3 Mistakes to Avoid When Running a Crowdfunding Campaign – Roy Morejon

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When Retro Computers turned to Indiegogo for crowdfunding, it promised $100-level funders a handheld gaming device called the Vega+. With promises from the company that the device would come equipped with more than 1,000 games, the console quickly gained a following, and more than 3,600 people pledged $100 each to receive one.

The successful campaign gained U.K.-based Retro Computers more than half a million dollars.

But when the time came for those backers to receive the handheld devices, Retro Computers wasn’t able to deliver. Legal battles and production issues caused hiccups. The promised September 2016 delivery came and went. Users began getting upset — more and more publicly.

Finally, after unwanted media attention and, just this month, a lawsuit, Indiegogo intervened. The crowdfunding platform announced on June 6 that it was siccing debt collectors on Retro Computers in an effort to reimburse its donors.

Despite that tale of woe, entrepreneurs can’t ignore the potential of crowdfunding. Kickstarter has hosted nearly 150,000 successful projects, raising $3.7 billion since 2009, and Indiegogo has raised more than $1.5 billion since 2008. Done correctly, crowdfunding could provide the perfect building block for your next venture.

The ups and downs of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding’s popularity is not all hype. It can yield benefits beyond financial backing, helping your company build a loyal customer base and establish credibility before you’ve even launched. But you can’t just set up a Kickstarter page and watch the money roll in. The right strategy is essential to reap the rewards.

Pebble shows how it can and should be done. One of Kickstarter’s most successful campaigns of all time, the company raised more than $20 million from 78,000 backers — exceeding its goal by 4,068 percent. Pebble turned that consumer confidence into more than 2 million sales of its smartwatch and was ultimately bought out by Fitbit.

But when it comes to crowdfunding, there’s more to consider than whether your project will meet its fundraising goals. Even a successful campaign without serious forethought and planning can encounter challenges that will sink a business before it gets off the ground.

Coolest Cooler, on the other hand, might be one of the most disastrous campaigns in Kickstarter history. The company raised $13 million, but it wasn’t prepared to operate in the wake of such success. Coolest Cooler couldn’t fulfill rewards for its 62,642 backers.

Remember: It’s not just about hitting the goal. Even in successfully funded projects, 9 percent fail to deliver on promises to backers. That’s a hard hurdle to overcome in the beginning stages of any new business.

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Campaign mistakes to avoid

It’s easy to think of crowdfunding as easy money, but campaigns should be hard work if you’re doing them correctly. If you want to start your project on the right foot, avoid these common mistakes:

1. Kicking off without leads in place. Crowdfunding campaigns have short time lines. What’s more, campaigns rely on a momentum of interest. You’re going to have difficulty hitting your goal if you don’t have leads in place ready to back your campaign on day one. Not gathering enough leads before launching is the problem partially to blame for nearly every failed project.

Set up a landing page ahead of time describing your product and promoting your upcoming project. Include a contest in which people can enter their email address for a chance to win your product. This will give you a list of already interested folks to reach out to the day you launch your campaign.

2. Ignoring Facebook for potential conversions. Platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have large audiences, but if you rely solely on the backers already there, you probably won’t hit your goal.

So, look elsewhere. Facebook advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a highly targeted group of people that is likely to convert.

Consider the PEEjamas Kickstarter campaign, which my company mounted. That project hit its $14,000 goal early on, but my company wanted to see how far we could go. Funding increased from around $26,000 when we started the ads, to $227,469 by the time the campaign closed. I highly recommend working with a team of Facebook Ads specialists who can make the most of your ad budget.

3. Failing to consider scale. You might have a goal in mind, but what happens if you exceed it? Is your business model scalable? Are you going to be able to fulfill rewards? Don’t be Retro Computer or Coolest Cooler.

Make sure the price of each of your rewards is sufficient, whether you hit your goal exactly or raise more than you anticipate. Have a plan in place for shipping and fulfillment. Examine your profit margins closely as you set your funding goal, and determine product pricing. Consider factors such as minimum order quantities, manufacturing costs, marketing costs, platform fees, shipping costs and more.

One last thing to consider: Kickstarter and Indiegogo both have a 5 percent use fee and a 3 percent to 5 percent processing fee. Factor this into the goal you initially set.

Platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have broadened the horizons of startups and consumers alike, but getting the most value out of crowdfunding requires forethought and planning. There are plenty of Cinderella stories out there but also just as many cautionary tales. Avoid their mistakes to make the most of your fundraising endeavor.

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How To Boss It Like With Claire Davenport – Kitty Knowles

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There are a handful of business leaders and industry figures who are changing the world.

We’ve previously asked CEOs, founders and thought leaders like Alex Klein (the cofounder of Kano), Clare Gilmartin (CEO at Trainline), and Justin Rosenstein (cofounder of Asana), how they get so much done in an impossibly short amount of time.

Today we find out “How To Boss It Like” Claire Davenport, CEO at HelloFresh UK, the meal-kit company based in Berlin.

Davenport cut her teeth working in banking at Goldman Sachs and JPMorganChase, before going on to work for digital leaders like Skype, FutureLearn and VoucherCodes.

Today, when she’s not heading up HelloFresh’s British division, she’s sharing her knowledge at pivotal events like this week’s Etail Europe.

What time do you get up, and what part of your morning routine sets you up for the day?

Most mornings I get up at 7 a.m. and have breakfast with my two daughters before cycling down the canal from my house to Oxford train station. I pick a quiet carriage so I can catch up on emails and news and prepare for the day on my commute into London.

Two mornings a week I have breakfast blocked for mentoring or networking. Doing everything I can to level the playing field for people from different backgrounds—to realize their full potential in their career or with their startup—is very important to me. I try to help with introductions or advice or just giving a confidence boost where needed.

Saturdays and Sundays I run on Port Meadow in Oxford with my running buddy, Alison. We run 4-5 miles to stay fit and catch up on the week.

What smartphone do you have?

iPhone 7 with 128 GB capacity (lots of photos and videos). Normal black with a HelloFresh cover.

What apps or methods do you use to be more productive?

I have tried various productivity apps over time but find having a system I stick to with my emails and trusted Moleskine notebook works best for me.

Sometimes I like to be offline or away from my phone. Okay, that’s not true.

But sometimes I happen to be offline (train or tube or once I have gone to bed or when I am trying to set a good example for my daughters) and I still have ideas and thoughts I need to get down, so a paper notebook is essential.

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day?

Every day is slightly different. On any given day, there are normally around 100-200 people working at our Shoreditch office or around 200 at our distribution center in Oxfordshire.

Both workspaces are sociable places, and I sit in a different seat most days so that I can really understand what all the teams are up to. I like the variety of sitting in our customer-care area and listening and speaking to customers on the phone one day to spending time with our marketing team the following day.

We keep meetings short at HelloFresh so I have in-depth conversations with 20 people a day roughly. I regularly meet customers as we like to host events at our office to learn more about their experience with HelloFresh.

A couple of evenings a week, I like to meet up with friends or people in my network.

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What book have you read, either recently or in the past, that has inspired you?

The Emotionally Intelligent Manager by David Caruso and Peter Salovey is a book I return again and again. It really changed my thinking on EQ and people management. I’ve bought copies for our offices because I think it’s a book everyone can benefit from.

I also like Act Like A Leader, Think Like A Leader by Herminia Ibarra, which is great for people thinking about their leadership style and is lovely and practical.

What advice would you give for people who are eager to get into your industry?

Go for it. It’s better to take an opportunity and get the experience it gives you rather than procrastinating and losing time. You can always pivot when you see what you enjoy about the opportunity.

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night? Or do you have a wind-down routine?

Most evenings when I don’t have events, we eat a HelloFresh meal together as a family around 8 p.m.

My husband or daughters often start cooking while I am commuting home—I am guilty of emailing or reading news or Facebooking until late, but then I listen to audiobooks to wind down before I fall asleep.

I have a history of waking up with an idea at 3:30 a.m. and, at one time, I had quite a reputation for the 4 a.m. email among my colleagues.

After a while, I learned how scary it is for my team to receive a 4 a.m. email from me, and now I just save it as a draft and, if it still seems as important in the morning (about 10% of the time), I send it then instead.

If you could ask your idol one question, who would it be, and what would you ask?

I’d ask Barack Obama for his best piece of advice on leadership and his awesome public speaking.

What do you think your industry will look like in 10 years? 

I think more and more people will rely on meal kits in the future as it’s just such a convenient way to cook and enjoy nutritious food. Personalized nutrition will become a bigger trend as consumers are able to access data and food that meets their specific needs. And delivery will continue to develop, and we’re likely to see more and more automation in this area.

I believe my grandchildren will be bemused by the idea of owning a car or going to a supermarket to shop for a week’s meals in advance!

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What It Takes To Make IoT Implementation A Success – Robert Plant & Cherie Topham

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Organizations around the globe understand the importance of IoT. In fact, in a recent Forbes Insights/Hitachi survey of more than 500 executives worldwide, over 90% said IoT will be important to the future of their business. What’s more, of all emerging technologies, executives said IoT would be the most critical, ranking it above others like artificial intelligence and robotics.

While executives acknowledge the importance of IoT, 49% remain in the early stages of planning or are only operating pilot programs. We spoke with John Magee, Hitachi Vantara’s vice president of product and solutions marketing, to get his perspective on this state of development and how organizations can make IoT a larger part of their strategy and operations going forward.

If an executive is looking to invest in IoT and understand the economics behind it, what does he or she need to know?

Most organizations are looking to IoT projects to either improve operational efficiency or drive new revenue streams. A lot of organizations are seeking to use the data they can get from IoT sensors and connectivity to provide better visibility and help them understand what’s going on in their operations. For product companies, they’re often looking to optimize how their products are being manufactured or used, and to offer new data-driven services with those products.

The goal for most of these companies is to transform the way they operate and the way they compete. For business leaders looking to take advantage of IoT, the most important thing is to begin with the business outcome goals first and then determine what data IoT can provide that can help deliver those outcomes. It’s the new data that delivers the business value. So that should be the starting point for any project. Then you can work back from there to the technology required to meet the objective.

For example, manufacturers might want to understand why quality issues are creeping into one of their manufacturing lines but not the other. Logistics companies may want to understand the location of parts and deliveries to optimize scheduling. Product companies may want to sell new value-added software services that help customers get more value from their products. Whatever the goal, by understanding what data you need to collect and who needs access to it, the technology requirements will fall into place more easily and you won’t over- or underspend for success.

When executives are thinking about what data is most important to achieving their desired outcomes, what do they need to know? How should they approach this?

IoT is essentially a rich source of new business data. Data that comes from machines and devices, and from the spaces and environments those machines operate in. In many situations, just having access to real-time data about what’s going on—in a manufacturing plant, on a remote oil rig or in a city train station—can be transformative. In most situations, though, some analysis of the data is going to be needed to gain the insights that lead to business value.

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This is where technologies like big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence come into play. Analytics is the key to not just understanding what is happening but also learning and getting smarter so that your IoT solutions can predict when a problem will occur or find the root cause of product quality issues that would have been unsolvable without analyzing the mountains of data that IoT can deliver.

The right way to think about IoT is as an extension of the business analytics that your organization is probably already doing in other areas. At the end of the day, IoT is a means to accessing and interpreting more data. And data management, data integration and data science are all key enabling technologies for IoT, just as they are for most other areas of business today.

One new twist on IoT data that differs from traditional business data is the idea of a “digital twin.” The digital twin is the software representation of a physical device, such as a pacemaker, an elevator or a dump truck. As data streams in from the physical device, it is collected and stored in the corresponding digital twin. The digital twin knows everything about that asset: where it was manufactured, how it has been operated, when it was last serviced.

By using software to analyze hundreds or even thousands of these digital twins, data scientists can build powerful analytic models that can optimize the corresponding physical assets. Organizations are using this approach to enhance asset uptime and performance, extend the useful life of critical assets and optimize maintenance and operations.

Once you’ve aggregated data into a single version of the truth and are drawing conclusions, how can companies best integrate that information into broader networks?

There’s a sort of stairway to value in many IoT scenarios. The first step of the stairway is the physical devices themselves. The second step is the operations around those devices. And the third step is the business processes and ecosystem around those operations.

Think of a manufacturing plant. If you use sensors on critical plant equipment, you can get data that can help you operate that equipment more effectively. If you collect enough data, you can even start to predict when it will fail so you can service it before that happens. So that’s the next step – using the data insights about the equipment into optimizing your maintenance and repair operations.

But that data can also be useful at the next step in the stairway, which is how your supply chain responds to requirements for parts or materials being delivered based on the performance of the equipment and operations in the factory. The more data you have, the more visibility you have, and the more opportunity to optimize every part of the operation. Sort of like air traffic control for the factory.

This stairway, or hierarchy, of value—from asset to operations to business process—is one we see play out in industry after industry.

When it comes to IoT, which is a complicated endeavor, research shows that it’s best not to go at it alone. What should executives be looking for in a partner when they’re considering making this transformation?

Working with a partner who understands your industry and has a methodology to help you think through your data strategy are the real enablers for success. IoT is a hot technology right now, and it is easy to get caught up in the hype and invest in the wrong areas. Working with an experienced partner who has a pragmatic approach that starts with understanding how IoT data and analytics will drive the desired business outcome is the key to success.

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25 Sure Fire Ways to Boost Twitter Engagement – Brendan Schneider

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As a school marketer, you already are aware of the opportunity Twitter presents to you as a tool for reaching out to parents and prospective parents. With more than 330 million users on Twitter, it’s easy to see why it is one of the platforms most school marketers say benefits their school.

But here’s the challenge – how do you get the right Twitter users (also known as Tweeps) to engage with your posts and click on your content?

Almost every school marketer has been in the position where they are churning out a mountain of content, and no one ever seems to want to interact with it. It’s easy to get frustrated when the last three tweets linking to your latest genius blog post don’t get noticed.

In this post, I’m going to take a deeper dive into Twitter engagement. We will look at what Twitter engagement is, how to measure it and why it matters. I will also give you 25 strategies you can use to increase your engagement and click-through-rate (CTR) on Twitter.

Types of Twitter Engagement

Twitter engagement is when someone engages with the content that you post in your tweets. To be considered engagement, Twitter users can:

  • Reply to your Tweet
  • Engage with someone who replied to your Tweet
  • Retweet your Tweet
  • Like your Tweet
  • Direct Message you
  • Add you to a List
  • Add your Tweet to a Moment
  • Follow and unfollow you
  • Mention you in a Tweet by using your Twitter Handle
  • Click on your link

Engagement is one of the main purposes of having a Twitter account – to send interested, engaged traffic to your website and/or blog. Just remember that if someone isn’t following you, they can’t see your postings.

What You Should Know About Twitter Engagement

Before we get into the specific Twitter engagement strategies, it’s a good idea to understand the Twitter environment in which you are trying to engage. (Source: 61 Social Media Statistics to Bookmark for 2018)

  1. Twitter users prefer content and engagement

15% of Twitter users will unfollow a brand within three weeks if they are not making an effort to engage them, such as posting relevant content and engaging with them

  1. Active Twitter users are on Twitter every day

Out of all active Twitter users, 81% are active at least once a day, 15% access Twitter more than 10x a day, and 60% tweet at least once a day

  1. Twitter users like to engage with brands

49% of Twitter users are following brands

  1. Twitter users prefer to use Twitter for customer service

19% of active Twitter users seek customer support on Twitter

  1. Twitter users prefer visuals

Visual content (i.e., images, graphics, infographics, and videos) get 150% more engagement on average than text-only tweets

  1. Twitter users prefer to use their mobile devices

82% of active Twitter users accessed it through a mobile device

  1. Millennials are active Twitter users

81% of millennials in the U.S. view their Twitter account on a daily basis

Why Twitter Engagement Matters

Interaction on Twitter offers a great deal of benefits to your school.

Engagement on Twitter (except when it goes really wrong) will enable you to build and foster relationships with parents and potential parents. If they are interacting with your content, they are interested in your school, and may even be sharing it. This is especially true if you’re responding to them and having conversations, even if they are brief.

Once you start getting click-throughs to your website and/or blog, you will be gaining more visitors, inquiries, and enrollments.

Also, when you garner retweets or mentions, you’re expanding your reach – for free.

Twitter engagement can drive results, so it’s worth measuring the results and adjusting your campaigns to improve the performance of your Twitter campaigns.

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How to Increase Twitter Engagement and Link Clicks

Here are 25 strategies you can use to increase Twitter engagement for your school. You will want to test these strategies to determine what will work best for your school.

  1. Build an audience by following others

You want to consistently grow your followers by following others. Find the best followers by using Twitter Advanced Search to laser-focus your search criteria. Just remember to thin out your Followers (I use ManageFlitter to do this) because you want to maintain a balance between the number of people following you and the number of people or brands you follow. One strategy I like to use to build my Twitter audience is to find local influencers and search through their followers to find potential followers.

  1. Engage with other content

Yes, the Golden Rule works on Twitter. If you want others to engage with your content, you need to engage with theirs first. Like, reply to and retweet others content. When you engage with other Twitter users’ content, they will be more likely to pay attention to your content. This can help to build social proof over time, which is valuable on all social channels.

Not only will this increase engagement, but it will also help you build relationships with your followers, expanding your reach both on – and off – Twitter.

  1. Retweet other users’ tweets

Another golden rule and retweets are golden in the Twitterverse (yes, it’s a thing!)  Retweeting is a form of engagement that Twitter users value a great deal – not only are you saying you Like their content, but you value it enough to share it. Reciprocity is an important part of why people choose to follow and engage with your school. By retweeting, you will have a better chance of connecting with them.

  1. Keep your tweets short

Twitter only allows 140 characters in each tweet, to begin with, but the best practice is to keep your tweets really short – like 80 – 110 characters. This is for several reasons. Leaving space for more characters allows users the opportunity to add their own tags and @Mentions, making it easier for others to retweet. Several research studies have found that shorter tweets have a higher level of engagement.

  1. Share a variety of content topics that include links

While it is important, of course, to include links to your most valuable content, you also want to share curated content as well. With social media, you never want to make it all about your brand. No one wants to feel they are being “sold” to all the time.

  1. Respond when someone tweets you

This can be especially challenging for large schools that have a lot of engagement. However, it’s best to respond to users that engage with your school as soon as possible. Sending an actual response tweet is usually the most powerful and effective. If you receive criticism or they seem upset, respond to them quickly and make the conversation private (i.e., Direct Message) as soon as possible.

Responding when someone tweets you increases the chances they will engage with your future posts.

  1. Know the best times to post

There are certain times of the day or days of the week when your active Twitter followers are more likely to be online. You will get more views and engagement if you post during your peak hours.

Most studies have shown that posting between noon and 3 pm Mondays – Fridays is a peak time, while other studies have found that 5 pm Monday – Friday or noon and 6 pm offers the best CTR.

Most social media scheduling tools (I use Buffer and SproutSocial) make it easy to distribute content during the best days and times for your school. It’s always a good idea to test your posting schedule to ensure you are posting during the best times for your social media platforms and audience.

  1. Always provide high-quality content

People don’t want to waste time, especially on a microblogging site like Twitter. Schools should seek to provide value through information, inspiration or entertainment. Providing value, in whatever form you choose, is among the most important factors for success with content marketing. Value will keep potential parents coming back and staying interested, and, best of all, engaging with and clicking on the tweet you’re posting.

  1. Always use hashtags

Hashtags play an important role on Twitter. Just like with Instagram, hashtags are part of the Twitter culture. But they are functional too. Hashtags help people find what they are looking for when they are searching. Hashtags also are used to emphasize core points you want to make.

Tweets with hashtags are retweeted 33% more often than tweets without hashtags. However, less can be more. Tweets with only one hashtag receive 69% more retweets than tweets with two or more hashtags.

For this reason, it is best practice to use only one hashtag per tweet. Also, remember that using a trending hashtag will help increase engagement and impressions.

Want to know how to research the best hashtag for your tweet? Click here to learn more.

  1. Include images

Visuals are important on all social media channels; Twitter is no exception. Images are important on Twitter because you are limited to the number of characters you can use. Case studies have shown that tweets with images receive 313% more engagement.

While you can use up to 4 images per tweet, including at least one image will drive extra engagement.

  1. Post videos

While images can get more attention than plain text tweets, videos will outperform images. Twitter Video allows you to upload an existing video directly from your smartphone. The time is limited to 30 seconds, but you will lose most of your audience after 30 seconds anyway.

Most Twitter users – 82 % – watch videos right from the Twitter platform. Native videos will drive more engagement than videos from third party players.

Video is a great way to share stories about your school, offer a day-in-the-life look, evoke emotion and highlight your Twitter presence. Videos are a dynamic way to boost your engagement.

  1. Ask for retweets

Asking for retweets has been shown to be an effective strategy – as long as you don’t overuse it. When you have something really important you want people to share, say “Please RT” or “Please share” at the end of your tweet. If you use “Please RT” all the time, people will just ignore your request, so use this tactic sparingly.

  1. Don’t over tweet

If you tweet too much – especially if you tweet the same content over and over – you will see your engagement decrease. Most studies show that tweeting 1 to 3 times per day is ideal. Posting more than four times per day will negatively impact your audience.

  1. Space out your tweets

When you’re sending out your 1 – 4 tweets during the day, don’t send them all at once. Be sure to space your tweets out over the day. This will increase the number of people who see it and help to increase your engagement.

  1. Use simple, clear language

You are limited in the number of characters you can use, so don’t try to be clever or speak in riddles. Get right to the point and make it easy for people to grasp what you’re trying to communicate. You do want to pique your audience’s interest, so use language that will make others want to pay attention and take the action you are inviting them to take.

  1. Ask questions

This is a very common tactic for drawing people in. People want to share their opinions and experiences, so ask them! Asking questions will increase engagement and give you valuable insight into the type of content they are interested in and want more of in the future.

  1. Use power words

Using power words and superlatives in your blog will increase engagement. You want to provoke curiosity and evoke an emotional response from your audience. If you’re not sure what power words to use, or you just want some ideas, CoSchedule offers a free download of 500 power word for writing emotional headlines. They also offer a free headline analyzer you can use to evaluate your headline – or tweet.

  1. Talk about important people in your area

When you interact with an influencer in your area (i.e., school board member, mayor, etc.), it can help to get new eyes on you. On Twitter, talking about or tagging an important person can be enough to get more engagement and new followers. Use the @Mention feature whenever it’s appropriate; you might build a stronger relationship with the person you’re mentioning as well as getting more engagement.

  1. Use Twitter Cards

Twitter Cards are a great way to add more content to your tweet. You can use a summary card, photo card or product card. Twitter Cards are larger, which attracts more attention to it, as well as enriching your post. To learn more about how to set up and use Twitter Cards, link here.

  1. Use shortened links

Twitter has such a limited number of characters; you don’t want to waste them on long, ugly links. Most social media schedulers will have a built-in link shortener. Some WordPress themes come with a link shortener, or you can install a plugin like Pretty Links. Many social media managers use Bitly, Tiny URL, Goo.gl or Bit.do.

  1. Recycle your best content

If you posted content and it performed well, you can extend it by using it again. Many schools recycle their best content, making sure to get more eyes on their high-quality tweets, videos, and links. Most content is missed the first time it is posted; and even if people see it more than once, most won’t even notice the replication.

Many social media schedulers allow you to repost content and offer an easy way for you to change up the tweet. Make sure to stagger your postings when you are reusing content. Repost on different days, at different times and put a few weeks in between your posts as well.

Of course, you don’t want to recycle content that relies on timelines like breaking news, holidays, events or certain trending topics.)

  1. Include a call-to-action (CTA)

People want to know what they should do next after reading your post. Use action words to inspire Twitter users to, well, take action. Some examples include:

  • Learn more
  • Download
  • Follow Us
  • Please Help (good for nonprofits)
  • Visit Our Site
  • Place an Inquiry
  • Shop Our Sale

Use the word “free” whenever it’s appropriate is a good idea. Twitter users love giveaways and freebies!

  1. Alternate between “titles” and “text” copy

Switch up your tweet copy between using headlines and regular copy. If you have an attention-grabbing title, you will attract interest, but don’t forget about interesting statistics and data within your content. Often, that type of copy will increase engagement.

  1. Invest in Twitter Ads

Twitter Ads are a good way to increase your engagement, especially if you want to grow your follower-base. Twitter Ads do cost money, and can be more expensive than Facebook Ads. However, most Twitter users that invest in Twitter advertising have found that Twitter’s click-through rate (CTR) is higher than Facebook advertising. Promoted tweets are the best type of advertising for increasing engagement.

Create a Twitter Ad by locating the tab on the same dropdown menu where you find Twitter Analytics, which you can find by clicking on your logo next to the Tweet button in the upper right corner.

  1. Consider using a Twitter Conversational Ad

Conversational Ads are designed to increase engagement and brand influence. They are similar to promoted tweets, but come with the addition of a CTA that encourages users to tweet with hashtags you can customize and choose.

When a Twitter user clicks on the CTA, the tweet will open with a pre-populated message that users can then customize and share, after which they will be automatically thanked.

Twitter Conversational Ads are a great tool to use to grow engagement for your school.

Besides paid advertising, most of these Twitter engagement strategies are free and only require a small amount of extra time in addition to the content you may already be creating for Twitter. There are millions of Twitter users out there – you just have to find the right strategies to get your target audience to engage with your school.

As you continue to drive engagement and increase your CTR on Twitter, you’ll most certainly increase the number of inquiries over time by sending traffic to your website and blog. Twitter engagement will help you build rapport, trust and positive relationships with your potential parents, and ultimately, your school’s enrollment.

What strategies have worked best for your school to increase engagement on Twitter? Please share with other school marketers in the comments below.

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Feel More Valuable: 3 Ways to Raise Your Self-Worth – David Meltzer

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Whether in business or your personal life, feelings of unworthiness can hamper your ability to shine. When we don’t perceive ourselves as worthy, we tend to self-sabotage and avoid going for (or asking for) what we deserve.

My good friend, entrepreneur Ed Mylett, shared an idea with me that I thought was extremely powerful. He described different things in our lives that have a thermostat: our financial success, weight and especially our self-worth.

The premise is simple. Even if your self-worth increases or decreases a few degrees, or you experience a tremendous change over time, you will eventually revert back to whatever your internal success thermostat is set at. This begs the question: “What can I do to raise my internal thermostat?”

1. Provide value and feel valuable.

The first and best way to improve your feelings of worthiness is simply to provide value to others; be kind to others as well as to your future self. Be of service, which means providing value with no expectations of receiving anything in return. It contains the requirement that you give unconditionally. Giving with expectation, as my friend Bob Proctor says, is trading and not real giving.

It’s essential to have both focus and intention on what we want, in order to get it. And it’s difficult to manifest what you want without being of service to others. Providing value by being of service creates a void that the universe will fill for you.

Giving not only makes you feel good, but this altruistic act is contagious. Giving makes you happy, makes the person who receives happy, and even those who witness giving become happier.

A study tracking 2,000 people over a five-year period, found that those who described themselves as “very happy” were the ones who volunteered 5.8 hours per month, on average. Providing value for others made those individuals feel valuable themselves.

2. Keep your promises.

Part of being of service is keeping promises that you make to yourself, as well as what you promise to others. Living up to your promises builds trust from others, and confidence in yourself, which leads to a better perspective of your worth. When you set achievable goals and put plans in place to meet them, you’ll experience a higher rate of success and simultaneously turn up your worthiness thermostat. You need goal setting (and promise keeping) to be a consistent, persistent behavior, which will then allow you to enjoy the pursuit of your potential by creating objectives and meeting them.

One of my favorite examples to demonstrate this idea involves working out. Many people try to go “all in” immediately on new exercise regimes. I take an alternative approach. I set the bar very low at the start.

The first day that I started working out, I made a promise to myself that I’d put on my workout shoes. That was it. But, that first day, not only did I put all my gear on, but I actually ended up doing 30 minutes of cardio and stretching; I felt great afterward.

The next day, I wanted to increase my progress. I set a goal to put on all my workout clothes. But, once again, I made it to the gym and overachieved even more.

By keeping simple promises like these, and then going above and beyond, you not only build confidence in yourself but also your ability to follow through. You feel good that you are an achiever, and you feel worthy and capable of even greater achievements.

3. Accountability means knowing you’re worthy.

Living with accountability is yet another way to improve your feelings of self-worth. Accountability gives you the power or control over everything in your life. Accountability means that you don’t live in a world of blame, shame or justification. Rather, you take on all challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow.

People who are accountable ask themselves two questions when those challenges arise:

  • What did I do to attract it to myself?
  • What am I supposed to learn from it?

The tendency of people to go “below the line” stems from the impulse to defend their ego. But, in reality, they’re just avoiding accountability. Going below the line is a guaranteed way to lower your thermostat.

Whenever you can, invite others to help keep you accountable. Whether it’s a spouse, a coworker or a coach, ask them to make sure that you stay on track with achieving your goals.

If you cannot find a group or someone you trust to help keep you accountable, keep track of your words and actions yourself. Journaling is an effective way to do this. Just make sure to be honest with your evaluation of your performance.

4.Raise your thermostat.

If you want to make a lasting improvement to your self-image and raise your thermostat of worthiness, embrace the principles of service, keep promises you make to yourself (as well as to others), set realistic goals that you can achieve, but keep raising the bar. Finally, take charge of your life by being accountable and living above the line of blame, shame and justification.

These strategies are well worth your time if you want to build your self-worth, feel like you are deserving, and consistently, persistently, rapidly attract the great things that are coming your way.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

 

How to Refocus Your Strategy and Reenergize Your Team – Stanley Meytin

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A person’s passion is the sincerest definition of who they are. Passion can manifest itself in a hobby, an aspiration, or if you’re really lucky, a career. Take two people, Joe and Jane, as an example. Joe has a passion outside of his career. He devotes a lot of his free time to this passion and naturally speaks about it to his peers.

When his peers think of him they probably define him as “person passionate about X.” Now take Jane, one of the lucky few who has made a career out of her passion. She devotes twice the amount of time, twice the amount of energy and twice the amount of conversation to her passion. How do you think her peers define her?

If you’ve read Simon Sinek’s bestseller Start With Why, then Jane will remind you of Herb Kelleher, co-founder of Southwest Airlines, or Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc. Joe will remind you of the Wright Brothers. Each of these individuals built empires by undyingly following their passion. Sure, you can claim that these individuals are used as examples because of winner’s bias. But they succeeded because not only were they extremely passionate. They succeeded because they were able to clearly communicate their visions.

I consider myself extremely lucky. Like Jane, I’ve built a career out of my passion. When I first launched my film production company, my team asked the same questions regarding our clients that our competition was asking:

  • What is this client doing that’s different?
  • What do they bring to the table?
  • What problems are they solving for their customers?

While these questions helped us understand our clients, we realized they weren’t getting to the core of what defined them. We were part of the same old convention of business. We were focusing on what our clients were doing and not why they were doing it in the first place. Once we realized this, we began asking ourselves different questions:

  • How can we harness the passion that defines the client’s company to create a story?
  • Are their employees inspired by that passion?
  • Does the story align with their core values?
  • How can we align the story with the company’s brand mission?
  • How is that story going to connect with their audience?
  • How are we going to make the story authentic and engaging?

The biggest takeaway, however, didn’t come in the form of one of our clients’ videos going viral. It came in-house. 2016 was the first year we set a quantitative benchmark for the number of videos we wanted to produce. Not only did we not hit the benchmark, but with all the energy we put into hitting a quota we lost focus on creating a better product. We produced more videos, but they were watered down compared to previous years. We lost our own purpose.

We got rid of all quantity benchmarks in 2017 and as a team, we held a meeting to refocus. In this meeting, we asked ourselves the same questions that we asked our clients. We ended the meeting with a mission to create a video channel to tell impactful and authentic stories that inspire others.

That channel has been a remarkably accurate reflection of the meeting where it was first conceptualized. We’re now using the same techniques that helped us define our purpose in our core business for our corporate clients. Not only has it righted our ship and produced success but it has also provided us with an entirely new set of questions to ask our clients:

  • Is their organization helping others?
  • Is their mission connecting with others?
  • Are their customers genuinely understanding their mission?
  • Are employees buying into their mission, do they believe their roles play an important part in promoting the mission?
  • Are they building a community?
  • Are they staying true to their core values and the values of their customers and employees?

The beauty of these questions is that you can propose them to your clients, to your employees and even to yourself. They’re not specific to video production or any industry for that matter. If you already have the answers, that’s incredible. If not, then use them to refocus your strategy or reenergize your team.

Just swap “their” and “they” for “your” and “you.” Connecting to people on a deeper level, nurturing a human connection, evoking emotion and inspiring are key ingredients to building loyalty and bringing the best out in people.

Note, however, that not all ingredients are created equal. Like apples grown on two separate farms, the ingredients that I listed — those that were seeded and cared for with passion — will always taste better.

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Starbucks Is Now Open for Loitering and It’s a Terrible Business Decision – Gene Marks

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Starbucks, in an effort to walk back from the recent bad press it received, has just made a terrible business decision. Did you catch it? According other reports, the company, in a letter to its employees this past weekend, said that “any person who enters our spaces, including patios, cafes and restrooms, regardless of whether they make a purchase, is considered a customer.”

Starbucks employees were told to follow company procedures for people that are acting in a “disruptive manner,” particularly when there’s a potential safety concern. The company is also asking its customers to “behave in a manner that maintains a warm and welcoming environment by using spaces as intended, being considerate of others and communicating with respect.” That’s fine for “customers.” But if a guy’s not buying any coffee how can you call him a customer?

It’s a terrible mistake and it should be a fascinating business lesson, not only for the giant coffee chain but for the thousands of smaller, independent coffee shops, merchants and restaurant owners that operate around the country. Why?

First of all, consider my local Starbucks (which by coincidence is the one located at 18th and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia, where the now infamous racial incident that occurred last month). I go there all the time. Unfortunately, so do lots and lots of homeless people who sleep the nights in nearby Rittenhouse Square looking to use their bathroom or to get a cup of water.

The employees at that location are great — always providing but then politely moving them along. (Let’s please not get into a homeless debate here: It’s a terrible and sad problem. But anyone who lives in a city like me knows the best thing to do is to contribute to organizations who can provide food, clothing and medical care for this population.)

Once word of this new policy spreads — and it will spread quickly — my expectation is that this location will be residence for many indigent people…all day long. If you were homeless, wouldn’t you do the same? As long as you’re “considerate of others” and “communicating with respect” (whatever that means) you can sit there from opening to closing and enjoy warmth, security, a bathroom and as much water as you can drink.

It’ll be interesting to see the impact this has on all the other customers who use that location as a place to meet friends, study or relax with a latte and a book. My prediction: Bye-bye, Starbucks.Secondly, what will Starbucks do if the policy fails? Has this really been thought through? Was it even tested during this past month? Please, don’t ever do this in your business.

Yes, we all sympathize with the homeless, but do you sympathize so much that you would sit next to someone who’s been living rough (and smells like it) after spending six bucks on a Frappuccino? And what about their employees? Does the company realize just how much more difficult their jobs will become? Will Starbucks lose valuable people due to the added stress from adding “policeman” and “psychiatrist” to their already long list of job duties? I think so.

There is potentially good news from this decision, particularly if you’re one of the thousands of coffee shop, store or restaurant owners around the country. It’s quite possible that the influx of homeless or other people who aren’t paying but use Starbucks like a bus station waiting room will drive existing Starbucks customers to you.

But then again, it’s possible that the Seattle chain’s supposed “benevolence” may force you into doing the same — or bear the wrath of activist groups, social media trolls and bad headlines. Will this force the many independent business of chains like Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts to do the same? Ugh.

So let’s see how this plays out. I’m ready to buy my coffee at any of the dozens of local merchants nearby if my local Starbucks becomes uncomfortable or undesirable. You know what? I should be doing that already.

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3 Sales Meeting Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

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Running effective sales meetings doesn’t come naturally to me. Over time, I’ve learned how to structure them in a way that takes advantage of my introverted nature and my natural awkwardness. But, if you’re still trying to find your own path, you’ll enjoy learning from the conversation I had recently with Jill Konrath.

Konrath is an international sales speaker who was named one of the most influential sales experts of the 21st century by LinkedIn (where she currently has more than 350,000 followers). She’s also the author of four best-selling books — More Sales, Less Time; Agile Selling; SNAP Selling; and Selling to Big Companies — and she’s worked with companies like GE, Microsoft, IBM and Staples.

Konrath has also been doing a lot of work recently on the topic of mastering sales meetings, so I was eager to pick her brain. Below are three common sales meeting mistakes that came up in our conversation.

1. You don’t understand the goal of a sales meeting.

The goal of a sales meeting is to get the sale, right? Not according to Konrath.

“A lot of salespeople think that their goal is to explain their product and service, to tout their capabilities and to differentiate themselves from their competitors,” she told me. “The real purpose of a sales meeting is to generate interest in continuing the conversation and to determine if you or your product or service can truly make a difference to that person and to that company.”

Are you still trying to hard sell on your first interaction with a prospect? If so, you should take a step back and test a softer approach.

2. You don’t really know who your competitors are.

So how did we get it so wrong? How did so many of us come to this mistaken impression about what it really takes to run an effective sales meeting?

In my experience, one big problem is that too many of us copy what we see our competitors doing. They offer a free consultation; we do too. They focus on the features and benefits of their products; we do the same.

The problem, of course, is that your competitors may not be any more effective than you are. They may have different value propositions, or be selling to different types of customers. Furthermore, according to Konrath, you may not really be competing against others in your industry in the first place.

“Your competitor is the status quo, number one,” she said. “The first thing that you have to be able to do is to help people understand why the status quo is not good enough for helping them achieve their future goals or objectives. That should be the number one focus on any initial call. Remember, people are not necessarily buying in the first meeting. In fact, very few do. What you need to do is get people to the point where they say, ‘Geez, we really need to take a look at this.’”

As a side note, there are tools out there that can help with the process of sales call targeting and messaging. Konrath likes Rambl.ai, though there are similar products available to suit different needs/budgets.

3. You aren’t prepared.

During our meeting, Konrath shared a sobering statistic, courtesy of Forrester Research: Of 319 executive-level buyers surveyed, “Only 20 percent of the salespeople they meet with are successful in achieving their expectations and creating value.”

Understandably, according to Konrath “If you”ve got a meeting with an important buyer, and you’re not prepared, the chances of you having a second meeting are really slim.”

So, how do you prepare? Reading up on the company is part of it, as is learning more about the specific people you’ll be speaking with. Using this information to prepare relevant case studies and examples to share in your sales calls is a good idea, as well.

In addition, use your preparation to come up with the specific questions you’ll ask during your call.

Not only will this demonstrate your level of preparedness, it’ll enable you to drive the conversation in a way that gets prospects engaged. Konrath gives the example of the kinds of questions she’d ask a tech company aiming to reduce its time to market:

  • How important is it for you to be able to shrink your time to market on a new product launch?
  • How are you currently handling your product launches?
  • People doing launches [a certain] way, Konrath said she’d tell a tech company, experience “these kinds of problems.” Her question: “Are you guys running into these problems?”
  • What are your objectives related to this?
  • What are you trying to achieve in 2018 in this area?
  • What’s coming up the pike that is related to this? Or how big a priority for you is reducing time to market in your organization  this coming year?

Customize questions like these to your company and its products, according to the research you’ve done. Use them to get prospects excited about your solution. If you can do that, the rest of your sales process will fall naturally into place.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can donate us – Thank you.

Why Entrepreneurs Start Companies Rather Than Join Them

If you asked me why I gravitated to startups rather than work in a large company I would have answered at various times: “I want to be my own boss.” “I love risk.” “I want flexible work hours.” “I want to work on tough problems that matter.” “I have a vision and want to see it through.” “I saw a better opportunity and grabbed it. …”

It never crossed my mind that I gravitated to startups because I thought more of my abilities than the value a large company would put on them. At least not consciously. But that’s the conclusion of a provocative research paper, Asymmetric Information and Entrepreneurship, that explains a new theory of why some people choose to be entrepreneurs. The authors’ conclusion: Entrepreneurs think they are better than their resumes show and realize they can be more successful by going it alone. And in most cases, they are right.

I’ll summarize the paper’s conclusions, then share a few thoughts about what they might mean – for companies, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial education. (By the way, as you read the conclusions keep in mind the authors are not talking just about high-tech entrepreneurs. They are talking about everyone who chooses to be self-employed – from a corner food vendor without a high school diploma to a high-tech founder with a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford.)

The authors’ research came from following 12,686 people over 30+ years. They found:

1. Getting a job involves signaling. When you look for a job you “signal” your ability to employers via a resume with a list of your educational qualifications and work history. Signaling is a fancy academic term to describe how one party (in this case, someone who wants a job) credibly conveys information to another party (a potential employer).

2. Entrepreneurs believe their signal falls short. People choose to be entrepreneurs when they feel that they are more capable than what employers can tell from their resume or an interview. So entrepreneurs start ventures because they can’t signal their worth to potential employers.

3. Entrepreneurs have higher average pay. Overall, when people choose entrepreneurship they earn 7% more than they would have in a corporate job. That’s because in companies pay is usually set by observable signals (your education and experience/work history).

4. But the pay is less predictable. The downside of being an entrepreneur is that as a group their pay is more variable – some make less than if they worked at a company, some much more.

5. Entrepreneurs score higher on cognitive ability tests than their educational credentials would predict. And their cognitive ability is higher than those with the same educational and work credentials who choose to work in a company.

6. Immigrants also have trouble signaling. Signaling (or the lack of it) may explain why some groups such as immigrants, with less credible signals to existing companies (unknown schools, no license to practice, unverifiable job history, etc.) tend to gravitate toward entrepreneurship. And why funding from families and friends is a dominant source of financing for early-stage ventures (because friends and family know an entrepreneur’s ability better than any resume can convey).

7. Entrepreneurs defer getting more formal education because they correctly expect their productivity will be higher than the market can infer from just their educational qualifications. (There are no signals for entrepreneurial skills.)

Lemons vs. cherries

The most provocative conclusion in the paper is that asymmetric information about ability (that is, when one party has more or better information than the other) leads existing companies to employ only “lemons,” relatively unproductive workers. The talented and more productive choose entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurs know something potential employers don’t – that nowhere on their resume does it show resiliency, curiosity, agility, resourcefulness, pattern recognition, tenacity, and having a passion for products.

This implication, that entrepreneurs are, in fact, “cherries” contrasts with a large body of literature in social science, which says that the entrepreneurs are the lemons — those who cannot find, cannot hold, or cannot stand “real jobs.”

So, what to make of all this?

If the authors are right, the way we signal ability (resumes listing education and work history) is not only a poor predictor of success but has implications for existing companies, startups, education, and public policy that require further thought and research.

In the 20th century, when companies competed with peers with the same business model, they wanted employees to help them execute current business models (whether it was working on an assembly line or writing code supporting or extending current products). There was little loss when they missed hiring employees who had entrepreneurial skills. However, in the 21st century, companies face continuous disruption; now they’re looking for employees to help them act entrepreneurial. Yet their recruiting and interviewing processes – which define signals they look for – are still focused on execution, not entrepreneurial skills.

Surprisingly, the company that best epitomized this was not some old-line manufacturing company but Google. When Marissa Mayer ran products at Google, the New York Times described her hiring process: “More often than not, she relies on charts, graphs and quantitative analysis as a foundation for a decision, particularly when it comes to evaluating people. … At a recent personnel meeting, she homes in on grade-point averages and SAT scores to narrow a list of candidates, many having graduated from Ivy League schools … One candidate got a C in macroeconomics. ‘That’s troubling to me,” Ms. Mayer says. “Good students are good at all things.’”

Really. What a perfect example of adverse signaling. No wonder the most successful Google products, other than search, have been acquisitions of startups not internal products: YouTube, Android, DoubleClick, Keyhole (Google Maps), and Waze were started and run by entrepreneurs. The type of people Google and Marissa Mayer wouldn’t and didn’t hire started the companies they bought.

Next questions

The paper’s findings raise some interesting questions about how to drive entrepreneurship.

Better signals. When I shared the paper with Tina Seelig at Stanford she asked, “If schools provided better ways to signal someone’s potential to employers, will this lead to less entrepreneurship?”

Imagine a perfect world in which corporate recruiters found a way to identify the next Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Larry Ellison. Would the existing corporate processes, procedures, and business models crush their innovative talents, or would they steer the large companies into a new renaissance?

The economic environment. So, how much of signaling (hiring only by resume qualifications) is influenced by the economic environment? One could assume that in a period of low unemployment, it will be easier to get a traditional job, which would lead to fewer startups and explain why great companies are often founded during a downturn. Those who can’t get a traditional job start their own venture. Yet other public policies come into play. Between the late 1930s and the 1970s, the U.S. tax rate for individuals making over $100,000 was 70 percent and 90 percent (taxes on capital gains fluctuated between 20 percent and 25 percent.) Venture capital flourished when the tax rates plummeted in the late 1970s. Was entrepreneurship stifled by high personal income taxes? And did it flourish only when entrepreneurs saw the opportunity to make a lot more money on their own?

Leaving big companies. Some new ventures are started by people who leave big companies to strike out on their own – meaning they weren’t trying to find employment in a corporation, they were trying to get away from it. While starting your own company may look attractive from inside a company, the stark reality of risking one’s livelihood, financial stability, family, etc., is a tough bar to cross. What motivates these people to leave the relative comfort of a steady corporate income and strike out on their own? Is it the same reason – their company doesn’t value their skills for innovation and is just measuring them on execution? Or something else?

Entrepreneurial education. Is entrepreneurship for everyone? Should we expect that we can teach entrepreneurship as a mandatory class? Or is it a calling? Increasing the number of new ventures will only generate aggregate wealth if those who start firms are truly more productive as entrepreneurs.

Lessons learned

  • Entrepreneurs start their own companies because existing companies don’t value the skills that don’t fit on a resume
  • The most talented people choose entrepreneurship (lemons vs. cherries)

[A version of this story originally appeared on the author’s own site.]

Steve Blank is a retired serial entrepreneur-turned-educator who created the Customer Development methodology that launched the lean startup movement, which he wrote about in his book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Blank teaches Lean LaunchPad classes at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, Columbia University, and NYU.

By: @sgblank

Six Key Ways to Distribute Your Content & Grow Your Following at The Same Time

If you’re a leader in business, you’re probably not enamoured by social media. Sure, you’ve got accounts on LinkedIn and Twitter that an assistant or a member of your marketing team maintains, but you’re not too active there personally. You don’t have many followers, but you don’t mind; you have bigger things to worry about than who’s reading your tweets.

Too many leaders shy away from social because they see it as “kid stuff” or a time suck that has no place in their already-too-busy days — but social media is a crucial element of branding, content marketing, and meaningful content distribution.

As a leader, you’re the face of your brand, and if you’re looking to help your company reach new audiences and make the most of the content you’re producing, then your personal presence on social is necessary.

“But I don’t have more than a few thousand followers,” you might protest, secretly thankful that your slim following might get you out of your content distribution responsibilities.

The thing is that the more content you share, the more your following grows — and the greater the reach your company content achieves. It won’t happen overnight, and it will require strategy and effort. But with help from my marketing team, I’ve reached 144,000 Twitter followers, so I know it’s possible.

Social media is critical to your marketing and content distribution. But for it to be useful, you’ve got to build and nurture your following. I’m not suggesting leaders immerse themselves in all things social; you’ll probably be more productive if you keep your social apps at arm’s length. However, there’s plenty of room between being a Luddite and being a Twitter addict.

Here’s how to grow your following and boost your brand without being consumed by social:

Set ground rules

I’m blown away by the fact that less than half of B2B marketers don’t use social media guidelines. Social media trends push platforms to change all the time, and you can’t use them effectively if you take a blanket approach to all outlets.

Begin by identifying the platforms your audience uses most and then familiarizing yourself with best practices for those platforms and considering how you can engage most authentically there. You don’t want your posts to become formulaic, but reminders and guidelines will help you engage quickly and effectively on whichever platforms you use.

Create a social calendar

You schedule important deadlines, client meetings, and family events — your social media posts should be no different. Strong social followings are built on consistency, so use your editorial calendar as a jumping-off point.

Does your team have any big content projects planned? Any industry events coming up that you want to highlight? Ramp up your typical posting schedule, and get your distribution strategy for those events on your social calendar as well. Doing this keeps social media top of mind and your audience consistently engaged.

Use appropriate hashtags

Unless there’s a serendipitous opportunity to use general hashtags, resist the temptation to piggyback on popular but unrelated campaigns. Instead, before sharing an article or a blog post on social, use a tool like TagCrowd to analyze it and generate a word bubble based on the content. Next, use RiteTag to evaluate your potential hashtags and identify any popular ones you might have missed. (Bonus points if your brand keywords overlap with trending hashtags.)

Follow with discretion

When you’re first building your following, you may be inclined to follow everyone who throws you a like or a retweet. Be discerning about who you follow, and use hashtags and social search tools to identify who else is part of the conversation in your space. Avoid spammy accounts and bots as well. People will recognize fake accounts in your follower list, and they’ll see these as a desperate, artificial play to increase your follower numbers.

Engage your followers

Social isn’t passive. To make the most of it, you need to build relationships. Respond to people when they share or comment on your work, and reply to (relevant, not creepy) direct messages. Share high-quality content from other influencers, too. Your followers want to know what you’re reading and what you think about industry events; they’re not just there to see you tout your company’s latest article. Social success comes from both promotion and engagement.

Establish benchmarks for social growth

Use content distribution tools or custom content software to track your posts’ performance. Gather data on which types of posts and content inspire the most likes, shares, and comments and which platforms see the greatest engagement. As you learn what interests your audience, shape your content and social strategies around those preferences to better serve their needs. Adjusting as you go will also help you ramp up your social following because you’ll be able to deliver more of what your followers love.

Participating in your company’s content distribution strategy doesn’t have to be time-consuming or anxiety-provoking. By simply committing to your responsibility, scheduling posts, and monitoring performance, you can grow your influence and your company’s reach. Your brand will grow as you help it gain visibility, and that should be reason enough to shake your aversion to social media.

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