Posts Tagged ‘SMM’
Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
Image courtesy of Florian Ziegler/Flickr.
Effective Internet marketing campaigns include calls to action. Whether you are using social media, blog posts, websites, online articles, videos or any other marketing tactic, each one should ask your market to do something or encourage people to take some kind of action.
Calls to action should help your business grow and develop in some way, whether that is with more sales, increased exposure or better brand recognition. The specific calls to action you use will depend on your business goals and marketing campaigns. But, there are some strategies that you can apply to most calls to action to make them more powerful.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Creating a sense of urgency, whether it is by imposing a time limit or simply by telling people they need to act quickly, can make your calls to action much more powerful. This strategy tells your audience that the sooner people act, the better off they will be. Urgent calls to action are commonly used with limited-time deals, freebies and even when asking people to contact a business.
Appeal to Needs or Wants
When you appeal to peoples’ needs and wants, they are more likely to respond to your calls to action because you are positioning yourself as the solution to someone’s desires. To do this successfully, you need to do some market research and understand what is important to your market and how those things can be connected to your business or product.
Solve a Problem
Becoming the solution to the problems people in your market commonly have is a great way to make your calls to action more powerful. You probably already know how your business or products solve a problem or make peoples’ lives easier, so use that knowledge as you create calls to action. When people understand that what you have to offer is a real solution, they will respond to your calls to action more readily.
Promise a Benefit
People are overwhelmed with emails, online content, websites and social media posts. To break through all the messaging your target market is exposed to every day, you need to give people a reason to pay attention to and respond to your business. One great way to do this is to promise a benefit.
This can be done in the form of good deals, valuable content or outstanding results. When you answer the “What is in it for me” question for your market, your calls to action will be powerful and effective.
Use Influential People and Ideas
Calls to action can be enhanced when you use influential people and ideas to help deliver them. If there are certain people, websites or ideas that your audience respects, find ways to integrate them into your marketing and calls to action. Remember that sometimes peoples’ friends are extremely influential, so using them to help promote your brand on social media can be a simple way to use this strategy.
The more powerful and effective your calls to action are, the more beneficial your Internet marketing campaigns will be for your business. Start improving your calls to action by using one or more of these five strategies.
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
Ads are coming to Google Plus. Well, kind of. Google has announced that it will be offering what it calls +Post ads, which are in essence social, interactive ads that are similar to Google Plus posts, but will be published across the Internet.
The advertisements will look very similar to Google Plus posts and will give site visitors the opportunity to +1, share and even comment on the ad. Another interesting facet of this new ad strategy is that businesses who create +Post ads will only have to pay Google if a reader hovers his mouse over the ad for two seconds, and the ad expands, making it easier to interact with it.
According to Google, Google Plus users will even be able to easily turn their posts into ads, which makes ad creation much easier for businesses. Currently, only a few businesses are testing +Post ads but they will be available to all businesses at a future date. You can sign up for the beta version now.
Google has stated that these new ads will not be shown on Google Plus, which doesn’t show any ads, but will be posted on sites that are part of the Google Display Network. This network includes about 2 million websites, so it is a powerful channel for marketers.
With the announcement, Google stated that these interactive ads are more effective because they encourage interaction, help build conversations and even have higher click through rates than traditional ads.
Why +Post Ads Could be Valuable to Your Business
If your business is working toward building an online community and reaching its target markets through a variety of websites, these ads could be very valuable to your brand.
With +Post ads, you can generate interaction about different topics, products and even make it easier for people to respond to your calls to action. These interactive ads also give brands a new way to let loyal customers and fans help them do their marketing.
Since +Post ads can be shared, users can help your business by promoting it to their friends, which can help you get your ads in front of more people and can help persuade potential customers. In many cases, people are more likely to trust their friends more than a business, so by allowing your market to share, or endorse, your ads you can more easily influence your market.
Of course, these ads can also help you build your Google Plus following, since all of your ads will include a “Follow” button. This is an excellent way to both advertise your business and boost your social media following.
If your business uses Google Plus, or is working on ways to use social media marketing and online advertising, this option is definitely worth exploring. The new +Post ads give businesses the unique opportunity to create extremely interactive online advertisements and connect with their markets in entirely new ways.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of SimonQ錫濛譙/Flickr.
Facebook has announced a few changes to the News Feed that can help businesses drive more traffic to their websites and strengthen their Facebook communities. While Facebook seems to be unrolling new features and updates on a regular basis, these new changes are especially important to businesses that use Facebook pages as part of their social media marketing strategies.
High-Quality Content to Appear More in News Feeds
The first change Facebook is making will reward high-quality content by allowing it to appear more often in users’ News Feeds. Facebook hasn’t divulged exactly how it will determine what constitutes high-quality content, but it has told us that links that are clicked on more often will be recognised as high quality. So, as more people click on a link, Facebook assumes the content is valuable and high quality.
Facebook’s announcement states that referral traffic from Facebook has almost tripled in the past year, showing that people who use Facebook are clicking on links to high-quality content.
The links that receive more clicks will start appearing for more users, and therefore could drive more traffic to your website. As your business produces and shares more high-quality content, more people will click on it and it will be shown to more and more users, helping you get more traffic to your website.
Related Articles will Be Displayed Below Links
Another new feature that will soon be added to Facebook is related articles. Now, when a reader clicks on a link on Facebook, a list of related articles will appear underneath that post.
As you produce and share high-quality articles, they may appear in this section of related content. This gives your business another opportunity to get your content in front of your markets and drive traffic.
Older Conversations will be Revitalised
Lastly, Facebook has introduced a feature that will bring new life to old posts and conversations. If you feel that your older posts benefit your business for a few days and then are forgotten and buried by your newer posts, this new feature could be a good solution.
Now, posts that have new comments from peoples’ friends can show up in their News Feed again. Before this update, new posts were only featured once in the News Feed, but this update makes it possible to continue older conversations and strengthen social media communities.
As your posts continue to receive comments, they could continue to be displayed in users’ News Feeds, so they can gain more momentum. This update could mean that your posts will get more comments and could drive more traffic to your website, as more people see the links you share.
Facebook continues to be a major tool when it comes to social media marketing and these latest updates will make it even easier for businesses to drive traffic to their websites and build strong Facebook communities.
Your business can start taking advantage of these updates by producing and sharing quality content that your audience will want to click on and comment on, triggering the News Feed algorithm to share that content with even more users and repost it in peoples’ News Feeds.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of Philip Chapman-Bell/Flickr.
With the holidays just around the corner, you may be preparing to set up your social media accounts so they will run on auto pilot while you are out of the office. Many, many businesses use social media scheduling tools to help keep their accounts active and to keep promoting content during holidays and just to help them keep up with their social media marketing.
The problem is, if you rely too heavily on social media scheduling, you risk looking like a spammer. Your followers know when you are simply pushing content on them and aren’t being genuine. Sometimes businesses fall into the trap of sounding robotic, losing touch with their market and becoming less genuine when they use social media scheduling.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can use scheduling tools to help you keep up with your accounts without compromising your brand and becoming a spammer.
Start Finding and Creating Valuable Content to Share
First, don’t just write scheduled posts at the last minute for the sake of having posts. Start planning in advance by deciding what kind of content you want to share through scheduled posts and start finding it or creating it.
The idea is to be purposeful with your scheduled posts so that the content you share when you aren’t posting live is just as valuable as the content you would normally share. Don’t leave your audience hanging by posting less helpful content just because you are scheduling it ahead of time.
Write Scheduled Posts as if they were Live
Even though you are writing social media posts days or even weeks in advance, write them as if you were writing them to be posted immediately. Use the same style, tone and voice that you would normally use so that your audience can’t tell that you aren’t posting live.
Also be sure to use the correct tenses when scheduling posts. For example, don’t use the future tense unless it will be necessary at the time of the posting. Instead of writing “Don’t miss our holiday sale next week,” write “Don’t miss our holiday sale going on right now!”
Don’t Change Your Posting Frequency
When you sit down to schedule social media posts, it can be tempting to get carried away and schedule more content than you would normally post. If you do this, you will come across as spammy and you could even lose followers.
Instead, maintain your regular posting frequency even when you use scheduling tools. If you normally post three to four times a day, schedule posts to go live three to four times a day.
Check in Whenever Possible
One of the best ways you can avoid making your accounts look spammy when you schedule posts is to check in whenever possible. If you can, don’t rely completely on the scheduler to maintain your accounts for you, but find a middle ground. For example, maybe you can schedule posts that share content, but you can still log in periodically to engage with your followers.
Keeping an eye on your account even while content is scheduled to go live can also help you make sure things are running smoothly. When you log in you can make sure your posts are being shared and monitor activity more closely.
Using social media scheduling tools can help you manage your social media accounts, especially during busy weeks or when you won’t be in the office. These guidelines can help you make sure your accounts maintain their followers, stay active and continue to provide value to your market.
Friday, November 29th, 2013
Image courtesy of Emanuel Hallklint/Flickr.
YouTube is a major social media network that can help you build your brand, generate traffic, make more sales and reach other business goals. But, YouTube doesn’t lend itself to every business. The visual aspect and the type of audience the site attracts need to line up with your business and goals in order for you to benefit from it.
How do you know if YouTube is a good fit for your business? If you answer “yes” to these five questions, you should consider adding the site to your social media marketing strategy.
Does Your Business Already use Video?
If your business already produces videos as part of its marketing strategy, YouTube may be a good fit for you. Creating high-quality videos that inspire and move your market is one of the most important parts of using YouTube effectively, and if you have already started producing videos, why not use YouTube to deliver them to your market?
Do You Already Use Social Media Marketing?
You don’t necessarily have to have a strong social media following to use YouTube successfully, but it can help. When you already have a strong and loyal Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or other social media community, you can leverage it to help you get more YouTube subscribers and views.
Are Your Products or Services Visually Interesting?
Businesses that have products and services that are visually interesting generally do better on YouTube. If your business lends itself to how-to videos, product reviews or informational, entertaining or moving videos, you should consider using YouTube.
It may seem obvious, but to get a lot of views and shares on your videos they need to be interesting. If your business or industry isn’t very visually interesting, you may want to pass on YouTube and opt for social networks like Twitter or LinkedIn.
Can You Use Video Creatively while Still Meeting Your Goals?
Your business shouldn’t create videos just for the sake of creating them. If you can creatively and strategically capture your brand, business and products in video format, while meeting your business goals, YouTube could be beneficial to your business.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but only if it is done well. The videos you use need to be of the best quality, portray your brand and speak to your market. If you can accomplish this, YouTube could give your marketing a boost.
Would Your Market Respond to Video Content?
Lastly, if your business can successfully reach its markets through video, encouraging them to respond to calls to action, you should consider using YouTube for social media marketing. As you form your online and social media marketing plans, it is important to make sure you are choosing channels, tactics and strategies that your market will respond to, and if video is one of them, you should consider using YouTube.
YouTube can be an extremely powerful social media network if used for the right purposes and for the right business. If you answered “yes” to these questions, you should consider finding a way to add it to your social media marketing strategy.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Image courtesy of Courtney Dirks/Flickr.
If you are planning on starting a new blog for your business, you are probably anxious to launch it. Blogging is a great way to keep your market informed, increase your search rankings and enhance your online marketing. But, before you publish your new blog, use this checklist to make sure the launch will be successful and your blog will get off to a good start.
Create a Branded Design
First, make sure your blog’s design matches your brand. If it is part of your company website, it should flow with the rest of the site. Use colours, styles and visual elements that match your brand’s tone so that when people visit your blog they will know immediately that it is part of your business.
Write a Search Engine Optimised “About” Page
The “about” page on your blog will tell your readers what your blog is all about and what they can expect. But, it can do much more than that. If you optimise it with proper keywords it could help your blog rank for those keywords, which could help you get more traffic and readers. Do keyword research and choose the best words for your blog and company, and then use them naturally throughout your “about” page copy.
Add Social Media Following Buttons
If you use social media marketing (if you aren’t, you should consider it), you must add social media following buttons to your blog. These buttons make it so your readers can “like” you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter or connect with you on any other social network you use. Put the buttons in a place where readers will see them and make sure you keep your accounts updated.
Set up a Subscription Form
One of the best ways to market your blog and business is to build an email list, which you can do by adding a subscription form to your website. You can choose to update your readers every time you publish a new post, once a week, once a month or even just once in a while when you have news or a special offer to share.
To get the most out of your blog, you will likely want to enable comments. Doing this will allow your readers to have conversations about your content, allow you to respond to them and will help you turn your blog into a thriving online community. Building an active audience like this can help you with other marketing tactics and build your business.
Set Up a “Contact” Page
Setting up a “contact” page will make it easy for your readers to contact you. You can use a form that asks for the person’s name, email address and message, or you can simply publish your email address and allow your readers to email you directly.
Display Related Posts
When you display related posts at the end of each of your blog posts, you are giving your readers more content and a reason to stay on your site longer. In general, people who stay on your site longer are more likely to respond to calls to action, subscribe to your emails and even become customers.
Add Social Media Sharing Buttons
Let your audience help you promote your content and your blog by adding social media sharing buttons on all your posts. This way your readers can share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn or another social media network. This strategy can help you get more traffic and more readers.
Publish at Least Five Posts
It’s generally a bad idea to launch a blog without any content. The whole purpose for setting up a blog is to share content, so make sure you have at least five posts published before you launch. This will make your blog look alive and will attract readers, since it will give visitors a chance to see what kind of content they can expect on your blog.
Make a 3-Month Editorial Calendar
One of the most challenging aspects of blogging is publishing new content on a regular basis. Keep yourself on track and your blog updated by making an editorial calendar for the next three months. You can plan topics for each day or actually write headlines that you will use.
Of course, you will need to be somewhat flexible to accommodate current events, spontaneous ideas and to cater to the needs and wants of your audience. But, setting up a calendar will help you stay on track and can help eliminate writer’s block, since you won’t have to come up with blog ideas on the spot every day.
Before you launch your new blog, make sure these 10 features are in place so that it will be successful from day one.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
There are many, many online marketing tactics your business can use, but all of those tactics fit into four basic online marketing categories. Online marketing is a broad field that encompasses lots of tools and strategies that can help your business do anything from increase sales and website traffic to promote awareness and build stronger relationships with your customers.
Search Engine Optimisation
You are probably familiar with the term “search engine optimisation,” but do you know how SEO can benefit your business? In essence, SEO strategies can be used to make your company’s website appear higher up in search results. For example, with the right SEO campaign your furniture company’s website could appear in the top results when someone searches for “furniture shop in London.”
Studies show that people pay more attention to the first few pages of search results, so getting your website to rank at the top will be extremely beneficial to your business as more people find your website. A good SEO strategy will employ things like optimised content, link building, social media and mobile tactics.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing may be one of the most popular forms of online marketing. Almost all businesses use some kind of social media network, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn, to promote their products or services.
But, with a strategic plan, social media marketing can help you do so much more than promote your business. You can use it to learn more about your market, drive traffic to your website, create strong relationships, improve your reputation, join industry conversations and so much more.
Online advertising can be a powerful way to market your business. You can buy advertising space on all kinds of websites, including social media networks, news sites, blogs and other sites. Different websites have different requirements when it comes to advertising, and more popular sites will generally charge more for advertising space.
The key to making online advertising work is to buy advertising space on websites that attract your market. Make sure the advertisements appeal to your target market and are placed on sites your potential customers already visit.
Affiliate marketing is another popular type of online marketing that can bring a lot of success. Businesses that do affiliate marketing work with another company and agree to promote its website. The business makes money depending on how many sales it produces, how much traffic it directs to the website or how many clicks it generates through links it has created.
There are lots of affiliate marketing opportunities out there and the businesses that are most successful with this know their market and blog readers and choose to work with affiliates that will appeal to their customer base. To do well with affiliate marketing, you must also have a large readership and have a good relationship with the people who visit your site.
Depending on your business, market and goals, your company may use just one or two of these types of online marketing or all four. If you are looking for ways to promote your business online, consider these four basic options and decide which ones will be most effective for you. Then, create a solid plan, execute your strategy and measure your efforts so you can constantly improve your online marketing strategies.
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
While LinkedIn may not be the first social network that comes to mind when you consider social media marketing, it is one you don’t want to miss out on, especially with this newest feature: Showcase Pages for businesses.
This new feature makes it possible for businesses with multiple products, or brands, to create a page that highlights each one. LinkedIn users can follow Showcase Pages to get updates from businesses. For example, Microsoft has a Showcase page for its Office product, which people can follow for updates specific to Office, rather than Microsoft in general.
But, businesses don’t have to create Showcase Pages for products. They can create them for business units, programs, initiatives or anything else. This feature is slowly being offered to all businesses, so watch for the ability to create a page on your account.
To set up a Showcase Page for your business, log in to LinkedIn and go to your company’s page. Then, choose “Edit” and then “Create a Showcase Page.” From here you can set up a Showcase Page for your business that highlights a specific product or element.
Make sure the information you include on the new page is complete and targeted for your market. Then, share relevant content through the Showcase Page. You will be able to track how well your page is doing through LinkedIn’s analytics tools.
Once your Showcase Page is ready, you can start promoting it to your LinkedIn followers, other social media followers and your market in general. When users visit your page they can click on “Follow” in the top, right-hand corner. People who follow your Showcase Page will see updates from the page on their news feed.
What Showcase Pages Can do that Business Pages Can’t
You may be wondering why you should create a Showcase Page if you already use a Business Page. If your business is large enough to have several different products, sub-brands or major initiatives, a Showcase Page can help you target your market in ways a Business Page can’t.
The more you are able to make sure the right audience sees your content, the people who will respond to it, the more successful your business will be at social media marketing. This new feature lets you target your markets more precisely.
You may also be able to connect with more people by setting up Showcase Pages. People in your target market who aren’t necessarily interested in your business in general may be hesitant to follow your Business Page on LinkedIn. However, they may be interested in following a Showcase Page that provides content that is relevant to them, their interests and needs.
LinkedIn is an excellent social media marketing tool that can help you promote your business and reach your market. If the people in your target market use LinkedIn, you should be using a Business Page, and now you can set up Showcase Pages too.
Start by deciding which products, or elements of your business, you want to create Showcase Pages for and setting up the pages, and then share content and start getting followers!
Monday, November 18th, 2013
Image courtesy of Visionello/Flickr.
If you use your website as a marketing tool, there are a lot of things you can learn from your visitors. The people who visit your website may be current customers, potential customers, brand advocates, influential people in your community or even competitors. By conducting surveys or polls, you can find ways to make your digital marketing more effective, connect with your market and grow your business.
Here are 10 excellent reasons you should survey or poll your site visitors frequently.
Understand who They Are
How can you effectively promote your business or products if you don’t know who your audience is? Conducting surveys will tell you who your readers are, as far as age, employment, geographical location, and other basic characteristics go.
Find out What Influences Them
When you know what influences your site visitors, you can incorporate those elements into your site so it is more effective. For example, if your visitors are interested in finding out more about new web apps, you can find ways to fill this need, influencing them to respond to your calls to action.
Be able to Create more Compelling Content
Simply producing, publishing and sharing content isn’t enough. You need to use content that is compelling, that interests your market and that generates a response. Through simple polls you can find out what kinds of content your readers appreciate so you can create more of it.
Learn what Motivates them to Buy
If you ask the right questions in your surveys, you could actually find out what motivates your readers to make a purchase. Of course, this type of information is extremely valuable to your business and can help you be more successful.
Discover What Messaging Resonates with Them
Surveys can help you test different marketing messages to find out which ones resonate with your readers. This strategy is similar to using surveys to find out what kind of content your readers respond to, but will help you find out more general information that you can carry across all your marketing tactics.
Decide How to Use Social Media
Quick polls and surveys can help you find out what social media networks your readers use and which ones they prefer so you can decide which ones you should use. More involved questions can give you an idea of why people follow you on social media and what kind of posts they like.
Are you wondering if a new kind of content, a product or an event would be interesting to your market? Ask your readers! With polls you can ask readers if they would listen to a podcast or if they are interested in attending a specific kind of event. In fact, you can test all kinds of ideas through reader polls.
Identify Your Shortcomings
As you find out more about your market, learn what kind of content your readers like and how they use social media, you will be able to identify shortcomings in your marketing. You will also find ways you can overcome these shortcomings to enhance your digital marketing strategies.
Find Ways to Market More Effectively
Information like who your readers are, what motivates them, what kind of social media networks they use and what kind of content they respond to can help you find ways to further develop your digital marketing plans, even beyond your website.
Foster a Stronger Relationship
All of the information you gather through surveys and polls on your website can help you foster a stronger relationship with your market. Building a stronger relationship with your customers and potential customers can hep you enhance your brand and make your business more successful.
Start gathering valuable information that can assist you as you develop your digital marketing campaigns by using surveys and polls on your website. Your digital marketing plans, and entire business, will benefit from this strategy.
Image courtesy of Garrett Heath/Flickr.
Twitter has launched a new feature, called timelines, which will make it easier for users to create streams of related tweets. For businesses that use Twitter to promote their brand, publicise events and connect with their public, this new feature could bring lots of new opportunities.
What is a Timeline?
In essence, a Twitter timeline is a stream of tweets that are all related to each other. A user that creates a timeline will get to decide which tweets are displayed. Right now, users will use TweetDeck to drag and drop public tweets into timelines, but Twitter is testing an API that will allow timeline creators to add tweets according to topic or specific requirements.
How do People View Timelines?
Twitter timelines are displayed on their own page on Twitter, much like a person’s profile page. When you create a timeline, you can share a link to its Twitter page, which people can see even if they aren’t a Twitter user or logged in.
Timelines are also very easy to embed, so you can add them to your website, blog or anywhere else. The embedded timelines are automatically updated as you add tweets through TweetDeck, providing a constant stream of tweets to those who visit your website.
How can I Create a Timeline?
If your businesses wants to set up a timeline, you will need to use TweetDeck. From there, add a new column and select “Custom timeline.” As you find tweets you want to add to the timeline, just drag them into the new column. You can just as easily remove them by clicking on the “X” in the bottom corner of the tweet.
To share the timeline, use the column options and click “Share.” This is where you can navigate to your timeline on Twitter.com or embed it on another site. If you choose to embed it, you can customise everything from the timeline’s height to its colour theme and link colour.
The timeline API is currently being tested, but once it is widely available you will be able to use it to set up logic rules that fill your timeline with tweets.
Why Should I use a Timeline?
The possibilities of Twitter timelines are virtually endless. If your business uses Twitter you should consider whether or not timelines could enhance your social media marketing strategy.
Just few ways you could use the timeline feature include gathering and sharing tweets related to:
- Promotional Events
- News Events
- Product Launches
- Twitter Chats
- Ways to Use Your Products
- Customer Support Topics
- Company Developments
When you use a timeline, you are collecting tweets that can help you keep your market informed. Since you are able to separate these tweets from your regular Twitter feed, using a timeline is much more powerful than simply retweeting related tweets.
Some examples of timelines include Carson’s Voice Timeline created by Carson Daly and Music Superstars created by Twitter Music. The Guardian used a timeline to highlight some questions and answers during a recent Twitter chat.
If you already use Twitter as part of your digital marketing strategies, take advantage of the new timeline feature by using it to keep your market informed about anything from an upcoming event to new product launches.