On Tuesday, September 27th I will be traveling to San Francisco to speak at the Social Media Strategies Summit with many of my colleagues. Since a majority of you won’t be attending the event, I thought I would share an exclusive blog on a some of the information I will be presenting that day. If you’d like to attend the event in San Francisco and see more on this session, get your tickets here.

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Whether you’re a beginner, or a senior level expert in social media and content marketing, your content plans have to better than ever. They should help you hit your goals and objectives. In my workshop, I will show you what is currently working with brands, and how to build and deploy efficiently.

Writers block can happen to anyone, below I’ll help you find five fresh ideas to include in your current, and future content marketing plans.

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First let’s break down the fundamentals of content marketing:

  1. We practice relationship marketing to build trust, rapport, an emotional connection and because, well, relationship marketing has the numbers to back it up. This allows our content to be more connected to the audience.
  2. When we engage with customers, they’re more likely to buy from us (87% of survey respondents indicate that online social engagement with a brand positively impacts their likelihood to purchase).
    05073dfNow here are the five steps that will help your content marketing plans:

    1. Make a plan – figure out your main goals, your target market, where you want to be found, and what you have to offer.
    2. Target – identify and clearly realize you are always in a conversation with your content, so make sure you know your target and your target is speaking to that target audience.
    3. Commit – to engage with your new and old relationships, have ownership and a schedule and let them know of your content.
    4. Value – always communicate how you can help others, how do you compare to the competition, what makes you different and what products and services do you provide?
    5. Schedule and Launch – Create a realistic consistent schedule. Start generating valuable content, interact and engage with customers and prospects, build those relationships, and once you decide to start, don’t stop. Setup a schedule of success so your content becomes a place where your target audience knows they can come to for reliable, valuable advice and answers.

     

    Implement these steps into your content marketing plan and let me know how the results are. We hope this helps you with your adventures in content marketing, whether you are a beginner or expert, there is always a next step in your journey.

    At the summit, we will do a live broadcast recap on our SocialJack.TV program, so tune in September 27th to get an inside view of SMSS San Francisco, meet keynotes speakers and even win in our prize giveaways. If you would like a free membership to Social Jack™ Training and Coaching, plus the program, click HERE TO SIGNUP.


In reading recent articles the last couple of weeks, it seems there are mixed reviews on the good and the bad around the purchase of LinkedIn. I have a few thoughts on this:

  • Microsoft has stated that it has plans to integrate LinkedIn and Social Selling into its existing CRM product, Microsoft Dynamics CRM- which is second to sales. I believe this is great for Microsoft but not so sure how it will impact the rest of us that do not use Microsoft CRM. There are also current LinkedIn tools, like “Sales Navigator,” that work well in the sales force. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

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  • My personal thoughts are that Microsoft is genius at wanting to own the data that LinkedIn has. The business intelligence that LinkedIn has from a social perspective of how people are connected and how people work and communicate together, there is nothing out there like this. Microsoft will be able to obtain social trends, social data, business trends, business data all blended together. I believe this is the main reason why they wanted to do this and also give new life to their new CRM products.
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  • Microsoft has historically not been that successful when it comes to social networking or social media. This to me validates that now they’re seeing the value, and it has increased, of social media and social networking. Many people think that this is potentially the death of social media, where these platforms cannot survive on their own, however I believe just the opposite. Microsoft has proven the value of connection, which is what we teach in our Social Jack training programs on coaching individuals the value of their connections based on their own ROI (Return of Investment).
    Microsoft-buys-LinkedIn
  • The fact that Microsoft paid $26.2 billion in cash for 433 million users, tells me that they found the cost per user came out to be $60. In our system, we look at it by value of user based on the ROI and outcome of the relationship, which is expediently more. The fact that Microsoft has placed a value on those connections, which have relationships, shows us that there is a value in social networks and connections.

So, connect with someone new today and you never know where it will take you.


You took your last final two months ago, you walked across a grand stage and shook the Dean’s hand, and now your diploma just is collecting dust at your parent’s house. For young college graduates, the unemployment rate is currently 7.2 percent (compared with 5.5 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 14.9 percent (compared with 9.6 percent in 2007). Employers are looking to hire employees who come through referrals. Think about the saying, “it’s who you know, not what you know.”

The-Next-Step-College-Graduate

  1. Pick your destination:
    Before applying for a job, think about the location in which you envision yourself and where you want to work. This means you will have to decide which industry you will want to pursue, which company interests you the most or geographically where you see yourself. Regardless which one it is, you will want to pick that destination.
  2. Targeting Individuals.
    Next you will want to identify and name the targets. Make a list of what type of people would be connected to the destination you strive to be at. If it is a particular company you are interested in, connect with the employees currently there. A good starting place is to connect with the head of HR, and send them a message introducing yourself and that you applied for a position. You will want to have a clear vision of that target individual looks like. Within the target, you will want to focus on “hubs” or organizations that would contain those people. This would be associations you are a part of, your alumni group, chambers of commerce or past conferences you’ve attended. There all kinds of past involvement that you can tap in to for career opportunities.
  3. Social Media Accounts:
    Make sure to update your profiles so that they are consistently representing who you are as a person, and for where you want to go on your destination. Build your LinkedIn page to its maximum worth. The use of social media for for recruitment has grown 54% in the the past 5 years. A recent SHRM study found that 84 percent of organizations are now recruiting on social media; only 56 percent of companies were hiring on social media in 2011.group of graduates
  4. Current State Team:
    Then you will build your current state team. Start by looking at everybody within your circle of influence and build a team of people. You then match those people with the targets you identified with.
  5. Get Connected:
    After that you will then make sure you are connected with that team on social media like LinkedIn. If these people are personal connections, follow them on virtual hang out places, that could be Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. This will be different for different team members
  6. Stay Connected:
    The next step is to pick four people a day to connect and have conversation with to then build your rapport and your connection with deepen. You want to let these people know what your destination goal is. By reacting out, having simple conversations, being genuine and authentic, you will have access into their networks and can connect with them. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions, because your end goal is to get into that destination, company or industryimages
  7. Scouting:
    Scouting for new team members on the professional side is seen as almost identical to scouting for a sports team. One thing that is easy but challenging for people is to let go of current team members who are not getting you to your end destination (Derrick Rose to the Knicks??). Thus, we have a scouting and drafting process in our Social Jack system that helps people bring new team members on board. We recommend that you go our Social Jack website and get a free account, and you will have access to the training we provide. It’s easy and fun!
  8. You’re hired!
    Enjoy the benefits that come along with getting hired., most importantly tak
    e advantage of the snacks! We promise that if you follow these steps, and get into a routine on this, your network will ideally connect you to your ideal destination.

 

We’ve successful training over 100,000 professionals, (high school, college, graduate students) with this simple process yet if you stick with it, it works. Make sure to share this blog post with your recent college graduates.

 


Our new partnership with EPI, Exit Planning Institute, started in late May, when I traveled to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, to certify some of their workers with CEPA. I am proud to announce that Social Jack is their official Social Selling learning provider for EPI.

The Exit Planning Institute is the premier provider of education, networking, professional development, and tools for exit planning professionals worldwide. Exit Planning Institute whose representatives are typically wealth managers, financial services, accountants, and other business related careers, want to add exit planning to their book of business.

Our Social Selling technique is essentially another product line for their members. Social Selling can be defined as, “the interaction between two people to get to an entire network.” This functions no differently than when people build a sports team. That’s the system we use: scouting, drafting, and building a core team around your book of business.

At EPI, we have been brought in to be part of their sales track, part of adding the view add of Exit Planning Institute is that they teach and certify you in how to help a business strategy exit but they also help teach you how to sale those services.

 

This is where the Social Jack curriculum, and modules for Social Selling have now become a standard as part of their modules that they deliver to the membership. We’re so excited to start working with EPI and their members to help them produce more new business by generating this new product and by having the knowledge of leveraging Social Jack and Social Selling.

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Now let’s break down our business plan. Our curriculum is about people teaching people how to do social teaming. Social teaming is when people who are in practice management, (accountants and wealth managers) that have a network, but they don’t know how to organize their network. We then step in and teach them to structure their network, clients, friends and family and then convert that to into a powerful team to generate referrals.

 

As part of their CEPA certification, members of EPI are enrolled into two classes. The first was Social Selling 101: How to harness the power of social selling and thought leadership and Social Selling 201: How to build your influential network. Then members will migrate and become members of the Social Jack system, where they will be introduced to all 15 modules, bi-monthly coaching, and library of over 200 other classes.

About Social Jack

Social Jack is a Micro-Learning coaching and training platform that allows you to learn at your pace for your own objectives, sales, career, culture, business building or lifesyle. We use Social Teaming as an exclusive core to all of our programs. All learners will set an objective, get a game plan and quickly move into result driven power moves with a proven system. Over 100,000 professionals have been coaching and trained on this system and more information can be found at www.SocialJack.com.

About EPI

EPI is emerging as a worldwide recognized leader in the exit planning industry and is on a wave of momentum, powered by a strong, active community of CEPAs, members, faculty, board and leading industry experts. Our team is dedicated to accomplishing this vision, providing leading educational opportunities, certification programs, events, member support, and industry research for exit planning professionals in the United States and worldwide. More information about can be found at http://www.exit-planning-institute.org.

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Employee Advocacy is where we are now seeing the effects of Social Media and the power of Social Networks work on behalf of the employee and brand together, however only if done correctly. Otherwise, it’s just another brand request which can work against us or fall on deaf ears!

First let me share my favorite definition of this most recent hot topic.

Employee advocacy is defined as, “the promotion of an organization by its staff members.”

A business may ask employees to actively promote the organization, often through social media, as an element of their jobs. However, the most compelling employee advocacy consists of freely-offered communications on the part of the workforce. The question of whether or not staff members are likely to freely promote an organization is highly related to the degree of employee engagement in the workplace, and employee engagement is largely a factor of the corporate culture and the employer’s ability to make working for them a positive experience.

Source: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/employee-advocacy

 

How strong is it?

So many brands are working on this effort, and there are so many variations that it is tough to gage how strong it is across the board. It still feels like it is brand and content driven rather than people driven. We believe that there must be an initiative to train and coach employees so they understand the benefit  themselves (WIFM) first, then for the brand. From our observations, these brands are the strongest.

Being a “show me” type person, I have put down some of the stats that jump out at me as we research the net and ask our friends focused on this space. I especially like the lift on blocking stat by Gartner, this shows that even the most compliant environments are loosening up and shifting to the employee being trained and doing the right thing on behalf of themselves and the brand. 

What are some of the benefits?

HR and Company Culture – As employees become part of the “brand” culture, they automatically become raving fans and attract their network to that workplace. See some of the evidence below.

Sales and Marketing Leads – Employees hold a stronger voice than most brands, meaning that people trust other people before they trust brands. If you activate the culture, you then activate the brand from a better position. See the stat below that employee content ranks over brand content shared by over 8x.

Employee Communications – Great communication, produces great everything else. Once people communicate internally and externally with social media, then all areas work in part on behalf of the whole company.

Brand Awareness – When we speak of humanizing the brand, it brings life through the employees to the brand. It’s an automatic trust builder. People trust and buy from people, they pay attention to what their friends say and do. This supports and builds the brand faster than any other method, and at a lower cost!

 What is the Evidence?

General Advocacy

  • 77% of buyers are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media (Source: MSLGroup)
  • Social CEOs are much more likely to be seen as good communicators than unsocial CEOs (55% vs. 38%, respectively (Source: Weber Shandwick)
  • Leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7x more frequently than other leads (Source: IBM)
  • According to Gartner, the number of companies blocking social media access for employees is dropping at 10% per year. 50% blocked access in 2010 – less than 30% blocked in 2014. (Source: Gartner)

 

Sales :

 

Marketing Perspective

  • The average cold calling appointment rate is 2.5% (Source: CEB)
  • B2B buyers complete 57% of the buying decision before they are willing to talk to a sales rep.(Source: CEB)
  • 92% of buyers say they delete emails or voicemail messages when comes from someone that they do not know. (Source: A Sales Guy Consulting)
  • Content shared by employees receives 8X more engagement than content shared by brand channels (Source: Social Media Today)

 

HR Perspective (Source: Jobvite):

  • Employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate – only 7% of applicants are via employees but this accounts for 40% of all new hire hires (Source: Jobvite)
  • 67% of employers and recruiters said that the recruiting process was shorter and 51% said it was less expensive to recruit via referrals (Source: Jobvite)
  • 47% Referral hires have greater job satisfaction and stay longer at companies (Source: Jobvite)
  • Employees of socially engaged companies are… (Source: Altimeter & LinkedIn Relationship Economics 2014)
    • 57% more likely to align social media engagement to more sales leads
    • 20% more likely to stay at their company
    • 27% more likely to feel optimistic about their company’s future
    • 40% more likely to believe their company is more competitive

 

How to jump start – Social Teaming

When we are training our clients, we use our methodology of social teaming. See: Social Teaming Definition. You are simply selecting a team of people inside the organization, then forming them into clusters and then becoming a hub. This can be started by following the simple guidelines below:

Every project starts as a pilot. It never happens when a company says, “yes, lets change our culture and breed employee advocates on behalf of our brand”.  Although companies like Starbucks, IBM, Dell, Sprint, SAP and others have surged into Employee Advocacy with both feet, they all start as pilots. The great news is that you don’t have to be a fortune 500 company to make this happen. It’s imply a top down initiative and people are trained and supported on being advocates. So what are the steps we recommend and take with our clients?

  1. Determine which area to start, marketing, sales, HR, customer service, etc.
  2. Identify your champions, people who believe in the brand
  3. Define what it means it be an advocate of the brand
  4. Pick a platform that can make content access easy and manageable
  5. Create a training and coaching schedule. **
  6. Measure results and adjust program
  7. Select next group or area, repeat.

** Coaching is always on the bubble here and needs to be left in as a priority. Everyone learns at a different rate. They need support and a place to go for assistance.

Many times organizations make this the elephant project and then wait, delay and miss windows of opportunity, overspend on marketing, retention, recruiting, etc. While all along they just need to simply start to shift the culture to root and talk for the brand.

It is really easier than it feels. We love talking to companies and groups about this topic, so please call me if you want to have a discussion. The companies that get this will be growing and surging faster than their competition.


Who is Your Social Competition? You Might Be Surprised!

By Dean DeLisle

 

Social Selling

 

When we are looking at organizations we get called into three primary areas with our Social Jack™ Training Programs, Relationship Marketing, Social Selling or Career Advancement. One common theme is that all areas are not only looking to excel in their area and hit their goals, but they have a strong desire to know their social competition, once they know they have social competition!

The first competitor is probably the most obvious, it’s them. They many times are in their own way, they either are holding back from two primary reasons, fear or they hold on to the wrong social network (of people). What we see is that they have fear. They fear of knowing their true identity, what to do or say and who should they connect with among others. So they simply play small or hold back, which means they are in their own way! The second part of this is that they have the wrong network of people, this at the core can be fatal. Even organization construct very unproductive social networks and forget the target customers and partners, so we often have to reorganize out of the gate more than not.

Social Selling

Relationship Marketing Competitors

Your competition here are all the prospect and customers out there on your social network platforms, and in your databases. Are you holding their attention over the competition? We also see the competition look like content and platforms such as websites, landing pages and micro sites.

Social Selling Competitors

This one might be the most obvious depending on the organization. These are also prospects and customers, however they might be in control of your accounts execs, relationship managers, customer service or no one. As an organization it’s your duty to provide structure and training to your sales force, set guidelines, boundaries and a solid attack plan to form an intentional social network so the competition can’t penetrate.

Career Advancement Competitors

Flat out this is where you are in competition with your peers and can be tricky depending on the culture. We see this from two angles the inside out and the outside in. So if you are on the inside, its best to network with your peers and really work together for each other. Unfortunately many cultures don’t allow this so they tend to breed a protective environment and dictate survival of the fittest wins and this can be unproductive and harmful to growth in most cases. It is so much better to approach this from a position of authenticity and relationship. From the outside, it’s great to be in this mode to penetrate the walls of a corporation and take out someone who is in competition for a position you desire. Then remember to shift once you get on the inside, be the thought leader here!

In my next blog on this I will get into how to really take out the competition and what we see as our best techniques used by our Social Jack™ students. Social Jack™ was developed by Dean DeLisle and his team at Forward Progress in response to an overwhelming demand for their social media training and development workshops, which are delivered both in person and online. With SocialJack.com, clients can select their professional destination, map out a plan, and access the coaching and training needed to support them to that destination. They will develop the skills they need to build and manage the social networks required on their journey.

Want to take your strategy to the next level? Join us  on Feb 10th – 11am CST: Social Jack™ hosts “LinkedIn – How to Knock Out Your Social Competition”

Are you wondering why some people are generating new business from LinkedIn and you’re not? Or, maybe why your competition is getting in front of your current clients? Join our webinar and learn how to use 5 steps to take out your competition and create new business. Register Here

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Blogging for the Topically Challenged

How many scintillating and insightful blog articles can you write in 1 day? Oh that’s right you have a business to run. If you are running a business that needs leads, don’t expect exponential growth from that one blog article you squeezed into your busy schedule. Don’t expect it after five. Or even ten.

Here’s the reality check you need around expectations for that spike in your Google Analytics campaigns into the uncharted waters of graph-dom:

“Once you write 21-54 blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30%.”

Source:TrafficGenerationCafe

So, that is the breakdown, best case 21 – worst case 54. How can you get to the finish line? First you need to get re-inspired as to why you are going to climb this mountain. For instance, did you know:

  • Reason #1: Email is also sort of like blogging, so might as well make it worth the effort…”Among those who use e-mail marketing, companies that blog get twice as much traffic from their email than those who don’t.” (Source: HubSpot)
  • Reason #2: A good impression…”60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site.” (Source: Content Plus)
  • Reason #2a: A secondary good impression…”90% of consumers find custom content useful, 78% believe that companies behind content are interested in building good relationships.”(Source: TMG Custom Media)
  • Point #3: Your competition is probably getting the customers you want by blogging…“92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog.” (Source:HubSpot)

IS THAT SO?

Now that you understand the WHY….Let’s dive into the how to get it done. Let’s look at some of the roadblocks – the main ones being: writers block and research!

TIP 1: Take A Break

Step away from your desk – with that glaring screen of Google Doc notes that make absolutely no sense. Just take your bruised self-esteem and take a break from the grind.

Leave the room. Go outside. Go for a walk, or even a run, and let the fresh air and kick-start your brain. Go see a movie and relax. Cook yourself some nice food, or check out the new restaurant that everyone’s talking about. In short, do something that’s new and different for you. The experience won’t just relax you, it will also rejuvenate you and spark some ideas in the process.

TIP 2: Find the questions that your audience is asking

Now let’s start mining Q&A sites like Quora to find out what else people want to know about.

Let’s say your topic is: Paper Towels

A quick search turns up no direct search results, we discover that people want to know …

Then we can turn our attention to Yahoo! Answers to find more questions people care about, like:

  • Why do paper towels absorb?
  • Where can I find information on the history of the paper towel?
  • Substitute for paper towels?
  • Is it possible to grow plants from wet paper towels?

These may seem like incredibly mundane or ridiculous questions to you, but keep in mind, real people are asking these questions … in public. If they’re spending their time looking for answers, why not spend yours providing them with them on your own site?

Every product on planet earth has at least 20 questions that require at least 2-3 paragraphs worth of information to explain – boom, you’re halfway there with 20 blogs cranked out!

Tip #3: Pop on over to your favorite news-feeds: Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for what all the hoopla is about RIGHT NOW!

When you just can’t think of any way to make your product/service relevant – sometimes you have to gain inspiration from what other people are already gibber jabbering about online. If you’re feeling especially subject challenged – hop on over to Facebook or Twitter and read the newsfeed for 5-10 minutes. Are there any relevant news articles that you can provide an opinion on or add to? Are there any humorous tie-ins between a great play during a football game that you can relate to a smart play by a vendor in your industry?

Relevancy makes your content “clever” and quite frankly more likely to be read. This is where the likes and shares become a reality to you. Secondly, when you speak about something that is top of mind to your audience – the more likely they are to partake in the other 75% percent of information you are slipping in to create a connection. Also known as striking a chord!

Tip #4: “The Reverse Info-graphic Move” – Huge time saver.

Even if you’ve thought of the spin you want to put on your article relating to your business – there is still that whole fact finding support search step. ANNOYING and TIME CONSUMING! It can take hours to find factual arguments for your case. How about instead of Googling your topic for articles with facts – type in “Infographics on Hand-Towels vs Hand-Dryers” and select “Google Images”

Did you ever think about the fact that there would be more germs in the air by using a hand-dryer? Yes, I mean – I’ll admit it, I didn’t think about it. Now I am grossed out. Great….

Back to the point: That’s the kind of nugget of information that even Bounty could use as part of an article on “What Makes Bounty the Greatest Picker Upper.” It’s all about creating that “aha” moment that makes your reader think: “I’m so glad I just read that. Hey Suzy, did you hear… Bounty wrote this blog article about hand-dryers vs. paper towels – can you believe…” Equals clicking of the “share.”

One point for BOUNTY and for you! And, don’t forget – your fan wants to feel smart because he posted it. So ultimately, you could get a raise – Bounty a sale – and your audience a new friend. It’s all about that make everyone win thing!

Plus, info-graphics tend to have the meaty information without the long-winded storytelling around it. In one search you can probably scan 10 info-graphics for 10 seconds each and gather 10 new facts that are wildly interesting. Just think about it? If it’s on an info-graphic, it’s typically already gone through the scrutiny of “Is this interesting or cool enough to spend additional time/money to graphically illustrate?”

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I hope you are feeling less like this….

You can conquer the blog writing mountain without losing your mind with the above tips! For more ideas on how to smoke your competition on the blogging front – just comment, like and share this article.

Thanks and hope to see you around again – ask questions in the comment stream if you like. It could be my next blogging topic!

Your digital marketing expert: Corinne Meier!

 


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Okay, this first move is both easy and hard. At Forward Progress, when we engage in what we call a Rapid Launch Plan, we figure out where to help an organization structure their relationship and community marketing efforts. We often find that there is one critical thing that everyone finally has to deal with and we all need work on this, even us!

This is your first move with the relationship. We are not sure why we see so many people who have great landing pages, registration forms, website capture forms and often see people overlook that next step conversion. Remember, you started a conversation with your audience, don’t misguide them or leave them hanging. Think of your own experience’s online. What turns you on and what turns you off? Then think of what you are offering out on the net.

“What turns you on, what turns you off?”

 

 

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For example, you get a person to fill out your form, make a request or give their email, and what is your first impression? Follow these simple steps to test yourself.

 

  1. Ask people who enter your world how did we do, what do you think?
  1. Test it yourself, do you feel welcomed and tended to, do you feel a relationship forming?
  1. Track your success or failure rate to convert leads into customers

 

Remember once you do these, you can then adjust the experience of that first move accordingly. Your next customer could be closer that you think, like in your CRM or lead database, you just misfired, dropped off or forgot about them. Look and let us know what you find!

See you online – Dean