New to SEO? Here’s How to Amp Up Your Link Building Game to Improve Your Search Rankings

New to SEO- Here's How to Amp Up Your Link Building Game to Improve Your Search Rankings

Looking to open your business to the online world? SEO is the way to do it. With 93% of online experiences beginning on a search engine, getting your website and its content on the first page for your keywords will get your business noticed by your dream customers. By making yourself visible to your prospective client that is searching for things related to you, you are advertising your business without having to shout out about yourself. No one likes cold callers, right?

Some of you may already have a bit of knowledge of link building, but for the most of you, you’re looking for 5* information that’ll put you on the right path. What’s certain is that taking the time to create and carry out a link building strategy is the best way to zoom ahead of your competitors in the search results. In this blog post we are going to explain what ‘link building’ is, how it will help you reach out to your target audience and most importantly – tell you all about the best link building strategies that’ll get you seen and get people talking about you.

First, let’s discuss why you need to build links to your website.

Link building is now considered an art. Gone with days where black hat spammy SEO methods got you to the first page of Google. Google’s got clever. Bots now crawl the worldwide web to identify what websites are linking to you, whether they’re relevant to your website and whether they’re websites are trusted. A high quality link will:

  • Direct people onto your website straight from the link on the other website.
  • Improve your Domain Authority – in non-technical terms, the more quality Domain Authority websites that link to your site, Google will improve your Domain Authority and get you seen in the search results of your chosen keywords.
  • The anchor text (one of your chosen keywords) that is hyperlinked on the website linking to your site will give Google an indication of the topic/industry of your site and in return, improve your rankings for that keyword and increase your chances of getting those all-important page 1 results.

Here’s What You Need to ‘Link’

You Can Build Links Using Your URL

You can build links by simply pointing to your URL for example, www.purelysocialmedia.com. By building links this way, you’ll be working towards improving your overall domain authority which’ll increase all of your other web page authority.

Or, You Can Build Links Using Your Keywords

Before starting your link building campaign, you need to strategize what keywords you’d like to rank for. If you haven’t yet identified your keywords, you need to login to your Google AdWords account, click Tools and then go to the Keyword Planner tool. In the Keyword Planner tool type in the searches and topics related to your business, for example:

If you’re a digital marketing company like ourselves, we may expect our target audience to be searching for the following topics: ‘how to set up a Facebook page’, ‘how to gain followers on twitter’ or ‘how to build links to my website’.

Now – think of things your ideal client will be searching, these are things that you can explain in a blog post, type these ideas and scroll to the list of search terms. Here you will find the most related search term to what you’ve type in and a list of similar searches or in tech speak – ‘long tail keywords’. Pick one of these terms. This will be the keyword you will be looking to build links to from other blogs/websites. Before you start building links to this keyword, you will need to write a blog post about it and use the keyword in your title, URL and repeat they keyword within your blog post content. Once your blog is published you will have a URL on your website that you can point to from blogs/websites.

NOTE: If you’ve not yet optimized your website with your chosen keywords then take a read of our Beginner’s Guide to SEO. In this blog post you will find out our SEO tips and where your keywords need to appear on your web pages in order to get your website optimized!

Now we’ve discussed why and what you need to link in your link building campaign, here are the best ways to get those all-important links:

Get Guest Blogging

Build links, raise your online profile and direct your target audience to your website by submitting helpful + engaging blog posts to blogs and websites with a better domain authority than yourself. You can find out more about the benefits of guest blogging in our recent blog post.

Find Blogs Related to Your Business or Local Area (aka Blogger Outreach)

By building relationships with bloggers you will build links in return. Spend time finding blogs related to your business and/or area you trade in and contact them to see whether they’re interested in working with you. Here are a few ideas:

Ask Bloggers to Review Your Business

If you own a product based business, restaurant or bar, contacting a blogger to talk about your business in a review piece is a great way of getting a link. Most bloggers will take the free product, meal or drinks as remuneration for their post. However, more popular blogs and websites may charge a fee for doing this.

Pay a Blogger to Write About Your Business or Content Related to your Business (aka. Sponsored Post)

Sponsored posts are another way of building links to your website. Most bloggers will either charge a fee for these posts or ask whether you have a budget in mind. To work out your budget or to explore whether their fee is worth it you can request to see their media kit (a document which states their total page views and social media following) and check out their domain authority by analyzing their URL on the backlink explorer on Moz.

Submit Your Business to Business Directory Websites

You can build links to your website by listing your details and URL to business directory websites. But – you may need to pay a small fee to list your website on online business directories.

Create Great Content and Share, Share Share!

What’s more rewarding than seeing your blog posts liked and shared? As well as feeling great for writing amazing content – people linking to your content on their websites will direct traffic to your website as well as being beneficial for your SEO too!

Advertise on a Website

Like gaining a ‘link’ naturally through submitting guest posts, people linking to your content on their websites and sites reviewing your business – you can get a link by paying for an advertisement on a website. Although there’s the drawback of having to pay for the advertisement & only having the link for a short amount of time – paying to advertise on a website gives you the ability to get your business linked on a site with a high domain authority. And, once Google sees a high domain authority site linking to you – Google will give your authority a boost in return!  

Ask Your Customers to Link to You

Built a great relationship with your client? If they don’t know much about the benefits of SEO for their business, give them a run down about how link building improve their visibility on search engines and ask whether they will be interested in linking to your website in exchange for a link to their website from a page on your site. What’s there to lose?

5 Tools Your Business NEEDS To Survive

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The title might be a tad dramatic, but in all seriousness, these tools are the base of everything I’ve been discussing with you over the past few months. One of the main things I’ve always said is that even if I was broke and only made $10 in a year on my business, I would still invest that $10 in PR. “PR” covers everything from advertising to marketing and quite frankly, not a single business in the world can survive without it.

As I’ve said many times in these articles (yes, I know it’s boring, but it’s really important and I’m going to keep repeating myself until I’m blue in the face or at least until my fingers are from all the typing and whatnot) that you needn’t spend a single dollar to promote your business. It’s about knowledge and knowing where to go. If you spend an hour or two every week researching new tools and features to help promote your business then you’d be surprised at the amount of ‘free’ coverage you can gain for your business.

Sometimes narrowing down the vital tools your business needs to survive can be hard considering there are literally thousands of tools available online at the touch of a button. Here, I’ve narrowed it down to five just for you the lovely readers of Purely Social Media! (You’re welcome). These are in no particular order as these are equally as important as each other.

1 – A Survey Tool

Here’s something I haven’t really gone into great depth about here on Purely Social Media. Surveys are annoying when they are a pop up or if you need to answer one to gain access to certain content. However, a strategically placed survey (right column of the homepage) actually encourages your visitors to interact by completing the survey which also gives you some insider knowledge about your visitor.

Here’s an example of three good survey questions:

1 – Which gender do you identify with?

2 – Which age group are you in? (select below)

3 – Do you have a (free) membership with us?

We all know how difficult it can be to get a good demographic about who is actually our audience. Asking your visitors their gender and age group will help you to narrow down who your visitors typically are and can help you to cater content to that demographic. For example, if your average visitor is a female aged between 35-41 years old then you could write more articles tailored towards parenting, buying a home or tips on de-stressing (we all know having children and moving home is enough to give even the calmest of people stress!).

The final question “Do you have a (free) membership with us?” was chosen because of two reasons – one reason is because you make it obvious that they are missing out on something if they are not yet a member. The “free” in the question encourages your visitors to register a membership with you because they have nothing to loose. The second reason the question is a good one to ask is because it also lets you see the ratio of how many visitors are returning visitors to your website in comparison to new visitors. Again this allows you to cater your content to the audience.

The survey tool I would recommend is definitely Google Forms. It’s free, it’s easy to use and gives you a tonne of customizable options. There are dozens of online tutorials on using it, however Google have made it pretty straightforward for any users. I would recommend letting a survey run for a week and then changing it up a little to let your visitors see you are adding new content regularly.

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2 – Email Marketing (Newsletters)

Again, this is another one we haven’t really discussed at great length before. Newsletters can often be annoying and can back up in our email inboxes without ever being read. However, sometimes, if we are interested in the sender or the subject line, we will take the time to browse through those newsletter and on occasion will even find ourselves placing an order with the company.

Email Marketing (AKA sending a newsletter) is an advertising dream come true. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend flooding the newsletter with flashing banners, I definitely would recommend sending a weekly newsletter to your subscribers to let them know about any new offers, products or information you may have.

I would recommend using Mail Chimp for sending out your newsletters. Mail Chimp allows you to send 12,000 free emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers for FREE. Of course, there are paid options available if you wish to send more than the free monthly allowance. The software is easy to use and can integrate with your mail software to manage your contacts. Again, there are dozens of ‘how-to’ guides online if you need them.

If I had to choose one “DO” for email marketing, it would be to always have a hook subject line. The sender and the subject line are the first things you see in an email and having a ‘hook’ can make the difference between generating a sale of hitting the recycle bin. Here’s an example of a good subject line:

“Limited Time Subscriber Only Discount!”

By saying it is a ‘limited time’ discount, you give a sense of urgency which makes your reader more likely to click the email which will of course contain the discount, but will also contain a few advertisements too. By mentioning the deal is for subscribers only, you make them feel a bit special and as if they’re getting something that not everyone else will receive. This is a sales strategy that has been used for a long time but it’s one that continues to work!

If I had to choose one “Don’t” it would be: do not send anymore than one email per week. If you bombard your readers, you’re more likely to find your newsletter in the trash can before it’s even been read. You’re also more likely to lose subscribers if you send too many newsletters out as they see it as a nuisance. I would recommend sending a newsletter out once per week at the same time each week. This will let the subscriber know when they can expect to hear from you and might even look forward to receiving it.


3 – Social Media Management

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the dozens of other social media platforms are sometimes never ending. As I’ve said before on Purely Social Media, it’s important that you have a social media Management platform to help you with your social media accounts.

Buffer is a great app for social media management. Using the app is simple and straightforward. You simply type a status and an image (if you wish to choose one) and share it across whichever platforms you like at whichever time of the day you prefer. Scheduling is definitely a blogger’s best friend and will save your business a lot of time at the same time as promoting your content regularly. Buffer is free to use and can be downloaded on any smart device.

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4 – Affiliate Marketing

The blogging industry is huge and speaks for itself. Thousands of brands send products and information to bloggers in the hope that they will feature those products or information on their blog which could potentially drive thousands of new visitors and customers to your business.

It’s tricky knowing where to send your products. However what I would recommend is searching for bloggers either for free on Google search (by narrowing down results based on location and demographic) or by using paid for tools such as Buzzsumo is recommended.

As I’ve said before, you can do this for free – I would recommend going onto Twitter and writing a status about your request for bloggers and use some clever hashtags to find them. Here’s an example of what I mean:

“#Bloggerswanted to try out & feature a new skincare product. DM us for details! #journorequest”

That way you know that you’re only going to hear from people who are genuinely interested and are likely to feature you. It also means you can have a look at their Twitter profile and blog prior to sending a product to them.

5 – Contributors

Last, but by no means least, for today is Contributors. As you know, I am a contributor here at Purely Social Media and am compensated for my time and information. However, with that being said, I am only one blogger of millions. A lot of Bloggers will contribute to your site if you offer them something in return (not always money!). If you offer them “A front page advertisement of your blog for one month” in exchange for a 500 word article which they then will promote on their social media, you might be surprised at how many bloggers would be open to this.

Aged bloggers are less likely to take you up on this offer as we often don’t require an advertisement at that moment in time. However smaller, new bloggers might be open to it.

I would recommend contacting some bloggers and asking politely, if they would be interested in this. Some might not even respond to you, however some might be happy to contribute which again gives you fresh content for your site and if they are happy to share it on their social media then you might attract a whole bunch of new visitors or customers.

To top it all off, the blogger community is a popular one. Your name might end up being mentioned in the industry which can help to open up new doors for your business.

You’re definitely not the only ones looking for free exposure – it can be mutually beneficial.

Well there you have it, my top five tools your business needs to survive. I know it’s been a long one today but I’m certain your business will benefit from implementing even just one of these steps.

Let us know your thoughts and any other suggestions in the comments below or feel free to tweet us @purelysocialtip

15 Things You Should Do Before + After You Publish a Blog Post

15 Things You Should Do Before + AfterYou have spent time brainstorming your content, you have written your blog post and now you’re ready to press publish. If you’re looking for marketing tips, it could be that you’re missing a few basic SEO elements that can help boost the reach of your blog post. Follow our checklist of things you should do before + after you publish a blog post to get more people reading your post as well as improve your search rankings.

BEFORE YOU HIT PUBLISH

  1. Write An Engaging + SEO-Worthy Blog Post Title

8 out of 10 people will read your headline – but only 2 out of 10 people will click through to your post. That said – this makes the title the most important component of the marketing of your blog post. The title serves two purposes; it needs to include keywords for all that SEO value and be interesting enough to attract potential readers to click through to read your post.

An example of a not-so-engaging blog post title:

“What I’ve Learnt About Facebook For Business”

By re-working the title to include your keywords, your target audience and demonstrating your blog post will drive results, this blog post title works better:  

“New Business Owner? Here’s How to Grow Your Business on Facebook”

  1. Link to Old Blog Posts

Google likes to see inbound links in your content. One of the easiest ways to boost the amount of inbound links in your content is to hyperlink old blog posts. It will make Google happy as well as keep readers on your website for longer. Put together a list of blog posts that relate to the blog posts you’re about to publish and link them within your content. Remembering to make the anchor text the blog post title for example: How to Use an Editorial Calendar to Grow Your Traffic + Social Media Following and not hyperlinking text like, ‘find out more here’.

  1. Is Your Blog Post SEO Optimized?

Now you need to ensure your blog post content is ready for Google. If you use WordPress, one of the best ways to check this is by installing the Yoast SEO plugin. It’ll make it easy for you to edit your page title and meta description. And – tell you how well your content scores for SEO. Here’s are few factors that’ll make your blog post SEO-tastic:

– Have you used your keywords in your content?

Try to make your keywords make up 1% of your content. But remember to incorporate them naturally within your blog post.

– Are your keywords in the page title?

Usually – a page title is autogenerated from your blog post title. But sometimes this won’t include your keyword and can look a bit messy. Scroll down the content of your blog post title in editor and you’ll find Yoast SEO. From there you can edit your page title to tick all of the SEO boxes.

– Do you have a meta description?

Similar to page titles, a meta description is automatically pulled from the content of your blog post. Use Yoast SEO to write your meta description to include a keyword and attract readers. Take a look at the meta descriptions of your competitors in the search results. Using their meta descriptions as a comparison, you can make your meta description stand out from the rest to increase your click through rate.

You can find more tips to step up your SEO game in our Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

  1. Break Up Text into Smaller Chunks with Headings

What’s more off-putting than a huge chunk of text? It’s a huge turn off. And – Google knows this.

Make it easier for your reader by breaking up your content into small sections and you’ll find people will stay on your page for longer. More engagement = more chance of winning your reader as a client.

– Read through your content and see where you can break it up. Once you’re finishing editing – Yoast SEO will give you a score as to how ‘readable’ your text is. Aim for a green light!

– Use header tags like <h1> </h1> around the headings of your sections.  In your headings you may want to include your keyword to please Google

  1. Use Branded Imagery

Our branding sets us apart from our competitors. And – setting a style for your blog post images will help enforce your brand. For each featured image use a set font, colour (from your website/logo) and style. Create a template to help make your images more consistent with one another. It’ll also speed up the process too!

  1. SEO Optimize Your Images

Like we optimize our content, we need to optimize images too. On WordPress, when you upload an image it’ll come up with ‘description’ and ‘alt text’ on the right hand side. Type in your blog post title into this – not forgetting to include your keyword!

  1. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

After hours of writing on a screen, it’s so easy to miss a typo or miss something that doesn’t make sense. Take a break from your computer for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Return to your blog post with fresh eyes and read in small sections. Using this technique you’ll be able to notice more mistakes + make your blog post flawless.

  1. Delete Unnecessary Words From The URL

Once you’ve typed in your blog post title, a URL will generate automatically from this. To ensure your URL scores well for SEO – start by deleting words like ‘the, a, because’ to lay more emphasis on your keyword and main components of your blog post title.

AFTER YOU HIT PUBLISH

  1. Write Social Media Posts & Share onto Twitter and Facebook

After you publish a blog post, write a series of unique posts to promote your blog post on social media. I usually tend to write around 8 tweets and 4 Facebook posts for each blog post I publish. Once written, schedule them to go out over the next 4 weeks.

After scheduling, insert all of your social media posts into a content bank so can schedule them sporadically with other posts to keep your social profiles updated and drive traffic to your website.

If you’re not using a scheduling platform yet – take a read of our How to Use an Editorial Calendar to Grow Your Traffic + Social Media Following blog post to find out our list of recommended scheduling websites and plugins.

  1. Pin Your Image onto Your Pinterest

You may know this already – but Pinterest is soon becoming one of the best social media platforms for driving traffic to your website. After you publish a blog post ensure your images gets uploaded to the following:

– Pin your image to a blog post board, aka a board used solely to house your blog posts images.

– Pin your blog post’s image to other relevant boards on your Pinterest. Once your blog post has been uploaded to your blog post board, pin your image to any other relevant boards on your Pinterest. That way you will maximise the reach of your pin as you’ll be putting it in front of an audience who follows your boards.

– Upload your pin to shared group boards. If you’re not already a member of shared boards, search for boards relevant to your business so that you can share your pin with both people who are a part of the group board and who follow the shared board.

  1. Post Blog Posts in Relevant Facebook Groups

Similar to shared Pinterest boards, there are tonnes of Facebook groups where you can post your content. Join groups that are relevant to your business so you can share your knowledge to an audience who could benefit from your blog post.

  1. Upload An Image to Instagram

Instagram is a great platform to show off your branded images. After you publish a blog post make sure you upload an image to your Instagram profile. Not forgetting to include hashtags to reach an audience that are looking for content like yours. You’ll find top tips in our post Using Hashtags Effectively on Social Media.

  1. Talk About Your Blog Post in A Round Up Email

Everyone has their favorite go-to places for content. For some of us it’s Facebook, some can’t stay away from Pinterest and some of us like getting their updates through email.

After you have published a blog post, write a quick 30 word summary of your blog to feature in your weekly, bi-weekly or monthly round up email to drive traffic to your website.

If you haven’t got an email marketing campaign in-action, make some time to brainstorm ideas for content that you can exchange for an email address. For instance, if you’re a healthy lifestyle brand, creating a ‘20 Lunch Recipes That Are Budget Friendly + Help You Lose Weight’ guide as a lead magnet for your mailing list campaign. LeadPages is an easy-to-use campaign to help get this set up for you!

  1. Link Post in Old & Relevant Blog Posts

Like including links to old, relatable blog posts before you publish a blog post, linking your new blog post to old content will work in the same way. Readers who land on your old blog post will be shown a new blog post that may interest them will help reduce your website’s bounce rate.

  1. Tweet People Talking About Your Blog Post Topic

Get conversations started with people talking about your topic. Type in relevant search terms or words associated to your blog post and you’ll find people talking about it in some way. Mention that you’ve written a blog post that’ll help with their problem and engage with their previous tweets/photos. It’ll help direct people on to your website as well as boost your Twitter following.

 

Using Hashtags Effectively On Social Media

IMG_1389Everyone from Kimye to Politicians use hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Some people even use it in day to day conversations nowadays. #Guilty.

I have a love hate relationship with hashtags. When they are used correctly, they add to your content and attract new followers/customers/UFO’s. Used wrongly, and they can be pretty annoying to see. Sometimes you see people typing a 20 character status on Twitter and use the extra 120 characters on hashtags – #wrongwaytousethem! There’s a thin line between tolerated and completely intolerable. So, lucky for all of you, I am here to tell you how to use them effectively to benefit your business or blog.

Being a Blogger of almost five years means you get to hear about all of the funny mistakes I’ve made over the years, knowing you will never face the embarrassment of making the mistakes I have. I once posted a picture on Instagram of my cat and used the hashtags “#cutecat” “#CatsofInstagram” and uhm… “#Faceoftheday”. For starters, I had clicked the option to automatically share my Instagram posts to twitter and Facebook and because of this “catsofinstagram” was completely irrelevant on the other platforms. Aside from that, let’s move onto the elephant in the status “Face Of The Day” obviously does not relate whatsoever to my cat picture. I only used it because it was a popular hashtag. I ended up receiving about 5/6 notifications telling me I was using “Click Bait” (where people use catchy titles or hashtags to encourage people to click on the item despite it being irrelevant) and those people unfollowed me. I didn’t even have an excuse for it, I genuinely just wanted more people to see my status. #Fail.

So, moving on to using them the right way…

Frequency Of Hashtags

Twitter was the originator of the hashtag. Originally, people thought the idea would never catch on but Twitter blatantly have had the last laugh with hashtags being used across all social platforms from Instagram to Facebook and even Pinterest.

According to Twitter, using two hasthtags in your status doubles the chances of engagement, meaning you’re more likely to receive a comment, a ‘like’ or even a follow. If you’re really lucky, you might even be retweeted which opens the door to many more people. With that said, using three hashtags actually drops this chance by 17%. Facebook is a hub of hashtags, but personally, I use only one hashtag at the most.

For Instagram, people don’t really seem to be too put off by hashtags and I think that’s partly because they don’t look so dominant in statuses – for example, the image is the dominant feature of the post and the hashtags are written in blue making them less prominent than the black you see on Twitter or Facebook. Feel free to go wild with hashtags on Instagram but always keep them relevant. We all know that #fitspiration or #f4f are popular hashtags but they’re no good to you or your visitors unless your image relates to them. If, for example, you are in the beauty industry and are posting an image of lipsticks, then you might opt to use “#beauty #makeup #lipstagram #lipsticks #faceoftheday #pretty #bbloggers” – all of these are relative to the content meaning you’re more likely to get interaction from the people who see your post, such as a ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘follow’ (if you’re really lucky, you might even get a regram which is basically Instagram’s version of Retweeting).

It’s also a good idea to use your business name as a hashtag to help spread the word about your brand. It’s also a good way to keep track of others talking about your business as it’s likely they will use the hashtag.

IMG_1392Research Your Hashtags

You needn’t pluck hashtags from thin air or be in the know about which ones work best, you can use online tools which will help you decide which hashtags will work best for you. I use Hashtagify.me for research, and if your business has a local presence, you might want to consider using Trendsmap which is tailored to your preferred location.

Aside from that, you may want to try doing your own research. You could try using one hashtag across your social media platforms for one week and see how they perform before trying a different hashtag the following week and so on. This will help tailor your results to your very own business and will make it much more personalised rather than from a wide demographic.

Communities

Mainly on Twitter, but also on Instagram, are communities who have similar interests and they all use a specific hashtag where those people will ‘like’ or interact in some way. These communities also host ‘tweetchats’ on Twitter where once or twice a week users gather and use the hashtag to participate in a discussion which has a different theme each time. This sounds a little bit complicated so I’ll give an example. As a beauty and fashion blogger, I obviously participate in related chats. Hashtags used for these are #bbloggers or #fbloggers and each week, a new host will tweet a question using the hashtag. For example:

“Welcome to #fbloggers – Q1 – What are your thoughts on runway to high street fashion?”

Anyone searching for the hashtag on Twitter (using the search feature) will be shown this tweet and any other tweets using the same hashtag. By responding or contributing to the chat, you will definitely see some interaction. I regularly receive around 10 new followers in each hour long chat (and I’m not even the host!). Just be sure to interact with other people by replying to them with a comment, or retweeting people. Be sure to always use the hashtag in your responses so other people can see them too. Just be smart with it – if you have success using a hashtag, be sure to use it as often as you can (just not more than once in one status as we have already discussed).

If you’re lucky enough to be the host for the chat (you can either start your own chat or request to be the host for another one by contacting the appropriate hashtag profile) then you can get literally hundreds of new followers – I hosted a chat once and it was trending for an hour because of the amount of interactions there were. It really is a follower goldmine.So, now that you know all about how to use hashtags, it’s time to get to work! We here at Purely Social would love to hear all about your success with hashtags and if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or drop us a tweet @purelysocialtip

Thanks so much for reading this article! I look forward to returning with more useful information to help your business or brand.

Holly

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:

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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!

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