Certificates are one way to prove to employers and clients that you have the skills needed to create and execute successful social media strategies. As recommended by my professor, I embarked on a journey to get inbound certified. I chose to get Social Media Certified. I chose social media out of a number of other valid options because of how prevalent and important it is in all spheres of modern life and businesses. I completed the Social Media Strategy Certification on HubSpot. It took me several weeks to complete it even though the official course time is 8 hours. I liked learning about:
Social media channels
Developing a budget and garnering executive buy-in
Social listening and monitoring
Building content strategy for social media
How tone and voice makes all the difference
Demonstrating industry leadership through content curation
The importance of tagging, timing, and testing
The varying shades of influencer marketing
How to work with influencers
What UGC is and why it matters
Why social engagement is the heart of social strategy
Why digital advertising is important to inbound strategy
Why measuring social ROI matters
Social media audit
How to tie metrics back and transform your business
Determining your ad spend, and
How to create remarkable ad content
The part I liked the least was toward the end of the course. Talking about social media governance and risk, crisis management, and employee advocacy programs put me to sleep multiple times. However, I understood the importance of grasping these concepts so I kept going back to rewatch them.
My Key Point to Remember Will Be: Don’t forget to measure social media ROI!
Social media ROI is, by definition, the results you get from everything you do on social media, ranging from building brand awareness and loyalty, retaining and satisfying customers, protecting your reputation and directly earning revenue.
But it’s tough to measure the ROI of social media – because how can you measure goodwill or the impact of word-of-mouth marketing as a result of your social posts? Still, you need to put a system in place to regularly track ROI because it:
Helps you understand the effectiveness of your posts
Allows you to adjust what’s not working
Proves the value of social media within your organization
Shows executives the value of budgeting for your social media efforts
Shows how social media impacts all departments beyond just marketing and sales
Helps you understand how people are talking about your brand so you can gain control over those conversations
Create social media analytics reports at least once a month, but I’ve found it’s also helpful to create weekly analytics reports. This allows me to see our most effective content on a deeper level and really dig into what’s working and where we need to make changes.
For each channel, track metrics like:
Best and worst performing posts
Posts with the most engagement (comments, likes, shares)
Number of posts per week
Publish times of posts with the best and worst engagement
Traffic to your website
Post reach and impressions
Number of Twitter mentions
Results of paid ad campaigns
Ultimately, I had no disappointments or frustrations. I loved the videos and lectures. I truly believe this certification program is useful for other marketers. On a scale of 1-5, I would recommend this certification program to a friend on a 5. They were extremely professional and it was easy to connect to the instructors. I learned a whole lot I thought I already knew. The HubSpot platform is warm, friendly and welcoming. I would definitely recommend that any/every marketing professional get Inbound Certified at HubSpot.
The icing on the cake? It’s free!
Whether you’re a full-time social media marketer, you work on your company’s social media part-time or you just want to learn more about social media marketing, HubSpot’s social media certification is definitely worth the effort.
One of the fastest ways to tarnish a brand’s reputation is through a faulty product. In February this year, the much-publicized ‘exploding’ shoe incident when Duke University basketball forward Zion Williamson’s Nike sneaker ripped apart in a game, sidelining the college star with an injury. In the days following the game, the sportswear giant’s stock value slid by $1.1 billion. Unfortunately for Nike, the fiasco – which occurred during a live, prime time, television broadcast – represented a perfect storm of PR-crisis elements. It didn’t help that Williamson is one of the hottest prospects – and possibly the hottest – in basketball, expected to be the NBA’s number one draft pick this summer. Not to mention, the shoe malfunction occurred in the first minute of a high-profile rivalry game against the University of North Carolina. The ordeal blew up online, and users’ reactions were intensified as celebrities with large followings also threw their two cents into the debate – among them, President Barack Obama, who happened to be court-side.
Nike’s reaction to the incident helped maintain their stellar brand image, which they’ve cultivated through years of public relations strategy executions all while ensuring the problem would be investigated. Nike responded with urgency and concern and chose to take action rather than point fingers. “We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery,” Nike said in a public online statement: “The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.” Nike let the world know how they are handling the situation. Nike did not cast blame on others.
Whether they realize it or not, Nike did the following:
They acknowledged the problem – quickly.
They apologized for the problem.
They discussed the solution – their plan to resolve the crisis.
They owned the situation. No deflection or spin on the story.
They acted with urgency. They worked quickly to show the public that the problem is a priority.
With more than 96 million followers around the world, Nike is easily in the top 20 most followed Instagram accounts globally (out of nearly one billion).
As one of the world’s largest brands, you might be surprised to find that Nike takes a personalized approach to engaging with their audience.
“We don’t respond as individuals, we respond as Nike. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t treat each conversation as if we’re talking human-to-human,” explained Wes Warfield, Nike’s Social Media Manager. Nike provides employees with a set of guidelines and examples on how to handle certain situations and conversations across social media. These guidelines and examples help customer care representatives to develop a specific tone of voice from day one.
But managing more than 1,000,000 incoming messages per year means that Nike has to pick and choose the most important conversations to focus on.
Wes explains, “We are always actively looking to take part in relevant conversations on social media since we obviously can’t be a part of every single one. Specifically, we look for where can we add value directly to customers’ lives. We keep an eye out for actionable incoming requests where we might be able to help more than one customer at a time.”
This is a brilliant move on Nike’s part. Since their team receive lots of similar questions from their customers, they see this not as an increase in work, but as an opportunity to help multiple customers at once. The magic of this strategy is that it increases the chance that those customers will share the information with others, thereby decreasing the future volume of questions around a particular topic.
“Nike: A Real-Time Lesson In Crisis Management.” Forbes, Feb 22, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2019/02/22/nike-a-real-time-lesson-in-crisis-management/#1740fdd12206
“Nike: Saving Brand Reputation When the Product ‘Explodes.” Toolbox, February 26, 2019, https://marketing.toolbox.com/article/nike-saving-brand-reputation-when-the-product-explodes
A persona, in user-centered design and marketing is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way (Wikipedia). Personas are fictional characters, which you create based upon your research in order to represent the different user types that might use your service, product, site, or brand in a similar way. Personas are also pivotal to crafting effective email marketing campaigns. Highly targeted emails get more opens, clicks, and engagement. Targeted emails are also more optimized for lead generation and likely to result in increased conversions. Creating personas will help you to understand your users’ needs, experiences, behaviors and goals. While personas do not describe real people, it is based on real data collected from multiple individuals. Personas add the human touch to what would largely remain cold facts in your research. When you create persona profiles of typical or atypical (extreme) users, it will help you to understand patterns in your research, which synthesises the types of people you seek to design for. Personas are also known as model characters or composite characters.
Personas provide meaningful archetypes which you can use to assess your design development against. Constructing personas will help you ask the right questions and answer those questions in line with the users you are designing for. For example, “How would Peter, Joe, and Jessica experience, react, and behave in relation to feature X or change Y within the given context?” and “What do Peter, Joe, and Jessica think, feel, do and say?” and “What are their underlying needs we are trying to fulfill?” You may ask “Why spend my time researching a Customer Persona?” The answer is: It ensures you aren’t making any uneducated guesses about the best ways to connect and engage with your potential customers – one of today’s biggest challenges is how to create engaging content. By developing your Customer Persona, you can save both time and money by targeting and focusing your marketing efforts. For example, if your persona spends the majority of their time on Instagram, developing a paid social media campaign will be a lot more effective than creating newspaper adverts. By understanding what your customer is looking for, what motivates them, and how they make their decisions, the marketing communications that you create will make your future client feel as though “Wow, this blog/ad/post was written just for me!”.
Remember, a Customer Persona:
Is fictitious – created by you!
Represents the key traits of a large segment of your audience
Is developed using your knowledge of real customers
How do you create a Persona?
Conducting research into your persona(s) can be achieved in a number of ways:
Surveys: Use online survey software like Survey Monkey or ask questions through your social media channels.
Interviews: When interacting with current customers, ask open ended questions. Whilst we all love a glowing report about our products and services, it’s also important that you learn how you can improve.
Feedback: Speak with the staff who interact with your customers on a daily basis, either through answering the phone or in person. This will help you understand the challenges they face, allowing you to develop a realistic persona.
1. Collect Data: Collect as much knowledge about the users as possible. Perform high-quality user research of actual users in your target user group. In Design Thinking, the research phase is the first phase, also known as the Empathise phase.
2. Form a Hypothesis: Based upon your initial research, you will form a general idea of the various users within the focus area of the project, including the ways users differ from one another – For instance, you can use Affinity Diagrams and Empathy Maps.
3. Everyone Accepts the Hypothesis: The goal is to support or reject the first hypothesis about the differences between the users. You can do this by confronting project participants with the hypothesis and comparing it to existing knowledge.
4. Establish a Number: You will decide upon the final number of personas, which it makes sense to create. Most often, you would want to create more than one persona for each product or service, but you should always choose just one persona as your primary focus.
5. Describe the Personas: The purpose of working with personas is to be able to develop solutions, products and services based upon the needs and goals of your users. Be sure to describe personas in a such way so as to express enough understanding and empathy to understand the users.
You should include details about the user’s education, lifestyle, interests, values, goals, needs, limitations, desires, attitudes, and patterns of behaviour.
Add a few fictional personal details to make the persona a realistic character.
Give each of your personas a name.
Create 1–2-pages of descriptions for each persona.
6. Prepare Situations or Scenarios for Your Personas: This engaging persona method is directed at creating scenarios that describe solutions. For this purpose, you should describe a number of specific situations that could trigger use of the product or service you are designing. In other words, situations are the basis of a scenario. You can give each of your personas life by creating scenarios that feature them in the role of a user. Scenarios usually start by placing the persona in a specific context with a problem they want to or have to solve.
7. Obtain Acceptance from the Organisation: It is a common thread throughout all 10 steps that the goal of the method is to involve the project participants. As such, as many team members as possible should participate in the development of the personas, and it is important to obtain the acceptance and recognition of the participants of the various steps. In order to achieve this, you can choose between two strategies: You can ask the participants for their opinion, or you can let them participate actively in the process.
8. Disseminate Knowledge: In order for the participants to use the method, the persona descriptions should be disseminated to all. It is important to decide early on how you want to disseminate this knowledge to those who have not participated directly in the process, to future new employees, and to possible external partners. The dissemination of knowledge also includes how the project participants will be given access to the underlying data.
9. Everyone Prepares Scenarios: Personas have no value in themselves, until the persona becomes part of a scenario – the story about how the persona uses a future product – it does not have real value.
10. Make Ongoing Adjustments: The last step is the future life of the persona descriptions. You should revise the descriptions on a regular basis. New information and new aspects may affect the descriptions. Sometimes you would need to rewrite the existing persona descriptions, add new personas, or eliminate outdated personas.
Once you have a clear profile for your ideal client–a good buyer persona–you’ll find it easier to scout, study and comprehend their problems and motivations. A better understanding of their pain points will let you frame email content that addresses their issues in an effective way. With clear buyer-persona, you can frame an email marketing strategy that builds trust and increases brand recall by focusing on writing a relatable and engaging email copy for your email campaigns, which help your targeted recipients derive value faster.
Rating the level of danger on a scale of 1-5 where 5 is highly dangerous and 1 is not dangerous at all, I think the level of danger for the current model of online advertising is a 4. I think online advertising clutters our minds with so many images and messages, it’s pervasive, intrusive, and invasive. Online ads are considered to be so annoying that people dole out massive amounts of money to sites such as YouTube, Hulu, Kindle, Spotify, etc. just to avoid them.
According to this article, “People are “objectified” by the advertising industry, they are wanted for one thing: to buy the product or service. Everything that makes us human is reduced to that of a consumer.” The negative effects of online advertising on society include but is not limited to:
Enforcing negative stereotypes
Creating a sense of discontentment
Inspiring stress in our relationships with ourselves and others
Influencing us to spend money we do not have
Persuading us to purchase things we do not need
Exploiting our vulnerabilities
Living in a post-Cambridge Analytica world, consumers are filled with great distrust for tech companies and the marketers that advertise on their sites and/or apps. And without transparency and trust, it is near-impossible to build lasting brand-loyalty. According to this New York Times article, “All over the internet, general fakery abounds — there are millions of fake followers on Twitter and Facebook, fake rehab centers being touted on Google and even fake review sites to sell you a mattress.” It is for these reasons and more that I have come up with the DIGITAL MARKETER CODE OF ETHICS (also known as the DM CODE). As Marketers, we must, like doctors, DO NO HARM by avoiding harmful actions and obeying the laws and regulations that guide our profession and businesses. We must also strive to regain the trust of consumers by religiously following the DM CODE:
HONESTY – to be forthright in dealings with customers and stakeholders. To this end, we will:
Strive to be truthful in all situations and at all times.
Offer products of value that do what we claim in our communications.
Stand behind our products if they fail to deliver their claimed benefits.
Honor our explicit and implicit commitments and promises.
TRANSPARENCY – to create a spirit of openness in marketing operations. To this end, we will:
Strive to communicate clearly with all constituencies.
Accept constructive criticism from customers and other stakeholders.
Explain and take appropriate action regarding significant product or service risks, component substitutions or other foreseeable eventualities that could affect customers or their perception of the purchase decision.
Disclose list prices and terms of financing as well as available price deals and adjustments.
FAIRNESS – to balance justly the needs of the buyer with the interests of the seller. To this end, we will:
Represent products in a clear way in selling, advertising and other forms of communication; this includes the avoidance of false, misleading and deceptive promotion.
Reject manipulations and sales tactics that harm customer trust.
Refuse to engage in price fixing, predatory pricing, price gouging or “bait-and-switch” tactics.
Avoid knowing participation in conflicts of interest.
Seek to protect the private information of customers, employees and partners.
RESPECT – to acknowledge the basic human dignity of all stakeholders. To this end, we will:
Value individual differences and avoid stereotyping customers or depicting demographic groups (e.g., gender, race, sexual orientation) in a negative or dehumanizing way.
Listen to the needs of customers and make all reasonable efforts to monitor and improve their satisfaction on an ongoing basis.
Make every effort to understand and respectfully treat buyers, suppliers, intermediaries and distributors from all cultures.
Acknowledge the contributions of others, such as consultants, employees and coworkers, to marketing endeavors.
Treat everyone, including our competitors, as we would wish to be treated.
RESPONSIBILITY – to accept the consequences of our marketing decisions and strategies. To this end, we will:
Strive to serve the needs of customers.
Avoid using coercion with all stakeholders.
Acknowledge the social obligations to stakeholders that come with increased marketing and economic power.
Recognize our special commitments to vulnerable market segments such as children, seniors, the economically impoverished, market illiterates and others who may be substantially disadvantaged.
Consider environmental stewardship in our decision-making.
CITIZENSHIP – to fulfill the economic, legal, philanthropic and societal responsibilities that serve stakeholders. To this end, we will:
Strive to protect the ecological environment in the execution of marketing campaigns.
Give back to the community through volunteerism and charitable donations.
Contribute to the overall betterment of marketing and its reputation.
Urge supply chain members to ensure that trade is fair for all participants, including producers in developing countries.
In conclusion, I believe that unethical online advertising threatens the quality of all communication and consequently the well‐being of individuals and the society in which we live.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way (the way!) for people to find your webpage through a Google Search. Almost every other internet experience begins with a search engine query. The top result on Google has a 33% chance of getting clicked.
Astonishingly, 75% people won’t even click on the second page of the search results.
If you want better website traffic, Google’s first page is where you want to be.
As a marketer, you’re probably wondering: “I’ve launched my client’s website, I’ve provided quality, engaging content, I’ve done everything right. Why isn’t my webpage ranking?”. If you have these questions, or are close to giving up completely, I’m glad you found my page. Here are 5 reasons why your webpage isn’t ranking, and 5 things you could do when your Webpage doesn’t rank:
Content Length: Long-form content is considered to give more value to users. So, Google looks for and loves webpages with long text content. If your webpage provides all the information needed for a particular topic, it means your visitors get all they need in one page and they don’t need to visit more pages to get the answer to their question.
Tough Competition: If your target keywords are highly competitive keywords, it will take longer and more in-depth work for your webpage to reach Google’s first page. Websites fail to rank because their target keywords are highly competitive keywords. In order to reach the first page, your website needs to provide stronger content and be overall better than the competition’s. An example of a highly competitive keyword is “best laptops”. As you can see in the screenshot below, big, established, and popular computer websites like hp.com and Microsoft.com have dominated this first page. Their websites have millions of inbound links from thousands of domains. You need to use software like Moz, Majestic or Ahrefs to comprehend the level of competition for your chosen keyword before you start creating content.
Improve Your Page Loading Speed: It’s extremely important to optimize both your page speed and server response time. If the loading time of your page is too slow, Google would recognize it, and it could harm your webpage’s ranking. A slow webpage negatively impacts your visitors’ overall user experience. This negative experience will also affect your ranking. Below, is a quick look at how users abandon slow loading pages. Research shows 53% of visitors will abandon websites if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. To make things worse, a shocking 80% of those visitors won’t return to that website. This is definitely bad news for your SEO ranking because it eventually kills traffic to your website and foils your overall conversion goals. To avoid this, test the speed of your website, using online services like Pingdom, which is available for free. This helps you test your website from different locations all over the world. If your webpage loads fast, people will keep coming back. If people keep coming back, Google’s algorithm will recognize your website’s popularity and adjust your search ranking accordingly.
High Quality Content: Frequently updated websites tend to fair better. Also, you need high quality, recent, and relevant content to improve your ranking. Dwell Time is how much time people spend on your website per visit. If your site has fresh, exciting, or newsworthy information, it will keep visitors on your page longer and improve your website’s dwell time. If your webpage provides highly informative content, it will have long dwell times. Google Chrome controls nearly 45% of the internet browser market share, making it the most popular browser in the world. To date, Chrome remains the most downloaded browser in the US. When users bookmark your website from a Google Chrome browser, it can help your SEO ranking. Visitors tend to bookmark webpages with noteworthy content!
Optimize Your Site for Mobile Devices: Finally, mobile use is on the rise. Mobile vs. Desktop usage in 2019 shows that “for most sites, the majority of their traffic comes from mobile devices. This is a critical fact of life for all business and media websites.” Mobile use has in fact overtaken the use of computers and laptops. Because Google acknowledges this fact, it ranks sites accordingly. The better your website is optimized for mobile users, the higher it’d rank. Interestingly, over 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile users, it will most certainly hurt your ranking. Make your webpage mobile user friendly to increase your webpage ranking.
Additionally, Dwell Time is increased on mobile which is good news for your SEO ranking!
P.S: To know where you currently stand in Google’s search results, you can use tools like SERPs.com to check where a site page ranks for a certain keyword or term.
P.S.S: Next week, we would look at 5 more things you could do to increase your Webpage Ranking. See you!
Looking to boost conversions on your website? Remember these 3 words: DESIGN! DESIGN!! DESIGN!!!. According to research from Stanford University, 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the top criteria for deciding if a company is credible or not. So, it’s extremely important that your design looks professional.
Landing pages are created with the intent of converting site visitors into sales. Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal (a conversion) out of the total number of visitors. A high conversion rate is indicative of successful marketing and web design.
Here are 5 easy ways you can increase your landing page conversions:
Design for Usability: Usability is the degree to which a software can be used by specified consumers to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a quantified context of use. Websites should be designed so that the average user (ideally, the below-average user) can find what they’re looking for or accomplish what they want without too much thought or work and without making too many wrong clicks. Increase usability to reduce barriers to conversion.
Generate User Reviews of the Product/Service: Any Amazon customer or seller would tell you that reviews are the life-blood of any business in this digital age. Even non-Amazon customers sometimes log in just to read reviews of a product they want to buy in a brick-and-mortar store. Personally, I seldom buy any product that has no reviews from its customers. No matter how famous and trust-worthy the brand name, I feel safer shopping online knowing the consumer-experience of other customers. So, if and when possible, harp on encouraging verified customers to leave product reviews.
Conversion-Centered Design: There are 7 principles guiding conversion-centered design – Attention, Context, Clarity, Congruence, Credibility, Closing, and Continuance.
Attention: 1) What is the action you want potential customers to take? 2) Does everything on the page point to this action? 3) Is there a single call to action that attracts users’ attention?
Context: Here, you have to reassure your visitors that clicking you page was a good choice by creating a strong link between the pre-click (source of the campaign) and post-click (landing page) experience. Ask: Where are site visitors coming from? Does the message and content of the homepage match the expectations of customers?
Clarity: Write a copy that communicates the value proposition of the campaign quickly and effectively. Ask: – Is it clear from a quick scan of the webpage what the webpage is about? Does the user know what will happen once he or she clicks a link?
Congruence: Align every aspect of your landing page with the campaign goal. Ask: Do all the words on the landing page encourage the conversion or do some words distract potential customers from the desired behavior?
Credibility: Trust symbols (any symbol, icon, image, or small statement communication to the user that the site is legitimate) inspire confidence in the visitor. Also, “real photographs” are more trustworthy than stock photos. Ask: Do potential customers have ample reason to believe you can deliver on your promises?
Closing: Use positive messaging close to the desired click region. Negatively-valenced words can sometimes inhibit clicking.
Continuance: This can be used to get a second conversion and create a post-conversion experience.
4. Add a Visual or Video to Your Landing Page: Informative videos help visitors in making well-informed decisions on your landing page. Research shows that landing pages with a short video can increase conversions by up to 80%. Videos can also increase the amount of time spent by a visitor on your landing page.
5. Create Effective Visual Hierarchies: More important things should be larger and higher up on the page, and similar items should be groups together. Break pages up into clearly defined areas helping different users with different actions identify the specific area of the site first.
Finally, a landing page is most likely to convert if it provides clear answers to these three questions with information easily found above the fold (the portion of the website that can be seen without having to scroll down).
MRKT 484 Ryan on Testing Landing Pages. OSU MediaSpace, Oregon State University, https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_j1xoorhb
Leist, Rachel. “How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide [ Free Blog Post Templates].” HubSpot Blog, 6 May 2019, https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-start-a-blog#sm.00007ssv1q6ovdkcq1p1c0jjakt6m