Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Social Media Marketing

by Ryan Grassie - Jun. 20, 2014 at 6:23pm

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The amount of time a person spends using social media on their phone, tablet or computer is constantly on the rise. Not having such portable devices is rare and taboo nowadays. And as the number of devices and hours of usage grow, businesses must follow along with the social trends.

Social media is a very powerful medium for getting information to consumers quickly and efficiently. The virality posts can receive on social media is huge in attracting and interacting with consumers. And as these platforms continue to grow having a positive appearance across many is key for marketing.

Relevant Content

No one likes that annoying Facebook or Twitter account that creates posts every two minutes with useless information. The best way to attract key market consumers is by writing posts that have relevant information. Think about posting useful information that catch peoples attention, whether that is with relevant articles, questions, or promotions. People want to read interesting information that obviously has something to do with your business.

Target Audience

The most basic thing to figure out when making marketing decisions is who your target audience is. Knowing who your target audience is can then be applied to your social media strands. Posting information that will apply to this audience is a smart way to get your name out there.

Specific strands of social media also apply to different target markets. Therefore, you have to make decisions on which ones most suit your consumer base. For example, using LinkedIn as a platform isn’t a smart idea for every business because only a specific audience uses it on a daily basis.

Consistency

Yes, keeping social media pages up to date can be hard, but disappearing for months at a time isn’t a good marketing strategy. By frequently engaging with your social media community you can create relationships that will greatly benefit you. Creating a social media schedule is the best way to remind yourself to post information and keep all of it up to date. Audiences will more likely follow you if you have consistent posts across all social threads.

Pinterest and Your Business

by Ryan Grassie - Feb. 7, 2013 at 1:40am

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What is Pinterest and how can you use it in your business and marketing mix? Pinterest let’s you virtually pin pictures associated with hyperlinks to the best ideas and products from the internet. You can find great new items, organize them on your pin boards, and then share your own products across the platform driven by a female audience. Sounds pretty great, right? Now, you just have to learn how to use this tool and the audience it owns, to benefit your business.

This blog post is Pinterest for dummies for you and your business

Find interesting people and companies to follow. Then link your account to Facebook or Twitter, and Pinterest will give you some suggestions for who you should follow based on your other social-media and surfing habits. After that find other pinners who have similar interests to you – and browse for great ideas. At the top of your homepage, check out the categories under “Everything” to find a mishmash of ideas and links floating around. In your feed if a contact repins a link to a site with a great idea, you can trail the person or brand that initially pinned it. From there you can find cool people or brands to follow, or even individual boards so you don’t clog your stream with too much information.

You need to exercise organizational skills and clearly label your boards. Short to the point, but descriptive titles are key to a loyal following.

How to Make Money from Your Boards

You want to get repins and get followers. To start out put a button on your blog to show your website visitors that you’re on Pinterest. Repin your favorite links. Seasonal items are always very hot. Pin hot topics: the ones with lots of likes and comments are a good place to start as they are on everyones radars. Try to think about what other people would find relevant at the time and repin them.

Pinterest and Search Engine Optimization

Use targeted keywords in the names of your boards and pins to make your content SEO-rich and pick up more followers organically. Pinning a red pair of nike shoes look to your “Shoes” board? Make sure to add a caption to the pin with words like “nike,” “shoes,” “red,” and “ginger shoes” so Pinterest will pick your pin up in the search results.

Keep it Simple Stupid

Simplify. Use original and great photography. Easy-to-understand pins, titles and captions. Keep it simple, keep it straightforward, and don’t get too fancy. The best pins are eye-catching and easily recognizable. Pin images and links that your followers don’t have to wonder about. The best Pinterest users make the process fun by making it simple.

Add Pricing

If you’re selling products add a price banner to the corner of the photo. Simply type out the value within the caption, like “Red Nike Shoes, $89.” Great prices will entice buyers to check it out, and also allow for potential shoppers to budget your item onto their wish list boards.

See who’s pinning you. Want to know how many people are pinning content from your boards? Use this trick to keep track of your progress: Pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com. **change yourwebsite.com to your website URL

Get Pinning!

If you use these simple yet effective tips, your Pinterest boards will be flooding traffic to your site in no time. Sales and leads will follow 😉

 

The Future of Online Marketing

by Ryan Grassie - Oct. 11, 2012 at 12:25am

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In the world of online marketing, social media and the art of SEO are evolving at an incredible pace.

Consider these interesting statistics: Google sites handle about 88 billion queries a month and twitter is now approaching 20 billion. Wild eh?

Also, Facebook added over 200 million users in less than 12 months and Hitwise is saying that Facebook tops Google in weekly web traffic now.

Social media is blazing hot, but is by no means mutually exclusive of search. Search has expanded beyond Google and marketers must now consider other search channels such as internal Facebook search and mobile search as channels where customers are now looking for products and services.

The cross-roads of search engine and social media innovations are in flux with dynamics of changing consumer preferences for information discovery, consumption and sharing.  In the speed of all this change is an opportunity for marketers to execute an active marketing strategy that converges the disciplines of search, social media, content and online public relations.

I believe the future of marketing brings the best of these disciplines together. To meet consumer needs, whether it’s B2B or B2C, it’s inevitable that PR will know SEO and Social Media Marketers with be versed in media relations.

Because there are so many online information sources, companies sales cycles are getting longer. Customers expect more than being presented with features and benefits followed by a call to action.

For marketers, it’s not better to just give more. “Better” is better. Better content, better visibility in all the places customers might looking or influenced by. It also means a better experience in brand / consumer interactions.

For example, online searchers expect not only to find what they’re looking for on a search engine, but to interact with the results through commenting, rating, joining as well as buying. A purchase is just the start of social engagement with customers and customer marketing with social media continues to be a growth area.

Active online marketing pays attention to those customer needs and creates a dynamic cycle of social and search interaction.

There are so many changes and much to look forward to in 2013 and beyond. Here are three areas in particular (of many) that I think marketers should pay attention to in the coming years:

Content Marketing –  Good content extends beyond the browser and includes mobile, social and any other kind of search.  This trend is only going to continue and get increasingly competitive for those that can’t afford professional writers.

Content Curation – The sheer volume of content out there now is overwhelming with social publishing platforms online and mobile making it incredibly easy to create and share. Original content writing is very expensive and creatively challenging in the long term. Content curation serves as an efficient model for marketers to engage consumers as a source of signal amongst the noise.

Social Commerce – Companies like Minneapolis based Alvenda are empowering ecommerce on Facebook with brands like Brooks Brothers, Delta Airlines and Best Buy. It’s still early days for social commerce but if companies can make it part of the social experience, I think it will serve as true channel for Social Media ROI.

I think the future of marketing is dynamic, challenging and full of promise for companies that can commit themselves to a process of testing, engagement, coordinating cross channel efforts and refinement.

Can Social Media Be Bad for Business?

by Ryan Grassie - Sep. 13, 2012 at 4:34pm

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Social media has changed the web for business in many ways, and some would say that it has made the Internet into what it was meant to be all along. People can connect with each other in real-time. They can also contact other businesses and organizations. They can investigate things that interest them (or want to buy) and learn about things that they never considered before. However, there is one other aspect to social media that has to be examined, and that is its destructive power.

If you are the owner of a business, a non-profit organization, or some other sort of firm, you need to be very careful when using social media for your business. Remember, everyone can see the things that you post. Even if you delete them, they can live on in screenshots and online internet archives. If you post something that is offensive, you can undercut your customer base and drastically impact your sales figures. It has happened countless times before you.

As an individual, you may find that social media gives your friends and family members a way to say things that they would never say in real life. While a discussion in a living room would remain civil and kind, a discussion on a social media site could quickly turn to an argument. Insults can easily be written with this sense of distance even if people would never say the same things in another setting.

Those who are in the public eye also have to be careful. There are many examples of athletes saying things that they later regretted, after it was too late. The New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire used a gay slur when addressing a fan earlier this year, and the fan took a screenshot and showed it to the world. This was very harmful to Amare’s public image. He was also fined $50,000 by the NBA.

In the end, social media is not inherently destructive. If it is used correctly, it can be very good. However, people need to make sure that they know what they are doing when they use the Internet in this way. They need to be careful. All of your online actions are visible to the public, so make sure that you never say or do anything on a social media site that you would not want the whole world to see.

Google Plus One and Your SEO Rankings

by Ryan Grassie - Jun. 27, 2012 at 1:21am

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At first, this tool is going to be used for approving search results – a great way for Google to continue tweaking their rankings. But, that’s not all. Check out what the narrator says about the future of the Plus One button:

“…and soon you’ll be able to Plus One more than just search results. You’ll also find Plus One buttons on sites across the web, making it easy to Plus One pages after you have visited them.”

Right now, the +1 button is used just for search. If you search for “Ottawa Website Design” and decide the fourth or fifth page in the search results is better than the first, you can +1 that ranking, basically telling Google “this search result is the best for this keyword”. That’s powerful and Google will gladly integrate those results into their search rankings.

But, that’s only the start. With +1 in search results, webmasters have very little control over who votes for their site. However, Google is going a little further and this is where things get truly interesting. Imagine what happens when someone clicks the +1 button on a page of your website. Google now knows that someone thinks your content is useful. It’s the same as getting a backlink from another site – someone says “this guy knows his stuff”.

Of course, we won’t know for a little while how much of an impact the +1 button has on search rankings, but I think it’s pretty safe to assume Google will take it into account.

In fact, the head of the Web Spam division at Google – Matt Cutts-  has said in the past that they want to integrate social interaction into determining content quality. Now that the +1 button has been rolled out, it’s only a matter of time before this very social tool becomes an important part of their algorithm. After all, they track, monitor, and gather all the results from those clicks. You can bet they’ll use the data.

Further supporting this is a quote from the Webmaster Central blog:

“We expect that these personalized annotations will help sites stand out by showing users which search results are personally relevant to them. As a result, +1’s could increase both the quality and quantity of traffic to the sites people care about.
But the +1 button isn’t just for search results. We’re working on a +1 button that you can put on your pages too, making it easy for people to recommend your content on Google search without leaving your site.”

If there’s anything we know for sure, guessing Google’s intentions is tricky. But, with so much evidence pointing toward social integration into search and the +1 button finally rolled out, I can safely say that a smart webmaster and Internet marketer will keep a close eye on these tools. Soon enough, I believe this tool will become a fantastic resource to better connect with readers while improving rankings in Google.

For more details about the +1 button and Google’s plan for it, here is a useful link:
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/03/introducing-1-button.html

Save Time Posting to Social Media Channels

by Ryan Grassie - Feb. 1, 2012 at 4:42am

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There is this service called ping.fm. Check it out if you havn’t heard of it. What it allows you to do is connect all your social media channels, and trust me it has them all, so that you can use one login to send your messages.

It even can segregate short messages from longer ones and post to different channels based on length. So for example a quick post may push to your twitter and Facebook status while longer messes may go to your blogger and wordpress blogs. Pretty cool stuff. It can save you a ton of time! It also can install on your mobile devices! Your welcome!

http://www.ping.fm

Business Facebook Pages

by Ryan Grassie - Jan. 23, 2012 at 3:19pm

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Facebook Pages are different than profiles. You have a profile for you, Joe Dirt, but your business can’t have a profile — it can have a Page. A Page is a place to house all the pertinent information about your company. They’re so useful because you can include everything that relates to your business in one place with a built-in potential audience:

  • Overview of company
  • Website and contact info
  • Press releases
  • Videos
  • Blog RSS
  • Twitter updates
  • Company news and status
  • Customer interaction

Setting Up Your Page

Once you’ve logged in to Facebook, scroll to the bottom and click on Advertising. Then click Pages and Create a Page. Select the type of business you own and start filling in all the details. The more info you add, the better your page will be (and remember: Google thinks highly of Facebook in its search engine results).

Make sure to include your company logo, any RSS blog feeds that are relevant, videos, images — the whole nine yards. Once you’re satisfied with the Page, publish it, then get ready to dive into promotion.

Enhance Your Page with Apps

You can also enhance your Facebook Page by adding applications to it. Apps add particular functions to your page, such as drawing in your blog’s RSS feed (the Social RSS app is a good example of this) or YouTube videos. They are a great way to further engage visitors to your Page and provide them reason to come back, and there are hundreds of apps designed to help you do business better on Facebook.

Another option you have is to internally develop a new app. Pizza Hut’s Order App which allowed fans to order their pizzas directly through Facebook was a huge hit, for example. Red Bull has a custom application on its Page that pulls in Twitter updates from all of the athletes they sponsor. Developing a custom app for your Facebook Fan Page can be pricey, but if you can afford it or have in-house development talent that can get the job done, it can be very rewarding.

Promoting a Page

The tricky thing about Facebook Pages is that you can’t friend someone the way you can from your profile. People can elect to become fans of your Page, but only if they know about it. So you’ve got to spread the word organically (and keep doing it) to introduce people to your Page and to your company.

First identify contacts from your profile that are either business connections, people working in a field related to your business, or who would otherwise benefit from the information your company provides, and invite them to become a fan of the Page. Send a short note explaining what you want to offer from the Page (remember, people are thinking “what’s in it for me?”) and include a link to the Page.

You should also promote your Page elsewhere online by putting a Facebook Page button on your website to help others find it, spreading the word on Twitter if you’re there (and you should be), sending out an email notification, or putting a link on your business cards. Do whatever it takes to help people know that you’re on Facebook and you want them to become a part of your community.

Get the Most Out of Your Page

If you’ve got a brand that already has a strong following like Zappos.com or True Lemon, a Facebook Page can be a great way to launch a community. Encourage discussion among fans by asking questions like: “what’s your favorite product?” or “what could we do to improve our product?” Post updates weekly, if not daily and point your fans to any off-site promotions, such as giveaways hosted on different web sites.

And keep it fun! Nobody likes straight up business all the time! Zappos, for example, has crazy videos and posts that aren’t related to shoes, which is why their fan base is well over 21,000.

It will take time to build your fan base, so remember to keep sending out invites to new contacts asking if they want to become a fan of your business Page. Constantly promote the Page in any way possible, and keep your content fresh — give people a reason to check in on your page regularly.

Check your analytics: before long you should see a large portion of your website’s referrals coming from Facebook!

Wrapping it Up

Your Facebook efforts will be ongoing, so plan to dedicate a few hours each week to getting new fans and updating content. You’ll quickly appreciate the instant ability to connect with customers and future customers through this social media tool!

8 Ways to Make Your Website More Social

by Ryan Grassie - Jan. 18, 2012 at 5:55am

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Many companies in 2012 are trying to build more of a social buzz around their brands.  There are many solutions you can implement to make your website more social and engaging for your users.

1. Use Share Buttons to Spread Content

Using content-sharing buttons such as the “Facebook Share” or “Twitter Tweet This” buttons, visitors can post your content on their networks, encouraging their friends to visit your website. Put the share buttons on all blog posts, articles, photos or videos that are posted to your website.

2. Feature Social Links on Homepage

Place your social icons somewhere on the homepage where it’s prominent and easy for visitors to find. Don’t bury your social links on subpages within the website. It will encourage them to become a fan of your pages.

3. Allow Users to Login Through Social Networks

If you allow users to log in and interact with your site using plug-ins like Facebook Connect, then any activity will be automatically published back to that users’ social channel, encouraging their friends to engage with your website as well.

4. Embed Videos Using YouTube Player

Add a YouTube player to your website so you can create a presence on YouTube in conjunction with adding video content to your website. YouTube recently released the new playlist player, which is meant to display a series of videos from the same player. Video is a great way to keep your visitors engaged and the player is easy to manage directly from your YouTube account.

5. Install a Floating Social Bar

Remind visitors to become a fan of your page by installing a floating social bar to your website that stays with the user as they browse your content.

6. Stream Social Updates

Use the twitter widget and Facebook stream plugin to allow visitors of your site to view your social updates directly from your website. This might encourage them to fan your pages if they happen to see a tweet or status update that interests them.

7. Encourage Users to Submit Content

Keeping a website full of engaging content is time-consuming and difficult with limited resources. One solution is to ask users to submit content to your social channels that you can then feature on your website. This could lead to improved thought leadership and brand recognition for your company.

8. Connect Your Blog to the Website

Make sure your blog is fully integrated with your website so it can rank on fresh content posted to your blog. This helps with search engine optimization (SEO) and draws traffic to your website. Use keyphrase focused blog tags and categories to improve visibility and search engine rankings. Enable blog commenting as well using the social plugins mentioned above.

The Effectiveness of Social Engagement

Google recently announced Social Engagement Reports available through Google Analytics, which can measure the effectiveness of your website’s social engagement. The reports will help you analyze the sharing and social activity on your website including the information on any new Google+ interactions that occur on your website.

With search engine optimization constantly changing and social media continuing to become a large part of marketing, it’s important to build a social corporate web presence on your website so that you are positioned for better rankings, more social activity and potential leads.