Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hootsuite Knows Social Media so Well!


“Importantly, companies are using social media to do things that go way beyond just chatting up existing customers on Facebook. Sales departments use social to nurture leads and close sales. HR posts job openings and vets applicants. Community and support squads mine networks, blogs, and forums with deep listening tools.” In this quote, Ryan Holmes, founder, and CEO of Hootsuite explains the vital role social media plays in marketing today and why it is important to understand its uses and benefits for business and your company. 

What is Social Media Marketing?

Hootsuite defines Social Media Marketing as "the use of social media by marketers to increase brand awareness, identify key audiences, generate leads, and build meaningful relationships with customers." Social media can also be used for customer service and give potential employees insight into a company's culture. It is essential to build and maintain a social media presence that reflects the company's values and help reach business goals and objectives.

Depending on your business and the platforms on which your customers or consumers spend the bulk of their time, you will have to set up the appropriate pages and accounts to interact with them. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Blogging lend themselves to a combination of text, images, and video, while Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube are more visual.

The Certification Process

Hootsuite has six free courses on Hootsuite Academy to help you learn about social media marketing and prepare for the exam. The videos are split into two categories, beginner, and intermediate levels. Two of the courses are beginner level: Introduction to Social Media Marketing and Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles. The remaining four courses are intermediate level Social Media Strategy from A to Z, Grow Your Online Community, Content Marketing Fundamentals, and Social Advertising Fundamentals.

Each course is subdivided into sections, most of which have detailed examples and quizzes to aid your learning and exam prep. Downloadable PDF study guides are also provided for each course. The videos have about 3 hours of content, which is approximately 30 minutes for each course. The certification focuses primarily on strategy, content marketing and social advertising fundamentals for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. 

The Exam

The exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions that must be completed in 60 minutes. 80% is the passing score. The certification never expires once you pass the exam. If you fail, you do not need to pay to retake the exam.

The certification costs $199 and grants a year of access to Hootsuite's Certified Professionals Directory, which makes it easier to get discovered by clients and employers looking for certified professionals. You also gain access to updated courses and exams, and discounts for future certifications. 

Hootsuite recently reshuffled its certification suite, changing its name from Hootsuite Podium to Hootsuite Academy. With change came the ability to easily access the certification for Hootsuite Social Media Management platform for $99. I will discuss that process in a future post. Developed and offered in conjunction with the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, Hootsuite also offers an Advanced Social Media Strategy Certification for Marketing Strategists, Social Media Managers, Brand and Agency Ambassadors and anyone else interested in gaining advanced knowledge in the field. The course costs $2200 or $194 per month for about 11 months.

To learn more about the Hootsuite Social Media Marketing certification process and/or take the exam, click here

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

5 Tools for Digital Marketing Research!


In the words of advertising pioneer David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy Group, "Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals." Knowing and understanding your customers' and consumers' needs and wants, buying habits, how they research products and services, and competitors' actions, are key in providing the right products and services at the right time, in the right way. 

Now more than ever, it is easy to find a lot of this preliminary information online through tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, and BuiltWith. Most of this information can be attained for free, using various digital marketing tools. I have been fortunate to have mentor-bosses and course instructors teach me about some incredible tools and techniques that I am excited to share with you. Today, we will focus on five tools: LinkedIn, Facebook, SpyFu, BuiltWith and Website Grader

1. LinkedIn

The professional network can be a great way to learn more about your current customers and consumers. On LinkedIn, many people fill out information bout their professional history, education, experience, interests, volunteering activities and more. You can look up individuals by their names, companies, job functions, and geographic location, and find years of experience and other features to build personas. Particularly B2B professionals can look up and connect with companies, find key decision makers, and nurture leads.

If your company has a LinkedIn profile (Company Page), it can be used to learn about the general makeup of your current audience to find a suitable way to market to them. You can track follower demographics by seniority, industry, company size, and job function. If your company does not have a company page or group, it may be a good idea to think about setting one up, and begin building a presence and nurturing a community on the network.

2. Facebook 

Facebook has many business tools. I'll be focusing on two in particular today, "Audience Insights" and "Pages to Watch". 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 specific 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.

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 concrete data to benchmark against. To use this feature you need at least 100 page likes and choose at least 5 Pages to Watch.

3. SpyFu

SpyFu is a great tool to assess competitors' digital marketing efforts as well as your own. You enter a specific website address and SpyFu presents information about the website's SEO, Inbound Clicks from Google (Backlinks), Paid Search, Ranking and more. The site shows estimated budgets, keywords, and competitor listings as well. For SEO, SpyFu gives you the organic keywords your competitors rank for, monthly SEO clicks and an estimated monetary SEO click value. Backlinks are broken down into organic versus paid clicks.

Paid Search data is primarily drawn from AdWords, shows your competitors' paid keywords, estimated monthly PPC clicks, and an estimated monthly AdWords budget. You can access information about your competitors' top paid and organic competitors, their negative keywords, and their most used keywords. This tool provides you an in-depth view of what competitors are doing  for some ideas and direction on what your company can be doing.

4. BuiltWith 

BuiltWith is a website that allows you to check competitor websites or sites you admire to see which platforms, tools, and plug-ins are used to sharpen your competitive edge. You get a full technology profile including Web Servers, Hosting Providers, Email Services, Content Management Systems, and Analytics and Tracking. BuiltWith can be used for free. You can create a free account for trend history and detailed data. The paid account also provides you access to more features, but you can acquire pretty detailed information and data with the free account.

You can also use BuiltWith to track your own website if you no longer work with your web or blog designer and need to find the systems you have used in the past to recover or replace them. 

5. HubSpot's Website Grader 

The Website Grader, powered by HubSpot, is a free tool that scores your website or blog against key metrics such as SEO, performance, mobile, and security. For SEO, the grader looks at page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and sitemaps. Performance looks at page size, page requests, and page speed to offer tips on areas to improve and optimize your website's performance. Mobile looks at your website's responsiveness to different devices, and viewports, how your page scales to the different devices. Security looks at your SSL certificate.

This tool allows you to assess your website, which is typically a company's most important marketing hub, to ensure that is fully optimized and ranking high during searches. 

This article is not an all-encompassing list of the tools you can use for digital marketing research. Rather the aim is to give a rough idea of some of the deeper uses of the platforms regularly employed for a competitive edge in business. Many tools are free or low cost, so have a go. What tools do you use for your digital marketing research? Please share your "live by" tools in the comments below. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sorry for My Absence!


It's been a long time! I should have left you, without a dope post to read! I hope that corny, repurposed Aaliyah and Timbaland track has started you on the road to forgiving me for my unannounced hiatus. 

This spring hit me with a bought of allergies and the flu, then my parents came to town, because my darling sister graduated from college (YAY!!!!!!), and there were so many festivities. In my attempt to recover from all of that simultaneously and still stay on top of things at work, the blog suffered a bit. I sincerely apologize for that and would like to inform you that I have been working very hard on building out a robust content calendar and getting interviews done. We have so much great content coming your way over the next few weeks. 

I have some fantastic digital and traditional marketers lined up for you to hear from, as well as some platform and certification reviews. We will also be taking a deeper dive into different types of measurement, using digital marketing tools for research and more. 

As always, I would like to blog to be informative for my readers and community, so if there are any topics you would like for me to explore, please comment below or email me at nanak@nkthemarketer.com

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Meet Allen Bredeson, Marketing and Relationship Management Manager


"The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately" - Gary Vaynerchuk

Allen Bredeson is one of the most incredible marketers and people I know. An MBA and Manager, Marketing & Relationship Management at SERVICE 800, Allen completed his MBA at the University of St. Thomas with a concentration in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. During the two-year program, he worked as an E-Commerce Intern at Polaris and as a Marketing Intern at The Toro Company. He is a certified inbound marketing with experience in SEO, lead generation, and website development. 

Prior to the MBA program, Allen worked as a marketing manager at Service 800. Allen's bachelor degree was in Sports Management and Marketing at the University of Minnesota. He started his career as Premium Seating Intern, then as a Premium Seating Coordinator with the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

What does a typical day in your role look like?

Honestly, there isn't a "typical day" in the world I live in.  My role here at SERVICE 800 is a unique one in that I wear my marketing hat part of the time and then manage some key accounts and our team of Relationship Managers. On any given day I'll bounce between servicing accounts, building collateral, updating our website, negotiating contracts and updating our corporate website.  The only constant is coffee in the morning and a never zeroed inbox.

What are you passionate about?

There's something about seeing a new logo "walk" into our door and start a new program that keeps me getting up every day.  All that work building content on the website and developing collateral that talks to a prospect in the right way that ultimately helps to close the deal pays off at that moment a new agreement is signed, and a new program starts up.  I've also really enjoyed managing my team here at SERVICE 800 and pushing them to step a bit beyond their comfort zone.

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

I have to juggle the multiple hats I wear here at SERVICE 800 in meetings, and it can be pretty challenging.  There are times where a business decision is a no-brainer for the marketing side of the company but doesn't make sense for our Relationship Management.  Finding a way to step back and look at the situation from two different points of view is still something I'm working on. 

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

SERVICE 800 has undergone a lot of change over the last year and a half.  We've brought in a new CEO and some new faces, but it has been such a joy to see how our entire company has responded and thrived.  We are seeing some substantial revenue growth, and morale is on the rise.  To be a part of the management team that helped to develop our strategy and nurture the change has been very rewarding.

How did you find yourself in your current career?

After my time working for the Minnesota Timberwolves, I found myself looking to make a career move into the marketing realm.  I'd always found the new methods of marketing so intriguing so when I was presented with an opportunity to teach myself the ways of the web marketer I jumped at it.  Six years and an MBA diploma later I find myself overseeing our marketing and Relationship Management.  Putting the time in to earn the stripes and making a leap of faith throwing my name in the hat for a bigger role has paid off.

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

Working in a smallish business requires you to wear multiple hats and do things that might not really fit in your job description.  Sometimes the stuff that needs to get done isn't that much fun, but someone has to step up and get it done.  Find a way to push through these projects with a smile on your face and people will take notice.

If you would like to learn about Allen, his career journey, and his philosophy, please click here.

Thanks for reading!