Category: Social Media

Social Media tip: How to Increase Blog Engagement With Google+

In today’s social media world it doesn’t matter, whether you’re the chief creative engineer of a Fortune 500 company blog or you run a personal blog that occupies all but a tiny isle within the massive ocean that is the blog-o-sphere, one thing is for certain: a blog is much better when it’s got an engaged group of passionate followers. You know, people who actually read and comment on all of that stuff you spend so much time producing. But while you probably know that tweeting and Facebooking links to your blogposts is crucial for achieving this goal, it’s important not to overlook Google+ as well. As one of the fastest growing social media sites, G+ has reach, not to mention a number of engagement tools that simply aren’t present on any other social media site.

However, these unique tools do make G+ somewhat of a different beast than its competitors. To really use G+ effectively to increase your traffic and social shares and benefit your SEO, it’s important to put some time intomastering the platform.

1. Make it Visual

Sure, Twitter has twitpic and we all post our fair share of photos to Facebook, but few social media sites are quite as visual as Google+. In fact, the only social site that’s remotely in G+’s visual league is Pinterest, which G+ designers seem to have drawn from anyway, given that each post looks very much akin to a pinned image. Generally, this is a good thing for user engagement, as users are much more likely to engage with images as opposed to dense blocks of written text. However, all of those visuals can work to your disadvantage if you post images that are too small or otherwise unprofessional looking. Here are a few ways to get it right.

Take good photos. I know, it sounds obvious, but it’s got to be said. Use a high resolution and edit out all of the distractions. Or, put up the cash for stock photos to keep things professional and interesting. Having high quality photos is always important, but never more so than in your profile’s cover photo, as it will blow up large when followers scroll to the top of your page and it needs to be extra compelling.

Use a full image. When you paste a link to be shared into your G+ status update, the site automatically generates a preview image. But that image will be small, and it can be easy for followers to overlook in their feeds. Click “x” on this option (I’m not just speaking metaphorically here, you really do want to click the “x” on the image) and instead upload your own screenshot of the post yourself using the photo button as pictured below. Doing so will greatly increase the chances your followers will click through to your blog.

Photos = content. Photos can be a way to mix things up within written posts on your blog. Or they can be the post itself. You might, for example, have a regular series on your G+ page where you show yourself producing the product you blog about, or you provide a glimpse into the office. This can exist as G+ content on its own to encourage more followers to engage with you there, or it can link back to longer posts on your blog. Either way, photos can make quick, easy and compelling content.

2. Become a Master of the Topic Sentence

I know, I know, you spent so much time writing your blogpost, it’d be so nice to simply copy and paste a link into your update and call it a day. But you’ll have far more people clicking on your links and a much easier time with the search engines if you put a little more energy into crafting a succinct yet relevant and compelling topic sentence to draw readers towards your blogpost.

And if you really want to get found, be sure to place asterisks around your keywords to bold them. Add in a few good hashtags as well so the search engines can better find you for relevant queries.

3. Use Circles Strategically

One of the best features on G+ is Circles, which allows you to easily categorize your followers so you can deliver them only the blogposts they’re most likely to read. You might, for example, have one circle devoted to people who love your blogged recipes and another devoted to those who are all about knitting. The more relevant the posts each member of these circles receive, the much more likely they are to actually click on the link provided and engage with your post. Even better, relevant posts make it much more likely for potential followers to become actual followers by adding you to their own circles, which means your posts are far more likely to come up high in relevant personalized searches on Google. Great stuff!

As you might have guessed, Circles is also a great way to network with your followers, as you can easily click on each circle and see what people within that category have been talking about lately. This makes it easier to jump into relevant conversations to offer your expertise, or even to find new topics to blog about as you spot what’s trending. (Pro Tip: The “What’s Hot” link on the G+ menu will also give you even wider insight into current hot topics).

There is, however, one caveat with Circles. Adding specific names to your post as pictured below will mean that person will get an email from you alerting them of that post.

That’s great when you’re 100% sure the post is relevant and that that particular follower wants to hear from you so consistently, but it also can be interpreted as, you know, spam. Save your direct mentions for only the most hyper-relevant stuff, or solely for when you want to draw a key influencer or expert in that topic area into a dynamic conversation.

4. Find Your Community

Of course, when you’re just starting out on the platform, it can be difficult to find any relevant followers to market to in the first place. Unless, of course, you make use of Google+ Communities. Something between a LinkedIn interest group and a trade show, Communities has a niche for just about everyone. With plenty of topics to engage in, it’s a great place to meet new potential followers and conduct real conversations. As long as you’ve got a compelling About page to go with your witty conversation, communities are a great way to drive people both into your G+ circles and to your site. It’s like in-person networking, with all the benefits of being online.

5. Jump into the Conversation

On a similar note, it’s important that, once you do start gaining followers on the platform, you stay as responsive as possible to comments both on your G+ posts and on your blog as well. People are much more likely to keep coming back if they feel like you respect what they’ve got to say and that you want to hear more. So, respond to all comments, even if it’s just to say, “Thank you!” You should also +1 comments you especially like, and mention commenters directly as you respond so they’re extra-motivated to reply again. (To do this, simply type +username). Tagging people is also a good idea when constructing your post, especially if you tag influencers from whom you’d like a comment.

Another great strategy is to converse through Hangouts. In part Google+’s answer to Skype, Hangouts is oh so much more than that, allowing you to video chat with anywhere from 10 to 15 followers at a time. Not only will this help you better connect with, understand and cater to your readers, but it’s also a form of video content that can later be archived onto YouTube and made forever searchable. You can keep these Hangouts to simple meet and greets, give participants a discussion theme that’s relevant to a recent post, or do a group activity, say, actually assembling that model airplane you blogged about last week. Why not? Hangouts have as much possibility as you can give it.

6. Claim Your Authorship

Quick questionnaire: When you’re searching for something on Google, are you more likely to click on the link to an anonymous article, or to one that features an author bio and profile photo? The answer, whether you know this consciously or not, is the latter. Author bios and photos just make the results seem more trustworthy, expert and reliable. But how to get your photo and bio up there?

Why, by claiming authorship, of course. Doing so is simple: Just go to the authorship page, add your Gmail address, verify your enrollment and you’re pretty much good to go. Make sure to fill out your G+ profile completely so Google has something to pull from for the bio. Doing this will make your posts much more clickable, and it’s great for SEO, too.

The Takeaway

Sure, Google+ is an increasingly popular platform (yes, despite negative hype stating otherwise), but where it really excels is in terms of user engagement tools. Master those tools, and you just might have yourself a much more engaged blog readership.

Rosie Scott is a content strategist at a digital marketing company. An avid blogger, you can find her at The New Craft Society or on Twitter.

Social Media tip: How to Successfully Participate in a Twitter Chat (or Twitter Party)

There are many reasons why you should take part in Twitter Chats if you are on Twitter. Some give you the chance to win prizes and others are simply a great way to engage with others with a similar interest and build your following. So here are some social media tips to help you if you’ve never done a chat before or if you feel like you aren’t doing them right, there are certain things you can do to make sure you are getting the most of your


1) First, understand the difference between Twitter Chat and Twitter Party.

A Twitter Chat takes place when there is a discussion or a topic where experts discuss advice and opinions surrounding that topic. You join in these discussions and usually answer questions and engage with other twitter users during the scheduled time. A Twitter Party on the other hand includes discussion surrounding a certain brand or company. Usually, but not always, there is a chance to win prizes based on your participation in the party (and most times, you have to RSVP in order to win).

2) Depending on which type of event you are in, figure out your purpose.

While many Twitter users and participants of chats and parties may feel differently, I always try to alter my behaviour a bit depending on the type of event. For example, if I’m involved with a Twitter chat discussing young adult books or publishing trends, I’m more likely to stay engaged with other participants as well as respond to the host’s questions. With these chats, I’m much more likely to gain new followers since I am engaging with people who share the same interest at me (hence the reason we’re all at the chat!).

But then, if I’m taking part in a Twitter party and my primary goal is to win a prize, I usually take a different approach. While there are occasions I do engage with other users, I mostly keep my eye out for the questions asked by the host of the party. You can usually figure out who the host is based on your RSVP for these events and if you keep an eye on their tweets, by responding to their questions, you are engaged for the event and you are likely to win a prize.

3) Figure out which platform works best for you to view the event.

I hear a lot of Twitter users boast about the amazing things that TweetDeck can do, but I haven’t used this web-based program yet. However, I do highly recommend checking it out to see if that is the most comfortable experience for you during a Twitter event, whether it’s a chat or a party.

For me, I find that using my Twitter iPhone app works the best. I click on the event’s hashtag and I basically track that and send out my Tweets throughout. I find that whenever I use my laptop, whichever program it is, my computer freezes or it’s extremely slow. This can make or break whether or not I have the patience to stay involved in the event or not.

4) Respond to and follow other Twitter event participants.

In all honesty, whether it’s a Twitter chat or party, if you engage with other participants and reply to their tweets throughout the event, you are more likely to gain them as a follower. I tend to go through and follow a good majority of people involved in events for a few reasons. One, I know they are an engaged Twitter user. The worst thing for me is when I follow someone randomly without even realizing they haven’t sent a tweet in months. Two, you know you share a common interest, especially if it’s someone you met on a chat that is about a certain subject you care about or are interested in. By following someone from the chat, you know you are following a like minded user and that is extremely important on a network like Twitter where interaction can improve the overall experience.

5) Be returning user to Twitter chats and parties.

Often times the Twitter user or company that hosted the last event, will host the next one. Also, if it’s a Twitter chat, you will most likely see familiar users. This is a great way to get yourself known among the areas that you tweet about or want to become an expert in. You are also more likely to get your tweets mentioned by hosts and other users especially if they recognize you from the last Twitter chat or event.

Overall, aside from the obvious purpose of the Twitter chat or party, these events are a wonderful way to expand your influence on the popular social network. But if you are new to the game, these events can be very overwhelming. Hopefully, with a few of these tips under your belt, you can conquer your next event and make the most of your experience.

Nicole Pyles

Nicole Pyles is a writer, blogger and social networker – and she’s good at it, too. She blogs about her creative writing journey over at World of My Imagination and hopes one day she will find her own book on the shelves of bookstores and libraries everywhere.

6 Facebook Marketing Tips for Managing Your Facebook Page

Wondering what works and what doesn’t for your Facebook page?
Or are you overwhelmed with all of the Facebook tactics you read about?
No matter how long you’ve had a Facebook page, it’s good to review some of the basics for creating a page for your business.
This article includes six simple tips that will make you a more effective admin and make your page more professional starting today.

#1: Check Your Wall-posting Preferences

Does your page get a lot of, ahem, critical commentary on its timeline? Or maybe just more than you have time to deal with easily? If so, it might be time to set your page’s Posting Ability tab so that only your page admins can post.
Here’s how: Choose Edit Page from your Admin panel. Then choose Edit Settings.

You can add/remove admins directly from the Admin panel.
From there, edit the Posting Ability tab and decide if you want everyone to be able to post on your page, or if you want to allow only your page admins to post.

You can adjust the posting ability to fit your page’s needs.
While I normally advocate allowing open access to a page, and even leaving negative posts up so your customers and future customers can see how you deal with criticism, for some businesses it’s just simpler to let people message you privately if they have an issue. Setting to “Posts by Page Only” also prevents Facebook users from spamming you.

You’re able to choose to allow everyone to post to your page or limit posting.

#2: Use Insights to Determine What’s Working for Your Page

There are two basic types of Facebook page admins: Those who post based on hunches as to what motivates engagement, and those who look at Facebook’s Insightsto see what actually drives engagement.
Checking Facebook Insights will help you give your fans what they want. For example, if you notice that the posts with images have better reach and engagement than those that are text only, try removing the images to see what happens.
Since Facebook is always messing with EdgeRank, it can seem like just when you have figured out the formula for engagement, something changes. Checking Insights will help you stay on track, no matter what algorithmic changes Facebook throws your way.
A few months back, Facebook did a complete overhaul of Facebook Insights and Jon Loomer wrote a nice article for Social Media Examiner that walks you through the latest features.

Facebook Insights provide valuable information about the actions of your fans that can enhance your Facebook presence.

#3: Assign Admin Roles

Facebook allows five different administrator roles: manager, content creator, moderator, advertiser and insights analyst. Each role has different capabilities—only managers have the ability to change each admin’s role. Facebook makes all admins managers by default.

Each admin level has different capabilities for a Facebook page.
You can have as many admins on a page as you want. To add an admingo to Edit Page on your timeline and then click Admin RolesScroll down and select Add Another Admin.
Note: To make someone an admin of your page, the person must have liked the page.
To prevent conflict among your employees and before you assign your Facebook page’s admin roles, establish some company-wide guidelines. Some things to consider:
  • Have a quarterly Facebook training session. Discuss roles and address etiquette and expectations for employees who manage the page. At the quarterly meeting, discuss new Facebook features, address concerns about previous posts and talk about new tactics that you’d like to implement.
  • Define the voice of your page. Each individual has a unique voice, but when representing a business or brand on a Facebook page, the page admins should work together to form a consistent voice. Make sure that your page admins understand the established voice and that they are expected to use that voice when communicating with users and fans online.
  • Keep a shareable document (e.g., a Google doc) that outlines companysocial media policies. Employees should refer to the document at any time when they need to know what to post—and what not to post. This document should also include recommendations about how to interact with your Facebook fan base.
  • Keep admins to a minimum. Don’t give just anyone admin rights to the Facebook page. The fewer people managing a page, the better. Two or three admins actively updating, responding to inquiries and managing the page are plenty.
  • Keep communication between admins open. “If you’re not sure, ask!” is an elementary concept, yet it’s an important one. Whether responding to a particularly difficult user comment or sharing an article on the timeline, establish a rule of thumb that if any admin is unsure about whether something is appropriate, s/he should ask another admin for an opinion. Encouraging page admins to have open communication with one another will help reduce mistakes.

Adding new admins is easy as long as the person has liked your page.

#4: Choose Your Featured Likes 

Liking other business pages helps you build connections (and when they reciprocate, gives you added exposure), but you might not want certain pages to be among the first things visitors to your page see. Luckily, you can control which of the pages you’ve liked appear on your timeline.
Five of these likes are displayed at any one time, and the five that appear randomly change each time the visitor to your page refreshes—unless you edit which pages appear.
Why would you want to do this? You might want to feature pages that are related to your business. Or perhaps you want to feature pages that you think will be relevant to your readers. (If you pick more than five, they will rotate randomly.)
To choose featured likesgo to your Admin panelchoose Edit Page, then Edit Settings. Next, click More and then select Featured. From there you can edit your featured likes.

Try choosing featured pages that are relevant to your business that you think your fans would like.

#5: Bookmark Facebook’s Page Guidelines and Reacquaint Yourself With What’s Changed Recently

Facebook changes its terms of service…often. And unless you follow the company’s blog or frequently check their Page Guidelines, it can be difficult tokeep track of what’s allowed—or not—during a given month.
Of course reading social media blogs like Social Media Examiner will help you stay in the know, but page admins should still bookmark Facebook’s Page Guidelines and read the document at least once a quarter.

The constant changes of Facebook’s Page Guidelines require businesses to read and reference them often.

#6: Use Facebook as a Page Instead of as Yourself

Chances are if you’re the admin of a page, you simply head over to your business page and when you comment or post, you act as the business. But did you know that you can actually change your profile so that you are on Facebook as a page and not just as a personal profile acting as an admin on the page?
Why would you want to do this? If you happen to own or work for a B2B company, it’s a good way to build alliances with other businesses that are in your same industry (but aren’t competitors).
Let’s say you own a restaurant. You’d want to interact with hotels nearby so that when people check out the hotel’s page, they see your (positive and helpful) comments and are motivated to check out your business. Of course there’s a fine line—you don’t want to post too often or be so complimentary that your posts appear insincere, spammy or otherwise annoying. But posting as a page is a great way to network with similar businesses and leverage the marketing power of Facebook.
To act as a page on Facebook, click on the Settings icon in the top right corner of your Facebook profile and you’ll see an option to Use Facebook as” with a list of the pages for which you’re an admin. When you choose to Use Facebook as a Page,” you are able not only to post and comment as that page, but also your news feed contains the updates from the businesses your page follows instead of your personal friends and page likes.

Using Facebook as a page offers a variety of benefits to B2B companies.
Hope you find these tips helpful as you look for new ways to invigorate your Facebook presence!
What do you think? Do you have any Facebook tips to share? Please share your comments below.

LinkedIn, the dinosaur of the social networking world is anything but archaic

Five smart and simple to implement ways to maximize Linkedin are sometimes overlooked. Check the list below to be sure you haven’t missed out on the opportunity Linkedin offers.

I was first introduced to LinkedIn in 2007. By an 82-year old woman who was making a fortune in direct sales. Like many entrepreneurs, I was attending a networking meeting, trying to drum up business for one of my start-ups; a home tutoring business. I was a tutor broker who woke up one day and realized if I didn’t get involved in social media, my business would cease to exist.

I sat there, dumbfounded, that this senior citizen was aghast when I told her I thought LinkedIn was for corporations and job seekers. Oh, how naive the younger set (me) was back in the early days of social media! My 20 plus years in corporate America were behind me. All I knew about LinkedIn (little to nothing) was that it was the blue-suit of the online networking world. And, I had given my blue, gray, brown, and black suits to a consignment store.

The direct sales wonder woman, however, insisted I go home and sign up for an account. So, I did. She was kind of intimidating and I felt somehow accountable to her, as I knew she would check up on me. So, off I went and filled in my profile and started connecting with everyone and anyone. Turned out I also knew absolutely nothing about target markets and ideal clients. Before long, I had over 300 connections and was having a ball. Unfortunately, none of them needed or wanted tutoring for their kids. My efforts and race to 500 connections so I could be a LION were in vain.

Fast forward to 2010. My entrepreneurial gene blossomed and lo and behold, after taking a social media class, I discovered my inner online networking mojo. Luckily, I was a quick learner and the potential and promise of social media became very clear. So clear, that I ended up coaching and teaching others about the world of social networking. Tutoring business be damned! I found my passion and never looked over my shoulder when I sold my business and reinvented myself. I went back and disconnected from about 389 people (Ok, exactly 389 people) and figured out LinkedIn was going to be one of the best ways to attract business, share my story, and establish myself in my new career.

Five reasons for my love of LinkedIn that I teach my social media clients follow:

LinkedIn is not just for finding a job. What began as a recruiter’s best tool is now a networking paradise for over 259 million users. Your ideal client is on LinkedIn – go forth and wow them.

NOT being on LinkedIn is one of the biggest professional mistakes one can make, regardless if you are selling widgets or are the CEO of a major corporation. They don’t call in LINKED “in” for nothing. It’s not who you know, it’s about who you know who knows someone else who knows someone else who needs and wants to link up with you. A potential customer is thinking of doing business with you? You can bet they will check your LinkedIn profile first.

Ignoring your profile and summary can be detrimental to your career. Fill in every single section, thoroughly. And write it in first person. Tell your story, give people a glimpse of what makes you tick and how and what you’ve accomplished to arrive where you are today. Share why you are doing what you do. Leave nothing out and begin your summary with how people can get in touch with you. LinkedIn users actually read the summaries and profiles, so give it some thought.

If your target market is local, don’t run away. LinkedIn has a strong enough membership that even the 82 year old granny that I met who would only travel 10 miles from her home – during daylight hours – made a great living and had a Mercedes paid for by her direct sales company to prove it.

Linkedin groups rock – big-time. And don’t even think there are no groups that would interest you.  There are over 1.2  million groups from which to choose. After joining, participate; share  your information, knowledge, and educational based marketing tips.

LinkedIn is not about numbers, photo contests, or stupid pet videos. It’s all business, all the time. You don’t need a suit and tie. You do need to set aside some time to look at what others see (your profile and posts) and present yourself to the millions with class and poise. If the octogenarian could do it, you can.

What is your favorite feature on LinkedIn? What have you tried that worked out well? Please share your successes!

20 simple ways to get more retweets on Twitter

I’ve touched upon this subject before but thought I’d compile a post specifically aimed at bloggers / writers / content creators.

Many brands are investing in content like never before. They use blogs and social networks to attract traffic, and to encourage people to share their posts.

So what do they need to think about to try to increase the amount of sharing on Twitter?


The art of timing your tweets is one of the most important factors in driving retweets.

Tweet at the right times

This is probably the most important point. There’s no point pushing out tweets when your followers aren’t tuned in to Twitter.

Find out the best times for you to tweet by using tools like Tweroid and Socialbro. Create a publishing schedule with emphasis on ramping up your activity during the most popular times.

Retweet yourself

I used to think it was spammy to post the same tweet twice, albeit at different times of the day. Now, for brands with a global audience, and for bloggers, I consider it good practice.

It may make sense to share content more than once to appeal to people in different territories. Your followers won’t mind so long as you space out the tweets (we typically wait seven or eight hours, to hit new timezones at peak times).

The alternative, for brands / bloggers with an international presence, is to create specific Twitter accounts for specific territories (something I’ll explore in more detail soon).

Avoid publishing tweets in batch

You should always try to leave enough space between your tweets. Publishing three tweets in the space of a minute isn’t a good idea (even your most ardent follower might think twice before sharing three of your tweets in quick succession). Use the Buffer app to stagger your tweets.


It goes without saying that the key to success is to produce compelling content, but what exactly do we mean by that? What actually works?

Be useful / helpful / informative

Readers are likely to share a blog post if it has helped them in some way. They’ll also be more inclined to remember you / your brand, and some of them will become new followers.

Entertainment-orientated posts are good too, especially on Friday afternoons when the brain is shutting down for the weekend (although this, for us, isn’t a peak time for Twitter activity).

Fill the gaps

It is always a good idea to consider the uniqueness of your content. A quick scan around on Google is normally enough, though I’ve also found Twitter Search to be helpful in seeing what’s out there.

If there are similar posts then figure out how to position yours so it is different enough from the rest, to encourage sharing beyond your own network.

Internal linking

It’s really important to point readers at other articles that you have published in the past. If they read two articles, rather than one, then you’re doubling the chances of a retweet (as well as reducing your bounce rates / increasing your page impressions).

Internal linking is great for SEO too. People will share (interesting / useful / entertaining) content regardless of how they find it.

Understand the value of in-depth content

We’ve found that news stories have high bounce rates, while meatier posts are much stickier and have a longer shelf life. They attract the highest number of retweets, while also driving readers deeper into our site.

Write fast, edit slow

There is a link between the time spent crafting a post and the amount of retweets it will generate. I believe in the write fast, edit slow mantra: try to crank out 80% of a blog post in 20% of the time, and then spend the other 80% of your time finessing the post, finding examples and reference material, backing up posts with stats, hunting for internal links, and generally tidying things up.

Lists FTW

People love to skim read, and – partly because of that – they love lists. Last year a large proportion of our most popular (and most shared) content was list-based. And here I am, writing another list…

Avoid errors

It is all too easy to write an article, publish it, and then head out for lunch. Given that thousands of people may read it I think it’s really important to check and doublecheck your work. And then check it some more.

I typically edit an article at least half a dozen times after it has been published. I’m primarily concerned with grammar and formatting, but it goes without saying that your facts must be watertight. You don’t want people to share your post on the basis that it is inaccurate, ridiculous or embarrassing.

Check out my 23 useful rules for online writing, for more pointers.


Linkbait, socialbait, hatebait, statbait… there are plenty of types of ‘bait’ to use in order to attract people to your website. Try to avoid baiting people just for the sake of it, as it can produce a negative reaction.

Learn the 12 sharing triggers

Last year I wrote a post that outlined why people share videos. Videos can be filed under triggers such as ‘shocking’, ‘unbelievable’, ‘controversial’ and ‘uplifting’. These triggers apply to other forms of content too. Tick one or more boxes to increase your chances of success.


Headlines are hugely important…

Witty vs descriptive?

Descriptive headlines work best for search, but I am increasingly of the view that unorthodox headlines stand out from the crowd on the social platforms like Twitter (much in the same way that they used to stand out on Google News). A headline that possesses verve should generate a higher clickthrough rate than one that looks flat.

We know that social media platforms are increasingly affecting the search results so there may be more to life than writing headlines purely for Google. I recently explored ways in which Google might make sense of social signals on Twitter.

The ‘65 character rule’

I always try to abide by the 65 character rule when writing headlines. The idea is to leave enough space for people to append a tweet with their own comments.

Adjectives FTW

It is a very good idea to use adjectives in headlines. They’re persuasive and can give your headline a distinct tone of voice.

They are also great for retweets, as sometimes it appears as if the retweeter has inserted the adjective into the headline (sometimes they do, if you omit them). Powerful.

Question-based headlines

These can really help to kickstart a debate and / or provide some much needed answers (which can form the basis of new posts). Questions can be great for search too, as many people use them as search queries.

Use the right labels

Consider what search queries people are using before determining what headline to use. Google Trends can help you with this.

For example, we can see that people have been searching for the term ‘cookie law’ in the past year, even though the EU e-Privacy Directive is a much broader ‘privacy law’ (cookies are only part of the story).

As such we’ve used ‘cookie law’ as a label, for blog posts and reports on this subject.


There’s more to life than endlessly talking about yourself on Twitter… 

Cultivate relationships

Building out your network is one thing, but the degree to which people will take notice of you is likely to be dependent not only on the quality of the content you create, but also on whether you are an active member of Twitter.

Do you answer questions? Do you involve yourself in conversations? Or is Twitter simply a way of pushing out links?

We know what makes people tune out on Twitter… think about what makes them tune in. Advocacy leads to sharing.

Share other people’s content

This is a good way of getting noticed, especially by influencers who may return the favour. Mix it up: don’t just talk about yourself.

Quality control

Monitor what people say in their retweets. I’m not so bothered about the quantity of retweets, but I do care about the quality.

If you are consistently seeing “rubbish post” appended to retweets, rather than “great post”, then consider tweaking your content strategy, to create the right kind of content for your audience.

Best Time to Tweet on Twitter

Find out what the best time is to tweet on Twitter and learn how to schedule tweets using Hootsuite to reach your audience even when you’re sleeping!

3 Ways to Improve Your Twitter Marketing

While newer social networks such as Pinterest and Google Plus may be growing in popularity, marketing on Twitter is still an effective way for many organizations to reach their marketing objectives. In fact, 32% of all Internet users are on Twitter (source: MarketingLand), and 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter (source: Digital Buzz Blog).

With that in mind, here are 3 ways you can improve your Twitter marketing in 2013.

1. Interact and Engage with Your Audience

This may sound obvious, but it’s easy for marketers to fall into the trap of simply tweeting thought leadership content and promotions. Sharing content is helpful, to be sure, but the real value in using Twitter is the opportunity to develop relationships with your audience. So interact with people, reply to their tweets, ask questions, and start building new relationships.

Example: How Zappos Can Improve Their Efforts

Follow and engage with happy customers who Tweet about your product—these people are already promoting your product, for FREE.

For example, let’s say you are Zappos and one of your goals for marketing on Twitter is increase sales by strengthening relationships with your current customers. You can setup an alert for whenever someone Tweets with a combination of the keywords “received”, “Zappos”, and “order”. (SproutSocial is my personal favorite solution for monitoring conversations like this.) Then, you’ll see when your customers Tweet about your orders, and be able to thank and acknowledge them. See tip 2 below for advice on keyword monitoring.

Monitor Customer Tweets

To demonstrate this, I did a quick search on Twitter for those exact keywords, and came up with a reasonable number of Tweets, from both happy and dissatisfied customers. This is an incredible opportunity for Zappos to build deeper relationships with their satisfied customers, and also handle complaints from unhappy customers.

Engage with Satisfied Customers

Don’t ignore customer complaints on Twitter—use them to create a better relationship with your customers.

For the positive Tweets from happy customers, Zappos could reply with something simple like “We’re thrilled you received the order. Let us know how you like the shoes”, and add that customer to a list that they can engage with in the future. The more they acknowledge customers Tweeting about them, the more likely they those customers will be to Tweet about them in the future, as well. Make it easy for them to promote your brand.

Acknowledge Unhappy Customers (and Turn Them into Raving Fans)

As for the Tweets from unhappy customers, there is no better way to turn an unhappy customer into an evangelist than by acknowledging complaints publicly. Based on the activity in the Zappos Twitter accounts, I don’t see them spending too much time on it, but at the least, they could allocate 1 hour a day replying to customer Tweets. Even without the hard data, I know the ROI for engaging with and acknowledging your customers for 1 hour a day is there, especially if you are solving complaints from customers that would otherwise use customer service resources, or never purchase from you again.

2. Monitor Conversations and Relevant Keywords

Monitoring keywords is a great (and easy!) way to find targeted people to follow, offer timely advice, and stay on top of industry trends. Get started by monitoring the following types of keywords, in order of priority:

Brand Mentions

Monitor brand mentions, including Tweets with the domain of your website

Start by monitoring mentions of your company and brand, including @mentions and Tweets with your brand and product name(s). For example, Cisco would want to monitor mentions of the Cisco brand and Twitter handle, in addition to variations of individual products, such as “WebEx”. I consider monitoring brand mentions critical, regardless of resources and priorities.

If you are a larger organization with an unmanageable amount of mentions, tools such as Salesforce/Radian6 can help you filter through the noise and focus your efforts on the most important Tweets.

Links to Your Site

Make sure to monitor when people tweet links to your website, even if they don’t mention your brand name or Twitter handle—you can do this by simply setting up a search for the domain of your website. For example, at OMI, we monitor when people Tweet the keyword “onlinemarketinginstitute”, because that is the domain of our website.

Pain Points

Monitor conversations directly related to the solution your problem solves—use the jargon they use to describe your need. For example, if you are an email marketing vendor, you can monitor when people Tweet with keywords such as “improve open rates” or “improve deliverability”.

Related Businesses and Competitors

Expand your efforts by monitoring conversations related to complementary businesses and competitors. For example, at OMI, we monitor when people Tweet about Marketo and ExactTarget, because they are solutions that are target audience uses, and people we could potentially engage with.

You can also monitor people Tweet about your competitors, and follow them as well. This will provide great insight into your industry and business, and may even allow you to engage in a conversation when it is relevant (but not creepy).

Interests of Your Target Audience

Finally, once you’re successfully monitoring the above keywords and need to grow your efforts, start monitoring conversations about your industry and topics your target audience is interested in. For example, an email marketing vendor could monitor conversations related to events that their audience would attend such as the Online Marketing Summit, or publications that their audience reads, such as the OMI blog or ClickZ. They could also monitor conversations about social media or digital marketing in general, because a marketer that would purchase an email solution would likely be interested in those topics, as well.

3. Grow Your Audience

Twitter Spam Accounts

Unfortunately, fake Twitter accounts usually don’t have budget for your product or service (or know anyone that does, either).

Now that you’re engaging with people and monitoring conversations, start to find new and interesting people to follow to increase your reach. Focus on building a community of potential customers, partners, influencers, and evangelists. Don’t pay for followers or automate the process of growing your audience unless fake Twitter accounts actually buy your product or service (or know someone that will).

Find New People to Follow

To start growing your audience, find and target new and influential people to follow. You can find these users by 1) monitoring keywords and conversations 2) reviewing the followers of people and businesses in your industry and 3) reviewing lists that other related Twitter accounts have created. Don’t worry about only following people that are potential customers—what you want to do is focusing on building a relevant Twitter community. This includes social media partners, related businesses, evangelists, influencers, and of course, your target audience. Even if many of these people may never buy your product or service, they can still help you amplify your message and achieve your marketing goals.

Add These Twitter Users to Lists

Once you start finding new people to follow, I recommend adding those accounts to a segmented list within your social media management tool. For instance, if you identify 20 key influencers or 20 potential customers and add them to a list, you can easily focus on consistently engaging with just those users over a certain period of time.

More Activity Leads to More Followers

As a general rule, the more you Tweet, the  more followers you’ll have, the more you engage with the people you follow, the more likely they will be to follow you back. Effective Twitter marketing takes time—you can’t automate it. And you won’t achieve your goals by simply Tweeting once a day or once a week (in fact, inactivity can do more damage than good). But with a solid plan and effort, Twitter may prove to be on of your most effective marketing channels.

Five Metrics You Need to Measure On Social Media

measure-social-media-metricsGetting your social media marketing strategy right is all about preparation, planning and then monitoring your strategy’s success. The best way to monitor the success of your social media marketing is by measuring a number of metrics, working out what’s benefiting your company and what isn’t, and then adapting and improving your strategy.

FacebookGoogleYouTube and Pinterest all have analytics tools which can help you measure key metrics. If you want to measure your success on Twitter, use a social media management tool like Ezeesocial. What metrics do you need to measure, then, to measure your success? There are quite a few, but to start with, here are the five key metrics you should be monitoring.

1. Reach

Essentially, reach is how many people have seen your content. Generally, only your fans and followers will see your content but, occasionally, it will be seen by the friends of your fans or general users. If you pay for advertising or share your content with the public, then general users are more likely to see your content.

Measuring your reach is vitally important, not only does your reach illustrate how popular your content is, it also gives you an idea of the value of your content’s audience. If you have a lot of followers and fans but your reach is still poor, then your fans and followers are purposefully ignoring your posts or, even worse, hiding your content from their feeds.

By measuring your reach, you can work out how to improve your content so that it gets seen by the right audience.

2. Engagement

Facebook defines engagement as “the number of people who have clicked anywhere on your post”.Comments, likes, retweets, favorites, repins, shares and +1s are all types of engagement. Engagement, at its simplest, shows you what sort of content is most appreciated by your audience.

You need to monitor the engagement on your social media sites so that you can work out what sort of content works best and then use it to interact with your audience. If someone comments on your Facebook post, or retweets your tweet, it gives you the opportunity to start a conversation with them online and, maybe, find out a little about their perception of your company.

3. Talking About

It is vital for any company, however big or small, to be part of the conversation online. If no one is talking about your brand, then no one will hear about it. Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most powerful marketing tools in a company’s arsenal.

Businesses need to listen to the conversation. They need to try to get involved themselves so that they can promote their brand. Businesses also need to monitor the conversation about their industry, as well as the conversation in general: there are countless opportunities online for companies to join conversations and draw attention to themselves.

4. Sentiment

Leading on from the section above, sentiment analysis is the measurement of how popular your brand is online. By monitoring what people say about your company you can alter and adapt your strategy in order to change public opinion.

Social media management tools, such as Ezeesocial, provide users with graphs and tables measuring sentiment online. Businesses can also see all the comments about their company online and even answer directly to them.

5. Click-Through Rate

There’s little point in maintaining an active social media presence unless it drives traffic to your website, encouraging users to buy your products and services. It is vitally important that you measure the click-through rate (or CTR) of your links: are people clicking on the links you post on social media?

Work out what links get clicked most often. Are they shortened URLs? Are they the links you post on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest? Pinterest pictures can link back to your site, are people clicking on them? For more information on getting your Twitter links just right, check out this article I wrote last week.

How do you monitor and measure the success of your social media strategies?

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