Form over fashion, chicken or the egg, and keywords before content are just some of the intellectual debates that have raged as humankind attempts to come to grips with the big questions that plague our times. While the relative merits of comfort over appearance are well known, the chicken versus egg chronological lineage is still up for debate when people bend their thoughts to more esoteric contemplations. What is not up for debate is the importance of quality content over keywords when it comes to writing engaging online copy that will appear high in search engine results. Indeed, the old days of stuffing a 500-word article with 122 examples of the exact same keyword are long gone thanks to changes made by Google to their search algorithms, which punish the practice of keyword stuffing and rewards content that it perceives to be relevant and helpful to the end user.
Rise of the Machines…
In the “Wild West” of early internet interaction, it was discovered that the search engine rankings could be “gamed” into recognizing, and singling out, websites that practiced the art of keyword stuffing. Simply stated, keyword stuffing is the practice of writing online copy to be read by a machine rather than copy designed to be consumed by a human user.
This old formula was predicated on the notion that search engines scan the internet looking for certain keyword density in response to search inquires. When the engines located articles displaying such keyword density, they posted the results in search rankings for the end-user to consume. Unfortunately, this practice dictates that copy be written for machines rather than humans, and the results rarely offered compelling or helpful information.
Recognition that People Are Using the Machines…
Search engine giant Google sought to change this reality by tweaking their search algorithms in early 2012. Known as a Panda Update, the changes affected nearly 12% of all search inquiries, and the results have transformed the way people write copy on the internet. Under Google’s new protocols, the sure fired methods that drove search rankings in the past, no longer guarantee the lofty heights that they once achieved. In much the same way that you cannot discount the movements of an elephant when you are sleeping together in a twin-sized bed, the shear size of Google has assured that their changes are felt throughout the online search world.
Google based their changes on observations of social media. The propensity to share valuable information on such platforms as FaceBook, Pinterest, and Twitter drove the recognition that the yardstick for high search ratings is quality content rather than the ham-fisted tactic of keyword stuffing.
The Nuts and Bolts of a Panda Attack…
If your site is negatively impacted by a Panda update, you will know almost immediately, and it will manifest itself in the form of dramatic drop in traffic. It is possible to bounce back from a panda hit, but it takes some diligent work and a little time. Google recommends reviewing your site for substandard material as that is the new yardstick in determining high search rankings. Further, it should be noted that quick fixes would not provide a solution:
- Panda is not about back links and anchor texts.
- Tidying up a messy back link profile will not help.
- Reconsideration requests won’t help.
- Recovery will be re-measured once Google rolls out another update.
Webmasters can expect a Panda roll out every four to six weeks on average, and continuously upgrade their sites in the interim to achieve better results. Specifically, they should keep an eye out for content that would draw Panda’s ire:
- Remove material that would probably not be shared by readers.
- Get rid of duplicate material on your site. This might apply to content that has been pilfered from elsewhere on the web, or it could mean pages have been duplicated across your site.
- Scour the site for thin material with an eye towards replacing pages that only have a sentence or two with quality engaging content.
Improved Literary Frontier…
These new rubrics have resulted in a marked improvement of the quality of online copy. While the use of keywords has not been removed, their use is within the framework of a natural, in-depth discussion of the topic that leads to their use in a naturalistic way. As such, copywriters and SEO professionals are scrambling to develop superior copy that represents an improved literary frontier for those looking for quality online information and content.
Written by Danny BenDebba
t’s pretty much common knowledge that these days, any business, particularly an online business, should have a blog. But how? And why? What is this platform going to do for your brand? Are you selling products? Are you building a community? Is it about building awareness? And most importantly, who’s it for?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself before you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboards. Now let’s get onto the how… Check out our first five easy steps to a winning blogging strategy below:
Whether you’re starting from scratch or you’ve already got something up and running, stop and get your team together! A brainstorm between your writers, marketing gurus and whoever else might be involved is a must for any successful blogging strategy. This brainstorm should be happening about once a month. If you’ve been blogging previously, get your analytics up in front of everyone – what posts have been successful? Which have been the most shared on social media? Take these factors into account when you’re coming up with topics for the next month.
If you haven’t started with content yet – no problem! This next tip’s for everyone: Have a close look at your competitor’s posts. Jot down any articles that have high share-rates. You should take inspiration from these, and write a related post.
Another one for the newbies: if you haven’t already decided on how many posts per week you’d like to publish, now’s the time to do it. Keep in mind you’re going to want to stay consistent, posting the same amount each week and on the same days too. Knowing these details will help you come up with a content calendar.
Once you’ve decided on the number of posts you’ll be publishing per week, and per month, you’ll be able to create a rough plan for a content calendar. Do some research! Look into when your target audience is online the most. This is when you should be posting and promoting.
We know that we’ve talked about knowing your audience and clients before, so we’ll keep it brief. If you know your clients, you’ll know what they’re after in a blog. Whether it’s craft DIY tips, quirky ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage or informative marketing advice, you’ll know it and you’ll be able to provide it. Knowing your audience is also knowing the purpose of your blog, which is something that should be decided straight away in order to get your strategy underway. Check out these 5 Critical Tips for Identifying Your Target Audience from Technori.
If you’re just starting out, or your business is relatively small, you may have already decided that you’ll be writing the blog yourself. That’s completely understandable! Just be aware that there are a few things you should get your head around when it comes to creating great content. Firstly, you should make sure that you’re an avid reader of other blogs. This is great in terms of keeping an eye on the competition, but also knowing what’s out there in general, and knowing what’s possible within a blog platform. Reading will provide you with inspiration in terms of both structure and subject matter. Make sure you’ve got a list of go-to blog examples to devour.
The above still applies to writers that you’ve hired, but hiring the right writer is also crucial. Obviously, the right person depends on the purpose of your blog. For example, if your aim is to sell a complicated product, you’ll need a writer who is also an expert in what you’re selling. This writer will need to provide a lot of insight, and so it may be appropriate that in this instance, your product manager take on the blog themselves, or at least train the person you’ve brought on board.
Make sure your writers are great at creating catchy headlines. Obviously, these are the first things your audience are going to see – you want your headlines to inspire enthusiasm and interest, as well as be optimized for SEO (but we’ll get to that).
It’s one thing for you to know your audience, but make sure your writers know it too. Make communication with your writers a big priority – they should know not only your audience, but the goals of the business itself, what’s it all about? Check out these guidelines for creating great content.
Style Guides & Editors
The importance of the language you use on your online platforms should never be underestimated, but in this case – this isn’t all an editor and a style guide are for. Of course you don’t want spelling and grammatical errors throughout your content, but there’s something as equally important: consistent style and tone. It doesn’t matter if you have one writer or twenty – you want all your written content to be of a similar nature, it needs to represent your brand after all.
Early on in the content creating process, put together a style guide for your writers. This can list everything from preferred spellings and topics to cover to how to format headings. If your writers follow this carefully, you will be rewarded with consistency throughout your whole blog, no matter how many writers you have.
Installing analytics is a must for every website owner. These are brilliant tools that allow you to track and measure your success, enabling you to identify successful posts, and use this information to create similar posts. The most commonly used tool is Google Analytics, which offers an extensive breakdown of your site, traffic and audience. Some of our favourite features?
- Audience. This lets you view your demographic, their interests and behavior.
- Acquisition. See where your traffic is coming from – is it direct or from an organic search? Is it from social media or an email marketing campaign?
- ‘Real Time’. See how many people are on your site at this exact moment; what they’re looking at and where they are in the world.
It’s amazing what you can learn about your audience and your own content by reviewing your analytics on a regular basis. Did we mention it’s free?
If you know your audience you’ll have a rough idea of what they’re searching for when they hop onto the world wide web. Once you’ve got this in mind, you can play ball seriously. There are a number of keyword planning tools available for you to choose from. There’s Google Adwords Keyword Planner which can tell you how often a term is searched for each month, as well as suggest similar terms to use. This is one of the few free tools available, some of the paid services include Market Samurai and Raven, which also offer SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Packages.
Another tool we’ve just discovered is ReSearch.ly. This service filters conversations from 1000 days of social data so you have insight into your target audience’s “influence, sentiments, demographics and psychographics”, allowing you to “get inside your reader’s head”. ReSearch.ly offers newbies 10 free searches before they have to subscribe, so have a play around, and see if it’s something that could work for you.
Once you’ve done your keyword research, you can get your writers on board and discuss how to integrate these terms into your written and visual content. Think outside the box here, use your keywords in your image captions and alt tags, if possible have a category title using a keyword… Be sensible though, you still want your content to be super easy to read and share-friendly.
If all of this is new to you and you’re a little confused – no problem! Check out Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO & Keyword Research here.
There’s one more thing to consider before you put your blog post out into the world: Links. Your post should be an authority on whatever subject you’ve chosen, but there will always be offshoot subjects you haven’t covered, or have covered in the past… Never miss an opportunity to provide your readers with more information, whether it’s from your own site or a fellow blogger’s. Creating internal links (these connect from one of your posts to another post on your site) are great because they keep your visitor on your site, exposing them to more of your content. This also means that you and your site keep more of the ‘link juice’ (yes, that’s a real thing). Alternatively, by linking to an external source, not only are you showing your readers that you’re a good sport, but you’re also starting a relationship with like-minded bloggers and paying it forward. This encourages others in your industry to interact with you and your brand, which ultimately brings more traffic your way.
That’s right, we’re finally here. You’ve done all the grunt work; the brainstorming, the researching, the writers’ training, the style sheet and you’ve trawled through your analytics… Now’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Hit ‘Publish’ and give yourself a pat on the back, a cheeky afternoon beverage or a nap (or maybe all three). You deserve it.
Unfortunately, the work doesn’t end there. Now you’ve got to give your latest post the best shot of reaching the most people on the web. Firstly, be sure to include sharing options at the bottom (and top) of your posts. You want people to share your content quickly and easily, which means making sure there are as few steps for them as possible. Next, promote your new post across all your social media platforms – use call to actions to grab attention and prompt interest. Another detail to remember – get your writers on board with social media sharing as well. It’s equally beneficial to them, as it gets their name and work out there for readers, but creates brand awareness for you as well.
If you stay up to date on social media trends and advice, you have likely heard that you need to post a lot of content, get as many fans/followers as you can, and post when most of your fans are online. Rules are meant to be broken, and I’ll explain why it is necessary to break each of these rules.
1. Post a lot of content
Yes, you need to post content. A lot of it. But this stress on always posting can result in substandard content. On Facebook, you should never post more than twice a day, and even twice a day can be too much. Instead, aim for 5-7 times a week. When you post too much content, you increase your chance that you are just adding to the social media “noise”. Instead focus your effort on creating smaller amounts of high quality content. Quality over quantity.
Why to break this rule
The Facebook algorithm works in a way that it tries to guess what you want to see. One way this is accomplished is that if you normally click on a business’ Facebook page, it is more likely to show you their content. If your business is posting too much low quality content, people will stop clicking. And when you actually do post good content, less fans will see it.
Real world example
There is a restaurant I frequent that I “like” on Facebook. They post any and everything on their Facebook page (they post about 5-10 times a day), whether it is related to the restaurant or not. The result is that I NEVER see their content in my news feed because I first ignored their nonsense posts. What good is my like if they never get their message to me?
2. Get as many fans as you can
We all want more fans. But if these fans are never going to purchase your product or service, what good are they? Social media can easily become a popularity contest: “we have more fans than you.” But worthless fans are, well, worthless. Actually, they can be much worse than worthless….
Why to break this rule
Remember that Facebook algorithm? Another way it works is that when you post content, it shows it to a handful of your fans. If these fans interact with your content, Facebook then shows it to more of your fans. If you have fans that don’t actually like your product/service, they won’t interact with your posts. This means that it will be more difficult to reach your fans who actually are actually interested in your business.
Real world example
While doing consulting work with an Italian restaurant, we quickly learned that if we focused our Facebook advertising to the local area, we received two-three “likes” for every dollar we spent. When we just aimed for total likes, we doubled that number. We could have spent a relatively small amount of money and gotten hundreds of likes. The problem was that the likes all came from Italy, a demographic that was unlikely to ever visit the restaurant or interact with the content. Aim for quality fans over a large quantity of fans.
3. Always post when the most fans are online
You want to get your message out to fans, and you want that message to reach the most screens as possible. Knowing when your fans are online is essential. The Facebook newsfeed works in a way that rewards current content, and makes older content unlikely to show in a person’s newsfeed.
Why to break this commandment
You certainly need to post when most of your fans are online, but you do not need to do it religiously. Focus most of your posting at peak hours, but switch up your timing once or twice a week. This is important because certain fans have different Facebook use habits. This means that if you always post at the same time, you are likely missing fans that have different schedules.
Real world example
We found that a sports rehabilitation physician had more success with his posts after he varied up his posting schedule. He often included exercise tips, and saw his engagement increase after he started posting later in the day. By posting later in the day, he was able to reach fans that otherwise had been missing his posts. Now, these fans are more likely to see all of his posts, no matter the time of day he posts.
Marketing is all about delivering the right messages to the right audience at the right time. Facebook For Business has just announced yet another enhancement to their platform that will deliver even more granular customer information to anyone advertising on this platform.
Audience Insights makes it possible to view an audience by age, gender, lifestyle, education, relationship status, job role and household size, and also by where they live and what language they speak. Audience Insights will also track Facebook usage – how often people log into Facebook and what devices they use to do it, along with which categories of Pages they like (restaurants, sports, etc.) Even more impressive is the feature that allows marketers to track purchase behavior, what and how they buy (For Example: online or in-store).
Facebook addresses privacy issues by offering only aggregated information that people are already sharing on Facebook, along with data from “trusted third-party partners.” They do not share information on specific individuals. This aggregate anonymous information can be accessed three different ways: People on Facebook; people connected to certain Pages or events; and custom audience of brands (current customers).
This new targeting strategy differs from the present Page Insights in that Page Insights gave only information about interactions with a Business Page. Audience Insights looks at people across Facebook.
Facebook believes that these targeting enhancements will not only help marketers speak to the people they want to reach, but will also help consumers by displaying ads that will be of interest them.
For example, retailers can now find out not only how many people live near their store, but also information about what types of products they tend to buy (high end vs. economy) and whether they prefer to buy in the store or online. This will give business owners a window into their potential customers that they have never had before.
Are you measuring the performance of your social media efforts? If so, what are you measuring?
Return on Investment (ROI) with social media may not turn into dollars or Euros immediately, but there’s still a value in getting traffic to your site and building a community online.
You should have a core set of metrics that you track on a regular basis, and social media tracking doesn’t have to that complex.
1. Conversions from Guest Posting
Writing a guest blog post on someone else’s site can be a source of immediate and ongoing traffic. But what happens to that traffic when it arrives?
If the traffic arrives and there is no engagement on your site, then there is less value than if somebody arrives and signs up to become an email subscriber, tries out your product or service or buys something.
You need to monitor this traffic and make sure that it is a providing a good return on investment. If you blog on a third-party site and get 500 visitors, 10% of them might sign up to your newsletter. With a larger size email list you can sell more products or services, get more money for ads in your newsletter and drive more traffic to your website.
Check ‘all referrals’ in Google Analytics and open up the details of the site where you guest posted:
We write on Social Media Examiner and you can see those conversion rates can be quite high. For example, from a post on Google Plus tools there were 16 new subscribers with a conversion rate of 14.02%.
You can also see we have a very low bounce rate: people come to the site, like the content and read more of it.
2. Conversions from your own blog content
What about the content you write yourself? Which content is useful and which is not? There may be some types of content that you write that get very high conversion rates, and some that get very poor results.
What counts as a conversion will vary from person to person, for example it could be a new email subscriber or it could be a sign up for a trial of your product or service.
If you select behavior -> site content -> landing pages in Google Analytics, you will see the conversion rate (if you have set up goals) for any of your blog posts.
Nice, eh? What if you have a low conversion rate on a post that’s getting a ton of traffic? Why not create an opt-in box that is specifically focussed on that piece of content?
3. Conversion from social media channels
Which social media channels are achieving the highest conversions for you? You can spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other channels, but what’s the point if they are not helping you achieve your goals?
Of course, driving traffic to your site and converting that traffic might not be your only goal, but it should be one of your overall aims.
It’s important to keep track of what people are doing when they come to your site.
In the above image, you’ll see that our conversion rates are higher for Google+ and LinkedIn. You may also find that you get a lot more shares on Twitter than other networks, but that you get more conversions from visitors who arrive via other channels!
Like I said, it’s not all about conversions, but this is one area to watch.
4. Tracking Specific Shared Campaigns
What about sharing a deal out on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook? How do you track which conversions are coming from each channel?
Or what if you share a post on Facebook and, at the same time, set up an advertising campaign for the same promotion. Which one achieved the conversion? The post or the advertising campaign?
One way to start to unpick this is by using Google URL Builder which will tag additional parameters onto the link so you can view them within Google Analytics and see where your conversions are coming from.
There is a Chrome plugin for Google URL builder which makes it a little easier to create the URLs. You add it your browser and it will automatically pick up the URL of the page you are on. You then just fill out some basic details, and you can even create a shortened bit.ly link directly within the tool.
You can also create lists where you preconfigure items for your forms.
The parameters you fill out are as follows:
- Source: Where are you going to share out the link.
- Medium: Is this an ad, a Facebook post, an email?
- Term: Is this part of an AdWords campaign? If so what keywords does it relate to?
- Content: If you have multiple ads running for your keywords you can use this to differentiate between them.
- Campaign: If this is related to a particular campaign, enter the campaign details.
5. Tracking the value of awareness and engagement
When articles about us are published in the press, that is great for building brand awareness. The newspapers will tell us how many people read the paper so we’re meant to work out our reach based on this? C’mon, you know it’s impossible to really work out how many people have read or seen your article.
Yet, you’d still be happy to get your article in the hands of a big newspaper and if you could pay for an editorial piece you’d probably do that also.
The difference with social media is that it’s more measurable.
You can see on Facebook how many people have seen your content in their newsfeed (though they may not have read it). You can then see how many people engaged with your content, and how many site visits you get. You can then track these site visits to sales. Even if you don’t get the site visits you have increased awareness of your brand.
Jon Loomer recently advertised his great Facebook course on Facebook. He advertised to fans and to non-fans. Because the fans knew of him and trusted him, they bought it but the non-fans didn’t. So, Jon knows there is a lot of value in a fan.
Measure what reach you are getting, what engagement you are getting and how many visits you get back to your website.
What tools do you use?
There are many tools available, such as LeadSocial.
As the name suggests, it is all about measuring the value from social interactions and tracking that value to sales. As well as tracking engagement, it allows you to put a value against this engagement, based on what it would have cost if you had advertised on Facebook.
Then, when you’re posting, you can see how much it would have cost and start to measure the value to keep track of whether it’s going up or down.
All of this assumes that you have a relevant audience. If you simply ran a competition to give away an iPad, chances are your fans aren’t that relevant, so they won’t be engaging too much anyway.
Leadsocial also identifies your most loyal fans. These are the ones that are more likely to buy from you so it’s worth tracking them. If you know who they are, you can do extra promotion just for them (e.g. advertise on Facebook and target the ads directly to this group).
So, think about the value you get from social media channels and measure how much it is worth: this is invaluable information.
Social Media activity is measurable and, because it’s online, it’s a lot more measurable than other forms of traditional advertising. For example, how do you measure the value of a billboard? Do you calculate how many people drive or walk by and work out a value based on this?
At least with social media you can know how many people had the chance to see your update, and then you can see who actually engaged with it and even who came to your website and took some action.
So let’s start measuring!
The use of social media is becoming a feature of political and civic engagement for many Americans. Some 60% of American adults use either social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter and a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds that 66% of those social media users—or 39% of all American adults—have done at least one of eight civic or political activities with social media.
Overall, there are mixed partisan and ideological patterns among social media users when it comes to using social media like social networking sites and Twitter. The social media users who talk about politics on a regular basis are the most likely to use social media for civic or political purposes. And the social media users who have firmer party and ideological ties—liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans—are, at times, more likely than moderates in both parties to use social media for these purposes.
Some of these activities are more likely to be pursued by younger social media users compared with the social media users who are ages 50 or older. Younger users are more likely to post their own thoughts about issues, post links to political material, encourage others to take political action, belong to a political group on a social networking site, follow elected officials on social media, and like or promote political material others have posted.
Here are the key findings in a recent nationally representative survey:
- 38% of those who use social networking sites (SNS) or Twitter use those social media to “like” or promote material related to politics or social issues that others have posted. Liberal Democrats who use social media are particularly likely to use the ‘like’ button—52% of them have done so and 42% of conservative Republicans have also done so.
- 35% of social media users have used the tools to encourage people to vote. Democrats who are social media users are more likely to have used social media to encourage voting—42% have done that compared with 36% of Republican social-media users and 31% of independents.
- 34% of social media users have used the tools to post their own thoughts or comments on political and social issues. Liberal Democrats who use social media (42%) and conservative Republicans (41%) are especially likely to use social media this way.
- 33% of social media users have used the tools to repost content related to political or social issues that was originally posted by someone else. Republican social media users are more likely to do this on social media—39% have used social media to repost content, compared with 34% of social media using Democrats and 31% of independents.
- 31% of social media users have used the tools to encourage other people to take action on a political or social issue that is important to them. Some 36% of social-media-using Democrats have done this as have 34% of Republicans. This compares to 29% of independents who are social media users.
- 28% of social media users have used the tools to post links to political stories or articles for others to read. The social media users who are liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are the most likely to have used social media this way (39% and 34% respectively).
- 21% of those who use SNS or Twitter belong to a group on a social networking site that is involved in political or social issues, or that is working to advance a cause. There are no major differences by ideology or partisanship when it comes to using social media this way.
- 20% of social media users have used the tools to follow elected officials and candidates for office. Some 32% of the conservative Republicans who use social media follow officials on social media and 27% of liberal Democrats who use social media do so.
Today, small business owners are busier than ever trying to run their companies while handling marketing and sales, too. An important part of marketing today is social media. For many small business owners, the world of social media is still foreign territory, and finding the perfect strategy that actually works can often be difficult.
So how do you know if what you’re doing is really hitting the mark? Here are 11 signs that your small business strategy isn’t working. If you’re doing any of the things on this list, chances are your strategy is falling flat and you’re missing prime opportunities to use social media to engage, inform and promote.
1. You delete negative posts.
Negative posts about your brand can be shocking, scary and hurtful. One of the key mistakes small business owners make is taking negative comments personally. Most often when you see a negative post about your brand, the person posting isn’t talking about you. They’re talking about your product or service. Instead of hitting the delete button when you see something negative, think of it as an opportunity to engage. But make sure that you directly address the negativity head-on. Don’t try to sugarcoat your response.
For example, if you own a delivery service and a customer makes a negative comment about your company because their package was late, don’t panic. Instead, let the person know that you will direct message (DM) them with a response and take care of the issue. Once the issue is resolved, go back to the original post and let your followers know you’ve handled it.
In 2011, a Harris survey looked at customers who posted negative reviewed during the Christmas season. The survey found that 68 percent of customers that left negative reviews got a response from the business they were reviewing. As a result, 18 percent of them became regular customers and made additional purchases. Of the customers who received a response from their negative post, 33 percent of them actually posted something positive after and a whopping 34 percent deleted the original negative post.
So don’t ignore negative posts. Deal with them directly, and you might just turn a negative into a positive!
2. You don’t have a solid company social media policy in place.
Most small businesses don’t have a formal social media policy in place. If you’re in that boat, you really should take the time to develop one. Think of it as a road map to helping your promote your brand better on social media. If you define procedures and protocols upfront for how often you’ll post, who will maintain the accounts and how you will handle negative posts, it makes it a lot easier to run your accounts and spring into action quickly when something goes wrong.
3. You’re on autopilot.
Most social media platforms have an automated message feature, but it doesn’t mean you have to use it. When many social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook were first introduced to the public, the automated message feature seemed like a convenient way to thank people who followed you. Today, automated messages are widely considered annoying and impersonal. Instead of sending the same message to every new follower, take the time to send personalized thanks when you can.
Remember, you don’t have to thank every follower, but it’s a good idea to thank those that stand out. For example, if you own a restaurant and the food columnist for your local newspaper starts following you, you may want to reach out directly to establish an ongoing dialogue rather than letting an automated message do it for you.
4. You’re not tracking what others say about your brand.
Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking that consumers only post about them on their brand page. In reality, consumers post about brands everywhere — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and review sites, to name a few. While it’s a great idea to monitor your own social media accounts to see what people are saying about you, it’s an even better idea move to using a social mention tracking tool to find out what people are posting about your brand around the Internet.
Social Mention is a great free tool for doing this. Visit http://SocialMention.com to check it out.
5. Your updates are sporadic.
If you’re not updating your social media pages on a regular basis, you’re missing out. You don’t have to post multiple times a day, but you should at least make a few posts a week to keep your followers, who are essentially your customers, engaged and excited about your brand.
6. You don’t know the difference between a reply and a mention on Twitter.
Did you know that if someone posts something on Twitter and you start your response with @, you’re limiting the number of people who are going to see the reply? For example, if @customerx posted something about @xyzbusiness and that company starts their reply with @customerx, it will only be seen by the customer and the business. That’s a reply. To make sure it’s seen by all of your followers, add a period in front of it like this — .@customerx — to make it a mention.
7. You overuse hashtags in your posts.
Not every word in your post needs to have a hashtag. In fact, hashtagging every word is going to make your post harder to read. Instead, use hashtags sparingly. Try not to use more than three per post.
8. You don’t proofread your posts.
Grammatical errors make your posts hard to read and reflect poorly on your brand. Proofread everything you write before you post it.
9. You only share things related to your brand.
This is a cardinal sin of social media. Remember that your purpose is to engage and get to know your customers. Your brand isn’t the only one they follow, and it’s certainly not the only thing that is of interest to them. Be sure to spend some time browsing your customers’ page, find out what things they like and leave positive comments. This is an excellent way to foster lasting relationships with your customers online. It also shows your customers that you are interested in them, too.
10. You make it hard to retweet your content.
It’s a fact that Twitter gives you 140 characters to post, but it doesn’t mean you have to use all of them. In fact, you should leave about 20 or so characters that can be used by others who retweet your content for the “RT @customerx” that will automatically be part of the retweet. This makes it easier for people to share your content quickly with no hassles.
11. You don’t retweet your followers’ content.
While you definitely want to make it easy for others to retweet your content, you also have to spend some time doing a little retweeting yourself. Find content from your followers that you find interesting and take a minute or two to retweet it. Remember social media is a two-way street and engagement is the key to success.
To design and structure a Facebook sweepstakes that actually captures high quality leads, while generating positive sentiment and customer goodwill, you’ll need to advertise to the right audience, collect sufficient data on your entry form and give away a relevant prize. There are two main things to keep in mind:
1. Be Strategic About the Prize
If you want to qualify leads, you can pretty much forget prizes such as iPads and big screen televisions. In fact, if you think the prize you’ve chosen could make the sweepstakes go viral to a mass audience, avoid it!
What’s the matter with those prizes? It’s truly the fact that everyone wants them.
Even when you diligently target your sweepstakes ads to your ideal customer, people may share the sweepstakes with their friends which can introduce a lot of random entries in the sweepstakes. Then, when the sweepstakes is over, you have names, email addresses and other data but you still don’t know who wants your specific products and services. At that point, the audience you started advertising to may be more relevant than the audience you finish with. Who doesn’t want a free iPad or television?
For example, consider a spa that hires SalesBlend to run a sweepstakes and give away an iPad. We establish with the owner that we’ll advertise exclusively on Facebook to women 18+ in the interest category “Beauty” who live within 50 miles of San Diego where the spa is located. We use a fan-gated ShortStack app to get Likes and collect all the necessary data. When the sweepstakes is over, we tally 3,000 Likes and 500 email addresses in 30 days. The spa owner says “Wow!”
The numbers look good. But what should we name the new email list of sweepstakes entrants? Perhaps, “Anyone who wants to win an iPad enough to Like the spa’s Page and give up their email address.”
Is there really any reason to prefer marketing to the entrants than the women who didn’t enter the sweepstakes?
What if this list includes some of the women who didn’t enter?
• Women who spend $500 per month on spa treatment who already have an iPad
• Women who have some type of tablet already
• Women who can easily afford an iPad but are satisfied with their iPhone and laptop
• Women with lots of money but not a lot of time for sweepstakes
• Women who were reached but didn’t really see the ads or pay enough attention to them
• Women who were possibly biased against entering sweepstakes
• Women who didn’t properly estimate the chance of winning
• Women who didn’t recognize how attractive the prize was or the impact it could make in their lives
• Women who saw the ad but got distracted before entering the sweepstakes
Now let’s say that the prize is a sea salt exfoliating spa package which includes 30 guaranteed minutes of peace where a foot massage combines with cucumber slices on each eye and rainforest music. It’s a high margin offer that people already love and recommend consistently on Facebook and Yelp. It gives the winner a chance to experience the best the spa has to offer. In general, the spa has found that people who try the sea salt exfoliating spa package return to the spa 38 percent of the time within the following month.
I’m not saying everyone valuable will enter, but can you see how the act of someone entering a sweepstakes with this prize allows for the creation of a valuable business segment? Let’s title this segment “People who want the sea salt exfoliating spa package, have the means to get to the spa and the time to enjoy it.”
2. Collect Sufficient Data with Your Sweepstakes Entry Form
What can the specific behavior–entry into the sweepstakes—tell you about the sweepstakes entrant?
When people enter a sweepstakes, they know they will need to provide accurate contact information so they can be contacted if they win the prize. Adding one or more additional fields on your entry form can provide you with information that would otherwise be expensive to collect through traditional market research. Want to send all entrants a 20 percent off coupon for the exact same spa package on their next birthday? Ask for their date of birth on the entry form now.
Entering a sweepstakes is like clicking a “WANT” button
With careful prize selection, ad targeting and form structure, after the sweepstakes is over, you’ll know who in your target market wants your product. But remember, so far they’ve only said they wanted it when you were offering it for free to a lucky winner. Now you need to figure out what everyone’s actually willing to pay for it. It’s time to get strategic with your Facebook ads, email marketing and other promotions.
Sweepstakes help qualify leads because they can let you know who wants the specific product being offered as the prize. Therefore, entry in a sweepstakes can be a buying signal. It can also suggest there may be interest in purchasing similar products or each component in the prize.
In the case of the spa, we could try offering the past sweepstakes entrants other spa packages, stand-alone foot massages and stand-alone cucumber eye treatments. Possibly, they could even see a surge of rainforest music CD sales at the counter.
Every time SalesBlend has used ShortStack’s fan-gated apps, our clients have seen significant increases in Likes, engagement, email addresses and—they’ve received the ultimate prize: behavioral information that improves lead quality.
When you host Facebook contests how do you collect leads? Anything you’d add to this list?
Spreading your business in a tough economic environment is never easy. Being a business owner one has to deal with multiple tasks like keeping up with products, services, and competition, besides maintaining a two-way communication with customers. Current trends indicate that users are increasingly going mobile and one of the best ways to connect with them is through mobile apps.
A report by Flurry suggests that consumers are spending more time on mobile apps than on the web. Flurry found that in June, consumers spent 81 minutes per day using mobile apps, compared to 74 minutes of web surfing. The shift comes because of a large number of users purchasing smartphones and tablets. Similarly, a February 2012 Forrester research entitled, “Mobile Marketing: Three Principles for Success,” said the number of consumers researching products for purchase using their mobile device has nearly doubled from last year. This indeed makes a mobile marketing strategy crucial for any interactive marketer.
Organizations of all sizes and nature are now embracing the revolution called mobile apps. A clear and intuitive app, designed intelligently, can do wonders for a company if the approach is correct. Here are some ways that you need to keep in mind while delivering a powerful app experience that could be a game changer for your business.
Connect your customers to remarkable content and mobile experience
Today, no consumer business can ignore the potential of reaching out to customers through mobile applications for customer service, marketing and now payments. But before you start, you need to remember that great user experiences doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes a conscious effort throughout every stage of the design and development process to get it right.
• Prioritize and present core features of your app. For a pizza chain like Domino’s, which already has apps on both iOS and Android, it could be convenience and delivery. The Domino’s Pizza app allows you to place an order for delivery or carry-out. You can also choose to select from its specialty pizzas or build your own. A striking feature of the app is the pizza tracker, which allows users to check whether your order is in the delivery process or not.
• You can opt for geo-location feature. The feature provides a rich experience to a user since it gives relevant data based on your location. One such example is Shopkick, an advanced geo-location social shopping application. A recent survey of 5,000 Android and iPhone users conducted by consumer insight group Nielsen, placed Shopkick at top of the list in the category that engages shoppers the longest, being used by consumers for three hours on average. Shopkick is a free location-based rewards application that offers its users “kickbucks” (rewards) when they check-in at participating businesses, and when they scan the barcodes on specific products. These kickbucks can be redeemed for restaurant vouchers, retail gift cards, movie tickets, and more.
• Make sure that your app contains all the features relevant to your category (retail, shopping, productivity, location-planning, paperless ticketing, music, games, etc.)
• Besides functionality, you also have to focus on providing the right type of content to your users. Apple’s own User Interface Guidelines suggest that to make an app that people will care about, one need to focus on content. For this you need to first draft a statement of intent for your content. Identify how will your content promote your business objectives and meet the customer needs. Remember the objective of this exercise is to demonstrate to your audience why you matter.
Integrate your app seamlessly with social networks
Social media Integration on your mobile app is a good way to help users interact with social networks. Besides Facebook and Twitter, there are other options too like Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr, that can improve engagement with your existing and potential customers. Here’s how social media can help you in increasing brand loyalty:
- Identify customer needs and engage them through social media marketing contests, surveys, and opinion polls
- Use feedback to gain insight and improve performance
- Encourage customers to share their experience on the company website
Grilling app, iGrill, is a good example of winning combination of mobile apps and social media. The app recently rose to limelight when Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, praised the app on his Facebook page saying, “I updated my grilling app, iGrill, today and it now has Facebook integration that lets you see what other people are grilling right now around the world. Awesome. I’m making a Fred’s steak.”
Also, if you want to run a social media contest to promote your app, make sure you market your campaign or contest across multiple platforms like: social media accounts, your website, your partners, all of your e-mail list, related forums, etc.
Build buzz around your new product or event
A mobile app is probably one of the best ways to inform your customers about new products and services that you have already launched or about to launch in the market. In this era of cut-throat competition, a key element of an effective marketing strategy is to create the buzz around your product. Offering users discounts and offers will prompt them to visit you more often and spread the good word as well.
Make sure you customers can find your app easily
No doubt an app is a wonderful way to connect with your customers, but the idea won’t work unless it is visible to masses. The usual trend is that developers only submit their app to their respective marketplace. To make it more visible you can create a dedicated website, build a splash page, Facebook fan page, Twitter account, get a blog, do a sneak peak, or create teaser videos. For further assistance on mobile app marketing, you can contact us.
- See more at: http://blog.kiwitech.com/?p=1800#sthash.QL7onImF.dpuf