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  • How to Build Brand Recognition, One Link at a Time

    Friday, March 17, 2017 by
    branded links Business owners, job seekers, bloggers, and affiliate marketers all face the same challenge: building brand recognition to stand out from the crowd. Social media, we’re told, is the land of opportunity – a nearly infinite network of possible touchpoints we can use to interact with followers, find mentors, listen to our target customers, and establish ourselves as experts in our fields. The problem with standing out from the social media crowd is that the crowd is large and talkative. Three years ago, the average social media user encountered 285 pieces of content every day. That was just the average. Active and highly engaged social media users received as many as one thousand links (or more) daily. It’s reasonable to assume that those numbers are higher now, as more businesses turn to social media to engage with their audiences. Dedicated Server  

    Does your brand get credit for your social shares?

    Each link you share offers useful or entertaining information, but each non-branded link you share also pulls users’ focus away from your brand. This can happen when the link is a long URL that includes the original source domain.
    • For example, for the story linked above, seeing a share with http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/social-media-overload/488800 puts Adweek foremost in your mind.
    Link shorteners clean up the visuals but still deny your brand recognition for the share.
    • For example, http://bit.ly/1b2FbxR presents the same piece of content and serves as a touchpoint for bit.ly.
    In each case, your social media audience gets the benefit of your shares, but you’re not getting a touchpoint for your brand as part of the exchange. Among the hundreds of links your audience sees each day, the ones you share don’t stand out by visually representing your brand.  

    Branded links create valuable touchpoints

    Italian entrepreneur Davide De Guz noticed this missed opportunity after founding ClickMeter, a link-shortening and tracking service. In 2015, he launched Rebrandly to let users brand shared links, include SEO keywords, and track the results of their shares. De Guz spoke to HostGator via Skype about how Rebrandly can help businesses, job seekers, bloggers, and others create touchpoints and avoid getting lost in the deluge of social media links and shares. Here's a quick demo of their rebranding process:
    “Branded links stand out,” De Guz said. “You want to share your brand instead of the brand of someone else.” Rebrandly users can choose their own domain name and extension and then create custom tags for each share. For example, social media expert Jenn Herman switched from using her company tag on bit.ly shortened links to using her own custom domain, jennstrends.social, which keeps her brand front and center in every link she shares.  

    Branded links increase trust

    A shared link is only valuable if people click on it, whether it’s a link to an article your colleagues might like, or a link to a promotion on your business website. De Guz said his company’s research found that branded links get more clicks because users trust those links more. “We allow you to show your name, and you’re sharing information with people who already know you. Depending on the message you’re sharing, the click-through rate is 20 to 35 percent more compared to a generic shortened URL.” [bctt tweet="The click-through rate of branded links is 20 to 35 percent more compared to a generic shortened URL." username="hostgator"]

    Customized links reinforce expertise and authority

    The benefits of branded links are clear for business, but there are also advantages for job seekers and freelancers, too. “It’s important to have a branded link to show your CV or resume,” De Guz said. “It’s a specific way to tell people what your work or business is about.” Among Rebrandly’s domain customization options are many that help job seekers and freelancers define their work at a glance, including .mba, .farm, .investments, .accountant, .graphics, and so on. Jenn Herman’s domain extension, .social, makes her area of expertise clear at a glance.  

    Tools for SEO and link management

    I used a press pass provided by Rebrandly to try it out for a few days. Its Google Chrome extension was a simple and fast way to share links on Twitter and LinkedIn. I was also able to route my Rebrandly shares through my Buffer account. By choosing the “no link shortening” setting in Buffer, I was able to send shares out on my Buffer schedule but with my custom domain in each link instead of Buffer’s.The trade-off for that tweak was that Buffer couldn’t track clicks on those links, so I had to go to my Rebrandly dashboard to see my stats. The dashboard is easy to use, a good starting point for users who might be overwhelmed with heavy-duty analytics. Advanced users can also connect Rebrandly with ClickMeter for premium metrics, and Herman told Rebrandly that she now has better insights into her Instagram traffic, compared to Google Analytics’ tracking tools for that social platform. There are also tools to integrate Rebrandly with bit.ly and with other link-management tools. In my trial run, Rebrandly was an easy way to make touchpoints out of links I was already going to share. I’d like to try the mobile version, but as an Android user, I’ll have to wait. There’s an iOS app available now, and Rebrandly spokeswoman Sian Kate Lloyd said there’s an Android app due in the months ahead.  

    Getting the most value from your social shares

    For me, the goal was establishing expertise and name recognition. For an online merchant, the goal might be directing traffic to the shop. For a job hunter, the goal might be appealing to recruiters. In each case, custom links help cut through the clutter and may help you get more value from the time you spend finding and sharing links, especially if you use them as part of a carefully planned social media strategy. Are you using custom links? Tell us about your experience in the comments below. 
  • Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Price Testing

    Wednesday, March 15, 2017 by
    eCommerce Price Testing Pricing is one of the most complicated parts of running a business. Items and services don’t have clear intrinsic value; they’re worth whatever people will pay for them. And what people will pay isn’t based on some logical set of standards. When faced with making a decision in the moment, what seems like a good or reasonable deal can be influenced by any number of varied factors. That means there’s a decent chance you could be making more money if you tried a different pricing structure or tested out different price amounts for your product. eCommerce price testing gives you the chance to see if a slight change in how your pricing works could make a big difference in how much money you bring in. But it pays to be careful and strategic in how you do it. Our guide will talk you through some of the best strategies to try and how to go about testing them out. Dedicated Server  

    Different Pricing Strategies to Try

    To start, you should pay attention to what research has to tell us about how people make purchasing decisions.  Turns out, it’s almost never as simple as the lowest price wins. There are interesting psychological quirks that influence how people view pricing on a level they’re completely unaware of. Consider which of these eight pricing strategies that are backed by science are worth trying for your eCommerce business.  

    1. Try bundling.

    Price TestingEvery sale is an achievement, but getting multiple sales in one fell swoop is an even more profitable one. Bundling works by making it easier for customers to make a decision to buy more at once without feeling like they’re doing so. Instead of making five distinct purchasing decisions for related items or extras that they want, they can make a decision once to purchase a package that does it all. The result is the same in terms of what they get and what you make (or it’s at least comparable, bundling should often mean they get a better deal out of buying things together than if they bought them separate), but it feels like they’re getting more for what they’ve spent and they only have to make one decision instead of several, which makes them more likely to convert. Server Density, a website monitoring service, switched from a mix and match pricing model that gave customers the option to pick which of their services they wanted and the number of websites they wanted them for to providing three bundled options. While they saw a slight decrease in conversions for the latter model, the price per purchase was so much higher that they more than doubled their revenue.  

    2. Round down (or up) to 9.

    We don’t entirely understand why the power of nine works, but it does. Prices that end in nine consistently do better in testing than lower prices that end in any other number. If you have something on your website that costs $50 now, try making it $49.99 (or even $59). In one test that looked at how the same items of women’s clothing sold at $35 versus $39, people went for the higher price 24% of the time. And further tests have borne out the power of nine again and again. There’s something about the number nine that drives people to buy and if you’re not taking advantage of that information, you could be missing out on more profit.  

     3. Offer multiple options.

    This tip comes with a caveat. The research doesn’t just suggest offering multiple options so much as doing so strategically. In a famous example (in conversion specialist circles anyways), The Economist tried out two different pricing structures:
    1. An online only subscription for $59 and a print + online subscription for $125
    2. The same online only and print + online subscriptions at the same prices, plus a print only subscription option for $125.
    Your first thought is probably, why? Who on earth would go for the print only subscription when they can get print and online for the same price? As you’d expect, no one actually chose the print only option in tests, but offering the third option managed to increase sales of the more expensive subscription package that combined print and online. By adding a third option that looked less valuable, it made the more expensive choice look more valuable than the cheaper option by comparison. Something similar is at play in tests for how different beers sell. When people are offered a choice between expensive premium beer and cheap beer, they often choose the premium. When you add a third option to the mix though, people’s choices change based on how the beer is positioned. If you have a super cheap beer, a cheap beer, and a premium beer, most people go for the middle option. If you have a cheap beer, a premium beer, and a super premium beer, most people still go for the middle option – which ends up making the bar more money. The lesson here is clear, but complicated: having a comparison in front of them influences what people choose, but it pays to play around with how those comparisons work to see which pairing of options will make you the most money.  

    4. Reduce syllables and length.

    Price Testing TipsAt a glance, does $1,500 or 1500 look higher to you? If you take more than a split second to think about it, they’re obviously the same. But research has found that removing extra characters and syllables in how prices are written works to make amounts seem like less to us, which in turn increases conversions. A simple change to the formatting of your prices could make a difference in how your customers perceive them and whether or not they buy. It’s certainly something worth testing.  

    5. Use anchoring.

    As some of the examples shared here have already made clear, a lot of our perceptions of price have to do with comparisons we see. You don’t have total control over the comparisons a prospect can make against other websites, but you can control what they see on your own site. If you put two similar products next to each other on your site with very different pricing, people are more likely to see the one with the lower price as reasonable due to the comparison. This is also backed up by research. A study found that when even real estate professionals were presented with wildly inflated prices for the homes in a neighborhood and asked to name a reasonable price for a sample home nearby, they went much higher than the house was actually worth. You can use the same anchoring principle to potentially raise the perceived value of your own products.  

     6. Try reframing your pricing.

    Sometimes the same price expressed a different way can make a big impact. If you sell a subscription product, saying it costs $5 a month could well increase sales versus saying $60 a year. Even though people can do the math to figure out the two amounts are equal, one looks like less at a glance. Even if you don’t have a subscription product, you could try building shipping costs into your product pricing and offering “free” shipping. Even if the cost comes out to the same amount, it can seem to customers like they’re getting a better deal. Consider different possible ways to frame the pricing you offer now. The only way to know if people will respond differently to a new way of looking at your pricing is to test it out.  

    7. Change your font

    This is by far the simplest suggestion on the list, but one that researchers have found evidence for. Customers perceive prices as being a better value when the font size is small as compared to when it’s large and bold. Something as simple as testing out a different font size and type could pay off in more sales.  

    8. Simply try a higher price.

    While all of these psychological tricks could pay off, so could simply bumping up your prices by a little bit. The only way to find out if people are willing to spend more is to charge more and see if your sales drop or stay steady. You can always go back to the old pricing if you find your sales decrease enough to mean a drop in profits. The business eCommerceFuel increased profits by 30% by strategically raising prices. Be careful not to jump too high too fast, and consider starting with a few of your best-selling products rather than raising prices across the board all at once. Then pay close attention to how your sales compare under the new prices versus the old so you know whether or not the market will easily bear the updated price. If it does, then you’ve just increased your profits without doing hardly any work.  

    How to Test Out Pricing Options

    The why of eCommerce price testing should now be clear. The what, in terms of different tactics to try has been well covered. What’s left is the how. You’ve got a few options for how to go about setting price tests up.  

    1. Set up A/B testing.

    AB Test PricingA/B testing is when you launch two different versions of something so you can collect clear data on which works best. It’s commonly used to test out things like CTAs, landing page design, and email headlines. You can also put it to use to see how some of the strategies above work for you. You have to be really careful here, because you don’t want to risk angering customers or losing their trust by offering them two different prices for the same product on different devices or offering one customer a different price than their friend paid for the same thing. But quite a few of the strategies above can be A/B tested without running afoul of that risk. For example, trying out different font sizes and seeing if a change to how you write your numbers makes a difference should both be fine for A/B testing. If you don’t know how to set up an A/B test yet, the trick is really in the technology.  You can find a number of different products that make it possible for you to set up A/B testing on your website, and a few are even free, in case you’re not quite ready to commit to a paid tool.  

    2. Test different strategies at different times. 

    With any testing you do, it’s best to just change one thing at a time in the different versions of your website you release. If you both change the font and switch to a number that ends in nine at the same time, you won’t know which change accounts for any difference in results you see. If you test out each change, one thing at a time, over time you can make the various changes needed to optimize your website to make the most sales and profits. Also be sure to keep in mind other factors that can influence a change in results at different times. If you try a reframing or anchoring strategy in the midst of the holiday season, an increase in sales could have more to do with people buying gifts than with the pricing change.  

    3. Test different pricing strategies for different products.

    You don’t want to A/B test actual prices for the reasons described above, so what you can do instead is try out different pricing strategies for different, but similar products. If the product offering is different enough, testing out different prices won’t come with the risk of upsetting customers, but will give you an idea of what price points people are comfortable with. If a higher price works for one product, then you can extend the price increase to your other similar products as well.  

    4. Analyze results.

    Data can tell us a lot, but it can be misleading if you don’t always take the time to sit down and really analyze it. For every eCommerce price testing strategy you try, take time to review the results and analyze why they turned out the way they did. And then move onto the next test so you can collect more data and insights into how your customers make their purchasing decisions. Price testing takes time and work and comes with a bit of risk – if your products sell less for a time because the pricing strategy didn’t pay off, you’ll make less for that period. Nonetheless, the insights you learn from your testing can enable you to increase profits in the long run. A little hit tomorrow could help you make a lot more next year. The only way to know how much pricing changes and strategies can pay off for your business is to try them out.  

    HostGator's business hosting plans come with a free private SSL and IP, easy integration with Magento and the best eCommerce apps, and 24/7/365 support.

    Launch your eCommerce site with HostGator! 

  • Ways to Boost User Engagement on Your Site

    Thursday, February 23, 2017 by
    Boost User Engagement It's one thing to have a website, but it's another to have one that people actually like to visit on a regular basis. If it were easy to engage users with a website, then there wouldn't be countless agencies and professionals employed in online marketing. Getting people to want to view and use your website is an art in itself, one that not many are able to master. The more your users engage with your content, the more likely they are to become return visitors who want to share and promote your content, thus bringing in even more visitors. Increasing user engagement doesn't have to be about making big sweeping changes to your website; it's about optimizing all the little details that add up to something big. Ready to engage your visitors? Here are eight strategies you can try. HostGator WordPress Hosting  

    1. Tweak Your Writing

    Make sure to use a writing style that's appropriate to your target audience. For example, if you have a news site catered to younger people, then you should write in a more casual way. If you manage a spa, you'd want to use a softer tone. If you work in a formal industry like government, be sure to use a professional tone, or maybe break out your technical and/or academic writing. Another important thing is the readability of your site content. It doesn't matter if your content is informative if it's just a big wall of text that's badly written and barely comprehensible. Splitting it up into bite-sized paragraphs with subheadings can greatly help with the readability of an article. [bctt tweet="Readability tip: Split up your blog post into bite-sized paragraphs with subheadings." username="hostgator"] The white space in between chunks of text is important, so make sure each paragraph is no more than one to three sentences each and no run-on sentences. This makes it easier to read and understand, so visitors are more likely to stick around and actually read it!  You can add a one-sentence paragraph as the conclusion to a section just like this. Think of it as your punchline.  

    2. Optimize Your Internal Links

    Once readers have landed on your company’s blog posts, don’t lose them to the “Back” button. Internal links (links from your website to other parts of your website) aren't just important for the sake of SEO, but also for directing your visitors towards more of the great content on your website. For example, linking to other related posts on your blog allows readers to learn more about a topic. Encourage visitors to stick around by adding extensions and plugins that automatically display related posts.  

    3. Dig Deeper with Analytics

    Bounce rate and average session time are two metrics that can be found in your website's analytics. These illuminate which pages users are immediately bouncing back to Google from, and which ones they're sticking around on to read in-depth. Google Analytics highlights a number of useful metrics for your site, including your top channels and page load time. Check out my guide on how to use Google Analytics so you can better understand your visitor behavior and get more out of your website.  [bctt tweet="For user engagement insights, monitor Bounce Rate and Avg Session Time in Google Analytics." username="hostgator"]  

    4. Get Social and Take Feedback

    It's encouraging for your followers to see someone who's open to feedback as it shows that you actually do care about what your customers or readers think. Streamline the feedback process by sending a survey with your email newsletter. Also make sure that you let people know of your presence in social media and let them have their say. Embed social follow and sharing tools like AddThis or ShareThis. Give visitors a way to follow you on social media, and open a direct line of communication with them.

    Speaking of communication... Want your site’s visitors to leave comments on your blog posts?  Simply ask them to do so!  Ending your blog posts with a question and a prompt for readers to leave their thoughts in the comments section can be a great way to drive post-based activity on your site.

     

    5. Encourage Discussion and Debate

    Another advantage of being active in social media is that you can have your users interact with each other. There may be some useful insights you can get from them discussing and debating on topics related to what your website is about during a Facebook Live or Twitter chat. You might also consider setting up a user forum on your website. Though they require additional time and resources to manage, the investment may be worth it when it comes to promoting on-site user activity.  Several free tools, like phpBB and Motigo, make the process of forum implementation easy and can add tremendous value for your website’s visitors. Just make sure you're able to keep these exchanges positive or it can quickly escalate into something you don't want in your online space. Make sure to keep an eye out and let them know you're right there so things don't go out of hand. If they're always vocal but also civil, then you must be doing something right! [bctt tweet="Great options for customer feedback: user forums, blog comments, Facebook Live." username="hostgator"]  

    6. Send a Regular Newsletter

    Adding a mailing list to your website allows you to reach out to customers and offer incentives to get them to return to your site in the future.

    Use a reputable email list management service like ConstantContact to store your addresses and consider offering some type of incentive (like a free product or coupon code) to encourage sign-ups.

     

    7. Give Them Surprises

    Keeping your users on their toes is a good way to keep them interested. It's not just about regularly posting fresh content, but also throwing in the occasional curve ball to pleasantly surprise them. Whether it's an announcement for something entirely new, a giveaway, a promo, or a contest, give your users more reasons to follow you and stay tuned to your updates. “Gamification” features – like badges, user contests and user profile rating systems – turn on-site activity into an engaging game.  Tools like Badgeville and BigDoor make adding these elements simple, though larger companies may want to consult developers in order to create their own custom game-based activity reward systems. You can reward visitors for their participation through these surprises as well. Use call-to-actions to encourage people to follow you, or share and comment on your posts, in exchange for prizes or perks.   

    8. Offer Variety

    Last – but not least – freshen up your content by formatting it in different ways. For your blog, test topical content as well as evergreen, cornerstone content. Offer infographics and videos. Make your content interesting with quotes, graphics, and related material. Different readers respond to different types of content in different ways, so by including a number of separate formats, you’ll encourage user activity on your site by appealing to all of these different preferences.   User engagement is all about combining the good and the familiar with the fresh and the unexpected, as well as encouraging more conversation and feedback. When users make an action or ask for something in your website and they get a result, that builds a positive feedback loop that keeps them coming back for more. Have you tried one of these strategies on your site? Share your experience in the comments below!
  • 5 Ways To Promote Your Blog On Pinterest That Actually Work

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017 by
    how to post your blog on pinterest Do you want more blog traffic? Of course, you do! Social media is continuing to be a hub for people to connect with others around the world. Moreover, Pinterest is paving the way for bloggers to drive referral traffic and increase audience engagement. Research shows that “the half-life of a pin is 1,680 times longer than a Facebook post.” This means more people are interacting with your content months after you post it. “Interaction is so easy on Pinterest that other networks have a reason to envy it. The recipe of a successful interaction is a smooth delivery of information across the board... All you need to do is create new boards, add new pins, invite others and like and re-pin other’s pins,” writes Mike Dane, a digital marketing professional. It's time to send Pinterest users to your blog. Here are five ways to get you started. Create Your Blog  

    1. Create Multiple Boards

    On Pinterest, visibility is vital to attracting new individuals to your account. Even with a targeted audience, there are several interests that your pinners will possess. So, make sure you’re catering to those needs by developing multiple boards to gain their attention. For instance, if your blog is dedicated to all things cooking, create a board for slow cooker meals, one for dishes made under 30 minutes, and maybe another for desserts. This segmentation gives someone an opportunity to pick what they want and find it quickly. For example, HostGator has several boards devoted to website inspiration, ranging from blogging tips to design ideas for an arts & craft blog. Create multiple Pinterest boards   Another pro tip? Don’t limit yourself to posting your articles in only one board. More than 80% of pins are re-pins. Thus, sharing the same pins in several boards can help more people find your blog via Pinterest’s search function and category algorithms. “It’s okay to pin your blog articles to more than one Pinterest board, but spread them out over time and pin other content in between so your Pinterest feed isn’t just you pinning five pins of your blog post to different boards,” says Peg Fitzpatrick, co-author of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users. Want to give your fans a chance to find your blog posts? Drive traffic with multiple boards. [bctt tweet="80% of Pinterest pins are re-pins. Pro tip: reshare pins on multiple boards to increase visibility." username="hostgator"]  

    2. Post Creative Images

    Photos make up 92% of all Pinterest posts. So, you should really focus your energy on producing creative images for your followers. Start by formatting images properly. The ideal aspect ratio for Pinterest images is 2:3 with a minimum width of 600 pixels. Add a story-filled background to your images. For example, a recipe blogger might post a bowl of fruit on a checkered tablecloth in front of flowers. You want to set the mood for the person looking at the image, to entice them to want to read the blog post. Take photos up close, suggests blogger Ali at Gimme Some Oven. People should feel like they can actually experience the object on your Pinterest board. Pinterest image tips   Tie your images to seasonal or holiday events. Pinners are two times more likely to celebrate events and holidays. Plan your marketing strategy around pinning images that connect to special occasions, like Valentine’s Day or Halloween. Experiment with your pin images and track which photos resonate with your fans. Then create more of those. [bctt tweet="#Pinterest Photo Tips: Add a story line, take photos up close, and tie in seasonal events." username="hostgator"]  

    3. Write Descriptive Copy

    Pinterest isn’t all about photos. There’s space to write text to make people take a second glance at your work. For instance, article pins include a headline, the author’s name, and story description. These rich pins let you shape how people perceive your board. The headline should stick out to the reader. Use catchy, bold language that appeals to your audience. What would they like to read? If you have to shorten the original article title, do it! Use the same brand name on your blog on your Pinterest account. So, if everyone knows you as Betty the Gardener, keep the consistency. You don’t want to confuse followers. Lastly, write a description that’s interesting to the individual. You want people to feel compelled to click to learn more. Check out this example from the New York Times: Article Rich Pin   Freelance writer Elna Cain offers some additional tips to boost traffic:
    • Make it easy for pinners to find your pin with a spot-on description.
    • Give enough information to entice a pinner to click through to your blog.
    • Draw on the emotions of the pinner by using sensory-related words and positive sentiments.
    • Add a call-to-action in your description, like, “check out…” or “click to find out more.”
    Words matter, too. Take advantage by using descriptive copy.  

    4. Focus on Timing

    Research revealed that to optimize audience reach on Pinterest pinners should post 10 to 15 times per day. As your fan base grows, deliberately timing pins becomes important to providing a consistent brand message to your platform. You’ll soon learn that pinning at any time isn’t a good strategy. Bloggers can waste lots of effort posting pins whenever they think is the best. Instead, take a pragmatic approach. Examine your website traffic to uncover when are the best days and times to post your pins. [bctt tweet="When's the best time to post on #Pinterest? Look to your blog traffic for the answer." username="hostgator"] “The smart strategy is to look at your traffic stats for your own blog to see when you consistently get the most traffic, and then plan to pin during those times, because that’s when your audience is surfing the web and most likely to spread the word,” states Beth Hayden, a social media expert. And remember, every sector is different. The time that works well for retail bloggers might not work best for financial bloggers. In the chart below, experts found that the best time for the food and beverage industry pinners is between 11am and Noon Eastern time. Best time to post on Pinterest   Gain more traffic by optimizing when you post your pins. It will help your followers and your blog.  

    5. Engage With Your Community

    Similar to most social media networks, engagement is always critical to influencing people to visit your site. The interaction shows people you’re interested in their opinions. Use the comment section of your pins to answer questions and thank your followers. And encourage people to like and save pins and follow you. By doing so, you’ll gather information on what they enjoy most and how to better cater to those desires. The average user stays on Pinterest for close to 15 minutes at a time. That’s remarkable since most people get bored on social media after a couple of minutes. For your active fans, ask them to curate your board with you. It’s an effective way to collaborate with people and lets their followers discover your blog. Here’s a group board focused on blogging. It has more than 50+ people adding their voices to the Pinterest conversation. Group Pinterest Board   Involve your community in the creation of your boards. It helps with engagement and brings new fans to your blog.  

    Start Growing Your Blog Traffic

    Bring attention to your blog today with the help of social media. Use Pinterest to attract people to your posts. Create multiple boards based on your readers’ interests. Post eye-catching photos that will make people take a second look. And engage with your community to lure people to your site. Grow your blog now. Update your Pinterest account (and while you're at it, follow HostGator!)
  • Creating A LinkedIn Company Page? Follow These Best Practices

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by
    Create LinkedIn Company Page As a working person at any stage of your career (recent grad, business owner, professional), it’s a good idea to have a personal LinkedIn page. You can use it as an online resume to strut your skills, make professional connections with former and present colleagues, and search for jobs. Good news: a LinkedIn Company page is another free piece of online real estate to tell the world about your business, services, and products. You just need a company email address to verify that your business is legit and that you’re the official representative. Need help? Watch this walkthrough video from LinkedIn to help you get started:
    As of mid-2016, there are over 450 million users on LinkedIn, so it’s definitely worth getting your piece of the action. And since it’s free, there are plenty of opportunities for small shop owners to compete with the big boys. Here’s how to make the most of your investment:  

    1. Be pretty.

    Get your company profile pic and cover photo setup stat! Logos work great here because they’re a consistent reminder of your brand. Here’s ours -- obviously we’ve got Snappy front and center. HostGator LinkedIn   And here’s a beauty of a page recommended by Hubspot. Notice here that the Nature Conservancy (like HostGator) includes their company logo in both their profile and cover pics. Nature Conservancy LinkedIn   Use images that grab people’s attention and paint a picture about what your business represents.  

    2. Use your words.

    LinkedIn gives everyone an opportunity to write up a little ditty about their business. Win by keeping it simple, succinct, and authoritative. If you have some proven keywords you know work, pepper them in where you can. Every little bit helps on the SEO battleground.  

    3. Remember the details.

    LinkedIn encourages Company Page owners to present details like company size, website, year founded, and company specialties. Don’t keep this info a secret! Let people know what your company is all about.  

    4. Get followers!

    Start by getting colleagues, employees, consultants and anyone you work with on board. Encourage friends and family to support your business by following you on LinkedIn. For added views and follows, consider embedding your LinkedIn Company Page into your email signature. LinkedIn in Email Signature  

    5. Know your audience.

    LinkedIn gives Company Page users access to a nifty analytics tool where a demographic breakdown of the people who are following your page can be seen. This not only helps you discover more about your audience, but gives you insight into what type of content they might be interested in reading and engaging with. Here’s a LinkedIn Company Page analytics example: LinkedIn Company Page Analytics This shows us that this company’s followers are primarily senior-level professionals, but then there are also a good number of entry-level folks as well. In this case a mix of articles or blog posts about leadership, hiring, and productivity hacks might be a good place to start. Use this demographic info to make intelligent guesses and see what works.  

    6. Post great content.

    LinkedIn functions as another social media outlet where you can publish company blog posts, thought-leadership, case studies, and more. Once you get a firm handle on who your audience is, cater your content to them while staying true to your company’s messaging. On LinkedIn, you may want to skew your content toward hiring and employee success, particularly as your first followers will likely be your own employees or people you know who can help introduce you to the right people. For more ideas, take a look at our post How to Publish Engaging Content on LinkedIn.