About Joe Soto

Joe Soto is a leading expert in social media and inbound marketing. A self-described online marketing evangelist, Joe has over 15 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing. Joe is the CEO of Revenue Inbound, an inbound marketing agency helping clients generate more traffic, leads and sales online. Visit Joe on Twitter @JosephSoto

Why You Can’t Afford To Ignore Twitter Lists

twitter-list

Do you use Twitter Lists? If you aren’t familiar with it yet, a Twitter List is a cool Twitter feature focused on getting people and their tweets into a group so you can see them all in just one place. It’s very convenient. Although most businesses have been using it for quite some time now, there are still a few who aren’t – probably because they just haven’t recognized how powerful it is yet.

If you aren’t using Twitter Lists, here are 5 reasons why you should choose the opposite route:

Twitter Lists allow you to organize the profiles you’re following. You can sort them in categories and themes that are relevant to your business. You can create a list of influencers in your industry to help keep you updated with the latest business trends, or you can secretly group your competitors together in just one list.

Twitter Lists reduce the clutter. When you follow tons of people on Twitter, your newsfeed tends to be flooded with tweets. Because Twitter Lists organize people and their tweets, you can avoid the noise by simply going directly to a list and read tweets of important accounts you follow.

Twitter Lists save you time. If you put a group of thought leaders in your industry together in just one list, it’s easier for you to track their tweets and updates. This saves you a lot of time because you don’t have to check each of their profiles just to get the latest scoop of news.

Twitter Lists provide content. Since tweets are filtered automatically, you have a constant stream of retweetable content and a steady source of topics which you might want to tackle on your next podcast, video or blog.

Twitter Lists are a great way of showing support. How would you feel if someone added you to a list that says Top Profiles To Watch? Or to a list of Awesome Inbound Marketers? Wouldn’t it feel great to know that someone values you and looks up to you in your industry? Twitter Lists can be used as a tool to show support and respect for key influencers who initiate a positive change to many businesses.

Ways To Use Twitter Lists

Don’t know how to use Twitter Lists? Here are some of our suggestions:

Location-based Lists

If your audience is targeted by a specific area or place, setting up a Twitter List can work to your advantage. You can add people from that specific location onto your list so you can be more effective in listening to and identifying their needs.

Thought Leaders List

Is there an industry expert you look up to and get insights from? Do you have a mentor who has helped you develop your skills? You can group these people into just one list so you can easily access their profiles in case you need a little motivation to get through a challenging day. If you’re an expert, a Twitter list can help you highlight other experts or great individuals and show recognition for their work.

Customer List

We think a customer list is one of the most important lists you can create. It can be a great resource for improvement as it is much easier for you to learn about the things they rave about your products or services and determine areas for improvement. It can also be used to reward customers and provide an opportunity for them to connect other individuals with similar interests.

Many businesses use Twitter for its clever features such as Twitter List. So if you haven’t paid much attention to this feature before, we suggest that you  jump right in and make the most of it.

8 Instagram Strategies for Sales Professionals

Men on street photographing with smart-phoneThere’s a good chance you are one of the 150 Million people who are actively using Instagram each month.  If you aren’t, you might want to reconsider.

More importantly, there is a good chance your customers and prospects are also using Instagram. It’s yet another opportunity to get in front of them, connect with them and engage with them online.

It’s become so easy for your customer to Google you, or find you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

The only thing worse than not being active on these sites, is being on them badly.

Here are 8 simple Instagram strategies for sales professionals:

1. Repurpose your marketing and advertising content.

It’s cost-effective and provides another outlet for sharing campaigns around your products/services, your events, and your customer experiences. Remember to add your links in the descriptions and tag your location.

2.  Answer your customer’s questions.

Let your audience know you’re available for engagement by sending the right signals. Use photos and video captions to ask questions that encourage comments and feedback. Answer your customer’s most pressing questions by posting 15-second videos to your Instagram account.

3. It’s ok to mix personal with professional content.

In the past there has been a line drawn between being personal or professional online. That line is now blurred because of social media sites like Instagram. And because of this, more than ever you have the opportunity to be and express your own brand. Adding personal photos allows your customers and prospects a chance to get to know you more intimately, more genuinely. Just use common sense and post sensibly.

4.  Use Hashtags that lead people to you.

If you want others to find you, become familiar with some of the popular hashtags and use those that can naturally work with the content you are sharing. There are a lot of hashtags that are popular by city, so be sure to find the one’s that make the most sense to you. For content creation, create a specific hashtag unique to you and your business.  Once you have your hashtag identified, encourage your customers to caption their photos featuring your business with it, using your hashtag. Remember to talk about it so that your customers know they can use it.

5. Run a photo contest.

Contests are big on Social Media, and photo contests are becoming increasingly popular on Instagram. Steps include 1) determine the theme and hashtag it, 2) set the rules (legal and otherwise), 3) spread the word using your other social media accounts, 4) choose how you’ll determine a winner (user votes, jury, etc.), and 5) give away a prize worth participating for.

6. Link your Instagram feed to Twitter and Facebook

Sharing posts to these networks can help drive traffic to your Instagram page by letting your audience know you are now active on this channel.

7. Leverage Call-To-Actions on your blog posts, articles, and newsletters.

Use specific CTAs in email marketing campaigns that drive to your Instagram. When you publish blog posts, eBooks or other marketing content, reference Instagram posts (where relevant) to expose your page as much as possible.

8. Measure.

Instagram analytics reports are available for free or a small fee.  Then you can understand the performance of your Instagram account, compare your efforts on Instagram against those on other social networks and measure the reach and volume of any hashtag campaign. Check out Statigr.amSumallSimply Measured, and Nitrogr.am.

While I’ve written before about great tools for marketing on Instagram, I hope you’ll use one ore more of these strategies to connect and engage with your potential customers from today forward.

What else has worked for you? Please share your comments below.

Free download

7 Online Tools to Deliver Value First on Social Media

Gitomer Quote 1My favorite chapter in Jeffrey Gitomer’s latest groundbreaking book, 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling, is the one titled “Deliver Value First.” Gitomer challenges you to “leave “added value” and “value add” out of your sales lexicon forever.” Brilliantly, he helps you understand the difference between value and incentives, and explains how value must be delivered first.

I want to give you the tools to help you deliver value differently than your competitors.

Always remember, tools are great but identifying your customer’s problem is where delivering value starts. And listening when they talk (on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) is your opportunity to fill the value gaps. Delivering value first means helping people to make informed decisions, finding out their needs first and showing an interest to solve their problems not yours.

Here are 7 online tools to deliver value first on social media:

Issuuhttp://issuu.com | Create any number of digital publications, including ebooks and whitepapers.

Visual.lyhttp://visual.ly |Create your own infographics and data visualizations with a great selection of templates.

preziPrezihttp://prezi.com | Cloud-based presentation software that helps users create more dynamic (and more interesting) visual presentations.

Content BLVDhttps://contentblvd.com | Submit sponsored posts or guest posts, target blogs according to reach and relevance and accept offers to publish your content on blogs you approve.

Outbrainhttp://www.outbrain.com | A content discovery platform, Outbrain boasts innovative technology to offer recommendations and help your audience discover more content on your site that is interesting to them.

List.lyhttp://list.ly | a way to create and share lists, as well as integrate collaborative lists into your own blog posts, acting as a catalyst for others to build upon the lists you share.

YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com | What are you waiting for? YouTube has proven itself to be a massively relevant marketing tool for salespeople across the globe and you probably aren’t taking advantage of it yet. Get started, chances are your competitor still isn’t using it or using it well yet either.

How do I use the tools?

Create meaningful content and stay engaged. Your customers, fans and followers will be more likely to engage with you and meet with you because you or your company is a go-to resource for information that can solve their most pressing problems. Your content is like your virtual salesperson who’s ready to answer every question a prospective customer poses, 24/7 via your website and blog.

Provide information to benefit your followers, not just your prospective customers. Even if they don’t lead to your product or service, you’ll be remembered because you are genuinely thinking and delivering value in their best interest, not yours. Just because someone may not be a prospect for your product/service doesn’t mean that person isn’t a valuable contact who should be nurtured. They are on the social networks, they hear opportunities you don’t hear, and may recommend you to people you don’t know.

One last thing. It’s not just about delivering value first. You can and should toot your own horn, promote your product and service and run real campaigns that revolve around your offer(s). But deliver value first a few times, and then promote is the formula to follow. Gary Vaynerchuck refers to delivering value first as “Jab, Jab, Jab” and then creating the right campaign or angle to memorably promote your product/service as a “Right Hook” in his new book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.”  His book is jam packed with case studies to learn from as well – a great way to deliver value first.

The lesson: It is only by delivering value first that you will be remembered, reciprocated and passed on (via word-of-mouth).  The tools are creative ways to differentiate how you deliver value first.

 

guide

3 Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas To Help Boost Your Online Presence

christmas-tree-1

Think it’s too late to do some holiday marketing for your brand? Not really! It may be just a couple of days before Christmas, but it’s never too late to get into the holiday spirit and spread good cheer to your audience. See our three last-minute holiday marketing ideas below:

1. Send a personalized email.

Take the time to write an email to each person in your contact list. It’s a nice way of showing your contacts that they are in your thoughts especially in this most wonderful time of the year. A simple greeting with a photo can be enough to warm their hearts.

2. Run a contest.

Want to boost engagement on social media this holiday season? A contest will help you do this. You could ask your fans to submit a photo of their holiday decorations, or you could do a photo-guessing contest. Choose a campaign that resonates well with your brand. Also, set a really awesome prize to encourage everyone to participate such as a trip to Paris or a drool-worthy gadget.

3. Go mobile.

If you haven’t optimized your site for mobile users yet, NOW is the perfect time to do so. A lot of your followers will be using their smart devices on-the-go as they travel to their hometowns or spend a holiday vacation in other countries. Make sure your website can be easily navigated when accessed through mobile phones and tablet computers. If you want, you can also create an app which your followers can download. A strong mobile presence can help you get in touch with existing clients and prospective customers in this busy time. It makes things a whole lot easier for you too, as you may also go on a holiday getaway with your family.

There you go. Now that you have a couple more tips in the bag, it’s time to apply them! Oh and one more thing –  don’t forget to have some fun. Happy holidays!

The Anatomy of Highly Shareable Content

 

share2

I bet you’d agree with the rest of the marketing industry that content is king. In fact, if you have been doing content marketing long enough, you may have witnessed a few startups that have grown into bigger brands just by consistently producing kickass content. So what exactly makes a piece of content so irresistibly shareable? Read on and I’ll tell you.

1. Shareable content tackles relevant issues.

When you create content, be sure to use topics your followers can relate to. You can write a blog about your readers’ common problems and how to resolve them, or podcast about current events. Creating relevant content is a way of showing your audience that you know and understand their issues, which can help you to earn their trust.

2. Shareable content stirs up emotion.

Aim to spark a specific emotion. People generally want to share content they can emotionally connect with. When you make a video about your brand, don’t just simply talk about how amazing your brand is. Instead, tell a story and target a specific emotion among your audience. Will your video spark feelings of happiness and hope? Or will it be about anger? Whichever emotion you choose, keep in mind that the goal is to drive people to share it.

3. Shareable content is valuable to your followers.

People will more likely share your content when it consists of useful information. Write about tips and how-to’s and share your knowledge with your followers. For instance, a craft shop can write an eBook on how to create a beaded bracelet. By doing so, you are helping your readers improve their skills. As a result, they will feel empowered and respect your brand.

4. Shareable content is free of grammatical errors.

Nothing is more annoying than reading a blog that is full of grammatical errors. These mistakes can alter your readers’ understanding of your message – or worse, they might lose respect for your business. To avoid grammatical errors, ask someone else to proofread your work before publishing it.

5. Shareable content conveys clear points.

When your points are not clearly outlined, there’s a big chance that your readers will get the wrong message. Avoid creating content with vague and confusing information. Be clear on what you want to say and use words that are simple to digest.

Top brands are using different clever marketing strategies to make their content go viral, but the points I’ve mentioned are the most common denominators. What was your most shared content so far? Post a link in the comments below – I’d love to see it!