Free Social Media Tools to Try in 2018

As we covered in Just Because You’re a Millennial Doesn’t Mean You’re a Social Media Wizard,  social media is ever changing and so are the tools we use to express ourselves. Here are some outstanding free tools that set your social media presence to the next level.

Crello

Usage: Create new images for your web and social media presence. It has thousands of templates and millions of images to choose from.

Features: Animate designs with Crello for free. Whether you have a design team or not, faster is better.

Fastory

Usage: This is an editing tool to create stories on Instagram and Snapchat, allowing you to add text and upload videos. You can make stories in advance, email them to yourself, and post them when it’s convenient for you.

Features: Keeping a publishing schedule is a challenge. I like this tool to prep stories in advance.

Botletter

Usage: Are you sending blogs and newsletters on Facebook Messenger? Are you running a campaign with a strong Facebook presence? Now you can send up to 1000 messages a month for free.

Features: Like many new marketing tools, you can track and review your performance in the same place.

For additional reading, check out:

Digital Marketing Tips for Digital Natives

Gifs and Memes: The New Art of Marketing

 

 

Are you making any of these marketing mistakes?

1. Failure to Create a Strategy with Measurable Goals

 

 

 

 

 

 

In digital marketing, a well-defined strategy is not only the key to establishing a strong direction, but it is also the impetus for aligning valuable content with a target audience. If a digital marketing strategy is missing, both the customers and employees of the organization will not understand the intent of the digital marketing message. Thus, the purpose and value would be lost. Therefore, it is imperative that an organization creates and refines their digital marketing strategies and goals to help them reach their target audience, measure their results, achieve organizational growth and remain competitive in the market.

2. Targeting the Wrong Audience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When starting a new company one of the most important things that are going to determine whether you make it or not is how you will market your product to the consumer, and who you target.  If you target the wrong consumer segment, it could destroy your company because consumers will not be attracted to your product.  If you target the right consumer, your company could be the next Coca-Cola or Disney.

3. Not Having a User Friendly Website

 

 

 

 

Did you know that having a website that an unfriendly website design will not only reduce traffic to the website, but it also results in a negative perception of the brand? It is true. So, what does it mean to create a “user-friendly” website? For a website to be user-friendly, it must have a minimum of the following 3 key features:
    1. Speed: Customers expect web pages to load in 3 seconds or less. If the response rate is slower than 3 seconds, the customer may click away from the site.
    2. Design: The design of the website must be intuitive and easy navigated by someone who is new to the site.
    3. Mobile Compatibility: The website must be compatible with mobile devices.

4. Marketing Across Too Many Social Platforms

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specific targeted marketing audiences likely don’t spend time on every social platform.  Allocating your resources to the right platform is therefore critical to ensuring your marketing efforts aren’t spread too thin.  Start by studying and understanding which social platforms are primarily used by your audience and target the message to the three of four platforms that most closely align with the audience.  Keep it narrow and focused for optimal results.

5. Ignoring Negative Feedback

Business on social media helps connect business directly with customers. A business can expect positive or negative comments. All positive and negative feedback is visible to the public.  Avoid the temptation  to delete or ignore the comments.  Business should address the negative feedback as quickly as possible. Customers will follow the company’s response and judge how quickly  and effectively they respond. Customers will search for feedback prior to purchase. Social ratings are available in Google review. A company can turn a complaint into a positive experience.

6. Not Leveraging Your Data

 

 

Effective marketing campaign managers measure performance through data, research, analysis and other performance tools.  Social media marketing requires a similar attention to the data to drive improved results.  Social marketers can improve their performance by leveraging Google Analytics or the tools provided by the social media platform.  Leverage the data to drive improved results.

5 Best Marketing Tools of 2018

(from the opinion of a couple of Willamette MBA students)

Looking for a way to make your company stand out?  How do you know if you are reaching the right customer base? Confused with all of the tools and software programs available?

Well go no further! We have reviewed some marketing tools that will help you gain the market intelligence, analysis, awe-inspiring content creation, and social media management you’re craving.

Here are our top 5 picks:

Pardot 

This marketing tool powerhouse, focuses on Marketing Automation, allowing your sales & marketing team to work smarter, not harder.  Enjoy the ease of Advanced Email Marketing and formulated Lead Nurturing that helps you stay in touch with your prospect and move them to the Happy Customer Stage.  Pardot truly is an all-in-one marketing solution. Other features include:

  • Blended Lead Scoring & Grading
  • Prospect Activity Tracking
  • Forms & Landing Pages
  • Closed-loop reporting

SocialBakers

Ready to turn on the artificial intelligence?  Check out the AI-Powered Social Media Marketing Suite from SocialBakers.  Be a Master Marketer with Content Intelligence that provides details on A/B campaigns and what your consumers & prospects prefer.  Check out the full suite of features:

  • Audience Personas
  • Social Media Management
  • Social Media Monitoring
  • Community Management

Emma

Focused on the personal element for your company’s marketing?  Emma’s Content Creation is an easy to use interface that provides a personal but professional email campaign as a result.  With seamless integration with various CRM systems, Emma is the service you need to create beautiful emails that provide great ROI.  Also included in Emma’s services: 

  • Marketing Automation
  • Personalized triggers & follow up emails (tracking the journey of the customer)
  • Ease of use (speed & design) Email Editor
  • Email Analytics

    Google Trends

    Need to know if people are searching for your product or service online?  Well go to the source, Google Trends.  Explore what the world is searching to help narrow down your customer locale with global heat maps and compare keywords to see which provide better results.  Use the Historical Search Database to see what is trending in searches, and use the analysis feature to find related topics and queries.  Click the link below to take a short Google Lesson on how to effectively use Google Trends. 

LESSON: https://newsinitiative.withgoogle.com/training/lessons?tool=Google%20Trends&image=trends

AppAnnie 

Going Mobile?  Who isn’t now a-days?  Take AppAnnie for a spin and see how your business ranks in the app market with data & analytics. How much should you charge for access to your app? How can I ensure my app is driving engagement & targeting the right audience?  AppAnnie knows it all, and can provide a lot of knowledge for a little.  Check out AppAnnie:

We know there is a plethora of great software, knowledge base, and tools in the marketing game today.  We hope you enjoyed the tools we use to help make our marketing efforts successful.

Check back this week for more exciting insight into the brave new world of Marketing!

What do you think about the tools of the Digital Marketing Trade?  Give us your thoughts and feedback by clicking the survey link below!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3ZR7TXZ

Help us win the weekly vote!

Read More From Us:

Picking a fitness app that respects your privacy

Lessons we learned from real life experience in the social media world

Timing – Posting/Sharing the article at the best times will help you get more traffic and engagement. Factoring in the time zones of the target audience definitely helps.

Content Translation – If you want your message to reach a wider audience, a proper translation to native language is a good strategy. Two of our articles have a Thai translation version and it reaches to a handful of a unique audience in Thailand.

The Length of Stay – If we reach the right group of audience, their length of stay on the page tend to be longer as they spend time reading the article.

The length and the content of the post itself matter in attracting more audience. Who wants to read a long post about boring subjects?

Advertising for the articles – When you try to engage the audience with a sneak peak of the content in the post text they would be more engaged and click the link.

Funny and catchy titles get more engagement than the serious ones – even if the subject is not very interesting for your audience, you should create a title that makes them at least smile in order to make them click on the link.

Original content is a key for engagement – for example, creating the video with original ideas and scenes attract people more because they know they will see something new and different from other social media contents.

Targeting closest friends and family is the easiest form of spreading information – the larger the group working on the project or post, the more seeds you have to pump out information. For example, Willamette University students were engaging well with the content because they are in our community.

Graphics such as gifs or movies help adding some content to the articles that can increase visitors time spent on the website.

 

 

How to Survive (and Thrive) in a Professional MBA Program

I’m writing this with being 2 short weeks away from completing my MBA at Willamette.

Throughout the two years in the program, at times, I’ve worked more than 100 hours in a single week between my various jobs and a full credit load.

It’s amazing how formal education can be either the catalyst for growth (in all parts of your life) or make you feel helpless. What will make or break you is how you set yourself up for success. Currently, I’m enrolled in three courses (more than the average load), working multiple jobs and still having a great time. Don’t get me wrong – at times it feels like a death march.

Treepose8 Tips for Surviving (and Thriving) in an MBA Program

1) Get a Hobby

One of the first interview questions I was asked in the interview for Willamette’s MBA Program was, “What are your hobbies?” Seems odd, right? What could this have to do with my ability to be successful in an MBA program.

The answer: A LOT.


I have a hobby that forces me to be social, and present. Because most of the time, I’m putting other people’s lives in my hands.

 

Whether your hobby is a sport or not, having other people on your team or to practice with will keep you motivated and on track. After an 16 hour day comprised of 8-10 hours at work and a 4 hour night class, you need something to look forward to during the week.

2) Take on more, set goals. 

How sad would it to be to complete your MBA degree and feel like you’ve otherwise stagnated as a person? Wouldn’t you rather look back on this time as a period of immense growth? You might call me crazy here, but the saying could not be more true:

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.”

Keeping busy will only increase your capacity. More importantly, having other goals will help you keep school in perspective. How much does it matter you got a “C” on that one marketing midterm? Not much in the grand scheme. But it can feel like your world is coming to an end if you don’t have other things you’re working towards.

My goals during this MBA program: strength and flexibility. Some of these achievements (like getting my splits) occurred even while studying.

splits and studying

3) Make sleep a priority.

There will be nights (and weeks) when that’s not possible. Take time each week to catch up on sleep at least one or two nights. During this program I averaged 4-6 hours on bad nights. For the most part though, I got 7-8 hours of sleep a night. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.26.46 AMAnd this was with working full-time, my hobby, friends, teaching, and taking a full credit load. It is possible, I promise.

4) Put pride aside. 

Know your network, and ask for help. An MBA is going to force you to learn about every field of business, so get to know your classmates (or cohort). Know their strengths and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t worry – when it comes to your subject of expertise, you’ll be able to return the favor. 

Also understand your personal network. Never be shy about asking for help because the worst case scenario is that they say no. Not so bad, right?

5) Be selective about who you give your time to.

The people who stick by you through these 2 years will be your best friends and life partners. My cohort alone had 3 marriage proposals during the program. Something in the water? Perhaps.

Getting through any program and working will test your willpower. People who are takers (emotionally and mentally) will stick out like sore thumbs, know when to cut your losses.

6) Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.

Put your perfectionist ways to sleep because they’ll kill you in graduate school. I’m saying this as a long-term Type A “it must be perfect” personality. Trust me. You may think that is sustainable at first but it will catch up with you and eat away hours you could be sleeping.

Though, this may be taking efficiency too far. Bath studying…it’s a thing.

Multitasking

7) Prepare for the week.

Set yourself up for success every night. Do your meal prep and plan days in advance. Schedule your week: block off 1-2 hour time slots for homework. Stick to it. This is an easy way to get more efficient. Studies show that after 2 hours of working or studying the same topic, productivity drops dramatically.

8) Enjoy it.

This is probably the last time in your adult life you’ll have the luxury of learning in a controlled environment, where your job doesn’t depend on it.

Happy bending  studying!

Melissa Barker


Read more from the Digital Drinkers 

10 Back Flexibility Stretches | 15 Stretches for Splits, and Tips for Sharing Your Practice | 5 Secrets to Flexibility Training, and Building a Following | Surviving a Beer Fest    | Investing In A Home, Part 1      |     The Portland Trail Blazers Brand      |   Training For My First 1/2 Marathon


References

National Sleep Foundation (n.d.). “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” Retrieved on 25, July 2016, from: https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

 

Why The Willamette MBA Program Was Right For Me

Willamette Fall
After making the decision to attend graduate school, I did the usual research of soliciting advice from other professionals, my own catalog list of local universities and of course went to the fall back of any question, Google.  Given the auto populate, you can see others have sought Google’s advice as well.
There are 12 different MBA programs available in the Portland area so it was hard to narrow it down to Willamette. Here are some of the criteria that I used:
  1. Cohort style – Building a two-year long relationship with other professionals creates support and life long bonds.
  2. Executive Program – Being able to attend classes at night was a requirement to keep with my work schedule. This program is designed for working professionals. The ability to apply concepts immediately is key in retaining and understanding the material.
  3. Structure – The schedule is set for you for the whole two year program (including books), which eliminates figuring out registration and the complications of which class to take next.
  4. Reputation- Willamette University has continued to be recognized by several organizations, including Forbes for being an outstanding MBA program.
  5. In 2015, Forbes ranked Willamette’s MBA Program number 60 on their bi-annual list of the “Best Business Schools.” Willamette was the only Oregon school to make the list. Read the original article here: http://bit.ly/2avL22g
  6. Dinner – Small thing, however, not having to plan or buy dinner every school night is a good thing. After a long day of work, it’s nice to have someone else do the cooking and the dishes. Whole Foods catering anyone?

Books on a Screen?

I’ve always loved books. As a child, I read a dozen books each week. I read outside, inside, in the car, in the dim light of evening and well into the night. I was an English major in college, which exposed me to a whole different world of literature. I love memoirs and post modernist fiction, cookbooks and newspaper comic collections, and have favorites from every genre. I talk about reading a lot, so naturally, I am frequently posed with the question “how do you feel about ebooks?”

I am not a voice in the chorus of “save our hardcovers!”  I also, however, love having a shelf full of tangible books that I can gloat over, lend out, and dust. Just kidding, I never dust. I recognize the visceral experience that a paper book gives. I have many a fond memory that revolves around thumbing the pages and slamming the cover shut at the end of a gripping tale. It has been interesting, as an adult in this era, to watch the transformation of the printed word. There is something to be said for defending our precious, strained eyes from yet another screen. A book will never run out of battery. If you leave it in a train station, you don’t have to remotely delete your personal data. You cannot press flowers between your favorite stories on your e-reader.

However, I’ll shout it from the rooftops. I love my Kindle. http://cdn.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/eBook-Intro-Logo.jpg?b34c28

The grown up child-me, whose carry-on luggage was just a backpack full of books, loves the ability to carry hundreds of volumes at any given time in my purse. I like the instantaneousness of my electronic books. The joy of acquisition is amplified by the idea that I’ll be able to read that book whenever and wherever the fancy strikes me. While I don’t get to go fight the lines in the excited crowd for a midnight release, which was a great part of the excitement for new Harry Potter books in my youth, I am still very excited that I will have Harry Potter and the Cursed Child delivered to my e-reader immediately on July 31st.

The dawn of the e-book brought about a wave of fear from bibliophiles everywhere. However, the data seems to say we have nothing to fear. While there has been backlash of the digital age (RIP Borders and B. Dalton), it seems that we are in a happy middle point. Phillip Jones of The Guardian said it beautifully in his post on the relationship between e-books and printed books “[readers] have proved to more promiscuous and more flexible in what and how they read than anyone predicted.”

What are you reading?

If you want to read more Ruckus MBA blog posts, you can find them here!

5 Marketing Lessons from HBO’s Silicon Valley

(Warning: Spoilers)

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HBO’s Silicon Valley is a hilarious hit show that may, or may not, represent the real Silicon Valley. It just grabbed 11 nominations for the upcoming Emmy awards. It is no doubt great TV, however, within the show, there are real marketing lessons.

1) Be customer-centric not product-centric

Many innovators believe their products will sell themselves. A “build it and they will come” mind set. Most of the time this is not true.

Pied Piper created revolutionary compression software. However, it’s incredibly complex, hard to integrate, and all the work is behind the scenes and not visible to the consumer (Gourville, 2006).

2) Have Vision

Every company needs to be able to explain their product effectively and efficiently. It is important to provide an easily understood picture of your brand and demonstrate value to the customer (Gupta, 2014).

Throughout the series Pied Piper and Hoolie have trouble articulating the product to anyone who is not an engineer. They don’t have a good vision for the product they want to create, just the technical background specs.

3) Have a targeted marketing strategy

Michael Porter defines strategy as: “the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities.” A good strategic position meets the needs of a targeted group of people.

Pied Piper doesn’t have a specific type of product offering, or demographic to sell to. Richard wants to serve all the needs of everyone. This is too broad, and is ultimately unsuccessful. Many of the problems they face with launching their company could be fixed with a targeted strategy (Porter, 1996).

4) Listen to Market Research

Unbiased, thorough, and strategic market research can help a firm segment their potential customers, and tailor their products to customer needs to create value (Dolan & John, 2015).

Pied Piper and Hoolie constantly believe their products are perfect. All of their market research (the little they do) tells them their products are too complicated, not user friendly, or not working properly, yet they don’t listen. Pied Piper sends their beta to only engineers, who love it, but the first few end customers that try it, are turned off.

5) Don’t Cheat

Just don’t.

 

$More Marketing Insights from TEAM MONEY$

Steph Curry and Kevin Durant Can Play on the Same Team and Still Sell Sneakers

Good Blogging Review

Work Cited:

Dolan, R., & John, L. (2015). Marketing Intelligence. Harvard Business Publishing.

Gourville, J. (2006). Note of Innovation Diffusion: Rogers’ Five Factors. Harvard Business School, 2.

Gupta, S. (2014). Creating Customer Value. Harvard Business Publishing.

Porter, M. (1996). What Is Strategy. Harvard Business Review.