How User-Generated Content Can Tell Your Brand Story

Posted by Christina Strickland on Jun 18, 2015 7:37:00 AM

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Your brand story is so much more than a collection of facts about your business. It’s even much more than how you feel about your company and what makes it tick. It’s a unique, complex combination of the facts about your brand blended with the emotions your brand stimulates in its customers. Essentially, it’s a human-to-human representation of your business.

As a business owner, you work to create a compelling brand story that speaks to the heart and soul of your business—your customers. And what better way to create a compelling story than by having your customers tell it for you? Think about it. Brand evangelists can be a marketer’s best friend. You spend time liking their photos and positive comments about your brand or product, but you could use their content for so much more.

Share UGR Content

When your customers post photos or videos of themselves using your products or services, don’t just like their content. Share it far and wide. These are the people that are living the lifestyle your brand represents, and they are the perfect people to tell your brand story visually.

People love the opportunity to genuinely engage with a brand. What’s more flattering than having your favorite brand re-share your photo or comment to its community?  This can often lead to inspiring more people to post their own pictures, and you might be surprised at how good they are. 

Burberry did this well with its Art of Trench website, but you can do this with just about any business. It can be as simple as sharing user-generated content across your social media sites or as focused as building a website designed just for this type of sharing.

Don’t forget to share positive comments, too. If your customers are tweeting praises about your brand, a thank you and a re-tweet can go a long way.

Create UGR Contests

When done well, contests are a great way to get customers and prospects engaged and keep your brand on their minds. Create a contest with an amazing prize and make the entry user-generated content. For example, you might have them submit videos or photo collages that demonstrate how they use your products and what your products mean to them. You can share the submissions via social media and even incorporate them into your marketing campaigns.

Chobani, the Greek yogurt brand, managed to increase its revenues by more than 200 percent by running a contest that asked customers to tell their personal stories about eating the brand’s yogurt.

Build Emotional Connections With Personal Stories

Remember, it’s not only about videos and photos (though visuals are always helpful online). Your target audience can be won over by your customer’s personal stories. Personal stories help create a shared experience, stimulate customers to get involved and interact, and help create an emotional connection to your brand.

Don’t Forget the Reviews

Good feedback naturally helps sell your product. Many people who shop online read reviews before they click to buy. However, that’s not the only way reviews can help you. Take the time to read them and use them as constructive feedback. Take what you identify as most important to your customers (from their reviews) and use it in your next marketing campaign.

How important are reviews? Consider this: In a survey by Dimensional Research, almost 90 percent of those polled said online reviews influenced their purchasing choices.

Let Your Customers Do the Selling

How better to sell your product than with words, photos, or other creatives directly from your customers? Adding user-generated content to your product pages is an excellent way to give your customers and prospects a break from the norm and showcase what people who are actually buying from you think of what you have to offer.

It makes sense to let your customers tell your brand story. It’s the most genuine and authentic story that could be told. Put user-generated content to work for you.


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Topics: content & inbound marketing

5 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Guest Blogging Campaign

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on Jun 11, 2015 8:00:00 AM

5-guest-blogging-mistakes-to-avoid

So you thought guest blogging was dead? While Matt Cutts initially suggested that, he later clarified that he was talking about guest blogging for SEO link building. Guest blogging for reach and authority is alive and well, but you have to do it right. That means getting a professional to handle your guest blogging campaign. 

Whether you choose a seasoned individual blogger or a marketing agency, you need someone who will avoid tarnishing your company's reputation with spammy pitches. Believe it or not, people are still sending those out, often on behalf of people and companies who probably know better. Here are some examples of what to avoid so you can vet the people who will be pitching on your behalf.

1. Poor Greeting and Tone

Sometimes the initial approach is wrong. If you're going to pitch a guest article, then it's worth finding out whether the site owner is male or female (not hard to do with Google and social media at your fingertips). I can tell you that I'm not thrilled about being called Mr.

Added to that, if your pitch letter suggests you are doing the site owner a big favor, then unless you're really an expert in your field, the tone is wrong. An approach that recognizes that both parties get something from guest articles is more likely to get a favorable response.

2. Poor Spelling, Grammar and Writing

I've lost track of the number of guest post pitches I've received that read like an SMS message. Heads-up: if the blog owner has to decipher your pitch, it will end up in the trash.

Spelling and grammar errors are another no-no. From the blog owner's viewpoint, if your pitch is full of mistakes, your article is likely to be just as bad.

If you want to give your guest article the best chance of publication, proofread, proofread and proofread again. Your job is to deliver a post that's as close to publication-ready as possible. It's the best way to impress the person who might publish it.

3. No Thought for the First Reader

Here's something that I learned from journalism: when you're pitching an article the person who is reading the pitch is your first reader. You have to make sure that person finds it interesting or your article won't see the light of day.

People are busy, so you only have a couple of sentences to show that you:

  • can craft a great headline and introductory paragraph

  • know where you're going with the article

  • can show how it is suitable for the blog's readers

  • have the writing chops to deliver it

A no-fluff approach is the best way to get your pitch past the first hurdle.

4. Keyword Stuffing

Yes, people are still keyword stuffing, and still submitting short, badly written, virtually unreadable content.

My message to them: just stop!

It's more important than ever for guest articles to be in-depth, relevant and useful. Format your post so it reads well on everything from smartphone to desktop screens and is web readable. That means plenty of subheadings, short paragraphs and an easy way to identify key points.

5. Same Old, Same Old

I get it; sometimes the best way to figure out a winning pitch is to base it on something you already know was successful. But some non-professionals do more than use a proven success as a starting point; they virtually replicate it. That's just wrong and no-one wants to read me-too content. It's getting harder to do something different but you can do it by:

  • expanding on a single point in an article

  • responding to an issue raised by someone else (perhaps in a comment or tweet)

  • posting a controlled rant (they always do well) about something important in your niche.

If you want to improve your chances of acceptance, offer something different, like an infographic or Slideshare presentation. It will take longer to produce, but that kind of visual content is widely shared and will do wonders for your online authority.

Whether you're using guest blogging to build authority or simply for outreach, avoiding the mistakes listed here will make your campaign more successful. If you need some help with strategy or writing, contact the Crackerjack Marketing team.

 
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Topics: Internet Marketing

Exploring Mobile and Social Analytics

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on Jun 4, 2015 8:00:00 AM

mobile-social

In my last post I explained some of the insights analytics offers to help you improve your marketing campaigns. This time round, I'd like to look at two aspects of analytics in more detail: social and mobile analytics. Over the last couple of years, Google has enhanced these features significantly, so it's worth seeing what you can learn.  The reason this is important is because the more you know about how your customers are using mobile and social, the better you can target your marketing.

Mobile Analytics

If you live in North America, two out of every three people you know probably have a smartphone or tablet. We Are Social says mobile device penetration has reached 63% in this region. Worldwide, that figure drops to 50%. How is that reflected in your web analytics?

Go to Google Analytics - Audience - Mobile to see some interesting statistics. Analytics data now segments your audience so you can see who's browsing from a desktop, a tablet or a smartphone. You can see bounce rate, average session duration and conversions (if you have set goals) for each type of device. When I checked my own site about a year ago, only a small percentage of web visitors were using mobile devices; at the time of writing, the figure had risen to 20%.  

If you click on Devices, you can also see which devices people are using. Not only does that help with mobile web optimization efforts, but it can guide you if you are thinking of integrating a mobile app into your strategy. Google Analytics lets you set secondary dimensions (in other words, other metrics) so you can fine tune your analysis. That means you can see, for example, which pages people with iPads landed on or cross-reference referral path with device. You can use this information to understand your customers and segment your marketing even further.

Beyond the mobile report itself, you can add mobile traffic as a secondary dimension to many of the other pieces of data, for example to find out which browsers mobile device owners use to access your site.

Social Media Analytics

To find social media analytics, go to Google Analytics - Acquisition - Social.

From a marketing viewpoint, it's important to know that if you have goals set up, you can see how social sites contribute to conversions and revenue. This report is on the social media overview page. You can also check which social sites are sending traffic your way (there might be a few surprises), including activity from Google's Data Hub partners.

Also included here is data on landing pages resulting from social media referrals, trackbacks, plugins and conversions. It's also useful to see how people navigate your site after arriving from a social site - it can be another indication of whether your search engine optimization and social media marketing efforts are paying off.

While the mobile and social media reports in Google Analytics aren't the only reports you need, they provide a good starting point for other analyses. When running your campaigns, it's useful to augment these with the other analytics tools which are geared to measuring marketing effectiveness and not just traffic.

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Topics: marketing strategy

How to Improve the Success of Your Marketing Campaigns with Analytics

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on May 28, 2015 8:00:00 AM

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It's only a small snippet of code, but it's the difference between knowing whether your marketing is working or failing miserably. I'm talking about analytics software, which packs a powerful punch in terms of helping you to understand your website, social media profiles and customers and letting you know whether you're succeeding in getting attention for your brand and making your business better known.

There are dozens of analytics tools around, but one of the best known is Google Analytics. So what can you learn with Google Analytics, and how will this affect your marketing?


1. Use Analytics for Audience Targeting

You get more from your marketing when you understand who your audience is. Analytics can help with that. Google Analytics can tell you:

  • who's visiting your site and what country, state (and sometimes city) they come from.

  • what languages people speak.

  • key demographics such as gender and age (you will have to enable this).

This information will help you see whether you are attracting the right audience.


2. Analyze Traffic and SEO

Google Analytics has a "traffic sources" report which is another good way to track marketing effectiveness. For best results, take a snapshot of the key metrics for your site at the start of a marketing campaign, so you can see how different initiatives affect visitor numbers.

The traffic sources report lets you see:

  • how many people are coming directly to your site as their initial destination

  • whether people are sending traffic your way (which probably indicates that they see you as an authority)

  • whether SEO efforts are paying off in terms of search engine positioning

  • how any paid marketing campaigns are doing

You can even figure out what people are looking for on your site so that if you're not providing it you can improve your content.


3. Track Social Media Effectiveness

Google Analytics now tracks more social media data than ever before. That makes it a great tool for helping to check the effectiveness of social marketing campaigns. You can find out:

  • which pages are most popular on social media

  • which sites are linking to you most

  • which sites are sharing your content.

It's a good way to find out whether your customers are using social sites where you don't have a presence. And when you use other tools to dig deeper you may find new advocates for your business that you can work with in different ways.


4. Tweak Content

Google Analytics lets you see which content titles and URLs attract the most visitors, as well as popular entrance and exit pages. That lets you know whether you need to amp up your headlines. Visitor flow shows you where you are losing people after they get to your site and that may suggest new content areas. You can also check for other issues that affect the effectiveness of your site, such as slow page load times which can drive visitors away.

 

5. Set Up Goals and Campaigns

If you're marketing your business, you probably have a few goals in mind. You can set up goals and campaigns in Google Analytics, so you can see how many people are visiting your store and making a purchase, downloading a free resource or signing up for your email list.  This will give you a handle on marketing conversions and see how marketing is helping your bottom line.


These are just a few of the ways in which you can use Google Analytics to improve your marketing. Look out for more tips in a future post.

 

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Topics: Social Media Marketing

5 Ways for Brands to Boost Blog Traffic

Posted by Christina Strickland on May 21, 2015 8:01:00 AM

how-to-boost-blog-traffic

Many brands build a blog and expect the traffic to roll in simply because it’s a super awesome piece of web real estate. They’re in for a rude awakening when their launch day comes and goes with hardly a couple of stragglers by.

Then comes the million-dollar question: How can I get more traffic to my company blog? And here are the answers:

1. Go for Visual Appeal

An interesting graphic or video encourages blog readers to share. And this, of course, is what you want. The more your readers share, the more traffic you can expect. Some good ideas include infographics that provide valuable information and appeal to the eye. A well-crafted, visually appealing video may stimulate your readers to share as well. Creating those much in-demand how-to posts? Mark each step with clear, helpful photos.

Without question, visual content is king online. Not quite sure you believe us? Here are 19 reasons why.

2. Go to Your Audience

Instead of waiting for your audience to come looking for you, go ahead and go to it. Seek out online communities in which your audience gathers. Once you find a few that are very active, don’t commit the sin of drive-by posting or link dropping. Instead, become an active participant. Start and join real conversations. Show interest and provide valuable information. Leave your links as allowed by the online community. Include links to relevant information (available on your blog) when it pertains to the discussion at hand and will provide real value to the community. Many communities also allow a signature link, and you can usually provide information about your blog in your profile. Simply put, you have to be social, so kick your inner introvert to the curb for a bit. 

Got a headache trying to figure out where your audience likes to hang? Pop an aspirin and check out this post on where to find your audience online.

 

3. Incorporate Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking is more than just a really good excuse to indulge your OCD tendencies. It’s also an avenue to engaging your audience, building your network and sharing your content. How does it work? Essentially, you use social bookmarking sites to organize and share links you consider valuable. Here are some suggestions, just to get you started: Digg, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Reddit.

The major benefits of using social bookmarking for your business include the following:

  • You benefit from the social bookmarking website’s credibility. A link from a social website can significantly help your search engine ranking.
  • When your content is bookmarked and shared, you get a boost in credibility, which can draw more customers to your business. Building an image as an industry leader is a good thing.
  • Put all your good stuff in one place. All those awesome reviews and testimonials you get? Make sure interested parties can find them via your social bookmarking site profile. This way, anyone looking can easily find all the reasons you’re so great.

 

One more thing, and this is important: Always read the rules of the site before you post, and avoid behavior that marks you a spammer. Share other people’s stuff, not just your own, and be social! Finally, keep in mind that it’s even better when others bookmark your content; add social sharing buttons to your blog to make it easy for readers to do so.

4. Try Question-and-Answer Sites

Who cares what you have to say? The people asking questions, that’s who. A high-quality question-and-answer site may have a large audience interested in the types of answers you can provide. Answering their questions in an engaging and interesting manner can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. You’ll also get to insert links that draw traffic to your blog.

Here’s a handy dandy shortlist of question and answer sites to try:

 

5. Write Guest Posts

Take your reach even further by writing guest post for industry-related blogs.  How does this work? You write an interesting, compelling post relevant to your business and the particular blog. The blog owner posts it and you get to include your bio and a link back to your site, maybe even a line or two about your business.

Tip: Make your links count. Link back to a page (yes, one on your blog) that provides more information about the topic you covered, answers burning questions your reader is sure to have or gives something away for free.

Need some ideas for crafting your post? Here are some quick tips on crafting guest posts.

 

Of course, none of these tips will help if you don't have consistent content.  Be sure to grab our free blog editorial calendar below!

  blog editorial calendar template free download

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Topics: content & inbound marketing

Will Your Customers Be Wearing Your Website?

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on May 14, 2015 8:00:00 AM

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The Mobile Market Shift - Are You Ready?

Will your customers be wearing your website soon? The chances are that they will be. If you pay attention to technology news, you know that wearable computing (it's exactly what it sounds like: computing devices that you wear) is set to make the mobile market even more mobile.

The most common devices are smart watches. These started by allowing you to manage smartphone functions from a device worn on the wrist. But some of the latest ones fly solo, so you don't need a smartphone to use them. (Check out the Samsung Gear S for an example.) That's the revolutionary part, and it's why if you're not ready for mobile market changes, it's time to think seriously about what that means for your website and marketing. Google Glass may be wearable, but something that's just like the watch you wear already, but better, is likely to be more popular.

All the major tech developers are investing heavily in wearables. Google has even launched Android Wear, an operating system specifically for wearables. With application developers busily updating all their apps to work with Android Wear, it's another reason to bet on mobile.

The mobile market is already huge, but there's still room for growth. According to We Are Social, mobile penetration is already at 63% in North America and 50% worldwide. In many emerging markets, mobile devices are the primary devices used, so if your business targets those markets, a mobile marketing strategy is a must.

Here in the US, mobile devices are the devices of choice for millennials. According to eMarketer 77% of millennials watch video on tablet computers while a whopping 90% watch video on their smartphones. Social media is part of the mobile revolution too, with mobile device users twice as likely to share content from those devices as from desktops. (Source: ShareThis)

So what does all this mean for your web and marketing strategy? You already know the impact of a good user experience (UX) on marketing success. Some mobile users wait less than a second before leaving a website that's not working for them. Good mobile UX, says Google, can help turn people who visit your site and read your marketing material into customers.

That's why it's more important than ever to fine tune your marketing strategy to take account of mobile device users. You need a website that loads quickly, with messaging that's on point. You need to ensure that people don't have to spend a lot of time swiping and can act quickly on your call-to-action. A screen the size of a watch face doesn't leave much room for error.

One day, there may be even more devices providing information to help you target your marketing. At this year's soccer World Cup, several players wore boots with chips that provided stats on running distance and more. That's the tip of the iceberg. In the future, your customers will expect to have the same seamless experience on small computing devices as they do on smartphones, tablets and desktops. If you haven't thought about how to adapt your web and marketing strategy, it's time to start now.

 
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Topics: Internet Marketing

Google Algorithm Updates: Should You Be Worried?

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on May 5, 2015 8:00:00 AM

algorithm

The Mopocalypse is here. What does that mean for your marketing strategy? Let's take a look at Google's mobile-friendly update and other algorithm changes and see what you need to do next.

The Mobile-Friendly Update

Google's been trying to get us to be more mobile-friendly for a couple of years. In the past, the search giant has advised website owners to use responsive design and to have super-fast page loads, ideally under a second.

But with more people searching on mobile devices than desktop computers, now Google has implemented the mobile-friendly update. It says mobile users should now "get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices." This update affects mobile search for all languages worldwide, making mobile-friendliness an important ranking factor.

Google points out that this update is for individual pages. That suggests that if you can't make your whole site mobile-friendly right away, focusing on your most important and highest-converting pages is a great starting point. Before you can do that, you'll need to test those pages for mobile friendliness.

How to Test Your Site

Google's provided a mobile-friendly testing tool to help you do that. Type in your URL and you will soon get a result. If the page fails, then there are recommendations for how to fix the page before you re-test.

If you want to get an idea of how mobile-friendly your whole site is, then the Page Speed Insights tool, which is also linked within Google Webmaster Tools, will help you identify site-level issues. Note that the tools don't always return identical results. That's perhaps because the mobile testing tool operates on a pass/fail mechanism, while Page Speed Insights uses traffic light grading for different issues.

Other Google Algorithm Updates

This is not the only Google update to affect your SEO strategy, but it's important because higher search ranking results in more clicks and leads. If people are searching on mobile and your pages don't show up, your online lead generation could take a hit.

Other updates you should have paid attention to include:

  • Pigeon, which tried to ensure that companies provided useful local search information.

  • Penguin, to eliminate spammy search results

  • Panda, which targeted sites with poor content

Google is constantly updating these, so you can't afford to ignore them.

What This Means for Your Marketing Strategy

So what do all these Google updates tell us about your marketing strategy from now on?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly ASAP. Google has an excellent guide which includes help for optimizing WordPress site, mobile SEO and common errors to avoid.

  • As part of this, ensure that your site loads fast and that it's easy for visitors to find mobile-specific content (no 404s where there should be pages).

  • Check your analytics to identify the best pages to optimize first.

  • Create  fresh, well referenced and relevant content that links to and pulls in links from high-quality sites.

An important part of your content marketing is to include the kind of content that mobile devices users consume (video is hot) and make it easy to share that content on social media.

Create your content for users first, make sure it's mobile accessible and continue to check your web pages and you won't need to worry about Google algorithm updates.

If you want to stay in the loop about changes that affect your marketing strategy, grab the free Crackerjack Marketing newsletter.

 
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Topics: Internet Marketing

How to Hire the Right Writer for Your Content

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on Apr 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM

writer

Never underestimate the value of great content to your business. Companies that get content right get more attention and more leads, and if their marketing funnel works right, that usually translates into more sales. But in order to get those benefits, you need to have the right writer for your content.  Since the writer is creating content to represent your business, you can't afford to leave it to chance. Here are some tips on finding the right writer to deliver on your content strategy.

1. Assess Writing Experience

The first thing to know is that writing experience counts, but it doesn't have to be in your niche. Sad to say, some industry experts can't write, so hiring someone who lives and breathes your sector may turn out to be a poor decision. The good news is that all writers worth their salt can research. An experienced writer with great research skills will be able to produce a wide range of excellent content for your company - and that's what you need in this content-hungry world.

2. Investigate Research Skills

Speaking of research, ensure that your writer's research skills extend beyond Wikipedia. It's best to find a writer who knows where to find expert sources and who is comfortable interviewing your employees and customers. If your writer has a background in journalism or writing for magazines, it's a huge plus point. Writers from those background are used to getting to grips with topics quickly and distilling the essentials for readers. That works well for online writing, which is mostly what you'll need your writer to do.

3. Can the Writer Write?

Next, it's on to writing skill, because even if a writer is experienced with great research skills, that writer still has to produce content you want to read. This is where you check out your writer's online portfolio and LinkedIn profile and run a quick Google search to see what you find. You're looking for content examples that show breadth, readability and knowledge of how to optimize content the right way so you don't incur Google penalties. And if you're planning to commission bylined writing, then a writer who's active on social media will be an asset.

Drill down into the writing samples and look to make sure that your writer has a good grasp of tenses, homophones, spelling, grammar and knows how to avoid redundancy. Better yet, your writer should understand when to avoid jargon (which is most of the time) and when to use it.)

4. Get Some Extras

Beyond the actual writing skills, there are a few other qualities you should look for. The best writer will partner with you in content creation, so he or she should understand your business well enough to be able to generate content ideas and write approved content in an appropriate voice for your business. Social media skills, the ability to work with your content management system (like WordPress) and knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) are also useful.

Find a writer with all these qualities and your content strategy will take off. Better yet, hire a marketing firm to gain access to a pool of experienced writers so you always have the quality content to improve your business.

 
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Topics: content & inbound marketing

Social Media Management Checklist

Posted by Christina Strickland on Apr 23, 2015 8:00:00 AM

checklist

So you’ve signed up for a bunch of social media accounts? Now, you can sit back and bask in your accomplishments, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. Signing up for social media accounts is only a small part of the battle. You need more than just a presence on well-known social media networks. You have to engage on them, and, well, be social. This means putting daily effort into developing your network and increasing your online visibility. How? By attending to housekeeping, monitoring, posting, and reaching out each day.

Here are must-do tasks to include on your social media checklist:

Housekeeping

  • Log in and check your messages daily. It sounds like a no-brainer but it’s way too easy to let slide when you’re busy with other things. Don’t let out-of-sight, out-of-mind thinking derail you from this.
  • Respond thoughtfully. If your audience members reach out to you, the last thing you want to do is lose their interest by making them wait too long for your response. Don’t just hit the “like” button and think you’re done. Personal responses, thoughtful questions, and helpful advice will help you stand out from all the rest.
  • Commit to posting on each of your social media accounts at least once per day (more is better)–and make each post relevant and sharable. Keep in mind, however, that your posts don’t always have to be long and involved. They can be as simple as a link, quote, or photo, or as meaty as an informative video you created or an in-depth article (or link to one). Mix things up! Nobody likes boring.

Monitoring

  • Monitor your daily results. Check reviews and mentions of your business. This will help you stay on top of what people are saying about your business, so you can help keep the buzz going.
  • Note which posts saw lots of engagement and which tweets fell, well, flat. This allows you to make better choices by learning what works and what doesn’t.
  • Pay close attention to bad reviews and complaints. Of course you want to see positive mentions, but when bad reviews and complaints show up, your ongoing monitoring will pay off. You’ll be able to respond quickly to negativity and fix things or at least minimize the damage to your reputation.
  • Watch the competition. Sure, you’re different and your business is the best out there, but there’s still plenty you can learn from your competition, both what to do and what to never, ever do.
  • Find out who your friends are. Track increases and decreases in follower numbers and friends. Use the information you get to inform your marketing and social media efforts. Simply put, if it gets you a boost in numbers, keep doing it.

Reaching Out

  • Socialize! Well, duh. Why are we telling you this? The unfortunate truth is that business people have a crazy way of forgetting that social media is supposed to be social. Work on beginning, developing, and nurturing relationships every single day.
  • Set a goal. Connect with at least a few of your followers each day and initiate contact with the same number of new people. The attention you pay to others will boost their interest in your business, encourage sharing of your content, help you expand your network, build your reputation, and when all goes as planned, boost sales. Share content, like pages and posts, provide recommendations and endorsements, and even send good tidings on birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Shut up about yourself. No one likes people who talk too much about themselves. Ask questions. Ask lots of questions, and then show genuine interest in the answers.

Take the time to accomplish the above each day. And remember, if you lack time to get it all done, you can delegate the responsibility to an employee or a social media firm.

What’s on your social media checklist? Share with us!

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Topics: Social Media Marketing

The Power of the Ask - How to Encourage Social Sharing

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on Apr 16, 2015 8:00:00 AM

social-sharing

Did you know that among the five most popular words on Twitter are the words please and retweet? That tells you something very important. If you want to encourage people to share your work on social media, sometimes all you have to do is ask. It's a call to action, social media style. Most people can't resist a heartfelt appeal mixed with a little politeness. That's why one of the things it's most important to master in your content marketing is the call to action.

1. Include Social Sharing Buttons ...

Social media is full of them. On Twitter they are pretty short (like "pls RT") because you only have 140 characters to play with. The Facebook "like" and "share" buttons have built in calls to action which it's hard to resist. In my opinion, that's much clearer than the Google "+1" button, because many people still don't know what that is. The point is, if you're trying to improve your social sharing rate, calls to action are a must. A typical blog post could include:

  • social sharing buttons at the top or bottom of the post
  • a floating sharing toolbar to the left
  • a written call to action within the text

2. … But Not Too Many

If you use a social sharing plugin, it's tempting to include as many buttons as possible. That's a mistake. Neil Patel found that when he added LinkedIn and Pinterest to his default of Twitter, Facebook and Google+, the number of shares fell by 29%. In other words, you're likely to get more shares if you give readers less choice. That's why it's important to focus mainly on the networks that are most important for building your business.

3. Include CTAs in Videos

Since online video is so huge, get people to share by including calls to action within the video. Some people never watch to the end so having a call to action about a minute in, plus another one at the end is a good strategy. If you use the right tools, you won't just get social shares from your video, but email signups too. And by the way, the multiple CTA technique works in written content, too! :)

4. Be Specific

The more specific your call to action is, the more likely it is that readers will do what you want. So if you just want shares, ask for shares; if you want comments and shares, ask for that. And if you want them to share their favorite part of the post (made easier with the SumoMe suite of tools), than ask for that. Here are some tips on improving social media calls to action from Social Media Examiner.

5. Keep Asking

Even if you've asked for the share before, you can ask again, says Canva:

Don’t make the mistake of putting your call to action out there and then moving on. Share that same call to action across each of your social networks multiple times and in many different ways.

What works best for you with social media calls to action?

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Topics: Social Media Marketing