Business-to-business startups may have a harder time marketing themselves on Facebook than consumer-facing brands do, but by no means should this be an excuse to forego social media nor online promotions overall. A nifty roadmap for scaling up on various social networks appears in the infographic below, created by Introhive. Please let us know what you think of it in the comments section beneath this post.
No organization is safe from crises – any situation that is threatening or could threaten to harm people or property, seriously interrupt business, significantly damage reputation or negatively impact the bottom line.
The causes are many and hardly calculable. But whenever there’s a problematic event, it’s exacerbated by poor communication. Any shortfall in crisis management can turn an incident into a scandal, especially now that people can spread the word faster than ever via social media. The negativity can travel internationally within minutes, doing damage to an organization’s image and credibility.
The best way to handle crises is to prepare for them in advance. Begin by brainstorming different worst-possible-case scenarios and develop communications strategies for them. Ideally this work should involve collaboration with stakeholders from different departments — including legal — to create a crisis preparation manual.
It should cover as many crisis situations, and as many aspects of each situation, as possible. It should designate a crisis communication team consisting of people who are easy to reach and capable of making the right statements as soon as possible.
This manual should also help employees beyond the crisis communication team understand their responsibilities an emergency — typically, you want to train and authorize the broadest swath of staff to be able to make basic statements acknowledging the situation and explaining that the company is working on a solution.
More advanced messaging would be handled by trained media spokespeople. Map out who would communicate different types of messages via various communication channels.
These individuals would have predeveloped messages reflecting the company’s overall vision, mission and goal, the preparedness to deal with the crisis competently and which resources are and can be employed. They should reinforce the positive and be action or solution oriented. The idea is to not allow for there to be a delay in response or even a “no comment” in these situations.
The communications plan should even cover what to do if the answer to a question is unknown or not immediately available: The individual who fields it should immediately acknowledge the inquiry and tell whoever asked that “we will get back to you once we have an answer to that.” Or, if the answer to a question is not allowed to be shared for policy reasons — such as privacy of personnel information — that policy should be conveyed right away.
That said, here are some examples of acknowledgement messages that could be provided to the broadest swath of staff possible to enable swift replies to crisis situations:
- “We have implemented our crisis response plan, which places the highest priority on the health and safety of everyone involved.”
- “We are deeply saddened upon learning of…”
- “We extend our deepest regret and concern for…”
- “We have undergone a rigorous risk management process to prevent…”
- “We are is committed to collaborative efforts that can reduce the…”
- “Our hearts and minds are with…”
- “We will be supplying additional information when it is available and posting it on our website.”
Once a crisis communication plan is committed to writing, you can do the messaging version of fire drills: Roleplay different crisis scenarios over and over again with everyone on the crisis communication team, making sure they all know the contents of the crisis management manual inside and out.
Schedule at least quarterly reviews of the crisis communication manual to check if it is still up to date. Updates could range from personnel changes — designated pointpeople might have left the company or changed departments — and new emergency scenarios based on recent current events. Additionally, any technology upgrades at the company or other innovations would need to be incorporated, possibly requiring the revision of related processes. Finally, check for weaknesses or ambiguities and eliminate them.
When in doubt about any aspect of crisis communications, enlist help from experts who can help you prepare for different scenarios. No matter whether you do crisis communications with a third party or entirely in-house, the end result should equip you to maintain the ability to act quickly even in the worst situations.
Getting noticed online gets increasingly harder as webpages proliferate and Google expands the factors considered in its search algorithm — there are now 200 things affecting rank. Knowing how it works can help you make your business more accessible to users, even if what you actually offer is rather complex. The following infographic does a nifty job of explaining how Google works. Let us know what you think of it in the comments section.
Some people remain cynical about social media, which makes it necessary for marketers to continue to make the case for it to their internal stakeholders. The following infographic offers a nice shortcut on that with a list of ten reasons why small businesses can’t ignore social media.
A good 82 percent of businesses are going to increase their spending on content marketing this year. This will include more social media, blogs, and infographics, in that order. An illustration of this appears in the graphic below, created by Media Mosaic. Consider said infographic a teaser for a content marketing webcast we will be presenting at an Online Marketing Institute conference taking place at the end of the month.
YouTube has become more popular than cable television among U.S. adults between 18 and 34. That trend makes the video website a dramatically cheaper alternative to TV commercials. Actually, the site is cheap even if you’re trying to reach people in other demographics.
And here’s why it makes sense to incorporate YouTube into your company’s growth marketing plan: Posting content to the video site can boost your website’s ranking in Google search results and can also amplify the effectiveness of a Google AdWords campaign, should you choose to go that route.
It’s never too late to get started. And no matter where you are on the YouTube learning curve, ample guidance is available for free on the video site’s how-to section, linked here. In case you still need convincing, here are some highlights from YouTube’s own statistics page:
- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
- Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year
- 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
- 80 percent of YouTube traffic comes from outside the U.S.
- YouTube is localized in 61 countries and across 61 languages
- Mobile makes up almost 40 percent of YouTube’s global watch time
- YouTube is available on hundreds of millions of devices
Hopefully those number have whetted your appetite for more information about YouTube, including pointers on how to use the video site to promote your business. Advice on how to do that appears in the graphicsbelow. Let us know what you think of them in the comments section beneath this post.
While Twitter isn’t for everyone, certain market niches lend themselves to marketing via this 140-character social network.
Any company with a target customer demographic skewing younger than 40 ought to at least consider the platform, along with those catering to the technogically savvy.
We’ve got just the crash course for you: The advice in the infographic below enables you to double your Twitter followers by doing just five minutes of work a day.
We’ll even help you get started with that doubling by reciprocating your following us on that same social network (just send us a direct message there). Let us know what you think of the infographic below and let us know in the comments section. What’s your honest opinion about Twitter usage among your target demographic?
Have you wished your clients a Happy Valentine’s Day yet — or did you hold back on that there was no convincing way to connect the holiday with your brand messaging? If the latter applies to you, get a load of “14 Salesforce Pick-Up Lines for Your Valentine’s Day.” The image below comes from that blog post.
While the riff on customer relationship management software might be apparent to anyone who uses Salesforce.com software, there’s another concept in the mix here: memejacking. That’s a hipster way of referring to turning memes into marketing messages.
What’s a meme? Merriam-Webster defines it as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Social networking has given rise to another meaning to the word: a content theme that is frequently reshared, remixed, and reshared again.
This form of transmission, so-called “word of mouth” is the holy grail of marketing. People are more inclined to act on recommendations from their friends than any message received from third parties. Therefore, inspiring folks to share your content has a stronger impact than simply putting things out there.
Now that is much easier said than done. The most viral content on social media continues to be, well, noncommercial in nature. And that’s what makes memejacking a great tactic for tapping into virality: You effectively hitch a ride on a noncommercial message to advance your brand and business.
That’s what Salesforce.com did with its Valentine’s Day blog post: This year, a rising meme for the holiday appeals to single people with the “pick-up lines” theme. Blog posts and articles on that topic have been enjoying strong numbers on social media, where people are resharing the content at a steady clip.
Generally speaking, holiday-themed posts tend to get more attention on Facebook in particular due to the way the site’s news feed essentially favors the most popular topics of the day, especially humorous takes on said subjects.
So, even if you think wishing people a happy Valentine’s Day is unprofessional, not relevant to your brand or gives attention to an occasion you don’t enjoy, memejacking is a clever way to capture a lot of traffic online.
Before, it was called corporate citizenship, but it confused people. It sounded like a contradiction, while also coming off as legalese, like a tax strategy or something that shareholders demand. Now that it’s called social responsibility, we can tell you that it’s good for your brand.
Find a logical way to connect your brand with some form of community service and you can attract customers who feel strongly about the issue in question. The practice has the added benefit of making your company look larger than it really is, which can actually help you grow. However, if you let on that your motive for social responsibility is in any way driven by capitalistic objectives, the whole thing could backfire.
That said, social media has made it easier than ever to associate your brand with social responsibility. An excellent tactic: raise money for a charity via your online profiles. And even if you are unable to contribute any of your own money to the cause, surely you and your staff could give some time instead.
The infographic below does a good job of explaining why people are so receptive to social responsibility on social media. Please let us know what you think of the topic in the comments section.
LinkedIn is an underutilized resource. Optimize your presence on that social network and you can leapfrog ahead of the competition.
Do a Google search for information about LinkedIn, and you find a lot of articles about improving profiles, from a job seeker’s perspective, and a relative minority are written about how businesses can boost their presence on the site. Here’s how we will up the ante on the discussion: Optimize both! Your business benefits if all of your employees put the best forward on LinkedIn, since their profiles all link to your page.
Most likely you won’t be able to get every single one of your employees to do this with their profiles. In fact, it might just be that whoever handles the page optimization becomes the only person to optimize a profile to match. It would be great if everyone on your staff used professionally prepared biographies on their profiles, but that might take more resources than you care to devote to this effort. More realistic: supply your staff with a list of keywords to add to the skills section of their profiles.
This section happens to be one of the most underutilized parts of LinkedIn profiles, as it offers the social networking version of search engine optimization (SEO). You can add up to 50 different terms to the skills section, yet most people only have a couple dozen at most. There was even less of this before LinkedIn launched the endorsement feature, whereby people could vouch for your skills. This has added skills to profiles that didn’t have them before.
Now, select the relevant keywords from your staff’s skills lists and work them into your company’s LinkedIn page. Incorporate these terms into the description of your business and what it offers. Use the same terminology in the status updates you’ll be posting to the site every day — yes, you can post them as a page and on your own profile. The same goes for posts to groups, both the ones you create and the ones you join: work your terms in. Ditto for the questions and answers part of the site.
Contributing content to the site on a regular basis will also position you better in search results, both for a page and a profile. Try to put up something at least once a day. Also, including images also increases your social SEO, since they foster more engagement than any other type of material.
Readers, how does your LinkedIn presence stack up?