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Education resource for the group travel supplier

 


To fulfill the need for value-based communications and engagement, marketers are leveraging content marketing strategies to support their communities’ information needs and build a relationship as a trusted advisor. 

As if marketers didn’t already wear many hats, “storyteller” has become another task to manage, for brand awareness, audience engagement, and providing value that builds trust. If this sounds like “just another daunting role” to pick up, we’ve got you covered. It’s a must-have role, by the way! Here are five storytelling rules for the marketer.

  1. Don’t be vain. Carly Simon said it best: This song is not about you. Effective content is about the goals, problems, and shared interests of your audiences and community. We build connections and relationships with content that delights, educates, and compels people to take action.
  2. Keep it contextual. Borrow basic journalism principles (who, what, why, where, when, and how) to convey that your content is centered on its consumers and their interests, as well as the information and changes that affect them in their everyday roles.
  3. Find your format. What’s your company’s signature? Think about the structure, design, and delivery methods that are most relevant to your content consumer audience, and keep them coming back for more with inventoried content.
  4. Take cues from consumption. Honor your content consumer’s “right to choose” by providing information that covers different subject areas in multiple formats (i.e., blogs, infographics, white papers, etc.). Empower your content consumer by surveying them directly to find out and adapt to their preferences.
  5. Make corporate compelling. Some organizations have more flexibility than others when it comes to the vibrancy and “color’” of your content marketing. It can be difficult to step outside corporate parameters with limiting marketing realities. But you can easily leverage your social media channels, customer communities, and blogs to create more personalized corporate communications and spread your own word.

Source: Amanda Batista, Content Marketing Manager at Eloqua. eNews photo: DigitalArt FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 20 May 2013 10:10

Engage in a Digital Age

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Is your company’s social media as stale as last month’s bread? Would you like to get more people-to-people interaction and begin a real conversation with your audience on social media? No matter your company’s industry or size, you can encourage these deeper connections and improve your social media engagement.

Use Facebook to Highlight Employees and Reach Out to Fans

Your company is only as good as your hardworking employees—so don’t be afraid to highlight them. Is your company holding an event that’s open to the public? Create a Facebook event, so followers could RSVP and add it to their calendars. This is a feature that is often overlooked by businesses—even many professional sports teams don’t create Facebook events for their home games.

Get Personal on Twitter

Let people know who’s tweeting. Have you ever noticed companies who include the initials of the person tweeting at the end of each tweet? Or companies who include the Twitter handle of the person(s) tweeting in their bio? Both of these strategies are a great way to make a branded Twitter account feel a little more human and the interactions more personal.

Be part of the conversation.

Don’t ignore people who take the time to tweet to your company. Sometimes just acknowledging a tweet can make someone’s day—potentially making that person loyal to your brand for a lifetime. If you take the time to tweet, take the time to respond to complaints, compliments, and questions in a timely manner. 

Use humor to make your followers laugh.

You never want to force it, but humor can be an effective way to make your company seem less robotic. And with the constant stream of information on Twitter, breaking it up with a laugh is always appreciated.

Participate in LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn company pages can feature up to three groups on their page in an effort to have more people join the group(s). Participating in LinkedIn groups is another opportunity to join the discussion in your company’s industry and answer questions. As an added bonus, more professionals in your field will see your company. This is a great opportunity for you to get more visibility for your company and to interact with people who may be interested in your products and services.

Use Pinterest to Invite Others to Pin on Your Boards

Your company’s Pinterest boards don’t have to be limited to just company pins. Collaborate with other users to give your account a more personal feel. To invite other Pinterest users to pin to a specific board, go to the board and click Edit. Next to “Who can pin?” type the users’ names or their e-mail addresses (Note: In order to invite someone, you must be following at least one of that user’s boards.) Click Save Changes.

Once the invited users accept your invitation, they’ll be able to pin to the shared board. However, you can always remove the user and remove their pins. Moreover, invited users cannot change a board’s title or description. Pinterest is just as much a community as any other social network, so remember to make the time to interact with other users by commenting on and re-pinning their pins. While you’re at it, follow users’ boards that fit your company’s industry, so you have a fresh stream of related content every time you log in.

Get Creative with Your Hashtag on Instagram

Creating a hashtag and encouraging users to submit their photos is a smart way to stand out and be personable on Instagram. The NBC News Instagram account recently asked users to tag their winter storm photos with the hashtag #NBCNewsPics. After the weekend passed, they chose four of their favorite user-submitted photos and featured the photos as a single image. In the description, they gave credit by including each user’s Instagram username. Featuring user photos in this fashion on your company’s Instagram account adds to the community. It also shows that you’re on the social network to contribute more than just your own photos. There are several examples of companies doing this, including those in industries like journalism, sports, and travel. 

Use these examples to inspire your social media efforts and you’re sure to increase your social media engagement as you connect with more people in your community. 

Source: Adapted from a Social Media Examiner Article. Written by: Bryden McGrath is a social media strategist at Portent, Inc. in Seattle. He also has a background in news and music journalism. Follow him on Twitter @Bryden13.

Monday, 29 April 2013 09:24

Social Media Marketing in Times of Tragedy

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If you’re using social media for marketing, what should you say following a tragedy like the deadly blasts at the Boston Marathon on April 15? 

The horrific elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut?

The October storm that took lives and devastated communities across the Northeast?

Sometimes, nothing at all.

The age of digital marketing brings with it new challenges, including how to respond during a national tragedy. Remember, as recently as Sept. 11, 2001, we had no MySpace, much less Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Except for e-mail, no vehicle for delivering instantaneous marketing messages existed. After 9/11, one of the most painful days in American memory, most of us had time to pause, reflect, and put on hold print, radio, and TV marketing campaigns that might be viewed as inappropriate or offensive.

In recent months, there has been lively debate on this topic in the marketing community, including how and when to tie—or not to tiea marketing message into the news of the day, a  widely used strategy.

Gaffes could occur with the most innocent of intentions in any media content, marketing or not. Earlier in April, a new episode of the musical comedy “Glee” upset and angered parents in Newtown, because the plot featured a student bringing a gun to school, where it accidentally discharges.

"A lot of people were upset about it and that I feel horrible about,” Jane Lynch, one of the stars, told Access Hollywood Live days later. “If we added to anybody's pain, that's just certainly not what any of us wanted. … We're always rather topical and rather current."

Usually, however, simply applying your own sense of decency and good taste can help you avoid a blunder. Consider American Apparel’s notorious “Hurricane Sandy Sale – in case you’re bored during the storm,” advertised as tens of thousands of people endured freezing temperatures without power. Most of us wouldn’t have even considered such a ploy!

Here are a couple more suggestions for do’s and don’ts:

 • If you use automated posts scheduled through a site such as HootSuite, turn them off immediately. If people don’t find them insensitive and uncaring or silly, they’ll likely conclude your messages come from a robotnot a real personwhich is just as bad.

• Can you be helpful? Hours after the blasts in Boston, with cell phone service out in the city and family and  friends desperately trying to connect with loved ones, Google.org launched “Person Finder: Boston Marathon Explosions.” There, individuals and organizations could share information about the status of marathon  participants and spectators for those trying to find them.

If your community has suffered a tragic event, perhaps you have helpful information to share. Here in Florida, which is affected by hurricanes, people use social media to help evacuees and their pets find shelter, and to alert others to danger, such as downed power lines. Depending on your area of expertise, you may be able to provide more general information or commentary. For instance, an educator could share tips for answering  children’s questions about the event. Philanthropists might comment on those who selflessly step up to help.    

• Of course, social media is also about reactions, and, for many, that’s a sincere expression of sympathy for and  unity with those affected. 

If you want to post something and you’re unsure about what to say, take a look at what businesses and other brands are sharing, and how online users are reacting. You may decide to just say nothing for a day or two, or whatever time seems reasonable given the nature of the event.

Sometimes, saying nothing at all speaks volumes.

Written by: Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations www.emsincorporated.com, a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3 p.m. EST. Follow her on Twitter: @marshafriedman. eNews photo: tungphoto

What’s your marketing bait?

A prosperous fishing captain once said: “I make it my business to know everything I can about my fish. I think like the fish, not the fisherman.” 

That one little statement right there is the single biggest reason why his methods work, while most methods fail.

It was made by an entrepreneur (it could have also been written by a marketer), who is thinking like his prospects, not like other entrepreneurs.

There is no one who knows more about fish in those waters than Captain Jack. For the past twenty years he’s documented the water currents, studied the fish migratory patterns, examined water temperature, and, of course, knows his fish food sources.

A fisherman knows it’s all about putting the right bait on a hook to catch the right fish. If you’re looking to catch cod and you bait your line with an old sock, you’re going to be very hungry come dinnertime. On the other hand, if you use peeler crab at a time when the cod are looking for it, your chances of success multiply exponentially.

So why, then, do so many people make the mistake in their marketing of offering the wrong bait to their market? They offer things they themselves think their prospects should be interested inbut don’t actually know for sure what their prospects are looking for.

You are never your prospect. Even if you think you are. Assumptions are the most dangerous (and most expensive) things to make in marketing.

To catch a prospect, you have to think, act, and talk like a prospect. Not like a marketer.

When I create advertising campaigns for my private clients, at least half of my time is spent studying the target market. I don’t even dare pick up a pen until I have a very firm grasp of whom I’m writing for and how they think. Copy is written very differently for business owners than for employees. You speak to a thirty-year-old man very differently than you’d speak to a forty-year-old man; to married women very differently than to single women; to moms very differently than to “empty nesters”. Knowing and understanding these nuances makes all the difference to your marketing.

Think like the fish, not the fisherman.

Source: Julie Guest, founder of The Client Stampede and author of The Only Business Book You'll Ever Need

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