13/01/17 Social Media

How to Make Facebook Work for Your SMB in 2017

One of the funniest things about businesses is that they get upset and surprised when Facebook changes how it works so your posts show up to fewer people when you publish them. You call this “organic reach.” And the reason it’s silly to be surprised that Facebook does this is because it’s a publicly traded company. On its IPO, it traded at $38.23. Then, its price plummeted all the way to $18.06 shortly thereafter.

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Web Content Marketing Strategy on a Budget for SMBs
19/11/14 Social Media

Web Content Marketing Strategy on a Budget for SMBs

Let’s take a look at some awesomely successful content marketing campaigns from the past couple years:

  1. Red Bull sent a man into outer space.
  2. Coca-Cola had a social media team working 24 hours per day during the World Cup.
  3. American Express got Coldplay, The Killers, and many other pop stars to give them a hand.

Internet marketers talk about these content marketing campaigns all the time.

Inspiring, no doubt, but wait a minute! Here’s the problem: they have marketing budgets many times the size of your business!

So what can you actually apply from their campaigns?

You have to bootstrap everything in your business’s early days. And even if you’re not in the early years of your business, you still have to use every dollar wisely.

Here’s how you do that with content (without sacrificing quality)

1) Use at Least 2 Blog Posts Per Month

This is well within the time/financial budget of your SMB. It’s just frequent enough to keep Google spidering your website, and also to keep your customer’s interest.

If you want to be more regular and get a little more traction with Google and your customers, aim for 4.

To become the local thought leader, do 8 or more per month.

400-500 words per post is enough. Just make sure they’re interesting and helpful to your customers.

2) Add Social Media

You don’t need to be overly fancy with social media to get results from it. For most businesses, your time’s best spent on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest (for visual products).

Aim for 5-7 posts per week per profile. You can even post the exact same thing to each one.

Remember, 80% of your posts should be educational/helpful and NOT about your business. 20% should discuss your business or be special offers, deals, or sales.

If you go above that ratio, you look overly self-promotional, which loses you followers and sales.

Respond to every comment as quickly as possible. If someone complains, resolve the issue in private, and discuss the outcome in public so other visitors see you make service your priority

3) Steal from Your Competitors

Okay, so I exaggerated a little…you won’t actually be stealing!

But rather than spending hours, weeks, and months figuring out what works, research your competitors instead.

For example, find a business that does the exact same thing you do, but has a blog with social shares and active social media profiles. Go to the blog posts with the most social shares, and write the same idea yourself.

But of course take your own perspective on it! Otherwise, you are plagiarizing, and your visitors have no reason to go to your blog if you write the same thing everyone else does.

Examine their social media profiles. See which posts get the most likes, comments, and shares.

What seems to be their overall strategy?

One of the greatest benefits of the internet is that you can do free, in-depth marketing research that used to cost thousands and millions of dollars decades ago.

Can’t find a competitor with an active blog and social media profiles? Looks like it’s your turn to become the local market leader.

Content Marketing on a Budget? Pffff…No Problem!

Online marketing gives you a ridiculously high ROI compared to what you used years ago – The Yellow Pages, radio, television, billboards, your local phone book, and anything else you can name.

For small businesses, it really is a great way to compete with the big guys.

And if you’re a very small business with just an employee or two and maybe a contractor, this SEO strategy gets you through.

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19/11/14 Social Media

Guest Posting Still Carries Weight for SEO – Do It Properly

Yes! Guest posting does still carry massive weight for SEO campaigns. There have been big discussions on whether the method actually still works in Google’s eyes or whether they pass over and ignore publications. Personally, I know it still works. I know it works because I still do it and achieve fantastic results!

There are some exceptions of course; a lot of people used to write SEO articles and stuff their publications full of keywords and anchor text to try and make Mr G take more notice. This does not work, and it is also painful for the blog owner to read. They will more than likely refuse the article all together and you will lose your slot to write for them.

interactive-writing

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Let Your Articles Flow

Do not write for SEO purposes. Imagine you own a blog and somebody sends you a guest post which sounds plain and you can clearly see that it is for SEO purposes, would you accept it? No! Blog owners love their blogs, put their hearts and souls into them, and care about their readership and want to wow them, you should too!

Let the article flow naturally and talk to the readers as if you are having a conversation with them. You want to try and spark debate, so ask questions. Try to go for a new topic or a trend, something that has not been covered. You may also want to stick to simple wording as opposed to attempting to impress them with big words, which makes articles harder to read.

– My Personal Title Ideas

Choosing a “WOW” title is a big must when it comes to creating a piece for a blogger, you have to tease them, tantalize them with the title, make them want to click in and read the rest of your piece. Here are some simple tantalizing titles I use myself, just simply fill in the blanks:

  • How Safe Is Your [BLANK] from [BLANK]

– Example : How Safe Is Your Land From Developers With Rich Friends

  • X Warning Signs That [BLANK]

– Example: 10 Warning Signs That You Are About To Get Audited By The IRS

  • Warning: [Blank]

– Example: Warning: Testimonials Without Proof Can Land You In Jail

  • The Shocking Truth About: [BLANK]

– Example: The Shocking Truth About Tiger Woods!

There are plenty of titles you can mix up and some you can even mix together, just look in the media. Most of their titles are hundreds of years old and they are still used today, yet nobody notices. The title must be a wow factor for the blog owner and their readership, so spend time on it.

The Use of Images

Images are another big factor. If you are lazy and just send a bulk piece of text in a file, they are liable to delete it and not even give you an email back to let you know you wasted their time.

Use images and do the work for them, after all it is YOU that is wanting to use THEIR blog and readership, not the other way around. Go and look for some creative commons images, it really is not that hard and it takes a few moments. Resize the images to fit nicely into your publication and also give the correct image credits (just like I have in this publication).

Using images will not only impress the blog owner, it will save them a lot of time searching for their own. Most of the time they will not do this anyway. Images also give that nice little touch to your article and break it up a little bit and make it nicer to read.

The Pitch

I use three rules of thumb when it comes to guest posting and selecting a good blog:

1) Read their guidelines – most blogs that accept guest posts have them!

2) Read the blog – get a feel for their writing style and the angle they are hitting their audience with.

3) Write a draft to send – Many guest posters like to email beforehand on a topic. If you do not know a topic by the time you have read the guidelines and a few posts on the blog, then you should not be writing for them at all.

Blog owners do not like to be bothered about topics for their blogs. It is up to you to pitch them. They are far too busy to be emailing about topics that they can write up themselves.

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Once you have your topic and draft, and have added in the images and links you wish to use, then send the article out in document form. Do not forget to grammar and spell check the piece and look at it for a few minutes to make sure it is formatted the way you want it. You should be able to scan the article with ease!

Author: Sophie Eagan

Sophie is an SEO consultant and has been for over 10 years. She believes highly in guest posting as a way of building links, but only if it is done properly. Guest posting is being ruined by those who do not follow the rules. Bloggers are bombarded with emails every day with guest post inquires, which means you need to stand out and be noticed!

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Great Business Blog Post Ideas are Much Closer than You Think!
19/11/14 Social Media

Great Business Blog Post Ideas are Much Closer than You Think!

Do you know how to “listen” online? Why would you do it?

Well, with your business, you give your customers what they want, right? And you know sometimes they have constructive critical feedback to give you.

If a number of customers give you the same opinion, then it’s clear you should make a change. So, you make the change, and what do you get?

Happier customers and a healthier bottom line!

How do you listen to your market to find ideas for blog posts?

Check out some easy tips:

Social Media
It doesn’t matter which network you talk about. Social media’s greatest value may not be the ability for small businesses to reach mass audiences. The biggest benefit may be your ability to directly listen to your market and get almost instantaneous market research.

Two decades ago, companies would quickly toss away millions of dollars on similar research!

You can even use your competitor’s social media profiles. Watch for questions people ask. Take a look at their top complaints and rave reviews. Ask them questions directly on your own social networks.

Everything you find will make for a great blog post idea.

Think of Your Most Common In-Person Questions
When you provide your product or service, customers always have some questions. You find yourself answering the same ones over and over.

Those are blog post ideas. The added benefits of answering such questions in the form of a blog post are that most likely other people on the web search for the same answers, and you can direct people to your blog for answers.

So, you can cut your customer service costs by giving a brief answer and pointing people to your blog for additional information.

That also builds the relationship, earning you more sales later on down the line.

Surveys
These are actually very easy to do online – and you can even do them for free! This is another one of those tactics that took reasonably sized budgets before the internet.

It truly is amazing what marketing tools are available to you today!

There’s only about a million free online survey tools. SurveyMonkey is a popular one, and so are FreeOnlineSurveys.com and KwikSurveys.com.

For your surveys, just make sure you make them brief. Around 5-7 questions or so should do the job. Give your respondents at least one question where they can openly provide any feedback. The rest of the questions can be multiple choice about their satisfaction with your business.

Should you offer an incentive, like $50 off your service, to 3 random respondents? That’s a tough question.

Digital marketing leader Moz conducted a survey about their own business and battled with the idea of offering an incentive. On the one hand, it could cause respondents to be biased too positively, resulting in false data. On the other, it could increase the number of participants and give more reliable results.

Ultimately, Moz decided not to offer an incentive.

Competitor Blog Posts
Now, don’t just look at their blog and copy their posts. Look at their posts, and see which get the most social shares.

You should write about those posts because you know their audience loves them. Don’t spend your time at small blogs. Make sure the average post has 25-50 shares or so.

You should be able to find at least one competitor with that many social shares or more.

You’ll Never Run out of Ideas

Because Google forces every website to publish content, it’s so easy to find blog post ideas these days.

And the best part? None of these methods take too much additional work.

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8 Tips for Better Blog Posting
19/11/14 Social Media

8 Tips for Better Blog Posting

I find myself constantly trying to beat my clients over the head with these blogging tips, so decided to turn them into a post. Industry people know this stuff, but it seems most website owners still do not. Every day I find these things are being overlooked when I review sites.

1) Make sure your blog posts are at least 400+ words. Low quality, shallow posts can pull down your site’s overall quality score with Google’s Panda. You can use an online tool like WordCounter.net to check or even compose them.

2) They should NOT be self promotional – don’t talk about yourself and/or your services in your blog posts. Think about how much you hate or do not desire to read or listen to other people’s pointless, self promotional filler.

3) Don’t post so frequently that it spams your followers social sites with constant updates from you. This may make them want to block you, unless your content is of very high quality, brings value to their readers, and creates engagement.

4) Make your articles educational or technical, something that helps the reader learn, improve or solve a problem of some kind. Make sure they have a specific objective and add “additional value” to what is already out there on the web. Here is a good Wikipedia explanation of Panda with a quote from Matt Cutts, head of Google’s spam team. And, be sure to link to your sources so you credit them.

5) Make sure your articles are posted to your website first and picked up by your RSS feed so Google knows you are the original author. If you don’t have an RSS feed, you need one. I use Google’s Feedburner.com, but there are many others. Then share them manually by posting a link to the article on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on, or share them via your own installed sharebar plugin as any other reader might. Here is an instructional video for creating an RSS feed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSTFcDi4CiU. You can also then display your feed (your latest blog posts) on your website like I do, using Google’s BuzzBoost. Instructions can be found in this article: http://vandelaydesign.com/display-your-feed-on-a-static-html-page-using-feedburners-buzzboost/

6) Make sure you are connected to people socially who would care to read your articles, and ideally share them with their own friends, family, clients, and audience, like others in your same or related industry. Without readers who will engage and share what you have written, it is basically pointless to even have social profiles.

7) Make sure your website and blog have sharing capability (a sharebar), so others can easily share your content directly to their own social sites of choice. Having linked icons to “your” social profiles is not the same thing. Someone should be able to G+1, Like, Tweet, and InShare direct from your website’s pages.

8) Make sure your blog post credits you as the author by linking to your own personal Google authorship link. This is not your company’s Google+ page, but yours. For example, this is my authorship page: https://plus.google.com/+ShelleyCates/ (not my company Google Plus page). I tell Google that I am the author of this post by using code like this in my signature link (which I will not use again since I already used it here: href=”https://plus.google.com/+ShelleyCates?rel=author

Great Video to Watch about What Google wants for website content …

Happy Blogging!

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17 Great WordPress Plugins
19/11/14 Social Media

17 Great WordPress Plugins

Many websites are run on WordPress, and most likely, yours is too.  You know how, with your smartphone, you get frustrated trying to do something and find out from someone else there’s an app that does what you want? Plugins work the same way for WordPress.  They’re very simple and add a tiny piece of functionality to your website.

The Golden Rule:  Use as Few Plugins as Possible

When you have a plugin that does what you want, life’s good. But before you go installing plugins, it’s important to know a few things first:

Plugins can stop your website from working.  You can get a number of different error messages that completely stop your website from loading.  This happens because many plugins are designed in non-standard ways by people who are not professional programmers.  Also, plugins can interact with each other in bizarre and unexpected ways.

You can use the same plugin on two different websites and have it break one website but not the other.  This could be because of its interaction with other plugins or the WordPress theme.

Most are free.  This is a good and bad thing.  On the one hand, you don’t have to pay for most plugins.  On the other, if you need technical support, it can be hard to find.

They’re not all straightforward to use.  Many are designed by people from foreign countries who speak English as a second language.  They design good plugins, but the language barrier sometimes causes difficulties.  Even though plugins are supposed to be easy to use, sometimes that’s not always the case.

With all that being said, it is okay to install plugins.  You just have to make sure you install ones that have a high number of good ratings from the WordPress community.  Paid ones can be better than their free counterparts, but you should still do your research on those too.

Instead of spending hours researching which plugins work best, check out this list.  I’ve done the research for you, and these plugins are safe for your website to have:

Backup.  Google wants websites with large amounts of content, so it’s essential you back it all up.  Backup Buddy and UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore work well.  You only need one of the two – choose your favorite.

Anti-spam.  Have you ever visited a website, read the comments, and then wondered why you read one that has nothing to do with the conversation?  Or maybe you see comments trying to sell products.

Those are spam comments.  The reason they’re done is to either sell something or get a link for SEO purposes.  You can start getting hundreds of these just weeks after launching your website.  WangGuard is a good one, and so is Antispam Bee.

You could also try Akismet, which is free for personal use, and $5 per month for business use.

Load your site faster with caching plugins.  Faster page load times get you better search rankings and more sales.  Simply put, caching stores your posts/pages as static files, rather than dynamically loading them every time someone visits your website.  These static files are then served to your visitors.  It’s faster to load your posts and pages this way.  W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are the recognized leading cache plugins.

SEOWordPress SEO by Yoast is the best one far and away.  It helps optimize your content for a chosen keyword.  It also shows you what your page’s title and meta description look like in the search results.  And, it checks to see how easy your content is to read, and gives simple recommendations to make it easier to read.  Search engines and website visitors will love your website’s content.

Google XML Sitemaps makes it easy for search engine spiders to identify and access the complete structure of your website.  And every time you create a new post, it notifies all major search engines.

Website security.  Isn’t it amazing the Heartbleed exploit has existed for more than two years and no one noticed until very recently?  Crazy in this day and age.  Some WordPress hacks are so sneaky you don’t even discover them until your users or host tells you, or you get a notice from Google saying your site hosts malware.

You can never be too careful when considering your online security.  There’s a free and paid version of iThemes Security, which used to be known as Better WP Security.  The free version will do, and it’s fairly comprehensive.  WP Simple Firewall adds a few layers of protection when you login to prevent hackers from gaining access.  It also filters SPAM comments too.

Social Sharing.  Social Popup is a good one for adding social sharing icons to the side of your blog posts.  Jetpack is free, and does a ton of other things in addition to social sharing.  You’ll get some simple stats about your website, be able to allow users to subscribe to your posts and comments, and you can display links to related posts at the end of your posts.

Image Management.  Images take the longest to download.  To your users, this means pages load slower for them.  They’re more likely to leave your website if you allow your pages to load slowly.  WP Smush It reduces the size of your image files without reducing their quality.  So your visitors get two benefits:  high-quality images and faster page load times.

Other essentials.  Google Analytics for WordPress allows you to integrate Google Analytics with ease.  You still have to go to Google Analytics to view your data, though, unless you also install Google Analytics Dashboard for WP.  Another really cool one is WordPress Heatmaps.  This actually shows you where on your website people actually click.

WordPress has more than 30,000 plugins available, and this is a brief list of 17 helpful ones.  Choose your favorite, and enjoy a better-functioning website!

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The 8 Best Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips Ever
19/11/14 Social Media

The 8 Best Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips Ever

Do your social media profiles resemble the Texas town of Adobes?  What, you’ve never heard of it?

That’s because it fell from a booming farming community in the 1870s to a town of lonely and abandoned ruins and buildings sitting in a rocky prairie (It’s about 6 miles southeast of the town of Chinati in Presidio County if you ever want to visit!).

If your social media profiles look like that, know the situation isn’t hopeless.  In fact, small businesses tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly, and they’re relatively easy to fix.

What should you do?

Analyze your social media profiles and see if you can’t create a small business social media strategy that works for you and your followers:

Post Regularly

With any social media profile, consistency is key.  With so many accounts, you see bunches of posts for a while…and then nothing.  Other times you see 2 posts this week, 1 the next, and then nothing.

Remember, social media is a conversation – just like you talking with your friend standing next to you.  To keep the conversation going, you have to say interesting things and ask questions.

What do you really need to be consistent?  It depends on the site, but if you do around 3-4 updates per network per week, that’s all you need.

You can get away with more on Twitter, if you really like to post a lot.

Posting Only about Your Company

Of all the mistakes small businesses make, this is by far the biggest one.  People do want to get to know your company.

But before they do, they want something of value from you first.  From the 1970s – 1990s, businesses used a top-down approach of advertising:  we’ll shout it at you until you buy it.  So it seems many small business owners believe this approach still works today.

It doesn’t.  Consumers want a personal experience on your social media sites.

Keep in mind the 80/20 rule:  80% of your posts should offer value (news or information from third-party sources in your industry), while 20% should offer promotions and updates regarding your company.

Use Different Forms of Media

Your posts should include videos, images, infographics, links, reports, white papers, case studies, and so on.  Getting good information to your market is important, but equally important to your followers is how they consume the content.

By switching things up regularly, you keep things interesting on your social media profiles.

Use Calls-to-Action

Isn’t it obvious that people should buy your company’s products and services?  It may be to you, but do know this:  they’re much more likely to take your desired action if you tell them to.

Keep in mind that 80/20 rule once again:  20% of your posts at max should encourage your visitors to make a purchase or act on a special offer.

Use Diverse Post Types

We already talked about using diverse forms of content in your posts, but you should also switch up how you present your posts.

For example, ask a question, post a survey, write a joke-of-the-day, post an astonishing fact…you get the idea.  Then, study which types of posts work best at your social media accounts.

Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.  Ask your followers for ideas – they’ll be happy to provide feedback.

Interact with Your Audience, and Address Complaints

View social media like you’re having a casual conversation with an interested customer who just walked into your store.

What if they look annoyed and you say nothing?  They probably won’t come back, so instead you ask them how you can help.

The same rule applies to social media.  If someone complains or says something negative about your business on your profile (it’s inevitable and happens to everyone), address it.  Ask your customer how you can resolve the issue, or get their contact information, resolve the situation privately, and then post the resolution on the site.

Public complaints are your opportunity to show your customers you care, and you’ll win more followers and increasingly engaged ones when you successfully resolve their concerns.

Want More Followers?  Promote Your Profiles

The best way to get more people to follow you?  Give them something for following.  Run a special contest where a randomly selected winner gets a free dinner.

You have to be careful on Facebook though because it has rigid rules regarding contests.

Make sure you promote your contest both online and offline.  Most businesses that do promote their Facebook profiles have a sign that says “Follow us on Facebook” on their front door.

That’s a good start – now promote the giveaway.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin…

The big dogs (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube) can easily consume most of your week if you’re not careful.

So what exactly should you do?  You should be on Facebook for sure, and that should be your primary concern (that’s where you can get real business from the fastest).  Twitter is also a must (especially if you’re B2B), and some sources claim teenagers and other demographics are leaving Facebook for Twitter.  Pinterest is hit-and-miss – if your market is female or if your business lends itself well to visual advertising, (dentists, construction contractors, restaurants etc…) use it.  Google+ has several hundred million users, virtually no engagement, but great SEO benefits, so use that too (don’t expect to get business – just SEO benefits from the shares).  YouTube works well – just shoot videos with your smartphone and post – a very simple (but credibility-building tactic).  LinkedIn should be pretty low on your list – it typically works best for bigger businesses.

Use Hootsuite, an app that allows you to manage all your social media profiles from one place.  You can also schedule your posts for all profiles, and the app is free.

Make it your goal to spend around 2 hours per week (max) managing your social media accounts if you use all 6 of these.

Small Business Social Media Marketing Involves Hard Work

I’m not going to lie – it’s difficult to get a serious following and real business from social media.  So many people and businesses have a presence on it, that it’s difficult to stand out.

But if you follow these simple tips and take the time to turn your offline customers into followers, you can reap some real business benefits.

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How to Craft a Social Media Plan of Your Own
19/11/14 Social Media

How to Craft a Social Media Plan of Your Own

As a small business owner, you’ve already got more than enough to contend with on your plate.  Now after you talk with your SEO professional, they’re telling you that you need to get social shares to rank well!

How the heck are you supposed to do that in addition to all your other responsibilities?

Well, if you don’t have the time to develop your own social media plan, then here’s a quick, cookie-cutter one you can use that gets more follows and shares.  It works on a limited time budget, and you can establish a reasonably strong presence on 4-5 social networks.

Figure Out Which Social Networks You’re Going to Use

I already wrote a post for you that discusses who is present on which social network.  Once you analyze who your target market is and which social networks you actually need to be present on, it’s time to develop a posting strategy.

Let’s evaluate even the most time-intensive scenario.  Say, for example, you decide it’s important to be on the 5 biggest social networks:

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Google+

Pinterest

So here’s what you do:

Follow the 80/20 rule of posting:  A big mistake many small businesses make is to post stuff that’s all about their business.  Marketing to people on the web doesn’t work by you broadcasting your message exclusively.  That type of social media plan will get you little engagement and few new followers.

Instead, 80% of your posts should share useful information not from your company (use sources like info from industry leaders, informational sources, or entertaining sources), while 20% of your shares should be about your company and its special offers.

But won’t that turn someone else into the expert?

That’s not how selling on the web works.  Instead, because you provide access to the best information available, people see you as having their best interests at heart.  If you share mostly your own stuff, they think you only have your own concerns in mind, which turns them off and causes them to leave.

When they’re ready to buy, they’ll buy from you (if you follow the 80/20 rule) because they believe you are truly concerned with them.

Be consistent:  There’s no precise number of posts to share on each social media site.  However, general rules do apply to each one.  Caroline Melberg shares some general guidelines on how to share at each network:

Facebook – A few times per week is good at Facebook.  4-6 posts should do, and you can even do 1-2 times per day if you’re ambitious.

Twitter – Users are comfortable with several posts per day.  You don’t have to post that much, however, if you don’t want to.

Google+ – Treat it about the same as you do Facebook – 1 post per day or so works.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn works better for group discussions and one-on-one interactions.  If you post a couple status updates per week or so, that’s all you need.

Pinterest – Even though some dataheads have researched almost everything, I don’t see any conclusive research on Pinterest pinning frequency.  Just keep it safe and easy, and pin as often as you post on Facebook.

Use tools to automate tasks:  If you try to manage these social networks manually without any tools, I’ll 100% guarantee you that you will quickly run out of time and quit posting to your favorite social media sites.

You can post to all networks with free apps like Hootsuite and Buffer.  They let you schedule posts far into the future too.  They’re starting to restrict features on the free versions, so I’m not sure how long the free versions will remain useful.  But for now, they do the job.  And if you do want to get much more serious and pay, Hootsuite costs $10 per month and buffer $50.

If you really like social media a ton, use Klout to track how influential you are on various social networks.  And if you like data on how each of your social media profiles performs, Social Report isn’t a half bad tool (you get 30 days free and it’s $9 per month thereafter).

Mix up the post type:  In general, plain-text posts get the least clicks, comments, and shares.  It’s okay to do them, but most of the time it works better to post a little media with each share as well.  Pictures, videos, quizzes, question & answers, funny stuff – do everything you can to interest without going over the top.

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A Foolproof Guide to the Major Social Media Websites
19/11/14 Social Media

A Foolproof Guide to the Major Social Media Websites

Did you ever wonder who uses the various social media sites and why?

The answer to that question could save you a ton of time and focus your social media marketing efforts!

There’s at least 7 of them with enough subscribers to develop a presence on (Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Vimeo), so which one’s most worth your time?

That all depends on who you’re marketing to.  It’s actually pretty difficult to find the precise demographics and how people use each network, so here’s that puzzle of information assembled into one nice place:

Google+

Moz has discussed there’s a high correlation between websites that get a high number of +1s and high search engine rankings.  In fact, out of all the factors, +1s are the number two strongest ranking factor, right behind page authority.  Google, however, has chosen to deny the findings in this study.

But when you really think about it, why wouldn’t Google, a powerful corporation trying to compete with Facebook, make +1s an important search ranking factor?

All that aside, while Google+ is pretty powerful for your SEO, it may not be the best place to build relationships directly.  Nielsen ratings tracks how long users spend on various websites, and in March 2013, users spent an average of just 6 minutes 47 seconds on Google+ – for the entire month.  In fact, only 25% of its users treat Google+ as a social network, while an astonishing 75% don’t interact with a single other Google+ user.

Google+ is made up primarily of men – 70% of its users are male.  It may not get the most engagement currently, but because Google wants to take market share away from Facebook by integrating Google+ into every last aspect of the web, it’s worth getting some sort of presence on.

Facebook

Facebook dominates in terms of almost every possible social media statistic.  Regardless of how much income your target market has, they’re present on Facebook.  Business Insider released a report (discussed at Nonprofit Quarterly), that shows the following:

68% of those with less than $30,000 per year in income have a Facebook account.

That same statistic is 62% for those with incomes of $30,000 – $49,999, 69% for those with incomes of $50,000 – $74,999, and 73% for those with incomes of $75,000+.

Out of all the networks studied by Business Insider, Facebook keeps the largest market share of older and wealthier users.  It’s no secret that with more than 1.1 billion users (which is also growing internationally), Facebook should continue to remain the largest, most active social media site for some time.

The Nielsen report we discussed earlier for Google+ also indicates the average Facebook user spends around 7 hours per month on the site.  Out of all the major social media websites, none has an engagement level even close to Facebook’s.  The next highest is 1 hour and 29 minutes at Tumblr and Pinterest.

If you don’t already have a presence on Facebook or you’re not actively engaged in a Facebook campaign, it’s definitely the place to be regardless of the market you’re targeting.

Interestingly, with the notable exception of Google+, almost every social media website has a majority of female users.  In Facebook’s case, Social Media Today says 58% of Facebook users are female.

Twitter

Twitter is the most popular place for Millenials to hang out – 27% of the 18-29 year-old population is active on Twitter.  This compares to 16% for users age 30-49.

The income demographics at Twitter are also very balanced.  16% of those with incomes less than $30,000 and 17% of those with incomes greater than $75,000 use Twitter.

The average user spends 21 minutes per month on Twitter, with women doing 62% of the sharing.

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