With more direct social buying options being added to the social landscape than ever before, there is a great deal of excitement from marketers on how this will transform social media marketing.

I totally get it: These opportunities hold the promise of being able to show direct revenue from social media unlike ever before, and they also seem to make things a tad easier from the buyer’s perspective as well.

While I see the promise these social buy buttons hold, I must admit that I’m a bit skeptical about the effectiveness of them – mainly because of how I can envision many marketers using them. Will marketers be tempted to throw their social media best practices out the window and begin selling instead of connecting with consumers? Will marketers approach these new opportunities with the same mentality of an e-commerce site or banner ads? If so, I’m afraid the misuse of these buttons will cause many to come to the conclusion that these buttons simply don’t work. (read more…)

In the constant-changing social space, there are new opportunities coming to marketers nearly every single day – all presenting unique challenges along with them. In this post, I wanted to share some of the overarching opportunities that I see for marketers in the space and the common challenges that go along with them. 

New social advertising units

  • Opportunity: Nearly every single day there are articles about new advertising opportunities available on social networks that marketers can take advantage of. From buy buttons to new partner integrations like the Twitter and Square tie-up to drive political donations, the proliferation of these units offers exciting new ways to drive business objectives via social.
  • Challenge: With the rapid pace of these new ad units being added to the market, marketers have a tough time keeping up with the latest information – including details like required minimum budgets, the process for getting involved in a beta, or even truly understanding if these units have been tested to work (something the networks aren’t really helping with).
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Adaptation from SHAREOLOGY: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy (Morgan James, 2015) by Bryan Kramer, CEO of PureMatters.

The term “selling” tends to conjure up images of an aggressive used-car salesperson following you around the lot or a mall clerk pushing the most expensive stereo in the store. But it’s not just the physical presence that’s off-putting: Hard-selling tactics are equally annoying when we receive them through social media channels. Internet users have become numb to sales messages due to constant bombardment of banner ads and click-though buttons.

Still, there are plenty of salespeople making a very successful living by using social media to generate leads and convert sales. How do they do it? By being helpers first and eliminating “social sales” from their vocabulary.

What is social “helping”?

Put simply, it’s using your social media presence to become familiar with prospects. Helping is asking the right questions and finding out what motivates them. (read more…)

It’s probably no secret to you that, “When it comes to trust, third-party and word-of-mouth sharing has always carried more weight than advertising,” as Bryan Kramer reports in his insightful new book, Shareology. What may be more mysterious is exactly how you (the personal you and/or the corporate you) could share more effectively. Here are six ways to up your sharing power gleaned from Kramer’s in- depth study:

Listen Up
As the CEO of an agency that promotes “social inspired marketing,” it’s little wonder that I’d call out listening as a prerequisite to power sharing. Kramer reminds us early in his book that, “If there’s one thing we should all practice more, it’s listening.” But rather than leave this as a nebulous no-brainer, he advises that, “Gleaning actionable information from escalating online babble requires a comprehensive strategy and structure.” Importantly, listening needs to become a discipline unto itself.

Clear Up
Effective sharing, whether at cocktail parties, business meetings or on social channels, requires a clarity of purpose and voice. (read more…)

One of the buzziest phrases in marketing today, thought leadership, is a kind of content marketing that leverages your skills and experiences to consistently answer questions and solve your target audience’s pain points. If you’re a thought leader, you provide the best and deepest answers to your targets—often before they even have to ask for it.

Why is that so important? Cultivating thought leadership means proactively establishing yourself as an expert in your industry. Providing valuable content to a large audience at a consistent rate shows that you represent the kind of brand trustworthy enough for potential leads to consider buying from.

Let’s say you’ve got the knowledge needed to be a thought leader, but don’t know how to disseminate your insights to gain the recognition. How and where do you establish yourself as a leading voice in your field?

Social media platforms are a great avenue, but it’s a competitive space: Today, 84 percent of B2B companies are using some form of social media marketing in order to reach new leads and share their thoughts on prominent topics. (read more…)