8 Ways to Use Twitter for Your Branding.

Twitter logoAre you intimidated by Twitter as part of a Marketing campaign? Do you find it difficult to get your point over in the famous 140 character limits without resorting to an unprofessional ‘teen-slang’? There may be some points about this online social community that you are missing. It is definitely a great way to send bulletins, enjoying over 500 Million users, and the host of almost 70% of all public brand mentions on all social media. If you need help to ignite your imagination, recent changes may help. Did you know that you can add photos and Vine videos to your tweets to further engage people?

Here are 8 ways that Tweeters get their information. Try to tweak your message into these structures – they stand out:

1. The Tweet that shares content

Sharing other people’s content is the best way to generate interaction. Include the author’s @Twitter handle and a #relevant hashtag to make the subject matter easier to find.

2. The Tweet that solves problems

Everyone loves to have a problem solved. Share either your content or a link to another website that provides trouble-shooting advice.

3. The Tweet that asks for an answer

Ask questions of your followers that generate discussion, and rewards sharing.

4. The Tweet that adds value

Don’t just click the retweet button, add a brief comment of your own to share your perspective and create engagement.

5. The Tweet that gives advice

Sharing tips and guidance about your industry is a great way to build both your expert status, and credibility.

6. The Tweet that shares the love

Don’t just share content, but add your own ‘thanks’. Don’t forget to include the author’s handle so they see that you acknowledged them.

7. The Fact/Statistic Tweet that offers facts or stats

Similar to the advice share (#5) show stats and facts that inform your followers in the area of interest or industry. Once again, encourage engagement by asking them to learn more via a website link

8. The Tweet that Inspires:

We have all seen these inspirational or motivational quotes. Do you know why: Because they are popular. Once again, re-tweet to share, and encourage others to do so.

Twitter can be not only a great way to brand yourself through, it is very quick to deal with, once you know how people like to share and learn. Don’t be intimidated, get tweeting!

An SEO Crash Course: Part One – On Page SEO

SEO logoStill confused by SEO? Still thinking that this is something that you shouldn’t be involving yourself, because it’s too technical? Think again. With a little research, and – more importantly – an understanding of what the final result should perform for you, you can address many of the basic problems of most business websites.  Small businesses, especially, use websites that are hurriedly put together, or an amateur-looking one. However, most sites’ low rankings can be improved with some tweaking to your site’s code and look. As of this writing, these are some of the most important things that you can ensure your site is doing. Think about what your site is trying to do, and use those answers to fill in the gaps below.

1. Title: This is most important. Keep it as interesting as possible, keep it simple, and answer a question that your prospects will have.

2. Meta Description: The Meta description comes directly under the title. The first 10 words should convey the message. Don’t be a ‘writer’, be a businessman. What do you do, and how do you do it. Speak from the customer’s point of view, and ensure your keywords are included in a natural manner.

3. Meta Keywords:- Forget about them. It is an old fashioned keyword stuffing system that everyone looks down on – including the big search engines. Find more information on this direct from the famous Matt Cutts, and you will get the idea. No matter what any expert says – forget them.

4. Keywords: Use these sparingly, and use synonyms wherever possible. If these phrases don’t fit into regular copy (Think of regular conversation), then change your copy style, or change your keywords. Try to put them no more that 4 or 5 times in an article or post, and find different ways to state them. How to get them? Don’t listen to anyone else. Google will show you how to choose your keywords, what are the most popular ones, how much they cost for a PPC campaign, and your own research will show you who is using them by using search. The only expert on this subject is you.

5. Long-tail keywords: These keyword phrases are usually less expensive as part of a PPC campaign, and are easier to put into prose. You may want to focus on a particular prospect community, and aim keywords directly at them. Now that search engines are getting more and more intuitive, be creative, and ensure that your site can be found. Try two systems of keyword search: Short, and direct and long, and inviting.

6. H1, H2 (Heading): Obviously, your H1 heading describes the overall theme of the copy, and H2 is an examination of a certain area of that these. Look at Magazine articles on how that is done (see? It’s been happening for decades, but no-one really notices it.), and ensure that you Keyword is in the H1 heading.

7. Site load time (page speed):  This is also vitally important. Search Engines don’t like sites that take more than a handful of seconds to load. Whatever you have in your site that is slowing down your load time, get rid of it. Clear, simple prose always beats any ‘special effects’ that you think are cool. Shoppers don’t wait for a site to load, they move on.

8. Image ALT Text: You can ensure that the overall theme of your site is cemented by adding alternative text to every single image on it. If you leave them blank, this is the same as having no instructions to tell Search Engines what the picture is about. If you confuse search engines, you confuse your customers and prospects. Ensure that everything on your site has a reason for being there, and they all point to the same conclusion.

Soon we will look at the best system for Off-page SEO, but concentrate on getting these straight-forward on-page points all doing the same job. It’s like getting all departments of a large company working toward the same goal.

More Linked In Tips

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We received a lot of comments on our last Linked In post, and most of them are concerns about the size of the site. As soon as you become a member, you are inundated with connection requests, and the more you accept, them more ‘come out of the woodwork’. The first reaction, of course, is “Can I be that popular?” So, is there a pattern that you can follow that ensures you maximize your connections from Day One. Or, is there a way you can cull and slim your existing Linked In family?

It is true that Linked In is an incredible tool. Reliable figures show more than 150 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories with 21.4 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 47.6 million globally. So, when do you accept, ignore, and respond to invitations to connect?

I look at Linked In as a two-way mirror. If you became interested in someone‘s services that you ‘met’ in this massive networking event, you have the ability to check many details on them, including whom they are connected to. Too many questions that arise when you see this list, will definitely make you think about linking with this person – and the same is true of your connections list. Bear this in mind when you check on your own connections, or a readying yourself to join Linked In for the first time

What is your Strategy?

You don’t want to splash around in this huge pool without too much of an idea why you are there, so think about what you want to achieve, make the target as inclusive as possible, and aim everything at that target. Ask yourself, how do I want to be seen? As an expert, that posts and answers questions lucidly, and based on your entrepreneurial, or experience talents? Or as a beginner that is looking for information?

What is your time commitment?

However you want to be seen, you want to be able to fit it into your daily, or weekly, calendar. Come up with the time that you can spend online reaching that strategy. If it’s an hour a week, or five hours per month, then aim your posting and connecting at that time frame. This trains you to finish thought processes, and be as economical with your information sharing as you can. You don’t want to hook someone with an idea, and then not get back to them for a month – everyone is suffering from the same time deficit, so they will soon forget you. Be clear, concise, and log out giving you plenty of time to get back to your other tasks.

Who is your target audience?

Once again, this comes down to your Value Proposal and your Perfect Customer. Performing searches based on these two benchmarks show you companies, groups, and individuals that fall into those categories, and those alone. Limit your searches to those communities that can help you, and don’t rely on ‘the bigger, the better’ rule. The more contacts a company has, or the more members a group has doesn’t automatically mean that all of these people are good for you. Perhaps they are ‘wanderers’ simply looking for the largest communities they can – don’t become one of those. You will soon be inundated with contact and information requests that completely fill your time commitment. Make your time pay.

Your Connections.

Do you know the people in reality? Do their connections include someone you have met as a real life human being? Do you like them, respect them?

If you don’t know them, do their profiles offer you something that you need, or you admire? Do you have something in common with them. Can you see yourself being connected to these people in reality? Can you do business with them? Do you aspire to be like them for whatever reason?

What groups and companies are they connected to? Can they help your business, or can you add to these group’s knowledge base?

Finally, check out their invitation. Is it personalized to you? This means they want to get to know you. A regular template response means that they are usually connecting ‘en masse’. You don’t want that.

These are simple rules to follow that you will soon get accustomed to. Linked In is a one-of-a-kind resource, but only if you put thought into it that will help you, your business, and your contacts. As with most other marketing tasks, a little forethought saves you a lot of possible problems down the road. A little preparation will ensure that you gain the right people in your contact list, and enjoy trading valuable information with them.

How to Use Linked In to Market your Business

Linked In  logo

You may have looked at Linked in, and wondered if it ‘counts’ as Social Media, then you are in luck – it does. If you have thought that it is purely professional, and can’t help you with sales, you are very wrong. It is a massive database of professionals, but it features people in our industry, and in your sales areas. Even if you don’t sell directly to these people, they are in a position to pass the word along for you – they are also in a position to add your business details to those of experts and influencers that write on there. In short, you should open a business page on Linked In, and here’s how to maximize your page.

Firstly, this page will not be the same as your individual profile but, just like Facebook, you can link it with your own details. So, complete the usual ‘fill in the blanks’ and create your business page.  You will need an e-mail address to attach to the profile, use a corporate one, not a ‘hotmail’ address.

Now link your company page in your Current Work section on LinkedIn, you can cross promote your company to you. You’ll also show up as an employee of the company on your company page. It goes without saying that all of your Company officers that have their own profile should also do the same, thereby spreading these links across multiple pages. In fact, they can also ask their friends for recommendations and shares.

Your Business profile needs an Administrator, so ensure you know who this is going to be, and what their responsibilities are. Just like other Social media marketing avenues, you will need to be adding or editing details on this page, so ensure you know who is responsible for what.

Obviously, you will need to give some thought to what photographs you add to your Business Profile. As always check out what the competition are doing, and try to do something different. Perhaps a CTA (Call To Action)? You can add three, so make them count in a different way from your personal profile pictures. You can change these repeatedly, too, thereby freshening your page. Don’t forget your logo, too – it will appear next to your work section on LinkedIn and it will be shown on your news feed when you update your page.

Of course, Keywords on LinkedIn are very important!  How you use these keywords are critical to who finds you in searches. Think about your Unique Proposal, how about your Mission Statement, or any kind of motto that you have. You can use both short- and long-tailed keywords, so make sure you maximize this marketing area. Of course, you could also try to work semantically, too, here, to see who these words attract.

Do whatever you can to maximize the Special Skills area, too. What do you do, how and where do you do it, what do you focus on, what else happens in your office. Imagine that every special skill you can highlight will attract many more people, so complete it as much as you can. How can you make your business ‘ultra unique’? Use all of them.

Add your business page to all of the business groups on Linked In that you as an individual belong to. If you can reply to someone, answer a question, or add a blog post, imagine what everyone will think of your business when they do it? Instant expert status! There will also be groups suggested to your page as great fits – join them all, the more the better. In fact, start your own group off! Business pages allows you to do that. Make sure that if your employees and officers are members of groups, to add the business page to them, too. The amount of possible associations grow and grow!

Don’t forget your Products and Services. These are shown on the right-hand sidebar and, of course, the more you can add, the better. Be overly simplistic on this and add as many as you can. You can also add contacts, some  You Tube videos, and descriptions, so this is a great area to market. Don’t forget to offer a special promotion, too, just for your LinkedIn prospects. In fact you can also ask for recommendations, which are just like testimonials, so you can highlight how great you are. This is important, because these recommendations also appear on the recommender’s profile, so you will have a permanent record of those think you are the best.

Finally, don’t forget to link to your own website, and ensure that this can be seen on that website. Of course, share everything ‘both ways’.

Linked In gives you a great way to market your business, but most businesses don’t optimize their own business profiles. Do these simple tasks, and you will be able to successfully share your message to prospects and strangers alike.

Five ways to Differentiate your Business from All Others.

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In order to be successful, your business needs to stand out from everyone else. It’s a simple quote, but how easy is it to actually achieve? While there are many ways to ensure you stand out, there are five basic rules that you must try to follow. Obviously, the steps required to go from start to finish are manifold, and may even take changes in the way your company performs it’s everyday processes, but by keeping the following things in mind when making your changes, you will be on your way to truly standing out.

1.         Differentiate through Technology

Can your business utilize the way that people use technology, and make it easier for them to do what they have to, to enjoy your product or service? If you have ever caught yourself saying; “If only our customers could…..”, or “If only we could……..” By thinking outside the box, and bridging these gaps by utilizing some online code, almost all companies can showcase their difference from their competition.

2.         Differentiate through Price/Quality

We don’t want our customers to go for our goods just because they are less expensive than anyone else’s in the marketplace, but if you can differentiate your products from your competitions through  a combination of Price and Quality. Your customers will rave about how good you are at what you are doing, ‘at the price they are doing it’, you show that you care about your fans more than the other guys do.

3.         Differentiate through Product

What makes your Product stand out from anyone else’s? You may simply need to highlight unique features that you offer, and no-one else does. Anything that shows your product value will be remembered by prospects, and loved by customers.

4.         Differentiate through Service

There are limits to what businesses can offer through their customers, but the way that you portray it can make a huge difference. Do you really believe that a certain Insurance provider’s service reps suddenly appear out of nowhere when you sing the company jingle? Of course not, but in one clever campaign, the company drill that jingle into your mind, and simultaneously show that they are always on call – something that no-one else is doing. How can you work harder, or smarter, to show your prospects that they are better off going with you?

5.         Differentiate through Experience

The technology available today offers an experiential component to their experiences that yesterday’s products simply couldn’t. How can you show that the experience of dealing with you is a much better one than your competitors? Is it easier, or smoother? Work on how your delivery systems can be changed to provide an unforgettable experience.

These areas overlap, and sometimes run in tandem with each other. If you can think of companies that do any, many, or all of these points, they are probably one of the best brands in the World – that’s why these work. It doesn’t matter if your business is one of many on a busy commercial street in town, or one of Millions on the Internet.

Can you turn your company into a favorite brand?

Is it still worth advertising on Facebook?

facebook logo

There have been a lot of Facebook rumours concerning how they make money, and what happens to your Social Advertising. While any changes take some time to show any kind of pattern and long term effect measurement, your concerns about business advertising through this avenue of Social Marketing may create some uncertainty about how to continue. Well, here are some facts that we know, to put your mind at rest, and offer some ideas about how to continue with Facebook.

Firstly, Facebook is a business, and makes money not only through its advertising, but also to change for a service. There is nothing earth-shattering, here. The only difference is that there is a perception that something you got for free is now a charged service. Although this isn’t strictly true, it is a reality: they have changed their business model, and now some contacts that were attracted to you will take a charge to recover them. Let’s get over that and look at what Facebook Business Marketing can give you, not what may have been ‘lost’.

Since 2012, organic page reach has been decreasing. Industry insiders say that as of February of this year, it may be as low as 6% of all results. This applies to pages across the board: A huge brand with millions of likes, a community organization page or a non-profit, this dip in organic reach will affect everyone.

Is it worth the time to continue with Facebook? Does 6% of your total still make sense for your Marketing Model? This will be your call. Do you have a sliding scale of likes, follows, shares that continues to rise? Are you also in touch with other platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, etc? Are your posts liked at all?

Have become accustomed to paying for Facebook Ads and sponsored stories? If so, how much are you spending compared to your own Key Performance Indicators and return on Investment plans?

Whether you are a small or large-scale advertiser, the real question is does your content attract people? In all of these cases, if your figures are rising, or a ridiculously low outlay per sale (Some Multi-Nationals state that it costs 25c per sale that originates from Social Media – that it still a world beater when compared to other advertising methods over time.). If your content is working, your figures are rising, and the costs are lower than anywhere else, then Facebook still works for you. Just like the rest of Social Media, you are not going to rely solely on these contacts for sales, it is a cut-price way to get your message out to others. Why wouldn’t you continue?

Too many entrepreneurs concentrate on the wrong things. Don’t look at how companies’ business plans change and how this may affect you – look at what is happening right now, and how you can use the avenue. Get a plan to check on this on a regular basis, such as once every six months to see how things are changing. How is your monthly spend on this kind of marketing changing, and at what point do you say: “I can’t afford this anymore.”

Going Native

Native advertising

A new buzz word has appeared over recent months into the small business lexicon: Native Advertising. Can it help you? Is it something that you should be leveraging is it a fad that you shouldn’t be a part of? It’s a decision that you must make for yourself, but here’s some thoughts to bear in mind if you are considering it.

First, what is ‘Native Advertising’? These days, as the net becomes more and more personalized, there are ways that advertisers place ads into online information aimed at the reader. They aren’t static ads, they change for each reader, dependent on what they have been searching for in the recent past. A recent crop of searches on – for instance – wedding rings made by a user in a particular geographic market will promote other wedding-service related ads in that market when they perform other searches for printed matter. A recent search on cut-price sporting event ticketing by another browser will result in a different set of targeted ads, even though they are reading the same articles.

As a small business, this sounds very good: especially if you are trying to corral Prospects with an informative log post on your own business ads. You are harnessing the power of someone’ else’s advertising to make your post, tweet, or social media bulletin to make your look better. The more you spread your message (and the more it is shared by others), the more people get to see what you say, and should pay your words more attention, because they include ads that are of interest to them. However, there are three things that we have learned that you should bear in mind that may temper your expectations, somewhat:

1 Looking for trees, not wood.

While it is a great tactic to become part of a community, how much is your message being diluted by sharing a page with unrelated ads Just because some is getting married, doesn’t mean that they are looking to buy a new house right now.

2 Having Fun in a serious way

We really believe that using an entertaining and funny sideways look at a subject can be a great tactic that shows you as a real person. Going through the same experiences as your prospects, and showing that you are doing so with a sense of humour has always been a great way to bring prospects to you, but what kind of Ads will this approach bring in? You have no control over them, so the words may well prove a mismatch with our goods or services.

3 Details, Details, Details

While you have to be relevant in the environment you’re in, don’t blend in too much. There are also legal ramifications for having someone’s ad show in your content that they may not like. If you are thinking of an advertorial piece, ensure that you tell people that your content is actually an ad. Label the piece as “sponsored by,” “in partnership with,” or “featured by”, and make sure it’s clear to readers who is behind the content.

If native advertising begins to make up a larger part of your marketing strategy (and budget), it’s important to make sure that you’re looking after your details, and that the right readers are looking at the right message for the right reasons. Of course, you should also optimize your work, and ensure that all printed advertising features all of your Branding Markers. Going Native may not be as straight forward as you first thought, but it can definitely work for many business and their marketing models.

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