Social media is doing nothing for your business. Here’s why.

It’s time for businesses to realize that social media isn’t just for teenagers or time wasters. It has officially emerged as an effective tool for generating leads. Two-thirds of online adults use social networking, and almost half use it daily. And they aren’t just watching cat videos and updating their personal status. Today, prospective customers are using social media to discover new offerings and educate themselves through the buying journey. This makes social media an important channel to engage with your target audience, with the end result being greater amplification of your message and more qualified leads generated.
Unfortunately many businesses aren’t using social media in the right ways. Do you fall into this list? If you’re guilty of the problems, below it’s time for a social media check…

You don’t understand your buyer

It’s critical to understand how your buyer uses social media. Do your homework and get to know your audience. Reach out to your community, partners and trusted customers, either through a structured outreach program or via your social platforms, and give them an opportunity to provide feedback on what’s working, and what’s not. Ask them what social platforms they use, how they use them, and what behaviors they exhibit, in order to determine your best social media mix.

Your content is boring readers

Buyers are much more likely to engage with you on social media when you offer compelling content. Types of content formats that work well include blog posts, white papers, webinars, infographics, slide presentations, and videos. Any type of content with the ability to inform or entertain can be used; the common denominator is providing value to your customer. The content you share should be helpful, relevant, and engaging. For some products and services, comical and playful content is effective.
If you choose to offer content behind a form on a landing page, it will give you an opportunity to gather contact information and generate a lead when someone accesses it. Here’s an example of a solid piece of content that is offered on a landing page and entices readers to download.

You aren’t using the right social channels

There are many social media sites you can use to support lead generation. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn receive a lot of attention and deservedly so; they’re the big four of social, with massive memberships ranging from LinkedIn’s 313 million members to Twitters’ 271 million and Facebook’s 1.3 billion. Despite a late start, Google+ has rocketed to second place in total users, with over a half-billion. When starting out, you should focus on one or more of these networks. The social channels you choose to pursue first will depend on your industry, your product or service offering, and where your customers/prospects are hanging out online.
As you gain experience and grow your content database, expand your efforts to other social sites that appeal to your buyers. Look in particular for brand-agnostic community sites and forums where your buyers spend time. You should use every channel that is relevant to your buyers, but make sure that you have the bandwidth to execute well in any and all channels in which you decide to have a presence. You’ll have far more impact going deep than going wide.

You’re focused on quantity, not quality

Numbers of followers and fans, by themselves, aren’t necessarily the only thing you’re after. Ideally, every connection you make would somehow be linked to your goals and objectives in business, both now and in the future. Fewer targeted connections are better than a bunch of people who will never actually purchase what you’re selling. Keep these firmly in mind as you create your social strategies and execute them.

Get started with social media lead generation

Now is the time where we say “if you answered yes to one or more of these questions, your social media is not being used as effectively as it could be for lead generation.” So we’ve prepped a little guide called 11 Steps to Social Media Lead Generation

What My Career Taught Me that Marketing School Didn’t

In my five years of undergraduate and post-graduate education, my brain was packed with  more information than I ever thought was imaginable. My bachelor of commerce degree taught me everything from economics to supply chain management while my post-grad certificate in public relations taught me about social media, public affairs and strategic communications. I’m grateful for my years of learning and am lucky enough to have experienced both sides of the coin — university taught me how tothink and college taught me how to do.
But there’s also a lot I didn’t learn.
After school was over, I embarked on a career as a Giant. A lot of the bigger picture things I do on an everyday basis as a client success coordinator (strategy, planning, project management, reporting) came naturally — I felt prepared to take on these tasks with confidence based on what I had learned during my studies. But when it came to some of the tactical aspects of digital marketing, I found my knowledge sometimes falling short.
As someone who worked toward a degree based on traditional marketing principles, I had a huge learning curve to adjust to. I’ve been with Digital Giants for almost a year now, and I can confidently say that the learning never stops.
Here’s what my career (thus far) in digital marketing has taught me that school never did:

Social Media Engagement & Influencer Outreach

While the PR program taught me the basics of social media (how to craft great social content, develop an online voice and how to use social channels effectively) there are a couple things I’ve had to learn on my own through research and experimentation.
I know there’s (unfortunately) not a tell-all guide that will help you to excel at social engagement, but some previous guidance would have been helpful as a new grad. There seems to be a lot of unwritten rules when it comes to social media — follow those who favourite your content, reciprocate shares, and much, much more. Knowing these rules prior to being unleashed in the world of community management would have given me a leg up.
Influencer outreach is something else I wish I had learned, especially through social channels. While I’d been schooled on more traditional media relations, outreach through social media and other digital channels was a foreign concept to me. Withinfluencer marketing on the steady rise, more educational institutions should consider teaching the art of digital communication and the basics of social media outreach.
With social media, hierarchies and the old way of working is becoming lost. Access through social allows people from every part of your organization to become your brand ambassadors. In fact, your most important brand ambassadors are your employees and you need to empower them to share.
What I’ve learned to be the best way to engage? Ask questions, send compliments, add your own two cents.

Online Advertising

Online advertising is so important to us as digital marketers, but as a student four years ago, “Adwords” and “pay-per-click” were nothing more to me than words in a textbook.
Since working with Digital Giants, I’ve learned how to develop, implement, target, manage and report on campaigns for various clients — more than I had ever learned from a book or lecture. I’m the kind of person that learns by doing; something that my university program didn’t offer during my four years of studies.
Online training programs like Clickminded have made the learning process a lot easier, but there’s always something new on the horizon. It’s a constant influx of information just waiting to be digested.

Keyword Research & Search Engine Optimization

“How much experience do you have with search marketing and optimization?” my soon-to-be-boss asked at my first job interview.
It was like he had spoken a different language.
Search marketing and the practice of search engine optimization was another big hole I discovered in my education — this was probably the biggest hurdle I had to overcome during  my journey through digital marketing.
After joining the Digital Giants’ team, I had to learn how search engines worked, how keywords can bring us to the information we’re looking for, and how strategically placing these tiny terms on your website can act as “street signs” to bring your customers to you.
I learned how to use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to determine search volumes. I also became acquainted with gShift, apowerful marketing software that we use to help clients dig deep into website data to build high-performing web presences.
None of my formal education had prepared me for this part of digital marketing — which is arguably the biggest and most important piece of the puzzle.

Website Development and Design

I’d learned a little bit of design during my post-grad studies. It was enough to help me think creatively and develop small-scale design projects like brochures, posters, website banners or images for ad banners. But developing a website from scratch was a different story. It less about pretty pictures and graphics, and more about helping a buyer through their journey.
At Digital Giants, we’re lucky enough to work with some pretty awesome partners that make website development a whole lot less painstaking. It’s still something I wish I had learned more of at school to have made the learning curve seem a little less daunting.

My Future as a Digital Marketing Professional

Although I found there were gaps in my marketing education, I haven’t found it difficult to learn. With the help of my awesome team, our online resources and a toolkit I’ve built full of information I’ve encountered along the way, learning has been (relatively) painless, and — dare I say it? — fun.
As digital marketing professionals, are we ever really finished learning? Do we ever feel entirely prepared for what the day will throw at us? There will always be some learning to do — it’s a fast-paced field and innovative field, and that’s why we love it!


Marketing Automation Basics & How Businesses Are Using It

When it comes to marketing your company, every business owner wants to make sure they connect with current and potential customers as effectively as possible. Today’s buyer has virtually unlimited access to information. They have the power to find products and services at their own pace, and do so mostly online. This means that your website has become your single most important marketing asset – and your best performing sales tool!

Enter: Marketing Automation

If you haven’t heard much about marketing automation, now is the time to listen. The industry is expected to grow by 50% by 2015, and businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.
Wikipedia describes marketing automation as a software platform and technology designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.
We describe it a little bit differently.
Marketing automation creates a digital framework where both marketing and sales work together to understand and interact with the buyer throughout their entire buying lifecycle — in a well-organized, timely and personalized way. An effective marketing campaign is often the first step in customer acquisition, the renewal process and keeping leads engaged.
Most companies using marketing automation begin by applying it to email marketing, then scale it in different directions, based on need. Want to know what’s right for your business? We’ve got 20 possibilities for you.

20 Ways Marketing Automation Can Refine Your Marketing and Sales Process

  1. Create and manage email marketing campaigns with less time and effort.
  2. Apply qualification metrics to leads and contacts.
  3. Segment the database to support targeted, personalized campaigns.
  4. Nurture leads with timed content, to help them progress through the sales funnel.
  5. See and understand lead behaviour as leads move along or drop out of the sales funnel.
  6. Score leads to indicate sales readiness.
  7. Synchronize leads to the CRM system as they qualify.
  8. Help sales engage more effectively with buyers by using intelligence gathered at multiple touch points.
  9. Reduce costs by consolidating point tools.
  10. Reduce costs by saving time.
  11. Handle increased workloads without additional staff or specialized technical skills.
  12. Improve sales response times through information sharing between marketing and sales.
  13. Respond 24/7/365 with no downtime, no overtime, and no need for training or retraining.
  14. Create set-it-and-forget-it drip campaigns.
  15. Publish to multiple social accounts with one action.
  16. Eliminate manual data entry for webinar and event registrations.
  17. Manage all communications around webinars and events, from initial promotions to final follow-up.
  18. Get comprehensive understanding of each lead and customer by integrating marketing automation and CRM systems.
  19. Build complex marketing campaigns that coordinate multiple channels and messages automatically and in accordance with pre-strategized, lead-nurturing timeframes.
  20. Demonstrate marketing’s contribution to the company’s number of deals, and revenue.

No matter which way you choose, marketing automation will help you streamline your marketing and lead generation process and provide structure to how you want your buyer to interact with your product or service. The end result benefits both you and the buyer.
Looking for more information about why your business needs marketing automation? Download our comprehensive eBook below.

11 Steps to Using Twitter for Lead Generation

When Marc published his post about what he’d learned in #7yearsonTwitter, it was amazing to see the responses and interaction he received. For those who’ve been using Twitter for years, they could relate to what Marc learned.  Others came to us with questions. Sure, it was great that Marc had shared his learnings, but some readers wanted to know how they could use Twitter better, especially for their business and networking. We thought we’d explain this in an infographic (because who doesn’t love infographics!?). These 11 steps to using Twitter for lead generation are doable for any sized business, and you could even use them to build your personal brand.


3 Reasons Why Your Social Media Strategy Isn’t Working

Are you one of many businesses that’s still not seeing the benefits of social media? You’re not alone. We’ve all read articles that talk about the endless benefits that being present on social media can have for your business.
Here’s just a few we come across regularly:
  • Social media can help you boost your business’s online identity
  • A regular social media presence can lead to a spike in your inbound website traffic
  • A heightened sense of community around your business
  • Conversations online result in heightened brand loyalty
  • Social media marketing gives you more opportunities to convert followers, resulting in more sales and online conversions
  • Frequent social posts result in better search engine rankings
  • Stronger connections with customers 
But the truth is, not everyone is seeing these results. And that doesn’t mean these results aren’t possible — they definitely are. But you might be going about your social media management in a highly unproductive way that prevents you from benefiting from all your hard work.
To keep things short, sweet and interesting, we’ve developed an infographic to show you the top 3 reasons why your current social media strategy is failing.

Infographic: 3 Reasons Why Your Social Media Strategy is Failing

So what do you have to lose? If you’re already dedicating time to your social media, you’re halfway there. With a little extra effort and strategic thinking, your social media feeds can transform into lead generating, relationship building forums with big business payoffs.


7 Steps to Digital Marketing

Are you one of the 80% of companies that has no digital marketing strategy? Maybe you’re one of the 86% that wants to get started in digital, but barriers keep getting in your way?
We have good news and bad news.
First the bad news.
If you don’t have a digital marketing strategy, your business will suffer. If not now, then certainly over the long term. Your competition may already be taking advantage of the more than 40 hours per month North Americans are spending online. And if that’s not enough to convince you why you need to build your web presence, maybe this will: business buyers only contact suppliers directly when 57% of their purchase process is complete. Seriously….this means that over half of the buying process is focused on researching, forming opinions, reading reviews and reducing options before making a final decision.
Part of the problem is that most companies want to get started on a strategy, but don’t know how to do digital marketing.
Now the good news.
We’ve set you up with an infographic that outlines the 7 proven steps to getting started with digital marketing. And if that’s not enough, you’ll find a link at the end to our comprehensive eBook, The 7 Steps to Digital Marketing.
Start reading and then connect with us on Twitter for more insights.

Infographic: The 7 Steps Getting Started with Digital Marketing


10 Tips and Tricks for B2B Professionals to Maximize Their LinkedIn Presence

A decade ago professionals and businesses couldn’t use LinkedIn to make connections and close deals globally. In todays business world they are opening doors that were not once possible. Are you set up on LinkedIn to enter those doors?
So maybe you’ve created your LinkedIn account, added a picture and maybe even completed a few sections on your profile — and you thought that was enough to start making meaningful connections and growing business leads.
Sorry, you couldn’t be more wrong! There’s more work to do if you truly want to maximize your presence on LinkedIn.
Don’t be overwhelmed — it’s possible to start dominating on LinkedIn if you follow a simple process. That’s where our graphic below can help by walking you through each step to maximizing your LinkedIn profile. More detailed information is also available by downloading our ebook, I’m On LinkedIn, So Now What?
Start off by connecting with Digital Giants on LinkedIn and then get started with the process below….

Infographic: 10 Tips and Tricks for B2B Professionals to Maximize Their LinkedIn Presence


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