Friday, April 17, 2015

10 Social Media Practices You Should Avoid

At this point in time, most everyone knows the importance of ‘working’ social media marketing. It’s a powerful marketing strategy that has the ability to bring traffic, boost authority, boost search rankings, and increase conversions.

Again, it’s powerful.

But, when using social networks, there are certain practices you should avoid to prevent harming your brand’s image, credibility, and authority.

An article at Entrepreneur.com listed eight mistakes to avoid. Here is the gist of their list.

Social Media Practices to Avoid

1. Who’s managing the social media store?

If you have a social media department, you absolutely need to monitor the person in charge. One of the quickest ways to lose engagement and credibility is to have someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing controlling your posts, images, activity, and communications.

Be in control of your brand and what it represents on social media.

2. Negativity and responses.

In any element of marketing, there is bound to be someone who has something negative to say.

Keep in mind that social media brings thousands and thousands of people from all over the world to your doorstep. Negativity is bound to popup somewhere.

The Entrepreneur article suggests responding quickly and responsibly to try to calm the naysayer.

This is the advisable thing to do in any business situation. Be the one who keeps it low-key. Be the one who is the peacemaker.

Find out all the details of the complaint and work to find a solution that appeases the ‘negative one’ and works for you also.

Don’t ignore negative feedback.

3. Seen those Buy Like / Follow Ads?

This one should be a no-brainer. No legitimate business owner / marketer would buy ‘follows’ or ‘likes.’ It’s just unethical.

In addition to this, the social engines have ways to find fake followers or fans. Why risk having your account closed for unethical practices.

If you provide valuable content on a regular basis to your social networks, you will get followers and likes from ‘real’ users who value your content.

4. Same thing over and over.

What type of content do you post to your social network?

Is it the same thing over and over? Do you keep repeating the same blog post? Do you have lines and lines of individual ‘thank yous’ for everyone who follows you, who retweets your tweets, who shares your post, without any valuable content in between?

These are no-nos.

Try to mix it up. Give your audience what they’re following you for of course, but also give bits of this and that. Show your personality a bit.

5. Promoting what you offer is good, but . . .

In business, it’s important to provide much more value compared to promotion. The rule of thumb was 80/20, but I think that’s a bit low.

To be safe, you should provide 85-90% quality content and 15-10% promotion.

Your audience doesn’t want to be ‘sold’ to. They want to learn from you. They want to be entertained or engaged by you. Make it about them.

I’ve just recently started putting a promotional tweet every 8 hours or so to Twitter. It comes out to be every 8th or 9th or 10th tweet that I post. In between, I provide much more valuable information that will help my audience one way or another compared to my promotional tweets.

6. Are you consistent?

Whether it’s search engines or your audience, consistency rules. You don’t have to share content every hour, but whatever you do, be consistent. If you can, try for once a day for a minimum.

Don’t feel overwhelmed. You don’t have to write a post every day, just share a blog post you read that’s informative. There are tons of articles; you can certainly find one a day to share to your social networks. You can also share other users’ tweets and posts.

If once a day is too much, go for a couple of times a week. Just be consistent.

I started out tweeting and posting to my social channels three times a week, plus I shared the content of others here and there. I took it up-a-notch to every two-three hours. Now, I’m at around every hour. I work hard to keep it consistent. And, because of that, I have pretty good engagement.

7. Being robotic with your audience.

If you’re working social media right, you should be getting audience engagement. This means mentions, likes, favorites, retweets, shares, direct messages, and so on.

First off, acknowledge those who engage with you. Thank them, talk to them, share their content.

And, try to follow through on what you say or agree to.

Value and appreciate your audience. Be kind, thoughtful, and personal when the occasion arises.

8. You try to be everywhere.

I’ve written about this before. You can’t possibly work all the social networks and you shouldn’t want to.

Monitor and test the networks you’re working. Find the one to three that work best for you and work them.

I found Twitter, GooglePlus, and LinkedIn are good fits for my audience. And, I’ve recently started posting more to Pinterest, but don’t do much more there. Maybe when I have time I will.

Better to be effective with a smaller audience than be ineffective with a larger one.

9. What exactly is it you do?

The first thing I do when someone follows or connects with me is go to their profile. If the profile is blank or lists ‘this, that, and the other,’ I don’t connect back.

Sometimes, if I’m unsure of the user’s brand, I’ll scroll down his posts to see what they’re about. But, having to do this takes time.

Another problem that arises when your profile isn’t clear is the question of where to put you on lists. Social channels like Twitter and GooglePlus, allow you to put your connections in a particular list, such as writing, technology, content marketing, and environmental. This is a great marketing feature. But, if a user’s profile says she’s a wife, mother, baker, traveler, philosopher, race car driver, and marketing expert . . .

You get the idea.

Make your profile crystal clear as to what your brand is.

10. You send auto-direct messages to new followers.

This ‘practice to avoid’ is for Twitter users.

Your new connections will know the auto-DM isn’t a generic.

Some users will unfollow users who send auto-DMs.

For a bit more on using auto-DMs, you can read:

Social Media Marketing - Should You Use Twitter Auto-Direct Messaging?

So, this covers the eight tips from the Entrepreneur article and two more of my own. Do you have any other suggestions on what not to do in your social media accounts?

To read the Entrepreneur article, go to:

8 Social Media Mistakes That Are Killing Your Brand

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Press Release in Action

Press releases are a powerful content marketing tool. They generate visibility about a specific event within your business.

According to Women in Business About.com, "A press release is a written communication reporting specific, but brief information about an event, circumstance, or other happening typically tied to a business or organization."

Below is an example of a press release from an expert book marketer and writing instructor - a press release in action. Notice the formatting and wording. Next time you're creating your own press release, keep this in mind.
 
M E D I A   R E L E A S E

For Immediate Release
Contact: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
E-mail: HoJoNews@aol.com
April 6, 2015

Second Edition Gets Spit and Polish

Everyone’s an Editor in the Internet World

World Wide Web—Carolyn Howard-Johnson has released the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor as a paperback. It’s updated, expanded, and sports new formatting and a new cover by Chaz DeSimone in keeping with her HowToDoItFrugally series for writers.

The Net has made everyone into do-it-yourself editors these days. E-mail. Blogs. Web site copy. Though the author advises hiring great editors (and gives step-by-step tips for doing so), having everything seen by the world professionally edited isn’t always affordable.

The Frugal Editor: From Your Query Letter to Final Manuscript to the Marketing of Your New Bestseller has been expanded to include rarely covered editing booboos (like the misuse of ampersands), the difference between grammar rules and style choices (like beginning sentences with the likes of and, or, and but) and how to spot the overuse of helping verbs and a reminder that politically correct usage isn’t always what a writer should strive for (consider some of the language used in the award-winning movie Twelve Years A Slave).

She also shows writers of all kinds how to avoid trickery with font, formatting, and strained metaphors. She says, “I'd be embarrassed if I had to say I hadn't learned anything more I could share with my readers in eight years since the first edition was published.”

The first edition of The Frugal Editor published in 2007 was winner of USA Book News’ pick for Best Professional Book, a Reader Views winner, and received nods from the Next Generation awards and the Military Writers Society of America, but the new version is expanded (by more than 100 pages)! Updated! And Reformatted. The e-book version of this second edition was honored again by Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Awards and the Next Generation Indie Awards.

Howard-Johnson was an instructor for nearly a decade at UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program. She is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing, and its Diamond Award for her work advocating for authors. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of 14 women of “San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen.” She has worked for Good Housekeeping Magazine and as a journalist for several newspapers and has been a popular presenter at writers’ conferences nationwide like the one at San Diego State University and the Sinclair Lewis Writers’ Conference. She is also a novelist and poet, which informs the advice she gives to authors of those genres.

Learn more about Howard-Johnson and her HowToDoItFrugally series of books at http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com.

The e-book is available at http://bit.ly/FrugalEditorKind and the paperback at http://bit.ly/FrugalEditor.

                                                               # # # #

Cover image, media kit, and free-use articles on editing are available on request at HoJoNews@aol.com.

“Absolutely essential for beginning writers and a necessary reminder for the more advanced.  The mentor you've been looking for. This book won't collect dust!”~Christina Francine, review for Fjords Review

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Reference:

http://womeninbusiness.about.com/od/marketingyourbusiness/a/what-press-release.htm

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Top 5 Power Tips for Blogging Success

Blogging is a competitive arena. According to VP Virtuoso, in November 2013, there were 152,000,000 blogs. And, a new blog was published every half a second.

Keep in mind that these statistics are from over a year ago. These types of statistics increase steadily.

Blogging isn’t a venture you can enter into lightly, hoping for the best. If you’re blogging to be successful in your niche, it takes work. It takes dedication. It takes a plan.

Here are 5 power tips to help you move ahead of the crowd.

1. Know why you’re blogging.

People blog for many reasons. You need to decide what your reason is.

  • Is it to generate visibility in order to make money?
  • Is it to become the ‘go to’ person in your niche and boost your authority?
  • Is it to get on a “Top Blogging” or “Best Websites” List?
  • Is it to share your knowledge and help others?
  • Is it to make connections?
  • Is it to increase your mailing list?

Think about it. It can also be a combination of the reasons. But, you should know why you’re blogging.

2. Know your audience and what they need.

Along with knowing why you’re blogging, it’s just as important to know your audience and what they need from you.

Every niche has something the audience desires, needs, or wants. It’s up to you to determine what that is and give it to them.

One strategy to find out what your audience needs is to ask them in a survey or poll. You can also monitor your blog posts to see which are the heavy-hitters, which are get the most views and clicks. It’s those topics that your audience is interested in.

3. Know what your focus is.

This goes along with knowing your audience. You need to know what your focus is and your need to create a platform based on it.

One important aspect of this tip is to keep your website and content focused on a particular niche.

As an example, my niche is inbound marketing, which includes website optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing. All my articles, freebies, and ebooks are highly focused on that niche.

If I were to throw in an article on baking a cake, I’d confuse my audience and diminish my authority.

4. Take action steps to blog smart.

The first step here is to set up an editorial calendar.

According to Wikepedia.com, “an editorial calendar is used by bloggers, publishers, businesses, and groups to control publication of content across different media, for example, newspaper, magazine, blog, email newsletters, and social media outlets.”

Create a blogging schedule that will work for you. In other words, a schedule that you’ll be able to keep up with. Consistency matters.

Along with your schedule, you’ll need to include all the essential elements to create an informative, engaging, and shareable article. Your posts may include:

  • Text
  • Images
  • Video
  • Animation
  • Podcasts
  • Slideshare presentation
  • And, so on

Now, obviously, you don’t need to include every element within one post, but you should vary your posts.

And, be sure your article is packed with quality information that has at least one ‘actionable’ tip.

Power tip: It’s about quality, not quantity.

5. Engage with your readers.

Engagement is a key marketing factor. You want to create content valuable enough that readers will want to share it. This boosts your authority.

Making this factor more important, the search engines pay attention to who’s paying attention to your content. Your content’s shareability will affect your search ranking.

While there are other power tips, these are the top five that you absolutely need to include in your blogging strategy.

References:

http://heidicohen.com/top-10-bloggers/
http://www.wpvirtuoso.com/how-many-blogs-are-on-the-internet/

~~~~~


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Friday, April 10, 2015

Integrate your Social Media and Blog Post Comments - Must-Know Tips

I read lots of posts from high-quality marketing sites. Doing so, I get lots and lots of information and ideas.

When I’m in a rush, I save the link to an article I want to read and go to it when I have time. Well, I just went to an article at Social Media Examiner (SME) titled, “7 Ways to Increase Your Blog’s Social Media Shares” (1) and I have to say it was one of those “Oh Wow” moments.

While the topic is on boosting your blog’s social media shares, it touches on how to boost your blog’s comments.

The article explains that most people are noticing that blog post comments are dwindling. I’ll definitely agree to that. Instead, people are commenting and engaging on social media networks.

Hmmm.

While I usually don’t get blog comments, I do get pretty good engagement on Twitter and GooglePlus.

So, what’s a blogger to do?

This is going to knock-your-socks-off.

Integrate your social media comments to your blog posts.

Yep, you heard me right. You can take those social media comments and post them to the related blog posts you shared.

Amazing!

I’ll admit, I never even thought of this practice. But, apparently, it’s been around because according to the SME article, you can “replace your existing blog comment system with Facebook comments.”

Over at Facebook, it says, “The Comments box lets people comment on content on your site using their Facebook profile and shows this activity to their friends in news feed. It also contains built-in moderation tools and special social relevance ranking.” (2)

SME explains that “when someone comments on your Facebook update linking to your post, the comment shows up on your blog.”

Okay, again, Amazing!

If you’re a heavy Facebook user, this information is super-valuable. It’s hitting two search engine marks with one throw.

But, what if you’re not that into Facebook?

Not to worry. You can do the same on any of social networks you work.

I’m a Twitter user and SME has an idea for integrating the engagement on Twitter with your blog posts. There’s a WordPress plugin, Twitter Mentions as Comments, that “scours Twitter for people talking about your site and silently inserts their Tweets alongside your existing comments.” (3)

Pretty cool, right?

Why is this type of integration so important?

This type of integration is important for social proof.

If visitors read your post and then see social network comments or engagement in your comments section, it will verify your authority. This is social proof.

It may very well prompt that visitor to leave a comment on your post.

But, what if you’re not using WordPress?

I use Blogger for my blog. One day I’ll change this to one of my WordPress sites, but until then . . .

Well, since there are social network features in place to integrate social media comments into your blog post comments section, apparently it’s an acceptable practice.

So, if you’re not using WordPress and you want to integrate your Twitter or LinkedIn or Google+ comments, why not do it manually?

Simply copy social network comments and paste them into the related blog posts.

This accomplishes at least 3 things:

1. Again, it’s social proof of your authority for visitors to your site.
2. It’s extra search engine ‘juice’ for your blog posts.
3. It will help with conversion, whether it’s to increase your subscriber list, or get enrollment to an event, or some other call-to-action.

I’ll be testing this out soon. How about you?

References:

(1) http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/increase-social-media-shares/
(2) https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/comments
(3) https://wordpress.org/plugins/twitter-mentions-as-comments/

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Emotional Marketing and Samsung

Today you can get confused with all the different marketing strategies there are at your disposal. There is:

  • Content marketing
  • Contextual marketing
  • Inbound marketing
  • Video marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • SEO marketing
  • B2B marketing
  • B2C marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing

The list can go on and on.

There’s also emotional marketing.

Buffer Social explains that new research has determined we are only capable of “four ‘basic’ emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted [. . .] these four ‘mother emotions’ meld together in myriad ways in our brains to create our layered emotional stews.” (1)

602 Communications describes emotional marketing as, “messaging that builds your ego [. . .] the brand transcends mere product status and becomes a friend. This is what gives your brand that special something that builds life-long attachment.” (2)

This type of marketing creates passion in the consumer.

Have you or someone you know worn a shirt, pants, shoes, jacket or other clothing item with a favorite brand logo one it?

Even a favorite snack or soda or sports team generates passion enough to become a walking advertisement for the company. My grandson says he’s a “Twinkie” man.

It’s making that connection through an emotional element.

Samsung slammed it out of the park with its new “Hearing Hands” ad campaign. This is powerful marketing.

With most ads and commercials, I don’t remember the company who created them, often not even the product being promoted. Well, maybe Progressive ads because I like them. But, that’s usually it.

Well, Samsung made me cry. And, as you can see, I certainly remember their “Hearing Hands” campaign and their name.

The residents in “the neighborhood of Bağcılar, Istanbul in Turkey learned sign language as a surprise for one young adult who is hearing impaired.”

The idea behind the ad is to bring attention to Samsung’s new video call center. But, it went so much further.

To do this, they taught a neighborhood sign language, so they could ‘talk’ to a hearing impaired resident. It took around a month and he knew nothing about it.

The day residents signed to Muaharrem, cameras rolled.

Peopled signed to him on the street, in stores, and even in a cab.

His sister, who was in on the campaign, then led him to a street where the ‘sign language teacher’ spoke to him through a life size screen. As she spoke, neighbors gathered around him, signing.

Muaharrem cried. I cried.

This is one of the most powerful marketing strategies – the human element, the emotional element.

Well done, Samsung.

To watch this powerful video, go to:
https://www.yahoo.com/health/this-entire-neighborhood-secretly-learned-sign-113251223242.html

References:

(1) https://blog.bufferapp.com/science-of-emotion-in-marketing
(2) http://602communications.com/what-is-emotional-marketing

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Monday, April 6, 2015

SEO Marketing and Social Engines

SEO marketing has changed. Or, maybe a better wording would be SEO marketing has evolved.

It’s true you still need to take the major search engine players (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) into account, but you have more options now.

The Major Search Engines

Using Google as a catch all for this category, getting your website visible and its content categorized and indexed is an absolute necessity. It’s this strategy that will allow your content to have the opportunity to be the results of an online search query.

Optimizing for the major search engines will still bring traffic to your website. And, it can build or diminish your authority.

What I mean by this is, suppose you have good rankings. You’re overall ranking is good and so are your other website metrics. This conveys authority. The major players think you have a quality site that offers valuable and relevant content.

Then the algorithms change (yet again) and your numbers start to diminish. Your overall ranking is okay, but not as good as it was. You’re not getting on Google’s first SERP. Your traffic slows down. This lowers your authority to others and reduces your website traffic. This particular part of your social proof is now lacking.

So, it’s easy to see that you must do all you can to keep your rankings on target.

But, it’s also good to know that you do have another field to play in that can help boost your floundering status.

The Social Engines

According to an article at Forbers.com (1), there are four major social engines:

  • Smashfuse.com 
  • SocialMention.com 
  • Topys.com
  • Social-Searcher.com

These search engines focus on user information. Content is aggregated from sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and GooglePlus.

What’s amazing about these search engines is they deliver content in ‘real time.’

It’s important to note though that they also use keywords to find and deliver the content. So, be sure you continue to use effective keywords.

There are also the social engines for each of the social channels, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so on.

These social engines aren’t as interested in your ranking over at Google. They’re interested in your social network activity. If you have relevant and quality content with relevant keywords, you’re good to go.

It’s the activity you create on the social networks that matters. And, it’s this activity that will prompt engagement from other users, such as Shares, Likes, Mentions, Messages, and Retweets.

This drives its own traffic and authority within the network/s you’re working.

Tip: The more activity (useful or interesting information) you provide on these networks, the more your engagement will increase.

Summing It Up

Google is still super-powerful, but it isn’t the monopoly it once was. Social engines also have the power to generate traffic and increase your authority. And, based on your social activity and traffic, Google will be taking notice and possibly reconsider the rankings they’re giving you and the SERP they place your content on.

5 Simple Steps to Boost Social Media Engagement:

1. Provide content to help your audience
2. Use effective keywords (#hashtags)
3. Find the network/s that work best for you
4. Share your content to those networks.
5. Engage with others.

What search engine strategies do you use?

Reference:

(1) http://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhendricks/2014/06/16/4-social-search-engines-to-track-user-data/

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Social Media Marketing – When You Need to Hit the Pause Button

Business is no longer 9 to 5 or even 7 to 7. It at times feels like it’s round the clock.

The reason?

The 24/7 of social media.

Keeping your brand in constant visibility, trying to fight through all the other internet noise, and keeping up with communications and networking, can be time consuming and draining.

To take a breather, you can put your social media postings and communications on pause.

Is it possible to take pause-it?

Yes. Yes, it is.

For the small business and solopreneur who doesn’t have the budget for a social media marketing department, the weight of the marketing strategies falls on the owner’s shoulders. This, as mentioned above, is time consuming and lots of work. Before that last straw hits the camel’s back, you should give it a pause.

How to Pause-It

In an article at AdWeek.com’s Social Times, it lists three strategies you can use to give yourself a breather. Below gives the gist of what the first two said, and I give my own tip for number 3.

1. SHHHHH.

The first and simplest way to put it on pause is to just stop. You need to be careful here though. You don’t want to go missing for weeks at a time. If you do, you’ll lose your followers and connections. You’ll lose your audience.

But, if you stop postings for a day to several days, all should be well when you return.

A Case Study

I’ve done this by accident a few weeks ago with my Twitter account. Something happened to the automation I thought I had going.

The first thing I noticed was a drastic slow down on the engagement on my account. I usually get 20-40 Favorites, Retweets, Mentions, and/or other engagements every day. I knew something was wrong.

I took a look at my profile and noticed I hadn’t had any new tweets posted for a day.

Using Social Oomph, I quickly got some tweets set up and off they went as scheduled. My engagement immediately picked up.

The Take-Away

The great take-away from this experience: Engagement is based on your activity. The more active you are, the more engagement you will have with other users. 

Note: Your posts, whether to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or other network, must be of value in order to make connections and generate engagement.

2. Let your audience know you’ll be on pause.

This strategy is for the longer pause – those of one to two weeks. Send a post letting your audience know you’ll be unavailable for some time. Let them know you appreciate their support and that you’ll be back soon.

For the longer pause, this is a good idea. While you can automate your posts to networks like Twitter, you won’t be available to respond to mentions, direct messages, messages through tweets, and so on. The ‘live’ element will be missing.

Your lack of responses could cause your audience to think you’re not interested in them or even worse, that you’re ignoring them. Social media is about ‘give and take.’ It’s about communication and engagement. Keep your audience in the loop.

3.  Hire a fill-in.

In the article I mentioned earlier, number three was about automation. But, automation goes so far. It’s not able to make personal responses. So, if you need to take an extended pause, say two to four weeks, you might look into outsourcing your social media tasks for that time period.

There are lots of VAs (virtual assistants) out there who would be able to handle the job. You’ll have to do your homework though. You’ll need to make sure they’re social media savvy.

Provide a detailed list of the ‘to-dos.’ Know you’ll be in competent hands before letting go of the reigns. Then you’ll have a social media worry-free time.

There you have it, three easy-to-do strategies to give yourself a pause, without offending or losing your connections/audience.

Do you have other strategies you use? Please let us know.
If you’d like to read the article at Social Times, go to:

How to Take a Break From Twitter Without Losing Your Audience

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