A Content Marketing Firm Helps Get Your Sales Team On Board With Content

content marketing firm chicagoAs a marketer, one of your main jobs is likely developing content that is useful to your customers, especially if you have a strong online presence. From compelling web content that first draws a prospect in, to highly-targeted email campaigns meant to close the deal, content is a vital component to the overall marketing strategy for many businesses.

Unfortunately, many marketers find that they struggle getting their sales team to use the content they created. Why? It often boils down to a lack of alignment between the two teams and a lack of communication about the type of content and messaging needed.

To get sales to use your content, you have to be on the same page about content development. Here’s how:

Powwow With Sales

content marketing strategies for businessOne of the easiest and most effective ways to get on the same page as your sales team is to meet with them on a regular basis. At minimum, get together monthly; more often for larger companies producing a lot of content. The goal is to get feedback as quickly as possible about what’s working and what’s not. The more often you meet, the more quickly you can change gears and adjust your content strategy to provide sales with the content they need – and will actually use.

Understand Your Brand’s Sales Cycle

How a consumer goes from a lead to a prospect to a buyer is different for every brand. Making sure both your sales and marketing teams understand the sales cycle each person goes through is vital to creating appropriate content at each touch point.

Be Helpful, Not Promotional

Obviously your content should promote your brand to some degree, but content that is deemed as too “salesy” is a turnoff to buyers. Instead, work with your sales team to understand your buyers’ needs and concerns and create content that addresses those in a helpful way.

Make Your Content Easy To Find

Your content should be easily accessible and organized so that your sales team can quickly find what they’re looking for. Cloud or server storage is ideal so that the content is updated in real-time and everyone has access to the most recent files.

Be Sure Your Content Meets Its Goal

If a free eBook download is supposed to result in 50 new leads per month but your email list is only growing by 20, you need to figure out what the problem is. It could be you’re not promoting it enough and an extra email campaign may provide the boost you need. If not, the issue could be with the content itself. This goes back to the importance of regular meetings to provide feedback on the effectiveness of content.

Meet Customers Where They Are

Not all of your content will be in the form of an email or PDF. Brands looking to boost their online presence and authority will use various platforms for publishing content and connecting with customers. One of the most effective is LinkedIn. With more than 400 million users in various niche industries, it’s one of the best places to find customers who are already interested in the type of solution you provide. The key is to ensure your LinkedIn profile is well-optimized so that your brand and content receive good exposure and traffic.


Design & Promote Can Evaluate Your Content Marketing Strategy

If you’re struggling to align your sales and marketing teams around content, a content marketing firm like Design & Promote can help evaluate and update your Chicago business’s strategy. Call 630-995-7109 to learn how we can help you create content that your sales team will actually want to use!

social media strategy

When consumers want more candid information about a topic – say, real pictures from other people about the latest wedding venue in town, or frank reviews about a hot new restaurant – Google and other search engines no longer provide the most relevant data in real-time.

But social media does. And more and more consumers are turning to social to discover raw, user-generated content that isn’t indexed in regular search engines.

How Does Social Search Work?

Using social search is as easy as logging into your platform of choice (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) and using the search function. In this I-Want-To micro-moment, you want to quickly know something, do something or go somewhere, and the relevance of what your search uncovers greatly depends on other users’ micro-moments and how they (knowingly or unknowingly) categorize the content they publish on social media as they go through their days.

Any time a person posts on social media using hashtags, location tagging and check-ins, they instantly become a “micro-content producer,” making their content public in order to share their experience and connect with like-minded consumers. Whether the content is relevant and useful to you is subjective, but the raw, unfiltered results in social search is part of the appeal to most users.

Search Multiple Social Media Platforms At Once

social-media-marketingFor casual users who only use Facebook or Pinterest, searching directly from the site isn’t an inconvenience. But for more serious searchers who want to get the pulse on a topic from across all social sites, there are social search engines with aggregate results in one place. Smashfuse and SocialMention are some of the most popular, and are free and easy to use, returning real-time results from all the major social sites.

There is even a free social media search engine called Social Searcher.

How Can A Brand Leverage Social Search?

In a society dominated by social media with consumers who strive to be in-the-know at all times, social search provides the trending information about people, places and events they crave.

For brands, the important thing to remember is that a lot of consumers are more interested in content created by other users – not content put out by brands themselves. That’s not to say you should halt your own social media marketing strategies, but instead shift your focus to encourage more engagement from customers and followers.

Create unique, but intuitive, hashtags for your brand and use them in your own posts. Don’t hesitate to ask users to use them as well! Also make sure the information on your location listings is accurate, and ask customers to check-in when they arrive to your place of business, or share their content using specific hashtags. Most people know that when they check-in, use location tagging or a hashtag in their social media posts, the content becomes public. The reason people choose to do this is specifically because they want their friends and family to know where they are, what they’re experiencing at that moment, and what their opinion of the place or brand is.

And that’s precisely what other users are looking for when they use social search.


LinkedIn Profile Tips From A Social Media Agency In Chicago

If you’ve been ignoring LinkedIn as a source of targeted traffic and leads, you’re leaving a lot of opportunity on the table. The social networking site claims more than 400 million registered users. Your audience, the folks who want in your products and services, is using it to connect. Why not take advantage of that fact?

One of the most important things you can do is to optimize your LinkedIn profile. Below, you’ll find a series of tips that will help you do so.

As a leading social media agency in Chicago, we believe audience engagement starts with making personal linkedin profile tips chicago social media agencyconnections. The following tips are ones we know to work on LinkedIn. They’ll help you to stand apart from your competition and outshine them in 2016.

#1 – Optimize Your Profile For Public Searches

People are going to search for you on Google. When they do, one of the first listings they’ll hopefully see is your LinkedIn profile. It’s critical that your public profile, the one people see when they’re not logged in to LinkedIn, is enticing enough to motivate them to investigate further.

How do you make your public profile enticing to your audience? Access your account settings page. Then, check the boxes that reflect the features you want to display. For example, you might choose to show an attractive headshot along with a listing of your awards, skills, endorsements and education.

#2 – Pick Keywords Your Audience Uses

People use keywords to search for professionals on LinkedIn. Optimize your profile with the phrases your audience uses.

For example, suppose you run a social media agency in Chicago. Your profile should come up when people use that keyword phrase. If it does, you’ll gain an instant advantage over your competitors whose pages don’t appear.

#3 – Give Recommendations

Recommendations can mean the difference between someone hiring your company and deciding to hire your competition. The challenge is obtaining them.

One strategy is to engage in an outreach program. You’d identify someone you’d like to recommend you. Then, you’d craft a carefully worded request asking the individual to do so. It’s a tough, frustrating road to travel. Many of your requests will be ignored.

Fortunately, there’s a much simpler strategy: make recommendations. When you recommend other people on LinkedIn, they’re notified of the mention. When they see that you’ve recommended them, they’ll be inclined to return the favor.

#4 – Blog On LinkedIn Citing Resources On Your Website

LinkedIn has a massive footprint. As mentioned above, it boasts 400 million users. The key is that many of them tune in regularly to read Pulse, the site’s blog. Why not leverage that attention to engage people who share your interests and coax them to your website?

An easy strategy for making this work is to write blog posts for Pulse that offer readers a list of valuable resources. Explain how each resource will help the reader accomplish a specific goal. Provide additional information about each resource on your site, giving readers an incentive to visit.

#5 – Comment On Content Shared In Your Network

Social media marketing is about sharing and connecting with likeminded individuals over interesting content. When someone in your network shares an article, blog or update relevant to your interests and expertise, be sure to comment on it. Doing so gives your profile more visibility.

While you’re at it, you should also share insightful content with people whose interests dovetail with your own. Post it to Twitter, post it to relevant LinkedIn groups or send it via a personal message to someone in your network.

#6 – Make Your Profile Visually-Engaging

Photos, infographics, screenshots and other visual content grab attention. Nowhere is that truer than on LinkedIn. The good news is that LinkedIn allows you to spice up your profile with these and other design elements.

Take advantage of that feature. Add visual content to your profile that engages your audience and communicates in a way that text alone can’t match.

#7 – Link To Your Profile In The Emails You Send

Use every opportunity to promote your LinkedIn profile. Be subtle and tasteful.

For example, include a link to your profile in your email signature. When folks read your emails, they’ll glance at your signature and notice the link. Those who want to know more about you and what your company offers will click through to view your page.

If you use Gmail, consider adding a LinkedIn button to your email signature. The button will draw attention because it’s a form of visual content. When clicked, it will take the reader directly to your profile page.

If you want to leverage LinkedIn’s search visibility and massive reach, be sure to make your profile as engaging as possible. Use the tips above to enhance it so it upstages those of your competition.

Design & Promote is a full-service social marketing agency in Chicago. Its team of experts works closely with clients to design innovative campaigns that engage their audiences and cultivate fans. Contact Design & Promote today to find out how a well-executed social marketing initiative can help your business to shine in 2016.

Did you know that there are over 300 million Instagram users, and over 75 million are using Instagram daily? That amounts to over 20% of the internet population, or about 1/3 of the US population. Looking at these figures, the business-minded individual would see a huge social media marketing opportunity. After all, Instagram is the new golden child of social media. With so many people using Instagram from all different demographics, it would be crazy not to be taking advantage of this huge and diverse platform to promote your brand. Are you using Instagram for business purposes? Instagram for business is a great channel for many industries. Here, the social media marketing team shares 10 tips for business Instagram accounts that gives the advice on Instagram for businesses of any kind and all stages of Instagram use!

Instagram for business tip #1: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes

The first of our tips for Instagram accounts is to think like the customer. Look at your fans and followers on Instagram, who are typically also your target audience, and browse their profiles to see how they typically style their profiles. Mimic this style from some of your own posts, and take note of what their interests are to make them more receptive and interested in what you post. Business Instagram accounts may wish to use similar photography style, language for captions, or even objects of interest. This will relate your company to your fan base and make them want to keep following you, keeping them eager to see your next post.


Instagram for business tip #2: Use Hashtags                                                                      

The best part of using Instagram for business is the ability to be creative with using hashtags. A cool photo will make your brand and a boring or low quality photo can break it. Pair that cool photo with 5-10 hashtags and you can begin to grow your following. Start your own hashtag and use other hashtags that your target audience might use to find you.

Did you know that you can hashtag with emoji? For donut day brands and fans used the donut emoji in place of the “o” in “donut”. Pretty clever right!?

business Instagram management

Instagram for business tip #3: Visual consistency for consistent branding

In our top tips for business Instagram accounts, visual consistency is key. When someone looks at your brand’s profile, you want to make sure that it looks appealing and cohesive. Choose a set of filters and rotate through them as you upload photos, rather than going through all kinds of filters every time you post a photo. This will keep your theme consistent. And, remember the rule of thirds, even when in a square frame like on Instagram. A picture should either be centered or have the focus of the photo on the left or right third of the photo. Luckily, Instagram provides a handy grid for laying out your photo perfectly. Business Instagram accounts should show the best version of their company when posting photos.


Instagram for business tip #4: Don’t over post on business Instagram accounts

Once you understand how to use Instagram for business, you need to make sure you know when to use it. Being active on Instagram is the goal, but don’t over post or you will not only seem overbearing to your fan base, but your profile will lose the essential message and impression it is trying to get across. Stick to one message and post things that relate to it. For instance, if you are having an event, focus on that. The day of the event, you should not post anything that isn’t related to the event. You can easily share 3- 5 posts related to that event as it is, and will have no trouble continuing to post after the event. Even before the event, you want to focus on posts related to the upcoming event for some time; the size and industry of your company along with the timing of the event will determine just how long you want to focus exclusively on the specific event.

Instagram for business tip #5: Swap out the link in your profile              

It is not possible to include links in an Instagram post. So, if you would like to link to a specific webpage, it must be done through your profile. Edit the link on your profile page in the description section and swap your main link out for the page-specific one. This is the perfect trick for business Instagram accounts that have a new program, event, or other special something that you would like to promote. Just change your usual website link for the program or event page. However, since homepage links are one of the best ways for how to use Instagram for business, use the special links sparingly and only for important new pages that you wish to promote.

For instance, for Christmas our team created a 12 Days of SEO and Social Media Holiday infographic. Then we told people that they could download the infographic easily by clicking the link in our profile.

using instagram for business

Instagram for business tip #6: Take advantage of Instagram tools

The best help business Instagram accounts can get is by using what is already available to them. Instagram offers tools to help business make the most of Instagram. For example, Latergram is a time-management system for Instagram that allows users to schedule their posts, so that they don’t have to worry about getting it out at the right time. The Repost app for Iphone and Repost app for Android allow you to repost a photo and caption from another user, giving them credit and facilitating your company’s sociability.

Instagram for business tip #7: Utilize the video function

This app is about more than pictures- it is for sharing videos as well! One of the top tips for business Instagram accounts is to diversify what you share. Mix it up with videos- these can offer more than photos in advertising terms because it keeps the audience’s attention focused on you for a longer period of time. Instagram videos can be between 3 to 15 seconds long. In this time, you have the chance to provide not only visual but also audio messages, and it gives you the potential to get a certain message across more easily.

Instagram for business tip #8: Stay tuned for Instagram ads

Instagram for business accounts is only getting better. Instagram is releasing an ads function that allows companies to inject photo and video ads into other users’ feeds. Currently, Instagram has only rolled this feature out as beta testing, and has invited big brands to join in the experiment. Look out and expect this feature soon- it is predicted to be a very profitable form of advertising.

Instagram for business tip #9: Give shouts to sponsors and partners

Another of our tips for business Instagram accounts is to always include your partners. If you have a sponsor or partner that is relevant in a certain post, make sure to tag their profile in the description. This will keep them happy and uphold your commitment to work with them. Best of all, it will encourage them to do the same in their posts, allowing more Instagrammers to find your business thanks to the increased exposure!

Instagram for business tip #10: Embed your Instagram on your website

The last of our tips for business Instagram accounts is to integrate your Instagram directly on your website. So often, businesses looking to improve their Instagram accounts focus on what they can do inside of Instagram. What they don’t realize is that they can make a huge difference on their website by simply embedding Instagram. Gain followers and get more views of your social media activity by placing the links for this directly in your site so that website visitors can continue to discover your company through social media. This is a chance for exposure and to get your potential customers to learn more about you. In WordPress, you can go beyond embedding by adding an Instagram feed plugin, present in many plugins. This is a sure way to drive engagement through your website, not to mention it makes building your online presence a lot more fun.

Final Tips for Business Instagram Accounts

As you explore these tips for business Instagram accounts, you will discover that Instagram can do a lot more for your business than simply providing you with a space to share pictures. Take advantage of the social power Instagram holds and start building up your account sooner rather than later on this ever-growing social media app. Don’t be afraid to test Instagram out! You can’t just DO social, you have to BE social. Sometimes Instagram can be used to show the lighter side of your team. We celebrated Take Your Dog To Work Day where employees were welcome to bring their dogs to work. Decide what your goal for your Instagram account is and do things that align with that goal.



tips for businesses using instagram

To learn more about using Instagram and other social media, view our presentations on slide share: http://www.slideshare.net/designandpromote 

social media marketing chicagoBusinesses are challenged not only to attract new customers but also to keep the ones they have. This retention is referred to as brand loyalty and ties directly to a brand’s identity. A brand’s identity, or reputation, is often the first thing a customer knows about a product. It’s what draws them in to try the product or service for the first time. Brand loyalty, on the other hand, refers to not only repeat business, but also recommendations from your customers to others. Building brand loyalty is the ultimate goal of any business and social media marketing in Chicago can aid these efforts.


Social Media Marketing Chicago Businesses Influence Brand Loyalty

Building brand awareness is the key to developing brand loyalty. After all, consumers can’t be loyal to a brand they’ve never heard of! That said, not all branding efforts are successful and you can lose customers with a misstep, just as easily as you can earn them.


Social media marketing plays a big role in building brand awareness these days. Social media is a form of word-of-mouth advertising – some of the most effective advertising you can ask for. If you’re online and, in particular, on social sites, you’ve made it very, very easy for consumers to share information about your business, products, or services….for good or bad. One click and you’re “liked”, your product or content is shared with the consumers’ friends and family, and suddenly your sphere of influence just got a whole lot bigger. On the flip side, one negative experience or comment from one customer has the potential to reach all of your followers and seriously hurt your business.


Active Management Of Social Sites Is Key


With so many people connected to social sites and using them several times a day, businesses absolutely must be marketing on these sites to remain competitive. A business’ presence on social media will generate more sales and more potential customers by building brand awareness. Your participation can’t be static though. The whole point of social media is to interact and connect with your customers, so make sure you have someone available to monitor your sites, posts, and the comments received. Respond to comments on your page – the good and the bad. The person who posted it will be impressed that they were noticed and everyone else who is a fan of the page will see the interaction, which will hopefully boost their opinion of you and your dedication to customer service.


Don’t Forget About Your Loyal Fans

It’s not all about attracting new customers though. Social media gives you the chance to develop a stronger connection with existing customers and there are actions you can take to further bolster that relationship. Keep in mind that once someone becomes a fan or a follower, they will often share about your brand. You can capitalize on that relationship by offering them some value in return. You can give them a “thank-you” Starbucks gift card or a product discount for every referral; these are just two examples. Giveaways and discount codes are commonly used on social sites to encourage followers to share social media content within their own groups. The important thing to remember is to keep your fans happy. Nurture them by showing your appreciation.

For help developing or improving social media marketing in Chicago or to learn more about how social media can help your business, contact Design & Promote at 630-995-7109.

social media marketing in chicagoIf social media isn’t officially part of your marketing campaign, you’re probably missing opportunities. According to any social media company in Chicago, these are opportunities that you cannot afford to miss. Tweets, posts, shares, likes, recommendations – they are all ways to promote your business.

Our social media company in Chicago has been integrating social media into our clients’ marketing efforts from the very beginning. We keep abreast of the latest developments, additions, and changes in social media marketing. In this post the strategists at our social media company in Chicago will introduce a few of the newer changes and explain how they can help boost your social media presence.

A Social Media Company in Chicago on Tools You Can Use

• Facebook Native Ads.

Facebook’s native ad tools have been around since 2014. During that time, Facebook Ads have proven to be effective at reaching target audiences and yielding results for publishers. Facebook has recently added new tools to help publishers more easily create, post, and manage native ads. Tools include: native ad templates, native ad management tools and horizontal scrolling for native ads. Used correctly, the tools should help publishers create ads that fit more naturally into the way an app is used and still target the right audience.

• LinkedIn Analytics For Publishing.

LinkedIn is the place to share your expertise and many people use the site for publishing content. Up until now it’s been difficult to know how effective that publishing has been or who is picking up on it. LinkedIn’s new Analytics for Publishing tool changes that. Using the tool, you can select any of your posts to get feedback on the post’s performance. Find out how many comments, shares, views, and likes it achieved. Armed with this data, you’ll have a better idea of what your readers want from you and for which topics they visit you.

• LinkedIn Blogging A.K.A Publishing Long Form Posts.

Benefit number #1 as said on LinkedIn, “Your long-form post is searchable both on and off of LinkedIn.” Publishing on LinkedIn is smart SEO and social media. Publishing is free to do, all you need is to sit down and write or get help from someone to write it for you. This feature is only available for individual profiles not company pages.

What else does LinkedIn publishing offer? Free publicity. Ever notice those emails from LinkedIn with network updates? Your post is shared with your network via email too!

• Google+ Collections.

Google+ Collections helps you organize your Google+ content by topic. This makes it very easy for a viewer to scan your page, find the topic they are looking for, and delve into your posts for more detailed information.

• Google Search Analytics.

Google’s new Search Analytics tool provides in-depth web and mobile site traffic analysis. You’ll be able to break down and filter the data in many new ways, even allowing you to view searches by country. Search Analytics will eventually replace Google’s Search Queries tool. For now, both can be found in Google Webmaster Tools. How does this help? It allows you to see which social sites are bring in more traffic to your website. It’s okay to cut out social media sites that aren’t working. Google analytics is loved by every social media company in Chicago because it helps bench mark social traffic.

Create a Targeted Social Media Campaign with Help From Our Social Media Company In Chicago

Social media is just as integral to your marketing campaign as your website. It’s a much more effective way to reach a wider audience and it’s been proven to influence consumer purchasing decisions. Simply having an account is not enough. To make the most of your social media presence, contact social media company in Chicago Design & Promote. Our social media company in Chicago helps businesses and organizations of all sizes build up their social sites to connect and build strong relationships with their customers. The strategists at our social media company in Chicago can help you start from scratch or tweak what you’ve already started by developing a strategy for your social media efforts, creating content, and analyzing results.

Learn more about social media marketing by calling us at 630-995-7109 or visit www.designandpromote.com.

Category Archives: Social Media

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