The following blog post was written for a blog series for the Nashville Business Journal.
A few weeks ago, the Journal revealed the top 10 Twitter brands and business leaders in Nashville as a part of the social madness campaign. I whole-heartedly agreed with the list, however, I feared this list might discourage the rest of us, the smaller brands, and cause us to give up on twitter.
One of the greatest benefits of social media is the fact that you don’t have to have thousands of followers to produce a positive ROI. There are many brands in Nashville using twitter to strategically connect with their target audience and subsequently reach their goals.
With that said, here are the 5 best Nashville businesses on Twitter you might have never heard of unless you are part of their target audience:
@NESpower –People probably aren’t rushing their computers to follow an Electrical Service provider. However, Nashville Electric Service does an excellent job of using twitter as a customer service tool. NES uses twitter to respond to issues with their services and keep people updated on power outages whenever they occur.
Takeaway – Excelling in customer service and showing people you care by responding to their issues can be just as valuable as producing new business.
@BajaBurrito – Capitalizing on their established cult-like following, Baja Burrito does a great job of engaging with customers and driving business to through twitter. Instead of pushing their products or promotions, Baja frequently shares exclusive deals and contests.
Takeaway – Don’t be afraid to have a little fun and think creatively on how you can drive traffic to your business.
@crosspoint_tv – Most churches in Nashville who use twitter do a great job, but there’s one case study in particular that can be valuable to businesses. During the flood in 2010, Cross Point used twitter to mobilize thousands of volunteers to the areas most affected. In fact, their efforts received national coverage from outlets like CNN.
Takeaway – When an opportunity arises, twitter is an excellent way to mobilize individuals effectively in real time.
@GriffinTech –As one of the nation’s largest providers of iPhone, iPad and iPhone essentials, Griffin Tech does a phenomenal job of using twitter to humanize the brand and making iPhone cases interesting. One look at their feed and you’ll notice a balance of social updates, customer service responses, and product promotions.
Takeaway – When it comes to social media, people would rather connect with people, not brands. Use twitter to humanize your brand.
@NashOnTheMove – One of the most important things brands should know when using social media is to “help, not sell.” That’s exactly what the Perry Property Group does with @NashOnTheMove. Instead of talking about the real estate industry, they help Nashville residents by sharing upcoming events and news people would enjoy.
Takeaway –Before posting something, ask yourself, “How does this add value to my audience’s life?” If you can’t answer that question, you probably shouldn’t post it.
You can follow along with the Social Madness Series and check out our other blog posts here>
Like most college students I had a part-time job during my last two years of college to help pay rent and living expenses. Also like most college students, I included this job on my resume as I started the job hunt upon graduating and with encouragement from my professors, created a LinkedIn profile, to showcase my resume online.
Fast forward to 2012. I’ve been working for several years in the social media and media relations field. My skills and professional aptitude have grown exponentially since my days back at the local sandwich and coffee shop, but what if I never took the time to update my social networks to convey that?
In a world where the majority of employers check social networks before hiring, keeping your social networks such as LinkedIn up-to-date is just as important, if not more important, than having an updated resume. Here’s a recent, real-world (and slightly humorous), example of this principle from the Nashville Business Journal.
Review this quick checklist to help ensure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date:
- Make sure your current job title and description is correct.
- Include all past employment and education with the appropriate dates.
- Complete your Summary and Experience sections with “action-oriented” words much like your resume.
- Make sure your personal and company websites are current.
- Include any special skills or awards to showcase the things that set you apart.
If you’re LinkedIn profile has grown stagnant, we hope this post encouraged you to take action. After all, you never what impact your social networks will have on your career.
Springtime is one of our favorite of the year here at Werkshop. The warm weather and blossoming flowers make everything bright and beautiful.
In elementary school, we learned that bees are one of the primary reasons the flowers grow. They fly around, sometimes up to 20 miles each day, to pollinate the flowers and trees.
In the same way the bees make things beautiful in the spring, we (our team here at Werkshop and you) work hard make things beautiful or keep things thriving. So for this month’s desktop, we wanted to solute you, the Werker Bees. Those who keep business thriving, make projects beautiful, and carry a crazy load on your back.
Werker Bees…. Keep it Buzzin’
To check out our Desktop Downloads from previous months click here>
You can also share this month’s desktop with a friend through our Facebook Page>
The following is a guest post from our Marketing Assistant, Amanda Gilliam. Amanda is minoring in Marketing at WKU and assists the Werkshop staff in various areas. A recent class discussion sparked this blog post idea about what NOT to do when determining your brand’s sponsorship efforts.
If you’re having trouble viewing this video, you can watch it here.
Isn’t this a fun video?
Were you wondering the whole time, “What does Stride have to do with this”? Yeah, me too.
Apparently, Matt had quit his job and started traveling with his camera and his signature dance move. After filming himself dancing throughout his journey and posting videos on the internet, Matt became an internet sensation and views of his YouTube videos exploded.
What does it have to do with Stride?
Stride Gum saw this as a sponsorship opportunity and sponsored Matt for more traveling, dancing and filming. Matt has 43,000,000 views!
But what about Stride? There were no signs that Stride was the sponsor except for the 3-second recognition at the end of the video. Even with the cool concept and catchy music, the video is over 4 minutes long…. you might have even had the urge to turn it off. Was it worth it for Stride to spend all the money to send Matt around the world, but not receive much recognition? Matt could have at least worn a Stride t-shirt or been filmed passing out gum to the dancers.
As a consumer, I watch this video and think: “Matt is cool. I would like to travel around the world with a signature dance move”. This does not make me think: “Stride Gum sponsored this? Cool, I’m going to go buy some gum!”
Did Stride’s sponsorship bring brand recognition to a company? Maybe. But if you’re looking to spread awareness about your brand through sponsorships, you should invest in something that is more visible to the consumer.
Are we saying that you should only invest in a sponsorship if you can hang a 10 foot banner from the ceiling with your logo? No. We’re simply encouraging you to strategically think about how you can maximize your investment to provide the most ROI for your brand.
Don’t let your sponsorship be a “Stride Gum” sponsorship….. at least give Matt a piece of gum to chew while he dances.
March Madness… The most wonderful time of the year. If you’re like our team at Werkshop, you’re spending a lot of time watching basketball, cheering on your team (C-A-T-S), and hoping to make it to be cutting down the nets.
As we head into the Sweet 16, we thought we’d take some time to share a few marketing lessons we can all learn from the greatness known as March Madness:
Know Your Game Plan.
Without a solid game plan, there is no way you can go out, execute, and win the game. What’s your marketing strategy? Having a marketing plan in place can help you outline next steps throughout the year. The overall objective in basketball is easy, win, but in order to do that, teams must also accomplish smaller objectives (rebound more, turnover less, etc.) What are those “small wins” you need to accomplish in order to win the game? Choose wisely, and know that your plan can (and should) be revisited and adapted throughout the year.
Be Excellent in Your Fundamentals.
No matter what team is playing, we guarantee they still work on fundamentals. In marketing (and basketball), without consistently good execution of the fundamentals, strategy is only an intention. First, are the logo, website, brand messaging and communications materials consistent? Are they unique, differentiated and fresh? Does everybody in your organization know the basics and work as a team? Are you clear about your marketing goals? This is where to start.
Be ready to pull out the surprise play.
While consistency in branding and communications is primary, the element of surprise can often help your brand gain the edge over the competition. Cleverness or boldness in marketing can have the same affect. Get your target audience’s attention and do something different. It could be something as simple as a personalized note to your top customers or a guerrilla marketing campaign that will create massive buzz around your brand.
It’s the end of the first quarter. Be sure to take a fresh look at your marketing strategy. Maybe you’ll be inspired by this March Madness, too and bust some brackets of your own.
Recharge with Help from the Crowd.
Don’t underestimate the customers you already have. Your brand advocates can provide wonderful support through word-of-mouth marketing and testimonials. They can also provide great feedback about what your brand does best. Use lessons learned, insights gained and kudos received to bolster your brand, your team, and your strategy.
Cash in on Momentum.
Basketball, like business, can come down to momentum: Knowing when to take a timeout, riding the player with the hot hand, building upon short-term successes while pursuing long-term goals, and so on. When things are going well, don’t over-think it — make the most of the momentum and trust in your team. (And when things seem to be falling apart, call the small-business equivalent of a timeout to get a breather and talk things over.) The University of Connecticut, which won the 2011 NCAA Championship, began the season unranked and didn’t crack the top half of its own league during the regular season. They went on to rattle off 11 straight postseason wins en route to the national title.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know about Facebook’s decision to turn personal profiles into more of an online autobiography, changing the layout dramatically and allowing users to add information dating back all the way back until the day you were born.
If you’ve recently came out from under the rock, you might not have heard that Facebook is also forcing brand pages to adapt to the changes. Starting, March 30th all brand pages will have to update from the current layout to the new timeline. Some brand pages have already made the switch, while many are preparing for it. With only 15 days until your brand is forced to make the changes, we wanted to take the time to share everything your brand needs to know about the Facebook page changes.
1. Timeline & New Design
The new design and user interface provides a much bigger area for displaying a compelling image that can highlight the business brand. The format will now be two columns that will reflect the evolving story of the brand over time.
This image area now measures 850 by 315, so you will need to create images that work with that space.
2. Don’t Break any Cover Photo Rules
Facebook wants businesses to act and interact like people, and banning promotional language on the Cover image is one way to enforce this “engagement trumps calls-to-action” philosophy. Therefore, you cannot have any calls to action, contact info, price or purchase info, or reference to Facebook features such as “Like us” or “Share our page”.
2. Let’s talk in Private
This will allow a more intimate engagement with customers and prospects. Hopefully this means that your more discruntled fans can communicate through private messaging rather than public posting. Brands cannot send private messages, but can respond if one is sent in. The feature can be turned off if required.Businesses will now be able to communicate with private messages with their fans and users. What this means that previously public conversations with users can now be done in private if required.
3. No Where to Land
In the current design, brands are able to set a default landing page. This allowed the administrator of the page to control what page appeared as your default Facebook landing page. This means that practice of garnering more organic “likes” will not be able to be done any more by driving people to that custom tab.
4. What’s visible?
All tabs were visible with the old design on the left hand side of the Facebook page previously you were able to put your custom tabs. The implications of this is that you will need to choose wisely which tabs you want to place here.
The photos tab is not able to be moved or changed but you can control which of the other 3 tabs you want to feature including icon images.
5. “Now Featuring”
Brands can now “pin” content that you want to appear at the top of the “Timeline”. This will allow brands to feature content such as blog posts, images or calls to action in a prominent position on their page.
This is indicated by the the yellow “marker at the top right of the post.
6. What the App?
Even though Facebook is limiting the number of apps a person can see when they visit your page, they are also giving brands a lot more space to do whatever you want. The new pages for apps are much bigger than the old ones and that will be helpful for many app providers. If you’re not big on apps for Facebook this won’t matter to you very much. However, you may want to start considering how you can utilize a third-party app to drive engagement, awareness, and ultimately sales.
7. Stats go Public
Facebook is giving more of your page’s stats away for the general public to see with timeline. The public will now be able to see more than how many “Likes” a page has and how many people are talking about the page. For pages with low engagement, this provides another reason to focus on creating compelling content.
8. Let’s get real…time.
Facebook’s built-in Insights statistics platform has been confusing in its frequent changes of direction, and now it’s unveiling real-time stats. The notion is that brands will be able to instantly know when posts are gaining disproportionate traction. The ultimate reason is because they can be immediately turned into paid ads to build reach. This is an interesting opportunity to be sure, and will help you determine in real-time if your messaging is working.
Can you believe it’s already the end of February? You’ve already put in 43 werk days for 2012 and Spring fever is just around the corner.
Our team at Werkshop wanted to help you celebrate hitting the 16 and 2/3 mark in the year by encouraging you with this Free Desktop Download.
We know how tough it is to juggle all of the responsibilites of work and life, so we just wanted to say Keep Up The Good Werk.
One of the most powerful tools your brand can use to generate business is a website. However, many brands are using their website like a set of old carpentry tools. Ultimately, they might be able to get the job done, but there are new tools that help get the job done quicker and better.
With that said, here are 7 instant improvements you can take to upgrade your website to the most powerful tool in your toolbox:
Usability is Key – When most brands are wire-framing their website, they forget about who the site is being built for… the customer. A recent study showed that 76% of consumers say the most important factor in a website’s design is “the website makes it easy for me to find what I want.” Do you know why consumers are visiting your website? If so, are you making it easy for them to find the information they want?
Use call-to-actions that stand out – A call-to-action is one of the critical elements most brands leave off their homepage. Directing people to take action on your website above the fold is something many webpages lack. One reason your website may not be driving sales is because you’re not giving it the chance to do so.
Make sure its Mobile Optimized – According to recent Nielson’s numbers, 43% of all mobile phones are smartphones. This means brands simply can’t afford to ignore mobile phones and mobile phone users. The first, and most important thing, you can do to mobile-optimize your site is to create a mobile friendly version. This allows people who are visiting your website on a mobile device to easily view it on a screen that is typically 2 inches wide by 3 inches long
Produce More Content – Websites that create lots of content, build active social media profiles, and blog regularly are much more successful online than their peers. Don’t view your website as a nametag that introduces people to your product and services, instead view it as the initial conversation that engages with people and tells a story. The key element in this is to create content that not only sells, but also educates consumers.
Integrate Social – If your website doesn’t allow visitors to share content, products or services with their social networks, you’re missing out on an easy lead-generation tool. What can you do to help move this process along? While you can’t directly influence whether someone decides to share your content, you can indirectly encourage and make it simple for them by adding social sharing buttons and providing high quality content.
Provide Customer Success/Testimonies – In our Social Media Revolution DIG, we shared a statistic that speaks directly to this element. 90% of consumers trust peer reviews, while only 14% trust advertisements. Providing customer success stories and testimonials will allow people who view your website to hear about your products or services from their peers.
Establish On-Page Optimization – Everyone wants to be at the top of search engine results for keywords in their industry. While on-page SEO only accounts for approximately 25% of your ranking, there are small things you can do to improve your overall SEO results. Optimizing your page title, page URL, header tags, image text, and metadata all help in creating a solid page for optimizing search terms.
While there are numerous improvements you can make to your website, these are 7 easy ways to start generating instant results tomorrow.
If you’re interested in learning more about how your brand can improve its website, we’d love to walk you through it. You can contact us here.
Last week, we had the privilege of hosting a Pinterest roundtable discussion in our Nashville office. After our “Social Media Revolution” DIG, a discussion sparked on how brands are using the hottest social network on the web right now. We had the privilege of talking with some of the most brilliant social marketing minds in Nashville on how Pinterest could benefit our clients.
Every good roundtable discussion needs 3 things: Macbooks, White Boards & Krispy Kreme.
Here were a few of the takeaways:
- With its exponential growth and market saturation, Pinterest is something that can’t be ignored and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
- The majority of Pinterest users are women, some studies show 80%. Before you jump into the tool, make sure your target market is using it.
- When pinning images, strategically determine how you’re going to leverage them for your brand through linking, watermarking, etc.
- As with every other social network, the key for brands using Pinterest is to “help, not sell”. Make sure you’re adding value to the lives of those who follow your boards and repin your images.
HUGE thanks to Bill Seaver, John Cade and Ashley Segroves for taking time to join us and provide valuable insights into leveraging the new tool. Having roundtable discussions like these is just one of the many reasons we love working in Nashville!
What brands have you seen using Pinterest well?
If you’ve got a marketing topic you’d like to discuss, let us know.
Whether you’re projecting global internet traffic usage for 2015 or explaining the danger of sitting all day, infographs have proven themselves to be a powerful tool for information sharing. Most of you are probably familiar with infographs and might have even referenced or shared them with your friends, but have you considered how you can leverage them for you brand?
There are endless possibilities. You can use them to highlight statistical information about your products or services, share information regarding the benefits of your industry or break down your annual report for shareholders. However you slice it, infographs have become the premier way for changing “boring statistics” into “powerful insights”.
Here’s a recent infograph we found which shares financial information for one of our favorite brands, Apple:
The one thing that stood out to us in this infograph was the fact that Apple brought 4 times more revenue than the previous year’s giant, Walmart while spending 3 times less on operations. And that’s the brilliant thing about infographs, what stands out to us might be completely different than what stands out to you.
So, as you’re looking for creative ways to share your annual report this year or highlight your products and/or services, consider how you can use inforgraphs to grab the attention of your audience like never before.
If you have any questions or are interested in creating an infograph for your business, feel free to contact us here.