How to Increase Traffic to Your Website Using Pinterest

Increase Traffic to Your Website Using PinterestRegardless of your industry, Pinterest can increase traffic to your website. Obviously Pinterest works better for more visual businesses like those in the wedding, fashion, food and travel industries than what it does for accountants. But even with accountants, you can still pin helpful content that’ll engage with your target audience. For example, pins which relate to money saving and business tips will provide helpful content to business owners which may/may not be in need of a new accountant.

The way to make Pinterest work for your business is by helping and inspiring your prospective reader/client in order to direct them to your website. It’s not about building followers on Pinterest – it’s about using content to attract readers who will get your brand, love what you do & build loyalty to buy from you. Here’s how to get started:

Create a Pinterest Business Account

With a business account you get access to analytics, rich pins (we’ll discuss these in point 3), and the ability to promote your pins. If you’ve not already got a Pinterest account, click to create a business account. If you have a personal account already, click the following link to switch your personal account to a business one.

Verify Your Business Account

Once you have a business account on the go, you can now verify your Pinterest account. By verifying, you’ll be able to monitor the web traffic coming from your pins. Here’s how to verify using the metatag Pinterest generates:

  1. Go to your profile and click Account Settings.
  2. On profile, in the Website field, enter your website URL and click Confirm Website.
  3. Go on to the next page and see the metatag to put in the <head> of your website.
  4. If you’re using WordPress, login to your website and go to Appearances,then Editor and in the right hand sidebar click “header.php
  5. Within the header.php file, copy and paste the metatag Pinterest gave you. Insert this code in between the <head> and </head> tags in the file. Click to update file and it’s all go!

Apply for Rich Pins

Qualifying for Rich Pins is another advantage to owning a business account. As well as making your business look more credible, Rich Pins enables you to provide more information with your pin. Currently, Pinterest offer 6 formats of rich pins; articles, recipes, places, products, apps and places.

In this tutorial, we’ll use rich pins for articles to explain how to enable rich pins for your account.

The easiest way to set up rich pins is by using Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress. As opposed to manually adding Pinterest’s metatags to certain places on your site, Yoast SEO does it for you!

To install Yoast SEO click Plugins, Add New and then Upload Plugin. Upload the .zip file for Yoast SEO and click Install Now.  Activate the Yoast SEO plugin by clicking Activate in the Installed Plugins section on WordPress.

Next, go to the new SEO section of your left sidebar. Click SEO and then click Social. Go to the Facebook section and tick the Add Open Graph Meta Data and press Save Changes. Once completed, click the following link to enable Rich Pins by copying a link to one of your blog posts by scrolling to the bottom of Pinterest’s rich pins validating tool.

NOTE: It can take up to 7 days for Pinterest to approve your rich pin application.

Organize Your Boards

In order to engage and gain a following on Pinterest – you need a flawless profile with boards that will attract your prospective reader/client.

Your first 8 boards are most visible. The first 4 are the most important. They show off your brand, show what you’re interested in and show what you do. From this, they’ll get an understanding of what you’re about.

One great way to create an eye-catching Pinterest profile is by coordinating the board covers and name titles. In the world of Pinterest, jumbled up images and mismatched colors won’t do. Your profile needs uniformity. Do this by implementing your brand colors on the board covers and having a style for your board titles. Each board also needs a relevant description that includes keywords your target audience will be using in their search for inspirational content.  

When organizing your boards think:

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. What content is my target audience looking for?
  3. What do they love?
  4. What content will help them?

Here is an example of a Pinterest profile which engages with its ideal audience:

 

Pinterest Print Screen

Melyssa helps bloggers and creative entrepreneurs build their businesses using their blogs, social media and email marketing. Her board is simple, matches her brand colors and most importantly – her boards are relevant to what her target audience will be searching. For example: entrepreneur tips, social media tips, blogging tips + email marketing tips.

Create ‘Pinworthy’ Images for Your Blog Posts + Other Web Content

Photography

If you shoot your own photography then great, you’re onto a winner! Your photography will be unique & help form your brand. But, don’t worry, if you don’t take your own photographs, there are heaps of websites that provide beautiful stock photography that is blog and pin-worthy (some are free, too!). Here are a few we recommend: Unsplash, Death to the Stock Photo and Pexels. Take note that tall thin images work best on Pinterest.

The Graphics & Text

You have the photography – now you need the graphics. You can use design software like Photoshop and Illustrator, but if you don’t have the budget, Canva is amazing for creating your own eyecatching pinworthy images for your content (like the feature image for this post. You can add your headline, change text size, add icons, adjust brightness and play with color. For inspiration for the most pinned images on Pinterest, check out this link to find out more.

When it comes to adding your text, your headline needs to grab people’s attention at one glance – so the text needs to be clear and simple.  

Join Group Boards

Joining Group Boards is a great way to build your following, show off your content, interact with industry leaders and prospective clients in attempt to increase the traffic to your website. Pingroupie is an amazing website which allows you to find Pinterest group boards which are relevant to your brand.

Filter your boards by ‘Collaborators’ – ones with higher members are more likely to accept.

You NEED to follow the owner of the group board in order to be accepted.
You may need to email the group board owner in order to be accepted.

Once accepted, try to pin 1-4 images to your group board in a day. Anymore than that then you might appear spammy. Build a good reputation by repinning other members content from the group board.

Curate Great Content for Your Pinterest Boards

In addition to pinning your own content, repinning content helps attract your target audience too.

Curate great content for your boards by following people in your industry, liking, commenting and re-pinning their content onto your boards.

The most likely content to go viral on Pinterest are how to posts, top resources, recipes, guides and checklists. Ensure your pinning seasonal and on-trend content too.

TIP: Pinterest is more likely to recommend your board if it contains lots of popular pins. Once a week go through your boards and delete the pins with low re-pins. This’ll make sure your boards appear to only show amazing content people love!

Schedule Your Pins

Scheduling pins helps save you time + allows you to schedule lots of images to be pinned to your board. Unlike most social media platforms, there are no popular times on Pinterest, Pinterest just likes to see lots of fresh popular content being pinned to your board daily. We recommend using ViralTag and BoardBooster to schedule your pins in advance. 

If you have any questions or suggestions, then feel free to comment below or tweet us @purelysocialtip.

Launching a New Product or Service? Here’s How to Create a Content Marketing Plan to Reach Your Audience + Win Sales

How to Create a Content Marketing Plan

Nobody likes a cold caller or an in-your-face salesman that doesn’t let you get away. When it comes to investing in a product we want choices. We like to build trust and find out how it works. In a world where marketers can easily put their product in front of you on Facebook, through Google or pop into your inbox – the “hard sell” can quickly be deleted and ignored. To promote a new service or product, we need to engage, show you’re an expert and provide value. And – that’s why content marketing is key.

Here’s How Content Marketing Will Grow Your Business

Provide value

We love getting as much as we can for our money. And – as a species, we LOVE freebies! And, that’s why offering free downloadable guides and resources work so well. You’re giving your potential client much more than a product or a service. You are proving that you are the solution to their problems.

If your audience has spent time reading your blog or chosen to download a guide, they know you know what you’re talking about. And before getting told about your new product or service, they trust your brand.

Enhance your SEO

In addition to building trust, content marketing ticks all of the SEO boxes too.

Say goodbye to the‘black hat’ SEO days.

Google now sees good, helpful SEO optimized content as the #1 ranking factor your website. The more helpful content you publish on your website, the more search engines indexes you.

And – the more your content is found on a search engine, the more chance you’ll have of connecting with a potential client.  

Engage with your audience + start conversations

By default, we engage with people and emotions. Showing our personality through the content we post on social media, blog posts, emails, online forums – we build meaningful relationships. Our ability to interact is what builds customer loyalty and wins a sale.

Become an expert

We’ve touched on how we need trust to make a purchase.

If you’re making a claim that you’re social media services will increase sales. You’ve gotta give evidence for that skill set. Through your content marketing you can demonstrate your ability to solve problems. You can feature case studies and prove your products/services are worth investing in by posting testimonials.

Using a combination of content marketing strategies you can provide rich information that’ll build your authority and put you ahead of your competitors.

To gain exposure and build as much hype around your product launch as possible, here are a few ideas to connect with your audience and get your name out there:

  1. Get Blogging!

Your blog should be your first point of call. As well as boosting your SEO, your blog posts will be the platform for the rest of your content marketing to build on.

Your blog posts don’t need to explain your new product or service, they just need to include keywords, spark interest and get your readers engaged with the advice you are publishing.

Brainstorm blog post ideas around the topic of your product/service that’ll be published in the six weeks prior, during and after your launch following this rough timeline and structure:

Blog Post 1: 2 weeks prior offering a free content upgrade to collect email addresses (after launch – update this post with banner images and product/service details)

Blog Post 2: 1 week before (after launch – update this post with banner images and product/service details)

Blog Post 3: On the day of launch offering a free guide based around the theme of your product/service to build your email subscribers

Blog Post 4: 1 week after launch

Blog Post 5: 2 weeks after launch including a free worksheet based on the theme of your product/service

Blog Post 6: 3 weeks after launch

  1. Create Opt-In Freebies to Embed into Your Blog Posts

As detailed above, you’ll see that we recommend creating free downloads to offer to your readers in Blog Posts 1, 3 and 5. These ‘lead magnets’ will get people signing up to your mailing list so you can get to work on priming  your audience for your product launch.

Follow our guide to designing an email sign-up form that can be embedded into your blog posts so you can automatically send out your freebie.  

  1. Set up an Email Sequence that’ll be sent to Your Freebie Downloaders & Mailing List

Email marketing is a great way to prime your audience for a service or product launch.

  • Brainstorm + write an email sequence of around 6 emails.
  • Send out 2 emails before launching.
  • And – send your mailing list 4 emails on or after the launch.

Here’s an example of an email sequence to your mailing list or after your freebie is sent out:

  1. Advice surrounding the theme of your product/service.
  2. Show how you/your business benefited from your product/service – the more personal the better – it’ll show what you’ve learnt from your journey and help your audience connect with you.
  3. Product launch email – feature case studies, your USPs and briefly mention your product/service. You may also want to link to recent blog posts related to the topic of your product/service.
  4. If you’re planning a webinar or Q&A on Periscope – send an email out to promote what they’ll learn from you & mention what you’re clients say.
  5. Pitch your product/service – mentioning an exclusive discount to email subscribers.
  6. Mention that it’s the last 24 hours of your discount and briefly go over the benefits of your product/service.
  1. Promote Your Freebies on Facebook Ads

Everybody loves a free gift.

As well as creating a post to promote your product/service launch, use Facebook Ads to promote your free downloadable guides.

People are more likely to trust a business that offers them free information in place of an advert of a service you’re offering.

In your Facebook advert, use your email sign-up URL to send out the freebie to your audience. You can find out how to find the email sign-up page URL in our How to Create an Email Newsletter Guide.

By creating a Facebook Ad, you can hit your demographic, offer a freebie to provide valuable helpful content that’ll show off your expertise and collect email addresses to add to your mailing list.

Through your mailing list you can start conversations with your potential customers, promote your recent content in your email newsletter and hopefully sell to them further down the line.  

  1. Facebook, Twitter + LinkedIn Posts

Write posts to direct traffic your blog posts and your new product/service for each social media network. For each link we recommend writing:

4x Twitter Posts

2 x Facebook Posts

1x LinkedIn Post

If you’re a member of a Facebook or LinkedIn group, post your content in places where it will be of most use.

  1. Guest Blog!

An amazing way to reach your target audience AND improve your website’s SEO is by guest blogging. Here’s how to promote your product/service through guest blogging:

  • Firstly, research businesses/blogs/websites which has a similar target audience to yours.
  • Email them to see whether they accept guest posts.
  • Brainstorm blog post ideas surrounding the theme of your product/service.
  • Arrange to publish your guest blog around on or after your product/service launch.

Find out why publishing content on sites is useful your website’s SEO in our article: A Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

  1. Upload Images to Instagram and Pinterest to Promote Every Blog Post

Create a pinworthy image for every blog post you create. Pin this to your boards + shared boards to get as much traffic as possible.

On Instagram, publish images featuring a question that relates to the content of your blog post. By posting these images to your Instagram with relevant hashtags you can hopefully kickstart a conversation with your potential audience.

  1. Lead a Q+A And/Or Tutorial on Periscope

An amazing way to show your expertise and connect with your potential clients is by using Periscope. Here you can host a livestream of a tutorial or Q+A related to your product or service.

What’s best is that your audience can interact with you and other watchers in the chat running at the same time as your live stream. Unlike educating your audience through a blog post, Periscope allows you to connect with your audience as well as your audience engaging with you.

You can briefly mention the benefits of your product/service and direct watchers to your website to find out more.

New to Periscope? Find out all you need to know in our Beginner’s Guide to Periscope blog post.

  1. Host a Webinar

Webinars are an awesome platform for generating revenue – they’re becoming increasingly popular too! Here are a few ideas for your webinar:

  • Think of one of your FAQs or what your potential client would like to learn from you. Use this idea for the basis of your webinar.
  • You can host the same webinar 2 or 3 times.
  • Pitch your product/service at the end of the webinar.

Questions? Comments? Leave them below or reach out to us on Twitter! We love to engage!

Top 7 Mistakes Businesses Made with their Digital Marketing in 2015 & What Can Be Done to Fix it in 2016

marketing in 2015

It’s the beginning of the year – which means creating New Year’s Resolutions and thinking about the year ahead. We reflect on the positives, we notice our mistakes and we work on how we can improve. Instead of indulging in high calorie food like we do over Christmas, we start cleansing our bodies and working on getting back into shape. And – like our bodies, our business’ need to detox too. The start of a new year is one of the best times to analyse the results of our digital marketing campaigns, try new strategies and create a marketing plan for the year.

Take your business to new heights by eliminating digital marketing mistakes and digitally savvy in 2016 by following these tips:

checklist

Mistake 1: Not Using Analytics Tools

If you’re going to promote your products and services online, you need to be able to identify what’s working and what’s not. Tools such as, Google AnalyticsHootSuite and Buffer provides you with rich data that helps you build a picture of how your content and social media marketing connects with your customers. Check out these simple but essential things you need to monitor:

  • Your social media insights. If you’re using a social media schedule tools like HootSuite, Sprout Social and Buffer, you can create reports on how your social media is performing in a few clicks. This will help you compare results, monitor your following, identify your demographics and see how much traffic is being directed to your website. On Facebook, you can see what time your fans are online, the most popular times are when you should be posting. You can do this by logging into your page, clicking ‘Insights’ on the top panel and clicking ‘Posts’ on the left hand side.
  • See what’s popular on your website. Google Analytics provides you with a wealth of data which shows what’s popular on your website. Seeing what content brings in the most traffic can help you create future blog posts that are popular with your audience.
  • Identify what’s converting. You might be investing a lot of time and money into moving up the page rankings for a chosen keyword. The keyword might be directing lots of traffic to your website, but the traffic may not convert into enquiries. On Google Analytics you can monitor your SEO campaign so you can identify when to stop optimizing a keyword and concentrate more time and effort on another.

Mistake 2: Forgetting to be ‘Social’ on Social Media

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Not being social on social media is one of the most popular mistakes businesses make. Check out our article on 3 Ways Social Media Automation on Twitter is Antisocial.  Cut down on selling your products/services and engage with your following by following these strategies:

  • Run competitions. Everyone loves the thought of winning something. Show your customers value in following your social media profiles by running a giveaway in exchange for a ‘like’ or ‘comment’. This is an effective way of increasing your brand awareness, social media following and reaching your target audience.
  • Share your customer’s content. If your customers take a picture of your product, write a blog post reviewing your service/product – sharing it on social media will show your potential customers what your customers are saying about you.
  • Start conversations with your customers and relevant influential people. Social media platforms are a great place to respond to comments from your customers and build trust. Twitter is a great place to get talking to popular people in your industry to build relationships and increase your brand awareness.

Mistake 3: Avoiding SEO

If we want to find something out, we Google it. Google is a very powerful tool to get your business noticed by potential customers searching for your services and products you provide. To kickstart your SEO campaign, take a look at our guide to SEO and use the following tactics:

  • Find out the most relevant keywords for your industry. You can identify the most searched keywords for your business and area by using the Keyword Planner tool on Google AdWords. Once you’ve found the keywords, you can begin to optimise them on your website.
  • Use your keyword in page titles and meta descriptions.
  • Publish relevant blog posts to direct your potential customers to your website.

Mistake 4: Focussing on Promoting Your Services

You may find that a lot of us avoid information about businesses services. When we’re searching online, we are looking to find the solution to our problem. In place of promoting your products and services, start providing content that will show your expertise and gain trust from your potential customer:

  • Create and share helpful content. For example, if sell fitness clothing and gym equipment, writing blog posts and social media posts about workouts, healthy recipes and benefits of certain exercises will engage with your audience more than sharing links to gym tops and Additionally, by publishing helpful content, you can work on a wide range of keywords which will drive more high quality traffic to your website.

Mistake 5: Not Having a Budget for Social Media Promotion

Facebook has made it more and more difficult to reach potential customers without paying. Simply by having a small Facebook budget, you can engage with more people and increase your brand awareness. Here are a few posts to sponsor:

  • Advertise helpful content. If you’ve recently published a video, infographic or blog post that will help customers – paying to promote the post will help you connect with more of your target audience.
  • Boost competitions to maximise your engagement. Similar to sharing helpful content, making more people aware of your competition will help you engage with a larger audience and get more entries.

Mistake 6: Not Having an Email Marketing Campaign

With 91% of consumers checking their email daily, email marketing could be the missing link in your digital marketing campaign. Get your email marketing started by:

  • Creating a giveaway to build your mailing list. Try building your database of emails by offering free downloadable guides as well running competitors in exchange for an email address.
  • Promoting your latest content. Like sharing your latest blog posts, videos and infographics on social media, you can use your email marketing campaign to share content and direct traffic to your website.
  • Advertising special offers. As well as promoting your products and services, running exclusive offers will help keep your potential customers subscribed to your mailing list.

Mistake 7: Not Using the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business

In 2015 you may have not used social media to promote your business or you may have struggled to find the best platform to engage with your ideal customer. You can identify the best social media platforms by:

  • Understanding your typical customer can help you create content for your potential customer. For example, if you offer services for businesses, LinkedIn is one of the best places to network and promote your content, but if you’re target audience is people – Facebook is an ideal platform to share your content.

Summary

Get ahead of your competitors in 2016 by keeping your strategies up to speed with the constantly evolving nature of digital marketing. Start understanding your audience, showing your expertise, blogging to boost traffic and using social media to engage with your customers. That way – you’ll reach your potential audience, gain their trust and boost your sales.

 

Questions, comments, straight up disagree? We want to hear from you! Reach out to us on twitter or comment below!

A Beginner’s Guide to SEO

a beginners guide to SEO

If you’re thinking about launching a business with little risk, the internet is an excellent platform to launch a business and have instant access to thousands of potential customers. The only disadvantage – anyone can do it so your business can be easily lost in amongst your competitors. That’s where SEO comes in. It’s the means whereby you show Google that you’re an expert in your field so they can rank you high in search results.

With 93% of online experiences starting on a search engine, working on the SEO of your website is an effective way to get you in front of your customers. In effect – search engine optimization needs to be an essential part of your marketing campaign.

Follow these tips to improve your SEO, get online enquiries and watch your business grow.

For great SEO results, content is king

Gone are the days of keyword stuffed webpages, spammy link building and black-hat SEO practices. Google has improved its ranking factors to penalize bad practices in order to get the loyal experts to the top of the search results. And – Google does this by indexing exceptional, useful content.

Get blogging

By blogging regularly, you get your business visible on Google by targeting a large number of keywords and getting more webpages indexed in Google searches.

Blogging is one of the most effective ways to get your target audience onto your website. In fact, 60% of consumers feel more positive about a purchase after reading content on a website; content is key. In effect – attracting customers on to your website via a blog post, is one of the best practices to get your target market to trust your brand and invest in you.

What’s more, HubSpot found posting 1-2 blog posts every month can generate 70% more online enquiries than businesses who don’t blog. If you are publishing relevant, useful blog posts 6-8 times per month, you can see an increase of 140% more enquiries.

Publish your content on other websites

In order for Google to place your website ahead of your competitors, you need to make Google value your website. Google calculates this by your domain authority. You can build your domain authority by getting your URL published on websites. So, the more Google sees you, the more Google values you.

Get your name out there by posting blog posts on high quality websites that are relevant to your brand. This will build links to your website and put you in front of an audience that are likely to click through to your website. For example, if you sell organic skincare products, get your content featured on health and beauty blogs and websites.

seo tips

Fix these Common SEO Mistakes 

  1. Not using Google Analytics

Monitoring your results on Google Analytics can help you see which keywords are converting and which  are not. You may find that you’re getting a lot of traffic from high-traffic keywords – but if they’re not converting into online enquiries, it’s worthless. By analysing results, you can tailor your content to include keywords to engage with the right audience.

  1. Not optimizing for local searches

If you’re business serves a certain area, optimising your website for local searches helps potential customers in your region find you. Begin by including your area in page titles and meta descriptions.

  1. Not optimizing the right keywords

When it comes to keywords, it’s best to be as specific as possible to get better search engine rankings and accurate traffic.

  1. Not using unique page titles and meta descriptions for every page & blog post

Every page needs a unique title that includes a keyword and a descriptive meta description that will attract a potential customer to click through to your website.

  1. Not using anchor text for internal links

When you’re linking to services or products in your web content and blog posts, make sure to use a keyword as the hyperlink. For example, instead of “click here” which holds no SEO value, use “social media management services”.

  1. Not creating shareable, useful content

To improve your domain authority and direct quality traffic to your website, you need to create extremely useful content that people will link on their websites and social media platforms.

For example, as a social media marketing company we publish tips & guides to provide our readers with content that’ll be a great value to their blogs and businesses, such as:

Top Five Tips for Blogging Success
A Beginners Guide To Periscope
5 Tips of Boosting Your Fashion/Beauty Social Media Page

Use these SEO Tips & Tricks

  1. Identify your keywords on Google AdWords

To find out your relevant keywords, sign up for a Google AdWords account and use the keyword planner tool to identify the most popular search terms for your industry.

  1. Use keywords in your page titles

Your page title is the first line of content that shows up in search results for your website. Every page needs a unique page title that includes a keyword at a maximum of 70 characters.

  1. Write engaging and optimised meta descriptions

Your meta description is the text underneath the page title in search results. Using 160 characters you need to attract potential customers to click onto your website. Include a unique selling point, what exactly you do and a keyword within the text.

  1. Include meta tags/keywords on every page

Assign every page with keywords that are unique to the page. Use a maximum of five keywords. Not forgetting that your chosen keywords also need to be included in the content of the page.

  1. Implement H1 tags in your page content

H1 tags is the largest HTML heading there is (they go up from H1 to H6). Using a H1 tag will help Google identify the keyword you’re optimising. In the HTML editor of your page or blog post, use H1 tags to lay emphasis on your primary keyword.

For example:

<h1>Social Media Management</h1>

  1. Add your keywords to your alt text in every image you upload

Like the written content on your website, you need to optimise images with keywords. When you’re uploading images, optimize a keyword in the ‘Alt Text’ of your image. The ‘Alt Text’ shows up when an image cannot be displayed. This also tells Google what you’re optimizing so they can index your images for Google searches.

  1. Title text

The title text describes the link’s content, to get the most SEO value, use keywords to describe the destination to tell Google to rank you for a particular keyword.

For example: when you’re hyperlinking a service, ‘Social Media Management’ will appear in place of hyperlinked text such as ‘find out more here’.

  1. Have a XML sitemap for your site

This is a map of your website and it tells Google what pages to index in searches.

  1. …as well as robots.txt

Robots.txt is a bit of code which helps search engines find your XML sitemap. In effect – this helps Google robots improve your rankings and help direct your target audience onto your website.

  1. Check your site speed

Slow loading times can make a user close your website. As Google wants to rank useful websites high in searches, your website needs to be accessible and easy to navigate. Factors to a slow web speed could be large image files, lots of adverts, unnecessary redirects, a shared web hosting provider (if you’re website gets a lot of hits), excessive scripts, broken links, too many plugins installed and a web design with a large file size.

  1. Optimise your website for mobile

In April 2015, Google rolled out an update that boosts the ranking of mobile-friendly websites in search results. So if you’re website isn’t optimised for mobiles and tablets, you could be missing out on a lot of traffic.

  1. Redirect links that have been changed or broken

If you have changed the URLs of your webpages or have URLs that don’t work, then links should be directed to a live page or a 404 page.

Want to find out more about SEO? We would love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below, tweet us at @purelysocialtip or send us an email beseen@purelysocialmedia.com.

Social Media Strategies Your Business Depends On

purelysocialmedia

Note to our readers:

Hey guys! It’s been a while. We’ve been super busy trying to build our brand and tending to our clients.  But we’re back and coming at you with more posts on a more regular basis. 

We’ve decided to work with freelance bloggers to help diversify the information that we bring to you, as well as stabilize our post frequency, so you have something to read from us on a very regular basis. This week’s article is written by Holly Sturgeon, a beauty and fashion blogger from the UK who has a passion for social media and loves to dig up information to bring to you guys. Welcome to the team, Holly! Hope you all enjoy!

Back in the days our businesses depended on local and national advertising in Newspapers, on Radio and Television. Whilst those things are still important for spreading the word about your business, other options, (Free options at that – Thanks us later!) are now available.

Social Media has pretty much dominated our lives over the past few years with more than 307 million monthly average users on Twitter alone. You might use social media for keeping track of your favourite celebs or for sharing your cute cat pictures rather than for promoting your business, but sharing your content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (or any other of the numerous social media platforms that are available) could actually prove to be quite fruitful.

Ever scrolled through your news feed on Facebook or Twitter and seen a blogger or business letting you know all about their latest product or service? Of course you have! Well that’s because those businesses have started their own social media campaigns and began promoting themselves by using different social media strategies including the one’s we’re about to mention.

Whether your business is a blog, a service or is product driven, your primary aim of using social media will doubtlessly be the same and that is to reach new audiences and welcome new customers to your business. Here are a few social media strategies your business depends on:

Advertise Your Social Media Accounts

Of course, the purpose of using social media is to promote your business but your business also needs to promote your social media. (hear us out!). Presuming you already have a website, ensure you put your Twitter or Facebook handles on your homepage and in your ‘contact’ page. Customers feel more secure knowing they can contact you instantly and so letting them contact you via social media for any customer issues is a great way to attract followers and of course encourages user engagement. It’s also vital to ensure that when you are sent a query or comment that you reply to each one individually and personally. Also ensure you deal with all ‘personal’ or account queries via direct message to ensure customer confidentiality. All of this will ensure that your followers will feel safe and this is likely to result in return business.

Content

In order for this to work, it is really important to ensure you keep your feed current. Using apps such as Buffer or Hootsuite, you can schedule posts to appear on your timeline at your preferred times. In terms of what content to publish, businesses should always keep things professional with a hint of humour. Retweeting controversial users or using foul language are definite no-no’s but posting up the odd cute cat picture (obsessed!) will keep your timeline current and will encourage users to engage by favouriting, liking or retweeting your status. You should also consider keeping your tweets short (under 100 characters) as shorter tweets are proven to attract 17% more engagement.

Timing

Timing your updates is also important. According to Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella, Twitter engagement for brands increases by 17% at the weekend. It has also been proven that Twitter users who use their mobile phones to browse their newsfeeds are 181% to be on Twitter during their commute. Perhaps consider posting in the early morning. The same applies to Facebook and Instagram (we’ve all done it) as we are all more likely to browse through social media platforms out of boredom whilst travelling.

 Images

Here we go with the cute cat pictures again – You are twice as likely to receive comments, replies, likes, retweets etc if you post an image with a link. So whether you choose to post a picture of your latest service or even a picture of the office Christmas Tree, you are encouraging people to engage with your brand. Engagement = visitors = Followers = Customers which is the aim of the game.

Hashtags

The hashtag trend started on Twitter but is now actually popular across most social media platforms. At the end of your status, placing a relevant yet popular hashtag will mean that your tweet will reach new followers. In fact, of all the information and advice given in this blog, this is probably the most important and successful tip. Here’s an example of how to use a hashtag:

 “Spending the weekend decorating the office. #springcleaning “

 Anyone who types “spring cleaning” into the search bar on Twitter will be able to see your tweet, this also applies to Instagram and Pinterest. Using more popular hashtags, including ‘trending’ hashtags (which you will see on the left hand side of Twitter or on the right side of Facebook) will obviously mean your tweet reaches a bigger audience, but that also means that more people use that hashtag and so your tweet will be pushed down the newsfeed very quickly, leaving a limited amount of time for users to see your status.

If you use hashtags that are relevant to your status, you will reach new users that are genuinely interested in what you have to say meaning you are more likely to encourage engagement and receive more followers.

You might want to consider creating your own hashtag. For example if your business is called “purelysocial” (shameless plug – We’re not even sorry!) then type your status similar to this format:

 “There’s only 6 weeks left until Christmas, Are you prepared? #purelysocialmedia”

If someone retweets your status, their followers will see your business name in the tweet, despite the fact that you’re not directly advertising. Clever huh?

Competitions

Everyone wants something for nothing. We all have entered a competition at some stage in our lives, whether it was in a magazine or even just buying a lottery ticket. Running a competition on social media can prove to be extremely popular and will definitely encourage people to follow you. Whether you offer a service or a product, running a competition on social media where the users are required to “follow and share/retweet” your status to enter will mean you will get a follower, who will share your status with their followers, who will then share it with their followers and so on. It can result in hundreds of followers and will mean more people will visit your website. Using clever hashtags (such as #win, #competition and #giveaway) for this, like previously mentioned will see your competition reaching the masses.

Paid for Ads

No-one really wants to pay for something if they can achieve similar results for free but we thought we should cover all options available to your business. Of course, there are paid options available on both Facebook and Twitter where you can start a campaign which see’s the platform advertise your service on newsfeeds. You might have seen “promoted” statuses on Twitter which are paid for advertisements and the ads on the right hand side of Facebook are also paid for. Advertising this way is definitely useful for those who have a budget to work with but can also be an expensive way of experimenting with social media.

Using social media can increase your customers greatly and is definitely something your business will depend on if you want to increase exposure online. Keep an eye on this blog for more tips on using social media to promote your business and feel free to submit your questions!

Until then, feel free to share your cute cat pictures with us @Purelysocialtip

Social Media Strategy Template

Originally posted on Scoop.it under Social Media News http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-news-source

Originally posted on Scoop.it under Social Media News
http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-news-source

Your Guide to an Action Plan

SaleBased on experience we would say that the number 1 mistake that many businesses make when it comes to social media is not taking the time to develop a plan of action and then giving it an opportunity to work. Social media success does not happen over night, it takes time to develop a presence, to gain followers and to learn what those followers are most interested in. Having a plan in place, makes daily posting easier as you will have to spend your time wondering what to post next and when.

Here, at Purely Social, we always suggest action plans to our clients in order to assist them in visualizing their social media strategy. Action plans are a great guide to help you put your thoughts in order and reach your social media goals. You can actually create them yourself, if you have time to. It’s quite simple. Here are some easy simple steps to how we create our action plan.

  1. Analyze your current status. Before you move forward in creating a strategy for change, you need to analyze the current status of your social media presence. Take a look at any of the social media accounts you have already established and ask yourself these questions:
    • Are you using vivid, high definition, images?
    • Are you posting as frequently as recommended for that platform?
    • Are you captivating your audience and gaining engagement?
    • Where are your other shortcomings?
  1. Identify your reasons for being on social media. What are your goals? Are you trying to strengthen your brand, gain more business, humanize your brand? Before you jump on social media, you need to know why you’re there otherwise it’s pointless. It is important to set your goals as a team and in writing to ensure that you know where you’re headed and can easily analyze whether or not you meet these established goals.
  1. Ask yourselves the following key questions:
  • “Only We…?” What makes you stand out from the competition?
  • Can your company culture nurture and sustain a social media transformation?
  • Are you a conversational brand? Or could you be?
  • Where are your customers & competitors?
  • What is your source of rich content
  • What does social media success look like for Access West?

This will assist you in deciding which direction to take your social media marketing in, what type of content to post, what platforms to choose, and how to reach your target audience.

  1. Next, take a look at your competition both locally and globally. See if you can identify what they are doing well and what they are doing wrong. Analyze them based on the questions illustrated in step 1. This will also help you to see where you can gain a competitive advantage and show you where you stand in comparison.
  1. Now it’s time to decide which platforms you want to use. Take a look at where your target audience is and go there! It’s as simple as that. If you’re just starting out, you don’t want to jump on too many platforms at once. It’s better to start on one or two and execute them expertly than to hop on all of them and execute them poorly. For example, if your business is a nail salon, Instagram is a great option to utilize, but if your business is an insurance firm, Instagram may not be your primary choice of platforms. This step is where you really take the time to browse through the platforms and do your research. Google Plus is an up and coming platform that is perfect for most business owners, Facebook, on the other hand, may only be suitable for those businesses targeting the 55+ audience, and Instagram is where you can reach the younger demographic. It is important to know all of this information prior to selecting which platforms to use for your firm.
  1. Identify which member(s) of your team will be leading the posting and create a schedule. Scheduling is the way we get things done in business, so a great way to ensure that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do on social media. In order to create a schedule, you need to know the best times to post for each social media platforms. This is determined by when YOUR audience is on social media. There are default times for each network, but this doesn’t always mean that t will work for your industry, so it is important to research your audience and learn their social media habits. When you’re getting started, post several times a day at different times throughout the day and take a look at your analytics. That’s how you will know what is working and what isn’t working.

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Love Advertising On Facebook Again!

making the connecion - LinkedinSo we’re back after taking a month off to enjoy a little rest and relaxation!

And what better way to kick off our return then with a post discussing all the reasons why we love advertising on Facebook again! So, as many of you know, back at the end of 2013 Facebook decided that make some changes to their algorithm that left a bad taste in the mouth of most marketers and businesses. We all have watched as page posts’ organic reach fell from 16% in February of 2012 to around 6.51% in March 2014, according to Edgerank Checker.

Many felt that Facebook was double dipping, charging advertisers to have their posts viewed by the very individuals they just paid to like their page. A lot of people were ticked off and began deleting their Facebook pages as a form of protest. There was even a YouTube video, Facebook Fraud, that went viral and urged many not to wast their time advertising on the platform. Let’s just say people we’re angry and many began to pull back their presence on the platform.

Truth of the matter is that from Facebook’s standpoint, their primary focus is on the general user not the business pages. We can only assume that they believed that by changing the algorithm they would maintain the integrity of the site from the user’s standpoint. However, now Facebook is a publicly traded company, which means it is now accountable to shareholders too. And shareholders want to see profits, which are only generated on Facebook through the ads that businesses run.

So we can only speculate that all of the Facebook Fraud backlash has led Facebook to make changes to the algorithm yet again as well as completely overhaul the process for advertising on Facebook to make it a lot easier on advertisers. So here are our top 5 reasons why you should love advertising on Facebook again:

1 6 ads for the price of 1. Now when you create an ad to drive traffic  to you website Facebook allows you to select up to 6 images that can be used to service your ad over the length of your campaign. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will all be approved by Facebook but if you adhere to the ad guidelines a majority should be approved. We love this because it’s a great way to see which ads make the most impact on your target audience. Facebook has now made it very simple to do some A,B,C,D,E,F testing on your advertising which means they next time you run an ad you can make the necessary tweaks for even better results.

2Watered Down. Previously when you ran an ad on Facebook you probably spent a good majority of your time trying to figure out what the heck they were talking about. The different steps to running an ad were not very well defined and left most newbies to the process scratching their heads or giving up on running an ad all together. Now once you’ve selected the appropriate objective for your ads, all you need to proceed is clearly stated for you on one easy to read page.

3Conversion Pixels. This small line of code allows you to track the actions being taken on your website by the traffic you drive there with your Facebook ads. Now the downside of this is: if you know nothing about code or even how to access the back end of your website; you’re going to need to have your web developer place the code for you which can be a pain. However Facebook has even simplified this by allowing you to email the person right from the ad set up with the pixel code and instructions on how to proceed. The good news is that once it’s done, that’s it! You can continue to utilize the pixel over multiple ads. Just keep in mind that there is a pixel for each type of conversion that can happen on your site, such as checkouts, registrations, leads, web page views, adds to carts and more. So if you need some help, make sure you simply add all of the conversion pixels that pertain to your site all at once. Once a pixel has been added, you’re ready to start tracking the actions of your audience and can begin to determine how to best convert those individuals into paying customers.

4 Hello, Power Editor! So Power Editor is still a fairly new addition to Facebook ads, and many business owners still don’t know it even exists. This may explain why Facebook made it more accessible in the new ad setup under audiences. If you’re not using this feature when running your ad, you’re wasting your money. What we love about this feature is that it allows you to specify who your target audience is, providing you with more control over who sees your ad. In working with different clients we’ve seen a number of clients run ads that were shown to “everyone”, not realizing that they could target their ads to an audience within 25 miles of the physical location. If you choose, you can be very specific in your ad audience, but we would advice you find a balance between broad and specific. You don’t want to be too specific and miss the opportunity to attract new followers. Nor do you want to run the risk of being too broad that your ad isn’t seen by enough of your target audience.

5Campaign pricing just got simpler.  Simply tell Facebook how much you’re willing to spend over the duration of your campaign and let Facebook do all the math. We personally suggest selecting the lifetime budget option unless your plan is to have an ad that continuously runs, in which we would suggest selecting the daily budget. Understand that while Facebook may approve your ad and run it, your ad is competing for that space and therefore can get bumped by ads of advertisers willing to pay more per click or impression. Our advice is: if you select the manually set, price per click option, we advise increasing your bid to slightly higher then the price the system generates. Understand that when bidding, if you choose the pay per impression options your paying the every 1000 individuals who see your page. Paying per clicks ensures that you only pay for the people who appear genuinely interested in your page, because they clicked on your link.

As a side note, we want to stress that if you’re going to spend your hard earned money on Facebook ads make sure it’s worth it for you. To date, paying for page post engagements and page likes has proven to be quite ineffective from an ROI standpoint. Website clicks and conversions still remain the best option for measure the effectiveness of your ads against the money you spent.

As always we hope that you found this post useful and informative! We encourage you to leave your comments below and connect with us on Twitter!

Generating Reports

*For a better view of graphics simply click on the image to enlarge

So, one of the best ways to learn something is to see it in action. In Sexy Little Numbers, by  Dimitri Maex, there is a great example of why you want to understand the numbers. Based on his teams assessment of Motorola’s 2006 phone sales in the China:

The expense of marketing as a whole generated 26% of Motorola sales. Advertising accounted for 55% of those sales, at only 11% of the total marketing budget! For every 10,000 yuan spent on advertising, 382 phones were sold. However the same spent on in store promotions only resulted in the sale of 96 phones. Assuming the industry average is a profit margin of 30% per phone sold, Motorola’s was more than double with every yuan spent on advertising yielding 15 yuan.

You have the ability to assess your efforts in a similar way. One, that will allow you to begin to make strategic decisions. One way to do this is to export the data you have from your various social platforms into Excel files (.xls). Start with one platform at a time, be sure to save your original data, simply copy and paste the data onto a new sheet to begin your analysis. For the purposes of this post we’re going to use Facebook as the platform we’re going to export our data from. You should know that you can export data related to your Facebook Page from two places, Ads Manager, which provides reports on any paid advertising you’ve done on Facebook, or from your Page’s Insights.

Ads Manager

From your Facebook Home Page/Newsfeed click on Ads Manager from the menu bar to the left of your feed, under Messages and Events. Once you’re in Ads Manager, select Reports from the left side menu bar. When you open the reports page it will default to your General Metrics for the last 30 days. Select the dates you want the report to generate from then proceed to determine what type of report you would like. Facebook allows you to view and export 7 different reports:

  1. General Metrics: provides you with an overview of each ad, reporting reach, frequency, impressions, clicks, money spent, and actions taken.
  2. Website Conversion: provides information on all ads that we’re driven to purchase or register on the landing pages you’re required to link to your ad.
  3. Placement Based Metrics: provides information on the placement of your ad, was it seen in the news feed or the right column space and was it viewed on a mobile device or PC?
  4. Responder Demographics: provides information on the people your content reaches, providing you with their age and gender.
  5. Page Actions; provides you with insight into the actions people are taking with your ads, how many are liking, sharing, comments and engaging with your content?
  6. Video Actions: looks specifically at the videos you post, how many people viewed or clicked on a particular video, did they watch the complete video, did they share like or comment?
  7. Application Actions: looks at the application associated with your page, for example you may use this when running a contest on Facebook.

FB Screen Shot 1

Page Insights

From your Business Page select Insights to generated reports related to your page and posts. Click export, this will open the Export Insights Data box. Select the dates you want the report to focus on, determine whether you want the report to be based on your page or post activity, then select the old vs. new export (doesn’t make a big difference) and click Download.

FB Screen Shot 2

Go a head and open the downloads of your data, don’t feel overwhelmed by all the numbers on the page. To begin to digest this information it’s best to work with Excel’s Pivot Charts. Simply select the information you desire to compare, copy and paste data by columns or rows, for the sake of this exercise I suggest picking two or three things to compare at a time. For example from the original document you may select the date column, the type column (photo, link, or status), and the lifetime post reach column to paste into a new sheet. On the new sheet select Insert Pivot Table using the data you just copied to the page. Pivot Tables can be confusing if you’ve never used them before, but in the latest Window’s version you can easily drag and drop information to determine where it can be viewed the easiest.  Once you generate your desired pivot table you can convert that table into a chart, which is even easier to digest. If you’re unsure of how to use pivot tables, there are tons of videos on YouTube that cover the subject. But when you finally get the hang of it here’s what you can do:

Analysis1

Chart A

Pivot7

Chart B

Based on Chart A we can see that the posts for this account performed better in Quarter 1 than in Quarter 2. With this one piece of information you could review all of your posts from the first quarter, looking for any patterns or theme. Run another report for Quarter 1 posts and you may discover that there is a time of day that works best for your audience or you may determine that certain events or posts really attracted a lot of attention from your audience. Chart B looks at the paid ads this account ran in Quarters 1 & 2. Based on the chart we can see that 2 ads did really well in relation to the cost of the ad. What we want to point out is the last ad, Website Clicks New…, and provide a little back story. That ad was part of a two week promotion for a paid live stream event. The cost of running this add was $166, that included the graphic art used in the promotion and the cost of advertising on Facebook through Power Editor. The results of this advertising we’re 7 attendees for the live in store event, 35 online attendees and resulted in this business netting $700. This resulted in about a 24% profit margin. This company was thrilled to see that a few minor changes to their Facebook advertising strategy could not only generate revenue but also drive traffic to their site and events. It just take some time and a willingness to experiment.

But maybe after reading this post you determine you’re just not up to this whole Excel thing… Well we stumbled upon a little free tool that can easily help you analyze your Facebook efforts, Wolfram|Alpha. Make sure your signed into your Facebook page prior to clicking the link. But it does do an excellent job with providing you with important data in a easily digestible manner. Here’s an example for the same account we used above:

Analysis2

Or if you utilize a third party sight such as Buffer, Hoot Suite or Sprout Social, you can generate reports through these sites as well that will analyze all of the platforms your have linked to that particular site. Here’s an example of what it looks like from Sprout Social:

Analysis3

 

As always we hope that you have found this post to be beneficial. Please be sure to leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you!

Data Sourcing & Analysis

 

Creating AContent CalendarWe hope that after last week’s intro into this series, you had some time to do some serious thinking about what success looks like for your business.

In the previous post, we discussed what you should be measuring from a beginner stand point, your inputs, outputs and outcomes. But you will need to look at much more if you want the complete picture, what you’ll need to look at is your business metrics. Business metrics looks at things like Market Share, Revenue, Profit, Average Order Size, and ROI. It is these metrics that allow you to access the overall health of your business and evaluate the impact of your social media efforts. But in order to do so effectively you will need to analyze one action’s impact at a time.

In Part 1, we were just beginning to touch upon data sources, the various software suites and platforms that store all of the information regarding your business. Let’s break down what these common data sources are:

  • Corporate Finance Systems: for many these systems bridge the gap between Accounting and Management. For these systems its all about the numbers, they look at everything from profits and losses to employee productivity to provide you with valuable insights to improve your business. Very often these robust systems are able to provide you with industry benchmarks and forecasts. Developers of these types of systems include but are not limited to  Intuit, Sage, Adobe and Oracle.
  • Media & Marketing Plans: maybe you did one before you went into business, maybe you didn’t. But typically if you take the time to do these thoroughly they can be a treasure trove of data and a great jumping off point when it comes to developing and implementing any marketing or sales strategy.
  • Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM): these systems typically hold tons of data on your direct interactions with your existing customer base. Examples of commonly used CRM are Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, HelloWorld, Infusionsoft and Salesforce.
  • Market Research: which has never been easier in this digital age, are the surveys and polls you conduct with your existing customers. You’ll be surprised by what you will learn about your business if you only take the time to ask? Online services such as SurveyMonkey, make it fairly simple to get started.
  • Web Analytics: such as Google Analytics, provide you with insights on your website traffic, as well as your overall online presence.
  • Social Network Data: these are the insights provided to you by the social platforms you use.
  • Digital Ad Serving Platforms: online ads and banner management has never been more convenient and measurable then they are with Google Adwords. Your able to gain insights into the types of actions your ads invoke.
  • Online Videos: one can not deny that video is  becoming even more of an integral part of online marketing and social media. YouTube, by far the largest video platform, provides you with additional insights into the impact of your visual and media efforts

Once you’ve had an opportunity to compile data from all of your appropriate data sources, its time to analyze. Analysis is the ability to break down material into its component parts.  It is a process that serves to make improvements and streamline efforts. So it’s wise to regularly analyze your efforts. In Sexy Little Numbers, the process discussed is the A2A – Analysis to Action – framework.

Adopted from Sexy Little Numbers by Dimitri Maex

Adopted from Sexy Little Numbers by Dimitri Maex

It all begins with the data phase. This is going to require you to import all of your data into an Excel spreadsheet.  To simplify things you can utilize the Analysis ToolPak in Excel. During the analysis phase you want to figure out what worked and what didn’t work by asking the right questions. For Example:

  • Does one ad work better than another?
  • Does time of day and day of the week factor into a campaigns success?
  • Does length of campaign play a part?
  • Which products or services did well during a particle campaign?

From here you need to begin testing. What’s working, and what would the impact be on your business if you saw a small percentage increase or decrease? Knowing what doesn’t work allows you to re-work content, redistribute it, and analyze the new data. You have to be willing to do a little experimentation, going beyond A/B Testing and begin running A/B/C/D/E/F Testing.

Moving in the process from testing to share and execute, is the point at which action is required. In terms of the A2A framework the share step refers to sharing the insights of all the analysis you’ve done with your company’s team. Together you can begin to develop more engaging content and plan execution strategies based on the information your organization has.

Next week we’ll look at a hypothetical case in order to illustrate the process in action. As always we hope you have found this post to be informative. We want to hear from you so be sure to leave a comment below!