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Leverage

The goal of the Leverage Podcast is simple: to learn from the best and discover how we can all live a better life, build a more fruitful business, and be more efficient. Leverage’s Founder and CEO, Nick Sonnenberg, is the host of the Leverage Podcast. With a background in data science, high-frequency algorithmic trading, and business efficiency consulting, Nick has an innovative mind and is obsessed with learning from the people around him. Join him each week as he interviews fellow entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and leading experts to discuss everything from efficiency hacks to new technologies to life as an entrepreneur.
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Now displaying: July, 2018
Jul 30, 2018

Kyle has worked with some of the best in the industry, from an early start with Google’s Chris Sacca and LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, to CEO’s and Boards of Directors at Fortune 500 brands like GAP and Old Navy.

He spent the majority of his career in consumer goods and consumer products and services, working directly with the voice of consumers to lead product creation. His experience also stretches into tech, automation, platforms, and even government organizations.

We call him the Kyle of all trades.

This robust past led him to start his own company, Be Courageous, to help others learn how to be better leaders of their companies and make a lasting impact.

According to Kyle, Be Courageous is all about the BREAKTHROUGHS.

  • Breakthroughs in company culture (how to better your leaders and your team)
  • Breakthroughs in strategy (how to get to the future — or where you want to be — faster and with focus)
  • Breakthroughs in innovation (liberating possibilities and releasing virtuous products to the world in a unique way)

All of this, of course, is intrinsically tied to marketing — the ability to answer and important, unmet need and to present your unique product or service to your target audience in a relatable way…in order to make the sale.

GET AHEAD OF THE CURVE

One way to get ahead of the curve is to consider the full impact — including the implications — of a trend, product, service or business. The implications (often unrelated to your own business) can still have a significant effect on your business. Considering both positive and negative impacts is important.

Regularly anticipating how industry trends might impact you and your business will provide the foresight to understand larger scale and long term implications of a trend. This can set your company apart from the competitors if you act on them ahead of the curve.

For example, self driving cars are here and will be an even bigger thing of the future. So, for the all of the good to come from self driving, electric cars — we need to stop to consider… what are the implications? What are the outside factors that will be affected?

If the demand for gas decreases and we no longer have to use energy drinks and snacks to stay awake and alert on the road, then we won’t need to stop as often at gas stations. This means the mini-marts attached to gas stations could lose revenue or may need to completely transform their offerings to fit this new paradigm.

Does this theory work solely for self driving cars? Not even close. Instead of niching in an industry, this model fits them all.

Disruption can come from anywhere.

Looking at the implications can help you self assess, it can provide deep insight into what your current and future customers may need, and it gives a broad understanding of what your competitors might be working on behind the scenes.

THREE CATEGORIES FOR COMPANY SUCCESS

Any company wanting to create something new will need to consider the following three categories we mentioned at the beginning of the article:

Innovation

Strategy

Culture

In today’s market a common goal is quick, exponential growth. AKA creating something worth megabucks for yourself — or making something that a larger company can acquire for megabucks.

Each business strives for immense growth without losing the essential essence and heart of its original idea.

With growth we may face potential trade offs, herein lies both issues and opportunities. When the iPhone was created people were psyched to have the new device. At the time it seemed nearly perfect. As time progressed and having an iPhone became the norm, people realized there were trade offs — Apple users wanted longer battery life, durability to withstand shattering when dropped, better camera features, etc.

To solve a problem before it becomes a problem, Be Courageous strives to figure out how to anticipate these trade offs and implications customers will want long before they have to ask for them. I.e. how do we get to the future faster and master that future TODAY through courageous breakthroughs.

SECRET SAUCE

Of all the companies, what is it that makes the good ones great? What is the “secret sauce?”

Kyle’s experience working with companies from VC backed startups to Fortune brands helped frame the answer to this elusive question. From hosting a few thousand sessions and specifically interviewing 70+ Fortune companies about their Frameworks of success they developed 7 core principles — These principles provide a snapshot of the most important areas for companies to focus on.

Step one is to know your company’s WHY. Why are you here? Why do you do what you do? And why that is important?

The WHY will help guide your answers through the 7 Core principles.

Since he is the expert, we won’t try to reiterate it when we can share his words verbatim.

Ready to Join the Community of Productivity Enthusiasts?

Click here to be added to our insiders list.

Jul 23, 2018

Voice Over: In this episode, we’re testing out our new webinar platform, Crowdcast. Check out this interview with Crowdcast developer and CEO, Sai Hossain and see how Crowdcast can streamline the webinar process for you.

At Leverage we searched high and low for the ideal webinar platform, until we found Crowdcast…and we had to look no further.

To kick-off our use of this new platform, we hosted a webinar about the platform, interviewing CEO Sai Hossain.

Turns out, Sai has a background in development and the CEO actually built the very first version of the tool. Years ago while spending time in Costa Rica surrounded by meditators and yogis, he realized there were important messages that needed to be shared with the world but there wasn’t a proper platform that allowed the non “techies” ease of use to reach the masses.

In his previous experiences with webinar platforms, the tools were designed for marketing tactics or for holding team meetings, with the perk of hosting a webinar on the side. However, Sai envisioned something more.

The Old & Outdated

Historically speaking, there are three long and laborious parts to hosting a webinar.

  1. A long form where the attendee must submit personal info, which can feel invasive to say the least.
  2. An email reminder sent to the attendee about a week before the webinar, that’s hard to remember or to keep track of by the time the event rolls around seven days later.
  3. Wonky downloads needed that a new user sometimes won’t even realize is required until they try to join the webinar. By the time the tool is downloaded, they miss crucial parts of the presentation.

Let’s hope in this case history doesn’t ever repeat itself.

Crowdcast: The Breakthrough

The vision for Crowdcast was to eliminate these three tedious steps into one easy process. The user submits their email to attend the webinar and BOOM they are in the event room. Once in the room, users can see the countdown to the event or even submit questions prior to the webinar, all which runs through a browser, which wasn’t an easy feat.

Plus, since this takes place in a browser — no need to download tools. The browser makes it simple to find previous webinars by the same party and to review the recording in as little as 15 seconds post webinar.

Down Sides

Nothing is always rainbows and butterflies, and every tool has its limitations. One of the downsides of the browser model is video quality. It’s only as good as your streaming allows, however Crowdcast is a big believer in pushing the limits and the team is already reaching for improvements like HD recording. Crowdcast recently launched a whole new way to stream in HD by connecting to professional live-streaming gear and software.

Best browser to support Crowdcast = Chrome (surprise, surprise). Firefox works well too, but Safari isn’t recommended. #SorryApple.

Up Sides

There’s much more good than bad when using Crowdcast.

  • Chrome extension — easily share your screen during the session
  • Time stamped questions — if you review the webinar, you can jump to the parts that
  • Live Polls — ask survey questions to your audience and see live results
  • Analytics — these are visible only to the host. At the least you’ll see how many people are attending vs. how many registered and if you want to get fancy you can track their geo location and their referral info. Ex: did they join from Twitter or Facebook, and what is the conversion rate per channel?

COMING SOON

The future of Crowdcast is going to make your webinar life even easier. Soon, your specific page will become a “channel” that your audience can follow on a regular basis. Therefore instead of sending a new invite or a link for each webinar, your followers will be automatically notified every time you go live — through email, browser and the IOS App…stay tuned!

Ready to Join the Community of Productivity Enthusiasts?

Click here to be added to our insiders list.

Jul 16, 2018

Voice Over: On this episode, our guest is Caya, CEO and cofounder of Slidebean. Slidebean is a cloud based presentation tool that makes creating well-crafted and well-designed slide decks simple and easy.

Slidebean was a part of Start-Up Chile — one of the most important accelerators in Latin America, 500 Startups — one of the best US accelerators, named “3rd Most Valuable Internet Startup” in Costa Rica, and it was featured in TechCrunch. Etcetera, etcetera…the impressive list goes on.

So what’s all the buzz about?

 

Au revoir Prezi and PowerPoint!

Now anyone can make a high-end designer grade presentation without spending a lot of time and money on becoming–or hiring–a designer. One of Slidebean’s many pros is that it has an easy to use drag and drop feature which allows styling in one user-friendly click.

The start of Slidebean.

The founders of Slidebean are all graphic designers by trade. They noticed a big problem looming in the business world. Too many people were struggling to put together decent looking presentations on their own, yet this is a skill most people need to know how to tackle on their own.

Existing presentation tools such as Prezi, Google Slides and Keynote are all reliable tools, if one invests the time it takes to properly understand how to use them. These tools tend to be difficult and time consuming for users without a design background.

Enter, Slidebean.

Slidebean created a simple user interface — so simple that they actually created it to prevent the customer from being able to complicate — which means they had the foresight to think of issues that could arise. Such as, custom changing the template color. It seems like an option that some people may want, but in this case it would change the model of the template and make it more difficult to work with so that (as of now) isn’t an option.

Basically, the team designed this template so that the ones using it don’t get in their own way.

Why Slidebean stands out.

Above and beyond its usability, there are other perks to tossing out your old ways of making a deck and trying something new.

  1. Cloud based system: no messy application installations needed.
  2. Analytics: this is music to a marketing and sales team’s ears. It has built in analytics, therefore you can understand how people interact with each slide in your presentation.
  3. Giffy and video integration… need we say more?
  4. Ability to keep it secret: you can share this with only the people you choose by sending them a safe link.

Ready to Join the Community of Productivity Enthusiasts?

Click here to be added to our insiders list.

Jul 9, 2018

Voice-over: On this episode, our guest is Clate Mask, CEO of InfusionSoft, a unique suite of tools that merges marketing strategy, CRM software and the power of automation in one simple package. Designed for small businesses, it’s the perfect marriage of convenience and customization for client communications that can save your business valuable time and money.

We recently started the process of becoming an Infusionsoft partner. Even in the very beginning of our application we were pleasantly surprised to see a plethora of information and insights offered about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and its relationship to marketing efforts.

Infusionsoft is — at its core — a CRM software. It is built specifically for small businesses to help organize each part of its client communications, in order to deliver better service to leads, prospects and current customers.

At the heart of Infusionsoft, it is a CRM system. However, it has layers of aspects intertwined natively into its system to combine the traditional CRM with a full array of small business services. This glorified way of functioning makes it a more efficient tool that has the ability to convert leads without using a large amount of manpower.

Traditional CRM vs. Infusionsoft

When people think of customer relationship management systems often they think in the traditional sense of what used to be the standard. This means a contact is stored in a database, and every type of interaction with that specific contact is on record. Plus you can add notes, plan meetings, and so forth–all related to one person.

Alas, with a traditional CRM many people miss out on the key interactions of a one-to-many model and are limited to the one-to-one interactions. This is limiting due to the fact that you either:

a.) Have a few solid, manageable relationships on a one-to-one basis or

b.) Speak to everyone as if they are the same person, losing the personalized and “tailored” communications.

With Infusionsoft, it combines the aspects of a traditional CRM system to provide organization but also goes light-years beyond to allow the ability to integrate marketing and sales aspects and have the important one-to-one AND one-to-many types of communications.

Customer Database + Marketing + Sales + Service (such as eCommerce) = Infusionsoft

“The more you get into the power of Infusionsoft, the more you’ll be blown away by what’s possible in creating efficiency and leverage for your customers” -Clate Mask

Why Infusionsoft is Different…In a Good Way.

Infusionsoft believes marketing and CRM must be integrated. In fact, Clate says it is essential that they work together seamlessly. The other differentiation and benefit of using this tool is its automation capabilities.

With Infusionsoft, you can automate and execute different processes. Especially as a small business, this is an important key factor in running your business. From email sequences to drip campaigns that lead to Landing Pages (also created with Infusionsoft), the options are nearly endless.

Automation is what really makes Infusionsoft stand out from other CRMs. When clients learn to use automation to their benefit they get more leverage (Ahem, no pun intended) out of their client database.

This is For Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs and Solopreneurs.

“95% of Infusionsoft’s customers are small businesses with 25 employees or less.” -Clate Mask

Whether you have a 5 person or 25 person company, you need the ability to manage a lead from the time they become a lead throughout their entire life cycle as a client — hopefully for years to come. Infusionsoft offers that unique set-up.

Infusionsoft Made Major Changes.

Several years ago, customers were confused when using Infusionsoft because it initially came into the market positioning itself as powerhouse CRM system.

When the company realized some of its features and options were intimidating to users, it did as any good company would and pivoted. It created a simplified user interface, and improved the user experience, but not to worry it is still a powerhouse of a product if and when you need it to be.

Keep in mind, this is a suite of tools. In the long run, using Infusionsoft would make integrated sales and marketing with your CRM simpler and less expensive, since these capabilities are native to its software. Plus, it has an open API so if you want to get really creative, the [Infusionsoft] world is your oyster.

Ready to Join the Community of Business and Productivity Enthusiasts?

Click here to be added to our insiders list.

Jul 2, 2018

A former digital ad agency exec turned entrepreneur, shares her tried and true techniques gleaned from her years in digital marketing. Now, as an entrepreneur, she’s adapted this experience into five steps that will help any small business build a solid social presence.

Listen in and learn from our own Content and Strategy specialist how to plan, create, launch and grow your brand online without breaking the bank.

 

Social is now the foundation of any company’s digital footprint. With the digital landscape changing and evolving daily, trying to keep up can be a daunting process. Running a small business is enough of a struggle. And our very own Leverage Content and Strategy specialist, Ann Marie Almariei, has worked with many big brands to plan, create, launch, and grow their presence on the social landscape.

When Ann Marie decided two years ago to take the next big step in her career to launch her own brand, her past experiences helped her realize how important her knowledge was — not only for her own company, but for other entrepreneurs and small businesses she found herself working with along the way.

Small businesses don’t have the resources to hire an agency for a six-figure social strategy. So she decided to hack the big agency process and create a series of workshops and micro-strategies to help simplify the process.

The following techniques can help any small business build a solid social foundation, prioritize resources, and begin building a meaningful brand presence from day 1. And without breaking the bank.

Know where your opportunity is.

The big biz approach:

The process generally begins with discovery, starting with an exhaustive review of the main competitors social platforms. What are they doing well? What are they not doing well? Where are their opportunities to improve? Followed by an audit of consumer conversations that are already happening in the space. What do consumers talk about? Is the sentiment positive or negative? What are the popular hashtags being used? Which platforms dominate the conversation? Where can your company be part of this conversation?

Once the research is complete, findings are summarized in a competitive audit, social listening report and SWOT analysis (more on SWOT below). This is normally a one to two month process and can be costly.

The small biz approach:

Knowing your competition is always important — regardless of the size of your business. Do your own competitive audit by looking at your top three competitors plus one company who’s tangential to your space but doing it really well (a lot can be learned here, both from the good and the bad). Take time to look at their social platforms and see what their customers talk about.

Even if your company has been in business 10 years, this is always a worthwhile exercise. It helps to stay relevant and adapt your business to your customers as their needs change. Use your findings to do a SWOT analysis. The SWOT is helpful in identifying white spaces within the social landscape that can help your business.

 

Plan before you execute.

The big biz approach:

Once the discovery process is complete, the business goals and opportunities identified are used to develop a strategy. This strategy becomes the North Star that sets the tone for the social channels. Sometimes the strategy is altered depending on the platform. Each platform presents many different opportunities based on functionality and user behavior. The strategy should not only be based on your business objectives — it needs to add value for the user.

Within each platform strategy is a content strategy. It consists of a high level approach to the type of content to be created, how often it’s posted, and how it will help reach goals and metrics. ‘Content pillars’ are often created to give guidance on the topics and within these pillars a few different ‘content series’ that can make a regular appearance on the feed and become brand-ownable assets. The platform strategy, content strategy, pillars, content series’ and goals are usually packaged into a playbook or guidelines that are used to implement against.

The small biz approach:

First thing, reserve your brand handles across all platforms. Keeping the handle consistent — this might require deviating from your name slightly (for example, ‘Leverage’ could become @GetLeverage or @LeverageProductivity). Next, identify where your biggest opportunities are. Platforms where your target audience are highly active should be given priority and launched first. It really is ok to have channels that are inactive — just make sure you direct visitors to an active channel where they can engage.

Once you’ve identified your primary platform(s) try to commit a small amount of resources to plan how to get the best return on investment (ROI). Here’s how…

Look at the platform’s key strengths and user behaviors. Find an overlap where your brand can bring value to the audience.

That’s your sweet spot.

If [Instagram = beautiful photos] + [Your business = farm to table food], your social sweet spot would likely be visually sharing beautiful food, recipes and behind the scenes of the farms used to source ingredients.

This particular part of the process can be fun and benefits from getting a bit creative. Recruit some of your social media savvy friends and family for help or reach out to the leverage team and we’ll get you started. A mini platform playbook that outlines your pillars, content series and a few creative templates can make a big difference getting those first platforms up and running.

Once it’s gaining traction and your resources allow, expand into your secondary platforms.

Get creative with your execution.

The big biz approach:

Brands are investing bigger portions of their marketing budget into social media production, making it difficult for smaller brands to break through the clutter. Their robust social media guidelines can include in-depth tone of voice, character inspiration, catch-phrases and editorial guidelines — plus photography, illustration, iconography and video guidelines. This process can be exhaustive with guidelines well over 100 pages.

The small biz approach:

This doesn’t need to be exhaustive for a small business. Choosing some guidelines for your voice and look/feel can help establish your company’s brand presence.

Think of your brand as a person. What kind of person would be speaking to your audience. Who would they relate to? Assigning some key personality traits and maybe even attaching a celebrity persona to aspire to can help. Keep a cheat sheet handy when creating content to inspire the tone. Choose a few creative executions that can serve as templates with brand colors, elements and logo treatments to establish a visual look and feel.

Don’t get too cookie cutter in your approach, or users will tune you out. Outsourcing creative help to establish some basic tenents for your social guidelines doesn’t cost big bucks and will be extremely helpful as your social footprint expands.

 

Get in there and mingle.

The big biz approach:

Being an active part of the community once you’ve launched is important (platforms may even ‘demote’ you in content feeds if you don’t). Because of this, most companies and big brands hire full-time community managers who post, comment and share across platforms… being present and active just as a human would. Many of the recent changes we’re seeing across platforms make organic reach more difficult, so brands invest in paid media to get the additional reach they need to get in front of their audiences.

The small biz approach:

Being an active part of the community for a small business can be challenging. Even more reason to prioritize to only your priority platforms. Posting, monitoring and engaging with your audience is something all businesses need to do regardless of size, so deciding where to invest time and money is important. Here are a few things to consider:

Use existing resources: Identify a person on your team who can take an hour each day to participate in channels. They can answer queries, respond to comments and engage with the audience. It’s also easier for them to adapt their voice to your brand because they are closest to it.

Hire someone part-time: A part-timer can monitor the channels and keep your brand active and engaged. They can jump into conversations can add value — even expand your organic reach.

Leverage trending topics: Talk about things happening in the news (organic reach is possible when stories are topical and relevant). For example, look at the trending hashtags on twitter. What are people talking about? Contributing a piece of content that makes you relevant (and even better, useful) can go a long way. Don’t overthink it — you have to be timely and you can get scrappy with the execution. Here are a few examples we like:

During the season finale of Game of Thrones, the US Olympics saw an opportunity and had this tweet up almost instantly:

Always be a work in progress.

Social is a fickle beast. I hope you will go in armed with the knowledge that this is the consumer’s party and the playlist is going to keep you on your toes. We can teach you a few go-to moves that will help you fit in. Then wait for those moments where you’ve got some killer moves to show off and jump into the spotlight. Be willing to adapt, change and learn as you go. React, refine and revisit.

Just remember, you don’t have to do it all. Just be strategic about where you think the big wins will be and start small. Who’s ready!?

This post was written by Ann Marie Almariei

Ann Marie is the Founder and CEO of will-it.com, an estate planning technology focused on the ‘who gets what’. She is the organizer of ‘Social for StartUps’ a local meet-up in Boston, MA where regularly speaks and holds workshops for other entrepreneurs and small businesses. She is also a Creative and Strategy Specialist with Leverage and available to members for coaching calls and projects.

Ready to Join the Community of Business and Productivity Enthusiasts?

Start engaging with our network, join our FREE online Slack community and click here to be added to our insiders list!

Jul 2, 2018

A former digital ad agency exec turned entrepreneur, shares her tried and true techniques gleaned from her years in digital marketing. Now, as an entrepreneur, she’s adapted this experience into five steps that will help any small business build a solid social presence.

Listen in and learn from our own Content and Strategy specialist how to plan, create, launch and grow your brand online without breaking the bank.

 

Social is now the foundation of any company’s digital footprint. With the digital landscape changing and evolving daily, trying to keep up can be a daunting process. Running a small business is enough of a struggle. And our very own Leverage Content and Strategy specialist, Ann Marie Almariei, has worked with many big brands to plan, create, launch, and grow their presence on the social landscape.

When Ann Marie decided two years ago to take the next big step in her career to launch her own brand, her past experiences helped her realize how important her knowledge was — not only for her own company, but for other entrepreneurs and small businesses she found herself working with along the way.

Small businesses don’t have the resources to hire an agency for a six-figure social strategy. So she decided to hack the big agency process and create a series of workshops and micro-strategies to help simplify the process.

The following techniques can help any small business build a solid social foundation, prioritize resources, and begin building a meaningful brand presence from day 1. And without breaking the bank.

Know where your opportunity is.

The big biz approach:

The process generally begins with discovery, starting with an exhaustive review of the main competitors social platforms. What are they doing well? What are they not doing well? Where are their opportunities to improve? Followed by an audit of consumer conversations that are already happening in the space. What do consumers talk about? Is the sentiment positive or negative? What are the popular hashtags being used? Which platforms dominate the conversation? Where can your company be part of this conversation?

Once the research is complete, findings are summarized in a competitive audit, social listening report and SWOT analysis (more on SWOT below). This is normally a one to two month process and can be costly.

The small biz approach:

Knowing your competition is always important — regardless of the size of your business. Do your own competitive audit by looking at your top three competitors plus one company who’s tangential to your space but doing it really well (a lot can be learned here, both from the good and the bad). Take time to look at their social platforms and see what their customers talk about.

Even if your company has been in business 10 years, this is always a worthwhile exercise. It helps to stay relevant and adapt your business to your customers as their needs change. Use your findings to do a SWOT analysis. The SWOT is helpful in identifying white spaces within the social landscape that can help your business.

 

Plan before you execute.

The big biz approach:

Once the discovery process is complete, the business goals and opportunities identified are used to develop a strategy. This strategy becomes the North Star that sets the tone for the social channels. Sometimes the strategy is altered depending on the platform. Each platform presents many different opportunities based on functionality and user behavior. The strategy should not only be based on your business objectives — it needs to add value for the user.

Within each platform strategy is a content strategy. It consists of a high level approach to the type of content to be created, how often it’s posted, and how it will help reach goals and metrics. ‘Content pillars’ are often created to give guidance on the topics and within these pillars a few different ‘content series’ that can make a regular appearance on the feed and become brand-ownable assets. The platform strategy, content strategy, pillars, content series’ and goals are usually packaged into a playbook or guidelines that are used to implement against.

The small biz approach:

First thing, reserve your brand handles across all platforms. Keeping the handle consistent — this might require deviating from your name slightly (for example, ‘Leverage’ could become @GetLeverage or @LeverageProductivity). Next, identify where your biggest opportunities are. Platforms where your target audience are highly active should be given priority and launched first. It really is ok to have channels that are inactive — just make sure you direct visitors to an active channel where they can engage.

Once you’ve identified your primary platform(s) try to commit a small amount of resources to plan how to get the best return on investment (ROI). Here’s how…

Look at the platform’s key strengths and user behaviors. Find an overlap where your brand can bring value to the audience.

That’s your sweet spot.

If [Instagram = beautiful photos] + [Your business = farm to table food], your social sweet spot would likely be visually sharing beautiful food, recipes and behind the scenes of the farms used to source ingredients.

This particular part of the process can be fun and benefits from getting a bit creative. Recruit some of your social media savvy friends and family for help or reach out to the leverage team and we’ll get you started. A mini platform playbook that outlines your pillars, content series and a few creative templates can make a big difference getting those first platforms up and running.

Once it’s gaining traction and your resources allow, expand into your secondary platforms.

Get creative with your execution.

The big biz approach:

Brands are investing bigger portions of their marketing budget into social media production, making it difficult for smaller brands to break through the clutter. Their robust social media guidelines can include in-depth tone of voice, character inspiration, catch-phrases and editorial guidelines — plus photography, illustration, iconography and video guidelines. This process can be exhaustive with guidelines well over 100 pages.

The small biz approach:

This doesn’t need to be exhaustive for a small business. Choosing some guidelines for your voice and look/feel can help establish your company’s brand presence.

Think of your brand as a person. What kind of person would be speaking to your audience. Who would they relate to? Assigning some key personality traits and maybe even attaching a celebrity persona to aspire to can help. Keep a cheat sheet handy when creating content to inspire the tone. Choose a few creative executions that can serve as templates with brand colors, elements and logo treatments to establish a visual look and feel.

Don’t get too cookie cutter in your approach, or users will tune you out. Outsourcing creative help to establish some basic tenents for your social guidelines doesn’t cost big bucks and will be extremely helpful as your social footprint expands.

 

Get in there and mingle.

The big biz approach:

Being an active part of the community once you’ve launched is important (platforms may even ‘demote’ you in content feeds if you don’t). Because of this, most companies and big brands hire full-time community managers who post, comment and share across platforms… being present and active just as a human would. Many of the recent changes we’re seeing across platforms make organic reach more difficult, so brands invest in paid media to get the additional reach they need to get in front of their audiences.

The small biz approach:

Being an active part of the community for a small business can be challenging. Even more reason to prioritize to only your priority platforms. Posting, monitoring and engaging with your audience is something all businesses need to do regardless of size, so deciding where to invest time and money is important. Here are a few things to consider:

Use existing resources: Identify a person on your team who can take an hour each day to participate in channels. They can answer queries, respond to comments and engage with the audience. It’s also easier for them to adapt their voice to your brand because they are closest to it.

Hire someone part-time: A part-timer can monitor the channels and keep your brand active and engaged. They can jump into conversations can add value — even expand your organic reach.

Leverage trending topics: Talk about things happening in the news (organic reach is possible when stories are topical and relevant). For example, look at the trending hashtags on twitter. What are people talking about? Contributing a piece of content that makes you relevant (and even better, useful) can go a long way. Don’t overthink it — you have to be timely and you can get scrappy with the execution. Here are a few examples we like:

During the season finale of Game of Thrones, the US Olympics saw an opportunity and had this tweet up almost instantly:

Always be a work in progress.

Social is a fickle beast. I hope you will go in armed with the knowledge that this is the consumer’s party and the playlist is going to keep you on your toes. We can teach you a few go-to moves that will help you fit in. Then wait for those moments where you’ve got some killer moves to show off and jump into the spotlight. Be willing to adapt, change and learn as you go. React, refine and revisit.

Just remember, you don’t have to do it all. Just be strategic about where you think the big wins will be and start small. Who’s ready!?

This post was written by Ann Marie Almariei

Ann Marie is the Founder and CEO of will-it.com, an estate planning technology focused on the ‘who gets what’. She is the organizer of ‘Social for StartUps’ a local meet-up in Boston, MA where regularly speaks and holds workshops for other entrepreneurs and small businesses. She is also a Creative and Strategy Specialist with Leverage and available to members for coaching calls and projects.

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