Author: Bonnie Harris

building a slack communitySlack is a team messaging app that has created a great deal of excitement since its release in February 2014. Those who use it love it, as shown in its high engagement rates. If you’re considering implementing Slack as part of your marketing efforts, here are some statistics courtesy of DMR. Slack currently has 3 million daily active users and is growing at a rate of 3% to 5% each week. Over 75% of Fortune 100 companies use Slack and there are over 60,000 teams on the platform. Users actively spend 140 minutes per weekday on Slack. There's no doubt that Slack's highly engaged user base is growing fast. The opportunities for marketers to use the app to build a Slack community are, obviously, huge. The team-orientation makes the platform a natural for building out your Slack community just like you would on LinkedIn or Google+. There are far fewer groups on Slack than there are on LinkedIn, so there’s little competition for getting new members. Of course you can just participate in relevant groups, but you’ll gain the greatest return by creating your own. Although creating a group on Slack is free, it does require some time and effort to build and sustain your community.

Choose Your Slack Community Topic

The first step to creating your community is deciding on a topic. Broad topics have the potential to attract the greatest number of people. So think about the type of community your target market would be interested in joining. If you’re targeting prospects and customers, make sure your theme is related to your product or service. If you’re creating a community to build thought leadership among your peers, focus on a subject in which they are interested.

Create Your Slack Community

Writer Karin Winegar explains why despite all these new messaging channels, the basics of good writing never change “Keep it short and make it sing,” my late editor told me at the big Midwest  newspaper when I started my job as a general assignment reporter. He’d had...

Affinio delivers behavioral marketing intelligence  “Market to people, not demographics.” That’s the premise behind Affinio marketing intelligence software. Understanding an audience’s interests and passions allows marketers to develop data-driven content that will resonate and generate interaction. Identifying the best channels to distribute and promote this content helps maximize its impact. Easy to explain yet notoriously difficult to accomplish, yet Affinio seems to help marketers execute this combination with more precision. It all starts with a report, currently generated using data from either a Twitter or Pinterest account. It’s apparent that Affinio relies on extremely heavy data processing to generate results and the data is intelligently displayed. Mousing over a particular piece of data offers a concise description of its significance, making it relatively easy to get acquainted with the various components of the software. Reports are divided into five sections; overview, members, interest, content, and monitor. The entire audience, in this case Twitter followers of @waxgirl333, is divided into eight different segments or tribes, based on interest and connectivity. The five sections previously mentioned apply both at a general level and for individual tribes. That allows you to drill down and see the same type of information at the lower level. This is great if you wish to target the interests of a particular group of followers. However, in this case we’ll use Affinio to take a bird’s eye view Overview Here we can see how tribes are connected, which ones are most active on Twitter, have shared interests and their degree of interconnectivity. Shared interests within a tribe is a percentage from 0 to 100 (higher is better) that helps pinpoint tribes that share common interests,  ideal for creating pieces of content aimed at those with specific interests. Interconnectivity is a percentage score where a higher number indicates a greater likelihood that people within the tribe know and follow each other. If you’re looking to network with your audience, focusing on tribes with high shared interest and interconnectivity is probably the most efficient route. Members The Members section provides a deeper understanding of some basic audience characteristics. It’s divided into six different subsections; profiles, locations, most liked, most retweeted, engagement and stream.

Profiles- This section shows images for the top 100 most relevant members to give you an idea of how they represent themselves visually. The top bio keywords this audience uses to describe themselves are also provided in a chart with bars that let you simultaneously see how other tribes use this term. The top categories of audience members and the devices they use to tweet from are also provided. Three different types of graphs are available for this data.

[caption id="attachment_12561" align="alignright" width="300"]ecommerce design Designer's desk with responsive web design concept.[/caption] The things that make a website great are somewhat debatable, but they all seem to fall under three categories: attributes, technology and organization. Under these three large umbrellas, there is a lot of room for creativity, passion and fun, all of which are important to get the consumer to click on the buy button.

Attributes of Great Design

The look and feel of a website is dependent on the attributes used. Content, typeface and color all fall under this category. There is a lot of distance between the viewer’s first look at your site and the actual purchase of your product. Although the quality of your products is important, it will take some time before the product is the item that your customers share across social media. Great writing and engaging pictures will draw in an audience from which to develop a marketing base. If you are not a brilliant writer, hire a freelancer to do it for you. Since you are selling a product online, images are one of your most important attributes. Your product pictures need to be high-quality, high-resolution images that are responsive to the device and needs of the user. You also need to be able to zoom, rotate and overlay pictures. If you are going to throw some money into your web design, put it towards your photography budget.

Technology That Works for You

Summer seems like it should be a slower time, and so I thought I would write about a skill that we all need to add more of - patience. Many people struggle with entrepreneurial impatience.  And that's not always a bad thing. It's often our sense of urgency that drives business growth in the first place, right? Plus, I think that part of the psychological makeup of many entrepreneurs is a minor case of ADD, or in my case, ADHD with an emphasis on the H. Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Dale Archer even called it an entrepreneur's "superpower" in a 2014 Forbes article.  Whether or not you have a diagnosis of ADD, impatience can often be fatal, particularly where marketing is concerned. entrepreneurial impatience We often try something once, or for a short time, and when there are no immediate results says “Well that doesn’t work.” It’s like lifting weights one day and expecting a tricep cut to develop overnight. I’m not suggesting that we all go out and spend a bajillion dollars on advertising. But I do think that in order for promotional tactics to work you have to learn to wait a bit. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if maybe your own sense of urgency has turned into a bad case of entrepreneurial impatience: 

customer experienceGetting your content to resonate with your audience depends to a large extent on the customer experience, in other words their journey to making a purchase. Prospects in the early stages of research have different needs than those that are closer to making a decision. Creating content that gets noticed isn’t just about finding the right keywords. Although some content marketers place a significant amount of emphasis on the search for high-volume keywords, that approach is short-sighted. Top-of-the-funnel generic keywords are bound to have greater search volume than those used for specific situations. For example, there will be more searches for “productivity widgets” than “productivity widget integration ISO 9000.” Yet, there may be a strategic reason for creating more content that addresses the needs of those lower volume searches. More on that in a moment. Despite all the "fancy" customer experience stuff out there, people always have and always will follow five basic steps; problem resolution, information gathering, solution evaluation, purchase, post-purchase behavior. The names may have changed, but the song remains the same. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, people experience problems, look for solutions, figure out their best alternative, buy what they believe is the right choice, and engage in some sort of post-purchase interaction. [Tweet "Stop chasing keywords and align your content with the customer experience. "] Stop chasing keywords and align your content with the customer experience. Google handles trillions of searches per year and a good portion them are unique. If you can’t guess those keywords or their search volume, it’s tough to execute a keyword-oriented content strategy efficiently. However, if you are empathetic to your customer and their experience, creating content that meets their needs is far easier. Let’s borrow a concept from the world of growth hackers and startups.