Posts Tagged ‘Social network’

Top 30 Ideas for Content Publishing

Top 30 Ideas for Content Publishing

Most people get stuck when it comes to content publishing ideas. More than likely, the only content they can think of is “blog posts. But did you know there are at least 30 types of content you can publish online?

Here they are.

1.  Blog Posts

We had to say it.  But take note that short blog posts are going out of fashion again.  Google has let it be known it will penalize blog posts that are so short, Google feels they are nothing more than excuses for ads and affiliate links.  Their emphasis on “quality, original content” has all the top bloggers writing posts over 500 words long and very often, twice that number of words.

2.  Infographics

Still at the height of popularity, the latest trend is to impart information in visual format people can absorb with a single glance.

    infographic example

This works so well not so much because many people are visual learners, but because all of us internet-and-mobile age denizens have trained our brains to scan-and-glance digital content, to see if it’s worth spending time exploring further.

3.  Slide Presentations

Social platforms such as SlideShare make it easy for people to share slide presentations.  You can create these as stand-alone information modules… or as accessories for webinars you are holding.

slide presentation content

Plus you can have people follow you from SlideShare – and share your work across other social networks.

4.  Media Page

Every online entrepreneur should have a Media Page (section) on his or her blog or website.  Within this tab, radio hosts, news reporters and readers should be able to find:

  • Photos they can use (including your headshot)
  • Archived newsletters
  • Archived Press Releases
  • Bio information
  • The latest news about you/your business

And anything else you’d like them to share.

5.  Skype Chat Text Interviews

This is a brand new, dynamic and interactive way to present Skype interviews – a live link for people to join in and a blog transcript for those viewing the post after the call has completed.

Skype interview as content

Again, you can generate shares and follows for this type of content – as well as sharing your interviewer/interviewee’s website link, as Vera Raposo of Creative Biz has done with Kristen Eckstein’s Ultimate Book Coach site.

6.  Landing Pages

Short pages you send people to so they will sign up – either for your newsletter, a “freebie”, your website or blog – or a paid product.

7.  Sales Pages

Not-always-longer versions of Landing pages, promoting your paid offer.  Sales pages can come in many formats:

  • Traditional long letter format
  • Short landing page format
  • Horizontal
  • Vertical
  • Video
  • Audio

Pick the format that best suits your audience’s engagement style.

8.  Podcasts

You can make your website more interactive by providing Podcasts — .MP3 audio files your visitors can listen to (or download, if you let them).

podcasts as content

They can listen in real-time, if you provide a teleseminar phone link – and then enjoy the recording in podcast format on your blog.

9.  Newsletter Archives

Everyone who owns a blog or website should have a newsletter – and archive old newsletter editions either on a Media page or in an Archives page.

Newsletters provide an instant history of your business.  People can go through each newsletter, from your very first one, and see where you started out – and where you are now.

If your newsletters are high enough in value you can even choose to keep them in a hidden section for paid members of your membership site.

10.  Templates

People will return again and again to your site if they know you have great resources such as templates at your site.  These can be blog post templates, review templates – even HTML templates.

11.  Tip Sheets

This is another desirable type of content to offer as a sign-up incentive on your blog or website.  The key is to make it highly specific to their most pressing interest at this time – or to new technology that is affecting their niche: (E.g.  “30 Tips For Making the Most of Facebook Changes”).

12.  Images

We don’t just mean “stick a picture in your blog post”.  Image use should be an integrated strategy you use to brand your business and tell your story.

They should consistently support your online identity and “voice”.

13.  Animated Gifs

There’s been such a prejudice against “distracting” animations; this is not a method most people think of, when it comes to content creation.  Yet under the right circumstances, they can be used effectively.

There are two keys to creating a positive rather than a negative effect:

a)    Choose a “loop” that looks natural repeating (e.g. a candle flame flickering, water gently tossing in a bay), rather than a moment in time endlessly replaying.

b)     If you just want to catch attention, simply set the animation to repeat only once, as laid out in this Yahoo answer.

Yahoo Answers

There are many free sites that allow you to create animated .gifs.  Two that are easier than most are Lunapic and  Makeagif, with tutorials and wizards respectively.

(Click on this link for an example of the sort of thing you can do.)

14.  Video

Every online entrepreneur should make videos and share them across platforms like YouTube, Pinterest and Vimeo.  The real issue is what type of video best supports your business?

  • “How to” demonstration
  • “Talking head” update from you to your followers
  • Animation
  • Recorded webinar with slides
  • Video blog entry

15.  Downloadable .PDF files

You can offer eBooks and reports in .PDF format as sign-up incentives for subscribing to your blog or website.

16.  Checklists

Another great sign-up incentive – or bonus.  People love checklists – it helps make them feel organized in a world of chronic digital overwhelm!

Checklists as content

17.  Google Hangouts

You can host a meeting, interview or seminar by creating a “Hangout” within your Google+ account.  Ask fellow Circle members to join you.

Better yet, choose the live streaming option to help it go viral, if it’s something you want everyone to see, and it will automatically be recorded and uploaded to your YouTube channel.

18.  Logo

A Logo that captures in a blink the essence of your business (and helps people instantly think of it) is essential, if you’re branding your business rather than you, yourself.

19.  White Papers

A “white paper” is much like a report, but is usually a formal presentation of statistics or a document analyzing something of great importance to your website visitors.

If your target market is corporate-minded, white papers are usually deemed of more value than “reports”.

20.  About Page

This is one of your best pieces of online real estate.  While you are talking about yourself, you are doing so to build identification and rapport with your ideal visitor, so even when talking about yourself, it should really be all about her.

Use your top keywords in your About page contest.  And it’s a great spot to put a headshot, if you haven’t done so anywhere else on your site.

21.  Bonuses

Bonus downloads and perks add value to your offers, blogs and websites.  These can take any format – video, .MP3, tip sheets, reports…

And they can be created by you… or by a JV partner. (Pick the format your target customer or client would love best!)

22.  Coupons

A coupon can also add value to your offer or website.  You can make them printable, if you have a local business… or give a coupon code at checkout to sweeten an offer.

Just be sure to set a start end date (and limit the number), to keep your ROI in the black!

23.  QR Codes

Are your best paying customers avid Smartphone users?  Then put QR codes on your website, blog, business cards, flyers, merchandise – and more.

You can also set this digital bar code to take people straight to:

  • A telephone call (your number)
  • A text message
  • Your website
  • A coupon or special offer

24.  Cartoons

You don’t often see cartoons  in digital marketing – but that’s all the more reason to consider using them, if your niche members are highly visual-oriented.

cartoons for content

25.  Statistics

Sharing statistics can be a huge draw for many business niches.  You can share them in:

  • Chart format
  • Graph format
  • Tables
  • Lists

26.  FAQ Pages

Having a list of Frequently Asked Questions on your site is a great way to please visitors – and cut down on repetitive emails.

A FAQ page is also indispensable in your Affiliate section, if you have affiliates.

27.  The Legal Stuff

If you are an affiliate marketer, you’ll know you need to provide a Disclaimer or Disclaimer Page, stating that you may receive compensation for recommendations.

Other types of “necessaries”:

  • Terms of Service
  • Privacy Policy (this one’s a “must” too)

28.  Maps

Indispensable, if you’re a local business and want people to either visit your premises or see your range of service.

maps content

29.  Reviews

If you are recommending products, use a review template to provide consistent reviews.

Your aim should be to become a trusted resource for people in your niche, so that yours is the site they turn to first, when looking for product information.

using reviews as content

30.  “How to” Tutorials

These can be in video, diagram, audio, graphic or written format… or a combination of any of these.  (An added bonus: “How-tos” turn your site into a resource.)

how-to content

There are many more content types you can use on your website and/or social media properties – but whichever you choose, be original, unique – and tuned in to your visitors.

How to Optimize for Social SEO

How to Optimize for Social SEO

Optimizing your website for search engines is no longer a question of filling it full of keywords and exact-match anchor text while madly blog-commenting in other people’s blogs to create relevant back-links.  In fact, following this formula will almost certainly leave you down in the rankings under Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithmic changes – and more are coming.

But you shouldn’t just pay attention to Google:  SEO nowadays involves maintaining an active social media presence and profiles.  Hence the term “Social SEO”.  Social media actions can actually improve your Google rank, if done right.  And you need to pay attention to what people see… and what’s behind the scenes.

Here are ten highly relevant Social SEO practices for today…

1.  Remove or Revamp Your Traditional Meta-tags

Google’s Penguin algorithm filter tends to take meta-keywords and other traditional tags as keyword-stuffing.  It won’t help your site ranking – and it could hurt.

If you use the Thesis theme, check out instructions at Binary Turf on removing the meta description tag correctly.

how to remove meta description

According to SearchEngineWatch, Penguin isn’t actually an algorithm, but a “link quality filter” that “is designed to take out sites that use manipulative techniques to improve search visibility”.

Bottom line: If you have too many repetitions in meta data, your site may be penalized.

2.  Adjust and Correct Your Anchor Text

If your anchor text is an exact match to your keywords and doesn’t make descriptive, readable sense, scrap it and give your anchor text more clickably-appealing, descriptive words.  (That goes for the Alt Tag text for your graphics, too.)

You need to do this because Google’s Penguin filter now targets and de-ranks exact-match domains (e.g. “highproteinfoodsfatlowcarb.com”), after Google clued on to the fact that names like these were evidence of attempts to manipulate.  Anchor text has been affected too.

The less spammy you can make your anchor text and Alt tags, the better.

twin babies

For example if you were displaying the above photo on your blog, you might want to change:

<a href=”page.html”><img src=”graphics/twinmatchinggirlgreen.jpg” alt=”twin matching girl green“/></a>

…to something more descriptive and real, such as:

<a href=”page.html”><img src=”graphics/twins.jpg” alt=”twins in green”/></a>

Again, if you’re trying to manipulate rather than describe when using keywords in anchor text, domain names or Alt tags, Google will penalize you.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Graph Search

Facebook graph search

The old way of searching involved keywords.  Facebook’s new Graph Search combines keywords plus your Friends’ Facebook content.

This way, you can find out what connections you share with them, causes you both support, Pages you “Like”, places you’ve both been connected with, common interests and just about every type of connection you can think of.

 (Graph search results did dip recently, but Facebook assures the “dip” has been corrected.)

4.  Optimize Your Facebook Page “About” Section

This is the one part of your Facebook Page where you can put your best keywords, descriptions and anchor text.  Make the most of it, as artist Steph Dix has done here.

FB about page

She has included in her description:

  • Specific keywords (pencil portraits, free shipping worldwide, guarantee, website)
  • A link to her website
  • Email contact details

In addition, her text is not too long – it doesn’t run off the page, with vital sentences hidden. It’s clear and well-optimized.

5.  Use Facebook Social Plugins

Once you click on artist, Steph Dix’s link, you are taken to her website http://www.stephdix.co.uk/… where those who have “Liked” her page immediately see a widget from the Facebook social plugins, containing their own Profile photo plus a selection of other fan photos.

FB social plugins

Anyone who clicks on hypertext within the widget will be taken to her Facebook Page – and that is a high-quality backlink, as far as Google is concerned.  She is leveraging the power of Facebook very efficiently.

6.  Make the Most of Google+

SEO author Simon Penson predicted recently  that Google+ will play a much more prominent role in validating social links over the coming months, so if you haven’t created a profile there yet, do so.

And if you have signed up, but visit Google+ only sporadically or not at all, start exploring Google+ and spending time interacting and exploring its SEO-powerful platforms, apps and features daily.

One of its most powerful features to explore:  Google+ Hangouts.  If you live-stream them, they will be automatically recorded and posted to your YouTube channel, which is now also automatically linked with Google+.

Google+ hangout

If you haven’t yet bothered with Google Hangouts, learn more about them right now.

7.  Make Sure Your Titles Match Your Content

Again, it’s all about not being carried away, trying to include keywords.  Titles that don’t feel natural and don’t match the post they headline not only will displease Google, but will not get shared via social sites (as well as losing trust).

Here’s an example of a simple but effective title followed by relevant content from Copyblogger.

Write magnetic headlines

Your best bet is always to make sure your blog post or web page title are:

  • Attention-grabbing
  • Easy to read
  • Descriptive
  • Clean

A truly interesting and intriguing title is your best route to making sure your posts and pages are found and shared.

8.  Make it Easy for Visitors and Readers to Share

Make sure you’ve included social media plugins, widgets, share and follow badges, buttons and icons to help people share your content with one click.

Place them above the fold on all your web pages in the upper right-hand side of your page.

social share buttons

For extra effectiveness, include calls to action in or with your social media buttons, such as Daylan Pearce does in the right hand side of his blog, above.

9.  Clean Up Your Guest Blogging Practices

Last year saw Google over-zealously penalize exact-match domains and anchor text, akin to thousands of healthy trees in a forest being chopped down to make sure a dead one in their midst is culled.

Now, just as their Search Evaluation team is reassuring us that they’ve learned from this and will be toning down the axe use, it looks as if Google has a new target:  Guest blogging.

A recent YouTube video from Google’s Matt Cutts warns of what to expect – and what you can do to comply with new guest blogging rules.

on guest posts

To sum up what seems to be in the wind…

  • Make sure guest post writing – to and fro –  is of the highest quality
  • Use guest bloggers who either are terrific, professional-level writers or who have a well-established and validated reputation in your niche
  • Write or accept longer posts – Google now frowns on short guest posts under 400 words, seeing them as excuses to link
  • Don’t accept guest posts that are published elsewhere.  When someone wants to write for you, make sure you ask that the content be original and exclusive to your blog
  • Posts from and to other blogs should be relevant to the blog’s overall mission.  Posts should be eloquent and well-thought-out
  • Make sure your guest posts are from writers who run high-quality blogs.  You may be penalized for spammy back-links in your guest poster’s blog, so check that blog out first, if you’re not familiar with your guest.  (Hint:  See how well she or he ranks in a Google search.)

And from Jeff Foster of WebBizIdeas (in an actual guest post in Problogger, February 2013):

  • Stop using terms like “guest posts” and “guest bloggers” (if you have to spell it out for readers, he suggests calling the writer a “guest author”)
  • Don’t let your guest author put “unnatural links” in their post or author bios
  • A simple link to their website is okay

One last thing to do:  Create a rel=author tag for yourself, allowing Google to validate your own blog (and use guest posters who are also validated this way).

10. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles (and Claim your Pages)

It’s not enough simply to use social media in 2013:  You also need to make sure you optimize your social profiles to the max.  Fill out all Profile sections across all social networks as fully as possible.

Think of doing this as an investment.

For example, if your local business appears in a Google Plus Local search for your city, make sure you claim it and add your photos, your logo, your description and your contact information, the way you want it.

Make sure no sections are left blank.

Google+ Local

Social profiles with missing elements are not ranked as highly as those with complete profiles and validating elements such as business logos and clear descriptions.

It is as important to optimize what people see as much as it is to optimize HTML and meta-tags, just as it is as important to optimize for your social networks as it is to optimize for Google searches.

Creating a well-balanced, SEO optimized web presence for both the search engines and social sites – but most of all for the benefit of your ideal viewer – will have a visibility effect worth more than the sum of its parts.

Top 20 Tips to Get More Twitter Traffic

Top 20 Tips to Get More Twitter Traffic

Twitter can be fun. Twitter can be a time sink. But if you want to harness the traffic from this mega-site for your online business, Twitter must be a strategic part of your marketing arsenal. There are many little tips and tricks you can employ if growing traffic on Twitter is your goal.  No one tip will likely change your Twitterverse – but put a bundle of these together, and you may be surprised at the difference.

  1. Add your signature branding hashtag to your business card.  Many people find themselves unable to remember entire URLs – but single hashtags are another matter altogether.
  2. Use the “#FF” hashtag to give a shout-out to your favorite Twitter connections.  This famous hashtag started in 2009, and went viral almost from the word “go”.

Originally “#FollowFriday”, it became so well-known, it was shortened to “#FF”.

Here’s how it works:

  • Every Friday, be sure to have a short list of worthwhile tweeters prepared.  Make sure they are relevant to your own followers.
  • Begin your tweet with the hashtag “#FF”, then add the Twitter handle of the person or persons you want to promote

When you #FF someone, you are telling people that this person is a great person to follow.  Many people just #FF an entire list of Twitter handles, one time only, remembering each tweet can only be 140 characters long.

Twitter FF hashtag

Others prefer to personalize each “#FF” recommendation with a small blurb about why their recommended Twitter user is worth following.  They may release individual #FF tweets all Friday long.  Here’s a powerful example of a single tweet:

Comedy Central India FF

In the multiple tweet example preceding this one, the poster has done something a little different and recommended only verified tweeters – “verified” meaning Twitter has personally checked out the account holder and verified that they are for real.  (You usually see verification more with celebrities, to .)

In the single tweet, the poster does a masterly job of telling the Twitterverse what #FilmFare is and why people who love Bollywood movies should followthis hashtag – in five succinct words.

A little originality in tweets can cause a flurry of click throughs.  People are used to long lists of names to follow: They are not used to something like the #FF tweet below!

Sponge Bob FF

  1. Track your #FF tweets with TopFollowFriday. This free site by Humanxtensions allows you to see who is recommending who using the #FollowFriday hash tag – and if you’ve used it, you’ll see your individual results.  (Tip:  Use the full “#FollowFriday” hashtag: not “#FF”.)
  2. Throw a Twitter Party.  This has become an accepted part of Twitter culture, and is welcomed with enthusiasm.  If you have created an event, create a unique hashtag for it and tell your participants to start using it.

 

Be sure to prepare in advance:

 

  • A strong, relevant hashtag
  • A date and time
  • Invitations

 

Be sure to follow through, however:  Nothing makes you look more irresponsible than forgetting to keep the flow of promotion going for your Twitter Party – or, worse, forgetting to tell them it’s cancelled or the date and time has been changed.

 

  1. Register your Twitter Party Hashtag at Hashtags.org. This will boost its effectiveness.

Register your hashtag

  1. Make your tweet visual, if your business is visual.  Photographers, illustrators, web designers, picture book creators – this means you!

Of course, you can’t do this all the time – but do look for opportunities to do so.

  1. Know your specific goal for engaging on Twitter.  Then stick to it with your tweet topics and focus.  If you’re there for the branding, focus all your tweets (and your own Follows) towards that end.

And while you’re at it, actively grow your Twitter community.  Once you’re well-branded, you want to keep the ball rolling and your tweets going viral.

  1. Use Twitter’s geo-targeting abilities. When composing a tweet, you can instantly add your location, if it is relevant to your tweet topic, followers or business.

add location in Twitter

If you want to tract tweets about a specific geographical location, check out Monitter.com.

  1. Use tweriod to find your Twitter community’s preferred tweeting and retweeting times.  (All you need to do is sign up with Twitter, and tweriod will analyze your tweets and those of your followers, and present you with the results.)

Tweriod

  1. If you can’t find the right topics or hashtags, use Twitter Search, a dedicated interface that also happens to show the latest trending hashtags.  But it’s biggest advantage?  It allows you to filter your searches with advanced settings advanced settings.
  2. Put your most important words or facts first.  People’s attention spans have grown so fleeting in this decade that they will even look away after the first five or six words, if you haven’t grabbed them with your tweet.
  3. Thank people who tweet about you or retweet your tweets – especially for Follow Friday (it’s part of the culture).
    People like to be acknowledged and noticed, and thanking them by Twitter handle for a retweet or recommendation is the perfect way to do it.
  4. Make a habit of joining as many relevant Tweet Chats as you can.  If you pick one your business really fits, you can make great new contacts through the sense of instant closed community.
  5. Tweet current events that are in the process of happening – but do your best to keep these relevant to your followers and your niche.
    Occasionally something is so shocking or momentous one has to comment – and that’s allowed.  But don’t tweet the latest celebrity scandal unless it has some point of connection or relevance to your niche community.  (E.G. Tweeting to your strictly-vegan followers:  “Vegan Brad Pitt caught chowing down on 10 lb. Texas Steak”)

advanced serach

  1. Be culturally aware, when using jargon or colloquial speech.  You may not be saying what you think you’re saying, if your followers are from other cultures or countries.
  2. Remove weak words from your tweet for maximum impact.  Words that weaken the power of a statement are “filler” words and phrases (E. G.  “So to speak”; “in my humble opinion”; “basically”.Creating focused, powerful tweets increases your chances of getting them retweeted.(Tip:  Adjectives and adverbs usually weaken – not enhance.)
  3. Pre-schedule tweets wisely – Remember that you won’t be there to respond.  It’s always best to wait around for at least ten to twenty minutes for interaction before logging out.
    If you do have to pre-schedule, do it with social media managers such as HootSuite or  TweetDeck; or with other social networks with a pre-scheduling function, such as StumbleUpon, if you want to share web links at a time other than the present.
  4. Focus on your followers.  Tweet material you think they will find interesting – and that’s a good policy whether or not your tweets are personal or niche-oriented. Including the odd personal tweet is good, because it makes you interesting and human… as long as it’s something your audience can relate to or feel connection over.
  5. Ask people to follow you on Twitter – Install targeted Twitter buttons in blog posts, guest posts, other social media sites and profiles; and on your website.

install Twitter buttons

10 Reasons Why You Need Social Media in Your Marketing Mix in 2013

10 Reasons Why You Need Social Media in Your Marketing Mix in 2013

Those who predicted that the leading social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn would fade away or gradually start to lose members in 2012 couldn’t have been more wrong. Those social media websites continued to grow, becoming an even stronger foundation of our online lives. Furthermore, new social media sites like Pinterest were able to become incredibly popular just over the course of the past year.

Social media is here to stay. This means that in order for your business to be successful, you’re going to need to make those sites part of your marketing efforts. Here are the top ten reasons why social media absolutely must be part of your marketing strategy in 2013.

1.         Time Spent on Social Media is Increasing

Perhaps you’ve noticed it happening to your teenage children, or even to yourself. People are spending more time on social media sites. In fact, according to a 2012 Report by comScore (http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations_and_Whitepapers/2012/The_State_of_Social_Media), social media usage now accounts for 18% of all time spent online. If you want your business to be successful then you can’t neglect marketing through social media – your potential customers spend too much time there.

time-spent-on-social-media

2.         Connect with Potential Customers

New customer acquisition is often the biggest hurdle for many new businesses. Not only can it be expensive to reach potential customers, it can be difficult to know exactly where might be the best place to reach them. With so many people logging in to Facebook and the other social media sites every week, those sites can be the best first place to start your marketing efforts.

connect with your customers on social sites

3.         Build Relationships with Current Customers

As you seek to connect with new customers, don’t forget one of the best sources of business – your existing customer base. Through social media websites you can easily connect with people you’ve already done business, and forge relationships that can help you improve your existing products and services, as well as come up with ideas for new lines of business.

hand shake

 

4.         Social Media Influences Search Engine Rankings

While the process and methods aren’t entirely opaque, it’s generally agreed that the scope of your social media presence has an influence over your businesses. In addition to improving rankings to your website, people also share various links and content through social media sites – and this sharing can further boost your standing with the search engines. This influence can be seen directly if you happen to use Google as your primary search engine (as most of us do), and have enabled personal search results.

Wikipedia also has information about social search at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_search)

social search

 

5.         Conduct Customer Service Operations

One of the best ways to address any service issues with your customers is to first consider how you and your friends deal with any problems you have when you are the customers.

Chances are you don’t always call the company you bought something from in order to lodge a complaint. In fact, there’s a good likelihood that rather than contact the vendor, you take to Twitter or Facebook and let your friends and contacts know about your negative experience. If you proactively monitor these social media sites for mentions of your company then you can immediately address any negative customer experiences, and demonstrate to others that you’re responsive to your customers’ needs and feedback.

You should also consider setting up Google Alerts (log in at www.google.com/alerts) to monitor individual blogs and bulletin boards for the same reason.

google alerts screen

 

6.         “Social Media is the New Search”

You might hear some market observers refer to social media as being the “new search.” This means that for a larger number of individuals, when they need to look for an answer to a problem or need they have, are more likely to look to their online social networks for possible solutions rather than use a search engine such as Google or Bing.

social media is the new search

 

7.         Highly Targeted Marketing Opportunities

Because people share so much about themselves on social media sites, you already know a lot about your potential customer base. Just a decade ago, if you wanted to target potential customers you might be forced to purchase or rent a mailing list, and you’d never really knew how good that list was. These days you can target demographic groups with pinpoint accuracy through social networking websites.

highly targetted bullseye


8.         Social Media Can Be Cost Effective

You can set up your own social media profiles for your business for free on all the major websites. This gives you a no-cost method to start implementing some of your social media marketing efforts almost immediately. In addition, if you choose to utilize the targeted advertising and promotional opportunities that are offered by Facebook and LinkedIn, you may find that the cost to reach targeted prospects is surprisingly competitive to other online advertising options you may have used in the past.

marketing cost effectively

 

9.         Commerce Will Be Conducted Through Social Media

In the long term, social media sites need to become profitable in order to survive. Trying to charge their members a fee to use will almost certainly be a non-starter, so it’s anticipated that their revenue will come from taking a commission of any real-money transactions or ecommerce that’s conducted on the site. While many of these ecommerce channels are not yet up and running, you can be sure that they’re likely to become a big part of doing business online. By becoming established on social media sites and learning the best ways to reach new customers, you’ll be in a strong position to take advantage of these ecommerce channels when they become active.

ecommerce on social

 

10.       Social Media is Replacing Traditional Media

As the time we spend on social media websites increases, the time we spend reading newspapers, listening to the radio and watching television decreases. This means that you might want to reconsider any marketing efforts you may have been planning for traditional local media.

As you participate in social media sites, always strive to be professional, helpful and honest. Putting forth the best possible image will do wonders for your business.

traditional marketing and social marketing

Social Media 2013 Trends and Predictions

Social Media 2013 Trends and Predictions

Given the strong and clear breakaway social media trends this past year, it’s not hard to guess where social media is heading towards in 2013. Some changes are already in the work, taking much of the guesswork out of predicting which direction we’re all going to be herded.

  1. Analytics for Pinterest Business Pages

At first dead-set against monetization, Pinterest now seems firmly headed in that direction.  Not only has it added Pinterest business accounts/pages, but it also lets you turn Pinterest into your own personal brand or product recommendation service (complete with price tags)…

Pinterest pin price

…Or into your own Pinterest store through third-party apps or services such as Shopinterest (from the Pintic creators).

Shopinterest website

But if Pinterest is going to seriously woo marketers and retailers, it will have to come up with native analytics such as Facebook provides through its own Insights.

And we predict these Pinterest native analytics will debut (at least in Beta mode) by the end of 2013’s first quarter.

But until then, there’s always Reachli.

  1. Facebook vs. Pheed – in Stereo

Facebook has only recently introduced real-time music sharing via the “Listen with” feature.  This enables Facebook users to share music from their apps, so both parties can hear the same music simultaneously.

Meanwhile, brand new social network Pheed – which has been described as a “mashup” between Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube – already allows sound clips and sound sharing (including voice notes), although it was only publicly released within the last three months.

Pheed is promising to be another Pinterest-style dark horse if you look at its growth trends so far, so Facebook likely has more sound-related apps or functions in the works for 2013 in order to compete.

Analytics site, Quantcast, shows Pheed with only a mere eighteen thousand monthly visits:  However, look more closely at the demographics and you’ll see that sharp rise occurred only in the first month it was opened for public consumption.  (Before that, it existed only in private Beta form.)

Quantcast Pheed

Will Pheed replace Twitter?  Let’s look at its attractions:

  • 420 characters allowed for micro-posts, compared to Twitter’s 140
  • One-click addition of graphics, video or sound clips and live streaming Pheeds for webinars, etc.
  • Able to post separate posts to Facebook or Twitter in widget to the left of Pheed Textarea box
  • Easy to set up subscriptions and create paid Pheeds
  • Able to one-click share any Pheed with Google+, Facebook and Twitter
  • Unlike button

The key is going to be its audience.  Right now, after a startup fueled by rap bands and young celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton, the average age according to Quantcast ranges from 18-34 years old.

Quantcast age of Pheed users

 (Remember, however, that’s for the first month out in public.)

Alexa.com shows Pheed as over-represented in the 25-34 year old range; and both sites agree that the overwhelming majority of users have “no kids”.

Alexa stats for Pheed

 Alexa figures for the last three months show a slight dip in popularity after that strong first month.  Even though Pheed is easy and fun to use, older users may be put off by too much profanity and tasteless images and profile photos bordering on the lewd.  “It’s trashy,” said one 56-year-old, not mincing words. “Trashy and vapid.  Pheed is supposed to have a ratings system, but even if you set yours at G, you still risk seeing those types of Pheeds.”

Will it be competition for Facebook?

Only if the younger demographic has anything to say about it.  Facebook and LinkedIn are still well ahead of the pack.

  1. The Continuing Rise of Mobile Connection

It doesn’t take a quantum physicist to hypothesize that people will share more than ever over mobile devices, thanks to apps, social networks to suit every taste and an ever-increasing array of mobile devices.

We went as small as we could go with mobile devices:  In 2013, it’s going to be all about tablet-style devices allowing people to take full advantage of graphic content.

When it comes to mobiles and social networking, people like not only the immediacy and interactivity, but instant connection with anyone, anywhere.

Woman texting

Only one trend even hints at contradicting this:  And that’s the preference of mobile reader owners for non-interactive content.  (They really do want to use mobile readers as reading devices.)

It’s not hard to predict, however, that this group will remain a minority of all mobile users.

  1. Increase in Cyber Surveillance through Social Networks

There are disturbing indications that cyber-tracking and surveillance of individuals will increase throughout 2013.

Much of this can be blamed on Facebook’s constant stretching of individual privacy limitations.  It seems to go like this:  People find out Facebook is violating some privacy principle, people complain, the news media reports, Facebook tweaks.  Everything dies down for a while.  Then Facebook quietly makes another change that seems to violate a privacy principle, people complain, the news media reports, Facebook tweaks.

The problem occurs when this becomes a predictable cycle – many people seem to become both cynical and immune.  “If you don’t want Facebook knowing about something, don’t post it,” said one teenager, with a chirpy common sense many adults would do well to emulate.

But now Facebook has acquired Instagram and Face.com, and is talking about automatically merging Facebook and Instagram data, as well as the ability for Facebook to “recognize” all photos of you ever posted, it will be interesting to see how much privacy concerns are going to affect social networking this year.

It may well be, however, that social networking will actually increase. A new generation thinks it is totally normal for the most mundane or personal happenings in their life to be hung out in public.

Besides which, NSA whistleblower, Walter Binney, has just made headlines by asserting that nearly every email in the U.S. is recorded by the FBI.

 NSA whistle blower Walter Binney

So that means email is no longer safer than social networking.

One social networking prediction to be sure of, however:  No matter how much social networks or government agencies flout privacy laws and principles, large numbers are not going to stop using social media.

  1. QR Codes Will Not Take Over the World

2012 also saw a rise in QR code use, as retailers and especially restaurateurs caught on quickly to these mobile-scannable graphic bar codes and all their delicious possibilities.

QR codes offer the ability to send people to:

  • Websites
  • SMS text messages
  • Telephone numbers

This makes them ideal for campaign gimmicks such as contests and coupons.

QR codes reached their heyday in Japan before North America was ever aware of them.  But now they are here, many people consider them merely annoying.  The novelty of wowing friends by knowing what to do with them quickly wore off.

RIP for QR code

But what about QR codes and social networking?

Mainstream use will continue to keep QR code usage a part of daily mobile life.  But it won’t be until 2014 that we’ll see heavy QR code use via social media – and only after companies and businesses have really got a handle on the best way to integrate these powerful little interactive gimmicks with social media.

  1. The Social Networking Fight between Facebook and Google Will Escalate

In fact, these two giants will leave all other networks in the dust.

But Apple is belatedly realizing that it should be paying more attention to social networking.  It has updated its voice-recognition system, Siri (a sort of glorified, Bluetooth-behaving “personal assistant”) to launch apps, post on Facebook and Tweet.

Which app does Siri work with?

Siri is not yet mainstream news and there is virtually no street-level buzz.

But given the capital Apple has at hand, it soon will command both.

  1. More and More Large Companies Will Go Social

With mobile use taking over the planet (literally) large companies will have to seriously rethink the way they advertise and pay more attention to social networking.

Oh, most of the major ones already have pages on Facebook, but many still seem to cling to that old “we’ll set and forget” attitude, relying on awesome graphics and flash websites to interest readers.

Sorry, but it takes more than that, Big Boys.  Social media users want:

  • Location-based information (the nearest store, etc.)
  • Interaction
  • A personal touch
  • To tell their stories
  • “Insider” deals
  • Status-endowing offers
  • The best deal

Unknown to users, however, social media analytics will reach new, sophisticated heights as companies mine all the main, relevant social networks, developing new systems for data analysis and use.  The data will become (finally) more important than the platform.

And they’ll finally clue on to the fact that response is key to engagement.

Oreck Facebook page

Pretty soon, they’ll know what you had for breakfast.  (Probably because you’ll tell them!)

But oh – gonna miss those Coca-Cola Polar Bear flash graphics and screensavers…

Coca-Cola polar bears

 

 

Social Media Review 2012

Social Media Review 2012

Social media networks continued to grow, expand and sometimes even explode during this past year.  New apps were added, new functions created, new networks launched in a frenzy of competitive emulation.

But was it all really necessary?  Aren’t people overloaded with social networking itself – let alone coping with change after change, new launches and other new shiny social baubles?

So what has changed globally about social networking?  What made 2012 a landmark year?

Here is a social media review of 2012:

Global Shifts and Changes

First let’s take a look at the most notable shifts and changes.

Facebook…

  • Went public, opening at $38 per share
  • Launched Timeline world-wide
  • Bumped Orkut from the #1 spot in Brazil
  • Still claims the top spot in global social networking, with 845 million monthly users at last count

Google

  • Frightened Facebook more than the latter expected with a Google+ popularity gain
  • Saw more people using Google+ Group video chats
  • Shut down PicNik photo-editing

Twitter

  • Ferociously tightened up its terms and policies
  • Parted ways with LinkedIn and (temporarily) Pheed
  • Lost thousands of referrals over the LinkedIn separation

Pinterest

  • The “best new start-up in 2011” continued to grow, with a 75% female user base
  • Added Pinterest business pages

Instagram…

  • Caught on quickly with the rise in infographic and photo popularity
  • Was acquired by Facebook for one billion dollars

Visual media such as Pinterest and Instagram experienced a volcanic rise in 2012, causing (or perhaps responding to) a major shift in social networking habits and the collective consciousness only partially explained by the corresponding rise in mobile device use.

In fact, Pinterest “referred more new business than LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+,” according to British firm, The SEO Company.

Meanwhile, the rocketing popularity of photo-sharing resulted in Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm (which weights photos more highly than any other type of media) becoming public knowledge.

Popularity also brought along problems:  Email viruses purporting to come from Facebook rose noticeably[1].  And while other social networks grabbed a satisfactory share of the market and improved their platforms dramatically, Facebook was still the star of the show, as The SEO company clearly demonstrated, based on Mashable findings.

 Google+ and Facebook comparison

Let’s take a closer look at Facebook’s most notable developments during 2012…

  1. Facebook:  Messenger for Windows

This was the year people found out that Facebook had officially released Messenger for Windows 7, allowing Windows 7 users to access Messenger without a browser (and thus pushing back competition from Google Gchat). 

Messenger for Windows

Using it is like chatting on Facebook, except you can do it from either your System tray or your home screen.  (It was actually released late in 2011, but the world didn’t start adopting it en masse until 2012.)

  1. Facebook:  Disappearing Cover Photos

Part of the new Timeline organization of personal news-feeds involved a new header area, consisting of tabs, a Cover Photo (background photo) and a Profile photo (head-shot or logo).  Facebook was firm in its guidelines – no promotional items or text in the Cover photo.  But it wasn’t long before people started ignoring that.

Recently people started reporting blank spaces in Facebook Eggshell Blue where their cover photos used to be.  No explanation has yet been given, but a common thread is emerging in the type of photos removed:

  • Any photo featuring a recognizable celebrity (even if that’s you standing grinning as said celebrity personally puts his or her arm around you)
  • Any promotional content – logos, recognizable brand names, prices, calls to action, etc.)
  • Text
  • Popular background images from download sites
  • Any copyright content – For example, movie shots, album covers or original artworks from well-known artists (or artists with a strong web presence).

So no more featuring your head-shot against a backdrop of Hobbits trudging through the snow; or against your favorite band performing onstage; or cozied up to Royalty.

 Forbidden Facebook Timeline cover photo

 In fact, if you attempt to upload any “copyright” photo (i.e. belonging to someone else), Facebook becomes eerily smart and will most likely slap you with a notice like this one when you try to re-upload it, according to at least one person who blogged about the phenomenon:

Facebook cover photo warning

  1. Facebook:  Face.com

Facebook acquired the rights to the facial recognition software it had been using, according to an announcement on Face.com’s blog in June 2012.

You are already familiar with Face.com through Facebook’s photo-tagging process.  Face.com already reputedly supplies certain other Facebook apps, including Photo finder (what you use when you locate tagged photos of yourself and un-tag them. So the acquisition seems a logical step.

But what are the implications?

Well, potentially, you could find Facebook “recognizing” every photo you’ve ever appeared in – whether these belong to your account, other peoples’ accounts or institutional accounts/Facebook pages.

Not everybody is comfortable with that option, as can be seen from just two of multiple negative responses to Face.com’s June 18, 2012, blog post:

 FB facial response 1

 FB facial response 2

  1. Facebook: “Gifts”

Yes, Facebook did get rid of “Gifts” a couple of years ago, but like Heather O’Rourke says in the movie “Poltergeist”, “they’re ba-ack…”.

Well, at least for some people.  If you have gifts enabled, you’ll see the present-box icon beside friends’ birthdays or with their posts, if you check their walls.

Facebook gifts

Face it, the ability to collect money directly from your credit cards for gift was most likely  just too tempting for Facebook to let die, so Facebook has resurrected gift-giving along with a whole new raft of willing partners, including:

  • Baby Gap
  • Dean & Deluca
  • iTunes
  • L’Occitane,
  • Lindt
  • Pandora
  • ProFlowers
  • Random House

(And that, of course, doesn’t include all those “Facebook credits” for games.)

Gifts functionality doesn’t yet seem to be enabled for everyone.  If you aren’t yet able to give gifts, the gift icon won’t appear; and if you go to the gifts page, you’ll see this announcement:

Facebook gifts page announcement

If you can see the gifts icon, this Facebook  help page further explains the process.

  1. Google+:  YouTube Developments and Integration

Facebook isn’t the only social network determined to push ahead.  Google has been doing its best to go one step further than its gigantic rival – particularly with visual sharing.

One sore spot among Google+ users concerned with branding and SEO was the way people creating new accounts on YouTube could apply their Google+ user names to their channels.   Existing YouTube users could not.  So now there’s a fix for that.  Those using YouTube for business purposes will appreciate the branding opportunity of syncing Google+ and YouTube accounts; plus the increase in Google searchability.

And to enhance your YouTube videos further, Google allows you to create rich snippets to show up as an enhanced listing in your Google search results[2].)

Google rich snippets

  1. Facebook:  Instagram Acquisition

Facebook purchased mobile photo-sharing network Instagram – reportedly for one billion dollars.

Instagram home page

Hard on the heels of this purchase, Facebook began to make unmistakable noises about eliminating user voting on its “governance policies”.

There has been alarm over the idea of Facebook building user profiles using data shared between its own network and Instagram’s.

Facebook has gone on record as saying that storing Instagram “server logs and administrative records” on its own systems is “standard for the industry”.  Prior to this, Mark Zuckerberg himself went on record as saying Facebook was “committed to building and growing Instagram independently”.

Instagram’s acquisition was reportedly in the works prior to Facebook shares going public.

  1. Pinterest: Business Pages

And now the development we’ve all been waiting for – Pinterest business pages.  Not only can you now join Pinterest as a business, you can create a Pinterest business page.

If you already have a Pinterest account, you will have to convert it from personal to business.  Pinterest then walks you through the page creation process.

You can:

  • Verify your website
  • Embed buttons and widgets
  • Select a custom URL for your page

Example Pinterest business page

To sum up 2012, it’s been all about three things, with social media:

  • Mobile integration and sharing
  • Photo and video sharing
  • Making money

And it seems as if the social media world has finally woken up to these facts.  That being said, only one thing seems consistent about social media networks in 2012.

They are constantly changing and growing along with their users.

 



[1] Don’t open any email saying it’s from Facebook if it has an extra “o” in its Address (e.g. “faceboook.com”)

[2] Further tips on managing rich snippets: http://www.bestrank.com/blog/the-trick-to-getting-your-rich-snippet-author-photos-to-show-in-google-results

How to Read Sendible Reports and Tips for Using this Data to Improve Your Social Media Presence

How to Read Sendible Reports and Tips for Using this Data to Improve Your Social Media Presence

One of the most powerful assets Sendible offers to your business is its Reports feature.  You can access this instantly via your Dashboard by clicking on the “My Reports” tab.

This feature works powerfully both in helping you monitor and in allowing you to accurately track your social media presence.

 

Sendible reports tab

You can check:

  • Your message volume
  • Your scorecard (interactions, audience, influence, clicks)
  • The best time to post, as proven on your particular networks
  • Number of clicks on posts over the month
  • A record of all messages and posts (including date and interactions
  • Mentions – your keywords; and whether or not these mentions were positive or negative.

report dashboard

Step 1. Building Your First Report

Before you can read any data, however, you need to build your first report.  Click on the “My Reports” tab, if you aren’t already there, and select the “Report Builder” tab in the left-hand vertical sidebar menu.

Select your layout from the templates indicated.

select report layout

You’ll be taken to the next screen, where you’ll notice two fields waiting for your input:

  • Report Name
  • Report Title

enter report details

Only you will be able to see the contents of the “Report Name” field, so go ahead and populate it with whatever you want.

Everyone who accesses the report will be able to see your “Report Title”, so put some thought into a strong title, preferably with a relevant keyword in it.

You can also select the exact period of time you’d like the report to cover (seven to ninety days).

The moment you click “Next”, you’ll be given a selection of modules you can add.  Choose the most relevant ones by clicking on the green “Add” buttons.

When you are done, click on the “Close” button.

add modules

The next page shows you your report skeleton and presents you with a button you can press to upload your logo (260 X 100 pixels), as well as allowing you to edit your personal data in the far right side of the report header.

upload your logoUnderneath, you’ll find the data….

report data like Facebook demographics

(This area can be as packed with fields and data or focused on one aspect as you’d like it to be.  You can also remove fields at this stage, by selecting the little wheel in the right-hand side of each field header slug.)

scorecard

You can then choose between four actions:

  • Print your report
  • Email it
  • Publish it to a live link
  • Export it in MS Excel or HTML

Step 2. Reading Your Data

Sendible’s “My Reports” functions becomes invaluable in analyzing data and monitoring your social network, email and site interactions.  In addition to all the fields you can add when populating your reports, you can also go to the “Quick Reports” tab in the left-hand menu and select even more functions.

quick reports monitoring

You don’t have to “interpret” in any one of these sections:  Simply read the results, which are all sorted, tabulated and in many cases compared for you.

When you’re ready to collect new data and create a new report, go back to the “Report Builder” tab in your “My Reports” left-hand, vertical menu.

Sendible report builder

You will see the last report you created – but on the extreme right-hand side in the Header section of your report, you’ll also notice the bright green “New Report” button.

new report button

Press it, and you’ll be able to “Add Modules” again.

Last time you created a report, we focused only on the vertical Modules within “General Reports”.

general reports tab

This time, check out the horizontal tabs in your “Add Modules” section.

add modules section

  1. “Channels” lets you set up and track activity across all your social media accounts:  Your Facebook Page, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts and more.
  1. “Social Media Monitoring” lets you monitor all your “mentions” – positive, negative, over time, by source and more.

One tip, however – make sure the keywords you select is highly specific to your business.  If you use a general keyword such as “business solutions”, you will get a flood of “junk” results.

Do be sure to scroll down in the “Social Media Monitoring” section.  You won’t want to miss the chance to add a “Sentiment” pie chart – one of your quickest barometers of buzz-worthiness – and setting up a “Sentiment Comparison” between your social networking accounts.

This demographic alone is unique in that it fairly accurately measures intangibles such as liking, long thought to be non-empirical and non-measurable.

social media monitoring

“Sentiment Comparison” is a good category to add if you have multiple social media accounts.  And, finally, “Top Influencers” can show you who has been busy either competing or promoting your keyword the most (if you chosen keywords highly focused to your business USP).

  1. “Links” won’t be hugely valuable if your business is fairly new:  However, if you’ve built up solid backlinks, it’s worth your while throwing into your mix for this second test report.

links section

(Always select any modules with pie charts.  They impress clients, are great for giving you an accurate visual feel for data portions – and you can always take them out before printing or sharing your report, if the data doesn’t feel particularly impressive or relevant.)

  1. “Campaigns” is another tab that doesn’t look too impressive when you first click on it.  (In fact, it looks rather lonely.)   But press the “Setup” button for its one solitary field, “All Messages”, and it opens up a treasure trove of tracking options.

campaigns tab

In addition to the post data options displayed at first glance, you can also analyze and track:

  • Number of emails opened during the report’s specified time period
  • Number of people reached by your emails
  • Retweets during that period
  • Your top posts that have been shared over that period
  • The number of people who unsubscribed from receiving your messages
  • How many people viewed your blog(s)
  1. Google Analytics is your final horizontal-tab field to add.  You can instantly set up full analytics measurements – and you’ll never have to log into Google again to see your stats.

Google analytics tab

In addition to the fields you see here, you can also add (if you scroll down):

  • Visitor Countries
  • Visitor Cities
  • Pages Viewed
  • Search Keywords

Don’t neglect location-based targeting and measurement in your campaigns.  Even if you do one hundred percent of your business online, you may uncover a hidden gemstone of a local market who will buy from you simply because you’re someone they either know (at least by sight, if you’re putting in quality time investing in your community) or just someone from their home town.

Step 3. Editing Your Report

You can also “Edit” your report within the “Add Modules” section, which allows you the ability to change either the layout or the details within the report, making for a tighter, more focused report.

update report details

Get into the habit of editing your details.  Not only will it look and read better, it will give you a stronger, clearer picture of where your business online visibility and interaction level is really “at”, and what sort of actions you will need to take in which areas, to improve your statistics.

Step 4. Sendible Best Practices – Four Secret Stops to Make

Finally, remember to check out the horizontal tabs under “Add Service” in “Add/Edit Services”.  The more relevant streams you add, the more complete your tracking and monitoring results and reports will be.

“If you use it, add it” is a good rule to start out with.

And if you decide a stream is just not worth including, or you suspect it skews your results, you can always remove it later.

Two more tips for you:

  • Get in the habit of keeping up with Sendible Insights – and don’t let the name mislead you.  It is in no way a copy of Facebook Insights: Instead, it’s more of a blog that provides both basic and heavy-duty social marketing tips and news.

Sendible Insights

(Just select any post title of particular interest.)

  • Visit Sendible Resources before you start hunting for answers elsewhere.  This comparatively hidden area of their website contains not only the most clear and well-organized tutorial sections, but it also presents you with actual case studies you can follow, if you’re more of a “hands on” must-see-it-for-myself sort.

Sendible resources

  • Follow Sendible on social networks – especially on Pinterest.  Not only is Pinterest one of the fastest-growing social networks, you’ll pick up handy infographics and tips

Sendible on pinterest

  • Visit the Getsatisfaction “secret” forum.  Well, actually, it’s not so secret:  In spite of the fact it is now no longer active and archived (as well as “unofficial”, with a big site disclaimer denying any Sendible affiliation), Sendible’s support team actually includes it as a resource under their signature in automated replies.

While much of it is out of date (or about to become so, with Sendible’s recent upgrades and changes), it is still a place where you can find the odd diamond when hunting for glitch solutions (and waiting for Sendible support).

Jumping in the Pool

There is much  more to Sendible than we’ve touched on, but it’s something you can’t learn overnight.  You need to try it, tweak it, find what works best for your unique business – but these tips should help you start out with a firm foundation.

Oh.  And don’t forget to measure and track how much time Sendible saves you!

 

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