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Archive for the ‘Social Media Marketing’ Category

The Death of Paid Followers and Black Hat Social Media Techniques?

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Since the beginning of social media, popularity or the amount of followers, likes etc… has been a big indicator of whether your product, brand or service has been doing something right. Five years ago, seeing huge numbers on social media sites provided a form of public validation and trust which was seen as a great indicator of a brand’s success.

From the start, people quickly figured out that creating thousands of fake accounts could provide an instant interest factor for your desired audience. Whilst working in the music industry I came across many producers and studios that would pay for followers, views and basic engagement etc… for bands and songs, daily. Black Hat social media techniques became a standard practice within the entertainment industry and before long this then became commonplace in the business sectors. No matter how terrible a product was/is, it could appear to have a huge following. Social media is now part and parcel of any good SEO strategy as the engagement will ultimately give your Google rankings a lift but times are changing.

 

Google has changed a lot over the last few years in a way that I think democratises the internet to a degree that favours ‘real’ interaction and engagement over spammy link building and paid for interest. Paying for cheap business directories and ten thousand followers on Twitter is no longer going to help you build your brand. This will make many digital marketers jobs’ more difficult in the sense that they now have to start engaging more with their clients’ products and begin creating actual marketing campaigns that drive relevant traffic. In my opinion all this is good and will ultimately reduce bounce rates and increase conversions, if you know what you’re doing. Not only did Google’s updates not affect my clients, it actually helped them secure higher positions than their competitors that are represented by less forward-thinking digital marketers which inevitably led to a drop in their rankings.

Google is now beginning to punish companies that have faked their way through social media. YouTube has already started making big moves against fake virality by removing billions of fake views from certain pop stars. If you pay for a fake social media lift by buying likes on Facebook so you suddenly receive one thousand likes in a week and then twenty the next, the Google social monitoring algorithm will know and your rankings will suffer, ultimately affecting the profitability of your business.

I’ve been saying this for over a year now but still some business owners are too short sighted and don’t think about the longevity of their companies. It’s been tipped that the next Google update is going to be specifically targeting spammy social media and a plethora of Black Hat social techniques so if you’ve paid for fake followers and likes then beware because Google is going to be targeting you, and your company will be at risk of losing a large percentage of your readership. Think about the long-term financial damage that you’ll incur by using cheap short term social media strategies. Expedia lost 25% of their visibility this year due to Black Hat Social Media techniques; just think how much business that cost them or imagine how much it’ll cost you financially to lose 25% of your client visibility.

If you’ve made a mistake then there may still be time to correct it and to hire a company that can begin creating real engagement-based social media strategies. Sage advice – Never go cheap on bin liners and social media strategies, if you do you’ll find yourself steeped in useless rubbish and regret.

The Plug

If you’re interested in implementing a social media strategy that works for your business and is based on a team doing real work then send me a message or contact me via johnny@bigfootdigital.co.uk

Unlike most digital marketing companies, we don’t implement 6 to 12 month contracts with our clients. We simply ask for a 30 day cancellation period. We structure our services in this way because we believe in the quality of what we do. Our work and the client’s ROI should speak for itself and so far it’s enabled us to go from strength to strength.

Johnny Pawlik

Digital Strategy and Business Procurement

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Facebook Testing new “Buy” Feature

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Facebook has announced that it’s testing a new feature that will let users buy products from businesses directly through the site or mobile app. This addition has the potential to make increasing sales through Facebook easier for businesses and could increase conversion rates for ads and posts.

What we Know About the Feature

We don’t know very much about this new feature yet, except that it will add a “buy” button to some Facebook ads and posts. This way, people can buy products through Facebook without leaving the site or app.

Facebook explained that the payment will be secure and users will be able to store their credit card information on the site or check out without saving payment information. It also states that payment information used on Facebook won’t be shared with other advertisers.

According to the announcement, the feature is currently being tested with some small and medium-sized businesses in the United States. Facebook says it will be assessing feedback, so it may be safe to assume that if the feature works well it could be available to businesses everywhere.

You can find out more about the test on the news section of the Facebook for business website.

How Businesses will Benefit

While this new feature hasn’t been expanded for all businesses and Facebook advertisers, it is an interesting development that could benefit your business later. Facebook seems eager to stay relevant and to entice more businesses to use the service and buy ads. If the tests go well, and the new feature is unrolled for all businesses, you could use it as a major part of your social media marketing campaign.

The addition of the “buy” button would give you a way to include a very visual and clear call to action. When you advertise products or just post information about them to your page, you could make it much easier for people to make a purchase.

Conversion rates could increase because making purchases would be faster and easier and customers could buy things as they use Facebook. People may be more inclined to make spur-of-the-moment purchases, especially if they don’t have to stop what they are doing.

Currently, advertisers can include links to their website and product pages, which makes it easier to convert people into buyers, but does require some extra work. The ads need to be enticing enough to convince someone that they are worth clicking on and exploring further. With the new button, some of that inconvenience could disappear.

How to Make more Sales Now

In the meantime, you can make sure your ads and posts are as optimised as possible to increase sales. Start by using ads that are appealing to your target market and make the shopping experience better. Link directly to a page where users can make a purchase and make sure the checkout process is easy.

To enhance your page, work to build a following of people who are likely to become customers and then post strategically so people will be interested in visiting your website where you can convert them to customers.

We’ll keep an eye on this test and keep you posted as it develops and if it becomes more widely available to businesses.

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7 Easy ways to get More Social Media Engagement Today

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Image courtesy of Goldy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Goldy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Getting more engagement on your social media accounts can increase brand awareness, boost sales, drive traffic and encourage customer loyalty. Many businesses are constantly looking for ways to get more “likes,” comments and shares on social media.

To get the best engagement and see long-term benefits you will need to use some strategic social media marketing plans. But, here are seven quick and easy ways you can start getting more engagement today to jumpstart your accounts.

Start Asking Questions

One of the quickest and easiest ways to start getting some engagement is to ask questions. Ask for product feedback, opinions, reactions to events or responses on anything that will interest your market. People love to talk, especially about themselves, so use this to generate some responses and conversation.

Participate in a Group or Community

Groups and communities are the perfect place for conversation and interaction and can even help you gain more followers. Find groups that are related to your industry or community and that are likely to attract people who would also be interested in your business. Join existing communities or set up your own groups and start inviting people to join them.

Mention and Tag other Users

Generate responses and conversations by mentioning and tagging other users. Do this with a status update or by sharing content from another business and giving it credit. When you mention others in your posts, they will be more likely to respond, starting a conversation, or even share your post with their followers, helping you reach a larger audience.

Start a Conversation

Start a conversation by asking another user a question or commenting on someone’s post. As you start a conversation with someone else, other users may also join in and before you know it, you will be involved in a conversation with a group of people and eliciting all kinds of engagement.

Post Something Different

If your followers are used to the types of things you post and are no longer interested in interacting with them, change things up. You may want to make some permanent changes to your overall social media strategy, but you can test some different tactics by posting something new.

Post something that is different from what you normally post and go with something funny, entertaining, touching, amazing, awe-inspiring or even controversial. Sometimes all it takes to start generating more comments and interaction is a small change in what you post.

Crowdsource Something Simple

Crowdsourcing something simple, like a photo caption, is a great way to get people talking and involved with your brand. Other ways to do this include asking people to vote on a new blog design, asking people to comment on which of your products they like best, using fill-in-the-blank posts or asking for photo submissions. This tactic is similar to asking questions, but it involves more creative interaction.

Do a Giveaway

Giveaways are popular on social media and they are an excellent way to gain new followers, get comments and encourage people to share your posts. Make sure the giveaway is for something your market values and that it requires people to somehow interact with your brand on social media.

All of these tactics can help you generate more interaction on your account right away. Start using these tips and then when you find what works for your market, consider changing your social media marketing strategy so it will be more effective.

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Simple ways to build Brand Awareness on Social Media

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Increasing brand awareness through social media isn’t a unique goal. Many businesses use social media, and other forms of Internet marketing, to make their brand, business, products and services more recognisable.

When your market knows who you are and what you provide, you can increase sales, become an industry leader and build trust with your market, which will help your business grow. With just a few easy tactics you can start building this kind of awareness through social media.

Ad Campaigns

Ad campaigns are a great way to promote your business and attract new followers on social media. Design a campaign specifically for people who don’t already know about your business or who have a very limited knowledge of what you do. The ads can be used to drive traffic to your website, increase sales or build your social media following.

Strategic Posting

Your social media campaign should give you direction and purpose. It should help you avoid random or unorganised posts and messaging. Make a plan that outlines what you want to tell people about your brand and what kinds of actions you want people to take, and then make sure your posts will help you accomplish those goals.

Develop a Personality

Part of your brand is your personality. Clearly define if your brand is fun, spontaneous, professional, casual, friendly or serious and then make sure that personality shows through on your social media profiles and posts.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and post monotonous content or updates that are dry and lack feeling and personality. Break out of this by becoming more human and conversational on social media.

Have Conversations

Social media is meant to be conversational, so talk to your followers! Accounts that respond to questions, ask for feedback and interact with others attract more followers. Having conversations can also help you get in front of more people and build your social media presence.

Some easy ways to have conversations include:

  • Asking Questions
  • Thanking Customers for Feedback
  • Commenting on Customers’ Posts
  • Interacting with other Businesses
  • Responding to Comments on your Posts
  • Giving Shout Outs to Partners or Community Members
  • Thanking Customers

As you start having conversations it will become a habit and before you know it your accounts will be a hub for your customers and draw the attention of people who haven’t heard of your business.

Be Consistent

It’s hard to establish a brand and increase awareness when you aren’t consistent. As you start to include these strategies in your social media plans, be consistent. This means posting regularly, continuing to have conversations and maintaining your presence.

When you are consistent you will establish your place on social media and you’ll become part of larger conversations. You’ll also be more visible to other users, which will help you raise brand awareness.

Using social media is a great way to increase brand awareness and by adopting just a few habits and making sure you are using your accounts strategically, you can inform your market about your business and grow your customer base.

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Twitter’s new Analytics Dashboard Provides more Details

Monday, July 14th, 2014
Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

Twitter has updated its analytics dashboard to provide more detailed information to businesses. With more information, you can see how your tweets are performing and even how your followers are interacting with them.

Who Can Use the New Analytics?

The analytics dashboard is available to businesses that have an advertising account, a verified account or that use Twitter cards. If your business has access to the previous analytics dashboard, you will be able to see the new data. You can also sign up for an account to start using the dashboard now.

What’s New?

Previously, businesses relied on basic information, like the number of retweets or favourites a tweet had, to find out how popular or successful it was. This is still a good way to get an idea of how many people are seeing your tweets and whether or not your market likes the type of information you are sharing.

But, these statistics were limiting and didn’t give businesses a very broad picture of what was happening with their accounts. That’s why the new dashboard is big news and will help businesses be more successful on Twitter.

Impressions

Now, you can see how many times your tweets have been seen on the Twitter website or one of its mobile apps. “Impressions” refers to the number of times a tweet has been viewed, not necessarily the number of people who have seen it.

Twitter allows you to see the total number of impressions for each tweet, an hourly distribution, so you can see when your followers see your posts, or the number of impressions your tweets have received in a 28-day period.

Link Clicks

Now, you don’t have to rely on third-party link shorteners to see how many clicks your links get. You can choose a specific tweet on your dashboard to see how many times a link was clicked on.

Hashtag Clicks

If you use hashtags as part of your social media marketing strategy, being able to see how many times they are clicked on can help you be more effective. Click on a tweet on the dashboard to see hashtag clicks.

App Installs and Opens

Businesses that use Twitter’s app cards will now be able to see how many times their apps were installed or opened.

Tweet-Induced Follows and Profile Views

The new dashboard will also let you see how many followers you are gaining and how many times your profile is viewed due to tweets you are posting.

If you took advantage of Twitter’s CSV export tool, you’ll be happy to know that now you can export data for up to 3,200 tweets, significantly more than the previous 500-tweet limit.

The more analytical information you can gather, the more you can assess your Twitter strategy and find better ways to reach your market. Start taking advantage of the new dashboard now by taking some measurements and then tracking different values over the next several weeks.

As you start to notice changes, find ways you can improve the way you use Twitter to get better results, reverse negative trends or just see even more success.

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Does Social Media Benefit SEO Efforts?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Social media marketing and search engine optimisation are two popular forms of Internet marketing. In fact, for most businesses, they play a major part in their overall marketing and communications plans. One of the most common questions people have concerning these topics is “Does social media benefit SEO efforts?”

The answer is “yes and no.” While this seems like a frustrating response, when you understand how the two can work together, you can find ways to make your Internet marketing even stronger.

What Google Has Said

Earlier this year, Matt Cutts said that Google sees Facebook and Twitter pages like other Internet pages, crawls the content when it can and returns the pages as search results. But, he went on to say that Google’s algorithm doesn’t specifically use things like number of followers or “likes” to determine how to rank a social media page.

Google never comes right out and explains its algorithm in full, but these statements do tell us a lot about how the search engine takes social media into account as it ranks pages.

Keep in mind that some social media sites, like Twitter, use no follow links, so they aren’t the best solution for link building strategies.

Should I use Social Media for SEO?

However, social media could help your SEO strategies if your goal is to get your social media pages and mentions ranked by Google. Working to promote your brand on social media could mean that social media pages related to your business will get higher rankings.

While you shouldn’t rely on social media to build links to your site, you can use it to promote your content and generate some earned links. If people see your content on social media, they may be more likely to link to it from their own website or blog, which will help your SEO efforts.

Social media can also help you drive more traffic to your website and encourage engagement, two factors that may also influence your search rankings.

Social Media and SEO Produce Similar Results

With all this discussion about social media and SEO, it’s important to remember that both tactics can be used to produce similar results. While they can’t always work together, they can both be very beneficial.

For example, if your goal is to increase traffic to your sales page, you could do this with social media, SEO, and in most cases, a combination of both. Other benefits that both strategies can bring include increased awareness, site engagement, more email subscribers and more sales.

Remember that while social media and SEO can help you accomplish different goals, they can also help you achieve similar things. When you can work toward marketing goals with more than one tactic, your results will often be better.

The complicated answer to this question is that while some social media factors don’t impact search rankings, social media can be used to supplement SEO campaigns. Use both of these tactics to reach your market, raise brand awareness and increase site traffic.

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4 Reasons you Need a Facebook App

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Image courtesy of Maria Elena/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Maria Elena/Flickr.

One way you can bring something new to your Facebook marketing strategy is to use Facebook apps. A custom made app can help you run contests, collect email addresses, offer games and make it easier for your market to engage with your brand.

The benefits you’ll see from an app will depend on the kind you use, but all businesses that use Facebook apps can expect to see some general benefits.

Branded Account

First, Facebook apps are a great way to help you brand your account’s page. You can use your profile picture, cover photo and posts to show people that your page is an official part of your business and increase awareness, but an app lets you take this branding to a whole new level.

A custom app can include your logo, brand colours and a design that matches your overall brand, reminding people that use it that it belongs to your business.

Incentive to Follow You

An app adds value to your Facebook page and can incentivise people in your market to follow you. When people know what you have to offer, they will be more likely to follow you for easy access to the app.

Of course, you will still need to make sure your posts, the content you share and the conversations you have with your followers are valuable, making your entire Facebook experience something people won’t want to miss out on.

Increased Engagement

Using an app gives your followers and market another way to interact with your page and business. Now, in addition to being able to post comments, answer questions, “like” posts and share your content, they can interact through your app.

Think about what kind of goal you want to accomplish with your app and then make sure its design and function will help you get there. Your app should be easy to use and intuitive for visitors.

More Page Visits

While people in your market may only see your posts in their newsfeed, and rarely look at your page right now, an app will give people a reason to go directly to your page. For example, they will now navigate to your page to enter a drawing, play a game or otherwise use your app.

You can take full advantage of this perk by using an app that encourages people to visit your page daily or weekly. The easiest way to do this is to do a giveaway every week that requires people to use your Facebook app to enter it. As people are coming back to your Facebook page on a regular basis, be sure to keep it updated with current posts, links to your website and other information.

Facebook apps are a great way to enhance your page and make your social media marketing more powerful. Your app will work best when you use it in conjunction with a Facebook page that is frequently updated and already has a strong following, so work to build up your account before you launch an application.

We help businesses create custom apps to improve their social media marketing strategies and get better results. Contact us if you’re interested in finding out how you can benefit from a Facebook app.

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Vine’s New Loop Count makes Measuring Easier

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Vine has announced that it will now display the loop count, or the number of times a video has been played, for each of its videos. The count will appear on the mobile apps and on the web version of Vine, so viewers can see how popular a video is and businesses can more easily measure results.

The New Feature

The number appears just above a video, in the right-hand corner. It will be updated live as the video is looped so it provides a very up-to-date glimpse at how much a video is being watched.

It’s important to keep in mind though that the loop count only shows how many times a video has been played, not how many unique views it has. For example, if a person watches your video three times, the loop number could be larger than the actual number of people who have watched it.

This statistic is still very important though, as it can still help businesses understand how popular their videos are and give them a basic understanding of the size of the audience they are reaching with each video.

As you upload videos to Vine, track the loop count to see how they gain in popularity and what kinds of videos your audience reacts to.

Vine also announced an update to the activity feed and introduced notifications that tell you when your video has reached certain milestones, like 100 “likes” for example.

Tips for Using Vine for Business

Vine is a great way to reach your market and promote your business with visual effects. Use it like you would other social networks, by building an audience and posting to it frequently. Choose strategically what you want share so that your posts will help you reach your goals.


Demonstrate Products in Action

Vine is the perfect way to give a short, visual demonstration of your products or services in action. It allows you to show people how to use your product and lets them visualise what it will be like to use it themselves.

You can also crowdsource and ask your social media followers to submit Vines of them using your products.

Show off Your Value

Take it to the next level and use Vine videos to show the results of what your products can do. Showing before and after images, how your products solve a problem and any other value you provide through Vine is a great, visual way to communicate with your market.

Promote an Event or Location

With Vine you can give people an inside look at an event or a behind-the-scenes glimpse of one of your locations. You can show your employees, customers or guests doing things, giving people a taste of the action.

Vine’s new loop count will make it easier for you to measure your Vine efforts as you use these, and other marketing strategies, to promote your business and increase sales. If you haven’t started using Vine, look for ways video can enhance your social media marketing and then use the site strategically.

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Facebook’s New Multi-Product Ads and Improved Targeting

Monday, June 30th, 2014
Image courtesy of Ricky Lai/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Ricky Lai/Flickr.

In recent months, Facebook has made several improvements and changes to its advertising program. The latest changes are exciting because they allow businesses to use multi-product ad formats and better target niche markets.

As Facebook’s features are developed and offer more options, it becomes easier and easier to reach your audience and promote your business. If you use Facebook ads, or even if you are considering signing up, you won’t want to miss these new features.

Multi-Product Ads

Now, you can promote three products with a single ad. New multi-product ads will feature a slideshow with three different images, descriptions and links. You can see this ad in action on Facebook’s announcement.

These new ads are a great way to get more out of your advertising space and get your market’s attention. You can now work to generate traffic and sales by promoting three images with one ad, so you’ll be more likely to entice a user than if you could only promote one product at a time. The moving slideshow feature is eye-catching, so as people scroll through Facebook they will probably be more likely to see and read your ads.

According to Facebook, Nomorerack has been using multi-product ads with custom audiences and experienced a 42 percent increase in its click-through rate. The business’ cost per acquisition went down 42 to 45 percent, so it not only achieved a higher click-through rate, but also saved money doing it.

Currently, multi-product ads are only available with the Facebook ads API. However, the announcement noted that they will be available through Facebook’s other advertising interfaces in coming months. Multi-product ads will be displayed on both the website and Facebook mobile app.

Enhanced Custom Audiences

The second new feature Facebook announced is enhanced custom audiences. The custom audiences feature allows businesses to target very specific groups of Facebook users, making it easier for them to reach their market and potential customers.

Now, custom audiences includes options relating to a business’ website. For example, you can now target your ad to anyone who has visited your website, people who have visited a specific page on your site or people who haven’t been to your website for a set amount of time. You can use a custom combination of options to get even more specific.

Facebook has also made it possible for businesses to use targeted audiences for different products. For example, your business could show ads only to people who visited a product page on your site and who have bought specific products.

These enhancements make advertising on Facebook much more powerful. They let you show specially designed content and images to specific audiences within your market. When you can more narrowly target people, you can create ad campaigns that speak to their interests and needs and will be more effective.

Facebook’s announcement includes the fact that the business Twenty Jeans decreased its cost per acquisition by three times when it used these new custom audience features.

Both of these new Facebook advertising features can help you leverage your ad campaigns and make them more successful. Start getting more out of your Facebook ads by using multi-product ads and custom audiences.

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3 Tips for Deciding How Many Social Networks to Use

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Many businesses struggle when it come to deciding how many social networks they should use. Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all want businesses to use them as marketing tools, and that’s just the beginning. There are so many social networks already out there with more being added all the time, that it can be hard to decide how many to use to promote your business.

It can be tempting to jump into that new network, but before you do, use these tips to decide how many sites you should be using to reach your market effectively.

Decide how Many Networks you Can Use Well

You might be able to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at once, but can you use all three of these well? Using a social media network to its fullest potential is extremely important if you want to see benefits.

If you aren’t able to use most of a network’s features, facilitate a dialogue, respond to comments, post regularly or really stand out on a social media site, you shouldn’t be using it. Of course, spreading yourself too thin can be frustrating, but it can also be damaging to your brand.

Having empty social media pages or accounts that you rarely update can make your brand look unorganised and your business unprofessional and less trustworthy. Only use as many networks as you can handle and that you can really make an impact with.

Find Your Market and Audience

Using a social media channel your market doesn’t use and where you don’t have an audience is wasting your time. To get the most out of social media marketing and to see big results, you need to find where your market is.

You can use general demographics, like the fact that most Pinterest users are women, to determine what sites your audience likely uses or you can do some research with surveys and polls to find out what sites your target market is on.

This simple step will help you determine where your time is best spent and which networks will bring the biggest returns.

Translate your Brand into a Network

Some networks lend themselves very well to specific kinds of businesses. For example, Instagram is great for brands that can use visual content to promote their business while Twitter is great for a business that can engage with people regularly and may want to post several updates a day.

Think about your business and the kind of content you want to use and then decide which social media networks are best suited to your brand. Make sure you use networks that can help you highlight your business and really make you shine online.

Choosing how many social networks to use is a common challenge. But, when you determine how many networks you can use well, where your market is and which sites will help you show off your business, narrowing down your choices becomes much easier and your social media marketing will be more successful.

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