Showing posts with label social media strategy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social media strategy. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

5 Ways to Master Social Media Multitasking BY Jonathan Blum

Managing social media accounts across Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other sites can be overwelming for some business owners. Posting to each can simply require too much attention for time-crunched entrepreneurs.
But you don't need to be all things to all people on the social Web. And you don't need to hire a social media manager to handle it all. There are a number of cost-effective ways for you to have an active pressence on more than one social media site without devoting all your time to it.
Here are five tips and tools for how you can get your message across on multiple social platforms without wasting a ton of time -- or breaking the bank.

1. Have a strategy.
Try spending your limited time and resources investing in only the social media sites you know that your customers use. It can be better to build one or two strong profiles than to dilute your influence with a scattershot effort across four or five.

Once you determine which sites to be on, creating a social media content strategy can help you stay organized. Maybe you tweet only five times a day, post to Facebook once a day and update your business blog once a week. Laying out a strategy and sticking it to it can help take some of the haphazardness out of managing multiple social accounts.

Related: How to Create a Social Media Content Strategy (Video)
And the good news is there are plenty of free and inexpensive Web apps that can help. Bliss Control is a free tool that offers shortcuts for you to manage account settings such as privacy, profile pictures and passwords from one place. Social media dashboards such as HootSuite and Buffer are free options for managing and scheduling posts across multiple accounts.

2. Don't blindly recycle content.

Managing different accounts from the same location can create the temptation for you to use the same updates over different platforms. The probelm in doing so is that customers often follow you on multiple sites and don't want to find the same content from site-to-site.
In general, form follows function. Twitter can be effective for sharing links, thoughts and quick updates about your company. Facebook can be better for creating and sharing photo albums, longer summaries of your links and customer comments. Don’t automatically Facebook everything you tweet or syndicate your blog on LinkedIn.

Related: Finding the Best Time to Post to Social Networks

3. Don't be shy about cross-promoting posts across sites.

While social-media multitasking usually means creating content that’s unique to each platform, that should not stop you from cross-promoting content without annoying your followers. The trick is to direct users to unique or helpful content. For example, ask your Twitter followers to check out new pictures on your Facebook wall.
One free option for building automation into your social networks is a tool called ifttt, which stands for “If This, Then That.” Users can build automated tasks for more than 40 social networks and Web apps using simple conditional statements.
Sendible which starts at about $10 per month also pushes content to various platforms. It also includes metrics to track who is talking about your business and on which sites.

4. Use analytics tools to know what's working and what isn't.

Don't waste time socializing content that isn't resonating with your followers. Analytics apps can be key to figuring out which of your posts are successful and why.
Consider starting with SocialBro which is available as a free desktop app or a browser extension. It includes information on which cities your followers live in and when they’re likely to be online. Free apps such as Tweriod and TweetWhen can also help you determine optimal posting times for different networks.
Related: 10 Little Known Social Media Tools You Should Be Using -- Now

Link-shortening tools such as bitly can offer statistics on who is clicking through on the links you post. Another option is to monitor your website analytics through tools such as Google Analytics or Yahoo! Web Analytics to see how many referrals you are getting from social media sites. Web hosting services often offer this capability as well.

5. Treat followers like customers.

Try using Twitter, Facebook and, for instance, Instagram's mobile posting features, to put faces to your employees and give a behind-the-scenes look at your company. Your followers are real people and they most likely will apprecaite seeing the people behind your business and your social media pressence.
There are free Facebook apps for interacting with customers via polls and surveys. Poll for Facebook comes with the ability to add custom code, multiple-choice or written questions and extra privacy settings. Promotion Builder, by Redwood City, Calif.-based Wildfire, starts at $5 per promotion plus 99 cents per day and lets users run contests and promotions such as coupons, group deals and sweepstakes across multiple sites.
Written By: Jonathan Blum Source:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Top 21 Tips to Increase Blog Traffic (Updated 2012) by SEOmoz founder Rand Fishkin

It's easy to build a blog, but hard to build a successful blog with significant traffic. Over the years, we've grown the Moz blog to nearly a million visits each month and helped lots of other blogs, too. I launched a personal blog late last year and was amazed to see how quickly it gained thousands of visits to each post. There's an art to increasing a blog's traffic, and given that we seem to have stumbled on some of that knowledge, I felt it compulsory to give back by sharing what we've observed.
NOTE: This post replaces a popular one I wrote on the same topic in 2007. This post is intended to be useful to all forms of bloggers - independent folks, those seeking to monetize, and marketing professionals working an in-house blog from tiny startups to huge companies. Not all of the tactics will work for everyone, but at least some of these should be applicable and useful.

#1 - Target Your Content to an Audience Likely to Share

When strategizing about who you're writing for, consider that audience's ability to help spread the word. Some readers will naturally be more or less active in evangelizing the work you do, but particular communities, topics, writing styles and content types regularly play better than others on the web. For example, great infographics that strike a chord (like this one), beautiful videos that tell a story (like this one) and remarkable collections of facts that challenge common assumptions (like this one) are all targeted at audiences likely to share (geeks with facial hair, those interested in weight loss and those with political thoughts about macroeconomics respectively).
A Blog's Target Audience
If you can identify groups that have high concentrations of the blue and orange circles in the diagram above, you dramatically improve the chances of reaching larger audiences and growing your traffic numbers. Targeting blog content at less-share-likely groups may not be a terrible decision (particularly if that's where you passion or your target audience lies), but it will decrease the propensity for your blog's work to spread like wildfire across the web.

#2 - Participate in the Communities Where Your Audience Already Gathers

Advertisers on Madison Avenue have spent billions researching and determining where consumers with various characteristics gather and what they spend their time doing so they can better target their messages. They do it because reaching a group of 65+ year old women with commercials for extreme sports equipment is known to be a waste of money, while reaching an 18-30 year old male demographic that attends rock-climbing gyms is likely to have a much higher ROI.
Thankfully, you don't need to spend a dime to figure out where a large portion of your audience can be found on the web. In fact, you probably already know a few blogs, forums, websites and social media communities where discussions and content are being posted on your topic (and if you don't a Google search will take you much of the way). From that list, you can do some easy expansion using a web-based tool like DoubleClick's Ad Planner:
Sites Also Visited via DoubleClick
Once you've determined the communities where your soon-to-be-readers gather, you can start participating. Create an account, read what others have written and don't jump in the conversation until you've got a good feel for what's appropriate and what's not. I've written a post here about rules for comment marketing, and all of them apply. Be a good web citizen and you'll be rewarded with traffic, trust and fans. Link-drop, spam or troll and you'll get a quick boot, or worse, a reputation as a blogger no one wants to associate with.

#3 - Make Your Blog's Content SEO-Friendly

Search engines are a massive opportunity for traffic, yet many bloggers ignore this channel for a variety of reasons that usually have more to do with fear and misunderstanding than true problems. As I've written before, "SEO, when done right, should never interfere with great writing." In 2011, Google received over 3 billion daily searches from around the world, and that number is only growing:
Daily Google Searches 2004-2011
sources: Comscore + Google
Taking advantage of this massive traffic opportunity is of tremendous value to bloggers, who often find that much of the business side of blogging, from inquiries for advertising to guest posting opportunities to press and discovery by major media entities comes via search.
SEO for blogs is both simple and easy to set up, particularly if you're using an SEO-friendly platform like Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla. For more information on how to execute on great SEO for blogs, check out the following resources:
Don't let bad press or poor experiences with spammers (spam is not SEO) taint the amazing power and valuable contributions SEO can make to your blog's traffic and overall success. 20% of the effort and tactics to make your content optimized for search engines will yield 80% of the value possible; embrace it and thousands of visitors seeking exactly what you've posted will be the reward.

#4 - Use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to Share Your Posts & Find New Connections

Twitter just topped 465 million registered accounts. Facebook has over 850 million active users. Google+ has nearly 100 million. LinkedIn is over 130 million. Together, these networks are attracting vast amounts of time and interest from Internet users around the world, and those that participate on these services fit into the "content distributors" description above, meaning they're likely to help spread the word about your blog.
Leveraging these networks to attract traffic requires patience, study, attention to changes by the social sites and consideration in what content to share and how to do it. My advice is to use the following process:
  • If you haven't already, register a personal account and a brand account at each of the following - Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn (those links will take you directly to the registration pages for brand pages). For example, my friend Dharmesh has a personal account for Twitter and a brand account for OnStartups (one of his blog projects). He also maintains brand pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
  • Fill out each of those profiles to the fullest possible extent - use photos, write compelling descriptions and make each one as useful and credible as possible. Research shows that profiles with more information have a significant correlation with more successful accounts (and there's a lot of common sense here, too, given that spammy profiles frequently feature little to no profile work).
  • Connect with users on those sites with whom you already share a personal or professional relationships, and start following industry luminaries, influencers and connectors. Services like FollowerWonk and FindPeopleonPlus can be incredible for this:
Followerwonk Search for "Seattle Chef"
  • Start sharing content - your own blog posts, those of peers in your industry who've impressed you and anything that you feel has a chance to go "viral" and earn sharing from others.
  • Interact with the community - use hash tags, searches and those you follow to find interesting conversations and content and jump in! Social networks are amazing environment for building a brand, familiarizing yourself with a topic and the people around it, and earning the trust of others through high quality, authentic participation and sharing
If you consistently employ a strategy of participation, share great stuff and make a positive, memorable impression on those who see your interactions on these sites, your followers and fans will grow and your ability to drive traffic back to your blog by sharing content will be tremendous. For many bloggers, social media is the single largest source of traffic, particularly in the early months after launch, when SEO is a less consistent driver.

#5 - Install Analytics and Pay Attention to the Results

At the very least, I'd recommend most bloggers install Google Analytics (which is free), and watch to see where visits originate, which sources drive quality traffic and what others might be saying about you and your content when they link over. If you want to get more advanced, check out this post on 18 Steps to Successful Metrics and Marketing.
Here's a screenshot from the analytics of my wife's travel blog, the Everywhereist:
Traffic Sources to Everywhereist from Google Analytics
As you can see, there's all sorts of great insights to be gleaned by looking at where visits originate, analyzing how they were earned and trying to repeat the successes, focus on the high quality and high traffic sources and put less effort into marketing paths that may not be effective. In this example, it's pretty clear that Facebook and Twitter are both excellent channels. StumbleUpon sends a lot of traffic, but they don't stay very long (averaging only 36 seconds vs. the general average of 4 minutes!).
Employing analytics is critical to knowing where you're succeeding, and where you have more opportunity. Don't ignore it, or you'll be doomed to never learn from mistakes or execute on potential.

#6 - Add Graphics, Photos and Illustrations (with link-back licensing)

If you're someone who can produce graphics, take photos, illustrate or even just create funny doodles in MS Paint, you should leverage that talent on your blog. By uploading and hosting images (or using a third-party service like Flickr to embed your images with licensing requirements on that site), you create another traffic source for yourself via Image Search, and often massively improve the engagement and enjoyment of your visitors.
When using images, I highly recommend creating a way for others to use them on their own sites legally and with permission, but in such a way that benefits you as the content creator. For example, you could have a consistent notice under your images indicating that re-using is fine, but that those who do should link back to this post. You can also post that as a sidebar link, include it in your terms of use, or note it however you think will get the most adoption.
Some people will use your images without linking back, which sucks. However, you can find them by employing the Image Search function of "similar images," shown below:
Google's "Visually Similar" Search
Clicking the "similar" link on any given image will show you other images that Google thinks look alike, which can often uncover new sources of traffic. Just reach out and ask if you can get a link, nicely. Much of the time, you'll not only get your link, but make a valuable contact or new friend, too!

#7 - Conduct Keyword Research While Writing Your Posts

Not surprisingly, a big part of showing up in search engines is targeting the terms and phrases your audience are actually typing into a search engine. It's hard to know what these words will be unless you do some research, and luckily, there's a free tool from Google to help called the AdWords Keyword Tool.
Type some words at the top, hit search and AdWords will show you phrases that match the intent and/or terms you've employed. There's lots to play around with here, but watch out in particular for the "match types" options I've highlighted below:
Google AdWords Tool
When you choose "exact match" AdWords will show you only the quantity of searches estimated for that precise phrase. If you use broad match, they'll include any search phrases that use related/similar words in a pattern they think could have overlap with your keyword intent (which can get pretty darn broad). "Phrase match" will give you only those phrases that include the word or words in your search - still fairly wide-ranging, but between "exact" and "broad."
When you're writing a blog post, keyword research is best utilized for the title and headline of the post. For example, if I wanted to write a post here on Moz about how to generate good ideas for bloggers, I might craft something that uses the phrase "blog post ideas" or "blogging ideas" near the front of my title and headline, as in "Blog Post Ideas for When You're Truly Stuck," or "Blogging Ideas that Will Help You Clear Writer's Block."
Optimizing a post to target a specific keyword isn't nearly as hard as it sounds. 80% of the value comes from merely using the phrase effectively in the title of the blog post, and writing high quality content about the subject. If you're interested in more, read Perfecting Keyword Targeting and On-Page Optimization (a slightly older resource, but just as relevant today as when it was written).

#8 - Frequently Reference Your Own Posts and Those of Others

The web was not made for static, text-only content! Readers appreciate links, as do other bloggers, site owners and even search engines. When you reference your own material in-context and in a way that's not manipulative (watch out for over-optimizing by linking to a category, post or page every time a phrase is used - this is almost certainly discounted by search engines and looks terrible to those who want to read your posts), you potentially draw visitors to your other content AND give search engines a nice signal about those previous posts.
Perhaps even more valuable is referencing the content of others. The biblical expression "give and ye shall receive," perfectly applies on the web. Other site owners will often receive Google Alerts or look through their incoming referrers (as I showed above in tip #5) to see who's talking about them and what they're saying. Linking out is a direct line to earning links, social mentions, friendly emails and new relationships with those you reference. In its early days, this tactic was one of the best ways we earned recognition and traffic with the SEOmoz blog and the power continues to this day.

#9 - Participate in Social Sharing Communities Like Reddit + StumbleUpon

The major social networking sites aren't alone in their power to send traffic to a blog. Social community sites like Reddit (which now receives more than 2 billion! with a "B"! views each month), StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Tumblr, Care2 (for nonprofits and causes), GoodReads (books), Ravelry (knitting), Newsvine (news/politics) and many, many more (Wikipedia maintains a decent, though not comprehensive list here).
Each of these sites have different rules, formats and ways of participating and sharing content. As with participation in blog or forum communities described above in tactic #2, you need to add value to these communities to see value back. Simply drive-by spamming or leaving your link won't get you very far, and could even cause a backlash. Instead, learn the ropes, engage authentically and you'll find that fans, links and traffic can develop.
These communities are also excellent sources of inspiration for posts on your blog. By observing what performs well and earns recognition, you can tailor your content to meet those guidelines and reap the rewards in visits and awareness. My top recommendation for most bloggers is to at least check whether there's an appropriate subreddit in which you should be participating. Subreddits and their search function can help with that.

#10 - Guest Blog (and Accept the Guest Posts of Others)

When you're first starting out, it can be tough to convince other bloggers to allow you to post on their sites OR have an audience large enough to inspire others to want to contribute to your site. This is when friends and professional connections are critical. When you don't have a compelling marketing message, leverage your relationships - find the folks who know you, like you and trust you and ask those who have blog to let you take a shot at authoring something, then ask them to return the favor.
Guest blogging is a fantastic way to spread your brand to new folks who've never seen your work before, and it can be useful in earning early links and references back to your site, which will drive direct traffic and help your search rankings (diverse, external links are a key part of how search engines rank sites and pages). Several recommendations for those who engage in guest blogging:
  • Find sites that have a relevant audience - it sucks to pour your time into writing a post, only to see it fizzle because the readers weren't interested. Spend a bit more time researching the posts that succeed on your target site, the makeup of the audience, what types of comments they leave and you'll earn a much higher return with each post.
  • Don't be discouraged if you ask and get a "no" or a "no response." As your profile grows in your niche, you'll have more opportunities, requests and an easier time getting a "yes," so don't take early rejections too hard and watch out - in many marketing practices, persistence pays, but pestering a blogger to write for them is not one of these (and may get your email address permanently banned from their inbox).
  • When pitching your guest post make it as easy as possible for the other party. When requesting to post, have a phenomenal piece of writing all set to publish that's never been shared before and give them the ability to read it. These requests get far more "yes" replies than asking for the chance to write with no evidence of what you'll contribute. At the very least, make an outline and write a title + snippet.
  • Likewise, when requesting a contribution, especially from someone with a significant industry profile, asking for a very specific piece of writing is much easier than getting them to write an entire piece from scratch of their own design. You should also present statistics that highlight the value of posting on your site - traffic data, social followers, RSS subscribers, etc. can all be very persuasive to a skeptical writer.
A great tool for frequent guest bloggers is Ann Smarty's MyBlogGuest, which offers the ability to connect writers with those seeking guest contributions (and the reverse).
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are also great places to find guest blogging opportunities. In particular, check out the profiles of those you're connected with to see if they run blogs of their own that might be a good fit. Google's Blog Search function and Google Reader's Search are also solid tools for discovery.

#11 - Incorporate Great Design Into Your Site

The power of beautiful, usable, professional design can't be overstated. When readers look at a blog, the first thing they judge is how it "feels" from a design and UX perspective. Sites that use default templates or have horrifying, 1990's design will receive less trust, a lower time-on-page, fewer pages per visit and a lower likelihood of being shared. Those that feature stunning design that clearly indicates quality work will experience the reverse - and reap amazing benefits.
Blog Design Inspiration
These threads - 1, 2, 3 and 4 - feature some remarkable blog designs for inspiration
If you're looking for a designer to help upgrade the quality of your blog, there's a few resources I recommend:
  • Dribbble - great for finding high quality professional designers
  • Forrst - another excellent design profile community
  • Behance - featuring galleries from a wide range of visual professionals
  • Sortfolio - an awesome tool to ID designers by region, skill and budget
  • 99 Designs - a controversial site that provides designs on spec via contests (I have mixed feelings on this one, but many people find it useful, particularly for budget-conscious projects)
This is one area where budgeting a couple thousand dollars (if you can afford it) or even a few hundred (if you're low on cash) can make a big difference in the traffic, sharing and viral-impact of every post you write.

#12 - Interact on Other Blogs' Comments

As bloggers, we see a lot of comments. Many are spam, only a few add real value, and even fewer are truly fascinating and remarkable. If you can be in this final category consistently, in ways that make a blogger sit up and think "man, I wish that person commented here more often!" you can achieve great things for your own site's visibility through participation in the comments of other blogs.
Combine the tools presented in #10 (particularly Google Reader/Blog Search) and #4 (especially FollowerWonk) for discovery. The feed subscriber counts in Google Reader can be particularly helpful for identifying good blogs for participation. Then apply the principles covered in this post on comment marketing.
Google Reader Subscriber Counts
Do be conscious of the name you use when commenting and the URL(s) you point back to. Consistency matters, particularly on naming, and linking to internal pages or using a name that's clearly made for keyword-spamming rather than true conversation will kill your efforts before they begin.

#13 - Participate in Q+A Sites

Every day, thousands of people ask questions on the web. Popular services like Yahoo! Answers,, Quora, StackExchange, Formspring and more serve those hungry for information whose web searches couldn't track down the responses they needed.
The best strategy I've seen for engaging on Q+A sites isn't to answer every question that comes along, but rather, to strategically provide high value to a Q+A community by engaging in those places where:
  • The question quality is high, and responses thus far have been thin
  • The question receives high visibility (either by ranking well for search queries, being featured on the site or getting social traffic/referrals). Most of the Q+A sites will show some stats around the traffic of a question
  • The question is something you can answer in a way that provides remarkable value to anyone who's curious and drops by
I also find great value in answering a few questions in-depth by producing an actual blog post to tackle them, then linking back. This is also a way I personally find blog post topics - if people are interested in the answer on a Q+A site, chances are good that lots of folks would want to read it on my blog, too!
Just be authentic in your answer, particularly if you're linking. If you'd like to see some examples, I answer a lot of questions at Quora, frequently include relevant links, but am rarely accused of spamming or link dropping because it's clearly about providing relevant value, not just getting a link for SEO (links on most user-contributed sites are "nofollow" anyway, meaning they shouldn't pass search-engine value). There's a dangerous line to walk here, but if you do so with tact and candor, you can earn a great audience from your participation.

#14 - Enable Subscriptions via Feed + Email (and track them!)

If someone drops by your site, has a good experience and thinks "I should come back here and check this out again when they have more posts," chances are pretty high (I'd estimate 90%+) that you'll never see them again. That sucks! It shouldn't be the case, but we have busy lives and the Internet's filled with animated gifs of cats.
In order to pull back some of these would-be fans, I highly recommend creating an RSS feed using Feedburner and putting visible buttons on the sidebar, top or bottom of your blog posts encouraging those who enjoy your content to sign up (either via feed, or via email, both of which are popular options).
RSS Feeds with Feedburner
If you're using Wordpress, there's some easy plugins for this, too.
Once you've set things up, visit every few weeks and check on your subscribers - are they clicking on posts? If so, which ones? Learning what plays well for those who subscribe to your content can help make you a better blogger, and earn more visits from RSS, too.

#15 - Attend and Host Events

Despite the immense power of the web to connect us all regardless of geography, in-person meetings are still remarkably useful for bloggers seeking to grow their traffic and influence. The people you meet and connect with in real-world settings are far more likely to naturally lead to discussions about your blog and ways you can help each other. This yields guest posts, links, tweets, shares, blogroll inclusion and general business development like nothing else.
Lanyrd Suggested Events
I'm a big advocate of Lanyrd, an event directory service that connects with your social networks to see who among your contacts will be at which events in which geographies. This can be phenomenally useful for identifying which meetups, conferences or gatherings are worth attending (and who you can carpool with).
The founder of Lanyrd also contributed this great answer on Quora about other search engines/directories for events (which makes me like them even more).

#16 - Use Your Email Connections (and Signature) to Promote Your Blog

As a blogger, you're likely to be sending a lot of email out to others who use the web and have the power to help spread your work. Make sure you're not ignoring email as a channel, one-to-one though it may be. When given an opportunity in a conversation that's relevant, feel free to bring up your blog, a specific post or a topic you've written about. I find myself using blogging as a way to scalably answer questions - if I receive the same question many times, I'll try to make a blog post that answers it so I can simply link to that in the future.
Email Footer Link
I also like to use my email signature to promote the content I share online. If I was really sharp, I'd do link tracking using a service like so I could see how many clicks email footers really earn. I suspect it's not high, but it's also not 0.

#17 - Survey Your Readers

Web surveys are easy to run and often produce high engagement and great topics for conversation. If there's a subject or discussion that's particularly contested, or where you suspect showing the distribution of beliefs, usage or opinions can be revealing, check out a tool like SurveyMonkey (they have a small free version) or PollDaddy. Google Docs also offers a survey tool that's totally free, but not yet great in my view.

#18 - Add Value to a Popular Conversation

Numerous niches in the blogosphere have a few "big sites" where key issues arise, get discussed and spawn conversations on other blogs and sites. Getting into the fray can be a great way to present your point-of-view, earn attention from those interested in the discussion and potentially get links and traffic from the industry leaders as part of the process.
You can see me trying this out with Fred Wilson's AVC blog last year (an incredibly popular and well-respected blog in the VC world). Fred wrote a post about Marketing that I disagreed with strongly and publicly and a day later, he wrote a follow-up where he included a graphic I made AND a link to my post.
If you're seeking sources to find these "popular conversations," Alltop, Topsy, Techmeme (in the tech world) and their sister sites MediaGazer, Memeorandum and WeSmirch, as well as PopURLs can all be useful.

#19 - Aggregate the Best of Your Niche

Bloggers, publishers and site owners of every variety in the web world love and hate to be compared and ranked against one another. It incites endless intrigue, discussion, methodology arguments and competitive behavior - but, it's amazing for earning attention. When a blogger publishes a list of "the best X" or "the top X" in their field, most everyone who's ranked highly praises the list, shares it and links to it. Here's an example from the world of marketing itself:
AdAge Power 150
That's a screenshot of the AdAge Power 150, a list that's been maintained for years in the marketing world and receives an endless amount of discussion by those listed (and not listed). For example, why is SEOmoz's Twitter score only a "13" when we have so many more followers, interactions and retweets than many of those with higher scores? Who knows. But I know it's good for AdAge. :-)
Now, obviously, I would encourage anyone building something like this to be as transparent, accurate and authentic as possible. A high quality resource that lists a "best and brightest" in your niche - be they blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, individual posts, people, conferences or whatever else you can think to rank - is an excellent piece of content for earning traffic and becoming a known quantity in your field.
Oh, and once you do produce it - make sure to let those featured know they've been listed. Tweeting at them with a link is a good way to do this, but if you have email addresses, by all means, reach out. It can often be the start of a great relationship!

#20 - Connect Your Web Profiles and Content to Your Blog

Many of you likely have profiles on services like YouTube, Slideshare, Yahoo!, DeviantArt and dozens of other social and Web 1.0 sites. You might be uploading content to Flickr, to Facebook, to Picasa or even something more esoteric like Prezi. Whatever you're producing on the web and wherever you're doing it, tie it back to your blog.
Including your blog's link on your actual profile pages is among the most obvious, but it's also incredibly valuable. On any service where interaction takes place, those interested in who you are and what you have to share will follow those links, and if they lead back to your blog, they become opportunities for capturing a loyal visitor or earning a share (or both!). But don't just do this with profiles - do it with content, too! If you've created a video for YouTube, make your blog's URL appear at the start or end of the video. Include it in the description of the video and on the uploading profile's page. If you're sharing photos on any of the dozens of photo services, use a watermark or even just some text with your domain name so interested users can find you.
If you're having trouble finding and updating all those old profiles (or figuring out where you might want to create/share some new ones), KnowEm is a great tool for discovering your own profiles (by searching for your name or pseudonyms you've used) and claiming profiles on sites you may not yet have participated in.
I'd also strongly recommend leveraging Google's relatively new protocol for rel=author. AJ Kohn wrote a great post on how to set it up here, and Yoast has another good one on building it into Wordpress sites. The benefit for bloggers who do build large enough audiences to gain Google's trust is earning your profile photo next to all the content you author - a powerful markup advantage that likely drives extra clicks from the search results and creates great, memorable branding, too.

#21 - Uncover the Links of Your Fellow Bloggers (and Nab 'em!)

If other blogs in your niche have earned references from sites around the web, there's a decent chance that they'll link to you as well. Conducting competitive link research can also show you what content from your competition has performed well and the strategies they may be using to market their work. To uncover these links, you'll need to use some tools.
OpenSiteExplorer is my favorite, but I'm biased (it's made by Moz). However, it is free to use - if you create a registered account here, you can get unlimited use of the tool showing up to 1,000 links per page or site in perpetuity.
OpenSiteExplorer from Moz
There are other good tools for link research as well, including Blekko, Majestic, Ahrefs and, I've heard that in the near-future, SearchMetrics.
Finding a link is great, but it's through the exhaustive research of looking through dozens or hundreds that you can identify patterns and strategies. You're also likely to find a lot of guest blogging opportunities and other chances for outreach. If you maintain a great persona and brand in your niche, your ability to earn these will rise dramatically.

Bonus #22 - Be Consistent and Don't Give Up

If there's one piece of advice I wish I could share with every blogger, it's this:
Why Bloggers Give Up Traffic Graph
The above image comes from Everywhereist's analytics. Geraldine could have given up 18 months into her daily blogging. After all, she was putting in 3-5 hours each day writing content, taking photos, visiting sites, coming up with topics, trying to guest blog and grow her Twitter followers and never doing any SEO (don't ask, it's a running joke between us). And then, almost two years after her blog began, and more than 500 posts in, things finally got going. She got some nice guest blogging gigs, had some posts of hers go "hot" in the social sphere, earned mentions on some bigger sites, then got really big press from Time's Best Blogs of 2011.
I'd guess there's hundreds of new bloggers on the web each day who have all the opportunity Geraldine had, but after months (maybe only weeks) of slogging away, they give up.
When I started the SEOmoz blog in 2004, I had some advantages (mostly a good deal of marketing and SEO knowledge), but it was nearly 2 years before the blog could be called anything like a success. Earning traffic isn't rocket science, but it does take time, perseverance and consistency. Don't give up. Stick to your schedule. Remember that everyone has a few posts that suck, and it's only by writing and publishing those sucky posts that you get into the habit necessary to eventually transform your blog into something remarkable.
Good luck and good blogging from all of us at Moz.
Written By: Rand Fishkin (SEOmoz founder) Source:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

7 Tips For Big Marketers To Increase Social-Media Marketing ROI

This article is by V. Kumar, Ph.D., Richard and Susan Lenny Distinguished Chair Professor of Marketing and executive director at the Center for Excellence in Brand & Customer Management, and director of the Ph.D. Program, J. Mack Robinson College of BusinessGeorgia State University,
Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
Whether or not to engage in social media marketing is hardly a question in today’s world. Anyone wishing to sell a product, a service, or even an idea would not question the need for engagement.  Social media made Kim Kardashian and destroyed SOPA. It made the uprisings in Egypt possible and the elimination of Occupy Wall Street impossible. It’s no surprise, then, that marketers have recognized the power of social media in connecting with their target customers and creating an engaging brand experience online.

Accordingly, there has been a shift in marketing dollars, with many companies now focusing at least part of their marketing efforts on some aspect of social media. Larger companies in particular, because of their market position and access to resources, are best positioned to reap all the benefits of a well-conceived and well-executed social media marketing campaign.
But  one great question remains.  Instincts aside, is it really possible to measure social media results?  Budgeting is a quantifiable science, however, social media measurement remains the last big question when deciding how to allocate marketing dollars. Companies need not just a social media campaign, but a measurable, optimized social media strategy to support their marketing efforts.
With a mix of creativity and marketing science, we have developed a seven-step framework for big-budget marketers to measure social media return on investment (ROI), and the value of a customer’s word-of-mouth (WOM).  For example, Procter & Gamble is about to launch a new form of laundry detergent and wants to generate buzz for the detergent via social media.  Even this giant among CPG companies needs to put some metrics around its efforts.  By executing the following steps, P&G would not only bring more awareness to the brand, but also be able to measure the ROI and the share of total growth in sales.
1. Monitor the conversation.
If P&G wants to determine the potential for influencing purchase decisions on social-media platforms, they must first monitor the platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to see what potential consumers think and talk about the brand.
2. Identify the “ideal” candidates who can spread your brand message.
P&G would need to figure out what makes their ideal candidates ideal; living in the same geographic location, using the same platform as others, the number of people they are connected to in the network, etc.
3. Identify the influential characteristics that make up an “ideal” candidate.
P&G’s ideal candidates would need to have a high ability to influence their social network. For example, when a message is sent, the receiver should see it and also forward it in addition to posting comments about it.
4. Use the influential characteristics to locate all of the influencers.
P&G would then use the identified characteristics to find similar influencers within their chosen social-media platforms to select potential brand ambassadors.
5. Enlist the identified influencers to spread positive word-of-mouth (WOM)
P&G would develop interactive online content specific to the product that is being launched. This content would be used to promote positive WOM from influencers and allow their messages to be tracked and measured for its influence (for example, creating online games).
6. Use the candidates in a social-media campaign to talk about your brand.
P&G’s social-media campaign would incentivize influencers who would promote the spreading of positive WOM to customers, prospective customers and other potential brand ambassadors.
7. Evaluate the performance of your social-media campaign.
Last, but not the least, P&G would assess the successfulness of the campaign based on their chosen key metrics such as ROI, sales revenue and brand awareness. Our implementation of this framework with an ice-cream retailer—HokeyPokey–has shown that social media can be used to generate a 40% share of the total growth in sales, 83% increase in ROI, and a 49% increase in brand awareness in addition to inducing more positive word-of-mouth.
As social media channels continue to explode, and the urge to exploit them continues along with it, the need to develop measurement tools
Dr. V. Kumar
becomes ever more important. The steps outlined here form the basis for cogent social-media measurement for marketers from P&G to the local coffee house, and everything in between. Social media is certainly here to stay, and finally, so is the ability to effectively assess the performance of a social media marketing campaign.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why Big Marketers Are Moving Towards Google+

You have likely heard the buzz about Google+ for some time.
Perhaps you’re wondering why so many marketing professionals are focusing heavily on the new social network.
In this article, I sit down with Guy Kawasaki, the original Macintosh evangelist. You’ll discover why 99% of his efforts are now focused on Google+.
Guy reveals his Google+ strategy and talks about his new book, What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us. And it’s very different than his other books. It revealsextensive details about how to benefit from Google+.
Mike: Guy, why should businesses consider Google+? What are the major advantages?
Guy: Businesses should jump on Google+ because it’s the Wild West, so you canstake your claim, as opposed to breaking through the noise on Twitter and Facebook.
Also, Google owns the river called search traffic. It can point this river any way that it wants.
When Google introduced the concept of “social search,” it turned SEO upside down.Now when people search on Google, they see the actions of their friends on Google+. That’s huge.

Here’s an example of social search (note the little avatar of a person’s head indicating a social search result)
It means 1) you want people to circle you so that when they search, they see your posts and 2) you should post about what you want your followers to know you for.
If I were running a business, I would be thinking, “Why wait until I have to buy real estate in Manhattan? I should get in now and grab all of the followers I can before Google+ hits the mainstream.”
Mike: You have been a huge proponent of Twitter for some time, and later Facebook. Where does Google+ fit in for you with the other social networks and why?
Guy: I fell in love with Google+ because of the ability to edit posts, the more elegant user interface and the quality of comments.
Today, 99% of my social media effort is on Google+.
Admittedly, this might not be rational or optimal, but when is love rational or optimal?
In many ways, Google+ was like the second coming of Macintosh for me. It was that profound a discovery for me.
I’ve only written two product-oriented books, 25 years apart: The Macintosh Way andWhat the Plus!  What does that tell you?
guy kawasaki
Mike: What the Plus! seems very different from your previous books. Can you explain why you wrote the book, who it is for and what makes it unique from the others that are out there?
Guy: I wrote What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us because it pains me that people aren’t “getting” Google+.
I think it’s a better social networking platform than the competition—just like Macintosh was better than other operating systems.
I can’t stand it when people aren’t using the best tool, especially when they’re taking the advice of so-called experts. I fought the same kind of “expert” advice with Macintosh during the 80s.
I kind of enjoy this sort of fight. Actually, I’ve made a career of it. Google+ is my latest “cause.”
what the plus
Mike: Have you self-published this book?
Guy: I did, working with the folks at Libboo, mostly Halley Suitt Tucker, and an independent consultant named Shawn Welch.
I self-published because I wanted to hit a low price point—”less than a Starbucks grande latte” to be exact—and I wanted total flexibility to do any kind of licensing, sponsoring and whatever-strikes-my-fancy deals.
For example, Samsung is sponsoring 6,000 copies. Can you imagine trying to get that through a traditional publisher? Tim Cook (current Apple CEO) will retire before that will happen.
Also, Google says that it introduces one new feature a day, so I have to be able to revise this book all the time.
Plus, do the math. I make 70% of $2.99 on an ebook, so about $2. I have to sell two copies of What the Plus! to make about the same amount on one copy ofEnchantment. I think it’s easier to sell two copies of What the Plus! than one copy ofEnchantment. And the time to market from the time I finished the book was less than a week.
Ebook self-publishing is very compelling if—and it’s a big if—the author can also market the book. I can let you know in a few months how this experiment has worked out, but it sure is fun.
Mike: What is your daily routine on Google+?
Guy: At night, I lay in bed with my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 and check several
tech alltop
Guy uses Alltop to help him discover interesting content to share on Google+
They help me find stories to post the next morning.
I’ve created a circle with only me in it.
Using Opera, I share these stories with my circle—this means no one sees it but me.
Then in the morning, I use these shares to post stories to Google+.
I also look at the posts shared by the members of #sciencesunday for stories.
Then I post throughout the day, and use the Gmail notifications of +mentionsto respond to people.
I try to respond to every comment that +mentions me. I also spend a fair amount of time “nuking” spam, etc., using the Chrome extension called Nuke Comments.
nuke comments on google+
Nuke Comments helps block spammers from commenting on your Google+ page
Mike: Should businesses focus on their personal profile or company pages when it comes to Google+ and why?
Guy: This is a tough question.
The answer is clearest when the entity is a sole proprietorship or individual brand.
If the entity is likely to live longer than the person, then it should be a company page.
But a good company page should act like a living, breathing person, not some hoity-toity “brand.”
I have found it difficult to maintain more than one presence on Google+. It’s like trying to keep two Macintoshes current, happy and up to date… if you know what I mean.
Mike: Can you share some tips that businesses should consider when setting up a Google+ account?
Guy: Sure.
Tip #1 I just mentioned: Make sure that people feel like they’re interacting with a person, even if your Google+ page represents a company.
Imagine, for example, if when you called your friend on her cell phone, she had a voicemail tree that you had to step through: “For English, press 1. For Spanish, press 2. If this is a call about a date, press 3. If you are canceling a date, press 4.”
Tip #2 is to adopt what I call the NPR model. NPR provides great content 365 days a year. The content is so great that we tolerate the telethons and fundraisers.
The content you share on Google+ should provide value: information, analysis and assistance. Your content should be so great that you earn the right also to promote your product or service every once in a while, like 5% of the time.
For example, if I were running VirginAmerica’s Google+ page, I would be constantly posting pictures of the cities that we serve, food from those cities and celebrations from those cities.
I would link to Real Simple when I ran a story about how to pack properly. I would link to a Lonely Planet article about the ten best outdoor adventures in south Florida. I would link to Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods coverage of food in Texas. Maybe even when Mike Rowe has a “Dirty Job” in New York.
In other words, the content would be all about how to travel, whether for fun or business. Then because people circled our page to keep seeing all the good stuff, we would have earned the right to talk about our new routes and new fares.
If companies just do these two things, they’ll be fine.
Mike: Where can folks get a copy of your book?
Guy: The best place to start is because this is where the special promotions and such will be provided.
But trust me when I tell you that my goal is to make bumping into What the Plus!unavoidable if you’re on Google+ in the next few weeks.
Mike: What’s next for Guy Kawasaki?
Guy: I have no idea. If I sell enough copies of What the Plus!, I’ll dedicate my life to my family and playing hockey. That’s all I really want to do.

Monday, March 12, 2012

3 Ways Google Social Search Should Change Your Marketing

Since the introduction of Google+, Google has been redefining how it can provide more relevant search results.
Recently Google introduced Search, Plus Your World, something I’ll call Google social search.
This new enhancement has made it essential to have a Google+ profile and/or Google+ business page.
Why? Google is highlighting Google+ content in search results.
This article will share three tips you need to know to benefit from Google social search.
By the way, if you haven’t already done so, create a Google+ page for your business. Fill out all the sections with images and top focus keywords you want to rank for in search.
Once the page is created, engage with people and other businesses, share great content and post publicly every day.

What Is Google Social Search?

When logged into Google+ and searching on Google, Google social search defaults to Show Personal Results. Google has always shown personalized results based on browsing history and location. Now content that’s been shared with you through the Google+ social network is incorporated into results.
You’ll know that personalized results are appearing when you see the signs below:
search plus
The Google personalized results are identified by the highlighted areas.
The box on the top left points to a message that, in this example, says that there are “60 personal results and 5,810,000 other results” that have been found. Some of the 60 personal results will be blended into the first page shown.  Personal results are identified by the blue person icon in the left hand margin as shown above.
The box on the top right indicates that personal results are being displayed. You can select the globe or public icon on the right to switch to non-personalized results.
personal results
When I search "social media," the personal result count is highlighted as a link.
Clicking on the “170 personal results” link as shown above, switches the results page to only display the personal results.
Google’s aim is to provide hyper-personalized—and therefore more relevant—results to users. Within public search results, weighted social search signals may come into play, corresponding with the growth of the +1 button.
People and pages you have circled are likely to show in Google social search results, so it’s important to build your audience on Google+. Another way to catch the eye of Google users is to appear in Google’s Related People and Pages based on the user’s search query.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Get Circled With Related People and Pages

Promoting your Google+ page is important to grow reach and build a large following. To appear prominently in Google social search, you need to be circled already or market yourself to be circled. One of the best ways to expand the number of users who have circled you is by appearing in Google’s Related People and Pages.
Google says to appear in Related People and Pages, all you need to do is:
  • fill out your profile,
  • post about your favorite topics and
  • appear in search results.
related people
Keywords for Related People and Pages on Google+ are highlighted within the Google+ profiles.
According to Ian Lurie, “Google’s far more likely to show a plus box for broad concepts with low commercial intent versus niche terms with high commercial intent.” You can test this by searching social media versus social media for nonprofits or fashion versus women’s clothing.
In his Google Plus Box Ranking Factors Report, Lurie examines the different Plus Box ranking factors and concludes that reach and follower count are very important. The number of +1s matter, in addition to the frequency of updates. In his study, pages or people who haven’t posted within 72 hours did not appear in the Google Plus Box.
Google will continue to adjust the Google social search algorithm, as well as the Plus Box results. However, “it now matters who has you in their social circles, and who has THEM in their social circles,” states Chris Brogan.

2. Build Authority: It Matters

Due to Google’s emphasis on +1s and reach, it’s important to build your company as an authority in your industry.  As with all of your work, focus on gaining the attention of people on Google+ with quality content.
The +1 has a lot of power, so create good content and post regularly to encourage users to +1 your material. Google will see the signal from other Google+ users that you are a quality and relevant business. You may see a boost in your ranking due to your efforts.
Use keywords relevant to your industry and expertise on your Google+ page. The description for your page in the Google Plus Box can be pulled from a number of sources, ranging from page posts to the introduction as shown below.
google plus box
The phrase "social media" is found within the introduction, tagline, occupation or posts.

3. Note: Secure Search Limits Analytics

While Google is providing this new opportunity for exposure, Google is also limiting something important to businesses.
Google rolled out Secure Search for signed-in Google users in November 2011 in preparation for Google’s social search. Danny Sullivan interviewed Amit Singal, who oversees Google’s ranking algorithms, and learned that Google has been working on the encryption to protect personal results for at least a year. If results for Google social search were not secure, content that was shared on Google+ privately could be revealed publicly within searches.
All Google social search results are hidden behind https:// and no keywords will be linked to your search in any analytics programs. Many users always remain logged into Google, which limits the keyword data found in analytics software. Marketers have seen an increase in the excluded keyword data.
limited analytics
For one company, 12.4% of total organic traffic data was encrypted in November and rose to 16.9% in January when Google social search was released.
The encryption that Secure Search provides means that any private material mixed in with your regular results is protected, seen only by your browser and Google. While a user’s privacy is protected, marketers focused on organic data are losing valuable information. Organic keyword data will be limited, so it may be harder to determine user intent based on search queries.
What do you think? Are your search results more relevant and has your business seen Google+ growth since the advent of Google social search? Please let me know your experience so far and additional tips you would like to share! Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
By Sarah Lokitis Source: