10 Twitter Musts for B2B Brands

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If you are going to use Twitter as a channel for your B2B brand then you must be strategic. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time. By incorporating these Twitter musts, you can actually begin to see ROI (return on investment) for your social media marketing efforts.

Share original content

Twitter feeds on great content. If you produce relevant content that your audience wants to read, you are starting a conversation. You must have a content marketing plan in place to execute this. I adhere to the 50/30/20 rule, wherein 50 percent of content is original content that attempts to answer questions, provide education and nurture the relationship; 30 percent is third party content that complements your original content; and 20 percent is purely promotional.

For the 50 percent part of the pie, it’s great to come up with a monthly featured topic, and break it down to lots of formats: eBooks, whitepapers, blogs, infographics and video, all of which you can share on Twitter. Original content that resonates with your audience and allows them to learn or have a broader understanding will get liked and shared and can lead to conversions.

Share partner and third party content

For the 30 percent part, you should curate content that makes sense for your brand, monthly topic and partnerships. You should have a third party content spreadsheet, identifying the organizations that you feel align with your brand. Examples include trade groups, publications in which you advertise, thought leaders/SMEs (subject matter experts) and those companies of which you have official and unofficial partnerships. Sharing their content of course increases the chance, they’ll share yours.

Engage with your audience

I analyzed a Twitter account recently for a brand that had been on Twitter since 2008, and they had a total of 288 likes. So in almost nine years, they’ve only liked 288 tweets. That’s not how Twitter works. You have to be engaged. You must like tweets that mention your brand (where appropriate) or those from your partners and thought leaders. The same thing applies to retweeting.

Respond

Twitter is a place where clients often bring concerns or successes to the conversation. If you are asked a question about your product or service, answer it or at least acknowledge it and respond via direct message. Not responding at all only makes a negative experience worse, and if the tweet is positive, your “fan” feels ignored.

Include CTAs (calls to action)

Why do you tweet? Do you really see Twitter as a channel for content or a necessary evil? To use it as a channel, you must guide a prospect to the next step. Most interaction between prospects and brands would be considered the Awareness stage of the buyer’s journey so that means they are just determining they have a problem. Using Twitter to publish original content that answers questions and educates transforms it into a meaningful channel for lead generation. Your post should be a quick summary with keywords hashtagged, include a photo and end with a CTA like read our blog or explore our options. It’s a meaningful ask that propels the user.

Grow followers legitimately

This is a PSA to urge you to never buy followers. Buying followers as well as using “bots” to make a post seem like it has more likes and shares continues to be an issue. Bots are really algorithms working behind the scenes. Bots look like real profiles to a lot of users, however social media marketers and influencers can spot it. Using bots may seem like a great way to “viral” or engage real users, but I would never recommend it. If you’re just “buying” engagement then what’s the point of using Twitter as a true lead gen channel.

Tag correctly

As I’ve discussed, it’s important to share the content of partners and engage with your followers. That means tagging profiles properly. If you are sharing a piece of content from a partner, then use their handle as a mention as well as the actual author of the content. This is a simple way to expand your reach. Always use handles when replying as well.

Hashtag responsibly

Just because it’s a keyword in your niche industry doesn’t mean it will have any hashtag relevance on Twitter. Twitter uses hashtags as a way to determine what’s trending and for users to search based on a particular phrase or word. Don’t over hashtag. My advice is three max in a tweet. Not sure if your keyword is a real hashtag, just search it on Twitter.

Measure and tweak

Of course measurement is an important part of ROI. But measuring just the basics of follower growth and engagement (based on shares and likes) isn’t enough. You must put context around the data. You should be benchmarking against competitors as well as determining what your actual reach and visibility are. For instance, if you had 50 likes in a month with only 500 followers, that’s decent. But it would be immaterial if you have 10,000.

You should also be measuring how Twitter is working as a channel. What’s the click through on your links? How does Twitter compare as a referrer compared to other social media platforms or organic search?

Once you start compiling data then you need to make it actionable. If the data reflects infographics are liked and shared more than any other content then consider increasing the number of those. Do more of what works; less of what doesn’t.

Have fun

B2B companies often miss this important mark on Twitter. They’re overly promotional and seem like a machine rather than a human. Stop taking yourself so seriously. There are so many national days and holidays that provide you the opportunity to tweet a trending hashtag and show off your lighter side. Resist being too cheesy.

Here’s an example: June 29 is Talk in an Elevator Day; you could suggest some fun topics like, “Ask your fellow elevator passengers their top three favorite movies.”

Twitter and its abbreviated lingo can be a great way to connect with many different buyers. Keep in mind that it’s not all about you, your products and your awesomeness. You must give to get in the Twitterverse. If you don’t have a defined strategy that includes goals, actions and KPIs (key performance indicator) then it’s really just throwing up some random content and seeing what sticks. So do these 10 key tactics and see what happens! I’d love to hear your Twitter musts for B2B, tweet me at @bethfosborne.

This is Marriage

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My husband and I regularly have discussions about the bathroom habits of our dogs. Unfortunately, one of our dogs, Fawn, has had several accidents in the last week. So we’ve spent time trying to dissect what caused the poop on the floor. I’m not trying to be graphic, but this is marriage. If you’re unwilling to accept that much of it isn’t very exciting then it’s probably not for you.

We often say our schedule revolves around when they need go out, and that isn’t really a joke.  Along with the regular discussion about dog bathroom habits, there’s the eternal question of “What’s for dinner?” If I haven’t pre-planned the meal then this is the dreaded and loaded question. He likes everything; I like some things. So he always puts the pressure on me to decide. Sometimes though I just can’t make one more decision. I think 87 percent of our “disagreements” stem straight from this topic. So if anyone wants to plan our meals for us, we’re interested. But he is such a saint about it; it’s not easy to have to eat with me and my don’ts.

So, yes this is marriage. Marriage in the end often comes down to who you can stand to have most of your meals with. Because that’s what you do, you eat with the one you love.

The other frequent topics of conversation are the renovations. I’m not involved in the work really; I design and get out of the way. Yet, he likes to keep me updated on all the different problems that arise. For instance, there’s not a wall in this place that’s square. He’s told me about all of them. He’ll often go into detail about how he’s going to install something. I honestly stop listening. It’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t.

I can only take in so much information every day. And the information I refuse to retain is where things are located in Lowe’s. I know my stores; I can tell you where most anything is in the stores I most frequent. So I expect him to know where stuff is at Lowe’s. He does not. I usually have to actually go with him, and every time we do, I remind him, “This is your store.”

This is marriage; pretending to listen, hoping that the other person knows stuff you don’t. He has knowledge in his head, I could never absorb and vice versa. We’re a good team. We even each other out.

Essentially marriage is about really liking someone. It’s different than the love we feel. Love is a powerful emotion that’s rarely stable. It has peaks and valleys. I look at him sometimes and just think, “Damn, I love him.” And sometimes I look at him and think, “Damn, I want to smack him.” However, most every day, I’m pretty confident I like him. He doesn’t get on my nerves very often; although sometimes I’m just irritable, so it’s not really him. I’m a woman, my mood isn’t constant. That would be no fun.

So liking each other, that’s the “secret” to a long marriage. At the end of the day, I like talking to him. I like watching TV with him. I like that he’s prone to be silly and sing me back the end of the sentence I just said. He says this is to indicate he heard me. I think he just likes to sing.

Marriage is not for those chasing big highs or relentless passion. That’s not what happens when you create a routine or a schedule with someone. That’s marriage; less exciting more humdrum. I’m totally okay with that simply because he’s the person I most want to do nothing with.

Marketing Tools I Love

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As a marketer, we have lots of great tools available. I’ve tried out many. These are some that I love and why. I’m not affiliated with any of these brands, and my recommendations are simply my humble opinion.

Hootsuite

There are lots of social media management platforms available. I’ve been using Hootsuite for about a year, and I think it’s pretty nifty. I use it both on desktop and the app. The only negative is that on the app, I can’t schedule for a LinkedIn company page. I also use the Hootlet extension so that I can post directly from the article I’m reading. I set up most of my social media on Sunday for the following week. Because I manage multiple accounts, it keeps me organized. You can create multiple streams and “listen” for keywords. It’s also easy to manage engagement, as I can reply, retweet, share or like directly from the app.

Canva

I’m so obsessed with this platform. I am officially a raving fan, and I’ve recommended it to about 10 people thus far. Canva helps you make your imagery and designs look professional. I am NOT a designer so I need help. Canva has amazing templates, most of which are free. And it already has the sizes you need for a variety of posts: social media, blogs, etc. You can create eBooks, presentations and pretty much anything marketing related. I also just used a template to update my resume. They even offer “magic” resizing so that if you create a design in one template, it will automatically resize it. The basics are free, but I do have a paid subscription. It’s probably the best $13 I spend a month.

Instapage

Full disclosure, I’m neither a designer nor a coder. But I wanted to build easy landing pages without waiting for a designer or a coder. I tried out several landing page creators. I’ve loved Unbounce for a long time; that produce some great content. It just wasn’t a good fit for me based on skill set and price. Instapage is so easy to use! Drag and drop basically. They provide a lot of templates, or you can make your own. You can also add your brand font and colors easily. For a very reasonable price, you can create unlimited pages. Super easy to navigate, and it integrates with many website platforms like WordPress.

Pixabay

I’m no fan of stock imagery. It ruins so many cool websites. I try to use imagery that aligns with the idea but looks natural. Pixabay is my absolute favorite free photo site. They have a nice collection of photos and illustrations. I’ve been using it for years. I rarely ever have to go to a second source because Pixabay almost always has what I want. Pixabay photos are on my blog and portfolio website. Even though it is free, you can donate money to them. I use them a lot so I have no problem with helping them out.

Hubspot

Last but not least, I absolutely believe Hubspot is the best marketing automation software. I’ve been in love with their message for years and finally got the opportunity to use it for a project I worked on for several months. It’s so intuitive, and it integrates everything. You can post blogs, design landing pages, manage SEO and more. Plus, they offer FREE education. I’ve taken the software class and the certifications classes in inbound, email and content marketing. Their webinars are pretty insightful as well. Marketo and Pardot, to me, aren’t even in the same neighborhood, and both of those platforms don’t offer any training unless you are a paying customer. It also costs quite a bit to even take their certification tests.

If you need tools to work on marketing yourself or a brand, check out my recommendations. I’d also love to hear about the marketing tools you love.

Happy Marketing!

How I Landed My Dream Career

How I Landed My Dream Career

 

First, I just want to say this isn’t an article about how everything happens for a reason, and if you just focus on success, it’ll happen. This is a story about not settling. This is a story about how a job and a career are different things.

A year ago, I felt like my career was going nowhere. I left a job I loved because I just couldn’t keep going on a path that was all dead ends. So I took a job that I thought would move me into the right lane, and the pay was great. I soon learned that the job wasn’t what I expected. So I moved on after a few months to a position that paid more but still wasn’t what I wanted to do. But it gave me the time I needed to focus on where I wanted my career to go.

However, this was just a job, and I was a contractor not an employee. As a contractor, it was hard to feel like I was a part of something, which made feel disconnected to the work. I worked with some very smart and competent people. But no one seemed to have a plan for my role. It was like they went on a hiring spree, I showed up, and they weren’t sure what to do with me. I was used to just being thrown in, but when you work for a large company, it’s basically impossible to create work. But I tried. And really the clichés about large companies are mostly true: lots of red tape, corporate speak is rampant, and most of the time, new ideas aren’t appreciated. These were not bad experiences. I did learn things. I learned a lot about what I didn’t want for my career and that having at least some leeway to be creative is essential. And that I really like working and collaborating with others. The in person meeting is hard to come by in global companies. Technology allows for alternatives, but in my opinion, there’s no substitute for looking someone in the eye and giving them your attention.

I also learned that in a large company, your role is just one small cog and that was hard for me to swallow as my experience has been one where I’ve had to wear a lot of hats. I was able to connect what I was doing to the bigger picture; I just had little opportunity to influence the strategy. It became easier to just do what I was told. And that’s not me. I need to be challenged and engaged. Otherwise, I just feel like I’m simply showing up.

But during the year of contacting, I enjoyed flexibility that allowed me to find exactly what I wanted and focus on continuing to improve my skills and connections. This time allowed me to connect with some amazing folks and do some really cool things. So even if my day job was blah; I had work that was creative and challenging. I also took this time to learn new skills. I can now create landing pages without the help of a developer! Life doesn’t really hand out opportunities just for showing up. Attitude about your situation is what you can have control over, not much else.

So while I could worry less about financials, I had plenty of time to find the right fit. I had a lot of bad interviews. Not that the people were bad; it’s just I kind of immediately knew it wasn’t for me. I never turn down interviews even if I was already on the fence. You never know who you might meet or what it might teach you. I, at one point, thought I had found a great opportunity but because of situations beyond my control, the company made the choice not to fill the position. I did meet a great guy who 100 percent believed in me. We were completely on the same page so it turned into an opportunity, just a different kind.

The worst interview had to be the one that made me literally sick. It was so hot in the room, and I was in there for over an hour with no water. I’m not saying it was a literal toxic environment, but I decided my body was trying to tell me something.

So it was months of bad interviews or jobs that seemed like a good fit but were under my salary requirements. I could have just gotten comfortable in my day job routine. But I knew I wasn’t fulfilled so I kept putting myself out there.

Then something amazing happened. I applied for a job on LinkedIn and had a phone interview with my now boss. I immediately knew I wanted to work for him. Then in my in person interview it got even better. I knew I had found my people and my place.

I’m just finishing my first week, and thus far it’s as advertised. The people are fun and friendly. I’ve already received so much praise and recognition for my work and ideas. That’s pretty amazing! And I’m thankful everyday that I get paid well to do what I love, write and marketing!

My advice to anyone unhappy in their career is that only you can change it. Your boss isn’t suddenly going to start appreciating you. The work won’t become interesting and challenging if you wish hard enough. But don’t settle. You deserve to be treated well and paid fairly. I bring up pay because it’s important to ask for what you need and not back down. I know what I’m worth, and in the end so did they.

If the offers don’t come then keep learning and growing. Top talent is a bit of a unicorn these days. If you know how great you are, make sure employers do, too. Tell your story because we all have one. I’m feeling really blessed right now, and right now, I feel that my career story has just launched into an exciting new chapter.

Happy Birthday, Jen

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Today is a very special day; it’s the birthday of one of my favorite people. This amazing woman has been a constant in my life for over 25 years. I often write about my life and tell stories of my triumphs and tragedies. The story today is about my friend Jen.

Calling her a friend doesn’t really fully describe our relationship. She’s more than a friend, she’s family. The wonderful thing about adulthood is that you get to chose your family. I’m so glad we chose each other.

We met in middle school. I liked her wit and her bright spirit instantly. Our high school days were filled with the kind of memories you only have if you grew in a small town. We had a lot of fun, none of which I can repeat in this blog. Just in case her kids read it. Let’s just say we had many adventures, and we lived to remember it.

I almost lost her decades ago when she was in a bad car accident. Seeing her in the hospital was something I can still recall. But she never felt sorry for herself. We even laughed at our attempt to navigate a Wendy’s while she was using a walker.

Adolescence soon merged into adulthood. And by then I had already been dealt many blows. And she was there. No matter what heartbreak I had, she was there to listen and love me. It’s hard to find someone who always show up for you.

In all our years of friendship, I cannot recall an argument or harsh word. There have been times when we haven’t talked as much because you know, life. But she is someone I could call to be there. I’ve called her in tears many times, only to finish the call with a smile.

She has since grown to be an amazing wife, mother and neighbor. I know this because of how she lives her life, never judging, always forgiving. She is the epitome of selflessness. She’s much more selfless than I could ever dream of being. She makes every room brighter for being in it. Her kids are such lovely boys who love and respect their mom.

I do worry that she doesn’t do enough for herself. I encourage her to take time just for her. She deserves it.

Some of our best times have been lately. We are just so in sync with each other these days. We don’t see each other near enough to suit us, but we commit to making time for each other. I can be completely honest with her, showing her the good and imperfect parts of myself. There’s only a handful of people I genuinely trust, and she’s in that select group.

With her in my life, I’ve had much more laughter and love. I look forward to many more years of adventures with my pal. I’m so blessed to have this beautiful lady by my side in this crazy, amazing life.

Happy Birthday, Jen. I love you!

Hey law firms, here’s an introduction to inbound marketing

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I’m what you’d call an inbound marketing evangelist. I have no doubt that using inbound strategies is the key to quality leads and substantial growth. Unfortunately, not every industry has embraced it and prefer to stay stuck in traditional marketing. One industry that seems to be lagging behind but has so much opportunity is the legal field.

Attorneys love advertising. I know this because they are constantly on my TV or smiling at me from the vinyl wrap of a bus or everyone’s favorite on the back of a phone book (just so you know, I don’t have a phone book, but I think they still exist). When I see the ads on TV or read their billboard, I am amazed at how little they have progressed. From their shiny hair to their 90s suits, it’s bad. But maybe it works for them; although, I am not sure exactly how they derive ROI from ad spend, and I would assume that ad spend is substantial.

An introduction to inbound

So, attorneys or marketers who work for law firms, I’d like to introduce you to inbound marketing. When people need an attorney, it’s usually not for a good reason. And most people may already have a negative feeling about lawyers (sorry, you just aren’t likable). So how do you get a prospective client to like and trust you? By providing users content to answer their questions. A content plan that targets the specific reasons someone may need an attorney could be much more valuable than your billboard. Here’s why. When we need something now, we ask Google. We, for the most part, trust the results that Google provides. So if I’m asking Google what I need to know about some legal predicament, like personal injury, negligence or family matters, that’s probably what I’m going to ask Google. If you have relevant content that answers the question and is optimized correctly, there’s a good shot you’ll be in the results.

Not all law firms have resisted the inbound revolution. Hubspot shared a case study of a law firm that cut paid advertising and increased its leads by 186 percent by adopting inbound strategies. The firm moved away from traditional formats and started creating a content marketing strategy that generated interest and in turn new clients.

Some are dipping their toes into the inbound pool

I did a little research myself looking at some law firms in Charlotte, N.C. I did some simple searches wherein I was seeking answers to legal problems. This is what I found:

  • For family law, there were a lot of paid ads on Google, none of which went to a dedicated landing page that would have been considered an Awareness stage offer, like an eBook.
  • Some of the family law practices I looked at did have blogs, but the publication was sporadic, and there didn’t seem to be a real content marketing plan; the topics were too general and didn’t really answer my questions.
  • For personal injury, there were plenty of paid ads, none of which would be considered an optimized landing page. The designs were dated, and nothing about the testimonials or content felt authentic.
  • The personal injury firms also had blogs, but the tone was off in that it didn’t feel human or compassionate, which is what prospective clients are seeking. It makes me question if they understand their buyer personas.

Inbound can work for you

Whether you are a boutique or international law firm, inbound marketing can work for you. It starts with relevant content targeted to your ideal client. The content can’t be about how amazing your firm is; rather it needs to focus on answering questions or providing tips to help those in need of legal advice. Of course, the blogs would never be considered legal advice (as I’m sure all attorneys may worry about this if producing content), but they must sound human. The general public doesn’t understand legalese, and they will be immediately turned off by it.

Here are three ways to introduce inbound into your firm:

  1. Start a blog; if you already have one then create a strategy for it to include topics, frequency, tone and promotion.
  2. Create conversion-centric landing pages to use in paid ads and organic search. Don’t distract your prospect with 10 different actions. Offer them a piece of content that is relevant then follow up with a friendly email, but don’t push.
  3. Get active on social media. Post your content here. Engage with thought leaders, prospects and clients. Depending on your specialty, you may find success on a number of different platforms. Let the platform dictate the content. For example, on LinkedIn write posts that may help businesses who need legal services; on FaceBook, post an infographic on data related to divorces, as this may be the platform that users would be looking for individual legal advice.

I’d love to hear from law firms that have been successful with inbound and content marketing. Or if you think your firm is ready to adopt inbound and need some help, let’s connect and chat.

If you wonder why I left

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If you wonder why I left

If you wonder
why I left
just know
it was probably me
not you.

You, see
there’s this duality in me.
The before and after;
before the deaths
after the deaths;
before the truth
after the truth.
When my history
looked less like what the photos say.

I would never say
my life hasn’t been beautiful,
dusted with pure and brilliant
moments: saltwater lips, wake up hugs,
that can’t be
dimmed by the heartbreak of loss and fear and leaving.

If you still wonder
why I left
it’s because I can’t dissolve into your memories
because they are not mine.
Those photo albums, they tell stories.
I was a blonde haired little girl with ideas and fears,
feeling less like a child every day,
but loved without constraint
by the person who mattered most.
I know it because she looked
at me
like I mattered,
like my ideas and stories were bigger than that small town.

If you wonder
why I left
there’s the answer, or part of it.
The pictures don’t show it all;
the black
the blue.
No one puts that in an album.
We don’t show off our brutality; we hide it.

So if you wonder
why I left,
why it’s been 20 years
just know I needed my own story, one where
everyone doesn’t die.
One where it’s okay to expose the shatterings of a child soul.
In the real story, there was a family,
and they all loved,
and they all hurt.
One day it was just me,
sitting in a rubble of stories,
other people’s stories.
I never wonder why I left;
I did it to write my own ending.