Friday, December 15, 2017

How Prepared Are Marketers for the GDPR?

Disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice for your company to use in complying with EU data privacy laws like the GDPR. Instead, it provides background information to help you better understand the GDPR. This legal information is not the same as legal advice, where an attorney applies the law to your specific circumstances, so we insist that you consult an attorney if you’d like advice on your interpretation of this information or its accuracy.

In a nutshell, you may not rely on this as legal advice, or as a recommendation of any particular legal understanding.

If your line of work involves, well, the internet -- chances are, you’ve heard about the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR).

You've most likely also heard about the ways it will impact your work -- especially if you're a marketer. After all, in marketing, our responsibilities largely boil down to outreach and building an audience, and sometimes, that involves obtaining, storing, and processing the personal data of users who come across our content.

But if you're not based in the EU and think the GDPR won't affect you -- think again. If you market your products to people in the EU or monitor the behavior of people in the EU -- even if you’re based outside of the EU -- the GDPR will apply to you.

So, how prepared are marketers for the GDPR? (Spoiler alert: The answer is "not very.") And for those who are, what are they doing to prepare for May 2018, when the GDPR comes into force?

To understand that, we'll go over how consumers view the GDPR, which informs the way marketers should be thinking about it. Then, we'll dive into the ways businesses are preparing.

Consumers Agree the GDPR Is a Good Thing

Among EU consumers, data privacy laws are well-received -- especially the GDPR. It's interesting to note that this feedback comes from an audience outside of the U.S., where data breaches have been making headlines for years -- most recently, two of the more noteworthy incidents came from Equifax and Uber

That reinforces the idea that U.S.-based companies should still be highly concerned with this European Regulation. Data security is a global issue -- and in this age, it's easy to observe what's happening in other countries.

Here's where regulations like the GDPR become the marketer's responsibility. In a recent webinar led by BetterCloud, digital security expert Jodi Daniels spoke to the importance of GDPR as a brand awareness issue. Calling it a "big competitive advantage," she noted that complying with and prioritizing data security laws sends the message to users that you care about their safety.

That concern and transparency is something that a growing number of consumers will not only expect, but demand. In fact, we found that 91% of consumers expect companies they work with to be completely transparent about how, exactly, their data is being used -- which can cause hesitation in submitting data.

But that's just the beginning. Even if a company is completely transparent about the use of personal data, less than a quarter of consumers would still find them "very trustworthy" -- and half would find them "somewhat trustworthy."

In other words, when it comes to truly earning the trust of consumers, marketers and their businesses certainly have their work cut out for them -- and we suspect that much of this sentiment is the result of the recent data breaches we mentioned earlier. GDPR compliance is a big, crucial step.

So, what are some of the ways in which businesses are preparing for this Regulation that will take effect in roughly six months?

Marketers Are Not Well-Prepared for the GDPR

Yes, you read the above information correctly: Less than half of the business leaders and marketers we surveyed are even aware of the GDPR. And as for how much preparatory knowledge they have about the Regulation in general -- well, that's not looking too encouraging, either.

But not all hope is lost. There is some preparation underway, and for the most part, companies (about half of those represented by those we surveyed) are addressing the GDPR by updating their contracts and data protection policies, many of whom are working with their vendors to do the same.

However, what's less encouraging is that 22% of our survey participants admitted that, at the time of taking the survey, they hadn't started doing anything yet to prepare for the GDPR.

That lack of preparation could be the indirect result of the fear that some marketers seem to have of the GDPR's impact on their businesses. Over half of them, for example, expect to see their email marketing lists shrink.

That expectation could stem from the GDPR's inclusion of “right to erasure,” which is essentially the right of an individual to request that all personal data about him or herself is erased by the "controller" of that data (i.e., the organization that collected the data) with undue delay in certain circumstances. And given that option, 59% of European consumers say -- they would take it. 

Finally, it seems that marketers and business leaders are largely preparing to change the ways they collect consumer data. Email opt-ins and sales-related calling practices will largely be impacted, many expect, and marketing teams will continue to grow their focus on such outreach tools as social media and traffic-building content and SEO strategies.

Simply put, consumers in Europe view the GDPR with a highly positive sentiment, and marketers need to respond in kind. As transparency becomes even more valued, companies can view it, in part, as a vehicle of brand awareness -- one that will now be dictated by strict rules.

If you still have questions, we'll continue to follow the GDPR closely in the months leading up to May 2018, when it comes into force. In the meantime, visit our checklist to help businesses work on their GDPR compliance.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

9 Proven Tactics of a Successful Local Facebook Marketing Strategy

With 2.2 billion active users, it might seem like turning followers into paying customers on Facebook would be easy. At least a few of those users will want what you’re selling ... right? Unfortunately, targeting a local market on Facebook is a little more challenging than that.

Building a local Facebook marketing strategy is challenging, but extremely rewarding when executed correctly. Here are nine proven Facebook marketing tactics you can use to drive foot traffic, build brand awareness, and increase revenue potential.

9 Tactics for Your Local Facebook Marketing Strategy

1. Share Reviews

Standing out can be difficult when you’re surrounded by hundreds of other businesses all vying for attention. The key often lies in using social proof. People trust businesses that can prove what they say is true -- especially if that proof comes from a customer.

Here are two review tactics we use:

  • Share screenshots of positive reviews from other social sites.
  • Ask customers to share the experience they’ve had with your business.

Screenshot positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Google+, and then share them on your Facebook page. Tag the reviewer’s business in your post with a sincere “Thank you,”, or just happily boast that you have the best customers. Sharing screenshots of emails from happy customers works too, just be sure you ask permission first.

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If you’re just starting out and your business doesn’t have any reviews yet, give your audience an incentive to leave positive feedback. Ask your followers how their last experience was at your business. Offer a product giveaway to the first five people that leave a comment describing why they love your company. Even if you don’t get an official Facebook review, someone will probably comment on their experience. That’s social proof.

2. Create an Event

Having a live band perform at your restaurant this weekend or throwing a big sale at your retail store? Facebook events are a great way to notify your followers and generate some buzz for your business. Even if people can't attend in person, it shows that your business is actively engaged with the community.

Creating an event on your Facebook page is easy. First, navigate to the “Events” tab.

Select the blue “Create Event” button.

Fill in the details:

  • Date and time
  • Event category
  • Event keywords
  • A link to the ticketing website

Finally, add a compelling photo, and you’re good to go.

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A few tips to improve the reach of your Facebook event:

  • Add directions or a map to make it easy for people to find your event.
  • Invite up to 500 people.
  • Share your event and/or promote it as an ad.

3. Use Groups

Groups offer a wide variety of local Facebook marketing advantages. Some of the best include:

  • Listing and selling products
  • Building a community
  • Establishing expertise
  • Networking
  • Offering great customer service

The possibilities for creating and managing a group on Facebook are only limited by your imagination. Groups are the perfect place to create a controlled community within your target audience. As the admin of the group, you can approve or reject all posts, accept or block members, and direct the commentary.

Groups allow you to build a micro-community that is hyper-focused on the subject of your choosing. For example, a business that sells laptop cases could create an entire Facebook group centered around laptop cases and their various uses, the best kinds, how to determine product quality, and humorous customer stories.

4. Share Local Content

One thing that’s consistent across Facebook is that people love to celebrate local pride. Align your business with famous events, history, people, landmarks, sayings, and other nuances that are part of your city’s identity. Share content from local organizations that captures the essence of your locale and will interest to your audience.

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These are examples of good local content topics:

  • 13 Things Keeping Austin Weird
  • How Boston’s “R”-less Accent Became So Famous
  • The Best Festivals to Attend this Summer in San Diego

Make your Facebook page an extension of the culture and traditions surrounding your location.

5. Mention Local Businesses, Events, and Groups

If you’re looking for ways to build engagement and gain traction, tag accounts that share content which aligns with your audience’s interests. As with all things on social media, tagging can be overdone, so don’t start tagging pages in every post. Rather, choose the ones that will have the greatest impact and provide value to your audience.

Tagging is another great way to support local marketing efforts. Build hype for an event your company is hosting using a Facebook live video, or showcase company culture with a group photo at the next conference you attend. One word of caution: if you decide to try Facebook live, write a script. The last thing you want to do is live-stream without a plan.

In addition to page tags, groups can also be tagged. This is especially effective when you’re attending industry events or working on collaborations. Athletic wear brands, such as Puma, do an exceptional job promoting their collaborations on Facebook.

6. Tag Locations & Events

I’m not talking about tagging your latest check-in at Olive Garden, I’m talking about event marketing, company outings, and business development trips. Manning a booth at Comic-Con? Post a group picture that tags the event and location. Taking the team out for someone’s Birthday lunch? Tag the location and upload a boomerang. Checking out your latest digital billboard downtown? Tag the location and upload a picture.

Add some variety to your Facebook page by tagging locations and show off your company’s personality at the same time.

7. Run a Contest

Everybody likes to win things. There are many different ways to run a Facebook contest. The two most popular include hosting a promotion on a Facebook app or on your Page’s Timeline.

Pay close attention to Facebook’s content rules because disregarding them could get your contest shutdown. Here are just a few things you can’t do:

  • You can’t require participants to share a page or post on your Timeline to enter
  • You can’t require participants to like a page to enter
  • You can’t require participants to tag themselves in pictures to enter

The list goes on. Review a thorough breakdown of what you can and can’t do when running a Facebook contest here. Helpful hint: even though you can’t require page likes, photo tagging, and timeline posting, you can still encourage the audience to complete those actions.

8. Encourage Foot Traffic

Retail companies often struggle to make Facebook work in their favor. The biggest problem is getting people online to come into the store. Here are a few tips to start turning Facebook followers into foot traffic that have revenue potential:

  • Create polls and contests centered on popular products and their uses
  • Run regular in-store events your customers are interested in
  • Promote in-store coupons, giveaways, and sweepstakes
  • Build a shop directly on Facebook where your customers can purchase your products
  • Align your page with causes your audience cares about

Think of Facebook as your marketing email and your store as the landing page. In order to get people from the digital universe to visit your physical business, you need to have a compelling message and offer they can’t refuse. For example, if there’s a large sales conference in town you could create a set of Facebook ads that are focused on the area surrounding the conference center and targets sales professionals over the age of 21. Offer a lunch discount and provide all the details they need to make a quick meal grab before heading to their next session.

9. On-Site Promotion of Your Facebook Page

Try to convert the foot traffic your business attracts into online brand advocates. Use signage, receipts, business cards, flyers, coupons and more to ask for page likes, check-ins, reviews, and posts on your Facebook Timeline.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Give away a $200 gift card that requires participants to post a picture taken in front of a branded mural, sign, or display that tags your Facebook page.
  • Offer a 20% off discount for everyone who checks-in at your store on a Wednesday.

Executing successful Facebook local marketing tactics requires consistent testing and experimentation. What works for a retail business might not work for a restaurant, and vice versa.

Take the time to figure out what your audience responds to the best and what generates the most business for your company through Facebook. Successful Facebook local marketing can take time. Be patient, detail oriented and persistent.

 

 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

10 Hard Truths About Management No One Tells You

I remember talking with an acquaintance a few years back who had recently graduated from college about how she envisioned her career progressing. Here’s how she broke down the steps:

  1. Get a job.
  2. Master that job.
  3. Manage other people doing that job.
  4. “Run sh*t” (her exact words).

I find that this is often how management is perceived by individual contributors (myself included before I became a manager). “Running sh*t” sounds pretty awesome, right? And I felt confident that once I was handed this ultimate power, I would become a new enlightened version of my individual contributor self. The vision for my team would be revealed to me! I would know exactly how to execute on said vision! I would coach my team to success and would be positively drowning in progress and praise!

Today, I’m cringe-laughing as I write these sentences. The perception I had of management turned out to be quite different than the brass tacks realities. Spoiler: I did not ascend to a higher plane of enlightenment when my title changed. I was still myself, with all my faults, and dealing with a totally new set of challenges.

Don’t get me wrong -- for all the missteps and pitfalls and uncomfortable realizations, being a manager is easily the best job I’ve ever had. The phrase “the best hardest job” that often gets applied to parenting also holds for management in my opinion. The fulfillment I get from watching my team learn, grow, and ultimately kick ass is second to none.

This post is not intended to dissuade anyone from management. Instead, it’s an attempt to provide a glimpse into the not-so-glamorous parts of “running sh*t” that don’t get talked about as often as the pros. It’s my hope that this information can help people considering management make a fully informed decision -- and let current managers know that if they’re experiencing any of the things on this list, they’re not alone.

10 Hard Truths About Management No One Tells You

1) Management can be lonely.

When you’re an individual contributor on a team, you have a built-in support system. You’re naturally grouped with people who do the same thing you do, or if not, at least have deep context into your work. And this network comes in handy when you need a sounding board, a brainstorm partner, or just someone to vent to.

But when you’re the manager of a team, there’s by definition only one of you. There’s no one else in the same role who you can turn to when you’re stuck, or confused, or frustrated -- and that can sometimes leave you feeling lonely.

This isn’t to say that it’s impossible to find support as a manager. The key word is “find.” As a manager, you have to intentionally seek out fellow leaders and actively build a support network (and I guarantee that you will need it).

2) You stop practicing your craft.

You probably got your job as a manager because you were particularly good at whatever you were doing as an individual contributor … but in your new role, you actually stop doing that thing. The manager’s role is to help their team execute their craft particularly well. And because you’re playing an enablement role instead of actually doing the work, your skills are probably going to get a bit rusty.

For example, content is my craft, but I haven’t actively been in the weeds for a few years now. A peek at entry-level content creation jobs reveals that employers are now looking for video and design skills in addition to writing ... of which I have neither. I could probably get a job as a manager of a content team, but as a creator? Maybe not.

This is why I think it’s dangerous to think of management as a promotion -- it’s actually a totally different job. When you take a step towards management, you take a step away from your functional area of expertise. It’s a trade-off that I’ve been personally very happy with, but a trade-off nonetheless.

3) GSD turns into GTD.

At HubSpot, we’re fond of the acronym GSD, which stands for “get sh*t done.” We love people who love to cross things off a to-do list.

But considering that managers are enablers of people who execute tasks instead of executing those tasks themselves, “GSD” really doesn’t fit anymore. Instead, I think “GTD” more appropriately describes the work of managers, where “T” has two meanings:

  1. Get Thinking Done
  2. Get Talking Done

The first definition of “GTD” refers to strategic planning, which requires quite a bit of reflection and rumination. The second definition refers to enabling team members through coaching, providing feedback, and training. Neither of these “GTD” modes lend themselves to crossing items off a to-do list.

I’ve often heard new managers accustomed to executing tasks fast and furious remark that they feel like they’re not “doing anything” in their new role. This isn’t true -- their work is just as vital and important -- but it happens on a more ongoing cadence and isn’t neatly completed at the end of a day or week.

4) You don’t get as much feedback.

As an individual contributor, you (hopefully) get feedback on a timely and consistent basis. Do something awesome, and you’ll get near instant validation. Fumble on a project, and you’ll get constructive criticism soon after.

When you’re a manager, the feedback loop slows thanks to the nature of the GTD grind. Your manager doesn’t have as much visibility into your “thinking” and “talking” work as they do with more task-oriented output, and this means you’ll probably get periodic packages of feedback at certain milestones rather than an ongoing stream.

On the flip side of the equation, it can feel uncomfortable to give your direct manager feedback. To encourage your reports to weigh in on your performance, consider putting anonymous mechanisms in place, or ask them to share their thoughts with your manager.

5) You have to do hard things (and you still have the same feelings).

Giving constructive criticism, conducting performance reviews, resolving conflicts, making sometimes unpopular decisions -- managers have to do a lot of things that aren’t exactly a barrel of laughs. And remember when I said I didn’t become a magically different person when I took on a team? I was also surprised to discover that I had the same feelings I did when I was an individual contributor.

Telling someone that they made a mistake or that their work isn’t up to par sucks -- manager or not. Personally, I struggle with nerves when delivering constructive criticism. Even if I know a certain piece of feedback will be beneficial to the person long-term, I still have to contend with a pounding heart and sweaty palms when the moment arrives. But, I force myself to get the words out, because I know it’s what I need to do to be effective in my role.

Being a manager means signing up to feel the feelings and do the hard things anyway. Which brings me to a somewhat related point ...

6) Management is emotional.

In addition to contending with your own feelings, as a manager, you’re also more frequently on the receiving end of others’ emotions. Work is emotional, and if you have a good relationship with your reports, they’re going to express frustration, stress, worry, anger, and a whole host of other emotions to you. Tears will be shed. Voices will be raised. Eyebrows will be crinkled. Sometimes all at once.

What I didn’t understand before I became a manager is how hard it can be to be the person on the other side of the table in these situations. Because you’re a human with empathy, your reports’ feelings will probably rub off on you to some extent.

On one hand, this is good thing -- to foster trust with your employees, you have to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective. But be wary that you don’t go overboard and cross into sponge territory, or start to feel responsible for others’ emotions. Managers have to remain objective to make sound decisions, and you can’t let someone else’s anger or frustration or guilt cloud your view on a situation.

When you feel like you’re crossing into “emotional burnout” zone, have a few coping mechanisms on hand that you can employ in a pinch -- and don’t feel guilty about using them. If a walk to clear your head will help you gain perspective and shake off emotional baggage, it’s not a sign that you’re bad at your job; on the contrary, it’s what you need to be good at your job. Don’t forget that.

7) Self-regulation, all day, every day.

I’ve just spent several paragraphs talking about all the emotions managers contend with, both their own and others’. The kicker? You actually need to be far more careful about how you express your feelings as a manager than as an individual contributor.

To understand why, consider the following two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Manager walks into a team meeting, slams the door, and bangs her laptop down on the table. She is visibly upset, with a scowl on her face. “I just heard that our budget is being slashed by 10% next year, which is total BS,” she huffs. “I’m so pissed; I don’t know why we even bother trying. We always have to deal with this crap and I’m fed up. I guess I’ll try to figure out where we can save money … ugh.”

Scenario 2: Manager walks into a team meeting, closes the door, and sits down at the table. She seems calm and serious. “Hi everyone, thanks for joining. Unfortunately, I have some bad news. I just heard from Finance that we need to cut our budget by 10% next year,” she says. “I’ll be honest -- I’m frustrated by this and I’d understand if you were too. That said, it’s the reality of the situation, and I think there are some cuts we can make that won’t negatively impact our work. I’ll share my ideas via email and I’d like to hear yours as well.”

This is essentially the same message, but delivered in two completely different ways. How do you think the team members left the meeting feeling in Scenario #1 vs. Scenario #2? Both are likely to be upset, but I’m guessing that the employees in the first situation are going to be a lot less productive and a lot more worried for the rest of the day than their counterparts in the second.

People take their emotional cues from their leaders. This doesn’t mean that managers can’t be authentic with their direct reports -- it just means they have to be deliberate about how they express their feeling so as not to create a chain reaction of negativity and stress.

To me, self-regulation means being mindful to not let your own emotion get in the way of delivering a clear message. It’s not easy, but it’s critically important. Pro tip: Invest in a good stress ball or join a gym with punching bags.

8) You spend less time in the spotlight.

As I said above, managers are enablers, not executors. If a project your team worked on was a smashing success, the lion’s share of the credit goes to the executors (as it should!). As the manager, you’re more likely to be clapping on the sidelines than standing in the spotlight, and that can be hard to swallow for people who’ve recently transitioned from an individual contributor role.

This has been one of the parts of management that agrees with me the most -- I actually prefer cheering from the sidelines, and get more enjoyment out of watching my team get recognized than getting recognized myself. I’m not here to judge -- neither preference is better or worse than the other -- but it’s worth asking yourself where you’d rather stand when the praise starts rolling in.

9) You’re the “sh*t umbrella.”

If you want to “run sh*t,” you have to deal with sh*t. I use the term “sh*t umbrella” to describe two essential functions of managers:

  1. Protecting your team from distractions so they can focus on execution.
  2. Doing the essential drudgery that no one else wants to do.

Let’s start with the first point. One of the reasons I love working at HubSpot is that there are a ton of innovative ideas being discussed at all corners of the company. The downside? At times, these ideas can become distracting or cause confusion. It’s my job to contextualize external information and help triage requests from other departments -- sometimes referred to as “blocking and tackling” -- so that my team can spend their time actually, you know, doing their jobs.

As for the second scenario -- while it’s not good to protect your team from work, it is a good thing to show you’re willing to do the soul-crushing stuff so they don’t have to, at least temporarily. When the buck stops with you, it’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that what needs to be done gets done -- no matter how sh*tty.

10) Your relationships change.

While this one isn’t really a surprise, it can be hard to swallow nonetheless. If your company tends to promote from within, it’s probably a common scenario for people to become managers of their former peers or teammates … and that can be awkward. Because your relation to each other has changed, that means your relationship has to change as well. Peer-to-peer vent sessions and gut checks are suddenly off the table, replaced with formal one-on-one meetings and manager-employee feedback. Even if you’re not directly managing former peers, people have higher expectations of their leaders, which means you have to act accordingly both on and off your team. (Read: shotgunning beers on Friday afternoon might not be the best look anymore).

If you’re currently in this situation, be warned that it will make you feel some feelings (see #1). According to managers I’ve talked to who have been through this, the best way to mitigate the ensuing awkwardness is to address it head on. Clearly setting expectations and creating space for both of you to recalibrate will help you proactively forge the next chapter of your relationship instead of spending time lamenting what you’re leaving behind.

What are your own "hard truths"?

Those are some of the uncomfortable realizations and situations I’ve been through in my relatively short management tenure, and I am not an expert by any others, so I’d love to hear about others’. Tweet me your own “hard truths” or let me know how your perceptions around management have (or have not) changed after reading this post @emmajs24.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Does Business Blogging Still Get Results in 2017? New Data from 1,000 Bloggers [Infographic]

2017 marks the fourth consecutive year Orbit Media Studios has tapped the insights of 1000+ business bloggers to publish a research report on blogging statistics and trends.

In some cases, the annual blogger survey reflects subtle developments, but in others it reveals some significant changes. However, with four years of data in the books, a theme has clearly developed:

"Bloggers are reporting stronger results from content marketing," says Orbit Media’s co-founder Andy Crestodina.

"When asked to report on the effectiveness of their efforts, almost 30% of respondents reported 'strong results.' The vast majority of bloggers are seeing rewards from their efforts and meeting their goals, whatever they might be."

Each year, Andy delivers the survey’s findings in a meaty post detailing the data and expressing his conclusions. This year, the survey breaks down into 11 questions across three categories:

  1. Changes in the blogging process
  2. Blog content trends
  3. The promotion and measurement tactics business bloggers employ

Andy and I also collaborate each year on an infographic (see below) to present the most interesting findings in simple terms.

At the risk of reducing the suspense, the answer to the headline above (and headline of the infographic), “Are bloggers still getting results?” is …

Yes.

85% claim their blog delivers strong results or some results. The number represents a 6% increase compared to the year prior.

Peruse the infographic below to discover more about the tactics business bloggers used in 2017 and how it compares to years past.

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Want some historical context? Last year, HubSpot’s post Which Blogging Tips Get Results? features a summary of Orbit Media’s findings from 2014, 2015 and 2016.

 

Monday, December 11, 2017

7 Questions to Ask Before Working With a Micro-Influencer

The way we ask for recommendations has evolved.

Whereas once upon a time we may have asked a neighbor to recommend a product or service, 47% of millennials now turn to social media for recommendations and reviews before deciding on a purchase.

But these consumers aren’t always going to the social media accounts of brands. Much of the time, they're visiting the profiles of a special breed of social media personalities: influencers.

Consider this: Close to 40% of Twitter users alone have made a purchase as a result of influencer marketing -- and that's excluding the influence, if you will, of personalities on other channels, like Instagram.

And when we think of influencers, for many of us, A-list personalities and celebrities come to mind. Take Kylie Jenner, for example, who helped catapult the brand Fashion Nova into a favorite online retail brand.

 

#ad Obsessed with my new @fashionnova jeans 🍑Get them at FashionNova.com 😍

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on Dec 27, 2016 at 6:57am PST

Sure, celebrities might significantly help boost your sales and achieve your marketing goals. But let’s face it: most of us can't afford their price tags. After all, it’s reported that Kylie Jenner gets $400,000 for a single promotional Instagram post.

The good news is that marketers and startup business owners now have another option that will allow them to tap into the power of influencer marketing without putting their ROI in jeopardy.

This option comes in the form of a unique group of social media users collectively known as micro-influencers.

Why Use Micro-Influencers?

At first, opting to use micro-influencers for your marketing campaign may sound counterintuitive. Would it be more beneficial to tap an influencer with millions of followers, as opposed to getting a micro-influencer with just a few thousand followers?

Not necessarily.

That’s because when it comes to influencer marketing, the level of engagement is more crucial. It is one of the key metrics that will help you gauge the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaign.

In a study done by Markerly, a converse relationship was discovered between the number of followers an influencer has, and the level of engagement each post gets. In other words, as the number of followers increases, the engagement rate decreases.

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Source: Markerly

In its own study, Expercity found that micro-influencers not only generate 22.2X more conversion than the average social media user, but that 74% of them are rather direct in encouraging their followers to buy or try a product or service they're endorsing. That communicates credibility and transparency, which can help to build a loyal following.

Cost is another reason why many brands are now turning to micro-influencers. According to a study done by Bloglovin’, 97% of micro-influencers charge $500 and below for a sponsored post on Instagram.

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Source: Influence

Additionally, 87% micro-influencers charge $500 and below for a sponsored blog post.

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Source: Influence

Finding the Right Micro-Influencer for Your Business

With so many micro-influencers out there, it’s no surprise that 73% of marketers point to finding the right one as one of their biggest challenges.

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Source: Econsultancy

Of course, you can choose to hire an influencer marketing agency to help you find the right micro-influencers for your campaign. But if you want to be more hands-on in finding the right micro-influencer, here are seven questions you’ll need to answer very carefully.

1. What are your goals?

The first thing to consider when finding the right micro-influencer is to look at what you're aiming to achieve. Do you want to generate more leads for your business? If so, look for micro-influencers that frequently host contests or giveaways on their social media accounts -- especially if they involve encouraging their followers to sign up in exchange for free trials, products or access to an exclusive event.

2. Who are the micro-influencer's followers?

When reviewing the followers of the micro-influencer you want to reach, look at to how well they align with your brand's buyer personas. Some of the things to consider are:

  • Where are the majority of the micro-influencers' followers based (geographically)?
  • Are they mostly male or female?
  • Which type of posts resonates with them the most?

3. Is the micro-influencer already a fan?

Working with a micro-influencer that’s already using your product or service has several benefits. For starters, he or she might already be posting about your company and products -- so a partnership is more natural and appears more genuine to followers.

Also, micro-influencers who are fans of your products and brand are more likely negotiate lower fees. Some may even be willing to collaborate with you in exchange for some free products or services.

One way to find these micro-influencers is to perform a general search for blog posts mentioning your brand. Since Google ranks sites based on content quality, there's a good chance that the first two or three results belong to a micro-influencer in your niche.

Another is by using a tool like Gatsby.ai (which has an integration with HubSpot) to your website. Gatsby helps you search through your customer database for micro-influencers that have bought your products, and help you quickly retrieve their information so that you can reach out to them.

4. How engaged is the micro-influencer's audience?

As I mentioned earlier, a micro-influencer’s engagement rate is one of the key metrics that will help you determine the success (or lack of it) of your influencer marketing campaign.

Review the social media accounts of the micro-influencer to see how many likes, comments, and shares each post gets. Although likes are good, I often recommend that my clients focus more on the number of comments and shares a post receives. That's because it requires more effort for a follower to leave a comment on or share a post than it is to click on the like button. Often, followers will only leave comments when they find the post compelling enough for them do so.

5. What kind of content does the micro-influencer produce?

Micro-influencers create their posts based on their own brand and image they want to convey to their followers and compare this against the image you want your audience to associate with your brand. There must be alignment between your perceived brand image the micro-influencer's, in order to ensure that the posts he or she creates for you don't look like a mismatch. Followers tend not to appreciate that -- after all, they follow this micro-influencer for relevant content.

6. Are they working with your competitors?

If you're seriously considering using influencer marketing, there's a chance that your competitors are also doing the same. Take some time to review the posts of the micro-influencers you want to work with, and see if they've worked with any of your direct or indirect competitors.

If so, how did the audience respond to the post? Was there anything mentioned by the micro-influencer about your competitors' products that you can leverage?

7. How many platforms do they use?

Although 80% of micro-influencers point to Instagram as their preferred platform for creating and publishing content, many of them are equally active on their own blogs and in other social media channels. Some even have access to traditional media like TV and magazines. The more platforms a micro-influencer can use to promote your content, the better for you.

Friday, December 8, 2017

3 Ways Working a Job You Hate Can Benefit Your Career

"We'll miss you, Cliff." said Andy, my manager. His face looked long when he was sad. We were both working for a company that just experienced a major product failure, and, unfortunately, it prompted a massive round of layoffs. Since I was just an intern, Andy left the decision to leave or stay up to me.

I decided to leave.

"I'll miss you guys, too," I replied. "Thanks again for the opportunity. Let me know what you end up doing after all this chaos dies down." We both shook hands. "Will do," he responded. "Keep in touch, Cliff."

After I packed up my things and said goodbye to the remaining employees, I headed out the office and into the elevator.

As soon as the doors closed, a feeling of liberation washed over me. I let out a booming "Yes!", followed by a triumphant fist pump. I was finally out of that place. I had dreaded going to work everyday. At the same time, though, I felt a little regretful.

I realized I had essentially just wasted two months of precious internship experience. The company had fired their entire marketing team a week before I started, so I was the only marketer in the office. There was no one to learn from, and I barely had anything to do. Half my time was dedicated to playing ping pong and watching office drama escalate on Slack. Amusing for sure, but not really beneficial for my skillset.

My colleagues jokingly called me "CMO Intern", but I didn't think it was funny. If I was the only marketer at the company, who was going to mentor me? And how was I going to develop my skills? It was one of the most frustrating few months of my life.

But even after the pang of regret I felt walking out, I would do it all over again. I'm glad I accepted that internship. I didn't gain the valuable marketing experience I was expecting, but I did walk away with some surprising career lessons. And without them, I wouldn't be where I am now, working a job I love

If you currently have a job you're not too fond of, don't beat yourself up. We've all been there. It hurts, but your suffering will help you figure out what you actually want from your career.

A lot of times, working a job you hate can actually lead you to the one you love. Read on to find out how.

3 Ways Having a Job You Hate Can Benefit Your Career

1) You'll figure out what you like to do -- and what you don't like to do.

There are a lot of variables that influence your satisfaction at work. And sometimes, you won't discover what you actually like doing until you figure out what you really don't like doing.

If you can identify your favorite and least favorite aspects about your current job, you'll know exactly what to look for in your next job. Ask yourself the following questions to learn more about your personal work preferences:

Do you like your role/department? If you just jumped into a new role or department and you realize you aren't really enjoying it, then it might be worth exploring different career path entirely. You should also reflect on your favorite aspects about your previous and current jobs, and pursue opportunities that let you do those things.

Is the company too big or too small? -Do you find solace in the financial stability and stockpile of benefits an enterprise company provides? Or do you prefer the passion and hustle it takes to build a startup? Or maybe you favor a blend of the two, at a medium-sized company? If you feel like your current company doesn't have enough resources to support your growth, then maybe a bigger company is better for you. If your company isn't challenging you enough, then you could pursue opportunities at a smaller company, where you'll get more responsibility.

Are you genuinely interested in your company's industry? When you write blog posts about your company's industry all day, it's a lot more enjoyable if you actually like learning about the subject matter (trust me on this one). Work becomes a chore when these topics don't pique your interest. Whether you work in marketing, sales, product, engineering, or support, if you're not excited about your company's industry, it's tough to stay engaged and satisfied at work. Try pursuing a job in an industry that you're passionate about, even if it means taking a lesser role or making a lateral move.

Do you feel supported by the company's culture? Does work run your life? Is the office cliquey? Do people appreciate your work, or does your manager take all of the credit? If you don't like these things (most people don't), then you're better off at a company that treats their employees well. Use Glassdoor to read a company's employee reviews and evaluate their culture.

2) You'll learn to appreciate your worth.

When you work for a sub-optimal company, team, or manager, you'll notice they either don't give you fulfilling work or don't know how to leverage your skill set to its full potential. This makes you feel misunderstood or undervalued, and work becomes incredibly frustrating.

But their neglect also teaches you how to gauge your professional value. It helps you recognize your needs and capabilities. By honing your self-awareness, you can determine whether upcoming job opportunities are worth it or not and trade up for the best fit job in the future.

3) You'll learn how to persevere through tough times -- and appreciate the good times even more.

A lot of times, getting better at your passion requires you to do the challenging things instead of the enjoyable things, like polishing a blog post in lieu of a post-work gathering.

In your career, you'll encounter times where you absolutely hate your job. But if you can persevere and produce results in a less-than-ideal situation, then you'll enhance your work ethic and truly crush it when your morale is much higher in an ideal situation.

A couple of years ago, I camped out in Florida's Everglades for nine days, where I paddled over 100 miles through alligator infested waters and only ate dehydrated food.

When my trip ended, I was so grateful to be back in civilization (and safe from alligators). I almost forgot what living in a city was like. But the thing I looked forward to the most was eating a real meal. My friends and I all agreed we would stop at the first restaurant we saw, so when we spotted a Subway, we immediately halted. I ordered a chicken bacon ranch sub, and it was one of the best meals I've ever had. I ate another one later that day too.

Losing access to everyday things like normal food, electricity, and community has made me incredibly grateful for them.And I try not to take them for granted anymore, which makes me happier in life. This phenomenon can also happen when your current job situation is less than ideal. You'll be grateful for the privileges you might not have anymore, and when you exchange that dreaded job for your dream one, you definitely won't take its perks for granted, enhancing your gratitude, happiness, and performance at work.

A job you hate doesn't have to be a waste of time.

It's inevitable, at some point in our lives, we'll all have a job that we hate. But if you can view this experience as a life lesson and discover what you actually want out of your career, then there's a good chance the job you hate will eventually lead you to the one you love.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

65 Photoshop Shortcuts to Help You Edit Photos Like a Pro [Bookmarkable]

Have you ever accidentally wasted an entire day in Photoshop?

I have. It's not like you start out aimlessly. You have a simple goal in mind, like cropping a photo, improving the resolution, or changing the size of the canvas. But then, you look at how many options there are -- and trying to figure out which buttons to press to execute a single task suddenly turns into an attempt to solve The Riddle of the Sphinx.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just press a button, and magically, do what you wanted to do? Well, we've got good news for you: It turns out there are a wealth of Photoshop shortcuts that pretty much work just that way.

By pressing a few keys on your computer keyboard at the same time, you can select tools, manipulate images and layers, and even make adjustments to your project's canvas. But if we're being honest, if you're just starting out with the software, there might be far too many Photoshop shortcuts to remember them all. That's why we created this guide -- for you to bookmark and return to next time your design project leaves you stumped.

Note: All of these shortcuts can be accessed on PC and Mac, but sometimes, they're different on each operating system. We've included both types below, and in the cases where they might be different, Mac instructions appear in italicized parentheses. Also, in these formulas, the plus sign (+) is present only to represent the combination of key commands. On occasion, it might be part of the command itself, like when you press the plus sign to zoom into a part of an image, but otherwise, don't press the plus sign between commands.

Getting Set Up

You'd think setting up your content in Photoshop would be second nature. But sometimes, the shortcuts to change the background size, or zoom into your project aren't what you think. Here are some of the most crucial fundamental shortcuts to know:

1) Control + Alt + i (Command + Option + i ) = Change the image size.

2) Control + Alt + c (Command + Option + c ) = Change canvas size.

3) Control + + (Command + + ) = Zoom in.

4) Control + - (Command + - ) = Zoom out.

Control + ' (Command + ' ) = Show or hide the grid, the automatically-generated horizontal and vertical lines that help align objects to the canvas.

Choosing the Right Tools

These shortcuts will activate different groups of tools, like "Lasso," "Brush," or "Spot Healing Brush." Within these tools, though, there are different functions. Under the "Magic Wand" tool group, for example, you have the option to execute a new selection or add and subtract from a current one.

Each one of these tools has a keyboard shortcut, and we've outlined some of them below.

5) v = Pointer, a.k.a. Move Tool pointer-tool.png 

6) w = Magic Wand magic-wand-tool.png

7) m = Rectangular Marquee, a.k.a. the Select Tool marquee-tool-1.png

8) l = Lasso lasso-tool.png

9) i = Eyedropper eyedropper-tool.png

10) c = Crop Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.09.20 PM.png

11) e = Eraser Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.21.32 PM.png

12) u = Rectangle rectangle-tool.png

13) t = Horizontal Type text-tool.png

14) b = Brush Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.15.15 PM.png

15) y = History Brush history-brush-tool.png

16) j = Spot Healing Brush spot-healing-tool.png

17) g = Gradient Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.14.32 PM.png

18) a = Path Selection path-selection-tool.png

19) h = Hand hand-tool.png

20) r = Rotate View rotate-view-tool.png

21) p = Pen pen-tool.png

22) s = Clone Stamp clone-stamp-tool.png

23) o = Dodge Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.16.48 PM.png

24) z = Zoom Tool zoom-tool.png

25) d = Default Foreground and Background Colors Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.23.24 PM.png

26) x = Switch Foreground and Background Colors Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.25.24 PM.png

27) q = Edit in Quick Mask Mode Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.26.26 PM.png

28) x = Change Screen Mode Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.27.48 PM.png

Using the Brush Tool

With the brush settings, you can change the size, shape, and transparency of your brush strokes to achieve a number of different visual effects. To use these keyboard shortcuts, first select the Brush tool by pressing b. brush-tool.png

29) , or . = Select previous or next brush style.

30) Shift + , or . = Select first or last brush style used.

31) Caps Lock or Shift + Caps Lock (Caps Lock) = Display precise crosshair for brushes.

32) Shift + Alt + p (Shift + Option + p) = Toggle airbrush option.

Using the Marquee Tool (for Slicing/Selecting)

When used correctly, the marquee tool will let you select individual elements, entire graphics, and determine what is copied, cut, and pasted into your graphics.

To use these keyboard shortcuts, first select the Marquee tool by pressing m. marquee-tool-2.png

33) Control (Command) = Toggle between Slice tool and Slice Selection tool.

34) Shift + drag = Draw square slice.

35) Alt + drag (Option + drag) = Draw from center outward.

36) Shift + alt + drag (Shift + option + drag) = Draw square slice from center outward.

37) Spacebar + drag = Reposition the slice while creating the slice.

Using Different Blending Options

Blending options include a number of features to enhance the look of your graphic. You can always choose a blending option by going to the top menu bar, under Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options. Or, you can double-click any layer to bring up the options for that particular layer.

Once you open blending options, you can use keyboard shortcuts to select them without moving your mouse. To use the shortcuts, select the Move tool ("v"), and then select the layer you'd like to use the blending options on. Below are some of the most popular modes.

38) Shift + + or = Cycle through blending modes.

39) Shift + Alt + n (Shift + Option + n) = Normal mode

40) Shift + Alt + i (Shift + Option + i) = Dissolve

41) Shift + Alt + k (Shift + Option + k) = Darken

42) Shift + Alt + g (Shift + Option + g) = Lighten

43) Shift + Alt + m (Shift + Option + m) = Multiply

44) Shift + Alt + o (Shift + Option + o) = Overlay

45) Shift + Alt + u (Shift + Option + u) = Hue

46) Shift + Alt + t (Shift + Option + t) = Saturation

47) Shift + Alt + y (Shift + Option + y) = Luminosity

For more niche blending shortcuts, check out these tips from Adobe.

Manipulating Layers & Objects

If you want to modify an object or get complex with multiple layers, here are some shortcuts you might like to know:

48) Control + a (Command + a ) = Select all objects

49) Control + d (Command + d ) = Deselect all objects

50) Shift + Control + i (Shift + Command + i ) = Select the inverse of the selected objects

51) Control + Alt + a (Command + Option + a) = Select all layers

52) Control + Shift + E (Command + Shift + e) = Merge all layers

53) Alt + . (Option + .) = Select top layer

54) Alt + , (Option + ,) = Select bottom layer

Note: In shortcuts 55-57, the brackets ([ ]) are the keystrokes in the command, and "OR" refers to the actual word -- as in, press one bracket OR the other, not the letters "o" and "r."

55) Alt + [ OR ] (Option + [ OR ]) = Select next layer down or up

56) Control + [ OR ] (Command + [ OR ]) = Move target layer down or up

57) Control + Shift + [ OR ] (Command + Shift + [ OR ]) = Move layer to the bottom or top

58) Shift + Control + n (Shift + Command + n) = Create a new layer

59) Control + g (Command + g) = Group selected layers

60) Control + Shift + g (Command + Shift + g) = Ungroup selected layers

61) Control + e (Command + e) = Merge and flatten selected layers

62) Control + Shift + Alt + e (Command + Shift + Option + e) = Combine all layers into a new layer on top of the other layers. Note: This step gets you one, combined layer, with all elements of that layer in separate layers below -- which is different than a traditional merge-and-flatten layers command.

63) Control + t (Command + t) = Transform your object, which includes resizing and rotating

And Finally -- Save Your Work for Later

Congratulations -- you've finished working on your project, and now, you want to share it with the world. Save time saving your project by using these simple shortcuts:

64) Control + Shift + s (Command + Shift + s) = Save your work as ...

65) Control + Shift + Alt + s (Command + Shift + Option + s) = Save for web and devices