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No Time for Blogging? Think Again!

By | August 26, 2014

Even as a content writer, I’ve always been a little on the fence about blogging. My hesitation with it is the same hesitation many of my clients have: Do I have the time and resources to continue to feed a blog? Guess what? You do! But it’s going to take some thought and planning before you even head down that path.

theresnotimeWhy Blog Now?

Start by asking yourself “why should I blog now?” Some reasons you might consider:

  • It’ll help other marketing efforts. Support your tradeshow efforts with blog posts leading up to them and after them. Feed your email newsletters with blog posts. Venture into social media with ease with a well-populated blog. The uses for a blog are endless!
  • You can educate people. If there are concepts or topics that don’t have a home on your website, a blog is a great place to store this information. Explain a theory, a product’s uses, or an industry trend to your audience.
  • “Fresh content” without a blog is hard to accomplish. It’s not always easy to continue to add new content your website, but we all know that Google loves fresh content. A blog is your answer.
  • Ramp up SEO. Outside of being a great answer Google’s call for fresh content, your blog can help with SEO efforts. Focus your blog posts around keywords of your choosing, whether they’re the ones you’re having difficulty ranking for or they’re your big money-maker keywords.
  • Show your personality. Not every blog post has to teach your customers something or has to offer ground-breaking information. You should also highlight things that make your company special. Simple things like employee spotlights, philanthropic efforts, awards won, interesting things happening around the office, etc., add to the personality of your company, which might not be apparent anywhere else on your website.

Before You Blog, Make a Plan

Once you’ve determined that a blog is the right choice for your company, it’s time to figure out how you’re actually going to get this done. Here are some other things you want to consider before you even build your blog:

  • How to host and update it: The harder you make it to update your blog, the less likely your team is to actually participate. A platform like WordPress is a good option because it’s nearly fool-proof once you get it set up.
  • Who is going to blog: It might sound picky, but it really irks me when I read a blog post written by “admin.” Each blog post should have an author associated with it and try to recruit people from all areas of your business in order to give your blog a variety of voices.
  • Make a blogging commitment: I recommend that my clients commit to at least a blog post a week, but doing more than that is probably a good idea. Whatever blogging frequency you choose, make sure your team knows and make sure you stick to it.
  • Create an editorial calendar: If you have an overall marketing plan or know when new products are being released, this can set the stage for your blog’s editorial calendar.
  • Topic generation: There are going to be topics you know you’ll address on your blog, like new products, but I highly recommend having a list of “evergreen” topics that can be written about at any time. The best way to get this list going? Have a good old fashioned brainstorming meeting and determine how often you’ll have these meetings.
  • Designate a blog owner: Someone’s got to keep everyone on track. This person should be responsible, dedicated to the idea of blogging, not afraid to nag your authors, and ready to pinch hit when necessary. They’ll own the editorial calendar, organize brainstorming meetings and assist blog authors along the way.

Now ask yourself again: Do I have the time and resources to continue to feed a blog?

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Increase Brand Awareness with Social Media Marketing

By | August 11, 2014

Why Social Media Matters & How Manufacturing Marketers are Lagging

Manufacturing marketers use social media platforms less than their B2B marketing counterparts as shown by CMI’s 2014 Manufacturing Content Marketing Report.  In this same report, manufacturing marketers ranked brand awareness as their top goal for content marketing. Similarly, the marketing sector often expresses the need to revive its image and create fresh connections with customers.

An engaging social media strategy is the answer to those pain points. But, manufacturing marketers have lower usage of social media for a specific reason—they do not have confidence in their content. Most reported feeling that their social media marketing was ineffective.

While it may require some ‘out of the box’ thought, a strong social presence is possible. With brand awareness as a critical need, manufacturing marketers could gain much from the catchy, bite-sized layout of platforms such as Pinterest or Instagram. The social media sites manufacturing marketers are using include:

  • YouTube: 81%
  • Facebook: 76%
  • Pinterest: 21%
  • Instagram: 12%
  • Vine: 5%

The energy industry, an area of focus on manufacturing team here at Fathom, demonstrates much of the same industry needs and marketing shortcomings. Rather than shying away from riskier social media sites though, some organizations have dove right in and are seeing successful results.

Using Pinterest Right: An Example from the Energy Industry

Take, for example, the Women @ Energy Pinterest site from the U.S. Department of Energy. The female-centric portrait pictures, bios, and clever quotes are more than eye-catching—they’re inspirational.

With a lack a diversity and difficulties capturing young talent as major pain points in the energy sector, this Pinterest site delivers on its needs. The U.S. Department of Energy identified its audience  and took a targeted approach, seeing as the majority of Pinterest users are young women.

Digital Marketing 101 for Manufacturers The page has over 700 followers and nearly every piece of content has been engaged with by users. They also follow through with links back to their homepage where readers can find more information on the women in the Department of Energy. By addressing the problem of under-representation in STEM fields on a unique platform, the U.S. Department of Energy put a face on its workers and fostered brand awareness.  In fact, the United States Department of Energy has created a slew of innovative Pinterest boards about the energy industry, changing the way people learn about them.

Of course, Pinterest may not be right for your business. Find out which social media site is, though, and take the creative content risks that will accomplish your marketing goals.

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How Facebook Found My Dog: Lexie’s Tale

By | August 8, 2014

Last week I experienced the worst five days I’ve had in a while. My rescue dog Lexie ran away for the second time in seven months. Her first escape occurred during the winter and only lasted 24 hours as she made her way back to my house cold and hungry—no doubt unable to forage for food in the snow. This time around the warmer weather allowed for an extended adventure, much to my chagrin. Initially hopeful that she would return on her own, my faith began to dwindle as the days passed and she was nowhere to be seen. I felt like I had failed my dog.Dog 1

My family, friends and co-workers were incredibly supportive as we waited for any sign of my golden girl. Turning to social media, I posted a plea for help on Facebook, as did a couple of friends who live near the area in which she was last seen. Three posts total were pushed out, one of which even alerted a local rescue group called Pet FBI Ohio.

On the fifth day after her departure I received a phone call from an unknown number. It was a woman calling to inform me that her daughter had spotted Lexie in their backyard and recognized her from a post she’d seen on Facebook. As our search party canvassed the neighborhood calling out “Lexie!” and “Here, girl!” we ran into three other people who asked if we were looking for Dog 2the “Golden dog on Facebook.” My, how news spreads on social media!

Although unable to find her, we felt better knowing she was safe. After a quick break our party returned to the area to try searching a second time. As we were about to set out I received another call, this time from two sisters who had seen Lexie in their neighborhood just a few streets down the main road. Once again, she’d been recognized on Facebook.

Long story short, my furry flight risk was waiting for us as we pulled into the neighborhood. Amazingly enough, the two had managed to get her into a collar and on a leash. She was a filthy mess, but I didn’t care. Lexie was found, and it was all because of Facebook (and, of course, those who’d been kind enough to respond)!Dog 3

Lessons From Lexie’s Digital Comeback

I do my best to try and learn something from experiences that I have (both good and bad), and this one was chock full of lessons. As an online PR specialist, I was curious to go beyond the obvious wisdom (i.e., embrace technology like micro-chipping and GPS collars) and evaluate the crucial role that social media played in Lexie’s safe return. Could I find a connection between my personal use of Facebook and the strategies recommended for businesses who are engaged in social? I think so:

  • It’s all about images. A picture really is worth a thousand words, so include them in your posts.
  • Post important messages more than once. The three posts were stretched out over the course of a few days. If repeat messages hadn’t been pushed out later on, there’s a good chance my original message would have gotten lost in a sea of never-ending status updates. Be sure your principal posts get seen.
  • Just because it’s not getting shared right away doesn’t mean it’s not being seen. Shares on Facebook are definitely a good thing but a lack of them doesn’t necessarily mean your posts aren’t being seen. In this case, my posts weren’t heavily shared right off the bat but they were put in front of the eyes of a few key influencers up front who were able to get the ball rolling and eventually deliver desired results.
  • Know your target audience. In my case I was looking to attract the attention of anyone who lived locally, especially those who were pet-lovers. Tagging Pet FBI Ohio also proved useful as most of the group’s followers fit perfectly into my target audience.
  • Get people talking. Sparking conversation is a great way to increase interest in your post. And whenever possible, respond to those who take the time to comment – this will help refresh your original message and keep your audience engaged longer.

I was hoping to end this post with some iron-clad insights on how to attribute social media strategy efforts to ROI; however, I couldn’t assign a value to the return on my “social investment” because Lexie’s safe return is priceless. If it helps, setting goals for your posts (and channels in general) is a great place to start and can provide you with a basic understanding of how much value your social media is bringing to the table, even if a specific dollar amount can’t be assigned each time. The goal I attached to my post was achieved, and that was more than enough for me!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and a big thanks to everyone who provided help and support over the past several days – I am grateful.

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How To Use Social Media for Recruiting Young Talent

By | July 23, 2014

A position has opened up, and you are now on the hunt to find the perfect person to fill this new opportunity. You need someone young, smart, eager to learn, with a solid education and credible experience to begin a career with your organization. How do you attract qualified employees? Do they exist? Where to begin? These are just a few questions that you could be asking yourself when a position opens up in your organization. Utilizing social media in today’s Internet-driven world gives your company a modern face and voice. By engaging with potential candidates through social media platforms your company will build new relationships and attract young professionals. So how can companies embrace the power of social media to attract young talent? Here are a few pointers to consider.

LinkedIn for Pursuing

When you hear LinkedIn, you think of the world’s largest professional networking site.  With LinkedIn’s new Showcase Pages, you can now highlight products and services that are most important to your business and create a following for not only your brand but individual products as well. Showcase pages can offer company information, awards, benefits and industry trends. Candidates might be more interested in your company if they see engaging activity on your company page and showcase pages. LinkedIn is extremely useful for sourcing and pursuing new talent. You will find user profiles with more professional information and work experience than any other social media channel out there, making this a primary tool for recruiters.

Facebook for Branding

Having a company Facebook page is a great way to build and cultivate relationships, not only with your current customers and employees, but also potential employees. You can easily share job postings on your page which would allow for current employees and fans to share that with their personal networks. It’s also a great tool to promote your products and company events, which will allow potential employees to engage with your content shared on this channel.

YouTube Even More Branding

As it is the world’s largest video-sharing platform, everyone likes to consume content via YouTube. For a young generation that is greatly impacted by the visual element, YouTube is a great place for sharing insights on your company and its products. Uploading videos of office culture and employee/customer interviews allows for potential candidates to better understand your products and the atmosphere of the organization.

Twitter Conversation Insights

Twitter is primarily used to share news, but also allows you to spark conversations with potential candidates and job seekers. This is yet another great platform to share job postings that are currently available within your organization. There are tools that allow you to pull up users based on what they tweet about and bio information.

With so many tools to choose from, recruiting young talent has grown to a point that you no longer have to chase down new candidates. Posting compelling content and making your company more transparent will attract the right candidates for your organization. You will make your organization more visible to job seekers by investing time to develop a digital presence through multiple social media platforms. This infographic created by Jobvite, offers a step-by-step guide on leveraging the funnel method for hiring young talent.


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How Your Brand Can Avoid These 5 Social Media Mistakes

By | July 17, 2014

Oreo. Starbucks. Dove. Coca-Cola.

Social media envy, anyone?

All of these big brands are known for having a spectacular social media presence. Many of us have read about the plethora of success stories and sometimes the failed (yet brave) risks. But what about the common social media mistakes you don’t often hear about? Here they are, along with how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Building on rented land

Sure, it’s great to build your presence on social media channels, but keep in mind they’re not truly yours. A channel that’s booming today might lose popularity over time. Are you strictly publishing content offsite or sharing other website’s articles? That may be great for engagement, but it’s not so great for strengthening your owned channels. This can only be done through content creation that is housed on your website or blog.

“Generally, you want more of your traffic and more of your customers being driven by Earned and Owned media,” said John Lusk, Founder of Rivet & Sway, in a Huffington Post article. “It’s more authentic, converts at a higher rate, typically represents higher lifetime value, and most importantly, it’s usually much cheaper (lower cost-per-acquisition).”

That being said, a smart social media strategy uses a great deal of non-promotional, unique content from an owned channel, such as a blog or website.

Mistake #2: Trying to be good at everything

It’s easy to get excited about all of the possibilities of social media. With so many channels to use, many brands are tempted to conquer them all. But what do you think is more influential for your company – to be decent on every channel, or to be great on a few? As an agency, we often tell our clients to focus on two or three channels where their target audience is most active, and go after them full force. Chances are, your impact will be much greater.

Mistake #3: Not taking risks

Sure, taking risks means there’s a possibility of failure. But you can’t be innovative if you never take a chance. You also can’t be successful if you’re doing what everyone else is doing – you’ll simply blend in with the crowd. Take risks and make your brand stand out. Remember, you’re competing with the friends and family of your Facebook and Twitter followers for their attention, and you won’t capture it if you’re blending in.

Mistake #4: Ignoring your customers

Not only can big brands use social media as an extension of their customer service, they can also use it to actively listen to their customers. Are you noticing any trends in the topics your customers are complaining or talking about? Use it to improve your advertising, content, products or services. Also, don’t underestimate the power of conversation. Many of the best big brands on social media make a diligent effort to respond to their customers whether it’s a complaint or not. People want to be acknowledged. (See example below, from Dove.)

social media tipssocial media tips

Mistake #5: Setting unrealistic goals

Even if you’re a big brand, it’s important to remember the realistic goals of social media. Typically, you shouldn’t expect to see a dramatic jump in leads one month after implementing your new social media strategy. Social media can help with conversions, but increased revenue is not its primary purpose. Make sure you go into your strategy knowing this and set a realistic, trackable goal you can work towards.

Whether you’re a large brand or a small business, don’t freak out if you found yourself saying “oh no, we do that!” while reading the above. It’s never too late to transform those pitfalls into positive change. Who knows, someday other brands might have social media envy over you.

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