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Tools to Help You Track Your Startup

When you’re busy building a startup, there isn’t always time to keep track of what people are saying about your company. Luckily, there are a bunch of great products to make tracking your startup easier than ever.
We put together a list of six different tools to help you monitor when your startup is mentioned online, as well as track companies, markets, and people you care about. Read on for the full list.
1. Index
Keep track of companies & markets you care about

Index, created by the team at The Next Web, uses public content on the web and turns it into structured data on locations, industries, and private tech companies around the world.
There are a lot of cool uses for this tool. You can use it to keep an eye on potential investors, competitors, or markets. You can also create custom lists to track the investments, acquisitions, and other updates you care about while filtering out the news that isn’t as important to you.
If you sign up for the “Pro” or “Expert” versions of this tool, you’ll get access to even more features, such as: weekly digests, advanced search, CSV exports, and a daily investment newsletter. This tool is certainly worth the investment if you‘re looking to more efficiently keep track of what matters to you and your company.

2. Notify
Get notified in Slack when your startup is mentioned online

There are so many things you can do with this Slack integration, and setting it up is super easy. You can create alerts for anything you want to be notified about, like when your startup or competitors are mentioned anywhere online, when a specific person is mentioned, or when something gets published about an event or topic you want to track. You can also select sources you want to read notifications from (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Blogs, Product Hunt, Medium, News Sites, etc.).
If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of anything important to you, Notify is a no-brainer Slack integration (But yes, you do have to be a Slack user).

3. App Review Monitor
App Store reviews delivered to Slack and your inbox

This tool, created by the LaunchKit team, is a free service that notifies you when your app receives a new review in the App Store. You can keep your team up-to-date with alerts sent via email or Slack. You can also have App Review Monitor automatically tweet about your five-star reviews.
Of course, you won’t always receive perfect reviews. One of the most important elements of great customer service is finding and communicating with customers who are underwhelmed by your app. With this tool, you can easily forward a less-than-awesome review to your support team and find the reviewer online so you can start a direct conversation with him or her.
We’re big fans of any tool that makes a normally tedious task easier—and this one certainly fits the bill!

4. Mattermark for iOS
1 million+ companies in your pocket. Absolutely free.

Mattermark is one of the most beloved tools in the startup world. Venture capitalists and salespeople are willing to pay $6,000 a year for the data and insights this product offers.
Mattermark for iOS, however, is completely free. Using the mobile app, you can learn more about over 1 million companies, share profiles and news with your network, and stay on top of daily funding events and important company news.
This is a must-have app for any startup enthusiast.

5. Startup Tracker 2.0
Keep tabs on up-and-coming startups

Startup Tracker is like Rapportive for startups. If you’re reading an article about Shyp, this tool will show you a summary of the most important information about the company without you ever needing to leave your browser.
Startup Tracker scours leading data sources like Beta List, CrunchBase, Product Hunt, Facebook, and Twitter to compile detailed company profiles. You can use it to search across over 400,000 profiles and discover new and trending startups. This is a fantastic way to learn about and keep track of your favorite companies.

6. Monitor Backlinks
Track backlinks for any website

If you want to improve your website’s SEO, backlinks matter—but they are often difficult to keep track of. This product makes it so much easier. After a quick setup, you’ll get access to a dashboard when you can monitor new backlinks, SEO progress, and organic traffic driven by search engines as a result. You’ll also have insight into your keyword rankings, links with social interaction, Nofollow vs. Dofollow links, and more.
This is a fantastic way to strengthen SEO and keep tabs on your competitors. A great tool for marketers and anyone else who nerds about about website growth.

Source: Medium (https://medium.com/@producthunt/tools-to-help-you-track-your-startup-1214d572044#.ymqvxert7)

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How to Use Instagram Stories to Market Your Brand

Instagram blew up recently with their new “stories” function. Besides openly ripping off Snapchat, the stories are pretty functional to grow your brand or your business.

Actually, I’ve enjoyed using them a little bit! They’re great because they offer additional exposure to your audience, and another way to connect. When you post a story, people can message you based on each post just like on Snapchat. This allows more interaction and engagement with your followers on Instagram!

Plus, I’ve noticed that I have more exposure on my stories than I may have otherwise on each post I create for Instagram! Instagram looks like they’re giving a little more runway and exposure to your audience via stories, so make sure you check it out!

I’ve been monitoring how people have been using stories, and it’s actually pretty similar to the way that they use Instagram. Even though the platform is similar to Snapchat, people use it differently. Rather than streaming your face (the way Snapchatters do), Instagram stories are about posting sweet pics through your day of beautiful things and environments. it’s kind of like a behind-the-scenes slide show. Not to mention, everything that’s posted is beautiful.

So the question rises, how do you use this to grow your business or brand?

Let me jump right in and give you some tips to use stories to create hype around you.

Give Your Followers Behind-the-Scenes Access

Much like a VIP at a club or a show, give your audience behind-the-scenes access. Show them what you do in your business or with your brand. If you have a product, show how it’s made or the production process. If you’re a photographer, show yourself choosing new pics to edit, or live on a shoot with a client. If you’re running an online business, show what you do through the day that only insiders would see! Show some secrets, create some mystery and give another dimension to your brand.

This can be done a variety of ways.
I would start with something on the first image that says “VIP ACCESS” or “INSIDER ACCESS” or something like this to intrigue. Then snap away! Try just posting pics with some text on top, a series of videos or explainers, or mix still and video. Remember to ask your followers to send you a message and connect with you too so you can start engaging even more with them and building relationships.

Show Your Day-to-Day… (if your life is cool!)

Allow me to preface this by saying that no one will be interested in seeing the day-to-day of a normal person’s life. The reason why they’re on social and watching your stories to begin with is because they’re using social as a tool to dream, and escape from the normal realities they face on a daily basis. Give them something to love and aspire to!

For example, I have a friend that is mostly normal all around, but she recently got invited to NY Fashion Week care of JCrew. JCrew invited her to NYC to take part in a stylized-fashion shoot specific for fashion week, and she was one of the new models (without any modeling experience or crazy amounts of Instagram followers!). She got to see all the behind the scenes for a JCrew art directed photo shoot, live with all the craziness that happens at these events. And she did it for 2 days.

This is an example of something that you’d want to show through Instagram stories as a day-to-day. Had she decided to broadcast the moments throughout the day (even more “boring” ones) her followers would have LOVED it! They’d see her modeling for a major fashion brand, eating lunch with the creative director and having someone do her hair and makeup.

Mostly they’d be able to place themselves in her shoes even for a few moments and say to themselves “maybe I can have that cool of a life too!”

I know… it sounds kind of vain, but I promise you that if your followers don’t WANT YOUR LIFE, that you won’t have a following. It’s just how it goes. It’s part of psychology. If your followers admire you, what you stand for, and the life you live, they’ll follow you and engage with you.

Alas, with all that… if you have cool stuff that you do on a day-to-day basis—show it! It’ll gain you street cred with your audience and build your brand.

Show a Curation of Your Day

I keep seeing these types of stories on Instagram, and they totally resonate with me so I’m sure they do with others too. Some of my favorite Instagrammers are posting a curation of their day on their stories through static photos.

For example, I’ll see something like 4-6 pics of coffeeshops and cool scenes in NYC throughout the day, or coffee-shop hopping in Los Angeles. They’re just a string of beautifully taken static shots to give you another type of Instagram gallery (within stories). Just with the story feature, they disappear in 24 hours creating more urgency to watch them!

Get Up Close and Personal: Do an AMA (Ask Me Anything)

Get to know your followers, and allow them to connect with you on a more personal basis. This is an opportunity for people to get up-close and personal with your brand. Of course this builds more brand awareness for you, and consequently will earn you more Instagram story views.

An “ask me anything” is where you announce to your followers that they can submit any questions, and that you’ll answer them on your story for the day. This is a terrific way to humanize your brand.

Create Giveaways in Your Stories

I love to do giveaways on my Instagram feed. I’ve found that announcing the giveaways every day on my story and telling people what’s in the giveaway and how to enter has been really great for engagement. They’ll go straight from my story to my gallery and comment on the giveaway post!

Source: Business to Community, article by Emelina Spinelli (http://www.business2community.com/instagram/use-instagram-stories-market-brand-01660434#ripsaZPzewLlj1bi.99)

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Why content marketing should be part of your strategy

There are numerous studies showing that up to 90 per cent of clients research their buying decisions online before speaking directly to a salesperson. Yikes.

The challenge for advisers therefore is to create awareness of your services with potential clients you haven’t shaken hands with yet. It means focusing more of your sales efforts on building awareness and influence. Thankfully, ‘content marketing,’ with the help of the internet, is proving a valuable way for businesses to create awareness and influence targeted client groups.

What is content marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” In layman’s terms, this means providing potential and current clients with access to valuable information (aka content) free of charge, which can educate them about, or simply pique their interest in, the value of professional planning advice.

Ultimately, content marketing is deemed to be a ‘soft’ sales method by marketing types. This means that through a content marketing campaign, you’re not directly selling to clients in a traditional “sales” sense in the same way as an advertisement in a newspaper does, or that persistent English backpacker knocking down the door with the latest and greatest telephone plan. Rather, with content marketing, you’re building a relationship with clients through quality content, whether it’s a blog or a video, which builds awareness of your business and its expertise.

Examples of content

Blogging is the most common way businesses deliver content today. Also called ‘thought leadership’ by the marketing cognoscenti, this is the process of providing regular, consistent commentary or opinions. Blogs are mostly delivered through your website, social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook, or an industry publication such as Professional Planner.

Content is not simply limited to blogging, and it can take many forms, such as video content, inbound marketing, public relations, infographics, interactive image content and webinars. This is not an exhaustive list, and ultimately any accessible content that has a connection to your brand is a form of content marketing.

Marketing content

Every good marketing strategy needs content as a component. For example, clients are always at different points in the buying cycle. Some clients are ready to engage now, while others are not yet ready to purchase. If a prospective client is researching “financial advice” or “financial planning”, providing valuable and consistent content is the perfect way to grab attention and build awareness of your business. To illustrate, lets’ say you write a blog about your “Five top super tips for the Over 40s.” By giving clients access to this information, you’re helping to educate and engage them. More importantly, they are not hassled by an overactive sales person. If the content is valuable, brand loyalty will start to build.

Getting started with content

If you’re not sure where to get started, be aware that there’s a million and one content gurus who’ll spruik their services to you. However, content must add value by educating your prospective clients, which is the best tip I can give you. This means ignoring the trap of writing about yourself or your business – prospective clients can already work out what you do from your website.

Consider topics that will resonate with your clients and provide valuable content around these themes. If you’re giving them free advice such as my “Five top super tips for the Over 40s” theme, you’re educating them in a way that engages them with the concept of financial planning and your brand simultaneously.

Source: Professional Planner, article by Anthony O’Brien (https://www.professionalplanner.com.au/featured-posts/2016/09/19/why-content-marketing-should-be-part-of-your-strategy-49392/)

 

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How to Run an Effective Social Media Employee Advocacy Program

Every smart entrepreneur knows that you need to use social media to effectively market your business and your brand.

I realized that back in 2008, when I opened my camera store in New Jersey and had to compete against the largest camera store in the world – B&H Photo — and the biggest competitor of them all – Amazon. I had to acquire customers, and build our brand with little time and even less money. Social media turned out to be the fastest way to do that. But one of the problems I immediately faced was how to get engagement on our posts, when we didn’t have a big following on any of the social platforms.

This is a problem that many entrepreneurs face today.

In many cases, your social media accounts do not have very many followers, connections or interactions. So, if for example, you post on Facebook, your relatively small number of followers will mean Facebook’s algorithm will keep engagement very low. But is there a way to increase your engagement without investing a lot of money boosting posts?

The tactic I discovered back in 2008, and one that I have honed with great success today, is employee social advocacy. Here are the 10 steps I’ve used to implement and run an employee-driven, post-boosting program, which you can start doing today.

1. At the next staff meeting, it should be announced that you are looking for all team members to promote posts on their personal social media accounts – Facebook, LinkedIn, beBee, Twitter and Instagram — on a regular basis.

2. There should be an email sent to All@YourCompany.com with an explanation of what employee advocacy is, why it is done and what will be accomplished for the company. Ask staff to reply with their willingness to participate. I would not require any staff member to do it that doesn’t want to, but let them know there will be rewards for the people who do it the most.

3. In a follow up email, ask everyone to follow and like all of your YourCompany pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, beBee, Twitter and Instagram from their personal social media pages.

4.There needs to be a social leader in the company. It works best if it’s the owner, president or stakeholder. He or she will lead the charge on the personal posting side. Let everyone know who that will be. There can be more than one leader.

5. All participating members need to connect with the social leader. It’s ok if someone is not on every social platform. Let them participate where they can.

6. The social leader then creates a post on their personal social media accounts. Use all the social networks if it makes sense for the post’s content. The post needs to be interesting and engaging and include no direct selling. That post should be shared on all company pages by the company page owner.

7. Send an email to All@YourCompany.com with all of the links to the leader’s posts asking everyone to share on their accounts with a personal comment added that relates to their friends, fans or followers.

8. When you start this advocacy program, do one post per week until your staff gets use to it. Then do up to three per week, but that is the maximum you should do. The staff will get tired of it and so will your followers.

9. To jump start the program, give everyone who follows No. 2, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 7 a $20 giftcard or something similar. Many, who agreed to do it, won’t – especially the first time. A personal note or visit from the social leader asking them to participate again is the way to go here.

10. Create contests, and publicly hand out prizes. The top employees with the most engagement, receives a money prize, extended lunch, day off or something else intriguing. You should post a leaderboard and hand out prizes for the top performers for each month and for the year.

Employee social advocacy is an incredibly cost-effective way to build your brand and business. It also builds employee morale and creates a corporate culture where staff feels like they have directly contributed to the success of the company.

Source: Fox News, article by Matt Sweetwood http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/09/15/how-to-run-effective-social-media-employee-advocacy-program.html)

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Is Your Firm Failing at Content Marketing?

It happens. You look at your Google Analytics traffic and the traffic to your blog is sad. No one is downloading your white papers and ebooks. You can’t get anyone to publish your guest blog articles. Your social media posts just sit and want for engagement and likes. No one in your company has the time or bandwidth to write a meaningful blog post. You feel like this whole content marketing thing is a hoax.

Don’t give up on content marketing just yet. If you feel like your firm is failing at B2B content marketing, there are several things you can do to turn it around.
Evaluate Your Strategy

Take a good look at your marketing strategy and your content plan. Wait, you don’t have a strategy? Check out Why Bother with a Content Marketing Plan before you go any further. If you have a strategy in place, look it over again. Is it too ambitious? Does it need more structure?

You can easily revamp your strategy by asking for input internally, especially from sales and customer service. Both sales and customer service work with prospects and clients on a daily basis and will have great input regarding common questions, typical objections, and what content would help close deals or educate clients. Also, make sure that your strategy has the resources and support to be properly executed.

Look at Your Competition

Check out what your competitors are doing with content marketing. In many cases, you may get some ideas from what they are (and aren’t) doing. We do not suggest copying anything that your competition is doing, but if they have a particular blog or white paper that has a lot of comments, questions, or likes – take that as a cue that your audience is interested in that particular topic.

Looking at your competitor’s B2B content marketing tactics can also help you to articulate what makes you different and what you should include in your content. For example, if they spend a lot of time discussing pricing and budget, focus on your value proposition of real-time customer service and long-term partnerships.
Get Help & Internal Buy-In

You can’t do this alone and you shouldn’t. Effective B2B content marketing typically takes a group effort to be effective. As a marketing professional, you know your product or services, but your engineers or support team may be better able to discuss how it works and/or solves a problem. Tap into internal resources, even if it’s an interview, to get the educational information you need to write a great blog post, ebook, or case study.

Internal support is essential to prioritizing content marketing. If your internal team doesn’t really believe in the effectiveness of B2B marketing, it will be difficult to get external interest. Share these B2B marketing statistics with the key influencers in your organization to get everyone on board with your content marketing strategy.
Pay to Promote Your Content

One of the main failures of content marketing is a lack of promotion. Social media is getting to be a “pay to play” space, meaning you’ll need to allocate part of your budget to promoting your blog posts, ebooks, guides, and case studies. The good news is that on many platforms – like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – once you pay to promote your post, the organic exposure goes up as well!

Many marketers create great content and then fail at putting that awesome content in front of their target market. Paying to promote your content marketing pieces is a surefire way to make sure your ideal prospect or client is seeing the valuable information you are sharing.
Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

We are quickly reaching a point of saturation with B2B content marketing. More and more firms are creating content and pushing it out on the internet. You don’t need to create more content to compete, you need to create better content. Make sure every piece of content you create is well written, offers new information, and has valuable insights for your target audience. Take the time to create irresistible content. Lastly, make sure it isn’t overly promotional. No one wants to read a 500-word advertisement.

Remember: content marketing is a long-term strategy, not a quick win. Invest the time, resources, and thought into creating a B2B marketing strategy that positions your firm as a thought leader and entices prospects to engage with your content.

Source: Business 2 Community, article by Jeremy Durant (http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/firm-failing-content-marketing-01653439#yQcEFqBSSuY1jcGw.99)

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