Pop the Champagne! We’re 6 Years Old!

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If you would have asked my 23-year-old self if I thought I would be 29 and running a business, I would have laughed. If you had asked if I thought I would be 29 and celebrating 6 years in business, I would have thought you were lying.

I was 23 in 2011 and found myself laid off from a failing company and wondering what I would do. I knew I didn’t want to collect unemployment, and that I wanted to go back to school for my masters. My dad suggested that I start my own company and work for a few people on the side while I go to school, and that idea stuck with me.

I got laid off on Friday, and filed On-Word Marketing with the MN Secretary of State on Monday. I began working for a few companies I already had connections with, and started studying for the GRE. Over the next few months I took the GRE and was accepted to Bethel University’s Masters of Communication program.

The next year and half were a haze of highlighter ink, thesis research, and social media seminars, until finally, in October of 2013, I graduated from Bethel with a Master’s Degree in Communication. While all of my classmates were wondering what they would do with their new degree, I turned my attention to my company and began devoting all of my time to growing my business.

What I started in April 2011 as a way to earn a little bit of income while going to school, was now a full-time job. I never set out to be a business owner, but 6 years later that’s exactly where I find myself.

I am very fortunate to have found success in this venture. I’ve learned more than I ever thought possible, grown as a person, and met some incredibly talented people. I have had the opportunity to help some truly wonderful companies, and I am looking forward to helping even more companies with their social media presence.

So today I pop the champagne and celebrate all the clients, family, and friends, because without you, none of this would be possible. Thank you.

Reason #1 Not to Hire a Social Media Manager

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Alright, I know this post may seem counter intuitive since I myself am a social media manager, but before you think I’ve lost my marbles hear me out.

I’ve been doing social media marketing for  8+ years and have heard every excuse in the book for why a company has decided not to hire a social media manager. I wanted to take this time to either help those social media marketers get past those obstacles, or help companies who are having those thoughts realize why hiring a professional is a good idea!

Without further ado… Reason #1 for not hiring a social media manager:

I can do it myself / there is someone in the office who can run the sites.

The classic “I can do it myself” excuse. I would bet that any professional has run into this excuse. People have a desire to save money and do things themselves, and that’s just fine! If companies truly want to run their own social media sites, who am I to tell them otherwise?

But, to this excuse I always ask one question: “Is what you’re doing accomplishing your goals?” This question is typically greeted with a version of “I haven’t had time / I post when I can” or “not really”. This is because most of the time people spend their energy on posting what they want to tell their customers vs taking the time to understand what their customer wants to hear.

This point and many more are what separates a social media marketer from the receptionist at your office who has some free time and posts funny memes she has seen to your Facebook page. Social media marketers take the time to figure out when to post, what type of content to post, what social media site to post certain content to, and why. Just like you wouldn’t hire an intern to create a billboard ad for you, you shouldn’t hire an intern to run your social media accounts. It’s a form of marketing just like billboard ads, magazine ads, radio ads and more.

So when you hear someone say, “I don’t need to hire a social media marketer for my social media sites, ask them, “How is that working for you?” and smile while you hear their response 🙂

 

Reason #2… next week. Stay tuned.

 

Maintain Your Voice While Selling Yourself

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Recently I had coffee with a young woman who is thinking about starting up her own marketing company. She wanted to know what to do in order to be successful while she toys with the idea of venturing off on her own.

This conversation made me revisit what I did when I started to ensure that I would be successful in my own business venture.

Now I know what you might be thinking and yes I do know that not everyone reading this has the intention of starting their own company. Luckily I believe all of these tips are applicable to a person going in for a job interview or even selling themselves to their boss in order to get a promotion.

1. Maintain Your Voice– Every company (or person) is trying to sell the same skill sets. Any marketing company can promise increased ROI, more conversations, and better results, but what makes you or your company different? Why would they choose you instead of the other guy? It’s because they like the way you present yourself and your voice. A lot of companies forget that if a client doesn’t like the person or they fade into the background, they won’t get the job. Make sure to bring your personality into work with you.

This should also be reflected in your writing. No one wants to read text while by someone who speaks like a robot. Make sure your voice is heard while getting your message across. For me this is especially true in blog writing. Anyone in the marketing field can write about the industry, but what I hope keeps people coming back is the way I deliver my message. I want to inform my readers while making sure not to sound like every other blog out there.

2. Always Exceed Expectations– Almost every company will expect a person or company to work 9-5. What will set you apart is working past those hours and giving it 110%. For a company this means solving problems before your client even knows there is one. If they have to call you and let you know something is wrong, they won’t be happy.

3. Dress– Unless you are going into a very strict office, remember that you can have some fun with your outfit. If you have something that reflects your personality but doesn’t distract from what you are doing there, a person will be more likely to remember you. The people wearing a black pencil skirt and white button will fade to the background, but if you put on a fun pair of heels, a skirt with a bow on it, or a colorful blouse you’ll stand out (again, make sure it’s the right environment, but in my experience the people in the marketing field are pretty relaxed about dress so long as it’s congruent with their image).

4. Target Audience– Whether you’re a company selling yourself to a potential client or a person selling yourself in a job interview, it’s important to know who you’re talking to. This will change the way you word your thoughts, the words you use and the manner in which you speak.

This is also true with point #3: If you are talking to a company who is very type A, don’t go in wearing a pair of high pink glitter heels (actually, come to think of it… unless you’re in a very “specific industry”, please never wear pink glitter heels to work).

5. You Can’t Win Them All– Selling yourself or your company is similar to dating; not every person you meet will be interested. This is why it’s so important to remember that just because you don’t get an account or job doesn’t mean your skills aren’t great, it just means that the two companies / people aren’t compatible. The sooner you brush yourself off and move on to the next company the sooner you’ll find a great fit.

Business New Year’s Resolutions

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New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for personal use. Companies always take the time to look over their marketing strategy and then ask themselves, “Am I doing everything to help my customers?” as well as, “Are my marketing strategies working?”

This year we at On-Word Marketing have 2 resolutions that will be put into play for 2016!

1. Revamp social media networks

  • Use it to better understand clients
  • Add more content from other blogs
  • Ask readers some questions
  • Showcase a little more about our company On-Word Marketing
  • Actually use them. All too often we get wrapped up in doing social media for clients that we forget to work on our own.

**Join us in the discussions!

On-Word Marketing’s Facebook

On-Word Marketing’s Twitter

On-Word Marketing’s Pinterest

2. Experiment with theblognextdoor.com

This year On-Word Marketing is deciding to focus on this blog and how it is helping the readers. We’ve recently heard from a few people that they would like to maybe hear a podcast or two.

We also want to have a few guest writers on here from other industries to get their opinion about using social media and how they have seen success. (If you’re interested in writing a guest piece send us an e-mail at shannon@on-wordmarketing.com )

There will be a few more changes but we hope that you’ll stay tuned to see what they are. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact us!

We’d also love to hear what your business resolutions for 2016 are. Leave them in the comment section below or any of our social media sites!

Happy 2016!

Productivity on a Time Crunch

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Everyone has had times where you find yourself trying to cram a ton of working into just a few days. For me, that is occurring right now because I am leaving for vacation, and I now have a million things to do before I leave. Since I have to pack in 2 weeks worth of back logged e-mails and all the work that I will miss, as well as staying current on this work week, I am feeling the crunch!

This means that I need an atmosphere which promotes productivity. Each person has different things that help them work efficiently, but for me I know that there are a few things that always help me when I need to get things done.

  1. Light a candle– I don’t know why, but lighting a candle always puts me in the mood to write. I think it’s the thought of sitting down with my computer, a cup of coffee and a candle that makes me feel like I want to get things done.
  2. Take a break– I always find that if I’m in a creative rut, I can take a break and do something like hop on Pinterest, or scroll through my Twitter feed, and I eventually find something that gets the creative juices flowing. Whether it’s a posting that really resonates with me, or just the break from work, I usually feel more productive after a quick break.
  3. Read related topics- Start reading articles about the topic you’re working on. I always find that if I’m stuck I can read a social media blog and get ideas about tricks that might work. Trying out new techniques always seems exciting so I want to get back to work.
  4. Stretch- If I ever find myself staring at my computer, I know that just getting up and stretching can help. This is quicker than a run and loosens up your body so that you don’t feel as though you have been sitting for as long.

I hope that this list helps you to feel more productive, or maybe gives you an idea of something that might work for you. I’d love to hear what you in order to feel productive. Leave your tips in the comments.

Using SEO to Improve Your Rankings

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Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a tool that helps search engines such as Google or Bing find your site and bring it to people who are trying to find your site. The steps below should help you start to improve your search engine ranking while allowing you to understand how your customers are attempting to find your business.

  1. Do your research– Use sites such as Google Keywords (http://bit.ly/116mpfn) to research what words people are using to find your product
  2. Seamlessly integrate keywords into your web copy– No one wants to read a post that has the same 5 words repeated over and over again. When you’re writing your copy, make sure it flows while still using your keywords
  3. Include search terms in the title of your post– When Google spiders the web it will read the title first. If you add the terms into the title as well as the body of the post Google will pick up on your website faster and you will see more targeted results.
  4. Link your keywords to other postings on your website– Google puts a substantial amount of importance on linking. If your website uses relevant keywords, Google will notice. (Just don’t go too overboard. Over linking will not only make your human viewers slightly aggravated because they could potentially keep clicking off your post, but Google will penalize you for over linking.)
  5. Use SEO in your social postings– Google shows Twitter updates in its search results. Including keywords in your updates will gain exposure even when users aren’t searching social media sites.

SEO is constantly changing and improving. It’s a tool that is so important for any business owner or copy writer to know. With this foundation, you’ll be able to improve your search engine rankings and bring more traffic to your site.

image courtesy of searchengineland.com

Social Media For B2B Companies

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image via CMS Wire

Many companies who serve businesses struggle with how to use social media effectively and instinctively stick to LinkedIn and go no further. Luckily there are other ways to use social media for those B2B companies.

The first question you should ask yourself before you sign up for, or start anything is, “What do I hope to accomplish with these sites?” Do you want to connect with your customers, do you want to connect with other businesses, or show off the inside workings of your company? Deciding what you want to focus on will determine which site you use and how you will use it. So let’s delve into a few options for B2B companies and when each option will be helpful for accomplishing your social media goals.

Blogs

Blogs help a company show off their extensive knowledge of the industry, or give more detail about new products or services. Blogs are a great space to go further into technical detail about your company or products. It is a more specialized way of explaining your products or services. Plus you can post links to your social media sites in order to get more exposure.

LinkedIn

This can be a great place to talk about current industry news. Other companies, and maybe even your partners or news companies are on LinkedIn. You can either post your own information or repost other companies posts. Since LinkedIn is geared to work related items, you can post industry news to your heart’s content without confusing your customers. Plus you can use LinkedIn to talk to companies in a more professional manner.

Instagram

Feel like showing off the more personal side to your company? Instagram is a way to show off the inner workings of your office, new products, or even customers enjoying your product.

products on Instagram

(and before you get all high and mighty, yes i realize this isn’t a B2B company. it’s just an example of showing your product being used)

YouTube

Is your product something that may be hard to explain, but simple to show? Rather than accepting the fact that you’re going to have to explain this to each potential client, use video to demonstrate how your product works. YouTube is also a fun way to show off the less serious side of your office. You could make a video of your office lip syncing a song, or doing chair races.

You could even go a little more professional and do office trivia or show off a tutorial of your employees using your product. Code42 has some wonderful videos that are fun and informative.

 

What do you think? Are there more social media sites that B2B companies can utilize? Do these work for B2B companies? Leave your comment in the section below!