Posts Tagged ‘Kristi Hines’
Maintaining a company blog has numerous benefits for businesses of almost all shapes and sizes: blogging is an SEO best practice; it drives more website visitors lead conversions; it draws new visitors, expanding the reach of the company website; and it’s core element of a content marketing and online presence optimization strategy.
Still—not every company that blogs realizes the medium’s full potential. And blogs require significant effort and resources, so even companies that have effective blogs want to assure they are maximizing results.
How can you attract more sales prospects to your blog? Get visitors to engage with your content? Become recognized as an industry thought leader? Optimize your blog for search? What common mistakes should you avoid? Which tools and plugins should you be using?
Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than two dozen of the best business blogging guides of the past year.
Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips
7 Steps To Make Your Blog A Marketing Machine by Heidi Cohen
To make your blog a marketing machine rather than a me-me-me (or me-too) blog, Heidi Cohen advises focusing on your audience’s hot buttons, outlining a series of ongoing columns, branding your blog, and incorporating clear calls to action, among other tactics.
9 Ways To Get More Prospects To Discover Your B2B Blog by Business2Community
Douglas Burdett recommends “nine tactics (that) will get your blog discovered by more readers,” from looking for and capitalizing on trends in your blog analytics and publishing original data to being controversial by “taking a stand and backing it up with data.”
An Almost Effortless Way to “Get Your Name Out There” by The Un-Self-Help Blog
Stephan Wiedner shares six reasons to write guest posts for other blogs, among them: “It builds relationships. If you write for someone else’s blog and their readers like what you share, they will be grateful, potentially ask you to write again, and who knows, maybe scratch your back in other ways some time in the future.” And despite some recent, widely misinterpreted comments by Google’s Matt Cutts, guest blogging is not dead.
30+ powerful adjectives and verbs for eye-catching headlines by Econsultancy
Quoting advertising legend David Ogilvy that “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar,” Chris Lake offers guidance on choosing compelling blog post topics then grabbing attention by using key adjectives and verbs in the headline. Based on research over millions of page impressions, these adjectives include “best,” “brilliant,” “kickass,” “mindblowing” and “ultimate” among others.
Rebekah Radice explains why post titles are so important, the four objectives a post title should achieve, and a handful of tips to help craft compelling titles, such as keeping them concise: “It has been found that titles with eight words or less perform best.”
6 Ways To Go From Anonymous Hermit To Thought Leader by Fast Company
Contending that “Becoming a thought leader in your industry doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily the smartest kid on the block. It does mean that you’re the most receptive and understanding of your customers’ needs,” the brilliant Wendy Marx offers half a dozen tips for making the transition, including writing for trade publications and speaking at industry events.
How to Optimize Your Blog Content for Social Media by Maximize Social Business
Kristi Hines shares a handful of helpful tips for optimizing blog posts for social sharing, from adding social sharing buttons (a task done easily with tools like AddThis or ShareThis]) to including a social call to action (“let readers know that you want them to share your posts by adding a call to action at the end such as ‘If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends'”).
33 Experts Share Their Secrets For Improving Reader Engagement by Blogging Wizard
Adam Connell compiles advice from nearly three dozen seasoned bloggers on increasing reader engagement, including tips from Seth Godin (“The only thing I do to increase reader engagement is to write things worth sharing”), frequent Webbiquity best-of contributor Neil Patel, Dino Dogan, Anita Campbell, Ted Rubin, Lisa Buben, Joel Comm and more.
7 company blogs that build community by Ragan.com
Emma Siemasko looks at “seven company blogs that do it right, along with some practical tips for getting the same success with your blog,” among them 37Signals: “Signal vs. Noise, 37 Signals’ blog, does a lot more than promote the company…The blog provides thoughtful, inquisitive, and truth-seeking articles about working from home, whether an iPhone camera is enough of a camera, and more.”
How to Generate More Leads With Your Blog: 5 Tips by Social Media Examiner
Kristi Hines (again) supplies a handful of helpful tips for generating leads via a blog, like placing opt-in forms around your blog content with “calls to action such as free trials, free consultations or a simple mailing list opt-in form.”
How to Contribute to a Blog and be Seen by Geekless Tech
Noting that contributing to other blogs “helps with reach, and exposes you to an audience you just don’t have with your own blog,” Steven Hughes shares a handful of tips for constructively contributing such as following directions: “Some sites will spell out exactly what they’re looking for and what you need to do to be considered,” and creating solid, original content.
20 ideas for content that people love to share on social media by Firebrand Ideas Ignition
Jeff Bullas provides 20 tips to help bloggers create a steady stream of fresh content, including creating lists, republishing infographics, curating content (kind of like this post), reporting news, analyzing research results, and reviewing tools or applications.
How to Make Your WordPress Blog to Stand Out by Themefuse
Karol Król presents five ideas to make your blog stand out from the crowd, from picking a new publication schedule (“you won’t know which posting frequency is the best for your blog until you try at least a couple of them”) to launching a contest (“Create a genuine task, or ask a genuine question…Then gather the entries and pick the winner”).
Best Tips for Beginning Bloggers
7 Content Writing Secrets Every Blogger Should Know by Basic Blog Tips
Glen Andrews details basic but helpful strategies for writing compelling blog posts, from crafting an attention-grabbing headline and opening through “giving it a rest”–“Before you publish that post – give it a rest. Why? Because, no matter how good we think our post is today, tomorrow never lies…Our posts will be more powerful and professional if we ‘let it rest’ and review it tomorrow with fresh eyes.”
Bernard Zarifovic diagrams a first-time blogger’s business plan, starting with selecting a topic or niche and writing the first set of posts and progressing through social sharing, social engagement, and guest blogging.
While most of the points here will be familiar to experienced bloggers, Megan Bernstein offers some interesting insights for corporate blog strategy, such as understanding the competitive landscape: “Your competitors in the online space are not always the same as those in ‘real life’.”
Top 10 Strategies to Successful B2B Blogging by TopTenWholesale.com
Naomi Ruth Ganhinhin offers 10 tips for blogging success, from setting clear objectives (“A clear set of objectives makes it easier to organize the type of content you publish. It also dictates the tone you are going to use and determine the right people to write your blog posts”) to including calls to action.
Best Guides to Blogging Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid
Are You Making These 20 Mistakes on Your Blog? by jeffbullas.com
Jeff Bullas (again) steps through 20 “common mistakes that a lot of ‘newbie’ and other bloggers slip into,” such as not providing additional reading sources with each post, writing posts that are too long or too short (he recommends aiming for 500-800 words), and not using post categories to help readers find posts of interest.
Still Using Google Images for Your Blog Posts? Stop It! by She Owns It
Writing that she has “seen too many people served with unexpected ‘bills’ and/or lawsuits for using images that held copyrights,” guest author Shelley Webb explains what types of actions and sources can get bloggers into trouble, and lists alternative / free image sources like Stock.XCHNG.
Blogging: 34 Things You’re Doing Wrong by Social Media Today
Yvonne Lyons reveals “34 things that could be keeping your posts from getting traction and making the jump from good to remarkable,” such as errors / lack of editing, choosing a topic that’s been “done to death,” and having no links within the post to your own site—and how to fix each problem.
Why Your Company Blog is Striking Out by Marketo Blog
Guest blogger K’Lee Banks offers advice on what to do “if you are spending time writing posts, but no one is listening,” for example: use interesting images (not just stock photos), always include social sharing buttons; and “Invite other professionals in your industry to guest post and connect with their readers.”
Best Blog SEO Guides and Tips
How To Move Your Blog Post Up In Search Results by V3 Integrated Marketing
Guest author Ian Cleary outlines a half-dozen tactics to improve a blog’s search rankings, including the strategic use of internal and external links: “You don’t want to include a ton of internal links, as that looks spammy. Instead, make sure you’re directing your readers to the resources that they need (internal or external).”
How to Optimize Your Business Blog [Checklist] by Unbounce
***** 5 STARS
In this highly bookmark-worthy post, Lindsey Kirchoff lays out a simple four-quadrant checklist for optimizing all aspects of a business blog: structure (e.g., navigation, search, categories); SEO (attributes like keyword use, internal links and Google authorship); CTAs; and social elements.
15 SEO Experts Give Their Best Tips For Blogging by Heidi Cohen
Heidi Cohen (again) shares blog SEO trips from experts like Kipp Bodnar and Jeffery L. Cohen (“The single biggest factor in SEO success for bloggers comes down to consistent publishing. Those who publish regularly receive more search traffic”), Eric Enge, Ron Jones, Rebecca Lieb and Charlie White.
Best Business Blogging Tools, WordPress Tips and Plugins
4 Useful Creative Commons Browser Plugins by Internet Marketing Ninjas
Online tools maven Ann Smarty reviews four browser plugins to help find free (creative commons) images for use in blog posts, including CC Search, a search plugin that provides “quick access to about 10 Creative Commons search engines (including flickr, spinxpress, wikimedia, fotopedia, etc). It’s a good search plugin when you need more options that just Flickr.”
How to Make WordPress Sites Load 72.7% Faster by CopyBlogger
In an attempt to “cut the crap and turn down the hype” regarding how to create a faster WordPress site, Jerod Morris recommends staring by examining and optimizing the “core” of every WordPress site, which includes “hosting, theme, and plugins,” then offers a series of speed optimization tips. Not all are simple, but most bloggers should at least be able to find some helpful site speed-related takeaways here.
7 Emerging and Free WordPress Plugins of Fall 2013 by SteamFeed
Jesse Aaron reviews seven newer WordPress plugins, including WooSidebars (for creating custom sidebars by page), All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets (self-explanatory) and his favorite: the WordPress Calls to Action Plugin, which makes it “insanely easy” to do things like “create an effective call to action button, direct the call to action to a landing page, and direct the landing page to a conversion form.”
Easily Move Your WordPress Website to a New Host by Masterful Marketing
This is an instance where “easily” may be in the eyes of the reader, but nonetheless Debra Murphy does an exemplary job here of detailing the non-trivial process of moving an existing blog to a new web host as simple and understandable as possible.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which would be an awkward and uncomfortable place from which to do search engine optimization work), you’re probably aware that the two most important things to know about link building in the post-Panda world are that 1) backlinks are still very important for ranking, and 2) traditional link-building methods (or at least many of them) are no longer effective. In its efforts to combat webspam, Google now ignores or even penalizes “unnatural” link profiles.
So what types of links should you avoid? What kinds of links are still (or now) the most valuable? How can you get more high-quality links? What tools are most helpful in link building efforts?
Find the answers to those questions and more here in almost two dozen of the best link-building guides and tool reviews of the past year.
Link Building Guides, Techniques and Tips
Six Degrees Of SEO Bacon & B2B Link Building Q&A by Search Engine Land
Debra Mastaler answers seminar questions posed to her and Scott Fasser of Optify on b2b link building tactics, such as “Q: Is submitting press releases as a method for link building efficient? A: Press releases, if submitted properly, are an effective way to build short term links and to syndicate news and content…Having a plan for syndicating on a regular basis – no less than monthly is the best strategy. Optimizing the release for the focus keywords and submitted with the right service is a good strategy – especially when combined with an on-going PR effort to build excitement for news and participate in reviews, stories and roundups.”
Link Building From Scratch by Search Engine Watch
Julie Joyce details 16 different kinds of links along with the pros and cons of pursuing each, ranging from the easy-to-get-but-not-worth-much (e.g., directory links) to the challenging-but-valuable (infographics and widget links).
Observing that “Despite what most SEOs will tell you, it’s not easy to create outstanding content that people will want to link to,” Jon Cooper provides “10 fantastic examples of link bait and what makes them so spectacular,” such as Thomson’s Evolution of Music, “a visualization of how music has traveled over the past 200 years…Why was it successful?…The two main reasons it was successful are the quality of the visualization and the social share buttons on the page. Making it easy to share gets the page in front of more eyes, and more eyes means more links.” Jon didn’t say these examples were easy, just extraordinary.
The End of Link Building as We’ve Known and Loved it by Search Engine Watch
Frequent best-of honoree Eric Enge notes that traditional link-building methods (even white-hat tactics) simply don’t work as well as they used to in the old world of search engine algorithms, and offers eight recommendations for tactics to create a valuable groundswell of spontaneous links, among them blogging, engaging in social media, writing news releases, advertising on targeted sites…in short, using a web presence optimization framework approach.
Noting that authoritative links still play a highly significant role in ranking, the brilliant Neil Patel supplies 10 rules for attracting such links, such as writing content that attracts editorial links; creating a desirable (and original) image library; writing columns or guest posts; and knowing what kinds of sites to avoid for link building.
13 Unconventional Link Building Strategies by Search Engine Journal
Need more than 10 rules? Here, Sujan Patel (Neil’s cousin) lists 13 more tips (with surprisingly little overlap to Neil’s list) including asking your local library to link to you as a reference; setting up speaking gigs; and interviewing experts in your field.
How to Avoid an Unnatural Links Penalty by AboutUs
Kristina Weis explains plainly and concisely how Google evaluates “unnatural” links, the specific types of links to avoid (paid, sitewide, blog networks), and some common backlink-checking tools (another is Backlink Watch).
Noting that Google’s efforts to deindex “overoptimized” websites are likely to penalize many legitimate sites as well as spammy site, Modesto Siotos provides detailed instructions for a more technical audience on how to check your “backlink risk,” the tools required, and remedial actions to take if it appears your site could be at risk of a Google penalty.
Preparing for Link Armageddon by Search Engine Journal
Jeff Bedford laments Google’s decision to deindex several major blog networks, which particularly impacted blogs that relied heavily on syndication networks for inbound links. He then outlines several tactics for replacing those links, from tradition PR to social relationship building, forums and guest blogging.
Linking Strategies: The Complete Guide by Coconut Headphones
***** 5 STARS
Ted Ives offers an outstanding guide to link building, with tactics organized into five main categories: Highly Effective (e.g., produce great content, optimize news releases, ask partners for links); Worth Considering (coupons, commenting); Hard to Get Right; Wildcard Approaches (such as infographics); and Black Hat (best to avoid).
The Noob Guide to Link Building by SEOmoz
***** 5 STARS
Once you’ve absorbed Ted’s post above, Michael King serves up another long, detailed, and excellent (though also misnamed; true noobs will be lost, and this post has value for SEOs well beyond the noob stage) six-month link building plan, starting with quick hits like social profiles and select directories and moving along through ego bait, guest posts and event publicity.
8 Link Building Tips – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz
Paddy Moogan presents eight link-building tips in eight minutes. My favorite: “Go to Meetup.com and search for the word ‘blogger’ and refine the results by your area, and you’ll find local bloggers meeting up in the same place. So you may find music bloggers, design bloggers, fashion bloggers. Instead of emailing all of those people, just go to the event. Go and meet them, say hello, buy them a drink, go and have dinner. It’s a much better way of building a relationship than just firing (out) a bunch of emails.”
Quality Links & Quality Content: Linchpins of Your SEO Strategy by Search Engine Watch
Christian Arno discusses what constitutes a “quality link” (site relevance and trust) and how to go about getting more of them (PR, guest posts, social media, and other web presence optimization tactics), as well as consistently producing quality, link-worthy content.
Link Building Strategies That Will Work in 2013 by PPC for Hire
Jon Clark outlines half a dozen “Penguin-safe” link-building strategies, such as making the most of internal site links, posting on industry-specific forums, and linking out: “Whenever you come across a blog or site relevant to your niche, participate in the conversation with the author and other readers via comments. Leave fresh, useful and informative comments and create a backlink to your website.”
Rand Fishkin pontificates on “the egress of old link building practices and the ingress of new (old) link earning strategies that will help your site stay relevant in the SERPs and drive your traffic with a better user experience,” concluding that while certain “old school” link-building tactics may still have some value, content marketing will be the most important practice going forward.
SEO Link Building Q&A with an Ex-Google Webspam Team Member by Search Engine Journal
Jason DeMers interviews Andre Weyher, a former member of the webspam team at Google, about backlinking do’s and don’ts. Among the answers: on how Penguin determines which domains to penalize, “The most obvious element that it focuses on is ranking due to a large amount of bad quality backlinks but it also takes into account spammy on-page techniques like keyword stuffing and over-optimization of tags and internal links;” on how identifies bad neighborhoods, “Search engines rely on website fingerprinting to identify clusters of ownership. If a particular website is relying on techniques that are not abiding the guidelines, it’s likely that the other sites owned by the same person are doing the same;” and regarding misconceptions about bad links, “Some of the biggest misconceptions that I have seen out there include ‘directories are altogether bad’ or ‘anything that is below a certain PR is considered spammy by Google.’”
131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies by Search Engine Watch
Julie Joyce (again) compiles a huge list of link-building tactics and tips, divided into categories including basic techniques, content-based tactics, b2b-specific tips, pointers for guest posting, and practices to avoid (such as spammy links or those unlikely to drive any traffic).
How to Get Rid of Unwanted Backlinks by Search Engine Watch
Noting that, due to Google’s Penguin update, “for many websites (and a lot of business models that involve selling 50,000 links for $10) the sky is falling. Websites that have built an unnatural looking backlink profile using a strategy of aggressive exact match anchor text usage are setting off Google’s spam alarm,” Jennifer Van Iderstyne explains how to identify and rid yourself of “bad” backlinks, and lists some of her favorite backlink research tools.
17 Tools to Analyze Your Links by Practical eCommerce
Sig Ueland reviews 17 tools for analyzing a site’s backlink profile, ranging from “dedicated link identifiers, full search-engine-optimization suites, and link tools for search engines,”, free and paid. The list includes both popular tools like Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer as well as lesser-known alternatives like Ahrefs.
Five Killer Link-building Tools by SitePoint
Writing that “As far as link-building tools go, there are two main sorts: those that help with the data and analysis side of things, and those that focus more on speeding up the process of building relationships with other site owners” but “knowing which tools to pick from the wide variety available can be tricky,” Christina Fusano recommends a handful of excellent and proven tools, including BuzzStream and Raven Tools.
Steven Musil reports on Google’s disavow links tool, designed to enable webmasters to remove links they believe might be hurting their search rankings. Of course, it’s not always obvious what constitutes a “bad” link, and if good links are accidentally deleted, it’s a time-consuming process to get them reinstated. Still, this is a vital tool—when all else fails.
4 Tools Breaking Your Backlinks into Categories by Internet Marketing Ninjas
The awesome Ann Smarty reviews four tools for categorizing backlinks in various ways, such as by source type (e.g., news site, blog, directory), topic (general, computers, fashion) and placement (footer, site-wide, image, comment), which can be very helpful in executing a web presence optimization strategy. The good news is that all of these tools can provide some valuable filtering and insights; the bad news is none yet provide a high level of comprehensiveness and accuracy.
79 Link Building Resources for 2012 by KISSmetrics
If you just can’t enough link building information, Kristi Hines here provides links to 79 more link-building resources ranging from “Thought Pieces on Post-Penguin Link Building” and types of links to avoid to the top link-building tools and blogs.
As noted in 33 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012 So Far, posted here a few months ago, social media marketing adoption is now so widespread there’s little further question of “if” or “when” in the minds of most marketers–but many “how” and “what” questions still remain.
How can marketers make more productive use of their time on social networking sites? What’s the best time of day to post updates on Twitter or Facebook? How can you make sure your company’s social media policy doesn’t run afoul of employment law? What under-utilized site has been called a “social media powerhouse,” and which highly popular social bookmarking site is frequently overlooked by marketers? How can you measure (or can you measure) social media ROI?
Find the answers to those questions and many more here in almost two dozen of the best social media guides, tips, tools, insights and rants of 2012.
Social Media Marketing Guides and Tips
The brilliant Gini Dietrich reports on research showing that marketers commonly choose the wrong time of day to post and engage on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as to send emails. While the study was fairly small, the findings are consistent with other sources indicating that they key to better social media results may lie in better timing of updates rather than just more of them.
12 Essential Social Media Cheat Sheets by Mashable
Tools guru-ess Ann Smarty shares a dozen helpful “cheat sheets,” which “are basically infographics that can give a user a simple rundown of various features and how to use them.” The collection here provides guidance on getting the most out of Google+, Facebook and Twitter, as well as network-specific spam definitions and keyboard shortcuts.
Fortune 500 CEOs Don’t Get Social Media! [Research] by Heidi Cohen
Quoting research showing that “70% of the Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence on social media networks…Two thirds of CEOs on Facebook have less than 100 friends and over a quarter of CEOs on LinkedIn have 1 or 0 connections,” the always insightful Heidi Cohen suggests three reasons why CEOs fear social media (such as liability concerns) and three ways they could actually leverage it instead (such as setting an example for employees: “An active CEO encourages others to engage and shows public support for social media activity that helps build brand and customer relationships over time”).
How your brand is abusing social networks by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS
In this must-read post for social media strategists, Rob Rose explains in his own often provocative and always entertaining manner how brands are commonly misusing social media by treating it as another marketing channel, the dangers of that approach, and why each social network should instead be utilized according to its own unique personality and etiquette. “Marketers are the nerdy freshman at the cool kids’ senior party. Say the wrong thing — or say it in the wrong way — and risk getting ridiculed and bounced out. Come with a case of beer and some great conversation, and you just might be a hit. But even then, you are only one mistake away from a viral case of #Fail…make no mistake, this is challenging — and it’s not an even playing field. It used to be that marketers could simply avoid being “salesy” on their social channels, and the world would be OK…But as social marketing becomes increasingly business driven — and content strategies converge in the paid, owned, and earned (POE) models — simply using social channels to engage and entertain is no longer quite as simple…it’s no longer good enough to want to show up to the party with a case of beer. Now, you’ve got to find a way to pay for it as well.”
Beyond the Basics: 30 Fresh Social Media Tips for 2012 by KISSmetrics
Frequent best-of honoree Kristi Hines provides an outstanding list of general social media tips (e.g., “Cross promote your social profiles. Look for opportunities to add links from one social profile to others. Google+, for example, allows you to link to as many of your other social profiles as you choose”) as well as specific suggestions for getting the most out of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Slideshare: The B2B Social Media Powerhouse by Heidi Cohen
Noting that “Slideshare receives 60 million visitors per month. More importantly, these visitors tend to be highly influential business people seeking to engage with relevant content,” Heidi Cohen (again) serves up 10 actionable Slideshare marketing tactics, from knowing your target audience on the site to using hashtags, optimizing your presentation’s title and tracking results.
Five Ways Social is Shaping your B2B Customers by LinkedIn Today
David Edelman shares a presentation from McKinsey’s Lareina Yee on the Social Enterprise, which includes five ways social is shaping B2B customers, among them “DIY prospecting” (where customers conduct significant research before ever entering the sales cycle), peer influence, and “click to compare”–conditioned to price transparency in their consumer lives, B2B buyers are coming to expect it from business product and service vendors as well.
3 ways to stop wasting time on social media by iMedia Connection
Drew Hubbard outlines three social media management practices that will “free you up to do more of what really matters in social media — respond and engage.” Even more helpfully, he lists tools that will assist with each practice. For example, useful tools for keeping a collaborative calendar include Google Calendar, Outlook, Basecamp and ZOHO.
The 5 Best Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Website by WindMill Networking
Guest blogger Lilach Bullock shares a handful of tips for increasing web traffic from social media, including being active and engaged (“The one thing that most business owners using social media don’t do is listen”) and making influential links (“identify a list of key influential people in your industry and engage with them. If you are genuine in your praise they will naturally want to find out about you too”).
7 Sources of Inspiration for Writing Sizzling Social Media Posts by Rebekah Radice
Writing that “Unless you are a natural born writer with exceptional skills, running out of content ideas is inevitable,” Rebekah Radice offers tips for finding topic inspiration such as through social media (Facebook groups, LinkedIn questions, Twitter trending topics), books and other industry-related publications, and (when all else fails) re-purposing your own older content.
Social Media ROI Measurement Guides
Social Media: ROI Possible by SlideShare
In this presentation originally delivered at SES San Francisco, the delightful Angie Schottmuller explains why social media seems like it should be easy, but isn’t. She notes that “social media” is far more than Twitter, blogs and Facebook, now encompassing “social listening,” content curation, crowdfunding, social gaming, social CRM and more. She shares the three reasons that social media ROI measurement is rare, then presents a plan to address each obstacle.
If the presentation alone doesn’t supply quite enough detail for you, check out Social Media ROI: How To Define a Strategic Plan, Angie’s guest post further exploring the same topic on Search Engine Watch.
6 Expert Tips for Measuring Social Media ROI by OMI Blog
Megan Leap share half a dozen tips on social media ROI measurement from Nichole Kelly, author of How to Measure Social Media: A Step-By-Step Guide to Developing and Assessing Social Media ROI. such as “Social media interactions take place on the web, which is inherently more measurable than offline channels like print, TV and Radio. Measuring social media is actually really easy and most marketers have the tools they need. They just need to start using them a different way.”
Social Media Tools
5 Tools to Simplify Social Media Monitoring Tasks by Link-Assistant.Com Blog
Ann Smarty (again) reviews a handlful of helpful social media monitoring tools, including a couple of familiar names (SproutSocial, HootSuite), a couple of less familiar options (such as Cyfe), and even shows how the free Google Reader tool can be used for basic brand- or keyword-monitoring.
The Top 5 Social Media Managing Tools by Social Media Today
Jen Eisenberg present highlights of five social media management tools, including not just popular applications like HootSuite but also newer, lesser-known tools such as RebelMouse and Flavors.me, which she calls “a hidden treasure…You can pull your photos, updates, videos, music and more from 35 different web services, one of the most of any social media aggregators.”
Social media tools for the smart agency by iMedia Connection
Scott Fiaschetti reviews seven tools for social media monitoring and management, ranging from relatively simple and inexpensive (uberVu) to more sophisticated offerings like Adaptly, “a platform for execution and optimization of social campaigns across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and YouTube.
Social Media Cheat Sheet for Image Dimensions by The Landlord Blog
How large should your cover photo be on Facebook? What about a story image or shared Facebook video? How many pixels of your Twitter background image are visible to most users? What are the correct dimensions for a cover photo on Google+? Find the ideal / required dimensions for all of these uses and many others in this highly bookmarkable infographic.
24 Must-Have Social Media Marketing Tools by Social Media Examiner
***** 5 STARS
Cindy King compiles two dozen recommendations from social media pros on their favorite tools, from Commun.it (which Shelly Lucas says helps her to “build and nurture relationships with supporters, influencers and potential customers on Twitter”) to AgoraPulse (which according to Aaron Kahlow “provides everything your Facebook Page will ever need”).
Writing Social Media Policies
Eight Ways Your Employee Social-Media Policy May Violate Federal Law by Ad Age Digital
Every marketing manager knows that his/her company needs a social media policy for employees, right? Actually, no—as of mid-2012, only about 40% of companies had such policies in place. Even worse, according to Brian Heidelberger, is that it’s quite possible “most all of our current social media policies are illegal.” According to rules established by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a social media policy likely runs afoul of the law if it prohibits or restricts “friending” other employees, posting about the company, talking about coworkers, talking to the press, or using social media sites while at work.
Your Social Media Policies by iMedia Connection
Lee Schneider outlines nine key points to keep in mind when creating a social media policy, among them “support individuality but stay on message…Many company accounts have multiple posters. Encourage them to let their voice come through, but also make it clear that they are posting for the brand and what the brand stands for,” encourage dialogue but never argue on the Internet, and don’t delete complaints (but do respond to them humbly, helpfully and publicly).
Reddit Marketing Tips
6 Ways to Use Reddit to Grow Your Business by Social Media Examiner
I know—Reddit? A site whose home page is frequently dominated with stories that have headlines like “How I respond whenever a girl thinks I’m cool” and “Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil” hardly seems like a promising venue for professional marketers, but don’t write off the second-most popular bookmarking site on the web until you’ve read Ben Beck’s discussion of half a dozen popular business-oriented communities there.
Reddit Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC] by e-Strategy Trends
David Erickson shares the Reddit Marketing Field Guide infographic, which provides stats about Reddit use (2.5 billion monthly page views), the typical Redditor (18-34 years old, geeky, liberal and male), and tips on adding content that will get shared (spamming will get you nowhere). Despite its high traffic, Reddit isn’t appropriate for every marketer; but if this is your target market, then this is your helpful infographic.
YouTube Marketing Tactics
6 lessons in launching a branded YouTube channel by iMedia Connection
Michael Estrin shares tips from several agency professionals on how brands can get the most out of their YouTube channels, from starting with a strategy and plan through keeping your audience engaged. In the end, success comes down to “picking what is achievable for your brand and matching realistic key performance indicators to them.”
The ultimate guide to video marketing on YouTube by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS
Reporting that “global internet video traffic will make up 54 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2016 — up from 51 percent in 2011″ and “Video offers greater retention and recall — up to five times greater than the written word,” Kent Lewis provides an exhaustive guide to everything from video marketing best practices and optimization essentials to YouTube advertising and video sitemaps.
Despite a shaky IPO last spring, Facebook remains the 800-pound gorilla of social media marketing, as it now approaches the billion-user mark. Though often associated with bands and brands, Facebook is viewed as the most effective social media tool (by a fairly large margin) by both B2C and bB2B marketers.
So what are the best tactics for marketing and advertising on Facebook? How can marketers best utilize social plugins for the platform? Which apps are still worthy (and functional) in the Timeline interface? How can brands most successfully drive fan engagement? Will Facebook continue to grow and dominate the web, or is it headed for a fall like AOL and MySpace before it?
Find the answers to these questions and many others here in more than 20 of the best Facebook guides, tactics, observations, tools, stats and rants of 2012 thus far.
Facebook Guides, Tips & Techniques
7 Unbelievably Cool Facebook Ad Tactics by AllFacebook
Dennis Yu provides an outstanding set of techniques to use in various circumstances, such as when you hosting an event, promoting a video, or if your customers are other businesses: “If you know the names of the actual companies you’d like to have as clients, include them in the your list of workplace targets. But be careful to attract only decision makers. If you’d like to get the attention of Walmart executives, narrow down to folks age 25 and up who live within a 25-mile radius of Bentonville, Arkansas, or else you risk targeting employees in stores across the country.”
15 Ways To Use Facebook Pages for Business by Social Media Today
Matt Hamilton lists “some great ideas for your own business Facebook use,” such as for product testing, news release promotion, customer service, ideas to feed your new product development process, employee recognition, and even growing your email list: “it is important to make sign-up very easy. Using a software service such as MailChimp allows you to add a simple sign up form to your Facebook business page and also get some great tools for creating the newsletter.”
28 Things You Need To Know About The New Facebook Pages by KISSmetrics
Though this post is now old news for many Facebook marketers, this piece by frequent best-of contributor Kristi Hines nonetheless provides a great review of Timeline features to go back to and make sure nothing was missed or sub-optimized from Facebook brand timeline pages. For example, “While you can have a total of 12 custom tabs (including your Photos and Page Likes), only four are showed at the top of your page. This means visitors to your page have to be savvy enough to click on the down arrow to find the rest. You can swap the position of your custom tabs to make sure the best ones are up top by clicking on the down arrow, hovering over the tab, clicking on the pencil, and selecting which tab to swap it with.”
The Complete Guide To Facebook Timeline Pages by AllFacebook
As with the post above, this post is pretty much old news at this point, but still worth a quick skim to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything important in your brand’s Facebook Timeline development.
Dan Stagen walks through a dozen steps to create a Facebook ad campaign, from determining a call to action and writing an ad through all of the various targeting criteria to pricing, review and launch.
Facebook Apps and Tools
25 Timeline Ready Apps for Enhancing Your Facebook Page by Social @ Blogging Tracker
Ching Ya reviews more than two dozen helpful (and Timeline-compatible) Facebook apps for functions like providing FAQ information, creating contact forms, displaying a Google Map for your business, showcasing your YouTube videos, encouraging discussion and sharing, integrating Twitter, and more.
6 Tools Social Media Experts Use to Update Facebook Pages by KISSmetrics
Kristi Hines (again) presents the pros and cons of updating Facebook using third-party apps (e.g., the impact of Edgerank: “One thing that EdgeRank has the potential of doing is lowering the value of an update from a third-party tool and prioritizing updates that are made directly on Facebook. This means that pages with updates from third-party apps may not get as much engagement”), then reviews six such tools, including HootSuite and Buffer, for those who choose to go the third-party route regardless.
Explaining that “a Facebook Social Plugin is basically a widget you can add to your website to extend the benefits of your Facebook marketing efforts beyond Facebook. It’s a way to get more marketing mojo out of Facebook on your own website,” Pamela Vaughan reviews 11 of these plugins, explaining what each one does, its marketing value, and how to install and use it.
18 Tools to Develop Your Brand on Facebook by Practical eCommerce
5 STARS *****
Sig Ueland showcases 18 tools for engagement, promotion and monitoring on Facebook, including the Wildfire (now owned by Google) suite of apps for social media promotion, the Forum for Pages discussion board app, and EdgeRank Checker for post optimization. Missing from the list though is Workface, the first non-Facebook-owned interactive profile and multi-format chat tool to be fully functional in Facebook.
The evolution of Facebook features by EngageSciences
A fantastic infographic illustrating the history of Facebook feature changes from 2006 through the beginning of 2012. The narrative also points out why keeping up with Facebook’s constant changes, though maddening, is essential: “the introduction of the Facebook Mobile App has been fantastic as it is now the worlds largest mobile app with 400m users, which has stimulated more people to use the site more often, but businesses have been caught out as they have not realised that apps and tabs they create currently cannot be accessed by users of the Facebook Mobile App. With up to 40% of traffic coming from smartphones that is a lot of lost interaction.”
Facebook’s biggest change yet: Actions are here by VentureBeat
Jolie O’Dell explains what Actions are and why they matter:”Actions are kind of the Holy Grail of semantic data, defining relation types between people, objects, content, places, businesses, and so much more. If users warm to the idea of Actions, it might also be one of the most valuable and lucrative move Facebook will ever make.” But she concludes by writing “As Facebook executive Bret Taylor explained it, with the addition of Actions to Facebook profiles, ‘You can see everything you have ever done in any app.’” Do Facebook users really want that?
Facebook Timeline for Brands: The Complete Guide by Mashable
Christine Erickson puts a positive spin on the March Timeline change and provides an extensive list of Timeline-related resources from Mashable, including Timeline for Brands: How to Prepare for Your Company’s New Facebook Page and Facebook Timeline: 10 Fresh Designs for Creative Inspiration [PICS].
Facebook is telling businesses to become better content marketers by iMedia Connection
According to Doug Schumacher, the “big story” of Facebook’s switch to Timeline format “is that Facebook is essentially telling all marketers that they’d better get their content game on. That’s because your paid advertising on Facebook and the content you publish on Facebook are now one and the same, from a messaging standpoint. The focus on Facebook paid ads won’t be on crafting individual messages that you then optimize, as it’s been in the past. Instead, you’ll simply pipe your best content pieces into different ad units, and measure performance based on how your content attracts interest.”
Facebook Opinions, Observations and Stats
Diane Mermigas is bullish on the long-term value and potential of Facebook, and explains how the social networking behemoth could develop a “torrent of new revenue and value that eventually will make its $100 billion IPO valuation look like child’s play” through a combination of mobile, social search, its relationship with Microsoft / Bing, gaming, and image sharing.
Matt Creamer reports on data showing that the most engaging brand content is generally, well, content closely related to the brand. Attempts to “humanize” the brand through off-topic surveys, questions, and recommendations don’t increase “likes” or grow a brand’s following. And if you want to use questions to drive engagement? “Buddy Media found that brand fans are more willing to comment when asked a question, especially if the question begins with ‘where,’ ‘when,’ ‘would’ and ‘should.’ But other interrogatory words don’t work as well. Avoid asking ‘why’ questions,’ advised the Buddy Media paper. ‘Why’ has both the lowest ‘like’ and comment rates and may be seen as intrusive and/or challenging.”
Facebook on SecondMarket (Infographic) by SecondMarket
An interesting graphical depiction of the rise in Facebook’s value from early 2008 (when the social network had a mere 145 million users and had just introduced Facebook chat) through the company’s IPO in May of this year. In terms of the dollar volume of shares traded at the IPO, 79% of sales were by former Facebook employees, while more than half of purchases were by hedge funds and asset managers.
Facebook Skeptics and Rants
Why there will never be a Margie Clayman Facebook Fan Page by Margie’s Moments of Tiyoweh
The delightful Margie Clayman uses her dagger-sharp pen to skewer the concept of personal fan pages, observing for example, “Isn’t your profile on Facebook kind of a fan page already?…even though the word ‘friend’ is used rather loosely these days, isn’t it more comforting to think that you have 500 friends versus 500 fans?”
Facebook: Why is nobody listening? by ComMetrics
How much is your brand spending on its Facebook strategy? You may want to reevaluate that after reading this scathing but meticulously data-supported post from Urs E. Gattiker. “Facebook status updates are similar to broadcasting a message to an empty football stadium…900 out of every 1000 people do not even see your status update or tweet. Only 0.05 percent (1 person per 2,000 readers) engage by joining the conversation with a comment on your blog or Facebook page.”
14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business by Convince & Convert
Jay Baer contends that “the new design and rules accompanying the new Timeline version of Facebook pages is a boon to big business, and a blow to small business,” for 14 reasons he details, including the death of the landing tab (One area where small businesses could excel in ‘old’ Facebook was with the default landing tab. This became a de-facto landing page/microsite for many companies, and made it relatively easy to drive fan behavior – especially when using inexpensive software. Of course, Facebook killed it in Timeline”) and the penalty on third-party apps.
Why Facebook Could Disappear by MediaPost
Contemplating the future of Facebook in the wake of losing advertising dollars from GM (and potentially other large brands), and the fate of predecessors like AOL, George Simpson writes “MySpace was well on its way to becoming that iconic, can’t-live-without-it kind of company, and Facebook came along and cut its legs off. As soon as the aunts and uncles and grandpas showed up on MySpace, the kids that were the cornerstone of their business hit the exits and ran straight for Facebook. I contend the exact same thing could happen to Facebook.”
The Facebook Fallacy by Technology Review
If you are having too nice of a day, or perhaps even feeling a bit optimistic about the future of online marketing, Michael Wolff will bring you back to earth with his explanation here of why “Facebook not only is on course to go bust but will take the rest of the ad-supported Web with it.” Stock up on canned goods and ammo.
The measurability of the web can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the data should allow companies to monitor every activity, every campaign, to evaluate based on solid data what’s working, what’s not, and where to expend budget, time and effort to improve results.
On the other hand, the sheer volume of data and variety of measurements can lead to “analysis paralysis” and confusion over which metrics are truly important and what response or changes to current activities should be implemented or prioritized.
Fortunately, there is help. When it comes to questions like which web metrics are most important, how to scrutinize Google Analytics reports for actionable data, how to create custom reports or evaluate social media ROI, and how to improve SEO, reduce bounce rates or measure YouTube success, these 18 articles and posts on using web analytics to improve marketing performance offer invaluable assistance.
What You Can Learn from Bounce Rate & How to Improve It by KISSmetrics
Frequent best-of honoree Kristi Hines defines bounce rate, explains why it may be a problem in at least instances (e.g., if your goal is just to get visitors to call an 800 number to learn more—not to have them browse your site), how to determine bounce rate by page, and what steps to take to reduce bounce rate and make your site “stickier.”
How To Track Mobile Visitors In Google Analytics by Local SEO Guide
Andrew Shotland concisely explains how to use Advanced Segments in Google Analytics (GA) to separately track mobile visitor behavior on your website—or even create specific segments by device (e.g., iPhone vs. Android).
10 Quick & Dirty SEO Success Metrics by Search Engine Land
Noting that “in the end, ROI needs to be justified in order to keep the flow of budget and resources moving to each individual marketing effort,” Andy Komack identifies “quick and dirty” SEO success metrics to track, including (his least-favorite) keyword rankings, keyword diversity, and inbound link count.
35+ tips and tricks for sexier Google analytics reports by Webdistortion
Paul Anthony passes along his collection of tips, tricks and reports to get at the wealth of data GA really collects, for example a drill down report which “shows what content draws people in, and from what sources and mediums. Find it under custom reporting,” along with a list of helpful plugins and scripts that extend GA.
Analysis of Online Marketing Campaigns Effectiveness from A to Z by Search Engine Journal
In this amazingly detailed and extensively illustrated post, Roman Viliavin demonstrates how to establish web-based objectives for marketing, sales, customer service and web development, then track progress and results through GA reports, concluding that “You don`t need to buy expensive tools of web analytics because a free tool Google Analytics can solve 99% of problems.”
Time On Site & Bounce Rate: Get the real numbers in Google Analytics by Brian Cray
***** 5 STARS
The New Google Analytics Available to Everyone by Google Analytics Blog
Trevor Claiborne highlights some features of the new (as of late last spring) version of GA, including the ability to create an additional dashboard to focus on important metrics, set up an Event Goal to track interactions like downloads and video engagement, and graph and compare any two rows over time. But personally, I still prefer the old version.
How to Use Advanced Segments in Google Analytics to Isolate SEO Problems [Tutorial] by Search Engine Journal
Glenn Gabe explains what Advanced Segments in GA are, how they work, how to set up an Advanced Segment to track and analyze the online behavior of traffic from a specific source (such as organic search), and possible next steps to take once you are able to isolate and examine this data.
Google Analytics To Add Search Query Data From Webmaster Tools by Search Engine Land
Barry Schwartz reports on the addition of Google Webmaster Tools data to GA: “It will add a new section under ‘Traffic Sources’ named Search Engine Optimization with sub-sections for Summary, Queries and Landing Pages…you can also use this data to create deeper reports through the advanced reporting features, so you can compare impressions to clicks to conversions directly from the search results.”
Creating Custom Reports in Google Analytics by PPC Hero
Bethany Bey steps through the process of creating a custom report in GA using metrics (the columns in a GA table) and dimensions (the rows), from creating a new report and naming it to selecting your dimensions and metrics, and specifying who has access to view the finished report.
4 Steps to Measure Social Media ROI with Google Analytics by Search Engine Watch
Nathan Linnell outlines a process for measuring social media ROI in GA. It starts with using GA’s campaign tracking capabilities, about which Nathan notes “you need to ensure you’re always using campaign tracking on any links you put out on social media sites that point back to one of your sites. It’s a fairly easy process, but one that can be a bit tedious to manage at the outset.”
11 Analytics Metrics That Are Actionable by The Daily SEO Blog
Paddy Moogan provides his list of metrics that are actionable, or as he puts it, “Metrics that help you get stuff done.” Included on his list are the percent of visitors who view product pages (improve navigation and internal site search to impact) and branded vs. non-branded search traffic (“Measure non-branded keywords and see which ones convert best, then focus on increasing rankings for these”). While the post is ecommerce-focused, much of the information will be helpful to B2B marketers as well.
The Seven Performance Metrics that Matter Most by eMarketer
According to the book Digital Impact: The Two Secrets to Online Marketing Success by eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey and Vipin Mayar, EVP of McCann Worldgroup, “There are only seven metrics that are critical for performance measurement across digital channels. While countless other metrics are available to marketers, these seven are the ones that marketers should seek to master.”
Google Analytics Changes the Rules of the Game by iMedia News
Brandt Dainow explains how changes made by Google in August of last year impact reporting in GA, specifically how these changes would increase reported bounce rate, increase reported visits, decrease reported new visits, decrease conversion rates and reduce reported pageviews per visit—all without any change in actual traffic or user behavior. I haven’t noticed any impact on the scale Brandt reports, personally, on our client results.
New SEO Reports in Google Analytics Now Here by The Daily SEO Blog
Cyrus Shepard takes a look at three types of SEO reports in GA—query reports, landing pages reports, and geographical summaries—and explains what each report is really measuring, along with “Pro Tips” on how to capitalize on the data provided to improve SEO results.
Four Hidden Gems Within Google Analytics by MediaPost Search Insider
Ryan DeShazer reveals details of four “hidden gems” in GA V5: events as goals, customizable dashboards, advanced funnel analysis and rank-at-the-time-of-click using custom variables (which would account for the different rankings visitors may see for the same keyword and web page based on personalized search, regional biases, and new +1 results). An interesting set of features, but not for the faint of heart.
The Analytics Measurements You Must Track by Single Grain
Sujan Patel recommends a set of metrics to measure and act upon on a weekly basis, divided into three categories: on-site statistics (e.g., bounce rate, average time spent on the site), social networking measurements (amount of website traffic received from social sites, number of RTs or shares) and conversion numbers (opt-ins, cost per conversion).
YouTube Launches New and Improved YouTube Analytics by HubSpot Blog
Corey Eridon details YouTube’s recently revamped dashboard overview (“You’ll still be able to see a summary of your views, videos demographics, and popularity by region…but now your dashboard will also display overall channel performance, engagement, and how people find and view your videos. You can click into each report to see more detailed information”) and explains why it’s important for marketers to measure video performance.