The problem with common sense is that it isn’t very common.
When you add the global reach of social media the reality is that bad manners, poor behaviour and forgotten etiquette become amplified. So as a business you need to think before hitting publish. If you are new to social media marketing for your business then it all can be a bit daunting.
So what do you do when you have finally finished creating all the social media accounts you didn’t think were necessary to make in the first place? Why Instagram when you have Facebook?. But you’ve made the accounts anyway, and the cross-pollinating posts have begun: a post on Facebook gets shared on all the rest, multiple times a day. Job done.
Turns out, there’s a lot more that goes into making the most use out of your social media platforms. Just because you’ve created the accounts doesn’t necessarily mean the followers will come flocking to you. There’s a lot more work to do, whether your business is trying to target clientele or business travelers stuck in airports or college students lounging around campus, you want to be very cautious about what gets shared on which accounts.
In fact, every social media platform has its own personality. Some may require more casual posts while others a more formal approach. Some social networks can be updated often every day while others need only one or two.
Here’s an infographic explaining social media etiquette on 6 social media networks.
What about you?
Did you wonder what was the right thing to do when you started on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? Did you make some mistakes?
Look forward to hearing your experiences and stories in the comments below.
Guest author: Ivan Serrano. You can follow him on Google+
Want to start building your own website or blog? It’s easier than you think!
Results as in subscriptions, leads or sales, not just traffic, social shares and mentions on the web.
Let me take a guess: you are here because you want to monetize your content, not to manage a blog just for fun. But be warned: blogging has become a serious business and, very few really know how to make it profitable.
Those few smart people who manage to monetize their content understand that it’s not the content that is generating revenue, but their marketing efforts focused on raising personal brand awareness, gaining prospects and converting them to revenue is.
Although business blogging takes time, energy and a long-term strategy, there are solutions that could drive to success. List building is one of them.
Here are 6 blogging mistakes you will need to fix that will not boost the number of subscribers overnight but if you commit and persist you will achieve success.
1. You don’t use surveys
Unless you haven’t noticed, you have already defined the problem: your website has traffic, but the number of subscribers doesn’t grow. Now it’s time to find out the cause of this unfortunate situation by asking your readers a few questions about their interaction with your blog or website.
Don’t guess!…find out who are the visitors to your website. Here are some tips to find out who they are and what they want.
Segmentation and targeting questions
What describes you the best?
I have a blog
I’m a freelancer who offers content marketing services
I’m writing content for a company’s blog
How often do you visit “my blog”?
every day you publish a post
two to three times a week
once a week
a few times per month
less than once a month
About how long have you been reading “my blog”?
a month or less
2 to 5 months
6 months or more
Satisfaction & attitude questions
How do you feel about the frequency of the posts?
It’s good as it is
I’d like to see more posts
I’d like to see fewer posts
Which of the following topics are the most appealing to you?
Landing Page Optimization
Once you have gathered enough responses to make an idea about your readers profile, their behavior and interest with your website, export the data into an Excel sheet and start analyzing the answers.
What’s the exact information that you need to know?
The most voted topic that will stand as the topic of your first e-book.
The blog’s PERSONAS that represent different user types, imaginary characters that act in a similar way on a website. Usually, every online business can define 2 to 5 personas.
2. You did not create a free e-book
Digital papers stand as hooks to persuade readers to subscribe to an e-mail list without telling them directly: “Subscribe to my list ‘because I’m so awesome.” Cialdini’s reciprocity principle states that people are more willing to do you a favor if you gave them something for free. So the e-book is the perfect gift for your blog’s readers, given the fact that you provide with a solution to their problem, according to what they’ve answered in the survey.
Once you have established which is the most popular topic within your audience, start working on the structure of an e-book.
For example, if the majority of the website’s visitors voted for “Landing Page Optimization,” grab this topic and start writing the structure of an e-book called “The 10 Secrets of Landing Page Optimization.”
As Clement Vouillon mentions in this article, writing a digital paper should be about 30% of the work while the rest of 70% of your efforts should focus on creating a landing page and promoting it. The landing page is the “Holy Grail” of all your campaign’s efforts. The place where people will decide either to subscribe to your email list or to abandon you.
Therefore, if you haven’t considered landing page optimization until now, you should start learning the basics right away. Here are the most common practices when creating landing pages:
Emphasize the benefits for the user, not the product’s characteristics. Persuasive and smart copywriting is the key to making people press the “call-to-action” button. For example, you could say “Learn how to become a master in the kitchen by doing this and that” instead of “This paper contains: recipes, tools, etc.”
Place the benefits above the fold
Use testimonials to increase trust
Test different versions of the original page with A/B testing. The key elements to test: headline, copy, images, forms, call-to-action buttons.
3. You don’t promote your freebies
Freebies are valuable to blogging business if one knows how to get the most out of them.
The promotional efforts should focus across all the relevant marketing channels for your blog.
Social media: Start spreading the word across the social networks, post into groups
PR: contact your partners such as related businesses or organizations, other bloggers and let them give away your e-book or convince them to send an e-mail blast, ask for recommendations, testimonials
Also, use your blog as a promotional channel to convince people to subscribe by:
Placing a subscription box at the end of each post
Using exit pop-ups when the readers intend to leave the website.
Use the power of copywriting to write a compelling message by emphasizing the problem that you’re giving a solution to. These pop-ups are useful because they work on the principle of “under promise, over deliver”. People don’t expect to receive something for free, but when they do receive it, they’re more willing to return the favor by giving you their email address.
4. You don’t follow up your leads
E-mail is so powerful and cheap that it should get a prize for “The marketer’s best friend category.”
Once your new subscribers received the e-book, you need to put them in your sales funnel. This should be an automated follow-up process. Compose an email in which you encourage them to visit 2 or 3 blog posts related to the e-book’s content. Then, schedule to send it after a few days from the subscription date. By automating this process, you will save time for other activities such as writing a new e-book. I’ll cover this in more detail later.
People who will return to your website by clicking on one of the links provided in the email represent good, healthy, useful and relevant traffic for your blogging business. They’re returning visitors. They then start to interact more with your website, thus showing a higher interest in what you have to say. Use the leverage effect and start on working at increasing the time on site and the number of pages viewed during a session.
Engaging with your audience is the key to allocating your resources more effectively. You won’t have to focus on traffic generation anymore, because the loyal readers will keep on returning to your website. In the end, they will eventually pay to read your content…but that depends on the value provided on your blog. Be consistent and committed to the reader’s interests and behavior.
5. You didn’t write a masterpiece, nor did you manage to sell it
Once you have convinced your subscribers of the value of your content, you now have to have a product that will pay for all of your efforts up to now.
Start creating a complete guide, something that stands out from the crowd.
Until now, you’ve only managed to place the desire to read more about a topic in the subscribers minds. Now it’s the time to offer the complete solution by writing a paper that reveals everything one has to know to become an expert in his expertise area.
Convincing subscribers to pay for this paper takes a few sales tricks such as offering only a free sample or a chapter for free or keeping you offer at a promotional price for only a few hours.
This applies the principle of scarcity, as things become more valuable if they are perceived as rare.
6. You were not consistent
When something gives results, don’t try to change it. You’ll ruin it.
The most essential step is to remain committed to what you have started. Make sure to keep the posting frequency constant, to automate your e-mail system, to keep in touch with the industry’s influencers, to deliver value to the identified “personas”, which now are your customers. And now you can declare yourself an online business owner!
Guest Author: Elena Dobre is learning about digital marketing, business and life at Marketizator.com, the complete conversion rate optimization tool. She plays the role of the content strategist, but she’s also experiencing with CRO and lead generation. She enjoys discovering new online tools, hacks, brilliant minds and beautiful souls. Follow her on Twitter @HDobre.
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Want to start building your own website or blog? It’s easier than you think!
You might be surprised to learn that the number one article on “The New York Times” in 2013 wasn’t an article, it was a quiz.
This quiz, “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk” aimed to answer the question “What does the way you speak say about where you’re from?” In less than a dozen days, the quiz received more traffic than any other article on “The New York Times” launched during the entire year.
In fact, OkDork reports that over the last several months 8 of the 10 world’s most shared articles were quizzes.
The data proves some quizzes are unequivocally shareable and engage the masses, while others fail horribly, but why? Find out what makes a quiz great and how quizzes are being used as an amazing content marketing tactic.
7 key principles of a killer quiz
Incorporating these seven principles into a quiz won’t guarantee it goes viral, but according to extensive research conducted by BuzzSumo it may greatly increase the chance.
1. Start with top-notch content that evokes an emotion
BuzzSumo analyzed the top 10,000 most shared articles and discovered the emotions they evoked. Awe, laughter and amusement accounted for more than half of the most popular emotions.
2. Launch to a relevant audience
A quiz may be amazing, but if it’s launched to the wrong audience it won’t gain traction.
3. Convey trust
Professionalism and trust are important when posting quizzes to social networks, especially Google+ and LinkedIn. Articles with bylines or bios are shared 40 percent more than those without bylines or bios. \
4. Allow people to express themselves
Regardless of how frivolous or meaningful a quiz may be (think “What kind of cat are you?” versus “What kind of worker are you?”) it offers the reader a chance to gain insight into who they are and share that insight with the world via social media. In a study conducted by “The New York Times,” one of the primary reasons readers share content is to “define themselves to others.”
5. Include a captivating image
Quizzes with at least one image get shared twice as much as those without.
6. Publish smartly
The day of the week a quiz is published on can have a big impact on how many times it will be viewed, and thus potentially shared. In general, the optimum day to publish and promote social content is Tuesday. Then wait 7 to 10 days before doing so again.
7. Give instant gratification
We’re an impatient society. Keep the quiz to roughly 10 questions or less, and ensure the typical reader can take the quiz in less than one minute. Give them results immediately.
BuzzFeed has crafted a number of viral quizzes, including “What Career Should You Have,” by far one of its most popular. This quiz grabs the reader’s attention by using an image of Oprah, then quirky questions such as “What would you bring on a desert island?” keep the reader captivated. Also, the block format of the quiz is eye catching and unique- and in this case different is good. One of BuzzFeed’s most shared quizzes is “Which ‘Grease’ Pink Lady Are You?” and its “What City Should You Actually Live In?” quiz has earned more than 20 million views.
BuzzFeed’s success is in part due to incorporating many of the elements listed above, plus BuzzFeed tends to categorize the reader, giving him or her an identity, an idea of who their “equals” are and what click they “fit into.”
Obrella helps customers discover insurance options. Their quiz, “Can You Pass the California Driver’s License Test Without Cheating?” gets a lot of things right. First and foremost, it has a captivating competitive element. The reader is curious how they’ll score, and in turn they are apt to challenge their social media contacts to find out how they measure up.
The quiz also tells the reader right up front that it’s a short quiz (10 questions), so they know they won’t have to invest a significant amount of time into it. It’s relevant to its audience, uses an image, and offers a link to the author’s bio. Last but certainly not least, it tells the reader exactly what they should do: “See how many questions you can answer correctly, then tout (or embarrassingly share) your results with your Facebook friends!”
Sometimes there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you already have great content, get more mileage out of it by converting it into an amazing quiz. For example, this comprehensive, valuable checklist from SafeWise titled “Homebuyer Checklist:
Titled “The Happiness Quiz” this engaging test is an unequivocal winner. It’s sure to evoke strong emotion, and that means it’s likely to be shared. It not only pulls in the reader by asking them if they’re “curious how their happiness rating stacks up” it also offers the reader value.
Once they’ve completed the quiz, they’ll learn “10 scientifically proven methods to increase happiness.” The quiz is likely to be viewed as trustworthy because it’s based on scientific research.
Quizzes can help us discover who we are and what we stand for. Start with quality content that engages your target, then incorporate the tips and tricks we’ve outlined and you’ll be on your way to crafting the ultimate viral quiz.
Guest Author: Elli Bishop is the head of outreach for BusinessBee, a place to discover and compare business service providers for your company. For more business tools and resources, visit them at BusinessBee.com.
I inherited a strange surname in which I had no input due to being born into a certain family….and I then discovered that the schoolyard was sometimes unkind. Names surfaced like Bullarse, Bullshit and Bullfrog.
For many years I thought that it would have been better to have had a name like Smith, Brown or even Jones.
Maybe a bit boring but safe.
The journey to creating a brand name for a business start up or even a blog is also often painful. But due to a different reason. They aren’t inherited but have to be created. And thinking often hurts.
Name creation can be a convoluted caffeine addicted process where many coffee’s are consumed while brainstorming on a whiteboard in a fluoro lit boardroom. Sometimes additional inspiration is attempted and fueled by a few drinks in a bar. You then choose a name and you pop over to GoDaddy and find that the domain name is taken.
So it’s back to square one, or is it?
I have discovered that this often repeated frustration of “domain name block” does not have to stop you choosing a name that you love for that exciting start-up. That revelation came after receiving a certain email.
The 7 steps to an “awesome” brand name
It was few months ago and an email request to review a book arrived in my inbox. It was titled “Hello My Name is Awesome – How to Create Brand Names That Stick” by Alexandra Watkins the CEO and founder of “Eat My Words“. I loved the title and it resonated with me.
The “domain name block”
She also revealed a strategy that allows you to create a brand name and a domain name without hitting “domain name block”. That was a revelation. She cited a number of big companies that don’t have the exact match domain name. Tesla is TeslaMotors.com. Facebook started out as TheFacebook.com, and didn’t have the domain name Facebook.com until 2005.
She had me.
The importance of brand names (and lesser importance of domain names) have become raised in my consciousness. This is since discovering that a strange name on a crowded web was not a negative but a positive.
Names that stick
Since launching this blog I have discovered that a strange (or unforgettable name) that is matched with a logo or image that sticks (the personal brand was a funny caricature) can be a powerful brand awareness tactic that takes you from boring to memorable. You want a brand name with “Buzz”. You also need to get over the challenge of FOSO or “Fear of Standing Out”
On a social web with 1 billion websites you need all the help you can get! According to Alexandra’s book there is a process that is “awesome”. I also enlisted her services to create a new brand name for a business that I will be launching in a couple of months.
The creative brief is where it starts. A sticky name will need to capture the essence of your brand. To help you achieve that you will need to take some time to distil your thoughts about what your brand stands for into a creative brief.
It means you will have to answer some questions and complete some tasks. Here are some of those:
What do you want to accomplish?
Sum it up in 140 characters or less
How do you want your brand to be positioned in the marketplace?
Who are the customers you want to reach?
List your competitors.
What are 5-12 adjectives that best describe the tone and personality of your brand?
List some words you may like to have in your new name.
These questions and more will be part of the creative process.
There is a wrong way and a right way to brainstorm
Brainstorming with a group of people in a sterile boardroom is often a waste of time. The right way involves “just you”, a computer and a search engine!
Start with writing down all your name ideas, keep your creative brief handy and then leap online. Here are some great websites that will help you come up that “awesome” name.
A thesaurus website and start putting in your keywords and look for synonyms and related words
Supercharge ypour imagination with an images site usch as images.google.com and find more inspiration
Comb through glossaries of terms
Checkout dictionairies sites like freedictionary.com or urbandictionary.com
Go “Google storming” and be surprised!
These and other ideas from Alexandra’s book will will bring up related words and phrases that will inspire your creative side. After this activity you could have 100 names in a big list.
3. Review the Names
Reviewing your names can be a fruitless exercise like traditional brainstorming. Alexandra has developed 12 rules and here are a few to get you going that can build consensus.
Rule 1: Have people review independently as opposed to a group. This allows people to choose without judgement.
Rule 2: Ask…”Is that name right” not “Do I like it”
Rule 3: Refrain from negative comments
Rule 4: A name can’t say everything but may only hint at what your brand stands for
Rule 5: Print the list on a piece of paper to review rather than view it online
These plus the other 7 rules she reveals in her book will all help you come to a decision that is both creative and captures the essence of your brand.
4. Make your top picks
After reviewing you will come up with a short list. I went through my printed list of 100 and just reacted and ticked the ones that resonated with me without thinking too hard. I just wanted the “intuition gene” to kick in. I then had a shortlist.
That shortlist could be 20 names. This is a good number to ensure that you can take the next step of a quick trademark search.
5. Complete a quick trademark search
In layman’s terms a quick trademark screen will see if you can register and trademark the name. You may find that 12 or 15 or even all of them are taken. So you need a good sized shortlist to hand over to your Trademark screener
I used the very efficient Steve Price of Teserra Trademark Screening at www.tessera.bz to check on my list.
Now if you want to get serious here are the next steps to protect that name.
6. Trademark the name
Once you have the report back then you can take the next step and start the Trademarking process. I used the very clever and efficient trademark attorney Lara Pearson of Brand Geek, This step involves a more in depth check to see that you can apply for the name with a high chance of succeeding with your trademark lodgement. This can take 3-6 months for formal acceptance.
7. Create a logo and identity
Once you are 99% sure of success then you can engage the services of a a visual identity consultant also known as logo creation and brand creation.
Tracy Moon of Studio Moon was our partner in the process of putting together an awesome logo and visual design portfolio.
What about you?
As they say “It takes a village to raise a child” and creating a brand name and visual identity in a digital world takes an awesome team. It has been a revealing journey that started with Alexandra Watkins of “Eat My Words”.
How was your naming process? Is it a personal brand or a corporate brand? Look forward to hearing about your brand name and domain name challenges.
Social commerce has been the latest buzzword over the last few months. With Facebook testing its ‘Buy’ button and Twitter planning to follow suit; the social media platforms have turned serious about growing their share of their e-commerce pie.
As per current estimates, social commerce accounts for between 5 – 20% of sales for nearly 60% of all businesses that market themselves on social media. However this number is about to take a sharp upturn, with social commerce set to account for $30 billion in sales in the US alone, by next year according to Booz & Company.
Social media has been all about reaching out to users, engaging with them and having conversations with them. But the bottom line of every business is sales. How do we move beyond the likes, shares and retweets to getting people to actually buy from us?
Here’s what four of the smartest brands in the business have pulled off to secure their social media revenue streams.
1. ‘Brick and Click’ goes social in-store
When one thinks of social commerce, it’s usually a combination of social media and the e-commerce arm of a brand. Very rarely is social commerce taken out of the digital context, a fact that is reaffirmed by the results of the Retail Touchpoints’ Social Commerce Survey. According to this report, “only 24% of retailers said they promoted their social presence in-store at the POS, and even fewer said they used in-store digital signage (21%).”
That’s a huge missed opportunity, as Nordstrom has demonstrated very masterfully.
Nordstrom’s Pinterest Integration
Catching on to the fact that Pinterest is a fabulous social network for retail curation and user wishlists, Nordstrom started highlighting items that were popular on Pinterest with a “Popular on Pinterest” tag on the physical item in stores.
Launched as a pilot activity in January 2013, the experiment has been so successful that today every Nordstrom outlet across the US showcases its most popular items on Pinterest with a ‘Top Pinned’ section inside physical stores. Shop assistants are equipped with an in-house iPad app that shows trending items for the day and helps them tag these items appropriately in-store.
2. Social-based mass media campaigns
Social integration and multi-channel marketing for most brands is equivalent to posting their TV commercials on Facebook and YouTube or creating hashtags with their campaign line on Twitter and promoting it using paid advertising for a while. Smart multi-channel campaigns make every channel an integral part of every user experience.
The core campaign idea does not belong to just one platform. Instead each platform works as a key piece in the overall puzzle, thus making every platform contribute to the company’s bottom line in equal measure. Using project management and collaboration tools like WorkZone or Asana is a great way of keeping track of all the various channels and their interdependencies in such campaigns. Still confused? Read on.
Coca Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign
Coke started the first step of its campaign with product personalization. For the first time in history, 250 of the most popular first names in each country were shortlisted and printed on the iconic red and white Coke labels, instead of the Coke logo. Coke then used mass media channels like television, outdoors and radio to communicate to users that their favorite drink just might have their name on it. Each bottle also carried a hashtag #ShareACoke to remind users to post pictures of their personalized Coke bottles on social media using the hashtag.
The experience of seeing one’s own name on Coke bottles was so novel and addictive that people actually paid premium prices just to lay their hands on their ‘own’ bottles of Coke and shared them on social media like wildfire. Images of Coke bottles shared on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the #ShareACoke hashtag were then plastered across digital billboards, across the country.
Coke also created a microsite – www.shareacoke.com – where users could go and create virtual Coke bottles with the names of their friends and family on them to be shared on social media. The results? Millions of pictures posted on social media, thousands of virtual Coke cans shared online, nearly three times as many Coke bottles sold in the UK as compared to Pepsi during the campaign period!
3. Social first, retail next
Most businesses look at social media a cheap and must-have marketing tool. However, some enterprising businesses, use social media not just as a marketing platform but as the online home for their business. These businesses are set up, operated, promoted and serviced wholly through social media. Many of these businesses eventually step out of their social media ‘stores’ and set up e-commerce stores online or physical outlets offline.
Lolly Wolly Doodle
A clothing brand targeted at women and little girls, Lolly Wolly Doodle did away with complicated websites with laborious navigation to make their whole business model simple as pie. See a pattern you like? Comment on the post with the size you want, any personalization needs and your email ID. Voila, fastest fingers first and you bought the item! Lolly Wolly Doodle leverages the most fundamental aspect of social media – one on one connections with users. It offered its fans on Facebook a chance to design their own clothing and delivered the bespoke products to users’ doorsteps all through their Facebook brand page.
The popularity of this custom designed clothing brand soared to such heights that they went from a home based business to exactly $11 million in sales in 2013, and founder Brandi Temple was featured on the cover of Inc. magazine’s June 2014 edition. To top it all, AOL founder Steve Case invested $20 million into the company in 2013.
4. Location based marketing
SoLoMo has been the catchphrase for digital marketers for a while now. One of the forerunners of the SoLoMo craze has been Foursquare that combines each aspect of the social-local-mobile mantra beautifully. Brick and mortar retailers can tap into this fantastic piece of social media to drive footfalls to their retail stores by tracking user check-ins on Foursquare and offering location specific and time bound deals.
Starbucks and Foursquare
As early as 2010, Starbucks tried its hand at social commerce by making Foursquare users unlock ‘Mayor’ badges (this happens by sharing more and more on Foursquare and earning incrementally higher points) which would offer them a $1 discount on a Frappucino purchase made at Starbucks outlets.
While this was a one-off campaign, Starbucks offers users rewards for checking in at their local Starbucks outlets and adding tips about what makes these outlets a must-visit.
Wrapping it up
Selling on social media can take diverse forms. But that takes nothing away from the good ol’ likes, shares and retweets. So ditch those social sharing buttons from your sites yet. (In fact, here are some cool social plugins you might want to check out).
If events and ticketing site Ticketflycan sell 3.25 tickets for every share or tweet on social media, there’s definitely money to be made on this platform, no matter what the naysayers may say. It’s just a matter of using the right strategies to convert those relationships into sales dollars.
Guest Author: Pratik Dholakiya is the Co-Founder & VP of Marketing of E2M & OnlyDesign. He’s passionate about fitness, entrepreneurship, start-ups and all things digital marketing. You can find him on twitter @DholakiyaPratik to discuss on any of these topics.