Friday, December 6, 2013

New Google Plus Cover Image Size by Greg Gifford

Once again, Google has changed the size of Google Plus cover images. The change rolled out yesterday, and we’ve got to say – finally Google did something right.

The last version was ridiculously huge – and since Google only displayed the bottom of the photo, most of the image was never seen. Everyone complained, and for once, Google has listened and created a better solution.

The new image retains the 16:9 aspect ratio, but it’s displayed at a much smaller size. Since the display ratio is the same, you don’t have to change your image – it’s automatically updated. So what’s the size, you ask? The maximum image dimensions are 2120 x 1192, but you can upload a cover image as small as 480 x 270. The recommended image size is 1080×608.

Your entire image is visible when you land on the page, so businesses can provide a much better branding experience. The ugly dark gradient that was added to the bottom of the cover image is gone, so your photo looks exactly the way you want it to look.

Your business info now appears to the left, over a blurred background – so it’s much easier to read and doesn’t cover any of your photo. The blurred background is created using the center of your cover image, so the colors match nicely. It’s a much more modern look, and the info display is much more user friendly.

Check out a comparison of the old cover image size vs. the new:

That’s the same cover image in each photo – you can see how the new display shrinks the image down and adds the blurred info display background on the left. Here’s a larger sized shot of the new cover image size:
new Google Plus cover image and info display
Make sure you check your business page and see what the new cover image size looks like. Many businesses had their important info near the bottom of the image to try to take advantage of the old display style – if your image has everything crammed into the bottom, you’ll need to upload a better image immediately.

Courtesy of AutoRevo, LTD

20 Of The BEST Calls To Action by Brooke Ballard

You can’t talk content marketing, strategy or return on investment (ROI) without mentioning CALLS TO ACTION.
You’ll find these little beckoning words on websites and billboards, ads and posts, blog articles and marketing materials. So what exactly are calls to action (CTAs)? defines a call-to-action as,
“Words that urge the reader, listener, or viewer of a sales promotion message to take an immediate action, such as, “Write Now,” “Call Now,” or (on Internet) “Click Here.” A retail advertisement or commercial without a call-to-action is considered incomplete and ineffective.”
I’m constantly looking for effective and innovative CTAs, because let’s face it, “Click Here!” gets old after a while.

So, I’ve compiled a list of some smart and savvy CTAs just for you. Thank me later!
calls to action


Here are twenty of the BEST CTAs I’ve seen, accompanied with tips or [LINK] – meaning that is the link placement for the user to complete the CTA and visit your content/blog/event/site/etc..
  1. Grab Yours Now –> [LINK] (yep, it had that little arrow leading me right to the link)
  2. Will You Be There? [LINK]
  3. Hope To See You Soon! [LINK]
  4. Please Share With Your Friends And Fans: [LINK]
  5. What Are Your Thoughts On This (Topic)? [LINK]
  6. How Would You Handle ______?  [LINK] (asking for responses; tie it in with your topic)
  7. Read This Post: [LINK]
  8. Have You Ever ______? (enticing comments or engagement)
  9. What’s YOUR Favorite ______? [LINK] (tie it in with your topic)
  10. This Article Will Teach You How To ______: [LINK]
  11. YES or NO? ____________ (see example below from Amy Porterfield)
    CTA example 1
  12. Seriously, SIGN UP! You’ve Got Nothing To Lose: [LINK]
  13. Save Your Seat! [LINK]
  14. Limited Seating Available: [LINK]
  15. View This _____ To Learn How To ______: [LINK]
  16. Want A Sneak Peek At ______? [LINK]
  17. QUICK QUESTION: Do You Prefer A, B, Or C? (enticing comments or engagement)
  18. You Don’t Want To Miss _______! [LINK]
  19. This Is THE Solution For ______: [LINK]
  20. This List Is Filled With Resources For ______: [LINK]


Whether it’s an ad, blog post, tweet, or update, each piece of your content marketing should have quantifiable goals. What are you hoping to accomplish? What do you want the reader to do?
Without this critical step, you’re using the loathed (by me, anyway) “post and pray” method – which is fruitless when trying to measure ROI. If you’re a real marketer looking for real results, you will have a goal in mind for your content. And with it, some sort of call-to-action. Slapping a post on Facebook and waiting for ‘likes’ is SO 2010!

So is using, “Click Here” for every, single CTA.

Courtesy of Steemfeed

26 Tips for Using Instagram for Business by Debbie Hemley

Are you wondering how to use images and short video to enhance your customers’ experience?
Have you considered creating a brand profile on Instagram to make your brand visible to a new market?

Getting started on Instagram is fairly straightforward.

Simply sign up for an account (e.g., use the same name as your Twitter handle), add a profile photo (e.g., brand logo) and a link to your website, connect your account to Facebook and let your followers know they can follow you there.

It’s what to do next that presents a difficulty for many brands.

What follows are 26 tips and brand examples, an A-Z guide, for capitalizing on a business presence on Instagram.

#1: Acquaint Yourself With How to Use Instagram for Business

Businesses have been flocking to Instagram in droves. In response, Instagram started the Instagram for Business blog, which offers tips, brand spotlights, API examples and news from Instagram HQ.
instagram blog
Instagram's blog will help keep you in the know.
Check it out and add it to your reader to keep up to date on some of the coolest ways to use the Instagram platform for business.

#2: Balance Fun Images With Pictures From Your Business

Rachel Sprung writes, “Take advantage of the increased real estate you have with the Instagram web page to tell a story with the images. Have a healthy balance of fun images and business pictures.”
Anthropologie has struck a good balance with their images. Their followers like fun images as well as business ones. A puppy picture received 7,640 likes and a picture of their personal shoppers posing at a company luncheon event received 3,457.
engaging post with puppy
One of the ten most engaging posts mentioning #Anthropologie.
Track the engagement on your images to find out what your followers like best!

#3: Cultivate a Following

Tim Sae Koo offers 3 helpful tips for getting more followers on Instagram:
  • Connect your Facebook account
  • Use relevant, popular hashtags
  • Engage by following others and liking their photos
Cross-post selected images to your Facebook page with a hashtag that aligns with your campaign or brand image to help people who don’t know you’re on Instagram to find you there.

#4: Debut Videos

Instagram’s recent Video on Instagram has given Twitter’s Vine a serious competitor to contend with. Most notably 15-second, filter-enabled, editable video functionality compared to Vine’s 6.5 seconds.
Jordan Crook charts the differences between Instagram and Vine in the image below:
instagram vs vine chart
Jordan Crook charts Instagram vs. Vine.
Honda debuted an Instagram video by making a joke out of the choice. Fun idea!

#5: Embed Instagram Video in Your Blog or Website

Last month, Instagram released a new embed feature for its desktop web browser version. Mike Gingerich provides helpful instructions, in addition to examples for when and how to use Instagram videos.
Since you never know who will see your shares on a social networking platform, embed your Instagram video in your blog or website to extend the reach of your content.

#6: Follow Your Followers Back

The people you follow on social networking platforms make all the difference in the world. Curiously, many brands on Instagram (some with very large followings) don’t follow back.
To create strategic relationships on Instagram, find the brands and people you enjoy and can learn from in your followers and follow them back. We’ll talk more about this in #23.

#7: Generate a Flexible Posting Plan

Carley Keenan offers the following advice on the frequency of sharing on Instagram:
“You don’t need to post on Instagram every day. The ‘feed speed’ on Instagram is still mostly laid back. If you start posting a lot, you might saturate your followers’ feeds, and you don’t want to force yourself into the noise too often. Decide what you have ready to post and create a schedule to help you remember what to post when and to track what is working once you get going.”

#8: Harness the Power of Apps

Kay Tan put together a list of 20 apps that will enhance your photo-sharing experiences. There are apps that let users print images, search tags and keywords, subscribe to Instagram profiles via email, download all Instagram photos in a single archive folder, plus many more.
Use these apps to make Instagram a significant part of your social media marketing strategy.

#9: Inspire Potential Customers

Anna Colibri suggests you post photos that are relevant to your brand and potential customers.
Whole Foods Market posts representative photos to promote healthy, wholesome food products, store events, sustainability and their active community of customers and employees.
whole foods market
Whole Foods Market's photos are relevant to their brand.
Attract your target market with images that share a compelling and inspiring story.

#10: Juxtapose Use of Filter Types and No-Filter Images

Instagram provides a number of filters to change the look and feel of your photos.
A study conducted by Simply Measured earlier this year found 59 percent of the world’s top brands are now active on Instagram.
Their findings also shed light on choices around filtered photos: “Lo-fi is the filter of choice for 14 percent of brands’ filtered photos, followed by Valencia with 12 percent, Rise with 12 percent, Amaro with 11 percent, Hudson with 9 percent, Sierra with 9 percent, X-Pro II with 8 percent and Hefe with 7 percent.”
favorite filters
Simply Measured Favorite Filters: The Most Engaging and the Most Used.
Marketo also suggests that filters are more than a question of aesthetics, they can say a lot about you!
Shake things up a little every now and then, and try out a new filter or go the no-filter route.

#11: Kickstart Instagram Efforts With a Change in Perspective

Russ Meyer recommends that for brands to be successful on Instagram, they need to get past their inherent interest in selling and instead:
  • Share a distinctive view of the world
  • Cultivate a unique visual sense
  • Capture things that are interesting to the brand and to the core target customer
  • Train your eye to focus on what makes a great, provocative, engaging image
Entrust your Instagram presence to someone in the organization who understands how to align images with the interests of your target customer.

#12: Leverage Photo Contests on Instagram With Facebook

Businesses can host photo contests on Instagram using hashtags to organize submissions and an RSS feed to follow along with new photos as they’re added.
Samsung Camera used the hashtag #LiveInTheMoment to successfully promote their Instagram photo contest on their Facebook page.
samsung photo contest
Over 17,000 fans saw the status update and 336 commented on it.
Use Facebook status updates to encourage your fans to enter your Instagram photo contest.

#13: Market Your Brand Using Trends

Remember when Twitter’s #followfriday seemed somewhat avant-garde? Instagrammers can use a number of trending hashtags to join in a bigger part of the visual community storytelling.
Charles Mazzini takes us through the days of the week beginning with #ManCrushMonday and ending with #SelfieSunday.
way back wednesday on statigram
#WayBackWednesday viewed on Statigram.
Find a trending hashtag that’s relevant to your marketing strategy and participate with images from your brand.

#14: Network on Instagram

Kim Garst writes, “Instagram connects people through photos” and suggests 3 essential ways to create a network:
  • Engage—like others’ photos and leave comments
  • Follow your already established followers from other social media platforms
  • Include your hashtags—if your brand uses specific hashtags on Twitter or Google+, use them on Instagram as well

#15: Optimize Your Profile

Instagram profiles—like their counterparts on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking platforms—need to include brand information in specific ways (e.g., maximum number of characters, specific image sizes, attention to branding).
Brandon Gaille has a helpful list of what to include in your profile and Gerry Moran provides an easy-to-digest graphic illustrating where everything shows.
instagram profile
Gerry Moran shows how to build the perfect Instagram profile.
Complete your profile with all of the information customers might need to find you and do business with you.

#16: Promote Your Business on Both Facebook and Instagram

Great things can happen when a platform is purchased by an entity such as Facebook. Instagram and Facebook as a duo offer brands a unique opportunity for promotion.
James Borow explains, “Brands create Instagram videos, share them to their Facebook pages and then boost them into paid media that hits the Facebook news feed, in the same way that they boost text or photo posts. This enables brands to reach Facebook’s 818 million monthly active mobile users, which dwarfs Instagram’s 130 million. It’s profiting from Instagram without having to advertise on Instagram… For now it’s all about capturing and sharing the world’s moments—and paying to distribute them on the world’s largest social network.”
Capitalize on Facebook’s integration of Instagram to reach a wider audience.

#17: Quantify and Qualify

Want to know how your brand is doing on Instagram? There are image analytics tools such as BlitzMetrics and Curalate that will provide detailed insights.
Tim Peterson writes, “Curalate is able to track an Instagram post’s likes and comments so that a brand can see how that popularity translates into added followers, but also capitalize on the popularity. Denim brand 7 For All Mankind used the platform to identify that an image was resonating on Instagram. It then pushed that out as a Facebook ad, resulting in the brand’s most engaged ad on that platform to date….”
Use image analytics to identify images and video that resonate with your fans and followers.

#18: Reward Followers

Collins Paris describes how American Express “offers its followers backstage entries to events such as fashion shows, concerts and even the U.S. Open.”
He recommends that retail brands reward their followers with discount codes and promos.
american express
Follow American Express for insta-access to exclusive experiences, news and rewards through our lens.
Deliver perks to your followers so they will make viewing your feed content a priority.

#19: Showcase Photos of Employees

Showing your employees at work not only gives a behind-the-scenes view of your company, it’s also a way to celebrate staff and show them how much they’re valued. A great example is Beaucoup Bakery, which shares pictures of their staff with the hashtag #beaucrew.
member of beaucoup bakery
A member of #beaucrew at Beaucoup Bakery.
Acknowledge staff members’ skill sets, successes and milestones on Instagram.

#20: Treat Followers to a Visual Experience

Sharpie shows followers how their product can be used to “start something” creative. The majority of their photos in their feed show drawings in a myriad of colors.
Grab a Sharpie and start something.
Find a creative way to showcase the use of your company’s products and services.

#21: Use Industry-Related Hashtags

If you’re at an event or location that’s designated by a hashtag (something like #smmw13), Jenn Herman recommends you add it to your photos so that event coordinators and other attendees can find them.
engaging photos mentioned
10 most engaging photos mentioning #smmw13.
Track the relevance of your Instagram hashtags with Nitrogram, the Instagram analytics and engagement platform that provides key metrics on hashtags including contributors, content, engagement and context.

#22: Video Important Brand Moments

Tom Edwards suggests that “Brands can share unique branded experiences, highlight brand advocates, co-create content with audiences, preview products, highlight a specific cause, extend the brand’s persona via video, preview upcoming events by adding visual context, share important news, drive promotional awareness, leverage Instagram video for promotion and create videos that show fan appreciation.”
Capture your company’s important moments in 15-second videos and share them with your followers so they feel included.

#23: Widen Your Exposure to Other Brands

As we covered in #6, it’s good practice to follow other brands on Instagram. Statigram is a great tool for finding brands and hashtags that relate to your brand. Simply enter the brand name or hashtag into the search box and click Search.
In this example, I wanted to see if Target had a profile on Instagram. They do!
search on statigram
Search for businesses and industry-related keywords on Statigram.
Use this tool to find, follow and research your competitors on Instagram.

#24: eXpose Something New

ABC World News often shares a photo about a broadcast they’ll be doing later in the day.
abc interview
ABC News shared hours earlier that Robin Roberts would be interviewing Venus Williams.
Use Instagram to give your followers a first look at or sneak preview of an event, a product or news feature.

#25: Yuck it Up

Donna Amos writes, “While running a business requires dedication, sweat and sometimes tears, it should never be all work and no play. Instagram is perfect for displaying fun times in the office or when you’re out and about having lunch or dinner with coworkers. Sharing these types of images with followers speaks volumes. It not only suggests that you don’t take life too seriously while on the job, but instead you must be happy and successful in your career.”
All work and no play will make your brand a dull company on Instagram. Integrate images that show your human side to create stronger connections with your followers.

#26: Zap Between Instagrammers’ Images and Edit for a Longer Film

Lexususa had a cutting-edge vision with their #LexusInstafilm using 212 instagrammers’ images to edit together a 3:44 Instagram video to showcase the 2014 Lexus IS.

@Lexususa a brand who knows how to zap it to their audience.
As one instagrammer says in the video, the Lexusinstafilm is a great example of what Instagram is, “A community that comes together.”
Transform crowdsourced images into a unique video message that features and highlights the creativity of your loyal followers.
Over to You
These are just a few tips on how you can use Instagram to create a presence for your business. Check them out and see what works best to enhance your brand.

Courtesy of Social Media Examiner

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Here’s How to Choose the Right Promotion App for Your Facebook Page by Mike Gingerich

You’re on Facebook because you want engagement, right?

But you don’t want engagement purely for the sake of engagement.

You want it because an engaged Facebook community translates into more leads, more customers & more sales for your business.

Put simply, more engagement means more sales:
Research data reported by Vocus notes that 79% of Facebook fans are more likely to purchase from a brand they have liked.  Thus, pursuing more fans and deeper engagement with existing fans is a valuable priority!
But how do you get more engagement on your Facebook page?

Lots of ways. You can:
And you can also run promotions. But you need to choose the promotion type that fits best with your goals.

Certain promotion types work better for certain goals and certain industries.
Below I’ll outline a number of promotion types and offer tips on how to select the right one for your Facebook Page.

Each type can draw fans to your page and incentivize them to explore and engage with it. And each type is a Facebook approved tab app that complies with Facebook’s promotion policy.

4 Promotion Types for Fan Pages


A sweepstakes is a chance-based, easy-entry promotion that fans enter by completing a simple form with their name & e-mail. Winners are drawn randomly after a set date.
As with most Facebook promo apps, a sweepstakes can be a “Like-gated” so fans have to Like the Page in order to access the entry form.

Pros of using a Sweepstakes:

  • Low barrier to entry (simple form completion)
  • Works for a wide variety of industries
  • Pages can capture key user information – important for future email/location marketing
If you run a sweepstakes, you can limit each fan to a single entry or allow fans to enter repeatedly.
I recommend allowing fans to enter daily because it ensures the most continued engagement — it incentivizes the fan to return to the page day after day.

Sweepstakes promotions can work for a wide variety of businesses — including B2B and B2C.

They help
  • draw fans to the page to enter
  • boost viral sharing – if the app has a sharing mechanism that increases entries


deal or offer is another promotion type with a low barrier to entry.
Here’s how it works:
  1. Facebook page asks the fan to do something
  2. when fan completes task, he is given access to the deal
For example: “Like our Page to access this 40% off Coupon”

Other examples (and app offerings) include (1) sharing a post on your Facebook news feed or (2) sharing a post on a friend’s timeline to access the deal.

Like sweepstakes, deals are useful because:
  1. fans respond to them
  2. it accomplishes a task helpful to the company (e.g. more Page Likes)

Pros of using a Deal app:

  • Low barrier to entry (simple task completion)
  • Expands reach to additional social networks — which can help the Page reach a wider audience or other type of audience than currently reached on Facebook
  • Works for a wide variety of industries
  • Pages get something of value in return – such as further exposure, a Like, or a e-mail address for their list

Facebook Deal Example


A contest is different than a sweepstakes or a deal in that it requires more effort & skill from the fan to enter.

For example, the fan has to take a photo that meets certain requirements to enter.
Instead of a random drawing to determine the winner, contests select a winner via:
  • voting by the public
  • judging by a select group
While photo contests are the most common type of contest on Facebook, there are other types too, like videos, essays or photo captions.

Pros for using a Facebook Contest:

  • More opportunity for engagement
Contest entrants engage via their entries, of course. But more importantly, new users and potential fans come to your page & engage by way of viewing and voting on entries — which can add up to some serious reach, exposure, & interaction on your page.

Another option for a contest is to consider a two-stage process.  This adds the benefit of a initial round of voting and then the need to return to view and vote again in the final round.
  • Entrants are motivated to share with Friends
Entrants want more votes — so they extend the reach of the contest to their network of friends by asking for their votes.

This social sharing by entrants to their friends both (1) increases the contest’s reach and (2) functions as a positive referral mechanism.  The entrant’s invitation to friends to vote adds trust & credibility to the Page — and to its products & services.
  • Better qualifying of entrants
Making entrants meet a certain criteria for entry acts as a sifting mechanism.  It adds a barrier for those who just enter any promotion because it’s easy & they might win, regardless of whether they’re interested in your business.

Depending on your contest’s entry guidelines, this process can serve to qualify or pre-screen entrants as potential customers.
  • Access to user generated content
If your promotional rules make it clear that contest entry materials can be used by your company in the future, the contest can be an excellent method of getting user-generated content relevant to your brand — and useable in future social marketing.
Note: Contests may not work for industries or businesses that don’t lend themselves to this type of engagement.  For instance, it might be a stretch for a medical practitioner to run a photo contest due to privacy concerns or relevance.


multi-network social promotion is a promotion that involves Facebook and at least one other social media platform — such as Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Similar to a deal, the fans are asked to accomplish a task and upon completion they are then given access to the deal offer.  The difference is that the task is centered around doing something on a different social platform such as Pinterest or Instagram.

In this case the fan comes to the Facebook page and the promotion is outlined.  The fan then accomplishes the task — such as adding a image to Instagram with a certain hashtag or using a integrated pin tool to pin a image to Pinterest.

Some apps allow images to be pulled in from the other social network to appear on the page tab.  Otherwise the image can simply stay on the other social network.

Either way the fan has engaged with your Facebook page and simultaneously extended information about your brand to another social network.

Pros for using a Multi-Network Social Promo:

  • Extends brand to more social locations - This type of promotion can work great for a company whose audience is active on more than one social network — or for a company seeking to continue gaining Facebook traction but also expand visibility on Pinterest, for example.
  • Image Driven - Images are powerful in social media and a multi-network social promo using images can capture the attention of viewers and invite sharing & comments — all of which boost visibility & drive referral traffic.
  • Suitable for a wide variety of businesses - A multi-network social promotion can work for apparel firms to credit unions, venues to radio stations and more.
Instagram Contest for Facebook Page


  • Keep the entry form simple — too many fields will cause fewer entries.
  • Make the prize relevant to your company! – an iPad is not relevant if you own a craft store.
  • Ensure the prize value equates to your product – $30 Gift Card for $600 watches is not a motivating deal!
  • Keep the contest moving! don’t run a month-long contest.  The attention span of a Facebook fans is short. They won’t keep track of an entry and vote daily for 30 days.  5-7 days is a better span or perhaps 10 days if it’s a 2 stage (initial and finalist rounds) contest.
  • Set voting to 1x per day for Conteststhis encourages entrants to get voters to come back each day — a perfect situation for your page!
  • Know your target audience!  — is your target using Pinterest or Instagram already?  If so, a multi-network social promotion could work well.
  • Ensure the process is seamless – make sure the promotion is doing the work for you and giving the user the best possible experience.  Apps integrating OAuth for login or other integrated means to access the service directly (without the “open a new browser window” issues) are critical.  Fans should be able to arrive, understand, and complete in short order.
Promotions for Facebook pages offer the power to draw fans in, boost page engagement, and accomplish tangible marketing goals — like increasing e-mail list numbers.  Deals in the form of coupons and discount codes will always be an attractive means to help increase traffic to a page and encourage visitors to begin a fan relationship with the page.

While not an end in themselves, contests & offers can be part of a larger marketing strategy and a key piece of helping a business grow their social community.

Courtesy of

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How Long Should Your Landing Page Be? by Neil Patel

landing page
Have you ever wondered how long your landing page should be? Some people say long landing pages convert better, while others say short ones are better.
So, the question that comes to mind is:
How long should your landing page be?
Sadly, the answer isn’t as simple as “long” or “short”. The real answer is “it just depends”. But don’t worry, I’m going to break down how you should determine if you need a long or short landing page.

What are your visitors’ objections?

Have you ever wondered what the biggest secret to a high converting landing page is? It all comes down to answering objections.

Good marketers don’t place text, or proof elements like testimonials, on a page for no reason. Everything you place on your landing page should address potential objections.

For example, if someone tells you they aren’t willing to make a purchase from your site because they don’t feel safe about putting in their credit card details, you would want to combat this through trust seals such as VeriSign or customer testimonials.

Before you answer your visitors’ objections, however, you need to find out what they are. By using surveying tools like Qualaroo, you can ask your visitors questions like:
  • What else would you like to see on this page?
  • Why didn’t you complete the purchase?
  • What’s the one thing that I could have done to convince you to sign up?
People will share with you their reasons for not converting. Once you have 30 or 40 responses, you will start seeing commonalities.

You can then take those objections and integrate the answers to them within your landing page copy. Once you implement this, you’ll notice an increase in your conversion rate.

The one thing to note when answering objections is that you shouldn’t worry about your page length. Sometimes you will be able to answer them through a simple image. Other times, e.g., in the case of a more complicated objection, you will have to include a few paragraphs of text.

The bigger the ask, the longer the page

If you are asking someone for their email address in exchange for a free ebook, your landing page probably doesn’t need to be too long. Why? Because asking someone for an email address isn’t too big of a deal.
A good example of this is the Quick Sprout homepage.
quick sprout homepage
It currently converts at 67.2%, which isn’t bad. It does well because I am only asking you to enter your website URL. I’m not selling anything, nor am I even asking you for your email address. For that reason it’s easy for me to have a high conversion rate through a short landing page.

On the other hand, if you are asking someone to make a $1,000 purchase from your site, you will need a long landing page. No matter what you are selling, people are always nervous about big purchases even if your company is well known. By having a long landing page, you’ll be able to build a connection with your visitors, plus you’ll be able to answer all of their objections.

Break up your landing pages

Whether you are selling a product or a service, you should consider breaking up your landing page into multiple steps. This will train your visitors to make small commitments, which makes them more likely to complete the transaction.
crazyegg homepage
For example, we ask for an email and password on Crazy Egg before we ask for your credit card information. In other words, we’ve broken this down into two steps instead of one. Why? Because through A/B testing, we’ve learned that you are at least 10% more likely to complete the purchase in the two-step scenario. Apparently, you feel that since you have already given us your email address, you might as well give us your credit card details.

This is what I call the hoop theory, which says that getting your visitors to invest a little at a time will turn them into customers.

This strategy is so effective that e-commerce companies use it with their checkout process. Just think about Amazon…When you are checking out, you see your cart first, then a landing page with your shipping information and then a credit card checkout page.

To show you the effectiveness of breaking up your landing page into multiple steps, I decided to run a test on Quick Sprout. I added an email address field to the homepage, and it dropped the conversion rate down to 29%: out of 100 visitors, only 29 gave me their URLs and email addresses.
But when I asked visitors for their email addresses in step 2, instead of the homepage, there was a 91% chance that they gave them to me.
step 2 homepage
That means out of 100 visitors, 67 entered their URLs. And out of the 67 people that entered their URLs, 60 gave me their email addresses.

By breaking up the landing page into two steps instead of one, I was able to collect 60 emails instead of 29. That’s a big difference.

Avoid these common mistakes

When creating a landing page, you’ll notice that silly little mistakes will affect the length and, more importantly, your conversion rate.
Your goal shouldn’t be to create a short or long landing page; instead, it should be to create a high converting page. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind:
  • Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – do not sell more than one thing on your landing page. The more complicated you make things, the lower your conversion rate will be. You can also keep things simple by reducing options such as navigational ones.
  • A picture says a thousand words – when possible, use images or videos to describe your product or service. This will help you reduce the length of your landing page.
  • Don’t forget the fold – people have an attention span of 8 seconds, so make sure you grab their attention above the fold.
  • Messaging is important – when you surveyed your visitors to figure out their objections, they told you what they wanted to see. If you use the commonly mentioned words within the survey results in your landing page copy, you’ll see an increase in conversion rate.


If you are making your visitors commit to a small ask, e.g., give you their email address, and they don’t have too many objections, your landing page should be short.
If you are asking for a big commitment, e.g, making a $1,000 purchase, you’ll need a long landing page as there will be a lot of objections for you to address.

The length of your landing page typically revolves around how big or small your ask for a commitment is as well as how many objections there are to it.
Once you create your landing page, make sure you run a few A/B tests as there are always exceptions to the rule, and there will be room to improve your conversion rate.

Courtesy of I'm Kind of a Big Deal, LLC

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Goodbye, Keyword Data: Google Moves Entirely to Secure Search by Thom Craver

Originally posted on September 23, 2013---BUT worth re-posting!

The day many SEO professionals hoped would never come, but feared eventually would, apparently has arrived today. It appears that Google has cut off keyword data altogether.

Nearly two years after making one of the biggest changes to secure search that resulted in a steady rise in "(not provided)" data, Google has switched all searches over to encrypted searches using HTTPS. This means no more keyword data will be passed to site owners.

Encrypted Google searches don't pass the keyword data through to websites, thereby eliminating the ability to track users by their keyword searches. The biggest impact for many site owners has been not being able to segment users by keywords within their web analytics software.

To publish any intention of Google's motives for this move would be pure speculation. Not wanting to feed the rumor mill or feed any false speculation, Search Engine Watch has reached out to Google for a comment.

"We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year," a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Watch. "We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in."

When encrypted search initially launched in May 2010, Google initially had encrypted search on a separate URL. A year later, in late 2011, Google started redirecting all U.S. users who were signed into their Google Accounts to the encrypted version at This led to the now-infamous "(not provided)" row in keywords data in Google Analytics and other web traffic software packages.

When questioned, Cutts was quick to respond that it was estimated that the amount of "(not provided)" visits "even at full roll-out ... would still be in the single-digit percentages of all Google searchers on"

As time rolled on, the conversion to encrypted search expanded globally to all signed-in users then even further to include default searching in Firefox

Just last month, BrightEdge released a study fining the percentage of "(not provided)" data was over 50 percent for some industries.

There are methods around determining "(not provided)" data via Webmaster Tools. While the method isn't fullproof, it can be useful to determine trends.

At this point, it seems even when you aren't logged in, using private browsing (or incognito mode) and forcibly type HTTP://, you are being redirected to the HTTPS version, thereby encrypting your search and no doubt leading to a total removal of keyword data – at least from Google search visitors. Remember, keyword data from other search engines – like Bing, for example – still send keyword data through.

Courtesy of Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Content Marketing in 11 Steps. Now Go by Kevin Cain

Content Marketing in 11 Steps. Now Go.     

Here's how to create and manage content that will turn browsers into buyers.
As a content marketer who works for a venture capital firm, one of the most interesting aspects of my job is helping our more than 20 portfolio companies develop and refine their content strategies and build their own in-house content factories.

Content marketing is the best way to go to market, and you can be successful at it if you follow these basic guidelines.

1.    Get focused Zero in on just one customer segment to start. Then do everything you can to understand your target buyers in that segment and the buyer journey they are on. Doing so will give you a framework for designing the content your buyers need to help them through that journey.

2.    Hire a managing editor Every content factory needs its own CEO. That role is typically filled by a managing editor with the skills and experience to develop your strategy and manage your content creation and delivery. Content marketing cannot be an add-on responsibility to someone’s existing role.

3.    Build a content creation community Your content factory should extend far beyond the marketing team. Create a real-life community of freelancers, industry influencers, and co-workers to support your efforts, as well as a virtual community of fans, followers, and subscribers.

4.    Create high-impact content Every piece of content you create presents an opportunity to make meaningful contact with your target buyers and to get them to move through their buying journey. Take full advantage of that opportunity by creating high-impact content that is optimized for search, reflects a deep understanding of your buyers, demonstrates your brand aspirations, drives conversions, and promotes engagement and virality.

5.    Repurpose, repackage, and recycle Find ways to re-use every piece of content you create so that you are maximizing your return on investment. Make sure that smaller pieces of content (such as blog posts, podcasts, and articles) get recycled into larger assets (think eBooks, webinars, and reports). Conversely, make sure any large assets are broken down into smaller pieces of content.

6.    Focus on conversions Make sure that every piece of content you create has a clear call to action that directs your target audience to take an action designed to help move them through the sales funnel. Remember that each sale will be the result of many much smaller conversions throughout the buying process.

7.    Amplify your content through multiple points of contact Create a plan for delivering your content to your buyers through all of the best distribution channels available. This includes your website and other sites that you can control, as well as social media, direct marketing, influencer marketing, campaigns, and more.

8.    Establish a rhythm Get into a regular and consistent publication schedule. That will help you create momentum, build a community, and ensure that your content factory drives real business results.

9.    Institutionalize your content factory Experiment to find the best processes for creating and delivering your content, refining them over time. Document best practices so that they can easily be replicated and transferred to others, and to help ensure consistency.

10.    Measure what you do The only way to understand what’s working and what isn’t is to track and analyze key metrics. If your content factory isn’t underpinned by a robust analytics dashboard, it will be impossible to glean the insights you need to make improvements.

11.    Hold frequent retrospectives Your content team needs to meet on a daily, weekly, quarterly, and annual basis to set strategic goals and priorities, assess progress, and to analyze results. Then you can adjust your strategy as needed for each piece of content.

While there’s no magic formula for success when it comes to content marketing, following the guidelines above will help ensure that you build a focused program that yields meaningful results.

Courtesy of

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5 Content Marketing Myths That Need to Die by Salma Jafri

5 Content Marketing Myths That Need to Die

content marketing is...
In 2013 content marketing has finally progressed from a buzzword to a legitimate mainstream marketing strategy, and we can expect more such validation in 2014. If you're a brand thinking about investing in content marketing, don't fall for any of these content marketing misconceptions.

Myth 1: Content Marketing is Easy (Compared to Other Forms of Promotion)

Content marketing relies on the Know-Like-Trust factor, and as anyone who's ever been in any kind of relationship will attest, building trust is never easy. It takes a lifetime to build and a moment's carelessness to destroy.
While consumer relationships with brands may not always be this intense, building trust is usually an incremental process. Each piece of content you create adds another layer to the KLT pyramid.
In fact, advertising is much easier in the sense that campaigns are created, run their duration, and results are measured. In content marketing, though, you're essentially creating a lifetime campaign for however long your business will function and as such there's no end date, although there are plenty of milestones for measurement.
Trust, once lost, is much harder and painstaking to regain. Just ask British Petroleum.
On the flip side, content marketing proves again and again that companies who provide transparency and authenticity, both crucial factors for trust-building, may find a more forgiving consumer base when things go awry. Just ask Buffer.
No, content marketing isn't easy, but it is ever-so-rewarding!

Myth 2: Content Marketing Doesn't Take Much Time

Challenges B2B Content Marketers Face
"Lack of time" is cited as the top challenge facing B2B marketers, according to the 2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends report. And it's true. Let's briefly go through some of the processes involved in content marketing.
  • Content strategy development: This could include keyword analysis, market research, SEO, website audit, content audit, resources audit, and more. 
  • Constant content creation: This is time-intensive, thought-intensive and labor-intensive. 
  • Content distribution and promotion: This includes heavyweight time investments such as social media marketing, email marketing, and search marketing. 
  • Content performance measurement: This includes analyzing content marketing output against success metrics.
I don't know about you, but I'm not seeing how content marketing fits into a brand's shortcut strategy.

Myth 3: Content Marketing can be Automated – Set it and Forget it

Arising from the "we didn't realize content marketing would take so much time" myth is the sister myth "let's put this process on cruise control, yay!" Sure, there's plenty within content marketing that can be automated to a degree (repeat processes such as auto-responders, social monitoring and alerts, curation, and distribution), but many companies try to automate too much, too soon and in my opinion, the wrong stuff.
Some content marketing tasks which shouldn't be automated include:
  • Content strategy.
  • Social media strategy.
  • Community management.
  • Content creation.
As Jayson DeMers predicts about content marketing trends for 2014, "businesses will look for ways to automate their content marketing, and these efforts will fail."
But my all-time favorite automation rant is from Scott Stratten, who regularly posts a variation of this update on Twitter: "Automating your social media is like sending a mannequin to a networking event."
Automating your social media

Myth 4: Content Marketing is Inexpensive

Jay Baer phrased it well when he wrote: "Social media and content marketing isn't inexpensive, it's just different expensive."
While expense is relative, many brand managers assume that content marketing will always be the cheaper alternative to other promotional methods, such as advertising or PR. While in general, a 30-second TV commercial during the Super Bowl could rack up millions compared to a hashtag promo contest on Twitter which could be done for free, comparing such promotional activities is weird. And wrong.
While technology has leveled the playing field in that both big and small brands can achieve results with content marketing, brands are investing widely different amounts depending on perceived value. For example, Orabrush surprisingly achieved great content marketing results with a $500 YouTube video while Neil Patel famously invests five-figure sums for QuickSprout's free educational video content.
Barring unexpected viral hits, most content marketing success will be realized over years of consistent brand building activities and should be budgeted for as such.
"B2B marketers allocate 30% of their budgets to content marketing, and 58% of marketers plan to increase content market spend over the next 12 months," according to the 2014 B2B Content Marketing study.
B2B Content Marketing Spending

Myth 5: Content Marketing can be Handled by the Intern

When social media was still a thrill-seeker's term, there were a plethora of articles begging companies not to hand over social media marketing activities based on age. The same holds true of content marketing today. Companies believing that young and inexperienced hired hands can come in and "handle" content strategy and marketing have got another thing coming.
Content marketing is a discipline in its own right. It's got its sea legs and is here to stay. And it's attracting top talent from across industries: from journalists and reporters to create content, to analytics specialists to make sense of the data, to digital strategists to concoct tactical plans. In 2014, content marketing is expected to bring forth more specialized job descriptions and be taken seriously by companies still waiting at the shoreline.

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18 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros by Cindy King

18 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros

Would you like to improve your social media marketing?
Are you wondering what social media marketing tactics the pros like to use?
We asked top social media pros to share their hottest social media marketing tactics.
In this article, you’ll discover strategies the pros use to boost their social media marketing.

#1: Stay Top of Mind Using LinkedIn Tags

viveka von rosen
Viveka Von Rosen
On LinkedIn, you shouldn’t send an email blast to every one of your connections. However, you can create lists of “tagged” groupings so you can send relevant and helpful information to your contacts at strategic times.
When you tag your connections on LinkedIn, you can sort/filter them by Tags and—wait for it—send a message to up to 25 people at a time.
You can filter by tag and then send a message to up to 25 people.
For example, if one of your niche markets on LinkedIn is marketers who target medical professionals, all you have to do is:

  1. Create a tag called ‘Medical Marketing Consultant’ (they can’t see it)
  2. Do an advanced search on the keywords “marketing OR marketer OR consultant AND medical” (or some such)
  3. Sort by first-level connections
  4. Open and tag each connection with ‘medical marketing consultant’
  5. Open Contacts
  6. Filter by the tag ‘medical marketing consultant’
  7. Click on Select All
  8. Write your message to the first 25 folks
  9. Then the next 25
  10. Then the next 25
    Tag your contacts for easier messaging.
The message subject line might be something like: “As a medical marketing consultant, are you frustrated with LinkedIn’s new visibility limitations?” Use the body of the message to resolve their particular pain point. You don’t have to be the creator of the content, you just need to share it.
While you can use a different subject line to share the same tip with any number of tagged groups, I recommend creating an editorial calendar to keep track of what you sent to whom.
Use these targeted messages to create a feeling of trust and top-of-mind awareness, so that when your connections need you (or hear of someone who does) they will think of you!
Viveka von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert.”

#2: Post in ‘Micro-Opportunity’ Windows

jay baer
Jay Baer
Here’s my social marketing tip, ideal for B2B. For me, the people I want to reach with my social media marketing are other businesspeople, and which activity are businesspeople engaged in all day? Meetings. And when are meetings scheduled? Almost entirely on the hour or half-hour.
Based on the way meetings are scheduled and conducted, I believe many businesspeople are checking their social media accounts just before and after the top of the hour or the bottom of the hour. It works like this:
Meeting is scheduled from 1-2 pm. Meeting lets out slightly early at 1:57 pm, and attendees check Twitter on the way back to their desk. Meeting goes a little long, and that dip into social media occurs at 2:03 pm. You get the idea.
Schedule your social media marketing at opportune moments; for example, at times before meetings are due to start and end. Image source: iStockphoto
Because of this sequencing, I use Buffer to set my social media marketing to deploy most frequently in these micro-opportunity windows. I also try to pay attention to when people might be at lunch/dinner; although of course that’s a bit of a toss-up due to time zone differences. I haven’t been able to prove that this works (yet), but it makes so much sense to me intuitively that I’m going to keep doing it.
Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert.

#3: Research Popular Content From Your Competitors

ian cleary
Ian Cleary
If a type of content is popular with the audience of your competitors and colleagues, it stands to reason that a similar post will be popular with your audience.
This isn’t about copying content, it’s about crafting content around a similar topic, but with a different slant.
For example, Jeff Bullas wrote a blog post on 7 Marketing Trends You Shouldn’t Ignore, which was very popular. I used his post as inspiration to write a post titled 7 Social Media Tool Trends You Shouldn’t Ignore that was also very popular.
There are a few tools that will help with research:
Social Crawlytics does an analysis of your competitor’s content and shows you how often each post is shared across each of the social networks.
SEMRush shows you what keywords bring your competitor the most traffic so you can target the same keywords in your own content.
sem rush
Use SEMRush to gain insights into what keywords your competitors get the most traffic from.
Ian Cleary, founder of RazorSocial.

#4: Increase Views on YouTube Using These Thumbnail Creation Tips

gideon shalwick
Gideon Shalwick
It’s no secret that getting more views on YouTube can greatly help grow your business online.
But with the vast majority of videos on YouTube getting mediocre results, everyone wants to know how to get more legitimate views!
One of the easiest ways to get more views is to create compelling, attention-grabbing thumbnails for your videos.
The Secret to Creating Powerful YouTube Thumbnails
You need to get three things right for creating powerful YouTube thumbnails.
Graphics: Start with a good headshot or closeup of your face to create a personal touch with your thumbnail, then add a colorful background—like a starburst—to grab viewers’ attention.
gideon shalwick example thumbnail 1
Use attention-grabbing backgrounds.
Text: Use compelling text inside your thumbnail design to tell your viewers instantly what your video is about and why they should watch it—maybe use your video title. Make sure your text is easy to read, even at the smallest display size of your thumbnail on YouTube, and that the image is on the left and text is on the right.
gideon shalwick example thumbnail 2
Make sure the image is on the left and the text on the right of the thumbnail.
X-Factor: Think about how you can inject emotion into your thumbnails. For example, the expression on the face of the person you’re using can be that of shock, amazement, disgust, enjoyment… choose an emotion that will create intrigue and get people to click on the image.
gideon shalwick example thumbnail 3
The expression on a person's face can be enough for someone to click through.
To learn more about thumbnails and how to use them correctly on YouTube, check out the YouTube Playbook.
Gideon Shalwick, founder of Splasheo and author of Rapid Video Blogging.

#5: Limit Your Social Media Platforms

john lee dumas
John Lee Dumas
My social media marketing tip for businesses today is to find three or four social media platforms where you can build the strongest presence that will be most beneficial for your business.
With countless social media platforms available today, it’s impossible to grow a strong presence on every one. Having a mediocre presence on six or seven social media platforms is far inferior to a strong presence on three or four when it comes to your social media marketing goals.
Build a strong presence on three or four platforms. Image source: iStockPhoto.
Why spend time on social media platforms where your audience might be hanging out when you could be spending that time on social media platforms where you know your audience will be hanging out?
To find out if your target audience spends most of their time on one platform over another, join online groups within those platforms that focus on your industry or niche. If you find that the members are really active and engage on the topics you’re focused on in your business, there’s a good chance that a presence on that platform will benefit your business.
John Lee Dumas, founder and host of EntrepreneurOnFire.

#6: Find Work With Twitter’s Advanced Search

kim garst
Kim Garst
One of the great challenges for business owners is being “top of mind” exactly when prospects either want the product or service you offer, or have a problem that your product or service can solve for them.
Think about the billions of dollars spent on billboards, television and radio commercials, print advertising, etc., just to be in the right place with the right solution at the right time. There has to be a better way, right?
What if I told you there was a tool that could put you personally in touch with a new prospect at the exact time they desperately needed you for FREE! Interested?
I’m talking about the Advanced Search function on Twitter.
Let’s say you are a handyman in New York City and you need paying customers today. Simply log into your Twitter account, go to Advanced Search and type in the word or phrase that somebody might use when looking for what you have to offer in the geographic area where you work.
In the example below, we are going to see who is “looking for a handyman” in “New York City.”
Use Twitter's Advanced Search to see who is looking for a service you offer.
Ready? Here comes the magic……
It can help you find your next customer.
There’s your next customer. Imagine how shocked Regan is going to be when you send her a tweet telling her that you’re a great handyman and you just happen to be working in her area today.
So all the people who say you can’t do anything meaningful in 140 characters—certainly not anything business-related—need to rethink that position.
Twitter search is the mother lode for live leads that can create sales for you and your business!
Kim Garst, CEO of Boom Social.

#7: Grow By Giving Away Your Best Stuff

melonie dodaro
Melonie Dodaro
Forrester Research found that over 90% of purchasing decisions begin online. Having quality and relevant content allows your prospects to learn about you and the products/services you offer.
Many people are worried about giving away their best content for free. They are concerned it may prevent people from taking the next step and investing in their products/services. I understand this fear, but it is truly unfounded.
When your prospects see the high quality of your free content, they will be much more confident in paying for your services because they already know the great value you deliver.
Give away your best content for free. Image source: iStockphoto
When you create content, you want to think about the problems your ideal clients have and solve them with blog posts, articles, infographics, free reports, webinars, teleseminars, podcasts, etc.
Additional benefits you’ll receive include:
  • Evangelists who will recommend you to others
  • People will share your content, which puts you in front of a much larger audience
  • A strong reputation as a trusted authority and expert on your topic/niche
  • Additional opportunities such as speaking engagements and interview requests from the media
  • Improved SEO rankings of your website with quality content
Giving away great content opens up an opportunity for you to really educate your potential prospects and build trust, positioning you as the solution to their problem. Content marketing allows you to begin a relationship before ever speaking with a prospective client.
Melonie Dodaro, founder of Top Dog Social Media.

#8: Connect With Twitter’s Mobile Users

jamie turner
Jamie Turner
There are two easy things you can do to improve the impact of your efforts on Twitter. The first is to do a promoted post that targets people only on smartphones. A lot of people don’t realize that you can target promoted posts just for smartphones (or just for iPhones, or Android devices, etc.).
By targeting people while they’re on their mobile devices, you catch them while they’re out and about and, hopefully, near your business. It’s a great tactic that takes context (where people are located) into consideration when you connect with them via Twitter.
If you’re not ready to spend money on a promoted post, that’s okay, because you can try another technique. My estimates are that about 30% of the people using Twitter are self-promoters, which is a no-no. About 60% are simply retweeters, which is not the most efficient way to use Twitter. And about 10% are conversationalists, which is the best way to use Twitter.
Shift to a conversationalist strategy and have a dialogue with your followers to keep prospects and customers engaged with your brand. This deepens your relationship with them, which, over time, turns into customer loyalty. Customer loyalty = more revenue for your business.
Have conversations with your followers to keep them engaged with your brand.
Long story short, if you’re not going to do promoted posts targeting smartphones, then try being more conversational and watch your results change overnight.
Jamie Turner, founder of 60 Second Marketer.

#9: Find Prospects Online With Twitter

tom martin
Tom Martin
To truly prospect with social media, you need to understand where you’re most likely to find prospects online—what I call your Propinquity Points. Twitter is an excellent resource for this.
First, create a private Twitter list called Prospects. Then search for relevant keywords for your company or competitors. Find tweets where folks are obviously talking about your company, product category or competitor in a way that convinces you they are true prospects. Next, add each person to the Prospect Twitter list. Do this every day.
prospect twitter list
Create a Prospect Twitter list.
Now, create a column in HootSuite or whatever Twitter client you use and populate that column with the Prospect list tweets. Lastly, filter the column so that you see only tweets with links. Create a spreadsheet to track all of the links you find, and note when multiple folks share content from the same site.
Over the course of a few months, you’ll have a pretty solid list of online destinations frequented by your target prospects. This shows you where to make comments on existing content—or better, where to contribute your own content.
Tom Martin, author of The Invisible Sale.

#10: Easily Connect With Your Email Subscribers on LinkedIn and Facebook

stanford smith
Stan Smith
Email is critical for notifying subscribers of new posts and generating repeat visits to your blog. However, the latest Gmail Promotional tab addition by Google means that most of your notification emails are routed to the promotional folder where they can be overlooked by your readers.
Tackle this problem by connecting with your blog update subscribers on LinkedIn and Facebook. Simply download and install Rapportive, a social CRM tool that displays social network connections in your Gmail sidebar.
Add Rapportive to Gmail.
Next, export a list of your blog update email subscribers. Compose a new email in Gmail, and paste 10 addresses from your list of subscribers into the To: Box.
Mouse over one of the addresses and you will see Rapportive offer a Connect button for LinkedIn or Facebook (if the subscriber has an account). Click on the Connect button and customize the invitation to connect with you on the selected platform. Repeat the process for all of your contacts.
Rapportive offers a Connect button for LinkedIn or Facebook.
When you publish a new post, update your LinkedIn or Facebook to increase the chance that your Gmail subscribers will see your updates on LinkedIn or Facebook.
Stan Smith, founder of Pushing Social.

#11: Find Content to Share Using Platform Searches

cynthia sanchez
Cynthia Sanchez
When business owners or marketers begin to use social media as a part of their marketing strategy, they often focus on getting the right profile image, when the best time of day is to post or what scheduling tool is best. While it’s important to consider these things, there is something very valuable within each platform that is often overlooked.
Networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest each offer a search feature.
The search feature available on each of these networks can help businesses better serve their customers or clients by providing insight into what the users of each platform are interested in. Search can reveal if there is even a place for their business there.
For example, at a recent conference where I was speaking, I was asked to provide an example of an investment banking business using Pinterest.
After a quick search, we discovered that there were only two investment banking accounts on Pinterest. However, when we switched from searching for pinners (accounts) to searching for boards about investment banking, we found several.
Search for boards as well as pins on Pinterest.
This discovery shows that there is an interest in investment banking among the Pinterest audience and the two accounts currently on Pinterest with investment banking in their name were not active. This presents a big opportunity for an investment banking business to become the go-to source for information on Pinterest.
Earlier this year, Facebook introduced Graph Search. In Graph Search, you can refine your results down to pages, groups and events. Inspiration for future blog posts or even new products or services could emerge from the search.
graph search categories on facebook
Graph Search can be very useful for a business.
Twitter offers an Advanced Search feature where you can perform a very specific search, but the option to search for tweets with questions is most helpful. How better to serve potential clients or customers than by answering their questions?
The option to search for tweets with questions is extremely valuable.
Cynthia Sanchez, writes and podcasts about all things Pinterest at Oh So Pinteresting.

#12: Make Your Podcast Easily Consumable on Mobile

paul colligan
Paul Colligan
Smartphones have changed social media in some amazing ways. Perhaps most exciting (for me, at least) is how they’ve helped podcast consumption explode. More and more people are listening to podcasts on their smartphones—and they (and the podcasters) are better for it.
When someone clicks on a podcast from a blog, most smartphones open a new window and start playing the content. It just works. A simple link to an MP3 will “work” on most blogs for a media player and a number of podcasters are fine with that.
Install a simple HTML5 audio player on your blog that doesn’t open a new window, but does, in fact, give a similar (in-screen) experience to what listeners see on the desktop. This lets the listener read your content while listening to your podcast.
Which experience below do you want your audience to have when they’re listening to your podcast, the first or the second?
Provide listeners with a convenient player.
Let the listener read your content while listening to your podcast on mobile.
Paul Colligan, director of content marketing at Instant Customer.

#13: Think of Social Media as a Publicity Engine and Distribution Channel

brian clark twitter pic
Brian Clark
The best social media marketing strategy I’ve found (and have used for years) is to think of social media as a publicity engine and distribution channel for content. Even back before Facebook and Twitter, content was the fuel for traffic back to our web properties from social media news sites like Delicious and Digg.
Now there’s content, and then there’s content that functions as marketing. After all, no amount of traffic from social networks means anything unless a portion of that traffic converts into customers and clients.
The content you create must attract your ideal prospect, not random traffic. To do that, you discover the problems and desires your ideal prospect has, and then create content that addresses those problems and desires at an introductory level. Once these prospects visit your site, you must entice them to follow your content over time by email, which is still the highest-converting online sales channel (by far).
The reason content works as a social media marketing strategy is that people not only want valuable information, they like to share it as well. This results in an amazing word-of-mouth effect where new people are exposed to you and your brand each and every day via those in their own networks.
Attract your ideal prospects, then encourage them to share with their own networks. Image source: iStockphoto
People don’t want to be pitched directly via social media. They do seek out and share content though, and if that content is fine-tuned to appeal to your perfect prospect, you’ll develop a social media marketing strategy that works for you night and day.
Brian Clark, founder and CEO of Copyblogger.

#14: Include an Original Photo in Your New Piece of Content

Gini Dietrich
The best social media marketing network most businesses still ignore is Pinterest. Too often, we hear, “Oh I don’t have anything visual to show” so they ignore the fastest-growing network. But here’s the deal: Sixty-five percent of human beings are visual learners. That means they’d rather look at pictures or watch videos than read text, yet most of us still use text as our main method of communication.
Let’s say you run a professional services firm or a manufacturing company or a software-as-a-service business. If you are creating content for your business, include an original photo and you have something to pin to Pinterest.
First, create a board for your content. For instance, I have one on my personal page called Spin Sucks.
Spin Sucks on Pinterest.
A best practice for a new piece of content is to include an original photo. When you publish the content, you’ll want to pin it to the board you’ve created specifically for the business. Click the “pin it” button and get it saved.
Include an original photo in a new piece of content.
Do this every time you publish content for a month. Then go into your Google Analytics and see what kind of traffic it’s driving.
Even if you don’t have anything to sell online, it’s a quick and easy (incredibly easy) way to bring new visitors to your site. And now you have a huge opportunity to capitalize on that new traffic!
Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich.

#15: Allow Employees to Advocate for Your Business

neal schaffer
Neal Schaffer
One of my best social media marketing tips, and probably the one that is most underutilized by businesses, is employee advocacy.
You’re a business engaging in social media and creating content, but you’re only sharing that content from your company’s account. Wouldn’t it be great if all of your sales and marketing people also shared your content? It would help your company reach more people and help your sales and marketing folks better brand your company in social media.
The recent Edelman Trust Barometer reported that 41% of people believe company employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department or CEO. With the advent of social business, every employee can and should play a role in your social media efforts, and there are now a handful of platforms like GaggleAMP (you can join my own Gaggle here to see what an employee would see), Addvocate, PeopleLinx, Dynamic Signal, Expion and SocialChorus that make it easy for you to both facilitate and measure your employee advocacy program.
gaggle amp employee advocacy
My Gaggle makes it easy for me to facilitate and measure my employee advocacy program.
Your social selling can also be helped by employee advocacy. Prudential Financial embarked on an employee advocacy program, which encouraged their employees to get connected. Now each of their 15,000 employees has an average of 160 connections, meaning that as a company, their message—through their employees—can potentially reach 2.4 million LinkedIn users! It’s time for companies to wake up and unleash the power of some of your most passionate, but often forgotten, brand advocates: Your employees!
Neal Schaffer, president of Windmills Marketing, author of Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing: Understanding, Leveraging and Maximizing LinkedIn.

#16: Attend Live Events

jeff korhan
Jeff Korhan
Live events are where you experience firsthand the energy and enthusiasm of other like-minded people who share your interests and business objectives.
In addition to building meaningful relationships, you walk away with abundant ideas for invigorating your social media marketing. I’m still mining ideas from my experience at Content Marketing World a couple months ago, not to mention being better connected with industry colleagues.
Jeff Korhan and Joe Pulizzi reconnecting at the Green Industry Conference shortly after Content Marketing World.
One of the challenges of social media is translating our weak connections into stronger relationships that can potentially lead to mutually beneficial outcomes. The solution is to literally get out of the office to meet the people with whom you’re connected online, and make new connections that you can bring to your social networks. When you integrate the two, you enhance the effectiveness of both.
A few years ago, it was predicted that webinars and other digital events would eventually replace live events, thereby putting professional speakers and trainers like me out of business as we know it. It turns out we are now experiencing a resurgence of live events, and the reason is somewhat surprising.
Now we are more connected than ever as a result of social media and people want to meet their connections in person to further develop their relationships. The community and energy of live events adds richness and depth to your social media relationships, and makes a positive impact on that illusive metric—your social media ROI.
Jeff Korhan is a small business marketing expert and the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business.

#17: Build Authority Relationships With Google+ Reverse Image Lookup

john jantsch
John Jantsch
Networking for link relationships has taken on a bit of a popularity feel due to Google’s emphasis on authority when it comes to content.
Links from sites that Google ranks highly have always been important, but now individuals inside of Google+ carry a great deal of weight as well.
It’s important to build relationships in your industry with those authors whom Google already thinks highly of. I’m not talking about stalking, I’m talking about discovering the most valuable relationships and finding ways to build value within them.
Find those authors in your industry who appear with an author box in common searches with your industry and do a Google reverse image search to find where they contribute content currently.
  • Find an author whose image shows next to highly indexed content
  • Navigate to their Google+ profile, right-click their profile image and copy the image URL
  • Paste the image URL into a Google Search by Image box
  • Scan the results to find a great deal about their contributed content landscape
  • Create a plan to build relationships based on value
    Reverse Google image lookup reveals a list of places where this author contributes.
You’ll turn up some great guest post opportunity possibilities for yourself, as well as gain some insight into ways you can connect with authors of authority.
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.

#18: Actively Use SlideShare Pro to Acquire Subscribers

joe pullizi
Joe Pulizzi
A subscription strategy is critical to any social media and content marketing professional. I’m astounded that more marketers aren’t actively using SlideShare to acquire subscribers. If you’re not familiar, SlideShare was purchased by LinkedIn and sees about 100 million visitors per month. Simply put, SlideShare is the YouTube for PowerPoint presentations (and so much more).
A SlideShare Pro account starts at $16 per month and lets you collect leads and/or subscribers. Also, SlideShare can be integrated with most marketing automation systems.
At Content Marketing Institute, we’ve been using SlideShare Pro for two years now, and it’s our number-two overall source for new subscribers. We’ve done nothing different with deploying content on SlideShare, but now we actively drive new leads.
The images below show one of our presentations on SlideShare.
Use SlideShare to acquire subscribers to your content.
The second screenshot shows the SlideShare Pro subscription popover that appears near slide 10 of a presentation. The popover can easily be skipped so viewers can access the full content, but on this presentation alone, we’ve collected over 500 subscribers with no additional work.

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