SteamFeed http://www.steamfeed.com Marketing, Social Media, Technology, SEO, Business, and Blogging Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:56:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Top 6 Content Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid In 2015 http://www.steamfeed.com/top-6-content-marketing-mistakes-avoid-2015/ http://www.steamfeed.com/top-6-content-marketing-mistakes-avoid-2015/#respond Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:56:17 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26660 Marketing is an integral part of any business that wants to perform well in this competitive market. So, to take your business to the next level, the first thing you need to do is: plan your marketing strategy. If properly planned, a marketing strategy can turn out to be a game changer for you. And in […]

Author information

Sandip Kar

CEO at Softz Solutions & Co. Pvt Ltd.

A tech graduate by education, a digital marketing expert by profession, and the Founder and Owner of Softz Solutions & Co. Pvt Ltd., Sandip Kar defines entrepreneurship at its level best. He is also a founder of Brishti Technologies, an Online Marketing company that runs multiple web-based businesses, such as MyPrivateTutor.com (present across nine countries). Having started as an SEO service provider in 2001, Sandip Kar has been successfully managing thousands of top International clients till date, all across US, UK, Australia, Ireland and India. He specializes in the fields of Organic SEO, Social Media Marketing, app development, website design, development, promotion and management- all forms of online marketing ventures.

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Marketing is an integral part of any business that wants to perform well in this competitive market. So, to take your business to the next level, the first thing you need to do is: plan your marketing strategy. If properly planned, a marketing strategy can turn out to be a game changer for you. And in this digital world, online marketing is essential. These days, a few things are almost integral to the marketing strategies for any business. For example, content.

If you are planning an online marketing for your business, you just can’t leave out content. The overused phrase still holds true: content remains the king of online marketing. So, not including content marketing in your list of plans for 2015 is probably going to be one of the most fatal errors for your business.

Just including content marketing in your plan of actions is not enough. It holds no good if you can’t perform it properly. So, it is necessary to have a proper content marketing strategy. In 2014, only 39% of the B2C marketers in North America have a well-documented strategy for content marketing.

Percentage of B2C Marketers

In addition to not having a proper strategy, there are also a few common mistakes that companies usually commit while performing their content marketing.

With 2015 round the corner, it’s time to be have a look at some of the anticipated content marketing mistakes.

Here’s a sneak peek at a few top content marketing mistakes that businesses need to be wary of in 2015.

  • Not spending enough time to compose the titles
  • Committing grammatical mistakes
  • Not focusing at a personal level
  • Sharing content on the wrong platforms
  • Not performing SEO at all
  • Publishing overtly promotional content only on social media

Not Focusing Much on the Titles

You have written a great content. It has a lot of information and data that your target audience would like. The language is excellent as well. Still you find that your content is not performing well enough.

Are you focusing properly on writing the title or the headline of the content?

Did you know?

  • As many as 8 out of 10 people read the title of your content.
  • But only 2 out of 10 then go through the whole content.

This statistics seems enough to denote the importance of your content’s headline. It needs to be persuasive enough to make your reader go through the whole write up. Remember, a simple error in composing the title can cost you thousands of visitors and reduce the conversion ratio significantly.

So, how can you write a catchy headline for your content?

  • Use numbers
  • Add adjectives that attract
  • Try interrogative sentences

Once you write a catchy headline to your content, consider your job to be half done. It will help you attract readers in numbers, many of whom you can convert into your customers.

Writing for a Whole Group and a Wrong Tone

Who are your target audience? A whole group of people, right? Are you writing the content addressing the whole group? That’s probably one of the major mistakes you may commit.

Talking at a personal level – that’s the keyword for you. Ensure that your content addresses a single person at a time. That’s also the best way to make your write up more engaging. Consider the person to be your ideal client and deliver the content accordingly. Use the right tone for the content. Don’t use jargon that the ordinary readers won’t understand, especially when you are writing for them.

Making Spelling and Grammar Errors

Grammar remains the key when it comes to creating captivating content. No matter how great a content you create for marketing your business, a single mistake of spelling or grammar in it can turn out to be fatal. Glaring grammatical errors can minimize the impact of content marketing. They distract the concentration of your reader from the topic you have shared. So, the impact of the content decreases significantly. Hence, it’s important that you pay extra attention to grammar while creating the content to ensure that your content marketing strategies work perfectly.

Not Sharing the Content on the Right Platform

Where are you marketing your content? What are the platforms where you are sharing them? Are they frequented by your target audience? If not, then probably all your hard work will go in vain. You need to do enough customer research to know the right platform for marketing your content. And once you are able to do that, you can see the content marketing strategies deliver the best results.

Chucking Out SEO from Your Plan of Actions

Aren’t you optimizing your content for the search engines even when there are opportunities for that? It’s true that the older form of SEO holds no good any more. But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t grab the opportunity to appear at the top of the search engine results for relevant keywords. But remember, too much SEO might be fatal. So, refrain from keyword stuffing and keep your content as natural as possible.

Using Too Promotional Content Only on Social Media

Have you included social media in your content marketing strategy? You must have. They are among the most important platforms for sharing your published content, as they can help maximize viewership. But are you creating content that are overtly promotional. Remember, such content don’t attract readers much. Instead, include the ideas of the other experts on the topic you are covering.

And social media isn’t the only place to post the content. “There are a lot of new programs on the Internet that can help disseminate good content and get it front of a business’s target audience”, says Austin Paley, corporate marketing communications manager at digital marketing agency Blue Fountain Media. Paley adds names like Outbrain, Taboola, Quantcast and others as the right alternatives for this purpose.

It’s almost time to step into 2015. Hence, it is important for content marketers to keep an eye on the anticipated mistakes in their field for the upcoming year. It will help them avoid those errors and get maximum impact from their content marketing endeavors.


Author information

Sandip Kar
CEO at Softz Solutions & Co. Pvt Ltd.
A tech graduate by education, a digital marketing expert by profession, and the Founder and Owner of Softz Solutions & Co. Pvt Ltd., Sandip Kar defines entrepreneurship at its level best. He is also a founder of Brishti Technologies, an Online Marketing company that runs multiple web-based businesses, such as MyPrivateTutor.com (present across nine countries). Having started as an SEO service provider in 2001, Sandip Kar has been successfully managing thousands of top International clients till date, all across US, UK, Australia, Ireland and India. He specializes in the fields of Organic SEO, Social Media Marketing, app development, website design, development, promotion and management- all forms of online marketing ventures.

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18 Tools That Help Your Business Navigate The Modern Online Space http://www.steamfeed.com/technology-changing-modern-online-business-space-us/ http://www.steamfeed.com/technology-changing-modern-online-business-space-us/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:35:44 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26715 It’s kind of funny that when I was back at the University studying computer science, me and my friends couldn’t find an effective way to collaborate on assignments and projects. If you don’t follow my sense of humor, the thing that’s funny about it is that even among the future computer scientists, we were still running around […]

Author information

Karol K

Karol K

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a blogger and writer for hire. His work has been published all over the web, on sites like: NewInternetOrder.com, MarketingProfs.com, Lifehack.org, Quick Sprout, ProBlogger, Six Revisions, Web Design Ledger, and others. Feel free to contact him to find out how he can help your business grow by writing unique and engaging content for your blog or website.

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cover

It’s kind of funny that when I was back at the University studying computer science, me and my friends couldn’t find an effective way to collaborate on assignments and projects.

If you don’t follow my sense of humor, the thing that’s funny about it is that even among the future computer scientists, we were still running around with USB pen-drives, and communicating exclusively over email or our private online forum. This was constantly resulting in data getting lost, old data overwriting new data, and no one knowing what their task was in a given project in general.

Oh the good times…

Fast forward seven or eight years and all these problems – plus a bunch of other ones – have been solved for good. It really is remarkable how these days we can use the modern tools and solutions to help us achieve both our personal and business goals.

In this post, you will learn:

  • How to choose the right tools for you and your business.
  • What are the main challenges awaiting businesses in this modern online age.
  • How to build your own task impact scale.
  • How to improve your work productivity, not go crazy among all this technological noise and get your job done.

Tools vs. business

Back in the day, the only two business tools available were MS Word and Outlook. But now, we’ve gotten to a point where there’s an overabundance of all kinds of stuff and we somehow have to pick the exact tools and methods that are going to benefit our businesses, instead of just adding more things to our already quite busy to-do lists.

So to get started, we’re going to divide the different activities you do in your business into a handful of categories. You can start with the ones I’m sharing below, but feel free to add more if you think it makes sense.

  • Research.
  • Client outreach / management.
  • Project management / collaborative work.
  • Social media.
  • Selling and marketing.
  • Content creation and management.

Now, in order to really pick the right tools and effectively make our work easier with all this almighty technology, we can’t just go out there and select two tools for each category on random. This needs some more thought.

So what I like to do, personally, is take a look at what I call the task impact scale.

ti1

The scale itself has a rather simple construction. It shows the relation between the time spent doing certain task and the impact it has on your business. So whatever task you’re doing on a regular basis, try to put it somewhere on the scale.

For example, for me, reaching out to new clients has its place somewhere over here:

ti2

It’s roughly in the middle of the time axis but right at the very top of the impact axis. It’s clear that in my case, I have work because I do outreach.

For you the story might be different, and probably is. So spend a while and create your complete task impact scale. You should end up with something that looks roughly like this:

ti3

On another note, such a thing can be a great resource on its own as it gives you a lot of clarity in terms of what you’re spending most of your time doing at work.

Next, take some colors, assign one color to a single category of tasks, and then mark every task with its corresponding color. This will give you an even better look at what categories of activities are the most important for your business.

Here’s my situation (still work in progress):

ti4

So for me, the category of tasks that makes the most impact is client outreach and follow up.

Improving the things that have the most impact

The next big step in this process is to do some thinking and pick the categories that could benefit the most from some optimization.

Now, the funny part is that this is not necessarily about taking the tasks that consume the most time and trying to make them consume less. This would only be a short term fix. The approach I actually encourage you to take is to start from the far right side of the scale – the categories that have the most impact on your business, no matter how much time they consume.

By taking the category that has the highest impact and reducing the time the individual tasks require, you can achieve either of two things:

  • You will be able to introduce new tasks in that freed time slot – tasks that have the potential to become high-impact ones too. Or:
  • You will be able to spend the same amount of time on your existing high-impact tasks, but do so in a much more time-efficient manner, effectively letting yourself achieve even more results.

So the thing I encourage you to do now is go through your task impact scale, category by category (starting with the high impact stuff) and optimize each of them by introducing some new tools.

* Extra tip. See those tasks that sit on the top of your time axis yet have almost no impact on your business? Ditch them completely, automate them or delegate them to someone who can take care of them for you.

Okay, so let’s get to the fun stuff! What follows is my own list of tools – tools that have either worked for me personally or that have been recommended to me by people whose opinion I respect.

Tools to improve your research

BuzzStream or Inkybee. If you’re spending any amount of time searching for influencers in your niche either through Google, Twitter, or some other channel, BuzzStream or Inkybee will both introduce big improvements into your process.

buzzstream

You can set those tools to look for people and blog posts based on keywords, and then you get a nice dashboard listing every prospective contact that has been found. The list is clear and surely easier to navigate than an Excel spreadsheet you would probably build for this otherwise.

At that point, you can either reach out to those people directly from within the tool, or take the communication somewhere else.

Open Site Explorer. This is one of the free SEO tools at Moz.com. It’s designed to help you find the sites that are linking to your competition, so you can examine them closer and maybe land similar placements for your site. The tool displays incoming links, new links, top pages, linking domains, anchor texts, and a bunch of other stuff.

Tools to improve your client outreach / management

Bidsketch. In short, this tool puts your client proposals on steroids. Bidsketch is an online solution that gives you access to a proposal creation tool and then also takes care of sending your proposals out and tracking their performance. You can check how clients interact with your proposals, which gives you a great insight into how to improve your methods over time. Plus, all templates at Bidsketch are built by professionals who really know their craft.

bidsketch

Nutshell CRM. Nutshell is a very simplistic and easy to use CRM system. It helps you store leads, manage contacts and accounts, plus generate reports regarding your conversion (leads-to-clients), sales, and more. It also helps you consolidate communications with your clients in one easy to manage place.

Tools to improve your project management / collaborative work

Trello. Trello is a very effective way to take care of your to-do lists, whole projects, and even collaborating with your team on those projects. Your things inside of Trello are based on boards, lists and cards. You can create different boards to represent different departments in your business. Then you have lists for projects, and cards for individual tasks. Everything is easy to use and very intuitive.

trello

Slack. In simplest terms, I’d have to say that Slack is the ultimate freestyle collaboration tool. Where most other project management solutions tend to organize things in structures and blocks, Slack gives you freedom to organize your work in whatever way you wish. Because of this, every team member can communicate freely and just focus their efforts on the actual work that needs to be done.

ClickMeeting. A solution for everyone who needs an effective way to have a meeting with their team, clients, or even to conduct an online webinar. ClickMeeting will let you in on a clever audio and video conferencing feature, the possibility to share your  desktop, Q&As and moderated chat windows, and more. Overall, a great tool if meetings are an integral element of your daily business life.

Tools to improve your social media

BuzzSumo. It’s really tough to categorize certain tools in just a single bracket these days. With BuzzSumo for example, it’s not only a social media tool, but also a great research tool that will help you find the content that’s performing the best on social media right now. You can even filter the results to see only the top pages for the day, week, or year.

Buzzsumo

And the story is quite similar with this next tool too…

IFTTT. IFTTT is short for if this then that. It lets you create powerful connections between the different platforms that you use (not only social media). For example, with IFTTT, you can have your Instagram photos automatically tweeted out as images, or for something more usable this time of the year, you can have the hottest Black Friday posts from Reddit emailed to you.

Tools to improve your selling and marketing

Selz. In simple terms, Selz is your best solution to launch an online store if you’re not experienced with code, building websites, or other web-related technical stuff. The platform just makes things easy again, like they should be. One more cool thing about it is that you can offer different kinds of products – physical, digital, and even services. Plus, of course, things like payment processing and other slightly boring aspects of selling on the internet are being taken care of as well.

selz

Shopify. An alternative to Selz. For the most part, you will find the same set of features here. Just keep in mind that if you want to sell digital products, with Shopify you will have to install separate app to deliver them.

SendinBlue. A great tool for sending out email newsletters and reconnecting with your customer base. What sets it apart is that there’s a free plan allowing you to send up to 9,000 emails per month, and you also get access to a great autoresponder functionality.

Tools to improve your content creation and management

(Since these days most websites run on WordPress, and therefore content creation happens in WordPress as well, this section focuses exclusively on WordPress plugins.)

edit-flow

  • Edit Flow. Improve your editorial workflow and introduce a publishing calendar.
  • WordPress Backup to Dropbox. Back up your content automatically and store it in your Dropbox account.
  • All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets. Make your Google listings more appealing with some rich snippets.
  • Shortcodes Ultimate. Use simple shortcodes to introduce custom elements into your content, such as buttons, media, dividers, tabs, columns, highlighters, lightboxes, and more.
  • Wordfence Security. Make sure your site and the content you have is safe and secured from common hacker attacks.

Conclusion

Whew, so there we have it! In total, there are 18 tools on this list, so I’m sure you will be able to find something useful for yourself here. Let’s just keep in mind that the goal isn’t to use a certain tool just for the sake of it, or just because the tool is popular at the moment. A much better approach is to only use what makes your work either easier, faster, or better. Or all three.

For instance, if a given tool seems interesting to you, give it a complete 20-day trial run. The reason why I’m saying this is because all tools have at least some learning curve. So for example, just because one tool seems difficult during the first three or four days of using it, doesn’t mean that it won’t become a lifesaver for you later on. Just give it time and experiment.

One last thing, what tools are you using right now to help you achieve your business goals and make your work easier?


Author information

Karol K
Karol K
Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a blogger and writer for hire. His work has been published all over the web, on sites like: NewInternetOrder.com, MarketingProfs.com, Lifehack.org, Quick Sprout, ProBlogger, Six Revisions, Web Design Ledger, and others. Feel free to contact him to find out how he can help your business grow by writing unique and engaging content for your blog or website.

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10 Bestest Tools To Run A Successful Startup http://www.steamfeed.com/10-bestest-tools-run-successful-startup/ http://www.steamfeed.com/10-bestest-tools-run-successful-startup/#respond Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:56:39 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26666 If you just started a business, you should be aware of the advantages of the Digital Age. There are limitless opportunities, tools, apps and services that you can use to make significant progress and attract more customers. Business models are being revolutionized with the application of apps and tools that help them grow faster and […]

Author information

Robert Morris

Robert Morris

Robert is a professional content writer from NYC.

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If you just started a business, you should be aware of the advantages of the Digital Age. There are limitless opportunities, tools, apps and services that you can use to make significant progress and attract more customers. Business models are being revolutionized with the application of apps and tools that help them grow faster and more effectively. In the continuation, you will find the best tools that will help you get through just about any challenging phase on your way to success.

1. Optimizely

Optimizely

The success of your business is founded upon testing. Optimizely is a priceless tool that enables online business owners to test and compare web pages and get insight into important data about the visits and clicks you get, as well as the number of conversions within a given period of time. You can easily integrate Optimizely with Google Analytics or other similar programs.

2. NinjaEssays

Essay writing service

If you have ever been to a workshop focused on business startups, then you must be aware of the importance of content marketing. The online content related to your business can make or break its success. If you cannot write successful content, then you can hire writers and editors at custom writing service NinjaEssays.com. This website offers custom-tailored writing assistance that will make your business more attractive for your target audience.

3. MailChimp

mailchimp

There are plenty of reasons why you should focus on building an email marketing list. With the help of MailChimp -  all-inclusive email marketing platform, you will be able to start sending better emails and manage multiple lists. The other key features of this platform include: mobile-friendly opt-in forms, revenue reporting, social integration, autoresponders, and list segmentation.

4. Google Apps for Work

apps

This is an incredibly useful set of programs that enable cloud-based storage for easy access. With the help of Google Apps for Work, you will get an opportunity to create shared calendars, professional email, video meetings, and much more. The automatic syncing feature provides you with freedom to work from anywhere. The enhanced security and control features of the apps will help you control and safely manage the company’s devices and data.

5. Prezi

prezi

The easiest way to explain the key aspects of your business is by making a captivating presentation that conveys its essence. Although the tool is very easy to use, it still results with a sophisticated, complex 3D story that includes plans, concepts, sketches and other content. You can use Prezi offline or in the cloud, and you can also download it as a mobile app for your iOS device.

6. Xero

xero

Since you just started the business, saving money is an important part of your plan. Instead of paying an actual accountant to take care of the finances, you can easily keep track of the expenses and revenues with the help of Xero. You can work together with other users and manage your finances through teamwork, get mobile access at any time, calculate the payroll and pay staff through the effective features of this software.

7. Enloop

enloop

You still don’t have a detailed business plan? Then it’s about time to create it. Although it seems like a challenging task, writing a business plan can be made easy if you use the right tool. Enloop enables its users to write customized business plans, prove their ideas and forecast the success of their startups through efficient automated software. You can also use this tool for industry comparison and scoring, as well as for automated projections.

8. Highrise HQ

High

The success of every business startup is dependent upon following up with leads. Highrise is a simple and effective tool that gives you insight into the interests of your customers and enables you to track contacts, notes and tasks in one place. This tool enables you to keep track of all conversations and categorize each contact in the appropriate group.

9. SlideShare

Slideshare

Besides being a great place for promoting your business materials and exposing your brand to a relevant target group, SlideShare is also a great source of inspiration. You can find useful information on how to market your new business and manage it effectively. SlideShare can be used for locating and sharing content in different formats, such as PDF files, videos, webinars, slides and more.

10. GoToMeeting

goto

Business meetings are already an important part of your life, so you need to find a way to make them more effective. GoToMeeting allows you to organize and attend an unlimited number of online meetings for up to 3, 25 or 100 attendees, depending on the plan you choose. This is one of the most efficient video conferencing tools currently available online.

Time to make your startup more successful! Use the right tools!

Having the right ideas is only part of the journey. When you find your business goals, the matter of implementing them into practice will complicate your life in ways you never thought possible. With the help of the right tools and commitment to succeed, every obstacle you face can be surpassed.


Author information

Robert Morris
Robert Morris
Robert is a professional content writer from NYC.

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Your SEO Insider: “Mobile Friendly” Ranking Factors & Testing Tool, Advanced SEO Tips, Apple Maps http://www.steamfeed.com/seo-insider-mobile-friendly-ranking-factors-testing-tool-advanced-seo-tips-apple-maps/ http://www.steamfeed.com/seo-insider-mobile-friendly-ranking-factors-testing-tool-advanced-seo-tips-apple-maps/#respond Sun, 23 Nov 2014 15:42:11 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26711 Howdy SteamFeeders! Welcome back to another adventurous week in Search! Don’t miss: Google labels “mobile friendly” websites does your website pass Google’s “mobile friendly” test? updated information about Apple Maps Schema quick guide to Schema advanced on-page targeting Google Mobile The big announcement of the was that Google, after weeks (months, years) of testing finally […]

Author information

Brent Carnduff

I am an Search Engine Marketing specialist and speaker, former teacher and basketball coach, married with 2 children (Daniel & Ashley), a wanna be author, avid reader, an out of shape cyclist, and a Canadian ex-pat.

I hope to add a voice of reason, understanding, and professionalism to the SEO industry.

The post Your SEO Insider: “Mobile Friendly” Ranking Factors & Testing Tool, Advanced SEO Tips, Apple Maps appeared first on SteamFeed.


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SEO Insider-2

Howdy SteamFeeders! Welcome back to another adventurous week in Search!

Don’t miss:

  • Google labels “mobile friendly” websites
  • does your website pass Google’s “mobile friendly” test?
  • updated information about Apple Maps
  • Schema
  • quick guide to Schema
  • advanced on-page targeting

Google Mobile

The big announcement of the was that Google, after weeks (months, years) of testing finally identifies “mobile friendly” websites on the mobile search engine results pages (SERPs).

Google Officially Launches “Mobile-Friendly” Labels In Mobile Search Results by Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Land

In addition, Google announced that they were using mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal!

Google: We’re Experimenting with Mobile-Friendly Ranking Factors by Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Roundtable

Does your site qualify as “mobile-friendly”? Use Google’s new “Mobile-Friendly Site” testing tool to find out!

Google Launches Mobile-Friendly Site Testing Tool by Matt Southern on Search Engine Land

5 Ways Your Site Might Fail Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test by George Freitag on Portent

Apple Maps

Last month, Apple announced “Maps Connect” a self-service portal for businesses to add their business data directly to Apple Maps, alas, it has come to light that they are “not accepting any mobile or home-based businesses without external signage.”

“Apple Maps Is Not Intended To Be A General Business Directory” by Andrew Shotland on Apple Maps Marketing.com

Apple Maps “Announces” New U.S. Business Listings Data Providers by Andrew Shotland on Loc@L SEO Guide

Advanced SEO Articles

3 reader friendly, detailed, articles on advanced SEO strategies!

If you, like me, have too long ignored Schema, this is a great “getting started guide”.

A Quick Start Guide to Schema – Your Competitive Edge by Chuck Price on Search Engine Watch

Practical SEO strategies! I’m a big fan of both #2 and #5, and will definitely be trying some of the others!

5 Data-Back SEO Strategies to Increase Traffic by David Arrington on the semrush SEO Blog

Great information on getting the most out of your on-page SEO efforts!

Illustrated Guide to Advanced On-Page Topic Targeting for SEO by Cyrus Shepard on The Moz Blog

Thanks for reading! Have a great week in search and a Happy Thanksgiving!


Author information

Brent Carnduff
I am an Search Engine Marketing specialist and speaker, former teacher and basketball coach, married with 2 children (Daniel & Ashley), a wanna be author, avid reader, an out of shape cyclist, and a Canadian ex-pat. I hope to add a voice of reason, understanding, and professionalism to the SEO industry.

The post Your SEO Insider: “Mobile Friendly” Ranking Factors & Testing Tool, Advanced SEO Tips, Apple Maps appeared first on SteamFeed.

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2 Things You Must Obsess Over To Be A Great Growth Hacker http://www.steamfeed.com/two-things-must-obsess-great-growth-hacker/ http://www.steamfeed.com/two-things-must-obsess-great-growth-hacker/#respond Sat, 22 Nov 2014 14:25:53 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26620 Growth hackers are unique from other marketers for many reasons; their focus on lean marketing tactics, their love for – and understanding of – the role technology plays in modern marketing, and their ability to influence growth with limited resources and slim budgets. Considered an asset to any startup team, growth hackers are answer seekers […]

Author information

Ross Simmonds

Ross Simmonds is a digital strategist, public speaker and entrepreneur. He's currently writing  Stand Out: A Content Marketing Guide for Entrepreneurs which highlights how businesses can use content marketing to drive meaningful and measurable results

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medium_15027738760

Growth hackers are unique from other marketers for many reasons; their focus on lean marketing tactics, their love for – and understanding of – the role technology plays in modern marketing, and their ability to influence growth with limited resources and slim budgets.

Considered an asset to any startup team, growth hackers are answer seekers and consistently curious. On any given day they split their focus between planning and executing for the purpose of driving sustainable or hyper growth.

Over the last few months, I’ve spent time talking and studying some of the best growth hackers in the world. I’ve studied their habits and learned lessons that would allow any aspiring growth hacker achieve meaningful success. A few of the key things I’ve uncovered during this research is that the best growth hackers leverage psychology to drive success along with other things like being data driven. While studying this field and those within it, I’ve also uncovered two obsessions that differentiate the best growth hackers from the rest:

1. Meaningful Analytics & Data

Analytics is one of the most powerful tools in the growth hacker’s toolbox. It’s the heart and soul of growth hacking and what guides most decisions. Whether we’re talking about content marketing growth hacks or one of the many other growth tactics that businesses are leveraging to drive results; data should drive everything. In order to make informed decisions around what you need to do in order to be successful tomorrow, you must study what’s going on in your business today.

The best growth hackers analyze data beyond web and social analytics to track user behavior and the customer journey. They see value in understanding where their customers are coming from, what obstacles they face along the journey, when customer support is needed, and what drives action like referrals.

For the best growth hackers, high–level data is never enough. Great growth hackers want to analyze and study every data point throughout the customer lifecycle to better understand how they can impact things like acquisition, retention and referrals. To understand this data, the best organizations are creation environments where their growth and data teams can quickly implement and measure results.

For example, Pinterest is a website that runs hundreds of A/B experiments at anytime. As a website that generates thousands and thousands of page views every hour, it’s important for their team to have a system in place to be best equipped to make timely and data-driven decisions. To do this, they built a system that was required to accomplish three key goals:

  • Extensible and generic enough so that we could easily extract the most valuable information from experiment data to support different kinds of cohort/segmented analysis.
  • Scalable to process and store a large amount of data generated by ever increasing number of experiments, users and metrics to track.
  • Compute and serve metrics via dashboards in batch/real time with high quality, providing the optimal statistical test modules.

As a result, they were able to develop a framework and internal system that is essentially a growth hackers dream. The dashboard developed provides tools to compare metrics from different user groups such as country, gender, app type and user state. Furthermore, the dashboard highlights the statistical significance of differences between group types as it to various experiments being conducted. This dashboard arms Pinterest with the ability to conduct scalable A/B experiments that help make data-drive decisions and is a tool that every growth hacker would embrace. Each piece of data is useful on its own but most powerful when it feeds back into the framework and is used to constantly reevaluate priorities and leveraged to drive the most growth.

Etsy’s infinite scroll fiasco is a great example of leveraging analytics when implementing a growth hacking effort. Etsy released their new infinite scroll feature after five months of development. They were thrilled! Things took a turn for the worse when they analyzed the data. With this new feature, the data was finding that people were buying fewer things through search. This was an unintended outcome that forced them to eliminate the infinite scroll feature entirely and go back to how things were before.

The lesson in this story is that analytics uncover important pieces of information that guide growth. If the Etsy team simply continued with business as usual, they would have never been able to identify that this new hole in their sales funnel was their own doing. Studying and obsessing over analytics allows for growth hackers and marketers to prioritize their actions, guide your budget, and uncover opportunities that could drive sustainable growth in the future.

2. Growth Driven Experiments

The best growth hackers are obsessed with running experiments. I call them experiments intentionally.  Experimenting is not just about winning and solutions; it’s about gaining new knowledge. It’s a willingness to try something new and an underlying acceptance that their efforts might not drive results. Each piece of information collected from an experiment helps growth hackers unlock insights to better guide their success. The new information you gather from your failed experiments fuels the next. And so on.

The best growth hackers run experiments frequently and strategically, and are comfortable walking away from an experiment that fails. Growth hackers take these experiments seriously, ensuring they have the right infrastructure in place to support them and the technical support to execute them.

Experiments are lifeblood when you’re working with tight budgets. Yet, instead of starting by thinking of growth experiments in terms of tactics, think about the process you take to uncover and implement experiments that drive meaningful results. Brian Bolfour, VP of Growth at Hubspot recently offered four great reasons why focusing on process is more important that focusing on tactics when building a culture around growth experiments. His points were:

  1. What works for other won’t work for you.
  2. Your audience, product, business model, customer journey are different. Your business is different, plain and simple.
  3. Growth is the sum of lead bullets, not one silver bullet.
  4. Rate of change is accelerating.
  5. You need a Machine: Scalable, Predictible, And Repeatable.

To really get a deep understanding of these items, you really need to check out his deck:

Growth hackers have the ability to experiment with sign up forms, email campaigns, value propositions, landing pages, copy, design, usability and even payment pages. With so much to test, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and begin to suffer from paralysis by analysis. To resist this issue, identify one key metric for your various experiments and focus on that. From there, don’t stop experimenting – test, test, and test some more.

If you’re struggling to uncover opportunities to drive growth for your business, I strongly recommend spending some time reading Brian Belfour’s blog and interacting in the Growth Hacker community.

Growth hackers are changing the way businesses conduct and implement marketing efforts. Over time, I see a world where growth hacking becomes so mainstream that the best growth hackers have a seat at the table in the C-Suite of Fortune 500 brands along with some of the fastest growing companies in the world.

Growth hackers are in high demand and becoming a great one will only come from focus, determination and a thirst for learning. Being great at it requires a passion for your work and driving meaningful and measurable results. If you’re a growth hacker searching for greatness, I encourage you to own your obsession for analytics and experiments and let it carry you to success.

photo credit: Skley via photopin cc


Author information

Ross Simmonds
Ross Simmonds is a digital strategist, public speaker and entrepreneur. He's currently writing  Stand Out: A Content Marketing Guide for Entrepreneurs which highlights how businesses can use content marketing to drive meaningful and measurable results

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The #FutureOfBusiness: Employees Will Rule http://www.steamfeed.com/futureofbusiness-employees-will-rule/ http://www.steamfeed.com/futureofbusiness-employees-will-rule/#respond Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:37:17 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26601 This is the final in a series about the #FutureOfBusiness that highlights the impending shift in organizational change. In my first post, Will The #FutureOfBusiness Radically Change Everything As We Know It? I highlighted the economic and market shifts that have forced business to finally take notice: including a volatile world economy; impending impacts on budgets; […]

Author information

Hessie Jones

CEO at ArCompany, and a seasoned digital strategist having held management positions for top Ad Agencies including Ogilvy, Rapp Collins, and Isobar Digital. She also has extensive start-up experience with launch successes like Yahoo! Answers. Hessie is also an active blogger/writer for ArCompany, Huffington Post, Digital Journal and WhatsYourTech.ca

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medium_4188827473

This is the final in a series about the #FutureOfBusiness that highlights the impending shift in organizational change.

In my first post, Will The #FutureOfBusiness Radically Change Everything As We Know It? I highlighted the economic and market shifts that have forced business to finally take notice: including a volatile world economy; impending impacts on budgets; continuous tech innovation driving consumer consumption and communication – all driving significant operational and mindset changes at the corporate level.

The second in the series, The #FutureOfBusiness Is Social: Adapt Or Die referenced a C-suite organization unwilling to embrace, let alone acknowledge, impacts of these changes because of sheer ignorance (for one), but also because of the upheaval and organizational risk that they impose.

Senior management is unwilling to relent to the strength and power of the consumer. It’s surprising how many businesses still “think” they can control the message, despite the countless examples of organizations that have been humbled by this thing called social media. By preserving control at the top of the hierarchy, these same organizations are increasingly vulnerable to the volatility of the customer voice.

The conclusion: Organization needs to change to a more human one, not to only respond to the external market and consumer changes, but also because of internal pressures. No longer will current organizational structures and processes survive in the current environment.

The last in these series will focus on the employee, the heart of the organization. More specifically, it will cover:

  • Trends that are impacting the changes in employee mindset
  • The reasons why employee retention is paramount
  • The inherent role changes at the individual contributor level

The People Have Spoken

The lingering effects of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis and resulting world-wide Financial Crisis in 2007-2008 continue to this day. Consumer confidence has waned. And while countries have seen considerable improvement in the jobless rates, this article suggests that people are more cautious than ever:

The latest jobs report showed the unemployment rate was at its lowest level in six years, 5.8 percent. But Americans aren’t convinced that things are nearly that good. In a recent Ipsos-MORI poll, 1,001 Americans were asked, “Out of every 100 people of working age, how many do you think are unemployed and looking for work?” Their average response was 32. That’s almost 26 percentage points higher than the 6.1-percent jobless rate in August, when the poll was conducted.

But the U.S. isn’t alone. The same holds true for many Western countries. When asked the same question, respondents from countries representing Poland, Belgium, France, Canada, Australia, Poland etc average response was, on average, 20 percentage points higher than the actual jobless rate.

At the same time, there is no good news about economic recovery. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about pundits warning of another impending global recession in 2015. It’s a wonder why consumers are ever so wary these days. These same consumers are also employees or entrepreneurs. They’ve witnessed, first hand, its effects on their livelihoods.

Employee Loyalty? An Oxymoron

We, at ArCompany, have tackled the subject of Entrepreneurialism amongst Millennials. This generation, the future workforce,

will be the most educated generation after GenX….They have also witnessed instability in the workplace, corporate scandals, and a really tough job market….[When they graduate, they see] huge obstacles: The inability to get loans, lack of on the job business training & resources, and the worst economic climate since the Great Depression …

They, along with the current workforce, have come to a cruel realization that times have changed. The dizzying destruction of business, especially among those that were seemingly indestructible, has given rise to a climate of mistrust and self-preservation. People don’t expect to be working their entire lives for the same company. Organizations are now short-term focused on performance, therefore this leaves employees much more vulnerable to downsizing as the need arises.

It’s no wonder why we see this trend increasing:  Employees are no longer loyal to an organization. Now, their voices are amplified by social media, and can leave a company just as vulnerable. It’s here I noted,

Employees, angered and frustrated at company decisions have made, have felt powerless. Now employees who cannot impact changes internally can take their messages to their social networks and allow the media and world, at large, to be be judge, jury and executioner.

The Rise of Entrepreneurialism

Government is now developing more small business programs to encourage American job seekers another alternative. At the same time, 27% of Millennials are already entrepreneurs.

Mikal Belicove, Entrepreneur Magazine Columnist, author and business writer recently delivered a lecture at Keystone College entitled, “10 Rules for Entrepreneurship You Never Learned But need to Know”.

Slide77

This current state has reduced the organizational leverage significantly. Employees who are disengaged in their current jobs will seek satisfaction elsewhere. Millennials, to whom we’ve spoken, are far more interested in getting the experience from diverse projects and companies and are more than willing to leave a job to obtain this. A company, by today’s standards, can no longer keep the best and the brightest.

Here’s some interesting information:

Slide74

The rise of the freelance economy also provides amazing opportunities for companies to continue to get the best quality work despite this new lack of loyalty.

Building a Culture of Inclusion

The “evolved” CEO realizes that while its company is vulnerable to market shifts, survival also depends on leveraging the strength and advocacy of its employees. In order to adapt to increasingly consumer-controlled marketplace an organization will need to rely on its workforce to scale responses, adapt products and services and defend the organization when needed.

Creativity will come from the Edges

To do this, the biggest change is to culture. I referenced Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter’s book, Humanize where they spoke about the Generative organization. It’s one…

that has an ongoing capacity to generate and produce and create. Being generative is ultimately a sustainability capacity, not a one-off event. It is perpetual.

In order to truly leverage your most valuable resources, the culture must be one of inclusion. This means that an organization truly capitalizes on the diversity of its employees; and, not only encourages, but also celebrates, the innovation and creativity that arise as a result. As Grant and Notter point out,

Diversity means difference…. Inclusion is the capacity to include difference

This once hierarchical structure will collapse. In order for this organization to truly embrace “inclusion” it must seek to flatten its structure and allow decision-making and innovation to come from all levels of the organization.

This sends out a strong signal of trust to the rest of the organization. Not only will this increase accountability at the individual level, there will be a renewed sense of purpose and engagement that perhaps increases loyalty as well.

A Remote Workforce is a Productive Workforce

Many companies are realizing that mandated 9-5 workday is unrealistic. Coupled with an increasing remote-access workforce, companies must now acquiesce to developing a level of trust among its employees with this increased flexibility.

However, a remote workforce also allows companies to hire the best and the brightest. No longer is there an expectation or desire for prospective employees to reside in the same location as the employer for whom they work.

A Culture of Collaboration Results

Fostering a culture of trust and inclusion that seeks to break down silos, enables a less inhibited environment. What results is the development of a collaborative culture that allows information to come from everywhere in the organization and embraces solutions from anyone.

This process will take time to develop so it becomes a natural part of culture. Technology will also enable this. However, once it begins, the organic result allows a synergy that will be felt across the organization: by way of productivity, improved employee satisfaction,  a renewed workforce and ultimately a responsive and profitable organization.

photo credit: funkandjazz via photopin cc


Author information

Hessie Jones
CEO at ArCompany, and a seasoned digital strategist having held management positions for top Ad Agencies including Ogilvy, Rapp Collins, and Isobar Digital. She also has extensive start-up experience with launch successes like Yahoo! Answers. Hessie is also an active blogger/writer for ArCompany, Huffington Post, Digital Journal and WhatsYourTech.ca

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More Than A Buzzword: Why Personal Branding Is So Important http://www.steamfeed.com/buzzword-importance-personal-branding/ http://www.steamfeed.com/buzzword-importance-personal-branding/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:13:19 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26607 Not too long ago, your professional reputation was created and maintained by two things: word of mouth and a single piece of paper, your resume. Applying for jobs was as simple as submitting an outline of your experiences and maybe a letter describing your passions and work ethic. In the world before social networks, user-friendly […]

Author information

Sarah Nagel

Sarah Nagel
Social Marketing Specialist at Sprout Social

Sarah Nagel is passionate about bridging online and offline communications. She is dedicated to providing value to others through knowledge, advice or job opportunities. Sarah appreciates the ever-changing landscape of social media and loves learning about new tools and platforms. She is a strong advocate of brands using social as a recruiting, sales and as an R&D tool, among other functions, and sees the incredible value of social business. Sarah works as a Social Marketing Specialist at Sprout Social Inc. in Chicago, Illinois and focuses on outbound, proactive marketing efforts across social media channels.

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Not too long ago, your professional reputation was created and maintained by two things: word of mouth and a single piece of paper, your resume. Applying for jobs was as simple as submitting an outline of your experiences and maybe a letter describing your passions and work ethic. In the world before social networks, user-friendly webhosting and easy graphic creation tools, it didn’t take much to stand out from the crowd of candidates.

Now, everyone is responsible for his or her personal brand. More than a buzzword, personal branding is an important and necessary way to stand out professionally and obtain and maintain your ideal job. So what does personal branding mean exactly? This post covers:

  • Definition of personal branding and why it’s important
  • How to create a strong, recognizable personal brand (including resources)
  • Examples of individuals branding themselves well

Defining Personal Branding and Why it Matters

Wikipedia defines personal branding as the, “practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.” This branding includes social media profiles, websites and any other digital entity. What you post, who or what you engage with and how frequently you share creates your brand for colleagues, bosses and future connections to see.

Your personal brand is probably more visible than you know – in part due to less-than-obvious privacy controls and the encouragement to connect with as many people as possible. This seemingly unlimited access to information is one of the most important reasons why understanding and maintaining your personal branding is imperative to your career development.

According to PayScale, Gen X and Baby Boomers, on average, stick with jobs for 5-7 years, while Gen Y (Millennials) have an average tenure of 2 years. This trend in part stems from the fact that Gen Y is frequently connecting with new people and potential opportunities via social media networks. With these quick career turnovers, maintaining your brand is essential in nabbing the role you’re striving for next.

A strong personal brand gives a better mindset in today’s market where job security may not always be present. Many professionals are working for smaller companies or startups that have yet to prove long-term viability. A strong personal brand gives peace of mind should something not work out.

Your Personal Branding Strategy

Creating a personal brand should be a thoughtful, directed process. It takes time, tinkering and creativity. It’s more than just setting up profiles or a website. The journey to create it is what can result in a robust, genuine presence.

Start by setting a strategy with goals. Whether it’s to get a new job in a completely different industry or to be the authoritative source on mommy blogging- with an end result in mind, you can list steps to get you there. Do some research on others already working towards similar goals; then, figure out who you should engage with and what kind of content you should post to achieve comparable results.

If you are job hunting, a website with your photo, resume and portfolio would be a great resource to for interested recruiters. You could even add in a contact form so people can easily reach you. Keep in mind what makes you unique – the Internet is so saturated with content that having an edge or certain gumption will help you stand out.

Tools of the Trade

In terms of resources for personal branding, WordPress is still the webhosting tool used by many organizations. Canva is the new hot tool for creating unique graphics that don’t look like every other stock photo, as well as images sized perfectly for social networks. You can even step up your brand with a logo. LogoGarden offers a quick and easy process to create a free one. More obvious tools are LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter.

LinkedIn is constantly changing and improving to promote more connecting with industry peers and finding new career or volunteer opportunities. Google+ may be the black sheep of social, but many marketing professionals avidly use it so it shouldn’t be ignored. If you haven’t explored Google Helpouts yet, take a look around at these videos made by professionals on any number of topics. Find a quiet space, a good camera angle and some bright lighting and take a stab at creating multimedia on a topic you can speak to extensively.

Personal Branding Examples

My colleague Laura Lozano, a senior designer at Sprout Social, has an incredible website highlighting her personal brand. As a web and graphic designer, this is key to maintaining credibility since design is part of her everyday work and her site is a solid indicator of her skills.

Another individual excelling at personal branding is Ramon De Leon. Ramon went from delivering Domino’s pizzas to owning several pizza stores to speaking to hundreds of people on how to market and promote their organizations as well as themselves. As the owner of these stores, Ramon would surprise and delight the community with pizza and encourage those on the receiving end to post photos to social media networks using the hashtag #RamonWow.

Dom Garrett, a friend and social media marketer, has cultivated a social media expert identity through a short video series called #DailyValue. He covers various topics based on his experiences. They’re incredibly genuine clips and give viewers insight to Dom’s personality, as well as his expertise.

Personal branding is about being your best self in digital form and being memorable. In today’s marketplace, everyone needs to create and maintain some kind of brand in order to be taken seriously as a professional. There are so many free tools to help build a personal brand. It’s really up to the individual to dedicate the time and energy to creating something interesting.

photo credit: citirecruitment via photopin cc


Author information

Sarah Nagel
Sarah Nagel
Social Marketing Specialist at Sprout Social
Sarah Nagel is passionate about bridging online and offline communications. She is dedicated to providing value to others through knowledge, advice or job opportunities. Sarah appreciates the ever-changing landscape of social media and loves learning about new tools and platforms. She is a strong advocate of brands using social as a recruiting, sales and as an R&D tool, among other functions, and sees the incredible value of social business. Sarah works as a Social Marketing Specialist at Sprout Social Inc. in Chicago, Illinois and focuses on outbound, proactive marketing efforts across social media channels.

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How to Choose Your Social Media Marketing Platform: HootSuite, Buffer or Oktopost? http://www.steamfeed.com/hootsuite-vs-buffer-vs-oktopost-choose-social-media-marketing-platform/ http://www.steamfeed.com/hootsuite-vs-buffer-vs-oktopost-choose-social-media-marketing-platform/#respond Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:30:06 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26562 Social media is all about relationships and engagement, and the best way to engage with people on social networks is by directly being active on those networks. However, managing multiple social media marketing channels can be very time consuming, which is why many marketing managers choose to use the help of a social media management platform. Part […]

Author information

Yael Kochman

Head of Marketing & Community at Roojoom

An entrepreneur & passionate online marketing professional. Started my first venture at the age of 12 and got hooked in the startup world. Head of marketing & community at Roojoom.com - a content marketing platform that let's you easily create engaging content to keep you readers focused for over 9 minutes in average.

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Social media is all about relationships and engagement, and the best way to engage with people on social networks is by directly being active on those networks. However, managing multiple social media marketing channels can be very time consuming, which is why many marketing managers choose to use the help of a social media management platform.

Part of my job as the head of marketing for Roojoom is to manage our social media marketing. In an attempt to scale up our social media efforts, I’ve tried several of these platforms, and now use two of them on a daily basis. They say there’s nothing better than learning from one’s experience (except learning from your own!) – so here are the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

This post walks you through:

  • Why do you need a social media marketing platform?
  • Key features of 3 social media marketing tools
  • Tips for using each platform to maximize social engagement

So, why do you need a social media marketing platform anyway?

If you are a marketing professional, you need at least one social media marketing platform.

When I first started working for Roojoom, I was only aware of HootSuite. I had not used it before, but now that I was managing both my personal social media networks and Roojoom’s, I knew it would be easier to use a tool that aggregates all the information in one place.

At first I tried managing all of my social activity via HootSuite but I didn’t like it because it made me feel disconnected from what was going on in the groups I was active in. Now I use HootSuite for scheduling posts to Twitter and to Roojoom’s pages on Linkedin, Facebook and Google+. For my personal accounts and group discussions I still use the “old fashioned way” of manually posting so that I really feel a part of the conversations in real time.

So if I do most of the work manually anyway, why use HootSuite? I mostly use HootSuite to listen and engage in relevant conversations. I watch for mentions of me or my company, keywords that interest me so I can get involved in relevant discussions, and to learn if someone shared my content so I can thank them and engage in a conversation about it. This is the essence of why you need a social media marketing platform: to listen.

* Hootsuite Tip: Did you know that you can filter any HootSuite stream by keywords or Klout score? This gives you the ability to quickly go over an active stream and find out what influencers have to say about keywords you are most interested in.

Here is how:

1) Click the small arrow at the top of your stream and choose “filter by…”

Hootsuite 1

2) From the drop down menu choose Klout Score and move the cursor to only see posts from people with a certain Klout Score.

Hootsuite 2

HootSuite vs. Buffer vs. Oktopost: My Personal Journey

While HootSuite offers a wide set of features, it is also a complex platform and it takes time to get used to all the different features it offers. Sometimes all you want to do is take a piece of content and schedule it to go out on social media at a specific time frame that you know your audience is listening.

Buffer is the ultimate go-to tool for this purpose: it is simple to use for scheduling content to be pushed out on social media at pre-determined time slots.

Many marketers rely on Buffer to manage their entire social media distribution. Also, I really like Buffer’s blog as it has great insights and tips to maximize results from social media. For these reasons, I decided to try out Buffer for a few months. Conclusion? While adding posts to queues is nice to have, without the listening and monitoring it wasn’t enough for me.

Then I discovered Oktopost. Disclaimer: Oktopost is an Israeli startup and since beginning to use it I’ve now met their team on several occasions, and even spoke at the Mashable Social Media day they were hosting. But be sure that whatever I say here is my objective opinion on their service.

When I first tried Oktopost I wasn’t impressed. It felt like a faded version of HootSuite with fewer features. However, it was my personal connection with the team that pushed me to investigate it further. And it proved worthy of my time: I discovered a great tool to increase and measure my social media ROI.

Today, I manage most of Roojoom’s social media marketing with Oktopost. It is a sophisticated tool that is built to launch social media campaigns in a powerful way. Since you might not know it yet, I will go over the main features that I use:

  1. Campaigns

One of my favorite things about Oktopost is that it makes you treat the promotion of content on social media as individual “campaigns.” You can create different campaigns for every type of content, which then makes it easier to measure it’s ROI as you see the results of each campaign separately and compare them against each other.

Here is a screen shot of my Oktopost calendar, each color marks a different campaign:

Oktopost calendar

  1. The Auto-Poster

When launching an Oktopost campaign, you will see a tempting red button on the left hand corner that says “New Post” – don’t click on it. Instead:

1)    Go to message assets

2)    Add different messages for each social media network

3)    Then go to auto-poster, choose the network, the profiles and the time span and let the auto poster schedule the posts and tweets for you. This is a great way to promote the same piece of content onto different groups and networks without being spammy.

  1. Queues

This is the “Buffer” version of Oktopost. Instead of adding content into a specific campaign, you can add it to a queue. This is especially helpful for content curation – add the Oktopost bookmark button to your browser and add interesting content into the relevant queue.

To set up this feature, you will first need to define how many times a day you want to post from each profile and what are the times slots for each. To do this, go to your profiles where you can set the “queue settings” of each one of your profiles.

Advanced features: Oktopost also has social listening features, although not as sophisticated as Hootsuite’s. It also lets you track conversions from each and every post by adding a pixel to your website.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a simple tool to schedule social media posts, use Buffer. It’s very convenient and doesn’t require any set up or learning curve.

Looking for a more in depth tool that will allow you to listen to your social community, engage in conversations and analyze results? Use Hootsuite.

However, if you are looking for something that has a little of both, and also lets you build social media marketing campaigns and track conversions, try Oktopost for a one stop shop for your social media marketing.

Over To You

Which social media marketing platform are you using? What do you like about it and what’s missing for you? Let’s all learn from each other’s experience!


Author information

Yael Kochman
Head of Marketing & Community at Roojoom
An entrepreneur & passionate online marketing professional. Started my first venture at the age of 12 and got hooked in the startup world. Head of marketing & community at Roojoom.com - a content marketing platform that let's you easily create engaging content to keep you readers focused for over 9 minutes in average.

The post How to Choose Your Social Media Marketing Platform: HootSuite, Buffer or Oktopost? appeared first on SteamFeed.

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Blog Rituals Supercharge Writing: Hack Your Evolution http://www.steamfeed.com/blog-rituals-supercharge-writing-hack-evolution/ http://www.steamfeed.com/blog-rituals-supercharge-writing-hack-evolution/#respond Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:22:20 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26575 Takeaways You are searching for methods to make your blog writing faster and better. In our evolutionary past, humans adapted rituals to create meaning and motivate action. Famously creative people sometimes have what seem like odd rituals. You can strategically use a wide and dynamic variety of rituals to rock your writing. The Origins of […]

Author information

Darin L. Hammond

Owner and Professional Writer at ZipMinis Freelance Writing

Say hello to Darin at his website about the science of blogging and writing: http://www.zipminis.com. He blogs there and writes and designs professionally.

Darin publishes across the web on sites like Technorati, BC Blog, Blog Critics, Broowaha, Business2Community LifeHack, and Social Media Today. SteamFeed is his favorite place to write, of course.

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Takeaways
  • You are searching for methods to make your blog writing faster and better.
  • In our evolutionary past, humans adapted rituals to create meaning and motivate action.
  • Famously creative people sometimes have what seem like odd rituals.
  • You can strategically use a wide and dynamic variety of rituals to rock your writing.

Specific, repeated actions prior to writing can help you write better and be more productive.

The Origins of the Rituals That Influence Human Behavior.

Have you ever thought about the actions you repeat daily as part of a routine to make your day go smoothly? Consider your grooming for example: Do you follow a specific pattern of actions from the process of showering to combing your hair in the mirror? Most of this is habitual and automatic.

However, some repeated actions become more important to us, symbolizing anything from the practical to the spiritual. Rituals are practices we humans repeat that hold meaning beyond the actions themselves.

Religious rituals are the ones we think of first, but rituals extend much further in human existence. We have lots of them, and many help us function and find meaning in life.

Humans evolved, over the past 50,000 years, to enact rituals for many purposes. In this same period, humans became social and developed language and writing. Rituals are intimately connected with society and writing, forming part of glue that binds a culture together. Rituals are so important to bloggers because they can be both individual and social, influencing writing production.

In Cultural Anthropology, Kevin Carrico captures the breadth of ritual in human existence, collectively and individually:

Ritual is arguably a universal feature of human social existence: just as one cannot envision a society without language or exchange, one would be equally hard-pressed to imagine a society without ritual. And while the word “ritual” commonly brings to mind exoticized images of primitive others diligently engaged in mystical activities, one can find rituals, both sacred and secular, throughout “modern” society: collective experiences, from the Olympics to the commemoration of national tragedies; cyclical gatherings, from weekly congregations at the local church to the annual turkey carving at Thanksgiving to the intoxication of Mardi Gras; and personal life-patterns, from morning grooming routines to the ways in which we greet and interact with one another. Ritual is in fact an inevitable component of culture, extending from the largest-scale social and political processes to the most intimate aspects of our self-experience.

We often underestimate the intense influence they rituals have on us.Take a moment to watch this intense Ted Talk about the importance and complexity of ritual in human evolution.

Powerful rituals can shape and alter our existence, and as humans we use them to suit both individual and social needs.

Blog Rituals Help Writers Produce Their Best Work.

Rituals are more than just habits or psychological tricks. We evolved to use them to combine meaning and action, and language made possible more complex rituals. Blog rituals are a powerful actions that motivate us to write. The rituals give meaning and importance to the act of writing.

For bloggers, the intimate rituals of writing are potent, and you can use them to help you write with power and productivity. However, you must be conscious of the rituals you use, so that you can change or get rid of them You can add new ones to make you more effective. The rituals make the act of writing significant, different than the normal routine, an art and craft.

Some famous writers have used seemingly random rituals to help them write, but the important quality is that the ritual has meaning for the individual and leads to writing. Many authors are known by their unique rituals:

  • Hemingway, stood up to a high table and wrote standing up, four hours a day, topping off the session by getting drunk for the remainder.
  • Truman Capote famously wrote while laying down, smoking, and drinking coffee.
  • The French writer Victor Hugo who wrote Les Misérables used to write in the nude (so he couldn’t leave the house supposedly).
  • Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing chain smokes, uses notecards, and acts out scenes in front of mirrors.
  • Jack London put to paper 1,000 words every day.
  • John Steinbeck put his desk in order, had stacks of blank paper tablets on it, and lots of sharpened pencils.
  • William Golding, Norman Mailer, and Arthur Conan Doyle supposedly wrote 3,000 words every day.
  • Anthony Trollope began writing at 5:30 A.M. and churned out 250 words every 15 minutes, using a watch to keep time.
  • Stephen King does “whatever it takes to reach his daily quota of 2,000 adverbless words.”

The rituals vary from ordinary to the bizarre.

I was curious about the rituals of other SteamFeed authors here and received feedback from several. Their rituals included alcohol and caffeine, but the ritual that was discussed  the most involved using a cloud app  (Google Docs, DropBox, Evernote, Trello, etc.) to collect lists of topic ideas to reflect on before writing. Setting a deadline to begin writing (like 8:00 AM) was mentioned, an idea I really like. Marking off clear hours of uninterrupted writing seems useful along with peaceful music playing softly in the background.

We’re a solid bunch of writers here on Steamfeed, and I have tried many of the above (except writing naked). But, I do them off and on, not really as established rituals.  I generally have a fairly fixed agenda when I write for my site ZipMinis. As I reflected on my rituals for this article, I was surprised by how many involved food.

I eat carrots, celery, grapes, and a jelly sandwich before I write. Something about those foods sparks my brain. Weird, right? I also do a fifteen to thirty minute meditation to clear my mind for writing. This is certainly my most helpful ritual. Wondering what my most bizarre ritual is? Clipping my fingernails (not every time I write, but frequently).

Turn on the Power of Blog Rituals.

power button

The eccentric rituals of writers are individualized, just as yours should be. It doesn’t matter of the ritual is weird to outsiders, as long as the rituals are meaningful to you.

If you are conscious of your rituals, you can initiate and guide your writing. While you should make them your own, other people can provide useful rituals that you can add. The rituals tend to fit in one of the following groups: environment, behavior, and time. Maybe you don’t have any yet, and these ideas can get you started:

Environment

Find a specific quiet space, try a new space, write with people around you, write by yourself, write at a standing desk, make a pact with a fellow blogger to write during the same time period, go for a walk, or design a writing space in an old pantry are abandoned bedroom.

Behavior

Brainstorm blog post topics, freewrite for 15 minutes, do a bit of exercise, write a few quick emails to close friends, massage and relax your shoulders and neck, eat something, clip your nails, sharpen pencils (Hemingway did this), write by hand instead of at the computer, arrange your desk, take a shower, or just wash your face.

Time

Set a fixed time to begin writing, write for a specific lengths of time, plan different kinds of breaks, use an alarm or timer to keep you on schedule, or map out your day in your calendar app.

Experiment with Your Set of Rituals.

The idea is that these ritualized behaviors will trigger in your brain that it’s writing time. The human brain evolved to treasure these actions, but you might analyze your rituals to see if they help or hinder.

Experiment with routines and rituals, keeping the ones that work, and discarding all else. Don’t fall into the trap of having endless rituals that distract you from the task. Your rituals will be powerful triggers and motivators that help you initiate the writing.

Do you have rituals that you find helpful? I love mooching off the rituals of others. Let us know in the comments below.


Author information

Darin L. Hammond
Owner and Professional Writer at ZipMinis Freelance Writing
Say hello to Darin at his website about the science of blogging and writing: http://www.zipminis.com. He blogs there and writes and designs professionally. Darin publishes across the web on sites like Technorati, BC Blog, Blog Critics, Broowaha, Business2Community LifeHack, and Social Media Today. SteamFeed is his favorite place to write, of course.

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How To Come Up With An Awesome Idea For Your Startup http://www.steamfeed.com/come-awesome-idea-startup/ http://www.steamfeed.com/come-awesome-idea-startup/#respond Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:50:42 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26579 One of the major challenges for many would-be entrepreneurs is coming up with their first business idea. Sadly, there is no good “idea generation” method out there. At best, some entrepreneurs get bland advice such as “just be creative.” Although given with good intentions, most advice seldom works. Instead, it just increases your frustration. This […]

Author information

Marco Terry

Marco Terry
Managing Director at Commercial Capital LLC

Marco Terry is the managing director and founder of Commercial Capital LLC and Commercial Capital LLC (Canada). He provides invoice financing to small and midsize companies that need working capital. For more information, please call (877) 300 3258.

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startup idea

One of the major challenges for many would-be entrepreneurs is coming up with their first business idea. Sadly, there is no good “idea generation” method out there. At best, some entrepreneurs get bland advice such as “just be creative.” Although given with good intentions, most advice seldom works. Instead, it just increases your frustration.

This article has a single objective:

  • You’ll learn an effective method of developing viable ideas for your startup

Some background

Ever since I became an entrepreneur, the concept of generating business ideas has fascinated me. It has also vexed me, because I was bad at it.

Coming up with an idea for my own company was painfully difficult. Actually, I wish I had this method when I launched my startup ten years ago. Instead, I took the long and hard road. This experience is why I wrote about this subject in my series about college startups and why I am writing about it here.

No flash of inspiration? No worries

One of the most significant and common mental hurdles is the belief that entrepreneurs are different. They are inspired and creative geniuses, like Steve Jobs. This belief was a hurdle for me and other entrepreneurs I have spoken to. Honestly, I don’t consider myself a “creative” genius, certainly not in a “Steve Jobs” type of way.

I’ve discovered that generating business ideas does not require as much creativity as you think. As a matter of fact, most great ideas are simple incremental improvements of existing technology. Little “pure creativity” is actually needed.

Don’t believe it? Let’s look at two examples:

Apple’s iconic iPod® is considered a piece of pure creative beauty, but it was hardly a new concept when it was launched. As a matter of fact, the market had a number of competing MP3 players at the time. Apple improved the existing concept and took it to a new level. They created a device with an awesome form factor. It also had great usability and a fantastic buying experience. Thanks to those improvements, they now own that market.

Consider Google’s search engine, its flagship product. Another flash of genius from a company admired for its creativity. Well, the technology behind search engines existed long before Google was launched. Actually, long before the Internet as we know it existed. Google simply enhanced the concept by adding an algorithm that used links and other signals as ranking factors.

Key takeaway: most great companies just enhance existing market solutions.

What should your business do? Solve problems

One detail that many would-be entrepreneurs tend to overlook is that businesses have a single mission: they solve problems. And businesses that are good at solving problems often do well. It’s that simple.

Consider any successful company and you will see a company that is good at solving problems. Look at Amazon, Google, Apple, or Uber. They all solve problems well. This fact is very important when looking for business ideas.

Key takeaway: problems equate to business opportunities.

Putting it all together – Getting the big idea

We have discussed two important facts. First, most great business ideas are not inherently creative. In other words, they don’t create something out of nothing. Instead, they improve on something that exists. Second, businesses have the singular task of solving problems.

In summary, you have to look for an existing problem and find a way to make it better.

The method

The method for coming up with one or many business ideas is simple: look for problems. Spend a few weeks looking for problems. Live your life normally but pay attention. If you encounter a problem in your personal life or at work, make a note of it.

Problems can be about anything. Can’t find a cab? That’s a problem (ask Uber or Lyft). If going to the grocery store seems like a waste of time, that’s a problem. Getting ahold of a doctor is difficult. Another problem. Write them down. You get the idea.

Don’t evaluate problems at this point. Just write them down.

Take this opportunity to ask people about their own personal and business problems. They will be happy to share their problems with you. Pay attention and write the issues down.

Selecting finalists

If you follow this process for a few weeks, you will generate a large list of problems. Most of them won’t be useful. Some may interest you, and one or two may be great opportunities.

Review your list of problems and evaluate each idea against your selection criteria. For example, here are some selection criteria I use:

  1. Does the problem interest you?
  2. Does it affect a lot of people/businesses?
  3. Would I pay to have this problem fixed? (this one is important!)
  4. Do you think you can you improve it?

Check your list of problems against the selection criteria. Discard any that don’t fit. If all goes well, you should have one or two ideas left. If you were really good (or lucky) you may a few of them.

Choosing a winner

Nine out of ten times, the winning idea is obvious to you. Every so often, you end up with more than one great idea. How do you choose? Consider working both ideas concurrently for a little while.

When I was first looking to start a company I had a couple of ideas that I really liked. So, I tested both. I did some research and started small operations to test the concepts. Eventually, one concept won.

Here is an example

doctors reviewing patient informationI will finish this article by offering a quick example of how this process works. Recently, a family member was admitted for a week-long hospital stay. During their stay, I noticed that relatives had a difficult time getting in touch with the doctor.

Day-to-day communications were difficult. The doctor would make a daily visit to the room but never at a set time. If the family happened to be there when the doctor arrived, they got to ask their questions. Otherwise, they’d have to wait until the next day.

I asked around and other patients’ families had similar experiences. This problem affected many people. As far as I could tell, it also affected other hospitals.

The ramifications of this problem are important. Bad communications with the attending doctors often lead to poor choices. This problem has been around for a while. As far as I know, no one has solved it well. The scope and the potential are huge.

Now, if this problem interested me, I would start researching it. I’d look into how other hospitals cope with this issue. I would also start thinking of solutions to improve this. After a few minutes of thinking, I came with some possible solutions:

  1. Have doctors visit at a set time. Use a text message reminder to the family caretaker
  2. Develop a secure patient-doctor messaging app
  3. Create communication kiosks that would allow doctors and patients to exchange messages
  4. Develop a system to set 10-minute conference calls with caretakers once a day

As you can see, some of these solutions represent potential business ideas. Frankly, I am not sure if any of these solutions are viable. This problem is complex. However, this example should give you a gist of the process.

Images:© patpitchaya – Fotolia.com and © Rido – Fotolia.com


Author information

Marco Terry
Marco Terry
Managing Director at Commercial Capital LLC
Marco Terry is the managing director and founder of Commercial Capital LLC and Commercial Capital LLC (Canada). He provides invoice financing to small and midsize companies that need working capital. For more information, please call (877) 300 3258.

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5 Things Marketing Students Should Be Learning This Fall http://www.steamfeed.com/5-things-marketing-students-learning-fall/ http://www.steamfeed.com/5-things-marketing-students-learning-fall/#respond Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:17:09 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26264 School has begun for college students for the Fall Semester, and here we are again — off to another year of learning and discussion about how marketing works.   As students head back to classrooms, it’s always important that they get a mix of theory and practicality, but most importantly, real world concepts. Often times […]

Author information

Albert Qian

Albert Qian is a social media professional working, living and playing in Silicon Valley. He got his start in social media by working for Santa Clara University and jumping into Facebook pages in May 2009. Ever since, he has been engrossed in social media, marketing, program management and consulting for small businesses, Fortune 500 companies and individuals looking to learn more social media. On his free time, he enjoys hiking, bowling, eating out at new places and traveling. You can learn more about him on his blog.

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School has begun for college students for the Fall Semester, and here we are again — off to another year of learning and discussion about how marketing works.

 

As students head back to classrooms, it’s always important that they get a mix of theory and practicality, but most importantly, real world concepts. Often times education in general is a good 3-10 years behind the times, and for many marketing students, graduation presents a wake up call where much of the content they learn doesn’t really line up with what’s actually happening. In this article, readers – and students especially will learn:

  • The skills they need in order to be effective in their marketing careers
  • Why being closer to the revenue is the best thing in a marketing role
  • Why being analytical is more important than ever in marketing
  • How marketing has fused PR, sales, and technology together as one
  • …And much more!

Here’s our top 5 list for concepts students should (hopefully) be learning this fall.

1. Get as close to the revenue as you possibly can

Jerry Maguire famously screamed “Show me the money!” into the phone to his client Rod Tidwell, who was trying to negotiate for a maximum sports contract. It’s important for students learning the marketing craft to understand that being as close to the money as possible is what makes them the most money and gives them the greatest impact on the company they work for. The bottom line is the bottom line and while academics don’t spend much time around revenue themselves, their students will. Stress this and the real business and marketing students will rise to the top.

2. Marketing, sales, and PR have fused together

It’s my hope that marketing and communications students on campus get to know each other, because the industry has changed. What was once two siloed organizations is now one, with marketers hanging out with PR folks, and PR folks needing to learn marketing tactics in order to stay present and up to date with their skills. Keeping the two separate not only denies the two crafts their due in how they’ve evolved but also holds students back from what they really ought to know.

3. Embracing the analytical

Data has become a key part of marketing, and communications, PR, and marketing students must get to know modern day analytics tools like Omniture SiteCatalyst, Radian 6, and more. Knowing how to market is one thing, but knowing how to measure and refine is a skill that has become more important throughout the last few years. No data – no dice.

4. The timelessness of sales

While there have been a lot of time-sensitive skills that need to be learned, what still has movement and need are sales. With talk of “selling yourself” in interviews, being able to apply sales to marketing courses gives it an even bigger double whammy.

As we stated in the first point, getting closer to the revenue matters the most for making the greatest impact, but being able to get into sales means the ability to be right on top of the market as it changes. Sales is something that many people despise, but is the most powerful skill one can possess.

5. Personal branding and overall branding

Personal branding is one of those buzz words that has become increasingly overused in the past few years but as seasoned marketers know it’s also how they stand out in a very noisy market. Additionally, in the quick fire nature of social media where students have thought that posting anything goes, the importance of branding must also take center focus as well. One’s ability to understand branding is not key – rather critical, for success in a future marketing career because it begets consistency, messaging, and product.

BONUS – The importance of networking

As a last bonus, I also want to mention networking. Having had numerous conversations with students the trend seems to be that while schools are great at the education part the networking part is a whole lot harder. Marketing students especially should be getting themselves out there and making sure that they can find the best events, the best people to talk to, and follow up. Networking is a life skill that isn’t taught enough in school.

As a business owner it’s important that you look carefully at what students are learning in addition to the student themselves. Of course, education and the real world never truly line up so it’s also important to look at potential and the student’s ability to closely analyze. Choose wisely.

photo credit: Debarshi Ray via photopin cc


Author information

Albert Qian
Albert Qian is a social media professional working, living and playing in Silicon Valley. He got his start in social media by working for Santa Clara University and jumping into Facebook pages in May 2009. Ever since, he has been engrossed in social media, marketing, program management and consulting for small businesses, Fortune 500 companies and individuals looking to learn more social media. On his free time, he enjoys hiking, bowling, eating out at new places and traveling. You can learn more about him on his blog.

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How To Conduct Qualitative Market Research That Helps You Compete Globally http://www.steamfeed.com/5-steps-conduct-qualitative-research-helps-compete-globally/ http://www.steamfeed.com/5-steps-conduct-qualitative-research-helps-compete-globally/#respond Sun, 16 Nov 2014 16:56:48 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26385 It’s the old research question (no, not the one about the chicken and the egg) – which is more helpful: quantitative research or qualitative research? Quantitative research is based in hard facts and figures – surveys, analysis of trends, statistical results. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is a much broader field of study that […]

Author information

Jure Klepic

Jure Klepic

Jure Klepic is Digital Strategist who is willing to say what others leave unspoken.

He leads social media and marketing adoptions for global brands and continues to drive change and spearhead innovation. Throughout his career he worked with global brands from USA to Asia.

Jure is recognized business and marketing thought leader, he is a speaker and a regular contributor to Huffington Post.

The post How To Conduct Qualitative Market Research That Helps You Compete Globally appeared first on SteamFeed.


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It’s the old research question (no, not the one about the chicken and the egg) – which is more helpful: quantitative research or qualitative research? Quantitative research is based in hard facts and figures – surveys, analysis of trends, statistical results. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is a much broader field of study that collects data through more unstructured methods.

It falls squarely in the realm of ethnographers and anthropologists, those researchers who conduct field studies, observe behaviors and research documents to understand cultural mores and motivations, and understand reasons for behavior. They focus less on the details of what happened and instead try to understand why something happened.

This article will help marketers who want to learn more about competing successfully in a global marketplace by:

  • Learning how to truly understand prospects and customers as people, not just numbers or trends.
  • Showing the benefits of obtaining a cultural understanding.
  • Providing a step-by-step process for conducting qualitative research.
  • Applying qualitative insights to marketing decisions.

For years business decision-makers and marketers have followed the siren call of quantitative research, but these days more and more are being drawn to the qualitative side of the equation. With the global economy, quickly-evolving demographics, and the digital world changing our communication and buying patterns, savvy marketers are rapidly learning how to gather useful insights that will help guide their decision-making.

A 5 Step Plan for Marketers Conducting Qualitative Research

To put the same “oomph” behind qualitative research results, marketers will need to design their research with the same rigorous standards associated with quantitative research. These five steps should serve as a helpful guideline:

  1. Define an Area of Inquiry: As with quantitative research, you need to start with a description of what you are attempting to study, but in qualitative research these questions tend to be more focused around the “why” of a particular behavior. Why do consumers in the east prefer one brand of soda more than those in the west? What drives people of certain cultural heritages to make specific purchasing decisions? You are looking for information that will help refine your marketing strategies.
  2. Determine a Method of Study: Ascertain how you are going to go about collecting this information. Perhaps it will be necessary to bring in an anthropologist or ethnographer to assist in this stage of the inquiry. Think about how you are going to gather data, who you will need to interview, where these interviews should take place, whether they should be in individual or group sessions, and how you are going to document results.
  3. Gather Input: Collect data based on the method of study identified. Perhaps this stage will consist of simple observation, or it could require an inter-generational interview session to obtain cultural perspectives. If a group being studied is large enough, it may necessitate having an ethnographer immersed in the culture for a specific length of time to obtain a deeper understanding of cultural norms and influences. You are trying to identify patterns of behavior, and understand why this specific individual or group behaves in that manner.
  4. Generate Insights: Assess the data that has been collected with both a quantitative and qualitative approach. Try to assign numerical values where appropriate, but be open to the broader observations and trends that have been uncovered. Many times, a narrative analysis or content analysis is helpful in narrowing down results. Look for the cultural insights that cause you to stop and say, “Aha, so that’s why this group isn’t responding to our current marketing efforts.” When possible, try to validate these findings in some other way.
  5. Make Marketing Decisions: In today’s marketing world, we are moving away from the constraints of mass marketing and focusing on a more personalized approach. Qualitative research will assist in this process by identifying what is important to specific groups, so marketing strategies can be developed to specifically communicate and engage with them.

In this day and age, marketers need all the information they can get about the “why” and “how” of making a purchasing decision. Consumer emotions, beliefs, cultural norms and opinions form the driving force in their buying decisions.

Qualitative and quantitative research, when used together, will give marketers the opportunity to better understand the complex nature of the buying process. It may take a bit more interpretation, but the results of a properly conceived and implemented qualitative research study should be enough to provide valuable insights which drive marketing decisions that make sense.

photo credit: fallentomato via photopin cc


Author information

Jure Klepic
Jure Klepic
Jure Klepic is Digital Strategist who is willing to say what others leave unspoken. He leads social media and marketing adoptions for global brands and continues to drive change and spearhead innovation. Throughout his career he worked with global brands from USA to Asia. Jure is recognized business and marketing thought leader, he is a speaker and a regular contributor to Huffington Post.

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Your SEO Insider: Google 3-Pack Replaces Carousel, Performing A Panda Audit, Local SEO In 2015 http://www.steamfeed.com/seo-insider-google-3-pack-replaces-carousel-performing-panda-audit-local-seo-2015/ http://www.steamfeed.com/seo-insider-google-3-pack-replaces-carousel-performing-panda-audit-local-seo-2015/#respond Sun, 16 Nov 2014 16:38:50 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26611 Returning home to Idaho last week from a short vacation in Las Vegas, I was confident of two things: it was going to be much colder in Idaho than it was in Vegas, and Google was bound to have made changes to search. Right on both accounts – Idaho is more than 60 degrees colder […]

Author information

Brent Carnduff

I am an Search Engine Marketing specialist and speaker, former teacher and basketball coach, married with 2 children (Daniel & Ashley), a wanna be author, avid reader, an out of shape cyclist, and a Canadian ex-pat.

I hope to add a voice of reason, understanding, and professionalism to the SEO industry.

The post Your SEO Insider: Google 3-Pack Replaces Carousel, Performing A Panda Audit, Local SEO In 2015 appeared first on SteamFeed.


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Returning home to Idaho last week from a short vacation in Las Vegas, I was confident of two things: it was going to be much colder in Idaho than it was in Vegas, and Google was bound to have made changes to search. Right on both accounts – Idaho is more than 60 degrees colder than Las Vegas was (with snow!), and Google continued its pace of change by dropping the Carousel display for some local categories.

Read on to learn more about Google’s changes to the local search results, along with the other top stories from the past week in the world of search engines and SEO.

Don’t miss:

  • which local categories are affected by Google’s changes?
  • how to perform a Panda Audit?
  • is it time to switch to SSL?
  • beginner’s guide to International SEO
  • Local SEO in 2015

Local SEO

The big story in search this week is Google’s changes to local search – replacing the Carousel with a 3-Pack (3 listings) for some local categories.

Google Drops Local Carousel for Hotels, Restaurants & Other Local Listings by Greg Sterling on Search Engine Land

Was your industry affected by the change? Mike Blumenthal’s put together a list of the categories impacted so far.

Which Terms Trigger the New Entertainment Pack by Mike Blumenthal on Understanding Google Places & Local Search

Facebook appears to be getting more serious about “Local” search.

facebook local

Facebook Launches New Places Directory by Greg Sterling on Search Engine Land

Want to Improve your Local Search rankings going into 2015? Read on – insightful article on Local SEO.

Simple Tips to Set the Stage for Local SEO in 2015 by Greg Gifford on Search Engine Land

Organic SEO

Are your rankings suffering under the Panda penalty? It is possible to recover from Google’s algorithm updates.

Panda Audit 101: The Roadmap to Complete Panda Recovery by Marcela De Vivo on Search Engine Watch

If you’re still waiting to make the switch to SSL and wondering if now is the time – this article might help with your decision.

SEO & SSL: A Conversation with Jon Henshaw of Raven Tools by Clark Buckner on Search Engine Land

Have you considered International SEO for your international business?

International SEO: A Beginner’s Skills Guide by Christopher Ratcliff on Econsultancy

Thanks for reading! As always, your comments, questions, and shares are welcomed and appreciated! Have a great week in search!


Author information

Brent Carnduff
I am an Search Engine Marketing specialist and speaker, former teacher and basketball coach, married with 2 children (Daniel & Ashley), a wanna be author, avid reader, an out of shape cyclist, and a Canadian ex-pat. I hope to add a voice of reason, understanding, and professionalism to the SEO industry.

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Brilliant New Technologies For Your Brand Presentation And Engagement http://www.steamfeed.com/brilliant-new-technologies-brand-presentation-engagement/ http://www.steamfeed.com/brilliant-new-technologies-brand-presentation-engagement/#respond Fri, 14 Nov 2014 13:38:58 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26500 In with new and out with the old! That is pretty much what happens regularly with all technologies and presentation software is not immune to this change. The 800 lb gorilla in this space need not be mentioned. It illustrated your brand, services and products at conferences and meetings in years gone past. While this […]

Author information

Melih Oztalay

I am a 20+ year veteran of the Internet and digital technologies. I am the CEO of SmartFinds Internet Marketing located in Birmingham, Michigan, providing Internet marketing solutions and services to businesses. As a sought out subject matter expert and pioneer with Internet technologies, I bring innovation, early adoption, creativity, resourcefulness and imagination to client marketing solutions on the web.

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In with new and out with the old! That is pretty much what happens regularly with all technologies and presentation software is not immune to this change. The 800 lb gorilla in this space need not be mentioned. It illustrated your brand, services and products at conferences and meetings in years gone past. While this presentation tool has been widely used, in the past few years new tools have come to the market adding more splash to the user experience.

A presentation along with a speaker or audio is one of the best ways to convey ideas to visual learners. This marketing medium is appealing when you take summaries that are easily understood and absorbed. Keeping your audiences attention is a must. A series of never-ending slides can certainly make anyone doze off and lose interest.

What if you could change your perspective of your presentation from a flat 2-dimensional objective to a 3-dimensional objective in which you are seeking engagement by the audience? Now, I’m not suggesting for you to add animation to your brand presentation. Rather this is about using different types of current visual technologies. Similar to the fashion industry, creative visual technology has to adapt to the changing needs of the audience.

Let’s reinvent the basic slideshow to become a marketing tool that really wows the audience to generate leads and do so easily. The tools mentioned below are not in competition nor are they for the same purposes. The objective here is to show how different industry segments have changed, the different types of tools available, and where to use these tools.

Slide Presentation Software

Prezi Logo
Prezi is a next-generation presentation tool using the concept of visual mind-mapping and a zoomable user interface (that would be a GUI with a ZUI) in a cloud-based environment. The customizable in-and-out zooming lets you target discussion points, giving you a new method of demonstrating your topic. As you can imagine this takes presentations to a new level of user experience. The cloud-based environment allows you to access your presentation from anywhere. Prezi allows you to choose from templates or create your own presentation from scratch.

Prezi is quite different from the old presentation software. Instead of offering a slide-by-slide presentation, Prezi is more of a visual and interactive allowing you to interact with different elements on a virtual canvas. After you have created your Prezi, you can publish it on the Prezi.com website, embed it on your own website or share it on social communities.

Since the company launched in 2009, Prezi has more than 26 million registered users for their fee based service. The fees range from $4.92/month to volume based multi-user licenses.
emaze Logo
In this category of online presentation software, let’s take a look at one other company as a variation and direct competition. Established in 2009 too, emaze is an online presentation platform offering a variety of templates including 3D animation and video backgrounds.

emaze’s market position is the ease of use over Prezi, arguing that it takes a long time to learn the Prezi system. Emaze caters to a less technology sophisticated user. This market share currently uses PowerPoint and wants better results and more visualization.

A emaze user can easily build sophisticated presentations with little effort. The idea is to free up users to focus on the actual content of the presentation. The system can then take care of the design and effects.

Emaze allows users to choose from a variety of templates with built-in HTML5 technology, ranging from PowerPoint style presentations, to 3-dimensional presentations, made possible by the advanced graphical capabilities of the system.

On November 3, 2014 emaze announced they secured $2 million in additional funding to continue building its platform and compete in this competitive market. emaze currently has 750,000 users and growing.

Other tools in the slide presentation category include:

  • GoAnimate
  • Google Presentations
  • Haiku Deck
  • Keynote
  • Projeqt
  • Slide Rocket
  • Slide Snack
  • Zoho Show
  • …and you can find more at Wikipedia Presentation Software.

Proposal Presentation Software

 

Quote Roller Logo

Quote Roller started in 2011 and based in San Francisco, California. Their service gives businesses the ability to deliver beautiful sales proposals to potential clients. Presenting documents to prospective customers evolved with the technological capabilities of this industry. Being able to develop and deliver these documents elegantly, dynamically and efficiently is what Quote Roller does as a sales proposal software solution.

The software solution allows businesses to create, deliver, and negotiate online proposals in web and PDF formats using customizable templates, including photos, videos, and other samples of work with an e-signature.

Quote Roller is feature rich including

  • In-proposal Analytics.
  • An online editor to speed up creating proposals with drag-n-drop capabilities.
  • Interactive content inclusion like videos, pictures and more.
  • A dashboard giving you the ability to track your sales pipeline, follow up, and plan business activities.

The in-proposal analytics allows you to know when clients open proposals, how much time they have spent and what pages they have opened. You can get instant notifications clients open proposals giving you the necessary intelligence for follow-up. by using these analytics you can improve your proposals based on past performance.

Content Marketing Software

 

Roojoom Logo

Roojoom is an Israeli based startup, founded in March of 2013 by CEO Yuval Shemesh and a platform that allows for the simple collating, arranging and sharing of existing types of content.

Roojoom is a content platform that allows you to combine multiple pieces of content together into a story that increases your readers engagement, conversion and lead generation rates exponentially. By aggregating content into a web and mobile-optimized story, companies and brands capture their readers’ attention for an average of 11 minutes, while increasing the ROI on their content.

Create Roojooms in less than 5 minutes with no technical skills required. Roojoom is native to advertising and social media campaigns to increase engagement and conversion. The onboard experience educates and provides valuable content to customers that enhance the sales process. You share a Roojoom with one link or it is embedded within any website or blog to create a visually engaging experience.

After a brief registration, users create Roojooms based on different themes according to their interests. For example, marketing managers can build a path for explaining and selling the idea, story, stock or product of the company; including articles, videos and even specific pages from the company itself. Roojooms can end with a call to action.

While you might think Scoop.it, Pearltrees, List.ly and others may appear as competitors, Roojoom enables users to arrange content along a single track allowing you to separate various subjects from start to finish.

Roojoom offers monthly subscription packages as well as a free 14-day trial.

Presentation Services and Training

Duarte Presentation Development Banner

Duarte creates presentations for businesses and offers training based on a unique VisualStory™ methodology. Their process of developing presentations or training you to re-think how you create your presentations shifts the audience beliefs and behaviors. Think about how persuasive your presentations are to achieve this type of persuasive message?

The unique process comes from VisualStory™, which is use to apply storytelling visual thinking principles in order to move and motivate the audience. You can either hire the Duarte team (experienced writers and designers) or Duarte’s engaging, self-guided eCourse allows you to improve all aspects of your presentation skills at your own pace.

Plan, write, design and execute is the 4-step Duarte process. Duarte helps you develop a set of audience-centric messages, as well as the underlying strategy for communicating each of them across a variety of channels and audiences.

Duarte employs a flexible process that tailored to meet budgets, timelines, and deliverables. They can maximize your presentation investment by enhancing it for viewing on mobile devices, websites, documents and more.

Brand Presentations Go Digital

Whether you’re looking for slide presentations or new ways to present your brand, you’re more likely to succeed by making a business fashion statement with the newer digital technologies. The old methods of basic slide presentations with cheesy animations could be considered a faux pas now-a-days.

Your audience wants to learn something new and they certainly would rather learn in more engaging ways that are memorable. Do I need to tell you what happens if your brand presentation is memorable?


Author information

Melih Oztalay
I am a 20+ year veteran of the Internet and digital technologies. I am the CEO of SmartFinds Internet Marketing located in Birmingham, Michigan, providing Internet marketing solutions and services to businesses. As a sought out subject matter expert and pioneer with Internet technologies, I bring innovation, early adoption, creativity, resourcefulness and imagination to client marketing solutions on the web.

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Is Yelp Consumer Or Business Driven? What You Should Know http://www.steamfeed.com/yelp-consumer-business/ http://www.steamfeed.com/yelp-consumer-business/#respond Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:33:13 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26536 If you’re a small business owner, you may already understand the importance of Yelp. Yelp allows people to search for and rate local businesses – from restaurants to doctors – and nearly every other business in between. If you haven’t signed your business up on the site, it’s a great idea, especially if you want […]

Author information

Jamie Teasdale

Founder & Lead Strategist at Plan Promote Prosper

Jamie Teasdale is a business growth advocate and strategist who is passionate about supporting small businesses in their quest to effectively communicate with their target market. Focusing on content marketing (inbound and outbound) and brand messaging, Jamie's company Plan Promote Prosper assists companies who recognize the value of strategic and consistent content marketing through blogging, email marketing and social media engagement, and the impact it makes toward positive SEO.

Planning a content marketing strategy is no small endeavor and should be done each year. Jamie and her team make it easy and affordable. Plan Promote Prosper offers eight white-labeled content marketing products and services that are sought after by leading marketing companies, web firms, copywriters and social managers. Jamie's office is located in downtown Portland, Oregon. In her spare time, Jamie enjoys painting, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

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photo 3If you’re a small business owner, you may already understand the importance of Yelp. Yelp allows people to search for and rate local businesses – from restaurants to doctors – and nearly every other business in between. If you haven’t signed your business up on the site, it’s a great idea, especially if you want to grow your local presence and reputation

Just like with any other review site, you run the risk of receiving negative reviews. It’s just the reality of owning a business. “Haters gonna hate,” so to speak. Chances are, if you have been in business awhile, and you’ve been doing right by your customers, then people are already have a favorable impression of you, whether you’re on Yelp or not.

I cover the following aspects of Yelp in this article:

  • The benefits of adding your small business to Yelp or claiming your profile
  • Weighing the positive & negative outcomes of the latest court ruling about Yelp
  • Your business’ options for handling negative reviews

Biggby_coffee_shop_downtown_ann_arborFirst things first: should I add my small business to Yelp?

Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle briefly explains how Yelp works for small businesses in her recent article for Forbes, “Yelp Wins in Court and Helps Clarify Their Purpose to Businesses and Consumers:

Yelp has certainly positioned themselves as a leader in identifying consumer thoughts and experiences while featuring businesses to help educate consumers on where to go, what to do and who to spend their money with.

An estimated 138 million potential consumers turn to Yelp each month to check out businesses. This site is truly revolutionary in the way it brings people/consumers and small businesses together like never before.

Within this same article, Leinbach-Reyhle provides insights from Darnell Holloway, Yelp’s Senior Manager of Local Outreach. He shares the following 3 reasons for why you should consider adding your small business to this site:

  1. According to a recent Nielsen study, 4 out of 5 people visiting Yelp do so when they’re ready to spend money.
  2. People are more likely to provide reviews of your business on Yelp. Once you’re signed up as your business, it’s easy and free (and smart) for you to respond to these reviews.
  3. A recent study proves that Yelp helps drive real revenue to small businesses:

The Boston Consulting Group, a leading adviser on business strategy, surveyed 4,800 business owners to learn the economic impact Yelp has on small businesses. The results are eye opening: small businesses with a free business owner’s account saw an average of $8,000 in annual revenue from Yelp. Even more interesting, the survey revealed that Yelp advertisers benefit almost three times as much, generating average annual revenues from Yelp of more than $23,000.

In the end, whether you decide to sign your small business up for Yelp is your own personal choice. However, in a nutshell, you truly won’t lose a thing by starting a free Yelp business account, even when you’re an already thriving local business. If you’re interested in giving it a try then you can do so, at no cost, through this link:  (www.biz.yelp.com).

My_Trusty_Gavel Photo used under Creative Commons Is the Yelp Ruling positive or negative? You be the judge.

Now that we’ve covered some of the ways in which Yelp benefits small businesses, it’s time to take a look at its other side. The uglier side.

As I mentioned before, people using Yelp to review businesses have just as much freedom to write negative reviews as they do positive ones. This isn’t the problem though. Rather, things turned ugly when several small business owners began seeing what they perceived as some less-than-subtle signs of manipulation in their rankings on Yelp.

Deciding they were being discriminated against, a group of small business owners, which included Cats and Dogs Animal Hospital, based in Santa Barbara, California, chose to take Yelp to court on July 11, 2013. Their allegations? That Yelp gives its paying clients more favorable reviews.

The plaintiffs claimed that Yelp stripped their previously positive ratings after they dropped their advertising with Yelp. Yelp, of course, denied these allegations against them, stating its review-filtering software simply cannot distinguish between reviews for clients who advertise versus those who do not.

Regardless of the allegations, the ruling made by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on September 2, 2014 stated Yelp’s actions were not, and are not, illegal. The court explained their decision, stating simply that, “Yelp is entitled to set a price for its ads – and the businesses reviewed have no legal right to a high rating.

c-plus-school-letter-gradeWhat does this court ruling mean for my small business? What steps should I take to handle negative reviews?

Now that you know the truth about Yelp’s negative reviews holding up in court, you may be debating whether the site still has any value for small businesses. Before you decide it’s time to cry, “Foul,” and throw in the proverbial towel over Yelp however, you may want to dig a little deeper first.

Negative reviews on Yelp have two completely different, but legitimate outcomes:

1. It’s positive for consumers who want the “real skinny” on businesses.

Although, like most companies, Yelp, wants to make money, it seems it also truly wants to help consumers. As Vauhini Vara states in her recent article for The New Yorker, “The Terrible Yelp Ruling Isn’t So Bad,”

It’s easy to imagine that a company’s behavior might violate laws meant to protect consumers, rather than businesses. For example, the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces consumer-protection laws, has told search-engine companies that they need to clearly distinguish search results that are paid for by advertisers from organic results that can’t be bought or sold.

Some businesses truly deserve the negative reviews they receive on Yelp. Kudos to those people who step up to the plate and provide honest feedback. That said, take it all with a grain of salt and know that a little negative sway goes a long way on a public forum.

2. It’s negative for businesses who don’t want to have to pay for the positive reviews to display on their profile when there’s more positive than negative.

Do you still feel you’re not being treated fairly by Yelp because you can’t or won’t purchase ads? Even though the court did make its decision in favor of Yelp’s current activities doesn’t mean you can’t work harder to garner more positive reviews for your business. I’m not advocating “gaming” the system here, but instead suggesting turning negatives into positives.

As I mentioned earlier, any small business owner who has signed their business up on Yelp has the ability to comment on every review left on their profile – both positive and negative. How many times have you heard about businesses jumping on opportunities where they successfully turn negative situations into a positive ones?

Negative reviews can create such opportunities for your business, too. It can make a huge customer satisfaction impact. As well, potential customers who see you’re seriously addressing and resolving disputes may end up with a better impression of you and your business overall.

12666customer_feedbackThe strategic use of Yelp can be a great addition to your social communication approach. Just remember to weigh the pros and cons and make the best choice for you.

Whether simply claiming a profile that has already been started for your business, registering a new business and account, or paying for advertising, if people are talking about you, responding appropriately will build trust and show a sincere interest in feedback that could keep you in business!

What are your feelings about Yelp? Can consumers trust Yelp reviews to provide them with the truth about businesses, or is the company really just gaming other businesses for its own gain? I’d love to hear your thoughts – please feel free to leave a comment below.


Author information

Jamie Teasdale
Founder & Lead Strategist at Plan Promote Prosper
Jamie Teasdale is a business growth advocate and strategist who is passionate about supporting small businesses in their quest to effectively communicate with their target market. Focusing on content marketing (inbound and outbound) and brand messaging, Jamie's company Plan Promote Prosper assists companies who recognize the value of strategic and consistent content marketing through blogging, email marketing and social media engagement, and the impact it makes toward positive SEO. Planning a content marketing strategy is no small endeavor and should be done each year. Jamie and her team make it easy and affordable. Plan Promote Prosper offers eight white-labeled content marketing products and services that are sought after by leading marketing companies, web firms, copywriters and social managers. Jamie's office is located in downtown Portland, Oregon. In her spare time, Jamie enjoys painting, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

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Local Optimization – Do You Have A Google+ Business Page? http://www.steamfeed.com/local-optimization-google-page/ http://www.steamfeed.com/local-optimization-google-page/#respond Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:47:02 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26454 If you don’t yet have a presence on Google+, I recommend that you grab our business page URL on Google for 2015.  If you are thinking this is just another social media dashboard you will have to fit into your budget, don’t worry. I am just asking you to set up your account and save […]

Author information

Laurie Thompson

Project Manager and Social Media Manager at SiteMast

Laurie currently owns and operates SiteMast, which is where WordPress Web Design and Social Media meet. She also is a project manager and social media manager for K-3 Technologies in Atlanta. Diet Coke addict, Iowa Cyclones Football supporter, and animal lover. Can't wait to connect with everyone!

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If you don’t yet have a presence on Google+, I recommend that you grab our business page URL on Google for 2015.  If you are thinking this is just another social media dashboard you will have to fit into your budget, don’t worry. I am just asking you to set up your account and save your URL for the future. You never know when or why you might need to start or work again on Google My Business due to Google’s algorithm changes.

In this article we will cover:

  • Why You Should Have  A Google+ Profile
  • Tips & Tricks on How To Use Your Google+ Profile

Why You Should Have A Google+ Business Page

You want your customers to “find” you on Google Search, Maps, Google+, and mobile devices. When someone searches local business with Google places properly set up, red position markers show up below the organic search, and in a large map to the right of the search page. You want your company to be found is a customer is in the area searching for products that you offer don’t you?

Secondly, reviews, reviews, reviews. As we head into 2015, K-3 Technologies will be focusing more on obtaining reviews from clients, with a focus on getting Google+ business reviews. As a company we learned at Pubcon that Apple maps use Yelp to rank businesses, so what do you think Google uses to rank on their map searches?

Insights provided by the dashboard on Google+ Business Pages allow to you find out where your customers are finding you. This can be another tool to add to Google Analytics to drill down to where your customers are, and what methods they are using to find your business. I can tell you, over the past few months we have been watching a steady increase in businesses being found via mobile devices. We also have customers who have not used Google+ Business Pages in the past, but now want to be on it so that they can be found by customers.

Ready to get started on obtaining your Google+ Business Profile? Click here to get moving on your new account, and then follow some of my tips below to optimize your account.

Tips & Tricks on How To Use Your Google+ Business Page

If you have secured your Google+ Business PAGE, but have not yet optimized it, these tips will add a little pizazz to your listing.

  1. Make sure that you request the PIN and then activate it when you get that PIN (sent via postcard). Google will not show your listing until you have confirmed that you do indeed own property at the address requesting the PIN. The PINs only work for 30 days, so if you do not use it right away, you’ll have to request another. If you would prefer, you can also do verification by phone, but since I run so many business pages I prefer to have the clients get their postcard and send me the information. Click here for more verification information.
  2. Provide correct contact information. Try to keep your contact information consistent across all social media platforms. This even applies to review sites. It is always good to double check your contact information and make sure everything is up to date.
  3. Write a detailed description of your company. Use the same keywords you are using your website. The About section on Google+ pages offers plenty of room for you to provide a detailed description that can include the keywords that associate with your company. Remember that Google+ posts can contain keywords, so why not include them in your description.
  4. Google requires you to select one category, which they have predetermined, for your business. You can then add other categories that represent your company. Again keywords and location can come into play for effective branding. For example, if you are an electrician who also offers plumbing then you can choose electrician, but add in Atlanta Plumber, Atlanta Plumbing, Atlanta Electrician, etc.
  5. Specify how far you are willing to travel for your business if you provide services outside of your brick and mortar building. You do not want to miss a potential customer who is 25 miles away because you failed to share that information. Google tends to prefer brick and mortar locations over P.O. Boxes. This does not mean you will not be found on Google maps, just might mean that you need to really work with this page to increase your rankings.
  6. Include your operating hours the forms of payment you accept. If a customers is searching on their mobile phone in your area and can’t find hours or payment, but your competitor does, guess who they will go to?
  7. Make use of the photo/video section. You can add up to 10 photos. Use photos that represent your brand and business. Logos, specific products, building photos, etc. If you can, make a video giving a tour of your business or people who work in your business. The more a customer knows about your business or employees might be the difference between you and your competitor.
  8. Fill out the additional details section. This is where you can add extra details or keywords if you were not able to make them fit in the description or category section. Again, keywords are so important in Google+ Business Pages for ranking and searches.
  9. Once complete, submit the form and wait for the activation PIN to come. After obtaining the PIN, most minor changes to this page will be updated without question. If you are making address changes, Google will require a new activation PIN to confirm changes.
  10. Once you have activated your Google Place, Google takes about 24-48 hours to review the page to make sure it complies with their terms of service. Once that is complete, start looking for your own mark on the map!
  11. If you are looking for reviews on Google, make sure that you +1 reviews from customers and respond to good and negative reviews. If you just let the page sit and not respond, Google will see this as a dead page and the reviews that you are working for won’t mean a thing to the ranking.

What tips do you have for Google+ Business Pages that you feel have enhanced your profile? Or, let me know why you are not using your Google+ Business Page. I found a great article on why Brooke Ballard of B Squared Media is not using her business page anymore for more than a placeholder. Even though I am a huge Google+ user, she raises some great points as to why it may not work for everyone. Isn’t that the whole idea of social, for some it works and for others it may not? Great to have both sides of the coin!

photo credit: west.m via photopin cc


Author information

Laurie Thompson
Project Manager and Social Media Manager at SiteMast
Laurie currently owns and operates SiteMast, which is where WordPress Web Design and Social Media meet. She also is a project manager and social media manager for K-3 Technologies in Atlanta. Diet Coke addict, Iowa Cyclones Football supporter, and animal lover. Can't wait to connect with everyone!

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A Few Nifty Tricks to Connect Your Content With Your Audience http://www.steamfeed.com/nifty-tricks-connect-content-audience/ http://www.steamfeed.com/nifty-tricks-connect-content-audience/#respond Wed, 12 Nov 2014 11:27:12 +0000 http://blog.atomicreach.com/?p=13205 When you are able to structure your content correctly for digital audiences and use language that is appealing to them, you are well on your way to connecting in a much more impactful way. Taking the guesswork out of this by using tools designed to help you can only improve results. There are a few […]

Author information

Atomic Reach

We think creating audience-centric content is the most important thing you can do to grow your connection with your audience. Our platform, through a series of diagnostic and prescriptive measures, helps you create highly engaging audience focused content. It's that simple. Love your audience and they will love you back.

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When you are able to structure your content correctly for digital audiences and use language that is appealing to them, you are well on your way to connecting in a much more impactful way. Taking the guesswork out of this by using tools designed to help you can only improve results.

There are a few other things that can help you entice your intended audience to connect, share and come back for more content. These recommendations are nice arrows to have in your quiver, but remember that you need to consider each with your audience, their knowledge level, and the use of engaging language. These suggestions will draw your audience in and keep them with you.

Title

In a world filled with both great and not so great content, it is important to stand out from the herd. Creating a title for your work that will entice your audience to read your piece over someone else’s is increasingly important. In most cases it’s your title that gets shared on social platforms, so the title is the calling card for your work. If your audience shares your content, it will be your title that the secondary audience will consider before they come to your site.

There are a number of really good tips to use when creating a title, but what you need to do is consider your audience. The best advice is to keep your title positive with language appropriate for them. Use personal pronouns, establish your title with superlatives and generate excitement about what they are going to read.

Paragraph Density

While you are certainly considering your audience, their knowledge level and the structure of your content, also consider your paragraph density.  Your readers are likely on the go, viewing content on a smartphone or tablet, and they will scroll past lengthy paragraphs. Each sentence does not need to stand on it’s own but consider the viewing area of these devices as you construct your paragraphs. The greater your paragraph’s density, the less likely it will connect in a meaningful way.

You should also consider their cognitive state when reading your content. They likely aren’t reading your content in a vacuum apart from their daily lives, so daunting paragraphs will alienate them.

Your goal is to connect with your audience and provide them with something that is either informative or entertaining. Imagine being presented with a volume of content filled with dense paragraphs. If it looks like homework or a PHD thesis, the engagement that you draw from that piece of content will be low. Of course, always consider audience, and how they want content structured. In certain scenarios, denser paragraphs are appropriate. Consider the context of your writing relative to the needs of your audience.

AR-CMI-Whitepaper-Mailchimp

Passive vs. Active Voice

It is a commonly taught rule in journalism schools to keep your audience’s attention, it’s imperative that you write in active rather than passive voice. Great writers can flip back and forth between active and passive voice and do it so well that the author is often unaware.

Data science demonstrates that active voice engages and passive voice detaches, resulting in costly lost opportunities. When you consider a digital audience at any knowledge level, they are looking for information that is quick and easy to understand. If they are reading your content from a mobile device, they are less likely to spend time deciphering a sophisticated writing style and will stop engaging with your content. Creating meaningful content that considers your audience first is how you will build and deepen your community.

This is the fifth chapter from our eBook: A Complete Guide to Creating Quality Content by Ira Haberman

If you want to see results for your own content efforts, learn more about how to create awesome content for real people in our ultimate guide.  

 AR-CMI-Whitepaper-800x800AR-CMI-Whitepaper-Checklist2-1

The post A Few Nifty Tricks to Connect Your Content With Your Audience appeared first on Atomic Reach Blog :: Content Marketing & Scoring Engine.

*This post is part of SteamFeed’s Corporate Syndication program. SteamFeed was compensated to re-publish this post.*


Author information

Atomic Reach
We think creating audience-centric content is the most important thing you can do to grow your connection with your audience. Our platform, through a series of diagnostic and prescriptive measures, helps you create highly engaging audience focused content. It's that simple. Love your audience and they will love you back.

The post A Few Nifty Tricks to Connect Your Content With Your Audience appeared first on SteamFeed.

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5 Ingredients For Your Successful Holiday Social Advertising Campaign http://www.steamfeed.com/5-ingredients-successful-holiday-social-advertising-campaign/ http://www.steamfeed.com/5-ingredients-successful-holiday-social-advertising-campaign/#respond Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:50:42 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26515 Whether or not we want to believe it, the holiday season is upon us. We see turkeys and pumpkin pie everywhere we go. The pre-Black Friday sales are going on. Christmas music is starting to filter through our radio stations. Is your business ready? The holiday season is one time of year that it seems […]

Author information

Mandy Edwards

Mandy is the owner of ME Marketing Services, a social marketing company located in Georgia providing social media consulting & management for small to medium-sized businesses. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of over 12+ years. In the fall you can find her & her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs.

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Whether or not we want to believe it, the holiday season is upon us. We see turkeys and pumpkin pie everywhere we go. The pre-Black Friday sales are going on. Christmas music is starting to filter through our radio stations.

Is your business ready?

The holiday season is one time of year that it seems advertising dollars are unlimited based on the traditional ads we see. Social advertising, however, has been slow to warm up to those levels. I believe that social advertising is more effective in reaching your audience – and this is coming from a former print advertising sales girl.

If you are using social advertising this holiday season, you want to make sure you are getting your biggest bang for your buck. In this article, I am going to share with you 5 tips for a successful holiday social advertising campaign.

You’ll find out -

  • Why having a budget is important.
  • Why you need to get creative.
  • Why you need to know your audience.
  • How targeting works for you.
  • Why tracking is a requirement.

Know your advertising budget.

In a perfect world, businesses would have advertising budgets as big as Santa Claus’ toy bag. With an unlimited amount of money to spend, just imagine what businesses could do. Unfortunately, that is not the case in our world. Company budgets are run tight, often cutting sales and marketing first. When you advertise online and do not set specific start and end dates, it’s very easy to run up a high advertising bill. That’s the last thing  company needs in the 4th quarter.

Having a budget is important because:

  1. It controls cost. You can keep track of where the money is being spent accurately.
  2. It’s easier to calculate ROI when it’s over. When you track the response of your ad against how much you spent, it’s easier to figure out that elusive number as compared to traditional print or broadcast ads.
  3. It shows you just how much you can accomplish with social advertising when putting it up to a traditional form of advertising.

Think outside the box.

Since so many companies are vying for your customers’ dollars, the gloves really come off where creativity is concerned. This is a time of year when you need to start thinking outside the box and leave your comfort zone. You need to be seen and heard among the Targets, Macy’s and Wal-Marts of the world. This is where creativity comes in. Think of the successful holiday advertising campaigns you’ve seen. The ones that come to mind to me are:

  1. Coca-Cola. The Polar Bears are so endearing that it makes an emotional connection with the audience.
  2. Hershey’s Kisses. The Kisses as bells playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is my favorite holiday TV commercial. They have aired the same commercial every year for as long as I can remember. Continuity definitely says something.
  3. Elf Yourself from Office Max. 8 years later, people are still getting elfed each year.

Now take a look at what made these successful – it wasn’t your normal run-of-the-mill advertising – they set out to really connect with people. Whether it was from an animated character, musical chocolates or making an elf in your image – they all started as something outside the box.

Know who your audience actually is.

Ask any business who their audience is and you’ll see a lot of similarities – people who like to spend money and have money are just two. Knowing who your audience is and being able to relate to them is key. You’ll know exactly what to say – and how to say it. The way you’d phrase an ad you want moms to see would be much different from ads geared towards teens.

For example, you are a clothing store targeting teenage girls. For an ad targeting their moms, you would say something like “We help 14 year olds look like 14 year olds.” (Disclaimer: I’m a mom of a tween – trust me, clothes these days do anything but make them look their age – moms are looking for ones that do) For the tweens, it would be, “Look totes adorbs & wow your friends.” Just knowing how tween girls talk helps you relate to them and get in front of them easier.

Knowing your audience is much different than just knowing the demographic stats. Know what they like, how they talk, who they interact with. That will help you put together a more successful campaign.

Targeting is your friend.

Once you really know who your audience is, you know who and how to target them. Facebook and Twitter have hands-down, the best targeting options out there in the realm of social advertising. With these two platforms, you can get in front of your competitor’s followers (Twitter), target people based on their net worth (Facebook), get in front of people talking about or watching certain TV shows (Twitter) or target trendy moms specifically (Facebook), just to name a few.

Targeting will help you:

  1. Use your advertising budget more effectively.
  2. Get you in front the exact person you want to reach.
  3. Stay within the goals of your campaign. Your ad won’t be the needle in the haystack.
  4. Separate yourself from your competitor.

Track your ad’s performance again and again and… again.

Any social advertising platform includes analytics on how your ad is performing. Knowing what these metrics mean and how they are performing will determine the success of your campaign.

Tracking can show you:

  1. What wording and/or graphics work best. Use A/B testing to see what resonates with your audience the most.
  2. Your ROI. With social advertising analytics, you can see the number of impressions for your ad, the clicks and if you have a conversion tracking pixel installed on your website, the number of conversions. Take your number and compare it with what you spend and bada-bing – you have your ROI. Ask a print or broadcast ad rep if they can get that specific.
  3. How wise you are using your advertising dollars. This does relate some to ROI, but you can watch your ad and add or subtract money from your budget at any time. Is your ad off the charts? Add some more money to it! Is it totally bombing out? Then lower it.

Not only can these 5 tips be applied to your holiday social advertising campaign, but also to your everyday ads you run online.

Social advertising is going to become the dominant form of advertising. Just watch over the next 5 years or so. With people using their mobile devices more for internet searches and social networking or just doing pretty much everything online, it’s just a matter of time before we see more social ads than we do on TV or radio. Fortunately, social advertising is affordable for every business from your mom and pop store on the corner to the behemoths like Wal-Mart or Target.

Question is – how are you going to make it work for you? I hope these 5 tips help you out this holiday season. Have a tip you want to share? Comment below and let me know!

photo credit: roitberg via photopin cc


Author information

Mandy Edwards
Mandy is the owner of ME Marketing Services, a social marketing company located in Georgia providing social media consulting & management for small to medium-sized businesses. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of over 12+ years. In the fall you can find her & her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs.

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Access To Someone’s Personal Network Is A Privilege, Not A Right! http://www.steamfeed.com/access-someones-personal-network-privilege-right/ http://www.steamfeed.com/access-someones-personal-network-privilege-right/#respond Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:39:58 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26407 Have you forgotten why you network? Do you focus on what’s in it for me (WIIFM) rather than on how you can help? Have you ever paid attention to the path of introductions you followed and who was responsible? How much of what you do and who you know stems from being in the right place, at […]

Author information

Andrew Jenkins

Principal at Volterra

Andrew is a recognized senior social strategist, speaker, and blogger. He has held senior strategy roles with wireless, e-business, financial, and social CRM service providers, helping clients remain competitive by embracing social media and digital technologies.

The post Access To Someone’s Personal Network Is A Privilege, Not A Right! appeared first on SteamFeed.


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Some fun with Shallow DOF and 85mm.

  • Have you forgotten why you network?
  • Do you focus on what’s in it for me (WIIFM) rather than on how you can help?
  • Have you ever paid attention to the path of introductions you followed and who was responsible?
  • How much of what you do and who you know stems from being in the right place, at the right time, and knowing the right people?

There has been a lot of talk about social selling and networking in social media. I have contributed too, and while I still see value in the content that I have either authored or shared, I want to pause and reflect on some key fundamentals to ensure they are not lost amongst the buzzwords and catchphrases that can occupy many of the social media posts we share and see.

Where It Started

I used to work in the film and television industry, and the only way to find work on productions was through who you knew and who they knew. Unfortunately, in the days before the internet, specifically LinkedIn, it was impossible to know who people within your network knew. I couldn’t learn about who you knew without either asking you or unless you chose to volunteer such information.

I was only able to penetrate the industry by persevering and asking for help in the form of introductions. One phone conversation or chat in person led to another and another and so on. Gradually, I met key people who gave me a chance and I was able to establish myself in the industry. However, maintaining and growing my presence required continued effort, all without the support of social networking tools. All I had was a phone—the wired-into-the wall kind—and pen and paper. This is not a complaint, simply an illustration of the fact that networking and building my personal brand were still possible despite technical limitations, or the complete lack of any technological tools whatsoever. Others had accomplished similar feats before me; the advent of social networks has only made it easier for everyone now.

New Era

First came Friendster and Classmates.com, but when LinkedIn appeared, networking and personal brand building changed dramatically. Once I connected with you on LinkedIn, your network became transparent to me. I now knew who you knew, unlike my days in the film and television industry. I could discover a connection of yours and proactively request an introduction. A new era of networking had begun.

You may be asking, “Why am I taking the walk down networking memory lane?”It’s not because I want to give you a history lesson; I want to revisit the fundamentals of why we network. Sometimes we lose our way, turning networking into a “what’s in it for me?”scenario rather than a “how can I help?”scenario.

This new era of networking and social selling has, in some cases, led to quantity over quality of connections and a proliferation of content noise in the pursuit of a personal brand. I have been guilty of such behaviour too, so I am writing this as a reminder to myself as well as to others. It has also led to networking with an agenda rather than a purpose. Having an agenda suggests something negative, like you are being disingenuous and possibly selfish rather than having a purpose to be helpful.

Fundamentals

I was recently featured in a campaign from LinkedIn surrounding their reaching a new milestone of 10 million members in Canada. As part of the campaign, I was profiled and I shared a story of how I had used LinkedIn to establish an international connection that led to a client engagement, which set me on the path toward the work in social media that I am doing now.

Underneath it all, I simply adhered to one of the key fundamentals of networking: I just asked someone for a few minutes of their time for insights—not to sell them—and the dominoes started falling from there. A relationship was nurtured, resulting in a research project about social networks, and a new trajectory for my career was established.

But I want to highlight something else that resulted from the research project. While compiling sources for my research, I discovered a thesis paper discussing social networks and their role during the transition of Russia from communism to capitalism. It touched on Gravonetter’s theory of weak ties, which has been a topic often discussed in relation to networks and networking from people such as Malcolm Gladwell, but it also mentioned a phrase that has stayed with me since: “favours of access.”

Respect and Gratitude

Amidst some of the chaos of such a dramatic shift within Russia, it became increasingly important to rely on your networks to get things and to get things done. As an extension of that idea, if you needed something or needed something done, you would go to your network and a member of your network would grant you the “favour of access”to his or her network and key connections within it.

We are all accustomed to asking for a favour, but now it takes on new meaning because the person you are asking is not the one doing the favour; they are just the one who can provide you access to the person or persons who can ultimately help you.

If we pause and consider all of our networking activities through that lens, it should make us more appreciative of the introductions and connections made for us, and more respectful of the people to whom we enable access. This touches on one of the other key fundamentals of networking: giving without the expectation of reciprocity. You can call it paying it forward, givers gain or just plain karma. It doesn’t matter. It’s just about helping.

Dominoes

Some of the other aforementioned dominoes that fell as a result of my research included connecting with the CEO of a startup in Amsterdam, again via LinkedIn. We connected, collaborated and became friends. He and his family even hosted me at their home when I eventually paid a visit to Amsterdam. All of that was a result of answering his query on LinkedIn. He asked for help and I responded.

I was also fortunate to find the author of the thesis paper who was from Russia, educated in France, and was then working for the World Bank in Washington. We connected to discuss her paper and my research, and she invited me to participate in a workshop on social networks and their application within the World Bank and NGOs at the bank’s offices. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Again, this came about because of a Google search and an InMail on LinkedIn. Are you seeing a pattern here?

LinkedIn and some of the other dominant social networks have expanded my career, my personal and professional networks and my opportunities. On the flipside, they have presented me with numerous opportunities to connect, engage and serve through providing favours of access to my network. It is the latter that has been the most rewarding.

Service

I mentor MBA students from my alma mater, many of whom are foreign students not versed in the North American style of networking and who don’t have much of an established network outside of school. I help them navigate the marketplace and connect them with people in my network who could prove helpful. I have been doing it for a number of years and have found it incredibly rewarding to see those I mentor graduate, land a job and flourish. It’s amazing what can happen when you put your network to work for others.

My mentorship has expanded beyond MBA students to include startups and undergraduates at OCAD University. Call it business acumen meets art & design. I learn just as much if not more from those I mentor as what they learn from me, and none of it would have happened had I not been open to being in the orbit of the school and learning from others more closely involved.

Now What?

If I sound patronizing or like I am saying “you know what you should do?”it is not my intention. I just wanted to remind you, but especially myself, that with the right mindset with respect to networking and the openness to serve, we can truly have an impact and enjoy unexpected experiences as a result.

I would love to hear how networking and/or “favours of access”have impacted you and possibly those in your network, so feel free to comment below or reach out to me directly.

photo credit: mikeyp2000 via photopin cc


Author information

Andrew Jenkins
Andrew is a recognized senior social strategist, speaker, and blogger. He has held senior strategy roles with wireless, e-business, financial, and social CRM service providers, helping clients remain competitive by embracing social media and digital technologies.

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Blend Social And Your Website: Win Consumer Brand Perception http://www.steamfeed.com/blend-social-website-win-battle-consumer-brand-perception/ http://www.steamfeed.com/blend-social-website-win-battle-consumer-brand-perception/#respond Sun, 09 Nov 2014 15:23:39 +0000 http://www.steamfeed.com/?p=26478 An Armani suit may be seen as a tad too dressy for an advertising intern, but Banana Republic may be just right. A Ferrari owner is probably young and sporty, while an Austin Martin owner is a classier, more sophisticated guy. How do we arrive at such clear images in our heads? What is responsible […]

Author information

Tracy Vides

Tracy Vides

Tracy Vides is a writer, researcher and content strategist, who firmly believes in the power of communication, collaboration and social media to leverage small business! She’s @TracyVides on Twitter.

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An Armani suit may be seen as a tad too dressy for an advertising intern, but Banana Republic may be just right. A Ferrari owner is probably young and sporty, while an Austin Martin owner is a classier, more sophisticated guy.

How do we arrive at such clear images in our heads? What is responsible for how we look at, classify and transact with different brands? To cut a long chase short, it’s brand image. A large part of what brands we buy depends on how we perceive them in our minds.

In the pre-digital age, it was advertising that primarily managed how a consumer perceived your brand. However, in the last decade two new prime drivers of brand image and consumer perception have emerged – your website and social media.

Users now have the option of logging onto your site, checking out various aspects of your business and making up their minds on their own. Social media helps users form opinions about brands by getting inputs from family and friends, from posts made by your brand on social networks and by observing your interactions with your followers on social networks.

In order to put your best face forward to users by bringing together the strengths of social media and your website in a systematic, scientific way, you need to

  • Have a coherent brand message and personality across your web, mobile and social properties.
  • Make sure you’re using the right social sharing buttons from the right networks at the right pages on your site.
  • Implement a live social feed on your blog or home page.
  • Present your visitors with social login options.
  • Show social proof.
  • Define and track important social metrics.
  • Remarket to site visitors on social media.

Curious to know how you can do all this? Read on.

Consistent Brand Messaging on your Website and Social Accounts

Your website is the online home for your brand. Make sure that it carries the right brand names, logos, taglines, colors, design aesthetics and any other branding element that your brand uses in the offline world.

The same goes for your social media accounts. Let each account reflect your brand’s personality in its profile page. Make sure each post on social media is guided by your overall brand messaging and positioning to avoid sending out mixed signals to consumers. E.g. A luxury liquor brand that suddenly puts up posts about toddler fashions is a confused brand.

Social Follow Buttons on Your Website

In an age where you can actually track and replenish inventory, accept payments and access user data for your website on a real time basis straight from your mobile handset, talking about integrating social media and your website is almost rudimentary. Nevertheless, I mention it here because a lot of website owners make the mistake of putting up every possible social button on their sites. Only highlight those social networks which you actively maintain on a regular basis.

Place your social buttons in positions that users will not miss, but make them unobtrusive enough to not distract users’ attention from the main goal of your site. Social media networks keep tweaking their own brand assets like logos and buttons. Make sure the ones you use are the latest kind to avoid inadvertent embarrassment for your brand.

Social Sharing Buttons on Product Pages, Blog Posts

Users sharing your content on social media is the best and most authentic form of free marketing you could hope for. It is an endorsement of your brand or products by a user that is seen and noted by all their friends and family on social media, at zero expense to you.

Make sure you maximize the utilization of this critical social feature by making share buttons highly visible and easily actionable e.g. putting them next to a product image on a product page or having sharing buttons alongside each blog post is a great way to expand visibility and credibility for your product and content.

zulily

By displaying social sharing buttons every time you hover the pointer on a particular item, Zulily gently nudges users to share cute items with their friends and family on social media – even if they aren’t buying right away.

Make sure you distinguish between following and sharing by using the correct terminology. For sharing buttons, say out loud Tweet or Pin, instead of simply having a generic social network logo for both functions.

Live Social Feeds

If you have a strong and extremely active social media presence, it is a good idea to promote it on your website as well in the form of a live feed.

Live feeds are typically put up for high frequency social platforms like Twitter or Instagram or even Facebook in some cases. The idea is to have fresh content that is relevant to your site on your website or blog on a regular basis. This improves your keyword density, keeps your website or blog fresh with regularly updated content and improves search rankings.

Social Logins

A relatively new, but increasingly popular way of integrating social media with your website is allowing users to register on and login to your website using their social media accounts. Social logins eliminate a huge hurdle that many users face while using their favorite sites – the need to create a brand new account to access the site and remember yet another password.

social login

With social login apps installed on your website, you can now allow users to log into your site with any of their existing social media accounts. Social login also offers website owners like you access to profile information of your users that can be used to create more personalized experiences for users and customers on your website.

According to a study from Janrain covered by Jay Baer on Convince and Convert, not only does social log-in boost conversions by as much as 50%, 77% of consumer actually prefer social log-in compared to creating a dedicated account.

Social Proof

Users interact with your brand on social media in many ways. Some just like or share your content. Some comment on your posts. Some contact you to troubleshoot problems they’re facing with your product. Others leave behind a complimentary word or two about their experiences with your brand.

Testimonials from real users are a great tool to convince visitors to convert on your website. Highlight these complimentary testimonials and present them as proof of your stellar customer satisfaction record on your site.

Apply Insights from Analytics

You don’t need me to tell you that tracking user behavior on your site and social networks is a fundamental function required of any website owner. However, what many website owners tend to overlook is culling out actionable insights from their website analytics or social media analytics and applying them to increase engagement and conversions.

Track and record every relevant action users make on your site, things they click on, purchases made – create future social posts based on this data. From your social analytics, figure out the time of day that gets most CTRs and impressions, day of week that works best for conversions and focus your energies on posting at those specific times to maximize conversions.

Social Media Retargeting

Create a seamless experience between your website and social media, by creating retargeted ads that target users who have already visited your site but not completed a transaction yet. Retargeted ads on social media is currently a Facebook forte, but probably would expand to other networks, given their popularity on Facebook with marketers.

Over to You

Social media can be a powerful tool in creating consumer perceptions, influencing user behavior and orchestrating desired outcomes for your brand. Integrating it seamlessly with your website is the key to having your most important (and free) digital tools contribute meaningfully towards attaining the final goal – conversions.

If you’re a blogger or social media manager who’s doing any of the above, I’d love to hear your experience and insights in the comments!


Author information

Tracy Vides
Tracy Vides
Tracy Vides is a writer, researcher and content strategist, who firmly believes in the power of communication, collaboration and social media to leverage small business! She’s @TracyVides on Twitter.

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