facebook’s wider actions, then the impacts should be short-lived, as you’ll be reaching more people who’ll actually engage with your content, eventually improving performance. But there could be an immediate impact – if you’re seeing reductions in your Likes or reach, it might be worth analyzing the causes and monitoring performance over time to assess the potential reasons before re-structuring your strategy.

Overall, the removal of fake accounts is only a positive for Facebook, as it will increase the performance of Pages by ensuring you’re able to reach actual, engaged people. But it is worth noting the potential short-term effects, and analyzing the causes. 

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Snapchat’s Removing the White Border from Older ‘Memories’ Content

Snapchat’s Removing the White Border from Older ‘Memories’ Content

Snapchat has made a change which will mean that Snaps uploaded from your Memories section will now no longer appear with a white border, denoting that they’re not current.

Snapchat’s Removing the White Border from Older ‘Memories’ Content | Social Media TodayYou can see the border in the last image above – up till now, when you’ve uploaded an older Snap from your Memories folder, the white border has helped signify that it’s not new, so your audience can discern which content is fresh and which is re-hashed.

Under the new system, Memories images will appear the same as any other content – though they will have a note in the top left signifying when the image was taken.

Image via TechCrunch

The new system will also only apply to Snaps you’ve taken within Snapchat – if you upload a photo from your camera roll, it will still appear with the white border, which may motivate Snapchat users to use their in-app camera more often.

The news hasn’t been great for Snapchat in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Instagram announced that their Snapchat Stories clone – also called ‘Stories’ – has now reached 200 million daily users, eclipsing Snapchat’s own 161 million daily actives, as per their recent S-1 filing. On top that, Facebook, at their annual F8 conference, unveiled their new Camera Effects Platform, which could help them keep up with Snapchat’s creative innovation and deliver more impressive augmented reality tools for people to utilize in their content.

So what’s Snap to do? Facing an all-out assault from Facebook, on almost all fronts (Facebook hasn’t released its own video recording sunglasses yet, so there’s that), Snapchat’s being forced to adapt, which they’ve been doing more recently with the addition of new discovery options (something that network has long eschewed) and moves to open up their system to more developers and advertisers, expanding opportunities.

An example of Snapchat’s new discovery tools, via Vin Orleck

What sort of impact they’ll have it’s impossible to say, though we’ll have a better idea of Snap Inc.’s position when the company announces its first earning results early next month. From there we’ll have a clearer understanding of the impacts Facebook’s efforts are having, and what Snap will need to do to maximize their opportunities.

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4 Premium Tools for Creating Social Media Visual Content

4 Premium Tools for Creating Social Media Visual Content

Creating top quality visual content is imperative to a successful social media marketing strategy. Visuals drive the highest engagement on established networks like Facebook and Twitter, while other networks like Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat are entirely visual-focused, meaning you need high quality images and video to reach these audiences.

To create top quality visual content you don’t need to be an experienced designer equipped with sophisticated tools like Photoshop, as there are several online image creation tools that are available for this purpose. These tools can help you create highly shareable images in minutes.

There are both free and paid options available. If you’ve already tried the free options and are looking for some better paid tools, then check out all the premium image creating tools listed below…

1. PromoRepublic

PromoRepublic is a complete visual social media marketing tool which enables you do everything from creating images to publishing them to tracking results.

4 Premium Tools for Creating Social Media Visual Content | Social Media Today

One of their best features is that they give you access to thousands of premade templates – based on your needs, you can pick the template you like and add your message in the place suggested using their image editor. They also suggest where you can place your logo.

These templates help you create highly shareable images in seconds. You can also make extra modifications to these templates by adding background images and other overlays like text, banners, frames, icons, etc.

4 Premium Tools for Creating Social Media Visual Content | Social Media Today

Once you’ve designed your image, you can schedule it for publishing to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. They also integrate with Hubspot, Hootsuite and Buffer. You can also download your images if you prefer.

You can easily checkout all the images you have scheduled on the PromoRepublic content calendar. Here, you’ll also be able to view upcoming holidays and events. The calendar also suggests the templates you can use to create relevant visual content for these days.

After your images go live, you can track how they’re faring using the ‘Statistics’ section.

2. Stencil

Stencil helps you quickly create social media images. Through their dashboard you can directly access 960,000+ royalty free images, and they make it easy to modify them anyway you want.

4 Premium Tools for Creating Social Media Visual Content | Social Media Today

You start out by choosing the social media platform you want to create the image for – this will automatically set the dimensions. After that you can pick the image you want to use from their vast library. You can then modify the image by adding text, icons and graphics – they provide access to 200,000+ icons.

If you’re creating an ad for Facebook, you can use their Facebook ad grid to limit the amount of text to less than 20%. This will increase the reach of your ad.

4 Premium Tools for Creating Social Media Visual Content | Social Media Today

They even have a quotes feature, using which you can quickly choose and add any of the 100,000+ quotes in their database with a simple click.

They also have templates if you prefer using them instead of building your own images.

Once your image is ready, you can download it or directly share it to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. You can also share it to Buffer.

3. Picmonkey

Picmonkey is another popular image editing tool.

4 Premium Tools for Creating Social Media Visual Content | Social Media Today

You can use it to enhance your photos and get them to look extremely professional very quickly.

For modifying headshots you have interesting features like blemish fix, airbrush and wrinkle remover. You can also brighten teeth, remove red eyes and make various other modifications.

4 Premium Tools for Creating Social Media Visual Content | Social Media Today

They also give you access to various overlays and fonts. Also, check out their themes as they make it easy to style your images with relevant elements. There are some very interesting themes like vampires, demons and comic heroes.

If you’re in a hurry to create images even more quickly, you can use the various templates they have. They’re available in varying sizes for different social networks.

4. Snagit

One of the easiest ways to create images is by taking screenshots – you can just capture something you come across on the web and then share it. You should be able to take simple screenshots with several browser extensions, but if you want to take it a step further, you need to invest in a special tool like Snagit.

4 Premium Tools for Creating Social Media Visual Content | Social Media Today

This tool enables you to take advanced screenshots, like delayed menu capture, custom scroll and alternative scroll, both on and off your browser.

After you take the screenshot, Snagit gives you the option to add arrows, highlight areas, text, lines, numbers and various other elements. These are all useful, especially if you want to get something in your screenshot to standout. You can even erase and blur parts of your image. They also have add on accessories that let you upload the images onto Dropbox and Drive and to share them on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Snagit even lets you record your screen.

These are all great, effective tools you can use for creating social media visual content. Using them will enable you to churn out beautiful images quickly even if you have zero design experience.

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The Best Social Selling Stacks for High-Performing B2B Sales People

The Best Social Selling Stacks for High-Performing B2B Sales People

The Best Social Selling Stacks for High-Performing B2B Sales People | Social Media TodayThe secret to doing B2B social selling well is using the right social media stack – a group of technologies that salespeople leverage to execute, analyze and improve their social media activities – and tailoring it to B2B sales functionality. 

According to CSO Insights, good social selling training increases win rates by 38% and quota attainment by 51%. If you’re not yet comfortable using social selling, now’s the time to get started.

To clarify, we’re not interested in using social media for social media’s sake here, we want our social efforts to get the attention of our buyers and move them through the sales process.

So which social selling tools should you be using?

If you’re just getting started, there’s no point in building an elaborate stack. You want to keep it simple. If you’re an advanced user, however, you’ll be looking for ways to up your game and generate better ROI from your efforts. Here’s a listing of some tools that salespeople can use which are effective for both selling and marketing, and can help salespeople actually execute. 

No matter whether you think you’re an expert or consider yourself a beginner, check out the tools in each stack and exactly how to use them. You may find some new tactics to try.

The Beginner Stack

This stack is ideal for those of you who want to spend 15-60 minutes per day on social channels. You may not be extremely comfortable using social media, but you know it’s important, especially within a complex sale environment.

Here’s the stack I would recommend:

Yes, only two tools. If I had only two tools to use in my social selling efforts, it would be LinkedIn and Twitter. Here’s why.

LinkedIn

50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions Your buyers are on LinkedIn, and they’re researching your company and looking you up on LinkedIn.

If your profile doesn’t stand out, you’re missing a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself.

Personal branding matters. Make your profile about how you can help buyers, and they’ll take a call or book a demo.

With the LinkedIn user interface, they can easily tell if you’re active or inactive on LinkedIn by the types of activity on your profile. Be sure to engage regularly with your network to show you’re responsiveness.

Twitter

While LinkedIn is a one-to-one network, Twitter is typically used as a one-to-many network. Marketers tend to love Twitter because they can do more broadcasting and drive traffic to websites. For sales purposes, you can set yourself apart by using Twitter as a one-to-one network.

By monitoring keywords, questions and conversations from buyers, you can identify opportunities to engage with them. Being helpful – without coming across as too salesy – goes a long way on Twitter. Look for ways to be helpful, whether or not it results in a direct sale, and you’ll become a trusted source.

Beginner Stack Checklist:

  • Post one status update per week on LinkedIn
  • Like or comment on someone else’s LinkedIn status update daily
  • Follow your prospects’ LinkedIn company pages
  • Spend time going through your LinkedIn feed daily
  • Tweet once a day about something prospects would find helpful or interesting
  • Set up a monitoring system on Tweetdeck using keywords, hashtags and Boolean search terms related to what you offer
  • Check into Tweetdeck daily to see if there conversations where you can be helpful
  • Follow prospects and prospect companies on Twitter.

The Intermediate Stack

If you’ve mastered the basics of social selling with LinkedIn and Twitter, you might be ready to add a couple new tools to your stack. These do take an additional investment – especially if you’re springing for a Sales Navigator account on your own dime – but, they can help you save significant time, once you’ve optimized your process.

Here’s the stack I would recommend:

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  • Social Scheduling Tool

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator is built on LinkedIn’s platform and is tailored to the B2B sales professional who’s trying to identify prospects at target companies, connect with them, organize them, keep in touch at the right time and get their attention.

If you’re trying to close complex sales using only the free version of LinkedIn, you’ll lack advanced search, monitoring and messaging capabilities. You can technically work around these features on the free or premium versions of LinkedIn, but it’s often not worth the trouble.

One of the benefits to using Sales Navigator is connecting it to your CRM and pushing data between the two platforms. On its own, Sales Navigator is powerful, but the real power is in the integration with your sales technology tools.

Social Scheduling Tool

We’ve discussed the importance of sharing relevant content across social media, but it can be challenging to remember to do this every day. That’s where a social scheduler can help.

Marketers like to give you their formulas for the amount and types of content you should be sharing in pretty ratios, like the 411 strategy, but what salesperson wants to plan their content with this formula? None that I know.

A better rule of thumb is to share some of your own content – whether this is your company’s content or your own thought leadership material – and other people’s content. As long as you’re sharing both types, you can build trust with your prospects.

To share this content frequently, you need to use a social scheduling tool to sprinkle that content over a span of days. For many B2B companies, the work week is a typical 9-5, Monday through Friday. Set your social scheduling tool to post during those times.

Two tools I’d recommend are Buffer (the free plan works well for most salespeople) and Hootsuite (if you want an all-in-one tool that can schedule to all your social channels and monitor Twitter).

During the week, when you come across content that might be helpful to your prospects, add it to Buffer (if you know you want to share it) or to InstaPaper (if you want to read the article later and decide whether or not to share it.)

At the beginning of each week, check your social scheduling tool to be sure you have enough content in there to share to Twitter at least daily (if not 3-5x per day) and to LinkedIn at least daily. If you do a good job of filling up your queues as-you-go, you might not need to add more content to your queues.

The Advanced Stack

You’ve moved beyond the basics and mastered Sales Navigator and are sharing great content. Now it’s time to amp your stack and get the most from your social selling efforts.

This is where personal branding and thought leadership can help top sales performers edge out their competition – when a prospect comes across you and a competitor on social media, who will they trust more? The one sharing thought leadership content, with an optimized profile and a history of interacting on social media.

Here’s the stack I would recommend:

  • LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform
  • Advanced Social Listening Tool

LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform

When I suggest to salespeople that they need a personal brand and thought leadership content, I often get the line, “I don’t have time for that marketing stuff. I’m too busy selling.”

I get it. B2B sales is challenging and takes a lot of time, but research shows that 92% of B2B buyers actively engage with sales professionals who are known as industry thought-leaders.

You don’t need to publish a lot of content, but you will get an edge if you post interesting content to LinkedIn’ publishing platform. And, it’s not about getting a large number of views or engagement. It’s about having a relatively fresh piece of content that answers buyer’s questions or touches on a hot topic in the industry.

If you prefer to outsource the writing part, you could ask a content marketing or sales enablement team member for help in creating and/or publishing your content. I find that most marketers are more than willing to co-create content or ghostwrite articles. You can also re-purpose content or interviews you have done elsewhere in the past 3-6 months.

As for frequency, I would suggest publishing one article to LinkedIn every 30-60 days. This demonstrates to prospects that you are current on what matters to them and that your company is best suited to solving their problems.

Advanced Social Listening

You’re already accustomed to using Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to monitor online conversations, but you can take that monitoring to the next level with a tool, like SproutSocial. Sprout is geared towards marketing agencies, but I’ve found that its functionalities are well-suited to social selling.

The best feature for social sellers is the Smart Inbox. In less than five minutes, you can set up some advanced searches with keywords specific to your buyers. Then, you’ll be alerted to any questions/comments/conversations on Twitter (and even Instagram) that use those keywords. This is one of the best ways to ensure you never miss a social conversation that pertains to you and your company.

When you catch these conversations, you can jump in with a helpful suggestion or an answer to their question. This is not the time for a company pitch. If your suggestion is helpful, they’ll check out your profile and notice which company you work for. This builds your credibility and that of your company – they’ll subconsciously associate your company with trustworthiness. And, that is exactly what social selling is all about.

Main image via Pexels

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5 Ways Businesses Can Stand Out on Instagram

5 Ways Businesses Can Stand Out on Instagram

When looking to drive brand awareness or capture new customers on Instagram, it’s important to ensure that your content stands out from the pack in order to grab the attention of your audience. The platform now has more than 700 million users, so there’s a lot of competition in user feeds. Focusing on the finer detail could be the key step that stops users as they scroll, as opposed to just passing your by.  

You can determine your visual marketing strategy by analyzing competitors or those in your niche, and/or by checking the content that appears under the top hashtags for your vertical (e.g. food, fashion, home decor). Imagine all this content as one feed being viewed by your target customer. To capture their attention, your photos and videos will need to pop.

Here are 5 ways to develop a unique visual marketing strategy for your brand.

1. Get Graphic

Instead of basic close up shots of your product or your product in an artistic setting, you could try adding in graphic elements – either place isolated images of your product on graphic backgrounds or add graphic overlays. 

Sonic always produces great Insta shots – this one uses a regular product shot in a new way.

2. Use Opposing Color Schemes

Scope out your business’ category and competition on Instagram. Do many of the images within your category use lighter tones? Bright colors?

Do the opposite for yours. 

Black, grey, and dark shades tend to be less common on Instagram, so those are great places to start. Another way to approach this tactic is to simply use a color overlay for your images. Make sure the color overlay is light enough so that the images are still visible.

Nike always showcase creative elements in their Instagram feed – this one uses opposing color to make the image stand out.

3. Be Less Polished

Many businesses use professional, photo-shoot quality scenes for their Instagram images – you can stand out by using a less formal, “behind the scenes” look for your images. Include employees, warehouse backgrounds, and actual office scenes. Featuring real life customers, dogs, and kids will also increase your engagement rate.

Today’s cell phones typically take excellent quality photos, so just snap away as soon as you see a scene that captures your brand.

Hootsuite use their Instagram feed to showcase their work life and inner-office experience.

4. Use Movement

While video content on Instagram is on the rise, the majority of images shared to the platform are still static shots. Shake things up by putting your products or services in motion. 

Use video, Boomerang, or cinemagraphs to add a pop of activity – even opting for action shots over for still life photos can help your business’ images stand out.

Microsoft has used simple video movement in this image to make it more engaging.

5. Use Multiple Canvases

Instagram now allows users to upload up to 10 images to single post – your viewers see your first image in the feed, and are then able to swipe through to view the rest. This feature isn’t widely adopted yet, so you’ll definitely stand out from the competition. Use this format to your advantage. 

Show before and afters, steps in a process, or increasingly zoomed in shots of a single subject. Have fun with it.

Tasha ‘The Unlikely Chef‘ Ly uses multiple images in this post

There’s no end to the ways you can use the options available on Instagram to make your content stand out, and with a little creative thinking, you can come up with fresh, innovative takes to help increase your exposure and get more people paying attention to your business. 

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Google Releases ‘Topics’ for Google+ to Boost Content Discovery

Google Releases 'Topics' for Google+ to Boost Content Discovery

Do you still use Google+, either personally or for your business?

Google’s social network, which they initially launched to fend off competition from Facebook, never really gained traction, and has been repeatedly de-emphasized in recent times. But still, Google says that millions of people remain active on the platform, and as we’ve noted previously, Google+ communities can be extremely valuable – and there still may or may not be some additional SEO benefit to maintaining G+ activity.

For those that are still on the Google+ train, good news – Google has released a new feature called ‘Topics’ to help connect you to more content in line with your interests.

Google Releases 'Topics' for Google+ to Boost Content Discovery | Social Media TodayThe new function  is fairly straight-forward – in your Google+ home stream you’ll soon see a new ‘Topics to explore’ card, like the one shown above, which will highlight other content on the network which is similar to that you’ve shown an interest in.

“There are already hundreds of Topics available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, covering everything from black-and-white photography to hiking and camping. So whether you’ve recently discovered the wonders of woodworking, love gardening, or can’t get enough street photography, there’s a stream of unique and interesting stuff waiting for you on Google+.”

Given the various changes in focus for Google+ in recent times, it’s hard to know exactly where Google stands on it. On one hand, they definitely want a social media presence – as more people conduct more of their daily activities on social (including search), that, inevitably takes them away from Google, and Google knows that if they do nothing and let that traffic slip, that could hurt their business in the long run. This is why Google’s now trying to get into the messaging space, seeing growth in messaging activity, and why speculation that Google might one day make an offer for Twitter makes sense.

But thus far, all of Google’s various social attempts have fallen flat. Google+ has been the closest they’ve got to building a network, but it did seem like most Google+ members only joined to either make comments on YouTube videos (a stipulation they’ve since removed) or to boost their SEO efforts.

Given this, it has seemed as though Google+ will just disappear into the sunset at some stage – but then again, as noted, a lot of users are still highly active in G+ communities, with many find them to be extremely beneficial, focused groups.

Because of the popularity of Groups, it makes sense for Google to keep those users around, while they also appear to be using G+ as a testing ground for their newer camera tools. But what the future holds for the search engine’s social network still remains unclear. This is one of the few updates we’ve seen for G+ in the last year, and it’s clearly not a core focus. But it is an update, they are providing more than simple maintenance.

While it seems like the opportunity for Google+ to become a more significant player in the social space has passed, there may still be life in it yet. And for those that are using it, why not try to keep them more engaged?

via Social Media Today Read More…