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What makes People want to Watch a YouTube Video?

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

Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

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

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

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

An Eye-Catching Title

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

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

The Length and Content Keep their Attention

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

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

Decision-Making Information

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

Entertainment Value

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

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

A Social Reaction

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

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

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

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Sure Signs Your Social Media needs a Boost

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

Image courtesy of Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr.

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

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

Your Growth is Flat Lining

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

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

Interaction has Decreased

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

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

Your Accounts don’t Reflect your Current Brand

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

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

You are Behind on Social Media Trends

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

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

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

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Simple ways to make your Posts stand out on Social Media

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

Image courtesy of Flazingo Photos/Flickr.

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

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

Remember that Less can be More

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

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

Use Bold and Interesting Images

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

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

Offer Quick, Valuable Posts

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

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

Incorporate Two-Way Communication

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

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

Don’t Over Post

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

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

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

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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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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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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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What to do After your Content Goes Viral

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

We hear a lot of tips for making content go viral and lots of businesses put time and effort into making sure their content gets in front of as big of an audience as possible. But, once your video, article or podcast goes viral, what next? What you do after your content goes viral is extremely important.

Whether your content went viral in the truest sense of the word, or just gained quite a lot of popularity in your niche market, taking a few steps after it has spread can help you leverage the opportunity.

Don’t Disappear

After a big hit like a viral video, it’s important that you don’t disappear. Continue your social media push and your Internet marketing strategies. A viral piece will help you get some attention and could lead to a short-term surge in site traffic or sales. But, if you want to maintain your market’s attention and keep getting results, you need to stay visible.

Continue to use the same messaging from your viral piece on social media, your blog and your website. Don’t let your market forget who you are and that your business was the one behind the viral content.

Ride the Wave

Riding the wave means leveraging the extra sales and site traffic for even bigger results. Doing things like offering special promotions, giving away free resources, promoting your email list and making sure your site is optimised to generate sales leads will help you take advantage of the extra attention your viral content produced.

Understand Why it Went Viral

Analyse your content and the results of it to understand why it went viral. Look at the key messages it included, the medium you used, where you published it and how people reacted to it.

There are lots of ways to find out why something went viral, but the best way is to make notes about the messaging and style you used and watch how people interact with it and share it across social media.

When you fully understand what it was that your market loved about the content, you can learn more about your audience and how you can enhance your marketing plan to hold its attention.

Make a Follow-Up Plan

After some time has passed and you have maintained your online presence, leveraged the opportunity and analysed why the content went viral, it’s time to make a follow-up plan. This plan should include ways you can use the same messaging and even some of the same tactics you used to see success with the viral piece.

For example, if a video did well consider producing another with similar messaging, using the same messaging across other pieces of content or boosting your social media involvement in some areas.

The idea is to assess your success and then find ways to use what you learned to enhance your Internet marketing plan.

Getting content to go viral or to be shared throughout your market is a big step and one that can bring a lot of benefits. But, when you do a few things after the content goes viral you can take full advantage of the opportunity and see even bigger benefits.

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3 Tips for Deciding How Many Social Networks to Use

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Many businesses struggle when it come to deciding how many social networks they should use. Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all want businesses to use them as marketing tools, and that’s just the beginning. There are so many social networks already out there with more being added all the time, that it can be hard to decide how many to use to promote your business.

It can be tempting to jump into that new network, but before you do, use these tips to decide how many sites you should be using to reach your market effectively.

Decide how Many Networks you Can Use Well

You might be able to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at once, but can you use all three of these well? Using a social media network to its fullest potential is extremely important if you want to see benefits.

If you aren’t able to use most of a network’s features, facilitate a dialogue, respond to comments, post regularly or really stand out on a social media site, you shouldn’t be using it. Of course, spreading yourself too thin can be frustrating, but it can also be damaging to your brand.

Having empty social media pages or accounts that you rarely update can make your brand look unorganised and your business unprofessional and less trustworthy. Only use as many networks as you can handle and that you can really make an impact with.

Find Your Market and Audience

Using a social media channel your market doesn’t use and where you don’t have an audience is wasting your time. To get the most out of social media marketing and to see big results, you need to find where your market is.

You can use general demographics, like the fact that most Pinterest users are women, to determine what sites your audience likely uses or you can do some research with surveys and polls to find out what sites your target market is on.

This simple step will help you determine where your time is best spent and which networks will bring the biggest returns.

Translate your Brand into a Network

Some networks lend themselves very well to specific kinds of businesses. For example, Instagram is great for brands that can use visual content to promote their business while Twitter is great for a business that can engage with people regularly and may want to post several updates a day.

Think about your business and the kind of content you want to use and then decide which social media networks are best suited to your brand. Make sure you use networks that can help you highlight your business and really make you shine online.

Choosing how many social networks to use is a common challenge. But, when you determine how many networks you can use well, where your market is and which sites will help you show off your business, narrowing down your choices becomes much easier and your social media marketing will be more successful.

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Study Shows Social is Key to Content Discovery and Distribution

Thursday, June 5th, 2014
Image courtesy of tiverylucky/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of tiverylucky/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Some new research shows that millennials, or people between the ages of 18 and 33, depend on social media to find and share content. The statistics are interesting and highlight the importance of social media marketing.

A few takeaways from the research from SDL include:

  • Millennials check their smartphones 43 times a day.
  • Five out of six millennials connect with businesses on social media.
  • Social networks make up the bulk of content discovery, surpassing online newsfeeds, customisable newsfeeds, email and search engines.
  • Millennials share an average of six pieces of content through social media, and five through email, a day.

We already know that smartphones and tablets have taken over and that people are constantly connected to the Internet for email, social media and even Internet browsing. But, this research shows that businesses need to embrace social media as a way to promote their content and encourage people to share it to reach a wider audience.

How to Take Action

If your target market includes people between the ages of 18 and 33, social media marketing needs to be a major part of your Internet marketing strategy. Without it, you will be missing out on a channel that will make it easier to get your messaging, content and links in front of your current and potential customers.

Build Strong Social Media Followings

Develop your social media accounts so they are branded, have personality, attract your audience and help you build a strong following. Your social media accounts are an invaluable tool when it comes to connecting with your market and delivering your content.

Create a Strategic Content Sharing Plan

Your content won’t help you reach your goals if no one sees it. Create a strategic content sharing plan that includes social media. Decide which sites are most conducive to your content and market and form a plan for how you will share your content.

For example, you may decide you’ll share images of products and people using them through Instagram and links to your blog posts through Facebook.

Use Shareable Content

To leverage social media and get people to click on your content, you need to create content that captures peoples’ attention and encourages them to take action. The research shows that people do share content through social media, but if you want your audience to do this, you need to create shareable content.

The content you post on social media should provide so much value that people can’t help but share it with their friends. The value you provide will depend on your business, audience and goals. For example, you may focus on providing entertainment, information, tips or ideas. Whatever your market needs, provide it and encourage people to share your content.

Social media can be a powerful part of your Internet marketing strategy. Use it to deliver your content and encourage people to share it with their friends so you can reach a wider audience and promote your business.

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Breathe new life into Your Social Media Accounts this Summer

Thursday, May 15th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Are your social media accounts feeling a little boring lately? If you aren’t getting very many comments or your audience isn’t growing at a good rate, it might be time to change some things. This summer is the perfect time to breathe new life into your accounts to boost your social media marketing and see more benefits for your entire business.

Sometimes all it takes is a few small updates or a change of pace to shake things up and make your audience take notice of your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account. No matter what kind of social media you use, these tips can help you make your accounts more interesting.

Run a Contest

It may seem cliché, but running a contest is actually a great way to bring some attention to your account. Your audience will take notice and you’ll even reach people who aren’t already following you, so you will build a larger social media community. Make sure your contest is enticing to your market so you’ll see big results.

Launch a Theme for the Summer

Keep your followers coming back and interested in your account by launching a theme for the summer. You can do this by posting a photo that fits a certain topic each week, asking for submissions from your followers or by using a specific hashtag for updates that fit in with one big idea.

For example, you could post updates about ideas for outdoor recreation all summer long with the hashtag #summersun. This kind of campaign will give your account momentum and encourage your followers to get involved. People will begin to associate your business with the theme, making you more visible and recognisable on social media.

Get out of your Rut

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to posting on social media. If you’ve been posting the same things and types of content over and over, try something new. Add some personality to your posts, share different kinds of content and look for topics that your market is talking about. When you post the same kinds of things over and over, your account can start to blend into the background, but when you post something new, your market will take notice.

Get involved with Others

When you tag other accounts, join groups and interact with others, you are making your business more visible on social media. You widen the reach of your posts and others might even be willing to help you promote your posts and content.

Choose carefully who you interact with so that you can target your market. For example, if you are a technology company you could interact with and share content from a company that sales cell phone accessories. As you team up with other people, you want to choose accounts that will help you target your own market and that aren’t competitors.

Use new Sites or Mediums

Consider using a new social media site that will help you reach your market or using a new medium to make your content stand out. For example, if you usually post photos, try creating and sharing videos. Take your blog posts to a new level by producing some podcasts. Changing the type of content you share can bring your account back into focus for your audience and capture peoples’ attention.

Breathing new life into your social media accounts is a matter of doing something different this summer. Think outside the box and find new ways to use social media, new types of content to share and ways to reach out and connect with others.

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