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How to Respond to Negative Reviews Online

Negative online business reviews are inevitable – even companies with consistent 5-star reviews get a handful of 1-star reviews from time to time. The most common negative reviews concern the topic of poor service, which could translate into complaints like long wait times, dealing with rude employees, or overdue payments (to name a few). With the rise in review websites like Yelp and Trip Advisor, it’s more important than ever for companies to learn how to respond to negative reviews in a proper and timely matter.

You Received a Negative Review, Now What?

First off, accept that negative reviews are normal and common. If you don’t deal with your customers on a daily basis, this can be hard to see for the first time, so it’s important to be aware and accept it. Next, you’ll want to put together a plan to respond to negative reviews. Every business should have one of these plans put in place early on in their tenure, and the relevant team members should know how to respond to negative reviews.

Responding to Negative Reviews- Dos and Don’ts

Businesses must acknowledge their customers in order to inspire loyalty. Think of it this way – when a customer invests their time and effort to evaluate a business and they don’t receive a response, you could lose that customer. Be sure to respond in a timely matter – if you don’t, they will take their business elsewhere. Research shows that customer emotions become permanent with time, so it’s best for an effective intervention to take place as close to the experience as possible. Issue a formal statement addressing the complaint(s) and naming the steps you’ll be taking to resolve the issues.

You should never be waiting around for negative reviews to happen. Ideally, you’ll want to address any of these issues and intervene before those online business reviews are published. This allows them to mitigate the negative experiences and amplify the positive ones in the minds of customers. You can do this through your social media channels and your customer service email account, for example. Additionally, be sure to address and remediate poor reviews before launching an aggressive, proactive marketing campaign.

To combat any negative reviews, reach out to your happy customers and ask them to post their own reviews. You could also reach out to bloggers and influencers in your business’ niche and have them write about their experience using your product or working with your business. Lastly, invite those customers with poor experiences to come back when the issue is resolved (this could mean comping their next meal, for example).

It’s important to remember that online reputation management (like responding to negative reviews online) is a Band-Aid approach and not a permanent cure. If your business is proactive in seeking out and acting on your customers’ instant feedback promptly, you’ll not only retain existing customers but also add new ones through positive word-of-mouth.

Removing a Defamatory Review

Most established review websites and social media platforms allow you to request the removal of any defamatory reviews. It’s best to go to the website the review is posted at and look for their policy on the issue (often this can be found in their FAQ or Legal section, but a quick Google search can save the day if this doesn’t yield results). If your negative reviews are indexed in a search engine like Google, you can visit their Legal Removal Request page, which allows you to seek to obtain a judgment from a court declaring the statements in a review to be false, and then present the court order to Google with the goal of having the relevant URL(s) de-indexed from Google.

How to respond to negative reviews

 


30 Tips to Boost Your Instagram Marketing

30 tips to boost instagram marketing

There are 300 million active users on Instagram every month, and every day 1 billion photos are liked. Quality posts are better than quantity, especially on Instagram. According to Forrester research, Instagram user interactions with brands is 400% higher than on Facebook and Twitter, delivering 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.

The facts speak for themselves – Instagram is a must for building and branding your business. However, if you are an Instagram newbie, here are 30 tips to help you maximize your Instagram exposure.

For starters, make sure your handle is recognizable and easy to search.

1. Use popular hashtags every day of the week to increase searchability. These include #motivationmonday, #transformationtuesday, #wisdomwednesday, #tbt, etc.

2. Search for people who are mentioning your brand and use the Repost app to re-gram any brand mentions. Be sure to @mention customers and tag them in posts.

3. Connect with businesses using hashtags & geo-tags and be sure to utilize the location feature on each post.

4. Create a unique hashtag that is relevant to your business that followers can use and TELL people to use it. A custom hashtag is worthless if you don’t tell anyone to use it.

5. Tag brand names, users, and locations in posts to increase searchability.

6. Show followers what is taking place in your business behind-the-scenes” and hashtag it with #BTS.

7. Increase visibility by liking and commenting on prospect’s photos. If you like and comment on photos, people will come back to check out your account and are more likely to follow you back.

Golden Rule: like and leave a heartfelt comment on ONE photo per day.

8. Offer exclusive content – if you are launching a new product or service line on Instagram, try creating an exclusive offer and offer followers a unique code to track how effective the promotion was.

9. Leverage user-generated content by running a photo contest. Use all images, even those that do not win, to help promote the brand as fresh content.

10. Run Instagram celeb “takeovers” with local celebs or influencers to drive more traffic and engagement back to your page.

11. Focus on the entire post, not just the image. The image may be the star, and the hashtags may offer context, but the caption tells a specific story and gives insight into you as an expert and the context of the photo.

12. Use apps, such as Afterlight, VSCO, Whitagram, Pic Stitch, Aviary, Lumify, Hyperlapse, Quick, Bokehful, Snapseed to edit photos. Studies have shown photos using the follower filters get more likes: Mayfair, Inkwell, Amaro, Walden and Lo-Fi.

13. Post and re-post images that show your product or service in use, while also using hashtags in conversation where your optimal follower will be.

14. Follow/monitor top trends to grow your brand’s awareness and stay on top of specific industry trends.

15. Get to know your followers to make posts more relevant to them. When someone follows you, follow them back and then analyze what your followers are interested in, what hashtags they use, etc.

16. Run engaging contests. Have an incentive for your community to share content and promote your brand with the use of prizes and giveaways. For example, National Geographic hosted a #MyAWAY Contest where users could upload photos of places that, to them, are an escape. On Instagram, they would tag the photos with #MyAWAY and at the end of the contest period, one lucky fan wins a digital camera plus goodies from NatGeo and Go RVing.

17. Reward your followers: Create lasting relationships with followers by using discount codes. Reach out and connect with influencers one-on-one. Brands that go the extra mile reward their Instagram followers see better success rates.

18. Connect your Instagram account to your website, and link all social channels to expand your reach to new or existing communities. This creates an avenue of traffic for each social media site. For example, make your Instagram account visible on Facebook. Post photos that show the lifestyle of your customers, while staying relevant to your brand. Your account should be a balance of fun pictures (pictures of cute animals or funny pop-culture references), mingled with promotional business photos).

19. “Feed speed” is a critical factor in your brand’s Instagram success. There is a fine line between agitating your followers with a daily clogging of their newsfeed and posting so infrequently that your followers forget you exist. Create a posting schedule that allows you to track what works and decide which direction to take next.

20. Post at peak times. According to a study by TrackMaven, the most effective days to post are Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Another study found that posting at 5 PM EST yields a higher engagement rate.

21. Leverage video. Use diverse visual formatting, such as 15 seconds of video or a cinemagraph (still photographs in which a repeated movement occurs.)

22. Add locations to all your post to increase searchability and geo-targeting.

23. Plan posts in advance. Use services such as Latergram, HootSuite or TweetDeck to help with this process.

24. Show appreciation for your followers by featuring them using your products or service. For example, Sharpie powers their Instagram account with fan-submitted doodles created with their line of markers & pens.

25. Like your followers photos and comment on their posts.

26. Make sure all of your graphics are consistent using a graphic design software such as canva.com Be sure to use canvas “magic resize” tool to resize images to spec to fit the Instagram specs.

27. Respond in real time to the latest trending content. Keep your followers entertained and engaged.

Think of Instagram as a vision board for your business. Post photos that will inspire your prospects to be part of the lifestyle that is associated with your company.

28. Include a call to action- tell people what you want them to do. This may seem simple- but it is often overlooked!

29. Reverse Engineer. If you are trying to get prospects who may be interested in your services, think about their hobbies and demographic profile. Search for hashtags that align with their hobbies, such as #yachting #countryclub or #hamptons. From there, like and comment on their photos and follow them directly. They may even follow you back! You’re welcome 🙂

30.  Measure, Measure, Measure! Observe when your followers are online. What images/posts do your followers respond best to? Where are your new followers coming from? Is your brand growing or shrinking on Instagram?  To refine your Instagram strategy, it’s important to know what resonates best with your audience.

By following these tips, you will maximize your Instagram exposure and, as a result, increase your brand awareness.


How to Maximize National Media Exposure

social media agency expert kris ruby fox news

 

Score! You just landed a hit on a national TV show. But now you may be wondering, how do I maximize the appearance? The truth is, the most important part of the hit isn’t the actual hit. It is what you DO with the hit before, during, and after. To make the most of it, you have to ramp up your social media efforts and make sure you are creating engaging content.

Don’t wait until after the interview is over to start promoting it and getting your followers involved.

Live tweet: Start by encouraging fans to live tweet with you before, during and after the show. For example, one tweet might be, “Have any questions for @yourname on @Nameofshow? Tweet them to us before #nameofshow at 8 pm.” According to ExpandedRamblings.com, 47% of people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to visit that company’s website, so it’s important to be active.

Use your audience to promote: Simply ask your Twitter followers or newsletter subscribers to help promote the appearance. Fans love to help their favorite thought leader gain more notoriety.

Integrate social media: Be sure to tag and hashtag the media outlet and handles of any interviewers in all tweets mentioning the show. This will show the outlet that you are socially engaged and are interested in moving eyeballs to their network.

Search hashtags: If you really want to see what everyone is saying about you on Twitter, search “all tweets” and search for the hashtag of the show, mentions to the show, mentions with your handle, and any relevant content. Sometimes people will post their thoughts on the segment with the handle of the show directly without mentioning your handle. Remember, that sometimes people will post their thoughts on the segment with the handle of the show directly without mentioning your handle.  If you are a frequent On-Air Commentator, you may want to purchase a monitoring app, such as Mention, which will aggregate all of the social mentions for you.

Share behind-the-scenes moments: Fans want to see more than what they just see on television, so while you are in the green room, tweet a photo or post one on Instagram. If there are other guests in the room, take photos and share them on your social media or create a Vine. Be sure to tag the people in the photo!

Increase viewer engagement: Until it’s time for your appearance, host a live Twitter chat, answering behind the-scenes questions. This builds an ongoing relationship with your audience.

Ask questions: Questions require answers and that leads to interaction. For example, after the show you can tweet, “What did you think of the segment?” “Did I wear the right dress?”

Stay positive: Social media builds relationships with your audience, but one negative post can ruin it all. Stay positive and be aware of what you are posting. If something does go wrong, learn how to take a digital detox. For example, if you post something questionable – a photo or a tweet – that offends a core part of your audience, remove it. Stay away from social media for a while.

Close the door on drama: Tweeting includes responding, but getting involved with someone else’s drama can be a big mistake. Know when to stop.

Pull in a team: If you will be wearing a special brand, tweet to the brand before the appearance and let them know. Most likely, they will retweet you. This increases the likelihood of them putting out their own tweet or post promoting it that you could then retweet. Ex. “Love the outfit @InfluencerX is wearing on the segment? Get it here.”

Once the appearance is over, continue tweeting links and clips, posting photos on Instagram and Facebook or promoting a Vine from the green room. Post the appearance on your blog.  Do as much as you can to maximize the appearance and engage with your audience to publicize it even more.


Top 5 Reasons to Hire a PR Agency in 2016

westchester pr agency

 

No matter how small or large your company is, public relations is an important tool for your business. An effective public relations campaign can help to get your name, and your company, in the media. A well-focused campaign can establish you as an expert, or thought leader, in your field by making you a go-to resource for journalists and broadcasters. It can also put your products right in front of the consumers who you are trying to reach.

There are many aspects to running a business, so it’s important to leave the public relations responsibilities to the experts. If you are a doctor, you should focus on being the best doctor in your field. If you are a toymaker, you should be the best toymaker in your industry. Let a public relations expert handle your publicity.

There are several other important reasons why you should hire a public relations expert:

  • You’re too busy: Of course that’s the way it should be. Your time should be focused on being a doctor, CEO or entrepreneur and let the public relations expert focus on getting publicity for your business.
  • PR firms have media contacts: Do you know who the local newspaper editor is? Or how to reach local bloggers who will write about your business? Probably not, but public relations experts know and will be able to contact them, pitch them stories and develop ongoing relationships with them.
  • PR firms know how to package stories: According to this article, the average American attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds. Public relations experts know how to develop content that will reach your audience quickly and keep them engaged, whether it’s for six seconds (the length of a Vine video), 8 seconds or 30 minutes.
  • Public relations experts know crisis control: All it takes is one disgruntled employee who tweets something negative about your business or uploads a detrimental video to YouTube and it goes viral before your business is on the receiving end of a major public relations crisis. Before you even have time to react, your public relations firm will decide on a course of action and respond appropriately, making sure that you come out looking much better in the end.
  • Public relations campaigns are cost effective: Bill Gates once said, “If I only had a dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” There are public relations campaigns for every budget, whether you are a startup business or you have been around for decades. The first step is to identify your goals and then develop a plan for reaching those goals. A public relations specialist can do this for you, no matter what your budget.

Like this post and follow me to read more posts like this one.

For more information, visit www.krisruby.com and follow me on Twitter: @sparklingruby

©2016 Ruby Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


How to Maximize Press Hits on Social Media

westchester pr social media agency rmg

 

Congratulations, you were interviewed in Oprah’s Magazine “O” or your business was featured on the Yahoo homepage and the article has now gone viral. You’ve secured a huge press hit, but instead of just popping the bubbly and celebrating with your closest friends, get on your social media networks and maximize the buzz! In addition to tweeting out the news, you should follow RMG’s top tips to make sure that you lengthen your moment in the media sun.

Share, share that’s fair: It’s okay to let your customers and your followers know about the hit. Share the press link on your company’s social media networks and with clients that may benefit from the content shared in the article. If you have a email newsletter, be sure to include. However, put more than just the link. Instead, you should also give your followers something they can use from the article. For example, you should tweet “Here is the best tip that John Smith gave to Oprah to make your holidays happy,” not “I was quoted in Oprah!” unless, of course, you’re sending a direct tweet to your mother.

Say thank you: Include both the writer and the outlet’s handles in a tweet and thank them for the coverage. For example, tweet “Thanks @writer and @magazine for the great coverage on my business today @linktoarticle” and post something similar on your Facebook page.

Clip it and add it: Whether it’s one quote or an entire article, you should keep a running tally of what press coverage you have gotten. Clip the article, add it to the list and move it to the top. You should also post the clip on your company’s website. If you do not already have a press section on your website, add one. This builds a platform for you in the media that can lead to additional opportunities. Journalists and producers like to use experts who are trustworthy and have experience in the media. This proves that you are reliable and can provide great quotes.

Quote it: Speaking of quotes, be sure to pull out the best quotes written about your company and include them in your media kit. “O” magazine calls ABC company the ‘best new thing since sliced bread.’ That should be prominently displayed on your website and in your media kit.

Leverage it: Now when you send out press releases on your business, be sure to include “Ann Smith has been interviewed in “O” magazine at the top of the release. Sure, being interviewed in your hometown newspaper or your college alumni magazine means something to you, but when it comes to impressions, a national press hit will make a huge one.

Display it: Imagine walking into your office every day and seeing the “O” article up on the wall. Call it an inspiration, but you will be sure to break into a smile and keep working harder every time you see it. There are companies that turn articles into plaques that you can prominently display on your wall. Also be sure to send the article to other outlets that may want to do a follow-up story.

Move on: Most importantly, as time goes on, you will be judged by the last press hit you scored, so if the press hit in Oprah magazine was five years ago, what have you done since then? If that’s the only press hit you’re using to promote yourself, it will eventually look outdated.

Always be looking for new ways of attracting media attention. Your job here is never done.

Like this post and follow me to read more posts like this one.

For more information, follow me on Twitter: @sparklingruby 

©2016 Ruby Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Six Steps To Get Booked On National Television

kris ruby fox news

Everyone wants to be on TV, but not everyone knows how to position themselves as an expert in order to get booked on TV. Whether you are working with an agency, a publicist, a TV booker or directly with a producer, here are the top things you need to do to maximize your chances of frequent on-air success:

  1. Brand yourself in a specific category. Producers are looking for subject matter experts to comment on breaking news stories, recent studies or trends. They want to work with specific experts as sources who can speak to highly technical content in a specific vertical. Brand yourself as the go-to expert in a niche category.
  2. Stay on top of industry news. Set up Google Alerts on the top keywords associated with your industry. Read the news daily to stay on top of industry trends.
  3. Personalize the news with your unique view. After you have identified a breaking news story you could comment on, write out your hit points on the topic. What is your unique opinion or slant as a subject matter expert on the story? What are the top three points you would want to get across on air if you had the chance to share your view on the story?
  4. Create a custom media list. Identify the producers who are covering your beat. Once you have identified them through Cision, Vocus or even Twitter, create a customized media list in Excel with their contact information. Only target producers who actually cover the type of news you want to speak about.
  5. Watch the shows you pitch. Do your research before pitching. You can be more effective getting booked on TV by watching the shows you pitch by looking for trends and the types of guests that are booked.
  6. Repeat the cycle. Continue to repeat the process as new stories come out in your field. Be persistent. Sometimes, your hit points could be great for a segment but the producer wants to go in a different direction. Other times the producer may love your points but already has someone else booked. If you want to make a name for yourself in the news, you have to be part of the news cycle.

As long as you continue to craft targeted, timely pitches to the right people — and stay on top of the news cycle — you too can start building your brand with TV appearances.

* This article originally appeared in FORBES

©2016 Ruby Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Top 5 Social Media FAQ’s

With two-thirds of the Internet actively engaged on social media, it’s clear that prospects want great content to share with their professional networks. That content can be yours if you utilize the power of content marketing effectively. Your brand’s voice can be more powerful than ever before, and you have the opportunity to join and direct the conversation about your brand while also interacting with your target audience.  However, you are probably wondering:

Is social media sufficient to replace my entire Marketing Communications Strategy?

No! Social media marketing cannot replace a marketing plan; it is merely one component of an overall strategy and complements traditional and online PR initiatives. Social media is powerful, but a comprehensive communications plan must also be in place to ensure a cohesive brand identity.

How is social media different from traditional marketing?

Social media is an extension of corporate branding.  As a client, you are paying for the ability to utilize modern electronic techniques to get in front of a targeted audience.  Social media is not an advertisement, and it is not a banner ad.  Social media is inherently about branding to a focused audience.  It is about the ability to quickly get in front of prospects and current clients and to establish an online relationship with them and build customer engagement.

What should I expect from a social media investment, and how quickly should I expect it?

Social media does not immediately establish the value of your services or products, and instead establishes you as a thought leader in the industry and creates awareness of your name and brand. It is not a specific advertisement for a given product or service- it is about brand engagement. The type of results you should expect are similar to what you would expect from a long-term branding campaign. Social media marketing is essentially a global awareness and branding campaign that takes time to develop.

Which comes first: planning or publishing content? 

Planning. Do not post any live content until a thorough strategic marketing plan has been created. Companies that have taken a different approach have found that their overall brand reputation has been tarnished due to a lack of strategic planning, goal setting and maintenance.

How do we tweak our social media plan to grow our follower base and increase engagement?

When creating a strategic social media plan for your business, start out by answering the following questions:

  • Who is my ideal target audience? Who are the business and industry leaders I want access to?
  • What is the message – in one sentence – that I want people to take away from my company? What do I want people to remember about my company? Does my company’s reputation ring bells with potential clients or does it flat line?
  • What are the keywords needed to find my company online? What are the key search engine terms (known as keywords) that people are using to find my company? It is imperative to begin to think like your customers to unlock the terms needed to build exposure.
  • What topics or articles would my customers be interested in reading about?  What are they already knowledgeable about? What are they curious about? How does my product or service help support this?
social media channel review

Top 15 Ways to Increase Twitter Engagement

Looking to your grow your business on Twitter? Studies have shown that 72 percent of followers are more likely to buy services from a business they follow. However, with only 140 characters to make an impression, Twitter requires a great deal of skill in order to use it successfully to establish your company as a leader in your industry.

Here are RMG’s Top 15 tips to leverage Twitter for business

  1. Develop optimized content: You need content that you can tweet on a regular basis. Start by using snippets from company news, tips from a spokesperson, or material from keyword-rich blog posts.
  2. Hashtag: Twitter users search the site for topics of interest to them. For example, sports fans search for their teams, #GreenBayPackers, or favorite sports #basketball, while others may search #yoga. Use hashtags in your tweet so it comes up on the appropriate searches to increase visibility.
  3. Create a Custom Hashtag: Develop a hashtag for your company that you use every time you tweet. For example, James Smith, a CEO of Smith Widgets hashtags #smithssayings every time he posts a clever piece of business inspiration.
  4. Integrate cross channel marketing: Twitter is a great social media platform, but combining it with an Instagram account makes it even more powerful. Post photos on Instagram and then tweet them on Twitter. This is especially effective for promotions and giveaways.
  5. Increase tweet frequency: Twitter is ineffective if it is only used once a day. You must tweet multiple times a day, especially during peak hours. The more your followers see you, the more followers you will get. You can use TweetDeck or Buffer to schedule multiple tweets so you do not have to sit at your computer all day.
  6. Retweet, retweet, retweet: Twitter isn’t a one-sided promotional tool. You need to interact with your followers. Read what they are tweeting about and re-tweet when something sounds interesting. Your followers will like the fact that you did that and will take more interest in what you have to say.
  7. Share nuggets of wisdom: When you attend industry conferences, take the time to share what you learned with others. Live tweeting from important events is very popular among Twitter users and is a great way to share the latest industry trends.
  8. Tap into trends: On the left side of your Twitter page, you will see what is currently trending both nationally and in your area (you can set it). Ride the coattails of a trend by hashtagging it in your tweet. For example, on “#cookieday, a physician can still tweet “Today is #cookieday. Replace ingredients with fat free substitutes to make the cookie healthier.”
  9. Be inspirational: Twitter followers love to favorite and retweet inspirational quotes, so include a few during the week.
  10. Be visual: Twitter users are a visual bunch and they love to look at and retweet visual content, so include high-resolution photos and videos with your tweets.
  11. Respond: When someone in your industry is quoted in a tweet, respond to it. Congratulate them or discuss an important topic. Get your name in front of influencers in your target industry.
  12. Create Twitter Lists: Twitter allows you to create “lists” of people and it’s a great way to monitor your peers, competitors, media and influencers.
  13. Tip it: Twitter users love tips, so be sure to turn your posts into some DIY or DYK (did you know) tips a few times per week. For example, physicians can provide weight-loss tips, entrepreneurs can provide business tips and filmmakers can provide did-you-know tweets about certain films and televisions shows.
  14. Question it: Get a discussion going. For example, a young adult author might ask what the followers think about a controversial debut novel of another author, while a physician might discuss the latest medical study that was released. A CEO might spark conversation about new business tax laws and an up-and-coming recording artist might discuss the latest Taylor Swift video.
  15. Go further: Set up a live Twitter chat with your followers. Here they can ask you questions, get advice or discuss an important topic with you. You can cross promote the transcript on your blog, company website, Facebook page or and Instagram.

BONUS: Want to use Twitter to get press hits? One of the best ways to get a journalist to read your pitches is to engage with them on Twitter. Take a vested interest in what they write and re-tweet content that you find useful. Furthermore, use social media to research the beat they cover before you pitch them.

RMG PR Tip of the day: Look for journalists’ queries in real time by searching for #journorequest

how to increase twitter followers

How to Maximize Social Media ROI with a Sure-Fire 5-Step Process

You have invested a great deal of your budget and valuable time in social media, but you may not be getting the ROI you wanted. Of course you’ve read about other businesses who are thriving on Twitter, attracting customers from Pinterest and Instagram accounts and making money off of Facebook, but that is not you. Before you hit the delete button and withdraw from the social media world, take time to review what is and isn’t working and refine your strategy. Follow RMG’s 5-step review system every quarter to become a well-oiled B2B social media machine!

Customer Review: First, do you really know who your customers are? Are they teens, young millennials, or baby boomers? Mostly men or women? The content that you put up on social media should be of interest to your customers, but you need to know who they are first. If you’re unsure, do a little research into who is buying your product or services. Once you know this information, you’re halfway there to social media success.

Content Review: What content is performing the best with your target audience? Do they like images, video or long form content best? What content have you created that generated the highest shareability? If your followers love to share pictures, but do not seem interested in back-and-forth discussion, then remember pictures say a thousand words and you can still get your message across in a creative way that they enjoy. Measure the shareability then tweak accordingly.

Channel Review: Are you spending hours filtering photos for Instagram and seeing little results? Your target clientele may not be active users on Instagram. Maybe they are on Pinterest or Periscope now. According to studies, the average American spends about 40 minutes per day on Facebook. Your target clientele might want six-second Vine videos versus long YouTube videos. You need to find out where your customers are and then focus on the social media networks that perform best with your prospects. Do not spread yourself thin just to make sure you are “everywhere.”

Shareworthy Review: Is your content even shareable? For example, you want your customers to know what a great staff you have and you are posting office photos daily. While customers care about customer service, they are not sharing or commenting on these photos, so stop posting them. Instead, focus on your products or services, provide tips or articles that help your customers live better lives. Stop wasting time creating content that your customers clearly do not want.

Response Review: Are you Tweeting out questions and not responding when your customers answer? Do your followers Tweet and tag you in it, but you don’t interact with them? According to Entrepreneur Magazine, almost half of the millennial segment — and one in three consumers overall — say they are influenced by social media and use it to make purchasing decisions. Customers build relationships with companies through social media, so you need to take time and respond to them. If they do not see that you are responding, they will leave you behind in the social media dust.

Devoting time daily to your presence on social media is a must in order to succeed in business. However, by completing the RMG 5-step review process every three months, you’ll be able to tweak your strategy and truly maximize your ROI.

b2b social media process

Inbound Marketing: The Next Frontier in Digital PR

“Use content as your currency and create content that your prospects are looking for.” – Hubspot

I recently completed the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification program for 2015. There were some great takeaways that I wanted to share with you to help increase your brand exposure this year. If you need a quick refresher on best practices for digital PR, this is a perfect guide. Enjoy!

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is about empowering potential customers with the information they need to help find your business online. Your goal should be to create focused content that will help solve your prospect’s problem. Think about it. When you made your last purchase, did you call a salesperson asking to buy OR did you hop online and conduct thorough research? Chances are, you did thorough research, BUT when you did that research you didn’t type in a company’s name (because you don’t know the names yet). You were Googling the PROBLEM you had. When the prospect searches for their problem, your company needs to be on page 1 so the buyer sees it as a solution.

Why does inbound matter for PR executives?

Inbound marketing is very important for digital PR practitioners, because all companies should have a solid digital footprint. Today, all clients need a solid content library. Even repurposing old releases and turning them into blog posts can help secure backlinks and increase your SEO. A synonymous title for digital PR could actually be earning inbound links!

How do you get started with inbound marketing?

Figure out your buyer persona. Who are they? What information is most valuable to your prospects? How do they like to consume information? Once you have determined who your buyer persona is, you can then focus on creating keyword-rich content to reach them. If you are still wondering, “How can I engage my current customer base more?” you can always ask current clients some of these questions. Their answers can prove to be invaluable in the upfront research. Remember, your job is to deliver information that prospects need to help them make smart, informed purchase decisions. When thinking about the motives of buyer personas, focus on the ‘why.’ Uncovering their motives can lead to a powerful content strategy. Try interviewing current clients and look for trends in their responses. It is your job to know what they want to see, what they want to read, and what issues they are currently dealing with.

hubspot inbound marketing certification

“Put the education of your prospect before your personal initiatives.” Hubspot

Creating Content

Keyword research is critical to clearly giving a name to the prospect’s problem. Remember, think about the phrases that prospects are using to find someone who offers your services, instead of thinking about what you would use. Try not to use too much industry jargon either.

Formatting Content

What format will you use? Is your persona a visual learner? Do they read blogs on a regular basis? Do you have a valuable piece of content that belongs behind a form vs. on your blog? Here are some options that were recommended in the certification program for creating content:

  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • White papers
  • Worksheets
  • Ebooks
  • Templates
  • Checklists
  • Webinars
  • Slideshare decks
hubspot inbound marketing certification program

CTA (Call to Action)

Every blog post should also have a call-to-action, or CTA. Examples of calls to action include: download, request, sign up and receive. When writing your CTA, focus on action verbs.

Awareness, Consideration, Decision

After a prospect is aware of their problem, they are in the consideration stage and are committed to understanding all available methods to solving the problem. You want to make sure you reach your prospect in the consideration stage by creating keyword-rich content. Remember, consumers don’t want to be sold to; they want to be educated. Once they are in the decision stage and have decided on a solution strategy, they are focused on the method of approach. It is important to have content prepared for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Avoid Inbound Marketing Mistakes

The buyers journey has to be from the buyers’ perspective, NOT yours.

Your content needs to answer their problems vs. going straight to your business solution.

Your blog shouldn’t even begin to discuss your specific solution until the decision stage.

Content Creation Tips

Understand their problem: In order to provide a solution to potential customers, you need to first recognize the problem. Ask yourself, is your content focused on their problem?

Tailor the post: Write blog posts tailored to who you are trying to reach and what they are interested in. The best content has to be grounded in the correct context.

Question the post: After you write content, ask yourself if the content helps your buyer persona. If your answer is that it helps anyone other then your persona, it belongs somewhere else or shouldn’t be created. ALWAYS focus on mapping content to your persona and where they are at in the buyers’ journey. Make it EASY for them to consume your content. Type in the last 5 blog posts you have created with 5 client names. Would these clients read the content? Another trick: If you are stuck creating content, ask yourself this: What questions might buyer X have that your company could provide solutions to? 

Distribute content: Make your content available through other platforms so prospects can find it more easily. It’s not enough to just have content. You need others to re-distribute it.

Leverage sales for content mapping: What questions do people have who are interested in what you do? Work with the sales team to leverage prospects’ questions into great content! Figure out what your prospects are searching for so you can make sure they find your site. Make sure you are addressing a topic your prospects actually want to learn about.

Categorize keywords: Do this by stages of the buyer’s journeys. Keywords should include: problem-based keywords, solution keywords, branded keywords, and casual language. Use keywods.io or Google’s webmaster tool to get suggestions.

Tips for Optimizing SEO: In order to optimize your content, you need to be specific with your service offerings or else SEO will actually be more difficult. It is easier to rank if your keywords are more specific and targeted. If you are looking to quickly boost your SEO, be sure to set up business page on the top online directories including Yelp, Yellow Pages, local chambers of commerce, bing, Yahoo, Google plus and more. This will help increase links back to your site.

SEO Tips

Create content that uses natural language and variations on the long tail keyword.

Shorten the title to under 60 characters. If it is over 60 characters it will get cut off in search results page.

You should know what the value of the post is and what you learn from the title.

Format the post so search engines can easily find it.

White space is your friend. Focus on content, not clutter. Use section headers, bullets and lists to help break down the content.

Optimize the page around long tail keywords, including your page title, url, post title, image alt text, body, headers.

Measuring Success

When measuring the success of your content strategy, be sure to focus on the following metrics:

  • Number of visits
  • Page views
  • Leads generated
  • Shareability on social media
  • Inbound links generated

Remember, your content is a solution to your prospects greatest challenges. Make sure you use keywords that will draw attention to your client’s business by crafting a stellar content strategy. If you want to get inbound certified, click here.

Ruby Media Group is a premiere public relations firm in Westchester County. For more information on optimizing your exposure, contact kruby @ rubymediagroup.com