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Social Marketing

When things are going your way in business and life, it's easy to feel like you've got all the answers.

But you don't... nobody does. 

Just when you think it's all systems go and your brand is maximizing its potential, a chink in the armour rears its ugly head.

And while you come to terms with reality, in most cases, the actions you take to address areas of vulnerability will make or break your business in the end.

So how do you account for the unexpected and craft a brand strategy that's as bulletproof as possible?

What are some of the warning signs that your planning may not cover your ass the way you thought it did?

The strongest brand strategies typically account for evolving customer tastes and expectations. After all, it's predominantly your customers who shape your strategy, right? Capturing their hearts and minds is what marketing is all about.

The best way to connect with your customers and build a business they come to know and love is to shape your brand strategy around their identity and tendencies.

You've got to be honest with them though: who are you and why should they care? And of course, what's in it for them?

Being honest is only one aspect of the battle though.

Wait, today's date is WHAT?!

No joke: February is right around the corner, and just like that, we're a month closer to 2017.

Time really does fly.

But hopefully you've spent the first 27 days of the New Year wisely, eliminating nasty habits from 2015 and getting after your professional and personal goals.

Truth be told, I don't normally struggle when implementing new tasks into my routine (just don't consult my waistline!)

For me, the hardest part has always been building and maintaining momentum.

It's one thing to introduce changes – but finding ways to make them stick is a whole other animal.

Come to think of it, it's no different with your brand.

How many times have you said “This is the year we blog!” or “I'm going to cut our marketing costs by doing XYZ!”

And in many cases, I'm sure you followed through.

But for a day... maybe a week?

Becoming a reputable brand that consumers want to do business with takes a measured, consistent and honest approach.

And it normally doesn't happen overnight either!

Here are 3 keys that will help you implement habits that produce results and ensure you maintain momentum:

*On Monday January 25th 2016, social media and the world celebrate #CMAD, which is short for Community Manager Appreciation Day. I have so many friends on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & Snapchat who work as Community Managers, and I wanted to write something that speaks to their immeasurable value to the brands that they work for. Keep engaging, never stop building relationships and always be social... Happy #CMAD!* What. A. Day. Some seemingly mindless banter on Twitter has exploded into a broader conversation across your industry and your customers are busy expressing their happiness with your products and the service you provide. People are literally tweeting your competitors and advocating on your behalf, explaining why you're the brand to beat. They're sharing their views in Facebook groups, causing your page views to skyrocket and filling your Inbox with orders. Your mentions on Instagram are blowing up, with many users reposting some of your latest special offers. How did this happen?! Simple. Your Community Manager engaged your followers and connections and BOOM! They took care of the rest.

I know that making New Year’s resolutions isn’t for everybody. And I have to admit, I’m on the fence as to whether or not it’s an effective practice, and that’s mainly based on let-downs from my past when the sobering realities of life crushed my unrealistic goals or strategies. But you’re lying to yourself if you think you don’t have anything to improve on in 2016. Nobody’s perfect, right? Some of us recognize this latter, much more logical notion but take it to the extreme, trying to improve in too many areas of our lives all at once, resulting in disappointment or failure. The key really, is to strike a balance between the constant desire for more and feeling satisfied with your efforts and results… but it’s actually quite difficult to accomplish. This is why I’m suggesting you make shaping your reputation – as a brand, person or professional – your primary resolution for 2016. This year, it’s time to focus on an area of your life you really can control: and by definition, your reputation is exactly that.

Apps have become modern day lifelines. Consider this: in 2014, the way we do business changed forever when Internet usage on mobile exceeded desktop usage for the first time ever, with accessing content and information leading the way for reasons why. With mobility empowering the workforce more than ever before, offering your customers (and employees!) a great experience with your brand on their smartphones is non-negotiable. As somebody who spends a good hour or two on LinkedIn each day, my hopes were high when I first heard about ‘Voyager,’ in a presentation from CEO Jeff Weiner during Talent Connect Anaheim 2015. Aptly named after the 1972 NASA mission that sent a man-made spacecraft further than any other in history, the revamped app represents a dramatic overhaul from both functionality and design standpoints. Things just work better and look slicker. This idea of helping LinkedIn “[go] further than [they’ve] ever gone before” definitely intrigued me. Up to this point, I always felt as if I was on a weaker version of the desktop when I browsed LinkedIn on my smartphone. In fact, over time, I would rather wait to hop on my MacBook after-hours instead of using the app during my lunch. That’s the opposite of what you want your customers or members doing in 2015. Nonetheless, after spending a few days using ‘Voyager,’ I am happily immersed and excited to see how this new mobile experience impacts my efforts on LinkedIn. A quick watch of 'The Making of the new LinkedIn app Project Voyager' should give you a sense as to how much energy and how many hours were spent in development. Here’s why I feel this launch is a huge move for LinkedIn as we head towards 2016: