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Archives for September 2016

5 Tips to Build Relationships on Social Media

By Kate Lee | 09/26/2016 | 10:59 PM

5-tips-for-building-relationships-on-social-media

Participating in social media is not about earning followers; it’s about building relationships.

Posting content to social media is a great way to earn followers. But a follower doesn’t necessarily equal a customer. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that participating in social media is not only about earning a large following; it’s about building relationships with those people.

An article published in Entrepreneur says it best, “Content equals marketing; conversation equals a relationship.” Using social media to converse with people and form relationships is what will ultimately drive sales.

Research from Social Sprout shows that social media messages to brands from customers rose 110% between 2014 and 2015. And that number keeps going up.

So, don’t just hand out your content like a business card and walk away. Customers increasingly expect businesses to converse with them through social networking, so it is critical that your business is online and ready to respond.

Here are five tips to build relationships on social media:

1) Be the person representing a brand.

Represent your company, but be a real person to whom your customers can relate. Do not appear as a brand who is a person; show up as a person who has a brand.

2) Be a real person.

Be personable and real. Open yourself up to conversations that show a bit of the real you. Nothing builds a relationship better than making a genuine connection. In other words, be a real person, not a personality.

3) Show who you are.

In addition to sharing information and knowledge related to your business, don’t be afraid to sprinkle in a bit of what matters to you in your posts. Photos of bring-your-child-to-work day, pets who regularly visit the office, or even your extra-large coffee during a particularly busy week tell a story that your followers can relate to. These kinds of things are excellent starting points for conversation!

4) Show that you care.

To build a relationship of trust, people need to feel that you care about what is important to them. Go beyond just liking, retweeting, or leaving an encouraging message on your followers’ posts. Actually put yourself out there and respond, invite dialog, and demonstrate that they are someone you value.

5) Be a regular.

Show up on a regular basis to interact with your audience and answer questions. And make sure to respond quickly when someone reaches out to you. Don’t underestimate the power of being there when a customer needs you. Remember 7 in 8 messages go unanswered for 72 hours, so if you can be the brand that is always there, you’re head-and-shoulders above the crowd.

Only 30% of Content Marketers Feel They Are Effective

By Kate Lee | 09/19/2016 | 10:56 PM

Content-marketers

Effective content marketers have these four things in common.

Think your content marketing could be better? You are not alone. Only 30% of content marketers feel they are effective, and, according to a recent survey, 55% of B2B marketers say they do not actually know what an effective or successful content marketing program looks like.

In fact, some of the key findings from the report, B2B Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America, may surprise you.

Recognizing success

First, the team must understand what they are striving for:

  • Only 44% of B2B marketers say their organization is clear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like; 55% are uncertain. For success, everyone must understand what to look for.
  • Only 32% of B2B marketers consider themselves sophisticated or mature in their skill-level. Sixty-four percent of those in the sophisticated/mature phase say they are effective at content marketing, while only 23% in the less-experienced adolescent phase express confidence. But, when strategies are documented, it appears to increase the confidence and success at every skill level.

What makes a team more effective at content marketing?

One key theme that emerged from the survey is that effective content marketers do these four things.

1) They know what effective content marketing looks like.

Effectiveness can be defined as meeting your overall goals and objectives — but in order to do so, those goals must be clear. B2B organizations that have a clear vision of content marketing success are more effective than those that do not. In fact, 79% of the most effective marketers report having that clarity, while 77% of the least effective say they lack it.

2) They have continuous communication.

The most effective B2B marketers (61%) meet daily or weekly with their content marketing team — either virtually or in person. Fifty-four percent say team meetings are valuable.

3) They document their content marketing strategy.

Documenting your content strategies can directly improve a marketer’s overall effectiveness. Fewer B2B marketers are doing this (32% in 2016 vs. 35% last year), even though research supports that a documented strategy can significantly improve results.

4) They document their editorial mission/long-term goals.

Research found that 48% of the most effective content marketers also have a documented editorial mission statement. This statement clearly defines who your audience is and why your content will be effective — it defines your brand. You should also document any long-term goals, like lead generation and sales, for example, will be the most important for most B2B content marketers over the next 12 months.

Having clear communication, documented goals, and defined strategies will provide direction, which can be the guiding light to effective content marketing. Implement these proven steps to better focus your team and to make effective content marketing clear and recognizable.

5 Ways to Advance Your Supply Chain Career

By Kate Lee | 09/12/2016 | 10:53 PM

5-Ways-to-Advance-Your-Supply-Chain-Career

The talent gap represents a professional opportunity for motivated individuals looking to advance their supply chain career.

The global supply chain is continuously evolving, offering new opportunities as demands shift and new technologies are born. But how do you evolve with it?

The key is knowing where to look and how to leverage your talent and skills to fit demand. Opportunities are abundant now, but they are also growing, according to the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics. It predicts there will be 1.4 million new jobs in the logistics and supply chain field by 2018.

In fact, the number of supply chain employees is expected to double by 2017, with a high demand for managerial talent. That equates double the opportunity for you to move your career forward!

Here are 5 key actions to advance your logistics or supply chain career:

1) Consider all the skills in your wheelhouse.

Evaluate and take stock of your skills and experience. Know how to articulate exactly what you bring to the table when you consider a new position. Your skills may also be highly transferable, so it is wise to be open to new opportunities. Finally, expand those skills with certifications that will give you a competitive advantage. Look for certifications that enhance your operations and supply chain management skills, like those through the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS).

2) Network within the industry.

Employers seeking supply chain talent have to be able to find you. Join associations like APICS, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSMCP). You will gain access to career advice and be a part of a network of supply chain professionals. Join online interest groups and professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn. Follow industry blogs and make connections that relate to, and promote, your career aspirations.

3) Expand your software and technology skills.

This is a constantly evolving area in the supply chain, with new software emerging and a growing demand for talent that knows how to use it. Educate yourself within the software and technology space, and you will open many new doors of opportunity.

4) Know how to promote your soft skills.

Do you have problem-solving experience? A background in communication? Leverage those skills on your resume. Recruiters typically have a list of about 30 job skills that they look at when reviewing job candidates. But soft skills take priority because they produce the most successful new hires. These include: knowledge of basic business ethics, problem-solving acumen, and solid communication skills.

5) Let your differences shine.

You may not see much young or female talent in today’s supply chain industry, but don’t let that discourage you. In fact, this signals opportunity. Many companies are ramping up efforts to recruit (and keep) young talent. And women tend to be strong in many of the soft skills needed for the future of SCM. According to  Shanton J. Wilcox, vice president, North America, and lead for logistics and fulfillment at Capgemini, “Many so-called tactical jobs will be replaced by positions requiring more interpersonal and relationship management skills.”

With the present challenges in securing supply chain talent, recruiters are actively searching for specific skills and new employees. You can answer to this demand if you know how to leverage, expand, and promote your skill set to the right people.

9 Career-Strengthening Moves to Make This Fall

By Kate Lee | 09/06/2016 | 10:53 AM

Career

If your job has left you to feeling stuck in a rut, try these steps to improve your professional life.

Summer vacations are over, and the year is more than half gone. Perhaps all those best-laid plans for boosting your career this year have yet to come to fruition. You may be feeling as burnt out as those last colorful leaves before they surrender to the fall.

If this frustration sounds familiar, it may be time to shake things up and move your career in a new direction. 

Here are 9 tips to propel your career forward:

Make the move

Unhappy at your present job? Identify the reasons. If you are frustrated with your current role but you like your company, inquire about other positions within the organization. If none are a good fit or there are no growth opportunities, consider looking elsewhere. Use every job-search tool available — network, use a recruiter, and/or work with an executive search firm.

Network

There is tremendous opportunity in networking. Studies have found that the majority of jobs (between 49% and 80%) come about through networking. But networking offers more, like professional development and sage advice. You will make important connections that could bring you career success.

Create your own brand

A quick search on the internet or on LinkedIn and you will see: You are a brand.  First impressions are now inclusive of your Facebook page, personal blog, your Instagram page, and Twitter account. Even your pins on Pinterest say something about you. Keep that in mind as you are posting personal content.

Work for someone intelligent

Working for someone smart brings you more knowledge and critical thinking skills simply through observation and example. You will grow professionally and personally.

Plan for the 12-24 months

Don’t get hung up on making a 10-year career plan.  Look for the right opportunities, be flexible, and know the direction you are headed in, but don’t lock into a long-term direction.

Use your muscles

Research has found that a regular exercise routine can make you happier, smarter, and more energetic. Being fit can also brand you — giving a perception of health and stamina that signifies effectiveness, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Explore something new

Is there something your colleagues are doing or using that you aren’t? LinkedIn or Twitter for example. Take the leap!

Find your balance

Research by the Families and Work Institute found that 55% of respondents reported feeling overwhelmed by everything that is on their plate. A different survey found that 80% of people are unhappy with their work-life balance. Look at your priorities and keep only what matters.

Take a vacation

Have leftover vacation days? About 57% of Americans don’t use their vacation time. Taking time off is important to both your mental and physical health — and it has a positive impact on work performance and productivity.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Kate Lee

Kate Lee

Kate Lee is the senior director of research and strategy for Fronetics Strategic Advisors, a Newburyport, Mass.-based consultancy that works with clients in industries including logistics and supply chain. She has over 20 years of domestic and international experience as a writer, researcher, and strategist.



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