Hearing crying puppies trapped in a storm drain, A’s pitcher flies into action

first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos or video on a mobile deviceIt’s 2 1/2 months before pitchers and catchers are due to report to spring training. A’s hurler Daniel Mengden already has nailed down his first save.Mengden was returning to his Houston home when he ran across a rescue in progress, MLB.com reported. Two puppies were trapped in a storm drain.“It was just kind of dumb luck,” Mengden told MLB.com. “I noticed some people were outside their cars, kind of …last_img read more

“One Africa!” says Gaddafi

first_imgLibyan leader Muammar Gaddafi isadamant that Africa’s power lies in its unity.(Image: ItnewsAfrica) A young Muammar Gaddafi during hismilitary days.(Image: Wikimedia)Khanyi MagubaneLibyan President Muammar Gaddafi, the newly appointed chairperson of the African Union (AU), has reiterated that Africa will only truly be powerful once it’s led by one strong government.At his appointment on 2 February during the 12th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Gaddafi was adamant that the power of Africa lies in its unity.“I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa,” he said after accepting his role as the new AU leader.Gaddafi said the united Africa would have a single military force and one currency. Africans would only need one passport and would be able to move around the continent freely.But African leaders may not be as ready for the move as the controversial Libyan leader thinks.During the first day of talks behind closed doors, member states fervently debated the “unity project”, which was on the agenda.In the end, as a compromise, it was decided that the African Union Commission – which overseas the work of the AU – would be transformed into an AU authority with a broader mandate, said the outgoing chairperson, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.“In principle, we [are saying] the ultimate is the United States of Africa. How we proceed to that ultimate – there are building blocks,” Kikwete said.Uniting Africa a step at a timeBriefing journalists about the new body on 2 February, AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said the new authority would deal with greater issues than the existing commission. “We are creating an institution with a bigger mandate, with bigger capacities, which moves us towards the goal of the union government.”Ping said that a unified continent, which would give Africa stronger bargaining power at international forums, has been a dream of several generations of pan-Africanists.The work of the AU authority would ensure a gradual process of integration and the strengthening of multilateral institutions as well as the strengthening and integration of the different regional economic communities across the continent.Some head of states, however, voiced their reluctance to relinquish power and opted rather to strengthen regional institutions before creating a continent-wide system.But despite the reluctance of some leaders, Gaddafi is optimistic that the move will materialise.He told delegates that so serious was he about his “unity project” that he expected the venture to be approved at the organisation’s next meeting in July unless, he added, the majority of member states were against the move.The main point of contention is how the unity government will affect the sovereignty of the 53 member states and economies of differing strengths, where some African governments are economically weak, and others strong.The member states have, however, made it clear that the issue is not whether a union government should be in place or not, but rather a matter of identifying the steps of how to get there and when it should happen.Timelines and the method for the integration process will be set out according to the Accra Declaration, adopted in 2007 at the 9th Ordinary Session in Accra, Ghana.The Accra Declaration expresses the AU leaders’ conviction that the ultimate objective of the AU is the United States of Africa.During this week’s intense summit, which was extended by a day to four days to accommodate all the outstanding issues, Kikwete gave his last speech as the chair, appealing to African leaders to put political greed aside and focus on improving Africa’s economic status.“Africa must be included in the search for global solutions to the current financial crisis.”Kikwete said more time needed to be dedicated to discussing a global solution to Africa’s under-development.He further stressed the need for Africans to seek a greater voice on global affairs and called on Africa to establish better working ties with European and Asian leaders.The Gaddafi administrationThe appointment of the infamous Libyan leader to the most powerful African body has been met with mixed reaction.The BBC spoke to Africans from different regions about what a Gaddafi-led AU would mean to the continent.Pius Serlorm Dzramado, a 28-year-old tailor from Accra, was not so optimistic about the move. “Gaddafi does not adhere to the principles of democracy in Libya,” he said. “For those of us who believe in advocating democracy in Africa, choosing Gaddafi as African Union chairman is not progress.”Dzramado said human rights abuses suffered by Libyans should have been enough to discourage the organisation to make the move.“There doesn’t seem to be much respect for human rights in Libya, so I don’t think Gaddafi’s own country is a good role model for the rest of Africa. As AU head, I can’t imagine Gaddafi will have the moral courage to speak out against human rights violations in other African countries.”Feras Al-Geblawi, a 29-year-old engineering student in Libya, is, however, of a different opinion. “Gaddafi is the bravest leader Africa has seen in the last 30 years. He always speaks his mind; he’s like a philosopher, very intelligent.”“There are some people who say Gaddafi is not a good choice as AU chair, claiming we don’t have a strong record on human rights. But I haven’t seen any injustice here.”Kenyan journalism student, 28-year-old Amos Marube, said he was not sure if the united Africa idea would work. “Gaddafi’s vision of a United States of Africa is far too ambitious; it will never happen,” he told the BBC.Marube said governments must first get their act together before thinking of uniting the whole of Africa. “He wants to unite the continent – but here in Kenya we are already so divided by tribalism. If African countries are unable to unite nationally and regionally, I can’t see how Gaddafi would be able to unite us as a continent.”At the helm of Libya for over 40 years now, Gaddafi is a saint to some, while he remains a villain to others.Dubbed by former US president Ronald Reagan as the “mad dog of the Middle East”, Gaddafi is known for his unchanging stance of African nationalism.He has been accused of taking part in acts of terror and his country suffered drastic United Nations sanctions after he refused to extradite two Libyans accused of planting a bomb in 1988 on Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded ever Lockerbie, Scotland and killed 270 people.Gaddafi finally admitted responsibility for the attack in 2003 and paid over US$2.7-billion to the families of the victims, initiating the end of Libya’s international isolation.Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at: khanyim@mediaclubsouthafrica.com Related articlesAfrica catches investors eyes The African Union AU stands by Zimbabwe African leaders unite economies  Useful linksAfrican UnionThe government of LibyaAccra declarationlast_img read more

15 fantastic food and farm facts

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Producing a bounty of food, fiber for clothes and renewable fuels for cars is a vast agricultural undertaking and one that few consumers today know much about. That’s not surprising, considering that most Americans are three or more generations removed from farming.Although most of us aren’t involved in full-time food production, it can still be fun – and educational – to ponder facts about how modern farmers and ranchers go about their work. That’s where Food and Farm Facts, a publication from the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, comes in.“Food and Farm Facts provides the opportunity to learn about the many ways modern farmers produce food to meet the needs of today’s consumers,” explained Foundation Chairman Zippy Duvall, who also serves as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.The 32-page, full-color book features hundreds of updated agriculture facts and easy-to-read infographics organized into sections: Consumers, Modern Farmers, Trade & Economics, Environment and Production.Fifteen fantastic facts about agriculture to whet your appetite for the Food and Farm Facts book are below.Ninety-nine percent of all U.S. farms are owned by individuals, family partnerships or family corporations.Farmers will have to grow 70 percent more food than what is currently produced to feed the world’s growing population by 2050.Each American farmer produces food and fiber for 165 people annually, both in the U.S. and abroad.Eight percent of U.S. farms market foods locally through farmers’ markets and food hubs.One day’s production for a high-producing dairy cow yields 10.5 pounds of cheese.Women make up 30 percent of today’s farmers.More than 20 percent of all farmers are beginning farmers.There are 257,454 millennial farmers.Texas has 248,809 farms, more than any other state in the nation.About 25 percent of all U.S. agricultural products by value are exported yearly.Careful stewardship by America’s farmers spurred a 44 percent decline in erosion of cropland by wind and water since 1982.One-third of the U.S. or 750 million acres, is covered with trees.Many of the products we use in our everyday lives are byproducts of food produced by America’s farmers and ranchers – everything from detergents and paints to X-ray film and crayons, textbooks, chalk and strings for musical instruments.An acre of land is about the same size as a football field.Biotechnology saved the Hawaiian papaya industry after a virus nearly wiped the crop out.Order the Food and Farm Facts book and related resources online.last_img read more

101 Signs You’re an Inbound Marketer

first_imgWe inbound marketers need to stick together! Sure, we have our quirky obsessions with data, Excel, content creation, and lead generation. But hey, that’s what makes us so darn successful! Read this list, and see if you can relate. If you do, there’s a very good chance you’re an inbound marketer too!101 Signs You’re an Inbound Marketer1. You can calculate visitor-to-lead conversion rates in your sleep. (Tweet this!)2. You dream about Excel. (Tweet this!)3. You could have a full conversation in acronyms, including CRM, CTR, SEO, and CTA. (Tweet this!)4. You keep in touch with your mom using a lead nurturing campaign. (Tweet this!)5. Your salespeople go from asking for more leads to asking for more high quality leads. (Tweet this!)6. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry when you encounter a website that is built in FLASH. (Tweet this!)7. You’re the mayor of your office (on Foursquare). (Tweet this!)8. Your dog/cat/bird/hamster is named Godin/Kawasaki/Brogan/Scott. (Tweet this!)9. Your friends who don’t ‘get’ inbound marketing think you “do social media” for a living. (Tweet this!)10. You ward off outbound marketing ghosts and spirits with The New Rules of Marketing and PR. (Tweet this!)11. You click “send” on a marketing email, and then obsessively check how many leads came from that send every five minutes. (Tweet this!)12. Your funnel is so fat, you have to do lead scoring to help your sales team prioritize their time. (Tweet this!)13. You measure everything. Twice. (Tweet this!)14. After seeing a couple of data points, you feel an immediate itch to create an infographic. (Tweet this!)15. You know all about cookie tracking (and it has nothing to do with your two-year-old). (Tweet this!)16. You know exactly how many visitors, leads, and customers you got from Facebook … yesterday. (Tweet this!)17. Your CEO asks you how you can invest more in marketing, instead of asking you to cut the budget. (Tweet this!)18. You brainstorm blog post ideas in the shower. (Tweet this!)19. Even your personal Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts include calls-to-action. (Tweet this!)20. The funnel is your favorite shape. (Tweet this!)21. You tell salespeople who cold call you that they should learn about inbound marketing. (Tweet this!)22. You “like” everything. (Tweet this!)23. You send out daily emails to your team with graphs and charts. (Tweet this!)24. NoFollow tags make you cry. (Tweet this!)25. Your sales team loves you. (Tweet this!)26. When Twitter goes down, you feel lost. (Tweet this!)27. To you, “going viral” is a good thing and has nothing to do with zombies. (Tweet this!)28. You constantly publish blog posts titled, “X Ways to do Y.” (Tweet this!)29. You don’t actually like the Grateful Dead’s music, but you think their marketing rocks! (Tweet this!)30. Your email is your to-do list. (Tweet this!)31. You write blog posts on the fly on your smartphone while traveling. (Tweet this!)32. You follow more internet marketing celebrities on Twitter than mainstream pop celebrities. (Tweet this!)33. You use tools to streamline as much of your marketing as possible. (Tweet this!)34. You have a favorite URL shortener. (Tweet this!)35. You respond to every request for event sponsorship with … “Well, what if we wrote a guest blog instead?” (Tweet this!)36. You understand 302 redirects are evil. (Tweet this!)37. You know the ROI of social media. (Tweet this!)38. You know search engines can’t be gamed, but gosh darn it — you still try! (Tweet this!)39. Your Facebook feed is more about work than friends. (Tweet this!)40. Sometimes #YouThinkInHashtags (Tweet this!) 41. Salesforce integration with everything is a necessity. (Tweet this!)42. You have multiple monitors to monitor Twitter and Facebook as you work. (Tweet this!)43. You obsess about the number of business days in a calendar month. (Tweet this!)44. You’re a little bit embarrassed to even *suggest* increasing your paid search or display ad budget. (Tweet this!) 45. Your emotional attachment to “traffic” is strong enough to make you jump in your car and seek gridlock. (Tweet this!) 46. You create badges for everything. And you compete for them. (Tweet this!) 47. You know what a persona is, and you create content that appeals to that persona. (Tweet this!) 48. You always know the event hashtag, and you livetweet from conferences. (Tweet this!)49. You can type on your smartphone as fast as you can on your computer. (Tweet this!)50. You take your follower count very seriously. (Tweet this!) 51. To you, link love is more romantic than flowers and candy. (Tweet this!)52. You have your Twitter username on your business cards. (Tweet this!)53. You know what your prospects’ buying cycle looks like. (Tweet this!)54. You obsess about creating content that appeals to prospects at all stages of their sales cycle. (Tweet this!)55. You know ‘content marketing’ and ‘social media marketing’ are tips of the inbound marketing iceberg! (Tweet this!) 56. You have no shame asking for an inbound link when someone mentions your company in a blog article. (Tweet this!)57. You fight against killing kittens by not sending spam emails. (Tweet this!) 58. Your CEO asks you how you lowered cost-per-lead quarter over quarter. (Tweet this!)59. You roll your eyes when salespeople tell you they have to attend another trade show. (Tweet this!) 60. Your executives understand the importance of blogging, and they make time to do it. (Tweet this!) 61. Your company has more “fans” than Justin Bieber. (Tweet this!)62. You segment your leads via lead source, company size, and hair color. (Tweet this!)63. You watch YouTube for inspiration. (You swear it’s for inspiration!) (Tweet this!)64. You’ve trained your sales team to use lead intelligence to time their sales calls better. (Tweet this!)65. Whenever someone asks you a data question, you tell them to build a pivot table. (Tweet this!)66. Your Website Grade is greater than an 85. (Tweet this!)67. You have a Salesforce dashboard to monitor all your Salesforce dashboards. (Tweet this!)68. You know what a marketing SLA is. (Tweet this!) 69. At every event, you take photos, videos, and write a wrap-up blog post. (Tweet this!)70. Your emails to colleagues use bolded phrases, headers bullets, and optimized subject lines. (Tweet this!)71. You keep up with what your friends are doing via their blogs. (Tweet this!) 72. In casual conversation you’ve said, “That would make a great ebook,” or “I’m doing a webinar on that.” (Tweet this!)73. You Google yourself every day to make sure nothing embarrassing is suddenly ranking for your name. (Tweet this!)74. You can speak in 140 characters. (Tweet this!)75. Your blogging software knows which keywords to fight to the death for, and how hard it will be to rank. (Tweet this!)76. You test EVERYTHING, including layout, button color, subject line, and sender name. EVERYTHING. (Tweet this!)77. You love reading blog post lists, which is why you’ve read this far. (Tweet this!) 78. You believe that traffic is a useless measure unless you can see how much of it converts into leads. (Tweet this!)79. You can multitask tweeting, blogging, reporting, and emailing all at once. (Tweet this!)80. You run three different browsers to manage all of your Google accounts. (Tweet this!)81. You’ve been known to save bad marketing automation emails, forward them to friends, and laugh at them. (Tweet this!) 82. Your best friend’s idea of a practical joke is to start a website to make fun of you. (Tweet this!)83. You require flexibility to change your landing pages and website content whenever you want. (Tweet this!) 84. You actually KNOW which pages on your website signal the greatest likelihood to buy. (Tweet this!)85. You’ve empowered your non-marketing colleagues and customers to evangelize your company on your behalf. (Tweet this!) 86. You take Twitpics wherever you go. (Tweet this!) 87. You have to force yourself to leave work at the end of the day. (Just one more minute! This post is almost perfect!) (Tweet this!)88. Your favorite night out is a networking event. (Tweet this!) 89. You own an iPhone/iPod, MacBook, AND an iPad. (Tweet this!) 90. Email marketing is your best friend and your worst nightmare, all at the same time. (Tweet this!)91. You’re the star contributor to every LinkedIn group you’re a part of. (Tweet this!)92. Long-tail keywords are your best friend. (Tweet this!)93. All the SWAG you give out has QR codes on it. (Tweet this!) 94. Your family has a Google+ Circle, and you plan to use Google Hangout to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. (Tweet this!)95. You celebrate your Twitter anniversaries. (Tweet this!)96. You have more landing pages than products. (Tweet this!)97. Your bookshelf has all 3 versions of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, bookended by Inbound Marketing. (Tweet this!)98. You regularly have more browser tabs open than a developer or engineer. (Tweet this!)99. You’ve taken every FAQ out of your email archives and turned it into a blog post. (Tweet this!)100. You brainstorm secondary conversion offers at lunch. (Tweet this!)101. Your business is growing in a downturned economy. (Tweet this!)What are the signs telling you? Are you an inbound marketer? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Social Media Marketers Originally published Oct 27, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016last_img read more

Prithvi Shaw’s management wants 1 crore from Freecharge and Swiggy. Here’s what happened

first_imgPrithvi Shaw broke onto the scene with a masterful century in his debut Test match against West Indies earlier last week.Shaw scored 134 runs and at 18 years and 329 days, become the youngest Indian to reach three figures in his maiden appearance. Shaw became second youngest batsman after Sachin Tendulkar (17 years, 107 days) to score a Test hundred.Shaw also scored the third quickest century on debut when he reached the three-figure mark and is now also the seventh youngest player in Test cricket history to score a hundred on debut. He is also the only man with a hundred on debut in Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Test cricket.The young star from Mumbai broke multiple records and walked away with the man-of-the-match, as India condemned West Indies to an innings and 272-run defeat inside three days of the opening Test in Rajkot.The world stood up to congratulate Shaw and had become the talk of the town with former stars, cricketing legends all praise for the youngster.READ – Prithvi Shaw slams debut Test hundred: A look at all 15 debut centurions for IndiaWith Shaw trending on social media, many companies started sending congratulatory messages to young star. But according to a report in Business Today, a few companies received cease and desist notices from his marketing team, Baseline Ventures.According to the report, Baseline Ventures have also sent notices seeking a sum of Rs 1 crore each as compensation from companies like Swiggy and FreeCharge for they used creatives with Shaw’s name on it. The messages on social media, acceding to the report, violated Baseline’s exclusive rights as well as Trademarks Act, 1996.advertisementREAD – This one is for my dad: Prithvi Shaw dedicates debut hundred to his heroFreeCharge and Swiggy both deleted their tweets. “Firsts we’ll remember forever: First bite of Rasmalai, First innings of Prithvi Shaw,” the Swiggy creative read.Tuhin Mishra, managing director of Baseline Ventures told the BT that the tweets were “disappointing” and said it was “ambush marketing”.READ – Prithvi Shaw showed he is different quality, really delighted for him: Virat Kohli”This is not only unfair to the player’s achievements but also to other genuine current sponsors and potential sponsors of Prithvi who pay to associate and play by the rule books,” Mishra said.He also said that they will be taking legal recourse against other firms too who have carried similar ambush marketing communications.Another company that carried on a tweet with Shaw’s name is Amul. The tweet says, “Shawbash! Amul Prithvi ka favourite makhan!” with the Amul girl and Shaw in the background.#Amul Topical: Youngest Indian to score debut test century! pic.twitter.com/C04aXhSM4lAmul.coop (@Amul_Coop) October 5, 2018Mumbai Police too had a unique take on the whole matter.As for the man himself, Shaw will eager to prove his mettle again when he walks out to bat in the second of the two-match Test series, which starts Friday in Hyderabad.last_img read more

Google+ Status Updates Now Appearing in Organic Search Results

first_img Originally published Dec 22, 2011 6:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Technical SEO Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Since the debut of Google+ business pages just over a month ago, the following discourse has repeated itself in the inbound marketing world:Question: “Why should my business have a Google+ account in addition to all the other social networks we’re currently present on?”Answer: “Well, it’s Google, so you can bet they’ll be integrating these brand pages into organic search results.”Now you can literally stop betting on it! Finally, Google is amalgamating Google+ updates into its search engine results in two ways:1. Brand Page Updates in Organic Search ResultsWhen searching for a certain keyword or phrase, status updates are now appearing from actual brand pages. For example, when searching ‘HubSpot brand,’ a photo upload on the HubSpot Google+ account from November resulted on the very first page. Marketing Takeaway: This is huge, and it makes a big case for why your brand should create a Google+ business page and start sharing content there ASAP. If you already do, be sure to optimize your status updates. While your updates should be unique, interesting, and have a clear voice reflective of your brand, they should also be search engine optimized. Just as you include certain keywords in your blog posts to help them rank well in Google without taking away from the overall quality of the post, you should do the same for status updates on Google+. This will help you leverage your Google+ presence to increase traffic to your site from Google search, and well, will help you get found online!2. Personal Page Updates in Organic Search ResultsWhile company page updates are appearing in results, so are posts from other users (via their personal accounts) as they mention a brand and/or search term. For example, upon searching ‘Marketing Grader,’ a status update from HubSpot CTO Dharmesh Shah’s personal Google+ page is displayed as a result.Marketing Takeaway: Create valuable content to share via your Google+ business page that other people will be inclined to share. When a user shares a piece of content straight from a brand page by clicking the ‘share’ button under the post, the original text of that post is transferred over, as well as the commentary the user provides. This means that by creating valuable and optimized content, people who share a status because of its value will unknowingly help your ranking because of the keywords weaved into the original update. Pretty nifty, huh? What do you think of this Google+ integration? Can you think of any additional ways to take advantage of this?Image Credit: sasagg.pixnet.net Topics:last_img read more

The 7 Slides You Need for an Epic Monthly Marketing Report

first_img Originally published Jan 27, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Marketing Reporting Here’s a challenge for all you marketers who are on top of your game: How do you make sure your marketing team is taken seriously within your own company? One important step you should take is publishing a thorough, thoughtful, quantitative monthly report on your marketing team’s impact.For as long as there’s been marketing, marketers have struggled to show their impact. But today, there’s no need to struggle. Today, it’s simple to collect the data you need to show how your marketing investments are generating revenue for your business. You just have to pull together the right reports.At HubSpot, our marketing team creates a deck of over 200 slides each month to cover every last marketing detail. That’s extreme, and it might not be necessary for all companies. But what is important for all marketers is a core set of slides that reports on  inbound marketing  results. (Note the word “results.” We’re not showing what we did . We’re showing what we achieved .)So here are some of the core slides we use to report on our results. What do you think we’re missing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! 1. Visits by Source This is your measure of the top of your funnel. It tells you, month-over-month, how many people are coming to your site, and how they got there. You can look at this slide quickly to see which marketing channels are driving your changes in overall traffic. (HubSpot customers can find this report in Sources .) 2. Leads by Source This is your measure of your middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) activity. This slide answers the questions, “How many leads did we generate, and which channels did they come from?” You can use this report to track month-over-month changes in lead volume and to figure out ways to improve the results. For example, if you’re generating a lot of traffic to your blog articles , but you aren’t converting any leads there, you should experiment with different ways to improve blog page conversions. Maybe you need better calls-to-action (CTAs). Or maybe you need better blog offers. Whatever the root of the problem, this report can help identify its location and help you understand where to dive into the details and diagnose. (HubSpot customers can get this report in Sources .) 3. Funnel Summary This is an overall view of your marketing funnel that shows you the five most important metrics —visits over time, leads over time, customers over time, visit-to-customer conversion over time, and lead-to-customer conversion over time. This data gives you a great overall sense of your marketing team’s performance. (HubSpot customers can get this data from  Sources .) 4. Paid vs. Organic Leads This view helps you show how much of your lead flow is coming from paid campaigns and how much is coming from organic inbound marketing. If you’re trying to build an inbound marketing machine and keep your paid spend down, this slide can help you track your progress.   (HubSpot customers can get this data from  Sources  by exporting and aggregating all their organic campaigns, then comparing that to their paid campaigns.) 5. Top Blog Posts by Page View This slide helps you keep track of the content that’s engaging your community. This knowledge should help you refine your blog articles to generate even more traffic, and to refine your overall marketing strategy to better reach your target personas. ( HubSpot customers can find this data in their monthly report or Blog Analytics .) 6. Top Landing Pages by Leads This slide shows you which offers and landing pages are generating the most leads. You should know this information and constantly be testing new offers and landing pages in order to create new leaders generating even more leads. (HubSpot customers can see this in their Landing Page Dashboard .) 7. Lead Speed to Your Event This is a way to measure lead quality. In other words, how good are the leads that you’re sending to your sales team? If there isn’t much time before your leads convert into an event, the marketing team is doing a good job. If your leads take a while to convert, you need to do a better job nurturing your leads . (HubSpot customers can get this data from a CRM like Salesforce.com when it’s integrated with HubSpot.) Bonus for HubSpot customers! Most of these slides are already being created for you. Keep an eye out for a personalized monthly report that gets sent to you at the beginning of each month. The report contains a link to download a PowerPoint version of your own monthly report. Make sure you’re using it! What other marketing data do you report on for the rest of your company? Image Credit: SqueakyMarmot Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Customer Retention

first_img Customer Retention Rate by Industry Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Customer Retention Why is Customer Retention Important? Topics: What’s the most effective way to grow a business?You might think that the answer is to sell to more customers, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle — in fact, it might not be the most important piece of the puzzle. That’s where customer retention comes in.Once you’ve created a killer product and have identified your target market, company growth can start taking off — and it’s important to dedicate just as many resources to retaining existing customers as to selling to new customers.And that’s what your customer success team is for — to help customers see value and achieve goals using your product or service. But there’s more to it than just answering their phone calls and helping them onboard with your software — it’s about creating a process from the very beginning that fosters communication, trust, and mutual growth.Start solving for the customer today with these 17 templates. Read this guide to learn all about customer retention — how to measure it, why it’s important, and how to foster it with every new customer you attract. Average Customer Retention Rate by Industry Retention Rate Formula Customer retention refers to the ability of a company to — you guessed it — retain customers. Customer retention is impacted by how many new customers are acquired, and how many existing customers churn — by canceling their subscription, not returning to buy, or closing a contract.Over the course of a given time period, customer retention is measured by customer retention rate — more on that below. Retention Rate Formula Customer Retention Definition Before you begin to even consider a retention strategy, you need to understand what your current customer retention rate is.You’ll first need to define a period of time — whether that’s quarterly or yearly. Then, follow this formula:Customer Retention Rate = ( (# Customers at End of Period – # Customers Acquired During Period) / # Customers at Start of Period) ) X 100For example: Imagine you start the year with 20 customers, gain five new customers in the first quarter, and have one customer churn.( (24 – 5) / 20 ) ) x 100 = 95% retentionHere’s another example: You have 44 customers, you gain 12 new customers, and 13 customers churn:( ( 43 – 12 ) / 44 ) x 100 = 70% retentionOnce you know your rate, you should consider doing an audit of your churned customers to determine similarities in reasons for leaving or types of customers that leave. You might find that customers with a certain budget or at a certain company size are more likely to churn than others. Consider if you can add qualifying questions to your sales process or revise your ideal buyer persona to better reflect the attributes of your most loyal customers.Why is customer retention important?Customer retention is important to any growing company because it measures not only how successful they are at acquiring new customers, but how successful they are at satisfying existing customers.It’s also easier and more cost-effective to retain customers than to acquire new ones, returning customers spend more and buy more often, and refer friends and family. Only a 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95%.The numbers don’t lie: Retaining customers brings companies a ton of ROI.There are a few reasons why customer retention is critical to company growth and success:Affordability: It’s 5-25X more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. (HBR)ROI: A 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95%. (HBR)Loyalty: Retained customers buy more often and spend more than newer customers. They’ve learned the value of a product or service and keep coming back, again and again. (American Express)Referrals: Satisfied, loyal customers are more likely to sing a company’s praises and refer their friends and family — bringing in new customers, free of charge. (American Express)It might seem obvious — of course, companies should want to retain customers — but when companies start growing quickly and struggle to implement a solid customer support program, proactive customer support for existing customers can slip through the cracks. Average customer retention rate varies across industries. According to Mixpanel’s 2017 Product Benchmarks report, for most industries, the average customer retention rate was below 20%. In the media or finance industries, retention over 25% is considered above average, and in the SaaS industry, retention above 35 is considered above average. Customer Retention Definition But when companies dedicate time, resources, and creativity to improve customer retention, not only does it make customers happy, it brings the companies more success, too. We’ll review  strategies that will help you improve your increase customer retention next.Customer Retention Management StrategiesBefore diving into these customer retention management strategies you may implement and experiment with, let’s answer an important question first:What is customer retention management? Customer retention management is the process of maintaining relationships with your current customers to delight them long after they purchase your product of service. It requires you to encourage these customers to remain loyal to your business, continue paying for your product or service, and become and remain your brand advocates. Who manages customer retention?Customer retention is typically managed by customer success. The role of this team is to work with and delight your customers throughout the duration of their relationship with your company (no matter how long or short this timeframe may be).Customer success teams should not only work directly with your customers to improve and maintain retention, but work with other teams within your organization to do so as well. For example, customer success should help teams like sales or customer service and support — roles that have the potential to directly impact retention — organize, manage, and improve all aspects of the customer experience. This way, you entire business works together towards consistently improving customer retention. Now, let’s look at those strategies to help you with customer retention management. 1. Highlight case studies during the sales process.A significant portion of the sales process should be focused on determining if your company and the prospect are the right fit — from both a relationship standpoint, and how you will work together.Share previous case studies that reveal your company’s style of communication and collaboration with customers and the results you achieved for customers. You could also share testimonials from current customers to really bring it home for them just how much you partner with them.It’s similar to researching any big buying decision. You want to know if and how it will work before you make a purchase. If the customer truly understands this, they will be more likely to properly set expectations and be happier with their experience once they sign on.2. Set expectations early and often.If you don’t set expectations and communicate these clearly, customers can easily become upset. They might believe you can deliver on certain results, while in reality, those results are only seen in month six or with additional initiatives and work input.In addition, your customers are coming from very different businesses. One customer might feel that your prices are high, and therefore, they expect an extremely high amount of expertise and “white glove” customer service, while for another customer, you might be one of many different company partners, and the customer cares more about your ability to collaborate than care for their brand.Understanding these points of view and communicating deadlines, progress toward goals, what’s included in a project, your process, your communication style, etc., is essential for making sure expectations are met. This, in turn, will keep customers happy with the relationship, longer.3. Communicate results on a regular basis.Customers are more likely to stay with your company if your product or service is delivering results and ROI for them. If a customer can point to the fact that your company has influenced or increased leads, MQLs, SQLs, lifetime value, their own customer retention, etc., then it will be much more difficult for the customer to say goodbye.That means you need a good system for tracking and reporting on the metrics that really matter to the customer, which should relate to the goals you established together. Be transparent about the activities you executed on last month, the results you saw, where you see opportunities for improvements, and what you will work on next month. In addition, use a project management tool so that the customer can easily see how far along the team is in a project.4. Create a roadmap for the future of the relationship.Many people compare the customer-company relationship to dating — and this isn’t that far off. And it’s especially true when you consider the lifecycle of dating. At some point, one person in the relationship wants to know that this is “going somewhere.” He or she wants to know what the “plan” for the future looks like.This desire to know that you are working toward a “next step” can also be applied to business relationships. It can be easy for the customer-company relationship to fall victim to routine — everything is going great, you know what type of work the customer wants (and will approve), and you understand what works to reach their goals. That gets boring quickly though, and it’s easy for the customer to wake up one day and realize how uninspired and unmotivated the company team is.Your customer success managers should create and revise on a regular basis a relationship roadmap. Build in steps for initiatives and projects that both parties can look to and be excited about the current and next stage of the relationship.5. Make memories around your shared successes.According to research, people remember negative events more vividly than positive ones. Even if there are more positive events overall, the bad occurrences may be the longest lasting memories — which makes customers more likely to share those negative events on social media, too.So customer success teams need to consider how they can create better, more memorable experiences around positives and successes. When something negative occurs — a goal or deadline is missed for example — the company team overly communicates, discusses plans for fixing the issue, and apologizes. But when something truly great happens, how much of an emphasis do you place on the event?6. Ask for feedback and act on this information.You can’t improve customer retention without first understanding why customers leave your company. Once you know the reasons and the correlating signs, you can work to prevent customer churn by proactively dealing with issues.Ask for regular feedback from the entire customer team, including the decision-maker. Use a customer feedback tool to track trends by either the customer or the individual. For example: By tracking by project, you can identify customer happiness trends and work to improve processes or ask for more qualitative feedback on what exactly is contributing to the fall in customer satisfaction.Being able to identify and address these issues as early as possible will help you to prevent customers from leaving you in the first place. The voice of the customer is a powerful customer retention tool — so use it.7. Map out a consistent customer experience.Consistency builds trust with customers. They know what to expect and can rely on your team to get the work done and deliver the results they need.Without this, most interactions are a surprise, and in reality, customers don’t like surprises — even if they say they want to partner with a more “innovative, fun, risk-taking company.”Build out processes for onboarding new customers and kickoff meetings to create a smooth customer experience. Examples include setting agendas for meetings and building workflows around projects and sharing these with customers.By having a process for each of these activities, your team will be more efficient and customers will gain insight into what needs to be done, and when.8. Create a customer relationship marketing strategy.Have you considered what the communication from your company looks like once a customer signs on? Yes, she emails and works with her customer success manager, but how often does she hear from the new business director who convinced her to buy from you?Think about creating a newsletter sent from the company CEO for monthly or quarterly check-ins. Consider any education or training needs of the customer you should address. Come up with interesting, light touch ways to continue to build up the credibility of your company’s brand with the customer.9. Keep a record of communication and any past problems.Your company’s culture, leadership, and business practices all contribute to retention, but another way to prevent disruption in changes in personnel is by adopting a CRM where you can store notes from meetings and phone calls, ongoing issues, personal preferences of the customers, etc.With detailed notes and a complete history of the relationship recorded, a new customer success manager will be ready to be a true authority for the customer much more quickly.10. Make sure that the customer has a relationship with the entire team.Typically, customers mainly communicate with their primary customer success manager. These individuals form a bond during hundreds of meetings, phone calls, and emails. They know each other’s favorite restaurants, what sports their kids’ play, and other seemingly inconsequential details.But change puts these relationships at risk — and, in turn, your company’s customer retention rate. If the customer success manager leaves or is promoted, the relationship is at risk. If the relationship is extremely friendly, the customer might not be happy with anyone else. The bottom line is, if the customer’s sole connection to the company is based on one relationship, there’s a risk of churn during periods of employee turnover — a natural part of professional development within an organization that customers just aren’t always privy to.This is a risky place to be in terms of retention, so your company needs to make it a goal that customers build relationships with multiple members of the team for cases like these. Send the customer pictures of the entire team working on the latest project, or whenever there is a customer lunch, make sure there is another member of the team present.11. Use reciprocity to increase loyalty.Reciprocity is a social construct that has been found to increase loyalty. Acts of kindness create a feeling of obligation in the person who instinctively wants to repay the kindness.There are two types of reciprocity: surprise and trumpeted. Both of these can be used in customer service to increase loyalty.Surprise reciprocity is obviously a surprise gift or gesture. An example of this would be when your company sends over tickets for a game the day of or when a goal is achieved earlier than anticipated.Trumpeted reciprocity is when the person giving or doing something beneficial does so in a way that reveals that they are going above and beyond. It doesn’t mean you document and put all the great things you do in a monthly report, but it is obvious to the customer that what you are doing is outside the normal scope of the relationship. This could be as simple as taking behind-the-scenes photos at a video shoot and packaging them in a memorable way as a gift for the customer’s team.12. Build a customer loyalty program.One of the wisest ways to foster customer loyalty and retention is by providing even more value to them — and this can take the form of a customer loyalty or rewards program.User-generated content, loyalty bonuses, gamification, and rewards for customer referrals are simple customer retention tools that can go a long way towards fostering loyalty — read about more examples of successful customer loyalty programs in this blog post.13. Empower customers with the tools they need to succeed. Nobody likes to wait around for support or assistance. Nobody likes to sit around searching how to accomplish specific tasks on their own either. So, instead of creating long customer support and service waits for your customers (and creating more work for your support team), empower them with the tools and resources they need to succeed.There’s a wide range of ways you can empower your customers to help themselves and find the support they need individually. To do this, you might send emails or newsletters with tutorials that cover details about your company or your product/ service’s newest features. You may also share a list of your blog articles to help them accomplish their specific business goals. Improve Your Customer RetentionReady to get started making your customers happy to improve your company’s outcomes? Follow the customer retention management strategies we covered and consistently keep track of your business’s retention rates to keep an eye on how you’re doing. You can also read more about how real brands are using these customer retention strategies here.Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November, 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. Originally published Oct 23, 2019 2:03:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 Customer retention is the ability of a company to retain its customers over a period of time. Customer retention a percentage that measures how many customers a company keeps at the end of a set time period, and the number impacted by the number of new customers acquired and the number of customers who churn. Customer retention rate is calculated using the following formula: Customer Retention Rate = ((# Customers at End of Period – # Customers Acquired During Period) / # Customers at Start of Period) X 100 Customer Retention Management Strategieslast_img read more

How to Breathe Life Into a Boring Email Newsletter

first_imgIf you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an email newsletter, you’ve likely been more bored than that shamelessly cute baby to the right. I get it — when you’re not sure what to write, but you feel like an email has to go out, why not send an update about products, services, and what’s going on at your company?Unfortunately, the result is often a whole lot of generic, irrelevant content sent to a poorly segmented list — and that results in low open/click-through rates and lots of unsubscribes. That means best case scenario, your reputation is dinged in your subscribers’ eyes; worst case scenario, your reputation is dinged by Return Path and future email deliverability is negatively impacted.But there are awesome email newsletters out there. So what separates the triumphs from the tragedies? And how do you ensure your email newsletter is successful? This blog post will break down why email newsletters fail, and how you can ensure your recipients love every newsletter you send! Why Email Newsletters Often Fail, and How to Make Yours Succeed First, let’s define what an email newsletter is, and what it isn’t. An email newsletter is an email from a business that communicates announcements about products, services, industry, or general company information. It includes a mix of content, like event reminders, surveys, educational information about your product, service, or industry, and promotions and other offers.An email newsletter is not a dedicated promotional email that contains information about just one offer; a digest that simply summarizes a roundup of content you’ve published; a lead nurturing email (though a side effect certainly may be a better nurtured lead); or a transactional email that provides order information or prompts a shopper to complete a purchase. These other types of emails are important parts of your email marketing strategy, and you can learn more about them in this blog post .Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s examine why email newsletters often fail, and what you can do to prevent said failure. Poorly Segmented List As with any email marketing, the content in your email newsletter should be relevant to your audience. And that doesn’t happen without list segmentation. The problem is, often email newsletters are sent as the catch-all content — it’s so generic, it can apply to everybody on your email list!Or no one at all … because as we’ll discuss in more detail in the next section of this post, generic content doesn’t get you far. Your email newsletter should only go out to those recipients who are interested in the subject matter of the newsletter. I can tell you right now that there are people on HubSpot’s own email list that don’t give a whit (not a typo) about marketing automation, but are extremely interested in how to get leads from social media; and vice versa. If my newsletter focuses on the latest social media developments — is it wise to send that newsletter to subscribers who wanted to hear about marketing automation software? I think not.There are two ways to remedy this. The first is to marry the interests of both list segments and write a newsletter about, say, social media marketing automation . The more list segments you have, however, the more difficult it will become to create newsletter content that applies to everyone. If you’re facing this problem, the better solution is to tailor content to each list segment. This means either segmenting lists yourself and creating newsletter content that is relevant to that list segment, or letting recipients opt in to newsletters about a specific subject matter.Finally, whenever you create a call-to-action on your website for a visitor to sign up for your email newsletter, be as clear as possible about the content of that newsletter. Setting these expectations up front will help you capture those who truly want the content your newsletter will cover, and filter out those who will ultimately be disappointed with the content of your email.When properly segmented, email newsletters have one of the highest click-through rates (CTRs) of all email types — far exceeding promotional or transactional messages. This is the first step you should take on your way to creating a successful email newsletter. Information Overload Email newsletters often suffer from a few types of information overload: either the breadth of information covered is too wide, the quantity of information is too overwhelming for any reader to actually consume, and/or the information is just plain not interesting. Let’s break down how to avoid each of these problems.We’ll begin with the issue of covering too wide a breadth of information, which we touched on in the first section of this post. If you send an email about too many subjects, it’s too unfocused to be relevant to anyone. Let’s play a game of “one of these things is not like the other” to demonstrate the concept further. You run email marketing for a clown college, and for your next email newsletter, you want to touch on the following topics:Clown financial aid application deadlineClown work study programsClown intramural sports leaguesStudent loan options for clownsWhat would you leave out? The information about sports leagues, right? It’s not that some of your prospective and current clown students aren’t interested in sports clubs at the school, it’s just that not all of them will be — and doesn’t it make sense to talk about what that entire list segment does care about (paying for school) and save the sports talk for another list segment that does care about extracurriculars?Just as you should provide your readers a focused subject matter in your emails, you should help them maintain that focus by limiting the amount of text in the email. Often email newsletters try to write an entire article about their subject matter — but is an email really the place to detail what options clowns have for student loans? If it requires more than a couple sentences of explanation, a web page is the more appropriate venue. Write a brief description of the content in your email newsletter, then include a link to read more on your website so your reader isn’t overwhelmed with text in the email. Not only is this easier to consume, but it also drives visitors to your website, provides opportunities for reconversion, and gets you more indexable pages filled with great content to improve your SEO !Finally, newsletters often suffer from talking about information that no one cares about, which usually takes the form of self-promotional content. It’s not that you shouldn’t talk about your product, service, or company — that’s part of the definition of an email newsletter. But there’s a way to present that information that demonstrates value for the reader, instead of appearing like a relatively meaningless press release or announcement. Ask yourself the “so what?” of any announcement you’re making. For example, why does it matter to the reader that you’re launching a new product? Will it make them better at their jobs? If so, how? Announce the feature, and then explain the end benefit of that feature for your reader. If you can’t think of an end benefit, nix the content from your newsletter. Competing Calls-to-Action In most email marketing, with every new call-to-action you include, the effectiveness of each is diluted more and more. So in an email newsletter with so many different pieces of content contained therein — surveys, deadlines, offers, product launches, etc. — it’s easy to break one of the cardinal rules of email marketing: including only one call-to-action!So how do you get past this? The first step is acceptance — there will be more than one call-to-action in your email newsletter. But that doesn’t mean they have to compete with one another. Take a step back, and ask yourself what you want your recipients to do when they read your newsletter. What’s the point?Let’s revisit our clown financial aid example. Perhaps the email marketing manager decided the point of the newsletter is to show prospective students the options they have at their disposal to pay for school — financial aid, work study, and student loans. These may all point to different pages on the website when the reader clicks through on the story, but the call-to-action on each of those pages could point to one all-inclusive guide about paying for clown college. The end goal is the same: getting clowns to pay for school. Each of those pieces of content, the pages a reader lands on when they click through, and the calls-to-action available to them on those pages all contribute to that goal.You can also use design to emphasize one particular story over others. For example, if the financial aid deadline is the most important part of the newsletter, it should act as a feature story and take up more room in the newsletter than the rest of the stories. In fact, let’s look at how else design can make or break your email newsletter. Inconsistent Design and Layout Because email newsletters are a compilation of stories, many businesses change the appearance of the emails from send to send to accommodate the ever-changing content. It makes sense — images could be different sizes from week to week, there might be an uneven balance of content, or you can’t decide which content should be prioritized. But instead of making the difficult choices, marketers often just adapt their newsletter design to accommodate that send’s specific needs.Don’t do it! Not only does it take lots of time to edit your email template, but it confuses your regular readers. Use a standard format for every single newsletter so it is recognizable to your subscribers. That means the same layout, the same image alignment, and the same placement of links and calls-to-action so your reader can scan and find the information they want. For example, I get a weekly email from Urban Daddy called “The Weekender” that summarizes events going on around Boston that I might be interested in. Take a look.Notice how the format for each story follows the same structure, as does the overall email. First, I know I can scan the email for big, bold days; so if I want an activity for Saturday, I can scroll down to that day. And if I find one heading or picture that interests me, I know I can read a short blurb of copy, and find more information via the link in the story’s footer — along with date, time, location, and contact information. Following this consistency for every email means when I see it in my inbox, I know it won’t require a lot of my time to scan and consume the information I want. Vague Subject Lines This is an easy fix, but such a common email newsletter faux pas. Often, the subject of an email newsletter is something along the lines of Weekly [Company X] Newsletter or Monthly [Product Y] Update . What does this mean? What will the reader learn? The interesting part of the email isn’t the frequency at which the recipient receives it — it’s the juicy information you’re divulging!Let’s continue to work off the Urban Daddy example above. The subject line of that email is: UD | Waffles, $1 Oysters, and… Iceland They don’t mention that this is the weekly digest I receive — I already know that’s what Urban Daddy sends me! Instead, they mention some of the best offers around Boston this weekend that prompt me to open the email. Just as you must demonstrate the “so what” within the email copy, so must you explain the value of the email with a descriptive and enticing subject line .Email newsletters have the opportunity to be chock full of interesting content, and as such are a very useful inbound marketing tool. So it’s a shame when marketers put significant time and effort into compiling and sharing their best announcements, offers, and content in an email newsletter, only to have it fall on deaf ears. Use these tips to ensure your next email newsletter is a smashing success and leads to an ever-increasing, dedicated list of subscribers that look forward to reading your email content. What components of email newsletters do you find valuable? Share your recommendations in the comments! Image Credit: Big yawn Topics: Originally published Mar 29, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Email Newsletters Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Who Should ‘Own’ Social Media at Your Company?

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: It’s a common debate in many businesses. Just who should be responsible for managing my company’s social media presence? Sales? Marketing? Customer Service?Do you want our perspective? How about all of the above? For most companies, social media management is a function of the marketing department, but there is a slew of social applications for your customer service and sales teams, too. Wouldn’t your sales team like to know if their assigned leads were asking questions about your products on Twitter? And aren’t customers constantly flocking to social media to complain about or seek help with products and services? In fact, according to a study from Booz & Company, 75% of marketers using social media identify customer service as a primary use of their social media platform. That being said, only 26% of respondents in the same study describe customer service as a department responsible for contributing leadership to social media strategies.Let’s be honest. The old adage, “too many cooks …” needn’t apply to social media management. Marketing, Customer Service, and Sales can all have a hand in your business’ social presence, and it doesn’t have to be a headache. You just have to know how to organize it. So let’s discuss how you can create a social media management function that everyone can take part in — and profit from.Identify Your Contributors Let’s be clear: just because you shouldn’t limit social media management to only one department, doesn’t mean you should have a million hands in your accounts. As I emphasized a few sentences ago, you have to know how to organize it, and part of this organization involves designating a few key players. So before you move on, identify who these key players are from each department. Ideally, you’d have one or a few people (depending on the size of your organization) from each department who are responsible for helping to manage your company’s social presence.You should also assign one or two point people from one department to manage your company’s overall presence. Because the marketing function of social media requires a lot of content creation/sharing and frequent updating of social accounts, you’ll probably want your marketing department to ultimately drive your company’s social presence. These social media managers will oversee the day-to-day operation of your social media accounts, as well as implement and carry out any social media marketing promotions. Essentially, these people will field and ‘outsource’ any sales or customer service/support-related queries that pop up in social media to the designated sales and customer service contributors.Choose the Right ToolsFor social media collaboration to work smoothly, you’ll also need to implement the right tools. Otherwise, the “too many cooks …” adage will start to apply. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available that enable you to manage social media collaboration among multiple contributors. When you’re evaluating social media management tools, you’ll want to look for tools that give you the ability to do the following:Schedule updates for the futureSet up filters to monitor your business and keywordsMonitor multiple social networksSupport multiple collaborators Assign specific social media updates to your collaborators for follow-upBONUS: hooks up to your marketing software for closed-loop social integrationHootSuite, for example, is a third-party social media management tool that enables you to do all of the above. It even now integrates with HubSpot’s marketing software to give customers the ability to monitor their leads’ activities in social media, and better use social media for lead nurturing — a huge win for Marketing and Sales.Now let’s dive into each of your social media contributors and the roles they should play in social media management.Marketing’s InvolvementAs we mentioned, your marketing department is likely to have the most proactive social media involvement, as marketing’s main use-cases for social media are promoting marketing content and offers, and engaging fans and followers. Be sure your marketing point person is sufficiently balancing updates about offers, educational content, and content that engages (e.g. questions, visual content, etc.).It’s also Marketing’s job to work with other teams’ contributors to be sure everyone has the opportunity to share the messages and updates that are important to those teams. For example, the customer team might want to share news of an upcoming webinar specifically meant for customers or announce the launch of a new customer-only email newsletter that customers can opt into receiving. To make this more efficient, have your point people create a sort of social media editorial calendar for the social networks you’re participating in. Fill it with the marketing content and offers you plan to promote, leave some open spots for other team’s messages, and give them access to the calendar so they can add their desired updates. To make this seamless, set a deadline each week for when submissions need to be made, and then schedule the content on a week by week basis.  And as the point person/people for your company’s social media engagement, your social media manager(s) will also be responsible for monitoring mentions of your company, products/services, and industry terms. Make sure your point person routes questions to the appropriate social media collaborators in Customer Service and Sales as they arise. If you’re using HubSpot’s HootSuite integration, for example, and the point person notices that a lead in the HubSpot Contacts stream is asking a question about your product pricing, you might assign that update to your sales team collaborator who can either follow up directly or loop in that lead’s assigned rep.Customer Service’s InvolvementAccording to eMarketer, 46% of customers want to solve a problem when they’re engaging with a brand on social media, and 39% are looking to give feedback about a product or service. No wonder it makes total sense for customer service to have significant involvement in your business’ social media presence. That being said, using social media for customer service communication doesn’t go without its challenges. In fact, we’ve highlighted 7 of these such challenges and how businesses are tackling them in this past blog post. And while there are certainly challenges, that shouldn’t deter your customer service team from getting involved. After all, who is better trained and capable of handling a disgruntled customer or answering a nitty gritty product question — your marketing team, or a customer service rep? Do we even need to answer?Any customer service reps who are collaborating with your social presence should be at the ready to answer questions or respond to customers that your marketing point people can’t appropriately handle on their own. Whether your customer service team is using the same social media accounts, replying via a dedicated “Help” account, or contacting the customer through another method such as email (all are acceptable options, depending on your business), the customer service social collaborator should be following up in a timely manner and providing the most helpful assistance manageable. Furthermore, these contributors should be collaborating with the point person to communicate important customer-related updates that pop up unexpectedly, such as software outages or maintenance.Sales’ InvolvementLet’s not forget about Sales, folks. Your sales team is chatting it up with potential customers all the time, and knowing how to use social media to help them be more effective in the sales process can be a very valuable sales tool. And besides just responding to social media assignments from your marketing point people, your sales team should proactively be using social media to prospect as well as prepare for sales calls, follow ups, and nurture their assigned leads.If social media participation is new to your sales team, train them! Teach them how to locate their leads in social media to conduct some research in preparation for sales calls. Some marketing software, like HubSpot, may even show your sales team their lead’s social media account information, if available. Does the lead have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or another social network or community popular for your industry? Once the sales rep has identified them, have them scan the lead’s information and updates on these social media sites. Encourage them to learn about the lead’s interests and pain points and strategize about how they can leverage these insights on their sales calls. After they’ve been in touch, Sales can even use social media as another way to keep in touch with and nurture their prospects by sending leads links to helpful content and looking for opportunities to answer their questions so they stay top of mind.What other social media collaboration tips would you share? Should other departments be involved in social media management? If so, who? Originally published Jun 19, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Social Media Marketerslast_img read more