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  • GDPR: What You Need to Know and How HostGator Helps You Comply

    Monday, April 30, 2018 by
    Businesses, large and small, are in the midst of preparing for compliance with the European Union’s (EU) new data privacy laws: The General Data Protection Regulation, or the GDPR, which will go into effect on May 25, 2018. The GDPR is very broad in scope and can apply to businesses both in and outside of the EU. Businesses that don’t comply with the GDPR could face heavy fines. Here’s some information about GDPR. (Note: you should also consult your own legal counsel to determine if you are subject to the requirements of GDPR.)  

    What is GDPR?

    GDPR is short for the General Data Protection Regulation that goes into effect on May 25, 2018. It was passed by European lawmakers to create a harmonized data privacy law across all the EU member states. Its purpose is to:
    • support privacy as a fundamental human right;
    • require companies that handle personal data to be accountable for managing that data appropriately; and
    • give individuals rights over how their personal data is processed or otherwise used.
     

    What is personal data?

    In a nutshell, GDPR defines personal data as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.” Ok, so what does that mean? In addition to the kinds of information you might think about – name, address, email address, financial information, contact information, identification numbers, etc., personal data can also include information related to your digital life, like an IP address, geolocation, browsing history, cookies, or other digital identifiers. It also could mean information about a person, including their physical, mental, social, economic or cultural identities. Therefore, if information can be traced back to or related in some way to an identifiable person, it is highly likely to be considered “personal data” under the GDPR. You can find out more about the GDPR here.  

    What rights does the GDPR provide to individuals?

    There are several rights an individual may exercise under the GDPR, including:
    • Right of access: Individuals can ask for a copy of the personal data retained about them and an explanation of how it is being used.
    • Right to rectification: Individuals have the right to correct, revise or remove any of the personal data retained about them at any time.
    • Right to be forgotten: Individuals can ask to delete their personal data.
    • Right to restrict processing: If an individual believes, for example, that their personal data is inaccurate or collected unlawfully, the individual may request limited use of their personal data.
    • Right of portability: Individuals have the right to receive their personal data in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
    • Right to object: Where an individual decides that they no longer wish to allow their personal data to be included in analytics or to receive direct marketing emails or other personalized (targeted) marketing content at any time, the individual may opt out of use of their data for these purposes.
    Please note that these rights are not absolute, and limitations/exceptions may apply in some cases.  

    What is HostGator doing to comply with the GDPR?

    If you exercise any of these rights as an individual HostGator customer or representative of a HostGator customer, HostGator will respond in accordance with our Privacy Policy. The HostGator explains what information we collect about you as a HostGator customer and how your personal data may be used or shared by HostGator. We suggest that you review how this applies to you. Note that we will be updating our privacy policy to align with GDPR. No worries, though, we’ll send all users a notice letting you know that it will be changing, so you’ll know what to expect. Where required, we will also support you, as a HostGator customer, in fulfilling GDPR related data subject requests you receive from your contacts. Also, from May 25th, we will not publish the personal data of domain name registrants located in the EU in the WHOIS. This is to ensure our WHOIS output is compliant with the GDPR. However, access to personal data of domain name registrants may be granted when such access is necessary for technical reasons such as for the facilitation of transfers, or for law enforcement when it is legally entitled to such access.  

    “Controllers” and “Processors”

    Generally speaking, there are two types of parties that have a responsibility regarding the handling of data: the “controller” and the “processor.” It is important to determine if you are acting as a controller or a processor and understand your responsibilities accordingly. A “controller” determines the purposes and means of the use of personal data. A “processor” on the other hand, only acts on the instructions of the “controller” and processes personal data on their behalf. So, what does this mean? HostGator can be either a “controller” or a “processor” depending on the data processing activities that are being performed. Usually, HostGator is a controller in relation to the personal data that you provide to us as a customer. In certain circumstances, you are acting as the controller, for example, when you decide what information from your contacts or subscribers is uploaded or transferred into your HostGator account.  

    How does the GDPR affect my business?

    Individuals, companies, or businesses that have a presence in the EU or, if no presence, offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, individuals in the EU need to comply with this law. We are reviewing and updating, as necessary, our agreements with you and with our subcontractors (to include the necessary GDPR terms), as well as notices, policies and internal processes, features, and templates to assure our compliance and help you achieve compliance. Please consult with your own legal counsel about whether GDPR applies to you and your business and what actions you need to take to ensure that you comply with the GDPR.  

    What do I need to do differently to comply with GDPR?

    If the GDPR applies to you, there are various obligations you will need to comply with in order to continue doing business with your customers from the EU. Luckily, not all of these obligations are new, so you should be complying with some of them already. The most important differences in this context are as follows:
    • More information about your use of personal data must be communicated to your customers. You should make sure that your privacy notices/policies are updated to reflect the new requirements of the GDPR, including setting out the purposes of your processing personal data, how long you are retaining such data, and what legal basis for use of personal data are you relying on. As a customer of %%Brand%%, your agreement to our Terms of Service requires you to lawfully obtain and process personal data appropriately, including that of EU Individuals as part of the GDPR.
    • You should determine the legal basis for your use of personal data: If you are relying on consent to use your customers’ data you should ensure that the consent you have meets the new requirements of the GDPR . Please note that sending marketing emails or showing promotional content in any form to your customers may require, in certain circumstances, prior opt-in consent from them. As a reminder, you have already agreed through acceptance of our terms of service to lawfully obtain and process all personal data appropriately and have attested that you have permission to expose your customers to promotional content.
    • You will also need to comply with the rights provided to individuals by the GDPR. See section above “What rights does the GDPR provide to individuals?” for details.
    You should consult with your legal counsel on the above and your other obligations under GDPR.  

    What if you have more questions about GDPR?

    If you have specific questions about GDPR, please, contact Support.  

    Other changes

    The rules contained in the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications is under review and we are expecting a new ePrivacy Regulation to be finalized soon. Once these new rules are finalized, we will be reviewing our forms and features again to provide our customers with the necessary tools to achieve compliance. NOTE: The information included on this page is meant to guide you through the process of understanding GDPR and is not a substitute for legal advice. Find more information on the GDPR website.
  • What Is a Managed WordPress Site?

    Monday, April 30, 2018 by
    What Is a Managed WordPress Site

    What Is a Managed WordPress Site?

    A managed WordPress site is one that’s hosted on a managed WordPress host. Essentially, you’ll be outsourcing the hosting of your site to a team of WordPress experts. If you run a high-traffic WordPress site, then going with a WordPress managed host could be a great option for you. Below we explore what managed WordPress hosting is, and the benefits it can offer your site, so you can determine if it’s time for you to switch up to WordPress managed hosting. best WordPress hosting

    What Is Managed WordPress Hosting?

    Managed WordPress hosting is a streamlined hosting environment that’s optimized to help you build and run WordPress websites. The goal of this style of hosting is to ensure your site is running at peak performance, with high levels of security. A managed host will also take care of general administrative tasks like updating your site, maintaining security, and monitoring traffic levels. By hosting your site on a managed WordPress host you’re effectively outsourcing your hosting to a third-party of experts, so you can focus on growing your site instead.  

    The Benefits of WordPress Managed Hosting

    Having a managed WordPress site just requires a switch to managed WordPress hosting. Below we explore the main benefits your site will receive when you make the jump to a managed hosting environment.  

    1. Improved Speed and Performance

    When you utilize a WordPress managed server everything to do with the server environment will be optimized to get the most out of WordPress. That includes the server configuration, the hardware, the software, and the databases. Your WordPress site can become slow for a variety of reasons, whether onsite or having to do with your server environment. With regular monitoring, the team behind your site will be able to diagnose and solve any performance issues before they become a problem.  

    2. Easier to Scale Your Site

    If your site prepared for when an post goes viral, or you get featured by a major media outlet? Most sites will fail when they receive a large spike in traffic. Instead of visitors seeing the article or homepage, they’ll get nothing more than an error message. Managed WordPress hosts are built to scale. With traffic monitoring features the team behind your site will be able to scale your site’s resources at a moments notice to handle the flood of traffic.  

    3. Greater Levels of Security

    Most people don’t want to admit it, but there’s a chance your site could be hacked. Security is typically the farthest thing from people’s minds. Why would somebody want to hack my site? The last thing you want is to wake up one morning and realize your site’s been hacked. Then, you have to go through the process of fixing your site, which can be a real headache if you don’t have solid technical skills. With a managed WordPress host your server environment will be much more secure. Plus, since they’re WordPress experts they’ll be well aware of any common security holes and vulnerabilities and be able to patch the issues effectively.  

    4. An Expert Support Team Behind You

    A lot of support teams will only be able to help you with the actual server hardware when something goes wrong. So, if the issue is with your site, then you’re left on your own, having to search through Google looking for the magic fix. A managed WordPress host will not only be able to diagnose and solve server and hardware issues for you. But, they’re also staffed by a team of WordPress experts that will be able to help you troubleshoot any issues that might arise. And of course, the goal of a solid managed WordPress host is to help you avoid experiencing any site issues in the first place.  

    5. Automated Website Backups and Updates

    Backing up your website is incredibly important, but usually, it falls by the wayside if you have to figure it out yourself. However, with a WordPress managed host your site will be backed up automatically. The frequency of the backup will depend upon your host, but usually, it’s on a daily or weekly basis. Beyond backups the other task you’ll have to take care of yourself is updating your WordPress core, themes, and plugins. Failing to update these in a timely manner will make your site more vulnerable to attacks. Luckily, with WordPress managed hosting all of your updates will be handled automatically. Whether or not your plugins will be updated as well depends on the host.  

    Is Managed WordPress Hosting Right For Your Site?

    Managed WordPress hosting gives you the freedom and time to focus on growing your site, not managing your hosting. If you’re running a high traffic WordPress site and you want to improve its performance and security without any added work on your end, then WordPress managed hosting is an option worth considering.
  • Advanced SEO Tips for Bloggers

    Monday, April 30, 2018 by
    Advanced SEO tips for Bloggers

    Advanced SEO Tips for Bloggers

    If you wanted to write for yourself, you could keep a journal. You blog because you want other people to connect with what you have to say, or because you know it’s a valuable way to promote your website. Either way, you need other people to find you. You already know the SEO basics – to include keywords in your titles and headings, fill out your meta description, and promote your work on social media. But to truly stand out in the competitive world of online content, you need to move toward more advanced SEO tips. Here are a few important advanced SEO tips to start including in your blogging strategy. Creating a blog

    1. Make Keyword Research Part of Your Planning.

    Regular bloggers know how important it is to plan a calendar out in advance. If you don’t take the time to plan out topics and deadlines for yourself, you’ll have a hard time staying consistent in your publishing. Each time you sit down to plan out your calendar for the coming weeks, spend some time doing keyword research to see what topics your audience is thinking about, and the language they use when looking for information on those topics. There are a number of useful tools you can use for this. Google’s Keyword Planner is free and uses the data the company collects on what people are searching for in the most popular search engine in the world. It supplies both information on roughly how often people search for specific keyword terms and similar keywords people use to the ones you provide. You can also find phrases people commonly use by paying attention to the similar searches Google provides in the “People also ask” and “Searches related to” sections on the search engine results page. use people also ask box for keyword researchrelated keywords in google search

    2. Focus on Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities.

    Obviously, you’d love to rank for the general keywords that broadly describe what you do on your blog. If you provide health advice, then showing up when people search “health advice” would mean so many people find you. But if you do a search for that term, you’ll notice you’re competing with some serious bigwigs. Your blog probably isn’t going to unseat Harvard Health, WebMD, and Healthline for those top spots. search results page for broad keyword But when you think about it, a lot of the people searching for health advice aren’t going to use that sort of general term – they’re looking for specific information, like “best exercises for high cholesterol” or “foods to improve digestion.” These more detailed, specific searches are called long-tail keywords and for the vast majority of websites seeking to improve their SEO, they’re the most important keywords to focus on targeting in your efforts. They’re less competitive, so you have a better chance of showing up on page one and actually grabbing some of the traffic for that term.  

    3. Do SERP Research for Every Topic You Blog About.

    Not all search engine results pages look the same. With the recent rise in rich results, some searches produce a simple list of links, some include answer boxes up top, some have product ads at the top of the results page, and some have a map of local results that dominate the page. example of table featured snippet for infant sleep chartexample of local map 3-pack snippet rich result in google Knowing what the search results page looks like for the term you’re targeting is crucial for knowing how best to optimize your blog posts to land the best spots on the page and make sure your content stands out once you do.  

    4. Optimize for Rich Results When Relevant.

    If your SERP research reveals keywords that do bring up rich results, the approach you take when optimizing your content should be based on the specific type of results that win that page. In some cases, that will mean using schema markup to help your content stand out in the main list of results, in other cases it will mean optimizing your blog post to aim for the featured snippet. meta description matches featured snippet for shared vs wordpress hosting Either way, you have to know what you’re targeting in order to know how to take the best approach to achieve it.  

    5. Optimize Your Images for SEO.

    Blogs can’t be all about text. Every blog post you publish should include at least one image, and sometimes more. For people better with words than visuals, that can be a challenge, but it’s important that you not only take time to find good images for your blog, but that you also use them as an opportunity to do further search engine optimization on your page. Every image you include in a blog post gives you extra opportunities to add your keyword to the page. You can use the alt text, the image file name, and possibly the caption text (if you can do so naturally and in a way useful to visitors) to insert uses of your keyword onto the page. That’s a few more ways to signal to Google what the page is about.optimize alt tag to help blog posts rank  

    6. Guest Post on Relevant Blogs.

    The hardest part of SEO is getting other websites to link back to yours. One of the best ways for bloggers to build links back to theirr blog is to create valuable content for related websites. It can require a lot of work (you already know good content takes work), but it gives you a way to reach a new audience and improve your website’s SEO authority. Identify a few blogs that cover topics similar to or complementary to what you write about and find out if they accept guest posts. Then take some time to get familiar with the types of posts they publish and topics that are most popular with their readers, before coming up with a blog post idea to pitch and write for them. Be prepared to get some rejections, particularly if you’re targeting blogs that have a huge readership. But every guest post you land will introduce your blog to a new audience and provide you with linking opportunities back to your own blog. Just make sure you don’t overdo it so your post doesn’t look spammy – stick with one or two relevant links back.  

    7. Add Internal Links to Your Old Posts.

    Internal links aren’t as valuable as external ones, but they’re still an important SEO tactic. Most bloggers know by now to look for opportunities to link back to old posts when you’re writing new ones, but how often do you think to revisit your old posts to look for opportunities to link to new posts that have been published since? Now and then, search your website for the main keywords you had in mind for your recent posts. Anywhere in old posts where you used those keywords or similar ones, add a link to the newer posts with the keyword as anchor text. It’s a pretty simple step that can make a real difference.  

    8. Update Old Posts to Keep Them Current.

    Creating new content regularly takes a lot of work. But you can make the work you’ve already done go further by periodically reviewing your blog to find old posts that are good, but may now be outdated. Beef these up with updated information and valuable tips or insights you missed the first time around. This is especially useful to do for posts that rank okay, but not great. So anything you’re on page 2 or 3 for is worth improving upon so you can try to make it good enough for page one.  

    9. Feature Influencers in Your Blog Posts.

    As with guest posts, finding ways to collaborate with influencers is a useful way to expose your blog to a wider audience. That could mean doing an interview with them, featuring a quote from them, pointing out an example of something they do well in a blog post, or referring back to advice they provided on their site (with a link). example of blog post roundup featuring influencers featured influencers in roundup post By featuring them, you can get on their radar and may be able to get them to share your blog post with their audience, potentially bringing you new views and followers.  

    10. Try Out Different Content Formats.

    While blogging is primarily associated with writing, it’s a format that is much more flexible than that. You can include images, videos, infographics, and podcasts on a blog if you want. Branching out into new content types may be just the thing to help you reach a new audience or connect with your current audience in new ways. Experiment a bit to see how you like working with new formats and whether or not they result in more shares, more links back to your posts, or more engagement from your audience. Any content format that does is worth creating more of.  

    Conclusion

    Blogging is one of the best things anyone can do to improve SEO, but simply having a blog and publishing posts isn’t enough to keep you competitive. Creating regular content that’s always good is the hardest part though. By doing a little extra work to make the hard work you’re already doing go further, you can help your audience find you more easily and ensure your content does its job.
  • 5 Ways to Make Your B2B Brand Fun on Social

    Thursday, April 19, 2018 by
    fun b2b social media ideas

    5 Excellent Examples of Social Media for B2B

    Social media is the ultimate online hangout for consumers. On any given day, you’ll see people sharing the latest trends and products with their friends. It’s also an effective way for companies, big and small, to highlight their brand personality. And while B2C brands shine the most on social, B2B brands sometimes hesitant to leverage the channel. Chelsea Baldwin, founder of Copy Power, writes: “The B2B world can feel quite stiff sometimes. And while we all technically know that it doesn’t have to be that way, we find ourselves defaulting to that stiffness within our marketing, over and over again. Because even if we do want to be fun, we still need to be professional.” B2B brands can have fun, too. Below are five B2B companies nailing social media marketing.  

    1. Showcase a Playful Brand Culture

    The B2B ecosystem represents powerful deals, endless paperwork, and a polished, professional atmosphere. You’ll even think it's the place where creativity goes to die. However, if you rethink how you view B2B, you’ll understand that these companies aren’t selling to other businesses. Similar to their B2C counterparts, B2B brands make transactions with people. Every business is H2H, or Human to Human. We’re all connecting and selling to other humans who enjoy learning, having fun, and engaging with others. And that’s where the magic begins! You can use your brand personality to invite consumers into your culture. Give them an opportunity to see how uplifting and informative your brand can be. We’re not saying post inappropriate photos from the last happy hour party. But we do want your values and playful nature to bleed through. Below is an example from package delivery company UPS. On Instagram, the brand likes to post joyful images related to their company logo and culture. It’s unique and garners the eyeballs of their audience (even 3,068 likes!).

    Bow WOW. Happy #DressUpYourPetDay 🐶

    A post shared by UPS (@ups) on

    Your B2B brand isn’t a heartless, corporate juggernaut. It’s full of many people who make up your brand culture. Display that image to your customers.  

    2. Launch a Virtual Product Tour

    When you’re a kid, the best school days involved field trips to new places around the city. It was a chance to experience something different. From the school’s perspective, it was an educational way to make the classroom theory a reality. Those tours to the local zoo, courtroom, and theater made abstract concepts more attainable. You can bring back those memories to your consumers with virtual product tours. Through social media, you can offer a behind-the-scenes look at an upcoming product launch or give a snapshot of your facilities. “Visual content tends to garner more engagement, especially on those networks where it is a fit like Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. Aside from great photography, use memes, infographics and visual representations [to exhibit] points made in blog posts,” says Douglas Burdett, founder of Artillery. GE is all about introducing its Facebook fans to their innovations. During Drone Week, they answered live questions to enhance the experience. Facebook Live video example for tech brand What’s unique about your office? Can you give a live guided tour with one of your experts? Use these questions as starters to develop a fun social environment. Bring your customers into your daily routine. Product tours make it easy for people to relate to your brand.  

    3. Highlight Charitable Giving

    Humanity involves our actions and how we treat one another. People gravitate towards individuals who give back to those in need. Charitable giving manifests in many shapes and forms. There’s donating a few extra dollars to your favorite nonprofit or spending your Saturday mornings tutoring kids in the neighborhood. These selfless actions give hope. They show characteristics of compassion, friendship, and kindness. Take a front and center approach by spotlighting your charitable giving. Consumers desire the stories of your brand doing more than just collecting a profit. They want to know how you’re serving the community. Accenture walks the walk on social media. This global management consulting giant commits itself to giving back to communities. The soul of the brand centers around philanthropy, whether that’s donating funds or offering workers a chance to volunteer their time.   There’s a fine line between spotlighting your giving efforts and boasting about them. Work with your team to ensure your B2B brand isn’t coming off as arrogant. Customers respect genuine charitable giving. And they can spot an imposter quickly! So continue to evaluate your strategy. You’re doing wonderful things to impact the world. Use social media as an outlet to amplify your good deeds to the world.  

    4. Spotlight Your Employees

    When it comes to B2B brands, it’s easy to think there’s no one doing the work in the background: making phone calls, meeting with customers, or even mopping the floors. Well, businesses don’t operate efficiently unless there’s a dedicated and capable team calling the shots. Your employees are working around the clock to ensure the business runs smoothly. And where there’s people doing great work, an amazing story is usually around the corner. You can use social media to magnify these stories. “Post photos of team meetings, community events and everyday office fun! Show your audience there’s more to your brand than, well, a boring company. Show the human side of how things get done. Use your employees to breathe new life into our social campaigns,” suggests Owen Matson, director of content strategy at MarketScale. Below is a LinkedIn post from Citi. The company honors their employees by sharing stories of their achievements.
    Do something similar by profiling your own employees. You also can mention their achievements or highlight their work. You want consumers to see how you workers impact the business. It doesn’t take much to spice up your social feed. Start giving your employees the extra recognition they deserve.  

    5. Create Contests to Boost Attention

    The social in social media is what most B2B businesses overlook. They forget that engagement occurs when you interact with your audience. To spur engagement, you can try posting a question to spark discussion, or you can even challenge your followers to caption a funny meme. But you probably want to kick it up a notch, right? If so, host your very own contest on social media. You can ask consumers to post their entries on the social channel, or you can direct them to a page on your site. The great thing about contests is that they can be as simple or elaborate as you want. You can offer free swag or a trip for two to Paris. The only advice is to make it relevant to your audience. Square shows how to create contests geared toward your consumers. The mobile payment brand hosted a contest to give away free retail space. They also teamed up with Appear Here to make it all happen. b2b social media contest Social media is all about connecting with people. Draw excitement for your B2B brand by creating a contest.  

    Shine on Social

    Social fun isn’t reserved only for B2C brands. Your B2B business can leverage its originality on social media, too. Try using your brand culture to get consumers’ attention. Open your virtual doors and invite folks to a product tour. And it never hurts to give your employees all the glory by highlighting their actions. Having fun on social starts now.
  • 5 Ideas To Create Social Media Content Your Customers Will Love

    Thursday, April 19, 2018 by
    create social media content customers like

    How to Create Social Media Content That Your Customers Actually Like

    Most businesses share content without thinking about whether it will resonate with their customers. They focus on promoting their products and get stuck in a rut of selling 24/7. Those companies miss an essential point of marketing—thinking of your customers, not yourself. You’ll want to be strategic about your content. Larry Alton, an Adweek contributor, says: “Sure, an attractive Facebook cover photo is great, but it’s not going to mean the difference between converting a follower into a customer. The content you publish and share could, though. Treat content like your currency and it’ll fundamentally change the way you approach social media.” It’s time for you to experiment. Here are a few ways to find the types of social media content your customers will love. HostGator Website Builder

    1. Identify Popular Blog Posts

    When it comes to selecting the right content, teams can get antsy. Rather than creating a focused strategy, they start posting any and everything online. As a result, your social media account looks like paint thrown onto a wall. A few of posts work well, but most of your content misses the mark. Then, you scramble to try again and get the same outcome. This time around, begin with what you know. And that’s your popular blog posts! You’ve already done the hard work, and you know customers benefit from the content. Now, it’s up to you to share it with the rest of your followers. If your website is connected to Google Analytics, you can locate your most popular posts in a few seconds. First, login to your account. On the left column, click Behavior, Site Content, and then All Pages. For primary dimension, click Page Title. find most popular blog posts in Google Analytics

    Image Source

    Be sure to adapt each post to your desired social channel. You may have to tweak images, headlines, or even create a cool Twitter thread. Do what’s already working. Start with your greatest hits—your most popular blog posts.  

    2. Ask Customers Directly

    As small business owners, it’s easy to get stuck in your own head. Your team is pondering day and night to figure out what content will intrigue your fans. However, it’s important to realize that you don’t possess all the answers. And to reach a solution, sometimes the best option is to ask your customers directly. That’s right! If you want to know the types of content that really excite customers, get their feedback. “Can direct outreach really be beneficial in getting feedback from customers? Absolutely. Understanding your customers is often as easy as talking to them directly. This direct outreach can also help fill in the gaps that less personal forms of feedback tend to create,” states Gregory Ciotti, a writer, marketing strategist and alum of Help Scout. Depending on your company’s resources, you have a few ways to collect customers’ feedback. You can try sending an email requesting responses to a few questions, connecting with them on social media via direct message, or if you really have time, pick up the phone and call customers. Inquire about their interests and what problems are plaguing them at the moment. That way, you can post social media content that fits their needs.  

    3. Listen on Social Media

    On social media, there’s a lot of noise. Brands can get trapped into talking about irrelevant topics and decide only to stick to what they know best—their products. To venture beyond the constant selling, you must be willing to do things differently. Rather than blasting out the same post every day at the same time, you’ll want to actually listen to your customers. Jump down the social media rabbit hole to learn more about your followers. Gather information on what they like and dislike about your brand and discover their interests. This is the art of social listening. To organize your search, you’ll probably want to invest in a tool like Sprout Social. You can monitor specific keywords, identify relevant hashtags, and engage with your brand advocates. social listening software Reports indicate that 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. So take what you learn and apply it your customer service interactions. Moreover, user-generated content is helpful for providing your audience with social proof. Reach out to customers raving about your brand and ask them if you can use their content in your next campaign.  

    4. Spy on Your Competitors’ Content

    In the world of business, there’s a wise piece of advice for newcomers: don’t reinvent the wheel. Too many times, teams spend their precious resources building something from scratch, instead of revamping a mold that already exists. Some of the best content research is available for free and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to locate. So, where is it? It’s your competitor’s social media content. Both of you are attracting and engaging similar audiences, so use their content as a barometer on what may or may not resonate on your channel. “You can also learn from your competitor’s mistakes—the Facebook posts that flop versus the posts people love, for instance—and hone your strategy to accommodate what appeals to your audience. With competitive intelligence in your marketing arsenal, you’re prepared to amp up your presence and increase traffic back to your website,” writes Sarah Bauer, content director at Navigator Multimedia Inc. Observe which content types get the most customer engagement. Look for questions asked by followers and never get answered. The goal is to find your competitor’s blind spot and fill the consumer’s need on your social media account. Of course, spying on the competition won’t give you everything you need. But it’s an effective process to get the content machine moving in the right direction.  

    5. Research Past Social Engagement

    People are creatures of habit. We take comfort in doing things the same old way. When people recognize something familiar, we move towards it. This principle holds true for ramping up your social media engagement. Analyzing past trends can offer insight on what customers may enjoy in the future. Too often, we skip the data available to us. Analytics dashboards make it easier than ever to review social behavior. For instance, below is a summary of Twitter analytics. It shows the top tweet, top media tweet, top mention, and top follower. You can find similar data on your brand’s account. Twitter Analytics dashboard Once you gather this data, what’s next? Use it as a guide to craft content with related topics or themes. It also may spark ideas to repurpose existing content. Share that funny meme on Facebook to your Twitter followers. Ask an influencer in your field to repost your top Instagram post. Social media is always evolving. So don’t focus on trends from three or five years ago. The past year is good enough to understand what your customers like. Data is useful for predicting future behavior. Learn how to leverage it to satisfy your customers.  

    Must-See Social Media Content

    The first rule of social media is to make content your audience will enjoy. If you don’t, you risk losing people’s interest quickly. Promote popular blog posts to connect with your followers. Pay attention to what your fans post on their accounts. And give yourself a boost by taking a peek at your competitors. Speak to your customers. Create likeable content.