Posts Tagged ‘news’
Friday, February 28th, 2014
Monday, February 24th, 2014
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If your business uses Twitter for social media marketing, the network’s newest feature is an exciting one. Now, when users search for terms that relate to Promoted Accounts, they will appear in search results. Previously, only tweets and Twitter users appeared in search results.
For some time, Promoted Accounts have been a great way for businesses to get their tweets in front of their followers, as they appear in users’ timelines. Promoted Accounts also appear in a list called “Who to Follow,” which can help you get new followers.
But, this new feature means that your account will be even more visible to Twitter users. As your account shows up in search results, more people will find and follow you. Businesses with Promoted Accounts have been able to target specific demographics, and now, those targeting options will be taken into account as Twitter displays search results.
Promoted Accounts are an excellent way to get your account, and content, in front of your market and build your following. When people find your account through a related search, they may be more likely to follow you because they are already interested in your industry or products.
The Power of Twitter to Influence Sales
In 2013, Twitter commissioned Market Probe International to conduct a study. The research analyses responses and Twitter users from the US and UK. One of the most stunning findings of the research is that Twitter users are 72 percent more likely to make a purchase from a small or medium business that they follow on Twitter.
Some other statistics from this report that illustrate the power of Twitter include:
- 85 percent of users felt more connected with small or medium businesses after following them on Twitter.
- 73 percent of users said they follow small and medium businesses to get updates on future products.
- 32 percent of users are more likely to go to a small or medium business after they see a Promoted Tweet from the business that relates to their interests or needs.
These statistics show us just how powerful Twitter can be as part of an Internet marketing plan. But, they also tell businesses how they can use Twitter more effectively.
The research shows that people follow businesses on Twitter to get updates about future products, so by sharing that kind of information you can gain and retain followers and even make more sales.
If you already use Twitter as part of your social media marketing, consider using a Promoted Account to make your business more visible on Twitter, gain more followers and get more out of Twitter.
On the other hand, if you don’t currently use Twitter, now is the perfect time to consider opening an account and using it to strategically promote your products and share your content.
Twitter is a very popular social media site that can help you promote your products, drive traffic to your website, engage with your market and build an online community that benefits your business.
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Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
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High-quality content is beneficial to your business in numerous ways, including its ability to help you get high search engine rankings. For some time now, Google has emphasised the importance of creating and publishing quality content. Now, Bing has taken this a step further by stating that content with typos and mistakes won’t rank as high as other content.
In a blog post, Duane Forrester, senior product manager at Bing, explains that the search engine is judged by the quality of results it shows users, so it will be looking specifically at the quality of content published on websites. He says that lower quality content, with errors, won’t rank as well as high-quality, error-free content.
High Quality Leads to Better Rankings
There’s no question that high-quality content will rank better in search results, from both Google and Bing. When your audience enters keywords that describe your business or what you do, you want your website to appear at the top of search engine results pages, and publishing high-quality content is the first step to achieving this.
How does high-quality content impact rankings? According to both Google and Bing, their algorithms identify strong, relevant content and rank it higher than other content. The best content also gets more social shares and traffic, which can help you boost your rankings.
What You Need for High-Quality Content
So, how do you go about creating the best content? There are a few things all good content has in common, and when you keep them in mind as you develop your Internet marketing plans and create content, you’ll see better search rankings and build a stronger brand reputation.
First, each piece of content you produce should help you reach some goal. Don’t just create content for the sake of creating content. In most cases, your goal should be to benefit your market in some way. You can do this by providing information, offering entertainment, providing a solution to a problem or teaching your market something.
Copy that is free of typos, grammatical errors and other mistakes is also essential. Proofread your content carefully and make sure it is something you want to use to represent your brand.
You need to give your market a reason to pay attention to your content by adding value to it. Provide people with information they need, are looking for or will benefit from.
Your content needs to match the needs and desires of your market and audience. Irrelevant content doesn’t rank very well, and it certainly won’t help you promote your business because it won’t help you appeal to your market and persuade people to take action.
High-quality content is produced with a market and purpose in mind and is well written and professional. As you publish this kind of content and create a strategic search engine optimisation plan, you will see better rankings. As an added benefit, top-quality content will also build your brand and help you create a positive reputation among your markets.
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Thursday, February 20th, 2014
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Facebook has announced
that advertisers can now more easily target their markets through Facebook ads. The announcement is good news for businesses that use this form of Internet marketing, because it just got a lot easier to make ads more effective.
When you create a Facebook ad, you can now target your market based on general categories: location, demographics, interests and behaviours. These categories may seem broad, but they allow you to target people based on recent events like engagements, where they live and even what kind of education they have received.
But, even with this update, it’s still important that businesses understand how to create a successful Facebook ad. The features Facebook provides will help you reach your market, but you still need to create ads that inspire your audience to take action.
An Attention Grabber
First, Facebook users are practically flooded with posts, photos, content and yes, ads, on the social network. If you want your ads to work, you need to grab your market’s attention.
The way you do this will depend on your brand and products, but using attractive pictures, entertaining ads and readable text and making your ads different than your competitors’ can help them stand out. You will likely have to do some testing to find out what kinds of ads your market notices and responds to.
The best ads, on Facebook and other sites, have influential content. You need to know what inspires your audience, what they are looking for, what needs they have and what they are interested in. When you know this, you can create influential content.
The images, taglines and copy you use all need to influence people in ways that inspire them to want to learn more about your company, make them more aware of your brand or encourage them to respond to your calls to action.
A Call to Action
Every one of your ads needs to include a clear call to action. This is absolutely essential, and is what makes your ads worthwhile and what will bring you results. Some common calls to action include:
- Buy a Product
- Visit a Website
- “Like” a Page
- Read a Blog
- Visit a Store
- Fill Out a Lead Form
Of course, these are just a few of the most common calls to action, and yours could be very different depending on your business and goals.
People are busy and when they are browsing Facebook, they don’t always want to stop looking at their friends’ pictures or posting a status update to respond to your ad. You need to provide an incentive.
The incentive you use could be tangible, like a free sample or a discount, or it could be something more abstract. For example, you could tell your market that if they “like” your page on Facebook, they will be the first to hear about your new product launch.
Facebook is always adding new features that make it easier for businesses to use the site and target their markets. When you include these elements in your ads, they will be much more successful and you will be able to reach your current and potential customers.
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Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Image courtesy of Sheila Scarborough/Flickr.
LinkedIn has announced that it will be allowing all of its users, not just users designated as “Influencers,” to publish content on its site. Until now, regular users have only been able to post updates and links, but now they can post longer articles to the site, sharing them with people across the network.
Since 2012, some users, which LinkedIn labeled as Influencers, have been able to publish blog posts on the site. This content was viewable by all LinkedIn users and could be shared across the network. Users like Bill Gates, Carlos Ghosn, Richard Branson and Martha Stewart could post content to contribute to industry news and reach their markets.
LinkedIn’s announcement explains that now all users can publish content that will be included on their profile and can be shared on the professional social network. Users will be able to follow other users that aren’t part of their network, or already on their list of contacts.
How You can use this New Feature
LinkedIn can be a valuable part of your social media marketing strategy. The site boasts 277 million members who are professionals all over the world from all kinds of industries. In Europe alone, there are 57 million LinkedIn users.
With numbers like this, you can’t afford to ignore LinkedIn. You can set up a business page, which allows you to tell people about what your business does, promote your products and link back to your website. Your employees, managers and even CEO can set up a personal LinkedIn profile, which can also help you market your business online.
This new feature that allows everyone to publish content on the site is a valuable tool you can use to accomplish several goals.
When you publish content and share it with those on LinkedIn, you can raise awareness about your business. People will begin to identify your name with what you do and the experience you provide, which will strengthen your brand.
Drive Traffic to Your Site
As you produce content and publish it on LinkedIn, you can include links back to your website. This can help improve the quality of your content, as you can provide valuable information for your readers. These links can also help you drive traffic to your website, blog, social media profiles or product pages.
Become an Industry Expert
Publishing content on LinkedIn can also help you establish your business as an industry expert and a valuable resource for your market. When you show that you have something to offer and are a thought leader in your industry, your business will grow.
Communicate with Your Market
Of course, when you publish and share content on LinkedIn, you are also able to communicate with your market. You can provide information about your business, products and industry and become the solution for your market.
Create an Online Community
Since LinkedIn allows you to attract followers, you can use your content to create an online community of customers and potential customers. Then, as you use your content to build your brand, you will be able to send your marketing messaging to your followers and inspire them to take action: buy your product, visit your website or share your content.
This LinkedIn update is an exciting one, because it gives your business another platform to publish content that helps you develop your brand, reach your customers and meet your business goals.
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Thursday, February 6th, 2014
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According to Search Engine Watch, Google has updated its site layout algorithm. In essence, it is targeting sites that have large ads near the top of the page.
But, this isn’t the only thing Google doesn’t want to see on your website. If you want to achieve high search rankings, here are a few more things to avoid.
Large Ads Above the Fold
In October, Google announced that the update would target sites that have large ads above the fold, or on the top of the page in the space users see without having to scroll.
The announcement hints that the reason Google doesn’t like this technique is that the company feels it inhibits the user experience. If your site has big ads near the top, now is a good time to remove them.
Keyword stuffing, or the practice of using so many keywords in a piece of content that it becomes almost unreadable, is something else Google doesn’t want to see on your site. Keywords should be used throughout your content, but in natural ways.
The best way to accomplish this is to make sure you are writing with your market in mind and using keywords naturally as they are needed. This should be easy to accomplish if your content is relevant.
Google has started placing more and more emphasis on the fact that site owners need to provide high-quality content. Content that is relevant, adds value to a topic and is well written is extremely important.
One way you can make sure you are providing the best kind of content is to produce things with your readers in mind. Make sure you are meeting their needs and providing value to them.
Along with low-quality content, Google doesn’t want to see duplicated content on your website. Never copy and paste content from other sources onto your site or publish the same piece of content more than once.
It’s unethical, and in some cases illegal, to copy someone else’s content, and this shouldn’t ever be an issue. While it may be tempting to reuse that blog post by publishing it as an article on another website, don’t do it. Google views duplicate content as low quality, and duplicating blog posts and articles could cost you rankings.
A Lack of Meta Tags
Meta tags, such descriptions, titles and alt tags, should be used throughout your website. Using keywords wherever possible can help you improve your rankings, so choosing not to use them means you are missing out on a chance to optimise your site.
Tags tell search engines about your website, so when you use them, and include keywords, you are making it easier for search engines like Google to rank your website.
Google frequently updates its algorithms as it works to find the best ways to bring high-quality, informative content to the top of search results. Make sure your website is one of those top results by staying away from black-hat SEO practices and working to fully optimise your site.
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Thursday, January 30th, 2014
A new study conducted by University of Massachusetts Dartmouth reveals why people, specifically millennials, interact with brands on social media. The study can help businesses understand how to leverage their social media accounts and use them more effectively.
The study looked into why millennials, people born between 1980 and 2000, connect with brands on social media. This group makes up an important market for many businesses, as it includes young professionals and teenagers.
This chart shows why people followed businesses on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The reasons people connect with businesses on social media vary by website, but here are some of the most common reasons and what they mean for your business:
To Show Support
According to the research, 86 percent of respondents follow a business on Facebook to show support for the brand. On Twitter, that number is 87 percent and on Pinterest it is 78 percent.
This tells us that people, millennials in particular, view a “like” or follow as a way to support the brand and tell their friends that they like what the business does and stands for. We know that the persuasive power of friends is very important when it comes to getting more sales, so as people show support for your brand, their friends are likely to investigate your business. At the very least, these supportive interactions can help you raise brand awareness.
To Get Regular Updates
The researchers also found that people follow brands to get regular updates. The study found that 78 percent of responders connect with brands on Facebook and 81 percent connect with brands on Twitter to get regular updates from the business. These numbers are significant.
What does this mean for your business? That one of the main reasons people connect with you on Facebook and Twitter is to get updates from your brand, and by delivering that you can retain followers and get even more.
This also tells us that as you post these updates, you are sharing them with an audience who wants to hear from you and that is likely to include returning and potential customers.
To Get a Coupon or Discount
Another common reason people follow brands on social media is to get a coupon or discount. The study found that this is the reason that 64 percent of responders connect with brands on Facebook and that 66 percent follow brands on Twitter.
Knowing this, your business can offer coupons and discounts as an incentive to get more followers, strengthen your relationship with current followers and increase sales.
To Research Specific Products and Services
Respondents also follow brands on social media to do research on specific products and services. This highlights the importance of providing information about your products on your social media profiles.
You should avoid being too self promotional, but providing links, product reviews and information about what you provide for customers periodically can pay off, as people are looking for this kind of information. When they find it on your page, they may be more likely to become customers.
When you understand why millennials are motivated to follow your business on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, you can find ways to use these sites more effectively to benefit your business.
The complete study includes more statistics and data about this demographic’s social media use and how social media impacts sales. You can see more information about the study here.
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Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
The practice of using article directories as a way to build links for search engine optimisation strategies is one that has been around for a long time, but now Google’s Matt Cutts has spoken out against this tactic. But, don’t worry; there are still legitimate ways to build links to help you get higher rankings.
The Problem with Article Directories
Article directories are sites where users can upload articles, which include a few links in the author biography, and other users can use the content on their own sites. The idea is that as more people use the content, more links will be built back to a company’s website, increasing search rankings.
Cutts explained that the content in these directories is usually low quality and then goes on to say, “I wouldn’t necessarily count on that being effective.” Google has also updated its search algorithm to put less of an emphasis on these links, so this strategy is not the best way to build links and earn rankings.
Better Ways to Build Links
But, when done the right way, link building can still be an effective SEO strategy. The key is to make sure the content you produce is of the highest quality and provides value to your market and that links are relevant.
Creating attractive infographics that are interesting and make your readers want to share them is a great way to build links. There are a few ways you can use this as a link-building strategy. First, you can post the infographic on your own website or blog and share it with your market, in an effort to encourage people to link back to your website. Secondly, you can provide your readers with a piece of code they can use to embed the infographic on their own site, which will automatically link back to your site.
Earned Media Coverage
Getting in the news can offer link-building opportunities. When your business or products are blogged about or mentioned in a news article, the writer will most likely link to your website. News websites and high-ranking industry blogs provide valuable links that will help your own site’s rankings.
You can get media coverage by simply being the best in your industry, launching innovative products, holding major events and becoming a resource bloggers want to reach out to. Another way to build these kinds of links is to write press releases about newsworthy happenings at your business and then distribute them to journalists and bloggers.
Social media can work hand-in-hand with SEO to help you get higher rankings. Promote your content on social media to drive traffic to you website, which can influence rankings. Another added benefit of using social media is that your content will get more exposure and if your readers like it, they will be more likely to link to it from their own websites or blogs.
When users are logged in to Google when they perform a search, content that their Google+ connections have written, and linked with Google Authorship, will appear higher in search results. While the audience you can reach with this strategy may not be as large as when you achieve regular Google rankings, it is one more way you can get your content in front of more people.
While using article directories to build links is an outdated practice, there are other ways your business can get links back to its website to earn higher search rankings. Your goal should always be to provide top-notch content and value for your market, and link-building opportunities and rankings will follow.
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Friday, January 24th, 2014
Pinterest is a very popular social media network that has grown extremely fast. The site has 70 million users and boasts an average of 2.5 billion monthly page views, so if your business doesn’t already use the site as part of its social media marketing plan, it’s time to consider signing up.
All kinds of businesses use Pinterest to connect with their market and share content, especially content that is visually appealing. Pinterest is a great way to get your content out there and drive traffic to your website or blog. Now, the network has unveiled a new feature that will make it even easier for you to find your market and share your content with the right people.
The new feature, called “Interests,” can be found under the menu next to the search box. When a user chooses this option, she will be presented with a list of categories that she has pinned content in. The categories are visually displayed as boxes, with the largest boxes highlighting what Pinterest thinks the user is most interested in. When the user clicks on one of the categories, she can look at dozens of pins of that topic. This makes it possible for users to browse pins in more narrow topics.
Pinterest already organises shared content with broad topics like gardening, DIY and crafts, home decor, humour, photography, products and other categories. But now, a user may see a personalised category called, “wreaths” for example, and will be able to browse images and content about wreaths instead browsing through the home decor or crafts category, looking for this kind of content.
In its announcement Pinterest explained that as users pin more content, their “Interests” page will change to reflect their current interests and to be more customised. Right now the feature is only available on the desktop site but will soon be available on mobile devices.
How Your Business Can Leverage “Interests”
The “Interests” section will make it easier for your users to find your content. When you produce content about very specific topics and share it on Pinterest, it could appear in these niche categories in users’ “Interests” section. As people find your content, they will be more likely to visit your site and follow your account.
But, you can also use this new feature to find people to connect with on Pinterest. As you use your account to pin content about specific topics, you can use your own “Interests” page to find people who are interested in these same topics. If you do this strategically, and find people with interests that make them potential customers, you can find and connect with an audience that is likely to buy your products or services.
Pinterest is already a popular and powerful social media site you can use to reach your market and this new feature can make it even more valuable. As it becomes easier for users to find content on specific topics, and for you to find your market, Pinterest will become an even more valuable tool for your business.
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Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
If you’ve been keeping up with search engine optimisation news, you’ve probably heard that guest blogging for SEO is dead. In fact, we blogged about it earlier this week and emphasised that guest blogging itself isn’t dead, but the practice of using it purely to build links is outdated.
Matt Cutts spoke about how guest blogging has become too spammy and how SEO experts shouldn’t rely on it as their only link building strategy. But, there are still lots of benefits you can get from guest blogging and the tactic can still be used to help you get exposure, reach new audiences and build your authority. Here are five tips you can use to make sure you are doing guest blogging the right way.
Provide Relevant Content Designed for a Specific Audience
First, your goal with guest blogging should be to provide relevant, helpful content, not to get a link. One of the best ways to do this is to start with the blog, not with the content. In other words, write a blog post specifically for a blog and its audience.
There are a few benefits to approaching guest blogging this way. First, bloggers will be more inclined to publish your post because the content was designed specifically for their blog and readers. Second, the content will be more effective because it isn’t just a spammy piece aimed at getting links.
Build Relationships with Bloggers
When you build relationships with bloggers they will be more likely to post your content and share their audience with you. They will trust you and know they can depend on you for quality content that fits their blog.
To build relationships, reach out to individual bloggers, comment on their posts, connect on social media and ask what kind of content they are looking for. Focus less on getting links from bloggers and more on building relationships that benefit both of you.
Use Links that Add Value to the Post
It is still appropriate to include links in your guest posts, even to your own website. The key is that they need to be relevant and add value to the post. The days of adding links with keywords just for the sake of building links are gone.
Link to resources on your website that provide more information or that help you make your point, making your blog post stronger and providing more value to the reader.
Don’t Disappear after Your Post is Published
Once your post is published, don’t just disappear. Thank the blogger and help promote the post through your own blog and social media accounts. Then, frequently check back in to respond to comments and answer questions from readers.
Doing this will help you get more readers and will make you more attractive to bloggers, who see you as a contributor who is genuinely interested in your audience and wants to provide value to readers. Of course, this will also help you strengthen your relationship and reputation with your market.
Only Accept Posts from People You can “Vouch For”
In Cutts’ post about guest blogging, he stated: “I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are wiling to vouch for someone personally or know them well.” If you do accept guest posts on your blog, don’t accept spammy content that was submitted just to build links.
This statement also means that as a contributor, you need to focus on building relationships with bloggers and become known as someone who provides valuable content.
Guest blogging for SEO may be dead, but guest blogging for the sake of creating relationships, growing your audience and building your authority is far from dead. Use these tips to make sure you are guest blogging the right way.
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A recent study, by McKinsey & Company, reveals that email is almost 40 times more effective at getting more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. In the study, only organic search produced more sales than email. This statistic is pretty astounding, but when you realise just how much we depend on email, it’s easy to see why this is such a powerful marketing tool.
Smartphones and tablets have made it possible for us to check our email whenever we want, which contributes to the tool’s marketing power. According to Acxim Digital Impact, 91 percent of consumers read their email on a smartphone.
In fact, emails have been proven to influence mobile shopping habits:
- 71% of mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by emails from companies (Adobe).
- Revenue from mobile clicks is nearly double that of desktop clicks (Yesmail).
- The average shopping order prompted by email is 17 percent higher than those prompted by social media (McKinsey & Company).
Use Emails to Get More Sales
The takeaway from McKinsey & Company’s study, and these other statistics, is that your business can’t afford to skimp on email marketing. But, going even further, it can’t afford not to target its mobile audience.
Email Marketing is Powerful
Emails have more power than social media to persuade consumers to make purchasing decisions. Knowing this, the messaging you use in your emails should be geared toward selling products and landing new customers. Build email lists of potential and current customers and then use strategic emails to launch new products, offer sale prices and in short, sell your products.
McKinsey & Company points out that the clicks you get through your email campaigns should be a small part of the overall experience your customers have with your brand. You shouldn’t abandon social media or other Internet marketing tactics in favour of email, but you should remember that email has the power to make sales.
Integrate email marketing into the rest of your marketing plan so that it uses similar messaging, targets the right people and helps you reach your goals.
Mobile-Ready Emails are Essential
But, don’t stop with just creating an email marketing campaign that is designed to get more customers. Create mobile-friendly emails, since statistics show how vital they are to getting sales.
Mobile-friendly emails load quickly and properly on a small screen, so they are easy to read. They are also short and to the point, since people often read emails on their phone when they are on the go.
Also make sure that your website is mobile friendly so that when recipients click on the links in your emails, they will be directed to pages they can easily navigate on a mobile device.
Email marketing has been an effective promotional and sales tool for some time, and the fact that we are relying more heavily on email and accessing it from mobile devices gives you more opportunities to reach your market.
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