When you get your business blog started, it’s tempting to invest in a custom blog design, theme customization, or other features that will set your business’ blog apart from the rest.
My advice on this is quite simple; DON’T.
Don’t pay anything from a tech or development standpoint to get your blog up and running, particularly before you’ve figured out exactly what you will be blogging about, how your blog will contribute to your business goals, how you plan to convert your readership, and have experience blogging for some time.
There are a huge number of free options
WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr are fantastic blogging platforms, and for basic features, they’re free.
When you’re getting started, don’t feel pressure to invest in something that is beyond your needs. Even free blogging platforms offer vast feature sets and options for customization.
It might take a while to determine your needs
It’s immensely difficult to determine exactly which features are going to be desirable and useful for your blog and to your consumers until you get started and see how it is going to evolve and grow.
Spend time utilizing a free blogging platform so you will better understand which features will be most valuable to invest in when the time is right to customize your blogging experience.
Establish blogging as part of your routine
The number of custom designed blogs I’ve seen that haven’t been updated in over a year is staggering.
Before making a significant investment in you business’ blogging platform, make sure that blogging is going to be something you can sustain, and that will yield real business results. When you do, you’ll better understand your potential ROI and will be able to make informed decisions about your investment.
In time, you might find more cost-effective solutions
Robust developer communities support many of the large blogging CMS platforms. This means there are a huge number of developers and designers who are sharing their themes, templates, designs, plug-ins, and more for affordable rates, and in some cases for free. Chances are that even if you have very specific requirements in mind for the function, format or features of your business blog, that there is probably someone out there who has already developed a low cost solution that you can take advantage of.
Instead of rushing into making decisions about every last detail to do with the design and function of your blog and relaying those to your developer, take your time to see if there are more affordable solutions that you can implement. Chances are, there will be.
At the end of the day, your business blog is all about value
The value you offer consumers with your content should be the focus of your business’ blogging efforts, not the minutia of every little detail of design and functionality.
When you’re just getting started blogging for your business, don’t get caught up in all of the bells and whistles. Instead, focus on producing killer content that is going to build, sustain, engage and provide value to your current and prospective consumers.
Instead of investing heavily in the custom development or design of a blog for your business, invest resources in producing absolutely killer content for your targeted consumers, and promoting that content through relevant channels. The results you will achieve by providing valuable and engaging content will far outweigh the results you can achieve by paying to add the one or two features or design flourishes that you’d ideally like to see on your blog.
Be patient in the short-term and develop blogging to become an integral part of your business’ value proposition. When you’ve gained enough experience to see what works and what doesn’t, you’ll be in a better position to make wise investment decisions for customizing your business’ blog for you, and your consumers’ needs.
What blogging CMS do you use for your business?
If you use a common blogging CMS, what features or limitations would you love to see implemented?
In your experience, what has been the single most valuable aspect of blogging for your business?
It would be great to chat with you about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Photo Credit: Veer
Creating content and engaging a multilingual Facebook community presents many obvious challenges, though none of which are insurmountable.
I live and work in Canada, which means many of the national clients I’ve worked with require that all marketing materials and content for social media be created in English and French. While this can sometimes prove to be challenging, there are a few tips and considerations that can make your life easier and help to sustain the impact of your content, no matter what language it is in.
Following are 3 tips for managing your multilingual Facebook Page and creating awesome multilingual content:
1 – Use the native tools that Facebook provides to target by language
Facebook provides a tool that controls who can see your posts. When posting to multilingual communities, you’ll want to limit who can view each of your posts based on peoples’ language preferences.
There are a few reasons why this is important; you don’t want to annoy consumers with posts that aren’t in their native language, you don’t want the content your consumers are interested in to be pushed down your timeline, and you don’t want irrelevant content cluttering your consumers’ newsfeeds, which could result in an unlike.
So, how do you control the content that can be seen based on users’ language preferences? Here’s a quick 1-2-3:
Click on the Public button.
Choose to target by location/language.
Type the language that your consumers should speak to view your post.
2 – Take cultural differences into consideration when creating content
Depending on the category in which you compete, there might be cultural differences that you’ll want to take into account when creating content for your Facebook community.
For instance, I live and work in Canada where we have two official languages – English and French. When creating content for French-speaking Canadians, who largely reside in Quebec, it can be helpful to know that they tend to have a much more cheeky, irreverent, and over-the-top sense of humour than English-speaking Canadians. Also, French-speaking Canadians tend to identify more strongly with products and services that have local roots.
Take time to learn the cultural nuances between your consumers who speak different languages, and how you can address those differences to create the best possible content.
3 – Don’t simply translate your content, adapt it
You create your content in language X, and you need it in language Y, so you should just have it translated. Right? Not exactly. A lesson I’ve learned more than once is that it’s not quite that simple. In different languages, there are many words that take on new meaning when they are translated, or contextually don’t make the same sense they do in the native language of your content. This is why it really pays off to have your content adapted by someone who is familiar with the linguistic and cultural intricacies of your targeted consumers. It could be the difference of your content being a hit, or a complete bust.
Do you have any tips or tricks on how to manage and create content for a multilingual social media community?
It would be awesome to chat about your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
It can be beneficial for businesses of any size to encourage everyone in the organization to create and capture social media content. Increased diversity, fresh perspective, capitalizing on opportunities, having a sense of involvement and contribution, greater volume, shared responsibility, and better quality are just some of the benefits that can be experienced by involving an entire staff in content creation, versus the onus being placed squarely on one person’s shoulders.
The trouble with this approach to content creation is to do with the practicality of curating content from a potentially large number of sources. Also, encouraging the creation of content that is specifically for your organization can be a headache to say the least.
So, how can these challenges be overcome? Try using Twitter hashtags.
Choose a Hashtag
Select a hashtag for your coworkers or employees to use on all of the relevant content they are posting to their personal social graphs. This will allow you to easily follow and search for this content, and won’t require major adjustments to their natural use of Twitter.
Monitor the Hashtag
Set up a stream in HootSuite or TweetDeck to monitor the content your coworkers or employees are posting and tagging using the hashtag you’ve selected. This should give you a steady stream of relevant content to post on your organization’s social media properties.
Curate, Schedule and Post the Best Content
After you’ve got your streams in HootSuite or TweetDeck set up, all that will be left is curating the very best content that is being published, editing the content you’d like to repost, and then scheduling or posting your content.
By using Twitter hashtags to curate relevant content that your coworkers or employees are creating, you’re streamlining the process of content creation, collection, editing, and publishing by tapping their natural use of social media.
All of this said, you shouldn’t expect that just because you’ve organized a Twitter hashtag that everyone in your organization will automatically become a content producing machine. However, this approach will cater to those individuals who regularly use social media and will naturally be your top content contributors, and perhaps because of the ease of contributing, could result in a greater number of contributions from people who would otherwise be less keen to get involved.
How do you curate content that is being produced from various sources within your organization?
Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
For any business that is knowledge-based, ideas are typically thought of as being the currency of their organization. Ideas are the basis of their product, the centre of their value proposition, and their competitive advantage. For these reasons – which are entirely valid – ideas are typically held close to the chest and are protected as carefully as a newborn child.
While being protective of ideas seems to make a huge amount of sense, there are a number of incredible opportunities you could be missing out on as a result.
The amazing thing about ideas is that there are always better ones. Always. By giving away your ideas, you are forcing yourself to be innovative, to think of new ideas, and to think of better ideas. Holding your ideas close will keep you from being innovative and propelling your business forward. While your business holds ideas close to its chest, others are pushing the envelope, developing thoughts that are truly unique, and creating huge value for their clients in ways they never thought possible. Sounds exciting, right?
Proves Your Value
Knowledge and idea-based businesses continually face the challenge of having to prove their value to prospective clients. Giving prospects your ideas for free will prove what your business is capable of, mitigate the risk involved with choosing to work with you, and establish your organization as a trusted source of value.
Acknowledging that the purpose of case studies is to demonstrate the proven effectiveness of your idea-based solutions, there is still an inherent risk that prospective clients must take to work with you – no matter how relevant and impressive your case studies. At the end of the day, they don’t know whether you’ll be able to replicate the value your business provided other clients. Additionally, there will always be an inherent skepticism about case studies because by their nature, they are designed to show-off your organization’s highlights, and ignore all of the failed ideas that were sold to other clients.
Increases the Chance of Making Your Business, and Your Clients, Famous
How many incredible, award-winning ideas do you need to pitch for one of them to see the light of day? Chances are that this happens so infrequently that you don’t have an answer to that question. Increase your chances of selling an incredible idea by pitching more of them. Don’t wait to be paid to pitch an idea. Don’t wait for a client to ask for an idea. Simply put, don’t wait. Just share your ideas, stand behind them, sell the hell out of them and demonstrate why they’re game-changers, and I’m sure you’ll have greater success actually bringing ideas to life.
What benefits have you experienced by giving away your ideas?
What do you see as being the pitfalls of giving away ideas?
As always, it would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Image Credit: Veer
At the end of each year there is a flood of year-in-review content, and content that looks forward to the year ahead. It’s a natural time to take a step back from the minutia we stress over during the year to look at the big picture.
So, being just a few days into 2013, now is a perfect time to not only enjoy some of the end of year content, but it’s also a great time to reflect on your own year in social media marketing, and think about and plan for your year ahead.
REVIEW YOUR PERFORMANCE DURING THE LAST YEAR
Take some time to review the performance of your social media, digital and content marketing efforts in 2012. Similar to tracking performance in the stock market, social media marketing is naturally full of small ups and downs that are magnified by the incredible amount of information we are fed through our monitoring and insights tools. A full year perspective, however, may shed new insight on what worked well, and what didn’t that you couldn’t pick up on while monitoring your activity through the year.
ADJUST YOUR STRATEGY
After reviewing your performance from 2012 and identifying what worked well, and what didn’t, make some adjustments to your strategy, how you engage, what types of content you produce, where you publish your content, what social media networks you are using, what your objectives should be, how you amplify your content, and on. Don’t get caught in a rut just because you’ve been doing something one way for some time. Social media is inherently dynamic and your strategies and tactics need to be equally as fluid to remain successful.
SET NEW GOALS, OBJECTIVES AND KPIs
Looking forward, think about what your goals, objectives and KPIs will be for 2013. Continue working toward the objectives that are driving results for your business, and set goals and KPIs that will push your efforts for even greater success. Looking forward is incredibly important to guide and justify the numerous decisions you’ll be making thought the year to continuously optimize your social media marketing efforts.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
Continue making smart, informed decisions, but go ahead and try something new. With so many tools, tactics, platforms, varieties of content, technologies, and techniques at our disposal, there is undoubtedly something that could positively impact your business that you haven’t tried yet – so go do it! The very worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work and you can stop, lesson learned, and no worse for the effort.
How did your social media marketing efforts perform in 2012?
How are you planning for the year ahead?
Are there any interesting things you’ll be doing differently in 2013?
Do you have a New Year social media resolution you’ll be pursuing?
It would be awesome to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial. Cheers, and happy New Year!
Photo Credit: Veer