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Will Facebook’s New Nearby Friends Feature impact Your Business?

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Facebook has announced a new feature that allows users to make their location visible to their friends and in turn, see where their friends are. The goal behind the new Nearby Friends feature, according to Facebook, is to foster more in-person communication and interaction and to spark online conversations about places.

The feature is optional and users can turn it on or off. They can also control exactly who can see their location and even set time limits for their visibility. The idea is that as people use Facebook from their smartphones while they are on the go, they can meet up with friends who happen to be in the same area. Users can also give recommendations for restaurants, shops and other sites when they see their friends are in a specific neighbourhood.

When the feature is activated on Facebook’s mobile app, users will be able to see the locations of their friends on a map, so finding friends is very easy. Nearby Friends will become available to users in the United States first in the coming weeks, and then it’s likely that all users will have access to it soon after.

Nearby Friends and Your Business

So, will this new feature impact your business? It has the potential to, but the question is how will you leverage it?

To use Nearby Friends, you’ll need to encourage organic interaction. You can’t set up a page, activate the feature for your audience or even actively use it in a way that benefits your business. What you can do is be aware that your market may be more inclined to talk about your brick-and-mortar locations on Facebook if they use the feature.

Also remember that friends are extremely influential and their opinions often mean more to people than messages and tactics from your business. For example, some people may be more easily swayed by a friend who sees they are in the same neighbourhood as your shop and recommends it than they will be by your own Facebook posts.

Keep in mind that not all of your potential customers, if any, are following you on Facebook. If your Facebook following mostly consists of current and past customers, the Nearby Friends feature could be a way for you to tap into the group of people who are likely to become your customers as people recommend and mention your business.

Businesses won’t be able to actively use this feature to promote their products and services, but the feature could make them more visible to a new audience on Facebook. The key is with the users. If your customers love your business enough to recommend it to their friends through Facebook, you may benefit from the Nearby Friends feature.

Whether or not this new feature will catch on and be embraced by users remains to be seen. How heavy Facebook users choose to use Nearby Friends, and how actively they participate, will determine whether or not your business will benefit.

In the meantime, you can encourage your customers to recommend your business to friends, offer perks to customers who refer new customers and continue to build your Facebook presence and community.

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Don’t fall Victim to Facebook’s Updated News Feed Algorithm

Monday, April 14th, 2014
Image courtesy of Dimitris Kalogeropoylos/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Dimitris Kalogeropoylos/Flickr.

Facebook has updated its algorithm, which determines what appears in users’ news feeds. When you understand how the algorithm works you can better understand how to get your posts in front of the biggest audience and use your account effectively.

This latest update is mostly designed to fight spam, but you should be aware of the changes so your content won’t be targeted.

Don’t “Like-Bait”

In it’s announcement, Facebook warns users not to do what it calls “like-baiting.” This is the practice of asking users to “like,” share or comment on a post. Your business might be doing this in an effort to increase engagement and make your content visible to a wider audience. According to Facebook’s announcement, users find these kinds of posts 15 percent less relevant than other posts.

From now on, these kinds of posts will appear less frequently than posts Facebook thinks are more relevant to a user, like posts from friends and even other pages. Facebook says that it isn’t targeting pages that are genuinely working for engagement, so to make sure your page’s posts are seen, avoid asking for engagement on a regular basis. Instead, ask questions and post insightful content that sparks a natural reaction from users.

Don’t Upload the same Content Multiple Times

Facebook is also cracking down on pages that upload and share the same piece of content several times. Some businesses may do this as a way to make sure more people see their content, but it is a form of spam that users don’t appreciate.

With the new algorithm these pages won’t appear in users’ news feeds as frequently as they used to. Only upload and share each piece of content once.

Don’t Share Spam

Spammers are using a new tactic in an effort to get Facebook traffic. They are sharing links on Facebook that look like they lead to helpful content, pictures, or a high-quality website, but instead, lead to a spammy page or ads. Facebook is using this algorithm update to make these kinds of posts less prevalent on users’ news feeds. Your business should never share this or any other kind of spam on Facebook.

For most businesses, this update won’t make a big impact on the way they use Facebook. As always, the key to success with social media marketing is sharing high-quality content that will benefit your market.

As you do this, be careful not to blatantly ask your followers to “like,” share or comment on your posts too often. This could lead Facebook to flag your content and posts from your page won’t be as visible to users.

Instead, encourage interaction by asking your followers questions, participating in conversations and sharing the kind of content that people will want to interact with. Doing this will make your Facebook page a more valuable resource for your market and a stronger part of your social media marketing strategy.

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12 Tips for seeing Success with your Pinterest Account

Friday, April 11th, 2014
Image courtesy of julochka/Flickr.

Image courtesy of julochka/Flickr.

Are you getting the most out of Pinterest? If you’re just pinning images without seeing much traffic to your site, additional sales or engagement from your followers and other Pinterest users, you should reevaluate how you use your account.

Consider a Business Account

Pinterest business accounts make it possible for you to verify your account so your followers know that it is the official account for your business. With a business account, you will also be able to link to your website directly from your profile page.

Complete your Profile

Once you have set up an account, make sure your profile is complete so your market can find you easily. Include a descriptive bio and a link to your website. You can even add links to your Twitter page.

Pin from Pages that Need Traffic

Pin strategically so you can drive traffic to the best pages on your site. For example, pin images from your product pages so when people click on them, they will be able to make a purchase with just a few clicks.

Add a Pin it Button and Widget to your Site

Grab the Pin it Button and Pinterest Widget and add them to your site. This makes it easy for people to pin your images, helping you share your content, and find you on Pinterest.

Use Pin Descriptions

Don’t just leave pin descriptions blank. Use them to share product specifications and other important info. Good descriptions will also make it easier for people to find your pins when they search on Pinterest.

Use Rich and Place Pins

Rich pins and place pins let you include more information on a single pin. You can include headlines, story descriptions, prices, maps, addresses, phone numbers and even recipes.

Pin Testimonials

Are you pinning testimonials? This is a great way to tell your market what your customers think and share product reviews. Pin images that link to the full testimonial or create an image with text and pin that.

Leverage your Boards

Create specific boards to categorise your pins and so that people can follow certain topics you pin about. Be sure to take advantage of board descriptions too!

Create Group Boards

You can invite people to collaborate on group boards so your customers and members of your target market can add content to them. This sparks engagement and helps you foster a relationship with your market. It is also a good way to listen to your market and find out what kind of content people are interested in.

Don’t Hesitate to Pin others’ Content

As with other social media sites, you shouldn’t be too self promotional on Pinterest. Of course, you should share your content, but don’t hesitate to share content from others that will interest your market and to form relationships.

Transform your Account into a Resource

Make your Pinterest account the ultimate resource for your market. Fill it with pins that provide valuable information to your market, whether that is do-it-yourself project ideas or articles about technology.

Use Promoted Pins

Pinterest is testing promoted pins and you can sign up to get more information about using them for your business. They will allow you to get your content in front of more people so you can reach a wider audience.

Including Pinterest in your social media marketing plan allows you to reach your market in a more visual way. Use these tips to enhance your strategy and account and to make sure it will bring the best results.

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Big Update to Twitter brings New Look and Features

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

On the heels of the ability to upload four pictures per tweet and to tag others in pictures, Twitter has announced more updates that will change the way your page looks and even what you can do with it. All of these changes culminate to create new social media marketing opportunities for you. If you use Twitter, these are changes you don’t want to miss out on.

Fresh Profile Pages

It seems that Twitter is focused on becoming more visual. This makes sense, as images make it easier to capture peoples’ attention and can even help you convey a message. Part of Twitter’s upcoming change is a fresh, new look for the profile page.

The first thing you’ll notice is the bigger profile picture and a bigger cover photo, which will make your profile page more visually interesting and make it easier for you to align your profile with your brand. You’ll also notice that pictures are much larger on the web platform than they were before.

But, the visual changes don’t stop there. Now, your bio, and any links you include, will appear on the left-hand side of your page underneath your profile picture. This space will also include a designated place for a link to your website and the date you joined Twitter.

The new profile page is much more visually appealing, more interesting, draws interest to photos and is easier to brand. With the larger photos you can tell your company’s story and with the link back to your website, you can more easily attract traffic.

Best, Pinned and Filtered Tweets

The second part of this update makes it possible for you to use tweets in entirely new ways. There are three new features pertaining to tweets that allow you to do new things with them and your timeline.

Best Tweets

Your tweets that get the most engagement will now be easier for your audience to find. The tweets that attract the most “likes,” replies and retweets will now appear bigger on your page so they stand out on your timeline.

Pinned Tweets

Have you ever wished that you could keep one of your most important tweets at the top of your feed? Now you can. The new pinned tweets feature allows you to choose one tweet to pin to the top of your feed so that everyone that visits your profile will be sure to see that vital information or key part of your social media marketing campaign.

Filtered Tweets

Now, when people look at your timeline they will be able to filter your posts to see all your tweets, only tweets with pictures or videos or tweets and their replies. This gives your audience a whole new way to explore your content and interact with your brand.

Currently, these features are only available to users who sign up for an account now and a few current users. You can see the list of updated accounts and what they look like on the Twitter blog. All profiles will be updated with these new features in the next few weeks, so be sure to take advantage of them!

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The Surprising Social Networks that Generate the most Engaged Referrals

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

When you use social media marketing to drive traffic to your website and get referrals, you want to spend your time and resources on the sites that bring the best results. Shareaholic published a report called “Social Referrals That Matter” and the findings might surprise you.

The report analysed data from more than 200,000 sites and 250 million unique monthly visitors. Shareaholic found that YouTube, Google Plus and LinkedIn generate the most engaged referrals. These three sites beat out Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit and StumbleUpon.

To determine which sites brought the most engaged traffic, Shareaholic looked at how long referred visitors spent on the site, how many pages they visited and bounce rates across eight social media networks.

There are some other interesting findings from the report:

  • YouTube creates the most engaged referrals, referrals with the lowest bounce rate, the most pages per visit and has the longest visit duration.
  • Google Plus and LinkedIn bring the fewest referrals, but these people are more engaged than those that come from other sites.
  • Twitter and Facebook referrals have similar pages per visit, time spent on site and bounce rates.
  • Pinterest referrals have similar bounce rates as those from Facebook and Twitter, but they look at fewer pages and spend less time on the site than referrals from most other networks.
  • Reddit referrals have a high bounce rate and its users are very selective.
  • StumbleUpon brings the least engaged referrals, but if your content really hits home to a user, she will be very engaged.

All of these statistics are valuable when it comes to Internet and social media marketing.

Using this Information

The number-one takeaway from this report is that YouTube, Google Plus and LinkedIn have the potential to bring the most engaged, active visitors to your site. Of course, you should also take things like your market, goals, business and products into consideration as you choose which networks to use. However, it is worth finding out if these three networks align with your strategy.

As always, it’s important to create and share content that will resonate with your market. Even if you use the most engaged networks and the sites that your audience uses, you won’t find success until you share content your market deems valuable.

It’s also important that your site is designed to encourage engagement. Once people have clicked on a link from social media, the content should be useful and your site should be easy to navigate. Highlight resources and consider adding links to related content below your blog posts.

Calls to action should be front and centre and easy to respond to. Using buttons and tabs that allow people to buy your products, contact you or find more information will lead to lower bounce rates, increased time spent on your site and more engaged visitors.

If you are using YouTube, Google Plus and LinkedIn, spend some time finding out if you are using them to their fullest potential by taking advantage of all their features and building an active audience on them. Then, make sure the content you share through social media will spark engagement.

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How to get People to Share Your Social Media Posts

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Image courtesy of Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

If you use social media marketing, chances are that one of your goals is to get people to share your posts so you can reach a much wider audience. Friends are very influential to consumers, so a person becomes much more likely to become a customer if his friends recommend and promote a brand or product.

But, sometimes getting your audience to share your posts is easier said than done. You’ve seen big brands with very engaged social media audiences and followers that loyally share their posts. How do they do it?

Post Shareable Content

This may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but posting shareable content will go a long way in getting it in front of a wider audience. People only share content they really like or they feel will benefit their friends, so create that kind of content. Things that are interesting, entertaining, informative, helpful and valuable will be more likely to get shared on social media.

Resonate with Your Audience

When you share content that touches your audience and that people can identify with, they will be more likely to share it. People like to share things they agree with or that moves them, so when you can accomplish that your content will be more shareable.

Spark Conversation

Content that inspires people to think and talk about a subject is more likely to be shared. Posts that include awe-inspiring content, are controversial or talk about in-depth topics make people want to share their opinion and share it with others to get their friends’ opinions too.

Let People Share Your Cause

According to a study by The New York Times, 84 percent of people share content that allows them to be supportive of a cause. Telling your brand’s story and producing content that demonstrates your cause will encourage people to share it on social media.

Ask for a Share

It’s okay to ask your audience to share your content once in a while. When you post something that you want to send to a bigger audience, tell your followers how exciting it is and ask them to share it with their friends. To make this work, you still need to create interesting content people will want to share.

Give an Incentive

You can also incentivise your audience to share your content. Doing a giveaway that requires entrants to share a social media post is a common way to do this. Other options include offering discounts and holding contests that require people to share a social media post.

If you want your social media audience to share your content, it needs to be interesting and valuable. Then, you can use other strategies to encourage people to take that step to share it with their friends on social media.

As more people begin to share your posts and content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites, you will be able to reach a wider audience and make more people aware of your business so you can be more successful.

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Why and How you Should Publish and Share Content on LinkedIn

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
Image courtesy of Coletivo Mambembe/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Coletivo Mambembe/Flickr.

Recently, LinkedIn announced that all users can now post and share content on LinkedIn. This announcement took the site from a basic social networking site to a networking and publishing platform, meaning it becomes much more powerful for your business.

The Perks of Publishing on LinkedIn

Last month, LinkedIn announced that it boasts more than 15 million members in the UK. When you publish or share content on LinkedIn, you can reach a huge audience.

Publishing original content on LinkedIn and then sharing it with your market will help you build your brand, increase your online presence and establish yourself as an industry expert. Whenever you can share your expertise you are informing your audience and creating more ways to get people interested in your business and products.

It’s important that you establish your website or blog as the base for your content, but when you use other sites like social media and outside publishing platforms, you are extending your reach and exposing your brand to more and more people.

Making the most of Publishing and Sharing

To get your content in front of a bigger audience, build you reputation and reap the other rewards of publishing and sharing on LinkedIn, you need to keep a few things in mind.

Know Your LinkedIn Audience

Your LinkedIn audience is different than your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram audience. The people using LinkedIn are there to connect with professionals, find information relating to business or industry trends and connect with you in a different way. When you know and understand this audience, you can create and share content that attracts it and is of value to it.

Participate in the Network

To get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to participate. When you connect with others, comment on posts, join and participate in groups and start your own group, your content will be more visible to others and you will start to have a voice on the site. This will help you build a bigger audience and be more successful on LinkedIn.

Take Advantage of Sharing Tools

LinkedIn has a whole suite of sharing tools you can use to help spread your content and allow your audience to help you share it. You can download the Share Plugin that adds a button to your site making it easy for people to share it on LinkedIn, increasing your traffic.

The Sign in with LinkedIn tool can be added to your site if you want users to login to access certain information. When you use this, you’ll get information about your users’ profiles so you can make their experience more personalised. You can also use the Share API so that when people share your content, it is attributed to your app.

The ability to publish and share content on LinkedIn allows you to reach your market in a new way, become more visible to the people you are targeting and build your online reputation. Start getting more out of your LinkedIn account by creating content, sharing it and making it easy for your market to help you share your brand.

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Now You can Tag People in Photos and Create Collages with Twitter

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Change is in the air at Twitter and these two new features are exciting ones. Twitter has added the ability for users to add more than one photo to a tweet and create a collage as well as tag other Twitter uses in the photos when you use the Android or iOS app.

These two new updates do make Twitter a little more like other social networks, but they also make it possible for businesses to achieve new things and even enhance their social media strategies.

Tagging Other Users in Photos

The first new feature is the ability to tag up to 10 people in one photo. Users will be notified, if they choose, when they are tagged in a photo and they can choose who can tag them: anyone, just people they follow or no one at all. And, in case you are wondering, the tags don’t count toward your 140-character limit.

When you upload a photo, all you have to do is tap on the picture, choose the button that says “Who is in this photo?” and then enter the user names. When the photo appears in a feed, the people tagged in it will appear next to it.

As a business, you can use this function to more easily connect with others on Twitter. Now, you can tag people in photos from events, conferences, your store, sales events, product launches, company parties and anything else.

Add 4 Photos to 1 Tweet

Previously, you could only attach one photo to a tweet, but now you can add up to four! When you attach more than one photo, the app automatically turns them into a collage, putting them together in one image. This feature is only available on the iOS app right now, but soon it will be added to the Android app and the Twitter.com website.

This update makes Twitter much more photo friendly because it makes it easy to share a few related photos at once. Instead of having to separately tweet three photos from one event, you can now add all three to one post.

According to the official announcement from Twitter, both of these features will carry over to embedded tweets. So, when you embed a tweet from Twitter.com onto your website, or someone else adds one of your tweets to their site, tags and the collage will still be visible.

Now, your tweets can be much more visual and interesting, since you can share several photos at once. We’ve seen before that visual social media posts stand out more, so this could help you get your followers’ attention and stand out on their timeline.

Both of these updates add new functions to Twitter and make it a more photo-centric network. As you start using them, you’ll be able to more easily connect with other users and share photos. You will also be able to make your posts and timeline more visual, which can help you capture your market’s attention.

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Common YouTube Mistakes Your Business Should Avoid

Monday, March 24th, 2014
Image courtesy of Dan Cederholm/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Dan Cederholm/Flickr.

If you use videos as part of your Internet marketing strategy, there’s a good chance you post them on YouTube. With more than one billion unique visitors each month, according to the site, YouTube is one of the best places to use video content to reach your market.

However, when you post your videos avoid these common mistakes so you can get the most out of YouTube and make your videos even more effective.

Skipping Video Descriptions

You may not realise just how important your video descriptions are. These descriptions help you tell your market something, but if they include keywords, they also make it easier for people to find your videos. When you upload videos, don’t skip the descriptions.

A good description will be thorough, keyword rich and well written. Keep in mind that users will have to click “show more” if your descriptions are long. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but keep your descriptions shorter if you want to avoid that.

Not Setting up a Channel

Setting up a YouTube channel allows you to create a branded, centralised location for all of your videos. When users see your channel, they will know right away that it is an official page for your business. A channel also makes it much easier for your viewers to find your other videos, as they will all be in the same place.

Don’t forget to promote your channel! Use your website, printed marketing materials, blog and other social media accounts to tell people to subscribe to your channel for frequent updates.

Forgetting to Link to Your Website

Lots of businesses forget to link from their YouTube videos to their website. When you write your description, include a link back to your homepage, blog or any other page on your website which you would like to increase traffic to.

When you set up a channel, you can also link to your website from the top of your page. YouTube also allows you to link to other social media accounts, which is a great way to build your following on Facebook, Twitter or other sites.

Not Using YouTube Insights

You wouldn’t ignore your website’s analytics, so why wouldn’t you use YouTube insights? When you create an account and channel, you will have access to YouTube’s insights dashboard, which provides information like earnings, traffic sources, engagement and so much more.

This information can help you understand how your videos are performing and whether or not they are effectively helping you reach your market. It can also help you find ways to make better videos and use YouTube more successfully, as you’ll be able to see how your viewers respond to different kinds of content.

Whenever you post videos to YouTube, avoid making these common mistakes. When you use the site to its fullest potential, your marketing plan will be more successful and you’ll be able to boost your site’s traffic, increase sales and even build your online audience so you can reach more people.

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How to Set up an Effective Facebook Page

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Setting up a Facebook page is probably one of your first priorities when you start social media marketing, and it’s also the foundation of a successful Facebook strategy. Your Facebook page should be an online base where social media users can find out more about your business and interact with you. It will help you build your brand, reach your market and foster customer loyalty.

But, to get the best results from your Facebook page you need to keep a few things in mind as you set it up. If you’ve already set up a page, it’s not too late to make some adjustments to enhance it.

Take Advantage of Features that Allow for Branding

While there are some things you can’t change about your Facebook page, you can take advantage of some of the network’s features to make your page as branded as possible. When your market visits your page, you want people to know right away that they are looking at content from your business.

Use your profile picture, cover photo and tabs that link to things like videos, photos, events and your Facebook apps to show off your brand.

Get Your Page Verified and Link to Your Site

Facebook allows you to get your business’ page verified, which tells users that it is the official page for your business. Verified pages have a blue checkmark next to their name. When your page is verified, your market will know that they can rely on the content and will take your page more seriously.

The description you write for your business will appear on the top of your page, directly under your profile picture. Make sure your description is concise but adequately describes your business. This is where you should link to your website so that the link appears front and centre on your page.

Use Apps Strategically

Don’t be afraid to use apps, or the boxes that are directly under your cover photo, to build your other marketing strategies. For example, you can use them to link to your other social media accounts, promote a contest or even build your email list. You can use some apps temporarily for a special campaign or promotion, and some you can use continually for long-term efforts.

Make it Very Easy for People to Contact You

Sure, your audience can contact you through Facebook, but what if a customer wants to talk directly to a customer service representative? Make it very easy for users to understand how they can get in touch with you in multiple ways, not just through Facebook.

The simplest way to do this is to use your “About” page to post things like your phone number, an email address and a link to your customer support page on your website. Also be sure that your description isn’t so long that people won’t read it or that it buries your contact information.

When you take the time to make sure your Facebook page takes advantage of all the features the site has, that it is branded and that your market can easily interact with you, you’ll see much better results as you use it to market your business.

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