Taste-of-HITMC Nashville was a guerilla marketer’s dream – full of practical tips for strengthening your brand and using social media for business growth.
7 Best Practices for Implementing Your Brand Across Digital Platforms.
MP&F Strategic Communications, who hosted the event in their beautiful meeting space that had a view of the Nashville skyline, started things off by sharing practical advice on how to ensure your brand is digital-ready.
- Brand is the perception and emotional response that a customer has to your product or service
- Let analytics guide your content (not ego)
- Let images tell the story
Notice how the photo on the right draws you in – what are they looking at? Is this the end of a project or the beginning? There is a story happening in the photo and as viewers we want to know more. The picture on the left is nice, but there is no intrigue and nothing enticing.
Centralize and “Templatize” Your Way to a Better Life
Larry Williams from L&R, a long time supporter of HITMC, followed with 7 tips on how to organize your brand assets to ensure consistency and reduce stress.
- Centralize and share your brand style guides with management, peers and vendors
- Set up customizable templates to allow for personalization and minimize rogue branding
- Move away from the dreaded “marketing closet” full of materials
The solution to his last takeaway, was print-on-demand. He strongly recommended against buying materials in bulk. Not only do they take up valuable office space, but in today’s digital world, the materials often need to be updated before all of the printed ones are used…leading to a lot of wasted money.
With print-on-demand, organizations can just order what they need, when and where they need it – all with the latest information as well as branding.
Brand Awareness on a Small/Zero Budget
After Williams presented, I had the honor of sharing 7 ways that organizations could raise awareness of their brand without spending a lot of money.
- Make your brand wearable. Make your logo or tagline stylish and put it on clothing people actually want to wear.
- Use LinkedIn for DIY Public Relations. Post your press releases there as updates/stories.
- Think-outside-the-exhibit-hall to create buzz/memories at conferences
For this last takeaway, I shared my story of surprising a large group of conference attendees by paying for their morning Starbucks order. It didn’t cost very much (far less than the cost of exhibiting), created a lot of positive buzz, and resulted in several fruitful sales conversations.
Better B2B Social Media
Beth Friedman from Agency Ten22 (she has supported HITMC from Day 1…or more accurately Day -1) gave the Taste-of-HITMC audience useful tips on how to leverage social media for better public relations.
- Use hashtags, but don’t over do it.
- Don’t take shortcuts and post the exact same content on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
- Forge relationships with industry media by commenting on their posts
Friedman’s last takeaway had the attendees madly scribbling notes. Her idea was simple: comments on articles are barely used in 2019, so an easy way to stand out is to write a short comment on the articles written by editors/reporters that you want to get to know. They will be notified of your comment and when you post enough of them, they will recognize your name as a loyal reader. When you email them a story idea, they are more likely to be highly receptive.
Friedman, in fact, has received emails directly from writers and editors, thanking her for her comments.
Social Media Value, Growth and Metrics
The final presenter of Taste-of-HITMC was none other than John Lynn, the founder of HITMC Community. He shared 7 practical tactics for using social media.
- Be great on one social media platform instead of mediocre on many
- The best way to gain an audience is to be worth following
- Get your entire team to help your social media efforts
This last takeaway was particularly vexing for several members of audience. In particular there was a frustration with the lack of executive buy-in to engage on social media. It led to a lively discussion that resulted in two key realizations (1) Every marketer in the room had the same frustration; and (2) There is no magic bullet, you just have to be persistent.
While on her way in an Uber to Taste-of-HITMC, Stacy Goebel from Studio North was rear-ended and as a result she was unable to present her session. Thankfully she was okay, however, she had to take several days to rest and recover. We wish her a speedy recovery.
At the start of Taste-of-HITMC, we observed a moment of silence in memory of Stephen Outten, a Nashville native and member of the HITMC Community. Stephen passed away suddenly last year.
He was one of the most creative and prolific writers I have known. I will never forget his HITMC15 session on Shakespeare + Marketing and our conversations about science fiction/fantasy novels.