1. Social Networking Basics
a. Social Networking (SN): the use of internet-based social media applications to make connections and communicate with friends, family, classmates, customers and potential clients. Social networking is a LEAN-LAUNCH solution to build brand awareness and sell offerings. And it works, but only if you work it!
♦ Popular Social Networking sites:
• Facebook—social networking platform for fun and business. Advertisers are claiming their campaigns are finally getting traction (sales) with the tighter target marketing Facebook now provides. 2000 character limit.
• Snapchat—mobile SN app that allows users to send and receive pics and videos that disappear from the feed in [up to] 10 seconds. “Snaps” which are the pics and videos you post temporarily (user defines length Snap is up). 80 character limit (for image captions).
• YouTube—video posting and sharing platform allows users to watch and post videos of varying lengths. 100 character limit for video titles (but keep titles to between 1-15 words max).
►Read 5 Rules for Optimizing a YouTube Video: https://socialcontrol.com/5-rules-for-optimizing-a-youtube-video/
• Instagram—photo sharing service allows users to shoot mobile pics and videos, then upload them to Instragram’s SNing platform. No character limit, which doesn’t mean write a memoir. KISS (keep it simple and specific) ALL COPY!
• Twitter—140-character limit on “tweets.” Mostly link referrals (now turning Twitter into a streaming ad platform. See #RIPtwitter). Posting “tweets” (aka “microposts”) is also known as “microblogging.”
• Google+—SN platform by Google that many are on, but few actually use.
• LinkedIn—employment and job/career related content. (Some very responsive industry related groups on LinkedIn. Join them to find and engage potential audiences for your offerings.)
• Meetup—on and offline industry, business and social SIGs and meetings, searchable by area and other targeted criteria. (Attending and/or throwing a Meetup is a great NETWORKING (marketing) strategy!)
• Pinterest—content sharing service to promote products, services, company, interests and hobbies
►List of Active SN Sites
2. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social Media Marketing: a form of online marketing that use social networking sites as marketing platforms. SMM aims to produce content that viewers will likely share with their social networks, to help a company increase brand awareness, and broaden potential customer reach.
• Hashtags (#)—keywords and key phrases prefaced by the # symbol to categorize subject topics on social networking platforms.
• Retweets—twitter user retweeting someone else’s tweet.
• Favorite/Like—on most SN platforms, user can LIKE or FAVORITE a post, share, comment, retweet, or other update on timelines and SN feeds.
• Share [Post]—users SHARE other’s posts on their SN feed.
♦ Social Media Marketing Best Practices:
a. Create SMM Pages: for your company and EACH product/service you offer, on every relevant SN platform to your offerings.
• Maintain Corporate Standards Across All SN Sites—all marketing material, from ads to SN comments should follow your companies corporate brand standards. All visual and copy content should reflect the the look and feel of the company (brand), and its products and services.
• Market on platforms your target audiences use.
• Separate your business from personal SNing. (Keep personal professional. Potential clients and employers are looking at your personal SN feeds.)
• Have separate product/service pages on each SN platform for each of your offerings. Change headers with special offers, discounts, or other news often for better SEO.
• INTERACT! Don’t just post. RESPOND to others, and to most who do to you.
• Always have an OBJECTIVE in mind when posting an update or snap or tweet for ANY BUSINESS SNing. CTA can be link to buy, or more information, or__?__, but ALL business SNing SHOULD HAVE A CTA. Even ‘content’ marketing should have an implied CTA for branding.
• Use VIDEOS and IMAGES (even charts, graphs…etc.). IMAGERY gets a LOT more engagement and response.
• ‘Friend’ and ‘Follow’ people in, or related to your offerings and your target audiences (even competitors).
• Join online groups and forums related to your company and offerings.
• GO to Meetups and SIGs related to your business, your company, marketing and technology, and industry related events! Attend online webinars, and LIVE seminars. SOCIAL NETWORK. A handshake is still the best way to seal a deal (get someone to buy into your idea and/or make a purchase). NETWORK ON AND OFFLINE!
►Watch: Social Media Trends 2016:
►Google: social media trends 2016 (or current year), for latest SMM trends and best practices.
b. Interact with Groups and Forums: join online groups and forums with similar products/services, startup goals and culture, and anything related to your company and offerings. Find and join your competitors groups. COMMENT. Ask questions. Post relevant and useful information, often.
• LinkedIn—SN site with professional (industry, and company specific) groups.
• Popular industry blogs and vlogs—with even a casual relationship to your offerings. (Example: A marketing firm can be useful to everyone from landscape contractors to tech startups, to business giants like Netflix.) COMMENT on popular blogs that have many comments. Become part of conversations, and offer relevant referential links to your sites, posts and blogs as often as possible.
• Targeted groups—for specific groups of people like parents, or mom’s, or romance readers…etc. Facebook has many. Most SN sites do.
c. Third party sales pages: Amazon, Google Play, Esty, Ebay…etc., sales pages are also SMM pages in which to sell your offerings. Make sure to maintain corporate brand standards on sales pages too, to continually reinforce brand awareness.
d. Build followers and a fan base: choose to engage on SN sites, join SN groups, and follow individuals in which your offerings have some relevance.
♦ SN Tips to Increase Engagement:
• SHARE (‘Retweet’ on Twitter), and LIKE or FAVORITE other people’s posts, and they will likely share and retweet your posts and updates.
• COMMENT on other’s posts. Engage users with YOU, and your messaging. Find ways to slip in your offerings in NATURAL dialog. Example: Post is ranting over latest tech problem, offer them your solution, with a feature of your product/service.
• Talk directly to customers, potential clients, reporters, celebrities, and CEO’s with @. Only use ONE @ per post to make individual you are addressing feel important. Example (tweet OBJECTIVE: to get ABC News to do a report on development in our town. They did!): @abc7Now LAFFERTY using MILLIONS of GALLONS of WATER, flatten #SanRamon hills to put up 900 homes WE CAN’T AFFORD 2 GIVE WATER 2! #CAdrought
• Integrate popular or trending hashtags into your updates and posts. Example (tweet for one of my novels on Valentine’s Day): No date for #ValentinesDay? Curl up for “RIVETING READ” with Lit Romance REVERB: amazon.com/dp/B00B1J60FS/
• Use popular hashtags known in your industry. #Growthhacking, #ContentMarketing, #YCombinator, are all #startup hashtags to communicate with your target audience.
• Use CAPS selectively to highlight key words of the message, and words that are known to generate response, i.e. ‘FREE.’
• Post pics, videos, news, and views your target audience will benefit from. Entertain, Educate, Inform = Engagement.
►Read & Watch: Search Google Web and Videos: “social media tips to increase engagement 2016,” (or current year) for latest tricks and tips.
►Read 50 Ways to Increase Your Social Media Engagement: http://www.business2community.com/social-media/50-ways-to-increase-social-media-engagement-01278973#teMz06gE0mO1wcAp.97
3. SMM Management Tools
a. Auto Scheduler: apps for scheduling social media updates, posts, tweets…etc., 24/7.
—For Twitter ONLY:
• Tweetdeck—auto-scheduler for Twitter ONLY. (Unlike Hootsuite, Tweetdeck releases scheduled tweets with the pics directly onto Twitter feed. Hootsuite only gives a referential link to pics, so do NOT use Hootsuite for Twitter if you are tweeting an image.)
• Retweeting Engine—automatic retweeting app that retweets other’s tweets with your twitter handle, and on your Twitter feed. Retweets are organized by hashtags, so your are retweeting particular groups associated with any given hashtag. (See Roundteam, among others.)
• Social Network Management tools—apps to unfollow people not following you back, or unfollow inactive users…etc. Keep your Following to Followers ratio low, with more followers than you are following, to continually look desirable. (See Manage Flitter, among others.)
►Read Top 20 SMM Tools 2016: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254712
►Read 17 Best Social Media Management Tools: http://www.jeffbullas.com/2016/03/01/17-best-social-media-management-tools/
• Have an OBJECTIVE and TARGET MARKET in mind with each post or update.
• Share often! Pose relevant information to your target audience. Ask them questions. Give them tips and ideas. Share news and views your target audience will appreciate.
• Be courteous, and politically correct.
• Stay On Topic. Groups and forums are for discussions about the subject of the group. Introduce your offerings IN CONTEXT with the dialog of the discussion.
• Don’t be mean, confrontational, rude, or not suitable/safe for work (NSFW—porn, nudity, cussing, racial, religious or sexual comments or profiling…etc).
• Don’t USE ALL CAPS (on par with YELLING).
• Don’t flame (hate speech), or respond to flaming comments. Ignore, and if possible, remove them from all SMM platforms.
• Do NOT Spam. No spam allowed at all including advertisements for products or services. If you’re questioning whether or not what you’re about to post is spam, it probably is. Don’t post it, or risk getting thrown out of groups or off of sites.
• Groups and forum moderators (like business owners) reserve the right to remove any posts that they determine to be inappropriate.
4. Print & Traditional Advertising
a. Print and Physical advertising: magazines/newsprint, brochures, sales kits, collateral, consumer, direct mail, billboards, trade show booths, product display, physical products…etc.
• Direct mail—aka “snail mail” works well for local businesses (B2B or B2C), to make customers aware your business is there for them. Invitations to expensive affairs, to catalogs and special promotions, DM campaigns have great ROI with mailing lists targeted to your markets. Direct mail can be a full campaign with a letter, a brochure and a “lift slip,” or special offer to upsell original offer, OR they can be a postcard campaign, which are inexpensive and often work well with the right mailing list.
• Brochures—use as hand-outs, drop-offs, or leave-behinds. Make brochure KEEPABLE by providing USEFUL information, such as a plan or process that needs to be referenced after reading. Include relevant web addresses, or phone numbers that make brochure worth keeping. Brochures are part of a multi-step buying process. (Use flyers and postcards for fast sales.)
• Billboards—use for local business like real estate developments, or restaurants and consumer goods, i.e. brick and mortar stores; National and local politics, religion, community issues, billboards are often used to sell an opinion or point of view.
• Collateral—Stationary; Sales kits; Corporate communication (HR docs, annual reports, white papers…etc.)
• Print Ads—be sure the publication you choose to advertise in is directed at a tight target market of YOURS. Choose display, or half or full page ads to be seen beyond the articles and other ads.
• Merchandising/Display—2D and 3D marketing materials: Counter, floor and ceiling advertising and displays; Duratrans (light box) graphics; Trade show booths
b. Broadcast: videos and commercials on TV, radio, internet
4. Public Relations
a. PR (Public Relations): getting other people to chat you up builds a mutually beneficial relationships between organizations, such as news services, and individuals, such as bloggers, and the offering, company or individual they are touting. PR includes retweeting, Shares, Likes, Favorites…etc. The BEST PR, from reporters, or one of your company posts, goes VIRAL.
• Press release—communications (a document or video) directed at members of the news media to write a news story on your products, services, company or its people.
►Watch Press Release Tutorial:
►Watch The New Audi A6 Matrix Video Press Release:
—Pitch to the right forum. (Don’t pitch your new lingerie line to a computer magazine.) Make sure your story will engage the READERS of the newspaper, magazine, ezine, blog or vlog you are pitching to.
—Contact editor FIRST with a QUERY (elevator pitch), before creating a press release. Try to sell the editor on running your story with a quick email. Make sure the email subject line acts as the headline for your story, to convince editor to read the email.
b. Common Pitch Topics:
• New product/service releases or updates
• Company merges or acquires another business
• New hires; Employee news
• New locations of stores, branches, headquarter moves
• Awards; Testimonials; Good reviews; Endorsements by known pros
• Positive financials
• New contracts or business partnerships
• Events; Galas; SIG meetings
• Useful (How-To) or entertaining information (cute dog story related to your offering)
c. Cooperative Marketing: working with vendors, and compatible companies in marketing and advertising partnerships
5. Analytics (overview)
Using A/B Testing, response rate tracking, Google Analytics, Salesforce, and other analytics to increase sales, retain clients, and convert potential customers from competition. Search “Analytics Explained” in YouTube for educational videos on using analytics.
a. Business Intelligence (BI)—refers to computer-based techniques used in identifying, capturing, and analyzing business data. Common functions of business intelligence technologies are reporting, analytics, data mining, event processing, management performance, benchmarking, and predictive modeling.
• CRM (Customer Relationship Management)—software programs for managing and analyzing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. CRM software packages (a few among many):
• Data warehouse—a large store of data accumulated from a wide range of sources and used to guide marketing, development and sales of company offerings with knowledge gleaned from data analysis.
• Conversion—visitors to a website who take action beyond a casual view of website content, such as read the blog, sign up for the newsletter, and/or buy the product/service.
b. A/B Testing: a way of testing a marketing campaign’s projected ROI by analyzing the webpage effectiveness by testing two different versions of the same website, landing page, ad..etc., to see which is more effective. Make sure when you A/B test to change only ONE element between the two versions, so you know which element received the highest response rate.
►App: A/B Testing optimizer: http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/
• Real Time Analytics—allows monitoring of visitor activity as it happens on your site often used for instant response to A/B testing, tracking visit duration, and page hits.
c. Predictive Analytics: techniques from statistics, modeling, machine learning, and data mining that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future.
• Predictive modeling—the process by which a model is created or chosen to try to best predict the probability of an outcome.
• Recommendation Engine—software that uses past purchases and page views to predict customer preferences, i.e. movie ratings, purchasing choices.
d. Google Analytics: a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website, blog, landing page, microsite, such as traffic sources, viewer duration, conversions and sales.
►Watch: Understanding Google Analytics:
• Remarketing lists—Remarketing with Google Analytics lets you follow up with people who have already visited your website, and deliver ad content specifically targeted to the interests they expressed during those previous visits.
e. Site Analytics: most every social network gives you analytics on your video uploads, posts, updates, tweets, snaps…etc. If you don’t see them directly on your UI, search Google for “Twitter (or whatever social network) stats,” for videos on where to find your site data.
►Watch: YouTube Analytics:
e. Sentiment Analysis: uses natural language processing (NLP), computational linguistics, and text analytics to identify what the user/writer is thinking, and how they are feeling.
6. Venture Capital & Crowd Funding
a. Venture Captial Investors: Get money for your start-up before it’s up and running with VC investments:
• Seed round investment—VC’s initial monetary investment in a startup. Geared towards helping (even expanding) a startup’s team to establish their business with the resources and equipment it needs to grow. A startup’s seed stage is embryonic, and therefore more risky than other rounds of financing.
• Series A—sometimes the first VC investment when the seed stage does not require outside funding. More often, for Series A most startups have a fully developed product and/or service, and likely have launched them commercially with good reception.
• Series B—for Series B investments, startup is typically well on its way to being an established business. Development, production, marketing, and customer acquistion and retention are fully functional. Scalability is the main goal in Series B investing, i.e. expansion, globalization, acquisitions.
• Series C and beyond— a startup can pursue any number of investment rounds, but each time they do, they dilute the value of their stock. Founders, and employees that received stock as employment incentives, will lose the implied value of the stock with every VC investment, so Series C are not done as often as Series A and B investments, with the exception of global companies looking for acquisitions.
b.Type of Funding ($$$):
• Venture Capital firms—generally handle only potential billion dollar business, and take a good percentage of your company for their financial contribution.
• Angel investors—private firms or individuals who fund smaller operations, and often give less of an initial investment but take less equity.
• Crowd Funding—individuals giving money to others in need, of an operation, to writing a book, to growing a business.
• Iterative research for appropriate VC—create lists of personnel, their emails with short bios, including VC Name and Areas of Interest. Search “Venture Capital, Sand Hill Road” for the larger VC firms.
►Watch: 3 Necessities for Start-up Success – Marc Andreessen (Serial Entrepreneur):
b. Pitching to VC:
• Elevator Pitch—5 – 15 second (passionate, engaging) explanation of your startup, and the BENEFITS of its products, services, and vision for the future.
• Business Plan Deck (aka Plan Deck; Pitch Deck)—video or powerpoint presentation on your product/startup. No more than 15 minutes. Pitch deck should include:
—Startup Team: Company staff/team and their credentials (from Stanford or MIT with a doctorate in AI Analytics, and you can basically tell them how much you want). Include other startups the founders have been active in launching.
—Product/service features & benefits list, and how they fulfill the needs of the company’s projected target markets
—Projected R & D, i.e. upgrades and/or new products (horizontal/vertical markets)
—Projected sales/costs timeline, for at least 5 years in the future
—Marketing Plan, including potential advertising and marketing campaigns, to company’s current and projected target market/s
• Kickstarter—funding creative and business projects. All-or-nothing model requires reaching the proposed monetary goal in order to acquire the money.
• GoFundMe—individual fund raising for medical issues to sports equipment for kid’s team. Every donation is received regardless if $$$ goal is met.
• Change.org—petition funding for individual, local and global causes.
• Debt-based funding—allows a group of individual, or institutional lenders, to lend funds to individuals or businesses in return for interest payment on top of capital repayments. Rebuilding Society
• Equity-based crowdfunding—enables broad groups of investors to fund startup companies and small businesses in return for equity in the company (like VC and Angel Funding).
►Read Top 10 Best Equity Crowdfunding: http://equity-crowdfunding-review.toptenreviews.com/
►Watch: Crowdfunding Explained:
►Watch: Crowdfunding Explanation, Start Investing and Gain Financial Returns: