We are thrilled to be heading down to the HUG Super Forum in Washington D.C. next week! It’s our second year attending, and we can’t wait to see old faces and meet new people.
Make sure to check out our very own John Foley, Jr.’s session with Higher Logic’s CMO, Hunter Montgomery. They’ll be talking content marketing for associations and how to leverage content for success. Stop by the interlinkONE booth to check out our new product designed to help associations manage and execute successful automated marketing campaigns! We’ll have awesome swag (the good stuff…I promise!), and you’ll be among the first to see our new product.
Learn more from John in his latest video:
Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
Savvy marketing professionals know that having a great website will increase their business. Putting up a great looking site is a good first step, but the key in creating increased business is in getting more people to find your site on a regular basis. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a way of writing web content that allows interested users to find your site more easily, and at the core of SEO is a program known as Google Analytics. Once you have this in play, you can find out more about your customers and learn how to entice more of them to visit your site.
In order to use Analytics for your site, you need to set up an account. Go to their website and enter the requested information about your page. You will get a tracking code that works only on your site. If you’re using a commercial platform like Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress, you only need to add the code to your theme or template. If your site is custom made, you’ll need to add it to the individual pages. Once the code is in place, Google will begin to gather information and analyze it for you, as Mashable explains.
Once Google begins tracking your traffic, you can find out valuable information about your visitors. You’ll learn what pages caused the most interest, what keywords they used in order to find your site and even how many downloads and shares your pages got. Armed with this information, you can begin to craft your articles or blog posts to take advantage of how people search for your site, and to attract more of them.
Once you find out the words your readers are using to find your site, you can convert these keywords into lists of keyword phrases and draw more readers in, converting them to customers. Use the Google Keyword Planner tool to find new and similar phrases to the ones already working. For example, a designer for a wedding planner site could put in a popular keyword, such as “Macy’s wedding rings,” and then find popular phrases that get just as many visitors as “wedding ring sets” and “women diamond ring.”
Write Using SEO
Use each new phrase as the topic or focus of a blog post or article for your site. If the phrase you want to use is “wedding ring sets,” write any article about the topic, making sure you use the phrase in a logical and natural way about once every paragraph or 100 words, as AmyPorterfield.com recommends. Don’t try to squash it in anywhere; write an informative article and just use the phrase where it makes sense. Google will find the blog post, and when people search for the phrase “wedding ring sets,” it will present your site as one of the possible places for them to go for information. Each word phrase you use will draw a slightly different group of searchers, giving you an increasing number of new readers to your site each day.
Wait, you’re not on Google+? Why not? Do you have any idea what you are missing out on?
Google+ accounts for businesses are like money in your pocket. That sounds crazy, but think about all of the people that you’re not showing content to when you’re not on G+.
Google is the largest search engine company in the world, even with Microsoft’s Bing in the ring. By joining G+, you’re helping your company be found on the network and in relevant searches.
At one time the only thing that mattered to a web page was SEO.
While SEO is still very relevant, using social media has increased the possibility of a post or article going viral. G+ is essential in showing up high on search results as Google feeds its own sites to the search engine of itself first.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use good SEO tactics on your website. What you should do is up your presence on G+ by publishing links to your Google+ account to your site or articles.
There are plugins for WordPress based sites that will publish your links to G+ automatically, along with Facebook and Twitter. You must also install a G+ button on your site so that readers can share your work.
When you use G, your profile and everything you post become available to the world.
Google has a huge array of products from maps to browsers. The content you share on G+ will show up in all of these products. Some people have referred to G+ as Google 2.0, though no one is ever quite sure what Google is going to do next with the network.
G+ has quite a few tools that can help you grow your customer base.
Marketing on G+ is easier than it looks. Adding people to ‘Circles’ allows people to find you or decide to follow you back. You can use your contacts from years old emails and invite those people to add you back.
Hangouts are a video service, like a video conference that you can invite your contacts to. People can also join if they see you have a hangout running. Think of Hangouts as podcasts with video and increased exposure built right in.
As mentioned, G+ results show up in Google search, but do you know why?
When you are signed into your Google account the search engine searches results relevant to you; your location, your previous searches, and your social networking circles or ‘pluses’. Google calls this Share +Your World. This layering helps you be found by your contacts when they are searching for something that is relevant to your product or service.
You simply must be on G+ if you are running a business if you want to reach the world in a clean, simple way not offered by other social networks.
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on budgeting tools, social media, small business, and mobile payments.
No marketing plan can afford to exclude social media during this digital age, and one tactic to attract followers and boost traffic is promoting giveaway contests. A giveaway is a free way to gain online exposure for your brand and market your products and services. A Facebook contest engages people who like to win, which helps create brand loyalty and customer relationships — at low or no cost to you as a business owner.
Excite people about your brand by giving away one of your own products as the prize for your Facebook contest. People are drawn to free, whether they truly want or need the prize or not. For example, a site that sells specialty items, like motorcycle gear, knows it has a niche audience with specific interests. If a new or updated motorcycle part or accessory is released, the online shop can advertise the new merchandise with a giveaway. If a bigger ticket item like a motocross helmet is given away, the marketer can share the winner wearing the helmet while riding a bike on Instagram and Facebook. Use hashtags to spread your content into the digitally social universe. Sharing a photo of your giveaway’s winner also captures the attention of followers who will look forward to your next sweepstakes.
Building your base of Facebook followers may be your goal. Revolve your contest around users who generate the most “shares” or “likes.” Social media blog Business Boxx notes that businesses use easy contest management programs, like the free software Rafflecopter, to track and monitor contest participation easily and manageably. Using this program, you can promote your contest across a range of social media platforms, which increases brand exposure and recognition. For example, cross-promote your contest by posting to Facebook that entrants need to upload their favorite photo of their motorcycle to Instagram and hashtag your company’s name. You’ll pick the best photo as the winner.
Once you’ve set a goal, secured a prize and established a clear timeline for your contest, it’s time to make moves. Compelling social media contests must be timely, so don’t plan to run your giveaway for more than a month or so. Install a Rafflecopter countdown widget to keep your fans and followers motivated to enter and then track the results. Once you’ve chosen the winner, celebrate the winner widely on your Facebook page. Avoid making the mistake of not following through or not publicizing the winner. Nonprofit organization I Wuv Dogs devoted to animal advocacy failed to follow through on their Facebook promise to donate funds to a “winning” animal shelter in need. The bad publicity as a result of this campaign equates to a bad reputation. The needs and satisfaction of your customers and target audience are your top priorities. Continually post updates to your contest during the month and use buzzwords such as “last chance,” “free,” “win,” “for a limited time only,” “special offer,” and “discount.” Don’t disappoint entrants by not selecting a winner on time.
For small businesses with modest advertising budgets, a well-crafted Facebook fan page can be an invaluable promotional tool. It allows your company to connect with its customers and to promote both new and existing products and services.
If your business has not yet jumped on the social media bandwagon, setting up a fan page on Facebook can really jump-start your use of this important new medium as a promotional tool.
In an article extolling the benefits of Facebook fan pages, Inc. magazine said such a page, “if utilized to its fullest . . . can drive increased traffic to your website, generate additional sales, promote brand recognition and loyalty, and provide you with a direct communication link to your clients and customers.”
Set Up Your Fan Page
To take advantage of all these benefits, you’ll first need to set up a page.
At Facebook’s Create a Page entry website, business owners have the option of selecting one of three basic categories: Local Business or Place; Company, Organization, or Institution; and Brand or Product.
Pick the one that most closely applies to your business, and by following Facebook’s step-by-step instructions you can put together the basic framework for your fan page.
Now the real work begins as you look for ways to make your page stand out from all the others.
Here are some key components that you should focus on to make your page as compelling and effective a sales tool as possible:
1) Link to Your Website: Properly conceived, a Facebook fan page should act as a springboard to your company’s website. That said, nothing on your fan page is quite as important as a prominently displayed link to that website. Hopefully, visitors to the fan page who are not already customers will want to learn more about your company — and perhaps even order products or service. Hook them with a compelling fan page that will leave them hungry for more, and they will make the jump to your website where you really can get down to business.
2) Welcome Page: Like a website, a Facebook fan page can have multiple tabs, but by far the most important is the welcome tab, the first glimpse that visitors are likely to get of your fan page. Avoid clutter and try to incorporate as much meaning as possible into the images and text that you select for this all-important component of your fan page.
You can ensure that this is the first page visitors see by selecting it as the “default landing tab” during setup or when you edit your page.
3) Compelling Profile Photo: It’s all too easy to plug in an uninspiring photo of your place of business and consider the job done. However, such a photo is probably not going to win you any new customers or excite much interest, if any, among existing customers. Find a photo that captures the essence of what your business is all about, something that is visually compelling and delivers a clear message without having to spell it all out in a caption. If no appropriate photo immediately comes to mind, use your company logo as the page’s profile photo until you can find something that’s more effective.
4) YouTube Videos and Apps: Embedding appropriate YouTube videos, especially those produced by or for your business, is a good way to engage customer interest. It also gives you an effective way to respond to customer queries about how your products work and ways in which they can be used more effectively. If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then that would seem to make a video of almost inestimable value.
Don’t squander your potential in this area by posting links to videos that may amuse or enlighten but add nothing of value to your business’s message. The value of the fan page is to win friends and customers for your business. They can find plenty of entertainment elsewhere.
In addition to YouTube videos, Facebook fan page creators also can add relevant apps to their pages. YouTube has a wide array of apps that can be customized for use on your business’s page. But here again, it’s important that you choose wisely, adding only apps that in some way advance your company’s basic message and don’t serve simply as window-dressing.
5) Build Communications: One of social media’s greatest benefits for businesses is its ability to create a platform for timely communication between a company and its existing and prospective customers. To facilitate this dynamic interchange, your fan page must have a forum where you can reach out to customers, and they in turn can give you their feedback about your products and services. They can also supply ideas that may provide the basis for changes to existing products to make them more customer-friendly and for new products that are a natural extension of what your company already does.
Such a forum only performs at its best if it is painstakingly maintained and updated on a daily or even hourly basis. Nothing will turn off customers more quickly than a failure to respond to their questions and suggestions. In other words, don’t create such a feature unless you are committed to timely updates so that customers can see that you care about what they have to say.
These suggestions should help you launch a Facebook fan page for your business or perhaps make some meaningful changes to an existing fan page.
If you have additional ideas about the subject, let us know.
About the Author: Jay Fremont is a freelance author who has written extensively about personal finance, corporate strategy, social media, and Reputation.com reviews.