3 Things to Do Before Outsourcing Marketing

TJE Communications has officially turn 6 years old and as a company, we have experienced some ups and downs when it comes to business and clients. I say “we” because I’ve had my fair share of interns and strategic partnerships who have helped me move the needle along the way.

I took another look at my target customer as I was preparing to step into full-time entrepreneurship, and I realized some of the clients I had worked with were truly not ready to outsource their marketing services. Which ultimately contributed to some of those partnerships ending; on a good note for the most part.

Before you decide to outsource your marketing efforts, here are three things you should try first:

1. Try to DIY One (of the many) mistakes I have made in business is not asking a prospective client if they’ve tried to handle their digital marketing on their own or with another marketer in the past. If I were to ask you this question, would you say “yes” – or would you say something like, “I would, but I don’t know how.” If the answer is the latter, you should not outsource marketing. What you should do instead is invest in gaining marketing knowledge through webinars, conferences, seminars, and trainings. Then, try to do it yourself. Once you’ve done this for a minimum of 6-12 months, if you still feel like you need help….check out steps 2 & 3.

I’m sure you’re thinking…”why does it matter if I’ve tried it myself?” What I’ve learned over the last 6 years is that until you have tried it yourself, or had someone else before me, you truly will not understand or value having a marketing consultant on your team.

Digital marketing is more than just posting aesthetically pleasing photos to Instagram. It takes consistency, strategy, and advertising dollars to build real campaigns to drive revenue for your business. On top of that, digital marketing does not equal social media marketing. Digital marketing also encompasses email, content, vlogging, and so much more.

2. Ensure you can pay for marketing services for at least 3 months — If you’re planning to outsource marketing services, make sure you can pay for them even when business is down. Most marketers require a retainer and a contract where you are committing to pay for their services for an agreed upon time. Just because business is down for you, doesn’t mean you get to forgo your contracts.

I get it, if business is down, you can’t take care of your family. But guess what…marketing professionals have a family to take care of, too! When you pay your invoices late, or not at all (both have happen to me), it is a poor reflection of business.

To avoid this issue, make sure your money is in order so that you can be certain you can fulfill your contract before signing on the dotted line.

**Also keep in mind if you do have issues paying your invoices, just communicate! Most people are willing to be somewhat flexible when life happens. 

3. Have a clear understanding of your business goals — You can’t bring someone in to help you promote your business if you don’t understand your business either. When you bring in a marketing professional, we’re there to help you take your brand to the next level. But if you don’t have the foundational pieces in place, then we don’t have a solid ground to stand on.

Yes, the marketing consultant you hire can help you with the foundational aspects of your business. However, you must keep in mind that by doing this, you are taking time away from them doing actual digital marketing strategy. So you can’t fault them if you’re “seeing no results.”

If you’re unsure if you have your business goals and messaging in place, instead of hiring someone to help you with digital marketing, hire someone to help you with business strategy and then try implementing some DIY digital marketing strategies. Or, if you can get your business strategist and marketing professional to work hand-in-hand, that’s even better! Both of these people are equally important and need each other to produce great work!

Now that you’ve read through this, do you still think you’re ready to outsource your marketing efforts? If yes, then go for it! Having a skilled digital marketing professional on your team can help grow your brand tremendously – especially if you’re willing to spend a few dollars on ads.

If you read this and realized you’re not quite ready, that is awesome! It is better to know now than to get yourself caught up.

Need help deciding either way? Schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me today. Click here to schedule.

Here’s Why You Need Content Calendars

By now, you should know that I firmly believe content is the QUEEN and the key to all businesses.

Think about it…

  • Netflix has ENDLESS original content you can consume any time of day
  • If you have cable, you are probably super involved in the lives of more reality tv personalities than you can count
  • Close this browser and head over to YouTube and you will find multiple shows, movies, tutorials, and music than your brain can even handle
  • Social media is full of influencers giving us laughs, cries, and advice about life and business

Everyone is searching for the secret sauce when it’s been right in front of us this whole time. CONTENT!

Here’s why you need a content calendar:

  • Allows for strategic planning
  • Helps track past content
  • Can be used later to understand what’s working, and what is not in your strategy

When I’m talking content, I am NOT only talking about social media. This includes:

  • Social media
  • Email campaigns
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies

And seriously so much more…

The best part about planning content, is that it removes the anxiety that comes with knowing you have to put content out there. By having a plan, you can focus on other aspects of your business. 

If you never had a content calendar or don’t even know what it entails, it only takes 3 major steps.

1. Know the type of content you want to produce and how long it will take to produce.

2. Pick days/time that work best for your audience.

3. Find a scheduling platform that supports your needs.

Simple enough, right?

My goal for 2020 is to create more content! Join me by grabbing your $5 content calendar today. Click here.

Happy content calendar making!

Navigating Instagram without ‘Likes’

There has been so much chatter about Instagram removing likes from the platform and here are some things you should know.

1. You will still be able to see your likes AND the likes of others. You just have to take an extra step to get to them.

2. The way you navigate Instagram shouldn’t change.

This change comes from Instagram wanting to create “…a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.” 

While this change hasn’t been rolled out for all users, majority of us are slowly seeing the removal of likes. Here are 3 tips to navigate Instagram with this update (hint: you should already be doing this on every platform).

Utilize IGTV

Instagram TV is a great way to share BTS of your brand or business, and share your expertise in your field.

For example: every Tuesday I post a tip on Facebook Live, I then take that live and add it to my Instagram TV channel. This gives me the opportunity to share my insight into happenings within the industry, and give my advice on how to navigate your digital channels. This is called “content marketing” and IGTV is the perfect place to do this!

Create Instagram Stories

I personally receive more engagement on Instagram stories than actual posts. People are enjoying the story feature on Instagram so you should be using it!

The great thing about stories is that you don’t need to put too much effort into it. Simply taking a pic of the meeting you’re in, asking questions utilizing the “polls” or the “questions” feature, and posting a fun Boomerang would suffice.

Make your stories fun, informative, and engaging!

Imagery Matters

You have to invest in great images for your Instagram. Aesthetics are vital! No one wants to see a profile full of pixelated photos and bad graphics.

If photography and design are not your strong suit, find someone who has the skills to help you out.

Your posts should be professional, clean, and should truly be a representation of your brand.

Easy enough, right?

As you begin creating your next content strategy, try incorporating these ideas into your calendar. You are guaranteed to see growth in your brand or business!

How to own your spaces, audience, and attention

Last night the hashtag #DeleteFacebook generated over 20K tweets (as of 1am – yes, I’m a night owl) following a development that Mark Zuckerberg had a “secret dinner” with Trump in October. The best part is, he refuses to share details about the dinner.

When it comes to political advertisement, Zuckerberg believes that whether the content is accurate or false, consumers should,  “…see for themselves what politicians are saying so they can make their own judgements.”

Why does this matter?

As business owners we are on these platforms for one thing: attention. We want everyone in the world to know who we are, consume our content, and buy our products or services. Society is evolving into a very conscious ecosystem. People want to consume content/products that come from an ethical place and make them feel good. As society evolves, so will the platforms we use.

Do you remember…Myspace? Xenga? Vine?

Facebook doubling down on not wanting to remove political ads regardless of content, has caused me to think…”if they don’t care about displaying political ads with false content to billions of users knowing that this has impacted political elections across the globe, then do they really care about my privacy and data and all of the other life events I share on their platform?”

The answer: probably not.

So now what?

It’s time to take a serious look at how well you own your spaces, audience, and attention.

Space: This is the place your content lives.

Audience: These are your customers and prospects.

Attention: This is how you get your audience to see what you’re selling/talking about.

If you don’t own these spaces, here’s how to get started on it:

  1. Grow your mailing list
  2. Build your website
  3. Share content daily
  4. Create your tribe/community

To answer the question “should we #DeleteFacebook?” My answer is: no. However, we should be ready to jump on the next thing as early adaptors to obtain as much organic reach as possible before it becomes saturated; like Facebook.

How do you feel about Facebook’s stance on this? Comment and share your thoughts!

 

How Twitter’s New Stance on Political Ads Will Shape the Social Media World Forever

It’s no secret that the 2016 election was influenced by the power of social media and advertising. Mark Zuckerburg and Facebook have been under fire since and as recently as last week, he continues to defend Facebook to Congress; despite Facebook employees continuously speaking out and further confirming Mark, along with top execs, were fully aware there were bots pushing “fake news” through paid advertisements.

Jack Dorsey took a big stance when he announced that Twitter will no longer allow political advertising on its platform across the globe. This includes political ads from candidates, current elected officials, and those pushing issues or candidates. Check out his Twitter thread below…

How will this shape social media forever?

This is going to open up doors for us to truly evaluate all social advertising; separate the real from the fake.

We’ve already seen this happen on Instagram where influencers are now required to make it clear when posts are paid ads. They’ve even added the “branded content” option where you connect the brands you’re working with and tag them on posts as partners.

We should expect this to go deeper than advertisements. Even deeper than making it clear you’re getting paid for a post.

How will we begin to handle influential social media users will vulnerable followers? Will they be held to a higher standard and required to go through a fact checking process for posts that seem to be encouraging their followers to take action? Who knows!

What should brands do with this information?

It is more important today than it has ever been to truly understand your brand voice. Who are you to the core? What does your business stand up for? What is the mission?

When you strip away advertising and algorithm, the only thing you have left is brand.

  1. Know who your target audience is.
  2. Understand your brand message.
  3. Focus on your tribe and the others will come.

Questions that I still want answers to…

  1. Will Facebook follow suit on this “no political ads” policy?
  2. If not, what is their game plan for 2020 elections?
  3. How will politicians truly drive reach on social media without the help of political advertisement?
  4. What are the potential ramifications to this policy? More bots? More hacking?
  5. How will be “fact check” social media posting on all platforms in the future?

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think Jack did the right thing? Comment and share below!

 

 

Social Media Influencers: Ask the Right Questions

Followers, likes, retweets, cute pics with the perfect filter; there’s more to choosing the right social media influencer.

Unfortunately, this surface mindset is why so many people feel like they’re failing and often give up on social media marketing all together. Anyone who is currently working in social media marketing, working with an agency, or plan to, should ask the REAL questions. The surface questions like: “How many followers do we have?” or “How many likes did the post get?” are the exact reason why situations like the below, happen.

Since this blog is meant to educate you, I will not go into detail about who the social media influencer is. My goal is not to ridicule her, but to help you understand why you need think deeper when it comes to social media marketing.

social media influencers tjecommunications.com“Stacy” is a social media influencer and has well over 2.6 million followers on Instagram. She recently launched a clothing line because…duh! You have 2.6 million followers so you’re bound to make money from them, right? All Stacy had to do was sell 36 pieces for the production company to continue to work with her and she failed. Yes. She has 2.6 MILLION followers and could not sell 36 pieces. Now she has to refund all of the customers who did purchase, and go back to the drawing board.

Here’s what you need to ask social media influencers BEFORE you agree to work with them.

What is your Instagram engagement score?

In this case, Stacy has 2.6 million followers, and her most liked post in the last week has 65,800+ likes. This means her engagement score on her best post is a 2.5% – this is a low average/good engagement rate.  Considering some posts range from 16,000+ likes to 45,000+, her score on average is much lower.

When choosing influencers to work with, you should be looking at working with engagement scores of at least 3% or more. The goal should be to work with brands or individuals who have followers interacting with them, not just following.

Have you had experience working with similar brands?

Rapper Kreayshawn recently reminisced on the time she royalty p*ssed off Flat Tummy Tea. The company was not happy that she insinuated that their products could be smoked.

Or how about Scott Disick’s experience with Flat Tummy Tea. I’m almost positive they didn’t want him to copy and past the entire email like this. YIKES!

social media influencers tjecommunications.com

Before you start sending free product to your favorite bloggers, set the standard on how you want your social media influencers to represent your brand. Have them send you sample social media posts of brands they’ve worked with in the past. Plus, in your contract their needs to be a clause in case the influencer violates the terms of the contract – like the above!

In addition, you need to ask for stats on the campaigns they ran with other companies including performance and revenue generated.

Ask for references!

As we know, anyone can fluff numbers. Ask your potential influencer for references – preferably of companies they’ve worked with in the past and their points of contacts during the contract. If an influencer refuses to provide such information, that should be an automatic red flag!

I know it’s easy to get caught up in the social media game. However, if you truly want to grow, you have to think deeper, more strategic, and invest in the right people!

My engagement score last month was a 5.76% which puts me in the high engagement rate category. On average, my clients range from 4% – 7% engagement rate. If you’re looking for ways to increase your engagement score, schedule a 30 minute consultation today!

Social Media: How to Stay Consistent

Social media marketing in 2019 is filled with noise and ever-changing algorithms. The key to success no matter what you do is consistency.

Yes, that means you can’t post once a week to your social media pages and expect to see any traction. You should be posting a minimum of once per day. If that sounds scary, here are a few simple ways you can stay consistent with posting.

  1. Create a plan – Content planning! As you’ve heard me say before, content planning allows you to be strategic and takes away the stress of not knowing what to post. If you’ve never planned your content before, grab my content calendar and get started!
  2. Set expectations with your audience – Every Tuesday my audience knows that I go Facebook Live. And trust me when I don’t, people ask me about it! When you have set the expectations, you have to give the people what they want, right? Create your staple piece of content that people can look forward to and keep them coming back for more.
  3. Schedule your posts – Do you think I’m sitting around posting on social media in real time? Absolutely not! I use a social media management tool that allows me to schedule my content and it even provides me with recommended posting times for the highest engagement.
  4. Find an accountability partner – You’re not in this alone! There are times when I am so busy I get behind on scheduling my content. Find a buddy that you can check in with when you see them lacking in posting and vise vera.

We’re playing the long game here! Try one, or all 4 of these tips and see which works best for you. While you’re at it, sign up for my 7 days to social media series. In this series you will receive 7 days of prompts and tips to help you post on social media everyday.

4 Steps to Prepare for Holiday Emails

‘Tis the season for email holiday prep! If you don’t already have a strategic plan in place, it’s time to get the ball rolling. Here are a few ideas to get you ready to spread some cheer through email marketing.

Create Your Content Calendar

You all know I love a good content calendar! The point of having this calendar is so that you can begin to plan your overall marketing strategy throughout the holiday season. Your calendar should include content, graphics, and which channels those pieces of content will live.

If you are planning to do some boosting/promoting or creating advertisements, include your budget and the channels in which your ads will be placed.

See below for an example of what my content calendar looks like.

I would recommend creating a rough idea of content through the beginning of January. We all know how busy things can get around the holidays. This will help you stay on track.

Clean Your Mailing List

It’s the perfect time to clean your mailing list and reengage inactive subscribers. Start scrubbing your list by removing soft bounces. If you’re using a system that does not automatically remove hard bounces (God forbid), then remove those as well.

Side note..

Hard bounce: This happens when you send an email to an address that does not exist.

Soft bounce: This can happen if a subscribers mailbox is too full, their server is busy, or maybe your message is too large for their inbox.

To get subscribers reengaged, try sending them an offer code for a percentage off their next purchase with you. If they still don’t open your email, you may want to consider to removing them from your list to increase your deliverability and open rates.

Segment Your List

Segmenting your list is just as important as cleaning it. By creating segments, you’re able to truly send targeted messages to your subscribers.

For example: Let’s say you’re a candle maker and you have 100 people on your mailing list. 10 of them have only purchased your cinnamon apple scent. You can send those 10 purchasers an offer to try your other cinnamon apple products such as wax melts or essential oils. Or you can try to entice them by giving a coupon to use on a new scent.

Create Your Drip Campaigns/Email Automations

Now that you have your content calendar planned, and a clean-segmented list, begin setting up your holiday drip campaigns and automations. You should have automations in place for new subscribers and current subscribers. Once the funnels are in place, all you should have to do is plug in your content and let the workflow do it’s thing!

I am excited to introduce new products throughout the holiday season! I have currently created a plan through November and currently working on December. Have you started yet? What are some things you are focusing on? Comment below and let me know!

How to Create Your IGTV Channel

If you haven’t heard, long form video has come to Instagram! Why? Well, any person truly invested in digital marketing & SEO could tell you that Google and Facebook have been in competition for YEARS! Facebook wants to be a search engine, Google wants to have a social network. It’s a never ending war, but, those of us who rely on both of these platforms will continue to benefit from all their new innovations.

What is IGTV?

IGTV, or Instagram TV, is just like a having a YouTube channel attached to your Instagram page. You can upload longer videos than the typcial 60 seconds Instagram allows for on a normal post.

Why should I make an IGTV channel?

For starters, I have no doubt in my mind that this will blow up. There are already celebrities like Will Smith taking advantage of IGTV and we know how much he loves YouTube (YT is owned by Google, Instagram is owned by Facebook – see why this is a never ending war?).

In addition, this gives you even more opportunity to bring your followers quality content and to increase engagement.

How do I create my channel?

It’s actually VERY simple!

Step 1. Open your Instagram app and click the orange-ish icon in the top right corner, next to the DM button. When you get there, you’ll see a screen like the one below displaying videos from people you follow.

Step 2. Next you’ll click on the settings button and you’ll get a pop up like the one below that says “Create Channel”.

Step 3. Once you select “Create Channel” you’ll see the following screens. Read through them and select “Create Channel”.

     

Step 4. Once your channel is created, you’ll see a screen like this. Go to your channel and from there you can begin uploading videos. As of now, the video cap is 15 minutes.

Keep in mind the videos have to be vertical. Similar to how an IG Live or Facebook Live video is laid out. I suggest if you have some great lives you want to savor, download them on your computer and send them to yourself to upload.

Don’t forget that titles, tags, and thumbnails matter! It may seem tedious but you want your channel to look good and feel professional.

I’m personally excited for new Instagram feature and will fully take advantage of the war going on between Google and Facebook.

If you’re already on IGTV I would love to know your thoughts on it so far! Reply to this email and let me know.

XOXO