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Category Archive: Social Media Marketing

  1. How Your Employees Can Increase the Power of Your Brand

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    A corporate brand can only succeed when it is supported by the people behind it. Oftentimes, startups rely on the charisma of their respective founders and entrepreneurs to drive the power of their brands forward, but once a company hits stable grounding, the relative charisma of the CEO takes a backseat to the general state of the brand (with some rare exceptions). At that point, most marketers shift their focus to communicating to their target audience with a singular, unified, corporate brand voice unaccompanied by any individual personality.

    There’s one major problem with this approach: people don’t trust brands. People trust people, and given the choice between listening to a branded message and one from a personal acquaintance, they’ll listen to the acquaintance almost every time. In the modern worlds, brands are seen as progenitors of deceit. They are seen as faceless, corporate tools designed solely to sell to consumers, and consumers are therefore skeptical of branded messaging. You’ll still find success in adhering to a consistent brand message and leaving your brand at the center of your marketing and advertising campaigns, but you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential.

    What’s the answer? You need to rely on that peer-to-peer trust evident in human connections while still maintaining the image of your brand. To do that, you’ll need your employees to step up and increase the power of your brand through their own personalities.

    Encourage the Active Sharing of Branded Content

    articleimage1221 Do Your Own Research for Content Topics

    Your first strategy is a simple one, especially if you already have a strong content marketing strategy in place. By the time your company hits a stable growth stage, content should be a no-brainer—you should be producing regular articles and materials weekly, with syndication on your brand’s social media pages. However, the organic reach of your syndicated content on social media is not what it used to be, and it’s getting smaller. Plus, people are far less likely to click on an article shared by a corporate brand than one shared by someone they happen to know.

    This step is easy. Simply send out a memo (or regular reminders) that encourage your employees to share any materials posted on your brand’s social media pages on their own individual accounts. For example, when a new landmark article gets published on your company’s Facebook feed, ask your employees to share that article on their own Facebook accounts. Even if only a handful of people follow your instructions, you’ll greatly increase the visibility and reach of the article, and you’ll end up with more interested potential fans as well.

    Highlight Personalities on Your Site and Social Media

    articleimage1155 social media profiles

    Your next step will require more ongoing work from your marketing department. Start by fleshing out a “team” page, or some other section of your website that shows off the individual personalities that make up your company. Include a headshot and bio of each one, and encourage your staff members to write their own descriptions. Doing so will infuse your site with more personality, and will make your brand seem more trustworthy.

    Once that’s done, your job is to follow up that approach on your social media channels as often as possible. Take pictures of your employees hard at work, having fun on break, or engaging with each other in team events. When a potential customer checks out your social feeds, they should get a glimpse of what your team looks like and how they interact on a regular basis; it adds a personal touch to your brand, and gives a face to an otherwise corporate shell. You can also pass off control of your social media accounts to various employees on a rotating basis; doing so injects new personality and diversity into your brand.

    Help Develop Personal Brands on Social Media

    Personal branding is one of the best marketing-by-proxy strategies out there. Essentially, the individual members of your team will work to improve their own reputation and authority in the industry through content, networking, and social media. For example, your lead engineer might start his own blog and engage in outside interviews, slowly building an independent audience. This is mutually beneficial; the employee becomes more recognized and more valuable in the industry, and the company’s brand becomes more authoritative and trustworthy as a result.

    One or two personal brands are sometimes enough for the boost in authority, but if you can get your entire team working on this, the benefits will be enormous. You’ll even get more links to your company’s website and more SEO authority, ranking you higher for online searches.

    Reward Active Networkers

    articleimage379Hold-a-Contest-on-Your-Social-Channels

    Finally, encourage all of your employees to network as often as possible. List upcoming networking events in the break room, and offer compensation for any networking events that require payment for admission. You can even hold your own networking events in the office after-hours. The more your employees mingle with other professionals in your area, the greater your company’s reputation and visibility will grow—you might even get a few direct leads out of the deal.

    Over time, with these strategies in place, your employees will serve as brand ambassadors and enhance the collective power of your brand. This is a way of creating a tight network of interpersonal connections that lead back to your brand, and let your audience know that at the heart of your company is a team of real people.

  2. 7 Ways to Revitalize Your Social Media Presence

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    You’ve got a nice rhythm going. You post every day, multiple times a day. You follow the right types of people. You check the diagnostics of your campaign and try to make adjustments accordingly. In theory, you’re doing all the right things, but lately, you notice your followers aren’t rising or becoming more active—at least not as quickly as they once did.

    Unfortunately, even the best social media campaigns run into the problem of stagnation—sometimes, it’s due to a wave of user apathy, and sometimes it’s due to a content or posting angle that’s overstayed its welcome. Sometimes, it’s just a random, temporary plateau. But no matter what the origin of the stagnation is, you need to give it a jump start if you want to revitalize it.

    If you find your social campaign struggling to gain new momentum, try one of these seven innovative strategies:

    1. Add More Personality.

    articleimages1159 Add More Personality

    Hopefully, your brand already has a personality, but that’s not what I’m alluding to here. Your brand probably needs some real personality—that is to say, some characteristics of your own to make your posts seem more genuine and personal. Even if it steps away from the core personality of your brand, don’t be afraid to inject your own personality and feelings into your posts. Take pictures of wherever you are. Express your real thoughts and opinions. Phrase posts the way you would frame them. You might be surprised how receptive your audience is when you just show off your natural personality.

    2. Crack Some Jokes.

    articleimages1159 crack some jokes

    Humor connects us more than any other feeling, thought, or event. When people laugh with you, they’ll remember you, and they’ll think fondly of you. It’s especially important for businesses with a conservative reputation, businesses in boring or unexciting industries, and “serious” businesses to crack jokes every once in a while. Doing so can help your audience see through the pretenses of your business and realize that there are real human beings on the other side. Make up some jokes about your industry, poke fun at yourself, or if you’re strapped for ideas, share some images or posts you thought were funny. It can go a long way in reconnecting with your audience.

    3. Have Real Conversations.

    articleimages1159 Have Real Conversations

    The term “conversation” can be applied to any exchange of ideas, but when we think about talking on social media, we’re usually referring to a monologue. Because you’re usually working with a one-sided and constant stream of posts from your own head, it’s easy to lose the “social” part of social media. To correct this and start breathing new life into your stagnant campaign, start looking for conversations that are already in progress—they can be from influencers, or individual followers of your social profiles. When you see an interesting topic, jump in—even if it’s only a few words. Your involvement will allow you to connect with new people and help your existing followers see you in a new light.

    4. Create a New Storytelling Campaign.

    articleimages1159 Create a New Storytelling Campaign

    Stories are one of the most powerful communication mediums around, and leveraging a new type of storytelling campaign can spark new interest in your audience. Consider hosting or sharing customer testimonials, or case studies where your business was able to make a difference. You could even go a less salesy route, and tell the story of your business in digestible segments, or interview various team members to show off what your business is really like.

    5. Start an Interview Series.

    articleimages1159 Start an Interview Series

    Interviews are powerful forms of content, but they’re seriously underutilized by the majority of businesses. If you’re struggling to get new visibility, start an interview series in the form of a podcast or video, and back it up with written transcripts. Interview a new person every week or bi-weekly, and be sure to identify key influencers in your industry to work with. Your influencer interviewees will share the interview to their own audiences, giving your brand new exposure to new demographics, and the authoritative power of your interviews will increase the respect and interest within your existing group of followers.

    6. Dabble in Trending or Newsworthy Content.

    Hopefully, you’re already paying close attention to the news and using occasional newsworthy posts and trends to fuel your own content strategy. But if you’re looking for some renewed attention and action from your followers, take it a step further. Go out of your way to find a handful of trending topics and news items every day, and share them—it only takes a minute, and it can inject some new life into your news feed.

    7. Try Some Paid Advertising.

    The appeal of social media marketing for most businesses is the fact that it’s essentially free to use. Generating organic interest and traffic yields more viable leads and healthier customer relationships, as opposed to traditional advertising routes. Still, social media advertising can be just what you need to add a batch of new followers and generate renewed interest in your brand—and it’s more cost effective than you might think.

    None of these strategies are independently guaranteed to work. Every company is unique, every audience is unique, and each strategy can be executed in a number of different ways. Still, if you commit yourself to trying new things and you employ these novel strategies to the best of your ability, it should infuse enough freshness into your campaign to spark new momentum.

  3. 5 Social Media Strategies Exclusively for B2B Marketers

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    Social media marketing has been met with mixed reception since its emergence as a potentially viable marketing strategy for the modern age of communication. Some people will point to brands like Coca-Cola, which have attracted millions of social fans and found great success in popularizing certain hashtags and images for brand visibility. Others will point out that most blowout social successes are for consumer brands that have already built a solid reputation.

    These people aren’t wrong. As a B2B marketer, it’s nearly impossible to generate the tens of millions of followers that a national consumer brand might wield—but that doesn’t mean social media isn’t valuable for your business. It’s a free communication tool for you to use, and depending on the value of a sale in your business, it’s likely that only a handful of new leads a month will more than pay for whatever effort you invest into using it.

    That being said, B2B social media marketing has different goals than a traditional B2C social approach, and it therefore requires a different type of campaign. When planning your social media strategy, be sure to incorporate these five important tactics:

    1. Use Influencers and Brand Power to Build Your Reputation.

    articleimage1151 Use Influencers and Brand Power to Build Your Reputation

    As a general rule, professional decision makers tend to spend more time making a buying decision than consumer-level decision makers. Not only are these purchases generally more expensive, they’re also relevant for a longer term, and have a bearing on a person’s livelihood in addition to his/her personal life. Because of this, B2B customers require a much greater reputation from their potential vendors, and social media is your perfect opportunity to build this reputation.

    Start by looking for influencers in your industry—anyone with a large following who is seen as an “expert” in your field will do. Exchange ideas and guest posts with these influencers, and before you know it, your audience and your reputation in the field will start to grow. You can also build your reputation by leveraging the power of brands you’ve worked with in the past. Syndicate testimonials or regularly engage with your previous customers to show that you’ve worked with the best.

    2. Get Specific With Your Audience Using Lists and Groups.

    articleimage1151 Get Specific With Your Audience Using Lists and Group

    In a B2C setting, quantity is as good as quality when it comes to audience. Many consumer brands draw power from having a passing relationship with a massive number of people rather than having a closer relationship with a smaller number of people. In B2B companies, this tends to be the opposite—a following of 100 passionate, dedicated users will be far more valuable than a following of 10,000 disinterested people.

    Achieve this feat by selectively targeting your audience. Use Twitter lists to find and organize potential contacts on the platform. Use LinkedIn Groups to find highly relevant professionals in the type of market you want to sell to. The more relevant your initial social audience, the more success you’re going to eventually have.

    3. Promote Resources Rather Than Products or Services.

    articleimage1151 Promote Resources Rather Than Products or Services

    For retailers, social media is a perfect channel for product promotion. Every other post highlights a product and attracts at least a few dozen clickers to scope it out as a potential purchase. As a B2B company, since sales are your bottom line, it can be tempting to follow suit by posting about your products or services. However, you must resist this temptation; it is far more valuable to promote resources that your company can offer, and worry about the sales component later.

    Most professionals use social media when they’re looking for contacts, information, or help with something—not when they’re looking to spend money. If you can be the voice that helps them find what they’re looking for (in the form of a whitepaper, new research, or an interactive tutorial), you’ll be the brand they come to for all their needs.

    4. Nurture Individual Relationships.

    articleimage1151 Nurute individual relationship

    As I mentioned above, the power of social relationships for B2B companies is more about quality than quantity. In order to generate that level of brand enthusiasm, you’re going to have to spend time nurturing individual relationships. Let your brand have a more personal voice, and engage individual followers about their current needs and pain points. If your brand helps someone with a solution, follow up with them later as an additional touch point. The more time you spend building these relationships, the greater they’ll pay off in time.

    5. Don’t Sell Directly.

    articleimage1151 dont sell

    A common social media strategy is to use discounts, promotions, or giveaways to attract new followers. For B2B, this isn’t as effective. Selling things aggressively is only going to turn away your target demographic. Make sure your audience knows what your company is and what it does, but don’t push them to buy anything. Instead, your social media channels should only be focused on two goals: first, building relationships by improving your reputation and catering to individuals, and second, attracting more people to your website. If you can accomplish those two goals, the sales will be a natural byproduct.

    As each B2B company is unique, finding your perfect social media rhythm is going to be a learning process. In your first few weeks and months, you may find that your strategies aren’t generating a ton of traffic or a ton of followers; this is normal. Measure whatever data you can about your posts and learn which of your strategies are or are not effective. The “ideal” social media campaign for a B2B company isn’t one that follows a set regimen, but instead is one that evolves gradually over time. Make adjustments, learn from your mistakes, and eventually you’ll have a consistent stream of leads for your operating pleasure.

  4. The 7 Best Types of Content to Share on Social Media

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    Social media marketing depends on content as a type of fuel to drive interactions and increase follower counts. While social-exclusive, text-based updates can be effective, especially when made regularly, the true anchors to your social media campaign are the heavy-hitting pieces of content that you circulate on your chosen platforms.

    Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply post random bits of content and hope for the best. Your content must be high-quality, it must be developed specifically for your target audience, and it must be appropriate for your chosen medium. Some types of content simply fare better than others in the social world, and these seven types of content tend to fare the best:

    1. Listicles.

    articleimage1090 listicles

    And, by extension, how-to or instructional types of posts. Listicles are powerful for a reason; they are always concise and typically short, and they offer practical information in a familiar and easily scannable format. The result is a piece that any reader can quickly peruse for as much or as little information as they want—and because the headline usually contains a number or another indication of its formatting, it’s an attention grabbing title in the sea of social updates. While listicles are sometimes frowned upon as an “inferior” type of content compared to a longer article or whitepaper, they’re essential fodder for growing a social following from the ground up.

    2. Breakthrough Research.

    articleimage1090 Breakthrough Research

    This type of content is typically written, but is much more involved than the typical listicle. Rather than consolidating lots of general information into a digestible, easy-to-read format, this content is all about breaking new ground with new data, new metrics, or new insights. For most companies, this means digging deep with some original research and publishing the results. You’ll spend more time and more money developing these types of pieces and you won’t generate as much attention as you will with a listicle, but the attention you do generate will be far stronger, and you’ll earn a much greater reputation for it in the long run. Use both in balance throughout your campaign.

    3. Infographics.

    articleimage1090 infographics

    Infographics have long been a favorite in the SEO community, and for good reason. Infographics take original research and insights and condense them into an aesthetically pleasing, easily navigable graphic image. Infographics are shared more than almost any other type of content, giving your brand extra visibility. In addition, infographics tend to attract a ton of inbound links as other external sources cite your information, so your domain authority—and your search ranks—will increase as a result. The one downside to infographics is the amount of time and/or money they take to produce, so use them sparingly.

    4. Short Videos.

    articleimage1090 short video

    For many companies, videos seem like an intimidating challenge that require a dedicated expert or technical equipment. In actuality, videos don’t have to be professionally produced in order to have a great impact. Something simple, like a video recording of a speaking event your CEO attended, can carry just as much weight as something more complicated you spent weeks trying to film and produce. Share these videos when you can, but try to keep them on the short side—people tend to watch and share shorter videos more often than those longer than five minutes or so.

    5. Interviews.

    Interviews are great pieces of content for a number of reasons, but there’s one quality that makes them perfect for social sharing: the fact that there are two authorities involved. As the interviewer, you’ll be seen as an authority and you’ll be able to share the material with your own followers. The great advantage here is that your interviewee will also be seen as an authority, and they will be highly likely to share the interview with their own network of followers, greatly increasing the cumulative impact of the share. Audio and video formats work best, but make sure to include a written transcript on your site.

    6. Industry or Company News.

    articleimage1090 industry or company news

    News events tend to attract a lot of attention, as your followers are always hungry for new information. Industry news is a perfect opportunity for this—simply share an article (yours or someone else’s) and include your own commentary on it. Start a discussion and get the community involved. You can also do the same with any company news you might have to offer, such as the launch of a new product or the hire of a new employee.

    7. Real-Time Event Updates.

    Social media platforms serve as a gateway into other people’s realities, and real-time event updates make great use of this functionality. While you’re attending a local event, tradeshow, or conference, post regular images and updates as the event rolls on—and include the event’s hashtag if you can. Your followers will love the first-person perspective, and if they happen to be attending the event, you’ll earn extra attention and credibility.

    Incorporate all seven of these types of content updates into your social media marketing campaign, no matter which platforms you use or which industry you belong to. Of course, the actual content you choose to create within these broad categories must be based on what your target audience actually wants to read or view. Performing some initial market and competitive research should help you start with a solid direction, but remember to adjust your strategy over time as you learn more about how your content impacts your social strategy.

  5. How to Make LinkedIn Your Content Marketing Secret Weapon

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    articleimage1089 How to Make LinkedIn Your Content Marketing Secret

    There are many platforms for taking your content and publishing it to increase its visibility and potential impact. In addition to marketing your content through email newsletters, guest posts on external blogs, and submissions via social bookmarking sites, the most popular option seems to be syndicating your articles through social media.

    The variety and sheer scope of social media platforms today make it, as a whole, the most potentially impactful avenue for content promotion and syndication. Unfortunately, many content marketers have resorted to using it only for the simplest purposes: posting a link to a new post when it goes up, and nothing else.

    While some platforms lend themselves to this style of promotion, you’re doing yourself a disservice if this is the only way you leverage social media. Too many platforms offer too many benefits to be ignored, and some platforms, like LinkedIn, are shockingly underutilized in the content marketing game. Because of this, there is a critical competitive opening, and if you use it efficiently, LinkedIn can be your secret weapon in your content marketing campaign.

    One Platform, Many Outlets

    articleimage1089 One Platform Many Outlets

    The greatest power of LinkedIn is its ability to offer multiple connection mediums within one collective umbrella. By comparison, Twitter only offers two types of posts: tweets and direct messages, while Facebook offers three: timeline posts, posts on a friend’s or brand’s timeline, and messages to a friend or brand.

    LinkedIn offers far more options for sharing and submitting content. You can share pieces on your own profile, similar to Facebook’s individual timeline, post on behalf of a company, share articles with another individual in the form of a message, post articles in the context of a Group, or post more salesy or advertising opportunities under the Promotions section. This diversified landscape of opportunities allows you to better hone your approach to circulating content. If you have a new sales sheet, you can post it appropriately in the Promotions section. If you have a niche piece related to a Group, you can share it there. If you have a piece of particular interest to you, you can share it on your own.

    Having the power to adjust a piece’s visibility based on its context allows you to maximize its potential impact. This immediately makes your content more powerful than if it was simply shared out in one place no matter what type of content it is.

    Leveraging a Personal Brand

    articleimage1089 Leveraging a Personal Brand

    LinkedIn is also the perfect place to build and leverage a personal brand. While LinkedIn does offer the ability to create a page for your company or organization, it’s a better idea to share as an individual. People tend to trust and engage with other individuals far more than corporate brands, and because your professional and personal profiles blend into one on LinkedIn, it’s almost tailor-made for building and showcasing a personal brand.

    You can do this by posting regularly in specific communities, building a reputation, and sharing your own individual opinions on news events and others’ articles.

    The Niche Power of Groups

    articleimage1089 The Niche Power of Groups

    Groups are one of LinkedIn’s greatest strengths. Organized by individual LinkedIn members, these sub-groups range from general to highly specific, with different sized audiences accordingly. For example, there’s a “social media marketing” group with more than one million members, but a much more specific “electrical and lighting product marketing” group with just over 20,000 members.

    Chances are, there’s at least one LinkedIn Group highly relevant to your industry and your target audience at once, and several hundred other related groups to various other aspects of your business. Selectively involving yourself in all these groups will allow you to further maximize your impact.

    Getting Access to Influencers

    articleimage1089 Getting Access to Influencers

    Influencers are abundant in LinkedIn. You can pick these individuals out because they’re constantly getting involved in discussions, they’re often being asked for their opinions on specific matters, and they have large numbers of connections. These members tend to be involved in other social media platforms as well, and they tend to command a large social audience.

    Because Groups are open, it’s easy to find and engage with influencers on LinkedIn. Simply reach out and have a conversation with them, and if they’re open to engagement, you can reach out as a connection. If you’re involved often enough, eventually you’ll catch their attention, and they’ll probably call you out or share a piece of your content, giving you an instant boost in visibility and credibility across the web.

    Targeting Your Audience

    By making new individual LinkedIn connections and witnessing ongoing discussions in Groups and forums, you’ll have a critical opportunity to learn how your target audience operates. You’ll easily find new ideas for content topics, evaluate how people react to your currently syndicated content, and learn how to better write in a voice that appeals to your readers.

    Like with any social media or content-focused campaign, you might not be successful right away. It’s going to take time to build an influence and iron out all the little flaws with your approach as you learn more about the environment. Each brand will require a slightly different strategy, and each industry will have a different number and size of LinkedIn Groups available, but almost any type of business that employs people should have a landmark presence under the platform’s umbrella. Give your strategy time to develop, and eventually you’ll reap the rewards.

  6. What Your Follower Behavior Tells You About Your Social Marketing Campaign

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    articleimage1064 What Your Follower Behavior Tells You About Your So

    Social media marketing can be a difficult strategy to quantify. Many marketers have completely abandoned it, believing that there’s no way to objectively determine the effectiveness of a campaign, while others continue posting blindly with no way of measuring the impact of their actions or content.

    There’s no single measure that can tell you exactly how powerful or effective your social media strategy is at any given point in time. However, there are a handful of insights you can gain about the strength of your campaign just by looking at the behavior you see in your followers.

    Watch for these qualities and analyze your audience to get a general sense of your campaign’s performance:

    Follower Counts

    articleimage1064 Follower Counts

    First, a word of caution: many marketers look at their follower counts as the sole indicator of a campaign’s health. This is a bad idea. There’s a major difference between the quality and quantity of a following; some social accounts with 100 followers can make a bigger impact than some social accounts with 10,000.

    That being said, the general trends you see in your follower count can be a good indication of how much impact you’re making. If you notice that your follower counts are slowly growing, month after month, it means that more people are attracted to your brand and you’re doing a great job of opening up to a wider audience. If your follower numbers are staying consistent, it means you’re doing okay. If your follower counts are dropping, there’s an indication of a serious problem that needs to be corrected.

    Likes and Favorites

    articleimage1064 Likes and Favorites

    The number of people who “like,” “favorite,” or otherwise silently show support of your posts is a positive indication of how appealing your immediate social-facing content is.As an illustration, imagine you’ve written a detailed post offsite, and you link to that article using a social media post. The “likes” you receive are more likely to be a result of how you framed that post than the actual post itself. This is because “liking” is a passive action, and oftentimes occurs even before a link is clicked.

    If you notice that your “like” and “favorite” counts are low, it means that your social-facing posting isn’t grabbing enough attention. You can correct this by spending more time developing strongly worded and exciting titles, and including different attention-grabbing mediums to go alongside your content, such as images and video clips.

    Comments and Responses

    articleimage1064 Comments and Responses

    Comments and responses should clue you in to how interactive your material is. For example, if your posts tend to attract long threads of comments, they can be considered more interactive than posts that barely generate any comments at all. Overall, more comments are a good thing—the longer you can keep your users talking about your posts, the greater brand exposure you’ll receive and the more loyal your followers will become.

    To increase the amount of comments and responses your posts facilitate, work on improving the conversational nature of your posts. That means you’ll need to find topics that people want to talk about, or present your material in a way that opens a conversation. For example, you could take the topic of your post and form it into an open question, which would theoretically prompt your users to chime in with their individual responses. Alternatively, you could simply select a controversial topic and pose it to an audience that’s poised to jump in and discuss it.

    Shares and Retweets

    articleimage1064 Shares and Retweets

    One of the most useful measurements for the health of your campaign is the number of shares or retweets your campaign receives. This is usually tied to both follower growth and increased “likes,” but it also holds alternative benefits, such as increased external links and greater domain authority. If you’re getting lots of shares, it means your content is optimized for circulation. If not, you’ll have to work on making your content’s and posts’ shareability.

    To make your content more shareable, use any or all of the following enhancing qualities:

    • Make your post new. Introduce a new idea or new data to make people want to share the information.
    • Include something surprising. People are more likely to share things they didn’t expect to see.
    • Add an interactive factor. Get your audience involved with something they can directly engage in, like a quiz or an exercise.
    • Use multiple mediums. Photos and videos are your friends here.

    Inbound Traffic

    Finally, take a look at how many of your followers end up following your links back to your site. Do this by logging into Google Analytics and taking a look at the “social” traffic your site is bringing in. The higher this number is, the more effective you are at shepherding your followers to your domain. If you find this number is low, or sinking, work to improve the clickability of your links. Use strong action words to compel people to click, and use teasing language to entice people to learn more about your posts.

    If you notice your brand’s impact in more than one of these categories faltering, it’s a sign that you need to make some major changes to your campaign. Take comfort in knowing that social media marketing is an always-evolving process, so your campaign will never be perfect; instead, there’s always an opportunity to make improvements and sustain a forward momentum. Make your adjustments, put them into place, and then follow-up in a few months to see the difference in your followers’ behavior.

  7. 7 Hacks to Get More Shares on Social Media

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    Building a strong social media presence can improve your brand awareness, increase traffic to your site, and eventually result in far more paying customers for your business. While there are many factors that play a role in determining the success of your social media strategy, none are as important as getting social shares.

    Getting your content and posts shared accomplishes many goals simultaneously. First, getting shared is an indication that you’re producing compelling content, giving you a positive feedback loop. Second, when your content is shared, more, newer people are able to see your content, which leads to greater following numbers and greater traffic. Finally, getting shared often is a social signal that tells Google you are an authoritative brand, which helps your site rank higher in search results.

    Obviously, getting lots of shares is the key to establishing a great social media presence, but it’s not always easy. Try using these seven hacks to get more shares from your social posts:

    1. Release New Information.

    articleimage1002 Release New Information

    Posting information that’s never been seen before tends to get far more shares than regurgitated or repurposed content. Originality goes a long way here; one of the best ways to accomplish this is to do your own original research within your industry and post your findings on social media. If you don’t have the time or resources to perform original research regularly, you can capitalize on a new product, new service, or new offer from your company. As long as your audience hasn’t ever seen it before, you’ll retain the higher chance of attracting shares.

    2. Ground Your Post With a Visual.

    articleimage1002 Ground Your Post With a Visual

    Written content can get shares, but visuals attract far more. Images and videos naturally draw social users’ eyes and make them more willing to share that content on their own profiles. Consider using a video as a platform for your content, or an infographic that summarizes your latest findings. Even if you’re just linking to a written onsite article, posting a related image in your syndication schedule will increase the total number of shares your content will receive. If you can’t afford to have a new image with every post, save your images for your most impactful pieces of content.

    3. Crack a Joke.

    People love to laugh, and humor is contagious. When someone encounters a piece of content online that makes them laugh, or even crack a smile, they’ll want to share that content with their friends to make them smile the same way. While posting one-liners all day won’t do much for the authority of your brand, associating your otherwise authoritative content with a quick punchline or a wry aside can help propel it to get more shares. Also, don’t waste time recycling some other joke you found online. Come up with something unique to your story for maximum impact.

    4. Capitalize on News and Trends.

    articleimage1002 Capitalize on News and Trends

    Novelty is valuable in the social sphere. People check their news feeds when they want to stay up-to-date, and if you give them information they didn’t already know or post something related to a trending topic, you’ll be far more likely to catch their attention. Post opinion pieces on recent industry news, or capitalize on trending topics and hashtags with your own original material. Showing that you’re up-to-the-minute with the latest information will showcase your brand as an authority, but more importantly, it will inspire people to share your material.

    5. Incentivize the Share.

    You must be careful with this strategy because it’s easy to appear like you’re simply pandering for shares or using gimmicks to improve your social standing. However, incentivizing shares with contests or special offers can be a valuable way to get your content circulating. For example, you could host a free giveaway to one randomly selected user from a pool of people who have recently shared your content. On a smaller scale, you could even make a post along the lines of “share this post if you agree that…”, which prompts certain segments of your audience to share your original post. In a sense, you’ll be asking for shares directly, but you’d be surprised how many people are willing to indulge you.

    6. Lead in with Teasing Copy.

    While visuals are important, the copy you use to lead into your post is also very important in cultivating social shares. With this strategy, it’s important to tease your audience. Give them a taste of what’s on the other side of your link, but don’t give away all the details. You probably see tons of shared posts on your personal news feed with phrases like “you won’t believe what happens next” following a basic premise. While such headlines are known as “click bait” and are generally frowned upon, the teasing technique they use in their copy is a well-established standard for attracting more shares.

    7. Share Others’ Content.

    The social media world is typically governed by rules of reciprocity, especially among leading influencers. As a general best practice, your brand should be regularly sharing content from other influencers and leaders in your industry. It’s good for both of your reputations. Since you’ll be doing favors for others, they’ll be far more likely to do favors for you. In effect, the more content posted by others you share, the more likely your content will be shared by them in turn.

    Social media is a constant experiment. You’ll never be able to accurately predict exactly how one of your posts will perform until you actually publish it, but you can gather information about your previous posts and make assumptions accordingly. Work to continuously refine your social content strategy, and revisit the tactics you’ve found to be previously successful.

  8. 7 Rules of Community Building in Social Media

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    Successful social campaigns are about more than just getting online and posting information. While social media platforms often make for great content syndication channels, your primary goal should be building a community. Only through community building will you be able to develop a wider reach for your brand, stronger loyalty among your customers, and a better medium of communication between you and your followers.

    Unfortunately, building a community takes time and a significant amount of effort. To make things worse, there are few reliable protocols for community building since each industry is different and your audience may behave in unpredictable ways.

    Still, there are seven tested rules for community building that you must follow in order to effectively facilitate the growth of a social community:

    1. Remain Active and Consistent.

    articleimage1001 Remain Active and Consistent

    The first rule is also the most important. While building your online community, you’re going to need to remain both active and consistent, indefinitely. That means logging in to each of your social profiles multiple times per day, every day, and posting at least a few times a day as well. Without that level of active consistency, people will have no reason to check your page for updates. It’s also important to remain consistent in the types of material you post. That means writing in a consistent brand voice, posting consistently high-quality material, and generally keeping your subjects and content to a specific theme.

    2. Don’t Just Sell.

    articleimage1001Don’t Just Sell

    When you first establish a social media presence for your company, it might be tempting to push your products or services. After all, if you have 100 followers and you post an ad for your latest product, you could get 5 of those followers to buy one. Unfortunately, while these types of sales tactics might have a short-term return, their effects on your long-term social community are devastating. Followers are turned off by companies who are only interested in pitching their products. Instead, focus on bringing value to your users and engaging in sincere, personal conversations. Show off your personality and show that you’re more than just a faceless corporation interested in sales.

    3. Respond to Everyone.

    Anyone who goes out of their way to engage your brand deserves to be recognized in some way. Any time you see someone share or comment on a piece of content you posted, and any time you see someone message you, respond to them, publicly wherever possible. This will show that you appreciate interaction, and will encourage more people to interact with your brand directly. Even if these comments are negative, don’t cover them up; instead, address them with patient understanding. This approach will make your brand seem more valuable to new customers and may salvage an otherwise damaged relationship.

    4. Engage With Influencers.

    Influencers are the only shortcuts in the world of social community building. By definition, influencers are social media users who are seen as highly authoritative in a specific industry, and as a result, they tend to have large followings. Reaching out to influencers in your industry can open the door to new segments of your audience and accelerate the impact of your posts. For example, merely mentioning an influencer in conversation might spark them to share a piece of your content, which could get thousands of new eyes on your brand and your material. Use as many influencers as you can, especially at the beginning of your growth. Eventually, you’ll become one in your own right.

    5. Use Trending Topics.

    Staying topical is a good strategy no matter which social media platforms you use. Experiment with social listening software or simply keep active tabs on your news feed to find out what people are talking about and what they’re most interested in reading. Once you have that information, the next step is obvious—use it! If you have time to write articles around the new trends, feel free to, but don’t be afraid to simply mention them in short social posts. It shows you pay attention to the world around you and gets you much more visibility for your brand.

    6. Start Conversations.

    articleimage1001Start Conversations

    Communities aren’t one-directional. In order to be successful, your audience members must feel comfortable to engage with one another as much as they are engaging with your brand. The best way to facilitate this type of atmosphere is to start conversations. Get your users to talk to each other however you can. Typically, the best ways to do this are through controversial subjects (which tend to elicit strong opinions) or topical matters (which attract a lot of attention). Keep these conversations going by getting involved yourself.

    7. Encourage Shares and Participation.

    In order to keep your community going, you’ll need to attract more and more followers to your brand. The best way to do this is to get your existing followers to do the work for you. Every time one of your followers shares a piece of content, your brand gets exposed to several dozen new people. Therefore, the more shares and page participations you can encourage from your existing fan base, the greater your potential impact on new customers will be. Write shareable content, share viral material, and host contests to encourage more of these actions.

    Put these rules into practice for your ongoing social media strategy immediately. Building a community takes time, so the sooner you’re able to build momentum, the sooner you’ll be able to start reaping the benefits.

  9. 5 Types of Social Media Users and How to Use Them

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    shutterstock_189556430Social media marketing starts with something logical and mathematical: a formalized posting plan, complete with an outline of your brand personality and the types of interactions you seek to facilitate. But there’s a much less predictable factor in the world of social media marketing, and it’s integral to the process: the human factor. People drive social media, and without having the people on your side, your social media campaign is destined to fail.

    The problem is, every person is unique, and even if your behavioral predictions are correct for 30 percent of the population, the other 70 percent could throw off your entire equation. The trick is to learn how all your users operate, and cater to as many of them as possible. While there will always be individual outliers creating exceptions to the broader rules, you can generally count on most users within a certain category to behave in similar ways.

    There are five key categories of social media users you’ll need to become familiar with:

    1. The Influencer.

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    The influencer is the most sought-after type of user in the social media world, and arguably the most important of the lot of them. This user is somewhat rare, as attaining the position of an influencer takes a lot of work and a lot of dedication. Influencers tend to have massive followings, with thousands of Facebook friends or tens of thousands of Twitter followers, though this isn’t always the case. More importantly, influencers are seen as authorities in a given space. They are looked to as a reliable source of information, and their followers will likely listen to their advice.

    The best way to use an influencer is to engage with them directly. Talk to them. Share their content. Get yourself noticed. Once you establish a base relationship with an influencer, that influencer will be more likely to share your content and mention your name, which then exposes your brand to thousands of new people with an authoritative backing.

    2. The Evangelist.

    The evangelist is similar to the influencer, but with a less significant air of admiration. Evangelists aren’t necessarily experts in anything, and they certainly don’t have the same following as their super-influential counterparts. Instead, evangelists are highly likely to share content that piques their interest. If you post content regularly, you’ve probably noticed at least one of these individuals sharing nearly everything you post.

    This type of user is extremely valuable. While their influence isn’t as authoritative as that of an influencer, they do push your content in front of people on a very consistent basis. Some evangelists won’t need much of a push—they’ll share your content simply because they like sharing things. But you can attract more evangelists by posting more shareable content and reinforcing sharing behavior by thanking your sharers individually. Evangelists love recognition, and if you consistently reach out to them, you’ll attract more similar-minded users.

    3. The Utilitarian.

    The utilitarian doesn’t have a large following and doesn’t share much. Instead, the utilitarian uses social media purely for practical purposes. These types of users don’t interact with their friends or family very often and they don’t post comments on brand pages. However, they do spend a significant amount of time on social media, looking for valuable information, product discounts, or free offers they can take advantage of.

    This user doesn’t need much to stay happy. All you have to do is offer something valuable to them on a regular basis. For example, you could offer a day-long discount on a new product once a week, every week, or you could hold free giveaways on a monthly basis. Consistency is the key here; if the utilitarian comes to expect free or discounted offers from your social media profile, he/she will come back frequently and with measurable consistency. Even more important, they’ll be more likely to tell their friends about the experience.

    4. The Complainer.

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    The complainer isn’t a fun type of social media user, and if you see one, they’re probably going to do more harm than good. However, tactful social media managers can put a positive spin on the situation and use complainers to actively improve the reputation of their brand.

    Complainers tend to be vocal and public about their complaints. They’ll post angry messages on your public Facebook page and scathing tweets to rile people up and make your company look bad. Though you might be tempted, do not delete these complaints. Instead, address them directly. Apologize when appropriate, explain the situation, and offer to improve the problem in any way that you can. Users who see this type of interaction will learn that your brand takes customer service seriously and will go above and beyond the call of duty to make your users happy. While the complaint might seem negative initially, it might actually help your brand’s reputation in the long run.

    5. The Bystander.

    The bystander is a tough type of social media user to take advantage of. This type of user logs into their account frequently, peruses their news feed and checks in with important people and brands, but doesn’t do much beyond that. They don’t share, like, or comment on much of anything, and you probably won’t even know they are there.

    The best way to utilize a bystander is to post different types of content. Vary up your posting schedule with new, interactive mediums and esoteric topics. Eventually, you might find something that really resonates with your bystander crowd and when you do, you can incorporate more posts of that type in your regular schedule. It’s essentially a way of experimenting to find new types of information that go over well with your audience. In the meantime, don’t sweat it if your bystanders never interact.

    Get to know these social media user archetypes well. The better you understand your key audience members and the more you do to cater to them specifically, the more they’ll reward you with increased activity and a stronger overall social influence.

  10. How to Build Authority Without Building Links

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    In order to get your website found in search results, you need to have a high domain authority. The higher your domain authority is, the higher it’s going to rank for relevant queries. For many years, the best way to build that authority quickly was to build external links pointing back to your domain on a diverse range of high-quality sources. However, after the crackdown of Google’s Penguin and subsequent updates, it became harder and harder to build authority using links as a primary strategy.

    The words of Google’s own John Mueller echoed a fear in the search marketing community. Recently, he was quoted as referring to link building: “in general, I’d try to avoid that.” While links are still valuable for passing authority to your domain and a high-quality link building strategy can improve your overall domain authority without much risk of a penalty, for the average search marketer, it may be wiser to stay away from link building altogether.

    That raises an important question; without link building, how can you increase your domain authority, and by association, your search ranks? Fortunately, there are several alternative strategies that can boost your domain authority just as much as—if not more than—a traditional link building campaign.

    Creating Viral Content

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    Your first option still involves link building, but in a much more organic way. Rather than building any links directly on outside sources, you’ll be calling upon your audience to do all the work for you. The goal here is to produce a piece of content with a high potential to circulate virally—that means it’s highly informative, entertaining, shareable, and practical—and share it to a wide audience. Those audience members will share your content in turn, and eventually, it will catch the attention of several dozen (if not hundred) external sources. Those sources will link to you as a credit, of their own accord, which will pass ample domain authority onto you without ever having to get your hands dirty.

    Social Media Marketing

    articleimage2socialmediamarketing

    In addition to being a perfect outlet to begin syndicating your viral content, social media is a great platform for building your domain authority. While it’s not clear exactly which factors Google takes into consideration when calculating your social-related domain authority, there are many social signals that can actively improve your position. For example, companies with large social followings tend to have higher domain authorities than those that do not, and companies with high levels of engagement—that means your followers have a high tendency to like, share, or comment on your content—also have increased domain authority. Engage with your audience frequently and make an active effort to build your following. If you can encourage enough activity on your social profiles, you’ll earn a much higher domain authority without the need to build external links.

    Brand Mentions

    Google also considers mentions of your brand name on external sources when calculating domain authority. In a sense, you can consider brand mentions to be a milder form of external links. Because brand mentions do not trigger any spam-related red flags to Google, it is much safer to build brand mentions on external sources, and you can therefore use them as a simple substitute for your traditional link building strategy. Capitalizing on the same high-authority, industry-relevant sources, you can post occasional brand mentions to boost your domain authority, and you can also use nofollow links to attract referral traffic to your brand without upsetting any search bots. This works both for company brand names and branded names of individual products.

    Navigation and Interlinking

    If you’re looking to increase your domain authority, don’t exclusively incorporate offsite tactics. Onsite SEO implementation is just as important for building authority. For example, the navigation of your site has much to do with how much authority Google evaluates your site to have. Sites with a clear, simple, and intuitive navigation will have a higher authority than sites with a confused, jumbled, or overcomplicated system. This is because Google values high-quality user experience above all other factors when ranking websites. You can also increase your domain authority by interlinking your content; the fewer clicks it takes to get to any one page of your website, the better. You can improve this by implementing user surveys, finding ways to consolidate your pages, and redesigning your site to be more intuitive to the average user.

    Historically Great Content

    articleimage1greatcontent

    Everyone knows that great content is essential for SEO, but don’t forget the fact that one piece of content doesn’t trigger an increase in domain authority. Authority must be gradually earned over time. If you produce high-quality content, consistently, over the course of months and years, your domain authority will flourish. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut for this. Domains that have been around for decades will always have more domain authority than similar sites with a shorter history. Stay patient and committed to your domain.

    Remember, as long as you’re posting on highly authoritative and industry-relevant sources with a diverse and appropriate style of links, you shouldn’t have to fear a penalty from link building. Link building can still be a valuable strategy, especially if it is used in moderation and in conjunction with the authority-building strategies listed above. The more diverse your strategies are and the more effort you spend trying to improve user experience, the more you’ll be rewarded in search engine visibility across the board.

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