12 Ways to Incorporate Social Media into Your Next Event

If you are attending or exhibiting at an upcoming event, be sure to prepare an online marketing strategy to help you plan for it, as events are a great opportunity to build awareness and promote your organization online. There are many online channels you can use for event promotion, but we would advise you to begin with social media. Social media is a key resource for promotion and engagement, and by executing the following steps, you will set your organization up for marketing success.

Let’s start by taking a look at the promotional aspect…

Before the Event:

  • Create and/or engage in a hashtag. Create buzz by giving the event a special online presence with this way of categorizing tweets.
  • Does the event have its own social media presence? If so, make your presence known there as well. Post on the Facebook event page, tweet using the event’s account and hashtag.
  • Make your schedule of events social-friendly. Allow users to “check-in” to venues. Make sure all blog posts related to the event can be easily shared on social networks and via email. The schedule should either be on a dedicated mobile page or on a page that was designed in responsive.
  • Spread the word elsewhere online. Make sure your colleagues and peers blog about the event and be sure to have an email campaign focused on it, or maybe even a webinar. Press releases are great too.
  • Keep it conversational. Be sure to ask open-ended questions regarding the event that generate a response. Use social media as an opportunity to gauge interest in the event, take surveys regarding what should be featured, and use it as a forum to field questions. This also gives a chance for organizations to retweet users’ responses in order to build a “word-of-mouth” hype.
  • Keep a countdown running. Don’t overwhelm your followers with information and messages only about the event, but be sure to have it mentioned and remind the users of it daily.

During the Event:

  • Take pictures of everything. Just when you think you’ve taken too many photos, take some more! People want to feel like they’re at the event, almost to the point where they feel like they didn’t miss out at all just by following you on social networks. Document everything as it will provide great blog content for your official site later on. Ask attendees to do the same and post on Twitter using the hashtag.
  • Take videos of all possible content. If anything, it’s great for your organization’s YouTube channel, but can also liven up a post-event blog entry. Also, it helps you sell future events.
  • Make your location known. If you’re attending a large scale event, make sure your followers know exactly where to find you. Tweet what room you’re in, what booth you’re at, and always use the hashtags so people know what you’re referring to. Even landmarks are helpful!
  • If people aren’t seeing you, MAKE them notice you. Engage with others at the event via social media so they feel compelled to come and find you. Search the event’s hashtag and interact with those participating so you already have some background with people when you meet in person.
  • Did you just meet someone you want to remember? Make them remember you. Engaging with and commenting to people via social media is the new “collecting of business cards.” No need to try to remember who you hit it off with at the conference, as long as you stay engaged with them through social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Tell everybody what happened. Write detailed and lively summary blogs for your organization, and leave no detail out.

Once it’s all said and done, your organization will have not only been an active participant on the conference room floor, but online as well. Promoting events via social media benefits you, your organization, and the event. There’s no better way to consistently engage and converse with others while spreading your organization’s name across multiple channels.

Be sure to incorporate as many of these steps as you can at your next event. If you need a plan, contact us for help. Good luck and enjoy!

interlinkONE Announces Their Sponsorship of the “Bowl with a Bruin” Event

BowlWithABruin_logo_2WILMINGTON, Mass. – (May 31, 2016) John Foley, Jr., president and CEO/CMO of interlinkONE is proud to announce the company’s sponsorship of the 1st Annual “Bowl with a Bruin” Bowl-a-Thon, which supports the Boston Bruins Foundation Pan Mass Challenge Bike Team. The Pan Mass Challenge (PMC) raises money for cancer care and research and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  Since 1980, the PMC has raised over a half billion dollars for Dana-Farber. “Bowl with a Bruin” will take place on June 5, 2016, at 4 p.m. at Wamesit Lanes, 434 Main St., Tewksbury, MA.

With over 16 Boston Bruins alumni participating in the event, each four-person team will draft their favorite alumni to join them in their strides to strike out cancer. Bowl with a Bruin will feature individual and team prizes, golf simulator skills contests with prizes, a 50/50 raffle, and silent and live auctions. Food and soft drinks are also included.

“There is nothing better than supporting an event that is making such giant efforts in the fight against cancer. This is the first year that Bowl with a Bruin is being hosted and already they have exceeded expectations in both fundraising and participation, and I am extremely excited and proud to be a part of this,” said Foley.

At this time, team spaces for the Bowl with a Bruin event are sold out, but those interested in participating are kindly encouraged to join as spectators for a $50.00 donation, which can be made by visiting ilink.me/BWBAttend. For those who cannot attend but wish to make a donation to the fight against cancer can do so at ilink.me/BWBDonate.

interlinkONE, founded by Foley in 1996, offers a collection of innovative software solutions including AwarenessHub, the number one social media tool for sales lead generation. AwarenessHub’s cloud-based suite leverages data science to rapidly model and score the profiles and signals across the social web. The result is segmented lists of individuals who can be hyper-targeted for 1-to-1 social marketing programs resulting in a tremendous lift in qualified leads, pipeline and sales conversions. Past and present customers include leading brands and Fortune 50 companies. AwarenessHUB allows users to centrally manage all social accounts to listen and respond to customers in real-time, while engaging prospects with targeted content, all from a single platform. The platform provides insight into where potential and existing customers are online, what interests them most and the ability to better interact and engage them to drive revenue growth. Visit awarenesshub.com to discover how AwarenessHub can work for your business.

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Media Contact:
Donna Vieira
Vice President, Marketing
interlinkONE
donnav@interlinkONE.com

7 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Analytics

Analytics, the thing that keeps our business’ Internet presence vital, functioning. Of course, its full potential might be waiting in the wings. Some businesses might have a digital presence, but they might be floating on the web in order to appear more serious. What if you can utilize your analytics? What if you can expand upon an already successful campaign?

  1. Target Audience. Finding your target audience is the driving force for your analytics. Your business, in a sense, caters to these people. Your target audience should be specific. Extremely specific. Females in their 20s won’t cut it, you have to go beyond that. Google Analytics has tools that can make one understand their customers. Google has Affinity and In-Market audiences. The Affinity audience is Google’s way of analyzing a customer’s interests, their habits, even lifestyle in order to grasp their overall identity. In-Marketing are the people who are on the prowl to purchase your service or product, comparing that said service. With Google Analytics, you can filter your audience, checking your highest converting audience. Once you find that target audience you can strategize and compose campaigns that can benefit your business.GuestPost_ilink_052316
  1. Repeat Customers. If your site has a flow of repeat customers, it’s a sign that your campaign efforts, on all sorts of Internet platforms, are working. You’ve done something right in order for them to come back and make a purchase. Look at the length of their stay on your site, specifically on certain pages. That data is an indicator to produce similar content to keep those customers coming back.
  1. Landing Pages. As a business, you’ve created this campaign, pumping money into ads on Facebook, venturing your target audience onto your landing page. The landing page, most of the time, is your company’s homepage. What if the user exits the page moments after clicking the link? You’re seeing no results from this effort. This could be the campaign itself, which in turn needs a rework, or it can be the landing page itself. The content can be lackluster causing turn over. Find the problem and fix it, in order to see the fruits of your labor.
  1. Focus on Successful Campaigns. If your social media campaign is a success, it’s time to amp it up. Same goes for referral sites or a basic search. It’s all about finding what works and what’s bringing in consumers. If these hyperlinks and social media blasts are attracting your target audience, maintain that momentum.
  1. Tag Clouds. Tag clouds are this magical invention that gathers keywords and displays them, the bigger the word, the more it’s used. You can take keywords people use the most to find your site and input them into the cloud. The same can be done with internal search keywords. You can create more site content based on these words, driving traffic.
  1. Abandoned Carts. What causes your users to abandon their carts, leaving their virtual items to collect dust? Is it the shipping cost? Form of payment? By checking your data, you should be able to pinpoint the problem. Same can be said about forms. A user can be in the middle of filling out a form and just drop it. They exit your site. Why? Does the form contain a multitude of questions that seem repetitive? Is it asking for too much? It’s all about sifting through the data and finding the issue.
  1. Traffic Sources. Pay attention to traffic sources. See which sources are providing customers that stay on your site for a long duration of time. Plus, those users should result in a purchase. Your social media campaign may be drawing in those paying customers, while internal searches are providing the opposite results. You want those customers to stay, just like those from your social media campaign. It may be best to fix your SEO strategy in order to attract higher, paying, traffic while furthering your social media efforts.

In this day and age, analytics is all about the now. You have to check your data constantly in order to see success. For your business to experience growth, you must have the ability to adapt to the momentum and ever changing environment of marketing.

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About the Author: Brittany Torano writes creative content on behalf of the digital marketing experts at Marketing Zen. On her down time you can see her swimming laps in a pool, running around her neighborhood, or holed up in a movie theater with a bucket of popcorn. You can connect with Brittany on LinkedIn.

 

Foley Releases New Edition of Business Transformation Book

Foley Releases New Edition of A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry from his “Business Transformation” Book Series

(Wilmington, MA, May 11, 2016) – John Foley Jr., President and CEO/CMO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially and notable industry consultant, has released a new edition of his book, Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry, from his “Business Transformation” series, which focuses on the printing industry and how print service providers can streamline their services to achieve sustainable long-term success.

Generously underwritten and printed by Canon U.S.A., Inc., Foley’s strategic and intuitive guide to transformation examines fundamental topics that printers must consider in order to transform their organization. Topics include building a business plan, infrastructure considerations, configuring new personnel models, promoting brand awareness through social media, and above all else, marketing new services to current and prospective clients.

Foley will be attending the 2016 Epicomm Experience Annual Conference in Savannah, Ga., where he will sign complimentary copies of the new edition of his book for conference attendees, courtesy of Canon U.S.A., Inc., on Tuesday, May 17 from 5:15-6:15 p.m. during the Happy Hour event in the Vendor Showcase. Foley will also present “20 Marketing Innovations and Ideas in 30 Minutes” during the Annual Meeting and Town Hall Luncheon on Wednesday, May 18 from 12-1:30 p.m.

Anyone interested in a copy of the new edition of Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry, is encouraged to visit http://ilink.me/PTP to submit a request. Copies will be distributed as they are available.

Ranked number 15 in Forbes’ Top 50 Most Influential CMOs on Social Media, Foley has a proven track record for helping print service providers transform and adapt their businesses in a constantly evolving environment. In this latest book, as well as through the consulting work he does, he demonstrates the importance of expanding a business model beyond traditional print services, by adding new services and technologies that enhance communications to better serve the customer. John Foley, Jr. is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable influencers when it comes to successful business transformations for organizations nationwide.

Purchase John’s other books in the “Business Transformation” series or “Untethered Marketing” on JohnFoleyJr.com.

AwarenessHUB’s cloud-based suite leverages data science to rapidly model and score the profiles and signals across the social web. The result is segmented lists of individuals who can be hyper-targeted for 1-to-1 social marketing programs resulting in a tremendous lift in qualified leads, pipeline and sales conversions. Past and present customers include leading brands and Fortune 50 companies. AwarenessHUB allows users to centrally manage all social accounts to listen and respond to customers in real-time, while engaging prospects with targeted content, all from a single platform. The platform provides insight into where potential and existing customers are online, what interests them most and the ability to better interact and engage them to drive revenue growth.

interlinkONE, founded by Foley in 1996, provides complex communications management software to industries including graphic communications (print and direct mail), fulfillment, in-plant facilities, insurance, and financial services. interlinkONE is also the parent company of Grow Socially, founded by Foley in 2010, which is a marketing solutions company with a mission to boost sales for organizations through lead generating activities including inbound and content marketing, social media, and print mediums. Grow Socially provides strategic plans, content marketing solutions, website development, and business transformation consulting to help organizations get on a path to marketing success.

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Media Contact:
Donna Vieira
Vice President, Marketing
interlinkONE
donnav@interlinkONE.com

Marketing Online Safety is a Must

In order for customers to trust your brand, one of the main themes of your marketing message must be that they can feel secure in doing business with you.

The reason security oftentimes comes up is due to the fact that customers entrust businesses with their personal information, information that includes credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, bank account details, home addresses and phone numbers, not to mention much more.

So that your brand can be safe and secure in the minds of customers, use your marketing expertise to share with them just how you are doing this.

Better yet, demonstrate it on a regular basis.

Reassuring Customers They Are Safe with You

Worried man in front of computer isolated with clipping path

Worried man in front of computer isolated with clipping path

There are myriad of ways you can put customers at ease when it comes to doing business with you.

In the wake of numerous and notable cyber-attacks in recent years, some customers have been put on edge, worrying that their personal/financial data could easily be compromised at one point or another.

To lessen such fears, your marketing efforts should include:

  1. Education – First and foremost, educate customers on how you go about protecting their personal/financial data after they have made a purchase with you. Having the right online protection for your company’s digital life is a necessity, not a choice. Whether you opt for a personal newsletter or having the information on your site where only customers can access it, be clear about some of the steps (without going into specific security details) you’ve taken to enhance and maintain online protection (see more below). This can include how you first protect consumers when they sign up with your site and are asked to provide certain personal information. Also educate them on how their credit card information is protected when they make a purchase from your online store. Given this is typically one of the most worrisome practices for customers, reassure them that the data they provide is secure and not available to the eyes of potential cyber-criminals;
  2. Social media – With more and more consumers turning to social media (oftentimes even to get their news), it is imperative that you have a role on social networking sites. Use your marketing abilities on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn etc. to remind consumers of all you are doing to keep data private. Being it is social media, do remember that just about anyone can see what you’re saying (unless you have a locked down account). As a result, do not go into security measures in too great a detail. If you do, the bad guys will not have to work too hard to figure out ways to get around the security measures you’ve installed. Use social media as more of a reassurance effort for your customers (and those you hope to turn into customers), not an educational manual for would-be cyber-criminals;
  3. You’re a leader – Even though many cyber-criminals will do their utmost to break through to your site, you can dissuade them from doing so by marketing your anti-crime efforts. Show that you take cyber security seriously. If you’re a small business, your marketing budget might very well be limited, but touting your cyber security measures is something that can be a win-win for your brand. On the one hand, you show the world that you take this topic very seriously. The question of course is why wouldn’t you? Just one cyber-attack has the potential to not only create a public relations nightmare for your brand, but have a negative impact on your finances. When you’re a smaller company and on a budget, your finances get even more scrutiny. On the other hand, a cyber-attack could leave your business in peril. Also look to other leaders, seeing how some of the better-known brands (and even some of the lesser-known ones) go about protecting their brands online. While they are not going to provide specific security measures, they will oftentimes discuss and demonstrate some simple tactics that you might very well have missed or forgotten about.

Marketing online safety in today’s business world is imperative for both the business owner and the consumer, as both stands to lose when a company’s online apparatus is compromised.

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers marketing topics on the web.

Establishing Your Value Proposition

Do your customers have a good reason to continue to spend their money with you? Perhaps there was a golden age when your services were in such high demand it wasn’t necessary to ponder this question, but times have changed. Nowadays there is competition from other companies working hard to keep their operations running. As technology and the Internet continuously change the world, businesses are faced with the challenge of showcasing their value in a way that motivates target markets to continue using their services. Knowing your value proposition and communicating it has never been more important, so how do you get started?

Understand Customer Needs

Your value proposition is directly linked to the needs of customers and prospects. After all, if you don’t understand what your audience needs, how can you offer them solutions that will keep them coming back for more? Here are a few suggestions for finding out what’’s going on before developing your value proposition:

  • Take time to talk to customers at meetings or conferences
  • Pick up the phone and call
  • Send a survey
  • Analyze social media and website metrics
  • Listen to what your audience is saying online

Understanding what your customers need is important because being able to meet those needs, and communicate that you can, is the difference between growing your business or not.

What Can You Do for Me?

Take a good look at what your business offers as far as services. It’s important to truly understand the core of exactly what it is you do for existing customers. Ask yourself how your business can:

  • Improve customers’ lives
  • Be worth spending money on
  • Stand out from competitors

Your prospects and customers want to know how working with you will make their jobs easier. If you find your value proposition isn’t as strong as you want it to be, take a step back and evaluate everything you need to know about your target market, and the problems they face.

Be Loud and Clear

Your customers and prospects are seeing thousands of marketing messages every day. Make sure you stand out with a clear statement of the solutions you provide. Whether you’’re updating Facebook or writing a circular, make sure your message shines.

Keep in mind that this is not about the hard sell, but rather repeating your value proposition to the right audience, at the right time, on a continual basis. Give your marketing messages strong call to actions, and be sure that you always remind your listeners about the benefits of working with your business.

If you want to grow your customer base and retain current jobs, it’s time to develop a clear understanding and message revolving around what you can do for them.