How to Decide Which Social Network is Right for Your Business

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

social-network

There are already more social networks than we know what to do with. In addition to those trying to fix social networking, like Ello, there are networks for almost every niche. So how do you pick the ones your business should spend time on.

Let's be clear: it's almost impossible to do several social networks well on your own. If you're a small business without an individual or team dedicated to social media, you'll find it hard to handle all the social media marketing tasks for every network. Unless you're planning to hire a marketing agency you have to pick a place to start, whether that's Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn or another network.

Here are some of the questions to ask to help you make the decision.

1. What does the research tell you?

A good starting point is the demographics of each social media site. If you have a breakdown of the age, gender, education, income and interests for the different sites, you can pick the site or sites where the profile best matches your own customer personas. (Google Analytics includes demographic data in its reporting, so it's easy to check for similarities.) You can probably guess that if you're marketing to business, LinkedIn is a good place to start, and if you are trying to attract teens, then Snapchat is a better bet for your marketing focus. Check out research reports like this one from Pew Internet and this recent roundup from Sprout Social to help you decide.

2. Where are your customers?

After doing the research, see if it matches where your customers are. You're probably already collecting data to help with this. Use analytics software to see where people were before they came to your site or blog, and to check out their path through your site.

Pay particular attention to the social media reports which show which social sites bring the most visitors to you and which social sites most of your visitors use to share your content. Sometimes the data might surprise you. For example, I discovered that people were sharing my content on Stumbleupon even though I didn't have a button for it.

Add to your knowledge store by using a social media analytics tool to get detailed information on where your customers are. A dashboard aggregator like SumAll or Cyfe will help you to view this data across multiple platforms.

Between them, these should help you narrow down some social media starting points, but there's another aspect to consider.

3. Where are your competitors?

You already know who your key competitors are, but do you know what they're doing on social media? If you're targeting the same customer base, then it's helpful to know which social media sites they favor, who they are talking to (and who's talking to them), what kind of engagement they are getting and how you can improve on that with your own social media strategy. Check out Swellpath's guide to social media competitive analysis to help with this.

4. What kind of content do you have available?

If you already have content, then you could use that to determine where you're going to make a social media splash. If you're already creating appealing graphics, then Instagram could be good for you. And if you're selling products to a mostly female demographic, putting product images on Pinterest is a good strategy. The research you did in steps 1 and 2 will help you match demographics, online presence and content for the best outcome.  

Taking a Shortcut

Of course, if you want to take a shortcut and start with a single social media site, then that shortcut has to be Facebook. The Pew Internet research linked earlier shows that 71% of adults are active Facebook users. Sure, it might be difficult to advertise there, but if you want to be social and don't mind a crowd, it's a place where you can share videos, images, short updates, long updates, news - almost anything. No matter what you do in creating your social media strategy, you won't escape the lure of the huge Facebook audience, so consider making that your starting point while you do your research and choose your next social media target.

Which social media site did you create a business presence on first?

Corporate Social Media Training

 
Read More

Topics: social media

Finding Your Brand Voice

Posted by Stephanie Schwab on Jul 27, 2015 10:29:00 AM

This is an oldie but goodie and it's still as useful today as it was when I wrote it for Social Media Explorer. This construct is being referenced by social media smarties everywhere, including Buffer and Kevan Lee writing for Fast Company.

Are you using this in your company? Please tweet me @stephanies if you are!

Finding_Your_Brand_Voice

Oscar winner Colin Firth could be the perfect person to ask about finding his voice – his virtuoso portrayal of a stuttering King George in The King’s Speech so cogently highlighted the frustrations of not having a clear way to communicate with a community. Some brands are equally tongue-tied, unclear about what the brand should sound like, leaving them either silent in social media or sounding haphazard and unrehearsed.

Get over your brand speech impediments by considering the following concepts, all of which play an important role in a well-rounded social media brand voice.

Character/Persona

This is the starting point for the development or furthering of your brand voice: Who does your brand sound like? In order to determine this, you may need to first determine who your customers are, so you can assume a persona for the brand that will resonate with your primary target audience. If you have multiple audiences you may need to have a more flexible brand voice, or you may determine that you need multiple social media channels to reach different audiences. Ideally you will be able to determine character attributes (see diagram) which meet the needs of the majority of your customers or users. If you’re a non-profit which raises awareness of childhood diseases, your character might be a gentle parental type. If you’re a software tools company, you might want to be a bit geeky, just right for the Star Trek crowd. 

social-media_brand_voice

 

Tone

Tone is the underlying vibe that emanates from your brand’s communications. This is where you establish your credibility; place your brand in the past, present or future; and subtly alert fans and followers whether your brand is going to be wide-open or a bit more buttoned up. Be a showoff if your character is something like a street-savvy hip hop artist, but know that humble usually goes farther in generating customer loyalty. Clinical or scientific could be good for a very specific B2B entity or professional services organization.

Language

Although your brand may be the expert in its field, coming off sounding like you’re smarter than your customers could turn people off pretty quickly. Establishing appropriate brand language will give you a foundation for the types of words, phrases and jargon to be used in social media communications. Want to sound very exclusive? Use insider language and acronyms. Want to sound hip? Stay up-to-date on the latest slang. But be careful – if you make a misstep in slang it’ll look like you’re trying too hard.

Purpose

In the end, why are you here? Your brand voice in social media can help customers understand what you want to do with and for them. Are you working to educate your user base? Do you want to delight them, and get them to visit your store or website just because they’re amused by what you’re writing? And even if you do want to sell stuff, what can you give people to help them become engaged by your brand?

Once you’ve brainstormed around these four brand voice attributes, develop a roadmap for your brand’s voice which you can share with everyone who is involved in writing for, or speaking on behalf of, your brand in social media. This roadmap can be a simple as a one-sheeter with your brand voice attributes in writing, or you can craft some examples which front-line engagers can emulate. Add buzzwords – the words which describe your brand and which you want to have used when appropriate; for example, if you’re Disney, your buzzwords are something like: kingdom, magic, magical, family, experience, fun. Then add some “dos and don’ts” guidelines for your engagers so they can get a feel for the types of language and content you expect them to create. 

social-media_brand_voice_example

Your brand voice in social media will evolve over time. It would be great to think about undertaking a brand voice development exercise before you open a new Twitter account – but if you’ve already been engaging in social media and feel like your voice needs refinement, take the time to work on it now. Make subtle changes and your fans and followers probably won’t even notice that there was a change – but if you can more closely match your voice to their needs, you may attract even more customers and develop greater engagement and loyalty than you ever have before.

Read More

Topics: social media, marketing strategy, content & inbound marketing, Social Media Marketing

Negative Comments About Your Brand? Make Them Work for You

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

negative-feedback

It’s never pleasant to receive negative comments and reviews. You work hard to deliver your very best products and services, and bad feedback stings. However, every business receives negative feedback from time to time. It’s how you handle it that sets you apart and keeps your customers coming back to you despite one less-than-stellar experience. And it’s how you respond that influences new customers to give you a chance, despite any negative reviews. The most important thing to remember is that social media is a public forum. Your audience (current and potential customers) will be paying attention to how you handle criticism and complaints.

So how should you respond? Here’s a list of 6 best practices for dealing with negative reviews:

1. Check Your Ego at the Door

Criticism hurts no matter how tough you are or how long you’ve been in business, but suck it up, butter cup. It’s not about you, and usually, it’s not personal. The feedback you receive is all about your customer’s experience. You can’t change what’s already happened. The good news is, you can influence what happens next.

2. Respond Promptly

There’s little worse than letting negative feedback sit and fester because you don’t want to deal with it at the moment. Treat online feedback the way you would in-person complaints. If someone were to complain to a staff member onsite, how would you expect your employee to respond? Promptly, right? Respond to negative feedback you receive online with the same attention and speed you would give a customer standing right in front of you. Also, keep in mind that others will view your lack of response as an attempt to ignore the issue. If you already have an angry customer, expect the lack of response to make matters much, much worse.

3. Acknowledge the Complaint

It’s important to genuinely acknowledge the complaint. Don’t be defensive or use sarcasm. How do you want others to perceive your brand? You want to appear not only competent, but also interested in your customers. You want to demonstrate with every response that you care about customer experience. Don’t brush the problem off, make excuses, or attempt to minimize the customer’s complaint. Tell the customer you appreciate and value his feedback. Remember, it’s not necessarily what the complaint is about—it’s how you handle it that can make the biggest difference.

4. Follow Up

If the negative feedback was the result of a genuine problem with your products or services, take steps to fix the issue promptly. Then, invite your customer to try your product or service again, giving her incentive to do so. For example, you might offer a free meal or provide a discount on a future purchase.

5. Respond Publicly and Privately

In addition to responding to your customer’s comments publically, contact him privately to address his concerns. Let him know you are genuinely sorry and want to make the issue right. Handling the issue in private demonstrates that you are truly committed to customer satisfaction and provides a personal touch customers appreciate.

6. Ask Your Customer to Remove the Negative Feedback

Once you are sure you have resolved the issues to your customer’s 100-percent satisfaction, ask her to remove the negative feedback or update it with her positive reaction to your attempts to fix the problem. Your customer may not fully understand how important positive feedback is to your business, but if asked, she may be willing to report how prompt and caring you were in resolving the issue.

Getting negative feedback isn’t the end of the world, especially if you handle it well. Use the above best practices to handle social media complaints the right way.

Request a marketing assessment today
Read More

Topics: social media

Social Media: The KonMari Way

Posted by Christina Strickland on Jul 16, 2015 8:00:00 AM

konmari-method

The KonMari Method is taking closets everywhere by storm. If you haven't heard of it yet, it's a system of decluttering that focuses on keeping only the items that spark joy in your life. And though the book that reveals the system, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, is all about organizing your belongings at home, you can use it for social media too. Here's how to organize your social media the KonMari way:

Purge

One of the basics of the KonMari Method is the purge. You are to ruthlessly discard what is unnecessary before you start organizing anything. Take no prisoners. All those sites you bookmarked (because maybe someday you would need them) but have never actually cared to visit? Delete them. The groups you joined because you thought they might be helpful (but they weren’t)? Remove yourself. Those lists of links you thought you might share with your audience (but they kind of sucked)? Delete them. Apps that seemed useful but just clutter up your devices? Uninstall them. Getting notifications from a million pages you don't actually want to follow anymore? Unfollow them. And last but not least, drop the social media platforms you joined just because everyone else did. If your audience isn’t there and it won’t yield the kind of exposure you need, it’s just taking up space. Drop it like a bad habit.

Make Sure It Sparks Joy

Once you’ve discarded a bunch of the social media clutter that’s been inhabiting your online space, take some more time to evaluate what you have left. With the KonMari Method, you’re supposed to discard anything that doesn’t bring you joy. In this case, not only should your content bring you joy, it should bring joy to the people that follow you. Everything you keep should do one of the following:

  • Help you better reach your audience
  • Help you demonstrate skill and knowledge relevant to your industry
  • Make it easier for you to provide your audience with valuable content
  • Help or inspire your audience
  • Enable you to be better at your job
  • Connect you with people likely to help you reach your goals

Organize

With the KonMari Method, you don’t organize one entire room and then move on to the next. Instead, you organize by category, something you can do with social media as well. Here are some smart ways to organize your social media:

  • Create an editorial calendar, organized by type of content, topic, and date. Include categories for images and links, so you always know at a glance what you’re posting, and when. You don't need several different calendars (one for each social media platform) either. Use one calendar to cover them all.
  • Use your editorial calendar as a guide to schedule posts ahead of time, in bulk. This can be a huge time-saver and make publishing social media content less of a hassle.
  • Create a file to store all of your links and notes for content resources. When you need to post timely, relevant content for your audience to enjoy, you shouldn’t have to waste time searching for it.
  • Use an RSS reader to stay on top of the latest news and content from multiple blogs.
  • Create a folder to house images for an entire campaign. Let’s say you’re implementing a campaign across several different platforms. Creating the campaign images ahead of time and keeping them organized in a single folder can work wonders for your efficiency.
  • Create a uniform identity across all of your social media networks. This means branding with the same or similar handle/username and using the same logo and colors on all your accounts to ensure that you are easily recognizable (and memorable). Likewise, it’s important to have the same professional profile image across all of your platforms. This give you a single, credible identity.
  • Use a social media aggregator, such as HootSuite or TweetDeck to see content from your social media feeds in a single place rather than going from site to site to see the latest activity.
  • Create a social media folder for your email. Keep your social media notifications, promotion information, comments, content others send to you to share, etc. in this folder to ensure that the information is right at your fingertips when you need it.

Appreciate Your Social Media Tools and Resources

How you care for your belongings is also important with the KonMari Method. In keeping with this system, take the time to back up your files and maintain your blogs, websites, and social media accounts with up-to-date information.

We can all use a little KonMari in our social media. It's a system that makes simplicity and joy paramount. Use it to get your social media organized and keep it that way.

Corporate Social Media Training

Read More

Topics: Social Media Marketing

7 Common Content Marketing Mistakes

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on Jul 9, 2015 8:00:00 AM

mistakes

Promoting your business with content is an excellent strategy for raising awareness of your brand and getting your customers' attention. But some businesses don't get the benefits they should, because of easily avoidable errors. Here are some common content marketing mistakes you should avoid.

#1 No Strategy

Believe it or not, some companies approach content marketing piecemeal and don't have a strategic game plan. Newsflash! No matter how much content marketing you are doing and how many pieces of the puzzle you have in place, you won't get the benefit unless you know:

  • What you want to achieve with content marketing

  • How content marketing fits into your overall business strategy

That's why the starting point for content marketing is working out how content can serve your key business goals. Only then can you start to work out who your audience is and what types of content will suit them best.

#2 No USP

As part of your strategy, think about what you bring to the table that's completely new - your unique selling point or sales proposition (USP). Identify yours and you have a focus for your content marketing strategy. Think about the problem you set up your business to solve and how your approach is different from that of your competitors.  

#3 A Blog is Enough

Similarly, some businesses buy into the "blog it and they will come" myth. In other words, if you have a company blog, that means you have a complete content marketing strategy. It's true that companies that blog get better web traffic, leads and ROI, but they still need to be strategic to be successful.

How can you use your blog strategically? Here are a few ideas:

  • Think of the questions your customers usually ask and answer them on the blog.

  • Repurpose your blog content for different media, creating everything from podcasts to presentations.

  • Share and discuss your blog content anywhere your customers are likely to hang out (forums, social media sites and more).

Do this, and your blog will fulfill its potential and start to work to market your business.

#4 You're Only Broadcasting

We get it - it can be hard to move out of the old marketing mindset, where you created information and sent it out, without getting much back. But those days are gone and your audience expects to interact with you. Broadcasting is out; communication is in.

Instead of making it all about you, include discussion starters for social media sites in your content marketing plan. Take part in Twitter chats. Create some images for Pinterest and Instagram and get to know the value of hashtags. Do some social listening to figure out what your customers really want instead of what you think they want. Put it all together by being responsive - it will transform your business (in a good way!)

#5 No Personality

You business may not interest everyone, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. Stuffy corporate voices are offputting and unrelatable, but find the spark you can focus on and you can make your content marketing truly special. Don't believe me? General Electric has got creative in showcasing its business, and shipping company Maersk has made a big splash (not literally) on social media. Somehow, those companies have found the fun which helps them connect with customers. You can too.

#6 You're Not Mobile

When was the last time you checked your content to see how it looked on mobile devices? There are more people using mobile devices than desktop computers, so you can't ignore this sector. And with Google's April 2015 mobile algorithm update, mobile friendliness has become an SEO ranking signal for mobile devices users. In other words, if your content isn't mobile-friendly, people may not even be able to find it. Find out how to integrate mobile into your marketing mix here.

#7 It's an Afterthought

Finally, one of the biggest content marketing mistakes there is, is to make it an afterthought. You'd be surprised how many people create a strategy but don't take the time or allocate the resources to execute it so they get real ROI. The right content allows your customers to see you as an expert with a human personality rather than a faceless company. That's even more important as millennials become a more influential consumer segment.

Don't make these mistakes. If you need help with your creating and delivering a content marketing strategy, get in touch with the Crackerjack Marketing team.


Need content - contact us

 
Read More

Topics: content & inbound marketing

How User-Generated Content Can Tell Your Brand Story

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

 content-people-02

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.


Get new customers the smart way - contact us to learn how

Read More

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.

 
Need content - contact us
Read More

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.

Corporate Social Media Training
Read More

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

analytics_MyqvFSPu

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.

 

Request a marketing assessment today

Read More

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

Read More

Topics: content & inbound marketing