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HowNow got the pleasure and the joy of being able to interview  Robert Caruso. He has been recognised  on the Forbes top 40 list of social media marketers. He is an incredibly successful digital marketer and was named the 57th top digital marketer in 2016. 

Robert is a partner at Engage and helps small and medium sized businesses deliver effective digital marketing and make a lasting impression as well as achieving fantastic results online. If you want to hear some of his great advice for your business and discover more about his journey, then keep reading!

So, tell us a bit about you and what you do?

We design and execute integrated digital marketing programs for clients around the world. We take a combined approach for our clients marketing online to ensure that they have a presence everywhere that they need to be, consistently developed and distributed content and are found by their target audience.

How did your journey start in becoming a successful a social media and digital marketing advisor?

Well, that’s an interesting question because I wouldn’t call what we do being advisors. What I mean is that we don’t advise clients on what and how they need to do their marketing; we professionally do their marketing for them. Along with that of course we advise on connected business elements that impact how well the marketing will integrate into their business practices though.

So changing the question just a bit, we became successful managing clients complete online presence by doing it and doing it a lot. Over decades of building effective digital strategies for various B2B and B2C industries and executing them, you tend to get good at it. Because our approach focuses on research and a lot of it, we get to the root questions and answers that our clients customers have and need. Knowing that data can make everything you do online much more effective.

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced on your journey and how did you overcome it?

The one word answer is “change”. Digital marketing is constantly changing and evolving. So, just as we do a lot of research for our clients, we are constantly researching and learning to keep up with the continual changes that affect the various components, platforms and tactics that we deploy.

To be effective in integrated digital marketing you have stay on top of the latest trends and changes. That requires a considerable amount of reading and learning. What worked last week may not work tomorrow, so you need to know why. That can be an incredible struggle at times.

What advice would you give to a small business wanting to grow its social media presence and engagement on twitter?

My advice would be; “know what you are doing and why you are doing it”. If you don’t, you’re going to be on a treadmill and getting nowhere fast. Most businesses didn’t start because they wanted to become experts at social media or digital marketing. They started because they have a passion for something and wanted to stop working for someone else in order to pursue it.

So, if you are going to be successful with marketing, you either have to learn to be a professional at every component of it, or you are going to have to hire professionals to execute it for you. There’s no in between anymore.

What 3 things would you say are important for a digital marketing strategy?

  • Know the problem you solve for your customer, and that is truly a big enough problem.
  • Know exactly WHO your target customer is in detail.
  • Know what drives that target customer online.

Is there any key metrics that companies should be measuring on twitter?

Twitter is one tiny piece of a huge 3,000 piece puzzle. So this question is different for every single business, depending on their target audience, how long they’ve been on Twitter, how targeted their following is and many other factors. There is no one size fits all for everyone on Twitter, search or any other part of digital marketing component. You can’t cookie cutter digital marketing and be successful.

But if you had to pick one single metric, focus on driving action. Things like clicks to your content, landing pages and website.

What is the most common mistake small businesses make when marketing to B2B?

Messaging. If your message isn’t clear and it doesn’t resonate with the issues and needs of your target audience, everything else you do will struggle.

 

If you want to follow more fantastic advice and inspiration from Robert then follow these channels:

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We were excited when we got the opportunity to interview Mallika Malhotra who is a brand photographer at MikiFoto + Co. Mallika is passionate about photography and wants to ensure brand’s are doing all they can to create a visual strategy that will really represent their brand to consumers.  Mallika gives us some great advice for visual strategy and lets us know her journey as an entrepreneur.

 

So, tell us a bit about you and what you do?

I help women entrepreneurs move from invisible to impact through storytelling, branding, and photography. I am passionate about empowering women to finally be the face of their brand and share their message with confidence. I also published a book called, The Brand Photography Playbook: The Insider’s Guide to Planning Your Photo Shoot and Building a Stand-Out Brand. It’s a comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs, answering all their questions about brand photography and walking you through how to plan a successful photo shoot.

When and what made you decide to become a brand photographer?

I have been in the photography business for 10 years but began specializing in brand photography 3 years ago. I love working with fellow women entrepreneurs and learning about their business challenges. I started doing headshots at first but learned quickly that my clients needed more storytelling images to stand out and create real depth to their brands.

Being an entrepreneur is hard but rewarding, what is the biggest challenge you faced and the biggest reward you have gained?

I am a mompreneur (I have three sons aged 15, 13 and 8) so balancing a business, family and home is very challenging. There never feels like there is enough time to do everything. And when you do one part really well, something else falls through the cracks. So if my biz is booming, it seems like my family is eating a lot of take out :(The biggest reward of being an entrepreneur is the flexibility and freedom to fulfill my passion. I love that I can create a business on my own terms and grow it at the pace that fits my lifestyle.

 

Why is a visual strategy important to the success of a brand?

Visual storytelling has become a powerful tool in connecting with our audience and communicating our message. In order for our brands to stand out in today’s noisy marketplace, we need a collection of strong, storytelling photos in our marketing. From websites to email to social media, we need brand photos that tell our story and dive deeper into the many layers of our business. Visuals that create emotion, trust, connection and interest.

What are some crucial mistakes you see brands making in their brand photography and how can they rectify them?

1) A headshot isn’t enough to tell your brand story. Sure, everyone needs a good professional headshot but it won’t communicate the depth of your brand. You need to be strategic and share the different layers of your business. Your audience needs to have a full picture of what you do and who you are. This visual storytelling will not only make your brand more memorable but can also inspire action.

 

2) Do the strategic work before your brand photo shoot. Before you take a single pic, you need to get clear on your story, your message, your target and your positioning. This information is critical in the visual strategy of your photo shoot. Brand photos have a distinct purpose and intention for your business. Don’t just show up to shoot but instead take the time to review your product suite, your marketing efforts and future goals.

What are three golden rules for a brand visual strategy that you would advise to your clients?

1) Quality does matter. The photos you choose to represent yourself and your business are making a huge impression on your audience. Are you a professional or an amateur? Are you trustworthy? Do you look like someone worth hiring? If you are constantly posting selfies or creatively cropped photos or poorly lit DIY pics, you may be sharing the wrong message. The more professional your photos, the more you will be seen as an authority or expert.

2) It’s not just about pretty pictures. Brand photography is so much more than posting glamour shots. It’s about creating depth in your brand and building connection and a relationship with your audience. It’s about storytelling. It’s about sharing information. It’s about differentiating yourself. The goal of these images is to help your viewer visualize your message, your process, your products and services more clearly.

3) Know your story and share it. Don’t hide behind your logo, products, services, clients and portfolios. Get clear on your message and put yourself into your marketing. When you show up in your visuals, you become the connecting point to your business. People do business with people so it’s time to show up and be the face of your brand. Customers want to see the heart of the brand (you!) and learn about your mission, your movement, your manifesto.

I see you ran a capture your brand challenge, will you be running any more of these?

I am running a Capture Your Brand photo challenge right now and just started a free Facebook group called Brand Confidential. If there is interest, I will definitely plan more of these photo challenges.

Make sure you follow Mallika and check out her website:

We were very fortunate to be able interview the lady behind the extremely successful site the Lady Boss Blogger. Elaine Rau is the hard working and talented lady behind this successful site for female entrepreneurs. Many women come to Elaine’s site looking for inspiration and motivation as well as business tips from the many interviews and guest posts she has on her site.  So why don’t we get to it, I am sure you’re keen to find out more about how Elaine became so successful.

 

Tell us a bit about you and your blog?

I feature female entrepreneurs from all walks of life and from all over the world on my blog, LadyBossBlogger.com, via interviews and guest posts as a source of inspiration, motivation and continued education for current and aspiring entrepreneurs.

I read you started your blog as a way to connect with other women and online experts – but why did you choose a blog?

I didn’t always have stable internet so I needed something that consumed little bandwidth. I was living in a third world country and sometimes our electricity would go out for days, so I needed to craft my interviews in a way that allowed me to work offline, which is why I sent them as word docs so I could download and edit them offline if need be. Additionally, I wanted to be able to reach people on the other side of the globe who sleep when I’m awake and vice versa and the best way to do that was simply to send them the interview to complete on their own time.

How did you go about starting a blog?

I wanted to blog about lady bosses around the world to gain insight into the way they did business regardless of their backgrounds, cultures, and upbringing and see what concepts overlapped.

What is one key bit of advice you would give someone who wants to grow their blog?

Be patient, your blog isn’t going to boom overnight. It’s a fierce combination of consistency and perseverance that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. Seek advice from those who have gone before you.

What do you think you have done differently to others to make your blog a successful business?

My blog was never about me, that is where most bloggers trip before they even start. My blog was a resource for other people, including myself! I was an avid reader of my own blog! I wasn’t the expert, I showcased experts and in so doing, I learned from the best.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to start building a social audience starting with zero followers?

Post every single day on all of your platforms. If you don’t have a constant presence online, you’ll fade in to the background. That being said, make sure the content you’re putting forth benefits the people who might see it. If your posts add value to people’s lives, you’ve got the success formula.

But once again, be patient, building an audience is like growing a tree, you must plant the seed, water it every single day, and watch it grow steadily. Most people who you see as ‘overnight success stories’ have been plugging away in the dark for years before they surface.

Even the ones that have only been doing it for a year. I worked on my blog from the minute I woke up in the morning at 7am to when I closed my eyes at midnight. I posted on my blog 365 days without fail. Did my consistency and perseverance pay off? Yes it did. You must put in the work. My audience of 100K followers didn’t just magically appear. I started at zero a year ago as well.

What is one bit of advice you have heard from an entrepreneur in your interviews that has really stuck in your mind?

It’s not the opportunity didn’t work for you, it’s you didn’t work for the opportunity.

 

Follow Elaine/ Lady Boss Blogger on her blog and social!

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