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.
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).
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.
Over the weekend, our client, Critical Outcome Technologies, surpassed 1,000 followers on Twitter. For a small biotech company in Canada, this is further validation that the company has an interesting story and mission. For Heisler Communications it is further validation of the importance of using social media to help small companies gain more visibility in the markets.
Since the beginning of this past summer, Critical Outcome Technologies has been using multiple social channels to communicate with investors, potential business partners and other stakeholders. In addition to Twitter, we have helped the Company build a larger, targeted following via the Critical Outcome Blog, SlideShare, YouTube and Facebook.
There are many reasons why a public company should have a corporate / investor relations blog. Yet, many companies simply don’t have one – for various reasons. One of the most frequent reasons given, is that management is worried that they won’t have enough content for keeping their blog up to date, relevant, and blog worthy. That raises the question of how often should you post new content to your blog? While the short answer is there are no hard and fast blog post rules, the answer really comes down to as often as you can create quality content. In this post, we wanted to share just one great way that you can increase the frequency of adding great new content to your blog.
Like most public companies, you most likely receive inquiries from investors asking either about various elements of your business or for clarification on something you have previously disclosed. Why not use your blog to share answers to these questions posed by investors and other stakeholders? In other words, make use of investor inquiries to fuel your blog postings. Keeping in mind that the person asking the question may not want their identity and/or contact information shared, simply don’t include it. Also, you may want to wordsmith the question (and the response) to tie it back into your core messaging. Our client, Critical Outcome Technologies, uses its blog to provide answers to questions from investors on its ‘Ask Dr. Danter’ page (see below).
If you post answers to questions regularly, you will not only have more frequent blog content, but you will also have a database of answers – creating a valuable resource for investors and other stakeholders. This can be a great time saver if you find yourself being asked similar questions time and again by phone or email. Simply point these people to the blog where they can find all of the answers and other great content about your company.
Last week, Critical Outcome Technologies (TSX-V: COT) issued a news release with what was not only a material announcement, but promising news in the fight against cancer. As a micro cap life sciences company listed on the TSX Venture, its news did not garner coverage from any of the traditional media outlets in Canada. While the story was shared on a few online news portals and the Wall Street Analyst, it was social media that ensured the story got noticed.
In mid-June, based on their early progress in using social media for investor communications, Critical Outcome Technologies launched an investor relations blog called the Critical Outcome Blog. The blog features a landing page with introductions about the company, including a YouTube video embed and a SlideShare embed. The blog site has separate sections for blog posts, multimedia, and a page where the company's founder, Dr. Wayne Danter, will provide answers on subjects ranging from the company's business, to drug discovery and development, and other relevant industry news.
Between Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, YouTube and now an IR blog, Critical Outcome provides investors with many avenues to research the company, receive the latest updates and additional context around the company's business and industry, and provide feedback to the company.
Back to Part 1.
If planned and implemented correctly, social media communications as part of your overall investor relations program can be an effective and inexpensive way for attracting new audiences to your investment story. Social media helps level the playing field for smaller public companies, offering a cost-effective opportunity to build deeper relationships with investors and other investment community stakeholders by facilitating interaction and feedback.
The following is a snapshot of Critical Outcome Technologies' use of social media for investor relations and attracting new audiences.
When looking at Critical Outcome's followers on Twitter, it is interesting to notice how targeted the audiences appear to be. A very high proportion of the company's Twitter followers are either identified as investors (brokers, traders, VC or bankers), life sciences companies, doctors, researchers and/or cancer centers - all very relevant groups for this company.
Given the (on average) more affluent and educated masses on LinkedIn compared to Twitter and Facebook, and the fact that LinkedIn appears to be the preferred social networking site of registered investment advisors, it would appear that LinkedIn should be a prime target for IROs. However, we have not seen LinkedIn being used to the same effect as Twitter and even Facebook for public companies’ investor relations.
So the question becomes, how can a company use LinkedIn as an investor relations tool? Here are just a few ideas to get started:
We have all heard the old adage, "it's not what you know, it's who you know that counts." In today’s age of social media and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, many online networkers seem obsessed with how many friends, followers and connections they are able to show on their social media profiles. However, I am sure most would agree that “who you know” is far more relevant than “how many you know”. I would much prefer to be a part of a small but highly engaged network of professionals rather than having a “network” of hundreds or even thousands of people I don’t know.
The bottom line here: People with strong networks get more things done more effectively than people with large, loose networks with little in the form of member engagement.
Remember, to keep your network engaged, keep your connections up-to-date. Let your network know what you’ve been doing lately and have planned for the near term. Status updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great for this.
Welcome to our blog. We will use this space to discuss and promote evolving best practices in the fields of public relations and financial marketing.