5 on the 5th Interview - Cendrine Marrout

5 on the 5th Interview: Cendrine Marrout

I first met Cendrine somewhere online, lol. I believe it was on Facebook. We were in similar social media circles and I really loved what she was doing. Fast forward to now and she’s one of my favorite social media people. She has a no-nonsense approach and is one who makes you look at all sides of a topic. Cendrine is also a fabulous photographer too! After you read my interview with her below, so follow her – you’ll be glad you did!

 

Name: Cendrine Marrouat

Title: Social media coach, blogger, curator, and author

Website/Blog: Social Media Slant – http://www.socialmediaslant.com

Twitter handle: @cendrinemedia

 

Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?

What I’m about to write will seem funny to some. I didn’t really choose this industry. The industry chose me.

A little less than a decade ago, when I was an independent artist looking for a larger audience for my work, I embarked on a journey of self-education that eventually led me to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. After opening my accounts, I took the time to observe how others used the platforms to promote themselves.

Fast forward to a couple of years later. Creative Ramblings, a now deceased blog where I shared my thoughts, tips, and advice on social media for indie artists, was getting some nice attention. Artists loved my no-nonsense approach to life and business and started asking me to help them with their strategies. Entrepreneurs and small business owners did too.

Everything went uphill from there. 😉

Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?

As a professional writer, blogger, and content curator, I publish frequent social media roundups. On Social Media Slant, my latest blog, I focus on stats, tools, and great content from around the web. I also contribute a weekly column on the latest news and studies for Paper.li.

Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?

I love being able to connect and build relationships with people from around the world. I have met some of my dearest friends and made solid partnerships via Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.

As much as I love social media, though, there is also a dark side to it: Self-proclaimed gurus.

It’s next to impossible to know everything in social media. The platforms evolve all the time and new ones pop up monthly.

Don’t get me wrong, there are real experts out there. But they focus on specific areas and/or platforms. Those who claim that they can help you with everything? Do not trust them; they are lying. They also give people like me a really bad name.

Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?

Thankfully, I haven’t had to deal with anything too challenging in my career.

However, when stuff happens, I usually am very proactive. I believe in taking the time to assess the situation, doing some research, and seeking advice from trusted colleagues if need be.

Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?

“Let your actions speak louder than your words.”

Fluff and numbers may impress people. But in the long run, their trust will go to those who lead by example and are in business to help others.

One for the road…

Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?

Khalil Gibran. This man has influenced my life in many ways. I consider him one of the leading thinkers and most talented writers of the 20th century.

 

How to Appeal to Smartphone Customers

How to Appeal to Smartphone Customers

So, you’ve started your business and have all your accounts up and running on sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, but now what?

The average American nowadays owns or has access to the internet on the go, whether it be on a smartphone or other tablet device. Certain sites make it incredibly easy to convert your website’s information over to the mobile view, but oftentimes it can be tricky.

Here are some tips and tricks as to why it’s important to have your information accessible in the mobile version as well! 

Track Your Analytics

To begin, social media marketing is all about numbers. It’s never been easier to track numbers than on mobile devices with analytic data services. You can access analytic services incredibly easily with programs such as Google Analytics.

Use Visuals

Social media is incredibly visual, as your consumers will simply be scrolling through their accounts. You want them to take a second to read over your posts, so use pictures to your advantage! You can stand out to consumers by using quick editing applications to touch-up your best pics!

Be Brief & Concise

Because social media is so fast-paced, it’s crucial to make sure you aren’t using as many words as you may put on a normal website. For the mobile versions, limit word count to consumers can easy browse over your content and still grasp the main picture. Twitter is great because it limits you to 140 characters, so keep that in mind as you are formatting all your other sites as well.

Monitor Feedback & Reviews

As a business, you’re always going to have ups and downs, so it’s important to monitor your feedback from consumers. Find out what they like and what they feel that you need to improve upon by looking at and replying to all comments and messages on your sites. 

Stay Organized

To keep everything organized, it may get quite complicated, especially since social media platforms are all unique. Thus, keep a notes section or use an application, such as WorkFlowy, to keep your posts and thoughts separate and organized before you post! 

Stick with WordPress

Finally, use sites such as WordPress for your blogs. They can easily format straight to the mobile site versions, and they help you keep track of your posts, stats, drafts, etc!

 

Keep these tips in mind when moving from desktop to mobile marketing, and let us know your thoughts and success stories!

Using Your Blog to Promote Your Brand

Using Your Blog to Promote Your Brand

Blogs can be used for just about anything these days… to vent about your daily frustrations, describe your latest beach excursion and even promote a business and a brand!

Millions of blogs exist, but there are certain tips to ensure that your blog does not get overlooked with the rest of them. Here are seven tricks to help use your blog to the best of your ability and increase your visitor traffic:

Build a strong foundation.

Your URL is the first name people will see, so create your site wisely so consumers will recognize the name and be able to easily navigate to your site. Use a service where you can create your own URL because it will ensure that you can create your own name. After creating your site, link it to all your social media sites to immediately increase traffic!

Understand and Identify Your Audience.

It’s almost impossible to appeal to every type of consumer, but if you identify your target market, you will be able to write better for them. Once you understand who will be reading your blog, you can write in a way that attracts that certain audience and makes them want to continue using your site.

Create a Marketing Plan.

The first step to creating a marketing plan is to create a promotional calendar. “Start by planning your organization’s marketing events for the year and use public holidays where appropriate. The objective is to create hooks around which to develop your content.” Then, outline your major content offerings, such as conference talks or webinars. Next, decide if you will have ongoing posts and columns that can keep consumers coming back each week. After creating a plan, it’s important to stick to it and reassess your progress throughout each month.

Optimize, Optimize, Optimize.

Written pieces look incredibly different on the web than they do in print, so it’s crucial to incorporate colors, pictures, sounds, etc to attract users with visual aids. Also, focus each post on one main point so that your content can be searched for more easily. Finally, your information should flow in small portions. If you have pages of black and white text, users will more than likely be turned off and leave your site within seconds.

Plan Content Promotion.

Using blog delivery promos, such as emails that alert followers when your most recent post is published is key! You can also use social media to your advantage by sharing each post on sites such as Twitter. In addition, include “sharing” options with each post so users can easily promote your brand on their timelines and news feeds.

Allocate Resources to Your Blog.

These resources may be internal or external, but your brand will need resources to succeed. “You’ll want to consider a variety of resources. You’ll want to look at resources forcontent creation to develop the information; creative, including design, photography and formatting; editorial to ensure that the content conveys the appropriate ideas, as well as editing to ensure the grammar is correct; marketing to get your content distributed; and technology to facilitate uploading and other technical issues.

Track Results.

Using tracking resources is appropriate for ensuring that your blog is reaching your target audience and making strides in the right direction! “Used properly, a blog not only supports your social media, search optimization and sales processes, it acts as the hub for the rest of your content marketing.”

 

What other tips/ideas would you add? Keep us updated on your improvements and latest blog posts and ideas!

Newsflash- You're not all that and a bag of potato chips - your community is

Newsflash: You’re not all that and a bag of potato chips – your community is

Despite what society and media tell us, it’s not all about us. The world does not revolve around you – or your business, as a matter of fact.

 

Don’t get me wrong – when you own your own business, it feels like everything revolves around it. Your time, take-home pay, bills, etc. all derive from it. But it’s not the whole world. Your community is. I’m not talking about the town you live in (even though they are a part of it), I’m talking about the people who love you – your customers, clients, fans, followers. The people you target each and every day.

 

I saw something the other day that really stuck with me, “He must become greater, I must become less.” Yes, it was scripture, but it relays a message that can be applied to anyone who owns a business. In order for our business to grow, we (the owners) must step back. What I took from it when looking at my business was that we business owners are not bigger than our community around us, whether it be online or offline.

 

I’m sure you could google and find thousands of articles about how important your community is, but take a hard look at the writers of those articles – many are business owners like us, however, they don’t walk the talk. They publish content to make them the star. I see this all the time in social media. They say it’s about you, but look at their actions – do they match up??

 

It’s time business owners took a hard look at themselves. Are we doing everything for our own personal glory and achievement or are we doing it for our community? When you do it for your community, your business will thrive. It may not be overnight, but when you are doing it for the right reasons, it will.

 

Our actions speak louder than words. There’s also an element of being selfless in your business.

 

There are many companies that are successful and known for what they do for others, rather than their products. Take the shoe company Tom’s, for example. Yes, they make cool shoes my daughters love, but they are more known for their One for One program. Through this program, every time someone purchases a pair of shoes, the company gives one away. They’ve now expanded it to clean water, glasses, and safer birth services. This program is what made them famous, not their shoes.

 

You don’t have to be a global company like Tom’s to put community first. Any business owner can do it. So why put your community ahead of yourself anyway?

 

Without your community, you would be shooting blindly with your marketing and quite frankly, you wouldn’t be where you are today. These are the people who support you – they give you their patronage, their loyalty, their Facebook share, their retweet. Why not look out for them first?

 

But what if you don’t have a large community? You don’t have to have a community of thousands or millions. The quality of your community is much more important than the size. Even if you are a new business owner just starting out, value the people that give you their time. Putting them ahead of yourself, will not only help to build and strengthen that relationship, they will see a business owner that truly cares about his community of supporters.

 

Within your community is your alpha audience. Mark Schaefer talks about this group in his book, The Content Code. This is the elite in your community – your most loyal community members. He mentions in this book that this audience is 250% more likely to share your content and about your business. As you grow, make note of these super fans and show them your appreciation.

 

So, what do you think? Do you think you should put your community first or are you the priority in your business? (that’s a rhetorical question, by the way)

 

What are your thoughts on the topic? Share with me in the comments – I’d love to hear them!

 

 

You need to be on Twitter. Seriously.

You need to be on Twitter. Seriously.

You may think Twitter is this big, confusing, scary platform, but it’s not.

 

Yes, Twitter is fast-paced. Yes, you need to be really active to get the most out of it. And yes, it can really benefit you as a business owner even if your target audience isn’t active there.

 

See, Twitter is my baby. It’s the platform that has brought me the most clients and it’s through there I’ve been able to make some really awesome connections and friendships – both personally and professionally.

 

I firmly believe it’s the one platform every business owner needs to be active on. Okay, I know all about LinkedIn, but seriously – when was the last time you spent and real time working on relationships or having conversations there? Facebook may be the granddaddy of them all, but Twitter is where the real relationships happen (in my opinion).

 

Even if you are part of the 44% who have never tweeted before or you just don’t really ‘get’ it, you can always jump in. Of course, you need a reason (or 2 or 3…) first.

 

Reason 1: It’s a great source of news and industry-related content.

If you can’t find something on Google, I guarantee you can find it on Twitter. Search keywords and hashtags. Save your favorite accounts to a Twitter list. No matter how you work it, you can tailor your feed or account to keep you up to date on what’s going on.

Lately a lot of politicians and celebrities have been using Twitter as their main medium for announcements. Two examples…

The best way to organize it all – Twitter lists. You don’t have to follow someone to put them on a list. This is a great way to keep up with everyone. You can see my lists here.

 

Reason 2: You have to be short, sweet and to the point.

Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

On Twitter you don’t have to worry about long, drawn out 5000 character posts or rants like you see all the time on Facebook. Here you have only 140 characters to get your point across. This makes you really think about what you want to say (unless you’re Katy Perry and are in a Twitterfeud).

 

 

Reason 3: You can reach influencers and key decision makers more easily.

This is something I have found from personal experience. Tweeting to and starting a conversation with people who influence you or you are wanting to get to know have a higher response rate than on Facebook or LinkedIn. I’ll be honest – I don’t have a stat to back that up other than personal experience. Yes, some will choose not to respond (shame on them), but if you ask them a question you’ll more times than not get an response. However, don’t expect that from most celebrities – they are a different breed of Twitter users.

As a business owner, you can form meaningful relationships through Twitter by the mere act of just starting the conversation.

 

Reason 4: Find the trends.

I remember when “#” was simply the pound key on a telephone or the abbreviation for number. Of course now it has a whole new meaning – hashtag. Hashtags originally started in Twitter and this is how you can find what’s trending locally or globally within your industry or in society.

Facebook and Google Plus have tried to implement hashtags and hashtag searches but it’s not worked out as well as it has on Twitter. Tagging your tweet with a trending hashtag will open you up to more people and get you involved in the conversation. Knowing how to find the trends will help you get an edge, personally and professionally.

 

These 4 reasons are just a few to get you on the path to Twitternerddom (if that’s a word?). You can take it slow at first – I did. I start slow and gradual, building my presence to what it is now and I still continue to work on it everyday.

 

In all seriousness, if you are a business owner, you need to be using this platform if not for your business, but for yourself.

 

Who’s with me?

 

If you’re not following me already, you can follow me at @memktgservices. Tweet me and tell me you read this article so I can follow you too!

 

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