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CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

Now, more than ever, we’re all connected. What does it mean to be part of the Connected Culture? Share your thoughts and ideas here!
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10 Questions to Jumpstart Social Media Engagement

Connected CultureNo one likes the guy at a cocktail party who talks endlessly about himself without letting anyone else get a word in edgewise. Not only is he annoying and rude, he’s usually not all that interesting to boot!

Unfortunately, many businesses are guilty of the same lack of etiquette when it comes to social media. Perpetual self-promotion without any attempt of trying to encourage social media engagement or conversation is one of the most common and detrimental mistakes that can be made when trying to build a community.

Of course, the objective of any business that leverages social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is to expand brand exposure with the ultimate goal of increasing sales. However, social media isn’t advertising. Rather, it’s relationship building. With an engaged, loyal online group of followers, you’ll cultivate an audience that will want to buy from you. And, here’s an even bigger benefit – they’ll share information about your brand with their communities, too!

So, let’s get down to the business of how to be the organization that people actually want to engage with at the “online cocktail party” known as social media. Here are 10 great ways to start and sustain the conversation.

1. Curiosity

Online audiences are perpetually searching for something that piques their curiosity. If you can give them something that propels them to find out more and combine it with a question, you can generate initial interest and start building valuable engagement.

Example: Would you like to know how John increased his online network from 40 to 4,000?

 

2. Opinions

The questions you ask can be generic and broad-based or focused on your industry or even on the products and services you provide. You might be surprised just how much social media engagement you’ll generate from a single question. These types of questions can even serve as an informal type of market research.

Example: What’s your opinion of ________?

 

3. Yay or Nay

Yes or no questions are quick and easy for your audience to respond to. Yet, they can still encourage social media engagement, and you may find answers that are far more extensive than you expected.

Example: Do you own an iPad? Yes or no?

 

4. This or That

Like the yes or no questions, you can quickly encourage engagement by asking a question that gives your online audience two choices.

Example: Sneakers or flip flops?

 

5. The Survey Says…

Why not conduct a one question survey to learn more about your audience and their preferences? You’ll get them pondering the question, and their answers might spawn others to share how they feel, too!

Example: What is the single most important thing about ______________?

 

6. Photo Feedback

Posts you share that include photos will almost always generate larger numbers of responses. By combining a question and a photo, you have a winning combination that can spawn significant engagement.

Example: What are your thoughts on this photo?

 

7. Discovery

Questions that encourage your audience to dig a little deeper can often be interesting and insightful.

Example: Why is _____________ important to you?

 

8. Play Favorites

Another strategy for generating more social media engagement is to ask questions that give your audience the chance to share their favorites. These can be serious and industry-focused or just for fun.

Example: Where is your favorite place to spend a summer vacation?

 

9. Cause and Effect

You can create a thought-provoking scenario to spawn some creative ideas.

Example: What would happen if ______________?

 

10. Fill in the Blanks

A fun type of question that often generates a large number of responses is the “anything missing.” There are endless options that you can toss out that will start a conversation.

Example: My three top must-haves in my desk are ___________, ___________, and _______________.

 

Bonus Question!

11. Did You Know?

Have an interesting fact or figure? Instead of phrasing it in a form of a sentence, make it a question for others to answer.

Example: Did you know TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters on only one row of the keyboard?

Yes, questions are fundamental to building up an online community that actually engages with your brand. Social media platforms are designed to encourage sharing and conversation. By doing so, you’ll have much more success than those organizations that simply post one-sided content that inspires little more than a quick glance.

Question:

Do you have a favorite type of question that works with your community? Feel free to add it below in the comments.

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Using Hashtags for Marketing Success

hashtagsHashtags are one of the many tools available on most social networks for people to engage in and track conversations. They allow for content to be branded and categorized in a way that promotes sharing, brand recognition and branding of posts based on the content.

Hashtags have an advantage over the use of keywords as users tend to search for hashtags that are relevant to a post’s subject, rather than searching for individual keywords that may be common and unrelated. If you haven’t started using hashtags in your marketing strategy, now is the perfect time to start!

Let’s get a look at how you can incorporate the use of hashtags in your social media marketing strategy to promote your business.

Understanding the Use of Hashtags

There are three main categories that hashtags fall under. Each category works to describe how the content relates to an overarching idea in some way.

Hashtags describe:

  • Brands or campaigns (#AskObama)
  • Trending (“Happy International Waffle Day”)
  • Content (#Food)

The function of these hashtags allow for members of social networks to quickly find content while defining their own content.

Understanding Brand and Campaign Hashtags

Brand hashtags are self-explanatory tags that describe a brand. #Hyundai, #Toyota and #Ford are three quick examples of car manufacturers that often have some sort of brand hashtag on Twitter and Facebook. These tags work to foster discussion about a brand and a sense of community among members who use it, but only when used properly.

Campaign hashtags describe a campaign. #AskObama is a prominent example because it exemplifies a quick, to-the-point tag that not only looks catchy but succinctly describes the campaign it’s working to promote.

You can use both of these types of tags to promote your business or as a companion to promote one of your marketing campaigns through social media.

When using these types of hashtags, ensure that your hashtags are unique and won’t be used for another purpose.

Understanding Trending Tags

Social networks like Twitter keep track of the most popular tags on their network. The most popular tags become known as “trending” due to the amount of tags that have been used in recent content that has been posted on the network.

Trending tags foster talk about a certain subject that people are widely interested in. Current events, special days and important movements tend to rank highly as trending tags.

While it’s hard to launch a trending tag, you can usually utilize them in modest amounts when they closely relate to your business to garner some attention from potential followers.

To use trending tags on Twitter and Google+, remember that you should be quick to use trending tags as they develop. Don’t overuse them and shy away from using trending tags unrelated to your business’s field, as violating either of these recommendations can be seen as poor etiquette and will result in negative publicity.

Understanding Content Hashtags

Content hashtags are tags that fall more in line with meta keywords that you use on web pages to help search engines understand what your content is related to.

They may not be trending or even popular. They do make it easier for people searching for certain content to find it. They also work to improve the SEO of your content, which makes them perform better in search engines.

Content hashtags usually describe products, lifestyles, events, locations, ideas and concepts.

You should incorporate content hashtags into your social marketing strategy to ensure your social profile ranks highly in search engines and on the minds of people that may not be following you yet. These are tags that you should incorporate as often as they’re related to the content you’re posting.

Now that you have a rundown on what hashtags are and how to use them, start! Still have questions? Need guidance on hashtags? Leave a comment and we’d be happy to help!

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How Should My Organization Use Google+?

Google+Google+ provides a platform for people to get in touch, discuss, and share. Essentially, it’s like any other social network, but — Google+ can be so much more than another network!

Because Google+ is a Google product, it has a lot of SEO power. Google includes Google+ listings/postings in its rankings, since it wants to drive traffic to the network. This means that every business should have at least some sort of Google+ presence. So, for those of you who are new to Google+, here’s a few ways that you can use it within your organization, both internally and externally:

Internal: Increasing Productivity

Many businesses are increasingly using Google+ and other networking sites to increase productivity by facilitating collaboration between employees. Company employees in multiple locations can use Google+ to collaborate on various projects by using Google+ as a hub for discussion. Some companies also create Google+ Hangouts (live streaming video conferences) for their employees so that they can communicate and discuss common issues, brainstorm, or take on other tasks that benefit productivity in their jobs. Hangouts are quite possibly one of the best features of Google+ overall.

External: Targeted Messaging

Google+ provides a platform for companies to distribute information and engage with multiple audiences through Google+’s Circles feature. Many companies use Google+ for businesses to send targeted messages to users within a certain Circle or segment. If your brand works with a lot of different types of influencers or audiences, segmentation can make your Google+ much more effective. For example, if you’re an electronic retailer, you may want to create Circles for gamers, photographers, and early technology adopters. Using these segments, you can potentially create unique messaging and communities that are well-targeted and more engaging than they would be if they were mass-marketed. Outside of interests, you may also use users’ geographic locations, careers, and hobbies to segment – the options are all up to you! You’ll have to do a bit of research into your Circles to find out exactly where they fit, though.

External: Providing Information

Google+ can be a great source of information about a business for consumers. Many businesses are using this social networking platform to connect with potential consumers and provide information about their products and services through sharing photos, videos, links to content marketing pieces, and more. Companies can create Google+ Hangouts where they can interact with clients and clarify issues about their products and services, offer live Q&A with brand stakeholders, or give entertainment in relation to a branding effort. Google+ also has internal blogging tools that allow for you to share exclusive messaging or curate content for interested users.

External: Getting Opinions

Another way businesses can use Google+ is by allowing valuable feedback and exchange of opinions between themselves and the audiences they serve. Google+ Hangouts provide a platform for people to voice their opinions on various topics, and participate in focus groups that provide valuable information. Companies can also use this platform to respond to customer complaints and questions, and position themselves as experts and opinion leaders. Encouraging discussion on a Google+ way is a surefire way to drive traffic to this social network, especially if people recognize that this is the place to interact with your brand one-on-one.

Internal: Recruiting

Another benefit of Google+ for businesses is that it allows companies to recruit personnel. Companies can use Google+ to post messages about vacancies in their departments or network with job seekers to recruit talent for their businesses. Active Google+ users are likely to be an asset to your company because they are familiar with technology and tend to be early adopters. Plus, Google+ can be a platform for you to share video, photos, or other media that demonstrate your corporate culture.

External and Internal: Relationship Building

A significant benefit of Google+ is that it is helps to build relationships. A business with existing customers that it engages on Hangouts increases the chances of those customers being followers, and adding the company to their followers’ lists. Additionally, internal collaborators using Google+ tools may be able to improve communication across teams and create opportunities for more productive meetings.

How does your organization use Google+?

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Instagram Strategies That Work

instalogoInstagram is a very useful marketing tool, beyond what some might say. Instead of thinking that this visual social network is all about high fashion photos or snapshots of teenage antics, know that businesses use Instagram to promote their brands and they do so effectively. Still not convinced? A few case studies:

It’s clear that if a brand uses Instagram to display how a product is used behind-the-scenes, how something of interest can be shared across audiences, or how the people behind the brand bring it to life, you can bet that there’s an increase in brand awareness. But, it takes the right tactics and planning to bring it all together. If you’re thinking of getting started with Instagram, be sure to run through this checklist of proven strategies (backed by our culling of the best brands on Instagram and countless case studies):

Design A Calendar

Brands need to design an effective calendar or schedule for all content, and that include Instagram. Only a few photos should be posted each day, so avoid the common social media pitfall of “spraying and prayer” your network with hundreds of pictures in one day. Posting tons of photos can get annoying. It’s that simple. Three to four photos a day is enough for most brands.

When posting daily pictures, do not post them too close together during the day – i.e. space them out over the entire day. If many photos are posted at the same time, they will disappear quickly as other images posted will take up space in your followers’ feeds. The best time to post images is during a user’s daily downtime. Consider posting images at 8 A.M., 12 P.M., 5 P.M., and 9 P.M. During these times, people are just waking up, going to lunch, traveling home from work, or just sitting at home. Most individuals check their feeds often, so this is why Instagram is a great business tool if you plan out your content postings carefully. (Hint: Not sure which hours are the peaks for your Instagram users? Take a look at your Facebook Insights to see when people visit your page – these peak times are likely going to coincide with all of your social networks, including Instagram).

Using Different Techniques

Posting various images that have different effects/filters will keep the Instagram page fresh; variety is highly recommended. Users will not want to see the same kinds of shots over and over, so avoid the urge to post 10 photos in a row of the newest product you just got in. Instagram managers should take efficient photos of products/services in action, photos of how the business runs behind the scenes, photos of various business events, photos of customers while they are using a product, or photos that match the brand tone/feel/lifestyle you’d like to convey. When it comes to Instagram, the more creative and visually-appealing you strive for, the better.

Hashtags

Hashtags are very important on Instagram, and really, on all social media. Any brand that does not use them will likely run into problems getting traffic to their profiles. Hashtags will send non-followers to the images and can help your brand track its mentions as it reaches new audiences. The process of choosing hashtags must be done carefully, though. Using too many hashtags is not recommended because tons of hashtags will seem like spam. Each hashtag should be used in a phrase or as a call-to-action. Choose only the most relevant phrases that match the content you’re posting as well as your industry.

Benefits Of The Community

Instagram must be used effectively with the long-haul in mind because success will not happen overnight. This best way to gain followers is by commenting on other individuals’ photos, liking others photos, using hashtags correctly, and creating a sense of community around your Instagram profile. Community happens when you unify your audience around a common cause, make people feel included, and acknowledge their contributions. Do all of these things and you’ve mastered community management on Instagram. It may be easier said than done, but the effort is well worth it.

Question:

Do you use Instagram for your organization? How’s it working for you? Please include a link to your Instagram profile in the comments.

 

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Digital Marketing Trends That Put You In “The Know”

Development of new businessDigital marketing is evolving at a breakneck speed that’s leaving many marketers behind. Yes, it can be overwhelming, but with an understanding of the latest trends that are driving digital marketing, you can stay on top of how to engage target audiences online and convert them into loyal brand advocates.

We have just released a new research study entitled “5 Digital Trends that Could Make or Break Your Job.” We encourage you to download it for FREE today.

Our study is full of the latest statistics and numbers that will give you real insight into what consumers want and expect from organizations today. You’ll also get tips and ideas that will certainly help you as you navigate through the often murky, ever-changing landscape of digital marketing.

Here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll find when you download the study:

Changing Marketing Trends

The trends are clear. If your company is not yet involved in digital marketing, you’re already behind the competition. The question now is no longer “Will my company utilize digital marketing?” but “What will our digital marketing strategy be?” The trends in this industry change faster than any other thanks to modern advances in technology. It makes a good grasp of digital trends vital for anyone who works in this field.

What Determines Branding?

Take branding as an example. There was a time when a company name, logo, and product design were the primary influencing factors that determined a person’s view of a brand. With a good Super Bowl commercial and some positive PR in the newspaper, a company was on branding easy street. What do consumers expect now? They want high quality content on your website and social media pages, a place to connect with a community of your company’s fans, and a high quality app for their smartphone or tablet.

It used to take a lot to hurt a company’s reputation – some big scandal involving executive corruption or a serious product quality issue. Now, one of your employees can say something ignorant or unpopular on their personal Twitter account, and the public holds the whole corporation accountable.

Innovation has become the keyword in the digital marketing world. Everyone wants something new and they want to be fully engaged. You can’t just provide a video for consumers. They want an interactive video. Even when visiting a store, consumers want to be able to interact on their mobile devices to get more. Last Christmas, one popular store in downtown Manhattan, well known for their fabulous window displays, included a display that allowed passers-by to create their own unique digital snowflakes to add to the scene. Consumers expect to continue to be wowed in ways like this, but they have higher expectation every season, putting additional pressure on digital marketers to understand the current trends.

Market Research That Makes A Difference

We’ve prepared a research study to help you understand the current state of the digital marketing industry: “5 Digital Trends That Could Make or Break Your Job.” If you’re not following these trends within the next 6-8 months, you may start losing serious market share. That’s how quickly things change in this industry. So read up, and be prepared for the rest of the 2014 digital marketing season!

Download the Free CONNECTED CULTURE Research Study

And please share it with your friends!

 

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How To Calculate Blogging ROI

blogging-roi

Is Blogging Essential in 2014?

One of the top questions marketing agencies are asked these days is whether or not having a blog is essential. While business blogs were still just entering into the commonplace arsenal of marketing tools five years ago, more than 35 percent of Fortune 500 companies are now blogging. This is up from 23 percent in 2010. These percentages are considered to be even higher for smaller-sized companies.

Still, many businesses are reluctant to launch into creating a blog strategy and committing to posting content on a regular basis. In most of these cases, leadership is still not convinced that there is a calculable ROI for blogging.

This year, the upward trend in blogging certainly will continue. This is because more and more businesses are seeing calculable benefits to it. Still not sure if it’s right for your business? Here are some of the valuable reasons why you may want to jump on board the blogging bandwagon in 2014.

More Customers

According to a study from HubSpot entitled “The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing,” 56 percent of businesses that blogged at least once a month acquired customers through their blogs. Those that ramped up their efforts to three times a week saw this percentage jump to 70 percent. Daily blogging produced new customers for 78 percent of businesses.

More Credibility

Obviously the more valuable content you publish on your business blog, the more credibility you gain with customers and prospects. By positioning yourself as a thought leader, you’ll gain valuable trust that helps to build a brand and generate referrals.

More Traffic

Search engines reward websites that add fresh content. And, this is exactly what a blog enables you to do. By regularly blogging, you’re giving search engines what it is specifically looking for to enable you to rank higher in results. Higher rankings directly translate into more website traffic which ultimately means more sales.

Search engines crawl and index sites with regularly published content far more often than those that are stagnant. By peppering content with relevant keywords and linking between your blog and your website pages, you can improve your rankings even more. Get others to repost your content, and you’ll see an even bigger boost.

How to Calculate Your Return on Investment

While there are some marketing experts that claim that every business should be blogging because it’s free, this is utterly inaccurate. There is a definite cost to blogging. It requires a substantial amount of labor to be successful. While it can be costly, it can deliver a big opportunity. Thus, it’s important to calculate how blogging will affect your bottom line. Here’s how you can do this:

The Investment
  1. Determine how many hours will it take to write, edit, track, and manage the blog.
  2. Calculate the cost to your company in salary or contractor time for these hours.
  3. Add the cost for the design and technology fees for the blog (divide by 12 if this is an annual amount).
  4. Add the cost in hosting, maintenance, and additional app fees (divide by 12 if this is an annual amount).
  5. This total amount is what your blog costs per month.

The Revenue
  1. Evaluate how many revenue-oriented actions are created per month. This should include calls, clicks on your subscription sign up button, or who contacted you through your “contact us” page. For calls, you will need to verbally inquire about the blog’s role unless you utilize a special tracking phone number for the purpose of tracking customers from the blog.
  2. Determine a value for each revenue-oriented action.
  3. Multiply the number of each action by its associated value to calculate the revenue created from the blog.


Your return on investment is your revenue divided by the investment. This will give you a monthly ROI for your blogging efforts.

Hopefully, this has provided you with both some concrete proof that blogging works and how to determine what you can gain from adding it to your existing marketing mix.

Question:

What have you learned after calculating your blogging ROI?

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3 More Things To Use Your Blog For Besides Blogging

BloggingIn our last post, we talked about other ways to use your blog for your marketing besides just blogging. In this post, we’ll take things a step further and go over additional roles your blog can play that can contribute to the overall success of your marketing.

A Testing Laboratory

Be careful not to bombard your blog subscribers (and readers) with too many posts that are too varied. Throwing tons of content at your audience to see what sticks isn’t the best option, however, you can use your blog to selectively test messaging and gain valuable data. Using analytics (and engagement), you can start to measure what topics your audience is most passionate about or interested in and use that information to craft smarter campaigns. You can even try A/B testing with certain types of content to serve up the same information in the same form while seeing which format works better. Test offers now and then (selectively, of course) to gauge how that offer might perform when promoted through multiple channels.

A Networking Powerhouse

Believe it or not, your blog is an extension of your overall networking ability. Use your blog to attract reputable people in the field and encourage them to contribute by writing guest posts or doing collaborative projects. Make a strong impression by offering content that has value and encourage discussion to up your engagement levels. The goal is to attract and to build a solid relationship, so try to connect with potential experts in your industry if you can to add to your blog’s overall credibility. Having a professional write on your blog can help add authority to it, plus it may also translate in more page views in the future.

Speaking of networking, your blog can also be a hub for you to connect your social media channels so that content can be cross promoted and traffic can be driven to those areas for additional engagement. Don’t be afraid to play with embeddable posts, social proof, and other tactics that harness the power of social media in the framework of your blog.

A Customer Service Channel

Create content that shows customers or clients how to use your product or service and you may be helping out your customer service teams. How-tos, demonstrations, reviews, and other important information about what you do and what you offer can mean reduced customer complaints (e.g. “I can’t figure out how to use this!” or “Why doesn’t this ever work?”)  or questions, plus, it gives you a chance to showcase your expertise and add value to your overall brand. You’re showing you care by showing your cards. Be open, be responsive, and create content that helps answer your customer’s needs and questions.

Question: Can you think of other roles your blog can play?

 

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5 Things To Use Your Blog For Besides Blogging

Blogging Best Practices

Your blog is one of your most powerful marketing assets- but are you using it effectively? While your blog may be your organization’s voice, it serves a purpose much larger than just another content marketing channel. In fact, your blog could be used for so much more than blogging, becoming things like:

A News Portal

Make yourself become a voice of authority by having a news feed based on subjects relevant to your industry on the blog. Potential customers may come to your site instead of news outlets if they trust that you have the scoop on what’s happening. You can choose to feed in relevant content or related articles through various reading features, or you can choose to report on industry topics on your own – either way, your brand becomes seen as a thought leader.

An Effective Sales Tool

Use the content to show potential customers how to use the service or product to solve a problem – this area for content distribution is completely unique and if you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re missing out. Post videos that show how something can be used, or give data in the form of case studies or infographics – the possibilities really are

endless. In addition to demonstrating your value, you can use your posts as a sales tool. On the training side, your blog can also be used in this way to teach your sales team how to develop or communicate solutions to customers’ problems.

A Hub for Feedback

Your blog gives you access to important information that you can use to your benefit through marketing and sales. You can use the blog to determine which topics are more popular among your audience, not to mention, your audience demographics and engagement levels in relation to certain subjects, products, or services. Look at your blog analytics. Add key stats to a spreadsheet and sort them by topic, engagement level, etc. and determine what trends

exist – the messaging that performs well in this channel may also apply to others. Analyze the post views and comments to determine which topics resonated the most with the audience. Consider this information going forward so that your future content reflects the interests of your audience.

Tip: Want additional insight that can help your SEM efforts? Pay attention to the language used in comments by customers when talking about a particular topic. Use this feedback to explore different keyword variations.

An Email Subscriber Recruiter

Growing your email list can be key to ongoing success. You want to be in your customer’s minds – and inboxes – with content that engages and produces ROI. Growing your list through having a newsletter signup and call to action on the blog can be another way to grow your audience. Plus, you can also drive traffic back to the blog by including excerpts in your email newsletter. Sweeten the deal by giving value adds, like exclusive blog posts (only viewable by email subscribers) or other incentives. Once you’ve built up that list, you can continue to market to that base.

A Thought Leadership Platform

Your content matters, so invest in its creation so that you’re seen as a leader in your industry – i.e. make sure people know that you know what you’re talking about.

Go for quality and consistency with your blog by creating posts that use multimedia or other elements that set them apart from other posts from your competitors. Try to position your content uniquely and cover topics no one else covers – or topics every does cover, but in a completely different way.

Here’s a quick tip: use analytics to determine what posts can drive you to that image of authority. Look for posts that


Question:
What roles does your blog play now? What ones do you want to see it play? Once you have determined the popular posts that have drawn viewers in the past, you can add to these posts to continue to increase traffic. You can accomplish this goal by publishing a new post and also redirecting the previous link with the new content. Update on a past topic. Expand with new information. Revamp and revisit if something has completely changed. Then, once it’s done, share again through social media and other marketing channels. This shows that you value your content and want to offer value to your readers.

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Social Media Signals and Search Engines: How Much Really Counts?

If you’ve ever wondered about search engines and their ranking factors, you’re not alone. An entire industry full of SEOs ask themselves the same questions every day, but thankfully, because of that questioning, we’ve been able to learn a little bit more about how search engines consider websites for ranking. We know that quality content matters. We also know that a site’s backlink profile matters. But what about social media? How can a website’s social media presence tie into ranking?

When you think about it, it’s really no surprise that social plays into SEO. Google’s own webmaster guide to optimization puts an emphasis on offering value to users and social media is just another touch point for adding value. If you can create meaningful relationships online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+, why shouldn’t you be able to do the same on your own website?

As far as most SEOs can tell, there is in fact a direct correlation between a solid social media presence and better search engine visibility. As for how much visibility, that really all depends on what networks you’re participating in and how actively and effectively you’re doing so. For example, Google+ tends to rank very well within Google, so having a presence there is good for owning more SERP real estate. Plus, if you’re establishing Authorship, that can lead to higher clickthrough rates (up to 150% more, in fact, according to Catalyst). Another example is that of Facebook, which some SEOs suggest sends signals to search engines based on the number of shares and likes (i.e. the more popular you are on Facebook, the more visible in the SERPs). It’s all common sense, really. Being social and going viral are inherently connected and the more opportunities you have to connect with more people and motivate them to share, the more backlinks you earn, the more mentions you gain, the stronger your site looks, etc.

For your organization, the best thing you can do is to not worry so much about how social media signals play into ranking and instead, focus on building up a meaningful social presence. The SEO benefit will go along with a strong social presence – that’s a given, but by looking only at the SEO impact means that you’re missing out on the opportunity to offer value to customers, stakeholders, and audience members who can contribute positively to your online visibility, reputation, and level of trust within your industry.

Social signals and their weight algorithmically will always be in flux. We’ve seen this happen with certain types of links, content, and keyword usage – one can expect for social media to be affected by the constant change of user behavior and the search experience eventually. The number of Twitter followers, Facebook shares, or Pinterest repins are all important for measuring campaign success – but don’t put all of your eggs in that basket when trying to evaluate your search engine visibility. Just expect that being more social can mean more space in the SERPs.

Focus on creating valuable and unique social hubs for your advocates to connect and converse with you in the social sphere. The search engine visibility will come with time and continued effort.

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Tailoring Your Digital Marketing Plan to Your Organization

digital-marketing-plan-mindmapOne size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to digital marketing plans.  What works for one organization can be totally wrong for another. The best plans are those that are strategically developed with certain considerations in mind. The type of organization you have is perhaps the most obvious of these considerations. However, the size of your organization, the amount of available resources, and the types of customers are all equally important for determining how to best create a successful digital marketing plan that can be sustained long-term.

Let’s delve a little bit into each of these variables:

Your Organization Type
A B2B organization selling a new technology requires a dramatically different strategy for reaching their customers online than a small brick and mortar retailer. Some of the top priorities for a small retailer might be to establish a Yelp listing, a Facebook page, and to appear in Google Places results. For a tech company, it might be better to focus on establishing an industry-related blog or building up a healthy network on LinkedIn. The best digital marketing plans are created with a clear focus on the type of organization they support.

Your Customers
The goal of any digital marketing plan is to attract potential customers and keep them engaged after they buy. Considerable thought should go into where they congregate online and what information will resonate with them. This information will drive everything from the social media channels you use to the keywords chosen to help them find your organization in an online search.

Your Resources
Building a successful presence online requires consistent effort. If you’re lucky enough to have a fantastic in-house person or team to get your digital marketing efforts rolling, you’re one step ahead of most organizations. Though for the vast majority, investment is required to tackle both the development and the implementation of a plan.

It’s simply not realistic to think that you’re going to launch a full-scale Facebook ad campaign and hire the top PR firm if money is tight. One necessity in developing a digital marketing plan is taking an honest look at the resources you currently have and what amount you have available for online marketing. Like with every other aspect of business, budgeting is critical!

Limited Time – Get Your Free Digital Marketing Plan Workbook!
This month, I’m sharing with Connected Culture subscribers my workbook “Build a Winning Digital Marketing Plan” to help you create an online plan of action that will help you achieve new levels of success. Regularly priced at $9.95, you can download the workbook in PDF format right here for FREE.

In the workbook, you’ll learn valuable information about research, strategy, tactics, and measuring success to get more traffic, more customers, and ultimately more profit!  I encourage you to join the Connected Culture today and take advantage of this great, limited time offer.

Get Your Copy of “Build a Winning Digital Marketing Plan” now! 

 

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