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Category Archive: Twitter

  1. Twitter Share Counts Are Gone – Is Organic Reach Dying Already?

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    articleimage1653 Twitter Share Counts Are Gone - Is Organic Reach Dying Already

    Twitter has long been one of the most useful and approachable platforms for businesses and personal brands to distribute content and engage an audience. Unfortunately, that might be about to change. Back in September, Twitter announced that it was going to unveil a new kind of tweet button. This alone didn’t make much news, since social apps update their image all the time, but the actual change to the tweet button has already begun to affect publishers.

    The biggest change for the “new look” has been the removal of share counts from the button itself. What this means is that it’s no longer possible to, at a glance, see how many people have shared a specific piece of content on your site. Other competitors, like Facebook and LinkedIn, are still broadcasting the number of shares a piece has gotten on their respective share icons, but Twitter’s is no more (you may have noticed this already).

    The Short-Term Effects

    articleimage1653 The Short-Term Effects

    If you’re a content marketer, you’re probably thinking this sucks, but ultimately isn’t that big of a deal. The short version is, you’re right. The removal of share counts doesn’t mean those shares no longer exist—readers are still free to share your piece with their respective audiences, just as they always have. But there are two key drawbacks making this an impactful change.

    First, the possibility for virality is somewhat reduced. As any content marketer will tell you, most viral pieces toward the middle stage of their life cycle start accumulating shares based only on the fact that they’ve already been shared thousands of times. New readers see the high share count and think “I want to be a part of this.” Without the share count, this tendency declines—readers can still share the piece and re-share it when they see it in their respective social newsfeeds, so it’s not the end of the world, but it still counts.

    Second, publishers have reduced insight in the success of their onsite pieces. Share counts were a nice at-a-glance metric of a piece’s performance, and now those have been squashed. It’s still possible to run analytics metrics to monitor traffic and use social monitoring to find out what’s going on secondhand, but that metric was great for giving publishers immediate information.

    These effects are significant, but aren’t game-changing or deal-breaking. So why the fuss? It’s more about the long-term trends this change could herald for social media marketing.

    Where Have the Shares Gone?

    articleimage1653 Where Have the Shares Gone

    First, it’s important to realize that Twitter hasn’t stopped counting these shares. It still has this valuable information—it’s just no longer willing to give it up for free. When pressed for commentary about why share counts are no longer available, Twitter insisted that share counts were still available—except they’re only available through Grip, Twitter’s data business. If you want to learn the share counts for your posts, you’re going to have to pay for them.

    Twitter saw an opportunity to make money on a service that they used to provide for free. Can you blame them? It makes business sense, but what does it mean for all the other free services they provide? And could this start a trend among all social media platforms?

    The Tie to Declining Organic Visibility

    articleimage1653 The Tie to Declining Organic Visibility

    Subtle plays toward maximizing profitability are nothing new. Facebook is open about the fact that it’s been slowly throttling organic visibility for business and company posts over the past several years. You may not have noticed due to its gradual nature, but today your posts show up in far fewer follower newsfeeds than they did just three years ago. Facebook claims this is all about relevance and user experience, but it’s not hard to see the bottom line for the company—fewer organic options means companies will be forced to pay to get the same level of exposure.

    It’s a kind of “first taste is free” angle for social media companies. For more than a decade, they’ve allowed businesses to create accounts, post, reach audiences, and analyze metrics for free. Slowly, those free services are fading away. Companies are becoming more dependent on them, and social media platforms are becoming hungrier for profits.

    How the Decline May Continue to Grow

    articleimage1653 How the Decline May Continue to Grow

    Social platforms are afraid of stirring the pot too much or too quickly, especially with so much competition available for businesses. As a result, the decline in organic reach (and other free services) is going to remain at a slow and steady pace—at least until paying for everything on social becomes the new norm. Facebook and Twitter have started the trend innocuously, but as soon as they start making some major changes, it won’t be long before every social platform available adopts a similar strategy. That means you can say goodbye to your plans of getting free exposure for your content on social media (at least part of them).

    What It Means for Your Strategy

    It’s hard telling exactly how these changes will develop or how fast they’ll develop, but you know these platforms will start charging more for more services. It’s in your best interest to take advantage of the current state of social media while you still can, and hedge your bets by building a presence that doesn’t depend on social media for exposure. The more evenly distributed your strategy is, the less susceptible you’ll be to major shifts.

  2. Twitter’s Future in Marketing: 3 Possible Scenarios

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    Twitter’s always been a little strange in the world of social media. Facebook serves as a general, universally used hub. LinkedIn appeals to professionals and entrepreneurs. Pinterest specializes in images. Snapchat offers privacy fast communication. But Twitter, despite having hundreds of millions of users, doesn’t have much to make it stand out other than a character limit and an innovation—the hashtag—that is now used by virtually every other platform.

    Still, Twitter continues to thrive as a loved platform by consumers and marketers alike. There are a number of exciting developments that have boosted Twitter’s functionality, and more on the horizon, but without a niche focus (as of yet) and increasing competition from other, more aggressive social media platforms, what course of development remains for the platform?

    In terms of its utility as a marketing platform, I envision three possible futures for the app, barring any radical unforeseen developments.

    1. Obsolescence: The MySpace Route.

    articleimage1383 Obsolescence

    Even at this volume and stage of growth, it’s entirely possible that Twitter could become obsolete. Right now, it occupies a strong niche and thrives on the strength of its brand, but as new competitors start encroaching on its territory, if it fails to catch up to them or stay a few steps ahead, it could collapse under its own weight.

    The big question here is users. Without enough users, Twitter won’t be useful for marketers, and if Twitter completely collapses, it won’t even be available to marketers. Young demographics tend to prefer Snapchat when it comes to communication. Most users prefer Instagram when it comes to posting images. Twitter had a boon with Vine when it comes to posting videos, but most people still prefer Facebook for general posting purposes.

    So if people don’t generally prefer Twitter for posting, communicating, or responding, what do they prefer it for? This is the question Twitter needs to answer (and it may—see my next two points). But without that critical distinguishing function, eventually, the Twitter population will seek refuge in other, more viable platforms. Marketers like us tend to follow the user base, so without one, Twitter is practically sunk.

    2. We’ll Do It Live: Instant Connections.

    articleimage1383 We’ll Do It Live

    One potential route for Twitter is the “instantaneous” update. Already, most social platforms allow us to post in real time, but Twitter has a slight advantage—because its users are forced to write and post more concise updates, and its newsfeeds are filled with a greater number of these small updates, the entire Twitter demographic tends to crave fast, immediate information in any format.

    Twitter is catering to this drive for instant information in a handful of its recent developments. For example, the social platform recently acquired the application Periscope, which allows users to broadcast live video feeds from wherever they are to a distributed user base. Followers of that user can watch the feed from anywhere in real time. Such an update is nice, and makes Twitter even more of a “live” app, but isn’t enough on its own to warrant the app’s survival.

    Following up on this, however, Twitter is preparing to release its “Project Lightning,” otherwise known as “Moments,” which aggregates posts, images, and videos from users at specific events so that other users can get a near-first-hand experience for what’s happening. This would change the platform into a kind of live, crowdsourced journalistic platform, while still retaining some of its other features. Under such a model, advertising would be harder to explore, and because so much data is aggregated, marketers would have a harder time standing out organically. This option would allow Twitter to survive, and maybe even thrive with new users, but the marketing and advertising side of things could be compromised as a result.

    3. Extension: Folding Into a New Context.

    articleimage1383 Extension


    It’s also possible that Twitter could end up partnering with another, more established or more popular social platform, though this would be years away from happening due to the current power of Twitter’s brand. For example, consider how tweets have recently been integrated with Google search. Is it much of a stretch to think of Google acquiring Twitter as a pseudo-replacement for Google+ (which also experienced issues establishing a distinguished niche of users)?

    It wouldn’t have to be Google—Facebook holds an equally vested interest in what could be described as its biggest competitor. Whether Twitter is carefully folded into another existing app or if its functionality is somehow leveraged in some other way, this could be the jump start Twitter needs to establish some unique relevance. Of all three options listed here, this is probably the best for marketers, as it would preserve the core functionality of Twitter without alienating any users, and still carve a path forward to reasonable growth. However, Twitter’s seeming desire to remain independent could squash any hopes of this happening.

    It’s entirely possible that Twitter will take us all by surprise and avoid conforming to any of these three scenarios, instead choosing an entirely different path forward. But the platform is certainly at a significant fork in the road. Now is the chance for the company to prove to the masses that it deserves to be on equal footing with the other social media giants, and that it won’t succumb to failure or envelopment. In order to do that, in any capacity, they’ll have to work hard to keep introducing new features and find a niche that suits them.

  3. What Will Twitter’s “Moments” Update Mean for Content Marketing?

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    When it comes to social media platforms, Twitter has always been a competitor, but has never been the best or first at anything. Facebook commands more than three times as many users and has a far more robust system for business advertising. LinkedIn caters to a very specific demographic and offers just the right tools for those users to communicate and network effectively. Snapchat introduced a new, more private way of communicating. And Twitter, while still handling more than 300 million monthly active users and offering unique, well-designed communication functionality, hasn’t done anything to stand out in the past few years—until now.

    With its new “Moments” system, debuting within the next year, Twitter could change the landscape of journalism—and content marketing—as we know it.

    Moments aka Project Lightning

    articleimage1274 Moments aka Project Lightning

    For several months now, Twitter has been talking about a mysterious “Project Lightning” that has been consuming most of the company’s time. Only last month did the company start doling out bits of information about the project, including its intentions and its scope. According to former CEO Dick Costolo, Project Lightning is a new way to see and use tweets, and will serve as an event-centric aggregated content platform. So what, exactly does that mean?

    The details we have now are few and far between, but the intentions of Project Lightning (now known to be called Moments upon its debut) are quite clear. The algorithm will scour the maze of tweets and live updates from its users, from short messages to photos to real-time video from Twitter’s recent acquisition, Periscope. With this information, the program will be able to identify when a crucial event is taking place—it could be anything from a major professional sports title to some newsworthy military deployment. Twitter will gather up the most relevant tweets, pictures, and information, and aggregate them in a separate area of the app. This area would be accessible from any time in the app as an icon in the home row.

    Theoretically, Twitter would create entire dedicated experiences for its users based on events as they unfold in real time. It’s a new way of connecting users together and a new way of storytelling—rather than relying on a single journalist’s delayed account of a major news event, people will be able to see that event occur in real time, gathering their own details and forming their own perspectives.

    All this seems interesting, especially if you’re the type of person who likes to follow along with events as closely as possible, but how is this going to affect the content marketing world?

    Automation of Storytelling

    articleimage1274 Automation of Storytelling
    The first major consideration is that this is almost a form of robotic journalism, which is already starting to shape the journalistic community. In fact, chances are pretty good that you’ve already read an article that was written by a machine’s algorithm, and you didn’t even realize it. Algorithms are becoming so sophisticated that they can pull basic information from online sources and compile it in a generated article that is both accurate and semantically sensible.

    Twitter’s “Moments” project seems like a different shade of this automated journalism. Rather than pulling raw information then compiling it into a readable article, it’s going to take user-generated information and compile it in a way that makes sense to an individual user.

    Either way, this cuts out the need for writers, content marketers, and storytellers as an intermediary—at least when it comes to current events. Eventually, these same kind of algorithms may be able to write other, more sophisticated articles and craft other, more sophisticated experiences—meaning no content will need to be created except by users themselves.

    Immediate Information

    articleimage1274 Immediate Information

    This deployment could also increase user demand for more immediate, onsite information. Already, users are accustomed to learning about events mere moments after they happen. With Twitter’s technology, they’ll be learning about them exactly as they happen. This, in turn, will force a change in the content marketing industry. It will no longer be acceptable to publish an article about an event a week after it’s happened, or even a day after it’s happened. Everything will ratchet up in terms of immediacy to keep users happy.

    The Short-Term Impact

    articleimage1274 The Short-Term

    As “Moments” begins to roll out, I doubt it will have much of an effect on content marketing in general. People will see it as a nice add-on for their social media experience, but ultimately, they’ll still consume other forms of content in much the same way that they used to. For the most part, “Moments” will only affect the consumption of current and live events, which few businesses focus on as part of their strategy.

    The Long-Term Impact

    articleimage1274 The Long-Term

    “Moments” is only the most recent step in a long and complicated journey to full content and storytelling automation, as a contemporary of the robotic algorithms responsible for generating journalistic articles. It’s only a matter of time before this technology expands, in terms of sophistication, areas of expertise, and the number of platforms able to use it. When it hits that critical expansion point, typical forms of content generation will no longer be effective, and most content marketing strategies will begin to collapse.

    Because this progression is unpredictable, yet far off, there’s no current need for concern. In the next few decades, we may see the demise of content marketing at the hands of an application similar to “Moments,” but “Moments” itself poses no immediate threat. For the foreseeable future, or at least for the next decade or so, conventional forms of content marketing will continue to be the cost-effective, practical brand building strategy it has been for the last several years.

  4. How to Use Twitter Lists to Your Advantage in Marketing

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    articleimage1112 How to Use Twitter Lists to Your Advantage in Marke

    Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms around today, and it’s also one of the most useful for marketers. While the platform doesn’t boast quite as many users as its close competitor Facebook, it does offer a variety of functions and tools that make it naturally more advantageous for certain marketing strategies. However, in order to take full advantage of this platform, you must commit yourself to more than just occasional posts and check-ins.

    Twitter lists are one of the most valuable functions you’ll find in the platform, and they can be used in several different ways.

    Creating and Managing Lists

    articleimage1112 Creating and Managing Lists

    First, you must understand how to create and manage lists within the Twitter platform. Don’t worry; it’s ridiculously simple. Log into your profile—if you’re on the desktop browser version, click on your profile image in the upper-right corner and click on “Lists.” If you’re on mobile, hit the gear icon and click “Lists” from there.

    Here, you’ll be able to see all the lists you’re subscribed to and all the lists you’re a member of. For now, we’ll just focus on the ones you’re subscribed to. These include all the lists you’ve personally created as well as lists that you’ve subscribed to that other Twitter users have created. Both can be useful.

    To create a new list, click the “Create new list” button and name and describe your list. You’ll also want to be sure to check either “public” or “private.” Public lists can be viewed by anyone, while private lists can only be viewed by you. The intention of your list should dictate your decision here. Once created, you’ll be able to add individual users to your lists by visiting an individual’s profile, clicking on the gear, and selecting “Add or remove from lists.” You can also manage your lists directly from the Lists menu.

    Once your list is fleshed out, you’ll be able to see a specialized news feed for each list, based solely on posts from the users you selected to be in that list. There are a number of different reasons to do this.

    Lists as a News and Discovery Tool

    articleimage1112 Lists as a News and Discovery Tool

    One of the most obvious uses for Twitter lists is consolidating information on a given subject. For example, if you wanted to read domestic news headlines every morning, you could create a list that includes the Twitter accounts of news publishers like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. For businesses, this is especially useful for industry news. Cherry-pick the most reliable or most active authorities within your own industry, and confine them to a particular list, so that any time you want the latest updates on that industry, it’s only a click away.

    Lists as a Competitive Research Tool

    This is a handy strategy for those in a tightly competitive market. Create a list of any direct or peripheral competitors you want to keep tabs on and confine them to their own list—for this one, it’s usually better if you keep it private. Here, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of what your competitors are up to, both in terms of any company news they announce and in terms of the types of content and promotions they give to their followers. See what strategies they use that are the most useful, and learn from that impact to tailor your own strategies.

    Lists as a Buyer Persona Profiler

    articleimage1112 Lists as a Buyer Persona Profiler

    Hopefully, you already have an idea of what type of people comprise your target audience. If you’ve developed an “average” buyer profile, sometimes called a buyer persona, even better. If you haven’t, now’s the time to develop one. Use this buyer persona as a template to add real people to a list you create—and be sure to keep it private. For example, if your buyer persona is a middle-aged woman, start looking for individual middle-aged women, and add as many of them as you can to this list. Then, you’ll be able to pop in at a moment’s notice and monitor any social trends that develop within that demographic. This is especially useful if you have multiple demographics to watch.

    Lists as a Resource for Your Followers

    articleimage1112 Lists as a Resource for Your Followers

    The first three list functions I describe in this article are mostly for private use, but public lists can be just as valuable. Instead of focusing on what would be the most valuable to you, focus on what would be the most valuable to your followers—what type of resources would they find helpful? What type of newsfeeds would they want to read through? Offering a selection of valuable public lists can make your followers appreciate you more and grow to see you as a greater authority.

    Lists as a Way to Increase Your Following

    There are two ways that lists can actively help you increase your following. First, you can add people to your public lists as a way to appeal to them—when you add an individual to a public list, they’ll get a notification, and they’ll be likely to follow you as a result. Second, you can use lists to aggregate types of organizations whose followings you’d like to emulate. From there, you can monitor their follower lists and use them to build your own.

    No matter how you choose to use lists in your own business, they can be invaluable resources for gathering information and building your own authority. Use them consistently and tap them for everything they’re worth.

  5. Why Google and Twitter Are Joining Forces

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    Google and Twitter recently closed a deal that will allow Google to include the body content of tweets in its search results. Previously, Google was able to crawl Twitter’s site for indexable information, but as a result of this partnership, this information will be immediately available to Google.

    While the details of the plan are still under wraps, I expect that once live, this will mean we’ll see live and current tweets embedded near the top of search results for relevant queries. For example, if news of some major announcement breaks, anyone searching for information on that announcement will see real-time tweets from influential Twitter users in line with other, more conventional news search results.

    This isn’t the first time Twitter’s material was made available to the search engine giant; in fact, there was a very similar partnership in place between 2009 and 2011. Twitter allowed the deal to lapse, rather than renewing it, in an effort to gain a tighter control over its own content. This new deal isn’t expected to go live until later on in the first half of 2015, but the partnership is significant for Google, Twitter, and the marketing world as a whole.

    How Google Benefits

    articleimage1011 How Google Benefits

    Google’s motivation is relatively simple. The company has always strived to give users the best, latest, and most accurate results for searches, and lately, they’ve been obsessed with integrating with other companies and services in order to give their users the best possible online experience. Integrating live tweets into search results would mean that users get more, better, more immediate information than they have before. For regular Twitter users, it also cuts out a step—users can get traditional information about a new event while simultaneously scanning for how that event is affecting the public. It also gives Google even more clout in the search world—the more partnerships it forms, the stronger it becomes.

    How Twitter Benefits

    articleimage1011 How Twitter Benefits

    The deal will also be beneficial for Twitter, though the social media platform will face some additional challenges as a result. Obviously, getting exposure in Google’s search engine is a good thing—that’s the entire reason why SEO exists. Users not currently on Twitter performing routine searches will get exposure to the brand and may be prompted to spend more time on the platform.

    However, there are a few potential wrinkles to this setup. While users will see individual tweets, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually sign up as a user or use Twitter more. In fact, if users can see tweets just by searching for a given topic in Google, they may actually be less likely to use the platform. Since most of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising, if the majority of users rely on tweets from Google search, they may lose out on some significant revenue.

    Why This Partnership Is Important for Marketers

    articleimage1011 Why This Partnership Is Important for Marketers

    Google and Twitter each have their motivations and goals for this partnership, but what really matters about this deal is how it’s going to affect you. Since tweets will now be included in major Google searches, marketers will have to adapt their strategies to stay current with their audiences.

    Real-Time Updates Will Become More Important

    First, tweeting in real-time is going to become far more important. Concerning matters of breaking news or recent announcements, you’ll no longer have to write a press release or significant content in order to get recognized by searchers. Something as simple as a hashtag or a brief mention on a tweet, if timed correctly, could get your brand in front of hundreds, if not thousands of searches. The companies who spend the most time reading the news and staying actively involved with current events will stand to benefit most from this new partnership.

    Mistakes Will Be Less Tolerated

    There’s also a flip side to this increased visibility. It means your errors will hit the spotlight faster, and they’ll be harder to make up for if they end up going live. Countless companies, including major brands, have tweeted unintentionally offensive material or poorly worded entries that damage their overall reputation. Even when confined to Twitter, these types of mistakes were devastating. Now that they’re going to reach an even wider audience on Google, smart brands will take the extra time to proofread everything that reaches the public eye.

    SEO and Social Marketing Will Be Closer Than Ever

    Social media marketing and SEO have been closely related for some time now, and this partnership is only going to increase the power of that connection. The actions you take on social media, particularly Twitter, will give you a much greater chance at showing up in searches—and you might even get a boost in domain authority by proxy.

    This partnership alone may not prove to be a revolutionary game-changer in the world of SEO or social media; companies will still need to put up a serious effort on both fronts, prioritizing user experience and accurate, valuable information like they always have. But this partnership will likely pave the way for others in the increasingly interconnected world of Internet and social companies; already, Google has made partnerships with companies like Uber and OpenTable to bring these services closer to the public and improve its own capabilities. This tight interconnectedness will only grow in the coming years, so marketers would be wise to pay attention to popular apps and platforms and get involved with as many of them as possible for greater visibility.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn: Which Drives The Most Traffic?

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    There are dozens of popular social media platforms out there, each with its own advantages, disadvantages, and unique niche audience. Choosing which platforms to include in your social media strategy can be problematic, especially for business owners new to the world of digital marketing. Most business owners choose to go with at least one of, if not all of the “big three” platforms in the social media world—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but understanding which one of those drives the most traffic can help you better allocate and manage your time when it comes to posting and engaging your audience.

    Clearly, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have sizable audiences and easy management platforms, but which one is going to be the most effective for your business?



    Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world, and it’s usually the go-to choice for business owners just getting started in social media marketing. However, its demographic mix and primary function make it a secondary choice for most businesses.

    Total Potential Traffic

    Facebook has more than 1.2 billion active monthly users, which is an impressive number, making it any business owner’s first choice in terms of total market potential. However, just because there are 1.2 billion users doesn’t mean you’ll be able to reach that many individuals.

    Demographic Mix

    Just about everyone uses Facebook, so finding the perfect demographic for your product shouldn’t be a problem. The large pool of users makes it so even niche audiences have decent representation on the platform. It may be hard to track down those specific users (unless you’re using Facebook’s advertising platform, which we’ll touch on later), so don’t necessarily count on those niche demographic opportunities.

    Engagement Opportunities

    Facebook allows you to broadcast to everyone who likes or follows your page, but getting people to like and follow your page can be difficult. Unless you direct a sizable pool of existing customers to your Facebook profile or use an ad campaign to direct traffic immediately, building up your initial audience can be extremely difficult. Even then, Facebook’s complex news feed algorithm make it so you can’t guarantee the visibility of your posts—unless of course, you resort to “boosting” them with paid advertising.

    Advertising Options

    Facebook’s ad platform is very effective, and relatively inexpensive. Whether you’re attracting new likes or directing traffic to your main site, the options are all very affordable, and the analytics platform helps you determine exactly how effective your strategy was. You can also filter out exactly the type of people you want to see your ad—down to age, gender, geographic location, and interests.

    The Bottom Line

    Facebook has a huge potential audience, bigger than any other platform, but it’s hard to get the interest of that potential audience unless you use paid advertising as a boost. If you’re looking for sheer numbers and can afford to complement your strategy with ads, Facebook is a good choice. If you’re looking to build an audience for free, the other two will probably yield more traffic.



    Twitter, like Facebook, boosts a large audience, and while the demographic limitations are somewhat restrictive, Twitter has far more options for business owners looking to build an audience organically.

    Total Potential Traffic

    Twitter has about 284 million monthly active users, which pales in comparison to Facebook’s 1.2 billion, but is still a sizable crowd.

    Demographic Mix

    Twitter users tend to be younger than Facebook users (though there are exceptions to every rule). However, Twitter users also tend to be more talkative than their Facebook counterparts, making them easier to engage with under some circumstances.

    Engagement Opportunities

    Engagement potential on Twitter is the platform’s greatest strength. First, Twitter users are all public, so it’s much easier to track down and engage with new potential followers than it is on Facebook. Second, Twitter posts are short and news feeds are constantly updated, so you can get away with posting much more material than you could at Facebook, with virtually no risk of annoying your user base. Finally, open public conversations make it easier to build relationships with individuals while simultaneously improving your reputation to new potential followers.

    Because of these reasons, it’s relatively simple—though time-consuming—to build an audience organically and from scratch on Twitter.

    Advertising Options

    Like Facebook, Twitter has an advertising platform. However, you might find that your advertising dollars don’t go as far on Twitter as they do on Facebook. The total potential audience is narrower, and the analytics platform isn’t quite as insightful.

    The Bottom Line

    Twitter is an incredibly valuable platform for the business owner who wants to build an audience without resorting to paid advertising. While it doesn’t bolster quite as much total potential traffic as Facebook, the means to getting relevant traffic are simpler due to Twitter’s public and fast-paced interface.



    LinkedIn is generally geared toward professionals, using resumes instead of personal profiles to showcase candidates. It’s a perfect opportunity for service-based and B2B companies to hunt down the perfect leads, though some business owners might find the total traffic potential lacking.

    Total Potential Traffic

    LinkedIn bolsters about 300 million monthly active users, slightly more than Twitter, but these users tend to use the platform more sparingly than their Facebook or Twitter counterparts.

    Demographic Mix

    LinkedIn is almost exclusively used by people trying to advance their careers in one way or another. LinkedIn demographics tend to be older and more professional, and the resume-like nature of profiles tends to limit insights on personal interests. This makes the platform ideal for businesses searching for specific professionals as potential leads, but nearly useless for other businesses.

    Engagement Opportunities

    LinkedIn has more engagement opportunities than Facebook; it’s hard to get much attention from updating your company page, but if you start or regularly participate in a Group, you should be able to build a reputation for yourself and generate a moderate following. Be prepared for more in-depth one-on-one conversations than the typical broadcast-based communications of the other platforms.

    Advertising Options                           

    LinkedIn does offer an advertising service, similar to Facebook, though nowhere near as comprehensive. This may be an option for B2B companies looking to rapidly accelerate their growth, but free engagements in LinkedIn Groups are generally a better use of your time.

    The Bottom Line

    LinkedIn has a respectable total audience, but you’re only going to benefit from that audience if you’re looking for specific individual professionals as potential leads. LinkedIn doesn’t have the broadcast power that Facebook or Twitter does, but you can make great impressions by taking advantage of their Groups pages (either by starting a Group or joining one that already exists).

    If you’re looking to dramatically increase your brand visibility online and get the most for your money when it comes to social SEO benefits, your best bet is to claim a presence on all of the “big three” platforms. They’re free to claim and easy to update, so you might as well nab all three as early as possible and update them on a regular basis.

    However, the platform you spend the most time on is going to be up to your ultimate goals as well as the composition of your business.

  9. 20 Twitter Hacks to Improve Clicks

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    Twitter has become one of the most popular social media networks, and as a result, it’s become one of the best platforms for online marketers to build and engage a loyal audience. The fundamentals of a good social strategy, such as keeping a consistent brand voice and rewarding your users for being loyal, all apply here, but Twitter also has a number of secrets that can take your strategy to the next level.

    Try out some or all of these Twitter hacks to improve your click through rates and better engage your following:

    1. Include an image.

    articleimage634 Include an image

    Simply including an image is sometimes enough to generate a click through, especially if the image catches a reader’s eye. Such images stand out in an otherwise cluttered newsfeed, making your tweet seem more attractive and drawing users into taking action.

    2. Use a period at the beginning of a handle.

    This is a simple hack that many new Twitter users don’t realize exists. When you use someone’shandle at the beginning of a tweet, only you and that user’s shared followers will be able to see the tweet. If you simply put a period (or some other punctuation) before the @, you’ll make a tweet public, greatly increasing the number of people who see it and thus increasing the click potential.

    3. Use multiple references in tweets.

    This strategy relies on the communal nature of social media. When a user is mentioned in a tweet, they’ll be more likely to retweet it. If you have room to mention multiple relevant users, go ahead and mention them—for each user you mention, you’ll increase the retweet rate of your tweet, and therefore, the number of views and clicks.

    4. Tweet between 9am and 3pm.

    These are peak usage hours for Twitter. You can definitely pick up some views and clicks after 3pm or in the wee hours of the morning, but if you’re trying to maximize your click potential, save your most important tweets for this time period.

    5. Tweet Monday through Thursday.

    On Fridays, people are trying to wrap things up and start enjoying the weekend. On weekends, they’re busy enjoying life. Keep most of your tweets centered around the early part of the workweek to maximize visibility and total clicks.

    6. Use hashtags wisely.

    articleimage634 Use hashtags wisely

    Hashtags can be a great way to increase the visibility of your tweet—especially if you’ve invented your own hashtag, or if you’re jumping on to a trending topic. But don’t overuse or inappropriately use hashtags—if you do, the messages of your tweets will be lost, and your users might tune you out as spam.

    7. Jump on existing conversations.

    People are far more likely to click a link they think is specifically meant for them than a link that’s tweeted to the masses. Jumping into a conversation in progress with a relevant link to add value to the conversation can greatly increase the chances of that user and that user’s audience clicking through.

    8. Schedule tweets in advance, and spread out.

    Take advantage of a tweet scheduling service like the one at HootSuite. Using these tools, you can schedule your tweets in advance, and spread them out over the course of the day. Clumping all your tweets together in one burst is inefficient, and can decrease both your visibility and click rates.

    9. Embed tweets in your website.

    If you’re looking to get a little more juice out of a particularly effective tweet, try embedding it in your website. Your web visitors will get to see it regardless of their following preferences, and you’ll get more chances to earn clicks.

    10. Pin an important tweet up top.

    Newsfeeds can get messy, and any tweet will eventually get buried under the influence of thousands of new messages. If you want to keep an important tweet top of mind for your users, use the pin function to pin it to the top of your timeline.

    11. Sandwich your link in text.

    Tweeting just a link can negatively influence your click rates, so frame your links in a body of text. Make sure to contextualize your link by explaining what users can get out of it if they click it.

    12. Stay well below the character limit.

    Twitter’s official character limit is 160 per tweet, and many companies push it to that limit. However, shorter tweets have two benefits; first, they stand out more on a person’s timeline, and second, they leave room for users to mention you or add a comment should they choose to retweet you.

    13. Use persuasive language and strong keywords.

    This strategy brings copywriting and SEO skills to the table. When framing your link with text, make every word in your message count. Use compelling, specific language that engages people, and capitalize on keywords that people might want to search for.

    14. Merge Twitter with your other social profiles.

    This is a simple strategy to broaden your social reach. Connect Twitter with Facebook, LinkedIn, and your other social networks to syndicate your links further and gain more total views.

    15. Use indicators like “RT” and “via” to borrow authority.

    This is especially useful if you’re featuring a guest blogger. Using the short phrases “RT” or “via” combined with a person’s Twitter handle makes your tweet appear more authoritative, and will entice more users to click.

    16. Ask for clicks directly.

    Don’t write the exact phrase “please click this link,” but do use instructive language to encourage more users to click your links. For example, you could start out your tweet with a phrase like “check this out” or “You’ve got to see this.”

    17. Leverage the power of influencers.

    Don’t underestimate the power of shared authority. If you really want to ramp up the number of clicks you can get with a single tweet, try asking an influencer to retweet it for you. You could potentially get hundreds of thousands of more eyes on your link, and thousands of extra clicks proportionally.

    18. Experiment with promoted tweets.

    You don’t have to use Twitter’s paid advertising platform to get the benefits of a social strategy, but promoted tweets can help some businesses get a little extra fuel. If you need extra clicks, consider pursuing it as an experiment. Measure your results and determine whether the ROI was worth it—Twitter has some excellent metric reporting.

    19. Get more followers.

    articleimage634Get more followers

    If you want more clicks, one of the easiest ways to get it is to earn more followers. You can do this by promoting your account on peripheral marketing materials (like your website, ads, brochures, etc.), honing your content marketing strategy, or simply reaching out to new potential followers directly.

    20. Read your data.

    The best way to improve your click through rates over time is to read and interpret your data. Use Twitter to see what kind of links and messages earn the most favorites and retweets. Use Google Analytics to determine which links bring the most new visitors to your site. Learn from the data, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

    Your Twitter followers still need traditional nurturing with great content, brand familiarity, and consistency, but these extra hacks can mean the difference between a tweet that opens a floodgate of traffic to your site, and one that falls to the bottom of a news feed. Put them to good use, measure your results, and continue to refine your campaign as you get to know your audience and the scope of your competitive landscape.

  10. Building an Effective Social Strategy for E-Commerce Sites

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    Social media is your brand’s best friend. When done correctly and consistently, social media engagement can improve your brand’s reputation, drive new traffic to your site, and encourage the rapid spread of your content and promotions; for an e-commerce site, it’s a dream come true. E-commerce sites, especially those that operate exclusively online, rely on the power of people in numbers, and social media can make those numbers a reality.

    Traditional social media strategies are effective for most businesses, but e-commerce sites require something more. In this article, I’ll speak to the differentiating factors that make e-commerce sites unique, and how e-commerce entrepreneurs can build a near-perfect strategy.

    Why E-Commerce Sites Are Different

    articleimage607Why E-Commerce Sites Are Different

    All businesses rely on revenue, and that revenue comes from successful conversions. For B2B companies, a successful conversion usually means a customer filling out a form with their personal information, which only constitutes the first step of the sales process. For e-commerce platforms, the sales process is immediate; users are instantly confronted with a choice in products, with the instant ability to purchase them. That immediacy demands a different social approach: one focused on fast inspiration rather than gradual relationship building.

    E-commerce platforms are also more competitive on the social front. Typical businesses can use qualitative measurements of their services to justify a higher price or slower turnaround time, but most e-commerce platforms sell items that can be compared, apples-to-apples, to other nearly identical products. Audiences are therefore more discriminating, and in order to capture a customer’s interest or loyalty, you’ll need to prove your business’s superiority objectively.

    Step One: Choosing Your Platforms

    articleimage607Choosing Your Platforms

    Before you get started with a social campaign, you’ll need to choose the right mediums for your messages. The big three social platforms still remain as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but let’s take a look at which are the most valuable for e-commerce sites specifically.

    Facebook is a solid platform. It offers a wide reach to a wide variety of consumers, and easy means of sharing content with friends and family members. If you’re going to be posting lots of promotional offers with the propensity to be shared virally, Facebook is a must. Plus, Facebook’s easy-to-use advertising platform could give you the boost you need to win more loyal fans.

    Twitter is great for e-commerce platforms, and for two main reasons. First, Twitter is a fast-paced platform, forcing concise messages and near-immediate responses. Considering e-commerce platforms rely on immediacy and fast decisions, Twitter makes for a perfectly appropriate medium.

    LinkedIn, on the other hand, is not as appropriate in most cases. Unless you have a highly targeted demographic that requires one-on-one professional networking to build interest, LinkedIn is not worth your time as an e-commerce social platform.

    There are several other platforms available, of course, but your choices beyond the big three are largely dependent on the types of products you’re selling. For example, if many of your products have a visual element or are geared toward women, Pinterest would be another effective platform.

    Step Two: Building Your Voice

    articleimage607 Building Your Voice

    Once you’ve selected a range of different social media platforms to use, you’ll need to start perfecting your brand’s social voice. You want this voice to be in line with your brand standards and consistent across all platforms, to ensure a familiar, comfortable experience for your users no matter what platform they choose to engage you on. For example, a user accustomed to engaging with your brand on Facebook should receive a similar experience on Twitter.

    Many of your brand voice’s qualities will depend on the nature of your brand. For example, is your brand more sophisticated or more relatable? More energetic or more laid-back?

    Once you establish a base for your voice, ensure its appropriateness for social media by adding a few degrees of personality and casualness—people like to engage with people, so making your brand seem more like a person is always a good idea.

    Step Three: Creating Your Offers

    Nothing drives social media traffic for e-commerce sites more than special offers. The specifics of those special offers are up to you and your business model. They could be promotional discount codes, such as custom codes that can be redeemed for a discount or a free gift upon checkout. They could be occasional rewards points, if your e-commerce platform has a kind of reward system. They could even be regular giveaways, such as entry for a drawing for a free gift for every person who favorites, likes, or retweets a given post.

    No matter what you choose, make sure you have special offers timed to roll out on a regular basis. Special offers have a clear immediate effect; they attract people to come to your site and buy something. But they also have a powerful secondary effect; they encourage people to pay close attention to your posts in anticipation, giving you more attention and more opportunities to market directly to them.

    Step Four: Drafting Your Schedule

    A great social media schedule will serve as the backbone of your entire strategy. You’ll want to log in regularly, responding to customer comments and engaging with current events, but scheduling most of your posts ahead of time will keep your audience interested no matter how often you can afford to check in.

    As an e-commerce platform, you’ll want a good portion of your posts to be special offers—valuable opportunities to attract new people to your site. But you also don’t want too many, so you retain those posts as valuable commodities. One such post a day is more than enough, and one per week might be plenty for some brands.

    The remainder of your scheduled posts should be an equal blend of the following:

    • Product highlights, which showcase a specific product on your store. Include a picture and link when possible.
    • News-related updates, such as holiday wishes, company anniversaries, or recognition of current events.
    • Raw information, such as “did you know?” style facts, or contentcovering how to make a buying decision.
    • Entertaining material, which amuses people or makes them laugh.

    Step Five: Increasing Engagement

    Your scheduled posts are only the foundation of your social strategy. If you want to keep your followers interested and engaged, you need to go out of your way to bring them into conversations. Start conversation topics by posing questions or implementing surveys, and follow up with people who respond or continue the thread. The more you personally interact with your followers, the more loyal they’ll become.

    Search for brand mentions and mentions of your products as well—it’s a prime opportunity to jump into existing conversations and respond with your own expertise. It shows that your brand cares about what’s happening, and can make for a perfect first impression to an unacquainted user.

    Overall, the fundamental principles of social media marketing are the same for e-commerce platforms as they are for other sites; bring value to your followers and interact with them frequently. But the channels and specifics of these interactions require a different approach. Remember that building a social media following does take time, and it may be weeks or even months before you start to see an increase. But over the course of your campaign, you should see a dramatic increase in your customer loyalty and web traffic as a direct result of your efforts.

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-The AudienceBloom Team