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Reaching the C-Suite with Content: How to Crack the Code

C-suite: Crack the Code, Taylormadecanada.comMarketing and sales professionals all want to reach the C-Suite. But there are always two questions that come up in those discussions: 1) How do I reach the C-Suite? and 2)Does the C-Suite really even consume online content? Well, thanks to Forbes and Insights, there are some interesting answers to those questions. So, continue reading to learn how to reach the C-Suite and how to crack the code to actually get past the gatekeepers:

1.  The Internet Reigns

There has definitely been a shift happening in the C-Suite.  According to the research, in 2008 the mean age of the C-Suite was 50.7.  Fast forward to 2014 and the mean age is now 46.7.  This small and subtle shift has made for some much bigger shifts in how the C-Suite accesses and consumes business-related data.  As a part of that shift, the majority of members now prefer to use the Internet to access information. Surprisingly for many, the Internet is preferred over references from colleagues, personal networks, newspapers, TV, radio and even conferences and trade shows. This is definitely a shift from just a few years ago.

 2.  Video and Online Networks Emerge as C-Suite Tools

Don’t forgo the text communications just yet, but with the ever busy and on-the-go C-suite, easily accessed and easily consumed content that can be listened to or watched while on the go is definitely on the rise.  If you want to reach the C-Suite, don’t forget this media.

 3.  Generation PC

Did you just get used to the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, etc?  Well, Generation PC is the group that you will find most in the C-Suite these days.  These 40-50 year olds pretty much have worked with technology throughout their careers starting out with electronic spreadsheets, email and word processors.  They are comfortable with technology and even prefer searching and finding business-related information on their own.  Want to reach the C-Suite, think about this age group and their preferences.

4.  Generation Netscape

The newest group to be coming into the C-suite is Generation Netscape.  This under 40 group are the first digital natives that we will have in the top spots of corporations around the world and they are used to consuming content when, where and how they want.  To reach this group, you will want to make sure that your content is not only relevant, but accessible on multiple platforms and devices.

5.  Content is Still King

Rethinking your content strategy?  Is your C-Suite questioning you about who your audience is and whether not you can reach the C-Suite?  Before throwing the baby out with the bath water, remember that content needs to be good.  Don’t just create content for the sake of creating content.  In addition to creating great content, here are some other findings from the research to help guide you:

  •  81% of respondents under the age of 50 check the Internet daily for business intelligence
  • 58% (under 50) see high value of content from websites, blogs and other online content
  • 54% of C-Suite members under 50 prefer sourcing business content themselves (a.k.a no gatekeeper)
  • 87% (of the under 50 crowd) use search engines like Google, so your content must be searchable and more important, easy to find

Thanks for Forbes and Insights, we know that the C-Suite wants and consumes valuable content, including blog content.  The key however, is to create valuable content that can be found through search.

If you like this post, feel free to follow me on Twitter @MacLeanHeather.

 

 

5 Ways Small Business Can Leverage Social Media for Real-time Market Research

As a small business owner and a professional Marketing and Communications Practitioner, I know the value of market research.  When I worked for large organizations, we often hired agencies to provide specialized research services. However, we smaller business owners just don’t have the luxury of the big budgets that the larger organizations enjoy.   We also don’t have a lot of spare time.  So, I wanted to share 5 really easy ways that small business can leverage social media for real-time market research:

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1.  Maximize your membership in existing groups like Facebook, Linkedin and blogs to gain valuable insight into what topics are hot. By being an active listener you can find emerging themes.  You can learn quickly what, if any, conversations taking place about your brand.

For example, if you own a restaurant you can learn about trends that are happening in food preferences.  If your customers and/or target market are discussing local organic foods as being important, you could start promoting the local fare that you have on your menu.  Alternatively, there might be an event – perhaps a beer festival – that you would want to promote and create a menu pairing for the various types of beer being featured at the festival.

2.  Use Twitter Lists to organize key stakeholders, customers and Influencers.  Using lists saves time when you want to focus on specific information and/or people.

For example, if there is a specific vertical that you want to penetrate, make a list and add the people you see Tweeting on the topic. You can then easily learn who is in that space.

3. Conduct Facebook surveys to reach out to your followers and ask them specific questions — keep the same questions so that you have consistent data. One of the benefits of doing this type of research versus a focus group is that neither the facilitator nor any other members of the focus group will unintentionally influence the participants. You can have your survey be anonymous or with a customer name attached to it.

For example, if you are uncertain about carrying a new product, you can ask your community.  You can develop a simple questionnaire that you can send to all your followers/subscribers or those who have “Liked” your Brand Page.  By reaching out to your customers you are demonstrating that their opinion matters.  You are getting a first-hand account of what they think about the product.

For more information on how to set up your survey, visit Facebook’s survey page.

4. Use Pinterest to determine what photos are being pinned from your website.  This can be an invaluable tool. Learn what is popular and by default, what is not.  Learn what is resonating with your customers through your visuals.

It is quite easy to do: simply go to your browser and type:  http://pinterest.com/source/YOURWEBSITEHERE.com/.

5. Use Twitter Hashtags to search and track relevant conversations.  You can use hashtags to monitor conversations about competitors, different product lines, events and more.  You can use existing hashtags or set up your own.  They are simple to use.

For example, if you are hosting a user-group and you want to know what the buzz is both leading up to and during the event, you could create a hashtag specific to your event.  Once you do this, be sure to share it with your organizers, sponsors, delegates, etc.  It could be as simple as #CustomerSpeak2014.  By simply searching your event hashtag, you can monitor all the chatter.  If you notice a problem emerging, you can be proactive and take action.  You can then share the solution using the hashtag, letting your delegates know that you were listening.  You can also use the hashtag to monitor post-event conversations and use that intelligence for lessons-learned.

These are just five examples of how you can use social media for real-time market research.  What are some other channels that you use and what have been your results?

7 Reasons to Use Twitter

People Ask Me:  What Social Network Should I Use?

Which network or networks should I choose?  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+?  By far this is the question that I am asked the most, and understandably so.  It can be quite daunting to look at all the different networks, existing and emerging, and wonder which one should I use. 

Let’s start by looking at Twitter. 

So, who is using Twitter anyway?  Well, the data would say that a lot of people from different backgrounds are using Twitter.  There are over 500 million active users generating more than 340 million tweets daily.  (Thanks Wikipedia).  Everyone from kids, to actors, to politicians are on Twitter.  It is used for both personal and professional communications.  However, let’s break that down a bit more. 

According to information from mediabistro.com, more women than men are using Twitter.  I have to confess that this tidbit surprised me.  Not surprising however, is that people between the ages of 25-54 when combined make up the largest group of users.   Twitter has typically attracted an older demographic, although Facebook has seen a shift in the last few years to users over 55 jumping on that channel to communicate, but I digress.  We will look at Facebook next time.

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Here are  just 7 reasons to use Twitter and if you like communicating in 140 characters, it might just be for you:

1.  Networking –  What a great way to connect with people that have similar interests as you.  Perhaps it is based on wanting to meet people and learn from them about a hobby or your chosen profession.

2.  Research – Whether you are researching your next Smartphone or doing market research, Twitter can yield great results.

3.  News – You are a news junkie and want the latest and greatest coming at you all the time and as it happens in succinct messages.

4.  Job Hunting – Whether you are looking for an employee or looking to be hired, you can use Twitter to gather a lot of intelligence.  Employers for example, often tweet about open positions.

5.  Customer Service – In our socially connected world, it can be a lot quicker and more efficient to initiate contact with a company through its Twitter handle.  Additionally, it can be a lot more convenient for you.

6.  Advice or Opinions – Looking for a good book to read? Or, want to know what camera they would buy if in the market?  Reach out to your network.  They are valuable resources.

7. Branding – Again, whether you are working on your personal branding plan or executing a branding plan for your employer, Twitter is an excellent tool for this purpose. 

This is really just scratching the surface when it comes to using this great communication tool.  If you are looking to write longer more detailed communications, other networks might be better for you.   Twitter is fast, efficient, entertaining and fun.  It is a great way to share information that is short and to the point. 

Need more advice?  Want to know how to get started and what you should Tweet?  Check out:  How Do I Know What to Tweet