Social Search: What the Heck Is It?

Posted by Christina Strickland on Feb 26, 2015 8:00:00 AM

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With so many social terms whizzing by, it’s easy to forget if you’re coming or going. Maybe you finally have terms like engagement, consumer advocate, and ROI figured out. Well, now we want to toss another one your way—social search. Don’t worry, though. We have no plans to leave you twisting in the wind. We’re going to lay it all out for you, in terms you can understand, without so much as wrinkling your brow. 

So Seriously, What the Heck Is It?

The long and short of it: Social search is a different way of finding the content you want.

So what does that mean: Unlike the traditional searches that most people are used to, it considers the searcher’s social graph when returning results.

In plain English, please: Social search makes it easy to find content posted by people and businesses within your social circle. With this type of search, a person gets all that juicy content from people in his social network. It omits the stuff every Tom, Dick, Harry, and, well, Bonnie posts.

While traditional search will likely remain the primary tool for finding content, more people are using social media every day. Over time, social search is likely to grow in importance.

 

How to Benefit from Social Search

Okay, but how is social search going to help you, beyond being really sorta cool? Essentially, the people in your network want to hear from you. They don’t dither over whether to bother with your content. They’re pretty much a warm sell. So social search means they can go looking for all of that amazing content you post and easily find it without wading through the drek.

Here’s how you can, and definitely should make your content more social search friendly and increase visits to your website or blog.       

  • Use keywords and hashtags in your posts.  Whether you’re tweeting, posting on Facebook, or updating on LinkedIn, you can expect the search engines to index the content you post, as long as it isn’t private. You can help make your content easy to find by incorporating carefully chosen keywords and adding hashtags. Let’s look at Twitter for just a sec. Tweets that include hashtags get twice as much engagement as those that skip this. And if you skip the keywords, it’s like tossing your special fish into an entire ocean of others swimmers and expecting yours to get caught. Do you feel that lucky?
  • Only use relevant keywords in your content. The use of irrelevant keywords can hurt you with the search engines. Keyword spamming is bad, very bad.
  • Add links. Improve the chances that social searches will lead to an action you want your audience to take, such as buying something or downloading a free report, by incorporating links. If you link to one of your most attractive products or informative content you want your audience to see, you have the potential to get more than just traffic out of this type of search. Show them what they want. Then show them again, and again.
  • Use long-tail keywords. Often, people search using longer keyword phrases, so including them in your content ensures they will find you.  For example, instead of “math tutoring,” you might benefit from incorporating a long-tail keyword like “algebra tutoring services in Atlanta.” Want some really good news? Consumers often search for the longer phrases late in the buying cycle, and you know what that means, don’t you? That’s right. More sales.

Don’t take a nap, pass go, overanalyze, or do any of the other things that routinely slow your amazing ascension to the top. Start using these tips right now. No, seriously. Why are you still reading? Go already!


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Topics: Internet Marketing

6 Ways to Help Your Marketing Agency Do a Better Job

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on Feb 19, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Are you planning to hire a digital marketing agency this year? Here's what I've learned from working on thousands of projects that can help set you up for success.

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1. Talk Amongst Yourselves

One of the first things to do is to brainstorm internally about what you want from your marketing agency. You'll be looking at areas like:

● in-house capabilities
● strategic goals - this is important!
● whether you have buy-in from the right people (you don't want your strategy to fail later because you didn't get all the necessary approvals)

Think about who will take responsibility for managing your relationship with the agency. It helps to have a main point of contact and someone with the final say, in case of issues later.

If your business is multi-faceted, divvy up the areas of responsibility before you talk to the agency. That will avoid wasting time when the agency sends you content for approval.

The bottom line: sort out internal issues and minor turf wars in advance so you present a united and coherent front right from the start. That's less confusing for everyone and will result in a smoother working relationship

2. Prepare a Brief

Share your thoughts on strategy with the agency, making it clear which points are hard-wired and which are available for their input. This will help the agency to come up with a digital marketing strategy tailored to your business. Expect some back and forth before you nail down the strategy.

3. Foster Collaboration

Marketing is a collaborative effort. You know your business and some of the ideas you want to communicate; the agency knows marketing and can help flesh out your thoughts. Help the agency by providing background information and context so they can do a better job when creating content for you.

Don't make the agency beg for new info; keep them in the loop! Let internal content producers know it's ok to share information which the agency can drip feed to your social media profiles and blog. Work together and you can create a great online profile for your business and enhance its authority.

4. Communicate Often

Especially at the start, spend some time working with the agency so you can identify any issues. Respond to emails promptly because in this time-pressured social environment, delays can make content less relevant and downright boring. It's worth setting up regular phone or video meetings or face to face chats to keep the strategy on track.

5. Trust the Agency

I get it: your company is your baby and sometimes it's hard to let go. But when the agency communicates issues, listen and act. The best digital marketers are experts at what they do, have worked with dozens or hundreds of businesses, and are always willing to put that expertise to work for you.

Think of your digital marketing agency as a trusted nanny who will look after your business as if it were their own. After all, a good recommendation from you means more business for them.

6. Be Realistic

Keep your expectations manageable. No agency in the world can guarantee a top three Google ranking in a couple of months, or thousands of followers for your social accounts overnight. What they can guarantee, especially if you use their expertise, is more attention for and awareness of your company. More attention means more leads - you'll have to take it from there to convert those leads into sales.

Put these tips into action and you can have a beautiful working relationship with your digital marketing agency, executing a strategy to put your company on the map.


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Topics: social media, Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, marketing agency

How to Annoy Your Fans on Social Media

Posted by Christina Strickland on Feb 12, 2015 8:00:00 AM

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As in the brick-and-mortar world, it is surprisingly easy to develop social media bad habits. You know how you start out eating ice cream at midnight just a couple of nights per week? Then, before you know it, you’re eating a bowl of the good stuff every night before bed, and packing on the pounds. The same goes for social media. Bad habits snowball until your formerly interested fans wants to hear from anyone but you—anyone.

Often, we develop bad social media habits in the hopes of becoming more efficient and effective, but these no-no’s actually undermine our efforts. Here are 5 ways even smart business people annoy their audiences on social media. Take a look and pledge to avoid them at all costs:      

Begging

Sure, it’s kind of cute when my dog does it, but it’s not so cute for brands try to employ the same tactic to get new followers. 

Begging is one of the most common and annoying bad habits displayed on social media sites. Business people post or tweet something and then beg others to share it or retweet it. This comes across as overly self-interested and doesn’t even pretend to offer value for your audience. Of course, in most cases, you will get some people to share or retweet this way. This will generally work because they either always share when asked or feel sorry for you. Most people will simply ignore your request and perhaps even feel embarrassed for you.  You’ll get on some people’s nerves so much that they’ll unlike, unfriend or unfollow you. Crap! And social media sites hate it too.

What to do instead: Share meaningful posts that provide value for your audience members, entertain them, and speak to their needs. Funny stories, awesome photos, and information they can’t get elsewhere will get the job done. And guess what? They’ll like, share and follow, not because you had the social media equivalent of puppy dog eyes but because you shared something worthwhile.

Gimmicks

Everyone likes free stuff, but when it’s the overdone, you could be hurting your brand. 

Social media is supposed to help businesses engage with their audiences, but many forget all about that in favor of giveaways or contests intended to boost likes. With this type of competition, you offer a prize just to get people to like your page or follow you. You might think you’re slick, but guess what? It’s not that hard to get your number. This is just a sneaky way to beg. And you’ll get out what you put into it. Many of those your contest attracts will simply stop following you once the contest ends. Repeat after me, “Less is more and just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

What to do instead: Use giveaways sparingly, so that your audience is really excited when the next one comes around. Focus on giveaways that encourage your audience to engage, such as by sharing how your products make them feel, what your company means to them, or even doing something cool, such as creating a new slogan, banner, or ad for your company. 

#TooManyHashtags

Do your status update demonstrate that you've never met a hashtag you didn't like?

Hashtags definitely have an important role in tweet categorization and the curation of content. They actually help double engagement. But there absolutely is too much of a good thing. Cramming your tweets full of hashtags is a no-no.  You’ve seen them—the posts that almost seem to have more hashtags than actual content. Can you say super annoying?  Even if all the hashtags are relevant, just don’t do it. Please.

What to do instead: Trim all that fat. Stick to a maximum of two hashtags per tweet. On a platform like Instagram, you can go with a couple more, but make four your maximum. You will have the urge to add in more. Others do it, right? Just say no. Your audience will thank you for it.

World Domination

Okay, it’s really “feed domination,” but “world domination” probably got your attention. 

It is important to post regularly, so if you drop the ball for a bit, you may feel tempted to lay it on thick when you return. This is usually a bad idea. Sending a flurry of tweets or posting Facebook update after Facebook update in an effort to “fix” your mistake will only annoy your audience. 

What to do instead: Just start posting on a regular schedule again, and try not to go AWOL any time soon.

Automation

If you’re a smart marketer, I may have just raised your hackles a bit.  But, I’m talking about cross-posting automation here, not scheduling tools like Hootsuite.

Cross-posting automation. Yuck. Yuck. Remember that your best bet for social media success is tailoring your message to match each of the social media sites you use. You want to engage not broadcast, right? Syncing your cross posts is both lazy and spammy.  A lazy spammer, who needs that? When you post this way, you tell your audience, you don’t care enough to speak to them personally. Think about it. You tweet 15 times in one day and have those messages cross over to Facebook. Those short messages feel awfully impersonal on Facebook, which has a much more personal feel. And to make matters worse, your audience can’t get away from all your stuff because you’ve gone ahead and clogged up their feed with it. Good job. 

What to do instead: So you want to share messages over several different platforms? Take the time to post each one manually, crafting the content to fit the platform. Remember, you have a limited number of characters on Twitter but on Facebook, you can go wild. And keep in mind that with automated cross posting, images, links, and text don’t always appear the way you want them to. Entering them manually means you can make your posts more attractive and eye-catching too.

 

Which bad social media habits would you add to this list? What do businesses need to avoid? Share with us!


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Topics: social media, marketing strategy, Internet Marketing

7 Types of Content to Include in Your Strategy and Why {part 2}

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

In my last post, I looked at the importance of including long form articles, data rich infographics and online video in your content strategy. Now here are four more content types to round your strategy out.

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4. Social Media Posts

The mobile shift provides another reason to do social media well. Statistics from ShareThis show that people are twice as likely to share content from mobile devices as from the desktop. So creating shareable social media content is a must.

For this, it's essential to think beyond the tweet. Short social media updates have their place, but it's also important to include:

  • images, which can be easily shared on all networks

  • media, which many social sites embed

  • longer social posts, for Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+


In many cases, you can share the content you already have, but make sure to share content from others too - self-promotion must take a back seat to the goal of engaging your audience by the breadth and quality of what you share. It's the best way to get attention for your brand.

For networks that allow longer posts, take some time to craft summaries of the key points and add a question for discussion to increase your options for engagement.

5. Educational Ebooks

With digital publishing on the rise, ebooks have become an important promotional tool for business. As Hubspot says, ebooks are a great way to educate your prospects while starting a relationship with them. Ebooks also show your knowledge and can be the first step in getting those leads into the sales funnel.

You have two options for creating your ebook: using content you already have or authoring an ebook from scratch. If you do a lot of presentations and have an active blog, it's easy to choose the most popular topics as the seed for an ebook. Alternatively, you may prefer to use an ebook to answer the questions that most customers have about your products or services.

With the help of a professional writer (and maybe a little bit of design assistance, too), you can create an ebook that is valuable and easy to read, which makes it more likely that readers will be interested in your next offer. This is something Hubspot does extremely well.

6. White Papers

From the outside, white papers may seem identical to ebooks, but they are not (though I believe the gap between them is shrinking and some people use the terms interchangeably). White papers typically focus on a customer problem, examine some of the failed or flawed approaches to that problem and show how your product or service can solve it. They tend to be more formal than ebooks and can be a good way of showing topic expertise. Many white papers are data-driven, sharing business and industry statistics to make the case.

If you are in the B2B market, then you can't afford to ignore white papers. As white paper expert Mike Stelzner points out, they are an excellent lead generation tool, are widely shared and are used to help businesses evaluate solutions to their most pressing issues.

7. Lead Converting Webinars

Lewis Howes believes that webinars are one of the most effective ways of converting leads to customers. Since most webinars are free, there's no barrier to entry, but only people who are already interested in the topic sign up, effectively pre-qualifying themselves. A webinar gives you the chance to talk to people for around 45-60 minutes in a focused way that's almost impossible on social media.

Webinars also allow you to offer more value to customers and prospects by partnering with experts and by taking the chance to explain complex concepts. The more people understand, the more the realize why your product or service could be a good fit for them.

Don't be fooled: webinars are hard work, so it's worth getting help to brainstorm topics and potential partners, work out the structure and create the slides. Then you can focus on what you do best by delivering the presentation and talking to attendees.


Add these seven types of content to blog posts for a well rounded content strategy that allows you to attract and retain customers no matter where they are in the sales funnel.


Learn how Crackerjack Marketing can help you get leads and sales with ebooks, white papers and webinars.


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Topics: marketing strategy, content & inbound marketing

7 Types of Content to Include in Your Strategy and Why {part 1}

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

When creating content, a good rule is to make it deep and wide. That's why you have to think beyond the blog when developing your content strategy. Don't get me wrong; blogging remains one of the most important ways to increase your influence and authority and to grow both trust and traffic, but why stop there? To get the full benefits of inbound marketing, you need to create shareable content.

So how do you determine what’s sharable? BuzzSumo is a tool that tracks what content performs best on your site or your competitor’s site. (It’s a powerful tool!)   When I performed a recent search there, I  found that the most shareworthy content included articles, infographics and video.

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1. Long Form Articles

You're probably thinking that you already write articles in the form of blog posts, but here's an important point: some of the most shared articles are the ones with the most depth. Buffer used Medium's data to figure out that the ideal length for a blog posts is 1600 words.

Research from BuzzSumo's analysis of 100 million articles (a pretty compelling data set, wouldn't you say?) shows that the longer the content is, the more it gets shared. That means long-form blog content is just as important to your content strategy as shorter pieces.


2. Data Rich Infographics

At their best, infographics make it easy to get a lot of information in a neat, visually appealing package. And according to QuickSprout, they are great for traffic and branding too. The human brain finds visuals easy to remember and much more engaging.

You already have the business data. All you have to do is extract the most interesting statistics and package it to create a data-rich infographic that is easy to share (like this one on social media mistakes). Even average infographics get hundreds of shares; produce something stellar and thousands of people could connect with you. Easel.ly has a list of the characteristics of great infographics to help you get started.

3. Online Video

You already know that you can't ignore the mobile market, but did you also know that more than 20% of all online video is watched on mobile devices (Tweet This!)? Research published on eMarketer shows that 90% of millennials watch smartphone video and 77% watch video on their tablets. With mobile devices usage continuing to increase, businesses looking to market to millennials (and which businesses aren't?) need to get into the game.  Some types of video to consider include:
  • introductions to yourself and your business

  • answers to customer questions

  • videos that piggyback on a popular issue

You can even create video that speaks directly to your audience's self-image as Dove did successfully last year with its Real Beauty Sketches.


In my next post, I'll look at four more content types that you should include. In the meantime, ask us how Crackerjack Marketing can help you create long form content, infographics and online video.

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Topics: marketing strategy, content & inbound marketing

What Brands Can Learn About Social Media From Game of Thrones

Posted by Christina Strickland on Jun 5, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Social media doesn’t just emulate life. In some ways, it emulates television too, especially good television like Game of Thrones. If you’re a fan, read on to learn what Game of Thrones has to teach those of us who work with brands who strive for social media success. Not a fan yet? There’s still plenty to learn here. Read up, avoid the spoiler (towards the end), and then start watching.

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A Little Social Listening Goes a Long Way

Varys, aka The Spider, has little birds that bring him news. He can’t be everywhere at the same time, but his little birdies keep him on top of things. The same concept applies to social listening tools. You can’t be everywhere or listen to everyone on the Internet at all times. Skip the little birds, though, and use a social media monitoring tool, such as Radian6 or CustomScoop, to find out what people are saying about your brand and its products and services.

Step out of the Box and Try New Things

Life is pretty dull if you do the same things day in and day out. Jon Snow is a natural risk taker. First, he took up a post on The Wall, and in Season 3, he got frisky with Ygritte, a Wildling. He must later account for his actions (Season 4), but even then, he’s not content to settle for what’s always been done. Knowing that the Wildlings plan to strike Castle Black, with the White Walkers to up their odds, he argues for going on the offense rather than staying put to defend the castle. He also wants to seal the tunnel under Castle Black to keep enemies out.

Ser Alliser Thorne is adamant about staying put. His argument? They’ve never done it before, and they won’t do it now. Jon, on the other hand, is all about trying something new to get better results. Fortunately, for social media users, trying new things isn’t as risky as joining The Night’s Watch or fighting White Walkers. Be proactive about trying new initiatives in addition to continuing the tried and true. This is critical for reaching more of your target audience and keeping its members interested. As in the Game of Thrones, complacency has no place in social media.

Get a Great Team 

Daenerys Targaryen, or Khaleesi (whatever you choose to call her), has something going for her that every business social media user should have. No, it’s not the ability to walk through fire, though that could come in handy. Instead, it’s an awesome team. The Dragon Queen Ladyhas a translator, advisors, a community manager, and an entire army of advocates. That army? She’s not dragging it along for the ride or threatening it into submission. Her soldiers are with her voluntarily because she won them over. You can do the same with members of your own audience, and they will become advocates of your brand.

Be a Giver

Back in Season 2 of Game of Thrones, brave little Arya Stark made friends with Jaqen H’ghar and then managed to save his life. How did he return the favor (three times over)? Well, he offered to kill three people for her (because “only death can repay life”). While we certainly don’t advocate killing anyone, there is an important social media lesson to be learned from Jaqen H’ghar: Always give more than you get. Be generous with your retweets, shares, and promotion of your community’s content. Jaqen H’ghar received something valuable from Arya before he became a giver, but social media users should deviate a bit from his example. With social media, it’s important to start giving before you get anything in return. Still, the main principle is the same. 

Show Them the Money 

There’s so much we could learn from Tyrion Lannister in terms of using wit. But since we are still awaiting his fate in the season finale (or perhaps the next season premiere), it’s too soon to draw any parallels here. One thing we can learn for sure, though, is that money talks and, well, you know the rest. This is especially true when it comes to advocates. Tyrion has paid Bronn handsomely for his services. In exchange, Bronn has been a loyal and dedicated protector. I know you’re probably thinking of how {Warning! Warning! Spoiler alert! Skip to the end if you haven’t made your way through this season yet!} Bronn has decided not to testify for Tyrion at his trial. The same lesson applies here, though. Bronn received a better offer, and again we see what happens when you show them the money. Keep in mind, too, that even though Bronn is no longer Tyrion’s paid advocate, he isn’t testifying against him either. The takeaway? Yes, it’s nice when we get something for free, but value your advocates and compensate them well.

There’s one more thing you can learn from the characters of Game of Thrones: Always seize the day. Apply these tips today to make sure you won’t miss a single opportunity to grow your social media network and meet your business goals.


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Topics: social media, marketing strategy

What Top Brands Can Teach Us About Social Media

Posted by Christina Strickland on Apr 18, 2014 9:03:00 AM


Social media has changed the way brands reach customers. It has redefined interacting and sharing, provided new ways to use content to promote products and services, and made engagement easier. If that’s not enough, it’s also amplified the voice of the customers. Here’s what three top brands can teach us about social media and viral content. 

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1. Coca Cola Highlights the Importance of Accountability and Transparency

Coca Cola is undeniably the most sought-after brand when it comes to the soft drink industry. Still, it is impressive to see how this big brand is embracing the social media culture to follow through with customers and promote its campaigns.

For instance, Coca Cola created an Expedition 206 campaign in which it used social media to pick three individuals to act as the company’s Happiness Ambassadors. These individuals will go around the world to interact with people and share the idea of happiness on a personal level and via real-life contact. Using videos, photography, blog postings, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social networks, the three will share their adventures with the world as they happen.

It’s heartening to know that a big brand like Coca Cola realizes the importance of being accountable and transparent to its consumers by making them part of the campaign through social media.

Coca Cola knows how to touch people’s lives. The proof of this is evident in how the company effectively defined sharing happiness. Where will happiness strike next? Isn’t that worth a share?

2. Dove's Meaningful Content

When we think about soap, we think of making our skin smoother, healthier and cleaner. We think about beauty being only skin deep.

Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches have changed the paradigm of content used for promoting a brand. It promoted something intangible and deep that made it more interesting. It dealt with a self-esteem boosting message: “You are more beautiful than you think.” It was a great piece of a meaningful content without showing much of the logo. You wouldn’t even think it was a soap advertisement.

Social media is more than just knowing a certain product’s specifications. It has changed the arena of human experience. We want to be aware of almost everyone’s perspective. How we look at things and what people think about us—that’s what we really care about. That’s what we really want to share. That’s the reason this content became the most viral ad.

3. IKEA’s Interactive and Engaging Way of Bringing Great Relevance to Your Home

Change begins at home. No matter who you are or what your design tastes, there’s something IKEA offers that will really help create a beautiful space.

Some of IKEA’s campaigns use interactive and engaging online videos to make small places big. They are useful for everyone. Others follow the instructions shared through blogs or through content that has been shared on the Web and via social media.

The satisfaction IKEA brings its customers and the fascinating content it creates is a great experience worth sharing with family and friends.

These three big brands shared major social media lessons by highlighting the importance of authenticity, accountability and transparency when communicating with customers. Moreover, creating more meaningful, interactive and engaging content inspires consumer to share their great experiences with their friends, families and other members of the social community.



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Topics: social media, marketing strategy

Are You Committing These Social Media Sins?

Posted by Christina Strickland on Apr 10, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms are part of our daily lives. They serve as highly effective strategies for marketers and as social mirrors and megaphones for individuals. How interactive are you? How well do you know your favorite platform? Are you a social media sinner or saint? There are seven fatal sins of social media. Are you guilty or not? It’s time to find out.
 

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Misappropriation
        

“Do not unwrap a piece of candy with a sledgehammer.”

The analogy of unwrapping a piece of candy with a sledgehammer is a brilliant example of misappropriation. The sledgehammer in the cyber world is anything that catches the social media user’s attention, and the piece of candy is the brand.

Whenever something is trending online, do you take advantage of the social media craze to promote your brand? Just because you want to get your audience’s attention doesn’t mean you should force a connection between the trending topic and your brand. The content about your brand may look like spam if it doesn’t provide a clear relation to the hottest trend. Likewise, it may give the appearance of intentionally soliciting social media engagement. Remember that a trend doesn’t last forever, so don’t get carried away. Keep your brand’s footprint on the ground.

Abandonment

If only your post could talk, it would beg you not to leave. The moment you introduce your brand to the Internet marketplace and then suddenly drop off from engagement, you are stealing the curiosity and peace of mind of the millions of people who see your brand and wait for answers to queries about your product. You are boosting their social media anxiety, especially if they are sharing your content and commenting on your posts but you are not responding at all.

Taking your brand to any social media platform is one of the best marketing strategies, but abandonment does not contribute to a worthwhile result. Never leave your post. Engage and personalize your interaction; doing so will make your brand remarkable.

Manipulation

Nowadays, people spend a great deal of time on Facebook newsfeeds viewing other people’s updates, videos and photos. Since social media has emerged as an effective tool for marketing, developers have designed and introduced more powerful tools to help marketers get the maximum value out of their social media marketing efforts.

For instance, Facebook’s Edge Rank determines which posts appear in the newsfeed. The reason brands are posting photos is simply because they remain in the newsfeed for longer. Since people can be manipulated into viewing your posts, why not invest in sharing inspiring content?

Ignorance

Did you know you can’t use Instagram photos in advertisements without express consent?  Did you know it’s illegal to ask Facebook users to share a post as part of a contest entry? Did you know any social media platform can suspend you if you’re not carefully following its rules? 

It only takes one tick on the “I agree” box without reading the terms and conditions to be ignorant. Take the time to read the terms of service.

Monotony

Are you getting redundant with your content?  If you were in your audience’s shoes, would you get bored? Monotonous posts kill interest.

Unleash the creativity in you. Research and create content related to your audience’s passion. If your followers like photography, do not talk about photography techniques all the time. You can come up with fresh content, such as the latest but cheapest camera accessories on the market or different ways to clean the camera.

Narcissism

Do you find it annoying to see your news feed flooded with photos of the same person or quotations and updates of people glorifying themselves? Selfie syndrome is an inevitable reaction in our social culture. We are now living in the me generation.

Remember, social media is not just about you. There are billions of human beings contributing posts to a platform. Make your content stand out and worth sharing.  Isn’t it cool to get recognition from other people?

Uniformity

Let’s figure out how uniformity affects the social media strategy. Each social media site favors different types and frequencies of content. For instance, images do better on Facebook. Twitter is limited to 140 characters, but you can post more frequently to Twitter than to Facebook.

Casual language is acceptable on Twitter and Facebook while most people prefer professionalism when using LinkedIn. With these key differences, you simply can’t cross-post the same content at the same time and get the same level of effectiveness.

Interaction and engagement are keys to meeting your social media goals and keeping your audience’s interest. Avoid the seven fatal sins of social media, and you’ll have the best chance of standing out in the social media crowd.


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Topics: social media, marketing strategy

7 Top Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Your Business Website

Posted by Christina Strickland on Apr 3, 2014 9:00:00 AM

The way you design your website has great impact on your online customers.  Consumers consider the look and feel of your site. A clean and professional design looks trustworthy and adds visual appeal to a webpage. In particular, customers want website information clearly stated and categorized, and that’s what makes WordPress a dominant force in the blogging arena. Plugins are a major part of this.

What are plugins?  Why should we care about them?

Plugins are tools that extend the functionality of WordPress. They offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor the site to his or her specific needs. Some of the plugins can be downloaded for free, and some are available at a reasonable cost.

You may be overwhelmed with the thousands of available plugins, but we will help you save precious time and money. This article provides the top 7 essential WordPress plugins for your business website.


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1. Content Aware Sidebars

Do you want to make your WordPress site more dynamic by controlling which content your sidebars are displayed with?

The Content Aware Sidebars plugin allows you to manage an infinite number of sidebars for any widget area and assign it to specific pages, posts, categories, and so on.

Once you create a new sidebar, it will show up in the Appearance - Widgets with all the other widget areas.

2. Enhanced Text Widget

The Enhanced Text Widget is a free plugin that enables a more feature-rich text widget for your use.

The following are some of the features supported by the widget:

  • It allows you to hide or show the widget title.
  • You can turn your widget title into a link
  • Assign CSS classes to the widget.
  • Supports text, HTML, PHP, Flash, JavaScript, and shortcodes.

3. WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress SEO by Yoast allows complete control of page titles and meta descriptions on a per page/post basis as well as for each category or tag page.

Some other useful features include 301 redirection and setting up rules for search engine robots, such as follow, nofollow, index, noindex, and so on.

It also allows you to customize the Facebook and Google+ descriptions for individual pages or posts in case you don’t want to use the default meta description field.

One thing you won’t have to worry about anymore is the rel=“canonical” tag. The WordPress

SEO plugin automatically adds it to every page and post, so you can be sure Google won’t penalize your website for duplicate content due to dynamic URL string variations.

4. Akismet

Akismet is a blog commenting tool that helps cut down on spam.

To set up Akismet, go to Akismet.com and register to get a WordPress key. Insert the assigned key in the Akismet settings of your website, and say goodbye to spam! That’s how easy it is!

5. Digg Digg

Let your site users participate, via a one-click experience, by liking or sharing the page or content they are on.

The Digg Digg plugin adds a floating box to your website. It supports all popular social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Pinterest. You can customize the social media services you want to show your users, selecting those relevant for your niche.

6. W3 Total Cache

Cache is short-term storage, and its necessity varies, depending on your website.

Using the W3 Total Cache plugin will provide winning speed improvements, especially for websites with heavy images and scripts. It has all the caching features you will need, but it’s still best to test each feature carefully.

7. 404 Redirected

You’re excited to open a link, but you didn’t reach the landing page and got stuck with a 404 error. How do you feel?

It’s important to monitor the broken links and optimize the search engine for your website. Otherwise, your potential customers might leave your website immediately upon seeing a 404 error. Also, Google will not pass PageRank to your 404 page.

The 404 Redirected plugin shows all URLs that return 404 errors. It allows you to 301 redirect those to actual pages on your site, send traffic to the appropriate content, and pass PageRank to the correct pages.

Plugins can make the difference between a website that appears amateurish and one that is not only efficient and professional looking but also easy to access, navigate, and enjoy. Install the above plugins to ensure a better online experience for you and your customers.

 

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Topics: marketing strategy, content & inbound marketing

3 Ways to Use Mobile to Reach Millennials

Posted by Archie Alibasa on Feb 28, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Do you know a teen or young adult who isn’t tied to their mobile phone? According to Pew Research, 80% of 18-34 year olds own a smartphone – and they’re all using them a lot. If you want your brand to appeal to this audience, implementing an effective mobile marketing strategy is the way to go. But how do you capture the attention of individuals who are always on the go? A good start would be to capitalize on the channels that they always access on their mobile devices.
 

3 Ways to Use Mobile to Reach Millennials


Social Media

When it comes to mobile marketing, social media is the top channel to reach millennials. Make sure that your social media strategy translates from desktop to mobile; since the layout space for mobile devices are smaller and more compressed, less text and more pictures and graphics can garner more attention and interest from millennials. Promote your brand by sharing relevant yet fun videos and photos on social media networks like Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Other social sharing sites most appealing to the younger generation include Snapchatand Vine.

Email Campaigns

Email campaigns feel old school. but continue to be a golden ticket in the mobile age. A Rosetta Marketing survey reveals that 68% of millennials check their emails hourly;

Millennials love to shop on their mobiles, so use email to promote coupons and showcase products. Announce contests and sweeps via mobile, and promote upcoming events. Another option is to collaborate with email deal providers like Groupon and LivingSocial to promote your product or service for you, or barter emails with other like-minded companies to get in front of a new audience.

Be aware that millennials will delete emails that are not optimized for mobile devices – and make sure that the click-through experience is also optimized for mobile.

Apps

Millennials absolutely love apps; they use them for many purposes, which include entertainment and gaming, social networking, online shopping, and utilities.  One type of app that is proving to be a hit to the younger crowd is instant messaging. This type of apps pose a huge potential when it comes to advertising your brands, because millennials relish the idea of being able to instantly connect with their friends. The immense popularity of this platform convinced Facebook to acquire instant messaging service Whatsapp for an eye-popping $19 billion. Despite critics calling it as one of the most lopsided deals in internet history and other pundits expecting an eventual bust, Facebook believes the acquisition will be worth every penny as they express optimism the number of Whatsapp users will surge to 1 billion within the next few years.

Another effective way of integrating apps into your mobile marketing scheme is to leverage television advertisements to drive mobile engagement as explained in this MediaPost article by Eddie DeGuia.

Should you create your own, branded app? It depends on whether you have enough content to keep it interesting and active. Otherwise find ways to use existing apps, including social networks and text messaging apps.

Final Thoughts

It’s not only important that you engage in mobile marketing to reach millennials, you must also optimize online content for mobile devices. And keep your eyes and ears open for the next new thing, it’s likely millennials got there first.

What other mobile platforms do you use to reach out to millennials? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Topics: marketing strategy, tweens & teens