All posts in Social Media

Film ProjectorWhen it comes to social media, the ‘usual suspects’ jump to mind: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and even Pinterest. One that may deserve a more prominent place in your social strategy is Slideshare. Acquired by LinkedIn in 2012, it’s the largest community for sharing professional presentations in the world. What can a Slideshare presence do for you?

Slideshare: Professional Presentations

Why Slideshare? Here are a few compelling reasons you may need to get familiar with PowerPoint soon:

  • The site receives 500% more traffic from business owners than Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 500%!
  • Mobile views increased 223% over last year.
  • The site sees over 60 million visitors a month.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests a high ROI and increased generation of qualified leads as a result of a strong Slideshare presence.

What Do Audiences Like?

Slideshare’s content consumers tend to have a voracious appetite for:

  • Business. The most popular topics are: business, research, trends, market, social media, and statistics. These folks are here to work!
  • Short, visual content. Fewer slides in favor of more images. Keep text to a minimum – and make sure it’s relevant.
  • Inforgraphics. These get “liked” 5 times more often than presentation and a whopping 21 times more than documents.

Over 400,000 presentations are uploaded to Slideshare each month. The top slideshows are posted on the homepage, as are featured users, recommended presentations, and more. If your presentation can land on the first page, it’s all the better. A bulk of your traffic will come directly from Google, though, so if you can attract the attention of your target audience, you can boost your ROI and see significant results. Some tips to that end:

  • Optimise. SEO rules apply just as readily to your slideshow as they do to your website. Choose strategic keywords that reflect what your audience is looking for.
  • Images. Choose compelling images that are relevant to your subject. Forget the adorable puppies – unless you’re speaking of puppies! Feel free to include animations, photos, graphics, and other images.
  • Inforgraphics. They sell like hotcakes. There are various sites online to help you generate these interactive graphics.
  • Titles. “Top Tips for Using Slideshare,” “How to…”, “5 Mistakes You’re Making…” Just as you would with a blog or article with a compelling, enticing title, make sure you draw your visitors in with compelling title.
  • Tags and description. Slideshare allows a description and up to 20 tags. Take advantage. Craft these with your carefully-selected keywords and information relevant to visitors and to search engines. Google, by the way, will rank Slideshare material over blogs.
  • Links. Google pays attention, so add high-quality links in your presentation. As with anything you do, “relevance” is the keyword.

If you’re not sharing on Slideshare, maybe it’s time! What message do you have to convey to your audience –and is this a viable medium? Likely, the answer is yes.

Paper Emotions - Aggressive

It can be so discouraging to receive negative comments about your business, your writing, or some other endeavor.  After all, this is your passion in live, it is what you have dedicated tireless hours, and very likely, copious amount of your hard-earned capital to.  So, when someone attacks it, it can be very difficult to take the personal element out of it. You must remember that generally negative statements are made by those that don’t know you and are only unhappy with some small piece of what you do. It is not a personal attack and with a little forethought, you can smooth it over and come out looking even better on the other end.  Just think about how happy you are when you experience excellent customer service.

Move the Comment Down the Feed Before you do anything else, it is a good idea to generate a lot of new content on that particular social media channel to push the negativity from the forefront of your page.  Social media platforms replace old content with new as soon as it is created, so get busy.  Once you have lessened the threat and the number of potential customers likely to see the negativity, you can react to the attacker.  If the comment is not on your page, but on someone else’s, then consider requesting that they remove it in a personal message.  If it holds a true potential of damaging your reputation or that of your company, then there is the option on some platforms to report it as defamation.

Respond with Grace Don’t retaliate or spout out with anger.  It will serve you much better to take the higher road.  Remember, every company makes mistakes and if you were caught in one, the best thing that you can do is admit fault, apologize, and showcase your willingness to work with unhappy customers.  If the complaint is related to a product that you manufacture or a service that you provide, you might consider smoothing the problem over by correcting the reported problem or offering a discount to the individual in question.  If it is a more generic attack, then consider the source of the anger that fueled the comment and how you might politely diffuse it, while upholding your image.

Baseless Negativity If you know for the fact that there is no truth in the comment or it is clearly some sort of misunderstanding, don’t be afraid to say so publicly.  However, do so with tact.  Don’t attack the other person, just simply state facts laced with humility.

Teamwork 1

Social media users are either tiring of the mass chaos of general posting or are simply searching for something better catered to their interests… either way, there is a shift in social networking trends toward niches.  What is a niche social network?  Think about websites like Allrecipes.com.  This site is obviously catering to a specific interest, but it also has a significant social aspect about it.

Of course, Allrecipes is not the only site out there that is catering to such a specific subpopulation.  There are many of this niche sites rising in esteem on the World Wide Web.  For instance, there is Kaboodle for “deal finders”, Ravely for knitters and crocheters, Imeem for music lovers, and Flixster for movie aficionados.

So, what’s so great about niche social networking?  Such a crazy question you ask.  Think about it; these sites have already found your niche market and have presented those individuals on a silver platter, so all you have to do is reach out and say ‘here I am’ and you will have a huge new customer base.  Well, it might not be that simple, but the truth of the matter is, this trend has certainly won over marketers.  There are billions of users of sites like Facebook and Twitter. You aren’t just competing ask direct competitors for exposure.  It’s the equivalent of trying to be heard in a room of two hundred screaming people, without a microphone.  Niche networks remove a lot of the chaos and bring together groups centered around a common interest.  There is no need to worry that people don’t want what you have to offer when speaking to an audience already pledging their love of the subject.

Many of these networks are significantly less developed than Twitter and Facebook, so the names may not be popping up in the headlines regularly, but they certainly aren’t impossible to find.  A quick google search of “social network for ______” (you fill in the blank) will undoubtedly return some sites of interest.  For many industries that are multiple networks already formed.  For others, the growth is barely off the ground floor.  Either way, there are benefits to be enjoyed for those willing to make the most of it.

Niche social networking has been listed one of the top trends of 2014, so if you haven’t started searching for the one best suited to your company yet, you are wasting precious time.

Typewriter

With all the changes SEO has seen in recent years (or recent months…or weeks!), it’s as if it’s a whole new world. But that’s not entirely true. One old adage is truer than ever: content is king. We’ve appended “relevant,” “interesting,” and “authoritative” to that, but the sentiment is nonetheless relevant today. Because content is the center of any SEO strategy, Google Authorship is an essential tool that can help you build credibility and visibility.

Authorship: You Know You Should Do It

Maybe you haven’t yet…but you need to! Authorship allows a writer to claim his or her work, which enables search engines to find more of his or her content. This feature results in higher click-through rates, cross traffic, and better search rankings. How can you make this most of this Google feature?

Make yourself at home on Google+

Who uses Google+, you might ask? About 390 million people every month. There is no doubt it’s a force, but maybe in a different way than you might think. Google +1s are more highly correlated to search rankings than any other ranking factor. Google+ content has weight, so spend some time working on your Circles and interacting. In addition to posting relevant content, read and comment on other works.

But don’t forget about other social networks

Participate in social media platforms, including the usual suspects, like Facebook and Twitter, and Quora, which, while a bit less trodden, is an excellent networking/idea generation/content development tool.

Add the rel=”author” tag to your website

This connects your website to Google+, which allows your photo to appear in the search engine results pages. This tends to increase CTR and establishes credibility.

Network and connect

Reach out to others in your industry, especially experts or highly-regarded authorities. Comment on their work, and participate in communities which relate to your specific niche. If you can, do some guest blogging. Now, this has been controversial of late, but that’s because it’s been abused. A relevant, interesting guest post that adds value for the reader can only help the site on which it is posted and the author who has written it.

Keep writing!

Google is always hungry; keep developing high-quality content and publishing it with authorship markup.

Seo ConceptWhile local SEO has always been important for many businesses, the incredible rise in the use of mobile devices has made it a critical part of attracting new customers and helping existing ones find the information they need. In our last post, we talked about a few tips to get your local SEO efforts started. Now we’ll dive into social media and how it can help you shine a spotlight on your business.

Get Social

Creating and managing an active social media presence allows you to reach your audiences where they are and where they turn for information. That might, depending on your target customers, be Facebook; it might be Pinterest, Twitter, or LinkedIn. In any event, do some customer research to determine where you need to concentrate your efforts. Other steps you can take:

  • Add social sharing buttons to your site. Target the ones your customers are most likely to use. Make it easy for them to share your content with others who might find it relevant and useful. It’s all about convenience: a simple button-click encourages people to take action.
  • Optimise your Facebook profile for local users. While not every audience uses Facebook (teens, for instance, are starting to veer away from the social network), it does have a tremendously wide and deep user base. It makes sense for most businesses to spend some time here. When you create a page for your business, select the “Local Business or Place” category. If you have already created a page, go back to the Admin Panel. Select Manage > Edit Page > Basic Information. In the Category box, select “Local Business or Place,” and then choose the correct subcategory to specify which type of business you operate.
  • Try Twitter. Include your location and local-optimised keyword phrase in your information. Find local users (Twitter Grader and TwitterCounter can help) and start following local discussions with Twitter Advanced Search. Become an active part of your community; people don’t want to hear sales pitches. They want to engage and have their questions answered. Doing so positions you as an authority. Participating in a conversation positions you as a real person, not a faceless entity.
  • Get Googling. Google+ may not have the mass of Facebook or even Twitter, but it does have the weight of the world’s largest search engine behind it. Google weighs this content heavily, and being active can help you appear more prominently. Make sure your profile is visible to the public and use the Google+ search to find local users that may be interested in your business. Create a dedicated circle so you can develop and disseminate targeted communications. As with Facebook and Twitter, the key is being active in the community. Answer questions – but feel free to ask them. You can be an authority without being a know-it-all! And it makes you more approachable and likeable. Why not? Those are good qualities in a business!
  • Track your efforts with Google Analytics’ Audience Demographics data. You can see bounce rates, time spent on site, and pages per visit. Are you local visitors spending more time on the site? If not, how can you optimise your content or social presence to encourage more engagement?

Social media is an invaluable set of tools that you can use to boost your local SEO efforts and see greater results.

 

 

Film Clapper 4Move over, blogs. Well, they’ve moved over a while ago as internet users’ tastes and preferences changed. Vlogs, though, remain a relevant and effective method to reach a wide audience. How wide? Consider a few YouTube states: there are more than 1 billion unique users to the site each month, and over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month. Over 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. With the glut of content, how can you be sure you stand out?

Some tips for spreading the word about your vlog:

Hashtags: They’re not just for Twitter anymore. The ubiquitous # is a useful tool for helping audiences share and discuss your videos. Reach out to those who do not currently follow you on social media and provide them with this easy route to your vlog.

Social Media: Speaking of social media, branch out from the usual suspects – Facebook and Twitter – and try Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other platforms. Use them to announce new videos, highlight favorites from the past, and seed upcoming content. Remember, with social media, you don’t have to be everywhere: you have to be where your audience is. Do some consumer research to find out their social preferences, and get active in those communities.

Fan Finder: Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a free, easy way to reach new fans? Wish granted. YouTube’s Fan Finder allows you to create a short video ad for your channel. They show this to potential fans (based on user preferences), and, hopefully, your channel is flooded with interested and eager viewers. Create a 30-60 second video – a 30-60 second eye-catching, enticing video!

Commenting: Be a good internet citizen! Find videos, vlogs, blogs, and websites that relate to your niche and become an active participant. Say that you are a personal trainer who wants to drum up some more business. You may visit a health and wellness lifestyle blog, a YouTube video channel dedicated to nutrition and cooking, and a site that promotes exercise. Read, watch, and comment. You can mention you own channel or site – but don’t be spammy. Even if you aren’t blocked by moderators, you’ll alienate other sites and their audiences.

This works well because when people are interested in and passionate about a topic – whether health, fitness, business, or hobby car mechanics – they want more information from a variety of sites.

IRL: Why keep your expertise and quality content online? Promote it in person. If you’re at an industry event, for instance, why not pass out business cards with your website or channel name and URL? If business cards don’t do it for you, try fun decals or stickers. Put your web information on your newsletters, on correspondence, and on other communications that happen “in real life” or on old-fashioned paper.

A vlog can be a great way to issue high-quality, relevant content to your audience. As YouTube stats tell us, billions of people love a good video! The interest is there; the tools and platforms are there. Are you?

Flying Books 1

Content developers face a challenge every time they develop ideas and start to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard or touchscreen. How long? We have a message – but what’s the best format in which to present it to our audience? In a social-media dominated landscape, 140-character messages, snappy, pithy sentences seem to rule. But does longer content have a place? What is the ideal length for copy?

There’s a strong case to be made for longer pieces:

  • Google sure does like them! serpIQ analyzed search engine results for 20,000 keywords, focusing on length. The top-ranked pages were those with more content, or more specifically, more words. The top of the top 10 had more than 2450 words.
  • They generate more inbound links.
  • They receive more social shares.
  • They have higher conversion rates than short-form content.
  • Google now includes PDFs and other long-form content in the search results.
  • LinkedIn just started allowing some members to post long-form content.
  • Sites like Longreads and Longform are devoted to curating the best long-form content, and sites like Buzzfeed are stepping up production of longer pieces.
  • Audiences like them. Sure, we all skim but when we really want to dig into a topic for research and information, we want an authoritative – and yes, longer – piece.

So, does this mean you should write 2000 word articles and eschew 400 word posts? No. It’s best to have a good mix of short and long. Blog guidelines have long informed us that 300-600 words is optimal, and we do need those quick snippets. Longer pieces, though, appeal to a different audience – or, rather, the same audience who has different motivations for reading and researching. Whitepapers, articles, PDFs, and other long-form content help attract these visitors and keep them engaged with the site.

Some tips:

  • Answer questions and serve a purpose with your long-form content. This is a forum in which you can tackle your audience’s concerns in an in-depth way. Provide examples, anecdotes, and thorough explanations.
  • Claim your articles with the Authorship Markup. You should be doing this anyway! Get on it! It helps build your reputation as an authority and expert.
  • If you split your article into multiple pages, make sure you paginate them correctly.
  • Markup your article to ensure Google is able to accurately index it and serve it to searchers.
  • Take your long-form content to YouTube. Viewers still like the quick videos – especially of cats doing adorable things or scary zombie babies terrifying passersby – but 1/3 of YouTube view time is attributed to videos 20 minutes or longer. That’s a significant chunk of time!

There you have it: a short post on the power and importance of long-form content. While social media is short and snappy, Google, curation sites, and audiences are starting to lean towards longer content. Get on board and start producing some lengthy, meaty, substantial pieces. Not everything you publish needs to be epic, but a few integrated into the mix can only help with rankings and audience engagement.

Measurement

Content marketing moves away from a hard sell and focuses on the story. Instead of badgering customers to buy, the goal is to provide them information, to address their concerns, to answer their questions, to position yourself as the trusted, credible authority. (And then, sell them some stuff. Well, business is business!.) Establishing a relationship is critical: Are you connecting with the audience? Are they connecting with you? Paying attention to engagement metrics is one of the most important steps in effective content marketing.

Some key metrics to look at:

  • Start with the usual suspects. How many retweets, likes,+1s, pins, etc.? What type of comments are people leaving? Reviews, ratings? Start here, but don’t end here!
  • Unique visitors. How many distinct visitors came to your site? Give it parameters so you can track and compare more easily. For instance, how many unique visitors did you get this week vs. last week? This month vs. last month? This quarter and year vs. last quarter and year? Now, remember, someone could visit your site 1000 times in a day, but he or she is just one unique visitor. So this metric tells you a part of the story.
  • Page views. This tells you another part. If a visitor clicks through to different pages, each page loaded is a page view. This is an important number to look at, particularly if you do paid ads. Again, put parameters around it to track and compare, and use this to determine which pages are getting the click-throughs.
  • Average stay. How long are people camping out on your site? Are they bouncing from the landing page, or are they taking the time to get to know you? This is where good content marketing shines: the goal is to get people interested and to encourage them to dig deeper into your content and website. This also makes the common problem of developing enough solid content more pressing! You’ve got to give them something to dig into! (But that’s a story for another day!)
  • Bounce rate. High=bad. Low=good.
  • Return visits. High=good!
  • Conversions. Use a CRM to track visitors and their progress through the sales funnel. Some good options include SugarCRM, Salesforce, or InfusionSoft.

Connect with your audience with great content, and then make looking at these reports a regular part of your strategy.

A strong social media presence is the key to any optimisation strategy in today’s marketing landscape. Among the best benefits of better social media: links! There’s nothing quite as exciting as garnering all the right links for your site. With a new year at hand, how can you get more than your fair share of links via social media? Here are some quick tips that may help.

Create Conversation (or Controversy): You can’t simply agree with everyone and get thousands of retweets. Disagreeing, though, or even adding a new voice to the conversation is likely to get you quite a bit of curious traffic, so don’t hesitate to be bold and make that move, within the bounds of your brand, of course.

Target Your Audience: You only have so much time to spend on your social media platforms, so make certain your aim is amazing. Look for those key targets within your vertical to help really build value. For example, while Facebook and Twitter are essential to almost every brand, if you need to do some region specific marketing, you may want to reach outside of that. Orkut is the perfect way to reach India and Brazil while VK is a great vehicle in Russia.

Consider Cross Promotion: This is actually going to help you in two ways. Not only are you likely to get several links out of the deal, but you may get more followers on the platform you’re pushing, which, in turn, could eventually lead to more links back to your site.

Images (and Videos): There’s nothing the internet loving customer community out there likes more than a good picture or video, so don’t hesitate to push those. You’ll want to go with everything in good taste, lest you offend someone, but images and video are all powerful motivators.

Social media can and will impact your rankings. Make sure it’s a positive push.

Think social media is taking up a bit more of your time than you’d like? It’s certainly possible, especially when you start to break things down by the numbers. Understanding exactly what your social media ROI looks like could help you sculpt your efforts in the upcoming year.

A good place to start is with metrics tools. There are lots of them floating around out there. HootSuite has come good ones, as does Social Mention and Clout. Facebook Insights is another great choice. This level of data is likely to get overwhelming fast, so you may want to understand a bit more about what you’re looking for before you dive in.

Simply evaluating your interactions can also be a solid way to measure your ROI. Look at what customers are saying, what they’re posting, which videos they’re linking to. It can help you understand what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and how people respond to your overall efforts.

One final way to track your social media ROI is to look at the site analytics themselves. Look at how many people end up on your site thanks to your various social media channels. If necessary, you may want to contrast that data against the information you get from your PPC campaign.

The best way to measure your ROI in the world of social media may be a combination of techniques. There aren’t any comprehensive tools that are going to do everything for you, but developing your own methodology over time can help you look at how much you’re getting out of these platforms that you pour so much time and effort into.

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