Monday, December 30, 2013
If your company is already on Pinterest, and you’re having some issues getting traction, then we have some awesome strategy tips designed to get your Pinterest marketing up and running.
Tip 1. Add A “Pin it” Button To Your Website and Individual Products
Having a “Pin it” button directly on your website is an essential element of a successful Pinterest strategy. You want to make it as simple as possible for people to interact with your brand on social, and a “Pin it” button allows your audience to engage and pin your content instantly. If you currently don’t have a “Pin it” button on your website, this handy tutorial will show you how to easily add one!
Tip 2. Drive A Call To Action Through Imagery
I love this tip! A typical call to action is text which prompts your readers to take the next action- whether it be to call your business, enter a contest, join an emailing list or so forth. However, a visual call to action is the perfect way to connect with your audience via Pinterest, since the network is centered around imagery. This helpful guide from Hubspot on How to Make A Visual Call To Action For Your Small Business is a great resource to get started on this tip.
Tip 3. When Pinning, Focus On Quality Not Quantity
While Pinterest is certainly a popular network, you don’t want to overload your small businesses feed with too many pins (this practice is often referred to as ‘pin dumping’) and risk annoying your followers. We recommend not posting more than 5 new pins an hour. View Pinterest as a gallery where you upload your most noteworthy or popular products, and keep the majority of your inventory on your website. We wrote a great article earlier this year on How To Get More Pinterest Repins using quality content- check it out! It’s full of helpful tips to make sure you choose the best content for your next pin.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
In 2014 Facebook Advertising Will Be A Necessity If You Want More Reach
Facebook statistics show organic reach for your Business Page is dropping like a bowling ball off a high-rise. Facebook’s suggested solution is for your business to pay for Facebook advertising.
To be clear: Facebook is purposefully limiting the number of people who see your posts and suggesting you advertise with them so the people who already Like your page, have a better chance of seeing what you post.
A quick aside. Just to be fully transparent. You should know I was one of the lucky ones to participate in the Facebook IPO debacle. I am the proud owner of very few shares of Facebook stock that today is actually worth a little something. So, to be honest, I’d love it if all 1.2 billion people on Facebook bought advertising in 2014 so the value of my stock goes up.
Keep in mind; this isn’t the most recent news. In 2007 CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced, “The next hundred years will be different for advertising, and it starts today.” And then, in 2012 before the IPO we started to learn about “Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, designed to enhance users’ experience by putting only the relevant content in their news feeds.” And Facebook gets to determine what’s relevant to you!
Should Your Business Question Its Facebook Presence?
Here’s the way we see it. Businesses have created Facebook Pages en masse and they’ve paid to sponsor posts and bought advertising in order get more people to Like the Page. And now, business owners have to pay even more money just so the people who Like their Page can see their updates.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
1. Blogging Gives Your Store A Voice
By blogging regularly you are able to develop a voice for your business that coincides with the voice you have for your business offline. Put yourself in the buyers shoes for a minute. Would you want to walk into a store and be greeted with "here are our products, read the descriptions, don't ask me any questions, make your purchase, and Get Out!" No, I didn't think so.
By having an ecommerce blog, you can avoid this scenario and give your customers something to read and feel more connected with you as a store. Blogging gives you a voice and a voice in a textual world is welcomed with open arms.
2. Blogging Gives Your Site Additional Entry Points
This is point is pretty straight forward. The more you blog, the more pages you have on your site. The more pages you have on your site, the more points of entry a shopper has. As an online retailer you want to bring in as many people to your site as possible. If you only have product pages, you are limiting yourself and your success.
3. Blogging Increases Search Engine Traffic
We've seen this scenario in hundreds of our client's success stories. Once they start blogging, their search traffic goes up. And no, it's not with tricky back linking or other black hat tricks. When you blog, your search engine traffic goes up because Google and other search engines recognize that your site is fresh, updated frequently, and real. Plus the more content you have on your site, the more keywords and phases you will be found for.
4. Blogging Increases Sharability
When you blog, you have something to share and something for others to share. You can't underestimate the power of this. Even Google can't deny that sharing is something they are considering when it comes to search results. Plus, it allows you to share different types of stories on your social channels, instead of just posting product pages which can get pretty boring and stale to your fans.
5. Blogging Allows For More Calls To Action
Think about this. Every time you blog, you can push someone to a few different purchase pages. You don't need to blog about one single product each time, you can blog about trends, success stories, frequently asked questions, testimonials, and just about anything else that brings you closer to your potential buyer. Each time you blog, it is an opportunity to make a sale. If that doesn't motivate you, I don't know what will.
6. Blogging Gets You More Back-Links
This goes back to the sharability point I made. But to touch it from a different angle, when you blog and it is a good blog, other bloggers will want to link to you. I've seen it happen with our own blog and I've seen it happen with our clients' blogs. The blogosphere is a community and with that comes relationships. You'll be happy to see the support blogs give other blogs. Do you really want to miss out on that?
7. Blogging Gives Buyers More Ways To Enter Your Sales Funnel
Think about all the different ways you can get people into your sales funnel. Your email list is one of the most important assets you can have as an online store. You want this list to be filled with past buyers and future buyers. If you include incentives to sign up for your list and communicate that through your blog, you will see your list grow. And of course, you can always do sweepstakes and contests to build your list. It works!
Friday, December 27, 2013
Are you lagging behind in your social media presence? Are you worried that it takes too much time or that you may not know which activities to focus on when participating in social networking?
You are not alone.
Social media is fragmented, somewhat complex, sophisticated, and constantly changing.
There is so much information out there about how to do social media that it’s hard to know who to trust.
The best advice I can give you is that random tactics don’t work with social media. Rather, you need a plan, a strategy, and a framework that you can work within to create your own formula for success. What works for you is going to be unique to you, ultimately!
There are many benefits to getting on board with social media, but perhaps the most important benefit is that it can lead to new relationships and strengthen existing relationships. Never before have people been so transparent and accessible. Finding and growing the right relationships is the key to business growth.
Marketing through social media is different than any traditional marketing you may be using or have used in the past. Social media marketing requires a mindset shift. Instead of promoting, you should be helping and influencing. If you set your sights on finding ways to be helpful with your niche market, you are going to lead them to you. By default, building online influence breeds business success.
It requires patience to focus on building influence versus overtly marketing through social media. However, if done correctly, you will experience significant long-term benefits of social media in your personal and professional life. You will meet some amazing people and open doors that you’ve never imagined.
Perhaps up to this point you’ve avoided diving in to social media. Consider making 2014 your year for improving your social media presence! Do you need help doing this?
4 Tips for Improving Your Social Media Presence
#1)Build better social media profiles
If you’ve already set up your social media profiles (or had someone set them up for you), it makes sense to go back and review them. Are they polished? Are they personalized? (I prefer profiles that are written in the 1st person for this reason) Do you have a recent photo on your profiles? Are you taking advantage of all of the features offered? Do you have professional background graphics and images?
Social networks tend to improve their profile features every so often. It is worthwhile to review and improve yours at least once a quarter.
Most importantly though, profile views are the gateway to targeted website traffic where someone can learn more about who you are, who you help, and how you help!
#2)Grow an intelligent network
Once you’ve set up your profiles, you can start to look for people you already know or are acquainted with on these networks. Each network has its own tool for identifying people you may know that is pretty straight forward.
Once you go through the process of replicating your offline connections online, you will be amazed at all of the new potential connections that these networks will surface for you based on your existing network!
Your network will be critical to your social media strategy going forward. Without any connections, you don’t have the ability to listen and learn about what is on the minds of the people you serve nor will you be able to stay top of mind.
If you build your social media profiles but you don’t grow your network, no one will ever know you are there.
Spend time deliberately growing your network each and every day to expand your visibility and influence.
#3)Engage with Intent, Focus, and Discipline (EWIFD)
This is where many people freeze up in social media. Maybe you don’t really know what to do with these social media profiles you have created. Or, you end up wasting time because you don’t have a list of specific business building activities that you’re working on with social media.
There are a few objectives to strive for as you engage and participate in social media: interactions (dialogue with the right people), shares (when others share your content), profile views (profile views lead to website visitors), network growth (more connections, fans, and followers) and link clicks (when your connections click the links you’ve shared, and in particular, those links that go to your website or landing pages).
In order to accomplish any of the above objectives with your social media activities, you’re going to have to be authentic (is it really you?), helpful, and influential. If you simply push out uninteresting content to your networks, most likely you won’t be achieving much other than feeling as if you’re active!
Sharing relevant and helpful content on social media sites is critical to building followers, fans, and connections. Furthermore, it’s easy to do. Here is a social media sharing guide for financial advisors you can check out.
Ultimately, if you engage and participate with an influence-based mindset, you will begin to see the business benefits of social media.
Social networking is networking with a big difference; you don’t have to leave your office or spend evenings away from your family to participate. Social media actually SAVES TIME when it comes to networking.
You might hear from many so-called social media experts that you can have success in only 5-10 minutes per day. However, I haven’t found that to be the case. I think you need dedicated time each day to building your network and engaging with your network. In addition, you need to also engage in small spurts when you are on the go.
Most people are busy during the day, so I find that mornings, the lunch hour, late afternoons and evenings are the best times to be sharing and engaging.
Better yet, there are incredible software tools that are simple to use that can help you leverage your time and optimize your social media activities. I don’t recommend trying to learn a bunch of tools until you have become very familiar with the context of each social network you are involved in. Instead, use the native platforms and apps for each network until you understand the rules of each.
Consistency in social media participation builds trust. It shows your connections that you are engaged and accessible. An ideal client may not be ready to go all in with you, but if you’re consistently visible and accessible to them, it can spark a relevant dialogue that can lead to a relationship!
Everyone knows about Facebook and Twitter. Oh yeah, and there’s Google+ too. And Tumblr. And we can’t forget about Pinterest. But that pretty much sums up the social media landscape — that’s all there is, right?
Sadly, many marketers seem to think so.
In fact, if you were to ask some social marketers about the platforms they use, you’d be lucky to hear them mention Tumblr and Pinterest at all.
Despite the fact that there are numerous social platforms that marketers can leverage today, many brands operate in a very limited social landscape. Often, Twitter and Facebook represent the full extent of their social media efforts.
A RISKY PROPOSITION
But what’s wrong with just focusing on Facebook and Twitter? After all, that’s where the “eyeballs” are. Why should brands even bother going anywhere else?
The short answer is risk. Brands need to think beyond the biggest mainstream social networks of the day because the channel is constantly evolving. The platforms that dominate today could easily be a thing of the past tomorrow. The story of MySpace comes to mind.
Solely focusing on the top social platforms also robs brands of great opportunities. Lesser-known social networks can offer unique experiences specific to the platform. For example: Zocdoc for doctors and Goodreads for authors. These niche-interest type social networks give you a smaller but more relevant audience.
Moreover, the newest social platforms are worth the effort because they don’t yet suffer from ad blindness. Think of it this way: that “fresh climate” could give your brand a first-mover advantage. (“Another tweet from @McDonald’s? We get it. You sell cheap burgers!”)
EXPLORE NEW SOCIAL POSSIBILITIES
The point is, there’s a lot more out there than Facebook and Twitter. Brands can stay hip and ahead of the curve by exploring new ways of engaging beyond the mainstream social networks.
Granted, upstart social platforms don’t have the huge audiences that the social media giants do, but they do offer interesting opportunities that merit a closer look. So, go out and explore! When you find something new that interests you, figure out how you can play with it in your marketing efforts. Maybe it’ll be a flop, or maybe it’ll become an amazing tool to add to your digital arsenal and differentiate your brand from the competition.
Below are a few social platforms you should explore, along with a few ideas to help you get started on each:
While on the whole, this platform’s community hates being marketed to, that doesn’t mean it’s off limits — you just have to go about it the right way. For example, Degree pulled it off nicely. They had their spokesman, Bear Grylls, do an AMA (Ask Me Anything). This effort produced lots of great video content starring Mr. Grylls, and netted the brand nearly 2 million views.
- Participate in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything): Find someone in your organization to do a Q&A session with the Reddit community. From the start, know that you’re going to get some negative response, even if you’re a bonafide Reddit meme like Bear Grylls. If you approach it honestly, without an overt attempt to sell something, then it’s a win-win: you gain exposure and the Reddit community gets useful insight into your industry.
- Create your own Subreddit: Reddit is great platform for community building, and subreddits facilitate it. They are basically subgroups that provide a smaller, more relevant audience. You can use a subreddit for a variety of things, such as customer support or for campaigns involving community voting. Private subreddits are great for internal discussions and updates.
- Answer Relevant AskReddit Questions: Set-up alerts so you know when a question is posted to /r/AskReddit that matches your area of expertise, then jump into the conversation. Just remember not to spam – in other words, don’t automate your response! Be honest and try to offer value to the community.
Quora is Yahoo! Answers for grown-ups. This Q&A site has a lot of fun and useful features (embeddable posts, community voting, topic pages) that could make it a great extension of your current content marketing efforts. Keep in mind though that you have to be a real person to participate in Quora – it doesn’t allow automated responses. That means you should identify the appropriate people in your organization and task them with participating in the platform in regard to their specific area of expertise.
- Answer relevant questions: Keep an eye out for your brand name popping-up on Quora, and subscribe to industry topics. If you have a product that’s the answer to someone’s problem/question, there’s no harm in letting them know.
- Share influencer stories: Encourage influencers you work with to take to Quora on your behalf and share their personal stories with the community. Clients and business partners would be ideal.
- Use Quora to create content: You can find a lot of interesting information on Quora if you mine it wisely. Whether the information is already there, or you directly solicit input via posting questions, pull it together for a blog post or other content asset. Or, you might decide to answer a Quora question on your website, and then drop an excerpt on the platform.
Pheed could easily be the “phuture” of social media as lots of people are using it, and it seems to sk ew young. It has a lot of similarities to Twitter, but with a larger focus on multimedia. It also has upgrade options that allow users to pay for access to premium content. It’s almost like cable television for the Internet if you could own a TV station. But Pheed is not my cup of tea — it uses lots of shortcut symbols that I don’t understand — maybe I’m too old.
- Host a premium live event: This can be a great supplement to a free event. Offer “backstage access” through Pheed. The access fee makes you some money and creates an exclusivity vibe that makes your event seem cooler than it probably is.
- Webisodes: Share video vignettes that are tied together with some running narrative. Perhaps, if you sell chicken nuggets, it could be a nugget-filled soap opera. Or a Day in the Life of Mr. Nugget.
- Use a premium channel for coupons and special deals: People are happy to pay for a good deal. If you can offer the community significant savings or freebies, then consider creating a premium channel where users pay a monthly fee for exclusive deals.
Snapchat offers a lot more than just fancy sexting. It combines the speed of texting with the visual fun of whatever’s around you at any given moment, or your best attempt at a funny face. The platform has an active and mostly young user base — perhaps making it the future of digital communication. But few brands are doing anything on Snapchat, which creates opportunity for you to be a trailblazer.
- Snapchat coupons: Use Snapchat to deliver self-expiring coupons, redeemable by opening the Snap in-store. Users won’t know what they’re getting, unless they have a Snap-saving app that kills the suspense. Each coupon could include two deals: a surprise deal redeemable by opening the Snap at the register, and a consolation deal redeemable with a screenshot.
- Tell stories: Why spend money on a fancy TV commercial when you can deliver the same message through a series of Snaps, and for a lot less? The platform’s new “Stories” feature allows people to share many clips in a row. Let the creative director in you run wild!
- Get celebrities involved: Do you have a celebrity spokesperson or are you in negotiations with one? If so, make sure they’re Snapchatting. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to receive Snaps from Justin Timberlake himself? And if he happens to Snap himself drinking a refreshing Pepsi from time to time, so be it.
The founders of Whisper basically noticed that social media was too positive, and they set out to create a way for people to share the grim truth. While many of the secrets shared on the platform are on the depressing side, it’s evolving into a great platform for anonymous sharing, which is something that Twitter and Facebook don’t offer. It also has a “Nearby” feature – this could be a great opportunity for local businesses.
- Start a rumor: Releasing a super-secret product soon? Announcing a big hire? Maybe drop some hints through Whisper. For instance, Xbox could have revealed product features through Whispers containing official, top-secret product photos with text overlays. Let people wonder if the Whispers are part of a crafty PR stunt, or merely from some teenagers messing around.
- Create content: Does your product offer a solution or can your company relate to customers’ anguish? Popular Whispers likely shed light on a shared sentiment. Save relevant Whispers, and use them to inform your next blog post or other content effort.
- Local announcements: Tap into Whisper’s “Nearby” feature to promote your event. For example, did your freezer break and you’re giving away free ice cream to anyone who stops by? Use Whispers to get the word out!
Fiverr offers any service you could possibly imagine for only $5. For that reason, it can add a lot of fun and creativity to your social campaigns, and is a great option for outsourcing content creation. It’s like the Subway “footlong” of digital marketing. Speaking of food, Hungry Jack’s (Burger King in Australia) has used it to create a commercial.
- Content: If you’re a brand on a budget, you don’t have to worry as Fiverr is cheap. Trying to produce a YouTube video? Get all the elements for it from people on Fiverr. You can even hire a Fiverr to edit it all together for you.
- Ideation: Not sure what to do for your next marketing promotion or content effort? Need some inspiration? Browse Fiverr for interesting offers, and find something that would work for your brand. Maybe you didn’t realize you could use a hula-hooping bikini girl simply because you didn’t know she existed. Now you do. Put her to work!
- Pimp out your spokesperson: If you have a celebrity to do your bidding, why not lease them out for $5 a pop? Put Neil Patrick Harris in a Dr. Pepper t-shirt and sign him up for a gig to record a video greeting written by the purchaser.
Tonight, as you get ready to “settle your brain for a long winter’s nap,” give some thought to how you might broaden your social media efforts and try something new. Remember, there’s more out there than Facebook and Twitter, and you could be missing out on some great opportunities!