Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Meet Erica Hanna, Video Content Creator and Strategist and Business Owner


"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." - Simon Sinek  
'I love this quote because I think it really gets to the heart of how I love to do video production. Storytelling isn't always about the "what", it's about the "why" and how it moves people to act.’ – Erica Hanna

Video Expert, Digital Guru, Creative Genius, Ally, Survivor, Advocate. These are just a few words that describe the wonder that is Erica Hanna. She has won numerous regional Emmys and awards, raised $30,000 for a charity she loves, and is a Social Media Ambassador for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. Erica owns Puke Rainbows Creative, a company that primarily plans video content strategy and produces videos for clients, as well as helping with branding, photography, copywriting and social strategy.

In the past, Erica was the Director of Branding and Social Engagement at BringMeTheNews, Promotions Producer, Director, and Editor for WCCO-TV at CBS, Promotions Producer, Writer, and Editor at KSTP, and a Marketing Coordinator at KIMT-News. She also worked for a few years as a Freelance Choreographer, Consultant, and Judge for "competition style" cheerleading squads.  Erica earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Electronic Media from Waldorf College (Go Iowa).

What does a typical day in your role look like? 

A typical day really varies depending on the project I'm working on! It could look like getting up early to prep/produce/direct a video shoot, or hopping on a plane for a speaking gig. I absolutely love teaching people how to use content and video; those lightbulb moments are incredible to witness. 

What are you passionate about?

I love taking complicated ideas and presenting them in a simplified, conversational, creative, and entertaining way. Breaking down those communication walls so all consumers can understand what the company/client is about, is really pretty freakin' rad. 

Outside of work, I'm passionate about social justice. Anyone who is connected with me on social media probably knows that, and that's important to me - because aligning with friends, clients, and companies that feel the same way about human rights - is an important thing. 

What do you find most challenging about your job/career?

Well, it's a tactical thing. I'm not great the paperwork side of things, and I've had to become really diligent with setting up reminders. Half of the time I dive headfirst into a project, before I realize I need to get a contract signed...because I hate halting momentum. But, paperwork is there for clarification and the safety of both client and contractor - so, I'm learning to love the value of it. 

What do you find most enriching about your job/career? 

The ability to make a difference. Storytelling is a powerful thing. It opens doors and helps people understand things they've never considered before. Also, video "wins" with tone, where print can sometimes fail. It's much easier to convey comedy with video, for instance - where print, if someone is in a bad mood and reads it, could be taken the wrong way. Visual storytelling is a beautiful thing. 

How did you find yourself in your current career?

I actually started out as a radio major...then, had to take a video class in college. I LOVED it. After working in the creative sector of TV for ten years, I had an amazing interaction with Prince on a freelancing video job - and he made me see what I do in a completely different light. He said, "Don't ever tell someone you make video. From now on, you say you create art."  It's helped me see that pretty much every occupation and career is artistic in some way.

Words of advice for anyone who wants to pursue this career?

Your next project is only as good as your mind will allow it to be. Look at all of the possibilities. Never let budget hold back your creativity, you'll be surprised at what you can make out of something as simple as a piece of paper and marker.

If you would like to get some tips on how to creative good video on a low budget or, want to hire Erica, visit her website: Puke Rainbows Creative. To learn more about her career journey, click here.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Meet Devin Joubert, Writer, Blogger, Photographer and Social Media Maven.

“Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise, you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”
― C.S. Lewis

Devin Joubert, writer, editor, blogger, photographer, social media maven, works as an Assistant Editor for Design and Living Magazine and a freelance writer. She previously worked as a Content Marketer at CoSchedule and as a Freelance Social Media Manager at Dancing Poet Creative Media. Before that, she was a Digital Content Editor for Scooterbay Publishing and an Editor - Sunbeam Publishing and Red Weather. 

Devin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Mass Communications from Minnesota State University, Moorhead and studied abroad at the University of Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia in Creative Writing. Devin has a personal blog called Life & Writing Wanderlust, where she writes about love, travel, writing, and relationships. She also co-writes a digital magazine with her husband, called Wolfland Magazine, about thriving in long distance relationships. 

"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.
- J. R. R. Tolkien

What does a typical day in your role look like?

I wake up early in the morning to go to my full-time job as an Assistant Editor at Design & Living Magazine. First thing in the morning, I combat my email inbox and then start working through the to-do list for the day. After work, I work on current projects to move my side business ahead. That could involve writing blog posts or chapters for a current book I'm writing, writing scripts for YouTube videos, and scheduling photography shoots.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about helping people. I love sharing stories that help inspire them and make their lives better. I also really love traveling with my husband. Whenever I'm on a new adventure, I'm filled with wonder and a lot of inspiration. It really inspires me to move forward on projects and gets me excited to work on new ones as well.

What do you find most challenging about your job/career?

This is a great question, as I think it could be two-fold since I work full-time and also am trying to start a business on the side. I'd probably have to say the most challenging thing is finding enough time to do everything that I want to do. Time is a constant challenge, especially when working full-time because then you have to manage your schedule well or your schedule will manage you.

What do you find most enriching about your job/career?

I work at a magazine, so I'd have to say the most enriching part of my career is meeting new people and telling their stories in an exciting and fun way. With my side-business, I love helping people through difficult experiences. My husband and I are creating a digital magazine for couples in long-distance relationships. Currently, we are working on recording helpful videos that'll help couples thrive in long-distance relationships because we dated long distance for 5.5 years. We know it's possible to thrive, so we want to help others. It really makes me smile when I know that I've helped someone.

How did you find yourself in your current career?

I've worked in publishing quite a lot, so when I saw an opening for the Assistant Editor position at Design & Living, I couldn't say no to it. I really love that I have my evenings to work forward in my own goals. I used to work someplace where they wanted you to work 9-5 and 6pm-8am as well, so it's really nice having my afternoons to chase after my dreams as well.

Words of advice for anyone who wants to pursue this career?

If you want to work in Magazines, I'd encourage you to do some writing for magazines in your area. Look at magazine submission guidelines on their site and get in contact with the editor. If they have a blog, comment on their articles. Follow them on social media and join in the conversations. After a while, they'll start to remember your name since the publishing world is pretty small. Make sure that when you make contacts that you are professional with how you communicate with them, because if you aren't you can easily turn your name to mud. And you totally don't want that. :) Then from there you can keep an eye on their social platforms and website for job openings. Don't be afraid to start somewhere like an internship. It's a great in!

If you would like to get some tips on how to write great content or want to hire Devin, visit her writing website: Life & Writing Wanderlust. If you need tips on how to thrive in a long distance relationship, visit her and her husband's website: Wolfland Magazine. To learn more about her career journey, click here.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Happy Anniversary and a Big Thank You!


"It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy!"
- Unknown

Hello, everyone. I hope you have had a great week so far. I am so happy today! Today is the one-year anniversary of my very first blog post. It has been so amazing to have so many of you follow me, share my posts, give me feedback and cheer me on. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!! I could not have done this without you! And over 7,000 page views?! (Cue crying emoji!)

Why NK Started This Blog

I started this blog for many reasons. I was extremely frustrated with my job search and wanted a place to document what I was learning so potential employers to see that I really knew what digital marketing entails. I also wanted people who look like me to know that this is a profession they could get into as well. Deep down somewhere, I knew I was leaving a live journal of how I persevered on a career path I love even though the journey wasn't easy.

As time passed, it became a great a way for me to share little tips and tricks that those who were not on this journey would have access to. So I created and shared posts like "Free and Low Budget Ways to Increase Your Digital Marketing Acumen!" and "5 Ways to Brand Yourself as a Digital Marketer!" The blog was also a great way to share the wisdom and advice from the amazing marketers I was having informational interviews with or meeting at events. These spotlights have by far been the most popular posts, so we are going to keep them coming!

What is NK Doing Now?

I am currently working as a Digital Marketing Specialist at a non-profit called LeGen Leaders, helping youth who age out of the foster-care system gain skills in construction. I also work as a Web and Social Media Specialist at the University of St. Thomas. I am also adding a Digital Experience Masters Certificate to my MBA. I am presently enrolled in the Creative Process and Brand Management courses. Next semester, I will be taking Marketing Analytics and the Digital Experience the finish of the certificate. Along with this, I am also still taking online courses to continue to expand my knowledge base in the field on Udemy, Hootsuite, and LinkedIn Learning. (More to come on the latter.)

What is Next for NK and the Blog?

I intend to keep blogging for years to come. There is still a lot of great information in digital marketing for us to explore together. Oh, and let's not even mention the fact that everything keeps changing almost daily in this industry, so, there will not be a loss of things to write about. Please be sure to send requests of anything you would like me to research and write about: nanak@nkthemarketer.com. I want to make sure this is beneficial to the people who are "the wind beneath my wings."

For the next year, I am going to keep bringing you marketer spotlights, social media platform reviews, course and certification reviews, a new series: campaign reviews, and more. Thank you so much for your support! 

A special thank you to my family, who heard me whine, helped me with proofreading, were my creative soundboard, and held me together when I didn’t think I would get this far! You rock!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 17, 2016

That One Time at the Minnesota Blogger Conference


“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.”

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend my first Minnesota Blogger Conference (MN Blog Con). I went with my sister and a friend. Upon arrival, we signed in and got some conference swag: a notebook, pen, and some stickers. We then went through the sponsors' section before heading in for the keynote address. Before I dive into the event recap, a bit about the conference. The MN Blog Con was created by Arik Hanson and Missy Voronyak in 2010. It is now organized by Mykl Roventine and Jen Jamar, who also organize and manage the Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis/St. Paul

Jennifer Kane, Owner of Kane Consulting, was the keynote speaker. She spoke about "How to Become a Fierce and Fearless Blogger." Kane is a digital marketing consultant and strategist who has worked with companies including Minnesota Business, WCCO TV, KSTP TV, and Metro Magazine. She has also blogged for BlogHer, Steamfeed, and She Owns It. You can read more about her work here. Jennifer gave three tips on how to be FEARLESS in your blogging:
1.   Try new things
2.   Meet your audience on their turf
3.   Get comfortable with failure
Jennifer also gave three tips on how to be FIERCE in your blogging:
1.   Get some perspective
2.   Find and use your voice
3.   Get comfortable with haters

MN Blog Con Sessions

The conference had a total of fifteen sessions, seventeen if you include the keynote and closing speeches. The content presented was suited to bloggers at different points in their creative journey, from beginners to more advanced bloggers. The sessions were:
  • How to Use an Editorial Calendar to Make the Most of Your Content by Devin Joubert*
  • Getting Unstuck: Using Writer's Block to Your Creative Advantage by Abbie Burgess
  • Why Local is Important by Donna Hup
  • Live Video: Kick But and Stand Out by Erica Hanna
  • Mastering the Art of Blogging: 7 Recipes to Help You Become a More Successful Content Creator*
  • Ghost in the Blog: Putting Words in the Mouths of Experts by Brock Ray
  • How Successful Bloggers Monetize Their Site by Larry Adamson*
  • From Blog to Book by Amy Zellmer
  • Shields Up! Security for WordPress Websites and Blogs by Bob Weiss
  • "Hello from the Other Side" - Get Smarter in Working with Small Businesses by Sonal Gerten
  • Hold Your Content Accountable: Use Google Analytics to Focus on Business Goals by Steve Slater
  • Automation for Humans by Jason Rehmus
  • Seek and Leverage Media Opportunities by Jasmine Brett Stringer*
  • What Bloggers Need to Know About SEO Right Now by Ben Sailer
  • Podcasting 101: Develop a Podcast for Your Brand by Michelle Scheuermann
I will write more in-depth about some of the topics discussed during these sessions in upcoming posts, but I’d like to share one key learning point from the conference:

"Don't create content for you, always think of your audience or readers wants, needs, and interests."

My hope is that this blog provides content that my readers are interested in, want, and need. If not, please email me or let me know in the comments. Suggestions and requests are always welcome.

As you can see, there were many great sessions, so picking which to attend was incredibly difficult. I returned to the goals and objectives of my blog to help guide me to topics that would yield the most benefit. I will be sharing some insights from the sessions I attended, so stay tuned. 

Other Conference Benefits

In addition to learning from pros in the industry, I was able to network with speakers and fellow bloggers. I am excited for the mentorship opportunities and the marketer spotlight features that might come from this. (Yes guys, I always think of you!) There was a resource center with experts to help with SEO and other blog questions. Glimpses of Soul, a local photography company, was also there to provide discounted headshots for attendees.

Monumetric also offered blog auditing services, which is an excellent way to improve your blog and meet your goals. I was sadly not able to sign up in time, and the spots filled up. But this would be a great benefit to take advantage of at a later date or the next MN Blog Con. Other sponsors included Verizon, MN Bogger Bash, and Concordia University.

The Closing Address by TopRank Marketing

A team from TopRank Marketing closed out the conference with a talk titled "Learn from the Pros, How TopRank Marketing Takes Conference Attendance to the Next Level." It was presented by Kevin Cotch, Evan Prokop, and Ashley Zeckman. The trio gave tips on "How to Take Your Conference Attendance to the Next Level.” They broke the conference down into three stages: before the event, during the event, after the event. Some tips for how to prep for a conference include researching speakers and hashtags, deciding which sessions you want to attend beforehand, which sessions you are going to live tweet or blog, and what information you want to bring back to your team or readers. 

During the conference, the speakers suggested that you sit in the front, introduce yourself to the speakers, ask questions, request the presentation and take your own pictures. Post conference, be sure to go through the conference hashtag for quotes and tips you may have missed. Reconnect with those you met to build relationships and monitor and assess the value of your attendance, participation, and the knowledge gained.

#MNBLOGCON was fantastic. If you did not make it this year but are interested in blogging or growing as a blogger, make sure to attend next year. There will be a full recap of the day and resources posted Minnesota Blogger Conference website. I hope you enjoyed reading about the experience and take away something that will enhance your blogging experience.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Meet Gabriela Trejo, Brand Strategist


Creative without strategy is called ‘art.' Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising.’

To say that Gabriela Trejo lives and breathes advertising is an understatement. This creative genius has an extensive history in the field, starting with creative design and art direction to working in branding. She currently works as a Brand Strategist at Carmichael Lynch, on brands such as U.S. Bank, Subaru, and Jack Link's. She was previously a Brand Planning Analyst with the agency. Gabriela graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a Master of Business Administration, Marketing concentration. During the program, she interned as a Vertical & Digital Marketing Intern at Capella University and worked as an MBA Marketing Research Consultant for Minnesota Public Radio. She also taught many of us the art of making simple yet beautiful presentations.

Before her MBA stint, Gabriela worked as a Senior Art Director at Arrechedera Claverol, a Senior Art Director at Leo Burnett, and a Senior Art Director and an Assistant Art Director at Lowe and Partners Worldwide. She also worked as a Freelance Translator for PüR Project at P&G. Gabriela earned her Bachelor of Arts from Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de Mexico. She volunteered as a Creative Mentor/Art Buddy with Art Buddies and is trilingual, speaking Spanish, English, and German fluently. 

What does a typical day in your role look like?

Well, I guess that’s the beauty of advertising: There is no typical day. Things change constantly, and we need to be ready to react in the best possible way. I like to start my day early (or early-ish by ad agency standards) and have time to have coffee while I skim through news and trends. I subscribe to different newsletters (Iconoculture, Warc, PFSK, The Futures Co., etc.) that help me stay on top of what’s new.

What are you passionate about?

I’ve always been passionate about people because there’s always so much to learn from everybody’s stories and experiences. An old boss of mine (from my times as a creative) used to say that I was always “interviewing” people. It may or may not be true, I don’t know, but I do genuinely care about the stories behind everybody around me. I love asking questions about their childhood, their family, traditions, etc. I especially love talking to people with different backgrounds than mine. 

What do you find most challenging about your job/career?

The most challenging part of my job is probably to find the right insights that will help inspire great creative ideas that will then help connect the client’s business goals with consumers’ needs. A good insight can sometimes sound very obvious, but finding that sweet spot requires a lot of work and intuition. In my case also, of course, I do this in a language other than mine, in a culture other than mine, which makes it more challenging but also way more fun.

What do you find most enriching about your job/career?

I think the best part about working in advertising is that it allows you to have a lot of fun with what you do. I’ve met some of the smartest most talented people in this industry; some of them have also become important friends in my life. From my current role, I would say that looking at the final creative and knowing that you helped “planting the seed” that resulted in a great idea is very rewarding.

How did you find yourself in your current career?

Well, my career path has been far from traditional. I’m a graphic designer and worked as an art director for a long time in Mexico City. Three years ago, I decided to move to Minnesota and go back to school to get my MBA—I know, weird combination, right? I originally left the creative world thinking that the only position that would make me go back to advertising would be something in the strategy team but was looking to find something in marketing. Looking for a job as an international student who needs a work visa is tough. I soon realized that ad agencies were some of the few companies that were looking to hire based on talent and that recognized diversity for what it brings to the table and not for the sake of a number. I was lucky enough to find Carmichael Lynch, one of the best agencies in town that was interested in my background and open to hire despite visa issues. I had to go a few steps back in my career and start over from the bottom since my experience in advertising was not on the strategy part of it. Admittedly to my surprise, I found the sweet spot for me on the Brand Planning team: the perfect combination between creative and marketing. I started as an intern, then became a brand-planning analyst and have recently been promoted to brand strategist. It’s been a rocky path, but I absolutely love what I do… (Phew! That was long!)

Words of advice for anyone who wants to pursue this career?

Stay curious. Ask questions. Network. Talk to people on the field, even if they’re not in the exact position you’re interested in. Look for internships, get your foot in the door, work hard, the rest will follow.

To learn about the amazing work Gabriela is doing and has done, check out her LinkedIn profile

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Managing Time and Projects with Wunderlist


"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." - Benjamin Franklin/Winston Churchill

Wunderlist is a time and project management application created a German start-up called 6 Wunderkinder in 2011. The app can be used on cellphones, tablets, laptops/desktops and smart watches. Wunderlist is free, with some added features on the premium version. Microsoft acquired the app in June 2015. The app is available on most platforms: iOS, Microsoft, Android, and more.

Free Functionalities

Wunderlist allows to make lists of projects, add to-dos to each list and then add subtasks for each to-do. In addition to subtasks, under each to-do, you can also put in a due date, a reminder, and add notes, comments or files that are essential or beneficial to completing the tasks.  You can check-off subtasks as you finish them and/or complete a to-do when a particular project is done. 

You can invite others to collaborate with you on projects. You can send a request by name if you are already connected on Wunderlist or by email if it is the first time they are using the app. You can also sort or arrange to-dos alphabetically, by due date, by creation date, priority or by assignee. There are a few limitations for the free version: 5MB limit per file upload, assign a maximum of 25 to-dos per list, and 25 subtasks per to-dos.

Paid Functionalities

For $4.99 per month or $49.99 a year, you get all the functionalities of the free version plus unlimited files, unlimited to-do assignments, and unlimited subtask assignments. If you work with a lot of projects or larger projects, Wunderlist Pro may be a good option for you. 

For teams, the best option is Wunderlist for business. It includes all the features of free and Pro versions, but also includes billing functions and simple  but flexible team management. You can try it out for 30 days to see if it is the right fit for you. After the trial, the price will be $4.99 per month or $49.99 a year, per user. 

NK and Wunderlist

I learned about this app almost a year ago and use it diligently for keeping my life on track. I cannot say I am perfect, but Wunderlist has truly helped me improve. Having to sit down and plan out what I need to do, what I need and how I am going to execute said project or task has helped me be and stay focused. I use Wunderlist in addition to my Content Calendar in Excel to plan out my posts and keep on track. 

I also use the app in my personal life for keeping track of grocery needs, planning events like friends' weddings, or setting up a new apartment.

Give Wunderlist a try if you have been looking for a project management tool to help you stay focused and on try to accomplish your goals. Other tools include Evernote, Excel, IFTTT, and Slack. You can also read my article on productivity tools for more ideas on platforms. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Facebook: for Social Media Marketing


“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” - Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO.

To many people, Facebook is a way to connect with friends and family, show off a recent adventure, find old classmates, follow celebrities, find recipes, fight for social justice, and the list goes on. For others, it is a perfect place for the world of marketing comes to life. With over a billion user worldwide, Facebook is one of the best tools an organization can use for marketing. As Mark Zuckerberg states above, "People influence people," so it is essential for businesses to have the buy-in of a baseline of fans and followers who will share your content with their network. 

Facebook was launched as a social network in 2004 and has been diversified into a news source, a place to share adventures, or a way for businesses to connect with existing and new consumers. There are over a billion active users on Facebook, about 44% women and 56% men. The majority of users are aged 18 to 34 years old. The U.S have the most users at 13%, followed by India at 10%, and Brazil at 7%. The top languages are English (42%), Spanish (10%) and Brazilian Portuguese (7%). The top 5 categories liked/followed on Facebook are clothing, movies, products/services, restaurants/cafes, and fictional characters. (Data pulled from Facebook Audience Insights.)

Facebook Pages

The main feature for marketing on the platform is Facebook Pages, which can be used to create and grow your brand presence. You can also use Pages to build and nurture relationships with customers. There are different categories of pages that include: 

  • local business or place
  • company, organization, or institution
  • brand or product
  • artist, band, or public figure
  • entertainment
  • community or cause
When naming your page, be sure to pick a name that is directly connected to your business name or brand. Do not use offensive language or the word "Facebook in your title. Use or logo or a clear picture of yourself as a profile picture and use a cover photo as well to make your brand stand out. If you have a preferred audience, you can add that during the setup process or at a later date. Be sure to fill out the description and about sections as well. Once your page is launched and you have published a few posts, you can invite people to like the page and track page insights to see what content is performing well. 

Facebook Groups

For some businesses or communities, a Facebook Group may be a better fit, as it is even more suited to a two-way dialogue. You can have an open group, a closed group where you have to accept requests to join, or a private group, where only people you invite can access the group. Each of these types of groups has unique benefits, such as exclusive first looks at products or conducting focus groups. You can also use the Events feature to publicize new product launches or events at a local store to drive traffic. Two additional features provided by Facebook that can help guide your content and ads are Audience Insights and Pages to Watch.

Audience Insights

Audience Insights gives you the opportunity to gather and study information about various audience groups on Facebook. You can narrow your search down to a particular geographic area, specific job titles or roles, a specific industry, gender, age range, and more. Facebook then presents you with information including demographics, household information, purchasing trends, Facebook activity, likelihood to click ads, and Lifestyle breakdowns of demographics through Personicx.

Pages to Watch

The Pages to Watch feature allows you to follow competitor Facebook pages or pages you admire and want to emulate. You can compare total page likes, changes in likes from week to week, posts this week, and engagements this week. This information gives you reliable data to benchmark against. To use this feature, you need at least 100 page likes and choose at least 5 Pages to Watch.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are a great feature you can use for various business objectives, such as boosting posts, promoting your Facebook Page, drive traffic to your website, increase conversions on your website or raise attendance at an event. The tool allows you to target specific groups, set an adjustable budget within your means, and get real-time data. You can test different ads, copy or imagery to see which yields the best results. Facebook Insights lets you track your ads so you can learn from past experiences to reach your business goals. 

There is so much more you can do with Facebook for Social media marketing. Each of these tools warrants a standalone post, and we will be bringing that series shortly. For now,  you can visit Facebook Business for more info on what the platform can do for you. 

What are some ways you use Facebook to promote your business or personal brand? What are some tools on the platform you use? Share your knowledge and experience in the comments below. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

10 Important Social Media Marketing Platforms


Social Media has now undeniably become a crucial component in marketing efforts. A company's social media pages can sometimes even rank higher in searches than its website and social pages, and profiles are known to improve SEO and ranking. Organizations, be they Business-to-Business, Business-to-Consumer, or Non-Profit, can all benefit from having a strong brand presence online. Solely being present on social media platforms is not enough. You also have to have a strategy in place that aligns with your other marketing directives and initiatives, then use the platforms that will best aid and represent your brand well. You also need to build and manage communities that are mutually beneficial to your company, consumers and industry partners.

There are numerous social media platforms and systems companies can employ. In this post, we will look at the following ten platforms and what their unique strengths can be: Blogger, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, PinterestSnapchatTumblr, Twitter, and YouTube. Some companies may find that only one or two of these platforms serve their mission, brand, and goals well, while others may need a combination.

Blogger (or the blogging platform of your choice) can be an essential part of your marketing strategy. Blogging helps increase brand awareness and ranking in searches by strengthening your SEO. A good ranking in SEO is strongly correlated to the amount of valuable and on-topic content you have tied to your website and brand. Blogger is free and easy to use, which makes an excellent starting platform for novice and experienced marketers. Other blogging platforms include WordPress, Tumblr, and Medium.

Facebook can be a great marketing platform for companies, organizations, and individuals looking to build and nurture relationships and communities with new and existing customers. The platform allows you to give followers first views of new products or gain input into customers wants and needs. You can also track and gauge sentiments about your brand and take quick action when needed. The platform currently has over 1.7 billion users globally, and that population skews slightly female. Peak traffic on Facebook is typically in the middle of the week between 1-3 pm. It is essential to post regularly and communicate with followers.

Instagram is a mobile-based photo and video sharing platform. The platform has over 500 million users and is quickly growing. Instagram gives companies, celebrities and public figures a platform to share behind the scenes aspects or company culture that followers would otherwise not have access to. It humanizes businesses and can make people more endearing. Instagram can also be a great place to collect data about unique niche cultures and groupings of people that maybe not be found on other platforms through hashtags and other keywords.

Google+ has over 300 million users, typically tied to a Gmail, Chrome, or YouTube account. While many argue that the platform is not the strongest of social media marketing platforms, it has some significant benefits. Since Google+ is a Google platform, it helps increase your visibility and ranking in searches. If you are a local company, it is highly beneficial to have a Google+ business page and take advantage of the ability to list your physical address. When people search for your company, an address card with a link to your website will pop up, making it easier for local customers to find you. Read more about Google My Business (formerly Google Local) here

LinkedIn is the world's leading professional social network with over 450 million users. It is an excellent way to connect with companies who currently partner with for cross-promotion or to scout new potential partners. It can also be a great place to see what your competition is doing that is working or not working, so you can learn from them. You can also give more detailed information about your company and employees, and feature products and services. One of the most powerful features of LinkedIn is being able to connect with new talent for your workforce. Potential applicants can learn more about the company culture and open positions, and you can scout people you think would be a good organizational fit.

Pinterest has over 100 million active users, a majority of who are women. Users create pinboards with their favorite products, designs, and styles to share with others and get inspiration from others. People can usually discover new content and products from browsing other boards created by other users and companies. It can be an excellent way to do research and gauge consumer interest. Popular topics on the platform include fashion, beauty, interior design, weddings, art, travel, and photography. Pinterest works best for companies with products or D-I-Y services.

Snapchat is a video and photo application that allows you to send messages that last for a maximum of 10 seconds. It has over 200 million users who tend to be teens, but there is also a large group of users aged between 18 and 39. Snapchat has quickly become a great place to advertise in a fun way to a younger demographic. You can create Geofilters, which allow you to share where you are with a fun overlay on your photos or videos. So companies will use these filters to promote new product launches, build brand awareness or even promote new movies. This platform can also serve as a great way for companies, celebrities and solo entrepreneurs to connect with customers or show what happens behind the scenes. 

Tumblr is a combination of a blogging and a social sharing platform. It has about 555 million users, the majority being between 13 to 19 years old. It is a creative platform that can be used to nurture brand loyalty from a young age. Companies can use this platform to gather data on consumers, promote new products and services, and recruit new talent. Popular topics or tags on Tumblr include beauty, music, TV shows, video games, and movies. 

Twitter is a microblogging platform where you send out short, 140-character messages to your followers and others on the platform. There are 313 million active users, who are mostly Millennials and young professionals. Twitter can be a good way to create two-way connections with customers, partners, and vendors. The platform can be a great way for businesses t learn about the sentiments about their products as well as habits that may inform on product needs and uses. The platform can have profound impacts on a company's sales and marketing, product development, customer service, and talent acquisition.

YouTube, with its over 1 billion active users, can be a valuable marketing tool for different kinds of companies.The platform is the second largest search engine in the world, so it is important to put content our to ensure your voice is in the mix of what people are saying about your products and services. According to Nielsen, Youtube reaches more people in the 18-34-year-old category than any cable network. The platform can help a product or service campaign show uses of new launches and is an excellent way to interact with customers and get feedback.

This is not a complete list of the platforms a company can use for social media marketing. Based on where you conduct business in the world or your business needs, platforms such as Skype, WeChat, and QZone could fit your strategy better. Be sure the research the part of the world you are doing business in and what platforms they use.

In the coming weeks, I will be taking a deeper dive into each of these platforms to discuss the various features that can be beneficial for a marketing strategy. Which platforms do you use for your business and why? Please share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Data used in this post was gathered from Statista, Hootsuite, and the SO ME Academy.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Grow Your Skills... with Udemy!


In the wise words of Internet Inventor and Pioneer, Vinton Cerf, "they say a year in the Internet business is like a dog year, equivalent to seven years in a regular person's life. In other words, it's evolving fast and faster." This highlights the need to work smartly and swiftly in digital marketing,  but also stresses the need for continuous education and learning in the field. There are many platforms you can use for this purpose. I would like to feature one, in particular, today, Udemy.

What is Udemy?

Udemy is a massive open online course (MOOC) platform that allows people of all backgrounds and experience levels to take courses and grow their knowledge. The courses available range from free guitar lessons all the way to insightful Social Media Marketing certifications like SO ME Academy's Certification. (Read our review here). These courses are often created by influencers and experts who have trusted experience in their various fields. 

How it works

You create an account on www.udemy.com with your email. You can then sign up for courses you are interested in that are typically set up by industry influencers and experts. In August, Udemy changed its pricing model, such that at most times, courses are either free or cost between $20-200. Prices can be discounted by the instructor or Udemy down to a minimum of $10, so keep your eye out for sales. 

Once you pay for a course, you have lifelong access to it, usually including any changes made. You can take the courses at your pace. Most have videos which come with various case studies, white papers, and other documents to enhance the learning experience.

NK and Udemy

I have known about Udemy for a while and didn't take any of their courses until a friend of mine suggested an SQL course. I was hooked. Since then, I have taken courses to improve my grammar, improve my Excel skills, and earn a Social Media Marketing Certification. I am currently signed up for a personal brand building course by Gary Vaynerchuk and some courses to help me branch into other digital marketing fields like web design and SEO.

In short, Udemy can be a great way to diversify your skills or deepen your knowledge of existing skills. If you have taken a Udemy course before, what are some good ones you would recommend? Please share in the comments below. To learn more about Udemy or take any of the courses offered, click here

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

So Many Changes...


You may have noticed I have been absent for a while. Well, my friends, a lot has happened since you last heard from me. My roommate got married, I moved out of my old apartment to the other Twin City to live with my younger sisters, I am starting school again and I got a job as a Digital Marketing Specialist with a non-profit called LeGen Leaders. I am very excited for all of these new changes and the impact they will have on my life. 

I am going back to school to do a Masters Certificate program at the University of St. Thomas called the Digital Experience. I will be taking the following courses:

  • Brand Management
  • The Creative Process
  • Digital Marketing Fundamentals
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Digital Marketing Experience
At the end of each semester, I will be sure to post about each class to share a bit about what I have been learning and see if you or someone you know may be a good candidate for the program. For now, you can read more about it here. 

Now a bit about my new job: LeGen Leaders is a non-profit that aims to educate and empower foster care youth aging-out of the system who want to work in the construction field. Since the organization is a start-up, I am getting to get to build all the social communities and processes from scratch with the team. What else could a girl ask for? It is going to be an exciting journey. 

I will still be blogging and will post content twice a week. You can continue to look forward to Digital Marketer Spotlights, certification reviews and digital marketing tools. I will also be exploring company campaign reviews and digital marketing platform reviews. I would love your suggestions on any topics that you would like to learn more about. Please comment below or email me at nanak@nkthemarketer.com.

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Thanks for reading!