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How to Publish Content that Works on LinkedIn

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Do you publish content to LinkedIn? Is it tailored for that specific market and working for your business? If you want your content to stand out, attract your market and help you meet your goals, you need to know a few things.

LinkedIn Users Read a lot of Content

LinkedIn published a report called “The 2014 Professional Content Consumption Report,” which is full of information that can help businesses learn how to use LinkedIn more successfully.

According to the report, which is based on an analysis of 2,701 LinkedIn users’ habits, people who use the site spend an average of eight hours a week consuming content that is professionally relevant to them. That’s a lot of time, which means you have the potential to get your market’s attention through content marketing.

Another interesting statistic in the report is that 43 percent of unique LinkedIn site visits were from mobile devices. That means nearly half of the people you reach on LinkedIn are expecting content, links and information that is easy to consume on a smartphone or tablet.

Why People Read Content on LinkedIn

Historically, LinkedIn has been used to connect with professionals, meet new people, network and learn about businesses. Those uses are reflected in the list of reasons people read LinkedIn content.

The report found that LinkedIn users read content published there to:

When you know why people spend time consuming content on LinkedIn, you can make sure your are publishing content that meets those needs, making it a more effective tactic.

Content Topics that Resonate

LinkedIn’s study also found what kind of content LinkedIn users spend their time reading across all online platforms. In other words, the researchers found out what kind of content LinkedIn users are reading on blogs, websites and other social media sites.

  • 41 percent of the time is spent reading professionally relevant content
  • 30 percent is spent reading news
  • 29 percent is spent consuming entertainment

Knowing that LinkedIn users are interested in content that is professionally relevant, about current events and entertaining, we can get an idea of what kinds of content businesses should add to their content marketing plan when it comes to using LinkedIn.

These statistics show us how time is spent across all platforms, but what kind of content are people interested in reading on LinkedIn?

According to the report, the content that is clicked on and shared the most is content that falls into one of three categories:

  • New Research
  • Breaking Industry News
  • Case Studies

All of these more generally fall into the category of industry-related content. People on LinkedIn are looking for and consuming content that is related to their professions, interests and industries.

Publishing content to LinkedIn can help you reach your market, but you’ll be much more successful if you know what kind of content to post. The majority of your content should meet users’ needs and fall into one of the three categories with the most clicks and shares.

As you more closely align your content and LinkedIn strategy with these statistics, you’ll find that you will reach more people, get more engagement and increase your presence on the site, helping you meet your business goals.

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What makes People want to Watch a YouTube Video?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

Videos are an excellent way to convey a message and can help you use emotion, images and audio to reach your market in a way few other tools can. The most successful YouTube videos get hundreds of thousands or even millions of views and go viral, creating a buzz about a product or business.

In fact, according to DigitalSherpa, 50 percent of Internet users watch business related videos on YouTube once a week. This means you have a huge opportunity to reach your market.

But, the first step is getting people interested enough in your video to watch it. Then, you can draw people in with content that is so good people will want to share it on social media and on their own websites and blogs.

An Eye-Catching Title

Just like blog posts, articles and emails, YouTube videos require a catchy title that will make people want to watch it. Use the same techniques you use for other content by promising value, keeping it concise and piquing interest without giving everything away.

Keep in mind that your title should use keywords naturally whenever possible so it will appear in search results. You can also optimise your description to make the video more findable.

The Length and Content Keep their Attention

Most people don’t have time to watch videos that are more than a few minutes long or that lose their attention within the first few seconds. Keep your videos to the point and draw your audience along as you tell a story or convey useful information.

Of course, professional videos are also more likely to get people’s attention, so use a good script, lighting, set and editing software so your video reflects your brand and tells people you are an industry expert.

Decision-Making Information

DigitalSherpa also reports that 90 percent of Internet users say that watching a video about a product is helpful when it comes to making a decision about buying something. Use this piece of information to create videos that are designed to give people the information they need to be persuaded to buy your products.

Entertainment Value

YouTube will always be a source of entertainment and you shouldn’t underestimate the value of entertaining your market. Use humour, interesting facts, awe-inspiring footage and other types of entertainment to get people’s attention and get people talking about your brand.

Find a way to tie the entertainment back to your business and goals so that you can raise brand awareness while still making sales or increasing your fan base.

A Social Reaction

As your video starts to get more views and some traction on social media, people will want to watch it just out of curiosity. If all their friends are watching it, there are lots of comments about it and they see it all over social media, they will want to watch it too.

To get to this point you’ll need to start with an excellent video that incorporates the other elements discussed here and then promote it through your own social media accounts.

Use YouTube videos to entertain, educate, inspire and excite your market so you can reach people in a whole new way. Always use content and a call to action that help you meet your goals so your videos will become a valuable part of your Internet marketing strategy.

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Instagram just Became more Business Friendly

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Instagram has unveiled some new tools that will make it much easier to use, and a more valuable marketing tool, for businesses. This social network is one that is very visual and the company reports that it has 200 million monthly active users, 65 percent of which are outside the United States. There are 60 million photos and 1.6 billion “likes” shared on the site daily.

There’s a good chance part of your market uses Instagram and now with new tools, the site is easier for your business to use successfully.

The tools announced by Instagram are specifically for business accounts and you can use them as you post updates or run ads on the site. Instagram says the tools will be launched later this year.

Ad Staging: Collaborate for Better Results

The first new feature is called Ad Staging and allows you, as an advertiser, to collaborate with your creative team, save ads and preview ad campaigns before you even launch them. When your marketing, design, and social media teams can all work together on Instagram ads right inside the platform you can more easily coordinate your efforts.

Ad Staging could also make it easier for you to plan ahead and stay organised. When you can save and preview campaigns, you can make sure everything is ready to go well in advance so each of your campaigns will be more effective.

Account Insights: See Your Results

Most social media networks let businesses see basic analytics related to their accounts, and now Instagram does too. You can log in to see your impressions, reach and engagement, which can give you a detailed look at what is happening on your business account.

When you can easily access and track these statistics for your Instagram posts, you can find out if you are reaching your social media goals, like increasing brand awareness, reaching a larger audience and encouraging your potential and current customers to interact with you online.

Ad Insights: See your Impact

Instagram has also made it possible for you to find out more about how your ads are performing. Ad Insights lets you see impressions, reach and frequency for your ads so you can find out how effective they are and find new ways to be successful.

You can view these statistics for each of your ads, so comparing design, messaging, timing and other factors will be much easier. With this information, your Instagram ads have the potential to be much more powerful because you can learn from each ad and campaign and constantly improve your efforts.

These new business tools are a valuable addition to Instagram and will make using it for social media marketing, whether you are posting updates or using ads, easier and more beneficial.

If your brand is visual and you could capture your market’s attention with images of products, events, services or your location, Instagram could be a great addition to your social media strategy. Start using these tools as soon as they launch for the best results and to find ways you can enhance your strategy.

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Sure Signs Your Social Media needs a Boost

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Image courtesy of Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr.

If you’ve been using social media for a while, you are at risk of falling into one of a few common pitfalls. Many businesses find that they start posting the same kind of content over and over, stop attracting new followers and even that their posts are being ignored.

So how do you avoid these problems? By making sure your social media strategy and accounts stay fresh and current. There are some sure signs that your social media strategy needs a boost and that it’s time to make some changes to keep getting great results.

Your Growth is Flat Lining

One of the first sure signs that your social media strategy needs an update is that your accounts aren’t growing anymore. If you aren’t gaining new followers, something isn’t right when it comes to the content you are sharing or the way you are reaching out to your market.

It’s important to track what tactics work when it comes to growing your social media accounts. If you can, look back to when your account was growing and what you were doing to get those results. Also look for new ways to attract more people to your accounts and encourage them to connect with you.

Interaction has Decreased

Social media accounts that spur comments, shares, interaction and website traffic bring the best results. If you have noticed a decrease in engagement, it’s time to give your social media accounts a boost.

Experiment with different types of posts, reach out to others, join groups, start conversations and work to make social media a two-way conversation between you and your market.

Your Accounts don’t Reflect your Current Brand

Another sure sign that it’s time to update your social media accounts is if they no longer reflect your brand. Businesses, products, brands, areas of focus and markets all evolve over time, and your accounts should keep up with these changes.

Make sure your pages are branded with your current look, logos and colours and then assess the content you are sharing and the types of posts you are publishing to make sure they are consistent with your branding strategy.

You are Behind on Social Media Trends

How closely do you follow social media trends? It’s not always wise to jump on the latest trend just because everyone else is doing it, but it is important to keep up with things so you can take opportunities that will help your social media marketing, and entire business, grow.

Watch what new social media networks become popular, how people (especially in your market) use different sites, what kinds of new features are added, what kinds of advertising options are offered and other trends so you can find ways to make sure your accounts are up to date and you are taking advantage of every opportunity to reach your market.

It’s important to make sure your social media accounts and strategies are current and are helping you be as successful as possible. If you recognise any of these signs, it’s time to give your accounts a boost.

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A Checklist for every new Social Media Account you Open

Friday, August 15th, 2014
Image courtesy of Courtney Dirks/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Courtney Dirks/Flickr.

New social media sites are always popping up and the sites that are popular this year may not be as popular next year. But, before you open an account on any new social media site, whether it’s new or not, use this checklist to make sure you are setting yourself up for success.

Decide if the Network Matches your Market and Goals

Not every social media site is right for your business. Do your homework to find out if the people you are targeting use the site. You can do some quick research by looking into the site’s user demographics or go a little further by conducting some surveys.

Also consider whether the site and its features can help you meet your goals. For example, Instagram is a great choice for a business that wants to visually promote products while LinkedIn is a good choice for a business that wants to use long form content.

Set up your Bio, Description, Links and other Settings

Set up your account and make sure things like your bio, description, links and other settings are all complete. Take advantage of things like profile pictures, backgrounds and other features to brand your page so it looks like it belongs to your business.

Explore the Features

Take some time to explore all the features on the site. Look for things like posting options, notifications and extra features for businesses you can use to get even more out of the site. You may also consider looking into advertising options you can use later if the site is successful in helping you reach your market.

Start Posting Quality Content

Once your account is set up and your page looks branded, it’s tempting to start promoting it and building a following. But, before you do that start posting updates and sharing content so your account looks active and valuable before you actively promote it.

This simple step can help you gain more followers and avoid turning off users who take one look at your empty page and decide not to connect with you.

Interact with Others

As you start posting content, interact with other users on the site. Leave comments, join conversations and start connecting with others. This will help you start to build the foundation of your account so you will have some activity and a good start before you officially launch it.

Of course, as you start to interact with others you will probably begin to attract followers. This is great and a good way to begin building your audience.

Promote your Account

Once your account is completely set up and you have shared a few weeks’ worth of content or posts, you can start promoting your account and actively generating a following. By now, your account will look active and users will recognise the value it brings.

Add a “follow me” button to your website and promote your new account through your blog, other social media accounts and any other marketing channels you can.

Whenever you start using a new social media platform you need to do so strategically. Start by making sure the site is a good match for your market, business and goals and then lay a foundation with a complete profile and some quality posts before you start promoting it.

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7 tips to take your Facebook Advertising from Good to Great

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Image courtesy of Master OSM 2011/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Master OSM 2011/Flickr.

Facebook advertising can be a valuable part of your social media marketing strategy if you use it right. All of your ads need to be strategically planned so they will resonate with your market and encourage people to click on them.

But, there are some extra tips you can use to make sure your ads are more than good; to make sure they are great and bring the best results possible.

Test Different Ad Types

There are four main types of Facebook ads: sidebar ads, mobile app ads, sponsored stories and video ads. Not only can each of these styles help you frame your message and calls to action in a different way, but they could also each help you reach a different segment of your market. Test different types to find out which ones work best for your business.

Explore Facebook’s Options

Facebook offers advertisers a lot of options when it comes to designing and targeting ads. Explore those options and experiment with different settings to make sure your ads are successful and to find new ways to reach your market.

Use Text on your Images

Enhance the images you use on your ads by overlaying text. This is a great way to make an announcement, spread your message and increase brand awareness. Facebook requires that any text used on images takes up 20 percent or less of the total image space.

Use Action Words

All of your ads should include a call to action and the best way to make sure it is clear and strong is to include action words. Ads with words like “subscribe,” “buy,” “sample,” “download,” and “sign up” are more likely to lead to responses than ads without action words.

Keep Design and Text Simple

Don’t try to cram too much into your ads. Instead, stick with simple images and clean designs that attract attention and convey your message simply and quickly. Ads that are too busy can be overwhelming and users might actually ignore them.

Rotate Ads

Don’t just stick with the same ads, rotate the styles, messages and links you use for better results. Of course, you can always do this manually, but you can also use Facebook’s settings for automatic rotation.

Highlight Benefits

Don’t just tell your market what you are selling; tell people what benefits you can provide. Talking about how your product can help people or how your service can do something your market doesn’t want to miss out on will capture attention. This technique can also help you increase your click-through rate as people will want to find out how they can get all the great benefits you are offering.

To get the most out of Facebook advertising, you need to start with targeted and well-designed ads. Then, experiment with different designs, Facebook’s settings and different types of ads to find what works best for your market. Keep these tips in mind as you enhance your campaigns and start new ones.

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Simple ways to make your Posts stand out on Social Media

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
Image courtesy of Flazingo Photos/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flazingo Photos/Flickr.

It’s hard to stand out on social media these days. With so many people using it and so many posts being shared, social media is full of content and some businesses find that their posts are being skimmed over or even ignored.

Social media can be a powerful marketing tool if you can stand out and capture your market’s attention. All good social media strategies start with quality content. From there, there are some simple things you can do to stand out on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Remember that Less can be More

Use short, to-the-point posts to get people to stop scrolling through their news feeds and read your posts. In some cases, less can be more. Instead of posting long, wordy status updates, stick to just a few sentences.

This is especially easy to do when you post a picture or a link to content. Use just enough text to lure people in and get them interested enough to click the link.

Use Bold and Interesting Images

Pictures can help you accomplish things and convey messages in ways words can’t. They can also help you get people’s attention and make them curious enough to read your post or the content you link to.

Use images that are bold, interesting, funny, entertaining or that give your audience a new look at your business or products. These kinds of pictures can help your content stand out among all the other social media posts.

Offer Quick, Valuable Posts

Offering value is a great way to get your market’s attention, but on social media you need to do it quickly. Creating posts that provide instant value will help you reach more people and could even help you gain more followers and get more social media shares.

Some simple ways to do this include offering a coupon, announcing sale dates, linking to a how-to video or otherwise providing value in just a few words or one sentence. This tip is similar to the idea that less is more, but takes things a little further by introducing real value to a short post.

Incorporate Two-Way Communication

Don’t just use social media to talk about yourself and at your market. Instead, talk about others and talk with your audience. Do this by commenting on posts, joining conversations and even mentioning and tagging others in your posts.

These kinds of social media posts are more dynamic and interesting because they aren’t fully self-promotional and they make it easy for others to get involved.

Don’t Over Post

Lots of businesses are tempted to post to social media accounts too often. Yes, you do need to post frequently and stay consistent, but don’t spam your followers. If you over post, you could lose followers and people may start to ignore your posts because they are so frequent.

On the other hand, when you post regularly but not too often, your posts will stand out on news feeds and people will be more likely to pause and read what you have to say.

Standing out on social media so your market will see and interact with your posts is important if you want to use your accounts to promote your business. These simple tips are things you can start implementing right away to see better results.

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Facebook puts an end to Like-Gating

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
Image courtesy of Adam Fagen/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Adam Fagen/Flickr.

A few days ago, Facebook announced some platform policy changes and one of those could affect your social media marketing strategy. Businesses will no longer be able to use like-gating to incentivise people to “like” their Pages.

What is Like-Gating?

According to Facebook, like-gating is the practice of requiring a user to “like” a Page before he can see some content or view specific tabs or applications. In other words, it’s the tactic of forcing people to “like” a Page before they can see exclusive content.

Businesses used like-gating as a way to build their Facebook following and increase their reach so that when they post content more and more people would see it.

What’s so bad about Like-Gating?

Facebook has explained that it is banning the tactic because it leads to inflated numbers of “likes.” The company said: “To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives.”

In the end, this will be good for your business because it means that the people who “like” your Page are more likely to do so because they have a genuine interest in your business. These are the people you want to target because they probably fall into one of your target markets and it will be easier to convert them from Facebook fans to customers.

Can I still Incentivise People for “Likes?”

This new ban doesn’t exclude all incentives. Your business can still require people to “like” your Page before they enter a promotion, login to your app or checkin at a place. So, even with the ban, you can still encourage people to “like” your Page if you are offering them some value other than exclusive content.

What should my Business do?

Always follow the site’s rules and guidelines when you use social media. If you are currently using like-gating tactics to encourage people to “like” your Page before they can see exclusive content or access some tabs on your site, you will have to find other ways to build a following.

However, you can still ask people to “like” your Page before they enter a promotion, login to an app or checkin at a place on your Facebook Page.

In short, this policy change means businesses will have to start working harder and smarter to get more “likes” for their Pages. The best way to do this is to offer quality content and make your account one that people in your market will want to follow so they don’t miss out on the latest news, tips and information from your business.

As you do this, you will find that your Facebook audience will become more valuable. The people who will “like” your Page will be those who are genuinely interested in connecting with your business and who are more likely to be the people you are trying to reach with your Facebook marketing strategy.

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What the Most Retweetable Words tell Us

Thursday, August 7th, 2014
Image courtesy of Riku Lu/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Riku Lu/Flickr.

Lots of businesses are constantly trying to increase the number of retweets their account gets to get their content in front of more people, attract more followers and establish a voice on Twitter. Have you ever wondered what kinds of words are more likely to be retweeted?

Social media specialist Dan Zarrella has done the research and compiled two lists: one with the words that are most likely to be retweeted and one with the words that are least likely to be retweeted.

The Most Retweetable Words

To compile this list, Zarrella analysed 30 million retweets and more than two million random tweets. The results are interesting and can give us insight into how to create effective content and get more out of Twitter.

Words Most Likely to be Retweeted

  • You
  • Twitter
  • Please
  • Retweet
  • Post
  • Blog
  • Social
  • Free
  • Media
  • Help
  • Please Retweet
  • Great
  • Social Media
  • 10
  • Follow
  • How To
  • Top
  • Blog Post
  • Check Out
  • New Blog Post

Words like “bored,” “home,” “tomorrow,” “watching” and “work” made the list of words least likely to be retweeted. You can see the rest of the list on Zarrella’s blog.

What these Words have in Common

Did you notice these words have a few things in common? When you look behind the words themselves and think about why people might be retweeting them, you’ll find new ways to boost your content marketing and social media strategies.

Most of the words on this list fall into one of a few categories:

  • Words about Blogs
  • Words that Describe Content and Value
  • Words about Social Media
  • Words that ask for a Retweet

Words like “new blog post, “check out,” “blog” and “post” are commonly used in tweets that promote content. Words that describe the value of content are also popular. Things like “great,” “how to,” “top,” “10 (as in 10 tips)” and “free” all promise value and make people want to share the link.

Tweets that include words about social media are commonly retweeted among social media gurus and heavy social media users. This list also shows that tweets that ask people for a retweet actually do work.

How to use these Words

So, how do you use this list at your business? First, you can use it as a guide as you use social media. From this list, you can see that people are interested in sharing tweets that prove their value right away and that reference new blog posts. You can also occasionally ask your followers to retweet your posts.

These words also reveal what kind of content people are interested in. How-to guides, top 10 lists and freebies are popular and the research shows that they are also more likely to be shared on Twitter.

Whenever you create a social media plan or a content marketing strategy, you should keep your unique market and goals in mind. Unfortunately, there aren’t any magic words that will make your social media posts more popular or your content go viral.

However, research like this does give us some insight into trends and what social media users in general are more attracted to and can help you make your tactics more effective.

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Can You use LinkedIn’s New Sponsored Content Feature?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Image courtesy of mars_discovery_district/Flickr.

Image courtesy of mars_discovery_district/Flickr.

Recently, LinkedIn made it possible for all users to publish content directly to the website. Now, it has announced a new feature called direct sponsored content that could help you reach more people and grow your audience.

The ability to publish content on LinkedIn and share it with your followers as a way to build your brand and showcase your expertise brings a lot of opportunity to your content marketing plan. But, this latest feature could do even more, making it easier for you to target your market.

Direct Sponsored Content

LinkedIn already offers sponsored posts that businesses can use to reach more people on the network. This new feature is very similar, but allows businesses to create sponsored content.

With the tool, your business can post content directly to LinkedIn’s feed, without posting it on our business page, and target it to a very specific group of people. Of course, the benefit of this is that you can make sure content with specific messages reaches the right people.

Your page’s administrator will have the ability to respond to comments on the sponsored content and can even track a few basic analytics like number of clicks, impressions, interactions and followers acquired for each piece of sponsored content.

To use the feature, you need to have a business page and use LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions. When you are logged in to your dashboard, you will see the new option to create sponsored content. You can see a video tutorial on how to start using sponsored content on LinkedIn’s content marketing page.

Should You use Sponsored Content?

If you already use sponsored posts or LinkedIn is already part of your social media marketing strategy, you should consider using sponsored content. This new feature can help you take your LinkedIn strategy to a new level and get more out of your account.

Even if your business isn’t using LinkedIn yet, now is a good time to consider adding it to your Internet and social media marketing plans. The site has grown and could potentially help you reach a large audience.

LinkedIn is a unique social media site because it attracts a different audience than many of the other social media sites. There are more than 300 million LinkedIn users with 15 million users in the UK alone. The site is also growing quickly, with more than two new users signing up every second. According to LinkedIn, there are 39 million students and recent graduates using the site, and this demographic is the site’s fastest growing group of users.

LinkedIn also says that its users did more than 5.7 billion searches on the site for professional-themed topics in 2012. These numbers tell us that LinkedIn is a major social network with users who search the site for content regularly.

If your business wants to target students, young professionals, industry experts and other businesses, LinkedIn is a great channel to use. To get the best results, use LinkedIn to reach this specific market, build a strong following, engage with other users and experiment with sponsored posts and content.

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