Simon Cholmeley and I were thrilled to be invited to speak at the Microsoft Platinum Partner Summit 2015 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, last week.
A wonderful opportunity to share our learnings on the content marketing landscape in Asia with Microsoft’s partners, we also took the opportunity to link the message to something absolutely critical for brands to succeed – personal branding.
Convinced the two topics have never appeared on the same platform before (anyone know different?), we have a very clear philosophy – for content marketing to succeed and become the core of business today, personal branding is critical to its success. One cannot exist without the other if brands want to harness the new marketing, so ensuring your employees are inspired to become advocates for your brand is how to succeed in today’s world – because company’s don’t speak, people do.
Another core focus area of the presentation was helping the audience find their ’Ten Percent’ (i.e. a simple starting point). Content marketing can appear overwhelming to companies at the beginning, so identifying how to begin the process will get your business moving and embracing this new world of marketing.
For content marketing, Simon and I encouraged the partners to embrace the following as their ‘Ten Percent’:
- Focus on your LinkedIn company page as a priority and share great content on the site – relevant to your business, but it doesn’t need to be your content. It just needs to be content relevant to your customers. The majority of businesses today are still sharing too much information about them and not information relevant to their customers – especially on LinkedIn company pages. It’s a balance, but the majority of content MUST be about/for the customer
- Assess Facebook as an equally relevant option. In Asia, countries like the Philippines and Indonesia have completely embraced Facebook, so is this a better investment for your brand, especially if you target small to medium businesses? All content amplification/channels must be considered based on where your customers are and not where you want to be – is it Facebook, LinkedIn, or somewhere else?
- Twitter is a priority and it must be factored into the social strategy. How can the business utilise this tool and how can your employees on Twitter be brought into your content strategy as brand advocates?
- Identify your top-10 customer questions and answer them – this will give you three months of content – at least. All content created from this can be developed into multiple formats – blogs, opinion articles, white papers, presentations, infographics, videos, etc…
- Harness the information assets your community and partners create for you – in this case we discussed Microsoft’s content curation platform, but the critical goal for all businesses is to package existing content and feed it to your employees/partners for easy social sharing
For personal branding, these are the key next steps:
- Update your LinkedIn profile, utilising all of the new possibilities the platform offers – the banner, a professional profile picture, and ensure your summary tells a story. Tell a story with your title as well (it doesn’t need to be your job title), get recommendations (by giving them), join groups, follow influencers and companies, etc… Many business executives have not moved on with LinkedIn. It is no longer a recruitment/job search tool, it is a phenomenal content resource, so being more active and supportive of your community on LinkedIn is how you harness this wonderful business tool
- Get on Twitter and ensure you include a banner image, professional photo (no eggs), write your bio, find and subscribe to lists, follow team members and participate
- Commit to a content sharing goal – one a day, three a day, once a month – it’s not important how often, it’s important you’re consistent
- Where do you find information? Apart from your company’s content, identify one-to-three reliable sites, and it can be anywhere – LinkedIn, Facebook, News sites, company blogs, partners sites, etc… Find great information resources that deliver great information and support who you want to be known as – a leader, a marketing guru, a sales excellence leader, a technology visionary, etc… Define who you are and find information resources to support that vision
- Start blogging (on LinkedIn at least) – again, write on the top-10 things your customer’s care about. If you have a company blog, ensure you publish it twice – on LinkedIn and your company page (as I’ve done with this blog, it originally appeared on Novus Asia) – because it links customers back to your company Website. LinkedIn blogs are flagged to your followers, so don’t miss the opportunity to influence more customers and get their attention. Blogging is not easy and it takes time to build credibility, so start and keep going
- Be the change you want to see in your business – as a business leader, you need to demonstrate to your employees your commitment to social sharing and brand advocacy. If you’re not doing it, you can’t expect your team to do it. Here’s some numbers – there are 347 million business professionals on LinkedIn – and that includes your customers. This means half of all professionals on the planet are on LinkedIn. Can you afford to let your competition influence them if you are not? The other critical point is social sellers create 45% more opportunities per quarter and are 51% more likely to hit quota than those not on social media. This is important today
Content marketing and personal branding are big topics and it was a wonderful opportunity presenting on both together at the Microsoft Platinum Partner Summit 2015. We were very grateful to Microsoft for providing us with this opportunity.
Need help with your ‘Ten Percent’ or inspiring your teams to become advocates for your brand? Get in touch. I love this stuff.
PS: Chris and Nicki, thanks for the Twitter love.