Author: Nicole Benzer

Social Media Advertising 101: How to Get Started

Social news feeds have become a highly competitive space over the last few years, as platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and most recently, Instagram, have opened their self-service advertising models to all businesses. In order to get the maximum results and ROI desired from their content, brands and organizations are finding they have to “pay-to-play” in the social media game. Achieving stellar results organically is more difficult than ever as competition for eyeballs continues to increase, and various marketing research supports the notion that organic reach will be next to zero in the next few years.   Social media advertising, when planned, executed, optimized and measured correctly, is an effective way to: • Increase brand awareness • Extend content reach and help ensure content is served in the right place, at the right time • Promote thought leadership • Create engagement and dialogue among influencers and audiences • Drive targeted website traffic • Enhance SEO and build...

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George Rafeedie Story on Bootstrapping

Tell Your Story Founder George Rafeedie Shares His Story on Bootstrapping in America

As a marketing agency that focuses on developing compelling and valuable stories for its clients, it’s not everyday that we get an opportunity to share our own story.   Tell Your Story’s Founder, George Rafeedie, was a recent guest on Bootstrapping in America, a live online segment produced by the Tastytrade network that highlights entrepreneurs and their paths to success.   George discussed why effective story telling is crucial for an organization’s marketing efforts, in addition to a primary factor in overall business success and growth.   Hear how he’s applied his experience as a corporate marketer to build a small business that’s rooted in creating and sharing great stories through social PR.   ...

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Top 5 Themes at #BMA15

Be More: Top 5 Themes from #BMA15

“Be More.” Two words, countless nuances, depending on whom you’re talking to. For the hundreds of B2B marketers that attended BMA15, this slogan invariably implies how we must continually adapt and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of a world guided by technology and innovation. B2B’s potential is overwhelming, yet promising, as we continue to strive for improvement in all areas. After attending dozens of sessions and combing thousands of posts on Twitter over the past few days, these 5 themes seemed to rise time and again for marketers looking to Be More. Customer experience and satisfaction is the catalyst for all marketing initiatives, but great customer service isn’t enough anymore. Experiential marketing is becoming the norm and successful brands are learning how to deliver exceptional experiences to their customers. Employees are the foundation and support system for customer loyalty, acquisition and retention. Every brand, regardless of industry, should make employee...

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B2B Marketers Can Learn a Thing or Two from the LMA

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Annual Conference on behalf of client One North Interactive, a digital marketing and technology agency that has historically worked with some of the world’s largest and most prominent law firms.   [caption id="attachment_3110" align="alignleft" width="383"] One North Interactive's booth[/caption] Maybe it was due to the event backdrop, which was set on the glorious San Diego Bay, or maybe it was the stellar lineup of keynote speakers and session leaders (including One North!), but more than 1,300 legal marketers attended the trade show, setting a record for the international conference.   Although this event was specific to the legal industry, many of the insights and conversations shared apply to all business marketers and professional services organizations. Here are a handful of the ones I noted during my time there.     Relationships don’t build themselves   [caption id="attachment_3109" align="alignright" width="403"] LMA Welcome Session[/caption] Even though building and maintaining business...

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All the Feels: 14 Reasons Why Marketers Are in Love with B2B

The closer we get to February 14, the harder it becomes to avoid the Valentine’s Day restaurant guides, Tinder-themed events and Red Velvet Oreos (although nobody really wants to avoid Oreos). While B2C marketing steals so much of the spotlight, all this attention only reaffirms my love for one thing: the B2B industry.   I know I’m not alone in this thinking. All the B2B marketers I know are filled with passion, admiration and respect for the work we do. You may not know it, but B2B is hot. Here are 14 reasons why B2B marketing is the ONE for so many of us.   1)  “It’s where the business is! And because we can.” – Jeffrey W. Hayzlett, Primetime TV & Radio Host, Chairman of the C-Suite Network   2) 3)  Understanding B2B is to understand the world around you; how businesses operate, how purchase decisions are made, how the global and digital economy works.   4)  B2B purchases...

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Give Back the Love

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”  – Winston S. Churchill   The team at Tell Your Story prides itself on making a living by doing what we love: working with some of B2B’s brightest innovators and marketers, creating award-winning marketing and social media campaigns, and getting impactful results for our clients.   But outside of the 9 to 5, our team members are more than just marketers: we’re volunteers, fundraisers, and community supporters. Giving back is an important part of our culture and we do so in many ways. Two highlights of the past year are our involvement with non-profits Barbells for Boobs and Tutoring Chicago. Barbells for Boobs Fundraiser  [caption id="attachment_3058" align="alignleft" width="175"] George raising the barbell.[/caption] Tell Your Story, through CrossFit Wilmette, participated in a fundraiser for Barbells for Boobs, a non-profit organization dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on women under 40...

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Just Use a Pencil: Knowing How to Apply Big Data

[caption id="attachment_3011" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Jim Carey talks "Dancing With Big Data"[/caption] What do marketing, sales, finance, and IT professionals have in common? Apparently, we’re all really confused about big data. More specifically, how to use the vast amounts of data we have at our fingertips.   By (Wikipedia) definition, big data is “any collection of data sets so large or complex that it becomes difficult to process them using traditional data processing applications.” I had trouble processing that sentence.   Undoubtedly, big data is a pain point for most professionals; many have made it their personal mission to wrangle the beast. Jim Carey, adjunct professor at Northwestern University Medill IMC, is one marketer with such an attempt.   Carey, who specializes in data mining for B2B and B2C companies, led recent BMA Breakfast Seminar “Dancing With Big Data,” where he shared his insights and findings on what makes big data so…big, based on interviews with leading marketers and industry pros. Here’s...

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SEO Best Practices for Content Marketers

[caption id="attachment_2698" align="aligncenter" width="500"] By Theyoungyi CC-BY-SA-3.0[/caption]   “Why are you passionate about what you do?” This hardball inquiry was tossed into a panel discussion I recently participated in at Northwestern University with students who are a part of the Medill Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program.   A question that I, like many professionals, ask myself often, I realized that it’s largely because of the endless learning opportunities available within the marketing field.   Case in point: That same morning I attended a BMA breakfast seminar on content marketing and SEO best practices led by Andy Crestodina, web strategist for Orbit Media. The seminars are great because you walk away with takeaways that are not only useful, but actionable. As someone who spends a majority of the workday creating content, I know it’s equally as important to understand how to optimize, distribute and measure it effectively.   Here are a few key takeaways and reminders of SEO best...

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Emotions and the Customer Buying Process

Dispatches from BMA14: a Series of Short Reports from the Tell Your Story Team at #BMA14 in Chicago   [caption id="attachment_2041" align="alignright" width="100"] Karen Walker, SVP of Cisco[/caption] Karen Walker, SVP of Cisco, presented on the art and science of creating emotional connections with customers this morning. As the b2b buying process continues to change, emotions are playing an integral role in the customer journey. Karen noted that nearly 60% of b2b buyers go to social communities to find information on a brand or product and nearly 85% use social media during the buying process.   A brand is really an emotional connection someone has with a product or service and surprisingly, b2b buyers are more emotionally connected to brands than b2c customers. This makes sense when you consider the risk, time, money and overall consequences involved in a b2b purchase.   What does this mean for marketers? Many things but the bottom line: we need to...

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Watch Out, Kids! For B2B Marketers, Social Media is a Gateway Drug

Dispatches from BMA14: Series of Short Reports from the Tell Your Story Team at #BMA14 in Chicago   [caption id="attachment_2012" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Gary Vaynerchuk presents at #BMA2014[/caption]   The Second City spoof performance on marketers was a tough act to follow today but luncheon keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk managed to be equally entertaining to most (and perhaps offensive to some).   The VaynerMedia CEO and co-founder, and notable author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, enticed the audience with tales, tips and tricks on breaking through to customers via social tools. Gary contends that most B2B marketers, agencies, and brands underestimate the power of social media and the role each channel plays in reaching current and potential customers.   Here are a few dos and don’ts when playing in the social sandbox:   DO: Escape 1996. Dump the old tactics and thinking and get on board with the tools of today....

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