[By Emily Carter]
As Halloween approaches, I realize that candy-hungry little kids aren’t the only ones going through a transformation these days. Facebook is also changing, and you may be wondering what’s different and how that impacts your business. Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are constantly adjusting. Lucky for us all, there are several new Facebook features that will further enhance our ability to connect, engage and network. Social media changes won’t be sinister if you know how to exploit them.
The News Feed - The updated style of the Facebook news feed is designed to reward engagement. Top stories marked with a blue corner tag are featured at the top of everyone’s news feed. Obviously this is the place we want to be! Top stories are determined by an algorithm called EdgeRank. The algorithm determines:
- How strong the relationship is between the post and the Facebook user
- The type of post (video, photo, link, etc)
- The time decay of the post, or how recent the post is
Basic Halloween strategy states that it’s impossible to get the king size, cavity inducing candy bar unless you man up and go ring the doorbell on that haunted house. Likewise, engagement is key in order to hit the jackpot on the Facebook news feed. Do this by providing valuable content: start a discussion, post a helpful video, offer industry news or send out a link to eBooks or white papers. Become a resource, but avoid screaming your sales pitch. That is more annoying than the incessant doorbell ring of trick or treaters.
Logging in as a Business Page - Facebook now allows you to login to your company page specifically, which is the perfect opportunity to increase your interaction with others. Now you can comment on other posts on behalf of your company as opposed to the personal profile of the administrator. This is a much more exciting disguise than the rubber Yoda mask at Target. Every time your company comments on another page, a link back to your profile is created. Commenting on other news builds a relationship with others, and any opportunity to leave a trail back to your own page is one that should be capitalized on.
Insights – Facebook Insights is a marketing tool for users that shows content metrics of your profile. With Insights, you can see the demographics of your followers and their interaction with your content. Consider this a Halloween treat from Facebook to you – at no cost, it’s a handy tool to see what people love or don’t love about your page.
These are just some of the changes that Facebook and other Social Media sites will be unrolling in the next few months. Keep an eye out for Google+ profiles for business as well as a new timeline on Facebook. Change is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be scary.
[By Jeff Androsko]
What's a website to you? Is it an evolving, useable, virtual business location that generates sales for your company, or is it the creepy bodega on the corner that has two aisles covered in dust?
Your site, whether you spend $300 a month or $100 every ten years, is a reflection of your brand; it is just like having a second location of your business. And why does this online presence matter?
If you think one of your competitors doesn't have an edge by having a volume of flashy signs, advertisements and word-of-mouth clout, you may not be fit to run a lemonade stand, let alone a progressive business. Just as you have competition in the physical business world, the same resides on the web. Understanding the value of your website and the inbound marketing tools that promote lead-generation and sales will give you a leg up on your cutthroat neighbors.
68% of U.S. online shoppers agree that they will distrust a site that has an unprofessional appearance (eMarketer). So, as I said before, what's your site look like? If it resembles this, chances are your visitors are not only going to laugh at your credibility, but speak foul of it publicly; no business needs that. Clean it up!
In 2010, alone, American spent $186 billion in online transactions (Nelson). You can't afford to not have a piece of that pie. The better your website is optimized (SEO), updated (content) and prepared (simple forms) for interested online visitors, the more likely you are to see an increase in leads and sales that stem from your site. Directing more online visitors through more mediums will help them find you.
Using inbound marketing tools (SEO, PR, social media, etc.) are great mediums to use to stimulate traffic activity and even online community buzz. Think of them as the road map, ads and signs you would see for a business' physical location. After all the hard work you put in (or maybe none at all), what is the consumer going to find when they finally get to your site?
[By Sarah Faglio]
Want to be viewed as an expert in your field as well as interact directly with potential customers without breaking the bank? Instead of spending money to interrupt your target audience, gauge their interests to seek you out!
So, what’s the secret? Social media! There are many useful facets of this realm, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. However, blogging is a very useful tool in gaining popularity in social media. It’s not just for people to ramble on about random topics in their lives, but can be used as a useful Inbound Marketing strategy.
Active blogs can show up as a top search engine result and provide a platform to interact with readers, gain feedback, and allow businesses to reach out to quell certain issues or negativities. You can avoid huge marketing costs by hiring an expert blogger and have employees observe how to write effective blog articles who could then blog in the long run.
Here are the 3 best practices for blogging:
PLANT THE SEEDS! By setting up a blog you are embarking on a journey of guiding potential customers to you. Include a navigation sidebar to organize all of your content so that previous posts are easier for the reader to find and engage in. Promote your blog on referral sites that promote the company or industry. Use topic keywords and FAQs from customers to develop content to drive traffic from search engines.
HELP IT GROW! Fresh content helps with Search Engine Optimization, in that the information is up-to-date and therefore makes it more relevant to the searcher’s interests or needs. Include informative posts by providing valuable information that covers a broad range of topics that pertains to your industry. Business related content informs readers of organization updates and drives potential customers to your company and what it offers.
WATCH IT BLOOM! Frequent blogging is important in maintaining site traffic and providing useful information to increase readership, which can turn into potential qualified leads. By providing new and insightful information, bloggers are able to attract prospects’ attention in not only their blog, but to their products as well. Relaying credible information helps readers resonate the company as a trustful source and a place for honesty and openness. Be a subject matter expert!
Who would have thought that a cheaper marketing strategy could have such potentially great results? Stand out from the rest by taking advantages of your creativity in this inbound marketing approach. Start blogging to develop your company’s online presence and allow your audience to blossom!
[By Tony Popowski]
I was watching the movie The Shawshank Redemption the other day. For those of you who haven't seen it, the main synopsis is that an innocent man named Andy (Tim Robbins) is wrongfully sent to prison for the murder of his wife. Fellow inmate and narrator of the movie Red (Morgan Freeman, the narrator of all narrators) befriends Andy....and then lots of exciting stuff happens...but I won't ruin the movie for you.
Anyway, there was a conversation that occurred during the movie that reminded me about inbound marketing (can someone say marketing nerd?). During a discussion, the main characters point out that every prisoner in jail claims to be "innocent". Unfortunately, when you have hundreds of prisoners all saying that they're "innocent", the voice of the only actual innocent guy gets drowned out. So how do you know when someone is telling the truth? In this case, you can't. This isn't the literal translation of the script...but you get the gist.
What does this have to do with inbound marketing? Well, in today's economy everyone has competitors. In virtually every industry or field, there are multiple companies providing the same products or services that you do. Each and every one thinks that they're the best. This is only natural; we all invest significant time and energy into our jobs...we should think that our company is the best.
However, let's think about your target audience. They're being bombarded left and right with marketing messages from you and competitors all claiming to be the best. When everyone is shouting "CHOOSE ME - MY PRODUCTS / SERVICES ARE THE BEST!!!", who should they believe?
Enter inbound marketing.
As opposed to screaming your message at your targets (outbound marketing), using the principles of inbound marketing will help you stand apart from your competitors. While there are different components of inbound marketing (website marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, public relations and social media), you can emerge from the pack by providing VALUABLE CONTENT to your audience through your marketing channels. By giving your target market valuable content, you will establish your credibility and solidify your brand. Then, your audience will turn to you when they are ready to buy. Valuable content is:
Overall, you want to establish your company as a resource center for your industry. Now, this is important - your sales pitch is NOT valuable content. Everyone has a sales pitch...it's like screaming "I'm innocent!" in prison.
Take a look at your marketing program and make the transition from shouting out messages to providing valuable content for consumers. If you don't know where to start, our Inbound Marketing Analysis can help!