Wednesday, April 30, 2014

5 Tips for Improving Social Media Productivity

social-media-managment tips


Managing the social media profiles of multiple clients while trying to keep up with your own can be challenging. It often seems like there just isn’t enough hours in the day and sometimes that’s probably true. However, there are ways to work smarter rather than longer. Managing your time efficiently and improving your social media productivity can make a huge difference.
Here are 5 tips for improving your social media productivity:
1. Content Curation Tools Are A Must – I cannot emphasize enough how much time you can save by using content curation tools. There is no reason to spend hours searching for relevant content for yourself or for clients. Let the tools do the work for you and focus your time elsewhere. Some tools I recommend are below:
Swayy – This is a great tool for finding relevant content based on topics you select and what it sees you sharing the most of, and trending topics within your circles.
Feedly – Think Google Reader only better! A really potent combo I use is Feedly integrated with Sprout Social
1NewsHub – This is a free blog aggregator. Lots of the top social media, SEO, and tech blogs all in one place.
Buzzsumo – Find the most shared content in your niche and across multiple social networks. Very cool tool!
2. Use An Editorial Calender For Blog Posting – Use a whiteboard or sheet of paper to set up an editorial calender and stick to it. This can help you get into a regular posting routine. It’s also good for planning out content and creating a place to list ideas for future posts.
3. Automate What You Can – Automation can be a very valuable and useful tool if it’s done correctly. That doesn’t mean put your social media on auto-pilot. You cannot build relationships if you set it and forget it. You have to actually be “social” for social media marketing to be successful. But using automation in conjunction with active participation can be very worthwhile. Sending out relevant and useful content across your networks while you’re sleeping is one example.
 4. Use The Social Networks That Work For You – Focus on the places that give you the best results. Don’t use Twitter if you get nothing from it. Don’t spend hours on Google+ if you never get any results. If you always get great results from promoting your stuff on Facebook than keep doing that. The only way to know what’s working and what isn’t is by tracking everything. Use tracking software like Google Analytics to monitor where your traffic is coming from and what is generating you the most leads or sales. I recommend using multiple tracking scripts and not just Google Analytics alone. We use Google Analytics, WoopraLucky Orange, and Clicky.
5. Use Valuable Content More Than Once – I’m not going to blather on about “evergreen” content because I’m tired of hearing that word. For the uninitiated that simply means content that doesn’t really have an expiration date. Just because something is 6 months old doesn’t necessarily mean the content is not still relevant and useful. It all depends on the subject matter. So don’t be afraid to re-share something old. It’s not old to someone who is seeing it for the first time.

Do You Advertise on Facebook Yet?


Have you lost your organic reach on Facebook? There’s so much griping these days about brands losing the free reach they once had on the world’s largest social media site.
Google introduced advertising - in 2000. We weren’t so out of whack about that.
But, with Facebook, we’ve been, well, spoiled. We’ve gotten used to marketing our messages and engaging with customers on the world’s most diverse and consumer rich site in the world - without paying a dime to the platform.
Yes, Facebook has been tightening up it’s News Feed algorithms. Brand posts are losing the organic reach they once had.
Does that mean that your Facebook marketing is dead?
No.
You are likely going to need Facebook Ads, though.
1.3 Billion Reasons Why Marketers Still Need Facebook


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1.3 Billion. That’s the number of users on Facebook. 76% of every adult person online visits Facebook at least once a month.
Perhaps we’ve become complacent to these massive numbers. But what if that were a medium like television, newspapers or magazines?
As a marketer, you’d be jumping at the bit to get in, wouldn’t you?
Your consumer is definitely on this site.
You just need to reach them, get them interested and start engaging. And yes, you’re likely going to start to pay Facebook to achieve success on the site.

Why Facebook Ads?

 It’s likely that some of the opposition to Facebook Ads (ironically) comes from our nature to resist change. We’ve become used to marketing to millions for free.
(Well, marketing on Facebook has never really been “free”. Most businesses already pay someone or spend their own time and energy to strategize content, create clever engaging posts, stay on top of social trends, try out new tactics, customize images, and test and measure results.)
In a disruptive industry like social media, though, change happens. Isn’t that what we’ve been telling our enterprises, bosses, colleagues and friends for years?
It’s also likely there’s resistance to Facebook Ads simply because people don’t know how to use them.
A lot of marketers haven’t learned that they’re actually one of the most cost-effective advertising options: they can be highly targeted, you can reach interested people even when they’re not specifically searching for your business, and you can track and measure your results to make the most out of your ad dollars.

How to Use Facebook Ads 

In the world of Facebook Ads, there are so many tips and tricks to getting the most views, clicks, engagement and conversions.
Here’s four fundamentals to help to demystify these social ads:
  • Targeting
  • Budgeting and Pricing
  • Know What to Advertise
  • Best Ad Practises
Targeting
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Facebook Ads can be some of the most highly targeted advertising options you’ve ever had. Facebook does, after all, have the most comprehensive consumer data of any media site (social or not).
There’s essentially three main targeting strategies:
Demographic targeting - On Facebook, this is most straightforward type of strategy. You can easily target your ads by age, gender, location, education and even occupation. Yes, it is a marketer’s dream come true.
Interest targeting - You can show your ads to people based on their expressed interests and what Pages they’ve liked. So you could, for example, show your ads to people who’ve liked your competitors’ Pages, or to people who’ve liked the Pages of products you sell.
Broad category targeting - You can broaden your ad reach by using category targeting including targeting to new parents and even political leanings.
Pricing
Another cool feature about advertising on Facebook is actually the pricing model. If you’re marketing for a small business, you can actually reach your targeted demographic - without breaking the bank.
There’s basically two main pricing structures: pay-per-click (PPC/ CPC) and pay-per-impression (PPM/ CPM).
  • With PPC, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • With PPM, you pay based on 1,000 views of your ad.
You get to set the time frame for your ads - with no restrictions for print publication dates or monthly contracts. You can test and measure your ads as they run - which means you can A/B test to optimize and get the biggest bang for your buck.
Facebook Ads can cost an average of 0.25 cents to be viewed by 1,000 people. Compare that to an average $32 for newspapers and $20 for magazines.


What to Advertise

You now have the option to pay to promote your business to a highly targeted demographic. But you still need to stick to your marketing goals.  
Do you need to:
  • Generate leads
  • Build brand awareness
  • Gain immediate sales
  • Promote an event
  • Gain local foot traffic
  • Drive website views
When you start to set up an Ad, Facebook asks you what results you want:


Based on your goals, choose what you pay to be seen and clicked.
For example, if you want to generate leads, create an Ad that directs clickers to an email-gated landing page (on Facebook or your own website).
Here’s a Facebook Ad example that directs viewers to download a free, email-gated ebook:

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Best Ad Practises

Facebook Ads are made up of a headline, a URL link, ad copy and an image.

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Headline - Include a Call to Action (CTA) in your headline and use action oriented or enticing short words such as “Free”, “Save” or “Shop”. Use questions too.
URL link - Keep your ad link short. For example, use your website homepage - even if your ad is directed to a landing page with a long website address.
Ad Copy - Show the benefits of clicking through in your Ad Copy. If you’re offering a discount, give the amount of the savings in numbers. For example, use “30% savings” not “thirty percent savings”. Give your unique selling points succinctly and clearly.
Image - Use an image that’s easy to see, is eye-catching and is related to your text. In other words, don’t use a detailed image, and don’t use an image with no visual or color contrasts. Use your brand logo if it is recognizable. Images of faces tend to increase click through rates.
Conclusion

Using Facebook advertising can be very advantageous. You can extend your reach and target your message to very specific market segments. Don’t give up on Facebook just because you might have to pay. Social media is growing up, and the days of free social marketing are slowing in decline. (Imagine if we felt the same about more traditional media sites…)






Google (Finally) Updates Keyword Planner with Mobile/Contextual/Trend Data


Keyword research is a critical component in every successful paid search strategy. In fact, our internal data shows that search marketers spend nearly 25% of their time on keyword research.
Google has quietly rolled out a number of significant changes and updates to Keyword Planner that should not only reduce the amount of time spent in the tool, but make it exponentially more useful, as well. The updates rolled out last week make it highly visual and more powerful, with a definite mobile focus. It's the first major refresh since the tool was introduced about a year ago.
(Warning: the new version is way more fun – you might actually spend MORE time in Keyword Planner. Try not to get distracted by the pretty shiny things.)
So what's new? Check out the new Keyword Planner features:

Visualize Search Volume Trends

The first thing you notice here is that when you do a keyword search, you get this beautiful chart illustrating the keyword volume trends from month to month. This is super helpful for businesses with seasonally trending products or services.
keyword planner trends
Previously, this data was jammed into a column and was hard to decipher.

Compare vs. Previous Time Period

Google has added the ability to do a keyword volume comparison against a prior time period.
In the date range, pick a monthly range, then turn “Compare” on.
Keyword Planner Select Date Range
Now you can see how search volume changed over time, versus a specific time period. For example, look at how the volume spiked for 'Malaysian Airlines' last month, due to the terrible MH370 tragedy.
google keyword trend data
Of course, all of this data shows up in your dashboard and can be exported. Helpful!
Google Keyword Planner Volumes

Visualize Mobile Trends

We live in a constantly connected world, so Google is now showing the distribution of mobile vs. desktop searches in Keyword Planner.
keyword planner mobile trends
In this search for locksmiths, you can see just how many more people use mobile to search on this keyword. Marketers can use this insight – readily available in a visual, easy to understand format – to find opportunities for logical mobile bid adjustments.

Breakdown of Search Traffic by Device

Whoa, look how much greater mobile traffic is than desktops, in this example using 'pizza restaurant' as the search term! No wonder Google uses pizza as their go-to example for mobile. This data wasn’t even available before.
keyword planner device breakdown

Breakdown by Location

How cool is this: Keyword Planner now breaks down the search volume based on the different geo-targeting options you choose.
keyword volume by location
To add/remove locations, just go to the targeting area:
keyword geotargeting

More Powerful & Detailed Estimates

Once you’ve selected/added some keywords into your plan, you can get more granular estimates – these weren’t previously available. You can do the same device and location segmentation, but look at how Google customizes the clicks, cost, impressions, etc., according to your bid and daily budget:
New Keyword Planner Tool

All Hail the New Google Keyword Planner

It’s about time Google updated Keyword Planner, and this is exactly what it needed. Mobile is set to overtake desktop by end of next year (according to some estimates) and isn't it Google who are constantly telling us what a connected world we're living in?
These new features bring the Keyword Planner out of the desktop world, to help you connect with the right people, at the right time, in the right place. The new mobile, location and trending data paired with these super-useful visualizations are certainly a step in the right direction and should help marketers realize the benefits of this new marketing paradigm.

Video Killed the Text Star? Social Video Drives More Engagement on Facebook Than Text


Social media may be a relatively new concept for most brands and digital marketers, but the its way of working is already changing. It is a constantly evolving world where one needs to be completely tuned in to be abreast of the situation. People’s tastes shape what we see on social media platforms.
In the early days, we were all happy with textual content and posts on social media platforms. However, this quickly changed and people wanted more appealing content like photos. As bandwidths got bigger and as mobile devices became more functional and capable of handling bigger files, the demand for social media started increasing too.
Social video is now!
This is the age of social videos. They are more interactive, attention-grabbing and inclusive than images or textual content. Many have touted it to be the future of social media marketing.
Two such people are Dave Swartz and Andrew Maltin – the founders of Hang w/ - a platform that allows people to create live streaming videos easily. They believe that people are getting extremely comfortable in front of the camera and that live videos will be the next biggest trend on social media. 
Success of social video
They also believe that video content will be more organic as time goes by and that people as well as brands will want to engage with others through their videos in real time. This is the truest form of social video.
We have already seen how social media users love interacting with others via video – the biggest example being Google Hangouts feature on Google+. Google+ has been slowly gathering a massive following and the hangouts features is one reason for its success.
It has been so successful that Google has now released Hangouts as a standalone application. 
Many brands, industry experts, gurus and celebrities have already used the hangouts features to connect with their fans, followers and well wishers in real time to immense success.
Facebook also has its own chat application, but the video feature has not been used to its full extent by users.
Applications like Hang w/, on the other hand have been used quite extensively to create “live videos” or social videos and have gathered a lot of engagement on Facebook. In fact, according to Swartz and Maltin, their social videos have generated more engagement than other forms of social media. This is because live videos or social videos are often unscripted, more spontaneous and much more compelling.
Hang w/ creators also noticed that fans would rather engage with social videos than with other kinds of content on social media platforms. Social videos are getting more popular than textual content because the viewers don’t have to spend a lot of time reading the content.
Also, there is always some thrill and unpredictability involved with live or social videos that make them more intimate, encouraging fans to respond to them on a more emotional level.
Social videos also give the feeling of exclusivity where social media users get to “hangout” with the key players in their favourite brands, their favourite celebrities and so on.  
Hang w/ user analytics reveal that fans on Hang w/ are more likely to Tune In to a celebrity's three- to nine-minute live broadcast than fans are to engage in the following social media activities:
Hang w/ Tune In versus Facebook like: 5:1
Hang w/ Tune In versus Instagram comment: 19:1
Hang w/ Tune In versus Twitter favorite: 153:1
Hang w/ Tune In versus Twitter retweet: 195:1
Hang w/ Tune In versus Facebook share: 250:1
Social videos are also a great way to communicate any message very quickly to a responsive audience. Creators of social videos can also clear up doubts and quell the anxieties of the viewers instantly.
They also give the feeling of collaboration as the people in the social videos are able to discuss pertinent points with the viewers, allowing everyone to feel like a part of the group.
Due to all these reasons, social videos are bound to grow exponentially on Facebook and may even cause a huge dent in the amount of textual content on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Facebook Is Now Marketing to Your Behavior


Major Changes to Facebook’s Advertising Platform

Facebook’s advertising platform, Power Editor, has received an overhaul throughout the last two months. Upgrades have been made to allow brands to not only structure their portfolio more efficiently, but also reach their desired audience more effectively.
Broad Categories have been phased out. Precise Interests are outdated. Facebook is now paying closer attention to more of your online habits.
It makes sense from a business perspective to spend more money on the right people doesn’t it? The advertising dollar is always under scrutiny, and it is becoming more and more important to ensure that it remains a viable investment.
So are we narrowing in on our target audience, or are we completely missing the mark? Considering that Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform, it would be more than worthwhile for businesses and marketers to invest in Behaviour Targeting.

Introducing the shift from ‘Broad Category’ and ‘Precise Interests’ to ‘Behavioural Targeting’:

Previously, Facebook has focused on interests at face value. For Interest-based targeting, if a user liked a page, a brand or even a public figure such as the irresistible Ryan Gosling, they would be tagged as an avid fan. This strategy is limited by the thinking that if that user liked Ryan Gosling a year or two ago, an advertiser would market to them, even if they now found him to be distasteful, or had fallen horribly out-of-love.
For Broad Category Targeting, advertisers would base their target market on very superficial information that users would have entered. This would include anything from a specific TV show they may have liked, their interest in rock music, or that they are a parent of an infant.
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The information that is gathered for this strategy is not meaningful enough for the long term. It fails to take into consideration how interests may have changed. And unlike Behavioural Targeting, Broad Category Targeting also fails to take note of a user’s entire online experience.
Broad Category Targeting relies on outdated information that can be as long ago as 9 months. A lot can change in nine months, and it is important for marketers to realise that there is a great deal of potential in being able to define who their target audience consists of, based on their recent online activity. Having information about how people are using the Internet and interacting with each other gives valuable insight into a user’s buying habits and changing interests.
Behavioural Targeting treats each user as an individual whose entire online persona is not necessarily just based on their preference of music or their marital status. It gives advertisers the opportunity to take the specific habits of different users, so that they can figure out whom they want to be promoting their products to. Facebook is able to gather many different types of information that will help marketers determine users’ buyer personas, as well as personalities in general. For example, if a user has recently made an online purchase, depending on what they bought and where, they will be targeted for similar products sold at similar online stores. Similarly, if a user has shared an album of photos from their recent overseas trip, they are likely to be targeted if an advertiser is looking to promote their travel tours or facilities.
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But don’t worry! This doesn’t mean that as a user yourself, you need to worry about who has access to your information. The benefit is that if you’ve shown an inclination towards something, your eyes will be opened to more unique and differentiated options.
Marketers will be able to find characteristics of exactly who they want to be selling to, and these will be the types of people who are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer. In this way, Behavioural Targeting opens the doors to many advertising opportunities. These strategies will provide meaningful information about users’ online activity, making Facebook advertising even more effective.

4 Reasons to Stick with Facebook

Here are my 4 essential reasons to still invest time in your Facebook page:

You’ve worked so hard

You’ve worked so hard for years to establish a community that you engage with regularly – asking them questions, gathering opinion and having conversations. Why would you just turn that off? That’s priceless. You wouldn’t just throw your customer email database out the window, would you? Turning off your Facebook page would be a worse crime than this, as your fans have actively chosen to interact with you on a personal, two-way level – a marketer’s dream! That doesn’t happen often.

Customer expectation

Your customers and potential customers expect you to be on Facebook full stop; whether they see your updates or not. When they search for your business, they’ll expect you to be there and expect you to be offering value to them in one way or another. Without this, you could run the risk of damaging your brand image. I mean, what sort of businesses don’t have a Facebook presence? – Is what they’ll think.

What about existing fans?

How valued are your fans going to feel if you turn off your page all of a sudden or if you stop interacting with them altogether? Your existing fans matter (a lot), so surely it’s still worth spending the time connecting with them, even if you have to pay to do it effectively. Bringing me nicely onto my next point . . .

Facebook advertising is affordable

When you compare Facebook advertising to other forms of advertising such as print, radio, TV etc. it presents real value for money. Not only this, but Facebook gives you the rare opportunity to be extremely targeted with your advertising.
So even though it seems really unfair that you’re now being forced to pay to connect with your community that you’ve spent years nurturing, we need to remember that it isn’t extortionate and you can run successful campaigns even on minimal budgets.
For example, you can set maximum daily expenditure budgets from as little as £1. At the end of the day Facebook is a business and they have every right to charge for this service – it was just sneaky! We should have seen it coming hey?
So, getting to the point . . .
You simply have to continue with your Facebook efforts (to a certain extent) for all of the reasons mentioned above, and you certainly can’t shut your page down. So what do you do?
It’s all about time management: My advice would be to think very carefully about how much time you’re investing in it, as it's becoming harder and harder to justify. Definitely consider increasing the amount of time you spend on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest for example as opposed to Facebook, seeing as these channels are becoming more and more attractive to the masses in 2014, particularly Twitter with it’s imminent profile changes that look scarily similar to Facebook.

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Using Hashtags in Social Media Marketing

Hashtags are increasingly important in social media marketing campaigns.

How to use hashtags
They enable content marketers get in front of their target audience and identify social media conversations that are relevant to their business. Only 24% of tweets include hashtags, but those that do receive twice the engagement of those without them. When used well, hashtags can be powerful tools that drive brand recognition, increase reach, build community, create buzz, and positively impact customer loyalty.


What are hashtags?

Hashtags are labels for content. They are a way to track topics on Twitter and other social media platforms. Anyone sharing content can add one to their messages and posts, and they help people quickly find information on that same topic. The syntax is a word or phrase preceded by the hash sign (#), such as #contest and #sweepstakes. Each hashtag is clickable and redirects users to a page that displays all messages and images that use the same hashtag. The use of hashtags enables people to wade through the fire hose of social media posts and interact only with the content they find relevant.

Platforms that support hashtags

Twitter

If you use Twitter, you know that the use of hashtags there is prevalent. They can help you organize your tweets and use your voice to deliver targeted brand messages. You can view trending hashtags on the sidebar of your Twitter page and at Hashtags.org. It’s easy to join in a hashtag conversation by clicking on one in your own tweets or those of others. You can track hashtags to see which ones resonate most with your audience.

Using hashtags
Facebook

Facebook added hashtag support in June 2013, and their use hasn’t really caught on. Every hashtag on Facebook has a unique URL, and clicking on one will redirect you to its feed. You can also click on hashtags that originate on other services. You can search for hashtags from your search bar using the syntax#Yourhashtag or by typingfacebook.com/hashtag/Yourhashtag into your browser. In each case, replace Yourhashtag with the tag you’re trying to find. You can also create posts directly from the hashtag feed or search results.

Pinterest

Pinterest uses the same hashtag approach as other platforms. You apply a tag that represents the topic of the post so that people can find your content in related searches. The hashtag is bolded slightly in your post, and it becomes a search link that forwards users to pinterest.com/search/?q=Yourhashtag. When people now run that same search by clicking the hashtag on someone else’s profile, they’ll discover your content in the mix.

Instagram

Using hashtags on Instagram can help maximize your reach and create a network of influential brand followers. If you don’t employ hashtags on Instagram, your photos effectively remain private, making it difficult for your target audience to discover you. Instagram photo challenges contain a unique set of hashtags. For example, #ThrowbackThursday encourages users to post retro photos. Try to use at least one hashtag per photo to maximize shares.

Google+

Using hashtags is a good way to get your Google+ posts noticed in search engine results. When users click on a hashtag in Google+, the search results page (SERP) includes the original hashtag as well as posts with similar tags and keywords. Users can choose to arrange hashtagged posts chronologically or see the “Best of” posts at the top of their streams. Google+ will also intuitively add hashtags to posts if it thinks that they are relevant.

Don’t overuse hashtags

Make sure to use a maximum of two hashtags per post. Including too many will leave the impression that you are spamming your followers. 

5 Tips to Help Your Live-Tweeting Efforts


Those who have Twitter accounts might have engaged in live-tweeting. Anyone can become involved in it – as William Shatner showed recently – and it’s easy to see why. The idea of sharing one’s thoughts on new episodes of television shows, for example, is an appealing one, especially when given the broad scope of Twitter. However, are you certain that you are getting the most out of this as possible?

In order to help your live-tweeting efforts going forward, here are 5 tips to keep in mind.
1. Be mindful of your hashtags
It goes without saying that, without hashtags, your tweets will not be found by other Twitter users. If you are able to use hashtags correctly, not only will your posts become cleaner but they will be picked up by those who search for those particular hashtags. However, in order to maximize your results, keep your hashtags simple and to the point. More often than not, trending topics on Twitter are relatively snappy.
2. Pepper in a few pieces of trivia
It’s easy enough to observe and comment on what is being shown on television but if you want to stand out on Twitter, take it another step further. For example, during a particular scene of “Orange is the New Black,” perhaps you are aware of some behind-the-scenes news regarding the actors. This is the optimal moment for you to share it with not only your followers but Twitter as a whole. If you want to be creative with your live-tweeting efforts, this is one way to take them to the next level.
3. Don’t say anything too controversial
It’s human nature to rant about events that are not easily agreeable. While you do not necessarily have to abstain from ranting, it’s important to be careful about what is said. Insulting an actor or putting down a particular storyline on TV will not go over well; every popular show in the mainstream has its audiences and it’s very easy to rile their figurative feathers. If you aren’t careful about the actual content that is tweeted, you may lose a few followers.
4. Interact in pre-existing conversations
Sometimes you won’t be able to create a tweet that is entirely unique, which means that someone else might already have a discussing going. As a result, during your live-tweeting efforts, online marketing companies may suggest that you become involved in active conversations. Not only will you be able to get your points across but who is to say that you can’t pick up a unique viewpoint from someone else? While live-tweeting, it is very easy to attain an impromptu learning experience.
5. Most importantly, have fun
Live-tweeting should not be a chore, especially if you are a fan of a particular television show. Watching shows like “The Walking Dead” is one way to escape reality and the same can be said about live-tweeting as well. If you are not having fun while you’re tweeting about a certain show or event, perhaps you are putting too much thought into it. The best advice that can be given is to approach this endeavor as a hobby, which is what it is. After all, fun in the live-tweeting sphere should be had by everyone.