Cracking Social Media for Professionals

By Yelena Ganshof, BrandBoosting Founder

Do you know that now there are over 3 billion people using social networks across the globe?  Let’s name the most popular platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.

I have been extremely active on social media in order to grow my own personal brand, and my clients’ as well: to get their brands noticed, help them build strategic partnerships and relationships, and connect with people to show the human side of their brands.

Let’s face it: in today’s highly competitive business world, it has become extremely difficult to stand out and get your message across to key decision makers.

The old traditional methods of branding and marketing a business project are not as effective as they used to be.

Why? Because we’ve learned that people are not doing business with projects or robots. People are doing business with people they like and trust, and whose business solutions they believe in.

Social media is providing the tools to personally connect to those people and build these professional relationships.

What are the benefits of using social media for professionals?

Let me outline the main benefits of using social media:

Brand Awareness

Any business adviser worth their weight in gold will tell you how crucial it is to have media exposure for brand positioning and awareness, and how much effort and investment some brands put into advertisement over traditional media. You might have the best product or service in the world, but if nobody knows about your brand and how to find you, then what’s the point? Hiring a PR agency might be very costly and is not always effective.

According to recent media surveys, over 90% of journalists and editors are on LinkedIn and most of them say it is their preferred professional networking tool! Then why not take advantage of this social media tool (which is free for anyone) to build a credible, attractive profile and get noticed by journalists?

I personally have built a number of new relationships over LinkedIn, with people who have reached out about my training sessions, workshops, and speaking engagements. No other platform has given me this particular opportunity.

Authenticity: Showing the human side of your brand

According to some marketing surveys, more than half of adults do not trust a brand until they see “real proof” of a human team who is keeping its promises. Connecting with your customers and clients over human values – this is extremely powerful.  Again, people do business with people they like and trust.

Social media is an opportunity to humanize your brand by introducing people to your company team through pictures and videos, and showcasing how existing customers are benefiting from your product through video testimonials.

Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories are great for showing the “behind the scenes” human team, the pre-launch campaign of your products and services, and a human introduction to your project or program.

Imagine yourself like a musician: once your audience likes you, they will come back to your concerts, to buy your new tracks and new albums. So, you want to be that musician to conduct your own concert!

Join Yelena's presentation, "Cracking Social Media for Professionals," at the IPM Day 2018 Online Conference

Relations and Partnerships

If you study the corporate strategy of some of the biggest global brands, you will notice one thing in common: they set up joint venture partnerships with key industry players.

So, rather than getting your message across to only one client in a meeting, why not use this strategy to broadcast your message across hundreds, and possibly thousands, of targeted contacts you are connected to?

Connecting to professionals in your expert field, to potential customers, to strategic partners and influencers, is crucial. With the right partner or influencer, you can refer clients to each other, leverage the power of offering some complementary products, and help grow each others’ businesses.

What is important here is providing your audience with great value in what you post rather than being too promotional. Sharing great content from your website or a blog to your social channels (you can copy your blog across different platforms) is a great way to get readers as soon as you publish a new post. Make sure the website address for your business or project is included in all your social media profiles for people to connect with you and your brand.

Finding Clients and Generating Leads

Social media, and LinkedIn in particular, is a powerful tool for brands to find clients and for clients to discover and find brands. Regardless of industry, size, or location, we are all here in the business of marketing and branding ourselves to carry out our message in front of decision makers.

With Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn advertising tools we can precisely target our audience by geographic location, professional field, interests, age, and gender. It has never been easier to build a sales funnel of targeted leads to market as before.

I will be discussing in more detail the advantages of different social media platforms as a presenter at IPM Day 2018. Stay tuned!


Photo © John Cassidy The Headshot Guy®

About the Author
Yelena, the Founder of BrandBoosting, helps executives and business owners create an irresistible image for their business book cover: to make their customers open their book and become part of their business story. She pays special attention to the art of speaking, storytelling over social media and media branding. Yelena’s international career covers an impressive range of experience from the worlds of finance and diplomacy to retail and fashion. Siberian by origin, she has over 20 years’ experience living and working in the USA, Russia, Singapore, and Switzerland. Yelena has a degree in International Economic Relations from Russia and a Master’s degree in Economics from the US.


The Importance of Influencers In Your Strategy – An Analysis of Millennials

by Sofia Zafeiri

With technology finding its way into every aspect of our lives, it comes without question that the landscape of campaigns has changed rapidly over the past decade. It is now clear that aggressive sales not only won’t win customer loyalty but might end up even harming a brand as the aggression often comes out as desperate or irrelevant.

Analysis of the psychology of consumer and buying habits has been the holy grail for Marketers and PR professionals. Although consumers need to feel power over their own choices, in a mutually interdependent world, all of us rarely act on our own will without further influence. From peer pressure to online reviews, we seek out a group of people we can either relate to or trust to proceed with option A or B.

Within the reference group of influencing consumer buying behavior, several groups have been identified:

  • Primary groups: Are groups within which people have strong ties and connections, such as family, friends, and coworkers.
  • Secondary groups: Are formal groups which require less continuous interaction, such as religious and professional groups.
  • Aspirational groups: Are groups of people buyers aspire to join. (Within this group falls the majority of today’s online influencers. A singer, an athlete or typically a blogger/socialite are the people whose point of view or advice will influence the final buying decision.)

Another tool buyers are turning to is YouTube. Being the second largest search engine after Google and with over 3 billion searches per month, Millennials view their way in or out of a brand based on the video content. Among 18-24-year-olds — a key buying demographic — a whopping 62% trusts endorsements from popular YouTubers.

 

How are Millennials engaging with brands on YouTube?

 

The skip ad button is inevitable, and paid ads barely get their five seconds of fame, as more than 80% of viewers will skip the ads if they can. On the other hand, with “How to” being the most used search words on YouTube it creates limitless PR opportunities for brands.

 

The infographic below offers some research data on Millennials’ behavior online and source of influence.


About the Author
Sofia Zafeiri is the Social Media Coordinator at IIL. She graduated from NYU with an Ms in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. Before moving to New York City, she worked for a variety of organizations in Europe.

 

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Agile Marketing: Expanding Agile Outside of IT

By Maria Matarelli   |   Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) – Formula Ink

Real Agile transformation includes more than just your IT department. Yet Agile continues to be strongly associated with software development.

What if your organization not only developed products faster, but reached more customers in less time? Imagine if you could truly connect with your ideal customers and develop a relationship so strong that it brought exponential increase in the number of people buying your product. What if speed to market didn’t just stop at the launch point, but flowed seamlessly throughout your organization through the end sale?

When applying Agile to departments outside of IT, dramatic results have brought new attention to what previously existed as theoretical concepts. But what exactly about this new approach to marketing makes it so Agile? Our approach to Agile Marketing extends beyond the world of theory and into real-time, practical, marketable application.

The Agile Marketing initiative began many years ago, but while we’ve seen IT teams effectively increase their speed to market, other departments have yet to catch up to this level of performance until now.

So what exactly is Agile Marketing?

Agile Marketing is:

  • An iterative process for fast results and sustainable growth
  • Focusing on customer relationships that carry the most value
  • Organizing your marketing into channels
  • Creating the systems and messaging to reach your ideal customers

All of these points direct our focus back to the main idea which is that good business is about putting people first. Whether it is the employees, the customers, or any individual involved along the way, the primary focus has to be the person, not the product. And more importantly, the customer needs should be at the forefront.

Agile Marketing provides a very unique outlook on the process of sales and marketing. It’s a fundamental shift in mindset. Instead of focusing on who you can sell to, the focus is shifted to who needs you most while leveraging rapid iterations for maximum output.

As we began applying Agile to marketing with clients, we began to see an incredible increase in revenue. By uncovering the true message to market match combined with short iterative testing cycles, we were able to identify the right customer with the right messaging and discover how the product or service could truly meet their needs, which led to incredible growth.

With clients getting more than 300% increase in revenue in just 6 months and more than 780% increase in revenue in a year, we launched a case study program to solidify the Agile best practices as applied to marketing. While pulling specific techniques from Lean, Kanban, Scrum, and Extreme Programming (XP), the benefits were clear: Agile Marketing gets results.

As many companies reach toward true organizational agility, it is important to look across departments and outside of IT. Leveraging Agile in marketing creates a common language across departments which puts the emphasis on results that are tied to revenue.

More insights await at the virtual Agile and Scrum conference, going live on May 4th. 5 keynotes and 20 sessions to choose from, plus networking and PDUs/SEU®s.

[trx_infobox style=”regular” closeable=”no” icon=”inherit”]Maria Matarelli_Formula Ink photo

About the Author

Maria Matarelli is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) who travels the world on one-way tickets consulting and training companies on reaching true agility. In addition to applications of Agile in IT, Maria and her team have been applying Agile to the Marketing realm with incredible results. To learn more about Agile Marketing, join our community at: http://Community.AgileMarketingAcademy.com[/trx_infobox]