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Sales & Marketing

5 Posts authored by: Shama Hyder

Online marketing is an ever-changing ecosystem. What was true six months ago is probably not anymore – and what worked two years ago certainly won’t work today.

 

The constant changes in everything from social media platforms to search algorithms, means marketing strategies need to be continually reviewed and tweaked to ensure they’re current. It’s all too easy to hold on to outdated ideas about marketing, especially if they worked well in the past. But in the always-evolving landscape of digital marketing, that approach can cause businesses to miss new opportunities and even hurt their bottom line.

 

Content marketing is no different. Its evolution in recent years has been dramatic, so it’s understandable that many business owners still subscribe to outdated notions about how it works or even if it works at all.

 

Let’s look at the five most common content marketing myths and dispel them once and for all.

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  • Content marketing is optional

This is arguably the most damaging myth– that having a blog isn’t a hard and fast necessity. Not only is it necessary, but your blog should be at the heart of your entire online marketing strategy.

 

Search engines prioritize websites with regularly updated, keyword-rich blogs. Facebook gives higher reach to organic posts that link out to quality blog content. Linking to a blog post from any social media platform, or from your email newsletter, draws traffic to your website – traffic you already know is your target audience, because they were interested enough to click. Content marketing is not just a vital part of online marketing – it is online marketing.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT SHAMA HYDER

 

  • Content marketing is too time-consuming

Yes, writing high-quality content takes time. But sitting down to write is not the only way to create a blog post. You can email interview questions to industry influencers or clients, and post their responses. You can post transcriptions of podcasts or videos or webinars you’ve done. You can create lists – lists of other industry influencers’ helpful blog posts, lists of relevant quotes, lists of helpful TED talks or books. You can invite influencers and others to write guest blog posts. You can even speak your blog posts, using speech recognition software to transcribe them. The possibilities for creating quick but quality content are endless.

 

  • Content marketing must be company-driven

Sometimes, the most effective content marketing is crowd-sourced. User-generated content produces an especially high rate of engagement. People are interested in seeing what other people like them have to say, or they check to see what others are contributing before adding their own voice. And it goes without saying that whoever contributed the content will share it like mad within their own networks. From asking for stories to testimonials to images on a given theme, crowdsourcing content can be time-saving and effective.

 

  • Quantity counts more than quality in content marketing

Sadly, this was once true – when Google was in its infancy. But now, thankfully, quality is key, both on social media and in search engines. One solid blog post per month is better than one hastily thrown together post a day because it’s about providing your audience with valuable information, not just satisfying a checklist of SEO guidelines.

 

  • Content marketing doesn’t produce ROI

Nothing could be further from the truth. The key is to begin by developing a strong content marketing strategy, and then execute consistently. Content is the engine that drives traffic to your site from search, social and email, so regardless of where your actual conversions are coming from, it all begins with content.

 

If any of these five myths have been holding you back in your content marketing efforts, now is the time to rethink your strategy. You might just be surprised at how much the right content can do for your business.

 

RELATED VIDEO: How to Scale a Content Marketing and Social Media Strategy

 

About Shama Hyder

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Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group–a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015.LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.

 

Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

 

You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Every brand makes mistakes now and then. It’s part of the growth process, and those mistakes can become valuable opportunities for improvement if the time is taken to learn from them.

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I think most of us would agree that we’d like to make fewer mistakes. Here are 5 common digital marketing mistakes that you might be making, and how to avoid them.

 

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1. Ignoring negative comments

 

In today’s digital landscape, ignoring a negative comment can do a lot more damage than the comment itself. Consumers today prize transparency and authenticity above almost everything else. They want to see you reach out to dissatisfied customers and try to fix their problem.

 

Dippin’ Dots CEO Scott Fischer took this truth to heart when he wrote a friendly open letter to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who’d disparaged Dippin’ Dots on Twitter. The letter went viral, resulting in a potential combined reach of over 1 billion and more than 10 million views, as well as dozens of high-profile media articles.

 

2. Producing content for the sake of producing content, rather than trying to give their audience something of value

 

Content is king - but really, valuable content is king. With the emphasis placed on creating a steady stream of original content, it’s easy to get caught up in the need to blog, tweet, and post photos daily - even if you don’t have much to say.

 

While creating content on a steady, regular basis is important, it’s more important that the content you do produce has value to your audience.

 

RELATED: THE SURPRISING IMPACT OF EMAIL MARKETING AND HOW TO MAXIMIZE ITS EFFECT

 

3. Posting indiscriminately on lots of platforms, rather than selecting the ones that work the best for your brand

 

46515315_s.jpgJust as it’s easy to place quantity over quality when it comes to content, the same is true of social media platforms. Many marketers think they need to have a brand presence on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Medium, and every other platform, but this usually means you have to overstretch your resources.

 

Instead, select two or three platforms that make the most sense for your brand and focus on making your posts high-quality and timely.

 

4. Failing to pivot when the data indicates it

 

The mark of a truly successful business is the ability to pivot – adapt and change marketing tactics or business practices when the data shows that change is needed.

 

This can be something as simple as changing the time of day at which you post on social media, or as complex as a full rebranding project. It takes courage and commitment to change something we’ve become used to doing. But if you’re not operating off of what the data tells you, what’s the point in collecting it in the first place?

 

5. Not taking advantage of automation tools

 

Automation tools can be a godsend for marketers who have to manage several social media accounts.

 

Scheduling tweets and posts allows you to maintain a regular posting schedule, which can boost your traffic by up to 192%, according to research by CoSchedule. It also means you won’t get home from work only to realize you forgot to send out that link to your latest Facebook Live video.

 

Mistakes happen, but they aren’t inevitable. By paying attention to these 5 frequent scenarios, you can easily increase your digital marketing success.

 

About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.

 

Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

           

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

By 2020, Generation Z - those born between 1998 and 2008, also known as “digital natives” - will make up 40 percent of consumers.

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Think about what that means: In just three years, 40 percent of all consumers will have lived nearly their entire lives using social media. 

 

If you want your brand to succeed among Gen Z, you’ve got to understand social media from this generation’s perspective. Here are 5 vital things you need to know about marketing to Gen Z:

 

1. Gen Zers almost universally use social media - but much more selectively than Millennials.

 

Many brands that are new to marketing to Gen Z will begin by blasting brand messages on every social network, because they assume that Gen Z lives on social media.

 

This is true in a sense; 74 percent of Gen Z spends between 1 to 3 hours per day on social media, but they’re also being highly selective about what they post, where they post, and who can see it. They’re masters at filtering out what they don’t want to be bothered with.

 

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Shama Hyder

 

2. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are the most popular networks among Gen Z.

 

Even though Facebook has a reputation for attracting users from Millennials, Gen X, and older generations, Gen Z still classifies it as their “most important” social network, according to creative agency Swift. It’s the one Gen Z is more likely to say they use constantly.

 

Instagram and Snapchat, however, are the platforms most used by the largest number of Gen Zers.

 

3. 63 percent of Gen Z wants to see “real people,” rather than celebrities, in marketing messaging.

 

For Gen Z, an endorsement of your product from an influencer or YouTube star will almost always be worth more than one by a traditional celebrity.

 

Related article: 7 Ways to Boost Engagement from Your Social Media Posts

 

In fact, a Deep Focus survey of Gen Zers found that 67 percent of respondents preferred non-celebrities in ads, versus 37 percent that did prefer celebrities.

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4. Gen Zers want useful or valuable content, not ads.

 

Gen Zers not only possess highly selective, fast-moving filters, but they’re also voracious consumers of content, and are just as likely to watch a full 25-minute video as they are to scroll past an ad.

 

This means you have a huge opportunity to connect with Gen Z via your content marketing. If you can create something of real value that truly reflects your brand values, you’ll likely find yourself with plenty of loyal Gen Z followers.

 

5. If you want to reach Gen Z, you have to gain their attention within 8 seconds.

 

Gen Z has an attention span about 4 seconds shorter than the average attention span in the year 2000, so your messaging must be concise, quick, and relevant. If they like what you’ve got to offer, they’ll stick with you. If not, you’ll become another brand that gets blocked, scrolled through, or filtered out.

 

Brands that want to succeed today and into the future can’t afford to ignore Gen Z. By embracing honesty, transparency, and authenticity, brands can begin to win over this important demographic.

 

About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.

 

Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

           

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

By 2020, Millennials are going to make up a majority of the workforce. They’re already the largest living generation, and the back end of the generation is still in college. That means the buying power of Millennials is only going to increase, but unfortunately, many businesses aren’t properly marketing their goods and services to Millennials. That has to change if businesses want to attract and retain Millennials as customers. But what do they need to focus on?

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1.     Create Useful Content

Millennials are the most educated generation to date, and 34 percent of them have at least a bachelor’s degree. One thing they don’t want to see when they search for a product or brand is content that doesn’t serve a purpose. Articles and blogs that merely drive at a point without providing any real, useful information just looks like advertising to them, and thus they are less likely to trust that brand. A how-to guide, a YouTube tutorial, or even thorough explanations of commonly asked questions are all preferable to content that’s full of fluff.

2.     Tell An Authentic Story

But content doesn’t just have to be utilitarian, it can also tell your story. In fact, Millennials are usually very interested in the backstories and missions of their favorite brands. If your content is interesting and exciting, it does a much better job of attracting and retaining Millennial shoppers than a casual advertisement. Millennials are extremely receptive to authenticity and genuineness. 

Related article: Marketing to Millennials

3.     Promote Your Cause

This ties into the idea of telling an authentic story. Millennials are a socially conscious generation, and they like to promote and support causes dear to them. You’re more likely to gain and retain Millennial customers if you can articulate your mission and provide them with a way to feel good about the purchase they’ve just made. Patagonia is an example of a brand that connects with Millennials because of an authentic image backed up by environmentally and socially conscious decisions. Your small business probably can’t afford to give away the profits of your entire Black Friday sale, but it’s the type of approach to keep in mind as you develop marketing efforts.

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4.     Push The Experience

Another interesting fact about Millennials is that they consistently rate experiences as more important than possessions. That doesn’t mean they’re forsaking all their possessions and moving to the desert, but it does mean it’s important your marketing efforts tout the experience your brand provides. This is the culmination of creating compelling, authentic content. 

5.     Think Mobile

Whether it’s an app or just a fast, easily navigable website, you need to have a mobile resource for your Millennial customers. Many Millennials shop on their phones, but there’s more to it than that. The vast majority also use their phones to comparison shop when they’re in a physical store, or before they make a purchase online. Smartphones are ubiquitous among Millennials at this point, and any business targeting them not considering mobile engagement is missing out on a huge opportunity.

Related article: Six Tips to Gain New Customers

Millennials are constantly being praised, reviled, and analyzed in the public eye, in part because of their growing buying power. If you want to tap into that potential, then it’s time to focus your marketing efforts on what really works.

About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.

Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Now that we’re a few weeks into 2017, you may have noticed that some of the fervor of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions has begun to fade. It’s not even February yet, but gyms aren’t quite as crowded anymore, and you’re not seeing nearly as many Facebook posts of your friends sharing their oh-so-healthy dinner plans. The good intentions are still there; it’s just that change can be hard to maintain long-term.

 

Luckily, when it comes to making marketing resolutions for your small business, it’s a lot easier to implement changes that will have a lasting impact on your business’s success. By strategically focusing your marketing plan on the tools, channels, and tactics that will achieve the most dramatic effects for the least amount of extra time and effort, you can scale your marketing up painlessly this year, and ensure that the results don’t disappear along with all those diets and 5 a.m. jogs.

 

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Here are three easy tweaks in particular that I’d recommend making to your digital marketing strategy in 2017 in order to make a long-term difference and reach your goals.

 

1.  Make real connections with Facebook Live video streaming

Video has long been recognized for its unique effectiveness as a marketing tool, but the cost and effort of producing a high-quality video could often be prohibitive for small businesses. That’s why Facebook Live is such a game changer. Packing even more power for your punch than prerecorded video, live streaming gives viewers a sense of immediacy and personal connection that is key to creating the kind of customer relationship that promotes real brand loyalty. And it’s accessible to anyone with a smartphone – no expensive equipment or extensive preparation required.

 

Showing your customers around behind the scenes at your business, sharing your story from the intimate setting of your home or office, or even just goofing around on live video are all easy ways to connect with your audience that can pay off in spades when it comes to creating lasting results.

 

Related article: 6 Productivity Hacks for the New Year

 

2. Reach a millennial audience using Snapchat   

The messages sent on Snapchat may only last for a few seconds, but this social media platform looks like it’s here to stay. And with a user base composed mainly of younger demographics, it’s the perfect tool for targeting millennials in a new and wildly effective way.

 

The fleeting nature of Snapchat posts makes them perfect for extending exclusive limited time offers, and the popularity of the platform makes engaging with customers easy - ask your audience to share short videos, pictures, or doodles in response to a question or to enter a contest. You can even hold a Snapchat takeover, in which you allow someone popular with your audience to post on your account for a specified amount of time to draw in new fans. Any and all of these options are effective when trying to reach millennials and even Generation Z, and an investment in these demographics now can make for lifelong relationships.

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3. Grow your audience exponentially through influencer marketing

Whether you’re just starting to build up your online audience or you have an established group of followers but are looking to expand your reach, influencer marketing is hands down the most efficient and effective way to gain access to large new swathes of your target audience - and create a favorable impression on them.  People trust word-of-mouth advertising much more than anything a company itself produces, so tapping into the trust that influencers already enjoy within their audiences is a powerful way to gain attention.

 

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From writing an informative guest post on an industry expert’s blog, to partnering with a celebrity on social media to boost awareness of your brand, different tactics work for different target audiences. Find out who your audience trusts and follows, and approach them with a mutually beneficial offer in order to build a relationship. Even just one such connection and collaboration can earn your brand a significant new following that will stay loyal for the long haul.

 

By making these three additions to your marketing strategy this year, you can achieve dramatic results that have a true, lasting impact on your bottom line. And if that’s not enough motivation to stick with your resolutions, then I don’t know what is!  

 

About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.

 

Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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