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firearm marketing facebook

5 Ways to Build Your Firearm Company’s Facebook Audience

By Firearms and Shooting

 

There are almost 2 billion users on Facebook, that’s billion with a “B.” As a firearm manufacturer, you can’t pay-advertise to any of them—nope, zip, nada. And to make matters worse, with Facebook’s new algorithm—only 2% of your audience will ever see the posts you upload.

If you’ve looked at the rules or supposed “guidelines,” they can leave you scratching your head when it comes to firearm advertising. Even I admit, there isn’t a clear understanding of what you can and can’t do. Can you advertise optics if they are on an AR? What about safes with firearms in them? Apps? I’ve reached out to Facebook with these questions and scoured other’s request to no avail. So in this article, I want to give you a few safe and simple “organic” alternatives on how to build your Facebook audience without getting your account suspended.

Why you shouldn’t ignore Facebook.
Right now, we are in a moment in time where brands made today through digital channels will be around for the next 50-100 years. It’s been deemed by some in digital marketing circles as the “second golden age of advertising,” because of advertisers’ ability to accurately target millions of prospective customers with a high degree of detail and precision for low-cost. On Facebook, if you don’t sell firearms or ammo, you can potentially reach thousands of potential customers for only a $20 boost. 

According to Gary Vaynerchuk of Vayner Media, most Fortune 500 brands have yet to figure this out, exemplified by their continuous spend on traditional mass media tactics like print and T.V. But this will all soon change as they figure out that digital offers a better way to advertise to their target audiences for greater effectiveness. You’ll start to see Facebook advertising costs go through the roof just like they did with Google PPC.

So with a goldmine of potential customers on the line, and like a dog trying to get at a woodchuck in the woodpile—how can you harness Facebook to build your brand, audience, drive contacts and customers to your website or dealers if you’re in the firearms industry?

 

1. Build your followers through email marketing
If your firearm or hunting website is not asking your visitors to signup for your newsletter, special offers or promotions, you’re potentially losing out on an opportunity to build a viable email marketing list as well as add followers to your Facebook page. In every email you send, you should be incentivizing or asking your subscribers to follow you on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and the burgeoning network SnapChat.

 

2. Harness Twitter
Twitter is probably the easiest network to build. All you have to do is tweet—and tweet often. Tweet out your photography, videos and blog posts 5-10x a day using hashtags like #firearms, #optics, #hunting or other content specific tags based on your customer’s interests for people to find you. When you receive a new follower, follow them back and ask them to follow you on Facebook. It’s amazing how fast you can build your network just through this tactic alone. Stag Arms is a prime example on how to use Twitter.

 

3. Incentivize User-Generated Content
Probably the most useful tactic in digital marketing is to instigate user-generated content (UGC) from your current followers. A study by Reevoo found that “70% of consumers place peer recommendations and reviews above professionally-written content.”

Prospective customers are much more likely to buy from you when they see others using and promoting your product—especially if you’re trying to reach Millennials. This act of “customer-submitted” content is highly shareable and credible. By getting your followers to generate videos and then share your posts with their network on Facebook, you have the potential to exponentially grow your following.

When you have followers that comment, like and share your content, reward them in some way, so they keep doing it. People share content based on their interests, what they want the world to know about them and sometimes to make them look smarter or better in some way. You may want to send them a coupon, patch or something else to show them your appreciation. You can potentially build an entire UGC marketing program on this strategy alone.

 

4. Content via Blogs/Videos
If you’re not engaging in some form of content marketing, you’re missing out on adding real value to your followers and a chance to build trust and start a dialog with your followers—not to mention tapping into rich organic search traffic to attract even more fans. When writing your blog posts or videos, add social signals to the top of your blog posts to help readers share. Answer questions directly on Facebook and use it as a virtual department store.

Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook’s Founder and CEO, who is rumored to be somewhat a hunter, because he “prefers only to eat meat he kills”—predicts by 2020 90% of content online will be video. If you haven’t begun experimenting with video, you’re already falling behind. 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it. (Source: Animoto)

 

5. Tap Small to Medium Industry Blogger Audiences and Influencers
Another overlooked aspect of the firearm industry is partnering with blogging sites with small to medium sized audiences. By submitting guest (or paid) posts commonly known as native advertising and getting these publishers to share your content with their audiences, you can potentially reach a larger audience.

And you can always take the influencer route where you can compensate popular industry shows like 4GuysGuns, The Gun Collective, IraqVet8888 and Hickok45 to share your content as well—either as an ad, review or video reel highlight.

It’s not easy to market in the firearms industry, and it will take more creativity, ingenuity and the adoption of other up and coming platforms and alternative “gun-specific” social networks to reach your prospective customers. Things are constantly changing, but one thing is for certain—Facebook is not going away anytime soon.

Contact us for a free digital marketing consultation and how we can help you be more effective on social media.

 

hunting shooting firearms social media company

5 Ways To Understand How Social Media Can Work For Your Hunting Company

By Firearms and Hunting, Inbound Marketing, Social Media


If you’re like most business owners or marketers in the firearms, shooting and hunting industries, social media is still a bit of a mystery. A lot of marketers and business owners think that social media is a waste of time or are vague on how to effectively use it. Like all things we don’t understand, we typically just shrug it off.

We know we have to have a Facebook page—and maybe even a Twitter account, but still we struggle to grasp the importance of social media and its use.

Social media can be explained like this: Social media is digital word-of-mouth. Like traditional word-of-mouth or referrals, you share content, ideas, recommendations, stories or pictures with people who are your neighbors, friends or family. If you stop for a moment and think about it, most of the services and products you have bought in the past—have come from referrals by neighbors, friends or family.

If people find your information (i.e. content) useful or interesting—odds are they will share it, tweet it, like it or buy it.

Social media helps get your information or content out to more people—and given the right circumstances, can grow your website traffic, leads and customers exponentially. By spreading your content far and wide—you cast a bigger net, which means you increase your odds of generating more customers.

Here are 5 ways to finally help you understand how social media works in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry. 

 

1. Social media starts with valuable and relevant content 

If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, then social media starts with creating content. You can’t attract new customers without generating content. Content can be created in the form of blogs, videos, whitepapers, ebooks or infographics. Tweet, share and post these pieces of content and distribute them on your social media networks to maximize your content reach. Write your content specifically for your buyer persona.

Should I post the same content on all networks?

To help you better understand the differences of social media, here are few comparisons made by social media guru, Guy Kawasaki (1.7 million followers on Twitter)

  • Facebook = People. It’s mostly for communicating with those with whom you already have some connection.
  • Twitter = Perceptions. It can help you build your reputation and visibility.
  • Google+ = Passions. It’s for sharing your passions with others who have the same passions.
  • Pinterest = Pinning. It’s about beautiful images and finding great stuff.
  • LinkedIn = Pimping. He means this in a good way, Kawasaki said. “LinkedIn can help you position yourself as a serious person and influencer.”

For Facebook, you’ll want to bring your content down to a human level and mix it up with real-life experiences. Try to make your content sound “casual” and make it fun. Posts on Facebook should be about office happenings and culture. Think reality show.

For LinkedIn, dress your content up in a suit. Make sure you add your own personal comment as to why you’re posting. Try to think in terms of how to establish yourself as an influencer or perhaps even a thought leader.

For Twitter, you only have 140 characters to get your point across. Your tweets should be short and succinct. Try to invoke curiosity or urgency to drive clicks to your content.

Buffer found that tweets with images receive 18% more clicks. Always add an interesting, eye-catching picture. This also goes for Facebook and LinkedIn.

What the heck is a hashtag?
Hastags (#) are used to identify a subject. So if you were to post something about Elk hunting in the Rockies you may tweet something like: “Elk Hunting is the Best in the Rockies! #hunting #firearms #wyoming” What the hashtag does, is allow other users to search for the same hashtag. This creates a small micro-community that follows an interest, event or subject.

2. Identify which channels work best for your business

Not all social media channels work and operate the same (as noted above). The only way to understand what network works for you is to experiment. We typically have more success on Twitter and LinkedIn than on Facebook. So we concentrate a lot of our efforts on those channels because they are more B2B oriented.

If you’re focused on reaching women (which is currently exploding in the industry) – you may want to try Pinterest as their members are almost 90% female.

Google+ should be used to help with increasing search engine rankings and indexing your pages. Google continues to struggle with creating a viable social network. However, Google+ should not be overlooked. 

 

3. Curate other people’s content and follow back your customers!

In order to start gaining followers, you must tweet, post and share often–especially on Twitter. It’s recommended that to gain followers on Twitter you need to tweet at least 4x a day—for starters. It’s been proven the more you tweet, the more followers you get.

You won’t have enough content in the beginning—so tweet other industry/topic relevant content. Make sure to follow the 80/20 rule: tweet 80% of other people’s content and only 20% of yours. By retweeting, favoriting and sharing other people’s content, you gain followers as people are likely to follow you back.

For LinkedIn and Facebook, I recommend once a day or at least 4 times a week to maintain top-of-mind awareness. Back off if you sense people are getting annoyed or you start losing followers. Always be professional and courteous. Do not use profanity or coarse language.

Most companies in the industry are highly self-promotional. They are always tweeting out their latest products, sales, deals and happenings—push, push, push.  Their social media strategy dictates that:  Follow less people and have more followers than we’ll be considered more important.” Companies in the hunting, firearms and shooting industries should follows their customers back. Social media isn’t about being the most popular kid on the playground—it’s about sharing and  associating with the people you are trying to help, build a relationship with to turn them into life-long customers. 

Here’s how this plays out. I’m considering a new AR-15. So I head to Twitter and follow Stag Arms, Colt and Daniel Defense so I can learn more about their products and get updates on their latest news to help make a decision on what AR-15 to buy. Out of those three companies, Stag Arms ends up following me back! Wow. A big brand like Stag, wants to follow me? Guess who I’m going to buy from. Stag! So go ahead, follow back! You tell your potential customers you’re interested in them and you care about them. This goes along way in establishing your branding and inbound marketing strategy

 

4. Boost your content on Facebook

Facebook has changed its news feed recently and it has become harder to get your content in front of the right audience. Facebook now offers “boosts” to reach your target audience outside of your network for increased exposure. Boosts start at $20 and go up from there. Boosts are a cost effective way to drive traffic and capture likes, leads and shares.

 

5. LinkedIn is about establishing yourself as an influencer and thought leader to establish credibility

Once you commit to creating valuable content, you’ll begin to learn even more about the industry and your buyer personas. An amazing thing happens when you start to research, read, tweet, post, write and curate content. You wake up one day and realize that you’re living on the bleeding edge of the latest trends, industry news and technology. You become a resource that others will find useful. I tell this to my customers who are venturing into inbound marketing. Like training for an Ironman, you start out slow, but gradually over time, you gain momentum and fitness to go the distance—and before you know it, you’re a stud triathlete.

Ok, if you’ve made it this far down on this article, you may be asking, OK great, how does participating in social media really help my business? Here are 5 important reasons:

  1. Builds your brand and reputation
  2. Social proof (i.e. a lot of followers) establishes trust among leery visitors
  3. Attracts customers you otherwise would not have reached
  4. Drives traffic to your content and landing pages to convert visitors to leads
  5. Establishes yourself as resource, influencer and thought leader to a global audience

So there you have it.

If you were confused about how social media works—you should now have a better understanding. Social media starts with valuable content, choosing the right network, curating other peoples content (80/20 rule), following your prospects back, tweeting to drive traffic, boosting on Facebook to gain shares, and using LinkedIn to establish yourself as a credible thought leader. If you still have questions? Contact us or give us a call to see how to make social media work for your business. 

hunting-outdoor-internet-guide
Free Ebook: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Inbound Marketing for the Hunting, Outdoor and Firearms Industry

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn the 6 essential steps to internet marketing success.

1. Optimizing Your Website
2. Creating Content
3. Implementing a Social Media Strategy
4. Converting Visitors into Leads
5. Nurturing Leads into Customers
6. Analyzing & Refining Data

Download Now
LinkedIn-Groups

The 4 Stages for Establishing Thought Leadership with LinkedIn Groups

By Inbound Marketing

LinkedIn Groups are one of the best ways to position yourself as an industry expert, establish thought leadership and generate new leads. In a survey by Forbes, 60% of users scored Groups as one of their favorite features on LinkedIn. Moreover, with only 16% in the maximum number of groups allowed (50), there’s a reason LinkedIn sees Groups as a valuable personal marketing tool. (Source: Forbes)

By having a strong personal brand within your industry, you can help your business attract more customers and eventually charge higher fees. (Source: Lee Fredrickson).

With a little finesse and tactful posting, you can establish your personal brand within LinkedIn that drives people to connect with your company’s products and services.

In this article, I’ll show you how to leverage LinkedIn groups for your advantage in four stages.

First, there are four ground rules you need to be aware of.

RULE 1: Anything that is not business related, don’t post it. Don’t be that guy.
LinkedIn is a business-based network geared towards professionals. Posting jokes, rude or obnoxious pictures should be saved for Facebook or thrown out altogether.

RULE 2: Help—don’t sell.
When posting to LinkedIn, your #1 goal is to help—not sell. By being helpful and showing people you care, you’ll earn their trust, admiration, and eventual respect.

People join LinkedIn groups for insight—not to hear about how great your latest service or product is—so please abstain from self-promotion.

Content is an exception, but with everyone getting on the content train these days, it is just like promoting your product or service, so be aware. However, by all means share and post your articles to your feed or on Pulse—LinkedIn’s publishing forum.

RULE 3: Write clearly.
Make sure to write clearly and use good grammar and punctuation. Having the ability to write clearly will help your efforts.

TIP: Check out the Grammerly and Hemingway app to become a better writer.

RULE 4: Create a great profile and get a professional photo.
The last rule is to create a great profile and get a professional photo taken! Make sure your profile is clear, contains your keywords and includes a viable work history with recommendations. All these factors will increase search engine visibility.

LinkedIn-Group-Profile

Ok, so now that is out of the way, let’s jump in.

The first stage in building your personal brand is the awareness stage. Followed by knowledge, insight, and trust. Each stage builds off the former with the trust stage being your goal.

Awareness > Knowledge > Insight > Trust

1. AWARENESS

Commenting and Liking
The first step to engaging your group and building awareness is by commenting and liking others’ posts. This can be as simple as typing in “Thank you for the post.” or a “Like.” People will remember you next time around and may return the favor. The goal is to make some friends and get your image and title into the group’s feed.

Ask for referrals
Ask your group what their experience has been related to working with third-party industry vendors and if they have any recommendations. Most people will be glad to help you out.

2. KNOWLEDGE

Do research and ask for validation of current trends
Once you get the feel for your group and have liked a few others posts and posted a few comments, it is time to post something of your own. The easiest way is to research a topic within your industry and share the data. Pose the research data to your group and ask them to confirm it. By posting industry data or statistics, you share valuable information to the group while playing it safe. This establishes your personal brand as someone who is knowledgeable and helpful.

Identify a problem and make suggestions on how to solve it
If your industry has a problem—it may be good to do a little research and post some of your ideas on how to solve it. Try to do so in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re complaining. Think through potential responses and how you might respond if you stir up controversy. 

3. INSIGHT

Newsjacking
Another method is “newsjacking”. Newsjacking is a method of taking the latest news and posting it to your group for comment. You may even write a blog post about it and link it back to your website—being careful to not self-promote. The latest news allows you to position your personal brand as someone who is up-to-date on the latest trends and happenings. There are many tools out there to stay on the bleeding edge of breaking news.

TIP: Set up Google alerts or Twitter notifications (under Settings) that notifies you the minute news breaks.

LinkedIn-Group-Top-ContributorAt this point, if you’ve posted a few times, you may have noticed that you have obtained “Top Contributor Status.” You may have also begun to notice your picking up more Profile Views. These are all good signs that you are gaining traction towards the coveted “trusted” stage.

4. TRUST

You’ll know you’ve made it to the trust stage if you are getting connection requests and asked for advice via Inmail or invitations to speak. You’ll also notice increased traffic to your website from LinkedIn. These are all indicators you’re achieving trusted status.

Once you’ve received trusted status, you can drive a little deeper into understanding your industry group that will help you learn even more about your ideal customers.

Here are two examples to start posting once you’ve achieved trusted status.

Questions about their business
Everyone likes talking about their business. A great way to get group members talking is to post questions on:

  • How’d you come up with your name and what does it mean?
  • How long have you’ve been in business?
  • What’s been your most valuable lesson?
  • What is your biggest success?
  • What makes your brand special?

People love to talk about their businesses. Most business owners are not going to give away trade secrets or other information. So keep it high level. Follow up by writing a blog post and share it with your group. 

Recommend latest industry tools or reports
Is their some new tool or software that is helping your industry? Using third party subject matter can stoke conversation. Make sure you have a good understanding of any tools you recommend or criticize.

How often should I post? A good rule of thumb in posting is once every two weeks. After you’ve been consistently posting for 4-5 months—yes, this is going to take time.

Start a survey
Another great way is to post a survey about a certain industry topic and offer to also share the results. This is a great way to shape influence. However, this should only be attempted if you’ve achieved “trusted” status.

In conclusion, by posting the right way to your LinkedIn groups, you can expect more connection requests, learn more about your ideal customers, generate more leads and establish your personal brand and expertise. By following this 4 stage process, you now have a framework on how to go about achieving “trusted” status within your LinkedIn group.

 

Social Prospecting Workbook
Social Prospecting Workbook:

How To Use Social Media To Find New Leads

By downloading this social prospecting workbook, you’ll learn the fundamentals of listening to social media conversations in order to generate new leads for your business.

Download Now

 

 

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

how to prospect a new indusrty for new customers

How To Prospect A New Industry For Customers

By Inbound Marketing, Sales, Social Media

If you’re thinking about breaking into a new industry for the purpose of selling your products or services, there are few things that inbound marketing and social media can offer you to make your efforts more effective.

But with so many different points of entry like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and blogs—where does one begin?

Inbound marketing is a way to use content to attract your ideal customers to your website. Inbound then uses social media as a distribution mechanism to spread your content to those you hope to do business with by attracting them to your website for lead capture. This methodology has been proven to shorten sales cycles, garner trust with your prospects and boost referrals—which is critical to building a presence in an industry you’ve never been involved with before.

With so many of your prospective customers already on social media, you may be missing out on ample opportunities to fill your sales pipeline.

In this article, we’ll look at how inbound marketing combined with “social media prospecting” can help you break into new industries to prospect new customers.

[box type=”info” size=”large”]Seventy-eight percent of sales people using social media outsell their peers. (Source: Forbes)[/box]

1. Search industry organizations
To begin, start by looking online for trade and industry associations you’re interested in. A simple search should turn up several results. Industry association websites typically have content on industry statistics that you can download for free without paying a membership fee. These pieces of content can give you helpful insight into the industry you’re prospecting. In last week’s article, we highlighted a few of these industries. Trade show websites also provide great sources to learn about the industry you’re investigating. Check out this list of trade associations to get started.

2. Add “top” or “best” to your web search to identify category leaders
It’s funny how most companies will describe their product or services as “top” or being the “best”—even when they are clearly not the best in their category. However, there are some legitimate sources that you can use to your advantage that will point you in the right direction. By simply adding ”best” to your search: best aircraft manufacturer, best hunting brands, top financial advisors, most purchased computer monitors, best doctors in Raleigh, best branding agencies, etc…, you’ll be able to figure out who the leaders are in any given category. This will provide you some framework into the industry you’re looking to do business with and a list of companies to go after.

3. Utilize your personal networks
If you know some people in the industry you are targeting, it doesn’t hurt to call them up and ask them a few questions. Maybe even take them to coffee. Here are some good questions to ask:

  • Where do you go for information? Blogs, newspapers, trade journals?
  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • Where do you acquire most of your customers?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Do you use social media?
  • Do you use Google for search?
  • What was the last topic you searched on?

By asking where your potential prospects spend time online (or offline) will help you understand how these people think and where you can focus your marketing and sales efforts in the future.

 4. Create relevant content
61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to buy from that company. (Source: Custom Content Council)

In order for your social prospecting efforts to gain traction, you must create content. Blogs are the first best place to start to attract prospects. Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI. (Source: HubSpot State of Inbound, 2014) 

By creating a blog article zeroed in on prospective industry keywords and your ideal customers, you’ll have the ability to share your thoughts, tips and advice with those in the industry you hope to do business with—which creates value. If you have little information to draw upon—start with simple industry statistics. As you become more familiar with the category, more ideas on in-depth topics you can write about will emerge.

landing pageSecondly, create a downloadable offer like an ebook, whitepaper or case study. You can create a landing page on your website specifically targeting the keywords your prospects are using so your page shows up in search results. Using a form will allow you to capture inbound leads once a prospect decides to download your offer. Using inbound tactics saves an average of 13% in overall cost per lead. (Source: HubSpot State of Inbound, 2014) 

When you do reach out over email, social media or phone, your offer has already initiated some initial trust in the mind of your prospect. And with 57% of the purchasing process over before ever talking to sales, its important to make sure your website is up to snuff. (Source: Executive Board

[box type=”info” size=”large”]You are 70% more likely to get an appointment on an unexpected sale if you join LinkedIn Groups. (Source: Steve Richard, Co-Founder of Vorsight)[/box]

5. Social prospecting
The best place to prospect for new customers in a new industry is on social media. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are all great places to start looking for prospects once you know who the players are.

LINKEDIN
The professional network of LinkedIn boasts 225 million members. Top sellers use LinkedIn 6 hours per week. (Source: Jill Konrath)

Seek out industry groups on LinkedIn and join them. Notice what topics are being discussed and join in on the conversation. Share and comment on your potential prospects comments and content. This allows you to establish some thought leadership. Aim to be helpful. Find the names of people and their positions who are the decision makers—more on this below.

TWITTER
Twitter is best for understanding what your prospects are interested in. Use #hashtags to search topics, people and ideas. To find what hashtags your prospects are using, take a look at these top sites to speed the process:

Retweet, favorite and comment on those prospects you are trying to build a relationship with and create a list for those people and companies to organize your feeds.

FACEBOOK
With 1.35 billion users per month, Facebook works the same as Twitter and LinkedIn. Locate the companies you want to work with and “like” them. Comment, share and like the posts to show interest.

It’s important to understand that you must approach social prospecting with the mentality that you want to help—not sell. Any advances that are too “salesy” or aggressive, may put a bad taste in your prospects mouth. Take it slow at first; aim to connect on an emotional level, help and be authentic. The goal here is to warm your leads so that when you do post a blog article or send an email or call them, they’ll know who you are.

[box type=”info” size=”large”]Personal value has 2x as much impact as business value does, and 71% of B2B buyers who see personal value will purchase a product. (CEB)[/box]

6. Create a list of prospects using a CRM
Utilize a CRM tool to track your prospects. A great tool we use is Sidekick and HubSpot’s CRM. It allows us to streamline our information gathering and prioritize our leads and sales pipeline more efficiently.

CRM

In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions. (Source: Gartner Group

Hubspot’s CRM combined with Sidekick allows you to identify who your potential decision makers are, making your initial calls/contacts more productive.

7. Set SMART goals
No effort should take place without SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). A good example of a SMART goal looks something like this:

  • Prospect 25 companies that includes the contact information of decision makers
  • Identify and connect on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter
  • Close 2 customers by the end of Q215
  • Sales Goal: $50K

Combine SMART goals with your CRM to stay focused and consistent.

To wrap up, breaking into a new industry or vertical can be fun and exciting. Social media prospecting combined with some inbound marketing tactics like blogging, landing pages and content offers can build out your sales pipeline and allow you to make some strong inroads into a lucrative new industry.

Social Prospecting Workbook

Social Prospecting Workbook:
How To Use Social Media To Find New Leads

By downloading this social prospecting workbook, you’ll learn the fundamentals of listening to social media conversations in order to generate new leads for your business.

Download Now [vc_separator type=”large” dh=”1″ color=”light” icon=”” align=”left” margin-bottom=”40″ margin_top=”40″]

Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

Physician Content Marketing Social Media

Should Physicians Utilize Social Media?

By Healthcare

Health professionals, along with lawyers and financiers, are bound by a different set rules when it comes to communicating with the public, both on and offline. This has made publishing content online tricky, since they are faced with different challenges and obstacles.

In today’s fast-moving digital age, they are now accepting and overcoming these challenges, stepping into the real world of communications, which is now found almost entirely on the internet. The use of social media by medical professionals is on the rise, with 60% of doctors agreeing that social media improves the quality of care for patients. (Source: Journal of Medical Research

  • 24% use social media daily to scan or explore new medical information
  • 14% contribute information to social media daily
  • on a weekly basis, 61% scanned and explored new info and 46% contributed information on social media
  • 58% percent perceive social media to be beneficial and a good way to get current, high-quality information

So now that those in the health sector are on board with social media, how can they master content marketing on social networks? What problems are they facing and strategies are they using for a better presence on these platforms?

The HIPAA Headache
Enacted in 1996, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations mostly encompass a need for patient confidentiality. The solution here is quite simple, don’t share any specific information regarding patients, doctors or medical records.

While doctors will often discuss different patient cases and conditions, they do so either with the patient’s permission or they do not identify that person by name. In other words, a physician might consult another doctor regarding a patient with flu symptoms. Instead of saying, “I saw John Smith this morning who presented with a fever and cough,” they might say, “I had a patient earlier with a cough and high fever.”

Facebook Friendly and Formal
Many doctors are hesitant to use Facebook for both personal and professional purposes. There’s another simple solution to this dilemma, keep the two completely separate and adjust the privacy setting on one’s personal profile to keep patients from intruding on your private life.

Get LinkedIn
The social choice for most professionals is on board LinkedIn and this holds equally true for physicians. Although Facebook is still the online leader, a recent survey of over 1,500 hospitals found that while 84% of them are active on Facebook, 43% are also using on LinkedIn. 

This is an excellent platform to post your content, your professional resume, history and biography, but at the same time, try to keep it approachable and friendly. This is often a spot where potential patients are performing research.

Join a Professional Organization
Let’s face it, doctors and health care professionals are busy, busy, busy, often with a thriving medical practice, patients and many other assorted duties. Another way of networking is by joining a professional medical association, like the AMA (American Medical Association) or the ANA (American Nursing Association). You can connect with other members and stay informed with the latest trends and medical developments. Some associations offer assistance such as career opportunities and medical certifications. The organizations also have Groups on LinkedIn you can join and become a contributor.

One way of finding an association that is a better fit is to Google your particular field, like dermatology followed by “medical associations” and there will be some good examples.

Find your way to better professional connections online and boost your profile online. Introduce yourself to the online medical community and prospective patients, you won’t be sorry.

Learn more: 5 Random Ways To Finally Understand How Social Media Works

 [hr]

Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.

 

How-To-Use-Twitter-To-Grow-Your-Business

How To Use Twitter To Grow Your Business

By Inbound Marketing

Twitter is a great social media platform for businesses. With over 255 million active users and over 500 million tweets per day, it is a very viable network to help grow your business or augment your marketing.

But the question remains for most business owners (and some marketers) … How can I use Twitter to grow my business?

You should use Twitter if you want to drive more traffic to your website, build your personal or corporate brand, interact with your customers or attract new customers. Twitter allows you to inform your customers of new products, provide customer support and create/maintain top–of-mind awareness.

If you’re a start-up or a small-medium sized business looking to generate traffic to your website and grow your business through this cost-effective social media channel, here are 10 tips you should consider.

1. Write an interesting profile description

The first step is to figure out what you should say about yourself or your brand. An interesting description goes a long way. You only have 160 characters to explain who you are. If you’re just starting out, write half of it about your interests and the second half about who you are. 
You can always change it later. 

Here are a few interesting and humorous examples:

  • @jimmyfallon – Astrophysicist

  • @hillaryclinton— Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…
  • @rumpArump — I still don’t understand Twitter, but here I am.
  • @ConanOBrien — The voice of the people. Sorry, people.
  • @karenrclark—I’ve never been a millionaire but I just know I’d be darling at it.
  • @richardbranson— Tie-loathing adventurer and thrill seeker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr Yes at @virgin!


    Still having trouble? Try the Twitter Bio Generator

2. Choose a professional photo and interesting background image


Recently, I conducted a Twitter test between my personal account and my business account. What I found is that my personal profile—in just two weeks—gained 150 more followers than my business account—and I tweeted the exact same content! The difference? People were more interested in me, than my business. Create a business and personal account and use both accounts to tweet out roughly the same content and see which one grows faster. Get a professional picture taken or choose one that is interesting and one where people can see your face clearly. For your background image, choose an engaging image that represents you or your brand.

3. Write valuable content


The #1 way that you can harness Twitter to grow your business is by creating your own content. By creating valuable content and tweeting it out, you are able to drive traffic to your website or blog. Once you get your followers to your website convert them into leads using call-to-actions and downloadable premium content offers.

4. Tweet valuable content (often) based on your buyer persona
Wondering what to tweet about? Knowing what to tweet about starts with your goals, your ideal customers and your interests. Start by identifying what your interests are and by identifying your buyer persona.

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.

By understanding your buyer persona, you are able to focus on what kind of content your customers/followers are interested in. This allows you to help solve their problems and in return builds trust, credibility and thought leadership.

Follow people who have the same interests as you. For businesses, follow people who you’d like to work with. Use Alltop to locate, curate and share content.

[box type=”info” size=”large”]Tip: When tweeting, follow the 80/20 rule. This means you want to share 80 percent of other people’s content and only 20 percent of your own content. Don’t make it all about you, make it about your followers. [/box]

How often should I tweet?
Users who tweet between 10 and 50 times per day have more followers on average than those that tweet more or less frequently. The sweet spot is about 22 tweets per day. (Source: Hubspot

[box type=”info” size=”large”]TIP: Track the efficiency of your efforts with TweetStats or Google Analytics to see how much traffic you are driving to your website. Use Followerwonk to understand who your followers are and when they are most active.[/box]

5. Always use images


Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets… so use images as much as you can. (Source: Buffer) Crop your images  to 440 x 220 px so they fit perfectly into the Twitter image box.


Twitter For Business Favorite6. Engage with your audience
If someone tweets something you like, favorite it by hitting the star button (see right). It sends a signal that you’re listening and are interested in your followers or the people you are following. Spend a few minutes sending a few messages and commenting on their tweets. 

7. Follow back

To retain followers, follow them back. You don’t have to follow everyone. Be aware of the spammers. They typically have the egg icon and/or a fake sounding description or those who promise to get you 10,000 followers.

[box type=”info” size=”large”]TIP: Use Unfollowme to clean out followers who are not following you back.[/box]

8. Use #hastags


The best ways to maximize your content is by using the hastag (#). Hashtags signify what kind topic you are writing about. By using the hashtag you can spread your content links farther for more exposure.

9. Specialize in something
In your bio, make sure to list some of the things you are interested. Use the hastag # to distinguish what topics you typically tweet about so your followers know what to expect from you. People will typically follow people with similar interests.

10. Buy some ads

Twitter will be moving to a paid advertising platform. This means as you create your own content, you will have to pay to boost the tweet higher in your follower’s feed. Be prepared to pay to get your tweets noticed. This is a good way to get added exposure, drive traffic and remain top-of-mind.

In conclusion, building a network on Twitter is easy—it just takes time. Create valuable content consistently geared toward your buyer persona and tweet at least 10-20 times a day and you’ll be well on your way to growing a healthy Twitter network.

 

30 Ways to Generate Leads inbound marketing
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In this Ebook, you’ll get 30 tips, tricks and ideas on how to turn your website into a lead generating machine. 

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

How to build a person network

How To Build A Personal Network In A New Town

By Networking, Social Media

 12 months ago I moved from Denver to Indianapolis. Picking up shop and moving my business across country to start a new office in a new city can be fairly—or need I say—downright stressful.

Many questions come up: Will we make it? How will we generate leads? How will we stay afloat? These uncertainties, among many other, kept me up nights.

I soon discovered the business environment into which I had immersed myself was almost 180 degrees different from that I had left.

Denver is a highly transient town. People are always moving in and out. Four out of 10 new Colorado residents came from elsewhere in the U.S. (Source: Denver Post). In Denver, everyone stays in their bubble and relies heavily on Google to find the products and services they need.

In Indy, growth is stagnant if not decreasing (Source: World Population Review). You have generations of family roots and a layer of networking where business is strictly done by word-of-mouth and referrals. In this environment, it’s all about who you know. If you need something, you ask someone rather than going to Google to find it yourself. It’s no wonder that a company like Angie’s List—a company based on word-of-mouth reviews—was founded in Indianapolis.

My concerns were validated at a local networking event when a VP of a large metals company specifically stated to me: “I would never go to the internet to search for something you do” (i.e. inbound marketing and branding services).

Whoa.

Even more interesting, our keywords and rankings in Denver are the same as they are in Indy with one big difference: the search volume is almost 10x higher in Denver!

Determined not to let this whole thing get me rattled, I got busy thinking on how to solve the problem. I had to start my business all over again, this time by word-of-mouth.

If you’re moving your business or starting an office in a new city, here are 8 tips to keep in mind.

1. Figure out the business climate
I looked into the business climate in Indianapolis and everything looked great. Low unemployment, a fair amount of startups, diverse industries, a thriving healthcare and medical device sector and supporting services sector. I looked at my competitors, who, compared to Denver, were definitely more savvy— but felt I could still carve out a niche.

What I failed to do is contact everyone I knew in Denver to ask who they knew in Indianapolis. This could have given me insight into how to best approach a strong referral market. Instead, I approached it by analyzing search engine rankings.

2. Download Eventbright now
Eventbright is a networking app that gives you all the latest networking events in a particular geographic area. Search for your type of business and you’ll find a host of events to attend in order to build your personal network. Be committed to attending a new event every other week for the next 6 months. Another great resource is Networking After Work.

3. Set goals and make friends
For every network event you attend, set a goal that you wish to achieve. It can be: Talk to 10 people; get 5 business cards; make 5 connections on LinkedIn, etc. Have a goal going in. Don’t flake out until you’ve achieved it. Meeting people can be challenging, especially if you have introverted tendencies (like myself). Be willing to step out of your comfort zone.

Having trouble breaking the ice? Here are some opening phrases to start out with.

  • Hi, I’m_____.
  • What brings you here tonight?
  • What kind of business is______?

For some ideas, take a look at HubSpot’s Inbound 2014 Networking Page.

These are all pretty basic, but they get the conversation started. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be about business at all. At a recent event, I met a sales rep and we talked about our college fraternities and our mutual love of running. Remember everyone is there to accomplish the same thing – build their network and make friends—which brings me to my next point.

4. Perfect your elevator pitch

At a networking event, be prepared to give your elevator pitch in less than 30 seconds. Figure out what makes your services/products unique. Have in mind what your ideal customer looks like and how to talk to them. Make it interesting and intriguing.

5. Meet with anyone and everyone, send a good follow up
Once you make those connections and exchange business cards—make sure to follow up. Be willing to meet with anyone for a beer, coffee or have lunch. You don’t know where it may lead—you really have nothing to loose. If the person you’re meeting with can’t afford you or isn’t a good fit for your services, they may know someone who could be. Make sure to send a follow up email and connect on LinkedIn.

6. Connect with people in your industry
Attend events hosted by the industry leaders in your area. Even though you offer the same services, their ideal client may be much different than yours, and there might be opportunities for business referrals. Make that known and make some friends. Prove to them you’re a great company to refer too and visa versa.

7. Google maps
Local search is crucial as you’ll want to make sure your business shows up on searches just in case someone does Google you. Make an effort to go to Google/places and register your new business address.

8. Shamelessly ask
Again, you really have nothing to loose, so go ahead and ask your colleagues, clients, friends and peers if they know anyone they could refer you to. A lot of times they would be more than happy to help you out. I sent an email to a client who is a physician from the area and he sent me back 5 names and introduced me over email. In most cases, people will go out of their way to help you. Just remember to pass it forward when someone reaches out for your help.

In conclusion, moving to a new town and starting a new personal network takes work. Figure out before hand what you’re dealing with, download the Eventbright app, sign up for events and set a goal to keep you in the game. Say yes to every meeting, connect with people in your industry, get your listing on Google places and don’t be afraid to ask—even shamelessly in some cases. By following these 8 key points, you’ll be off to building your network in no time.

For another great article on this topic: How to build a network from scratch.

Are you new or starting a business in the Denver or Indianapolis area? Contact us to learn  how we can get your business started on the right path to success.

 

 

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.