If you’re using Twitter and you are following way more people than are following you, you may be sending people the wrong message – in more ways than one. In addition to this being a sign that your tweets may not be as effective as you would like, it can also scare away your potential audience.
Many starting out on Twitter incorrectly assume that because Twitter is a social network that the following holds true: If you follow someone, they will follow you back. But the reality is that on Twitter, that quite often doesn’t happen.
Consider this, if you see an account that has thousands of followers but they in turn are only following a few hundred, you could comfortably assume that this account is sharing something of value with its audience. Conversely, if you see an account that has a few hundred followers but that account is following thousands of others, you may assume that this account is not being effective in engaging with or building its audience. The greater the discrepancy between the number of accounts followed and followers, the more likely this is true.
Compounding this issue, if you are following way more people than are following you back, many (or most) people on Twitter will be cautious, as they likely perceive you to be a spammer or overly promotional marketer.
Additionally, you can only follow so many people on Twitter before the idea of following starts to become meaningless. If you are following thousands of people, the likelihood that you’re going to get a meaningful experience from any single follower is pretty small.
1.) When preparing your slides, always remember that PowerPoint slides are a tool designed to enhance your presentation, they are not your presentation. Your speech should be the focus. Not your slides.
2.) Your slides should NOT be a transcript of your speech with every point and sub-point. In other words, "you don't need to put all the dang words on the dang slides." I can't recall whose quote that is, but you get the point.
3.) In my experience you should always use at least 24-point type. Otherwise there will most likely be a number of people at the back of the room that can’t read your slides. If people can’t read the text on your slides, why have the text on the slides?
4.) Avoid detailed charts and graphs like the plague. If you must show a detailed chart or graph, hand it out as a full page print out. Don’t force people to try to read it on a slide. Better yet, have a slide with only the key figure or fact you want people to take away from the chart or graph.
5.) You can only convey so much information in a 20 to 30 minute presentation. Your audience will recall much less than that. The less you convey, the higher the recall – meaning the more effective your presentation. If you have a lot of supporting data, scientific data, charts and graphs, then you should prepare a white paper and upload it to your website. Then during the presentation, let the audience know that they can find the more detailed information in the white paper on your website.
There you have it. And, like most good presentations, the above rules have some repetition, or reinforcement, with number five more or less reinforcing the first four rules. So really just four simple rules to follow. That's not too much to ask, is it?
Pitch Competitions with Slide and Time Limits Can Be Great for Keeping Presenters On Point
If you've been to a lot of pitch competitions you likely have been to at least a few that enforce strict time limits with a maximum number of slides allowed (sometimes five or less). These strict limits can work magic for presenters and slide decks alike - bringing out the best in them. Why? The limitations force them to become more concise, more exact. In other words, more compelling and on point.
A five-minute pitch isn’t just an expanded “About our Business” description. It is a short opener that shows how your company addresses a problem or market opportunity, why it’s unique and how it will serve your customers and make money. Your goal is not to tell the audience everything about your company or product in one sitting. The goal is to win their attention. Make them interested. Make them want to know more. The audience will then seek opportunities to ask questions or learn more about you.
Yes, to be effective within these time constraints you must distill an entire business concept down to a few minutes in front of a new audience. Make every word count but don't get bogged down in details. Save the detailed explanations for the followup questions or meetings. And keep your slide decks clean. Use big, bold text but with as few words as possible to get your point across. Use visuals wherever possible, but keep them simple yet compelling. Save the detailed, cluttered charts and graphs for more in depth conversations with those who request that information.
Now take a look at a slide deck we just completed for one of our clients for the 48 Hours in the Hub pitch competition in Boston. Five minutes, five slides. We added a sixth slide (a disclaimer slide) for the purposes of sharing the slide deck online.
The Importance of Integrated Digital Marketing for Launching a New Brand or Product
When launching a brand or product, it is extremely important that you properly plan and develop an online presence to support the launch (and your efforts post-launch). Whether or not your brand or product has an e-commerce component, businesses and consumers all over the world make decisions about brands and products based on the online marketing assets (among other digital media) of said brand or product. Integrated digital marketing is a must.
Integrated marketing communications is a strategic marketing process designed to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are unified across all channels. In other words, every marketing channel has communication that is aligned to the same core brand positioning. This is extremely important for digital marketing (as well as other media).
In today’s digital world your online presence is both more important and more complicated than ever. In addition to a functional website with a great user interface, your brand or product needs an online presence that includes the right social media presence. Add to that the possibilities of a rich blog, email marketing, podcasts, web cards, or even apps.
Get your online presence right before launch! Designs, themes, and messaging should have a certain level of cohesion or sameness across different digital media. And with the ever growing importance of mobile, you need to ensure your website’s functionality and user interface transfer well to smart phone and tablet screens.
Here are some screenshots highlighting our recent work in launching a precision medicine platform for Critical Outcome Technologies.
In our last post on content marketing, we provided a brief overview of what content marketing is, as well as five suggestions for getting started with content marketing. While that article was written from an investor relations perspective, the cost-effective benefits of content marketing hold true when trying to build a following with other audiences as well, including customers, suppliers, business partners, and other stakeholders.
Content marketing is a rather broad term that underscores a powerful approach to promote a business online. While sometimes easier said than done, content marketing involves creating compelling content and then sharing that content in a relevant, cost-efficient way to connect with highly-target audiences.
So what are the benefits of using content marketing for your business?
In a nutshell, content marketing can drive awareness and engagement among targeted audiences, as well as website page rankings, sales and your bottom line. Benefits include:
Since businesses of all types can enhance their brand image and overall marketing efforts by producing and sharing quality content, it should come as no surprise that companies are spending increasing levels of time and money on content marketing.
Five tips for getting started
Again, in our last post we provided a few suggestions for getting started with content marketing. Here are five more suggestions for incorporating content marketing into your marketing efforts:
While content marketing can be a very cost-effective alternative to advertising and other forms of marketing communications and promotions, it is only effective if it is done well. Don’t be cheap. You’re going to have to spend some money if you want to use content marketing as another way to build brand awareness, connect with prospects, and ultimately grow your business. This may mean reallocating some of your marketing spend or internal resources, or engaging external help as needed (shameless plug).
It is extremely difficult for micro- and small-cap issuers to:
(a) Gain traditional media coverage
(b) Gain sell-side research coverage
(c) Gain a profile with institutional investors
(d) All of the above
So what are smaller public companies to do? How can they best allocate their investor relations resources? One of the most cost-effective (yet often over-looked) options is to focus on content marketing. Compared to the time, money and effort used to book and attend meetings with brokers, fund managers and analysts as well as travelling to attend conferences (if you’re lucky enough to be invited), content marketing can be used to get exponentially more eyeballs from targeted audiences to learn about and follow your company’s story.
So, what exactly is content marketing?
Well-executed content marketing is strategic marketing focused on creating valuable and compelling content and then distributing that content to grow awareness and drive engagement among targeted audiences. In addition to valuable and compelling content, companies need to build channels specific to their company (and/or leveraging channels specific to their industry) and attract targeted audiences. We’ll cover building channels and attracting your targeted audiences in later posts.
Valuable, compelling content is King!
Content marketing can have a positive effect on your bottom line, but if it's not done well, you're wasting your time. Most of the time, you only get one chance to win over your audience. You must make sure the content you are sharing is both valuable and compelling.
Here are five suggestions for getting started with content marketing:
UPDATED | Looking for more visibility for your company’s website? Or perhaps you’re in the process of developing a new site and you want to make sure it gets noticed. While you may have heard of advertising or otherwise paying for improved search engine results, the obvious, and often overlooked, strategy to improve your search engine rankings is to focus on organic search engine optimization.
Organic SEO is the process of improving the visibility of your site’s search engine rankings via natural or unpaid for means. Organic SEO typically involves improving the content, infrastructure, or other technical elements of your site.
This means that when writing copy for your website you should give strong consideration to how your content might influence search engines finding your site. This is especially important when writing copy for your site's homepage or front door.
Search engines use the content of your homepage to determine what your website is about. Search engines then use this information and match it to 'search phrases'. So in writing your homepage you need to consider what search phrases might be used by someone trying to find a website similar to yours. In addition to copy rich in keywords, you need to give consideration to URLs, headings and sub headings, blog post titles and internal links.
Investing in a social media strategy provides returns in the form of improved SEO
Google’s crawlers love websites that have lots of quality inbound links. This is one of the reasons why social media can be such an important element of your online marketing efforts. In addition to the ability to better engage customers and other stakeholders, social media can (and should) result in lots of inbound links to your website. In short, the more people love your content, the more Google will want to return those results in the search engine results pages.
Social media plays a crucial role in mobile app marketing, especially for developers on a tight budget. Social media helps you cost-effectively reach a much larger and highly-targeted audience. Within this larger audience, those who are interested in your app in particular become your followers. Those followers who are also customers, help spread the word to more potential customers by recommending your app to friends within their respective social networks.
That being said, the number of followers you have, much like the number of app downloads showing in the app store, is often a signal to would be customers (and perhaps investors) of the quality or usefulness of your app. If you make a better mouse trap (or app), you should have lots of followers wanting to spread the word to others. But if you’re just starting out, how do you get lots of followers? How do you compete for followers in a marketplace with so many similar (or somewhat similar) apps? In addition to differentiating your app from the others (or making the better mouse trap), here are two ways to help attract, and engage, more followers.
Request User Participation
People who have already downloaded and are using your app can play a large role in the ultimate success of your app in the marketplace. Invite your users to participate in brief surveys, rate your app, provide feedback, and/or ask questions. This will give you valuable public feedback on your app. Assuming you were able to make a positive impression with your app, most users would be willing to share their user experience on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Offer Your Users Incentives
Another successful method of marketing an app is to offer users an incentive to promote your app online. The chance of being rewarded for talking about your app will encourage them to tell others about your app and why they should get it. The reward does not have to be big. Even a small reward is often enough to get people talking about your app to their friends and acquaintances. Nevertheless, the most important thing is to ensure you are offering quality to your customers. Rewards will not work if your app does not meet their needs or wants or if it otherwise fails to meet their expectations.
Now get tweeting. Tweet often. Tweet meaningfully.
SMO – A Digital Marketing All-Star
Social media optimization (SMO) is the use of a number of social media channels to increase the awareness of a product, brand or event. In other words, SMO deals with enhancing your company’s presence and online reputation through interactive communities—not just Twitter and Facebook, but also blogs, forums, and anywhere your business is mentioned or linked to socially.
Whereas search engine optimization, or SEO, is focused on helping ensure your company comes up early in search engine results, SMO does this and more. SMO helps ensure target audiences already know about your company or brand and go looking for you.
SMO helps prove to Google that your website provides valuable information to prospective visitors. The more social media users engage with you and share your content, the more authority you must have in your industry, and so the higher you rank in search results.
SMO can help strengthen your brand and boost visibility, in addition to generating leads and increasing sales. Optimizing your social media builds both awareness of and trust for your business, because prospective customers will see you not only mentioned, but recommended by others.
It is important to note that social shares carry a lot more weight when they’re coming from someone else. By contrast, joining every social media group, community or discussion just to seed links to your content can actually be counterproductive, to both SMO and SEO. Additionally, random link-spreading without engagement and participation can get you unfollowed in your social networks.
To improve SMO for your business, in addition to having great content that is of interest to your followers, you should focus on engaging with target social audiences and contributing to relevant conversations.
Related reading: Increase the visibility of your website naturally
Your Brand NEEDS a Slogan
Creating a prominent identity is what every brand desires. A well-crafted slogan has a key role in communicating the essence of a brand. A slogan is an advertising statement that should be memorable, conceptual, and elaborate on a company’s mission or vision. Importantly, a good slogan makes it easier for people to relate to and remember the brand.
Slogans should be concise in order to be effective. Slogans that use multiple phrases to convey your brand are less effective than a slogan with just a handful of words. The less words, the easier it is for the target customer to remember your slogan. Remember that the human memory is limited so you must do your best to convey your message as short as possible for optimal recall rate (in other words, less is more).
A slogan should appeal to, and capture the minds of, your customers. After all, if your target market customers can’t remember who you are in correlation to your brand, why would they choose you over the competition?
Here are some slogans we recently developed for our clients:
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