Guide to recruiting with social media

Social media and recruitment are a perfect fit; recruiting is selling the story of your company, a culture and a job. Social media is all about sharing stories using words, images and video.

Having conversations in the digital space is like having conversations in the real world. The only difference is that online conversations are searchable, archived and can come back to haunt you. Always bear this in mind. The positive of this is that it makes the conversations findable so people can join in. These people could be your future employees.

Indeed, the outcome of these conversations is to build a pool of candidates who want to engage with you, and more importantly, work for you before you have even told them there are jobs available.

Caution

If you have a bad reputation, a poor culture or unhappy staff then be wary of using social media. If your company is not a good place to work social media won’t change that – but it will give current and past employees a reason to jump on the social band wagon and create a trend you don’t want.

Be prepared for negative comments and complaints. It is important when using social media to remain transparent, so respond to negative comments instead of deleting them. If you delete comments you will find users will move to another platform where you can’t manage the situation so easily.

Learning to use social media tools is not complicated, but does take time and experimentation. What works for one company won’t always work for another, so talk to individuals not the masses.

How to have an online conversation

The most difficult part of social recruiting is deciding what to talk about. Forget the fact that you are online, talk as you would talk in the real world.

  • Ask a lot of questions – listen to the responses and expand further;
  • Tell great stories – people like hearing about people;
  • Share interesting and useful insights;
  • Show videos, images and documents that help tell the story; and
  • Don’t just talk about yourself.

Think about the person you like to chat to the most, what do they talk about? They probably engage with you by asking lots of questions, sharing information about other people, places and experiences, and are approachable, funny and personable.

What can you talk about?

Try to create and share content that is interesting, funny, informative and relevant as you want people to pass it on.
Insider info: Offer insights into the culture of your company. What is unique about you? Do you offer great training or strong career progression? Is it a fun place to work? What do employees do?
Community news: Are you working in the local community? Do you work with local charities? Use this information to demonstrate the values and culture within your company.

How to guides: These are useful information pieces on the company, the roles within the company. Mix up words, images and video. Infographics are a great way to do this.

Diary: A day in the life of different job roles within your company. Show the work involved, the people candidates would be working with, the building and department, give people a real flavour of what it would be like to work with you and bring your company to life.

Ask questions: Ask for other people’s tips and stories, encourage candidates to share experiences, ask current employees to comment or share their experiences.

Jobs: Obviously the whole idea is to recruit people, so don’t forget to post jobs to this newly engaged audience all hoping to now work for you!

Bring out the humans

People don’t want to engage and interact with a company, they want to engage with the people who make it happen. So, don’t talk like a corporate press release, talk like a person, as you would in a face to face chat.

 

The art of scaling a tech business

Most small companies live in hope of attracting the attention of much larger established businesses. Not just because they help to provide a stamp of approval which can be used to attract other large customers, but also because of the fact they have the potential to enable a SME to massively scale their business by gaining access to the large company’s customer base.

That, combined with venturing into overseas markets are daunting experiences for any business, but done successfully they provide the sort of rocket fuel to growth of which any founder can only hope to dream of achieving.

In our experience of attracting large scale partners, we have a very clear proposition, which is to enable large data owners to sell profitably into the high- volume, low-value end of the market. We understand many of the issues of selling data into a self-serve environment and know the value that our platform and experience can add to these businesses. Recognising that many of the large postal service providers are experiencing a significant decline in their traditional postal operations, we have seen a great strategic opportunity to partner with these businesses.

As a result, over the last 12 months we have made a significant decision to scale for growth. With a scalable business model, we have recently started to put into place the building blocks to achieve our ambitions. This has included, moving to a new £2 million office in the centre of Worcester that accommodates double the current headcount, establishing a senior management team who have been tasked with delivering growth, and finally setting up rigorous systems and processes to create greater accountability across the business.

Recognising that Postcode Anywhere has developed a fantastic platform for growth, we have put measures in place to make this happen. Earlier this year we joined The London Stock Exchange’s ELITE programme which offers businesses the skills to adapt and shape for growth and increase their visibility and attractiveness to potential investors. We have identified two very progressive peer companies who are at the leading edge of using data to improve their businesses. I am in the process of arranging meetings with these to again explore what our respective companies are doing in this area and to test some of our assumptions on a new Big Data application that we will be looking to launch later this year. Ultimately, the ELITE programme will be an important cornerstone to help facilitate our ambitious strategy and prepare for the next stage of growth.

The Rising Role of Word-of-mouse and How PR Can Use It

Social sharing: risks, but opportunities – see how online PR agencies are turning Word-of-Mouth into Word-of-Mouse.

the rising role of word of mouse

Think of PR as a set of concentric circles. You’re at the centre, with your communications radiating outwards in a ring. For the last decade or so, there’s been a huge third ring enclosing both: the communications your audiences send to each other.

Traditional PR agencies have always dealt effectively with the first and second circles. But the outer ring is something they’re still getting to grips with. And there’s a sense that an online PR agency – born on the web – would have a keener focus on how audiences interact among themselves. (Some call it “Word of Mouse”, or WOM.)

Regardless of your online PR agency’s parentage, what are the key issues? There are three:

  1. The sheer size of this expanded audience. It carries risks – just one customer with a bad experience tells 25 friends about it – but also opportunities: a viral hit gets your ideas out to millions at low cost.
  2. The explosion of channels. Every one a two-way street. Today, you’ve got to engage with people on their terms.
  3. The decline of authority. When broadcast was the only channel, audiences listened quietly and were more accepting. Today, forcing your views on anyone is a surefire route to getting shot down.

So what can your online PR agency do about it? Here are some ideas.

1. Followers not fans: stand for something

With a billion people out there, old metrics like CPMs mean little. To get into that outer ring – to get people talking about you with enthusiasm, on the subjects you want – you need to be clear who you are.

Sometimes it’s worth digging into your brand’s history. Every big name started with a Big Idea.

So work out what you believe in. And don’t try to be all things to all people. (Emphasise everything and you emphasise nothing.) If you sell dog food, maybe the ideal channel isn’t Poodle Weekly, but a campaign that supports a stray rehousing project. If you do consulting in Africa, maybe it’s sponsoring degrees for poor kids with potential.

What would your business do if it didn’t need to get paid for it? Such blue-sky thinking can reveal what you really believe in.

If the single idea driving your business is clear and strong, then it can gain a life of its own on the web.

2. Content at the core: free your essence

No marketing agency can deal with 1m channels individually. And “channels” aren’t what they used to be. YouTube is a channel; Twitter is a channel; even Google is a channel, thanks to the way it edits and represents your content (snippets, metadata, news) in its own formats.

So Rule One is: create messages that can live in many different media. Think of yourcontent as a core that reaches out to people in different ways.

You can control the core… but the rest is influence.

Hollywood TV shows (movies, not so much) get it right, setting the scene with character-driven stories and rolling them out across channels. YouTube might get a teaser clip; XBox Live an Easter Egg; social sites a “Which Series Character Are You?” quiz. But they’re all riffs on the same core content. What audiences do with it – blogs, fan fiction, GIFs – is up to them. Let them do it.

To span a million channels, concentrate on core ideas … not end product.

3. Approach a psychographic, not a demographic

A media-savvy, switched-on audience is a hard sell. But even with millions in your audience, acting like Moses on the Mount is a no-no.

Instead of casting down pronouncements from on high (how television and radio started) act as your customer’s equal, by appealing to what they’d see in a trusted friend. Not a boss.

Trusted friends tell us when we smell bad, or a dress doesn’t look good on us. They do it honestly, encouragingly and without an agenda. They know not just what we believe, but why we hold those views.

Trusted friends think like us. And that’s the way to build a lasting relationship.

So forget ABC1s and Women 18-30; to be a trusted friend, think psychographics not demographics. Animal lovers come in all ages. Motorbike fans span all social groups. And while the demographic view of gamers thinks teenage boys, in reality most are over 30 and a third are female.

It leads to creative ideas – and today’s data-driven online PR agency can help. Maybe your paint buyers are unusually interested in green issues. Perhaps your White Van Man audience is badly served by area schools. To make friends, first find out what worries them.

4. The last word

There’s an after-effect spanning all these traits: they all help combat negativity.

When people know what you stand for, have made your ideas their own and regard you as a friend, you get more leeway when you make mistakes. Yours won’t be the adversarial relationship between a bank and its customers, or a supermarket and its suppliers.

Rather, you’ll be able to correct errors, regain trust, and enjoy positive chatter as a result. As long as you correct errors fast, the fan-out of a sharply-worded Tweet or a meme making fun of you can be turned positive.

The outer ring is a virtuous circle. And it’s full of opportunities.

Crash Course On Google My Business

For many brick-and-mortar businesses, the biggest challenge with building an online presence is using it to attract attention from a local audience.

Google is looking to make local visibility less of a challenge with the launch of its new Google My Business platform. Local merchants and service providers can now create and manage their business listings across the Web, including on Google Search, Maps and Google+, from one location. With increased visibility on these popular platforms, companies are more likely to attract foot traffic from local consumers searching for nearby businesses on their mobile phones, which can increase brand awareness and conversions.

Google My Business, however, offers much more than just a place to list your venue’s address and contact information. Learn more about the platform, and how to use it to your full advantage, by checking out Website Magazine’s Crash Course on Google My Business.


Optimize Your Listing

Prior to the launch of Google My Business, merchants typically leveraged Google Places for Business and/or Google+ in order to list their companies across Google services like Maps and Search. Google My Business, however, makes it easier to manage local listings by enabling merchants to list their businesses from one central location.

Through the platform, merchants have the ability to include business descriptions, contact information, hours of operation and business category. To optimize listings even further, merchants can add images and even virtual tours. With visual content like this, consumers will be able to get a better idea of the atmosphere of the businesses they are searching for. Plus, Google is more likely to display visual content next to the business’s listing in the search results, and as most ’Net professionals know – visual content is much more engaging and eye-catching than text alone.


Manage Consumer Reviews

One of the best parts of Google My Business is the Review feature. Through the dashboard, merchants and service providers can engage their audiences by monitoring and responding to consumer reviews from across the Web.

While companies should take time to respond to both positive and negative reviews, it is usually the negative reviews that business owners get hung up on. Keep in mind that it is normal for businesses to receive negative reviews from time-to-time, but the ability to respond to less-than-stellar reviews through the Google My Business dashboard should prove to be a valuable feature for merchants. That said, it is important for merchants to have a plan of action when it comes to handling negative reviews, so that responses can stay professional and represent their business appropriately. For tips on how to handle undesirable assessments of your business on the Web, make sure to read Website Magazine’s 5-Point Checklist for Handling Negative Reviews.


Get Active on Google+

There is no longer a reason for merchants to put off using Google+, as the Google My Business dashboard makes it extremely simple to post updates to the social network (see image). Although Google+ may not be the most popular social network on the Web, it offers a multitude of benefits to businesses that are actually active on it, most notably, visibility in Google’s result pages.

In fact, Google+ members are more likely to see content in their personalized search results from the brands that they have added to their Circles on Google+. Of course it definitely takes time and effort to build a presence and a following on Google+, but it is worth it. Fortunately, the Google My Business dashboard makes it simple to publish updates to the social network.


Stay Insightful

A business dashboard is not complete without customer insights, which makes it no surprise that Google included this type of data within Google My Business.

Through the dashboard’s Insights feature, merchants can monitor things like how many times customers find their business in the Google search results, as well as the number of clicks, driving direction requests and website visits their business receives. Merchants even have the ability to look further into driving direction data to understand where their customers are coming from when they request directions. With this information merchants can optimize their future marketing and advertising initiatives to target consumers from more active communities.

Data Lists Are for Life, Not Just for Campaigns

1. Is it accurate?

Accurate data is crucial to segmented marketing. Without accurate data you will be unable to split your database into B2B data lists for fine-tuned campaigns. You will also experience:

  • A high delivery failure rate.

  • A reduced conversion rate.

  • A rise in unopened messages or failed calls.

Simple tasks like checking names and job titles will help improve overall data accuracy.

2. Is it complete?

As your sales team rushes to capture new customer data, key values are often overlooked or mistyped. Just like inaccurate records, those left incomplete will also be of lesser value when the time comes to segment the database for marketing.

For best results, your team needs to:

  • Identify contact records that are incomplete.

  • Encourage the contact to supply the missing information.

  • Update the database with the extra details.

Having a complete contact record helps to create a complete overview of the contact, making it more useful to your marketing team.

3. Is it fit-for-purpose?

If the data you have is out of date or incomplete and there is no prospect of creating a useful record from it – archive it. Keeping useless data:

  • Wastes resources – storage, postage and phone calls are all wasted when chasing up non-existent contacts.

  • Skews your results data – calculating ROI or campaign success will be impossible if it is full of false bounces caused by dodgy contact data.

Get rid of the useless data to set the baseline for a better contact set that can be segmented to create powerful B2B data lists.

4. Is it sufficient?

Does your contacts database allow you to perform the campaigns you want? To reach the new prospects and create new leads? If not, you probably:

  • Have the wrong details stored about your customers and leads.

  • Do not have enough records with which to work.

Obviously your business needs to work hard at growing the mailing list organically, but to get things moving more quickly, you could buy some reputable B2B data lists to kickstart your next campaign.

5. When is the next clean due?

Because your B2B data lists are in a state of constant flux, you need to clean them regularly. Choosing to carry out cleaning every quarter makes it a far quicker process to complete properly than if the data is left for years between refreshes.

Plan a cycle and stick to it!

Getting your B2B data lists ready

To keep your B2B data lists in shape ask yourself:

  • Is it accurate?

  • Is it complete?

  • Is it fit-for-purpose?

  • Is it sufficient?

  • When is the next data cleanse due?

Learn how to deep clean your data list until it shines: Download the eGuide ’Five Steps to Cleaner, Happier Data’

5 Must-Have Google+ Circles

Google’s Circles enables users to filter the people they follow into categories. For consumers, this feature can help them sort the businesses they follow into different groups than other connections, like their family or friends. When leveraged correctly, Circles also has practical brand uses.

With Circles, businesses can group their customers and industry influencers into categories to make it easier to network with specific groups and share content that is highly relevant to those individuals. To help your company get started, check out these five must-have Google+ Circles.


VIP Customers

The first Circle brands should focus on building is one for VIP customers, otherwise known as brand advocates. Since these loyal customers are valuable to a company’s bottom line and word-of-mouth marketing initiatives, maintaining relationships with them should be a top priority. Luckily, taking a little time to simply +1, comment on and share their posts will go a long way in efforts to sustain and improve relationships with these customers.


Customers

Along with VIP customers, brands should also create a Circle for their everyday customers. In doing so, brands can create and share blog posts, for example, that are meant to develop stronger, more valuable relationships or increase these shoppers’ brand or product awareness. If successful in networking efforts, these customers have the potential to become brand advocates, in which case the brand can easily switch them to its VIP Circle.


Brand Partners

Just as maintaining relationships with VIP customers is important, so is maintaining relationships with brand partners. This Circle, however, will likely vary depending on your business and its unique relationships. For example, a skincare brand may want to fill this Circle with retailers that sell its products. In doing so, the skincare brand will be able to interact with the retailers, thus increasing its visibility and strengthening its relationships with these brand partners.

Conversely, a restaurant may want to fill this Circle with businesses from around the local community. In this scenario, the restaurant will be able to build relationships with its business neighbors and increase its visibility in the local community, which could lead to new business opportunities in the future (e.g. a neighborhood sale or shop local events).


Industry News

Having a Circle dedicated to industry news sources is a good way for brands to not only stay informed, but also find relevant content to share with their followers. After all, content is king, and the more useful information brands share with their followers, the higher engagement rates they are likely to receive. Moreover, brands may want to include industry bloggers into this Circle. Not only are these connections likely to post sharable content, but interacting with them puts your brand on their radar, which can open the door up to possible coverage opportunities.


Team Members

Creating a team member Circle will enable brands to keep track of their employees. While interacting with this Circle shouldn’t be as high of a priority as interacting with other Circles (like VIP customers), it is a good way to monitor the type of content employees are posting and to see if they are sharing company news with their Google+ connections. Marketers and business owners shouldn’t forget that their employees are their best advocates.

 

Responsive Banner Ads with HTML5

Build once, display everywhere. To build responsive banner ads using HTML5 gets more into the focus the more mobile web users surf the web on different devices. Responsive banner designs make it easy to fit on any screen or device. Learn more about HTML5, the benefits that responsive banner ads will bring to you and why everybody is heading towards mobile.

Websites often contain banner ads that are incompatible with todays responsive layouts and mobile media devices. The banner ads are usually made with Flash and animated GIF files with fixed pixel dimensions which makes them completely inflexible and almost useless. Since the rise of HTML5 there is a better way to do banners that solve exact this problem. HTML5 makes it possible to build responsive banner ads that will adjust with the screen size based on what device the viewer is using.

The new way to create banner ads

HTML5_logoUsually, to run an ad campaign that crosses different devices means hard and time-intensive work, to even suit all kinds of screens that the banner ad might appear on. There is one single optimal way to make banner ads just as responsive as website layouts – the solution is named HTML5.

HTML5 is a big force in online advertising, and it will get you the flexibility to run your banner ads on any device, wherever your audiences are. It will help you as publishers or advertisers to create cross-device ad campaigns, for instance a campaign with animated banner ads that fits laptops, smartphones and tablets. That means you don’t have to create hundreds of versions of the same ad. Reducing the number of ad versions will also reduce the likelihood of errors and increase your banner production.

Text, images, video and javascript can still be used within the ad just in the same way as any webpage. HTML5 banner ads will responsively and dynamically optimize the ad so it looks perfect

HTML5 Banner Sizes

Responsive Banner Ads with HTML5

When creating responsive layouts it requires that the elements have variable widths that is a convention banner ads must follow, too. In responsive design the height doesn’t really matter. You can use any height you like, but it doesn’t mean that your ad will be stuck at that height. The best way is to use the same heights as in traditional banner sizes to maintain the compatibility. These are some examples of useful banner sizes with standard heights tha tyou could start using with HTML5 banner ads:

90px “banner”
button 1 (120 x 90)
leaderboard (728 x 90)

250px “medium rectangle”
vertical banner (120 x 240)
square pop-up (250 x 250)
medium rectangle (300 x 250)

600px “skyscraper”
skyscraper (120 x 600)
wide skyscraper (240 x 600)
half-page ad (300 x 600)

This gives a nice vertical size with variable widths that covers the most popular ad sizes in use today. If you base your responsive banner ads using HTML5 on these sizes you can be sure that most devices will display them right.

The growth of mobile advertising

Mobile advertising has become a very important industry in its own. I heard a lot people discussing about the reasons to consider HTML5 banner ads over Flash. Without going into details I would say that HTML5 scores much better on mobiles and the market is growing rapidly. A large growth of the mobile advertising market and its popularity is already predicted over the next few years, as Gartner says. Their data even shows that the mobile advertising industry is predicted to be 6 times larger than some years ago.

Mobile Advertising Revenue by Region, Worldwide, 2011-2015 (Millions of Dollars)

Region 2011 2015
North America 701.7 5,791.4
Western Europe 569.3 5,131.9
Asia and Japan 1,628.5 6,925.0
Rest of the World 410,4 2,761.7
Total 3,309.9 20,610.0

Do Social Signals Improve SEO Keyword Rankings?

According to Google’s Matt Cutts, social signals do not influence rankings as of yet. He first stated this in response to the many claims that Google +1s could influence rankings.

In case you missed it, I dug deeper into the anatomy of Google Plus and showed how you could get do-follow links from it. The very fact that you can get do-follow links as a result of someone giving your website a +1 seems to discredit the claim that G+ has no influence on rankings and I am not the only one who seems to think this.

QUICKSPROUT SAYS SOCIAL MATTERS

According to a study conducted by Quicksprout, there is a noticeable difference in the position of a keyword when social signals are given. Here are their findings.

 Image property of Quicksprout

As you can see, two different sites showed an increase in rankings that correlated with Google Plus activity and another two sites were positively influenced by Facebook and Twitter signals. You can read the full study on SearchMetrics and you can view an infographic of the data on Quicksprout’s Blog.

STONE TEMPLE SAYS NO ON GOOGLE +1S

Many people argue that correlation is not causation which is what a study by Stone Temple Consulting attempted to demonstrate.

Image property of Stone Temple

The results of their study only led to more heated debates by industry professionals, but they do determine that at a minimum, Google +1s drive discovery and that they most likely lead to faster indexing. The study also notes visits by GoogleBot to the shared page shortly after the +1 occurred. Stone Temple goes on to note that repeat visits are made to the same page from subsequent shares.

STONE TEMPLE SAYS NO TO FACEBOOK TOO

A few months after the study on the impact of Google +1s was completed, Stone Temple decided to test the impact of Facebook likes and shares. This study was set up like the G+ study in that it attempts to show causation instead of correlation and here is what they decided.

•Google is not likely to count likes as a ranking factor because they cannot distinguish the source of the like to establish credibility.

•Getting shares on Facebook is also not likely to directly impact your rankings as a high percentage of even authority Facebook posts are not indexed by Google.

SO WHAT CAN WE DEDUCT FROM THE STUDIES?

Since both Quicksprout and Stone Temple are very reliable sources for information, it is safe to assume that they each had the results they disclosed. As pointed out by Stone Temple, correlation is not causation. This means we can assume that social signals do not always directly impact rankings and when we combine that with the information from Quicksprout we are left with the following possibilities.

1.The impact of social shares on keyword rankings is dependent upon the niche and competitiveness of a keyword. This could explain why Stone Temple did not see a result and QuickSprout Did.

2.Great content is more likely to be shared and as such, natural links will occur and result in increased rankings. In the Stone Temple Study, no inbound links were indexed for the test pages, in the QuickSprout study, it is not disclosed whether natural links occurred as a result of the shares so we can assume the shares led to links and that is the cause.

HERE IS MY THOUGHT

When social shares occur in conjunction with inbound links, they validate one another and have a greater impact on rankings. We know that Google can determine an unnatural influx in back links to a site; so why are all sites not penalized for inbound link spikes?

We also know that a variation in the typical links occurring to a page can be a warning sign and for this reason, a brand new site getting 500 links in a single day is a red flag whereas an established site can get that many without issue.

If you consider a piece of viral content, you could literally have hundreds or thousands of links built to a page in a very short time and these links can be international, from un-related or semi-related sites, and they can come from sites with no PR or authority.

If you have a new site or one with a history of generating few back links and you attempted to build links to that site rapidly, you would likely get penalized. If that piece of viral content mentioned above happened to be on your new site and it lead to a massive influx of links, you are more likely to improve your rankings than to get in trouble.

WHY IS THIS?

The difference in the two is social signals and citations. By citations I am talking about un-linked mentions of a brand or website on other sites.

If you were to create an SEO campaign that mimicked viral marketing, you would need to

•Create massive social signals across Twitter and Google+

•Generate a measurable increase in the amount of citations to a brand or site

•Rapidly increase the number of inbound links with variables based on the link profile of a relevant authority site

 

Seo, Social & Email

The following best practices cover proven tactics in SEO, social media and email marketing. These expert tips are a great place to start when evaluating the maturity of your organisation’s digital marketing strategy.

know your audienceKnow your audience

The most important factor of digital marketing is to know your audience inside and out. You should create a number of target personas for your brand.

A digitally mature company will know which segments of their audience are more likely to convert than others. They will be measuring not only community sizes, but overall reach, engagement and how many conversions your social media activity delivers. The target personas will be much more detailed, and there could be up to four or five different templates. Hubspot offers some great advice on how to research and create your detailed buyer personas. A digitally mature company will know exactly what tactics will ensure a community members converts into a website visitor and eventually a customer.

brilliant contentBrilliant Content

Brilliant content is still one of the most important factors to successful SEO. Google analyses over 200 ranking factors to determine your SEO score, and the quality of your content accounts for a high number of them. Some of the factors include content length, grammar and spelling, keywords, originality and layout.

A digitally mature company will be producing original content aimed at establishing themselves as thought leaders. Big data, a different angle, or research gathered through surveys are all good techniques to use to display a deeper level of insight. A digitally mature company will have tailored their content around their audience personas.

authorityAuthority

No one knows exactly how search engines calculate authority, and there are most probably multiple factors. The type of links your site receives (lots of quality or ‘neighbourhood’ links?) or social references (from respected accounts?) and engagement metrics (long clicks?) may all play a role in site authority, according to Search Engine Land. Best practice suggests any outgoing press, articles and guest blog posts link back to your site. Buying links from dodgy sites will get you nowhere.

dont overuse keywordsDo not overuse keywords

Search engine spiders can detect the overuse of keywords on your pages, so anything written unnaturally or with too many keywords will only harm you. Try to keep it natural and logical.adwords.google.com/um/gaiaauth?apt%3DNone%26dst%3D/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home%26dst%3D/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home%26ltmpl%3Djfk&hl=en_US<mpl=jfk&passive=86400&skipvpage=true&sacu=1&sarp=1&sourceid=awo&subid=ww-en_gb-et-v_ads_yt_index“>If you are looking for keywords to use, Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner tool can help you come up with more.

optimised landing pagesOptimised landing pages

A site that is difficult to use or hard to navigate can hurt ranking by reducing time on site, pages viewed and bounce rate. Make it easy for your user to get around, and give prominence to where you want them to click. Too many ads and making it too difficult for people to find content are two common mistakes people make, that only increase bounce rates.

If you know your bounce rate it will help determine other information about your site. For example, if your bounce rate is 80% or higher and you have content on your website, chances are something is wrong, according to Search Engine Watch.

In 2014, a mobile-friendly site will be fundamental to a successful mobile SEO strategy. According to the BrightEdge MobileShare Report, smartphone traffic increased 125% as compared to desktop growth, which increased only 12%.

shareableShareable

There is no point having great content if no one knows about it. Remember the goal is to make your content useful enough that people talk about it and link to it. This won’t happen if people aren’t sharing it so you have to get the word out.

Social networks and forums are the best places to do this. Make sure you are sharing helpful, interesting and engaging content. Also share other people’s content through your social media channels so you are not just talking about yourself. Be active and encourage discussion around topics relating to your industry and those that your target audience will be interested by. Make sure you have easy sharing buttons on your site and you get your staff regularly sharing your own content to their social media channels.

Socially Stacked produced a helpful infographic detailing a few dozen commonly used buzzwords and popular phrases to use in your social and blog content which will boost the likelihood of sharing.

Social Strategies of a Top Brand

Effective Empowerment

When discussing a global enterprise like Hard Rock, it’s easy to dismiss their social efforts because of the countless resources they seemingly have at their disposal, but managing this worldwide initiative requires consistency, structure and trust.

Rather than managing all social accounts from its corporate headquarters, Hard Rock empowers its worldwide locations to manage their own social presences. For example, Hard Rock Hotel Cancun has a separate handle (@HRHCancun) from the Hard Rock Café in San Diego (@HardRockCafeSD) – and each are managed locally. Beyond Twitter, Hard Rock (and each of its locations) is also active on Facebook, InstagramPinterest, Google+, LinkedIn and other networks.

To keep brand messaging consistent, yet still localized, Kim Matlock, the senior director of digital marketing and customer relationship management at Hard Rock, and her team share content (via internal communication methods) with all of its properties and the location managers customize it from there.

Each location sticks to corporate’s content calendar, which includes both timely messaging and evergreen content (not time sensitive). An example of a deadline-driven promotion is “Imagine No Hunger,” which Hard Rock runs every year in November and December (the namesake is a play on John Lennon’s iconic “Imagine” song).

Since there are so many moving parts to this campaign that combats childhood hunger and poverty, Matlock’s team creates a digital guide for everything a Hard Rock location would need to stay on-brand and promote the promotion effectively. The guide includes relevant hashtags, graphics, messaging and more for each location to roll out during specified times. Hard Rock even distributes this material to partners like, for this campaign, Yoko Ono who follows the rules, tweeting pre-approved infographics, for example. To learn what should be included in your own branding handbook, visit wsm.co/7brandassets.

Smart Scheduling

Yoko Ono isn’t the only one following Hard Rock’s corporate guidelines. Its individual locations, however, localize their messaging. For example, in image A, marketers for Hard Rock Florence promote “Imagine No Hunger” bracelets in their native tongue. By empowering local representatives, Hard Rock eliminates the chance of translating the messaging incorrectly or not following local or cultural norms.

On-location social media management also helps when it comes to keeping different time zones straight. Of course, social media management tools can help ensure accuracy, but after using a popular solution on the market, which it found ineffective, Hard Rock chose to leverage the scheduling capabilities of the platforms themselves, when possible. Recently, Matlock’s team started to schedule Facebook posts directly from the social network.

While Hard Rock appreciates this capability, Matlock hasn’t been happy about Facebook’s algorithm change that dramatically reduces organic reach. Instead of chasing their tails, Hard Rock has put more resources into Instagram (also Facebook owned) and started using a platform called Olapic (see image B) to increase engagement on its own digital property by managing, curating and showcasing customers’ visual content on its website HardRock.com.

Big Brand Takeaways

At the end of the virtual day, top brands like Hard Rock are creating quality content that engages their audiences in meaningful ways and finding ways to bring back customers to their websites, where the chase for conversations and conversions really begins.

How Facebook’s algorithm tweaks have cut the value of a “like” list

For the newcomer to Facebook marketing, it may come as a surprise that not every post a brand places on its page appears automatically. To the seasoned social media expert, though, it was more of a tightening of the screws than a surprise.

“It has ever been thus,” says Dyte. “You have to have a lot of sympathy for Facebook. The biggest complaint from users is unwanted ads appearing in their news feed and it’s clear a lot of people can’t distinguish between suggested posts from third parties they’ve not ‘liked’ and those from pages they have liked.

“Certainly when Facebook tightened things up in Q2 last year they could show an instant large drop off in the number of spam reports. So they are clearly motivated to improve the user experience by cutting back on news feeds being full up with brand messages, even if they are from brands a person has liked in the past.”

Follow the dollars

This is a kind way of looking at it. Lewis Austin, social media manager at Absolute Digital Media, believes there is also the issue of revenue generation at Facebook which is likely to be playing a large role in its algorithm tweaks.

“Brands have got every right to feel they’re being squeezed by people trying to get more money from them beyond their page,” he says.

“Now the message is clearer than ever that if you want to reach out to your target market you’ve got to pay for sponsored posts, even among those who’ve previously liked you.

“For the huge brands who’ve spent a fortune building up large fan bases, and continue to do so, it’s less of an issue because they’re spending budget anyway on suggested posts and they probably have a mass of people who are new to the page and so still pretty active.

“For anyone who’s tried building up a loyal following over several years where a user group might have become a little less engaged, it’s going to be tough because they’ve probably been thinking they can do things organically, but the latest algorithm change is making that virtually impossible.”

Success beyond likes

To get a good ranking within the Facebook algorithm the accepted wisdom is that a post needs to feature media; a picture or a video, a link to encourage engagement and the obvious metrics for success, likes and shares. Effectively, if it’s content that goes down well, Facebook will pick up on it and allow more fans to view it.

Indeed, this assumption has been backed up by a statement from Facebook which encourages brands to think longer and harder about creating engaging content which features pictures, video and links. A spokesperson revealed that the social media giant curtailed brand posts because they are generally shared, liked or engaged with far less than those from friends. Hence, they have been downweighted and need to prove their popularity before they appear in news feeds.

So, where does this leave brands and their social media agencies? Nobody would deny that guarding against unappealing brand posts is a good thing. However, as brands look over their Facebook Insights results from January and February, there will no doubt be some gnashing of teeth and perhaps consideration given to other channels, as Amy Kean, head of futures at Havas Media predicts.

“Generally the impact has been clients resenting having to pay so much to reach their fans,” she says. “So we’re having to both establish evolving methodologies to work out what content has most chance of reaching as many fans as possible as well as spending more time distributing content on other social platforms.”

In a single algorithm change Facebook has become synonymous with Google. The same tireless efforts of agencies trying to crack the SEO code so clients can get an organic search boost are now going in to establishing which posts work best with users and are spread organically by the Facebook algorithm.

What is clear, though, is that the days of relying on huge numbers of ‘likes’ to get a message out there are over. While fans are still hugely important, brands are going to have to blend paid campaigns into their organic social marketing. The days of farming thousands of likes through giveaways and then treating that ‘like’ list as a core marketing asset offering guaranteed results were waning throughout 2013 and were finally given the last rites in time for the New Year.

Ways to Do Content Marketing in Social Media Platforms

1. BEEF UP YOUR BUFFER TO GET TO CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY WANT IT, AND HOW THEY WANT IT.

Taking your consumers inside the process of content creation is the best way to jump-start a conversation-worthy message. The idea of getting people on the boat to join your Twitter discussions backed up with a hashtag, or curating ideas from thought leaders alongside digital enthusiasts give your social media a more humanizing form, in the same manner that it emanates a more strategic way to reach both existing and potential customers. Now is also the best time to filter your followers. While social media usually starts with a numbers game, carving a sustainable fan base is better than a large one. Take the liberty to check the profile of your followers, and if you have to, hit the unfollow button, but do it in moderation.

Another simple yet powerful way to reach consumers is to tailor your engagement based on their geographic location. Twitter has already made great strides on this department as it offers very specific trending topics based on local searches. On top of this, timing your engagement and social media efforts with the time your audiences are most keen to getting information about your brand or service, is a surefire way to engage them.

2. FIERCER FACEBOOK ADVERTISING STILL WORKS FOR BRANDS, AS OF NOW.

Content marketers must watch out for the ever-changing interface of Facebook ads on top of having to deal with the free traffic limits. It’s about time to thoroughly look at your fan base and your fan page metrics before you make the jump to increasing ad spend on the network. Quantifying the worth of your fanbase must be matched against the time and resources you’ve put aside for X number of Facebook hours.

3. HITTING THE SHARE BUTTON MEANS A RESPONSE TO RICH VISUAL-BASED CONTENT.

The most engaging posts on Facebook are backed up with a compelling photo. Indeed, social media is no longer confined to well-written posts. These days, people are craving for noteworthy chunks of ideas that would make their walls and social media accounts talked about, as well.

Don’t know where to start? See how your target customers spend their time online. Seek the websites, Twitter handles, forums and communities they are pouring their hearts and minds on. For novice marketers, the best site to explore is Pinterest; as it fuses photos that translate to conversions and conversations. From these alone, you can get a clearer snapshot of what photos and visuals they engage with the most. You may even repost visual content from your roster of followers and influencers. Do not forget to check the copyright laws on top of crediting them.

4. A SHOUTOUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA AMPLIFIES THE MAGNITUDE OF BLOGGING.

Since readers are more likely to click on thought-provoking, inquisitive posts, harping on a witty, funny, or even sarcastic shoutout on social media platforms is a favorable way to magnify a content you’ve work hard on. To make sure that your content gets to your desired audience, take time tailor your social media shoutouts to what industry influencers and your own followers are familiar with. Using hashtags that are both relevant and trending as you get your content out there increases the chances of being on top the social media ladder.

An important factor that marketers must not forget is to check the metrics of their shoutouts. If a blog content works, replicate it; so as to maximize it. If a blog content fails to deliver the amplification your brand needs, make the iterations and adjust your strategies accordingly.

5. LINKEDIN BLOGS GIVE AN AURA OF CREDIBILITY AND A BETTER CHANCE OF GETTING TO AN INFLUENCER.

For LinkedIn blogs, make sure that your message answers a pressing need or a pervasive want of your audience. Strive at presenting ideas that are rooted on thought leadership. More so, invest on connecting with communities within your circle and your brand’s peripherals, too.

6. POWERFUL PODCAST CONTENTS ARE FINALLY GAINING MOMENTUM.

People are always looking for ways to do it themselves – home improvement, fashion, cars, and even their own health concerns.

Start small by creating your brand’s YouTube channel. Get help in writing short scripts that answers questions regarding your brand. Toward the end of your podcast, encourage people to comment or share your content. It is very crucial that you speak the language of your market.

What Marketing Software do you Really Need?

Understanding your customer and their needs has been the cornerstone of successful marketing for many years. Modern tools now allow organisations to collect vast quantities of data so that they gain a deeper understanding or purchasing habits, preferences and demographic information.

However 46% of marketers claim that they are prevented from properly leveraging this data because it is held in disparate systems; the information they need to improve marketing activities is not stored centrally, making it impossible to form a complete understanding of their customers. These systems typically include:

● CRM.

● Email marketing.

● Social media monitoring.

● Lead nurturing systems.

● Content management systems.

Using these various systems, your business probably already has the data it needs for automated marketing, but lacks the tools you need to make best use of the information.

Choosing the right software

The importance of data for marketing and sales has elevated the importance of the CMO. In 2012, Gartner predicted that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOsas they purchase products and services that will allow them to better target their prospects. As the CMO is handed more budgetary control, they will also be expected to make informed technology purchasing decisions.

The truth is, the correct marketing automation tool for your business will be different to that of your partners or competitors. There are, however, several features that are non-negotiable:

Data unification

Your ideal marketing automation tool will be able to access multiple data stores to ensure you have the information you need to leverage your customer data for maximum profit. For future-proofing potential, your business may look at doing away with data silos altogether, replacing them with a big data solution from which every business unit can operate.

“35% of marketers said response attribution was the most challenging multichannel marketing issue for their organisation, followed by campaign coordination.”

The 2013 Digital Marketer – Experian

Reporting and intelligence

Marketing automation is a process of continuous improvement. Your ideal system will need to have in-depth reporting and intelligence functions that allow you to cut your data any way you choose so that you get the insights you need, including your customers’ ‘digital body language’.

With the right tool, your business will be able to improve:

· Lead generation and qualification processes.

· Messaging.

· Internal sales operations.

“Companies that use big data and analytics effectively show productivity rates and profitability that are 5% to 6% higher than those of their peers. McKinsey analysis of more than 250 engagements over five years has revealed that companies that put data at the centre of the marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment (MROI) by 15% to 20%. That adds up to $150 billion to $200 billion of additional value, based on global annual marketing spend of an estimated $1 trillion.”

Jonathan Gordon – McKinsey & Company

“This goldmine of data is a pivot-point moment for marketing and sales leaders. Those who are able to drive above-market growth, though, are the ones who can effectively mine that gold.”

Jonathan Gordon – McKinsey & Company

Social media distribution

As well as social media monitoring, your ideal tool will provide automated distribution of targeted messaging. Social is now becoming ingrained at all levels of the enterprise, increasing the volume of messages your team needs to handle. If your business is serious about becoming truly socially enabled, your chosen platform will need to be able to process all of these additional communications streams.

“In our recent survey of B2B marketers, the most pressing content marketing challengewas “getting the right people to view the right content.” One-third of respondents cited thatchallenge, compared with only 13% who were challenged with “producing engaging content” and11% who were challenged with “developing a content strategy.”The Forrester Wave™: Lead-To-Revenue Management Platform Vendors, Q1 2014

What You Don’t Get About Instagram

Instagram indisputably catapulted the use of the word “Selfie” into everyday vernacular when it was officially appointed “Oxford’s Word of the Year” for 2013. Aside from the copious amounts of furrowed brows, duck lips and off-center faces looking into the distance, Instagram also houses a great number of enriching and informative content. By doing a simple search of the hashtag “#challenge” one might come across a myriad of photos or graphics related to everything from fitness and healthy eating, to creativity through music and literature. Each month, Instagram hosts its own photo challenge in which a graphic is uploaded with a prompt for the type of photo to be taken and uploaded each day. Users have since taken this model and adapted it to many different themes fitting topics such as food, holidays and workout programs.

After following the success of short video sharing app Vine, Instagram introduced its own video capabilities which have made these challenges even more intriguing. One particular account, FitMenCook, has made a huge impact by squeezing their high-quality, healthy workout-ready recipes into 15-second slots making it near impossible to find an excuse not to eat right. Not only that, but there’s been a recent phenomenon with the growth of what’re aptly titled “Instagram Boutiques.” Through the power of Instagram photos, Gmail, and PayPal, users are able to view a merchant’s wares through their profile, email them an order, and make payments electronically for everything from swimsuits to custom jewelry. These people aren’t posting selfies, they’re providing a service so that’s one for the ‘gram – haters zero.

“INSTAGRAM IS RUINING REAL PHOTOGRAPHY.”

This is actually my favorite criticism of Instagram. It’s not even a long argument, but simply, what serious photographers sincerely feel threatened by the popularity of a mobile application whose largest portion of users fall between the ages of 15 and 25? As of yet, Time Magazine isn’t scouting Instagram photographers for trips to the Middle East, Harper’s Bazaar hasn’t published any Valencia filtered editorials, and while IG may be an acceptable, at best, resource to vet models, the world of fashion still lives on racks, runways, and between the magazine pages of sexually ambiguous models in nonsensical poses. The fact that Instagram allows pictures to be uploaded from other sources, including those taken by real photographers on real cameras, seems to stand as testament and recognition of the art that all this craziness was derived from.

At the heart of the matter seems to be the unwillingness of a particular group of people to allow something new to coincide with what they’re already comfortable with. In the same way that synthesizers didn’t bring about the end of instrumentation, and McDonald’s didn’t abolish agriculture, our generations Polaroid won’t be the end of true photography.

“INSTAGRAM IS POINTLESS WHEN I CAN JUST UPLOAD PHOTOS TO FACEBOOK.”

While uploading photos to the Internet didn’t start with Instagram (hey Facebook, Myspace and Xanga!), there’s definitely something to be said about the concept of community and how it’s executed within a 612 x 612 pixel square.

On Facebook, you’re sentenced to a life of baby pictures and viciously tagged party photos of people who have real jobs that you know in real life. Facebook was born before the time of oversharing, where we were still cautious about letting people into our lives online and that’s why you cringe every time you see the 20 or so pending friend requests you dodge every time you log in. With Instagram however, you can essentially build the “life” you want to live with very few obstacles in your way. Here it’s possible to have breakfast with Beyoncé in Belize, and guzzle Veuve in Venice with the self-proclaimed (incontestably so) RichKidsofInstagram and still make it to your cubicle by 9 a.m. the next day. Meanwhile on Facebook, “No, I didn’t get it Aunt Ruth but I’ll check again…”