Over the last decade or so, there has been an explosion of growth in the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as other platforms including LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest. There is no denying that this is the era of social media and for the foreseeable future, the need for businesses to incorporate social media into their marketing efforts will only become stronger. After all, the rising stats of the social networks speak for themselves.
1. Facebook has over 1.19 billion active users monthly. Basically, if Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest.
2. 1 in 5 young adults aged between 18 and 25 uses Twitter. The social network is currently adding 300K users per day.
3. YouTube reaches more US adults aged between 18 and 34 than any cable network.
4. LinkedIn saw a 105% growth between 2011 and 2013.
5. 72% of online adults are social networking site users
In layman’s terms, whether you run a small, mid-size or enterprise level company, the statistics above clearly demonstrate that your customers are online. They are on the social networks looking for information and entertainment and interacting with friends, colleagues and brands. If you don’t leverage these opportunities for responsive communication and interacting with customers on a huge scale including those who are right down the street from you, make no mistake that your competitor will be doing just that.
Not to mention that social media can be a springboard for marketing success through other channels too because it takes your existing brand and solidifies it. It captures your company’s voice and propels it far and wide into the world opening up opportunities in other inbound marketing channels including but not limited to SEO, branding and public relations. Through social media, you can:
- Build relationships with customers. These will then serve as the foundation upon which other aspects of your business will flourish including advocacy and loyalty.
- Get feedback – on the social networks, information is shared at the speed of light so if you know how to take cues from your audience, social media can become an invaluable tool to gather insights and feedback.
- And finally, when integrated with the rest of your marketing efforts including branding and PR, social media can help you create a scalable experience for your customers, which will, in turn, amplify and solidify your work.
So as a business, having a successful social media presence can have a far-reaching impact. But how do you know if you’re doing it right and your social media marketing efforts are paying off?
This is where social media metrics and ROI come into play!
The Importance of Social Media ROI
There is a bunch of reason why online marketing appeals to many businesses and one of them is the fact that you can measure nearly everything you do. Once you collect the data you need, you can derive actionable takeaways. The challenge it seems is to remember that measuring and collecting data is only effective if you know what to measure and why. The point is to measure any return on your investment (ROI). Read more
If you want to generate more traffic to your website and get more attention and higher rankings in the SERPs for your content, sometimes it takes more than creating quality content and hitting the publish button. One thing that is starting to have a huge and significant impact on these goals is social media. After all, Facebook has over 1.3 billion users, and a few hundred million people are spread across other popular social networks like Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and lately Instagram.
As such, if you want to reach and impact more people, increasing the number of social shares for your content is definitely something worth considering. Think about it: If you create and publish a post that gets 500 Facebook likes, 400 tweets and 200 +1s and you do this consistently, how much traffic to your website does this translate to and how much of a bump those posts will get up the SERPs?
The question is, how can you get people to share your content across the social media sites? Let’s look at 4 ways in which you can do this.
4 Ways to Get More Shares across Social Media
1. Make it Easy for People to Share your Content
If you want more social shares for your content, make your social sharing buttons obvious by placing them in prime real estate. For example, you can use a dynamic and customizable vertical box that contains buttons and/or links to the popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Reddit and which scrolls up and down a post to match the scrolling of readers. Alternatively, social sharing buttons at the end of posts is also very effective.
2. Encourage your Readers to Share your Content
Here is the deal: Most people, when they read something online, won’t immediately think “I want to share this”. You have to spell it out for them. Sometimes a few simple words strung together like “Please RT” can generate 3 times or 4 times as many retweets as you would get without such a call to action, a fact demonstrated to best effect by the studies and experiments outlined by Dan Zarrella in this post on copyblogger.com.
Take a second and imagine that you are in front of your target audience. You have a very short span of time to keep their attention. This is a situation similar to speed dating, except that you have to send your message to everyone at once and try to win as many people as possible on your side, because right after you are done, your main competitor will try to attract them.
From the moment visitors land on your website, they are found in a similar situation and that’s why you will hear many internet marketing experts repeating the words of Bill Gates – Content is King. However, the creation of content that will attract exactly the groups of people who need to view those messages has never been more demanding.
Competition is forcing content creators to come up with new stuff all the time. This means that in order to run a successful website you have to come up with some great blog ideas and content. A brief search on the Internet can make you feel like all the ideas in every possible industry has been exploited…but that’s not true!
The reasoning behind this conclusion is simple – there are still many question-and-answer websites that are very popular. People have questions and they can’t find answers in the articles found on the Internet.
A good example is Quora. Quora is actually an online collection of user created questions and answers that can be edited and organized by each user. Their main goal is to become the best possible source for anyone who has an issue or question and that each question becomes a collection of the best answers to that question. The users themselves vote for the best answer and in this way they rank the best answers.
Using Quora to Generate Blog Ideas & Content
Thanks to the system used by Quora you can easily find hot topics. The questions that have many answers are usually ranked higher and they are also ranked by the views. What makes Quora different from other similar services is the fact that people are looking for some specific answers that can usually be answered by experts, scientists and people who have a lot of experience in those fields.
1. Since the questions are grouped by areas, you should focus on the questions related to your niche. You will find many interesting questions and even more interesting answers that should be enough to construct a skeleton for your blog post or simply give you an idea for a topic that you can develop. You can use the questions to generate headlines, but you should never copy/paste those questions or the answers because this is bad for SEO.
Everyone knows the deal when it comes to the critical role content plays in inbound marketing. You need content to:
- Drive sales without resorting to hard-sell tactics
- Build trust and authority among your buyers
- Build a loyal community around your brand and
- Become recognized as a thought leader in a specific industry
The challenges marketers face in regard to producing quality content are numerous. In particular, it’s easier said than done to produce enough content and to produce content that’s interesting and valuable enough to get read. But some of us do our due diligence and devote time, resources and energy to create unique and engaging content.
And it pays to do so because if you get the hang of creating content that sparks discussion, goes viral and drives business, you’ve essentially ticked all the boxes when it comes to the aforementioned goals and benefits of producing and publishing content.
But the web does not only consist of honest people. Instead of investing the time and energy it takes to create good content that people would want to consume, some opt for the easy way out, which is, stealing. That simple! They steal your content and use it to grow their business. After all, your content sits in plain sight on your website. In truth, at any moment, anyone in the world, with just a few keystrokes namely CTRL + C and CTRL + V, can steal your content and paste it onto their own website, sometimes verbatim, claiming it as their own.
Plagiarism is today a serious plague on the web and one that should not be taken lightly. But how can you protect your website against theft?
We’ve got some ideas!
What Copyscape Recommends
According to Copyscape, if you want to fight and prevent plagiarism, there are three things you can do.
- You can use a plagiarism warning banner on your website to deter content thieves from stealing your work
- You can assert ownership over your work by using copyright notices on each page
- You can use Copysentry to automatically monitor copies of your work over the web
What DMCA Recommends
In addition to Copyscape, DMCA also recommends certain steps to fight plagiarism and to prevent your content from becoming easy targets. To protect your website against content theft:
- Consider naming, dating and titling all the content you publish on your website within the code itself
- Place a DMCA Protection Badge on website pages. This extra layer of protection can go a long way in deterring thefts and safeguarding your rights against plagiarists
- And finally, to protect the non-written content on your website, watermark your graphics, images and photos. For this purpose, DMCA’s watermarking service is very practical
In the last 10 years, social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, have seen an explosion of growth, both in terms of the number of users and popularity. Facebook, for instance, has 1.39 billion monthly active users and an average of 890 million daily active users while 89% of 18-29 year olds are on at least one social network. Clearly we live in an era where social media is a predominant way for people to interact and communicate online. For businesses, this rise in social media spells two things – opportunity and responsibility.
Indeed, social media is an opportunity and not only because of the audience on the different platforms but also the sheer amount of data that customers make readily available to marketers. The question is: Are you listening? After all, the magic of social media lies in its application in growing long lasting and scalable relationships with your customer base. Therein also lies the pitfall of the social networks. You have an online responsibility towards your customers. At the end of the day, social media can make or break your business.
Some social media practices that could hurt your business include:
1. You’re Publishing the Wrong Kinds of Content
Marketers often make the mistake of using the social networks for the sole purpose of pushing promotional content and updates. The problem with this lies in the fact that social media is all about building trust, engagement and community. There is a time and place for promotional messages but you also have to add value to the conversations and interactions you have online by sharing content meant to indulge or help your customers.
For instance, not every post you make on social media has to come from an original idea of yours. Sometimes responding to what others are saying and bouncing your ideas off them could be as plausible a way of getting yourself heard as any. Then there are other types of content such as non-promotional company information, for example if your employees are taking part in some volunteer work or if you have a job opening for job seekers.
2. You’re Publishing too Much Content too Often
How often should you post on the social networks? That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Sadly though, there is no right answer to this. There is no best practice set in stone because the social networks, for example Twitter and Facebook are very different from one another. One thing that’s true for all the social media sites is that updates and posts don’t last long and users move on to more recent items quickly. The other consideration is the type of organization you are. A media publication, for instance, can get away with many updates a day whereas a online shoe store sending out updates at such a frequency will exhaust and consequently turn off users. One thing you absolutely don’t want to do is talk just for the sake of it. Content you post on social media should add value to the community around your brand or business.
Launched on October 06, 2010 and named iPhone App of the Year by Apple the following year on December 09, 2011, after 4 short years, Instagram announced in December that it is now a global community of more than 300 million users sharing over 70 million photos and videos each day. From the beginning, as a photo-sharing and video-sharing social service, Instagram has been focused on 2 things: simplicity and inspiring creativity.
As Instagram grows bigger, it remains a fast, beautiful and most importantly a fun-filled way for people to share their lives with friends and followers. For businesses and brands, the large and growing audience on Instagram is a compelling reason to join the service. It’s additionally a beautiful platform for storytelling and to share engaging content.
But what happens if you join the service and after amassing a few dozen followers, your account’s growth rate slows down and eventually stops. If you have, give or take, a total of 100 followers, your images will get maybe a dozen likes at most. It’s not significant enough to gain any traction.
The key to a successful Instagram account then would be to learn absolutely everything there is to know how the social service, in particular things like what causes Instagramers to like images, what makes them become followers and how to increase the visibility and impact of your images. So let’s discuss the science of Instagram and how to get more followers and likes on the service.
1. Connect your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter Accounts
Perhaps the easiest way to grow your Instagram account is to connect it to your Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts so that any content you post on the photo-sharing service also gets posted across the other social platforms. This increases the reach and impact of your brand as friends and followers noticing your captivating imagery and rich visual storytelling will, most probably, start following you on Instagram as well. Note that if you choose to connect your social accounts, there is no rule against posting a status asking your friends and followers to follow you on Instagram as well.
2. Use Popular Tags
The most used hashtags on Instagram are as follows:
Like is the case on Twitter and a few other social networking services, using the right hashtags with your images and videos on Instagram is a great way to find new followers. The key is to be as specific and relevant as possible to help you connect with other like-minded people. After tagging your content, take a moment to look at pictures and videos other people shared using the same tags. You may come across some popular hashtags you hadn’t thought of originally.
Many organizations are realizing the important role that social media plays in the marketplace today and as such, have started using it as part of their marketing and advertising strategy. While large corporations may have plenty of funds to allocate towards advertising on social platforms, many companies are not seeing the expected rate of return on their hefty social advertising investments.
A lot of business managers have approached social media by marketing their organizations to consumers as a business, as opposed to just simply interacting with consumers as if they were real people. Social networks are meant to be “social”. People want people talking to them; not a faceless corp.
Some organizations have fallen into the trap of talking “at” their consumer base on social platforms in an effort to reach their bottom line, instead of talking “with” their consumer base to genuinely learn more about them. As a result, many organizations are experiencing a lack of interest and interaction, from consumers on social media despite having large followings on many social platforms.
Here are 3 steps business managers can use to begin genuine interaction with consumers to stimulate interest and interaction on social media:
1. Avoid Using Social Media Simply to get More Customers into your Sales Funnel
While every organization is in business to grow its consumer base and generate sales, business managers must realize and remember that business is not always about the bottom line. There are times when business is about setting a good example and being a leader in the marketplace. One way that organizations can lead by example and demonstrate leadership is by giving back to the very community that helps the organization generate revenues.
Businesses can interact with its consumer base across many different social platforms to generate ideas for social causes that its consumers find important and worthy of attention. When consumers see that an organization, particularly a large organization, is ready to listen to them, they are more likely to get involved with the brand socially (translation: More likes, comments, and shares!).
Social media has become one of the most effective forms of communication for organizations in today’s fast-paced world. With social media, company managers are able to strengthen relationships with their current consumer base via many different social platforms. It also allows company managers to target potential consumers who are not yet familiar with the organization and develop new relationships with them.
Much like a gun, while social media can be used for a company’s good, it can be dangerous for the company itself if used wrongly. There are a number of practices and procedures that company managers can develop that will help an organization manage its social platform strategies professionally and lower the chances of potential negative effects that can jeopardize an organization’s standing. This is known as a social media policy.
Here are 3 fundamental social media basics that company managers can implement into an effective social media policy and begin practicing throughout their organization:
1. Inform all Employees of their Role within the Organization
Advising all employees of the company’s mission statement, goals, and objectives is the first step in aligning all employees together in an effort to accomplish the organization’s sole mission. When employees understand the purpose of an organization, what the organization is attempting to accomplish, and that the organization needs the help of each employee to achieve its goals, employees will begin to understand their role in the company, take pride in their position, and take the organization’s desires seriously. Employees who respect their employer, and who take the company that they work for seriously, will become more aware of their own actions and will conduct themselves in a manner that prevents their employer from being represented in a negative light in public.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve all seen the importance of social media skyrocket for businesses.
- Facebook has over 1.19 billion active users monthly. This means that if Facebook were a country, it would have been the world’s third largest with 3.5x the size of the U.S population.
- 1 in 5 young adults aged between 18 and 24 use Twitter daily.
- Overall, Twitter receives an estimated traffic of 300K users per day.
- Between 2011 and 2013, LinkedIn experienced a 105% growth.
- 72% of online adults use social networking sites.
It’s safe to say that the need for businesses to get their social media marketing right is only going to get stronger over time.
Social Media Marketing 101
1. It all starts with picking the right types of social channels
Most marketers have limited time and resources to invest in social media. This makes deciding where to focus your social media energy an increasingly important decision. The thing to remember is that not all social media sites are created equal. Three things will determine which network you should sign up for.
- Your business objectives and goals
- Your customer demographic
- The type of product and/or service you offer
For example, if you run a website that sells beauty products, you will be sharing a lot of image-based content. This makes Pinterest an ideal social site. It also has a more women-skewed user base.
2. Publishing and Sharing Content
Many marketers limit their social media content to promotional updates. This won’t help you build trust or a community around your business. You need to broaden the scope a little. In addition to the occasional promotional update, try other types of updates including:
- Adjacent content. This includes content relevant to but not exactly about your business that may interest your audience.
- Joining conversations. Social media is all about interacting and communicating with people online. Take an interest in the conversations happening around you and jump in if you have something of value to add.
- Non-promotional company information. It’s always a good idea to humanize your brand on the social media sites. Let people in on what’s happening behind the scenes like if you’re doing any volunteer work or if you’re having a Christmas lunch for your employees.
- Humor is subjective and it’s not always acceptable so this type of post can be tricky. If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, it’s always better to put safety first. Remember that a joke is supposed to be funny. Not awkward. Not inappropriate. And not painful.
Then of course, how often you should update your social media accounts is another important consideration. The bad news is that there is no best practice that’s set in stone. The best frequency for making updates will depend on what’s appropriate for your business, the best practices in regards to the social channels you use and your audience. You will need to experiment to know what works best for you.
It’s amazing how a lot of the things that we do repeatedly can be automated. And it’s even more awesome that apart from us, marketers can benefit from that. Today we are going to talk about 10 browser extensions that were designed for social media marketers.
Buffer is a social media management tool. It allows you to share stuff you find to your friends and followers. It also allows you to schedule things to be shared for later.
Now you don’t even have to open a new tab to sign in to do that; you can just download the extension for your browser. It’s available on Chrome, Safari, Firefox here.
Sometimes we find something to share while we are on the go, but we might not want to share it right-away. This can happen when for example, you’ve just shared something else 2 minutes ago.
In those instances, Evernote Web Clipper might come in handy. This tool allows you to collect things you find on the web on the go, right from your browser window. It’s available on Chrome, Safari and Firefox here.
3. Instagram for Chrome
With a rating of 4 out of 5 stars based on 10,000+ reviews, this Chrome extension certainly deserves a mention on this post.
The Instagram for Chrome extension allows you to do almost everything that you can do in the Instagram official app, without ever leaving the browser window that you are using. Comment or like photos or browse your friends any time you want, right on the same screen. You can download it here.
4. Riffle by CrowdRiff
This nifty tool turns you into an instant Twitter-user analyst. It gives you an in-depth insight on a bunch of useful data, like the:
- Retweets to tweet ratio
- Favorites to tweet ratio
- Top hashtags
- Top mentions
- Top URLs
- Average tweets per day
- And more…
It allows you to see who is really important in the Twitter community (so basically, who you need to actually spend your time on to produce real results). Get this mini-detective for free here.
What if you could get the perfect hashtag for your tweet? A lot of people seem to fail miserably when it comes to the use of hashtags. They either use something that has been used to death or words that are a little bit too… “unique”.
Ritetag is like a hashtag-good-ometer. It tells you how well a hashtag is performing right now. It’s available on Chrome, Safari and Firefox here.