Build Your 2024 Content Calendar: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Your content calendar is one of the most important building blocks of your marketing plan. By
creating eye-catching content, you can inform your audience, position your brand as a thought leader, and boost SEO. 

But, you might be wondering how to even get started.

Building a content calendar is easier said than done; we know. When you have the right tools, though, it’s really not as difficult as it sounds. In just a few steps, you can plan content for your full year to ensure that you’re connecting with your audience consistently through blogs, email, social media, and other content-related channels. To get you started, we’re sharing this step-by-step guide to building your 2024 content calendar. 

 

How to Build a Content Calendar in 7 Simple Steps

 
1. Identify the types of content you need. 

Before you begin, identify the different channels that you’ll be writing content for. This might include blogging, social media, email marketing, podcasts, or webinars. Any channel that you need to be posting on consistently will need its own calendar. 

Pro tip: Build your content calendar in a spreadsheet, using a new page for each type of content. For example, the first page might be blogging, the second social media, the third email marketing, so on, and so forth. 

 
2. Set a schedule for each type of content. 

Set a schedule for each type of content so that your content team knows when each topic should go out. This will also help you determine how many topics you need for each type of content. Your different channels will all have a set cadence. Maybe you put out one blog a week, one podcast episode every two weeks, and an email every month. Choose a schedule that works best for your audience and your workflow, and try to stick to that schedule as closely as possible.

 
3. Identify your audience’s pain points. 

Your content really needs to grab the attention of your audience. You have a better chance of doing that if you key into a challenge that they are looking to solve. As an example, your pain point might be that you are ready to build a content calendar but aren’t sure where to begin. That’s how we chose this topic—we know that our audience might struggle at times to map out consistent content. 

 
4. Research your competitors’ content. 

Researching your competitors’ content is not to suggest that you should use the topics that your competitors write about. Rather, you should see the types of content that they share with their audience. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you must be aware of what your competitors are offering to prospects. Create a content calendar that is very much unique to your company; but, always research competing sites to ensure that you aren’t dropping the ball on any major stressors that your audience might face.

 
5. Identify the keywords you’re hoping to rank for. 

Using tools like SEMrush allow you to identify keywords that you want to target, increasing your chances of rising to the top of search engine results. By identifying keywords early in your content planning process, you can implement said keywords into your topic ideas.

 
6. Create topics for each channel. 

Now for the fun part. Begin building your content calendar piece by piece for each channel. We find it most helpful to map out our idea, the description, and target keywords for each topic. With this approach, you can easily delegate these topics to your content experts, and they will understand the direction and purpose of each piece.

 
7. Cross-reference your topics between channels. 

To make the most of your time and efforts, cross-reference your topics to repurpose as much as you can. For example, if you’ve written a blog article topic that would be great for a podcast episode, you can tweak the topic to fit your podcast audience.

Keep in mind that your audience consumes content differently depending on where they’re getting information. If you are writing a blog article about “10 Things to Know About X,” your podcast audience might prefer the topic to be presented in less of a listicle format and more of a thoughtful discussion. 

 

The Importance of Timely Content

Though it’s good practice to begin your year with a content calendar, remember that it isn’t set in stone. There will be events that happen in your industry, or even just out in the world, that will cause you to adjust your calendar accordingly.  A content calendar is a great planning tool, but you should always leave room for change. 

Would you prefer that a content marketing team helped you stay connected to your audience? We can help. Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

The New Word of Mouth Marketing: Unleashing the Potential of User-Generated Content

Word of mouth has always been one of the most popular and reliable referral tools. However, in today’s digital age, we can quickly access information about any product or service with a quick online search. What’s the best air fryer for a large family? How should I style my new shoes? What’s the best beach to visit for summer vacation? All the answers are just a search engine query away.

Yet, with all this knowledge at our fingertips, research still shows that we are more likely to make a purchase if it is recommended by a friend, a family member, or another person we trust.

Brands have found a way to create word-of-mouth referrals in an online environment through user-generated content marketing (UGC). The ever-increasing popularity of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, among others, has positioned user-generated content as a pivotal force in the future of social media. Read on to discover why your brand should implement a strategy for finding and sharing user-generated marketing content and how to achieve success.

Benefits of User-Generated Marketing Content

Increase Engagement and Reach

By creating user-generated content—such as unboxing videos, testimonials, or product reviews—real customers can actively engage with a brand rather than just being a spectator on the sidelines. UCG can also work to create a community around the brand as enthusiasts react and comment on the shared authentic content. Brands should also be active participants in the conversation by responding to posts in a meaningful way.

Showcase Authenticity

Today’s consumers are smart. They can tell when content is genuine and when it is fabricated.  93 percent of marketers agree that consumers are more likely to trust content created by customers instead of content created by a brand. Honest content created by real people, like your employees, customers, and brand ambassadors, will become your brand’s modern-day word-of-mouth marketing. 

Save on Costs

User-generated content is much more cost-effective than partnering with an influencer and can have better results! Depending on the influencer, hiring one could cost millions of dollars. However, sourcing and sharing user-generated content is much more cost-effective. For instance, if you run a campaign that offers prizes for creating content about your brand, your time and financial investment will be lessened since the ideation, creation, and execution will be done by your audience. 

Increase Conversions

User-generated content offers a way to get authentic endorsements from real people, which will go a long way, with 50 percent of millennials relying on recommendations from family and friends before making a purchase. The content acts as social proof that your product or service meets or exceeds expectations while allowing potential customers to see their contacts engaging with your brand.

What’s also noteworthy is how seamlessly user-generated content works with social commerce. Social commerce refers to purchases made directly from social media apps. Nearly 80 percent of people say that user-generated content influences their purchase decisions. User-generated content creates a natural funnel for customers to move from viewing favorable reviews to purchasing the product, all without ever leaving their social feed.

Best Practices for User-Generated Marking Content 

Share the Content

One of the best ways to encourage user-generated content is to share it! Uncover UGC by searching hashtags and finding content that mentions your brand. You can also ask your customers to share their experiences with your product or service through a giveaway, contest, or campaign. Some brands even creatively include the request on their packaging.

Whatever way you choose to gather content, be sure to share it! Doing so encourages a sense of community and motivates others to create content, too—opening the door to unlimited, authentic content.

Always Ask Permission

Yes, share the content, but before you do, be sure to get approval from the original creator, letting them know you will give them credit when you share. Usually, customers will be thrilled to be featured, but checking first helps establish a trustworthy relationship. Plus, it keeps you out of hot water with customers who don’t want their content shared. 

Embrace Diversity

Millennials and Gen Z expect the brands they support to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. Sharing user-generated content on social media allows you to do just that. Employees, customers, and brand ambassadors all come from different backgrounds, races, religions, genders, geographic areas, and experiences. While it could be complex to showcase a vast range of diversity in a traditional marketing campaign, sharing user-generated content makes it feasible for your brand to represent all of its enthusiasts.

Partner with a Marketing Agency

There are many moving parts to developing and implementing a successful social media strategy. It’s an essential aspect of marketing your business, but giving it the proper attention needed for success can be difficult. That’s why our team is here. Green Apple can work alongside you to seamlessly provide the help you need. We’ll strategize and implement, as well as measure results, optimize your ROI, and scale as you grow. Reach out to learn more about how we can help boost your brand.

How To Hone Your Social Media Strategy

Social media is a powerful marketing tool, but it can be challenging to plan and execute successfully. Because there are so many different platforms with changing algorithms, it can be a challenge to make content choices that resonate with your audience. Although it may seem complex, the best practices of content creation also apply to social media. In this blog, we wanted to get back to basics, reminding you of the simple but effective way you can cut through the noise and consistently engage your audience. 

 

Define Your Target Audience

If your content doesn’t resonate with your audience, it’s missing the mark. But the best way to determine what might increase follows, clicks, and shares is to have a solid concept of who your audience is. Your target audience is the group of people most likely to be interested in your product or service. Take a moment to clarify who that is. If you’re working with a marketing agency, they should be able to tell you who is most interested in your brand, including demographic features like geographic location, income bracket, and interests. With this information in hand, you can tailor your content more accurately to address the needs of your potential customers. 

 

Figure Out Where Your Audience Is 

Defining your target audience will also help you to know which social media platforms to focus on. If your audience is on TikTok, posting on LinkedIn won’t reach them. Determine the platforms your clients and customers prefer before creating content for them. Defining your target audience will also help you to know which social media platforms to focus on. If you’re feeling a little confused about how to determine this, our recent blog can help you identify which platforms are right for your business.

 

Create Engaging Content 

When it comes to creating engaging content, let your target audience, brand goals, messaging, and brand voice help guide you. Varying content to include infographics, photos, and videos is essential. It can be easy to get carried away, investing in content or formats that don’t resonate with your audience. Remember to engage in self-reflection to accurately assess your approach. What might grab someone’s attention? Don’t be afraid to conduct research on competitors or other accounts your audience is following. Other brands and influencers can give you creative ideas about how to effectively present your content. There are dozens of social media marketing tools that can help you organize ideas, strategize, create images, post content, and measure results. Take a look at this blog to read about the five tools we’ve come to rely on over the years.

 

Identify Your Benchmarks and Goals

Katie Shayotovich, one of Green Apple’s Marketing Strategists, always makes it a priority to research and identify industry benchmarks for each client she manages. 

“Looking up benchmarks for your industry can help you understand if your engagements and impressions are hitting the mark. For example, here are higher education benchmarks for 2023. These benchmarks can help a brand determine what their realistic goals should be and help strategize content ideas.”

It’s important to set goals and strategic pillars for your content, and accurate benchmarks can help you set realistic and achievable social media goals. These goals can then help you assess how content is performing. Part of your goals should also be deciding what you want prospects to do when they interact with your social media presence. Do you want to build brand awareness? Drive them to the website? Fill out a contact form? Share your content and increase your social media reach? What helps you turn a lead into a customer? The answer will be different for every organization.  

 

Review Analytics Monthly 

Take a step back and look at the analytics. Longitudinal data from previous months or years will equip you with meaningful insights that can guide your future content creation. Understand what performed best and adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Determine how often you want to assess your reports for actionable data. We recommend reviewing reports monthly, but you can also check your analytics throughout the month as needed, especially if you notice a large spike or drop in engagement. If you’re brand new to social media reporting, this analytics template is a great starting point. But don’t get too caught up in the granular, shifting details. Instead, take a holistic viewpoint when it comes to assessing data. 

“These days, the follower count doesn’t matter as much. Growing your followers is important, but it doesn’t determine an account’s success. This is a common misconception I run across often. When reviewing analytics, your community and engagement numbers are more important and a better way to determine how engaged your audience is,” Strategist Katie Shayotovich explains.   

She also recommends conducting an in-depth quarterly digital marketing audit to identify opportunities that can keep your brand even further ahead of the curve. 

 

Let Us Help You With Your Social Media Strategy

Honing your social media strategy is an ongoing process that requires adaptability and a deep understanding of your audience.  If you need some guidance and support from marketing and PR experts, we’d love to help you set and reach social media goals that can move the needle on your brand recognition. Reach out any time to start the conversation. 

Sleighing Social Media: How to Keep the Spirit Alive During the Holidays 

The holiday season is a time when social media comes alive with festive cheer. Businesses are vying for attention while also trying to capture the holiday spirit. If done well, holiday marketing on social media can be some of the most valuable content you produce. 

We’re here to guide you through some simple yet highly effective ways to enhance your social media efforts during the holidays. Read on for some tips to capture the festive spirit and give your brand a competitive edge in your social media posts. 

Create a Holiday-Themed Content Calendar

Planning in advance is key to successful holiday marketing. Create a holiday-themed content calendar for the days, weeks, or months you want to focus on, and plan a number of posts to celebrate the season. Not only does a content calendar help you stay organized and consistent, but it’s particularly helpful in planning ahead during a season when many of your employees are taking time off. 

Ensure you’re utilizing the right social media marketing tools to help guide your strategy toward success. 

Drop the Hard Sell Approach

We know the holiday season is an opportunity for many businesses to boost sales, but there’s more to it than just pushing products. Take a step back to think about how you can soft-sell your product during this season. Here are a few ideas:

  • Share user-generated content 
  • Share stories about your team members or any holiday traditions at your company
  • Share customer stories, testimonials, and reviews
  • Take a conversational approach

By focusing on meaningful non-sales content, you can make an impact and build a deeper connection with your audience, giving your brand greater resonance even after the holidays.

Be Inclusive of All Holidays 

There are billions of people on social media, all with different beliefs, traditions, and customs. By showcasing your awareness of this fact, you can appeal to a much larger audience and show current and potential customers that you’re an inclusive company. Add all of the upcoming holidays to your content calendar and embrace the spirit of the season through the beauty of diversity and inclusivity!

Design Gift Guides and Highlight Gift Ideas

Instagram is a popular social media platform for holiday marketing because of its visual nature. You can enhance the visibility of your best deals, promos, and events by showcasing them in your bio links and highlighting them in shoppable posts. Create content that focuses on gift ideas or holiday shopping guides relevant to your products or services. 

Showcase a Charity or Nonprofit Organization

Share the love this holiday season and showcase a cause you and your audience care about. Shine the spotlight on the nonprofits you support by sharing photos and videos of your team volunteering and infographics about the organization’s impact. Don’t forget to tag the nonprofit on all platforms for additional organic reach! 

Engage Your Audience

Social media platforms offer a variety of engagement features you can use to help show your brand’s personality. Organize fun and engaging contests or giveaways, or schedule holiday-themed polls, questions, and quizzes on your stories to encourage user participation. Infuse a little joy, playfulness, and holiday spirit into your content, and your audience will respond positively. 

Share User Generated Content

User-generated content is a great tool to boost interaction and build an authentic connection with your audience. It also doesn’t take much legwork. Repost or retweet user-generated content that showcases your product or service being used during the holidays. If you don’t have much user-generated content to choose from, ask followers to share their holiday stories, photos, or ideas related to your product or service. This is a great way to build a library of content that you can use all year long! 

Collaborate with Influencers

Incorporating influencers in a planned holiday campaign could help you reach a wider or even untapped audience. Influencer marketing is a proven and reliable method for generating brand awareness year-round. According to a Q3 Sprout pulse survey, 89% of marketers agree influencer marketing impacts their brand awareness. The authentic content micro-influencers (influencers with 10,000–100,000 followers) are known to produce is just one benefit of working with them.  

Analyze and Adjust 

Take a step back and look at the analytics. Your data from the previous holiday season can equip you with meaningful insights that guide your future content. Understand what performed best and adjust your strategy accordingly. A thorough analysis can help you plan for seasonal content for next year and beyond. 

Let Us Help You Reach Your Goals

At Green Apple, we help our clients build effective campaigns for the holiday season and all year round. If you need some guidance and support from marketing and PR experts, we’d love to discuss your goals and figure out how we can help you reach them. Contact us anytime to start the conversation. You can also subscribe to The Core, our monthly newsletter, to get the latest marketing insights and inspiration delivered directly to your inbox. Happy holidays and happy social media marketing!

5 Tools to Manage Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media has become the cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy in an increasingly digital world. But with the ever-evolving landscape of platforms, algorithms, and user behaviors, staying on top of the trends is overwhelming. At the same time, managing requests from team members and finding the right balance between helpful and sales-oriented content can feel like an unwinnable battle. The good news? There are dozens of social media marketing tools that can help you organize ideas, strategize, create images, post content, and measure results. The challenge is identifying the right mix of tools without wasting time or resources.
 

5 Tools to Manage Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

How can you embrace the right content marketing tools that will help you guide your social media strategy toward success, efficiency, and meaningful connections with your target audience? After simultaneously managing social media for numerous clients over the years, here are a few of the tools we rely on daily:
   

1. Sprout Social

Sprout Social has been our go-to social media management platform for years because it offers a wide range of functionalities that empower us to optimize social media strategies for our clients. Its intuitive scheduling and publishing capabilities allow users to plan, create, and schedule content across multiple platforms, saving valuable time and ensuring consistent messaging. The platform’s robust analytics and reporting features provide in-depth insights into audience engagement, allowing businesses to track their performance, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions. It also offers social listening capabilities that let you monitor brand mentions, engage with your audience, and stay on top of industry conversations.

2. Airtable

Planning is a critical part of social media success. Airtable is a tool that has enhanced our ability to organize ideas and collaborate around social media campaigns. From content calendars and campaign planning to tracking engagement metrics and influencer partnerships, Airtable enables you to centralize all of your ideas and streamline workflows.
 

3. Canva

Images and visuals have become increasingly important in social media content. Social infographics are one of the most effective types of social content we create for our clients. Canva is a content marketing tool that allows us to create compelling, professional graphics in a short amount of time. With its vast library of templates, graphics, fonts, and images, Canva offers endless creative possibilities to design captivating posts, banners, infographics, and more. It also allows you to build consistent branding across your social media platforms — which is incredibly valuable for brands who don’t have the budget to hire a professional designer.
  

4. Neontools Hashtag Analyzer

Using hashtags in your social media posts is a proven way to increase engagement. In fact, including just one hashtag on a post on Instagram can generate 29% more interactions. LinkedIn also has a feature where you can see which hashtags are trending in your network. But how do you know which hashtags will generate the most impressions and engagement? Neontool’s Hashtag Analyzer offers in-depth analysis and evaluation of hashtags, providing users with valuable information such as popularity, competition, and reach potential. By understanding these metrics, businesses can make informed decisions when selecting the most relevant and effective hashtags for their content, increasing visibility and reach among their target audience.

5. CapCut

For the past several years, we’ve been actively exploring how businesses can use TikTok for marketing after the platform’s meteoric rise in popularity. Keeping up with the demand to create engaging videos is a challenge many businesses face with the platform. With its powerful video editing capabilities, CapCut provides a way to create compelling video content that stands out, drives engagement, and boosts your overall social media strategy. The tool offers a wide range of editing options and an extensive library of royalty-free music and sound effects, enabling businesses to add a personalized touch to their videos.

Let Us Help You Stay Informed About the Tools You Need 

At Green Apple, we recognize you don’t have the time (or even the interest) to keep up-to-date on the latest marketing tools. We believe part of our responsibility as a marketing agency is to equip you with the essential information you should know. The Core, our monthly newsletter, is the best way to stay informed about the latest essential marketing insights. You can sign up here!

How Businesses Can Use TikTok for Marketing

Photo of a phone on TikTok's TikTok profile on the screen

There’s no denying that TikTok has become the social media platform that’s garnished the most attention within the past couple of years. And it looks like it will continue to be one of the B2B social media trends in 2023 that businesses should consider. Whether you personally love it or hate it, business leaders and marketers are wrestling with the question, “Does our company need to be on TikTok?” 

As with any social media platform, investing in TikTok for marketing really comes down to whether it can help you reach and cultivate relationships with your potential customers. It’s also important to note that TikTok will continue to change and evolve as more innovations roll out, so you’ll have to stay updated on the changes to this platform.

4 Ways Businesses Can Use TikTok for Marketing

As we’ve worked alongside clients to determine how they can use TikTok for marketing, we’ve found a few helpful tactics that seem to work best for businesses. If you’re looking for a way to leverage TikTok for your brand, here are a few ideas to consider based on the latest trends: 

1. Post Educational Content 

TikTok can be a great way to educate current and potential customers with helpful insights about your products, services, or industry. According to Vidyard’s 2021 Video Benchmarks report, the most common types of business videos are product demos, followed by how-tos and explainers. Because of its visual nature, TikTok provides a way for you to create informational videos at a relatively low cost. You don’t have to invest in expensive cameras or editing software if you have someone with an engaging personality who is good at keeping people’s attention and teaching your audience. 

2. Find Your Target Audience 

One of the unique features of TikTok is the subcultures and threads that have been created around specific industries and areas of interest. For example, #BookTok and #MoneyTok are two distinct subcultures that make it easy for users to connect with like-minded people who share their interests and passions. One of the best ways to reach new customers on TikTok might be to invest time in developing a presence in a particular subculture that aligns with your business or industry. 

3. Invest in Influencer Marketing 

Sometimes the best TikTok strategy isn’t creating your own content but instead partnering with influencers who have already built an audience. The platform has proven to be a creative incubator for rising thought leaders and industry influencers. If you recognize that there is potential in reaching your target audience on TikTok, but you don’t have the time or resources to launch your own channel, it’s worth exploring how to identify and connect with influencers to promote your brand.  

4. Share “Behind-the-Scenes” Content 

In addition to providing the opportunity to educate customers, TikTok is also a social media platform that can humanize your brand. While every social media platform was created to help humans connect with one another, content that businesses create for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can still feel very corporate and sterile. In many ways, TikTok opens the door to reconnecting with your audience in a way that feels authentic and not overly formal. You might consider sharing “behind the scenes” content for your brand or creating a “day in the life” video that features an employee. You can also collaborate with current customers or community members to feature their videos on your profile.

Social Media Best Practices when Using TikTok for Marketing

As with any social media platform, it’s important to understand what makes marketing on TikTok effective. Here are a few basic best practices to follow when creating videos for TikTok: 

1. Make sure your content is authentic and represents your brand.

Becoming a thought leader in your industry requires authenticity and approachability, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Humorous, light, fun content works really well on TikTok. 

2. Engage with your followers so they feel valued. 

One way to increase engagement is to interact with your audience directly on the platform. People love to feel valued and heard.

3. Use data to consistently evaluate your investment

While you may not experience instant success, it’s important to always ask yourself, “Is this helping us work towards our larger marketing goals and objectives?” Asking the right questions to evaluate your social media content is an important way to make sure you’re maximizing your ROI.  

4. Test often to see what works and what doesn’t. 

You may be surprised by which ideas work and which ones fall flat. Don’t be afraid to experiment. 

While we don’t recommend TikTok to every client, it might be the best way for your business to get outside of your comfort zone this year. Once you’re ready to dive in, don’t forget to use TikTok Analytics to evaluate the success of your social media strategy and identify the type of content that can get you the greatest results.

B2B Social Media Trends for 2023

Phone with Instagram Aanalytics on the Screen

B2B marketing is often a complex and complicated practice. This can especially be true when it comes to social media. As the social media landscape has evolved over the years, B2B marketers have to determine which social media approaches  to implement and which to leave out. As we look towards 2023, B2B marketers will still need wisdom when it comes to deciding how to use social media to connect with customers.

Before we get into the trends, it’s important to remember a key principle: Consider social media marketing trends carefully and identify the best platforms to engage customers and foster customer relationships. Does your company need TikTok? Maybe. You should only be on a platform if it helps you connect with your customers. 

Here are a few social media trends for 2023 to be mindful of: 

Trend #1: User-generated content continues to produce engagement. 

Sharing content from customers or followers has become an increasingly popular tactic because of social media’s increasing role in cross-channel B2B marketing. This content is known as user-generated content (UGC). Currently, 85% of consumers find UGC more influential than branded content. This includes testimonials, case studies, reviews, or other assets produced by your customers. 

So how do you go about obtaining and sharing user-generated content? Here are a few ideas for reaching out for testimonials or content ideas from customers. 

Trend #2: Find creative and unique ways to partner with influencers.

One of the biggest B2C trends that made its way into B2B successfully has been influencer marketing. But identifying the right influencers to partner with is essential. The good news, especially for B2B marketers, is that you don’t need to find an influencer with millions of followers. Instead, consider the voices in your industry that customers trust. Don’t discount the importance of micro-influencers.

Trend #3: Continue to create shorter, more visual content. 

The average human has an attention span of just 8.25 seconds, according to recent studies – 4.25 seconds less than it was in 2000. This is evident if you take one look at your social media feeds. 

At Green Apple, we’ve been exploring ways to create shorter, more visual content for our clients. The social infographics we’ve created have generated significant increases in reach and engagement. 

Trend #4: Be strategic with your social advertising budget.

As attention on social platforms becomes increasingly competitive, paid advertising will play a more significant role in B2B social media marketing in 2023. According to recent studies, 84% of B2B marketers use paid social for their content marketing efforts.

Most businesses still have a limited social media advertising budget, so it’s important to invest your money wisely. The good news is that you can be incredibly targeted with your ad spend on popular B2B platforms. As you advertise on platforms like LinkedIn, be sure to use targeted ads based on data like location, industry, company, and job title.

Trend #5: Focus on metrics that matter. 

Measuring social media efforts has always been important, but determining the true impact of social media is key. Measuring the right metrics is key. In addition to tracking metrics such as follower growth, engagement, and reach—consider the more qualitative insights such as relationships that have been developed or customers that have been served through social media. 

New B2B social media marketing trends surface every year. Some trends have been there for a long time but have evolved. As a B2B marketer, you need to be prepared and ready to adapt to new changes in your industry. Hopefully, this post helps you get up to speed!

How to use SEO Best Practices to Get More YouTube Views

Video is no longer just another tactic to help you get the most out of your content marketing. It has become an absolute must if you’re serious about getting your product or service in front of the right people. According to a recent Hubspot report, video was the most commonly used form of content marketing in 2021, overtaking blogs and infographics.  However, simply creating videos doesn’t mean your customers will find or watch them. Developing a strategy to increase YouTube views is just as important as creating videos. This is where understanding YouTube SEO best practices come in handy. YouTube SEO, as the name suggests, is optimizing your videos to rank higher on the YouTube search engine. 

4 SEO Tips to Get More YouTube Views

If you’re looking for a way to increase your YouTube views, here are four SEO best practices as you add and upload your videos:
1. Incorporate Keywords Strategically
Keywords play a valuable role in any SEO campaign. Whether you’re optimizing your website or uploading videos, identifying the right SEO keywords for your business is the first step. When it comes to YouTube, there are several places you want to strategically incorporate keywords for your videos. You want to include your keyword in the video title, description, tags, and file name. It’s helpful to identify one or two main words that describe your video and feature them prominently in your description and title.
2. Add a Custom Thumbnail Image, Cards, and End Screens to Your Video 
The video itself also plays a key role in SEO for YouTube. A custom thumbnail image for your video can make a drastic difference in the click-through rate.  Cards and end screens are also helpful images to create and add to your video. YouTube cards are preformatted notifications that encourage people to take desired actions during your video. End screens appear after a video finishes and tell a viewer what they can do next. Both cards and end screens can optimize the viewing experience and encourage viewers to watch another video or take further action when they’ve finished.
3. Use Subtitles in Your Video
Using subtitles and closed captions is another tip for success in YouTube search. Both subtitles and closed-caption files contain the text from the video in a transcript. This is where using keywords while talking is important. By including keywords in your video and adding subtitles, you’re able to reach our audience and increase your rankings. Make sure you provide accurate captions and subtitles and don’t indulge in keyword stuffing.
4. Creating Engagement and Ask for Comments to Increase Rankings
Engagement is one of the biggest factors in your video rankings. Comments on videos also appear to be an influential ranking factor. As you create your videos, consider how you might ask for feedback or comments. Another thing you can do to increase engagement is directly replying to comments on your videos. Responding and creating a dialogue will help you create a community from the ground up.  All these components may seem a bit complicated, but they’re incredibly easy to deploy. Remember: there’s a huge audience on YouTube, and when you optimize your videos for YouTube, you also increase your chances of your brand reaching your target demographic. Discover our unique approach to helping small businesses optimize their SEO efforts through Green Apple’s SEO Silo.

7 Ways to Elevate Your Personal LinkedIn Profile

There’s no denying that LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social media platforms for marketers and business development professionals. If you’re a B2B brand, LinkedIn is no longer an optional platform. With more than 310 million monthly active users, it’s becoming harder to cut through the noise. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of time or energy to elevate your personal LinkedIn profile. 

7 Ways to Elevate Your Personal LinkedIn Profile

Taking the time to encourage employees to optimize their personal LinkedIn profiles can make a tremendous difference for your company. As we’ve helped clients optimize LinkedIn as a marketing tool, here are a few tactics we encourage them to pass along to their employees:   
  1. Create a Compelling Headline
LinkedIn provides an opportunity for people to quickly explain what they do at the top of their profile. While most people use this as another way to highlight their job title, it can be a quick and easy way to boost your profile’s impact. Think about your headline as a way to explain your current role, what it means to you, and how you could help someone who might be visiting your profile. 
  1. Focus on your Impact in your Descriptions
Your description is often the second place people look to learn more about you. This is another opportunity to be intentional about capturing attention. Rather than summarizing your resume, think about what people might want to know. How have you made an impact in your industry? What are some specific ways you help people? Answering these questions in your description is a great way to make your profile stand out from the general descriptions that most people write. 
  1. ​​Regularly Post Engaging Content 
LinkedIn marketing requires consistency, creativity, and originality. Take a look at your LinkedIn home page and evaluate the posts that receive the most engagement. Most likely, it’s an interesting mix of helpful insights, personal updates, and engaging questions. While you don’t need to post on LinkedIn every day, it’s important to share updates if you want to maintain a high engagement rate on LinkedIn.
  1. Add Awards or Accomplishments
Bragging on social media can sometimes get a bad rap. But taking time to highlight your awards or accomplishments can be an effective marketing tactic, especially for sales professionals. You want your prospects to know that you’re capable of getting them the results they’re looking for. LinkedIn provides a natural place for you to highlight your awards and accomplishments without seeming overly boastful. 
  1. Ask for Recommendations 
Recommendations are key to making your LinkedIn profile stand out. Employers and potential business partners want to know that you have a positive reputation and that others have benefited from your work. Think of one or two customers who might validate your work and ask them to write a quick recommendation. Consider writing on their profile to help them out as well. 
  1. Strategically Use Hashtags to Expand Your Reach 
Hashtags are a completely underused feature of Linkedin. These short phrases do more than summarize what your particular post is about. They’re also a way to connect with other people who are interested in that topic. Best practices say to use about three to five hashtags per LinkedIn post and ensure they’re all relevant to the topic.
  1. Interact with Content in Your Industry
Are you following leaders in your industry? Keeping up with individuals who post thought-provoking content is a great way to discover and connect with others in your industry. It also enables you to stay on top of industry trends and share relevant information with other prospects. 

Leverage LinkedIn for Personal and Professional Growth

LinkedIn is a powerful sales and marketing tool that’s easy to use. If you’re looking for a way to optimize your profile or your employee’s profile, consider using LinkedIn’s Profile Level Meter to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your profile. Then, take some time to check out some lessons we learned from doubling Green Apple’s LinkedIn profile presence.

How to Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry

Climbers approaching mountaintop

Becoming a “thought leader” is an elusive goal that many business leaders and executives strive for. While some people may think of it as just another marketing buzzword, the reality of having a positive reputation for helping others with your knowledge and insight is important for every business leader.

We’ve been sharing content on thought leadership for years. The channels might have changed, but the opportunity to become a thought leader in your industry is just as possible today. 

Can Anyone Become a Thought Leader?

Before we dive into how to become a thought leader, let’s address a common misconception we hear from people: “I don’t have the time or connections to become a thought leader in the industry.”

While becoming a thought leader takes time and intentionality, the reality is that anyone can become a thought leader in their specific industry or niche. All you need is a willingness to do the work of codifying what you know and have the patience to build momentum over time.

4 Best Practices to Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry

So how do you become a thought leader? Here are a few simple best practices we encourage our clients to consider: 

  1. Stick with Your Message

The most effective thought leaders are known because they stick to a specific message. This makes it easier for people to discern what they do and why they’re doing it. Think about the key message you want to share, one that you would want to maintain as a consistent plumbline over the years. If you’re having trouble determining your unique message, you might want to consider the next point. 

  1. Discern Your Niche 

While you’re thinking about your brand, finish this sentence: The kind of presence I want to have when helping others is ____________________. The thought leaders who make the greatest impact are those who are committed to helping others achieve their goals. Think about what makes you unique and how you can leverage that as you develop your platform.

What’s your unique personality? Are you a generous encourager who wants to champion people in their work? Or are you a disrupter of the status quo who loves to challenge assumptions?

Are you better at providing long, drawn-out explanations? Or are you good at creating quick one-liners that get people thinking? Would you be open to speaking in public, or do you shrink at the idea?

Understanding your unique gifts and strengths will help you determine the way you build your thought leadership platform.

  1. Choose the Right Platform  

If you want to get the most out of your thought leadership content, it’s important to consider how your audience consumes what you share.  To create the greatest impact, you need to meet your audience on the channels they use (social, email, etc.) with the type of content they prefer (written, audio, video). Don’t be afraid to use a mix of platforms and content types as you’re discerning this. The level of engagement you see can help you discern where your audience is and how they prefer to interact with your brand. 

  1. Share Genuine, Authentic Reflections

The thought leaders we celebrate most aren’t the ones who know it all, but the ones who show us they’re human and that they care. As you consider what to share, don’t be afraid to show your humanity by highlighting mistakes you’ve made and lessons you’ve learned. 

  1. Embrace (Effective) Storytelling 

Storytelling should be at the heart of every piece of thought leadership content you create. Telling a story engages your audience by giving them a specific example with measurable stakes. Stories also help your audience understand how your company’s products and services could help them solve a problem. It’s important to tell stories your customers actually want to hear. If your audience can’t see themselves in your brand’s story, it won’t resonate with them.  

Position Your Brand as An Industry Leader 

When it comes to becoming a thought leader, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. However, these tips will help you develop a strategy you can use to reach more people. Any effort will be worth it as it gives you a chance to help others, build your audience and grow your business. For more help positioning your brand as an industry leader, reach out to us to schedule a strategy session.