According to Constant Contact, LinkedIn is getting more graphic. This is a good deal for LinkedIn users, and if you’ve stayed away from LinkedIn because it was boring and didn’t seem to offer the same bells and whistles that other social media sites were offering, now you can jump on the LinkedIn bandwagon.
What makes this exciting is you’ll be able to upload videos, images, photos, and other graphics to each section of your LinkedIn profile. That will make your profile a graphic depiction of your resume and life right off the bat.
Savvy Internet marketing experts know that visuals keep people returning to your website and are more likely to convert once they are there. It’s been that way for years. So this new development at LinkedIn plays right into the knowledge and information that professional online marketers have been operating on for a decade, at least.
LinkedIn has been used primarily as an online resume service. Now, your resume just got a lot more graphic. But I also think the added visuals will turn LinkedIn into more than just a place to post your resume.
What do you think? Is this good for LinkedIn? Is it good for LinkedIn users?
As more people flock to Twitter for following their favorite celebrities and other people of interest, the social media site is becoming saturated with tweets, retweets, and hashtags. How can a serious-minded business person stay ahead of the curve and have a meaningful experience on Twitter? One way is to create Twitter lists.
A Twitter list is simply a list of other Twitter users who fit a particular mold. You can use these lists to create a specific-niche group of people to follow.
For instance, if you are interested in sculptors, you can create a list of your favorite working sculptors. Let’s say you have 15 sculptors worldwide that you would include as your favorite living sculptors. Create a list. This list makes it easier for you to follow those sculptors as you keep them grouped in that list.
The Twitter list also tells other Twitter users who you think are the important people in that niche. This is important for reputation purposes. If others agree with your recommendations, they are more likely to follow you.
Another benefit to lists is it puts you one step closer to those individuals. When you put someone on a list, you are one step away from them. You actually have a relationship, of sorts.
Twitter lists keep Twitter interesting. They also boost your reputation and draw you closer to the type of people you want to follow, and who you want to follow you.
The Facebook era of Tweetdeck is over. Actually, the third-party app era of Tweetdeck is over. No more Facebook integration and no more Android or iPhone apps, and no more Tweetdeck AIR.
The bright news is that Tweetdeck is working on an app for Chrome, which should include notifications.
What’s this mean for social media marketers who rely on Tweetdeck for posting?
First, it means that you’ll have to find another way to make your posts to Facebook. That’s bad news. If you are currently using Tweetdeck on your iPhone or an Android device, or still using Tweetdeck AIR, then you’ll have to migrate your usage to the web-based version of the product. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If the Chrome app happens, then Chrome users will have an advantage.
Tweetdeck does offer a reason for their discontinuance of their smartphone apps:
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a steady trend towards people using TweetDeck on their computers and Twitter on their mobile devices. This trend coincides with an increased investment in Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android –– adding photo filters and other editing capabilities, revamping user profiles and enhancing search. That said, we know this applies to most of our users –– not all of them.
Tweetdeck has spent the better part of the last year enhancing its web-based platform. The fact that they are still hiring developers means that we’ll see more improvements to that platform in the coming months. I’m excited to see what they come up with.
Is your content shareable? How do you know?
Creating content that is shareable is no easy task. There’s no magic trick either. It’s a strategy more than anything. You should consider how your content can best be shared before you create it. Don’t create it then wonder how you will share it.
The most important consideration in any piece of content is this: Does it make an emotional connection?
You have to connect with your intended readership. Pull on their heart strings. That doesn’t mean you should resort to sentimentality. What it does mean is you should let them know you are human, and don’t be afraid to address your topic from a real human need.
This can best be done if you put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What do they want? Answer that question and half the battle is won.
One effective way to appeal to emotions is to use humor. Keep it clean, but don’t be afraid to make your audience laugh. Laughter is great medicine. It also has a strong emotional appeal. People will remember you and they’ll want to spend more time on your website.
Nostalgia is another way to appeal to emotions. “Remember when …” posts are powerful because it puts people in a time and place that they remember fondly. If you can do that, then you can make a connection.
Remember, people make buying decisions emotionally. They also make sharing decisions emotionally. If you appeal to their sense of humanity, then you can get your content spread more widely.
According to Constant Contact, 74% of all social media users are using #hashtags. That’s interesting because at last count, Facebook hadn’t incorporated hashtags – yet.
They’re working on it, though.
So, what is a hashtag and how can you use it for business?
Simply put, a hashtag is a word or phrase accompanied by a preceding # symbol that is often used to track a conversation. For instance, if you want to know what people are saying about hashtags on social media, you can go to Twitter or Google+ and search for #hashtags. You can even subscribe to the threads to follow the conversation more easily.
As a business, you can enter conversations where hashtags already exist or create your own hashtags. For instance, the popular micro-job site Fiverr has the hashtag #Fiverr on Twitter.
This is another way to optimize your social media posts. By creating hashtags around popular topics related to your niche you can pull in people who may not already be following you on the social media sites where you have a presence. Be sure, however, that you use the hashtags appropriately. Don’t use them to spam people with related topics. That’s a sure way to tick people off and get a bad reputation.
Hashtags are powerful social media tools if you use them correctly. They’re easy to implement and could lead to some big boosts in your business.
Today is Twitter’s seventh birthday. ABC News thinks you should celebrate.
In fact, the news website lists seven ways you can celebrate Twitter’s birthday today. I’m guessing they picked seven ways out of a hat to parallel the fact that it’s Twitter’s seventh birthday. As a summary, here are the ways they suggest you should celebrate:
- Relive your best and worst tweets
- Make sure your Twitter account looks good
- Clean up your follow list
- Play around with some fun Twitter sites
- Add a video with your tweet with Vine
- Teach someone how to use Twitter
- Tweet the article
Don’t you love that last one? A little self-congratulatory, aren’t we, ABC News? Maybe a little bit narcissistic?
To honor Twitter’s seventh birthday, I decided to come up with my own list of seven ways you can celebrate Twitter’s birthday today. Are you ready?
Here’s the Reciprocal Consulting list of seven ways to celebrate Twitter’s birthday:
- Create a video for your tweet with Vine (hey, a good idea is a good idea)
- Follow seven new people
- Find seven things to retweet
- Create seven new links to tweet related to your business niche (but make sure they are not self-promotional)
- Link to your own website once during the day
- Tweet your location from your smartphone
- Wish Twitter a happy birthday in a tweet
Twitter can either be fun or a total drag. Make it fun. And use it effectively for your business.
Here’s another reason to use Google+, particularly the Hangouts feature. Google has added a new app called Capture. And what does it do? It allows you to take a photo of your Hangout in progress.
You might wonder, well, why would I want to do that?
If you are using Google+ Hangouts for business and you can schedule frequent webinars or other business meetings, then you can take photos of participants, screenshares, and other events within the Hangout then post them to your blog, Google+ stream, and other social media to promote your brand and events.
That’s just one use I can think of for the Google+ Hangouts Capture app. You can also use it to capture shots of documents you share, or that others share with you, for future reference.
I’ve said all along that Google+ Hangouts will get better. This is one example of Google’s attempt to improve its brand and social media community. Google+ Hangouts is one of the unique and innovative tools of the web. It’s great for business or personal use and there are no limits to what you can do with it. The Capture app takes a good thing and makes it better.
What unique ways can you think of for using Google+ Hangouts and the Capture app?
When it comes to social media, everyone has their ideas on how to do it properly. Most social media experts I know agree on a few things, but on the nitty-gritty details of running a social media campaign there is a lot of variation. Here’s one of the things that I see often suggested and just as often ignored.
So many small business owners take to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and jump in with a shout. They start promoting this and that about their business without really checking to see who is listening. A better way to get some mileage out of your social media marketing is to listen first, shout later.
Actually, instead of shouting, just whisper.
Let me clarify.
When I say listen first, what I mean is sign up for the service and make a few friends. You can interact with them, but don’t start any special promotions. Just spend your first few weeks listening. What are people talking about? What’s the tone? How often, and in what ways, do people interact on that particular service? What makes the various social media platforms different? Take note of that.
As you are listening, engage with people on the services. Interact with them. That’s how you make friends and build relationships. But hold off on the self-promotion until you’ve made some solid connections.
When the time is right, slowly add a few self-promotional tweets or messages. Don’t overdo it. Spend more time sharing useful information with your audience. Only promote the really good stuff you have. Spend the rest of your time listening.
How often have you said to yourself, “I wish I could track how many people are pinning the images on my website and how many people are seeing those pins?”
If you’re like most business owners, you’ve wondered when Pinterest would allow you to track that information and use that data as actionable intelligence. Well, wonder no more. Pinterest has announced that it does indeed now have an analytics dashboard for businesses.
To take advantage of Pinterest Analytics, you have to do four things:
- Set up a business account at Pinterest. You don’t have access to Pinterest Analytics as a personal user. You have to use it as a business.
- Switch over to the new look.
- Verify your website.
- Start tracking.
The three actionable data sets that you’ll be able to track through Pinterest Analytics include the number of people pinning your website, how many people are seeing those pins, and how many visitors you get to your website from Pinterest.
That’s all great information, but it’s not perfect. I expect Pinterest Analytics to improve as more businesses begin to use it and Pinterest gets helpful feedback from those businesses. I’d like to see the ability to get this actionable information for more than one website.
So there you have it. Pinterest Analytics, and now your social media marketing is getting better.
What’s the best social network for generating business-to-business leads? If you guessed LinkedIn, sorry. You’re wrong. It’s actually Twitter.
In fact, it’s been Twitter for a long time. And this story confirms it.
While Facebook is better for generating traffic, Twitter is the best platform for channeling leads. It’s easy to understand why when you think you about it. Twitter is a massive opt-in list.
People follow you if they think you have something to say that will benefit them. If you follow through and deliver on that expectation, then you can lure them deeper into your marketing funnel. The key is to make your Twitter stream a valuable resource, not a place where you throw out marketing messages no one wants to read.
Essentially, if all you do on Twitter is self-promotion, then you’ll kill your lead generation, but if you provide valuable information in a tight niche, then you build value. People will then be more receptive to your come-ons and appeals for business. That’s where you can cash in on your lead generation efforts.
Here’s the lesson: Learn where your audience hangs out. Then, spend your time there providing valuable information for them.
If you follow that one maxim, your lead generation efforts will pay off – whether you do it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or somewhere else.
Let’s face it. We live in a world where online social networking is important for the health of most businesses. Even local businesses. But you don’t have to keep your networking online. You can meet someone online and then take your relationship off line for a deeper, more enriching experience.
Here are 3 powerful ways to take your online networking off line for better results:
- Meetup – Have you ever been to a Meetup? If not, then you should. This is the offline version of social networking. You can sponsor a Meetup or join one. Some social networks, like Twitter, have their own Meetups. Twitter Meetups are called Tweetups. You meet someone online, then you join others of like-mind in your neighborhood in a physical social setting.
- Conference – Many niches and industries have periodic conferences. If you meet someone on Facebook or LinkedIn who shares the same interests as you, why not have a face-to-face with them at your next industry conference?
- Foursquare – OK, Foursquare is not exactly off line. But it is. Kind of, sort of. You can meet someone on Facebook or Google+, then migrate over to Foursquare where you can tell people your exact physical location and, in just a few short minutes, they’ll meet you there. It’s a great way to set up ad hoc business meetings when you have a little downtime.
Your online networking may be social, but you don’t have to keep it online. You can take your online relationships off line, build them deeper, and keep on trucking.
Google+ is making it easier for you and your website visitors to share information. Now, you can install a Google+ sign-in app much like the one that Facebook has. So your site visitors and app users can sign in without signing up.
Welcome to the future of the Web.
I think this is the way the Web will work for the foreseeable future. If you use the Internet in any way, you’ll likely be signed in to your Google+ account, your Facebook account, or another social media account, or all of them. Then, when you visit another website that you like and respect, you can sign in to those sites using your Google+ or Facebook account.
When you first sign in to a third-party site using Google+, you’ll be asked what people in your circles you want that site to know you have a relationship with. You’ll also be asked who you want to share information with on that site. You can opt for all your circles, select circles only, or just yourself.
Social media marketing is changing. I’d say for the better. And the Google+ sign in is just another piece of evidence to prove it.
The question, now, for webmasters is, should you implement the Google+ button on your site? I don’t see how you can lose.
Social analytics is very important. Today I’m going to discuss a tool that you can use for a few good purposes. With this tool you can search for information about a certain topic within your niche to see how popular that topic is. It’s a good keyword research tool that you can use for your online content – that includes website content, articles, blog content, and social media content.
Another practical use for this tool is to see what your competition is up to. If your competition has been posting information on a particular topic, then Topsy will let you know. It’s good for competitive intelligence.
Finally, you can use Topsy for social analytics. If you click on the Social Analytics link at the top of the main page, then you can compare search data for up to three keyword phrases. Again, it’s a great keyword research tool.
The great thing about Topsy is you can measure the data you’re looking for in realtime. You can also measure it over time. Furthermore, you can search for content by type (i.e. tweets, links, photos, videos, experts, and trending).
After you search for information on a particular topic, you can narrow down the content search results by time. For instance, you can narrow your search to the last hour or broaden it to the past 7 days. You also have options in between. You can also search by network, but the only options available at this time are Google+ and Twitter.
Topsy looks like it will be a good social media tool. I hope it sticks around awhile.
Last week, Facebook introduced its new search feature, called Graph Search. I just read my first review of it today.
Greg Sterling gives it a thumbs up. I think his assessment, even though I haven’t used it myself, is pretty solid.
If I search on something that isn’t within the scope of Graph Search (e.g., plumbers) I’ll get Bing results. This is significant because people are going to start searching on anything and everything to see what happens and what comes up. It avoids the “no results” problem that might have undermined getting users to “come back” to Graph Search.
I’ll have to agree. The worst thing in the world for Facebook would be for users to get a bunch of “no results” results and stop using the feature.
Bing could very well increase its share of the search market if the Graph Search catches on, but I doubt that it will be a big leap. Even a 1% or 2% increase would be something. And if Greg Sterling is right that people will use Graph Search more broadly than Facebook intended, that will bode well for Facebook as well. You may very well see people using Facebook more than Google if they find positive results – at least with certain verticals like restaurant recommendations.
The main thing is competition. If there’s enough of it, then search will improve all around. For businesses, it means another way to be found by your target audience.
First you heard that social media was good for customer service. Now there’s someone saying that it isn’t.
So which is it?
I think it depends. There are viable ways to use social media for customer service. However, it won’t work for every company.
If you find that it uses up too many resources or that you can’t respond to customer service queries fast enough, then let your customers know that you can’t take customer service concerns through social media. The big thing is communication. In fact, the best customer service you can deliver through any medium is communication.
Consider limiting your social media customer service actions to specific hours – then post those hours on your website and in your social media bios.
If that won’t work, you can take more drastic measures and remove your Facebook page or Twitter account – but only do that if you need to. After all, you can use those accounts for purposes other than customer service.
If your marketing department and your customer service department don’t communicate well and you are making customers unhappy by not responding fast enough, fix the problem. Maybe you need to encourage more interaction between your departments. Or maybe you need to set up a separate social media account for customer service. Kick around the ideas and see what works for you.
In most cases, I’d say if you wanted to build an off site e-commerce application to replace your onsite store, then you should rethink your strategy. But what if you want to add an off site store – on Facebook, for instance – as an adjunct to your onsite store? Then I’d say more power to you.
Facebook now has applications that allow you to set up your page as an e-commerce storefront. That’s not a bad thing.
Remember what your Facebook page is. Primarily, it’s a branding and marketing tool. If you promote it well on Facebook and it gets a good bit of traffic, why not allow your fans to buy directly from the page? Why send them to your website to look for what they want when you stand a chance of losing them in the process to recidivism? Give them the opportunity to buy right where they are and they are more likely to buy.
In other words, put the end goal closer to your customer.
That’s what the Facebook page as e-commerce store is all about. You can use it as an outpost, a franchise to your main store. And sell more product in the process.
I see a day when serious online merchants will have their main website as well as outposts on Facebook and the other most popular social networks.
SEOmoz published a blog post last year titled “12 Things That Will Kill Your Blog Post Every Time.” I agree with all 12 of them, but there are six of the 12 that stood out to me as absolute blog killers. The others can hurt your blog but don’t necessarily knock it dead. For instance, not adding page titles and descriptions in the All In One SEO Pack may not hurt your blog at all (I’ve seen blogs do well without that information).
Nevertheless, the following six practices can certainly send your blog hurling to the bottom of the trash heap if you continue them:
- Not linking to old posts – Sure, you can get away with never linking to old posts, but by linking to your older posts you are telling readers that you have covered certain topics before and that you like to write about those topics on at least a semi-regular basis. Plus, those links send traffic back to those old posts and keeps visitors on your site longer.
- Not linking to other bloggers – Linking to other bloggers makes you a part of the global community.
- Using clunky URLs – These can often not be indexed in the search engines, which means you won’t get any traffic.
- Plagiarism – There’s no excuse for stealing someone else’s content. If you can’t come up with something original, then don’t post.
- Infrequent posting – You should post to your blog at a minimum once a week but more often than that if you can. If you post less than once a month, then your blog is invisible.
- No social media presence – In today’s online marketing culture, you need a social media presence. That’s where a lot of your readers are hanging out. Not only can you reach new readers, but you’ll build quality backlinks on the popular social media platforms.
If you’re going to blog, and you should, then follow the best practices for blogging. Otherwise, don’t bother.
Constant Contact is predicting that social media marketing will become a mission-critical activity in 2013. Funny. Some of us thought it already was.
It’s already an established fact that Google is relying on social media cues in its search algorithms. While that might not exactly spell “mission-critical,” it’s pretty close. If you want your websites to rank in the search engines, then you should be doing some type of social networking. For search, I’d say the most important social media sites are:
But not necessarily in that order.
Facebook is important for other reasons. If you use Facebook, much of what is done on Facebook is walled off from Google’s robots, so you won’t get a lot of search traction. You could get some traction on Bing through Bing’s social search features, but that’s it.
On the other hand, if you have a Facebook page, then that might get you some search traction – even on Google. Even that is suspect, but it’s possible.
In 2013 – I think Constant Contact is onto something – social media will become much more important, and not just in search marketing. You should spend some time now brushing up on each of the major social networks and what they have to offer. Learn how to use the tools and get yourself involved. 2013 will likely be a year that defines the winners and losers in a lot of niches based on the social media question.
Talk to anyone pursuing online marketing today and they’ll tell you that social media is on the rise. Of course it’s been on the rise since 2005. It will likely be on the rise for the next decade. But what hasn’t been on the rise, until now, is the integration of e-mail and social media.
I’m seeing more and more online marketers using e-mail more effectively with social media, and it’s making for some very good results.
That means a lot of things, from the inclusion of social media icons to allow e-newsletter readers an opportunity to share their favorite articles to delivery of e-mail newsletter through social media channels. Yeah, modern technology is allowing for company newsletters to be delivered through social channels. Who’d have thought?
Actually, it’s the content that is being delivered through both channels. Instead of re-publishing your e-mail newsletter on your Facebook page, why not repurpose one article from your newsletter to your Facebook and drive traffic back to your website for subscriptions?
Then you can include donation or Buy Now buttons in both places to drive more conversions.
All it takes is a little creativity, but you can turn your social media into a real driving force for your newsletter, and you can use your e-mail list as a driving force for your social media. Make them work together. Integrate them.
If you have hired freelancers, or inside employees, to manage your Twitter account, you can now go back to see your Twitter archive. Consider this a brand new way to monitor your Twitter account, especially as it pertains to accountability.
Twitter moves quickly. And there’s no real digital way to monitor your tweets before they are posted. That’s why it could be important for you to go back and take a look at your Twitter archive, a new service feature the microblogging service recently rolled out.
Another reason you might want to access your Twitter archive is if you are being sued. If you end up in litigation, your Twitter archive could prove a valuable asset during the discovery phase of your lawsuit. It could actually help you win the case.
Besides holding your Twitter posters accountable, you can also detect other business problems with your Twitter archive. Have you handled a lot of customer complaints through Twitter? Maybe you have a deeper systemic customer service problem. Have a large majority of your sales or website traffic come from Twitter? Your archive could help you see what you are doing right on Twitter that you can then use on other social networks.
Your Twitter archive may not be the most important asset you have, but it can prove valuable in some situations.