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social media marketing 2016

10 Social Media Marketing Hacks You Need to Try

By Rease Kirchner (@IndecisiveRease)

Looking to up your social media marketing game? These 10 hacks will help you take your social media skills to the next level, not to mention get you greater reach, better engagement, and more followers.

1. Use Images

This one may seem obvious, but it’s not just about using images, it’s about how to use them on each specific platform. Did you know there is an image size that works best on Facebook and that it’s totally different from Instagram or Twitter? For example 1200 x 630 images show up best on a Facebook timeline, while an ideal Instagram post is 1080 x 1080.

Twitter is often overlooked when it comes to images, because they weren’t always supported. However, Twitter now allows images to show up directly in stream. The recommended dimensions are 506 x 253. Adding an image to your Tweet does eat into your already small 140 characters a bit, but the loss is worth the gain. Adding an image makes your Tweet stand out much better as people scroll through their feed. You can also add text to the image if you have a bit more to say than your limited characters allow.

Bonus Tip: YouTube videos can be embedded to make them playable directly on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. That means you can draw people in with a visual and rack up some views on your video, all while keeping people on the social media platform.

2. Post Blogs on LinkedIn

This is a rarely used but very valuable feature. When you write a blog post, you can also publish it directly on LinkedIn, getting it in front of the eyes of people who are connected to you and thus have a higher probability of being interested in the subject matter you are covering. You can link the post back to your site as well, giving you a chance to grab some more traffic. You’ll also have a chance to be featured through LinkedIn Pulse, which is an aggregate of all the best content published on LinkedIn in a single day. If you snag a featured spot, you could easily gain hundreds of views.

3. Use IFTTT recipes

IFTTT, or If This Then That is an amazing tool that lets you set up “recipes” that basically add up to “if this happens, then this happens” So, for example, if you often peruse the internet for great articles but never remember to share them when social media marketing, you can set up an IFTTT recipe that automatically sends those articles to a queue on a scheduling platform such as Buffer. That way, the next time you login to Buffer, you’ll have plenty of content to choose from for scheduling posts.

Another great IFTTT recipe is to use your Instagram photos more effectively. Instagram allows you to auto-post to several platforms directly through the app, but as we said in tip #1, optimal image sizes differ across platforms. Instagram photos also show up as a link, not an image, on Twitter, which is not nearly as eye-catching. IFTTT allows you to set up a recipe to share Instagram posts through different platforms, so your beautiful photo can show up as an in-stream photo on platforms like Twitter, instead a link that has a pretty low likelihood of being clicked.

4. Use Grammarly

Is there anything more embarrassing than using “their” when you should have used “there” or messing up a perfectly witty tweet with a typo? Whether you are simply not a master of grammar or you just have a tendency to think faster than you type, Grammarly can help. Think of this browser plug-in as a helpful grammar nerd that peeks over your shoulder as you compose posts and alerts you to any grammatical or spelling errors.

5. Use Iconosquare

While many people think of Instagram as a platform to share photos instantly and in the moment, that’s not a great strategy if you are looking for high engagement numbers. Generally, users only scroll through Instagram for so long before they get bored of double tapping photos, so if your photo isn’t posted during active times, it’s not likely to be seen at all. Enter Iconosqaure. This handy tool analyzes your followers and past engagements and gives you the optimal times to post for every day of the week. Once you start posting photos when your followers are actually active, you are likely to see a nice boost in likes and comments.

6. Highlight text before clicking “Pin it”

This is such a simple trick that will save you time and effort. Before clicking “Pin It” on an image, highlight any relevant text from the website. When you click “Pin It,” the highlighted text will automatically be added to description box. So simple, yet so useful.

7. Clean up your Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr with “Friend or Follow”

Social media sites are full of people who follow users in mass in hopes of getting followed back. Days or even weeks later, those mass-followers do a purge and unfollow in mass as well. Rude.

Luckily, Friend or Follow can help you weed out these people. This tool will show you everyone you follow and let you know if they are following back. You can unfollow in mass or pick and choose who is worthy of your unrequited follow.

8. Surf LinkedIn Anonymously

The LinkedIn “Profile Viewed By” feature is either incredibly helpful or super annoying, depending on which side of it you are on. If you are looking to search profiles without worrying about users knowing you were reading up on them, try using LinkedIn anonymously. Simply go to “Privacy & Settings” on your profile then choose “Privacy Controls.” From there you can choose “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” and you will be given an option to be completely anonymous. This is a total win if you are doing research and don’t necessarily want the subjects to know who you are, or perfect for some light internet stalking.

9. Create a Printable Resume directly from LinkedIn

Have you ever looked at your perfectly crafted LinkedIn profile and wished you could just send prospective employers to your profile page instead of providing them with a resume? Well, you can have the next best thing. By using LinkedIn’s ResumeBuilder, you can take your LinkedIn profile and turn it into a printable resume within minutes. Boom. Updated resume, locked and loaded, no formatting requiring.

10. Join Social Buzz Club

This “club” is basically an online community that lets you earn shares by sharing other users’ posts. You can pick and choose the content you share, so you can still keep content relevant to your audience’s interests. Every time you share another member’s content, you earn “shares” that you can then use to have other users share your content on their social media profiles. It’s a great way to gain traction for content without spending any actual money.

So which one of these social media marketing hacks are you dying to try? Let us know if any of these totally changed your social media game!

 

content marketing content people look forward to

3 brands that are creating content people look forward to reading

As I prepared for my webinar and an upcoming class I’m teaching, I was looking for fresh examples of content that people look forward to receiving. As I often do, I reached out to the wise folks I’m connected with on Twitter for their insights and recommendations. Below are 3 brands that are creating some stellar content people can’t wait to digest. See what you can learn and apply in your own content marketing strategy!

Strands of Stolen Genius Weekly Newsletter

Strands of Genius Email Content ExamplesEmily Iles (@emilyiles) says she looks forward to receiving the weekly email newsletter from Genius Steals, a global innovation agency that works with start-ups on concepts and communications.

Why? She says, “They do a list roundup with links, and a short sentence about why it matters — short, simple, and well-curated.”

The takeaway? Formatting your content for easy consumption, and sharing content that matters – well, it matters.

While Genius Steals is largely curating content created by others, they have grown a large, global email list of interested followers, and they boast a 45% open rate on their emails – high for any industry – no doubt due to the quality of content they are producing.

Birchbox

Danielle Hohmeier (@daniellesmyname) says that she gravitates toward content by retail brands that are able to blend visual appeal with great product and equally powerful content. Among her favorites is Birchbox, an e-commerce beauty products brand, based out of Canada – and if you look at their Instagram channel, you can see why. Who wouldn’t want to get lost in posts that evoke a sense of eternal summertime?

The takeaway? Visual appeal and overall brand personality is critically important to engage followers – and to keep them wanting more.

Birchbox Instagram Content

Tom Arcenaux, Shreveport Attorney

Tom Arsenaux legal email newsletter contentBrian Goldstein (@briangoldstein) looks forward to content by a number of great minds including Seth Goden (one of my favorites) – and Shreveport Attorney Tom Arcenaux. Many of his favorite email newsletters, Goldstein points out, are many years in the making – having found their groove with their audience over time. As to why he looks forward to emails from Arcenaux Goldstein says that Tom’s secret is serialized content that may continue from one email send to another – always keeping readers engaged and waiting for that next email send.

If you weren’t living under a rock in 2014, you remember the insane success of the podcast Serial – which achieved more than 2.4 million regular weekly listeners with it’s serialized format – delivering one piece of content at a time, slowly unfolding a real-life murder mystery. This content strategy, when used effectively is incredibly powerful. Word of caution to the wise, however, this is a tact that should be taken sparingly, unless you are sure that your content is always going to be well-received. As we touched on with Genius Steals’ newsletter, sometimes people just want you to get to the point already. A serialized set of content, therefore, may drag on too long. Consider whether the serialized format is right for your information – and then use it when appropriate as a way to engage people with your blogs and emails.

That being said, I would most definitely encourage you to spend some time perusing Tom’s past issues of his email newsletter – which is sent nearly ever day of the week – to see how he carefully crafts his content. These email newsletters are not only useful and engaging, but they are a great example of storytelling through email content.

Are you seeking ways to create more engaging content – to stand out amidst all of the noise on social and digital media? Reach out. We’re based in St. Louis and work with brands all over the world through short-term consultations and long-term marketing partnerships. We’d love to work with you to craft a content strategy that meets your business goals and creates an audience of devoted fans.

WEBINAR-secrets-to-creating-content-that-connects

FREE WEBINAR: Secrets to creating content that connects – Wednesday!

If you’re having trouble standing out on social media, your brand is far from being alone.

According to AgoraPulse, from July 2013 to July 2014, 71% percent of company Facebook pages had a loss in organic reach of at least 30%. For companies that hoped to attract and retain business through social media outreach, this is a cataclysmic shift.

Because of the success of social media in recent years, companies worldwide have jumped onboard with social media and are working to create exceptional content just like you are.

Join me for a FREE webinar this Wednesday at 1 pm CST to learn ways to create stronger content that will help your brand stand out from the crowd.

       >>CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW<<

Webinar 11/17: Secrets to creating content that connects

By Danni Eickenhorst

I always was pretty terrible at keeping a secret… and it looks like nothing has changed. 🙂

On Tuesday, November 17th, I’ll be hosting a FREE webinar that shares my secrets for creating content that connects with your audience.

In today’s social economy, every brand out there is fighting for your attention on social media. Do you find yourself struggling to stand out and be heard? 

The key, you will find, is in the content you create.

What will make the difference between you and your nearest competitor is your message, and how you choose to connect.

During this FREE webinar, we’ll discuss 10 techniques to help you create more thoughtful, beautiful, effective content that drives your audience to engage, share, and bond with your brand.

 >>>LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WEBINAR<<<

PLUS, (shhh! another secret!) you’ll get a sneak peek of my upcoming course being released November 23rd – Universal Marketing Theory for Small Businesses!

Register now to save your spot and you’ll receive my BONUS GUIDE3 Marketing Tools Every Small Business Owner Needs – which includes 3 tools that I use absolutely every day to streamline my work and to make it more powerful.

I look forward to seeing you! Bring all of your questions for the LIVE Q&A!

XO

Danni

video sharing apps social media marketing

5 Video Sharing Apps & Sites – How They Can Help Your Business

Video production for business is a major opportunity for content marketers. With so many ways now available to create and share video content it’s easier and more accessible than ever! I want to share some of the most popular and talked-about video sharing apps and websites that can help your business share different kinds of video with your audience in distinctly different ways:

 

1)  Periscope

IMG_7825

There has been so much buzz about this app that I want to lead with it. If you haven’t heard about it yet, Periscope is a Twitter-owned app that lets you make and share live streaming video broadcasts with your Twitter audience as well as your – potentially separate – Periscope audience. You can follow people you know, check out live broadcasts around the world and share your own updates. And per Mashable: “Periscope auto-saves every broadcast and, as soon as you’re done, uploads the whole thing to Periscope so people can watch streams from people they follow even if they’re not live.”

How can this help my business?

This can help your business when you would like to connect with your audience in a real-time way. Concepts that we have seen work well are: live Q&A sessions where a presenter can answer questions from their audience, both received ahead of time and shared during the broadcast within Periscope; live events such as a seminar or competition or other engaging real-life event; and regular broadcast programming, such as a weekly recurring “show” where certain topics are discussed live.

Great Example: The Rizzuto Show – 1057. The Point radio station in St. Louis

 

 

 

 

Target Instagram2)  Instagram

Instagram is the popular visual app often described as “Twitter for pictures.” But did you know this “Twitter for pictures” has offered a video feature for a couple of years, now? Users can share video clips that they have either pre-recorded and saved to their phone’s media library or that they’re shooting live. A simple editing feature allows you to trim the video down to the required 15 seconds or less, add a filter, stabilize the video, choose an intro still frame for when the video is paused before a viewer plays it and remove the sound if you prefer.

How can this help my business? Instagram video can help your business by providing more engaging content for your audience to interact with. Some of the best examples we have seen of engaging Instagram content are clearly staged ahead of time, formatted to fit on IG and sent (via Email or Dropbox or otherwise) to a mobile device for Instagram sharing.

Great Example: Target

 

 

3)  Facebook

The reach and engagement levels that we have seen for Facebook videos has been impressive to say the least. As far as distribution of video, uploading your piece directly to Facebook can be highly effective for your business goals. Facebook’s auto-play feature reaches out to grab users with motion right away rather than a still frame and they also allows you to upload 1 GB/about 20 minutes of video–though we still wouldn’t recommend that as though people are watching tons and tons of video on Facebook it can still be difficult to hold users’ attention spans in one place for that long!

How can this help my business? This can be great for your business if you have a quality audience or potential audience on Facebook. It can allow you get your video right in front of the exact eyeballs you’d love to see it.

Great Example: (Warning, series does contain some language!) Whine About It by Matt Bellasai

Ep. 23: The Worst Things About Fall

This week on the SEASON 1 FINALE of Whine About It… THE WORST THINGS ABOUT FALL.We'll be back with Season 2 of Whine About It on Oct. 28, but make sure you stay tuned for some special videos in the meantime!

Posted by Matt Bellassai on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

 

4)  Twitter

Twitter video allows users to watch video clips that are up to 30 seconds long right in their newsfeed. Vine, also owned by Twitter, can also be used in this way as it integrates with Twitter but Vine maxxes out at a mere 6 seconds long but creates a loop. Vine also has its own separate app and active network that isn’t necessarily as active on Twitter.

How can this help my business? Twitter video can help your business if you have an audience or potential audience on their network. You can reach your followers by sending fun, interactive content to help break up their otherwise still newsfeed!

Great Example: Beggin’

Beggin' Howloween Twitter

 

5)  YouTube

YouTube still has a special place in our hearts as it’s still the largest video network in the world, it’s highly portable & videos can be embedded right on your website, and it’s owned by Google so optimized videos can rank in their search algorithm. Among other things. They also offer some robust advertising solutions we’ve used to great results for clients as well as features that allow your user to engage more deeply with your video such as Cards and Annotations. YouTube is still our number one recommendation for businesses who are looking to build a highly accessible video content library.

How can this help my business? YouTube can help your business in so many ways from allowing you to create the library of video mentioned above to getting very rich content from your business into search engines where users can find it.

Great Example: Marie Forleo – Marie TV

Marie Forleo Marie TV

Want us to tell you more about why YouTube rocks our world or how we’ve used some of these other tools for our clients? Get in touch!

Twitter profiles now rank #1 in mobile search for active Twitter users and influencers.

Google & Twitter: Reunited & Affecting Your SEO

By Taylor Bartley

Twitter profiles now rank #1 in mobile search for active Twitter users and influencers.Twitter and Google are working together again! Google has started indexing tweets in real time, meaning that your latest tweet will show live in any searches – currently on mobile, ultimately everywhere – as soon as it’s tweeted.

You may have heard the news a few months back that Twitter and Google decided to work together once again after their “breakup” in 2011. To give you the short story, back in 2009, Twitter gave Google full access to their to their tweets (which many call the “firehose”). In 2011, this agreement ended after Twitter’s COO stated that he wanted the company to have more control over their content. Now, after four years, Twitter has put the offer back on the table for many reasons, a main factor being that they realize how much the search engine can enhance the Twitter experience for users who are logged out.

What this means for businesses

When two colossal companies begin to work with one another, it takes time to iron out the details. This deal was made a few months back, and everyone knew that it would take time for everything to fall into place. Now, more than ever, you should be preparing your business’ Twitter account because it can affect your SEO in great ways. Once Google gets its algorithm in place for real time tweet searching, the amount of your tweets Google indexes will undoubtedly increase… as long as you know what Google is looking for.

Tips to increase your SEO via Twitter

Experts speculate that the more tweets indexed by Google, the more traffic will result – especially for active Twitter users and influencers. Those who spend time building their Twitter presence will be rewarded with higher search visibility. The larger a Twitterer’s audience and influence, the more likely you are to have a higher index rate for your tweets.

A few areas to focus on in order to build your Twitter influence are:

  • Twitter ads: Consider promoting posts and profile to build followers and interest for your brand.
  • Influencers: Twitter is an amazing place to connect with influencers and industry professionals, who can help push your content and profile.
  • Hashtags: Harness the power of hashtags to get your content seen by more interested people.
  • Quality Content: Create content intended on engagement with your audience – relevant, interesting, timely – the kind of content that invites shares, comments and retweets.

We suggest taking a look at your own clout or “klout” by going to klout.com. This site allows your to connect all of your social media channels to see how influential you are in your field. This is also a great tool to search and identify influencers. Your klout score is certainly something you do not have to live by, but it is good to check in from time to time in order to see how you are doing. Did we mention you also get perks from other businesses that see you as an influencer in their industry?

Now you need to know what other specific things Google is looking for when indexing a tweet. Not all of your tweets need to follow these rules, but make sure that important tweets have these attributes.

  • Strong images – be sure that your image fits the preview box Twitter gives, so people are more likely to click on it and engage. Images are known to be engaging, so take advantage of this. Using sites such as canva allow you to create a powerful image with the dimensions already laid out for you!
  • Hashtags – including popular industry hashtags will not only increase engagement, but will help in getting noticed by Google as well.
  • Strong links – if you are linking to something in your tweet, make sure the link is a source that has a large following and viewership. The weaker the links you refer to in your tweets, the less likely Google will index.
  • Length: Some studies claim that 100 characters is your ideal length for a tweet, while others say that longer tweets result in more engagement. Experiment with your content format to see what works for YOUR audience, and then implement your own best practices.

For more specifics on this deal, check out this helpful FAQ. If you need to ramp up your Twitter presence and need assistance, give us a call at 314-300-6675 for a free consultation.

twitter-for-business-simplified-social-media-strategy

Twitter for Business, Simplified

By Danni Eickenhorst, President & Marketing Consultant

Several times a month, I run into business owners who have heard that Twitter is a powerful tool for them to harness, but who have chosen not to try it out for a variety of reasons. The most common? They’re intimidated. It’s confusing.

While I remember feeling that way the first time I tried to use Twitter, it truly couldn’t be farther from the truth – if you look at it just a little bit differently.

Below, we’ve provided some hints and steps that you can take to begin to find a comfort level with this powerful platform. This is a very cursory level introduction, and at the end, we provide our Easy Twitter Start Checklist. For more detailed, higher-level strategy, schedule a one-on-one consultation with our team, follow this blog or attend an upcoming social school class.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is simplicity. It is a continuous conversation in a global room full of people in short bursts. Done correctly, it may be the most powerful tool in your arsenal.

It is a social network where people share “microblogs” or status updates of 140 characters or less. People who follow you or who search for a particular keyword you may have tweeted about, will see your status updates. Anyone who views your profile may see your status updates. Twitter differs from Facebook both in the length of your updates and in that the community available to you through Twitter is very motivated, outspoken and powerful. They are willing to share value when it’s provided, so consider that as you begin crafting your updates. This group is more likely to show up, share, advocate, purchase and engage with your brand than most others, and therefore, provides a unique opportunity for many businesses and individuals.

At first glance, it may seem that Twitter is moving at a breakneck pace, full of spam and self-promotion. All of these are accurate assessments, but while content seems to have a 2 second shelf-life, and it seems that with the large amounts of content coming at you, this platform may need to be continuously monitored, there are some things you can do to make Twitter more manageable:

Keep Twitter in Perspective

Twitter is simply a community. Just like any community, there are ups and downs, and just like every community out there, you will find lurkers, haters and supporters, all there for one reason or another. Just as you work to build community in your neighborhood or place of worship, you cannot get to know your community if you’re isolated and uninvolved. Twitter will only help you find success if you are social, and choose to engage.

Use & Search Hashtags

What is a Hashtag?Just as the graphic at right says, hashtags are merely a form of organization for the content that you share. They allow others who may not be familiar with you or your brand to search for content on a topic and to become connected with what you’re sharing. A few tips for using hashtags:

  1. Don’t overuse hashtags. Try to limit your tweets to 1-3 hashtagged words or phrases.
  2. Don’t string too many words together with a single hashtag, if you want it searchable. Many folks do this for comic effect, which of course, is fine – but, they don’t expect much return in search if they do. The best hashtags are short, to the point and reflect the way others typically search for something.
  3. DO use hashtags for events. A simple hashtag that is shared with event attendees may expand the reach of your local event to a global audience. A few years back, we added the hashtag #TweetTheMostGood to a Salvation Army event, and while there were only 150 attendees at the party we held (max capacity), more than 230,000 people were exposed to the brand and the conversation that night by asking attendees to use the hashtag on all of their tweets, check-ins and photos.

Make Twitter work with your schedule.

Social media can be extremely time-consuming – research, conversations, crafting content. For that reasons, we recommend setting aside time each day to update your channels, and to create a blend of updates that are both live AND prescheduled. One tool we absolutely love is Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a free tool that allows you to monitor the vast amount of information coming through Twitter, and to preschedule content so your account never goes “quiet.” It allows you to monitor any mentions of you or your brand, to search for sentiments or new business and, perhaps most importantly, it allows you to schedule content to post while you’re busy doing other things. Check it out at Hootsuite.com.

Find your tribe + Engage.

TWITTER 101As you’re first building your audience on Twitter, it helps to consider what you wish to achieve or what your brand (personal or professional) is looking to connect with. Find others in your space who are utilizing Twitter, and are doing is well and take note of:

  • LISTS: Visit their profile and look at their lists. (Next to Followers, Following, you should see “Lists.” Click on this.) These are curated lists of other people you should probably also be connected. Follow those folks and engage with their content. Reply to their tweets, retweet their best stuff and become a part of their community.
  • CONTENT STYLING: If you’ve found someone worth watching as a mentor in your industry or interest area, watch what works best with their content – from style and language to best time of day, and begin by applying some of their styling to your own content.

What do I tweet?

“No one cares what I had for breakfast,” is the #1 complaint I hear from folks looking to harness Twitter for the first time. I tell them to “fake it until you make it.” Think out loud. Share until it becomes more natural.

Here are some possible ways for your to engage on Twitter:

  • Live Updates: Attending a conference or knee-deep into a new project? Share that. Many events have hashtags that you can watch, use and share with.
  • Questions: My tribe of followers on Twitter have incredible amounts of experience and collective knowledge in areas that I will never have. I frequently throw out questions to take their temperature on issues, or when I’m stumped and need help. You’ll find that folks on Twitter are quick to help, and motivated to connect and make things happen.
  • @Replies & Retweets: The best way to connect with people is to take that first step. Reply to an interesting tweet, or better yet – make a friend & retweet their content.
  • Blog Posts & Articles: Whether you’re sourcing them from your site or someone else’s (known as “Content Curation”), one way to provide quick updates while showcasing that you’re engaged in an industry or interest is to share an interesting, up-to-date blog post or article on the subject.

and finally…. if you’re looking to use Twitter to bolster your business, then share what you do. Twitter should never be used for OVER-promotion, but if you shoot for 80% non-promotional, 20% promotional to start, you aren’t likely to alienate your hard-won audience.

More Resources to Continue your Twitter Mastery

  • Twitter Growth Domination 2.0: Kim Garst, one of our favorite Twitter marketers, has launched an online course that boils down Twitter to its simplest parts. She has developed an online learning course, which is available online for a short period of time, but which is definitely worth your time. In her mini-course ($9), she shares a smart growth plan that helps you to target your audience on Twitter, and to engage them in just 15 minutes a day.
  • Easy Twitter Start Checklist: We developed a super-simple checklist to assist small businesses in getting comfortable with Twitter. Enter your information below and we’ll email it to you in just a few minutes. Try it out for two weeks and let us know what you think!

Request our Easy Twitter Start Checklist

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Treehouse Networkshop finds success with unique blend of social media + live promotions

meeting of the minds

By Danni Eickenhorst

I first met Wesley Hoffman in the flesh at the 2014 Donut Day celebration with Kuva Coffee and Strange Donuts. He recognized me from Twitter and greeted me with a big hug. Something about that introduction was disarming in the best way and we were fast friends.

At the time I met Hoffman at the event, I knew very little about Treehouse Networkshop. I knew it was a relatively recent phenomenon – and that it was clearly more than a networking group and more of a movement. The general tone and heart behind the social content coming out of Treehouse demonstrated an enthusiasm for life that I find myself seeking out on a daily basis.

Treehouse Networkshop started out as a monthly networking event series with the philosophy that we should make connections as people first, and then determine how we can help each other. At the very least, new connections mean new friends. Treehouse promotes making connections with people via the world wide web, but truly believes in the power of meeting in person. Treehouse provides motivational content via video, audio (#StrangeHousePodcast), and social media. In addition to monthly meetups, we also hold a quarterly panel series called “Meeting of the Minds.”

As an entrepreneur determined to find long-term success, and whose success has been squarely tied to collaboration, idea-sharing and positivity, I knew upon connecting with Wes that I surely needed to become more involved with Treehouse and the people tied to it.

wesleymoderateMonthly meetups are held at different venues and neighborhoods around St. Louis. The meetups are open to anyone looking to make professional or personal connections in a positive environment. People from all industries and walks of life meet together as people to find ways to help each other succeed. Meetups are held during the 3rd full week of every month on a Wednesday or Thursday.

October 22nd is the next Meeting of the Minds event, and I am honored to be one of the panelists for this event. Only 100 spots are available. Click here to reserve your ticket now.

Treehouse began with Wes grabbing coffee with anyone who would take the time after he was laid off, and quickly set Wes apart as a connector of people in the St. Louis region. He found himself able to help others find opportunities and to take advantage of opportunities coming his way as well.

Wes has blended real life and social media promotion to find incredibly impressive success very quickly – even leaving the world of full time employment earlier this year in order to focus his energy on Treehouse Networkshop. Read on to learn how he got started in social media, how he’s utilizing it for Treehouse and what’s next.

When did you first get into social media personally? What was your first platform? What made it stick for you?

I first got into social media in the late 90s. There was a website in St. Louis called STLPunk.com. It was for local bands, venues, and their fans. At first, only your band could have a page, and you could comment, but you were not able to have a profile. You could also post anonymously (which caused some trouble). I loved the fact you could connect with people you didn’t know then meet them in person at shows. In the early 2000’s I also took to Xanga, a blogging site. I loved how you could get to know people you had never met, but also share your thoughts.

tumblr_inline_n9h7hgdLO01s3u7o0When did you get into social media professionally? What were your experiences and platforms used for marketing?

Professionally, I started using LinkedIn in 2008. But really started using it in 2013 when I was self employed. I started using twitter and Facebook to stay connected and in the know with people I wanted to work with. I ended up using twitter to get a job as well as promote my personal brand.

Tell me about the events that led to Treehouse Networkshop and what inspired the name.

Treehouse events came from my passion for in-person and digital networking. I love bringing people together, and then seeing them collaborate. I was going to a lot of networking events myself, but after others had approached me, asking how to network, I decided to throw together my own events. The events are based on the philosophy that we should meet each other as people first and professionally second. I loved the name Treehouse because that was always the place you went to when you were a kid to make plans about how you were going to build something, or take over the world!

How did social media fold into what you were doing? What channels did you find the greatest success on initially? Are they still true?

Social media plays a huge part in Treehouse. We use twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote the events. We use hashtags on twitter, so people can find others who were at the event. Or, people who aren’t at the events can find people who went, and get a feel for what the events are like. We use Instagram to take pictures while the events are happening.
I’ve used tumblr to blog, then push the content from there to other social media channels (mainly Twitter, and Facebook).

What do you think is the single most important thing you’re doing on social to fuel your success? What would you do differently?

The single most important thing doesn’t have to necessarily do with social media, but more how it ties into meeting people in real life. I make sure to respond to every tweet, but also connect with those people in person. I do my best to bridge the gap between digital and in-real-life connections.

What are you trying to accomplish on social? What is your most important accomplishment so far with Treehouse in general?

I’m mainly trying to start conversations on social that lead to in-person interactions at Treehouse events or beyond. My most important accomplishment with Treehouse is growing it, and helping people. If people are able to further their careers or social lives through Treehouse, we’ve reached our goal.

If you’re trying to change something/create something – what problem are you working to solve and how do you hope that social media plays into that?

One thing I’m trying to change is how networking is view traditionally. How can we use social media to start conversations, or get to know something about a person to make in-person conversations happen more organically?

If you were to start over today, what would you do differently?

There’s only one thing I’d do differently – I would’ve started sooner. I would’ve kept up with twitter earlier, and started my business sooner than I did.

What’s next for Treehouse? What are your future plans/hopes for social and how it plays into that?

Treehouse will continue to find ways to use it’s platform to help to help other people. We’re looking forward to creating a new way to bridge the gap between physical and in-person interactions. Treehouse will find new ways for conversations and interactions to start through digital mediums. Those interactions will then strongly encourage people to take the next step to planning an in-person meeting.

SOCIAL SCHOOL: 3 things Taco Bell can teach us about social media marketing

By Erik Schwenke

Does the plate of food above look familiar? Thanks to social media marketing efforts by the fast food giant,  there’s a good chance that one or more of your friends has been talking about Taco Bell’s new breakfast items, and an even better chance that curiosity has piqued your interest enough to try one of them! It certainly worked on me (and I can vouch that they all taste pretty good, albeit quite greasy).

But, why is this fast food so popular all of a sudden? Plenty of other restaurants have launched campaigns recently to attract customers to their new breakfast trends, but none have been as wildly as successful as Taco Bell’s latest campaign. The secret to the waffle taco doesn’t lie in the syrup, but rather, the marketing. Specifically, how Taco Bell has established its brand voice and willingness to interact with fans. What can your business learn from them?

1.  Photos are everything in social media marketing.

It gets said time and again, but your best avenue for telling a great story and building customer engagement is by being creative with your camera or smart-phone. Taco Bell knows this, and is constantly finding unique ways to present their food to you, the consumer. Search through their Facebook and Twitter, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anything  stock-looking or seemingly “plain” about their posts. Nearly one third of their tweets are pictures, ones that evoke emotion, such as the sunrise imagery above.

Whether your business offers a product or service, there’s always an opportunity to showcase what you do in a way that will resonate with your audience as well. The key takeaway here is to be spontaneous—have an interesting interaction with a customer? Is there something going on in your area that your audience can relate to, such as the weather? Take a photo and tell a story!

2. Your best content comes from your fans.

Social media users are just like businesses—they love having their content shared and retweeted. In fact, they are often willing to create content just for your business, for the sole purpose of being recognized and responded to. If you view Taco Bell’s Twitter, you’ll notice they constantly retweet other users, and they aren’t picky when it comes to sharing someone with a large following versus someone with a not so large one.

Would you rather promote yourself, or have someone else do the talking for you? Keep this in mind when developing your content strategy, and don’t be afraid to ask your fans for photos and feedback that you can share.

3. Supporting your community will help build your community.

Over the years, Taco Bell has been no stranger to taking action in charitable events and giving back to their community. Their dedication has helped them to grow to the 10.4 million likes that they currently have today on their Facebook page!  One such campaign they’ve taken part in is their “Graduate Mas” program, which provides scholarships and partnerships for teens. Last summer, they encouraged users to upload photos of themselves on Instagram, and made a pledge to donate $100 to their charity program for each photo uploaded. Those who uploaded a photo also had a chance to see their photography displayed in Times Square.

You can employ a similar approach as well. In fact, many businesses already have programs in place to support charities, but rarely mention their efforts on social media! Take the time to develop a campaign, and showcase what you’re doing to help your community. Even if your budget is small or non-existent, you can find ways to make a difference. For example, poll your fans and make a pledge to volunteer for a day at a charity of their choice if you reach a certain social milestone. You’ll not only increase the amount of fans you have, but also their trust in the long run.

Want more ideas to jump start your small business on social media? Give us a call and set up a professional strategy session to help find your brand’s voice. Click here to schedule a time that’s convenient for you.

 

Some images courtesy of the Huffington Post.

 

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How I botched sharing social ROI – and how you can learn from it

tune out roi jargon

Early in my career, I worked as a freelance writer for companies who needed ad copy, research writers and web content. As social media grew up, I was growing in my profession as well, and quickly learned the potential power of this medium for my clients.
I can proudly say that many of my clients were the first in their respective industries to adopt social media – and that I was able to generate customers and revenue for them relatively quickly.
My BIGGEST regret in this part of my career, however, was that when I went to report these successes – and I mean HIT-IT-OUT-OF-THE-BALLPARK SUCCESSES– that I didn’t communicate these in a way that they related with. Instead, I presented leadership with social ROI and analytics jargon.The result?A group that was already skeptical about social media value quickly became more confused and defensive about digital marketing. Without realizing it, I was feeding into their preconceptions about digital marketing – (“She’s being paid to play on the internet.” is one I heard a lot) – even though I was doing excellent work.
This Friday, we are offering a FREE webinar at 12pm CST/1pm EST. I hope you can join us. I’ll be  sharing information on how to effectively and quickly measure your social media ROI (Return on Investment) – AND I’ll talk about how you can communicate these successes (or failures) in a way that your executive team or board of directors will understand – and support.
If you register by Thursday, we’ll also give you our Blog Content Checklist and Guide for FREE.