Use Wufoo integrations and get your data to your favorite apps.

Category: Social Media

There are 23 posts published under Social Media.

How Being Data Driven Helps in Your Content Marketing Efforts

Content marketing is the preferred mode of marketing for many businesses these days. Not only is it very cost-effective when compared to traditional forms of marketing, but also allows brands to use the power of the Internet to increase their market base. Moreover, content marketing, unlike many other forms of online marketing, is still considered trustworthy by consumers leading to brands making a beeline towards content marketing firms.

However, many brands are unable to use content marketing effectively, as they don’t know how their campaigns are faring or why and what they must change. This is why brands need to practice data-driven content marketing and not just content marketing.

Track the performance of your content marketing efforts

There is no point in having marketing campaigns if you have no idea how well they are performing. Yes, content marketing campaigns are much cheaper than traditional marketing campaigns but that doesn’t mean you can run them forever even when they are not giving you any results. This is a rookie mistake in content marketing and unfortunately it is committed by many brands. They create and launch content marketing campaigns without checking up on them.

Without tracking any data and without any metrics analysis, they may have no idea if their content marketing campaigns are meeting targets and goals set for them. Without using data analytics to track content marketing, there is no way to know if the content marketing efforts of a brand are actually worth the investment, time, and effort that has gone into the campaign.

Is your content reaching the intended audience?

Brands turn to content marketing to help them reach out to and attract their ideal or target audience. Once brands figure out the kind of people or the demographics that they think will benefit from their products and services, they try and create content and marketing campaigns to gain visibility among their ideal audience. Smart brands and content marketers use data analytics methods to track their content marketing campaigns to see if they are actually reaching out to the intended people or not.

With data analytics, you can actually figure out how people are interacting as well as reacting with your content and marketing campaigns. This will allow you to understand what you are doing right and the areas that you can improve upon. With proper data analytics processes, you will be able to change your content marketing campaigns to make them more effective.

Content marketing is also one of the most important ways to attract more prospects. Choosing prospects is very tricky, as they need to be in tune with your brand. They must also understand your business and marketing philosophies to be truly beneficial to your brand. If you are not using a data-driven approach to content marketing, how can you find out if your brand is attracting the right kind of prospects that will actually help your brand and not harm it? Moreover, the content marketing landscape and consumer tastes are ever changing and your campaigns need to adapt to them as quickly as possible. With no data analytics, you will never know when the changes occur and how they are affecting your campaigns.

You can improve your content marketing campaigns

Apart from getting the ideal prospects and consumers for your brand, content marketing also helps brands improve their visibility. Another, and probably the ultimate goal of content marketing, is to increase sales for the company. This is the ultimate and long-term goal of any marketing campaign. Data from tracking campaigns and analysis of this collected data can help you understand if casual visitors are being converted into customers and if not, then what is blocking the sales funnel.

With the right data you can improve your campaigns to convert casual readers of your content into paying customers without having to blatantly express that you want them to buy your products. Data analytics can also give you the entire and detailed view of the purchasing or conversion funnel to see how much time it takes for visitors to convert and at what phases they are spending the most time. This will help you understand what is stopping people from converting and how you can change your content marketing campaigns to nudge causal visitors in the right direction.




10 Tips to Create Robust Social Media Content

If you are a stranger to social media marketing, it can be briefly described as acquiring traffic and attention through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Social media sites allow a range of social interactions with users, from the short messages exchanged on Twitter to “this-is-my-life” platforms exemplified by sites such as Facebook and Google+.


Social media are the mechanisms through which many people discover content such as news stories, articles and blogs on topics in which they have an interest.


Content is King


If your business isn’t participating in social media marketing, it isn’t realizing its full potential. Achieving that potential through social media requires that you provide engaging, relevant and high quality content because in the world of social media marketing, content is king. Let me take this notion a step further. If content is king, then great content is the emperor.


It’s about More than an Interesting Subject


Yes, it is great to have an interesting subject, but that is not enough to stand out from the crowd. Successful content is composed of a host of elements and subject matter is but one of them. Here are ten helpful tips to push your content to the next level.


1.) Spend the time necessary to create well-edited, superbly written content. In short, don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Fewer posts of excellent quality will always yield better results than numerous poorly crafted posts that few people read.


2.) Avoid getting mired down in word counts. While it can be good to be brief, it is almost always better to be good. Longer posts can work if they are sufficiently compelling. In any case, writing content to specific word count targets can often result in boring and redundant content.


3.) Each social platform is unique. Content must conform to the demands and characteristics of the social media site you are using. What works for Facebook will obviously not work for Twitter.  If you are working with multiple social media sites, make sure you have the time to create content specific to each. If you are unable to devote the time and resources necessary, you are better served by limiting your engagement to one or two sites.


4.) When you think of content, make certain you think beyond the written word. Photos and videos are not to be overlooked. Photos enhance written content and videos can stand alone or compliment written content on other platforms. Professionally produced videos are preferred but don’t exclude yourself from video simply because you lack the financial resources for professionally produced videos. There is plenty of help available on the Internet that can enable you to produce amateur video of very good quality. One of many such sites is ReelSEO. Get more bang for your buck by enabling embedding to encourage sharing.


5.) Create a thorough profile. This will add credibility to your content. Efforts made to establish your bona fides as an expert, or an authority, are extremely worthwhile and certain to pay off. These efforts will increase readership and encourage a loyal following.


6.) Review the most prevalent social media sites and make a careful determination of what site or sites are best suited to the goals of your enterprise. They are, in no particular order:


  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Tumbler
  • Instgram
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Flickr


7.) Critically review your content to ensure that it meets your objectives of driving traffic, building brand recognition and converting clicks to sales. There is little point in cluttering the Internet with ineffective content that fails to further these three objectives. In the same vein, make certain that your content is compatible with the social media platform used.


8.) Develop methods for evaluating the effectiveness of your content.  Are you driving the right traffic? What are your conversion ratios? Is your content being shared and to what extent? For example, a heavily shared piece of content indicates that you have hit on something that truly interests your readers. This is information on which you can build future content.


9.) The key metrics to monitor are:


  • Social shares
  • Visits
  • Conversions


10.) Social media is no forum for the hard-sell. Overly promotional content will be spotted immediately and skipped like a flat stone on calm water. Don’t underestimate the savvy of the Internet audience.


The Benefits of Social Media Marketing


In a survey conducted by Social Media Examiner the top five benefits business reaped from social media marketing were:


  • Increased business exposure
  • Quality lead generation
  • Marketplace intelligence (demographics)
  • Improved search engine rankings
  • Reduced marketing expenses for businesses with ten or fewer employees


While social media marketing may not be in the cards for every enterprise, those businesses making a well reasoned commitment, devoting the time necessary and investing the required effort to produce quality content report a very acceptable return on investment.


Social Shopping Takes Advantage of Niches

Online shoppers are presented with a plethora of options when it comes to the decision on where to purchase a product, and on where to seek information on the product.


But when it comes to social shopping, quantity does not always prevail over quality, especially with Amazon and Ebay as a competitor. In this article, we’ll examine why more and more shoppers are taking to social shopping platforms to make purchasing decisions. We will also see how social shopping leverages the power of trendsetters to take the upper hand by closing the gap in the E-commerce circle rather than directly competing with large corporations.


The Power of Social


Human beings are inherently social and, in that innate tendency to connect with others, have the desire to seek affirmation and social reassurance. There’s no doubt that social aspects play a key factor in purchasing power on the web. There has been a 357% increase in sales from social traffic compared to last year (Shop Socially), and a total of 38,000,000 13 to 80 year olds in the US said that their purchasing decisions were influenced by social media (Knowledge Networks). That being said, it’s important to look at the main component propelling these statistics, the influencers.


Influencers, the Key Component in Social Shopping Purchases


When asked how shoppers formulate their opinions on products, 74% said they rely on social networks during the purchasing process (Sprout Social) and what’s more, 81% of US respondents indicated that their purchase decisions were directly influenced by friends’ social media posts (Forbes). So not only do they turn to social media, they look to people they trust, which is where social shopping closes the full circle in leveraging the power of these influencers to generate sales.


The particular appeal to these influencers is their authority within their particular niche. The influencers and the niches they are able to target are what give social shopping the upper hand against major corporations like Amazon and Ebay.These corporationsh mainly serve shoppers who know exactly what they want whereas more than 65% of shoppers who aren’t sure what they want turn to social media for gift ideas (Crowdtap) among the countless others in search of cool new products in their interest area or niche.


So Why a Niche Audience?


The way social shopping is fabricated encourages niche users to work together in forming a community (Readwrite) influenced by the collective activity of the group. There are often many different categories on social shopping networks, and niches are formed by influential leaders in each sector such as fashion, technology, books, music, home and garden, etc. The niches can even be filtered down into more specific subcategories, and social shopping networks often make deals with bloggers and trendsetters to be the voice of these communities, whom users with similar taste and needs can follow for advice and information on the products they’re interested in.


The influencers then leverage their power to generate big data around products that many nonsocial bigger corporations lack, which are the comments, reviews, shares and recommendations on products by trusted people in the community, people who have indicated they have or like a product, and more importantly, people who have indicated they want a product, which is one step closer to the purchase.


So what does this mean for stores and brands? A whole new level of personalization – the ability to connect with a highly targeted audience of users who are often overlooked by larger corporations who, in turn, target mass audiences. And on some social shopping networks, the stores have the possibility to send personalized offers and even to reward the influencers. And what does this mean for the user? A space they can turn to get all the information they need on the specific type of product they’re interested in, in just one visit.


Although Amazon seems to have mastered the E-commerce realm while it bets on efficiency, instant product comparisons, etc., the mass reviews by unknown customers or even the businesses themselves will not suffice for the shopper looking for a more personal, more curated experience. Soon, Amazon and companies alike will not be able to ignore terms like “social proof” and “curated shopping” (Clickz). Social Shopping networks like Wanelo, Svpply , Fancy, Fab , Moodyo and Open Sky have all created relevant, targeted audiences and communities that will inevitably pique the interests of the main players in E-commerce for their prominent influence on these niches and their purchasing power.


Today’s Success is due to Your Web Presence

I just read Macklemore’s heart-felt open letter he wrote about the unbelievable year that him and his producer, Ryan Lewis, have had.


I encourage you to read it for yourself, because it is a true testament of how diligence and faith can lead to success. These traits are principles that any budding or established entrepreneur can relate to.


Although, I wish Macklemore all of the best in his journey, something odd stood out about this letter. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then it came to me. Macklemore writes:


“To date we’ve sold over 1 million albums in the US this year. We’ve received platinum plaques from countries I’ve never even been before. We have 3 multi-platinum singles. We’ve performed on Ellen, Conan, Letterman, Leno, Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live, Billboard Music Awards, Good Morning America and the MTV Video Music Awards. It was just announced today that we’re nominated for 6 American Music Award’s, and yesterday it was announced we’re performing at The Grammy’s nomination night.”


He and his band deserves to be rewarded for all of their hard work when considering metrics that were created and valid before the advent of the Internet. These metrics include millions of albums sold, multi-platinum singles, performances on late night television, awards shows, and Grammy’s, which are all a very singular form of validation.


The Artist to Fan model adds a more dynamic layer to an Artist’s engagement with their fans. This model surpasses traditional channels and puts the artist in direct contact with the fan and vice versa. The Artist to Fan model, pioneered through today’s social networks and digital music distributors, may provide more valuable data to measure the success for an artist today. The Internet democratizes the landscape for fans and artists to share ideas and become more personable. Macklemore’s story is, in fact, not the only one. And probably is not the most important one.


Beyonce showed why she is King B with the release of the recent LP, “Beyonce,” Her recent advertising campaign for her self-titled album was a viral sensation. She demonstrated how well timed conversations in engaged social followings can quickly spread messages on the web.


James Jackson Toth, Lorde and Schoolboy Q on the other hand, have released dozens and dozens of records, under different labels, publishers, and formats. All of them are very active on social networking sites where they are a part of various conversations with other highly visible people on those social sites.


Most of these artists will never sell out at Madison Square Garden. They will not get awards. For the most part, they will never grace the stages of late night TV. But they, and many others, seem to find their inspiration by going directly to their listeners, supporters, and friends. Think about it, we all have a favorite musician-friend in our social network somewhere right?


Busting Social Media Myths Once and For All

It’s a pattern: once something gets popular, it comes with a bucket load of myths that we have to break out of. The longer we cling on to these myths, the more we suffer. Cash stays on the table, nothing seems to happen, and things don’t work out to be the way we expect.

Social media is no exception. If small businesses not getting on to social media and using it to their advantage is a problem, riding on myths that hurt your efforts on social media is totally something else. It’s time to stop letting baseless myths hurt your efforts on social media for your business.


Here are some of those myths debunked once and for all:


Social media? My customers aren’t social


You couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s just take the U.S for consideration: according to Pew Research, more than 72% of American Adults are on social networks. Used aged 65 and above have tripled their presence growing from 13% in 2009 to 43% in 2013.


Each of the social networks is growing at a pace that can dwarf the growth of anything else on the planet. With multiple social networks available – each serving a particular type of audience – can you figure out the kind of growth we are talking about?


Chances are that your users are on social networks. If they aren’t, they will be.


Social media is fancy. It’s for kids and bored housewives


If anything, it’s far from being the network for kids and bored housewives.  It’s chaotic and changes faster than the time it takes to tweet.  It’s hectic and user attention for every tweet or other updates is rapidly decreasing already. It’s the new media that businesses are betting on.


Belle Beth Cooper wrote for Fast Company and points out many intriguing statistics for us to ponder: The demographic audience between 55-64 year olds grew by 79% since 2012. Meanwhile the 45-54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic spreading over both Facebook and Google+.


While you are busy considering that, more than 189 million Facebook users are mobile only. Mobile use generates more than 30% for Facebook’s advertising revenues. YouTube reaches out to more people than TV and two members join LinkedIn every second.


Just so that you don’t miss the bus, more than 93% of businesses use social media leave only 7% of marketers who don’t use social media yet (we sure hope you aren’t here).


If you read this next year, all of these numbers would have climbed north.


We can’t measure social media


Before you quip that you can’t measure social media, we’d like to ask, “What do you want to measure?”


Your answers depend on the questions you ask and that applies to social media. According to Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, the problem with social media is not about measurability (tons of tools and applications make measuring easy and in real-time). What’s difficult is to find out what you want to measure.


Social media lends itself as one media with multiple opportunities and even more parameters for you to deal with. You could measure the following, for instance:


  • Traffic
  • Link clicks or tracked URLs
  • Conversions on your landing pages with traffic from social networks
  • Mentions
  • Follower or Fan Growth
  • Reach or traction
  • Leads from social media along with retention, conversions, and sales


You can’t sell on social media


It’s partly right; and partly wrong.


You can certainly sell on social media, just not the way we are used to selling. It’s not the kind of media (like newspapers) where you’d pick up numbers, cold call, set up appointments, pitch, and sell.


It’s more about doing business the good old fashioned way: getting to know someone, making acquaintances (or friends), giving more than you take, and leading with authority. Being nice adds to the advantage.


The more people on social get to know you, the more you are setting yourself up to launch your business into the new trend of social selling. For a change, you know who your potential customer is. You know what she tweets about. You know what irks her the most. You can possibly help her. You might just as well do it when the time comes.


Social Media is a marketing channel? Eh?


Social media is more about the kind of marketing where you show up like Santa ready to give away gifts, just like that. It’s like Uncle Willy who appears out of nowhere with the big box of value. Social media marketing is all about developing intrinsic value with giving away insights, sharing information, handing out tips, and having conversations.


But then social won’t kill email. Social marketing isn’t about harking all day long about your products and services. Content marketing and social media go walking together (both feeding off on each other). For once, your logo isn’t even that pretty on your company’s social channels because social media is about people and not companies anymore.


Talk about conversions, so social is chatter?


Chatter for what happens (at least for marketers and businesses that know how to use social media) on social media is an understatement. Most of what’s on social media is chatter. On social media, there’s chatter and there’s talk that means business.


But marketers and companies betting on social media don’t “chat;” they have strategic conversations loaded with multiple agendas. Some of those conversations are for providing value and sharing insights just when needed. Other conversations could be to lead with thought leadership and to solve problems. A few are for direct suggestions and recommendations.


Social media demands that businesses leave the comforts of steel-backed, glass-walled buildings and get on the street (read social networks) where conversations happen.


The key to making social media work for businesses is to manage those conversations the way you want to.


We are sure that there are many other myths we could have left out. What do you think they are? Which of these social media myths have you been riding on? If you could put a number on it, how might be total value in sales or opportunities you’d have lost if you espoused any of these myths?


You can tell us about it.


Why Your Startup Needs Visuals in its Social Media Strategy

With users of Pinterest and Instagram increasing at a startling rate, social media is more visual than ever. Shareaholic has identified Pinterest as the fourth largest traffic driver worldwide, and Instagram boasts 150 million active users per month. Other networks must follow suit.


In the autumn of 2013, Twitter unveiled their improved integration of images in posts, and Google+ is priding itself on its visual interface - particularly when it comes to seamless integration of YouTube. Over on Facebook, the ‘highlight’ feature, alongside larger timeline photos and cover photos, helps users to maximise the impact of their photos and the visual appearance of their page.


Go visual or go home, the social media message seems to be, and startups should be trying their hardest to keep up.


Why the emphasis on visual content?


  • It’s engaging. A report by ROI Research found 44% of respondents were more likely to engage with brands who posted pictures on their social media channels rather than any other type of content.
  • Visuals go viral. Images can get round the net fast. When accompanied by a great image, content is likely to travel faster too. Believe it or not, Skyword have found that articles containing relevant images have on average 94% more total views than articles without images.
  • The rise of infographics. High-quality infographics are up to 30 times more likely to be read than text articles, so companies able to create professional infographics have much to gain.


Kickstart a visual social media strategy by asking yourself:


  • Does my startup have existing visual content that is worth sharing?
  • Are there obvious types of images that relate to my startup? (For travel startups, visual promotion by sharing photos of destinations and landmarks is easy, for other areas you may have to be more creative)
  • What sort of images would my startup’s audience enjoy and share?
  • Can I convey the promotional message of my startup visually? Can I use images to encourage users to check out my startup?


Your action plan for visual promotion:


Create easy-to-share visual content

  • Create infographics, especially if you have talented designers in your team
  • Use high-quality images in your blog posts
  • Add watermarks or a website URL to original images


Share visual content on social media

  • Post tweets with high-quality integrated images
  • Use Facebook’s ‘highlight’ feature to make images larger and add variety to your page
  • Use G+ communities (whether your own or others) to share great visuals with catchy content or links
  • Add a ‘Pin-it’ button to your website


Get to know your followers

  • Share photos of your team, workspace, projects and incentives on Pinterest and Instagram
  • Create a YouTube channel to show followers what you’re working on


Use images to engage

  • Thank followers for helping you reach social media milestones with a team photo

Visual content is now a fundamental part of social media marketing for startups. You simply can’t get away with just posting text-based content if you want success; posts need to be engaging, shareable and visual. Make it your mission to include high-quality photos, images, videos and infographics in your social media approach and you’ll be reaping the benefits.


10 Must Have Apps for the Traveling Entrepreneur

You’ve been groped by TSA, crammed into a tiny seat on a plane, and have a few hours to kill before you reach your destination. Now, it’s time to pull out the laptop and help the time pass, but two words stop you in your tracks: dead battery.


If you travel a lot for work, or even occasionally, no doubt you’ve been stuck in an airport, cab, shuttle bus, or on a plane with only your mobile phone to keep you company. Thankfully, there are some great apps to help you relieve the stress and even be productive. Here are some useful ones that every entrepreneur on the go should have at the ready:


  1. OpenTable – After that measly bag of peanuts on the plane, you’re likely to crave a real meal once you disembark. OpenTable allows you to make reservations at any of the 20,000 restaurants in their system – including 5 star locations. This free app won’t leave you (or your clients) hungry!


  1. Priceline – As a frequent traveler, you’re probably always in search of a killer deal. Priceline allows you to choose from special rates at more than 200,000 hotels and view exclusive “Tonight-Only Deals” for extra savings. Book future travel, reserve rental cars, and more. We love the “Name Your Price” feature – the thrill of seeing if your deal price is accepted is like playing a hand of blackjack.


  1. Dropbox – Access or share photos, documents, and videos with this convenient, cloud-based storage app. Dropbox puts what you need all in one place for easy reference on the go. We’ve used the app to prep for business presentations and even a great resource to show a prospective client past work.


  1. Google Drive – Another great cloud-based storage app, Google Drive also allows you to create documents and share photos and files. Plus, as a bonus, you can pin files so they’re available offline (a nifty feature for those times you just can’t get cell reception or find a Wi-fi connection).


  1. Hootsuite – If you’re a social media junky, the Hootsuite app is a must. With it, you can manage your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Foursquare accounts with the greatest of ease. You can also schedule updates for future posting, track results, and translate to or from more than 50 languages.


  1. Pandora – They say music calms the savage beast, so the harried traveler could certainly benefit from a little music when trying to navigate from Point A to Point B. The Pandora app allows users to create up to 100 of their own personalized stations so you don’t ever have to listen to one single song you don’t want to hear.


  1. Skype – Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you have to be out of touch. With the Skype app, travelers can make free voice or video calls to any other Skype user. Instant message friends or family, send photos, and stave off that homesick feeling.


  1. Google+ Hangouts – This helpful app allows you to enjoy a video call with up to 10 friends or family members. Or, perhaps, just that special someone. You can even view photo collections from each of your Hangouts.


  1. The New York Times – Keep up-to-date on current events, view videos and slideshows, save articles to read later, and share content through Facebook, Twitter, email, or SMS.


  1. Tripit – On the road again? All your trips starting to blur together? The Tripit app creates a detailed, daily itinerary for every trip you schedule and puts hotel info, flights, restaurant reservations, and car rental details all in one place. You can ever secure directions, maps, and weather reports for each destination. No more lost confirmation codes!

The Future of Gamification in Television

Television as we know it is coming to an end.


Just as iTunes revolutionized the way people purchase and listen to music, the second screen is transforming how people consume television. The message can no longer be delivered in a linear one stop fashion. It has to be presented in a way that is both dynamic and interactive. Audiences are craving more from their media and that is why second screen media applications are swooping in to redefine how television is watched.


Although it seems as if this has all been revolutionary at its heart is one fundamental truth: people love being told a story. The way the story is being told has changed and it will change many times more but at the end of the day a compelling story is what drives the entire machine and as long as that exists so will an audience.


The Audience is in Control


The TV viewing audience is no longer passively staring at a television. In fact, they aren’t even limiting themselves to a single screen. According to Microsoft Advertising, 33 million American consumers regularly engage in multiple screens simultaneously. People are now accustomed to constant stimulus from the world around them that can be provided by their smartphones, tablets and PC’s.


Despite this influx of multi-screen distractions, audiences are actually more engaged than ever. Water cooler television talk has evolved into never ending virtual discussion. More than ever, people are actively participating in the storytelling process. People don’t just want to watch television; they want to experience it.


The Social Media Effect


The audience has been empowered by social media. It has become a constant companion for television viewers. We now live in a culture where waiting to talk TV around the water cooler is no longer enough. According to Ericsson Consumer Lab, a staggering 40% of consumers use social media while watching television. Fans want to react instantly to what happens on their favorite shows and they’re utilizing social media to express themselves in real time.


Social media buzz can now change the narrative of a show. Just last week Twitter virtually exploded, when beloved Family Guy character Brian, was killed off the show. It remains to be seen whether or not their outrage will amount to anything but the fact that they were able to voice their anger on such a large scale via several different social media platforms is astounding.


Gamification and the Future of Television


Social TV has long since been establishing itself as the very best of interactive second screen media. Applications such as Viggle, Get Glue, and my own platform, have succeeded in making watching television a participatory experience that relies on the complete engagement of the user. Insticator deepens that immersive quality by offering its users real life prizes for making predictions about their favorite programs. The satisfaction of watching their favorite television shows coupled by incentive to win makes applications like Insticator both addictive and desirable to the consumers living in the digital age. Gamification is taking the concept of audience interaction one giant leap further. Not only is the audience now being heard, they are being listened to. The synergy created by gamification will not only ensure that audiences grow but that they will remain invested for their programs entire duration.


Looking to the Future


Social TV is strengthening the bond between viewer and network and I can say with full confidence that this is the future of television viewing. The medium has been forever changed and it is only getting more exciting. With this new type of audience it will fall on the networks to create worlds worth immersing themselves in and an application such as Insticator is essential to ensuring that consumer interest is maintained.


So, get out those smartphones and get in the game.


Be an Expert in Your Field, Not Social Media

We’re all aware of the pervasive use of social media (23% of users check Facebook more than 5 times a day!); for small businesses, monitoring our accounts can seem like a productivity vampire, stealthily sucking resources, time and energy away from more important projects.


But, there can be a way to efficiently spend time on social media! The key to social media success isn’t becoming a whiz on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, it’s knowing your strengths, maximizing your time and displaying yourself to the world as the expert you are. Not sure how to get started? Read on, grasshopper.


Make a Plan


We’ve all fallen into the rabbit hole of social media. We’re casually checking our updates and, two hours later, we’re staring at our ex-boyfriend’s cousin’s dog’s 1st birthday pictures. The same can happen when posting on behalf of a company. Time is money, so dedicate a certain number of hours per day to researching, creating, posting and interacting. Budget this time into your overall day and stick to it — setting an alarm might sound crazy but will keep you aware of the clock. Unscheduled updating, replying and tweeting will syphon off productivity like a three-year-old sneaking icing from a cake.


I handle social media for three tech companies: PlanetReuse, PlanetReuse Marketplace and InvenQuery. I spend the first three hours of the day collecting, curating and creating content for reach of these accounts and check in once or twice throughout the day for 10-20 minutes, responding to any questions and to reply or re-tweet to interesting content. Resist the urge to mindlessly scroll!


Create, Execute, Analyze


Make your life as easy as possible by using a scheduling app like buffer to create your posts for the day(s), then set it and forget it. There are a myriad of options to fit your analytics and price needs. Use the reporting to see what’s working and what’s not. Getting a lot of clicks on a subject you are particularly knowledgeable in? Consider hosting a Google hangout or webinar to discuss the topic, endearing yourself to your audience and building your online cred. People really digging those pictures of your dog in sweatshirts? Make it a weekly occurrence.


Remember that posts that include a picture, link, video or poll have a much higher rate of likes, comments, reposts and shares. Sometimes your audience needs to be told what to do. Want a link to be re-tweeted? Ask for it!


Figure out what to say and how to say it


What is it you want to be known for? You can’t be everything to everyone, so make a list of the topics to focus on. Create Google alerts and a BlogLovin account so that relevant content is served up daily to your inbox, fresh for the posting. Does your company build websites and blogs? Concentrate on design, innovation and technology. Use hashtags to add your voice to the conversation, and at tweet trendsetters in your field.


Develop a tone, and be as authentic as possible. Is your company quirky? Serious? Scholarly? Use a vocabulary that will exemplify your brand image. Your audience wants to interact with living humans, not a nameless company, so give them a feel for who you are.


As you repeat your message and brand across platforms, you might start to sound like a broken record. Don’t sweat it; by presenting yourself in a uniform manner, you’ll cement your image in your customer’s mind.


Delegate, with oversight


Is there someone at your company (we’re looking at you, intern) who really loves social media? Don’t be afraid to hand over the reigns, with supervision. Have discussions on how to respond to customer interactions, general questions and any sensitive issues that might arise. Consider rotating the role of social media conductor to different employees; you’ll not only present a broader depth of topics and tone to your audience, you’ll also build the professional development of your staff.


Find your audience


Once you’ve figured out your plan of attack, create a loyal following. This brilliant, slightly sneaky process of finding social media profiles through your existing email lists will give you a starting off point.


Search hashtags and keywords to see who is discussing topics you care about. Follow, friend and interact with these people. Favorite, re-tweet or reply to the nice comments that are made about you. And if you’re getting customer service tweets or posts that aren’t necessarily glowing, respond to them quickly and be straightforward; your transparency and integrity will be on display for all of Twitterdom to see.


Be aware of different audiences on different platforms, and consider modifying your content. Perhaps some customers that would love your new camera lens will be reading product review sites, while others will be looking at photography on Pinterest.


Spread the word


Let people know where to find you. Add social media links to webpages, blogs, emails, newsletters and any other communications. And make sure your company bios communicate your brand consistently across all your networks, reflect your brand authentically, and give people a good reason to follow and share your content.


Loosen up


Finally, don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re going to mess up. You might offend someone. You’ll probably have some typos. You might post from the wrong account. Be upfront and honest about it. Address the issue and move on. So will everyone else.


Tips to Build your Social Media SEO Strategy

Social media is now playing a major role in SEO as search engines are turning to social signals as important criteria for ranking a site. Factors such as how well your brand is engaging your audience, shares, likes, and re-posts of your content are all important to establishing your brand as a trusted source.


Search engines like Google take into account if you are posting quality content that people are interacting with, including the frequency of shares and the authority of those sharing. Even mentions of your brand will be important to an effective SEO strategy that includes social media. Mentions on social media tell search engines that you are an authority figure, your content is authentic, and you are engaging your audience effectively.


So how can you use social media to increase your visibility in search results? The truth is, you don’t have to spend hours a day on social networks to achieve this. You can establish a social presence and increase your brand’s engagement and mentions while doing it in less time than you thought possible. Here are our suggestions on the best social networks for SEO and driving traffic.


Get on Google+


There’s no shortage of articles detailing the SEO benefits of Google+. This network is now one of the top ranking pages for brands in Google search results. It’s worth setting up your business page if haven’t yet already, and spending at least 10-15 minutes per day on the social network. After Page Authority, search engines are highly correlating Google +1s more than any other factor, including Facebook shares, and even keyword usage. If you want to take full advantage of Google+ to optimize your site for search, keep the following in mind to optimize your posts.


  • Remember the first 45-50 characters of your Google+ post will appear as the “title tag”.

  • Each of your Google+ post has its own URL

  • Don’t be afraid to create longer posts, as Google+ posts allows more complex posts and some studies even show a strong relationship between longer posts and higher rankings.


Pin Your Way to the Top


Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social networks and can be a major referrer of traffic to your site if properly maintained. Unlike most social media channels, Pinterest has the ability to drive non-assisted conversions for your site. Here are some tips to optimize your pinning.


  • Hashtags in your pins’ descriptions will help anchor the pins to a specific subject and make them easier to discover.

  • Always include reference links back to your site in your pins’ descriptions. Make sure you are including a full link, as Pinterest is known to mark pins containing shortened URLs as spam.

  • Make sure you have a “Pin-It” button from Pinterest on your website to ensure your visitors can also do some pinning for you.


Make More Time for Twitter


With one of the largest, most widespread userbases, Twitter offers brands incredible SEO potential. Tweets and re-tweets are extremely powerful social signals, so when your content is shared by many of your followers, the ranking of your content will increase. Here are a few lesser known tips for optimizing your Twitter presence.


  • If you haven’t tried promoted tweets yet, now is your chance to get your content in front of a larger audience and offer them incentives to follow you.

  • Millions of messages are tweeted everyday, so if you want your brand to be heard, you need to find the right times to tweet. There are many free tools out there that can alert you when a topic is trending so you can get in on the conversation.

  • Make your Twitter bio count. Search engines view Twitter bios as a summary and index them constantly. Be sure to include your target keyword phrase and describe your business in an interesting way.


Social media is now critical to your online presence as a business or organization. This new approach to getting search engine attention does work if you focus on dynamic content that will engage your audience and encourage them to share. By providing value and being of value to your audience, social media is one of the best long-term ways to get your brand found in search results.