In the world of online marketing, there are, give or take, five common business objectives:
1. Selling products and/or services
2. Collecting user information to later connect with potential leads
3. Encouraging frequent visits and engagement
4. Driving awareness and loyalty
5. Reaching customers at the very moment that they are searching for the things you offer on the search engines
To help them take the guesswork out of their marketing, businesses use a number of analytics software so they can reach relevant customers to grow sales and increase their bottom line.
In effect, analytics and data gives us access to all sorts of insights into what our customers want from our business so we can derive actionable takeaways. But here is the thing: Don’t you wish sometimes that you could get these information straight from your customers without all the tracking, measuring and analysis?
This is the value of customer feedback!
Successfully using customer feedback is a must for any business looking to provide users with what they need. It also informs your marketing efforts and can, down the line, influence your product roadmap. Some ways businesses collect customer feedback include social listening, comment boxes, direct outreach via exploratory interviews, surveys, emails and usability tests.
Another way to gather user feedback, if you’re using WordPress, is to use a good plugin. In this post, we’ll talk about six plugins that you can use to facilitate your interaction with your customers and learn what you are doing right and what could be improved.
If you want to know what your visitors think of your business and/or ecommerce website and reveal any weaknesses that your analytics software is not catching, Total Feedback offers a complete suite of features to gather feedback from your website visitors. It helps you create an unlimited number of unobstructive polls and viewing poll analytics so you can increase conversions and make smart decisions based on real visitor input. Read more
By now, we’ve all heard how valuable (or even essential) social media can be for brands and businesses to interact with customers, engage with a community of people and build relationships with their customers beyond those that happen during normal transactions. These relationships in turn increase both customer loyalty and retention and increase your returns.
The key is to decide where to focus your social media energy. After all, not all social media sites and platforms are created equal so which social media channel makes the most sense for your efforts will differ for each and every business.
One network that has been consistently helping businesses to drive awareness, shape perception, develop relationships and turn their target prospects into leads and customers is LinkedIn. It is the world’s largest professional social network that connects colleagues, businesses and current/potential employees, all the while enabling community development and content sharing.
Available in 24 languages and with more than 364 million members, LinkedIn is a robust network to build authority and establish thought leadership with nearly three times the conversion rate of Facebook or Twitter.
Why Build a Presence for your Business on LinkedIn
1. LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network with over 364 million registered users.
2. Two new members are added to LinkedIn every second.
3. The network is a gateway to top results in Google.
4. LinkedIn promotes personal branding. It also, like Google+, lends credibility to brands and businesses.
5. LinkedIn is a trusted platform.
6. It is a robust network for community development and content sharing.
6 ways to Optimize your Content Marketing on LinkedIn to Build Your Brand and Boost Quality Leads
1. Deliver the right content, at the right time, to the right people
Last year, LinkedIn opened up their publishing platform to all members empowering users to post original content, which becomes part of their profile. The challenge is to optimize your content to increase your business reach and impact. For example, if you want to increase engagement on LinkedIn:
– Focus on when to post. The best time is in the morning, Monday through Friday.
– Focus on post frequency. Statistically speaking, 20 status updates a month can help you reach 60% of your unique audience monthly.
– Focus on what to post. LinkedIn members are interested in things like industry insights and new products/services.
– Focus on content type. Increase your LinkedIn engagement by including a link with your post, using strong images, making your headlines clear and compelling and linking to relevant videos. Read more
From Mercedes-Benz and Levi’s® to Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry’s, Instagram – a community of over 300 million, is being used by brands and businesses to reach an engaged audience, build awareness, deliver captivating imagery for rich visual storytelling and publish content in a creative environment. After all, every brand has a point of view and Instagram lets you share yours.
The social networking service has the following benefits:
1. Instagram is home to an engaged community. Instagrammers are passionate about the platform and are open to new perspectives.
2. The singular focus of the platform is captivating imagery. This is a fact demonstrated to best effect by Instagram’s simple design that ultimately allows captivating imagery to take center stage.
3. Instagram is a beautiful and high-quality environment to tell your brand’s story.
Additionally, the statistics for Instagram are baffling. The photo-sharing and video-sharing social networking service has:
1. 300 million monthly active users
2. The service is home to over 30 billion photos
3. Everyday, 70 million photos are added
4. Instagram photos generate 2.5 billion likes daily
Clearly, if you ignore Instagram’s potential as a marketing channel, you do so at your own peril. Equally important, if you want Instagram to fit into your overall marketing strategy and in turn increase awareness for your brand, shift perception and/or reach a new audience, you need to be aware of tactics for success.
In truth, as more and more people and brands jump onto Instagram, the noise level for individual users increases and for your content to really stand out from the crowd, it needs to be remarkable, interesting and add value. The content also needs to be optimized to make sure it is seen.
7 tactics for Marketing Success on Instagram
1. Cross-promote for Discoverability
One of the easiest ways to juice up your Instagram engagement and maximize your Instagram impact is to mention your Instagram account on other social media channels, your website and any printed materials. This will promote traffic and expand your reach to new or existing communities. In particular, be sure to capitalize on Facebook’s integration of Instagram to reach wider audiences.
2. Follow the Top Trends
As a social media marketer on Instagram, you need to be constantly aware of the top trends on the network so you can participate in those conversations when it’s relevant for your industry. The idea is that you want to match your content to the current season, holiday or event so you can hit your audience when they are already thinking about these things.
3. Engage your Community
Next up, the thing you need to understand about Instagram is that it is not a one-way channel for promoting your brand. As mentioned above, Instagram is an engaged community and to belong, you need to like and comment on other people’s photos and content. Interact with your followers and reciprocate their passion for your brand. Read more
Over the years, the Internet background for an individual has become just as important as the individual’s criminal background check! The same can be said for businesses of all sizes. Times have changed and word of mouth isn’t the only factor that can play a role in an entity’s reputation. As everyone knows, a good reputation is vital for long term success, whether you’re trying to establish yourself as a professional, or wish to enhance the potential of your business.
With this in mind, many professionals are fighting back against malicious, negative comments online. This is what online reputation management is all about. By relying on a good online reputation management strategy, it is possible to shield your potential customers from negative comments, while delivering them more positive information about your company. Below, you will be able to find 5 tips that can ensure that your strategy will be a complete success!
1. Create a Powerful Presence
In order to counteract those negative comments, it is vital to build a powerfully positive presence of your own. One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating accounts on all of the most popular social media networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. LinkedIn and Pinterest are also among your options. Of course, just building the accounts on these sites isn’t going to be enough!
It is vital to begin interacting with your customers through these sites, as it will dramatically increase your reputation. By building powerful accounts, you may very well be able to outrank those negative comments that could potentially have a negative impact on your business. Your account will never be effective, unless you keep it active and updated regularly!
2 Create a Blog
A blog will undoubtedly be very time consuming, but it will also be very handy! Whether you’re trying to build up your personal reputation or want to rank your company’s name, a blog is vital! The blog can be tremendously helpful on several different fronts. First, it’ll allow you to drive new customers to your site, by ranking for different keywords. Also, it can be used in conjunction with your social media accounts to keep your customers updated with the latest on goings in your business.
Finally, the blog will rank, if you keep it updated and active. This can help to push those negative comments further down the list. Of course, a blog is a good place to respond to negative criticism, if necessary, but you shouldn’t rush to conclusions on that front.
3. Be Prepared To Make an Investment
When attempting to draft your online reputation management strategy, you should be prepared to make some large investments. Not only will this be on the expensive end of the spectrum, but also it can be quite time consuming! It is essential to remember the overall importance of this aspect and ensure that you make a sizeable investment that will actually prove to be fruitful!
Not so long ago, the majority of people and businesses alike were questioning the value of social media as a channel for consumer-brand interactions. Now most businesses have some kind of social media presence. The process of acquiring leads through social media is called social media marketing. Sometimes it’s also referred to as inbound marketing. Occasionally though, another term is used as a further variant and that’s community management.
Now there is a great difference between social media marketing and community management. You see, social media marketing and community management are two practices that share some overlap but they are very distinct from one another and cannot be used interchangeably. If you’re going to be successful at either, you absolutely need to understand the difference between the two.
For example, here is a situation for you: You run an online shoe store and you receive a very positive comment on Twitter from a customer who made a purchase recently and would like to promote it to his or her followers. Do you forward this comment to your social media manager or to your community manager or both?
Perception vs. Reality
To be fair, it’s not so hard to see how social media marketing and community management may have become entangled over time. In truth, social media marketing is often a very poorly defined process boiled down to a simple matter of promoting your business using social media. This is a very broad and vague description that may simply mean maintaining a Facebook page or it could encompass creating customized content for different social media platforms, branding, public relations and developing a voice for your business.
Similarly, community management is often defined as any and all attempts made towards cultivating an audience for a business. So technically, as a business, if you’re posting regularly on Facebook and Twitter with the intention of building your social media audience, this falls under the definition of community management.
Therein lies the confusion. In truth, as mentioned above, social media marketing and community management are related terms with some overlap between the two practices. The distinction lies in the intention.
Community Management vs. Social Media Marketing
Here is the deal: Social media marketing is just like any other type of marketing. Therefore, the job description of a social media manager is to ultimately drive more sales for your company, usually by increasing the reach and impact of your brand. So a social media manager is a strategist with the primary role of designing strategies to align your social media efforts with your business objectives and subsequently increase any return on your investment (ROI).
In contrast, a community manager is a builder of relationships with the primary role of building relationships and a community so people feel loyal to you and your brand. The community manager is also responsible for advocating the brand on the different social platforms and increasing engagement as well as awareness for the company. Read more
If you’re interested in marketing your business online, there is one thing you can’t escape hearing about, and that’s content marketing and what it means for the success and prosperity of your business on the web. From building a community of fans and followers to increasing engagement and traffic to your website, content marketing is absolutely essential to growing your business online, because let’s face it, marketing in 2015 is about building relationships and driving sales without resorting to traditional “hard sell” tactics.
Consumers these days own a DVR. They skip television advertising and it’s not hard to shut out magazine advertising. As for banners and ads on the web, people have become and are increasingly becoming quite adept at taking in information without a care for banners and buttons making them irrelevant.
However, content marketing is not a walk in the park. It’s a big task with many roadblocks. For a start, content marketers need to create enough content while simultaneously keeping the quality of the content they produce high. This in turn means generating an unending stream of interesting and valuable content ideas and communicating those ideas using the right words and language to resonate with your target audience. Content marketing therefore demands a huge commitment of time and resources. This guide should aim you in the right direction.
Content Marketing Starts with Building a Strong Foundation
Here is the deal: You can’t confidently plan and create content if you don’t know why you are creating content and what you hope to achieve with it. For example, are you creating content to generate leads or you are creating content to close sales more quickly? Are you trying to inspire an interest in your products or are you trying to become recognized as a thought leader in your industry? You also need to define what your core message is; your core message is the primary benefit you are planning to offer your customers.
All of the above serve to lay a strong foundation for your content marketing strategy. Other things that fall under this category include competitive analysis, deciding who your target audience is and a strategy for creating and publishing content. For example, do you want to publish one type of content or multiple types and do your followers want to receive information in the format you are deciding on? Read more
Are you new to YouTube SEO? Do you need to polish up your knowledge? Here is a guide with comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality YouTube SEO and, ergo, reach the widest audience possible. After all, you may create videos that are creative, insightful and spot-on for your YouTube audience but this only half the battle. YouTube is home to a ton of great content and if you want your channel and videos to succeed, you need to optimize them.
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. Therefore, if you publish content on the platform, you better make sure you write optimized titles, tags and descriptions so your videos are easily discoverable and well indexed. The title of your videos, for example, is important for YouTube’s discovery systems and audiences to make sense of your content. A good practice is to keep them concise and include descriptive and relevant keywords early on in the titles. A video’s description field is also valuable real estate. As a matter of fact, put together, your video’s title, thumbnail and description should tell a cohesive story that compels people who come across your video to click on it. Tags, which are descriptive keywords, also play an important role in making sure YouTube’s discovery systems surface your videos to audiences.
If YouTube is a platform where you publish content then you would know that thumbnails appear all across it in different sizes and formats and sometimes outside of it, for example, if you shared a link to a specific video in a post on your blog. Basically, thumbnails act as miniature marketing posters for your content and if you want to attract viewers and make them click through to watch your videos, you need to choose a strong and vibrant image that’s eye-catching and that accurately represents the content of your video. In particular the image needs to be clear, in-focus and of high resolution. It also needs to be well framed and have a good composition.
Use Annotations Wisely
By definition, annotations on YouTube are clickable text overlays on published videos. When used wisely, they can increase viewership, community actions on your videos, and subscribers. The challenge is to use relevant and helpful annotations and not obstruct the actual content of your videos. Other best practices for annotations are:
– Avoid positioning them in the lower third of videos and/or along the very top of the frame.
– Don’t overwhelm your users. This renders the feel of your videos “spammy”.
– Set annotations to open a new window or to open in the same window when clicked as appropriate making sure they are adding maximum value and not taking viewers away from your videos prematurely or getting in the way of the viewing experience. Read more
Founded in February 2007 and later acquired in 2013 by Yahoo! for over a billion dollars, Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking site that attracts tons of eyeballs and can be leveraged for business by marketers. Perhaps its popularity is best explained by the fact that it is a mix of WordPress, Facebook and Pinterest. After all, it has WordPress-like blogging functionality, Facebook-like social features and Pinterest-like image management. According to a post on DMR by publisher Craig Smith, as of April 2015, Tumblr has a reach of 420 million users with an average of 120,000 daily Tumblr signups. There are also other interesting Tumblr statistics and numbers relevant for brands. For example:
– Tumblr is home to 217 million Tumblrogs (blogs), a number much higher than on WordPress.
– Everyday 113.6 million posts are made on the microblogging platform and social networking site and the average post is reblogged 14 times.
– Every month, Tumblr receives 199.1 million global users, 69 million of which are US visitors and 50% of which access Tumblr on mobile.
– The number of monthly page views on Tumblr is 5.187 billion and the average time users spend on Tumblr is 12 minutes, 1.5 minutes longer than on Facebook.
With stats like these, as a digital marketer, you have no choice but to leverage the platform for business. The key is to know exactly what you need to do.
How to Use Tumblr for Marketing | 7 Good Practices
1. Use Great Images
Tumblr, as mentioned above is a mix of WordPress, Facebook and Pinterest. Therefore one thing that you can safely assume is that Tumblr posts that are photos and other images do well. They are also ideal for reblogging.
2. Define your Niche
The top Tumblr viral blog of 2013 was Reasons My Son Is Crying. Other blogs that do well on Tumblr include Cats That Look Like Ron Swanson and Accidental Chinese Hipsters. In short, focus on a very tight niche.
3. Link your Posts to your Main Website
If you want the Tumblr community to engage with your company off the social networking site, link every post you make to your main website. Read more
Founded in October 2006 and later acquired in May 2012 by LinkedIn, SlideShare is a slide hosting service that began with a simple goal: To help people share knowledge online. Since then, the service has grown into the world’s largest and most popular community for sharing presentations averaging approximately 60 million unique visitors a month according to data pulled in Q4 of 2013. SlideShare also features in the top 120 most visited websites in the world and is used by individuals and organizations ranging from Guy Kawasaki to the White House and Mashable.
SlideShare for Business
Whether you own an online shoe store or you help companies grow their revenue, SlideShare has many applications in marketing. For example, as you probably already know, presentations work great for content marketing so one of the ways a business could use SlideShare is as a content marketing tool. You could use it to:
1. Tell a Story
It’s a tried and tested theory that personal stories make the best content inspiration source but to amplify the impact of your message further, you could leverage the power of visuals using SlideShare.
2. Embed Slides into Landing Pages
Whether you need to give people a preview of a product you’re launching or you need to explain a concept to your readers, few things can beat a well-crafted SlideShare presentation, which is also very easy to embed into any landing page.
3. Enhance Your Blog Posts
A great blog begins with the content you create and while there are many types of posts that you can write on your blog that will do well, embedding SlideShare content into blog posts should rank pretty high up that list because readers love it.
4. Brand Yourself the Visual Way
No one goes to a SlideShare presentation hoping to come across huge chunks of text. It’s clearly a platform for visual communication and this makes it a great tool to introduce people to your brand and what you stand for in a recognizable fashion.
So SlideShare has many applications. The other benefit of the slide hosting service is that uploaded presentations have great potential to generate traffic for your website. The key is to optimize them for both your target audience as well as the search engines.
How to Optimize your SlideShare Presentations so You are Using the Service to its Full Potential
1. Make the First Slide Captivating
When it comes to content marketing, first impressions matter so if you’re creating a SlideShare presentation for your audience, don’t under estimate the power of your first slide. Not to mention that it will be used as the thumbnail everywhere including social shares whether on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Read more
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