Social Media and Email Marketing – How To Leverage Them


, , ,

Want to know how to grow your email list?

Are you using social media to support your email list growth?

If you’re thinking of marketing tactics such as email and social media as two separate entities, you’re missing out on a lot of benefits.

In this article you’ll discover tips for using social media to improve your email marketing.

improve email marketing with social media

Discover how to improve your email marketing with social media.

What You Need to Get Started

There are two things you ideally need to make most of the tips in this article. In general, both will help you grow your email list.

A Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a freebie you offer people in exchange for their email address. The freebie can be an ebook, whitepaper, report, access to a tool, template, video, presentation, course, etc. You can see a lead magnet in action on the homepage of Social Media Examiner.

social media examiner lead magnet

Example of a lead magnet promotion at the top of Social Media Examiner.

You should create your lead magnet with your ideal email subscriber and customer in mind. For example, if you want CEOs interested in social media to subscribe to your email list, create lead magnets about social media geared towards CEOs instead of people who work for them.

If you decide to use more than one lead magnet, you may want to create a resources section, learning center or another similar area on your website to help people find all of your freebies., for example, offers several lead magnets in their content hub. When you download one of their lead magnets, you’re taken to a squeeze page—the next thing you need for your own email marketing.

A Squeeze Page

A squeeze page is a landing page dedicated to converting visitors into email subscribers. Ideally, your squeeze page should include some information about your lead magnet and an opt-in form to capture your visitors’ information and email.

visually squeeze page

Example of a squeeze page for email subscriber opt-ins.

If you need to qualify leads for your products or services, you may want to include a couple of questions to find out who the subscriber is and what his or her needs are. But if your main goal is simply to grow your email list, fewer questions will lead to more subscribers.

Armed with the URL to your latest lead magnet squeeze page(s), here are some ways to use social media to grow your email list.

#1: Facebook Promotion Options

Facebook Page Short Description

You have the opportunity to share URLs in two places on your Facebook page. One of those is in the main website field for your page and the other is in your page’s short description. This is a great place to share the URL for your lead magnet.

The short description field is limited to 160 characters, so use them wisely to describe your business and get people to your lead magnet.

Facebook Page Custom Tabs

Custom tabs are applications you add to your Facebook page to create a specific functionality. For example, the Convince & Convert Facebook page uses a custom tab to house an opt-in form for their email newsletter.

convince & convert custom tab

Example of an opt-in form on a Facebook page custom tab.

Find out if your email marketing software provides a Facebook app to create an opt-in form on a Facebook page custom tab or you can use an app like Woobox Static HTML to display an opt-in form on your own website.

Facebook Page Call-to-Action Button

The Facebook call-to-action button can also be used to direct people to your squeeze page. Simply use the Sign Up text option and link it to your squeeze page.

call to action button set up

How to set up a call-to-action button on your Facebook page.

To encourage people to click on the call-to-action button, you can create a custom Facebook cover photo that promotes your lead magnet and points to the button.

Facebook Page Cover Photo

Speaking of the cover photo, you can also use the cover photo’s description to link to your squeeze page like Mari Smith does.

cover image with link in description

Example of a Facebook page cover photo promoting a lead magnet.

Even if you don’t use your cover photo to promote your lead magnet, you should at least update it to include a link to your website so people can click through to it.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook ads are a perfect way to promote your lead magnet and get your ideal subscribers signed up to your email list. Formstack‘s ad is a perfect example of promoting a free ebook, using a great image and a download button as the call to action.

formstack lead magnet in facebook ad

Example of a Facebook ad promoting a lead magnet.

Be sure to use the interests and demographics targeting options to go beyond age and location targeting to qualify the leads who see the invitation to your email list. The more qualified your leads, the better your email marketing will perform.

facebook ad targeting

How to use targeting options for a Facebook ad.

You can also upload your current email list as a custom audience and create a lookalike audience to target people similar to your current email subscribers.

facebook lookalike audience

How to create a lookalike audience from your email list.

Choose Lookalike Audience in your ad’s targeting options in the Custom Audiences field to promote your lead magnet to them.

Only use this option if you feel that your current email list is fully qualified for your business. Otherwise, you simply attract more unqualified email leads.

#2: Twitter Promotion Options

Twitter Bio

Similar to using the short description on your Facebook page, you can use your Twitter bio to promote your lead magnet and leave your website field for your main website URL.

link in twitter bio

Example of a link used in the Twitter bio.

Placing the URL of your squeeze page in your Twitter bio is particularly useful because only the link in your Twitter bio shows up in places like Twitter search results.

twitter bios in search results

Example of how a link in a Twitter bio appears in Twitter search results.

For maximum effectiveness, avoid including hashtags and other Twitter profile @username handles. That makes certain there’s only one clickable item in your Twitter bio for people to act on.

Twitter Lead Generation Card

The Twitter lead generation card is a feature that lets you collect email addresses directly from within Twitter. You’ll find it in the Twitter ads section and the setup will look like this.

twitter lead generation card

How to set up a Twitter lead generation card.

Additional configurations for specific CRM software (like Salesforce) can be found in the Twitter Help Center’s guide to setting up a lead generation card.

Otherwise, you download the list of email addresses from users who opt in from your card and upload it to your email marketing service. You can find your leads by going to your cards and clicking on the Download Leads icon (the one with the right arrow).

exporting leads

The location of your Twitter lead generation card submissions to export.

To get exposure for your Twitter lead generation card, simply tweet it to your audience or promote it using Twitter advertising.

Twitter Advertising

To promote your Twitter lead generation card or tweets with links to your latest lead magnets, you can use Twitter advertising. Just like Facebook ads, you can target qualified audiences. On Twitter, you do this with interests and followers of other Twitter accounts (like your competitors).

twitter ad targeting

How to target specific audiences for a Twitter ad campaign.

As with Facebook, you can market to custom audiences on Twitter. Start by uploading your current email list to Twitter’s audience manager. Choose your email list as a tailored audience, and then check the box for targeting users similar to your tailored audience. Then select your email list as a tailored audience again to exclude these users from ad targeting (since you don’t need them to sign up again).

You can also create a tailored audience from your customer list to ensure qualified subscribers by targeting your ad to a similar audience.

#3: LinkedIn Promotion Options

LinkedIn Publications & Projects

On your personal LinkedIn profile, you can add a Publications section that allows you to link directly to your ebooks, whitepapers, etc. You can also use this to link directly to your lead magnet squeeze pages.

linkedin publications

Example of the LinkedIn Publications section linking to a lead magnet.

If your lead magnet is a tool, like a free calculator, add a link to your tool in the Projects section of your profile.

linkedin profile editing

Where you can find the Publications and Projects sections to add them to your profile.

You can add both of these sections to your profile by using the guided profile editing option.

For more visibility, add your best lead magnet to the website links in your Contact Info. This adds it to the top of your public profile so visitors who aren’t logged into LinkedIn can still see it.

LinkedIn Advertising

For businesses looking to target specific professionals as email subscribers,LinkedIn advertising offers the best professional ad audience targeting options to help you get the ideal email subscribers on your list.

linkedin targeting options

How to target specific audiences with LinkedIn advertising.

Additional Opportunities on Social Media

Additional ways to promote your lead magnets and grow your email list with social media include the following.

  • Pin a great image of your lead magnet to your Pinterest profile and link that image to your lead magnet squeeze page.
  • Share a great image of your lead magnet to your Instagram profile andtell people to click the link in your bio. Temporarily (or permanently) change the link in your Instagram profile to point to your lead magnet squeeze page. Be sure that your squeeze page is responsive, since most people from Instagram will be viewing it on their mobile device.
  • Create videos on Vine and Snapchat telling your fans to download your latest lead magnet. Make sure your URL is short, easy to say, and easy to remember, like

#4: Make Sharing Easy

You don’t have to rely solely on your own promotion tactics to get more people to your squeeze pages. You can enlist the help of people who’ve already downloaded your free ebook or report.

Let’s say you offered a free ebook as a lead magnet. Simply create a landing page that thanks people for reading your latest ebook and add social sharing buttonsthat allow them to share the squeeze page for your lead magnet with their own audiences.

To get people to share on Twitter, pre-populate a Twitter Share button with custom text and the URL of your squeeze page. Make sure the URL being shared is the squeeze page of your lead magnet. Otherwise, you’ll end up with people sharing your thank-you page.

tweet button set up

How to set up a Twitter Share button for your lead magnet squeeze page.

Now, the tweet automatically points to your squeeze page!

sample tweet

Sample tweet configured in Twitter Share button setup.

You can configure a Facebook Like button in much the same way.

facebook like button set up

How to set up a Facebook Like button for your lead magnet squeeze page.

Add a LinkedIn Share button.

linkedin share button set up

How to set up a LinkedIn Share button for your lead magnet squeeze page.

Include a Pinterest Pin It button.

pinterest button set up

How to set up a Pinterest Pin It button for your lead magnet squeeze page.

Put It All Together

Once you’ve begun collecting your high-quality leads, there are a number of ways you can use social media to impact your email marketing campaigns.

For example, you can use your Twitter audience to split test email subject lines. If you send your experimental tweets through Buffer, you’ll get the following analytics for each tweet.

buffer metrics

Buffer analytics for a tweet.

The tweet with the most engagement can be considered the best headline, and the best headline should be used as the best email subject line.

Or you can get more traction for current email campaigns by targeting your email subscribers with social ads on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure the campaign and your social ads use the same images, call to action, etc., so your subscribers are presented with a similar message no matter where they see it.

What do you think? Have you learned a few ways social media can help grow your email list and reach your email subscribers? Do you have additional tips?Please share them in the comments!

Shared with permission via SM Examiner


Engagement With Psychology Principles on Twitter



Want to discover how to engage more users on Twitter?

Have you considered using psychology techniques?

Using some psychology tips in your tweets can make your Twitter feed more interesting and your followers will be more likely to engage with you.

In this article I’ll share six psychology tips you can use to create tweets that’ll engage your audience.

use psychology to improve twitter engagement

Learn 6 ways use psychology to improve twitter engagement.

Listen to this article:

You can also subscribe via RSS, Stitcher and iTunes. How to subscribe/review on iPhone.


The methods used to construct language and motivate customers often stem back to basic psychology, which is something used to persuade, engage and influence buyers.

For example, using rhetorical questions at the start of Twitter ads or general “sales” tweets might work well for you. The tweets will engage users and make them consider how your product or service could benefit them.

Here’s how you can improve brand recognition, catch the attention of more users and increase the number of clicks, retweets and favorites that your tweets receive.

#1: Take Advantage of the Bandwagon Effect

Humans are innately social beings; we’re born with a powerful psychological need to belong. This dates back to our ancestors who lived at a time when it was best to live in groups to ensure a higher chance of survival. Although society is different now, identification with and a sense of belonging to a group or organization are paramount to our well-being.

Psychologists say that there are three primary groups that people aim to associate with: groups to which they’d like to belong (aspirational), groups that share the same ideas and values (associative) and groups to which they don’t want to belong (dissociative).

The language you use within your tweets can help users identify with one of the three primary groups. As a result, they’re more likely to respond.

yorkhornets tweet

York Hornets used an aspirational tweet to encourage followers to become part of their team.

In the aspirational tweet above, a cheer team recognized that some of their followers might want to try out for their team. It uses that desire to influence them to join their Facebook group.

The tweet below from the Huffington Post uses the values of association to engage users and encourage them to respond to an article. The tweet asks if followers agree with a strong statement. Users will reply, retweet and click through, as they try to decide which side they are on.

huffpostuk tweet

This controversial tweet uses the value of association to encourage followers to respond.

The language used within tweets can also help customers make a dissociative connection to a competitor, and as a result, a better association with your brand. Technology companies often compare their product to a competitor’s spec or an older product, and receive excellent engagement.

samsung tweet

In an attempt to gain customers Samsung compared two products, showing its product as the better choice.

Anyone viewing the above image from Samsung would want to associate themselves with the newer camera and improved image, rather than the old one.

Key Takeaway: Use Twitter to link your products and services to the three primary groups that customers respond to: aspirational, associative and dissociative. This will promote higher engagement, as well as cultivate users who have an affinity for your brand.

#2: Use Image Psychology

Many marketing and advertising studies have been conducted to see what type of images have the highest conversion or click-through rates. In nearly all studies, an image of a person, particularly a close-up of his or her face, increased the success of the ad or the web page.

Apply this research to your Twitter strategy. Tweet images with faces. And be sure tohave a nice headshot on your Twitter profile.

37 Signals conducted a test that looked at different variations of the Highrise home page to see which one converted the most visitors to paying customers. They found that a page where they included an image of a person created a 102.5% increase in signups.

landing page comparison

The landing page on the right, which used a person’s image in the design, increased signups by over 100%.

Jakob Nielsen, an expert in user interface design, explains that “a huge percentage of the human brain is dedicated to remembering and recognizing faces. For many, faces work better than names.”

To make your brand more recognizable to your Twitter audience, head up your profile image with the face of the company, such as the CEO or founder. This will make that person more recognizable to the audience, which is an especially important tactic for a new company.

Even for a SaaS company, where there is no obvious “person” to sell, it’s useful to include images of happy customers within individual tweets, particularly those linking to blog posts or case studies. The effectiveness doesn’t really come from who is in the image, it’s more about what the image conveys to the reader.

Shared with permission via SM Examiner

What the heck is a “dark post” ?


, , ,

Why should you use Facebook Dark Posts?

If you have a fan page, you can use dark posts to optimize posts for better results before going “live” on your fan page, improve the quality of your fan page and avoid spamming your existing audience.

What is a Facebook Dark Post (Unpublished Post)?

When you have a facebook fan page, you can use the power editor to create a “dark post.” A dark post is a post that exists but doesn’t show up/go live on your fan page wall, but acts just like a post; people can like it, share it and comment on it.

You then promote the dark post via ads.

Why would you want a post that doesn’t show up on your fan page?

  1. Better User Experience for People Who Have Liked Your Page:

    You can promote the same product over and over again via a newsfeed ad, without annoying the people who have liked your page by constantly posting about the same thing over and over and filling their newsfeed with the same offer (looking like a spammer). You just exclude the people who are connected to your page in your targeting and promote away.

  2. Better User Experience for People Who Visit Your Page:

    You can avoid having your fan page be filled with posts about the same offer over and over (looking like a spammer), and instead have a high quality fan page that people will want to visit again.

  3. Optimization:

    Now, you can now split test your post promoting that product (or any other kind of post) for social engagement, conversion rates etc and then “publish” the best version of the post on your fan page once or once in awhile.

A tutorial on creating dark posts – a technique many big brands are now doing newsfeed advertising.

Facebook has become quite the place of the dark arts in recent years as brands seek to outdo each other in the advertising wars.

One of the features available to those in the know is the art of the “dark” or “unpublished” post. What this actually means is that the post will not appear on your timeline but can be accessed by anyone with a direct link (or by clicking through from an ad). They are used extensively by advertisers to create copy that then appears as a “Sponsored” piece of content.

A few months back, dark Image posts were the only way advertisers had of getting results into the newsfeed with images that took up a decent amount of real estate. In recent months, links with appropriately sized images have also been rewarded with a decent chunk of screen space on newsfeed.

Dark link posts are, in my opinion, a better bet partly because nowadays you still get a nice big image but crucially users clicking anywhere on the ad go to the post itself rather than a photo (with photo posts they have to actually click on the url you have pasted into the caption to go anywhere other than to the image in your photo albums). You also have significantly more options for copy in the link post option and likes and comments will show up on the post rather than on the photo. I reckon you also stand a higher likelihood of users liking your Page from a link rather than an image post.

Creating a dark or unpublished post

You’ll need to be using Power Editor, an essential Chrome app for anyone doing regular advertising on Facebook. Power Editor gives you way more control and functionality than Facebook’s Self Serve ad platform.

This article is not intended as an introduction to Power Editor so if you’re not yet using it you will possibly need a basic tutorial in that first but see how you get on. If you are fairly IT savvy you can probably pick it up from here.

Having loaded the Chrome Power Editor app and synchronised with your Page and account, first of all you need to go to Manage Pages in Power Editor (left of the top nav)


Select your Page and hit “Create Post”. I’m creating a Link Post here. Ensure the photo you upload is 1200×627 pixels. And make sure any text it contains is within Facebook’s 20% rule (My ad is over that but we got away with it!).

Here’s a useful tool for you to use to check that your ads are within the 20% rule. You’ll see the obvious problems with my initial ad where the text occupied more than the allowed 5 boxes (copy in pack shots doesn’t count but logo copy is included in the 20%). The tool has split the screen into 25 boxes (rather unhelpfully here they are orange on top of my orange background but if you look carefully you will see I actually have text in at least 7 (if not 9) boxes so am over the 20% rule. Of course I went back and changed my ad to comply.

20 rule

The 1200×627 size will surface nicely both on desktop and mobile devices. The screen clip below is an explanation of where all the elements show up. You may need to test a few to work out maximum line lengths. Unfortunately once created you can’t edit an unpublished post so you need to start again from scratch.


I would leave the targeting options blank – you can then select targeting by country when you come to create your ads.

So here is my finished unpublished post:


You can see what your post looks like by hitting the “View Post” option a the bottom of the ad. Take note of the url as you may want to go back to it later. Here’s the post I created:

If you click through you’ll see you are taken to a page on our website which has some clever coding designed to datacapture email addresses and then present the free gift. We’ve done this in conjunction with our Mailchimp database.

Once you are happy that the post looks good you can create an ad.

Creating a Facebook ad using a dark post

Go to Power Editor and create a new campaign and then create a new ad within the campaign. Having created the campaign upload it by pressing the green button (note you have to upload any changes in Power Editor otherwise your work will be in vain).


You can see what your post looks like by hitting the “View Post” option a the bottom of the ad. Take note of the url as you may want to go back to it later. Here’s the post I created:

If you click through you’ll see you are taken to a page on our website which has some clever coding designed to datacapture email addresses and then present the free gift. We’ve done this in conjunction with our Mailchimp database.

Once you are happy that the post looks good you can create an ad.

Creating a Facebook ad using a dark post

Go to Power Editor and create a new campaign and then create a new ad within the campaign. Having created the campaign upload it by pressing the green button (note you have to upload any changes in Power Editor otherwise your work will be in vain).

MP campaign

Now with that campaign selected in the left hand nav, create an ad. I tend give it the same title as the campaign (and it’s not good practice to have more than one ad in a campaign – I know, it’s very annoying). As you start to create a lot of ads you will want to create a naming system that enables you to easily sort and compare them.

Use the wizard going from Creative through to Audience to Optimization and Pricing. You can see the settings I used in the screen clips below (note that I have conversion pixels set up – it’s good practice to do this).


You’ll need to select your unpublished post from the Page Post drop down. It will be the one with the half moon symbol.

I am selecting News Feed (Desktop and Mobile). Having tested Right-Hand column ads I’ve not found them cost effective for my audience. And even if I was using them I’d want to create different ads for them to the News Feed ads.

Now progress to Audience


You’ll see that I am selecting various countries to target, adding in age and gender as well as targeting people with different interest categories. For this example I’m using a broad category of people who like Christian and Gospel Music. And I don’t want to advertise to people who are already fans so these are excluded.

Optimization & Pricing

Now progress to Optimization & Pricing. You have lots of options here. I’ve tested extensively and for this kind of ad, with my audience I find CPC to be the most cost effective. I wouldn’t always go for the lowest option either. I have often gone for say 20c (my account is set in USD) and found my average CPC to be a lot lower.


Now press the green Upload Changes button. Facebook will take anything from minutes to days to check and approve your ad. You may also find that it is initially approved and then unapproved (often due to violation of the 20% rule).

Results – checking effectiveness

Measurement of ad spend has improved a lot in recent years on Facebook. As well as using conversion pixels you can also use custom utm tracking codes in the links you create in your ad. For this ad I used both a mailing list sign up pixel (see below for where to create these in Power Editor) as well as a checkout conversion pixel.

conversion pixel

I tend to use the self serve ad manager rather than Power Editor to look at the results of my Facebook ads but with the right utm codes set up you can get quite sophisticated with tracking in Google Analytics too. Crucially with the tracking pixels set up you are not only seeing resulting clicks, Post Likes, Page Likes etc but also conversions to (in this case) mailing list and sales.

Other types of dark posts

I’ve shown you how to create an unpublished link post. Of course you can also do the same for creating photo posts, video posts, plain status updates and offers. Have a play with them. They are all pretty simple once you’ve got the first one sorted.

One word of warning, whilst I have found CPC to be best for my audience, I would probably look to use CPM or Optimised CPM for video posts. Reason being that I’ve found video gets a much higher click rate but often a poor conversion. You therefore want to be paying for eyeballs rather than clicks. But test and see what works for you.

Facebook Ads Tip: How to Create a Dark or Unpublished Facebook Post – Jon Loomer Digital…book-post.html

9 Tips to Writing Posts That Get Read on the LinkedIn Publishing Platfo


, , , ,

One week ago I gave you advice on why you should use the LinkedIn publishing platform once you get access to it, and you will get access to it in the not so distant future if you don’t have access to it today. Whether you’re a content creator, a business, or a professional, the LinkedIn publishing platform provides a compelling way for you to get found in, engage with, and derive business value from LinkedIn. So, now that you’re ready to start blogging on LinkedIn, here’s my recommendation for writing posts that will get read in the news feeds of your followers. Note that this platform was only recently launched, so my advice might change in the future, but based on what I see and understand now, these are my recommendations:

1. Blog for the LinkedIn Demographic

I wrote about this in How to Use the New LinkedIn Publishing Platform, but this will be the most challenging concept for businesses to understand. I believe that your content should be unique to LinkedIn and geared towards the LinkedIn demographic. If you just want to copy and paste your blog post, I don’t think you’re going to be as effective on LinkedIn as you could be – and I think at some point you might get hurt by Google’s and/or LinkedIn’s algorithm(s). Companies that excel at social media marketing target their content and voice towards each unique community in social media. You should as well. Look at it another way: For most professionals who don’t have a personal website, LinkedIn IS their website and the new publishing platform WILL become their blog. You will have to compete with them for readership in the not-too-distant future.

2. Watch Your Frequency

Every social network plays around with their news feed or timeline and thus have an algorithm similar to Facebook Edgerank. LinkedIn is no different. LinkedIn has to decide what posts to display on who’s network updates, and I would tend to believe that if you publish too frequently, that might be hurting your chances for maximum impressions for each post. Just look at the LinkedIn Influencers: They’re not publishing on a daily basis, are they? With that in mind, I myself only plan to start publishing on a weekly basis, and I would recommend that you keep that to your approximate maximum as well. As I said

3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Visual

Visuals show up prominently in the LinkedIn newsfeed as they do everywhere else. Make sure that you use a visual at the top of your blog post that resonates with the professional demographic that make up LinkedIn.

4. Headlines are Critical

Time is short, and while your content might go out into the LinkedIn network updates, that’s only half off the battle: Your headline must be short, concise, and give professionals a reason to click through. A look at the most popular headlines of Influencer posts will give you and idea of some great headlines that you can try to emulate for success.

5. Keep Your Post Short

My posts are on the long side (this one is around 1,050 words), but your posts don’t need to be. My rule of thumb would be to make your post at least 300 words, but there is no reason why you have to blog longer than 1,000 words here on LinkedIn. Once again, I believe that for professionals where time is money, many simply don’t have the time to read through a longer post. Keep it short and simple when possible.

6. Link with Love

Just as you should update your LinkedIn profile with visual elements to showcase your work and content across the web, you should also do so here when you blog on LinkedIn. I wouldn’t overdo it, and I would definitely make it look natural and organic, but linking to provide a greater resource is an absolute best practice in blogging anywhere. “Link with Love” is also about recognizing other authors of content that you can link to if they influenced you, or marketing partners if you did something with them that is relevant to your post (see 9. below).

7. Share Your Post Inside AND Outside LinkedIn

If you want to get your content read on LinkedIn, don’t just share it on LinkedIn: Share it everywhere you can! Other social networking sites and your email newsletter are a great start. And, while I don’t recommend you creating a blog post and summarizing it on the LinkedIn publishing platform, I do recommend creating a LinkedIn publisher post and then summarizing it on your blog to a link back to LinkedIn!

8. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Needless to say, every post that you publish might lead people back to your profile. If you want to be considered an authority on the subject, you’d better have an optimized LinkedIn profile! Here are my most recent collection of LinkedIn profile tipsfor you to follow.

9. Embed

Right now LinkedIn only provides you the option of embedding YouTube videos and Slideshare presentations, but if you have one that is relevant to your post, that can only help in better engaging with your audience – and building greater loyalty for your future posts. While the below YouTube video is not just about the new LinkedIn publishing platform, I was on a Google Hangout with Eric Enge from the leading digital marketing agency today where I discussed the future of social media in 2014 and why the new LinkedIn Publishing platform changes everything.

Note: The above was embedded using a custom 600 x 338 size.

Finally, while there might be some things that you can’t embed, I did want to give you a catch to listen to my latest podcast where I talk further about understanding the compelling power of the new LinkedIn publishing platform. You can also “embed” other things into your posts in the same way with a link until LinkedIn gives us the ability to embed more sources of media.

The Optimal Blog Post Length to Maximize Viewership



Bhutan, the world’s largest book at UWashington Library

Anyone who has ever penned a blog post has asked, how long should this post be to maximize viewership? I’ve often wondered the same thing, particularly in the moment before I click the publish button and broadcast a perhaps-too-short-perhaps-too-long post into the Interwebs.

I’ve written 256 posts in the past 18 months and I sought to understand the impact of word count on every metric I could measure: page views, time on site, time on page, bounce rate, exit rate, retweets and favorite activity.

Here’s the data. In short, post length has no meaningful impact viewership, engagement or sharing.

Below is a chart depicting the correlation of word count to six key metrics. In each of these cases, the correlations are small (<25%) and relatively speaking insignificant predictors of traffic.


Bounce rate The fraction of visitors who came to the site to view a post and left without reading any others
Exit rate The fraction of visitors who came to the site on another page and left on this post
Time on page and site Self-explanatory
Page views per visit The number of other blog posts read during a visit
Retweet frequency and Twitter favorite activity The number of times a post is retweeted or favorited on Twitter, which often means saved to read later.

My posts vary from 100 to 1100 words, with the majority between 300 and 750 and a median of 461 words. These posts aren’t exceptionally short or exceptionally long, but I imagine they are comparable with most blogs that post near-daily. Below is the distribution of the 256 posts by word count.

Plunging into the finer points of the analysis, below is a box plot demonstrating the relationship between page views and word count. I’ve bucketed posts by keyword in 200 word increments. Note the Y-Axis is Log10. The boxes show the distributions of page views in each bucket. The middle line in each box is the median, the borders of the rectangle show the 25th and 75th quartiles and the circles are outliers. More on reading box plots.

There is no difference in the traffic generated by longer or shorter posts. Though the ranges of the box plots vary, the medians are all very close to each other and while the 200 keyword bucket does seem to indicate a narrow distribution of page views, the three outliers at the top indicate the conclusion is likely a product of the smaller sample size.

In the end, the data reaffirms what I probably already knew to start. The best length for a blog post is the length required to capture and convey the message. No more, no less.

Jeff Haden


Ghostwriter, Speaker, Inc. Magazine Contributing Editor

My client acquired a large company and I went along for his initial meetings with his new employees.

In the afternoon he planned a company-wide address. That morning we met for several hours with top executives. (Talk about emotions on full display: ego, anxiety, obsequiousness, defensiveness, fear, excitement… when the new sheriff comes to town all the icy-cool corporate masks quickly come off.)

The meeting ended at noon and when we walked out fifteen minutes later he noticed a big buffet set up on the other side of the atrium. There were plenty of people standing around in white coats and black slacks but no one in line or sitting at tables.

“What’s that for?” he asked a person walking past.

“The company arranged a meal for after your meeting,” she said. “A local restaurant closed for the day to come here.” She paused. “I think the chef and her staff were really excited about it,” she said, her voice trailing off at the end.

“Has anyone eaten?” he asked.

“Um, I don’t think so,” she said.

He stood looking a few moments. Even from a distance it was evident the catering staff was confused and disappointed.

“Come on,” he said to me. “We’re eating.”

And we did.

But he did more than just eat. He spent a few minutes talking to every — every – member of the staff. Many already knew who he was and while initially hesitant they quickly warmed up to him.

And why wouldn’t they? He complimented the food. He complimented the service. He joked and laughed. And when we had finished eating he said, “We can’t let great food go to waste!” and borrowed two white coats so we could serve them. Then he made the rounds of the tables and happily leaned into all the selfies.

When we finally left, he waved and smiled.

They smiled bigger.

Sure, it took a lot of his time. Sure, it took him off point and off focus and off schedule.

Sure, they loved him for it.

I already knew the answer but as we got in the car I still asked. “I know your schedule,” I said. “You didn’t have time to stop to eat. Besides, no one else did, so no one would have noticed.”

“I felt bad for them,” he said. “They tried hard to do a good job and everyone blew them off. How bad must that feel? So it was the least I could do.

“Maybe my staff thought they were too busy,” he continued. “Or maybe they thought they were too important. But clearly they were too self-absorbed to notice they were hurting other people’s feelings.”

He thought for a few seconds. “And maybe they’re the wrong people for the job, ” he said.**

Much of the time we want famous people to be so humble they don’t recognize there’s a fuss, or a special buzz surrounding, or that people are excited to see them. We want them to be oblivious to their fame or importance. (After all, if they’re tooaware… that means they’re too full of themselves.)

But what we should really want is for famous or notable people to recognize that in the eyes of others, they are special — and that other people might want something from them, even if that something is the simple recognition that what they do matters.

Because it does.

Picture a CEO walking into a building for an important meeting. Maybe he says hello to the receptionist. (Maybe.) Otherwise he only has time for the people at his level. It’s like no one else exists; they’re just unseen cogs in a giant machine.

Unfortunately, at times, we all do the same thing. We talk to the people we’re supposed to talk to. We recognize the people we’re supposed to recognize. We mesh with the cogs in the machine we’re expected to mesh with, but there are many other important cogs.

So go out of your way to smile to everyone. Or to nod. Or to introduce yourself.

And when someone does something to help you, even in the smallest way and even if it’s their job to do so, go out of your way to say thanks. Make it your mission to recognize the people behind the tasks: the people that support, that assist, and that make everything possible.

Even though most of us aren’t famous or notable, by recognizing people –especially those who have been conditioned not to expect to be recognized — we add a little extra meaning and dignity to their lives.

And that’s the best reason to go off point, off focus, and off task.

Although, when you think about it, you really aren’t taking yourself away from an important task. You’re just shifting to an equally important task: showing people they matter — especially to you.

** Six months later only three of the original 22 remained.

Now it’s your turn. Any stories where a simple act of kindness made a huge difference in your life?

Best Practices for Long-Form Posts on LinkedIn

What are some guidelines to publishing on LinkedIn?

Here are some recommended best practices for long-form posts on LinkedIn’s publishing platform.
What should I write about?

Your long-form posts should share your professional expertise. Write about challenges you’ve faced, opportunities you’ve seized, or important trends in your industry. This could include your most memorable work experiences, lessons you’ve learned along the way, or topics you’re most passionate about. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • What concrete advice would you give to someone hoping to enter your field?
  • What will (or should) your industry look like in 5, 10, or 15 years and how will it get there?
  • What is the biggest problem your industry needs to solve?
  • What skill is essential in your job or at your company, and why?
  • How has your job, profession or industry changed since you started?
  • What else would you do if you started all over again and why?
  • How did you get your start in your profession?
  • Advice for career advancement.
  • Challenges for the future of your profession.

Here are some long-form posts that might inspire you:

What should I avoid writing about?

LinkedIn is an ideal platform to develop and strengthen your professional identity by sharing your knowledge and expertise in your job. It will be tied to your professional profile. The focus on your professional life is what differentiates it from other social media networks. Please keep this in mind when writing your long-form posts. Some additional tips:

  • Postings for job openings or for job opportunities don’t belong on our publishing platform. Learn more about posting a job on LinkedIn.
  • Advertisements and promotions for events, products, or services aren’t appropriate content for long-form publishing. Advertisements can be purchased with our ads product.

Learn more about your rights and responsibilities for long-form posts on LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

What are some tips for producing great content?
  • Keep your voice authentic.
  • Write about specific areas in which you have experience and/or expertise.
  • Keep your writing focused; avoid trying to cover too many topics in the same long-form post.
  • Don’t shy away from expressing your opinion. However, keep your long-form posts appropriate for the LinkedIn audience. Don’t post anything obscene, shocking, hateful, intimidating or otherwise unprofessional.
  • Check out our editor’s long-form post on The 7 Secrets to Writing Killer Content on LinkedIn.
  • Publish whenever you have something valuable to share with LinkedIn members. In general, the more long-form posts you publish, the more credibility you will build, and the stronger your professional profile will become.
  • There are no limits on word count, but the long-form posts that are best received are more than three paragraphs in length.
  • Upload pictures, videos, presentations, and documents to add to your content. It helps bring your insights to life and is a good way to showcase concrete examples of your experience.
  • Use the share box on your homepage to share short-form thoughts, questions, and other media such as articles and images with the LinkedIn community. Learn more about sharing on LinkedIn.
  • We encourage you to have family, friends, or colleagues review and edit your long-form posts. We’re unable to provide editors to proofread your writing.

Build Relationships for Your Business Using LinkedIn Groups


, ,

Whenever I’m holding a webinar, presenting at a seminar, or just interacting with our awesome customers, I’m asked a lot of social media questions that span all major networks.

When it comes to LinkedIn, the one question I hear time and time again is “Should I be spending my time participating in Linkedin Groups?”

My short answer is “yes” and here’s why…

LinkedIn Groups are virtual meeting rooms (or forums) where people with similar interests can post and hold conversations around topics they want to share or learn more about.

Participating in Groups allows you to show off your expertise around a subject and start to grow relationships with like-minded people.

Many of these people may be colleagues, who could offer solutions to certain challenges you’ve been facing, or could provide partnership opportunities to help you grow your business in the future.

Others could be potential customers, who are using groups to network and also find solutions of their own.

By sharing your expertise, participating in conversations, and being a reliable source of information within the Group — you’ll have the opportunity to build valuable relationships to help you do more business.

How do I find and join the right Group?

LinkedIn makes it easy to find Groups that are relevant to your business, or the audience you’re trying to reach. Within LinkedIn, you can perform a search based on keywords and filter to find the right Group.

For each Group found in your search, you have the option to view who in your network belongs to those Groups. Joining Groups that your connections are already members of can help you nurture the connections you’ve made on LinkedIn.

Take it one step further and reach out to your network to ask them what they think about the Groups they belong to. This can help to continue building the relationships you already have, while starting to understand what Groups may be right for you.

On LinkedIn there are both public and private Groups. If they’re public, all you need is to hit the “join” button when you find a Group you’re interested in and you’ll gain access instantly. Private groups on the other hand, require you to request an invitation from the manager of the group to get access.

You can join up to 50 Groups, but be aware that many groups aren’t actively managed. Make sure to spend the majority of your time on the key Groups you find that are managed well and have constant interactions.

How do I participate in a Group?

When you join a Group, take the time to familiarize yourself with the content people are sharing, and types of questions that are being asked.

Relevant content is the only way to take full advantage of a LinkedIn Group. When you share content that others are interested in, your chance of “connecting” with that person is much higher than if you just hit “connect.” Use groups to strengthen relationships, with your ultimate goal of connecting on and offline with Group members.

Here are a few tips to remember when participating in a LinkedIn Group:

  1. Show off your expertise by answering questions that others have asked, and don’t forget to ask some questions of your own! Groups are meant to be a forum for like-minded people, so make sure you’re asking and answering.
  2. Post articles and ask questions. Share articles or blog posts you’ve found and ask the Group members a question related to the article.
  3. Don’t over-promote! Your goal when posting articles or answering questions is not to promote yourself or what you’re doing, but to build relationships. When you use the words “me”, “I” or “my”, your content will more than likely get sent directly to the “promotions” tab of the Group.
  4. Make that connection. Once you’ve been interacting with someone in your Group, and you’ve built up some familiarity, send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Make sure to let them know why you want to connect, and remind them of your interaction in the Group.
  5. Don’t forget other networks. If you have been interacting with someone on numerous occasions in a Group, connect with them on Twitter or find their business page on Facebook. Most people are participating in a Group for the same reason you are, so they will be happy to connect with you and extend your relationship!

Are LinkedIn Groups really worth the time and energy?

Hopefully, by now, I’ve convinced you that the answer is YES! The ability to reach people you wouldn’t otherwise have access to is one of the main reasons that social media works, and LinkedIn Groups are no exception.

Get out there, begin by joining three groups and see what relationships you can build by engaging with the right audience.

Have you joined a LinkedIn Group? How has it worked for you and your business? Let us know in the comments below.

Is Pinterest Better Then Facebook?

This article is by Troy Ireland, managing partner at Digital Current, a conversion-based digital-marketing agency specializing in content marketing and SEO.

Pinterest has always seemed like Facebook’s cozy little sister. Instead of sharing news articles and memes, Pinterest users (mostly women) curate pages of living room furniture and Halloween party recipes.

But underestimating Pinterest would be a huge mistake. “As social networks go, Pinterest doesn’t get a whole lot of respect,” wrote Kevin Roose in a New York magazine article. “Which will make it even more surprising when Pinterest eats its competitors alive.”

That May 2014 prediction appears to be coming true. Just after the holidays, IBM Digital Analytics released a report showing that overall holiday online sales were up 13.9% for the 2014 season. They looked specifically at Facebook and Pinterest sales and reported on a very interesting statistic: “Facebook referrals drove an average of $101.38 per order, while Pinterest referrals averaged $105.75 per order.”

Since its launch in 2010, the scrapbooking, image-pinning site has been steadily growing and picking up pace. It is estimated to have approximately 70 million active users and is worth about $5 billion. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to Facebook’s 1.2 billion daily users and $210 billion market cap. But Pinterest is growing quickly and, unlike Facebook, the whole setup of Pinterest is designed to move products.

“Pinterest’s power is the volume of referral traffic it generates,” explains Jason Miles, author of the book “Pinterest Power.” “When it comes to that metric, it is already in very rarefied air. The top four sources of referral traffic are organic search, direct typing of a URL, Facebook and then Pinterest.” And if Pinterest can get to 280 million users, it could easily surpass Facebook in terms of driving Internet traffic (and purchases), according to Miles.

To help marketers take advantage of all of this user-generated enthusiasm, Pinterest has started selling Promoted Pins, which are ads that look like Pinterest images and content shared between users. “[They are] sounding the call that Pinterest is open for business and that it wants to compete for ad dollars with the likes of Google, Twitter and Facebook,” according to CNBC.

In many ways, Pinterest is actually already ahead of Facebook. “Pinterest Expert” Anna Cadiz Bennett talked to one of my colleagues about why you might be better off funneling your social media marketing funds to Pinterest:

  1. Visual content marketing: The visuals on Pinterest are clear, clean and engaging. There arelots of reasons why visual content is important for a marketing campaign, but probably the most important is that it grabs instant attention and is quickly processed by the human brain.
  2. Shelf life: Pins last and are easily available forever. On Facebook, they are around for only a few hours (if you’re lucky). “On Pinterest, everything you create and pin lives forever,” Bennett says. “I have blogs from two years ago that are still being shared. No other socials are doing that. In terms of ROI, that’s phenomenal.”
  3. Intent to buy: If you’re lurking around on Pinterest, you are probably looking to purchase something. According to Shopify, “The average order coming from Pinterest is $80, higher than any other site including Google, Amazon and Facebook, which has an average of $40.” On Facebook (or Twitter) you tend to be there for a conversation.
  4. Promoted Pins: Maybe the best tool out there for marketers. They hardly look like ads, they are heavily shared and they are now open to all advertisers.According to Pinterest, “Brand advertisers achieved about a 30% bump in earned media (free impressions!) from their campaigns.” Pinterest now even has an analytics panel as part of its Pinterest for Business
  5. Large female audience on Pinterest: Approximately 85% of Pinterest users are women — and women have $7 trillionin buying power. “Women on Pinterest are 30% more likely to shop or buy online than the average woman, and Pinterest users spend nearly two times the norm,” according to Comscore 2014.

This year, especially as Promoted Pins open up to everyone, will be telling as to how our companies and brands are affected by this relatively new stream of marketing. As marketers adjust their brand plans and start figuring out how to be successful on this powerful social media site, there may be a few growing pains. I would love to hear about any concerns or major problems you have had marketing on Pinterest for a potential future article. If you have your own conclusions about Pinterest’s marketing evolution please share them in the comments below.

shared by permission Forbes Business News.

Google+ and why you need it for your business


, , , , ,

New Features That Make Google Plus a No Brainer for Business Marketing


New-Features-That-Make-Google-Plus-a-No-Brainer-for-Business-Marketing-V3 copy

People ask me all the time why I’m so excited about Google+ as a marketing tool. After all, it doesn’t (yet) have anywhere near the user numbers of social media juggernauts like Facebook or Twitter. Doesn’t it just make sense to go where the numbers are?

When I hear that I stop and wonder if it’s really 2012. Broadcasting to the big numbers was the way to go for the Mad Men of the 60s, but savvy marketers like Seth Godin realize that these days it’s all about the tribes we lead. In other words, if you can connect with a smaller group of people who are passionate about what you’re selling, you don’t need to fire a shotgun at big crowds.

This brings me back to why I’m such a Google+ evangelist. I haven’t seen anything anywhere any time so readily available to anyone and everyone that can help you find and connect to your tribe as powerfully as can G+.

Why? It’s because of the unique and integral connection of G+ with Google search. This is the secret sauce that so many social media gurus out there totally miss when they pass over G+. Maybe it’s because I come to social out of a background steeped in SEO (search engine optimization). I understand that as powerful as social media is for direct communication and engagement, it’s in search that the right new people find you. When people search they are in a state ofintention. Google+ head Vic Gundotra called search “commercial intent.” People are looking for something they want to know/get/acquire/connect-to, and you have the opportunity to get your message right in front of them.

I’ve written elsewhere about the powerful influence of Google+ on Google search. In this post I want to share with you three new features of G+ that will only enhance and expand this ability to reach into and influence search results.

Google Knowledge Graph

Google Knowledge Graph Search Result At the time of writing of this post, this one is hot off the press!

Earlier this week Google announced its latest innovation to its search engine: Google Knowledge Graph. Knowledge Graph is both a new way for Google to find information and a new way to connect searchers to that knowledge. Basically, Google is using advanced semantic and natural language technology to build algorithms that learn from real humans using Google to recognize the connections between things the same way those humans do.

For example, if you search “Eiffel Tower,” the old Google could only connect you to pages that mentioned those exact words, and/or were linked to by pages that did. But Google Knowledge Graph can learn that the Eiffel Tower is a structure, and that it’s in Paris, and that it was built for the 1889 World’s Fair, etc.

More and more when someone searches for something, if Google suspects they are looking for knowledge about that thing, they will see a Knowledge Graph box in the right sidebar (see illustration). The box provides quick facts about the subject and thumbnail links to related searches based on the behaviors of other searchers for the same topic. One thing more though: if the topic can be related to a brand or person on G+, the Knowledge Graph box will also show some of that brand or person’s lastest public posts, along with a link to their profile. If Knowledge Graph is active for you (US only at this writing, but it will expand), try a search for “Barack Obama” to see this in action.

Take away for marketers: Brands and content producers with strong profiles on Google+ will be in a front runner position as Google begins to expand the reach and scope of Knowledge Graph. I firmly believe that recent additions to Google such as author verification will help Google make these Knowledge Graph connections, so those with web content properly connected to a Google+ account will be the first to be indexed and show up. Imagine owning a whole sidebar of Google search!

Enhanced Search Listings

This feature, similar to Knowledge Base, doesn’t have a public name yet, but many are already referring to it as “enhanced listings.” When searching for a brand that has a G+ page, users have started seeing a special result in the right sidebar, with a link to the brand’s page, a “follow” button (to add the page to one’s circles), and a few most recent public posts. Here’s an example for chocolate maker Cadbury:

Cadbury Enhanced Listing Google

Enhanced listings are only showing for a limited number of brands now, but they will certainly be expanded in the future. By the way, the listings show up whether or not the searcher is logged in to Google, so they are not personalized results.

Take away for marketers: Obviously you need to have a G+ brand page to be eligible for these enhanced listings. It is reasonable to assume that the more active and well-followed pages will get the feature activated first. Also, be certain your page is properly verified with Google!

Live Hangouts On Air

Google+ Hangouts have been one of its most popular and highly-praised features. A Hangout is a live video chat for up to nine participants. Even with that limitation (and is it fair to call it a limitation when it is  bigger than most other chat programs?), many brands found ways to make use of Hangouts to give at least small groups of followers that “face time” experience.

Then late last year Google introduced “Hangouts On Air” (HOA). While an HOA is still limited to nine active chatters, it can be broadcast in a G+ stream so that an unlimited number of people can watch it. This enables endless possibilities, such as virtual product demonstrations, panel discussions, and even rock concerts (yes, it’s been done, with huge attendance). And that’s not all, as they say in the infomercials! HOA sessions can be automatically archived as a permanent YouTube video on the person or brand’s YouTube channel. The only sad thing about HOA was that for months it was available to a very limited number of users and brands.

That changed last week when G+ announced that HOA is being rolled out to all users and brands. If you don’t see it yet in your profile, you soon will. You’ll know you have it if when you initiate a Hangout you see an “Enable Hangouts on Air” check box. In a future post I’ll go more into detail about Hangouts, and provide some examples of their effective use by brands on Google+.

Take away for marketers: Hangouts on Air will richly reward those who can come up with creative and enticing ways to connect with their followers and potential customers. For example, some brands have already started Hangout “shows” with a regular panel of experts that are broadcast on a regular schedule, just like a TV program. The auto-archiving to YouTube is where the search connection comes in. Every Hangout On Air you do becomes another “page” on the web where you can be found, especially as YouTube is being increasingly integrated into Google’s social search.

Pro Tip: If you manage multiple pages, getting your Hangout On Air archived on the right YouTube channel can be a little tricky. See “Connecting Your Hangouts On Air to Existing YouTube Accounts” for instructions.

Shared via Maximize Social Business


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 407 other followers