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Welcome to Futureforth

We teach companies how to reach their people.

We are a social media strategy, digital marketing consultancy, and communications company based in Nashville. Our goal is to teach you inbound marketing, social media best practices, and everything you need to succeed with content marketing including your blog, email newsletter, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other favorite social networking platforms.

Don't have the time to produce content? We can help with that too.

The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Tag: social media

Psst, Blog Strategy Ahead...

Dave Delaney

Super secret blogging strategy

Psst, want to hear a secret? I have come up with a blogging strategy for businesses who wish to connect with their local communities. This is a simple way you can use your blog to network with fellow small business owners. Using this technique will also promote your people, which is essential in employee retention and growing a sound company culture. 

How does this sound to you?

Are you ready to have my secret strategy revealed? There is no cost to you. All you need is about twenty minutes. You can watch this video during your lunch break, in fact, I encourage it because it will leave you hungry. Ok, enough teasing from me. 

Check out my super secret five-step blog strategy

When you use this, please leave a comment. I would love to hear how it works for you.

Social Media Tips For Speakers

Dave Delaney

I am absolutely passionate about public speaking. I love the energy and feedback from the audience when I get to present. As I mentioned in a previous post, improv is a big reason why I love the stage — it's my happy place. The challenge for speakers is to find the next event. I struggle with this, too, but I have found social media to help in a great way.

I have noticed that while many keynote speakers excel on stage in front of an audience, they miss opportunities to use social media to market themselves. Speakers often don't have the time, resources or know-how to use social media and inbound marketing to promote their speaking.

Professional speakers need a solid online platform to point their audiences to, to promote their products and services and to share and find future speaking engagements. Social media and email marketing connects savvy speakers directly with their audiences long after their presentation has closed.

I recently sent a brief, unscientific survey to members of the National Speakers Association for their collective thoughts on how they use social media. The results revealed 78% use Facebook, 76% use Twitter, and 72% use YouTube. Interestingly, most feel unsatisfied with the results. I was also surprised to learn that only 72% use email marketing. In my opinion, email is the most important method because you own the list, unlike social networks that can flick a switch and suddenly lock you out.

The respondents from my survey shared their frustrations with using social media. The following are their main concerns and a few solutions that will help.

"It takes too much time."

Use Bufferapp.com to add a button in your browser, so you can quickly schedule any interesting articles online (including your own). You can also share your latest blog posts this way.

Use Twitter Advanced Search to search for terms like "call for speakers," and save the results. You can add a column with these results in Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to refer to frequently.

"Facebook ads don't work."

Creating a Facebook ad? Use your email newsletter subscriber list to create a Custom Audience. You can target your ad directly to the people you want to reach.

Instead of just Boosting a post on Facebook, target it specifically to a segment of people you want to reach. Be sure to include Facebook's tracking pixel on your site, so you can measure conversions.

"Too much noise and clutter."

Create Twitter and Facebook lists of people you want to stay in touch with. This helps you cut through the clutter. Use LinkedIn and Facebook Groups to keep in touch with peers.

"Things change too often."

Dealing with the pace of change is never easy. Social networks and related tools and services seem to change all the time. To stay on top of change, I recommend subscribing to sites like SocialMediaExaminer.com and Forbes.com/social-media.

Futureforth has recently started working with public speakers to help them with social media and inbound marketing. You can learn more at inboundspeakers.com.

Thank you to the following speakers for providing their insight: Linda Murray Bullard, John Morgan, Jason Luntz, John Haydon, Nicky Adinor, Richard Stiennon, Tod Maffin, Christopher Byrne, Jacqueline Wolven, Bill Cates, Brian Walter, Shep Hyken, Mark Davis, Monica Wofford, Scott Schwertly, Jan Freitag, Hugh Culver, and Dorie Clark.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean newspaper.

Monetizing Social Media with Rory Vaden

Dave Delaney

Have you wondered how to earn more money using social media marketing? Did you know that social media is the key to online business networking? Do you want to save time using social media? I answer these questions and more in the audio file below. 

I am thrilled to share my interview with New York Times best-selling author, Rory Vaden. Rory recently had me as a guest on his podcast, The Rory Vaden Show

Rory is the author of Take The Stairs and his most recent book, Procrastinate on Purpose. Both are fantastic business books written for entrepreneurs. I highly recommend you check them both out. 

Press Play or Download Below

Let’s spend thirty minutes together. Press play or download the episode to listen on your commute or at the gym later. Be sure to subscribe to Rory’s excellent podcast too. 

Please leave a comment with your thoughts or questions about the interview. 

The Guide to Photo and Image Sizes on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and More [Infographic]

Dave Delaney

It's difficult to keep up with all of the different sizes of your social media images. Here is an up to date infographic of all of the sizes needed for you to create your social media presence. 

Included Social Media Cover Image Sizes: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube. 

I use Canva to create quick, custom graphics. If I need something more professional, I will use 99 Designs. They have a community of 942,732 designers, so you will get a design you’ll love — guaranteed. You can also tap your local creative community to find a graphic designer closer to home. 

Here are the social media cover photo dimensions

social-media-cover-photo-dimensions-1.png


Social Doesn't Take Weekends Off

Dave Delaney

Do you have a weekend social media routine? When a client hires us to audit what they are doing online and to develop a social media strategy, we find a common mistake. They take weekends off. Your business may be closed, but you can bet your customers are still buzzing around online.

If you are using social media effectively, you realize that it is "social". Do you use Facebook on the weekend? Of course you do. Do you use Twitter when you're waiting in queue at your local hardware store? Waiting in line is always a great time to check-in.

Even if you don't do the above, I can guarantee that some of your customers (and perhaps your competitors) do. You're missing an opportunity to reach out and connect with them. The trick with this, like anything else, is to make it a habit. Here are six ideas to help you to develop your weekend social media routine.

6 Weekend Social Routines

1. Schedule interesting articles and blog posts during the week for the weekend. You can use services like Buffer, Raven Tools, and Hootsuite to schedule posts. Facebook page administrators can also schedule posts directly from their page. It's fine to schedule a few items ahead of time, but be sure you are aware of when your posts and tweets will go live.  You need to be present to respond to likes, comments, +1's, retweets, and replies. Imagine meeting with friends, handing them an article you cut out of the newspaper, and then walking away. That's a little rude (and weird). You're better off handing them the article as a conversation starter and listening to what they have to say. Be present to converse about comments that arise from the articles you share online.

2. Start the day by asking a question. It doesn't always have to be business related. Think like a human, not a company. What are your customers doing on the weekends? Where do they live? Ask questions about local events, weather, or anything coffee related. Most people receiving your messages are likely sipping a cup of joe first thing Saturday or Sunday mornings, right? I know I am.

3. Install the Flipboard app on your iPad or Android tablet. Give the app permission to access your social accounts. You'll soon see what your friends, fans and followers are sharing. Like, comment, retweet, and reply to the items you find interesting. You can do this all from your tablet as you're waiting for the toaster or waffle-maker. Download it here.

4. Refer to your saved searches. This should apply all of the time, but I wanted to include it to remind you to use search. I have written here before about the importance of listening (searching) to what your customers are saying online. Use Twitter search for example and search for mentions of your company name, products, and industry keywords. Refer to these search results to see what people are talking about. This is your opportunity to chime in. Don't reply with a link to buy your stuff. Reply with something that is inspirational, informative, advocating, or entertaining.

5. Share photographs. It's so simple to snap a great photo with you smartphone. I love the Snapseed app to make further edits to my photos. You may want to take it a step further and add text to your photo using the Over app. You can share these images in a number of ways. Either upload the image directly to your favorite social network, or use Instagram to share your photos on the popular social network.  Remember if you cross-post your images from Instagram to multiple social networks, be present there when people reply.

6. Back to Instagram. Search for your brand, products, and industry keywords on Instagram. Like and comment on the photos you enjoy most. Encourage your customers to follow you and follow them. Be human (I said it again). You may post a photo of one of your products during the week, but on the weekends reveal a little about yourself. Is the sun just rising over your city's landscape? Has a herd of deer or gaggle of geese just arrived in your backyard? Are you sipping a coffee and want to snap a selfie? Do it, look for inspiration everywhere and share it.

Your office may close for the weekend, but social networks are open twenty-four-seven. If you aren't using some of the time to interact with your customers and potential customers, you're missing a great opportunity. Make it part of your routine before your family wakes up. Make checking in with your friends, fans, and followers on Saturdays and Sundays as paramount as the coffee you make each morning.

Do you keep connected on the weekends? 

Article originally appeared in The Tennessean newspaper.

Think Beyond Resumes and Cover Letters

Dave Delaney

Guest post by Daniele Rossi We're living in a world where managers tend to hire from within – and where their colleagues can vouch for a candidate. When an internal candidate can't be found, they'll look to hire people in their network. It's like social media – word of mouth from trusted sources.

Long gone are the days of sending boat loads of cover letters and resumes to as many job postings as you can find in hopes of getting an interview. In the popular book What Color Is Your Parachute?, author Richard Bolles discusses this as well as a few recruiters and managers who I chatted with. And through my own experiences and those of my friends.

Unfortunately, it seems more common now not to receive any response whatsoever. No matter how much your skills and experience fit the job description. Remember, you're just another faceless resume among hundreds. So why use up all that valuable networking time with crafting cover letter after cover letter, tailoring resume after resume?

How HR sees you

Lately, I’ve been coming across blog posts advising to forget cover letters and resumes altogether and rely solely on networking. Well, I’m advising not to completely give up on the practice just yet.

While their effectiveness have plummeted in the traditional method, they are still requested in correspondence within your network. At least that has been my experience.

Resumes and cover letters are just one tool in your job search toolbox. Just don't make them sending them to job postings your only tactic. Chances are:

The HR person who wrote the job description may not fully understand the needs of the hiring manager

I spoke with one recruiter who works in a government agency and conducts regular surveys of hiring managers to gauge the job market in the greater Toronto area. She shared that hiring managers are reporting of having trouble finding the right people with the right skills. Huh? How is that possible in my city of over 3 million and growing? Her theory is of a missing link between hiring managers and HR personnel understanding their needs.

My recruiter explained that when an HR professional researches the position, chances are, he or she will turn to Google. And ends up copying bits from other job postings. After all, “I need someone to update the website” can mean textual changes or enhancing online interactivity (community management or creating games?). “I need someone who also knows how to use Excel since one small part of the job uses Excel” doesn't necessarily require someone with “Advanced knowledge of Excel”.

So in this scenario, the hiring managers who know exactly what they need aren't doing the screening of the river of cover letters and resumes that flood in.

Don't write your cover letter to the job description either

So if the job description is just a Frankenstein made up of other job descriptions (copies of a copy of a copy?), don't even bother with the old rule of writing to the job description. Instead, show the value that you bring to the company, advises my government recruiter/researcher. But be sure to use the right keywords because...

Your cover letter and resume aren't necessarily being read by a human

It's no secret that most incoming job applications are sent directly to scanning software. Imagine having to go through hundreds of resumes for a job description you only half understand. Every one of those resumes is just another blank face in a mountain taking up time to find proof that one of those blank faces who pay strong attention to detail are in fact the winning candidate.

Some job postings may not even be real

You know that certain process in offices which make things “fair” for everyone in and outside of the company to have a chance at a job. “First we post internally then if no one applies, we post externally”. Right. It's more like “we need to show on paper that we followed procedure”. I've heard that many times over the years. Recently, one of my cousins witnessed a parade of job interviews at his workplace despite the job having already been filled.

I'm not saying all this happens with every job posted out there (well, as far as I will ever know) but it sure does add more weight to the benefits of networking over solely relying on job postings.

You're not a blank face to the people in your network

As the new people in your network come to know you and the many values that you bring, you will have a much higher chance at getting referrals even to those overworked HR people. But be prepared to follow up with a request to email them your resume and cover letter.