Switching Off For Summer: Advice From The Pool Bar

Summertime, and the living is easy. Or at least it used to be. George Gershwin can probably consider himself lucky to have lived his life well before the smartphone era, when for many of us vacation can end up meaning juggling family and work – and considerably more stress than either of those things can cause on their own.

I don’t mind admitting I am a fan of switching off. I can’t pretend I won’t keep one eye on the world of work, but as a rule, my intention is to keep it at arm’s length. Aside from anything else, I am a firm believer that we’re all more productive for taking time out and broadening our horizons. Certainly, in the world of marketing, there’s a strong argument that you learn more from a good novel than yet another business tome, or worse again an endless email thread about some technical triviality.

That’s why my personal policy is to take control of my technology, and in extreme circumstances, put physical distance between myself and it. I try to keep my laptop in the overhead bin on the plane, and my smartphone in a kitchen or desk draw for at least part of the day.

That isn’t always easy. In its role as the ‘personal digital assistant,’ the smartphone is a fantastic vacation partner. It takes photos, gives us directions, and helps us find a great place to eat when we’re off the tourist trail. So we tend to carry it around with us. If that sounds like you, try turning off your notifications for email, messaging, push and so on. It is remarkable how Pavlovian our response to those beeps and vibrations can be – so don’t take the risk!

Now the case for the defense. I can’t be the only one who prefers to have advance warning of any triumphs or disasters before walking back through the office door. There’s no mistaking the benefits of having the smartphone on hand during a week or fortnight away. It means I can have a decent grasp of the big picture, even if I don’t want the full detail. You could argue that I want to have things both ways, but my attitude probably reveals something interesting about the smartphone generation: we want engagement on our own terms and we prefer to pick and choose when it happens.

We can’t always pick and choose, of course. Some things demand our attention no matter what. But it certainly helps to be aggressive with the filtering process when away from home and trying to spend time with the family (assuming, that is, that you enjoy their company).

Our fellow employees can help in that regard too, and indeed so can the brands and businesses who are lucky enough to be on my phone and from which I am happy to receive native mobile advertising and push notifications. If it’s useful to me right now – like an offer on roaming or FX, then fire away. But try not to interrupt me to tell me about an in-store sale currently 1,000 miles away. You know where I am – please use that information!

Of course, all this relative isolation does mean a mountain of work when returning to base. I’ll be back with advice on that topic right after this cocktail from the pool bar. I promise.


Tom Farrell is the VP of Marketing at Swrve. Tom has over 20 years experience in consumer marketing, both with some of the world’s leading brands and in the tech ecosystem that supports them. Tom has been involved in mobile marketing for over six years and has worked with major app businesses to deliver successful campaigns and experiences on mobile. 

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Why Aren’t More CEOs Using Social Media? 5 Ways to Change That

Every company and small business in the country has some kind of social media presence. I can’t imagine a business not having a presence in this day and age.

At every level of corporate America, CEOs want their companies to have a vibrant social media presence, but they themselves aren’t jumping into the fray. According to a 2015 Social CEO Report, 61 percent of CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever and none of the Fortune 500 CEOs are active on all six major social platforms.

Why the disconnect?

One way to possibly answer that question is because change doesn’t come easily, especially at the top. Many top-level executives are entrenched in their ways and they see social media as a waste of time, not a place to conduct business, and they simply don’t see the need in carving off time in their schedule to read their Twitter feed. Not to mention, the very real fear of screwing up and inadvertently creating a social media crisis.

While these are legitimate reasons not to tweet, or use Facebook Live, it’s not an excuse NOT to. The other side of that argument is the benefits CEOs can reap from being active on social media, even without posting on a regular basis. Social media can be an effective productivity tool, a global broadcast channel, a place to gather information on both consumers and competitors and a useful public relations tool.

Here are 5 ways CEOs can take advantage of social media:

Create buzz and brand awareness

CEOs can use social media to create buzz around a new product being launched into the market or a big company announcement. It can be a staggered effort, too. When I launched my book, Think Big, Act Bigger, in 2015, I used a number of social media initiatives to let people know about the new book. I started months in advance and ramped up efforts as the launch date drew closer. I did numerous Facebook posts, I tweeted regularly, and reached out to all of my LinkedIn followers, who themselves are influencers. This resulted in me sending galley copies to a select group of people who, in turn, told their friends and so on. Create a chain of people who will evangelize your brand.

Show your personality

CEOs are human beings too, so why not show that to the world? This doesn’t mean posting dinner pictures (unless the food is unique), but if you’re doing something for charity, have a cool hobby or are talking to a celebrity, let your followers get a sneak peek about what makes you, you.

Showing off your personality is an effective, yet simple, way of letting people know that an actual human being is running the company. Richard Branson has mastered this because he shares personal stories, career advice and shows everyone how much he enjoys life.

I take a slightly different approach.

Everyone knows I’m a workaholic and that I enjoy what I do, so I use social media to show people pictures of my fishing excursions, speaking engagements, and all that goes on behind the scenes with my show C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett, and my podcast, All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett. I love giving my audience a sneak peek about upcoming interviews, give them a chance to ask questions I can ask my guests and even get some good feedback in return.

Thought leadership

CEOs are seen as leaders, so why not add some content to your social channels? When people think of CEOs, they think of someone sitting up in an ivory tower, sharpening No. 2 pencils and flipping through a Rolodex of contacts acquired from all their years in the industry, barely knowing how to use a computer.

Times are changing.  

Adding value-added content to the mix helps establish CEOs as thought leaders who have their finger on the pulse of their respective industries. People are always looking for content that is engaging and gives them valuable information and writing content on a regular basis, even a blog post, will establish you as someone looking to perfect their craft – just like your audience is.

Build trust in the brand

While many still have an image of the CEO as aloof and someone you only hear from during a crisis, things are moving in a different direction. If a brand wants to create loyal followers, they need to present a real, human face to consumers. Social media can create a powerful and efficient ways for CEOs to connect with consumers efficiently and at scale.

This doesn’t mean that company executives need to respond personally to every consumer request or complaint. But, a CEO can easily jump into a conversation and leave a big impression. For example, T-Mobile CEO John Legere randomly tweeted someone who praised their data plan (and regret about being locked into another company’s plan).

I don’t know if the company got the guy to switch over or not, but Legere definitely demonstrated the ability to show the world that ‘corporate’ cares about their customers. In an era where ‘less corporate’ is the new normal, nearly 70% of senior professionals say that seeing a CEO tweeting makes the company more attractive, according to Weber Shandwick and KRC Research.

Message amplification

With social media being such a powerful tool, your message can reach a worldwide audience within seconds. At times, it seems a simple Facebook post by a CEO can have the same impact a press release had a few years ago, not to mention more gravitas while adding another layer of credibility.

Social media reflects more than just a technological shift. It also represents a leadership and cultural shift. Research by McKinsey estimates that companies who can apply a variety of social technologies in the next few years can add $1.3 trillion in value to their brand. That’s the kind of numbers that any CEO can get behind! 

The bottom line is this – CEOs can no longer afford to hide in their perch. They need to roll up their sleeves, become immersed in social media and learn how to take advantage of every possible avenue that enhances the brand, puts a face to the name and reaches a wider audience. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the quickest, and fastest, way to grow (and join the 21st century).

Jeffrey Hayzlett is the primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives LIVE on C-Suite TV and is the host of the award-winning All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on C-Suite Radio. Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, Hall of Fame speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most trusted network of C-Suite leaders.

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Meet the Trailhead Characters: Astro, Codey, and Friends

In 1999, Salesforce changed the mindset of what enterprise software could be. Marc Benioff envisioned making software easier to purchase, simpler to use, and more democratic without the com­plexities of installation, maintenance, and constant upgrades. The logo NO SOFTWARE was created and our mascot SaaSy soon followed. SaaSy brought customers together and cheered them on. Now, like the company, our family has grown.

Our Trailhead characters embrace the fun side of our company and inspire our Ohana to blaze new trails. Each of our characters has a specific job and purpose. Get to know them a little better:

Click to Tweet if Astro is your favorite!

Astro: Your guide to Salesforce

Favorite Badge: Where’s Astro (Archived)

Astro is your friendly guide to everything at Salesforce and helps you become the best at anything you want to do. Warm and welcoming, Astro encourages the Salesforce community to achieve their goals through trying new things, asking questions, and having fun. Curious and always wanting to learn, Astro loves traveling, making new friends, and is always up for an adventure on the trail.

 

Click to Tweet if Einstein is your favorite!

Einstein: Resident genius and future seer

Favorite Badge: Artificial Intelligence Basics

Einstein is everyone’s data scientist. Super quick on his feet, Einstein is a problem solver and helps you learn more about your customers. With his analytical mind, it’s no surprise that Einstein has a passion for learning new things, always expanding on the knowledge he’s already accumulated—it even helps him predict the future. Brilliant and unselfish, Einstein is always ready to help you become more knowledgeable and innovative.

 

Click to Tweet if Codey is your favorite!

Codey: Inspiring builders and makers everywhere

Favorite Badge: Catter (Archived)

It’s hard not to notice Codey—he’s the bear tackling projects and getting his paws dirty, all while having a great time. Codey is a maker and a builder. Whether it’s coding an app on Salesforce, or pouring lattes as a ‘Bearista’, Codey isn’t afraid to get noticed or dive in to get things done. While he may be fearless in the face of challenges (and helps you be fearless too!), Codey isn’t a ferocious bear, and likes giving out bear hugs.

 

Click to Tweet if Appy is your favorite!

Appy: Your guide to the Partner Ecosystem

Favorite Badge: Salesforce Ecosystem

Did you ever have a friend who seems to know everyone? That’s Appy. She’s a great friend to have since she knows a lot about everything Salesforce, and is always happy to help out. But best of all, Appy’s got all the right connections, and loves to connect people together to solve problems. Her energetic and positive attitude draws people in, but her willingness to go the extra mile to help her friends learn and grow makes her friends for life.

 

Click to Tweet if Cloudy is your favorite!

Cloudy: Keeping everyone together and on track

Favorite Badge: Process Automation

Known as ‘the reliable one’, Cloudy pushes you to tap into your own unlimited potential. Cloudy may not be the flashiest of the bunch, but she’s always at the center of the action. Like the cloud she’s named after, Cloudy is always there for you. In her own quietly cool way, Cloudy exudes confidence, and encourages you to overcome challenges and complete goals; she knows you can do it.

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7 Ways to Use Reviews and Testimonials For More Believable Marketing

Marketers know Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Google, and other reviews are a huge part of buying journeys.

But how can you use existing customer reviews in your marketing content to make the things your company says more believable? And what if you’re in B2B and don’t have a wealth of traditional review sites to pull from?

In this week’s episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, the award-winning marketing podcast from Salesforce, learn how to use customer reviews and testimonials to bring a new level of credibility from your marketing.

Take a listen here. For the full conversation that’s filled with many more insights, subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/333613891?secret_token=s-UMiRk"]

We’re interviewing two leading experts in customer testimonials and reviews:

  • Daniel Lemin, author of Manipurated and head of consulting at Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert
  • Andy Crestodina, cofounder and strategic director of Orbit Media Studios and planner for hundreds of websites

For all the tips, listen to the full episode of the Cloudcast. Here are a few tips to start upcycling your existing testimonial content to make your marketing more believable and resonate effectively with potential customers.

 

1. Save social media mentions.

 

According to Andy, customer reviews and testimonials help marketers “fix all those unsupported marketing claims which probably appear all over your website. The purpose of a testimonial is to add evidence to support all those marketing claims that we make all the time.”

One crucial place to start that works for B2B and B2C brands alike is social media. You probably have positive tweets or Facebook comments floating through your streams all the time. But if you don’t encourage social media managers to start collecting them, those wonderful customer stories are barely a blip in the radar. 

 

2. Use positive feedback from emails.

 

After you successfully complete a customer service interaction from email, customers are likely to thank you for your great service and for solving their problem. Again, this tip works regardless of if you have a prolific local Yelp page, for companies of all industries. Are you saving this social proof for more believable marketing?

Andy explains, “Everything we say is marketing. Everything your customers say is social proof.” So whenever you train employees on email, train them to not only solve the problem, but save positive feedback and ask customers if it’s OK to use their words on your website.

 

3. Avoid the dreaded testimonials page.

 

“The worst place to put a testimonial is on a testimonials page because visitors tend to not go to those pages. It looks and smells like marketing. They can see it a mile away, and they know that’s just going to be filled with positive social proof, and it’s not likely to answer any of their top questions. So, I don’t recommend making testimonial pages.”

So if testimonials don’t go on a testimonials page, where should they be? That leads us to our next way to use them.

 

4. Make every webpage a testimonials page.

 

“Probably the best answer for where to put your most impactful, most authentic, most genuine testimonials would be on simply the highest traffic pages. So, go look at your analytics and see what the top-visited pages are and those are your highways. Your testimonials are like billboards. Put the billboards on the highways — that’s how you are going to get the maximum impact and maximum number of views to them,” shares Andy.

 

5. Highlight your best reviews in emails.

 

Daniel says it’s important to place reviews wherever in “the variety of places consumers shop for your products. Look at the purchase funnel, or the touchpoints they have before they buy from you, and think about the ways you can feature reviews in as many of those settings as logistically possible or reasonable.”

He shared a great example of using reviews in email: “I have pet insurance for my dog and every month, I get a newsletter from the insurance company. In [the email newsletter], they feature a review the month in their newsletter.” Just seeing other customers’ reviews encourages people to write their own. Wherever your customer journey would benefit from a bit of social proof, that’s a great place to feature a review.

 

6. Collect public-facing reviews more strategically.

 

If you don’t have enough good reviews on sites like Google or TripAdvisor, Daniel says “you have to look at why you don’t have good reviews. If people keep mentioning the same things over and over again, maybe parking or air conditioning, if that’s something you need to fix and you can, certainly take that action. If you can’t fix it, at least find some reasonable explanation for it, because if you keep asking for reviews and you don’t fix those things, you’re going to keep getting the same feedback. The outcome’s not going to change just because you ask more people.”

 

7. For better content, focus on the law of large numbers.

 

Daniel says you’ll have better, more positive customer testimonials to pull from if you focus on the law of large numbers. “Simply growing the number of reviews you have is a great way to defend yourself against the downside of any one stray negative review that may come in. That’s something I always say to businesses: you have to think about this as a numbers game. If you have a 4.3 average rating on Yelp and you have 100 reviews, it’s going to be very easy for a group of upset customers to impact that. If you have 1,000 reviews, it’s a little bit harder. If you have 10,000 reviews, it’s much, much harder. The law of large numbers is in your favor there.”

There’s much more to learn from Daniel and Andy in the full episode of the Marketing Cloudcast.

 

Have you heard the new podcast format?

 

Three weeks ago, we shifted the Marketing Cloudcast to an entirely new format and style (think narrative with multiple guests — more Freakonomics, less live interview), and I’d love to know what you think!

Join the thousands of smart marketers who are Cloducast subscribers on Apple PodcastsOvercastGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Tweet @youngheike with feedback on this episode — or ideas for future guests and topics.

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How to Get Your Team OOO This Summer

Whether you’re working at a startup or a major corporation, no summer ever passes without employees requesting time off to get out of the office and enjoy a quick getaway. In an annual survey conducted by Project: Time Off, full-time employees are getting more paid vacation days (22.6 as of 2016) now than ever before and they’re using an average of 16.8 of those days too. 

However, not everyone is taking a summer vacay. Some employees might want to save their PTO for the holiday season while others might be part-time team members with fewer benefits. And of course, there’s always the issue of ensuring that not everyone takes off all at once leaving your business looking like a ghost town either. For the few, the proud, the ones who stick around full-time during the summer, here are a few ways you can get your team out of the office and participating in fun activities to celebrate the season.

Go to camp for a month

Remember when you went to summer camp as a kid? Bring the adventures to the office! In July, “Camp MyCorp” is in session at my company and all of our team members are campers. We toast s’mores, get creative with arts and crafts, play games, and decorate desks. It’s an inexpensive way to have fun and get the whole team engaged, with everyone looking forward to the next activity. Organize a scavenger hunt around the office, hit the trails on a “nature” hike (which for many might just mean exploring your neighborhood park), and host a summer camp-themed snack potluck loaded with popsicles, fruit, and bug juice. 

Head on a field trip

If you can’t think up fun activities to do every single workday, consider heading on a weekly or biweekly field trip with your team. Close down for a few hours or opt to do the trip after work and have everyone join you for a wine and painting session, escape room, baseball game, or a trip to a museum. 

Spend some time volunteering

If you’re experiencing a slower month in the office, use the extra time to give back to the community. Not sure what to do or what opportunities are available in your area? Check out VolunteerMatch.org to discover causes and nonprofits near you that could use your passion and a few helping hands. Some ideas to get you started include joining up with Habitat for Humanity to build homes, heading to soup kitchens, reading and offering tutoring services at local libraries, and working alongside animals.

Time for a park day!

Ah, the great outdoors! Get a little sunnin’ and funnin’ going by hosting company picnics at local parks. Encourage your team members to invite family along, call in some food trucks, and participate in fun activities like Frisbee, softball, and hula hooping. Make it a point to return back to the park throughout the summer too. Encourage everyone to join you there for morning yoga classes. Go on afternoon Starbucks runs and head to the park afterward to enjoy your drinks and stretch out. Savor the dog days of summer outdoors, rather than use them to sit in front of the computer and aimlessly Google the day away — everybody will thank you for it!

– 

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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Embrace the Universe Beyond Your Website. Become an Everywhere Brand

There’s a new race to command more visibility for your brand’s people, places, and products across the internet so you can attract more customers.

Website + App = Source of Truth…Right?

For nearly 25 years, the battleground has been your website. Face-lifted every 18 months or so, your brand’s website has been your source of truth. Then came the smartphone, when your brand shifted its focus to creating an app, which ultimately became a companion to your website — places you controlled fully, to the benefit of your brand and bottom line.

However, consumer attention is a finite resource, and you need to capture it when and where consumers are searching. With 2020 fast approaching, it’s time to look beyond your website and app, and give your brand the visibility and opportunity it deserves by becoming The Everywhere Brand.

What Is The Everywhere Brand?

The Everywhere Brand is a brand whose digital knowledge — the factual assets and attributes about a company’s brand, people, products, events, and locations — exists consistently and accurately in many online locations, not just on a corporate website and app.

A brand’s digital knowledge include its address, hours of operation, phone number, photos, credentials, locations, and office hours. Even more granularly, digital knowledge can include the availability, price, location, and ingredients of specific products as well as the date, time, location, and content of brand events.

Your digital knowledge lives across hundreds of intelligent services including Google, Apple, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Instagram, Snapchat, MapQuest, Waze, Siri, Cortana, and Amazon Alexa. These are the places your customers seek instant information in the moments that matter. And it’s up to you to ensure the information that appears about your company in each service is on-brand, accurate, and up-to-date.

How Do I Build The Everywhere Brand?

Friend, marketing guru, and all-around good guy Jay Baer and I just co-authored an ebook on this very subject. You’ll learn about these seven key traits that you must develop in order to be an Everywhere Brand:

  1. Customer-Centric

  2. Active

  3. Organized

  4. Real-Time

  5. Granular

  6. Responsive

  7. Innovative

These traits are imperative to becoming an Everywhere Brand and will teach you the importance of having accurate data everywhere consumers search. You will also learn how to experience exactly what consumers see about your brand across every device, and discover how to fix bad data problems with a combination of people, process, and technology.

Start to see your brand from every angle. Fix your inaccurate information. Bring the right people to the table. Deliver information about your brand in real time. Don’t be afraid to get detailed. Work on those star ratings. Be an innovative risk-taker. These are the true characteristics of The Everywhere Brand.

So what are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present to become The Everywhere Brand. Grab the free ebook today and let me know what you think on Twitter (@jkrohrs).

Jeff serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Yext, the digital knowledge management leader, and co-authored The Everywhere Brand ebook with Jay Baer. Jeff previously served as Vice President of Marketing Insights for Salesforce and ExactTarget, and his first book, AUDIENCE: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers (Wiley 2014), has been lauded by marketers and executives alike as a must-read for those interested in the rise of proprietary audience development as a core marketing responsibility. A Clevelander now working in the heart of Manhattan, he relishes the fact that he lived to witness the Cavs win a championship. He holds out no such hope for the Browns.

 

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The Millennials are Coming! Is Your Customer Service Ready?

It’s okay if millennials scare you a little bit. These digital natives are one of the largest generations in history (even bigger than baby boomers!) and moving into their prime spending years. Millennials have come of age in an era dominated by technological change and disruption, giving them a different set of behaviors and experiences than previous generations. This digital affinity means they are willing to try new technology and sacrifice some privacy for a better service experience at a much higher rate. So how do you prepare your customer service for millennials?

In our latest interactive infographic, Is Your Customer Service Millennial-Proof?, we show you how.

Sure, customers across all industries, countries, and generations are looking for customer service that is fast, easy, and personalized. But millennials in particular are looking for this type of 1:1 experience — and they’re willing to pay more for it. Before diving into the interactive that will show you how to prepare your customer service for millennials, let’s look at the following stats from the State of Global Customer Service report that will help you wrap your head around how millennials are currently changing customer service.

Customer service expectations are changing rapidly: 67% percent of millennial consumers have higher expectations for customer service today than they had just one year ago.

Personalization starts with knowing the customer: 78% of millennials expect a customer service agent to know their contact information, product information, and service history when they contact a brand for service.

There’s little room for error: 68% of millennials have stopped doing business with a brand due to a single poor customer service experience.

Millennials avoid picking up the phone: 89% of millennials have used a search engine to find the answer to their customer service question before calling customer service and 84% have used a self-service portal.

It’s time to get social: 52% of millennials have used social media to ask a customer service question and nearly half (47%) have used social media to complain about a poor service experience.

Ready to find out if your customer service is ready for the next wave of tech-savvy consumers? Check out the interactive infographic, Is Your Customer Service Millennial-Proof?

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