Tom Harness is the owner and President of Harness Digital Marketing. He is also the U.S. Army Veteran, an entrepreneur, and a community and civic volunteer. Having more than 20 years of experience in Education, IT, Digital Marketing, Leadership, Non-Profits and Business, helped him to define his unique branding style, which he has used to raise over $20,000 for various non-profits and bring awareness to lesser known charities.
His digital marketing team at Harness Digital Marketing has worked with 50+ businesses, helping them increase their website traffic by 1000% through Social Media, SEO, and Email Marketing. This is what Tom says about his business objectives: “I strive for the three C’s in digital marketing for our clients: Customer Service, Content, and Consistency. Without these 3 things working together, the results we want for our clients can’t happen.”
In his session at MDMC18 called “Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone To Brand and Be an Influencer”, Tom will discuss 3 steps on the way to being the must know person. Attendees of the session will learn 3 key elements to building their own personal brand, how to become an influencer, and stepping outside their comfort zones.
Tom is also going to be a panelist at the “Personal Branding Panel”, together Jade Harrel, Avery Pijut, and Stephanie Liu.
We sat with Tom for a short Q&A session before the conference:
Q1. What are some big mistakes a business could make when it comes to digital marketing?
T.H.: Businesses don’t always know the right questions to ask when diving into the realm of digital marketing. With new platforms and technologies being developed daily, not all businesses know which one is right for them or RIGHT for them at this TIME.
It’s completely understandable to NOT want to look at a marketing strategy that you aren’t comfortable or knowledgeable in, but it can do more harm than good if you don’t keep your options open.
Remember that digital marketing is a component in your overall marketing strategy.
Q2. What do you think is the next game changer in digital marketing, such as a new, modern tactic, tool, or aspect of marketing? How will it evolve in the coming years?
T.H.: In 2018 and the upcoming years, Social Media is going to be…well, more SOCIAL. Influencer based marketing is going to increase and businesses will also invest more in geo-targeted/location-based campaigns.
The on-line consumer has been slowing giving up more and more information about themselves and in 2018 and beyond, we will see more targeted advertising based on the massive amounts of data they have collected.
Q3. What is your favorite marketing book you have read lately? Or, what are a few of your favorite marketing blogs?
T.H.: I’m a podcast listener and my two favorite ones are:
1) The Gary Vee Audio Experience
2) The Blog Millionaire
I have read Gary Vee’s book #GaryVee and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. I’m a fan of his in your face style of writing and delivery of executing what you say you are going to.
If you are wanting a mixture of entertainment and knowledge, you can’t go wrong with Gary Vee.
Q4. What are some social media time management tips that help you stick to your campaign goals without losing a lot of time?
T.H.: I’m going to be completely honest. Time is irrelevant, there is simply getting it done and getting it done right. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to over commit time to developing and executing a campaign, but in the world of social media, it’s 24/7.
Some parameters I have my team try and stick to during business hours is that we don’t want the consumer conditioning us or our clients. It is completely OK to respond and interact (in most cases) with your following within a 12 to 24-hour time frame. If you begin to spend every waking moment on a social media platform replying and engaging, they will begin to expect it and then it will create a situation where your time is no longer yours, it is 100% theirs.
Q5. Share your favorite digital marketing case study. What did you like most it?
T.H.: There are a lot of great Case Studies that deal with Social Media. The ones I tend to levitate more to are the ones that have a balance of quantitative and qualitative results. Data is relevant in the world of social media if we don’t see the other side to it.
How do brands REALLY make a customer FEEL?
What would it REALLY take for an upset customer follow your brand back?
I don’t have a specific one that stands out, but I read one study that showed that the value of FOLLOWERS, LIKES, RETWEETS, etc… mean nothing if you are not genuine and authentic with your interactions and engagement.
Q6. According to you, what are the top three mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging digital marketing?
T.H.: I have seen many organizations and businesses either put too much into the data they have collected or not look at it at all. You have to be able to look at the big picture of what you are spending vs what you are getting out of it. Sometimes those two goals are completely opposite of each other.
Digital Marketing is a tool. In some cases, some businesses and organizations can solely depend on it to grow and brand a business. Other times, you need to be realistic in what your goal is and how you are going to get there. Batman had a utility belt filled with many items for a reason. iSmile
The most overlooked mistake made is simply NOT budgeting any money for digital marketing. The sooner they understand that social media is not a fad and going away, the quicker they can get their brand out there for the world to see.
Q7. Which are your three favorite digital marketing tools?
T.H.: We have partnered with Nuvi for posting and scheduling our clients content and creating reports that are relevant and easy to understand for our clients.
Another great resource that we use at Harness Digital Marketing is a content management system called Asana. Once I implemented it into our business 3 years ago, efficiency and communication increased over 100%. It allowed me to adjust my leadership style to more of a hands-off approach to my team. I know what they are doing and when they are doing it without bugging them with emails or discussions. We can save team meetings for more important discussions and brainstorming sessions.
I love apps and the ones I lean to quite often are the photo editing ones. When posting content and being able to stand out, we use Canva for the phone and on a website. They are constantly upgrading options and features to help people create amazingly professional and eye-catching images.
Q8. If you were looking to hire a digital marketer, what are the top 3-5 skills you would be looking for in a candidate?
T.H.: I want someone that will fit into the company culture at Harness Digital Marketing that can showcase the 3 C’s:
2. Customer Service
Along with being able to show and grow in those 3 areas, I want someone on our team that is civic minded and has a passion for helping others.
Q9. Who are three people you respect when it comes to digital marketing?
T.H.: If I was put on the spot and forced to name someone, it would have to be (in no particular order):
1. Kevin Hunsperger – Watching him grow his blogging business and presence on line has been a joy to see. Not only is Kevin a close friend, he is another person that takes pride in his brand and really cares about his community.
2. Chris Strub – I met Chris last year and he left a lasting impact on me. So much that I’ve kept in contact with him throughout 2017. We are also on a guest panel at this year’s MDMC 2018. He is a Non-Profit Social Media Master and I watch and listen to him closely.
3. Gary Vee – Sometimes you want to be a person that would like to say WHATEVER you want. Gary Vee has created a brand that no matter what people say about him, they still listen. He is one of the most knowledgeable people I follow and maybe MDMC can get him one year. (Fingers Crossed)
Q10. What’s the industry buzzword that annoys you the most these days and why?
T.H.: I’ve thought about this a lot and it’s not so much a buzzword as it is a slogan:
These Millennials Don’t Know How To Work
Stop me at the conference if you REALLY want to know how I feel about it.