Friday, February 16, 2018 by Syed Balkhi
Here's How To Make Customers Out of Your Social Media FansWondering whether your social media marketing investment is paying off? Your potential customers are already spending hours on social media. If you’re not investing in social media marketing, you’re missing out on a cool opportunity to attract leads and customers. Let’s take a look at a few strategies to turn social media users into leads and customers.
1. Make your links clickableMarketers often focus on getting more likes and shares for the links they share on social media. Along with other success indicators, emphasis should also be given to click-through rate for the links you posted. Driving more clicks to your links will help you drive huge traffic to your site. In order to ensure that the links you post on social networks are enticing enough, it is essential to add Open Graph (OG) tags to your site. OG tags are for social networks what meta tags are for Google. It helps you automatically preview your link by pulling out an image, heading and description when the link is being shared. This preview influences your users’ decision to click on it or not. Always keep your images according to the optimal size of your preferred social site. If you’re targeting Facebook and Twitter, you might use an image with the size 1024 x 512 for perfect fit.
2. Become an early adopterThe early adopter advantage is huge when it comes to social media marketing. For example, in just 19 months, Zynga became one of the fastest companies to reach $1 billion valuation, just because they were one of the first companies that have adopted social gaming for user acquisition. Similarly, Spotify was an early adopter of integrating their app with the Facebook news feed, which helped them grow tremendously from 3.4 million to 5.3 million users within just two weeks. If you’re looking for a rapid growth, be sure to jump on the social media bandwagon as early as possible whenever a new social feature is released. Below are a few tips that you’ll find helpful if you’re looking to increase customer acquisition.
- Choose the right platform: Don’t spread yourself too thin by focusing on all the different social channels. Instead, identify where your potential customers are and create a strategy for gaining traction on one or a few platforms in particular.
- Seize opportunity at the right time: As social features mature, social sites will likely change the way they treat the app integration. It’s vital to seize the opportunity at the right time or you’ll fall behind.
- Create an independent product: Social platform like Facebook is always in flux, so there is no guarantee that your app integration will work well all the time. It is in your best interest to create an independent product that doesn’t heavily rely on social media integration.
3. Build social proofNon-app businesses can also leverage social media for user acquisition. Innocent Drinks is just one example. Wondering why brands invest in social user acquisition? It’s because people have a tendency to follow the choices of other people, such as their friends and family. By building social proof, you can create a positive perception of your brand in your niche circles. In fact, studies show that 7 out of 10 customers trust product recommendations from family and friends. Only 32% people trust content on your website and even fewer trust your ads. Keep in mind that at its core, social networks are publishing and sharing platform. Rather than hard selling, build a relationship with your fans and followers on social media. Starting a hashtag campaign can be helpful to spread the word out about your product. Tourism Australia, for example, encourages their fans to share their photos on Instagram during their Australian visit with relevant hashtags.
4. Retain your existing customers with remarketingSocial media is a great remarketing platform that lets you connect with people who have shown an interest in your product or services. With remarketing, you can show a customized ad to your existing and prospective customers, prompting them to return to your site. In fact, it takes 3 to 4 visits for your prospects to visit your website to actually think of doing business with you. With remarketing, you can encourage them to return often and entice them to take action that you deem to be of value, like subscribing to your list or purchasing a product. Target people who have shown an interest in your preferred social network by implementing a remarketing pixel on your site. The pixel will add a cookie on your visitors’ browser, which your ad network can identify. This way you can target them with a customized ad you’ve created just for them. Follow the following remarketing tips for the best results:
- Use onsite retargeting: Create an onsite retargeting campaign that targets users on your site who have engaged with your remarketing ad and show them a custom marketing message. This strategy of showing a custom message to the specific audience has proven to convert an additional 2 – 4% of your visitors into leads and customers.
- Spend your remarketing dollars wisely: For the best ROI, it is advised to filter out people from your remarketing list who haven’t spent significant time on your site. This way you can save your remarketing dollars by not targeting people who are not likely to do business with you.
ConclusionSocial networks are great platforms for building brand awareness and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche circles. They can also be used to connect with your customers and retain them for the long run. With the right strategies, you can turn social media users into leads and customers for your brand.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 by Casey Kelly-Barton
4 Ways to Improve Your SEO for Voice SearchThere was once a time, pre-internet, when sitting at home or in your car asking questions of no one was considered odd. Now it's the next great iteration in internet search. Echo and Google Home-style devices are trendy, and surging mobile use means more people want to ask questions, not type in search phrases, to find what they need. But how, exactly, can you help your site get found in voice search results? Here are four ways to improve your voice search rankings and make it easier for people to find your site.
1. Go Local If It's Relevant to Your BusinessDoes your business serve a local or regional market? If so, it's time to claim all your local business listings so that you appear in results like “find a garden center near me” or “where's the nearest doggie daycare?” Start with Google, Yelp, and Bing and then claim other listings like Yahoo, the Better Business Bureau, Angie's List, or other platforms that are relevant to your type of business. Not sure how to set up your Google My Business listing? This post walks you through the best practices for Google local-listing SEO.
2. Get to Know Natural-Language QueriesIf you're used to thinking in terms of keyword phrases (like “voice search optimization” and “Google voice search SEO”), it's time to start asking questions (like “How can I optimize my site for voice search?” and “How does voice search affect SEO?”) That's because we don't search with our voices the same way we search with text. Instead of typing in the most important words and hitting enter, we ask Siri or Alexa, “Where can I find the best burgers in Milwaukee?” or “Is there a dry cleaner near me?” What that means for your site is that you need to include text that reads like natural language—the kinds of questions customers ask their phones or digital assistants. Not sure what those questions are? There are a few ways you can find out:
- Make notes on the questions customers ask you in person, on the phone, and via email.
- See what questions people ask about your type of business in forums and on social media.
- Use tools like Soovle to autocomplete questions you enter and show you what people are asking about in searches. For example, type in “how do you cook brisket” and you'll see results like “how do you cook brisket on a grill” and “can you overcook brisket,” sorted by popularity on different platforms including Google, YouTube, Bing, and more.
3. Use Natural Language Queries on Your SiteWhen you see commonly searched questions that are related to your business, try to work them into your site's headlines, subheadings, and text. This aligns your content better with what potential customers are looking for, and it can also give your site a more conversational tone, which most people find appealing. Just don't go overboard with the questions. Remember the days when sites would try to game search results by dumping repetitive keyword phrases into their pages so that their copy read like it was written by a robot? You want to keep the questions and answers on your site natural sounding and relevant. Another way to fine tune how your site appears in results is to stay focused on long-tail keywords, which is another way of saying “be specific.” In a market with 15 businesses providing children's party entertainment, including “children's party entertainment” on your site may not even land you on the first page of local search results. But if out of those 15 businesses, only two provide hula mini-lessons for the kids, including “hula lessons for kids' parties” is more effective because it's more specific—it helps people find exactly what they want.
4. Post Videos That Answer Questions Your Visitors AskThere's another type of content you can use with natural language queries: videos. YouTube videos can perform better than text-only web pages in Google search results, according to Michael Peggs at MarketingProfs. If there are questions that lead people to your website, make a few videos to answer them. For example, if you sell something like Acme barbecue pits, you can create videos that answer questions like “How do I put together my new Acme barbecue pit?” and “What's the best way to smoke brisket in an Acme barbecue pit?” Making short explainer videos takes some work, but it's not as big of a production as you might think. Each video needs four to five elements: a script, a voiceover, visuals, some editing, and maybe music. KISSmetrics has a great tutorial on putting together an explainer video on a tiny budget, with details about what should be in your script, how to record a voiceover that sounds professional, and how to source your visuals—something that can be as simple as doodles you've scanned into your editing program. If you create videos, you'll want to get the most search results mileage from them. Remember to:
- Title your video as a search question using natural language and the keywords that lead to your site.
- Use schema markup on your video if you embed it on your site.
- End each video with a call to action that directs viewers to your business.
Voice Search Is Always EvolvingAs you implement each of these strategies, remember that the goal is to help customers find your business. When you land new customers, ask them how they found you and you'll get a sense of which voice search strategies are working well for you and which you can refine more. And keep an eye on search trends, because the one sure thing about them is that they'll keep evolving as the way we use technology changes.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 by Kevin Wood
7 Quick Daily Tasks To Improve Your SEOSEO isn’t something that has to be incredibly difficult. Sure, there is a lot of time and effort involved. But it’s mostly about performing specific tasks again and again, rather than doing something once and calling it a day. If you perform the following seven small tasks on a regular basis, it will add up to big rankings gains over the long term for your website.
1. Upgrade and Update Your Older Blog ContentJust because you published a post a year ago doesn’t mean you’re done with it forever. Chances are you’ve learned new things in that time, or new developments in your field have taken place, so you can make that piece of content even more useful. This is doubly true for content that might not be ranking as high as you think it should. Spend a little time going through your older content and see where you can expand, or add new resources, to make it even more useful to your readers.
2. Promote Your Content On Social MediaSocial media doesn’t have a large influence on your rankings, according to the latest Google ranking factors. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend any time on social media. Social media helps send traffic to your site. Plus, having a high social share counter will give your posts and your site more authority in the eyes of your visitors. If your post has hundreds of shares across social media your readers are more likely to trust what you’re writing. As a result, they're more likely to organically share it on their own social media channels and with family and friends, amplifying your reach. So, spend a little time each day sharing your content and engaging across social media.
3. Improve Your URLs, Titles, and MetasHaving a confusing URL structure isn’t good for SEO. Try to simplify your existing URLs so they’re cleaner, relevant to your topic, and include keywords (but make sure not to keyword stuff). Along this same topic, you’ll also want to improve your titles and meta descriptions. By making your titles more clickable and your meta descriptions more appealing you’ll improve your click-through-rate from the search results. Having a higher organic CTR will actually help to improve your search engine rankings too.
4. Check For Any Broken LinksHaving broken links on your site will kill your user experience. If you’ve been running your website for a little while, then you’re probably linking out to resources that are no longer online, or you’ve changed the URL structure of certain posts and pages on your own site. Both internal links on your site and external links out to authoritative resources are important for SEO and your overall user experience. If your site runs on WordPress, then you can install a plugin like Broken Link Checker that will scan your website for broken links. Alternatively, you can install the Chrome extension that’s also called Broken Link Checker, which will scan the open page for broken links. On the topic of links, it’s also important to add relevant internal links within the various blog posts on your site. If you have a piece of content that’s received a lot of links, then add plenty of links to other posts across your site within that post.
5. Perform Blog Email OutreachSimply writing your content isn’t enough. You also need to spend time promoting that content for shares and backlinks. When sending emails to other influencers in your space it’s important to not send an email that asks for a direct backlink. Instead, your goal with blog outreach should be to get on the radar of people who are likely to share and link to your content. If your content is good and you’re getting it in front of the right people, then the links will follow.
6. Spend Time Analyzing Your CompetitorsWant a super secret way to create content you know will work? Spend some time analyzing the successes of your competitors. With tools like Buzzsumo and SEMRush, you can simply type in the URL of your competitors and see which content has been the most popular and which keywords are sending them the most traffic.
- Buzzsumo also has a nifty feature that will show you the people who shared a specific piece of content. Now you can spend time promoting your content to these very same people who are more likely to share.
- SEMRush will also give you backlink data of competitor’s posts, so you can reach out to those very same people when promoting a similar piece of content.
7. Engage with Big Blogs and Sites in Your NicheBlog commenting isn’t the best way to build backlinks to your site. But, it does serve a purpose nonetheless. Some blogs do have comments sections that allow you to post your name and link to your website, but the main purpose of commenting isn’t to build backlinks to your site. Instead, it’s to get on the radar of top bloggers and website owners in your space. When commenting, the best approach is to post something thoughtful that also adds value. Make sure to keep blog commenting best practices in mind. Commenting, done the right way, can help to open doors. Maybe it’ll lead to a guest post opportunity down the road. Maybe it’ll lead to a linking opportunity. The future of SEO is built upon relationships and regular commenting can help you get there. Hopefully, the tips above will help you steadily improve your search engine rankings over the long-term. Remember, SEO is a long-term game, but the little things you do day in and day out will add up.
Thursday, February 8, 2018 by Shayla Price
7 Social Advertising Pros and Cons for Small BusinessesReady to take your small business to the next level? Social advertising may be the channel worth your investment. Even if you’re a novice in this space, there’s an opportunity for you to earn brand awareness and new customers. “One of the fascinating things about social advertising is that there is virtually no limit to your ability to scale. You don’t have to wait for someone to search for your targeted keywords. You don’t have to wait for someone to run your promotion or read your blog. If you want to reach 50,000 people in one day, you can,” says Warren Jolly, the CEO of adQuadrant. Before you make this critical decision, it’s important that you know the pros and cons. Here are a few you should consider.
Social Advertising ProsThe advantages of social ads make it easier for you to connect with your customers and gain brand recognition. Explore these pros to boost business growth.
1. Pinpoint Specific AudiencesIn traditional advertising, brands take wild guesses on reaching their target audiences. Companies receive broad ranges about demographics, like "women from ages 18-35" or "household income $75,000-$100,000." While that strategy may have worked in the past, it’s not suitable in our current market. Today’s consumer is seeking products and services geared to their specific needs. And for small businesses, that means advertising must be spot on! Social advertising gives brands the flexibility to pinpoint audiences. Not only can you narrow down a consumer’s age and gender, you also can zoom in on their multiple interests and geographical locations. Below is an example of how Facebook’s ad platform allows you to define audiences. This specificity ensures that your team only targets people that fit your consumer profile. As a result, customers only see ads that meet their needs, and you save money connecting with the right consumers.
2. Enjoy Success, Even With Limited BudgetsAs a small business, especially if you’re brand new, it’s key that every cent impacts on your bottom line. You can’t afford to spend wastefully. Well, there’s good news! Social advertising is cost-effective and can fit any budget. You control on whether you want to pay thousands or just a few hundred. It’s always good to have a plan when working on a limited budget. Brian Peters, digital marketing manager at Buffer, offers his advice on getting the most from social advertising: “One of the biggest opportunities for so many brands with limited time and resources is to simply boost top performing posts from their page. Not only is this the most inexpensive form of social media advertising, but it also provides brands with a way to reach a new customer segment that they might not have been able to with traditional ads.”
3. Track Campaigns With EaseNot too long ago, business teams didn’t have precise metrics for their old-school marketing campaigns. They learned something worked when people walked into their stores. This outdated method doesn’t give companies the luxury to adjust their ads. With social advertising, tracking campaign results is painless. Small businesses know exactly how their ads are performing because data happens in real-time. You can use this information to make better decisions. Let’s say an advertisement lacks engagement. It’s possible for you to pause the campaign and revamp the design midway. Or if a campaign boosted revenue by 20% in May, you can kick off the campaign again in November for the holiday shopping season. Monitoring campaign performance is essential. When measuring advertising success, look for opportunities to customize the experience for your audience.
4. Increase Brand VisibilitySocial advertising is a gateway for introducing your brand to new audiences. Rather than waiting for consumers to visit your site, you’re meeting them on their turf—social media. When engaging with your audience, it’s vital that your ad doesn’t appear out of place. Instead, you want to add to the ongoing conversation on each channel. “Realize there’s several different types of paid advertising you can choose from on social media. Not every type of ad will work for your brand. However, one of the best techniques to follow when creating paid content is to seamlessly blend into feeds, walls and timelines,” explains Alex York, a senior SEO specialist at Sprout Social. Let your brand personality shine through in your advertising. You can include GIFs, memes, and funny quotes to capture consumers’ attention. Being relatable and likeable increases your odds of getting seen.
Social Advertising ConsLike any channel, social advertising has its drawbacks. It’s up to you to figure out whether they outweigh the pros.
1. Prepare for the Learning CurveWith an uncharted path, you’ll face difficulty at first. This same notion is true as it relates to social advertising. There are a variety of platforms with their own specific guidelines and best practices (check out our guides to advertising on LinkedIn, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). So you may encounter a steep learning curve. But don’t let that hinder your team. You have a few options to keep moving forward. For example, you can hire an agency that specializes in social advertising to create and run your campaigns. Or you can employ a skilled freelancer who can advise your team on the best course of action. Another option is to actually invest in a current employee. There are lots of online courses that can speed up the learning process. Plus, each platform offers knowledge bases for users, like the Instagram Help Center below. It’s never too late to learn a new skill. Take the necessary actions to make social ads work for your small business.
2. Stay Ready for the CompetitionMore than 4 million businesses pay for social media advertising on Facebook. It’s likely that your competitors are also attempting to gain consumer traction with social ads. Since the competition isn’t going away, your team must constantly differentiate itself in the marketplace. That translates into creating unique ads, catering to new niches, or even bumping up your ad spend. This type of advertising requires patience. You’re aiming for long-term success, not short-term wins. Arnie Gullov-Singh, the former chief operating officer at Polyvore, provides more insight: “Social advertising is an effective way to get consumers to engage with your message in a thoughtful and organic way. Social ads create stronger long-term value as the content continues to get amplified across consumers’ networks.” Prepare to address the nonstop pressures of competition. Work with your team to find innovative ways to set your brand apart from others.
3. Brace for Negative CommentsSocial media is well-known for getting consumers excited about your brand. However, that attention isn’t always supportive. Some people will make it their mission to publicly humiliate your small business. Be proactive and set up a crisis communication plan. When irate consumers invade your Facebook ad, instruct your team to record their concerns and respond politely in a timely manner. The worst thing you can do is completely ignore your customer base and never address their issues. You can transform any negative comments into positive feedback. For instance, if you notice consumers expressing grievances about a particular ad, reconsider your business’s approach. Maybe it’s time to change the ad copy or use a different image. All consumer engagement won’t be favorable. And that’s perfectly okay. You can use it to your advantage by turning those gripes into strengths.
Take a Step Towards Social AdvertisingIf you’re new to social advertising, it can be quite intimidating. Yet, it’s crucial that you examine the pros and cons for your small business. The goal is to attract new consumers and boost your revenue. Learn how social advertising can fit into your marketing and sales strategy.