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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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How to Host a Public Google Hangout

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Hosting a public Google Hangout is a great way to hold a panel discussion, make an announcement or host a question and answer session for your market. The beauty of this tactic is that anyone, no matter where they are in the world, can interact with your brand and get an inside look at your business in real time.

Hangouts can make your brand more personable and give you another way to engage with your customers and potential customers. You can use them on a regular basis as a way to build and interact with your audience or on special occasions to create hype about a new product or service or as a free resource. Here’s how to get started.

1 – Set up an Event

Log in to your Google+ account and click on “Hangouts” and then underneath “Start a Video Hangout” click “View All.” Now you can choose “Hangouts on Air” and then “Start a Hangout on Air.” An “on air” Hangout is a live video feed that you can broadcast to specific people, circles or the public.

googlehangout

You can choose to start the Hangout immediately or schedule it as an event so you have time to publicise it. Add a catchy name, interesting description and invite people to watch it.

2 – Promote the Hangout

Share your Hangout event on Google+ and promote it on your account, through other social media channels, on your blog and anywhere else you can. Tell people what’s in it for them and inspire excitement so you’ll have good attendance.

If your Hangout will have panelists, you can mention their names and tag them as a way to generate interest and even ask your panelists to share the event with their social media and blog followers.

3 – Broadcast the Hangout on other Sites

Once the Hangout is set up, it will automatically be shared on your Google+ timeline and show up in your followers’ timelines, so people can watch from Google+.

People can also watch your Hangout on YouTube and even on your website or blog. Inside your hangout, you’ll have access to the YouTube link so you can share it with your followers and other YouTube users. You can also copy an HTML code for your Hangout so you can embed it on your website or blog so people can watch it there too.

4 – Start the Session

When it’s time to start the session, login to your Google+ account and find your Hangout on the menu on the left-hand side of the page. Invite your panelists to join and make sure things like video and audio are working correctly. When everyone is online and ready to start, click “Start Hangout on Air.” You are now live streaming!

Now your audience can watch the Hangout and you can even use the chat function to provide notes, summaries, tips, contact information and links to viewers.

Using Google Hangouts is a creative and interesting way to reach your market. Think outside the box and use this tool for events, products, best practices, how-to information or anything else that interests your market and helps you promote your business.

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The Surprising Social Networks that Generate the most Engaged Referrals

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

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

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

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

There are some other interesting findings from the report:

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

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

Using this Information

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

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

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

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

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

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How to get People to Share Your Social Media Posts

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

Image courtesy of Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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

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

Post Shareable Content

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

Resonate with Your Audience

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

Spark Conversation

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

Let People Share Your Cause

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

Ask for a Share

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

Give an Incentive

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

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

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

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Common YouTube Mistakes Your Business Should Avoid

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

Image courtesy of Dan Cederholm/Flickr.

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

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

Skipping Video Descriptions

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

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

Not Setting up a Channel

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

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

Forgetting to Link to Your Website

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

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

Not Using YouTube Insights

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

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

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

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