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Facebook Daily Users and Referrals are Both Up

Friday, July 25th, 2014
Image courtesy of Scott Beale/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Scott Beale/Flickr.

Two new numbers, from Facebook and Shareaholic, show that Facebook is gaining more value as a marketing tool for businesses. We already knew that Facebook is an invaluable part of Internet marketing, but these new studies show that despite some rumours, Facebook is still a great promotional tool.

More Daily Users

Facebook announced that it has had a 19 percent increase in daily users since last year. The site has 829 million users. This statistic shows that although some have speculated that Facebook has reached its peak and is declining in popularity, it has more daily users.

People are still using Facebook, and according to the study, they are logging in frequently. People still use it as a way to connect with friends, share content and socialise.

Your business would be missing out on a lot of social media marketing benefits if you decide to skimp on Facebook marketing. A strong social media strategy and Facebook ads can help you reach a large portion of your market, raise awareness and promote your products.

The Most Social Referrals

The Shareaholic Social Media Traffic Report found that the amount of Facebook referral traffic has also increased. Over the last few months, the traffic took a minor dip, but is now higher than it has been since March.

This month, Facebook was responsible for 23.39 percent of social media referral traffic. In March, it was responsible for 21.25 percent, and in both April and May, it accounted for about 18 percent of social media referrals.

These statistics tell us that while more people are using Facebook daily, more people are also clicking on the links being shared. When you promote your website and blog on Facebook, there’s a good chance that you’ll drive more traffic to your site.

But, that’s not the only thing this study found. According to the research, Facebook brings more social media referrals than Pinterest, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined!

Pinterest brings 5.72 percent of referrals while Twitter brings 1.03 percent. All the other sites mentioned above each brought less than 1 percent of the referrals.

Start Leveraging Facebook

Since Facebook’s daily users are increasing and it has the potential to refer a lot of traffic to your website, your business can’t risk not including Facebook as an integral part of your Internet marking and social media strategy.

So, how do you start harnessing the power of Facebook? There are so many features you can use to your advantage to make it a stronger part of your marketing plan.

Some places to start include:

  • Branding Your Page
  • Building an Active Following
  • Sharing Content Strategically
  • Using Well-Targeted Ads

Facebook remains an important part of the social media marketing world and when you use it to help you promote your business, you are getting your brand in front of more people and working to drive more traffic to your site. As you build this presence, you will benefit from increased brand awareness, more sales and customer loyalty.

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Go Beyond Simple Link Sharing for more Social Media Referrals

Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Most businesses use social media to promote their blog and website. Sharing content here will help you drive traffic to your site where you can convert visitors to customers and even increase your search rankings.

But, simply copying and pasting links from your website to social media can get stale. It’s okay to post links, which on some sites let you automatically show a preview of your content, but when this is the only way you share your content, you aren’t using social media to its fullest potential.

With some creativity and by using some different approaches, you can update your social media marketing strategy to get your market’s attention and see even more social media referrals.

Post a Teaser

One of the most basic ways to generate interest in a link is to post a teaser. Copy and paste a sentence or two from the post itself or write a short blurb that gets people interested enough to want to click through to the content.

An example of a good teaser for an article about how to choose the right laptop would be: “We compared the top five selling laptops to help you decide which is right for you!”

Promise a Benefit

With so much content out there and with so many things to look at and do on social media, people need a good reason to click on your link. If social media users don’t see value in what you are offering, they won’t visit your site.

A post that says something like, “Don’t waste your money on the wrong laptop! Our comparison chart will help you find the perfect fit for you,” tells people what benefit your content provides: advice on how to save money.

Ask a Question about the Content

People like to give their opinion, so ask for it! When you post a link to your content, ask people a question about it. This makes them curious about what is in your content while also encouraging engagement and comments.

When you post a link, ask a question like “Have you tried any of the laptops on our value comparison chart? What do you think? Did we get it right?” This does two things. First, it makes people want to look at your blog post and chart and also encourages them to leave a comment on your social media post or blog post.

Give a Hint

Giving a hint is similar to posting a teaser, but it provides less information and tempts people to click on your link to find out what it’s all about. For example, write a post that reads something like “You will never guess which laptop came out on top in our comparison of the most popular models!” This hints at what your content is all about but doesn’t give too much away so people will still want to visit your site.

Sharing content on social media is a great way to drive traffic to your site and interact with your market. When you use more creative ways to post and share, you will stand out on social media and see even better results.

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Foursquare and LinkedIn go Even more Local

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Image courtesy of Michael Verhoef/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Michael Verhoef/Flickr.

Both Foursquare and LinkedIn have announced new features that take their networks to a whole new level. Local search engine optimisation has long been valued among businesses and Internet marketers, and now social networks are looking for ways to use local features to expand their services.

For example, Facebook recently added a feature called Nearby Friends that lets users see where their friends are so they can connect in real life and communicate about local areas, destinations and sites.

Foursquare Personalises Local Search

Foursquare has always been about location, but now it is taking that speciality to a whole new level with personalised local search. This feature changes the way search works for users and could highlight what social media users are looking for.

The mobile app will rely on a user’s check-in history and answers to a few questions about personal preferences to provide search results about local places designed specifically for that person. Foursquare says that no two local search results pages will be exactly the same.

Search results will also be served based on tips, check-ins and photos that other users have submitted since Foursquare began. In other words, the social network has made local search personalised by using its database of information, along with personal preferences, to provide results about places the user is most likely to be interested in.

Foursquare hasn’t specified when the feature will be available, but says it will be rolled out soon.

LinkedIn Offers new Connected App

LinkedIn is now offering a new app, called Connected, for iPhone users that makes it easier to strengthen relationships in person. While the new app doesn’t add any location-specific features, it does encourage people to use LinkedIn in a local way.

The app makes it easy to be prepared for meetings and working lunches so you can take online relationships offline and strengthen your professional network. Connected will also help you keep track of what your contacts are doing and helps you keep up with things like job changes, birthdays and other events.

In other words, Connected makes it easier to network in real life and to make relationships more than just an online connection. Right now, the app is only available to iPhone users and is already on the iTunes store.

Does Your Business Embrace Local?

Facebook’s, Foursquare’s and LinkedIn’s recent updates show a trend in social media. People are looking for ways to make in-person interaction easier and want to make social media more personal. They want personalised search results and social media features that help them foster real-life relationships.

What does this mean for you? It means that to keep up with trends and market desires, you need to find ways to meet those personalised, local needs. Whether you have a small local shop or a large brand, look for ways to provide personal experiences and don’t forgo real-life interaction and experiences for online engagement.

Social media and Internet marketing should be used to supplement the experience your customers have when they work with your employees or visit your location. These recent changes to social media networks show that more and more people are expecting this kind of service and when you provide it, you will attract more customers.

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To Email or Not to Email: Is Email Marketing for You?

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Email marketing can be an extremely powerful form of marketing. It lets you get into your markets’ inbox and deliver messaging and value like few other tactics do. Email marketing success stories are common, but is this kind of marketing for you?

Many businesses can benefit from email marketing, but by asking yourself these questions you can determine if you should use your time and resources to start a campaign.

Does my Market Want to Hear from Me?

First, decide if your market wants to hear from you. Think about what you could offer through emails and what your market is looking for. If you can fill that need, email marketing could work for you. You can also do surveys or polls on your website and find out if people would be interested in getting emails from you.

Do I have Something of Value to Share?

The best and most successful email marketing campaigns provide value. They offer something people want, need or benefit from. If you can’t provide value, you will struggle to gain subscribers, maintain a strong email list and get benefits from your campaign. Think about what would benefit your market and then find ways you can use email to provide that benefit.

Can I be Consistent?

Like other marketing tactics, email marketing requires consistency. You need to keep providing value to your subscribers while also benefitting your business. If you don’t think you have the time, resources or content to send regular emails, this tactic may not be a good fit.

There isn’t one answer to how frequently you should send emails. Your frequency will depend on your business, the kinds of emails you send and your market. You will most likely need to do some testing before you find the perfect frequency.

How can my Business Benefit?

Before you pursue email marketing, make sure your business will benefit from it. Email marketing can help you boost sales, increase traffic, improve brand awareness, build your reputation and accomplish all kinds of things. Look at your business and marketing goals and determine whether or not email marketing can help you.

Do I have a Strategy?

If you want to use email marketing successfully and to reach your goals, you need to have a strategy. Random emails that are sent without specific messaging, calls to action and thoughtful layouts won’t benefit your business.

When you decide to use email marketing, keep things like your goals and market in mind as you build a strategy that will ensure you are successful. Each email you send should be part of a bigger plan and fit into a bigger marketing picture.

Email marketing is a great way to promote your business, reach your customers and accomplish a variety of marketing and business goals. But, before you start using this form of marketing, make sure it is the right fit for your business and market so you will be successful.

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Don’t Stop after you Publish! What to do After you Post to Your Blog

Monday, July 21st, 2014
Image courtesy of Patsy/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Patsy/Flickr.

Publishing content to your blog is a key part of Internet marketing, search engine optimisation and content marketing. But, publishing blog posts is only the first step. To leverage your content and get the most out of each post, you need to follow up with a few key steps.

These steps should be part of your general Internet marketing strategy and your social media marketing plans. If you aren’t following up each blog post with these actions, you could be missing out on some of the benefits of blogging.

Create a Shortened, Trackable URL

Your content management system will most likely create a URL for your blog post. Take that URL and shorten it with a service like bit.ly so that you have a shorter version of the URL that you can track to find out how many people are clicking on the link and get an idea of what kind of content your audience likes.

Share through Social Media Accounts

Blogging brings more value when people see your content. Whenever you post to your blog, you should instinctively share the post through your social media accounts.

Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or any other social media account, share each blog post there to reach your market and drive traffic to your site.

Incorporate into Email Marketing

If you use email marketing at your business, find ways you can use your blog posts in your campaigns. New blog posts can help you get your messaging in front of your market, inform your customers and drive traffic to your website.

You could include links to your blog posts in a marketing email or you could let readers subscribe to get email updates whenever you post to your blog.

Schedule the post for Future Use

Posts that have information that will still be relevant and useful later can be scheduled to be used again. If you use a social media scheduling tool, schedule the URL to be shared again later as part of your content marketing plan. Otherwise, include it in your marketing calendar to use for social media, content or email marketing again later.

Use for Content Inspiration

You can use your blog posts to brainstorm ideas for more content. Do this formally by creating multi-part posts, blog series or theme days or just informally by finding ways to expand more on the topic or blogging about related ideas.

This kind of blogging also gives you a good opportunity to build internal links on your blog and website, which can help with SEO.

Respond to Comments

Finally, don’t disappear after you publish a post! Keep checking in and responding to comments. It is especially important to respond to the first few comments because it will show other readers that you are listening to them and are there to answer questions.

All of these steps will help you reach your market, gain customers and get more value out of your blog. Start seeing more benefits by including these tips in your Internet marketing plan.

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7 Easy ways to get More Social Media Engagement Today

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

Image courtesy of Goldy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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

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

Start Asking Questions

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

Participate in a Group or Community

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

Mention and Tag other Users

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

Start a Conversation

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

Post Something Different

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

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

Crowdsource Something Simple

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

Do a Giveaway

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

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

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Simple ways to build Brand Awareness on Social Media

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

Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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

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

Ad Campaigns

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

Strategic Posting

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

Develop a Personality

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

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

Have Conversations

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

Some easy ways to have conversations include:

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

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

Be Consistent

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

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

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

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5 Major Digital Marketing Changes to Watch For

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Accenture Interactive recently did a study that reveals how chief marketing officers across several industries feel marketing will change in the coming years. The study found that 78 percent of all CMOs surveyed agreed that “marketing is expected to undergo radical changes over the next five years.”

What are these changes? The world of marketing is always changing and with technology it is changing very quickly. Some of the expected changes were revealed in the study, which asked CMOs what they expect to see. Here are five of those changes and what they mean for your business.

Digital will Account for more than 75% of Marketing Budgets

Digital marketing is becoming more and more vital to business’ success. In the coming years, your company will need to embrace digital marketing tactics like search engine optimisation, social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising. All of these forms of online marketing can help you build your brand, increase awareness, boost sales and accomplish all kinds of business goals.

Mobile Specifically will Account for More than 50% of Marketing Budgets

We’ve known for a while now that mobile marketing is growing quickly. In the next few years, many expect it to account for more than half of marketing budgets. If you don’t want to be left behind, you need to embrace mobile marketing.

Mobile marketing can include things like social media, mobile apps, responsive site design, text message marketing, email marketing and sophisticated technologies that allow businesses to track customers, through their smartphones, as they come into their stores.

Earned Media will be more Important than Paid and Owned Media

Earned media is becoming more valuable. Focusing on things like distributing press releases, providing high-quality content and reaching out to bloggers will result in coverage that will bring brand recognition and site traffic.

Earned links are also an important part of search engine optimisation, so producing content that people will want to link to is important to multiple aspects of Internet marketing.

Marketing Campaigns will Begin Unfolding in Real Time

Real-time marketing is made possible with social media and the ability to quickly update blogs and websites. This kind of marketing is often in response to news events or pop culture or just as a way to make a product launch more exciting. You can lay the groundwork for this kind of marketing by building up your social media and blog followings and keeping tabs on what is happening in your market, industry and community.

Analytics Skills will Become a Core Competence in Marketing

Website, social media and other social media analytics can tell you whether your marketing is working and can help you understand how to make your campaigns more effective. Keeping close watch on how your tactics are performing, how your market reacts and what kinds of results you are getting will help you enhance your strategies.

There’s no question that digital marketing is the way of the future. Your business will need to use online tactics and strategies to keep up with its competition, reach its market and succeed.

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4 Reasons you Need a Facebook App

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

Image courtesy of Maria Elena/Flickr.

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

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

Branded Account

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

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

Incentive to Follow You

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

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

Increased Engagement

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

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

More Page Visits

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

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

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

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

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Do these Two Things to Reach 80% of Internet Users

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Image courtesy of takomabibelot/Flickr.

Image courtesy of takomabibelot/Flickr.

When you use Internet marketing to promote your business, you want to reach as many people as possible. Some new research shows that if you include just two things in your marketing strategy, you will reach 8 out of 10 Internet users.

So what are those two things? Social media marketing and blogging.

While these two basic Internet marketing strategies may seem simple, Search Engine Watch reports that businesses that use them reach 80 percent of Internet users.

To widen your audience and make sure you are reaching your target market, you need to use both social media and blogging strategically. If you use these tactics without purpose or direction, they won’t help you achieve results.

Jumpstart your Social Media

When was the last time you reviewed your social media marketing strategy? Reassessing your strategy often will help you make sure you are using each account to its fullest potential and benefiting from your efforts.

Choose your Sites

What social media sites are you using? Look at your accounts and make sure things like your biography, profile picture and contact information are all up to date. If your fans are engaging with you and you are gaining an audience, you are likely using these sites well. Consider if there are other social media sites that lend themselves to your brand and goals.

Share Strategically

The content you create, curate from other sources or even the status updates you post should all help you reach your goals. You can accomplish all kinds of things, from increased brand awareness and sales to more email subscribers through social media. Decide whether the posts you share are helping you be successful.

Take some time to assess your social media accounts and strategies to make sure they are helping you reach your overall marketing goals.

Rethink your Blog

Your blog should also help you achieve your business goals. One of the biggest benefits of your blog is that it is a platform you have full control over. Social media sites come and go, features are always being added and removed and you don’t have complete control over how your page is branded. But, with your blog you know you have a platform that will always be there and will look and function the way you want it to.

Your blog also gives you a unique opportunity to get your own message, facts and information out there, without the risk of it being misconstrued. Media coverage, other blogs and sometimes even social media sites don’t give you full control over your message the way your blog does.

Who is Your Audience?

Think carefully about who your blog audience is. Is it potential customers? Current customers? Other businesses? What demographic information do you have about your audience? When you know who your blog is for, you can leverage it to your advantage. If the kind of content you are sharing isn’t of value to your audience, your blog won’t be very successful.

Social media and blogging are two very important Internet marketing strategies. When you use these two elements effectively, your campaign will be successful and benefit your entire business.

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