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Archive of ‘Personal Branding’ category

Web Seminar Recap: Brand Advocates – Empower Your Followers to Become a Powerful Content Creation Force

Marketers today have been engaging in a “social media arms race” trying to gain as many fans and followers across their social media channels. Many are realizing that increasing the size of their social communities rarely translates to increased engagement or revenue. The real value of social media marketing comes from identifying your most passionate fans and influencing them to recommend and advocate for your brand, products and services. Are you confusing ‘audience’ with ‘influence’?

Cord Silverstein, President of Advocacy Social, discussed how to identify, engage and empower brand advocates. Participants learned how to distinguish audience from influence by developing social media advocacy and content programs that help them identify and engage with their most loyal fans and increase their brand’s visibility.

This session was presented by Cord Silverstein on May 26th.

Missed this seminar? Catch up by downloading the slides and recording here.

Why Customer Personas Matter

Consumers expect you to talk to them.  Not them as a group, but as individuals.  Marketing to the masses with a single message for everyone is a tactic of the past.  Remarketing campaigns were introduced in recent years, but even they are not perfect, not always reaching the right customer.

In Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You, Kelly McDonald reminds us that one size does not fit all.  Simply recognizing this fact is a win because businesses are moving into the right mindset to beat their competitors and show they are ready to think in terms of personas.  Once customers are treated as individuals, they become loyal to a brand.  It’s about the pre-purchase experience all the way through the post-purchase care.  When you understand who your customers are, you can create a great experience for them.

The Obama campaign is a perfect example of collecting individualized data for decision making.  His team was able to send out messages that were relevant, personalized, and delivered in context.  Mainstream media and research organizations discussed his ability to “reduce every American to a series of numbers”.   In Converge, Bob Lord and Ray Velez talk more about Obama’s campaign and that the personalization of an experience is what positions anyone – a company or a presidential candidate – as the right one to meet a consumer need.  With millennials especially, personalization is not an option, but rather a necessity.   Jeff Fromm and Christie Garton write in Marketing to Millennials that this particular audience wants to engage with brands who offer personalized conversations.

Segmenting and targeting go hand in hand with building personas.  These personas represent your customers and are ideally based on real data, like demographics, education, and online activities.  Fortunately, Google Analytics can also help with some of this demographic data to develop personas, but the best source is your internal data from your CRM.

Personas are based on real people so a one-dimensional description isn’t enough.  They’re not rich, poor, male, female – they have a lot more to them.  Take multiple aspects into consideration and base this on existing research or through interviews with customers.   It can also help to talk to non-buyers.  It may be tough to recruit prospects who went to a competitor instead, but it is a valuable source of data.  Some people may even want to provide this feedback because they may have really wanted to buy from you initially.

If you are launching a new brand or product, you may not have the benefit of existing CRM data so your personas will be fictional creations of who you think your users will be.  This needs to be established early on – especially if you are developing something new.  Aim to do surveys or interviews with different types of buyers so you know who to target when you are ready to launch.

You can take this a step further with negative personas. These represent who you do not want as a buyer.  When you segment these personas out of your marketing plan, you may find lower costs in both leads and customer acquisition.  Although it can be hard to admit, “everyone” is not the audience so by owning that early and ruling groups out, it can be a time-saver in the long run for everyone on your team.

Once you can identify your target audience by developing personas, only then can you market to them with appropriate messaging and through use of the right channels.  In addition to helping marketing staff with their role of creating content, personas help the sales team know what a good lead looks like, and your software developers will know which features matter to different users.

When you have your personas, you are in a better mindset to determine how buyers’ lives might improve as a result of your product or service.  This is the opposite of an advertising strategy focused on why you think your offer is great.  When the audience is not identified, much time is wasted trying to convince people to buy what you have.

The better you know your audience, the better you can serve them beyond the point of sale.  When you view things from their perspective, you can maintain the relationship with them and ideally build them as advocates for your brand.   Building personas is much more than a theoretical exercise.  It has implications for your day-to-day work across the organization.

Above The Line: How to create a company culture that engages employees, delights customers and delivers results

The people and culture in a company have a significant influence on its overall performance.  A company that wants an above the line culture needs to first know where they are today and recognize that culture is more than a buzzword.  It is something that impacts the employees and bottom line performance of the company.

Culture is defined by values and beliefs and should align with the business’s objectives.  A culture that forms on its own is necessarily beneficially to the business’s bottom line, which is why the creation of it must be intentional.  Unfortunately, many companies accept the party line of ‘that’s the way we do things’ without bothering to ask the why behind the way things are done.  It isn’t until employees understand the why that they are willing to give 100%.  This helps them understand what they are working towards and allows them to define their role in it.

Values have a direct impact on a person’s performance.  When values are defined and match those of the company, everyone is focused on the same goals. The added benefit is that employees can work together better to reach these goals.

Companies cannot just claim to have a certain type of culture. They need to make sure their culture delivers on what the brand promises. Only then will leaders be in a good position to reach business goals. They can also evaluate whether their culture is moving them in the right direction.

An above the line culture is easy to spot.  These are the companies where people want to work and likely receive a significant number of applications for every opening. Employees enjoy working with customers; believe in what they do, and are inspired to perform at their best.  They have camaraderie and work in a team environment.  When change is needed to stay in alignment with strategy, it is likely to happen quickly because employees are empowered by the company’s leaders.

Below the line cultures are the ones where there’s a revolving door.  Employees are stressed out and unproductive.  They are burned out and look to take more than give which results in high levels of absenteeism and brand erosion. So for those organizations below the line, the question is how can they shift towards moving above the line?


Market Yourself

There is an infinite amount of advice on the Internet about how to market a service or product. But what if you are the product? If you’re an author, a freelancer, a motivational speaker or a consultant, then you have services, yes. But sometimes, it helps if you are also your brand. In that case, you’re marketing yourself just as much as your product. For the sake of this blog post, we’ll call this process “You Marketing.”

As you’ll see below, some elements of You Marketing are identical to marketing an organization. Content is, and always will be, king. Social media should be used as a tool for engagement and not as a billboard. However, because You Marketing is so completely wrapped up in a single person, the level of engagement should be much higher. Greater emphasis should also be put on thought leadership as opposed to customer reviews. So … how do you market you?

Become an expert:

It’s important to point out that this should have already happened, long before you begin the marketing process. In order for people to begin to respect and hire you, you have to be the best. Or at least pretty darn close to it. Read as much news as you can about your industry. Talk to seasoned professionals. Write down all the reasons that someone should hire you, including past experience and successful case studies.

You Marketing means being able to “walk the walk” as well as you “talk the talk.” To do that, you’ll need to have a strong sense of the hot topics in your industry so that you can talk coherently about how you are either fixing or making use of those topics. This process is crucial; it’s going to be your material from now on.

Find your audience on social media:


Web Seminar Recap: Personal Brand Challenges – Loyalty and Legality

In our society, technology continues to rapidly outpace our culture’s ability to keep pace. From the challenges of internet taxation to privacy concerns brought on by Facebook and Google, legal and ethical practices lag seriously behind the pace of the technology. The inherent necessary changes cause significant problems and challenges. On Thursday, December 15th ASPE President David Mantica and ASPE Marketing Director JT Moore presented the free web seminar “Personal Brand Challenges – Loyalty and Legality.” In this web seminar, David and JT discussed the legal and professional challenges brought about by internet marketing’s empowerment of personal brand development, the issue of loyalty and intent when building a personal brand, some basic legal precedents that are out there, and how employment law and work product ownership can potentially increase the risk involved in personal brand development.


Making Twitter Really Tweet

Tools that will help to not only manage your Twitter account, but will also provide a more efficient Twitter experience.

Most of us use Twitter on a daily basis.  Whether it’s for social purposes, to land a job, or to help expand a brand.  Whatever our reasons, we’re always looking for ways to manage the contacts in our lives.  With these 11 tools, managing your Twitter account will be as easy as 1-2-3, as you will be in control of who you choose to stay in contact with (and how), and who you decide to let go.

FollowLists allows you to group your tweeps (followers) by a specific category, making it easier for you to find a contact, or contacts.  For instance, if I wanted to create a list where I could group my friends that I have for girls night every Friday, all I’d do is type ‘Friday night girls’ in the ‘Name Your Follow List’ field, then add a name in the ‘Add Profile to List’ field, then simply click ‘Add’.  After adding the desired profiles, click on the ‘Create List’ field and my list will be created for me in seconds!

Fast Features:

  • Group lists by category.
  • Search contacts with ease.
  • Create your list using three simple steps!

TwitIQ is a monitoring tool that enables you to view real time updates.  With images and video previews, you can see what a link contains before you visit it.  TwitIQ also allows you to learn more about your followers by seeing the specialized areas of interest that they participate in.

Fast Features:

  • Tweet stream filters.
  • Support for multiple Twitter accounts.
  • Full Twitter view / Update features.
  • Keyword and topic insight.

Help to de-clutter your Twitter account by saying ‘Goodbye!’ to those inactive friends.  With Twitoria, you can track who has been active and those who haven’t tweeted in weeks.  All you do is type your username in the ‘Enter Your Twitter Username Here’ field, and then choose an inactive option in the drop down menu.  In a few seconds, you’ll see which of your friends you can delete so that you can free up space for more active friends.

Fast Features:

  • Delete inactive users.
  • Track user activity.

Twollo is a feature that allows people to be grouped, automatically, according to interest.  Because it is keyword based, you are able to expand your following instantly!  Twollo works in the ‘background’ which means once it’s installed, you don’t even have to think about it.  Just log in, and you’re all set to explore new friends with the same interests!

Fast Features:

  • Group users by interest.
  • Automatically performs future groupings.

It’s easy to see how many you’ve lost or gained as a follower, with TweetEffect.  Sometimes, we tweet something that people like, and sometimes we tweet something people don’t like.  As a result, our number of followers increases and decreases daily.  With TweetEffect, you’ll be able to see how many you have lost and how many you have gained.  Simply type your Twitter user ID, and click on the ‘Tell Me About My Effects!’ button.  Once the results appear, you’ll be able to gauge how popular, or unpopular your tweets really are.

Fast Features:

  • Track followers gained.
  • Track followers lost.

Tweeter Karma is a tool that will allow you to help manage your follow / follower list by revealing everyone who follows, or doesn’t follow you.  Based on your search results, you can decide if you will remain a follower or not.  There is an option to either bulk follow, or bulk un-follow.

To get started, just sign into your account, allowing Tweeter Karma to access your data.  Next, click on the ‘Whack!’ button, and simply choose to follow or un-follow accordingly.

Fast Features:

  • Follow users if they follow you, or un-follow if they don’t.
  • Bulk follow / un-follow actions.

Friend or Follow is another tool that allows you to see who you are following, that’s not following you back and visa versa.

All you do is type in your Twitter Username in the appropriate field, and then click the ‘Submit’ button.  Your results will appear shortly thereafter and you’ll be ready to tweet with active followers, as well as establish relationships with new ones.

Fast Feature:

  • See those who you follow, but don’t follow you.

Help to control what you see and what you don’t see with the Twitter client, Twalala.  This web-based tool is designed to help you filter your twitter stream by essentially “muting” undesired tweets by searching for keywords and phrases, all while preventing you from missing out on your replies or direct messages.  You can also un-mute followers at your discretion.

To start, you just login.  Once in, you will see your home stream screen.  Next, highlight the names you would like to mute, and then click on the red slash button.  To reverse a mute, simply click on the large gear at the top of the screen on the ‘Settings’ page.  That option will remain saved until you decide to change it.

Fast Feature:

  • Mute undesired tweets.

Ever wonder if your friends who haven’t met each other are following each other on Twitter?  With the Doesfollow application, you can see just that.  Doesfollow allows you to see who’s following whom, and who is receiving negative or positive responses.

Type in a name after the ‘Does’ field.  Then type another after the ‘Follow’ field.  You can also swap names using the ‘Swap’ button.  Finally, click on the ‘Check’ button.  Your results will appear shortly, leaving you to join in on the conversation!

Fast Features:

  • See who follows who.
  • Track positive / negative responses.

Discover, protect and manage your Twitter relationships by using Refollow.  With Refollow, users can see who has either left Twitter, or who has been inactive for a while.  Tweeters then have that choice to drop those people a line to bring them back into the fold, or unfollow / block them.

Refollow allows you to connect with those who follow you, but also those who you may not be following.

To use the Refollow feature, simply login.  Once you see your friend list, choose a filter of your liking.  The Refollow feature will allow you to lock those who you don’t wish to be included in your filter request.  Then, Tweet as desired!

Fast Features:

  • Keep or delete followers based on activity.
  • Connect with those who are following you, that you don’t follow.
  • See contacts who have left Twitter.

BrandChirp is a marketing tool that helps businesses expand their brand on Twitter by helping to monitor and manage brand activity.  The tool allows for greater connections in order to build your business, and helps to generate a larger customer base.

Fast Features:

  • Brand Management – Monitor the progress of your brand on Twitter.
  • Targeted Follow – Follow users based on keywords
  • Follow Stats – View the people you’re following based on tweeting activity.
  • Expand your connection base.

Hopefully, these tools will help you to design Twitter and will prove to be most effective in all of your social media needs!

Web Seminar Recap: Personal Brand Challenges – Loyalty and Legality

In our society, technology continues to rapidly outpace our culture’s ability to keep pace. From the challenges of internet taxation to privacy concerns brought on by Facebook and Google, legal and ethical practices lag seriously behind the pace of the technology. The inherent necessary changes cause significant problems and challenges. On Tuesday, October 4th ASPE President David Mantica presented the free web seminar “Personal Brand Challenges – Loyalty and Legality.” In this web seminar, David discussed the legal and professional challenges brought about by internet marketing’s empowerment of personal brand development, the issue of loyalty and intent when building a personal brand, some basic legal precedents that are out there, and how employment law and work product ownership can potentially increase the risk involved in personal brand development.

Listen to the recording of this web seminar in its entirety by clicking View Event Recordings (at the top right). Learn about why in the end both employees and employers need to understand that personal brand development is real: it is possible, but it involves risk to both parties.

Do you have more questions for David? Leave your comments or tweet us! Follow @ASPE_ROI on Twitter and use hashtag #ASPEEVENTS.

Whether You Realize it Or Not, You Are a Marketer

I have been interning in the marketing department here at ASPE since March of this year and am in my transitionary period of becoming a full-time Marketing Specialist. As a recent graduate of North Carolina State University (go Wolfpack!), there has been a lot learned in that seemingly short amount of time in which I emerged as a young professional from a college student. A college education can only take you to a certain point in your career; but real-world experience in a professional environment is an entirely different playing field from what is taught in a university classroom–especially in the realm of marketing.

Out of all the things I have picked up on and made mental note of, one thing in particular stands out in my mind as being most vital: You are a direct representation of and reflection on the business, brand, company, or organization you are a member of. You are a physical walking, talking, breathing advertisement. And, most importantly, your job as a marketer (whether you actually work in the marketing field or not) is not left behind when you leave the office.