Unless you’ve been live blogging from under a moon rock somewhere in outer space, by now you know that Pinterest isn’t just for arts and crafts. Top social media marketersuse Pinterest to sell everything from pork to private schools.
When you think Pinterest, you might assume that this platform best serves women’s clothing retailers and wedding vendors. Not so, my friend. According to the company, one-third of all Pinterest sign-ups come from men. In fact, more men use Pinterest in the U.S. every month than read Sports Illustrated and GQ combined. The bulk (70 percent) of the platform’s 70 million users in the U.S. are still female, but in emerging international markets like India, Korea and Japan the split is closer to 50/50.
Not only is Pinterest hugely popular, Pins last longer than media on other social platforms. While a Tweet has a half-life of only 24 minutes, and a Facebook post lasts about 90 minutes, Pins have a half-life of 151,200 minutes. What does this mean for your business? Say you publish a great blog post and Pin it this month. The post gets repinned over and over again. As a result, months from now Pinterest will still be referring traffic to your website. Many smart brands from a variety of industries have caught on to this marketing gold mine and are ready to get in the game.
But even a strong platform can’t help a company with bad content. One of the biggest mistakes that brands make is just pinning boring, salesy photos of their products. If your product lacks the appeal of say, an ice cream sundae, you’ve got to find a way to sweeten it up! Here’s a few unexpected companies who have found new ways to turn the mundane into magic.
When you think of Farmers Insurance, you probably think of a responsible father (perhaps with a fatherly mustache) teaching his kid how to drive. Well, believe it or not, now dad’s on Pinterest!
Farmers Insurance is way ahead of the competition with boards like “A Smarter Commute” and “A Smarter Home” and even “A Smarter Vacation.” Farmers Insurance content is cleverly juxtaposed with Pins of dream homes and road trips—both of which you need insurance to secure.
Farmers InsuranceA Smarter HomeFollow On
Geico may have a gecko, but they sure don’t have a Pinterest board. Farmers proves you don’t need flashy gimmicks or a retail business to fit in on Pinterest. There’s enough Pins to go around.
What is their creamy secret? Original, compelling content. Rather than pinning to tried and true content from other websites, International Delight hired their own bloggers and photographers to create content specifically for the Pinterest audience. Delicious photos, interesting recipes, and good writing resulted in one heck of an ROI for this coffee beverage enhancing business.
In addition to highly shareable food and shopping Pins, Pinterest is a great place to share inspirational messages. On an average day, one can find a flock of doves with the words “start each day with a grateful heart” Pin or a bouquet of balloons and the message “throw kindness around like confetti” Pin.
Mastercard tapped into this encouraging, supportive vibe on Pinterest when they launched their #AcceptanceMatters campaign. Playing on the idea that Mastercard is “accepted” everywhere, the credit card company applied this concept broadly to acceptance of humankind. Launching in conjunction with Pride NYC 2013, marketers developed inspirational word art and encouraged consumers to share why acceptance matters to them.
MasterCard US#AcceptanceMattersFollow On
By creating visual, interactive content with an emotional message, Mastercard got great results. The company earned 24.5 million potential impressions, and more than 13,000 Repins in just nine weeks. Additionally, Mastercard gained 171 followers to the board, Pins continued to be shared by users and influencers alike. The takeaway? If it feels good, do it.
Many companies have had success by shifting the focus from the product they are trying to sell to a related theme. OnStar, a company that connects people to help in a push of a button made great strides with this strategy. Rather than focusing on the service they offer, they created an OnStar Pinterest board around the theme of “connection.”
OnStar’s most popular Pinterest board (in terms of followers, clicks, Repins, and likes) is “Traveling with Kids.” The board offers road trip tips, mess free snacks, and game ideas to keep the kids from getting too restless. It is essential to note that this board does not center on OnStar, but focuses on life in and around your vehicle.
OnStarTraveling with KidsFollow On
OnStar also developed an SEO-friendly Pin copy strategy, which includes hashtags for easier search within Pinterest, a verified business account, and categorized boards. As a result of this smart work and consistent upkeep, OnStar has kept average engagement rate on their Pins of above 10 percent and as high as 19 percent. The key to their success? Creating content that Pinners find relevant, interesting and worth taking the time to click through.
Consumers are in control. They can tune out your marketing efforts and search online for products and services. To capture their attention, small businesses need a more effective permission marketing-based strategy to attract, engage, and convert more visitors into lifelong customers.
Inbound marketing utilizes that permission-based approach, reaching people organically through SEO, blogs, and social media. Instead of interrupting consumers with cold calling and ads, inbound marketing leverages captivating content that solves a real problem for your target market, ultimately guiding potential customers directly to your website where you can pull them into your sales process. And it really works. Inbound marketing delivers 54 percent more leads than traditional marketing at much lower costs.
So how can your small business tap into inbound marketing to capture and convert more customers without spending more money? Here are four things you should do to make inbound marketing work for you:
1. Develop your content strategy
The first step to an inbound marketing strategy is to provide valuable content to your audience. Think about who your ideal customer is and understand their needs, wants, and interests to create the content that drives inbound marketing for your small business.
Once the content is created, it needs to be released in engaging and entertaining ways that encourage sharing. Creating a quality social media following is one of the most impactful ways to spread content.
Through market research, you’ll find that your audience gravitates towards certain platforms and tends to engage with social media at different times of the day. Once you’ve settled on the two or three main social media channels you’re going to use to distribute content and interact with your audience, social media tools can help you organize and intelligently time distribution.
Much like the shift from outbound to inbound marketing, the way we post has changed. Research has shown that visually stimulating posts are drastically increasing. Short videos, pictures, and infographics are much more likely to be viewed and shared. In fact, photos and videos will soon account for almost 70 percent of content published on Facebook.
The variety of visual options also means that content can be reformatted and recycled. For instance, a popular infographic can be transformed into a whiteboard animation video without having to start from square one.
3. Capture prospects with form submissions
Attracting and engaging interest from prospects is only the first step in converting customers and fueling sales. When content is trusted and is viewed consistently, it becomes easier to create leads by using resources and form submissions.
When prospects view the website is an excellent opportunity to get their information by offering additional content or an email subscription to be updated with content. To acquire this information, send prospects to a landing page where they will enter their personal details (such as name and email) to access a stream of quality content they’ll find useful or engaging.
There are numerous programs and companies that offer automated email response systems to streamline this process. These systems can also collect information, tracking clicks as well as the types of emails each prospect has been most responsive to. Using this information, targeted emails can be sent to the most engaged prospects converting them into customers.
4. Nurture prospects into customers
Whether your inbound efforts generate leads from social media, organic search, or your blog, lead nurturing can help you get a higher return on investment (ROI) from your inbound marketing efforts by turning more leads into customers.
Not everyone is ready to become a customer after interacting with your content, but email marketing can help you continue to educate prospects and keep your business top-of-mind when the time does come for them to buy.
Small business marketing automation and customer relationship managed software provider, Hatchbuck, advises that small businesses nurture new leads with a series of touchpoints. As contacts are nurtured, the actions they take can indicate their level of interest and readiness to buy. Actions such as visiting a link, watching a video, or filling out a form can impact lead score so that marketers can systematically determine when a lead is ready to be sent to the sales team.
With lead nurturing, instead of burning through every lead right away only to have few convert, your business can nurture them over time, increasing your conversion rate.
If your company hasn’t invested in inbound marketing, it’s time. It’s been shown thatadopting inbound marketing strategies doubles website conversions rates from 6 percent to 12 percent. The future of marketing will rely heavily on creating trust and relationships with customers through content and getting found through inbound channels such as SEO, blogs and social media.
After graduating college I remember dramatically throwing myself onto my (mother’s) couch and complaining about my unsuccessful job hunt.
“Every ‘entry level’ job wants ‘one to three years of experience’ but how are you supposed to GET experience if you can’t get an entry level job?!” I wailed.
Not only did I lack a wealth of job experience to back me up, I felt like my resume looked virtually identical to the resumes of everyone I graduated with. With my endless supply of free time, I began spending a lot of time on social media (Twitter in particular), following people in my industry who I thought I could at least learn from.
By developing these relationships, participating in conversations, and sharing content, I was unknowingly building a personal brand that filled the void of experience that my resume lacked.
As a result, I’ve had three jobs that can be directly attributed to Twitter—and each one happened in a different way. I used Twitter to build a relationship with someone who eventually became my business partner. I applied for a job I found in a Tweet and ended up moving across the country for it. And most recently, I reached out to someone I followed who worked at a company I wanted to work for (called Hootsuite) and they were able to put me in touch with a hiring manager.
Here’s what I’ve learned about landing a job using social media, and tips for how you can use it to demonstrate your own ambition, common sense, and curiosity—qualities that any employer should always be on the lookout for.
1. Make yourself discoverable
Recruiters use social media the same way everyone else does: for creeping people. When a potential employer searches your name, you want to be able to control what they find as much as possible.
Here are some tips for fine-tuning the SEO of your personal brand:
Make sure the name you use on your resume matches the name you use on your social media profiles.
If and when possible, use the same handle across all your social networks.
Ensure your profiles (especially LinkedIn) have the most up-to-date information about yourself on them. Using the same profile image consistently across each social network can make it easier for people to find you as well.
Create a personal website. Even the most simple site can increase the searchability of your name. Kissmetrics suggests creating a separate “profile page” on your site, (using your name in the URL if possible) and having all of your social profiles link to this page. Services like Squarespace or Wix can make this really easy to do.
If you don’t want to create a full blown website for yourself, Sumry is a webapp that allows you build a beautiful online resume that can also easily be downloaded as a PDF.
2. Balance the personal and professional
You may think you’re covering all your bases by having a squeaky clean social media profile that you link to on your resume and “private” accounts that you use to chronicle all your weekend debauchery. But nothing—I repeat, nothing—you post on social media is private. The day will come when you overlook a crucial privacy setting on Facebook, post something to the wrong account, get tagged in an embarrassing photo, or have a mutual friend in common with your new boss that makes your profile more accessible to them than you’d like it to be.
Instead of leading a double life, try to strike a balance between your professional and personal self on all your social media profiles. Don’t hide your sense of humor or quirky interests, but don’t post anything you’d be embarrassed by a potential boss seeing. This will help protect your reputation online while giving potential employers a glimpse of your personality—something that can help show them you’ll be a good culture fit for the company.
As Hootsuite’s CEO has said himself: “I do think the tide is turning and more people—and employers—are starting to understand that it’s okay to show emotion, vulnerability, joy, silliness, and the whole gamut of human experience on social media. The charade that we’re perfect little worker bees is giving way to an acknowledgement of the complexity and humanity that everyone brings to the table. This kind of honesty makes for a more open and more fulfilling office culture. It builds trust in a profound way.”
3. Write like you mean it
With 44 percent of hiring managers saying that a proficiency in writing is a top skill missing among recent college graduates, how you write on social media is an important reflection of your potential abilities.
You don’t need to Tweet as if you’re a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, but brush up on your spelling and grammar skills, use punctuation properly, and put some effort into the things you write. It won’t go unnoticed.
A great way of showing off your writing chops aside from your cover letter is by publishing posts on LinkedIn Pulse. To get ideas on what to write, browse through some of the most popular posts. Write from your unique perspective as a recent graduate and share your insights about the industry you’re hoping to work in.
4. Get your search on
Along with browsing sites like LinkedIn or Monster, monitoring Twitter is another great way to use social media to find potential job opportunities. Your best bet is to monitor both industry-specific hashtags (#prjobs, for example, is all about job postings for PR and communications) and location-specific hashtags (#austinjobs, #yyzjobs, etc).
Set up search streams in Hootsuite for these hashtags and you’ll be able to see a constant stream of Tweets related to the types of jobs you’re looking for. You can even geo-target the search results so that you only see Tweets posted from within a certain area.
Click “Add Stream” in your Hootsuite dashboard.
Enter your hashtag in the “search query” field under the “Search” tab.
Geo-target your search by clicking on the arrow in the search query field. It will automatically populate with the coordinates of your current location.
You can search within a larger area by editing the search radius (which is highlighted here).
5. Make real connections with real people
Instead of sending five emails a day to whom it may concern, social media gives you the opportunity to identify and connect with a real human being who can help move your job search along.
Introducing yourself on social media to a recruiter or hiring manager helps put a face to the name on your resume and keep you top of mind when new opportunities emerge. If introducing yourself to a stranger on social media apropos of nothing isn’t your thing, here are two ways you can ease into networking on social media (while learning a lot in the process).
Participate in Twitter chats about the industry you’re hoping to work in. Ask questions and try even sharing some answers when you feel comfortable doing so. Twitter chats are a great educational resource and an even better networking opportunity. Follow the people participating and introduce yourself. Thank people for their insights and ask if they’d be willing to answer any additional questions you may have.
Joining and participating in groups will allow you to learn directly from professionals in your field, make online connections that could turn into offline opportunities, and increase your visibility on LinkedIn for recruiters and hiring managers.
Most importantly, check out the “Jobs” tab in each group you join. This is different than the main “Jobs” section of LinkedIn, giving you access to job postings that are tailored for that specific group.
6. Aim for an informational interview
Along with recruiters and hiring managers, use social media to build relationships with people who can offer long term guidance and open the door for future opportunities.
An informational interview (which is just a fancy term for a conversation) is a way for you to get valuable insights into a particular company or industry and advice for beginning your career. Whether you chat in person, on the phone, or via email, these conversations will help turn your online connections into meaningful offline relationships.
You may instinctively want to aim for high-level executives but don’t ignore the people who are five years or less into their careers. They were in your situation more recently and may be able to offer you more practical advice as a result (plus, their schedules will be a lot more accommodating).
7. Have patience
Building a network, creating relationships, and propelling your career forward will take time—and it won’t always work. You’ll reach out to people and get rejected. You’ll nail a cover letter and never get a call back. You’ll go for an interview and you won’t get the job.
The good news is that social media moves at a lightning pace, meaning there are new opportunities popping up every day. Continue investing time and energy into your personal brand and relationships on social media, and you’re bound to reap the benefits.
Images play a crucial role in the world of social media marketing. You’ve heard it time and time again: a post with visual content will garner more engagement than its text-based counterpart. But this poses a challenge: how do you share compelling images multiple times per day on a slew of platforms while maintaining an efficient workflow? It’s a tough thing to manage – especially when quality and cost come into play.
There isn’t one answer, but many. And as usual, the Internet comes to the rescue. Below we look at easy-to-use tools that you can work into your content strategy to create quality imagery while saving time and money. These are 15 of the best image resources we’ve found, and they have one vital thing in common: they make the life of a social marketer a whole lot easier.
For a social marketer, the biggest value Canva provides is simplicity: create striking imagery by just dragging and dropping elements into place. No design experience? No problem. Plug text or photos into their ready-made layouts or produce something from scratch.
Much like Canva, BeFunky is a one-stop-shop for graphic creation and collages. Choose layouts based on function: social media headers, blogger resources and small business templates are among the options. Customizations come quick and easy with the company’s user-friendly interface.
For those who delve deeper into the design world, Creative Market has a massive catalog of ready-to-use fonts, templates, mockups and stock photos produced by incredible talents. With a vision in mind, finding what you need is a cinch, and even if your creative flow is running dry, Made with Creative Market has infinite inspiration. Not sure where to get started? Creative Market gives out six free products every week to start a collection of assets with.
Unsplash has a model that’s hard to beat: “Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.” The organization dishes out 10 stunning new photos every 10 days shot by photographers in their skilled community. Finding the right image to accompany a social post can be a challenge so Unsplash is gold for a social marketer. Under the Creative Commons Zero license, you can copy, alter, redistribute and even use their photos commercially. It’s the ultimate creative freedom.
Great photography sparks emotion. Emotion sells. End of story. A great photo can be the backbone of any social post, and Pexels is another valuable site with access to a growing database of free stock photos. At the moment, the company boasts more than 4,500 photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, and they’re adding at least 70 new images per week.
It’s no question that including compelling data in your content strategy is an effective way of engaging your audience. Infogr.am is data visualization at its finest. The platform makes repackaging information a painless process. Though you can choose from a multitude of options and designs, from creating complex infographics to simple charts, the experience is far from overwhelming.
Creating an infographic from scratch doesn’t have to be an arduous task. If you’re up for the challenge, you can make your own using Easel.ly. Choose from a slew of ready-to-use templates or create your own. The real value is in the drag-and-drop interface and the ease of plugging in your own data.
The entire Pixlr suite includes a wide range of tools that come in handy for a social media manager—starting with the web-based photo editor, a free alternative to Photoshop. Pixlr Express functions much like Instagram in that you can apply different color effects to your images and adjust their strengths. It also includes creative overlays, stickers and the ability to add text. Pixlr’s collection of web-based apps helps beautify your images.
Editing and enhancing photos on the go is a snap (pun intended) using the Snapseed mobile app. You don’t have to be seasoned in complicated photo editing software to easily understand how it works. Swipe up, down, left and right to create your desired effect. Your smartphone can be a powerful tool for generating original content for your social pages.
Over is a powerful tool that goes far beyond just adding text to images—though that’s how it’s best known to the market. Even choosing from preset social dimensions just scratches the surface of the app’s features. With a recent update, it now allows for blending, taking color samples, adding image overlays, and offers striking ready-made artwork. A new integration with Unsplash, the free stock photo site also mentioned on this list, means Over is a graphic creations powerhouse.
Phonto, the app that allows you to add creative text to images, is a minute-marketer’s dream: import image, add text, style it and share. Of course, the real art is selecting the right font and impeccably placing your design. The best part? Phonto won’t cost you a dime.
Time is on your side with Recite, an effortless solution for creating images from quotes. Sharing quotes is often an effective method for garnering engagement on social. Boasting a straightforward user experience, the process has been stripped down to its core. Just type your quote into the text box, choose from a handful of templates below it, click ‘Create’ and bam! Download or share straight to one of your social pages.
Optimizing image dimensions for each social channel can be a hassle: it’s time consuming and you have no choice but to keep up with social image specs that are constantly being modified. Autre Planete’s Social Media Image Maker is a convenient resource for cropping photos or graphics to the right size.
Annotate much? If so, Skitch might be for you. An Evernote product, Skitch provides all the tools necessary to add visual commentary to any image. Use arrows, text, stickers and a handful of other tools to get your message across on a screenshot or any image of choice. It’s a helpful app for support or community teams that have to answer complicated technical user questions.
Mockups galore! Sometimes you just need an image of your website or app and a screenshot just won’t cut it. Place It offers a wide variety of mockups to showcase the image of your choosing. Upload it right into a template and voila! Download a free low-res version or buy it in a higher resolution.
You’ve passed through interviews with flying colors by promising big things for your new company’s social channels. You’re feeling really good.
Fast forward a few weeks. The job offer afterglow is gone and it’s day one in your new role as content marketer or social media manager. You have to prove your marketing prowess and translate those fun GIFs into conversions and revenue your boss cares about.
Let’s reiterate that point. Your boss thinks you’re super creative and blah blah—but really—they want to see the money. You know the deal. If you can’t show the business value of social media you’ll never get a promotion, or worse—never be taken seriously.
By following these six steps, you’ll not only impress your boss by looking incredibly business-savvy, but you’ll also get your team on the map by working towards broader company goals.
Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.
1. Conduct a social media audit
Start by performing a social media audit of all existing social accounts. It’s basically an objective, no-nonsense way to get going on your social agenda. Your audit should record the following:
Social presence: All of your company’s social media accounts
Purpose: The reason for the channel’s existence. Is it part of a bigger plan?
Target audience: i.e. Your customer personas. Different audience for channels?
Frequency: Number of posts per week on each channel. Is it consistent?
Content types: The kinds of content being posted. Is it on brand?
Success metrics: The way success has been measured on each channel. Are there metrics in place and has the company been successful in reaching those?
By collecting this information you can quickly identify what the company is doing well and what needs improvement. The audit isn’t necessarily an analysis, but it should lead to one.
2. Create a social media marketing plan
Ah, wouldn’t life be wonderful if things could begin and end with a social media audit. Only, the social media audit is merely an observation tool—a springboard—for you to analyze and build a social media marketing plan (i.e. what you can do better and how you’re going to measure it). Your report should be an extension of your social media audit by covering:
What’s done well (and why)
Areas of weakness and/or opportunity
What you think can and should be done (i.e. goals)
How you’re going to measure success (i.e. targets and benchmarks)
Your target audience and how you’re going to talk to them
It’s important that you provide a strategy proposal based off the evidence of your social media audit. That way, you will manage the expectations of your boss by creating goals around what’s possible rather than broad ideals that may never get met.
3. Create weekly or monthly reports
Let’s assume your boss has approved your proposed social media marketing plan. Rather than charging ahead until the end of the quarter, start with the end in mind. Track your performance on a weekly (or bi-weekly) basis and share reports at a frequency that you think is appropriate (typically per week or month). If you’re using Hootsuite, you can use our analytics to track your social channels’ performance and generate reports.
Consider keeping two separate reports, one for your immediate team and one that is company-wide (i.e. the one for your boss). Your immediate team will likely understand all the technical terms, so it can be less reader-friendly. However, your company-wide report should synthesize all the analytics from your reports. If you do a slide deck, for example, it could look something like this:
Slide 1: A summary of the time period
Slide 2: Key successes and areas for improvement
Slide 3: Shout outs to people, campaigns, or programs
Don’t forget that a great way to make friends at your company is to give credit to those that have helped you and contributed to your success.
4. Know the scoop on social before your boss does
There’s a lot on social media that will be planned—everything from campaigns, to blog content, to weekly chats. But there’s also daily news and life stuff that you need to stay on top of. If your boss knows about news stories before you, that isn’t a good sign. It’s your job to be the eyes and ears of your industry. Here are some simple ways to stay ahead of the game:
Set up Google Alerts for keywords, influencers, and competitors
Subscribe to email newsletters or RSS feeds for your industry
Enable Twitter alerts for news accounts like @BBCBreaking or @cnnbrk to remain sensitive about what goes up on social
5. Work with other departments to strengthen strategy
In order for social media to stay relevant to your company, you need to work with other departments and teams to double down on projects and objectives. Are there campaigns coming up? Awesome guest speakers? These are things you should know about and be part of to represent your company’s activities on its social channels. Get involved by offering suggestions and creative direction. Build trust with other teams so that you can give your team the street cred it deserves.
6. Enlist the help of your allies to polish your work
Your boss might be like “hey, I’m cool, ask me anything!” But do they really mean that? There are some things you shouldn’t ask your boss. Find your social media allies (people who care about social media as much as you) and ask them to read over your proposals, proofread your work, and help you with anything else that adds to your professionalism when you’re presenting your work.
Go beyond social to impress with social media
You probably sold a lot of things in your interview. Truth is, you can’t deliver on all of it. Or at least not yet. First, you need to manage expectations and show that you’re engaged and care about your work and the goals of the company. By following these steps, your boss will not only think you’re a social marketing genius, but also that you’re a strong leader and strategic thinker. The perfect candidate for a raise.
In the age of content marketing, blogging has fast become one of the most effective ways to market your brand. It’s simple, cost-efficient, and a nicer way to drive traffic to your website than traditional interruptive marketing tactics like email blasting. Some B2B companies still haven’t adopted blogging as a business function despite its obvious benefits. Opting out of the blogging phenomenon makes a business seem like they don’t want to build a relationship with their customer, and in this day and age, that’s just shortsighted.
WHY YOU SHOULD BLOG FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Blogging can help you generate leads. The content that you publish on your site can bring in new visitors (and potential customers) as they search for information relevant to the products and services that your company has to offer. It can also build a community and foster engagement, especially when you publish fresh and relevant content on a regular basis.
What’s more, blogging can help you position yourself as an industry expert. When you consistently publish articles about the latest industry trends, visitors will begin to perceive your site as a great source of insight. Sharing valuable information is a great way to get customers to trust your brand, and blogging is the perfect platform for you to do exactly that.
BUSINESS BLOGGING TIPS
Whether you’re just about to start your first B2B blog post, or you already have a blog up and running on your website, here are some B2B blogging best practices and tips to help you build a strong online presence:
KNOW YOUR GOAL
Before you start drafting a new article for your blog, determine what your goal is for this particular post. Is it to attract new visitors? Is it to generate business leads? Or is it to subtly inform your readers about the updates to your products and services? Having a goal to start with will give your posts more direction, making it easier to determine the steps you need to take to reach your goal.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Determine, who your audience is, and why you are writing for them. Keep in mind that visitors may read your blog for a variety of reasons. It may be to research a topic they barely know about, or it may be due to their need to address an immediate problem or concern. The more you know about your audience, the more personal and relevant your content will be.
THINK BEFORE YOU POST
Remember that your blog serves as an extension of your company’s values and morals. Thus, your content should reflect your company’s values. If your business values education and professionalism, make your posts more polished and formal. On the other hand, if your brand values entertainment, make your posts amusing and fun to read.
For your blog to be a success, you must publish content on a regular basis. A little bit of downtime can cause you to lose readers you’ve worked so hard to gain. You definitely don’t want to see a sharp drop in your blog’s analytics.
OPTIMIZE, OPTIMIZE, OPTIMIZE
Make your blog more searchable by keeping it SEO-friendly. Optimize keywords that are likely to be used by visitors when they’re searching for information related to your offerings. Integrate your blog with a writing platform like WordPress. Unless you’re a keen developer, these platforms will make your articles much more easy for search engines to find and index.
MAKE SUBSCRIBING WORTHWHILE
Your blog subscribers are potentially probably going to be your best source for generating highly targeted leads. Blog subscribers already love your content, so provide them with exclusive bits of content to help guide them further down your sales funnel.
Be aware of any blogging mistakes that you might commit (or are currently committing). Your blog may exist to help you increase sales, but having a strictly sales-oriented content can put readers off instead of attracting and enticing them. Remember, people read articles because they want to be informed and educated, not necessarily because they want to make a direct purchase.
Don’t forget to promote your blog too. Social media, article directories, and online publishing platforms are your friends when it comes to reaching out to targeted communities.
Maintaining a successful business blog is never easy, but with these tips in mind, it’ll be smooth sailing.
Mobile use is at an all-time high, and shows no signs of slowing down. It has been predicted that by 2020, there will be the equivalent of 1.5 mobile devices for every person in the world.
It’s no wonder this trend is sometimes referred to as the “mobile revolution.”
But what does this mean for search? How will mobile SEO — including keyword research, content creation and device targeting — be impacted? This post will look at current trends in mobile search, and how you can get ahead of the game.
“Mobile first” moves beyond responsive design.
Mobile first is a popular term these days, but what does it really mean?
A few years ago, the phrase mobile first was largely used to describe the need to accommodate increased mobile usage by having a mobile app or responsive website design. Basically, the term was telling us to get our apps and websites ready “now.”
Related: 3 Ways to Use Mobile Marketing to Keep Customers Coming Back
Today, the words and definition of “Mobile first” has become a clarion call we need to heed as marketers. Most marketers and business owners are on board with having a mobile-friendly site. The so-called Mobilegeddon update of 2015 spurred many complacent site owners to action. And, those persons who have been comparatively sluggish in their perception of the magnitude of how quickly this “thing” is moving? Those who weren’t convinced the first time? Their minds may have been changed earlier this month — when Google increased their mobile-friendly ranking signal.
Mobile first is much bigger than just having a mobile-friendly site design. It encompasses user experience, keyword research and content creation.
Perhaps most importantly, mobile first is looking at user intent by asking, “How are our customers and prospects using various devices to get the information they need?” Many of the trends below touch on this question.
Apps have now overtaken mobile browsers
According to Flurry Mobile, 90 percent of time on mobile is now spent in apps; the remaining 10 percent is spent in browsers. The most popular apps remain Facebook (accounting for 19 percent of time on mobile), entertainment-based apps (17 percent) and gaming apps (15 percent).
This trend has serious implications for marketers who are investing heavily in mobile sites (as opposed to apps). Simon Khalaf, CEO and president of Flurry describes the problem perfectly: “Historically, the media industry has relied almost entirely on search for user and traffic acquisition, building entire teams around SEO and SEM on the desktop web. But search engines are predominantly accessed from a browser. If mobile users aren’t using browsers, the media industry will have to look for new approaches to content discovery and traffic acquisition.”
Micro-moments replace in-depth search.
Mobile users are increasingly using search to get instant answers to their queries. Whereas desktop (and often tablet) users are more likely to engage in longer, more in-depth search sessions, smartphone users expect bite-sized, instantaneous answers or information. Users may experience hundreds of these “micro-moments” each day. According to Google, these queries fall into four categories:
I-want-to-know: e.g., “How old is Barack Obama?”
I-want-to-do: e.g., “Download Angry Birds”
I-want-to-go: e.g., “How do I get to First National Bank?”
I want-to-buy: e.g., “Buy bedding online”
These moments represent important opportunities for marketers. Optimizing for these “in the moment” searches allows marketers to engage with consumers in real-time, capturing their attention throughout every part of their day.
Related: Planning Your Mobile Marketing Strategy
Complex natural language queries are possible.
Google has been able to interpret natural language queries for a while now. Since the introduction of Knowledge Graph in 2012, Google has been able to handle everything from single-word queries (e.g., “California”) to longer, more intuitive queries (e.g., “What is the capital of California?”). Google has recently upped their game, announcing an improved ability to deal with complex natural language queries. This means users can ask more complicated questions, relying on Google to more accurately interpret the meaning behind the queries. The examples Google gives include:
Time-based queries: “What was the population of Singapore in 1965?”
Questions using superlatives: “Who are the tallest Mavericks players?”
Complex question-combinations: “What are some of Seth Gabel’s father-in-law’s movies?”
Clearly, today’s mobile search is far more sophisticated than it was even a few short years ago. This is a benefit to both users and marketers as they seek to find and provide the most relevant information possible.
Mobile search = local search.
According to Google, one third of all mobile searches are now local. This means mobile users are far more likely to perform “I want to go” and local “I want to buy” queries (both of which tend to have much higher commercial intent), and therefore opportunities for marketers. Businesses trying to rank in local search should use the same optimization strategies they would for a non-local site. However, additional location-specific strategies should also be deployed:
Getting listed in local directories
Earning review signals (quantity of reviews, diversity of reviews, etc.)
Maintaining consistent NAPs (name, address, phone number) across all websites and listings
Using location-specific keywords (including hyperlocal keywords – such as, street or neighborhood names)
Inbound links from local publications and blogs
The journey happens across multiple devices.
We know that mobile has overtaken desktop when it comes to search. However, users aren’t abandoning their desktops — not by a long shot. Research is consistently showing that we use multiple devices to accomplish tasks online. For instance, we may start researching a product on our mobile device, but then complete the actual purchase on our desktop. Google refers to this as multi-screening. According to Facebook’s own research, the customer journey may be even more complex: “[T]he path to purchase is by no means linear. In today’s multi-device world, people are discovering on one device, researching on another and converting on a third. Add in activity that happens in-store and it becomes even more complex.”
Related: 4 Critical Things Every Business Must Know About Mobile Marketing
Facebook’s research found that mobile is an integral part of the purchase funnel, even when it’s not the only part. For instance, nearly half (45 percent) of all shopping journeys contained at least one action on mobile. Marketers will need to continue to find ways to keep each leg of the journey consistent, seamlessly guiding users through the purchase process…regardless of which device they’re using.
Search on tablets and smartphones are different.
When we talk about mobile, we’re usually referring to both mobile and tablet. However, the use of each product can differ quite significantly, both in terms of usage and search intent. Here’s what we know about the differences between tablets and smartphones in 2016:
Smartphone users are now more likely to make purchases than tablet users. Just a few years ago, the reverse was true. This year, 20 percent of all online orders will be made from smartphones, as compared to just 9 percent on tablets.
Almost twice as many searches now take place on phones compared to tablets: 80 percent of internet users conduct searches via smartphone, compared to just 47 percent on tablets.
While smartphones are used anywhere and everywhere, tablets are more likely to be used at home or work. Smartphone users tend to be more action-oriented: they’ll be more likely to perform “I-want-to-go” and local “I-want-to-buy” queries. Tablet users, on the other hand, are more likely to engage in longer search sessions and more in-depth content consumption.
Marketers may need a to look at a separate content marketing strategy for targeting mobile and tablet users, and they should be aware of the differences in usage and intent. This may be the time to consider that there may be a way to up the game for savvy marketers who can figure a way to garner the advantages of targeting the tablet users.
Mobile search is changing, and marketers need to keep up. “Mobile first” is no longer simply about having an app or a responsive site, but it is about meeting the mobile customers at every point of their journey — from their very first Google search all the way to purchase or conversion.
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