A Clear View: The Clearpoint Agency Blog

Clearpoint Agency Earns Three More Awards

Posted on October 27, 2015

Public relations, social media and digital marketing agency has been recognized by PRSA, Health Care Communicators of San Diego County, and PR Daily over its 13-year history

SAN DIEGO – Oct. 27, 2015 Clearpoint Agency, Inc., a public relations and digital marketing firm, received three awards at last week’s San Diego Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Edward L. Bernays Awards. The agency continues its winning streak, having received peer-reviewed Bernays awards for every year in which it has entered the competition. To date, the agency has earned a total of 32 industry awards since opening its offices in 2002.

“Bernays Awards are earned by organizations that performed exemplary public relations work during the past year,” said Amber Albrecht, APR, president of PRSA San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter. “The awards are challenging to win because the judges are not familiar with the nominees and must critique the work completely on its own merits against work completed by PR teams of all sizes and budgets. Year after year, Clearpoint Agency proves its ability to create exemplary communications programs, earning them awards.”

At this year’s Bernays event, the Silver Mark of Excellence award for integrated communications was presented to Clearpoint for the integrated program for AleSmith Brewing Company, an award-winning craft brewery based in San Diego. As the brewery celebrated 20 years and opened a new brewing facility, Clearpoint created messaging, generated public awareness with significant earned national media, assisted with fundraising concepts, created mascot themes, and ensured the entire strategy from media relations to events was integrated and on track. This is the third time Clearpoint has earned the Silver award for integrated communications programs.

The second award Clearpoint earned was a Bronze Mark of Excellence in speech writing for SynteractHCR. The award-winning speech, entitled “Tomorrow’s Treatments Today,” focused on the opportunities and challenges in bringing new drugs and therapies to the patients who need them and was delivered by a President Obama look-alike at the company’s Washington DC reception for clients and media. This is the fifth award Clearpoint has earned for its work with SynteractHCR. Past awards include business-to-business marketing, website writing and rebranding, overall public relations campaign for rebranding, and internal communications.

The third award was a Bronze Mark of Merit for social media campaign strategies for Zodiac Pool Systems, a global leader in pool and spa product manufacturing. Clearpoint took a fresh approach to Zodiac’s social media to present Zodiac as a fun, approachable and knowledgeable brand. Clearpoint created social campaigns including a 12 Days of Christmas campaign based on Zodiac Pool products, and a “Did you Know?” educational series to increase engagement, followers, “likes,” and fans. This is the fifth PRSA award Clearpoint has earned for its work with Zodiac. Clearpoint was previously awarded for research and evaluation, integrated communications, and social media strategy and management for the pool product manufacturer.

“Every year, the PRSA Bernays submission process challenges our team to examine our creativity, strategy and skills as PR professionals in an ever-changing industry,” said Clearpoint Agency President Bonnie Shaw. “To submit your work and have others in your profession say it’s award-worthy is extremely meaningful to our team. We are honored to be recognized by the PRSA year after year.”

The annual Bernays Awards are open to all agencies and organizations in San Diego and Imperial counties and recognize the finest in public relations campaigns, professionals and elements in a range of categories.

See a complete list of Clearpoint’s award-winning projects here: http://clearpointagency.com/index.php/awards/.

About Clearpoint Agency, Inc.
For more than 13 years, Clearpoint Agency has developed award-winning PR, social media and marketing communications programs for B2B and B2C clients in technology, consumer products, financial and professional services, manufacturing and biotech industries. From strategy and content development to media relations and social media, the experts at Clearpoint’s team have the experience to generate buzz for your brand and creatively communicate your message to target audiences.

Website: www.clearpointagency.com                   Twitter: @ClearpointPR                Facebook: ClearpointPRAgency
LinkedIn: Clearpoint Agency       Blog: Clear View

Contact
Julie Willis
760.230.2424
Julie@clearpointagency.com

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Top 3 Tips to Make Your Company Twitter Account Sing: Part 3

Posted on July 23, 2015

Blue bird

 

Part 3: Develop an honest and meaningful image

When growing a business, the company’s image is one of the most important factors of its success. Many businesses might seem like copies of others, but each business has different members, products, or messages that make it unique. Twitter pages should project the image you visualize for your company.

Consistency

In the world of business, presenting your image consistently equates to strong branding. If your business model suggests professionalism, do not try to be casual or overly humorous on your Twitter page. If you wouldn’t say something to a client or customer, then do not say it on Twitter. Ultimately, you decide on the message and brand you want to convey; unfortunately, getting that wrong can hurt your prestige as a business. You should know what your customers expect from you, and adjust your social media voice accordingly.

Balance

However, “business” does not mean “boring.” One advantage of Twitter is the natural liveliness that comes with using so few characters, and businesses should use that to their advantage. Even if you want to stay professional, posting fun articles and noting interesting events makes you look more personable. As long as your humor is not one-sided or insulting, it can be a powerful tool in gaining followers, and in turn, more business. Finding the right balance between professionalism and personality is like arranging a business-casual outfit: it gives you both a clean image and a sense of style.

Respect

Most importantly, though, make sure you respect other users and reciprocate. Twitter is a fun, fast moving tool that can lead you to more business and more contacts. If you re-tweet someone’s post, make sure to respectfully acknowledge them; they will appreciate the acknowledgement and might return the favor later. Respond professionally to direct messages and other comments, too. Don’t start debates with others or argue about issues unrelated to your business. These tips might seem self-explanatory, but so many people forget how public Twitter is. If you choose not to follow the above guidelines, people will notice, and they will mention it either publically or privately.

Hopefully, these tips for Twitter success leaves you more confident about managing a Twitter account for your business. Following these guidelines will help you grow your social media presence, and prevent you from becoming a Twitter stereotype.

These tips were inspired by the articles 50 Tweetable Twitter Tips You Wish You Knew Years Ago and Twitter Tips for Beginners.

This blog was contributed by Clearpoint Agency intern, Conner Shaw.

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Top 3 Tips to Make Your Company Twitter Account Sing: Part 2

Posted on July 15, 2015

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Part 2: Attract followers with simple methods, but pay attention

Gaining Twitter followers takes time and effort. When first creating an account, the proportion streams you follow to followers is going to be high. If your page is six months old and that’s still the case, then you might need to make some strategic changes.

Clarity

Your Twitter page should look up-to-date and clean. That means using a relevant profile picture, header image, and bio. To other businesses, you’ll look more professional; to consumers, you’ll look like a trustworthy brand. That’s really how you should look at your Twitter page: it’s your brand in the form of social media. Do not leave out the details people want to know about your business. Also, respond to other users when they mention you or comment on your posts. Just as you do with real-life business, sell yourself as credible on your Twitter page and back it up.

Relevance

Once your page is ready, you want to follow other relevant Twitter accounts. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people follow accounts in seemingly random ways. The goal of following others on Twitter is to have them follow you back, not to look cultured or interested in everything. Look for relevant potential followers by searching keywords. Review what they are posting and how often they are posting to help determine if your company should follow them. Overly aggressive following strategies make businesses look desperate. Also, following too many people at once (around 100 in less than an hour is a good limit) makes Twitter think of you as a spam bot, meaning Twitter might block your page. That’s not good for business. Following new business leads is good for business, and the benefits range from growing your reputation to getting ahead of your competitors, according to Business 2 Community. A large commonality between social media and business is the need for connections.

Patience

After you follow these two steps, focus on the content of your tweets. Then, after a few weeks (two or three at most), check your progress. Hopefully, the pages you followed will return the favor. If not, then stop following them. As a business, chasing after people who are not interested in your brand is a waste of time. Social media is not about advertising to the general public, it is about connecting to specific people who want what you have to offer or want to hear what you have to say. In addition, unfollowing and refollowing pages makes you look like a stalker, and they will certainly notice. Just move on.

This blog was contributed by Clearpoint Agency intern, Conner Shaw. 

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Top 3 Tips to Make Your Company Twitter Account Sing: Part 1

Posted on July 08, 2015

If you’ve browsed personal Twitter feeds recently, you’ve likely encountered the stereotypical Twitter personas. Among others, there are those who tweet about seemingly every breath they take, those who never come up with anything original, those who try too hard to be funny or ironic, and those who treat their Twitter page like a neglected pile of clothes – something they’ll “get to when they feel like it.” Unsurprisingly, these personas also resemble common business personas found on Twitter; however, businesses following the above methods can encounter much more drastic effects. A sloppy social media stream can leave lasting detriments on a company’s image. Even worse, ignoring social media altogether might open the door for your competitors to build brand awareness where your brand is silent.

To help your business Twitter page build a positive persona and reputation, we are sharing a three-part series on our top tips to help your Twitter page sing a social media melody and compel more people to sing along. Here is Part 1:

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Part 1: Create clean and effective tweets

Twitter gives users the tools to answer the question “What’s Happening?” as long as they follow the 140 character limitation. There are plenty of ways people can do this wrong, but let’s talk about what to do right:

#Hashtags

First, use solid hashtags, but in moderation. Hashtags not only give your post some flair, but they also link your post to a nexus of other tweets posting about similar topics, therefore allowing more users to see your post when they search for the designated hashtag. Be careful though; #using #hashtags for #everything does not look #professional. Two to three effective hashtags (as in those that describe the purpose or content of your tweet) per post should be enough to get your message across without overwhelming other users. If you can, embed your hashtags within the body of the tweet to bring more attention to what you want users to see.

Flair

Next, include an image or video if you can. If you’re linking to an article or other news source, relevant images make your post stand out in a good way. Most of the time, articles will include an image that you can use for your own post. If you absolutely cannot fit an image into your tweet without taking away from the central message, then don’t include one. The goal of an image is to visually improve your message, and with Twitter’s limitation on words, the saying “pictures are worth a thousand words” applies and helps you say more in your tweet.

Agenda

Finally, post often, but within reason. If you find yourself lacking the time to look for content on your own, re-tweet other posts relevant to your industry. As long as you credit the original poster, you’re engaging the community as if you found the content yourself (and you could potentially gain more exposure with the original poster’s followers). Use tools such as Hootsuite to help you schedule posts throughout your day rather than individually posting each tweet yourself. The worst Twitter page is a dead Twitter page; however, posting too much could leave your followers with overexposure effect. When you use Twitter for business, your followers are also your customers and peers within your industry. If those people grow tired of hearing about every new development every few minutes, you lose credibility. Just be smart about how often you post. The lifespan of a tweet is only a few hours, and the optimal number of tweets per day is about four to six.

This blog was contributed by Clearpoint Agency intern, Conner Shaw. 

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Five Tips to Make Your Business Facebook Page a Success

Posted on April 28, 2014

Woman Clicking Like Button. She Likes It!Today it seems like everyone is on Facebook. That’s probably because more than half of the United States population has a profile. Even Grandma writes “happy birthday” on your timeline. The good news is Facebook isn’t just for catching up with grandma or posting pictures of your cat anymore, it is an effective marketing tool for business! According to HubSpot social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC.  So, how does your business get a piece of this marketing pie? Here are five tips to develop your business Facebook page into a successful marketing piece.

1. Always keep an eye on your end goal, otherwise you run the risk of getting caught up in all the Facebook chaos. Set up a list of objectives to accomplish through the use of Facebook. This will prevent straying from the path. Questions to consider when establishing goals are “Why should the company have a Facebook page?” or “What is the company trying to accomplish through social media in general?” For example, some companies invest in social media to increase brand exposure, to increase web traffic, or to gain market insights, according to Social Media Today. Decide what’s important to your company and stick to it. Remember to keep your expectations realistic, too.

2. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Stay dedicated to the plan you have committed to. There are many social networking sites out there, and it’s tempting to join every one so as not to miss out. However, too many companies set up a social media profile, update it once and then forget about it. The profile turns into a “ghost” of your former ambition. It looks careless and inconsistent. Best to have just one or two profiles and do a good job managing those.

3. Stay relevant. This goes back to posting pictures of cats, and other stuff people don’t care about. For example, it’s not effective social media if a pharmaceutical company posts about a celebrity’s tragic outfit. Facebook is an opportunity to present your company as a highly credible and knowledgeable industry source. Post about topics that your audience is going to be interested in and find valuable.

4. Have fun! This is a chance to swap formality with personality. People like to see companies as humans too. This opens up possibilities for great brand and customer relationships, and to build trust between the two. Show your brand’s personality and your company culture with cool images, fun pics of your team, feel-good posts about your community and other human interest posts.

5. Be generous and you will be rewarded. Share the posts you find valuable from other Facebook pages.  By sharing you not only help a customer, partner or influencer reach your audience, but you will benefit from reaching a wider audience because their followers will see your share when you tag the original post with that Facebook’s handle.

This blog was contributed by Samantha Forth, Account Coordinator at Clearpoint Agency.

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Marketing to a Mobile Audience in 2014

Posted on January 28, 2014

bigstock-Mobile-And-Tablet-Business-Com-53901223Throughout the last 100 years, a number of new technologies have shaken the foundation of marketing strategy. New rules, ideas and tools capitalized on the weaknesses of the popular trends before them and opened up exciting ways to reach target audiences. Before there was TV, there was radio, and before radio, there was print. Each time a new technological innovation came along, a new trend in the way an audience could be reached emerged. Marketers adjusted and adopted strategies to be successful in the marketplace; those who failed to adapt died off. The same is true today.

The most recent shift in marketing trends has been the heavy focus placed on mobile marketing. In the first six months of 2012, marketers spent $1.2 Billion on mobile advertising, compared to $3 Billion in the first six months of 2013. The fast-growing budget isn’t slowing down either. According to a LinkedIn Marketing Solutions report on Mashable, 64 percent of marketers and agencies will increase their mobile advertising budgets this year. In fiscal terms, mobile ad spending is projected to surpass $13 Billion in 2014.

Why are these budgets skyrocketing? It’s because the average consumer spends more than half of their time online on a mobile device or smartphone. The latest TapSense mobile marketing report on Forbes.com mentions why marketers see this as a great money-making opportunity. According to the report, “79% of smartphone users are ‘smartphone buyers.’” This enormous market is still increasing in size, but there is no clear-cut path to reach them.

Currently, the most popular way to reach this demographic is through social media. According to the LinkedIn report, “17% of the time people spend on their mobile devices is on a social network.” This large target demographic already spends more than half of their online time on mobile, and a large chunk of that time is to access social media. Because of this, TapSense identifies social media as the best tactic for marketing to a mobile audience, and advises agencies to tailor their content to social network apps.

Our advice to you is to figure this mobile game out as well. The experts at MarketingProfs agree, expecting marketers “to significantly increase their investment in mobile,” because those that do “will find significant ROI from mobile marketing in 2014.”

 

This blog was contributed by Ryan Sabatini, Account Coordinator at Clearpoint Agency.

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Six Steps That Will Increase Social Media Engagement and Success!

Posted on November 26, 2013

B2B companies use social media to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic and generate leads. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 87% of B2B brands use social media to engage audiences and distribute digital content to prospective and current customers. If you’re looking to increase engagement, it is important to have a strong social media strategy. Here are six core elements to keep in mind when you implement your social plan.

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1. Make sure you know your audience and the social channels your customers and potential customers prefer. If you don’t have the bandwidth to manage all major social channels out there, pick two or three your audience seems to prefer and concentrate your presence on them.

2. Polish your social channels to perfection. This includes having a custom design or background, aligning your logo to fit the space provided, filling out accurately all fields of content, and making sure everything is consistent with your company messaging, website and brand.

3. Create an editorial calendar for your posts. News can change based on company developments, but having an ed cal handy won’t hurt. This is meant especially for holidays, national industry days, charity events and so on.

4. Monitor engagement regularly. Show your fans and followers that you are on top of it and respond to their comments promptly. Setting up email alerts will help you monitor your social media activity closely.

5. Track your analytics. If you consistently look at the analytics, you will get a better understanding of peak times when your audience is more likely to engage, which kinds of posts they find more interesting and how often you should generate activity.

6. Lastly, don’t forget the visuals. It has been proven that posts that include appealing images generate more engagement. Make sure you own the rights of the image or use public domain photos. It’s a good idea to set aside a budget for a stock image subscription.

There is no perfect formula out there to guarantee social media success. Once you know your audience well and have created solid social media channels for your company, monitor the analytics and engagement and enjoy the social space. Also, remember that you need to be ready to experiment with your posts, visuals and timing. Happy sharing!

This post was contributed by Antonia Genov, Account Executive at Clearpoint Agency.

 

 

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Social Marketing is About Making the Customer Feel Something

Posted on August 31, 2013

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A Recap of Social Fresh West 2013, San Diego, CA

Attending the Social Fresh West conference in San Diego last week confirmed for me that as much as the social and digital space focuses on technology, it takes a backseat to emotional connections. The conference featuring various au courant speakers, emphasized the need to get through all the noise, find the right place, the right time, to say the right thing in the right format AND make your customer FEEL something. At the heart of this media technology frenzy, are the hearts of people.

 

It’s all about great content.

Sarah Evans of @journchat fame said great content makes people want to share, care or swear. As far back as 2009, media scholar Henry Jenkins brilliantly noted: If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.

Brian Solis, social space thought leader, made clear that businesses now compete for attention and relevance. Social is no longer a business tactic but rather a philosophy and lifestyle. Psychographics trump demographics. Solis introduced the concept of Generation-C (connected), defined by behavior, not age. Empowered by information, these individuals are demanding, sophisticated and vocal.

Closing out the celebration of Clearpoint Agency’s 10 year anniversary, the following are 10 take-aways from Social Fresh West 2013 that relate to great content, being relevant and creating an emotional connection in the social space.

 

  1. Know your customer. This requires knowing how and where they will engage with you based on their current behaviors and understanding their current relationship with your brand and with your other customers.
  2. Know yourself, your organization, your products and your goals. This requires knowing how you can improve your customer’s life; knowing how you can change the relationship between you and your customers, and amongst your customers; and finally clearly defining what you are trying to accomplish for your organization. In “Groundswell,” Li and Bernoff list what organizations can accomplish in social including listening which serves a researching function and support which can serve as customer support or help. Knowing your organization includes understanding your limits and capacity: can you be accountable? Intuit’s Global Head of Social, Adrian Parker, shared that in order to maintain a healthy relationship with your customer you need to be able to provide 3 positive experiences to your customer for any negative one.
  3. Manage the “Brand Divide”. This is Solis’ term for the gap between the brand promise and the customer experience. Sometimes what you do will make your customers feel anger or frustration. This will also be shared. It will take a lot more effort to right a wrong, rather than making the effort to keeping your customers happy in the first place.
  4. Content must be mobile optimized. Marketing Strategist and Consultant Tim Hayden shared that more than 70 percent of social activity occurs on mobile devices. Consuming and sharing content should be effortless with minimal clicking, tapping or delay! Solis suggests having content “born digital” where experiences and services align with Generation-C’s expectations, consistently across all devices.
  5. Master the #hashtag. Bryan Srabian, director of social media for the San Francisco Giants (who have the most Instagramed MLB stadium), advocates simple, consistent and easy-to-remember hashtags. Tim Hayden emphasized the importance of knowing popular, no-brand hashtags (e.g. #nofilter #instagood #fail), and capitalizing on trending hashtags as discussed in Ryan’s Clearpoint Agency blog post earlier.
  6. Visuals are the new headlines. The importance of visuals was emphasized by almost all the speakers. Generation-C’s notorious short attention spans, allow you only seconds to grab them: visuals are more engaging and sharing inducing. Sarah Evans introduced the term the “Pintristification & Instagramization” of content.  Ask yourself – is this image pin-worthy and sharable? Great content is generally great looking. She strongly recommends investing in great design when budget and bandwidth allows.
  7. Quality and quantity matter. Surprisingly, research has shown that more is more. Morton’s and Billboard tweet anywhere from 30 to 60 times a day. Dan Zarrella, author of “Science of Lead Generation,” shared that unsubscribe rates are higher for campaigns that email less frequently. Also, he explained that it is important to email on a customers’ schedule, not yours. Clickthroughs are highest with new subscribers. You need to be in constant contact with your consumers or you will be forgotten.
  8. Social trumps SEO. If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead. Sharing helps index content and contributes to the leveraging of organic search. Again, emphasizing that creating great, compelling, sharable content is essential. Also, when thinking about SEO, it is equally important to consider key phrases as well as keywords. Generation-C searches questions and phrases.
  9. B2Bs marketing should go mainstream. B2Bs can benefit from B2C best practices. In B2C scenarios, brands have suffered by ignoring the relationship building benefits of social and ignoring that they are dealing with people. In the B2B world, although in theory it is a business servicing another business, the transactions happen via people who are also consumers having social experiences. B2Bs should be thinking about great content and great visuals too.
  10. Repurpose and then repurpose again. LinkedIn’s Jason Miller, noted the importance of repurposing content. He identified B2Bs as having enormous potential to create valuable content through repurposing. B2Bs generally have tons of “pre-loved” content available. This content is prime material to be reimagined into blogs, slide presentations, infographics, webinars, videos and more!

 

Whether it’s pre-loved or fresh, in the end you have to find a way to make the love connections just to give your content a pulse. If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.

This post was contributed by Erika Couric, Assistant Account Executive at Clearpoint Agency.

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Get Busy Blogging: 10 Reasons to Blog

Posted on September 27, 2012

In recognition of Clearpoint Agency’s 10 year anniversary, our content will be featuring posts all year long about the number 10. From “10 Social Marketing Tips You May Have Missed” to “10 Reasons to Blog,” we’ll brighten your appreciation for all things 10. Have a tenacious idea? Let us know!

Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, you want to consider a blog. Blogging is a great marketing tool that along with social media will increase your online presence and enhance your company’s brand. Here are 10 reasons why you should use blogging to target your audience in a meaningful and creative way. Succesful blog

1. Become an expert. Remember, by running a business you already are an expert in certain areas. Stick to writing on topics you are already comfortable with and have knowledge about. This way you can define your niche, provide insightful information and become an expert in the area.

2. Share with the world. Okay, you’ve already found your niche and want to share your ideas and opinions with your readers. Even better, you can promote your company’s culture and tell your customers about the latest fundraisers you’ve had or fun holiday parties you’ve attended. Another big component is providing tips to your current and potential customers.

3. Expand your social media channels/platforms. Hosting a blog doesn’t require being tech savvy or knowing HTML code. There are free user-friendly platforms like WordPress and Blogger that will let you do that without knowing HTML code. They offer themes that allow you to customize your blog to best fit your company’s brand. Consider adding your blog to your website to make it easy for customers to find and boost SEO.

4. Cross promote your brand. Having multiple social media channels will help enhance your brand. With an established blog, you can’t miss on sharing your new posts via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms you use. Cross promotion is important because using several social media channels will help you reach the most audience. Keep in mind that depending on demographics and other factors, certain audiences may have preferences to a particular social media channel.

5. Interact with your audience. Your readers and followers will be interested in the insight you provide on your blog and it is likely they will comment on your posts. Responding to these comments is a great way to interact with your audience, be it customers, employees or partners. This will make your blog more human and will eventually enhance your brand even more.

6. Measure results. As any other social media channel, blogging platforms provide an analytics section where you can browse the traffic and views you get as well as search terms, click throughs and so on. This is a good way to experiment with keywords and include more terms that will lead users to your blog, or even better, to your company website.

7. Educate your audience. Let’s say you are launching a tech-heavy product or offering specialty services that need a deeper explanation. Writing a blog on it will be a great way to educate your customers on the specs and details of your products and services. You can use it almost as an FAQ, but in a narrative form.

8. Attend special (VIP and invitation-only) events. Once you have a solid following and a good online influence, you could receive perks like invitations to fun private events, pre-opening parties, or even speaking opportunities. Attend these events to further promote your brand.

9. Increase your Klout score. There has been a lot said about the Klout score, but it still remains the main indicator that calculates your overall social media influence. Writing a blog will definitely help increase your Klout score and make you a specialist in the topics you want to be known for. In fact, some those special events mentioned above require a Klout of 45 or higher.

10. Show diversity. Don’t think that the blog is another responsibility for the marketing manager. To keep it fresh and current you will need to post entries often. Here is where your resources come in place. Once you have your topic schedule, ask different employees to help you depending on their background and expertise.

This post was contributed by Antonia Genov, Clearpoint Agency Account Coordinator

 

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10 Steps to Rock Social Media

Posted on August 31, 2012

In recognition of Clearpoint Agency’s 10 year anniversary, our content will be featuring posts all year long about the number 10. From “10 Social Marketing Tips You May Have Missed” to “10 Reasons to Blog,” we’ll brighten your appreciation for all things 10. Have a tenacious idea? Let us know!

Social media has changed the landscape of business; it has altered the way companies and customers interact with each other. It’s important to remember that social media is not your ticket to a quick sale, or an excuse to intrude on personal space. It is about cultivating a relationship with your customers and building brand loyalty.

1. Set-up your hub. This is the place you want customers to go to view products or services and make a purchasing decision. It could be your website, blog or newsletter for example. Driving traffic to your hub via links will help convert fans and followers into customers, and will increase your search engine rankings. Every inbound link to a website informs Google that others are checking out the site, and demonstrates that it offers good content.

2. Choose your social media platform(s). Some of the most popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. Choose the social network where you are most likely to reach your customers. Be where they are! Set realistic goals on how many social networks you can handle, because an inactive profile can actually do more harm to your reputation than not having one at all.

3. Identify your activity goals on social media. Know the outcomes you would like to receive from being on a social network, so you can take strategic steps toward achieving those goals. For example are you looking to gain valuable feedback on your products, receive more engagement on your posts, get more customer referrals, or build a community for support and customer service.

4. Determine brand positioning. Before you start promoting your business online, decide what messages you want to communicate to your fans. Are you tech savvy? Community focused? Earth friendly? Are you a financial services company that offers a better way of doing business? Find ways to weave in what your company is about. Customizing the Facebook cover image or Twitter background is a great place to start.

5. Research your target market. It all starts with research. Before you start engaging fans, you need to find out what their needs and desires are. Don’t be afraid to visit a competitor’s page for inspiration and note what types of posts are (or are not) getting engagement.

6. Make a calendar. Decide the types of posts you want to make and how many posts you will have each day/week/month. This requires a little extra work up front, but will save a lot of time in the long run and keep you focused and consistent. If you find your activity level is becoming too time-consuming, consider signing up for a social media management system or seek out a PR agency to manage social media for you.

7. Create your own content. It’s nice to share others’ content, but it’s best to share your own. That way YOUR key messages, differentiators and personality are being communicated with YOUR audience. When creating content, make it visual, concise and deliver it in a human voice.

8. Don’t wait for others. Start the engagement. When you a make a post, think, “Who can I mention or tag in this?” This is a way to gently alert someone that your post involves them. Keep in mind that this works both ways, if someone kindly mentions or tags you, comment back.

9. Promote your channel. Just like a new product on the market, promotions are necessary to let people know what exists out there. If you have a new social media profile, let people know! Embed feeds on your website or blog, add icons to your promotional collateral, and add links to your email signature and regular newsletters. If on Facebook, you may want to think about running targeted ads to help build your community.

10. Measure results. Go beyond likes and followers. Those are just numbers. Keep track of how well your posts are engaging others. Have your links been shared, pictures commented on, or polls voted on? Bitly.com is a free tool that shortens long links and measures how many times the link has been clicked. Google Analytics is another free tool that can be easily embedded into your webpage or blog to measure traffic. After you have discovered new insights, make adjustments to your strategies where needed.

Now you are ready to engage your customers and spread the word about your company. Clearpoint Agency regularly provides expert social media support to our clients, so if you feel overwhelmed, check out our social media page for ways we can help you.

This post was contributed by Rachel Hutman, Clearpoint Agency Account Executive

Posted in Blog, Branding, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Marketing, Pinterest, Public Relations, Social Media, YouTube | Leave a comment

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