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Posts tagged Social Media

Protect your ‘Rep’: 4 Tips for Managing Your Brand’s Online Reputation

Social media can provide you with an ocean of possibilities when it comes to furthering your brand. You could be riding waves of praise under clear blue skies one minute and be sunk by a sudden storm of negative reviews the next. A lot is at stake when you promote your business through social media and you can’t expect it to weather the storm on its own. Besides the product or service your enterprise provides, it also carries with it other precious cargo: your reputation.

By promoting your business on social media, you better your chances of building strong, long-lasting relationships with your customers and improving your SEO, but you also leave yourself vulnerable to negative criticism and social media mishaps. From anonymous online mischief makers to outraged customers, these pessimistic reviews could break you. However, there is also the potential for good reviews on social media that could very well make you. Here are four tips on how to better survive the rough seas and manage your online brand’s reputation:

1. Keep an eye on your brand

In order to even begin managing your reputation, you have to keep a sharp lookout for what is being said about you. Maybe if the lookouts on the Titanic had spotted that iceberg a little sooner, they too could have avoided disaster. The same goes for British Airways.Annoyed by the airline’s failure to find his father’s lost suitcase, one irate customer paid for this Promoted Tweet:

                how to protect your online reputation

                       Retrieved from Econsultancy blog on 8/20/14

The tweet went unanswered for eight hours and was seen by more than 76,000 users before a BA social media representative responded. The tweet became a bigger problem than it should have because of the company’sfailure to monitor its social media sites and immediately handle the situation.

The best way to stay on top of your online reviews is to use tools such as iWebtools, Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and Tweetdeck to track mentions of your product or service so that you can respond in a timely manner to both negative and positive mentions. Because you are most likely utilizing multiple forms of social media, it is probably best to keep all mentions in one place so none of them gets lost in the shuffle. Not only do you have customers frequenting your business’s Facebook and Twitter accounts with their complaints, but they have also taken to posting their comments on sites such as Yelp and Reddit. Frequent auditing of search engine results is also an effective means of monitoring what is surfacing about your business and how it is being represented.

2. Engage with brand detractors

When filtering through your online findings, it is imperative that you respond to negative attacks as quickly as possible, like plugging holes in the bottom of a leaky boat. While these attacks may be instigated by individuals, they can easily be seen by anyone and create a public image crisis that could hurt your brand. Contact the creator of any negative reviews immediately and see if you can resolve the problem. Don’t plug up the leaky hole halfheartedly though; the repair job won’t last very long and soon there will be another leak. O2, a UK telecom company, was undergoing a serious network outage and their Twitter account was overflowing with tweets from frustrated customers. Luckily, they did not follow Applebee’s lead and delete their account altogether after being berated for their generic corporate responses. Instead, O2 responded directly to these tweets with honesty and a little bit of humor. Their sincere approach was well-received and the tides changed dramatically in their favor as a result. As you can see from O2′s response to crisis, getting these negative commenters to engage with you so they open up about any difficulties or qualms is critical so that you can solve the issues immediately and no one else is affected. Maybe your friendly and efficient responses will even turn those bad reviews into good ones.

Continue to read on our blog: Protect your ‘Rep’: 4 Tips for Managing Your Brand’s Online Reputation
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Social SEO and Your Business: A Love Story

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It’s a Friday night and the bar is noisy and crowded. You catch the eye of a handsome stranger and before you know it they are coming over to check you out and (hopefully) strike up a conversation. Unfortunately, barely anything you say can be heard over the busy hum of the crowd of people who are all trying to accomplish the same goal as you. He quickly loses interest and, in an instant, is on to the next.

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Trying to meet someone and form a connection with them that will extend beyond that night is surprisingly similar to the workings of social SEO. While having a high-quality website is important, it is not enough anymore if you wish to compete with other businesses in your field. You have to interact with your audience and maintain active participation in order to drive traffic to your site. Social media is a great way to achieve these goals and can drastically help you improve your performance. You may believe you have all of your bases covered by simply planting your business’s flag in every viable social media site (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.), but so does every other business. In order to stand out and boost your website’s search engine results ranking, you must optimize the content and information available on these platforms and keep your audience engaged.

Here are 3 tips to help you improve your social SEO:

1. Use social media profiles to your advantage

You can’t just walk up to a handsome stranger and start talking his ear off without introducing yourself first. Besides, what better way to find out his name? Fill in the ‘About’ or ‘Information’ sections of your business’s social media pages as descriptively as possible. Doing so is not only polite, but smart. You will be putting your best foot forward and making your potential customers feel like they know you. This step will be the foundation for building better connections with the users, while also providing yourself with the perfect opportunity to insert keywords or phrases that describe your business in a way that users search for you.

2. Build links to build successful social SEO

You know how if you and that handsome stranger you met are having a good conversation and you buy him a drink, and maybe he’ll show his appreciation by getting the next round? Adopt this same idea when trying to improve your social SEO – update your content often in order to increase the amount you link to other sites. By making sure they are credible sources, you will be able to garner a lot of ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ from the audience, further solidifying their authority and promoting engagement. Eventually, it is likely that they will reciprocate and link back to you due to your growing credibility. Likes, comments, and shares of your posts also demonstrate high user engagement, which along with your link-building, will improve your SEO value and subsequently your SERP rank.

Continue to read on our blog: Social SEO and Your Business: A Love Story
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How to Choose and Use the Right Social Media Channels for Your Company

There is an ongoing debate as to which social media platform is the most effective marketing channel for business. The reason there is no definitive answer is that the concept of an ‘effective’ strategy is rarely consistent among all companies and industries. It all comes down to your business’s goals. Whether you are looking to simply increase website traffic, or rather, your priority is to create a brand identity, the different social media channels prove to be more or less effective dependent on what you are hoping to achieve and whom you are trying to reach with your marketing strategy.

Check out these guidelines and our infographic to gain a better understanding as to how to effectively choose and use the various social media channels:

Facebook

Whom You Can Reach: According to Luke Chitwood, the popularity of Facebook spreads across nearly all demographics making it a great way to increase brand awareness.
How to Have a Presence: This is a place for two-way communication, so the tone of voice of posts should be conversational and helpful. It is also easier to generate engagement if you make posts that include pictures, are shorter, or that are structured as questions rather than statements.
What Your Message Should Be: This is not a place to post advertisements or make obvious promotional posts – rather, use Facebook to clarify your brand image by posting useful content such as articles, links, videos, etc. Ultimately, use this network to promote not a product or deal, but rather a likeable brand personality.

Twitter

Whom You Can Reach: Use its interactive nature to not only connect with your own target audience, but also with other similar or complementary businesses, and hence also their target audiences. Tip: Do not just have your own Twitter page and tweets, but also follow people or businesses who are relevant to your industry in order to increase your presence and attract new interest.
How to Have a Presence: Post concise messages. This brevity gives you the opportunity to be enticing, so keep your tweets interesting and engaging so that they can stand out against the immense amount of others.
What Your Message Should Be: Because of its live updating feed, Twitter is a great place to announce new products, deals, events, news headlines, etc. that may be appropriate to your business or helpful to your followers. While providing useful content is a great way to achieve retweets and gain followers, do not be afraid to send out funny or clever tweets that may also help to develop your brand identity.
Furthermore, the character limit provides a great opportunity to re-direct your followers to your other social media pages or website in order to ‘learn more’ about the subject of the tweet.

Continue to read on our blog: How to Choose and Use the Right Social Media Channels for Your Company
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Content Marketing: Repackage Your Content for Maximum Success

Content marketing is a fantastic demand generation and lead generation tool for businesses online, but it requires a lot of time and effort to execute it well. Smart content marketers know that in order to save themselves time and more effectively speak to an audience, they need to “recycle” some of their more evergreen, or timeless content.

However, many marketers don’t know the difference between “repackaging” and “duplicating”. Simply taking a blog post and publishing it in PDF format does not make it an ebook. It will take a little tweaking, but we’ll show you how to take one great blog post and repackage it into five different content types:

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Repackaging one content piece in different formats allows you to get more mileage – and leads – out of a single content marketing piece.

Ebook

An ebook is an in-depth exploration of a topic that uses both text and images to explain how to accomplish a goal related to the topic. Simply adding photos or images to your blog post won’t transform it into an ebook; however, if you design a worksheet or checklist that helps elaborate the process discussed in the blog, and then add some real-life examples to further flesh out the narrative and drive your point home, you’ve made a new, useful content marketing piece that complements your blog post, and that you can use as a lead generation tool.

Press Releases

Don’t consider a press release a content marketing tool? You should – it’s a great way to discuss a product, service, or company news, and delivers your company’s vital information to digital publishers. However, you just can’t copy your product page or blog post; that makes it a product pitch. Re-write the lead to place the value proposition first – that’s your journalistic hook. Next, add an influencer quote, provide a little context that explains why this product/service/news is relevant, and include contact information for follow-ups. Voila! Now you have a press release, which you can distribute to journalists and bloggers, and post on distribution sites to help your SEO.

Continue to read on our blog: Content Marketing: Repackage Your Content for Maximum Success
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Social PPC: Separating Myth from Reality

Pay-per-click advertising on social networks has existed for several years, but has only recently started gaining traction. Social PPC is great, in that it allows advertisers to pinpoint audiences and target them directly on their platform of choice; it’s a great way to place your ads in front of your ideal customers. However, because social PPC is such a new concept to so many people, there are tons of myths and misconceptions surrounding the practice. Let us help you separate fact from fiction:

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Myth: You Should Run 1-2 Promoted Updates at a Time per Platform

Reality: The More Promoted Updates You Have, the Better Engagement You Receive

Advertisers who are new to social PPC often are afraid of busting their budgets and triggering ad burnout by running multiple campaigns on any one platform, and are more comfortable with only running one or two ads.

While keeping the budget small is a good strategy for advertisers who want to acclimatize to social PPC, keeping the number of ads small as well isn’t the best plan. SEM professionals at gyro have found that 3-5 ads live at the same time greatly increased engagement, click-through rate, and lead volume levels.  Run your own tests while publishing your updates to find the optimal number for your brand.

Myth: You Have to Have an Organic Presence in the Social Channel to Use Their Ads Platform

Reality: Some Channels Require an Account, but None Require Activity

Twitter Ads require a Twitter account and handle, and LinkedIn Ads require a Company Page, but there is no rule that states you have to actively post and engage on the channel in order to use social PPC there. The joy of this tactic is how easy it is for advertisers to target audiences – age, location, job title, and interests are all valid criteria advertisers can use when setting an ad’s audience. The amount of company updates you have does not affect your ad targeting.

However, the types of ads you can run can be limited by a lack of activity on the social channel. Twitter promoted posts, Facebook promoted posts, and LinkedIn sponsored updates require account activity, as you are choosing to make a post an ad with these options. Yet there are still plenty of options for advertisers who do not have a robust social media presence, including Twitter promoted accounts, Facebook sidebar ads, and LinkedIn ads.

Continue to read on our blog: Social PPC: Separating Myth from Reality
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Is Google+ On the Ropes?

Google+ is often the red-headed stepchild of the social media world; it often doesn’t receive the same accolades or news coverage as Facebook or Twitter. Marketing and advertising professionals see the value of placing and sharing content on the platform, due to its direct ties with Google Search, but the platform itself hasn’t become a fixture in most people’s daily lives. Now, Google+’s longtime leader, Vic Guntora, has announced he is leaving the company.

Guntora was the driving force behind the Google+ platform, and one of its biggest advocates. Although Google has already announced his replacement on the Google+ team, David Bresbis, the departure of Guntora is a blow to the platform. Added to the recent announcement that Google will be uncoupling Google+ integration from the rest of its products (which definitely helped boost the total number of Google+ users), and it’s difficult to determine what might be in store for the future of the platform.

Some say that unhooking Google+ from the rest of the Google suite of products is a good idea; the YouTube/Google+ integration was poorly received both within the company and throughout its consumer base. However, if a person no longer needs a Google+ account in order to interact with other Google products, will users abandon the site?

Rumors have also surfaced that Google+ plans to radically change its functionality and focus so as to stop competing directly with the likes of Facebook, but Google executives have vehemently denied these claims.

Continue to read on our blog: Is Google+ On the Ropes?
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Marketer or Storyteller? The Power of A Good Story

With the amount of content that is forced upon consumers in today’s digital world, it’s easy to create an ad or a social media post that goes unnoticed. Companies must differentiate themselves to cut through the excess “noise” of today’s Internet. If you only get one chance to engage with consumers, what’s the best method?

One method that is great for connecting to consumers in an effective and genuine way is storytelling. Storytelling creates a narrative that people can follow and connect with. Storytelling certainly isn’t a new concept. People have been telling stories since the beginning of time. However, brands are underutilizing this tool or even worse, abusing it.

Of course there are some exceptions. Brands like Coca-Cola and Toms have done an excellent job creating and crafting a story to communicate with consumers. These stories capture the hearts and minds of consumers and ultimately influence their behavior.

Everyone has some type of story. Here are a few tips to help you as you craft yours.

Make It Authentic

Real authentic stories carry more weight than something that is simply made up. There are plenty of fictional pieces of content on the internet that are effective, but storytelling shouldn’t be forced. Think about your company, product or service. What’s its purpose? What does it stand for and how did it acquire it’s unique values? An authentic story will do a better job connecting to prospective consumers.

Continue to read on our blog: Marketer or Storyteller? The Power of A Good Story
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Using Social Media to Promote the Consumer—Not the Brand

Social media is widely recognized as one of the most successful ways for brands to engage in a two-way conversation with their customers. Some brands are more successful than others at utilizing social media in a way that builds customer loyalty; what makes these brands rise above the rest is their ability to put the consumer first.

One’s primary purpose when logging into Facebook is to connect with others, whether they be friends, companies or musicians. Even the most loyal of customers generally do not use Twitter as a medium through which to purchase a new product. In short, people see social media as an interactive and individualized experience, and they want the opportunity to express themselves in this manner. The following two brands are particularly adept at using the social media experience to their advantage.

Converse

Converse is doing social media right, thanks to VP-General Manager of Brands and Segments Geoff Cottrill. When asked in an interview for the source of the brand’s success, Mr. Cottrill claimed, “We try to celebrate our audience, not ourselves.” Indeed, Converse’s Facebook and Twitter pages are dedicated primarily to promoting its fans; for instance, a campaign titled Chuck Hackers spanning all of the brand’s social media channels allows customers to post photos of their custom-drawn Chuck Taylor sneakers for millions to see.

A lesson we can learn from this brand is that social media users do not want to be told how to use the products they buy. Converse both understands and publicly praises its audience’s desire to distinguish themselves from others. Are your customers using your products in a unique way? If so, use social media to capitalize on their individuality.

Continue to read on our blog: Brand Development: Build and Re-Energize Your Brand Today
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What Instagram Teaches Us About Advertising & Content

In early March, Instagram and global advertising agency Omnicon agreed to a deal worth about $40 million. This deal created frenzy among the social and advertising worlds because up to this point, Instagram has been very cautious about their distribution of advertisements.

Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April of 2012. After this acquisition, most people assumed that Instagram would begin to show ads on a regular basis. However, Instagram has only been showing ads in users feed since November 2013.

The social picture and video sharing network has worked hard to make sure that their ads stay true to the spirit of the Instagram community. What they’re really saying is that they want the ads to be high quality, engaging and add value to their users. Instagram selects what ads to display on peoples’ feeds by using information about you found on Instagram and Facebook. This might include who you follow, pictures you’ve liked, or your interests listed on Facebook.

Currently, Instagram has about 200 million monthly active users. This number might be far behind Twitter’s 243 million monthly users and really far behind Facebook’s1.23 billion users, but companies are still itching to advertise on Instagram. One of the reasons why companies want to use Instagram to advertise is because it’s growing extremely fast.

Continue to read on our blog: What Instagram Teaches Us About Advertising & Content
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Twitter is the Best Social Media Platform – For Consumer Connection

The New York Times published a piece this week detailing the social media strategy of General Motors, and the steps they have taken to gain the trust of their customers after some tragic PR blunders. The company has begun to take advantage of Twitter as a way to get directly in touch with their consumers, and have received positive results. Not only has G.M.  been establishing genuine relationships with their with customers, but those relationships have been reciprocal; the majority of mentions they have received on Twitter are either neutral or positive, with only 3% negative. G.M. is just one example of a brand finding a consumer connection on Twitter. If you’re looking for a way to form a better relationship with your consumer, Twitter may be the right social media tool for you. Here are some ways you can use Twitter to your advantage:

Connect with the Consumer - Twitter allows you to get directly in touch with consumer, and allows them to express their praise and concerns. You can get a direct opinion from an interested party, one that is offered willingly. If your consumer has an issue, they don’t have to call a hotline and wait on hold forever; rather, they can reach out to the brand directly and deliver a specific message on what they would like to see improved. This can create truthful and interactive messaging with your consumer, which is popular in marketing today.

Have Multiple, Targeted Accounts - Popular enterprise-level brands like Nike have support Twitter accounts along with their main Twitter account, in order to give their customers another outlet to reach out to. This way, complaints are not visible on the main page that sells the brand;  it has its own place specifically for that purpose. This dedicated account also helps customer support specialists zero in on messages that are relevant to them, rather than having to sift through a massive Twitter feed. It shows your customers that you want to listen and help them, and makes you a more reliable brand. Separate accounts don’t end with customer support; regional or local brand branches, different service sectors, fan clubs – there are tons of ways to segment your audience and offer relevant content and interaction.

Continue to read on our blog: Twitter is the Best Social Media Platform – For Consumer Connection
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More Than Just Luck: How the Four Leaf Clover Can Teach You About Inbound Marketing

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St. Patrick’s Day means a lot of things to different people. A religious holiday, a celebration of an ethnicity’s history in America, or a reason to party, there are many reasons to love March 17. We would like to add one more: St. Patrick’s Day is a great chance to review how B2B companies can successfully close the customer loop with inbound marketing.

Just like St. Patrick used the clover to teach about Catholicism, we use the four leaf clover to demonstrate what HubSpot calls the “Four Marketing Actions”. Complete these actions well, and you won’t even need the four leaf clover’s luck!

Leaf 1: Attract

Driving qualified traffic (the types of people who are most likely to buy your product or subscribe to your service) to your brand’s digital properties is an essential component to digital marketing. Smart marketers know exactly what these types encompass; they create buyer personas or buyer profiles that include goals, challenges, and typical problems to which the brand’s offering is a solution, as well as general demographics that describe the ideal buyer. For B2Bs, this information includes job title and description, goals for that position, challenges that individuals face when trying to accomplish this goal, and reasons why that individual might turn to the brand as a solution.

Knowing what an ideal buyer needs – and needs to know – makes it much easier to build enticing attractions that will guide them to your brand. What are those attractions? Content. Blogs, social media accounts, landing pages, and optimized web pages are all great content pieces that will attract that qualified traffic.

Leaf 2: Convert

Most B2Bs have a longer sales cycle. While expecting a first-time online visitor to make a purchase is a little unrealistic, you do want to make an initial interaction that you can follow up to move them closer to a purchase. Creating opportunities to collect visitors’ contact information – converting that traffic into leads – is crucial to facilitating this process. Usually, conversion is a give-and-take process; offering a visitor an exclusive gift, such as a promotion, or extensive content piece in exchange for their contact information is the best way to organically establish the initial conversion. How do you create these exchanges? Create compelling calls-to-action, contact forms, and email contact are all useful to converting.

Continue to read on our blog: More Than Just Luck: How the Four Leaf Clover Can Teach You About Inbound Marketing
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6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon(‘s Fan Page): Facebook’s News Feed Change Gives Brands a Chance

For months now, brands have watched their Company Page organic reach levels fall drastically as Facebook tinkered with its News Feed algorithm. These changes made it much harder for brands to appear in users’ News Feeds, or to stay visible there for long. Many social media marketers cried foul, accusing Facebook of putting Company Pages at a disadvantage so that they would have to invest more in Facebook Advertising. However, it seems like Facebook is trying to restore a little visibility to brands with its newest News Feed change, Page Tagging.

Now, when a brand tags a Page or person within a post, users who like the tagged Page will see the update on their News Feeds – even if they haven’t liked or followed the Page doing the tagging. Combined with the Trending Topics sidebar introduced in January, Page Tagging is Facebook’s attempt to serve users with relevant content that is interesting to them, and potentially introduce them to new Pages that they would genuinely enjoy but would not have discovered on their own.

This change presents an opportunity and a challenge to brands. On one hand, it’s a great chance to put content in front of a relevant yet never before tapped audience. Sports teams and franchises have been employing this feature particularly well, by tagging their individual players’ Pages, or the page of the league to which they belong.

However, the unregulated nature of tagging is opening the door to spammers, who want to highjack legitimate Pages’ audiences. Small Pages can simply tag large, popular Pages that they are related to, or only tenuously so; Search Engine Watch gives the example of an affiliate hockey jersey site tagging a specific hockey team’s Page in their post in order to attract fans of that team and its Page. There are no practical solutions to this problem yet; reporting a post as spam could backfire, since many of these posts have legitimate content and might not be recognized as “spam”, and requiring an approval process for tagging would slow down a system that performs best when moving in real time.

Continue to read on our blog: 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon(‘s Fan Page): Facebook’s News Feed Change Gives Brands a Chance
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