Posts Tagged ‘Neal Schaffer’

28 (of the) Best LinkedIn Marketing Guides of 2014

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

As noted in several of the posts highlighted below, LinkedIn is no longer just a hangout for job-seeking professionals, who largely abandon it in between job searches. A wave of changes over the past couple of years have transformed it into a major publishing hub, a platform for personal branding, and a place to ask and answer questions from like-minded professionals across nearly 2 million LinkedIn groups.

2014 Top LinkedIn Tips

Image credit: Cox Business

What’s more, as reported here previously, LinkedIn is the top social network for B2B marketing; 83% of marketers say they prefer to use LinkedIn for distributing B2B content. And yes, it’s still a key site for job seekers and employers—91 of the Fortune 100 companies (along with thousands of smaller firms) use LinkedIn for candidate searches.

The site’s expanded features have created new opportunities, but using all of these new features—and using them effectively—can be challenging. What type of content works best on LinkedIn? How can you maximize the exposure of your content published there? How can you make the most of LinkedIn groups? How does LinkedIn advanced search work? What are the best practices for utilizing Showcase pages?

Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than two dozen of the best LinkedIn guides of the past year.

Guides to Publishing on LinkedIn

How to Use LinkedIn Publisher to Get More Visibility by Social Media Examiner

Viveka von RosenLinkedIn expert Viveka von Rosen shares half a dozen “best practices for publishing your posts to LinkedIn for more visibility,” including knowing the elements of a good post (“A catchy title…Attractive images…Good marketing/sharing strategy for your post…Luck”) and deciding what to publish (“writing posts about LinkedIn influencers or influential people in your industry is a good place to start. If they decide to share your post with their network… kaboom! It might go viral”).

Writing and Sharing on LinkedIn Just Got Easier by LinkedIn Official Blog

Akshay KothariWriting that “Whatever your style, your subject, your background, we’ve made it easier than ever to share insights and ideas with the world in a blog post,” Akshay Kothari shares tips for making the most of LinkedIn’s redesigned publishing features, from picking a vibrant visual (adding a “cover photo to make your post stand out”) to concentrating more on the quality of the content than any certain length.

10 Tips for LinkedIn Publishing by ragan.com
***** 5 STARS

Kevin J. AllenKevin J. Allen passes along 10 tips for LinkedIn publishing success based on a study of “3,000 of the highest performing pieces of content published on LinkedIn.” Among the recommendations: keep headlines under 50 characters; use multiple images; don’t be afraid of long posts (those with 1,900-2,000 words do well); don’t use questions as headlines; and publish on Thursdays.

How to Write Your First Blog Post on the LinkedIn Publishing Platform by Neal Schaffer (on LinkedIn)

Neal SchafferAnyone can now publish on LinkedIn, but not everyone should–at least not without knowing the ropes. Social media expert Neal Schaffer explains the main features, including headings, formatting, quotes, links, and visuals.

7 Essential LinkedIn Marketing Stats: When to Post, What to Post and How to Improve by Buffer

Kevan LeeMoving beyond the basics in Neal’s post above, Kevan Lee shares some compelling stats about LinkedIn (e.g., “LinkedIn sends nearly four times more people to your homepage than Twitter and Facebook”) and explains how to take advantage of each finding (for example, “6 out of every 10 LinkedIn users are interested in industry insights”–so “industry and company insights should compose a fair majority of your posted content, and the overall content plan should feel relevant and actionable to your followers”).

How to Maximize Your LinkedIn Publishing Exposure by Social Media Examiner

Gregory CiottiBuilding upon the guidance from Viveka von Rosen above, Gregory Ciotti offers advanced tips for gaining larger readership on LinkedIn, using tactics such as “channel stacking: publish (or stack) topics on different days of the week,” researching winning topics, and planning publishing times to hit peak hours.

How To Dominate LinkedIn Publishing by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenFrequent best-of honoree Heidi Cohen showcases several key statistics about LinkedIn publishing (such as that “LinkedIn content pages attract 7 times more views than the job pages because people only check job pages when they’re seeking a new job”), then explains how to take action to capitalize on each finding or observation.

LinkedIn’s Content Publishing Flood: 4 Tips for Staying Afloat by Content Marketing Institute

Mike BaileyMike Bailey details four valuable tactics for making the most of publishing on LinkedIn, while not succumbing to “the temptation to exploit a shiny new promotional tool.” His first tip is to share your expertise, as this is a common thread among highly engaging influencer posts: “Authors with hard business advice to offer are the ones who are read most often and generate the most engagement, with posts on ‘spotting talent,’ ‘acting ethically,’ ‘leading with purpose,’ and ‘building company culture’ topping the popularity list.”

Guides to Using LinkedIn Groups

How To Find LinkedIn Groups With Target—ed Prospects by Top Dog Social Media

Melonie DodaroMelonie Dodaro explains how to find groups using keywords, “look under the hood” at group statistics to help narrow the list, determine what a “good” group is, and leave an impression by adding value. Just one caveat to add here: newer groups may not have a lot of interaction (yet) but offer the opportunity to “get in on the ground floor” as a key influencer in the group. Don’t overlook these opportunities.

How To Become A Top Contributor In Any LinkedIn Group by Top Dog Social Media

Once you’ve found the right groups to target, Melonie Dodaro (again) outlines a nine-step plan to “become a top contributor in ANY LinkedIn group and then what you should do about it once that happens,” warning that “You’ll need a heavy dose of ACTION along with this knowledge before you see results.” Among her tips: “Pay close attention to the most highly engaging content in the group. What are the specific topics that are evoking strong emotions and discussions? What keywords seem to be popping up in popular discussions? Answering these questions will help you get down to the core interests of the group,” and then develop content likely to resonate with group members.

Guides to B2B Marketing on LinkedIn

What We Learned After Spending $50,000 on LinkedIn Ads by Social Media Today
***** 5 STARS

Dave RigottiThinking about trying out LinkedIn ads? Wondering if (and how) they work? Dave Rigotti here shares his lessons learned after spending $50K on LinkedIn advertising. Among his findings: LinkedIn is great for driving leads from gated content, though offers and ads should be switched out every six weeks or so, and “The CPCs are significantly (5 – 10X) higher than many other channels, but converts much higher than other social networks. In the end we see the cost/customer as effective.” However—beware of mobile users: “mobile accounts for 47 percent of total traffic to LinkedIn. While this is great for increasing ad impressions, this is generally bad for gated content.”

B2B Marketing: Dominate Through LinkedIn Showcase Pages by SalesPanda

Samit AroraThe English is little rough, but Samit Arora here does an outstanding job of explaining how showcase pages are different from other areas of LinkedIn (e.g., 2-column layout; no tabs for careers, products or services; link back directly to the main business page; no employee profiles are associated), how to create a showcase page, and best practices for B2B marketing using showcase pages.

Breaking Down the LinkedIn Social Selling Funnel by Social Media Today
***** 5 STARS

Melonie Dodaro (yet again) walks through a “7-step system (that) will help you go from finding prospects on LinkedIn to taking the relationship offline,” from using LinkedIn Advanced Search and groups to idenify prospects to engaging with them on LinkedIn and other social platforms before taking the conversation offline.

5 Reasons Why LinkedIn Showcase Pages are an Audience Marketer’s Dream Come True by LinkedIn Pulse

Celia BrownWriting that LinkedIn has “grown to be far more than a recruiting solution- offering opportunities for everyone from freelancers to Fortune 500 brands to connect, market, engage, and influence members of the community. And LinkedIn’s Showcase pages enable brands to connect with audiences ion the social platform where they are already learning, networking, and engaging with peers,” Celia Brown explains why and shows how to use showcase pages for industry thought leadership.

10 Steps To Use LinkedIn For Small Business by MarketingThink

Gerry MoranReporting on research from the Wall Street Journal showing that “80% of small business owners, with 200 or fewer employees, use social networks to find new customers and grow their revenue, and…41% of small businesses feel that LinkedIn provides them the most potential to generate business,” Gerry Moran lays out a 10-step plan for small business success on LinkedIn, from the basics (setting up a company page, connecting with local groups) through shining up “your LinkedIn curbside appeal” with a complete and optimized profile.

5 Ways to Grow Your Leads With LinkedIn by Social Media Examiner

Melonie Dodaro (one more time) looks at five ways to use LinkedIn to “better connect with leads and prospects,” such as saving successful advanced searches (“LinkedIn’s advanced search tool is also great for finding potential prospects. It offers excellent functionality with the ability to search for people by keywords, relationship, groups, location and industry”) and creating a sequence of messages.

Company Pages Products & Services Page – No Longer Supported by LinkedIn Help Center

While this is no longer “news,’ for those who haven’t adjusted to LinkedIn’s late summer changes, this post explains what’s gone, what’s taken its place, and how to adjust your business’s LinkedIn company page to take advantage of the new structure.

Expert Advice About LinkedIn For Business And Your B2B Marketing by MLT Creative

Writing that “One of the reasons LinkedIn works so well is that it tells us exactly how we’re related to the people in our network (1st, 2nd and 3rd level connections) and the best ways of communicating with them. To a first level connection we can simply send a message, 2nd and 3rd level connections might get an invitation or an introduction,” guest blogger Viveka von Rosen (again) succinctly explains how best to utilize this communications framework.

Guides to Personal Branding on LinkedIn

30 Things You Must Do on LinkedIn to Find More Success This Year by Email Marketing Tips Blog

Marya JanMarya Jan recaps 30 tips for optimizing your use of LinkedIn, from using your profile to differentiate your skills (rather than being boring), using the new header image, and providing case studies, to optimizing your profile (“Use [keywords] throughout in key places like your title, summary and work experience”) and maximizing your endorsements.

The Five Fundamentals to Using LinkedIn by Bryan Kramer

Bryan KramerBryan Kramer shares a handful of helpful tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn, from the standard (join groups, keep your profile updated) to the inspiring: “use LinkedIn to establish yourself as an expert. Getting recognized as a top influencer on LinkedIn can have a dramatic effect on your brand. Simply put, people love to identify with an expert. It not only inspires trusts within your prospective client base, but it can open doors in terms of new business ventures.”

How to Structure a Perfect LinkedIn Profile by Cox Business BLUE

Neil PatelNoting that 40% of LinkedIn users log in each day, and “you can reach at least 60% of your audience if you post 20 posts or more a month,” frequent best-of author Neil Patel presents an infographic illustrating the elements of a “perfect LinkedIn profile,” from using a current, professional profile image and “connecting the dots” in your background to asking for and giving recommendations.

Cracking the #LinkedIn Profile Code by Social PR Chat

Lisa BuyerFrequent best-of honoree Lisa Buyer taps LinkedIn expert Jabez LeBret for his guidance on the “four P’s” of LinkedIn profiles: personalization, professionalism (tip: to keep your profile professional, “write your summary in the 3rd person. As he put it, ‘Don’t write in the 1st person. Don’t sound like an a-hole'”), progress, and publishing.

Social Media: 4 steps to build your personal brand using LinkedIn by MarketingSherpa

Rachel Minion offers helpful tips for establishing your personal brand on LinkedIn, most critically optimizing your summary: “The biggest key here is you want to talk to visitors using a conversational tone that connects with them. Talk about yourself in the same way you would if I’m standing next to you. Allow the conversation to be easy to understand and interpret.”

3 Stunningly Original LinkedIn Headlines by Linkedinsights.com

Andy FooteAndy Foote illustrates how not to be boring on LinkedIn, using three outstanding examples (including Cindy Gallop, whose personal headline is: “I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.”), plus advice on how to think about crafting your own unique, non-boring headline, and why this exercise is worth the effort.

New LinkedIn Profile Features: 4 Tips to Optimize Your Presence by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Evan ProkopExtending on the information in the post above, Evan Prokop outlines a four-step process for getting the most out of recent LinkedIn profile design changes, from the new image options (“think about what kind of imagery could add a tasteful yet personal touch and tell a story about you and your professional background”) to measuring and comparing your visibility (“The new ‘How You Rank’ report will show where you fit into the top 100 most viewed profiles among your company and first degree connections”).

The LinkedIn Profile Header – How to Improve Your Look by Integrated Alliances

Mike O'NeilMike O’Neil supplies detailed guidance on how to optimally use the LinkedIn profile header (for paid LinkedIn subscribers only), company pages, and showcase pages (“So, what goes in a header image?…You could upload a large image or graphic. Be thinking of something that fits your brand…This is a GREAT OPPORTUNITY should you choose to take advantage of it”).

6 Lessons to Make the Most of LinkedIn by LinkedIn Pulse

Eric HoltzclawEric Holtzclaw passes along half-a-dozen “important lessons…how to use LinkedIn more effectively,” such as segmenting your connections using tagging: “To be successful on LinkedIn you need to ensure all communication with your connections is as personal, specific and targeted as possible. Your connections need to be segmented in their specific fields so that at any given time you are able to effectively communicate with any one of your contacts.”

And Finally…

5 Reasons LinkedIn Has Lost Its Luster by {grow}

Eric WittlakeIs LinkedIn’s value and position as the premier professionally-oriented changing? Eric Wittlake contends it’s at least at risk, due to recent changes that have diminished LinkedIn’s value, such as the gamification of recommendations (“Now LinkedIn prompts us to endorse people for skills they don’t even have, but it’s far easier to click “Endorse” than it is to actually edit what you are endorsing someone for!”), the diminished value of connections, and “going Facebook” (with the addition of profile header images).

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The Top #Nifty50 Men Writers on Twitter for 2013

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

By Cheryl Burgess, originally published on the Blue Focus Marketing Blog

NiftyFifty_2013_Writers_Images_Men_FINAL_RD_201200822

In 2011, I teamed up with Tom Pick (@TomPick) and his Webbiquity blog to unveil the first annual #Nifty50 Awards. Our goal in designing these awards was to honor the top 50 women and top 50 men in social media. In that first year, we cast a wide net, honoring those whom we felt actively engaged as brand ambassadors on Twitter day in day out, exchanging valuable information, and just generally being good, helpful people. Last year, we narrowed our focus to honor the top 50 men and top 50 women engaging on Twitter on behalf of the tech sector.

This year, we wanted to target a specific group once again, and so we agreed to honor the top bloggers, authors, PR specialists, and journalists on Twitter. After reviewing all of your wonderful nominations over the summer, it’s now time to unveil the winners!

Now that Tom and I have compiled our lists, the word that keeps popping into my head is “community.” This isn’t just a list of 50 men who work in isolation; these are people who share strong social bonds with each other, who would be just as happy to celebrate the success of one of their colleagues as they would be for themselves. These thought leaders understand that the greatest product of a good idea is more good ideas, and it’s great to see that their generosity and thought leadership in online communities is being recognized.

I’m happy to say that I have had the privilege of experiencing this generosity firsthand. As we were writing our book The Social Employee: How Great Companies Make Social Media Work – Success Lessons from IBM, AT&T, Dell, Cisco, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, and Domo on building a Social Culture (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) (@SocialEmployee) late last year and early this year, we were honored to receive excellent contributions from people like Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar), David Armano, (@Armano) David C. Edelman (@DavidEdelman), and Kevin Randall (@kevinbrandall) —just to name a few. These wonderful wordsmiths truly enlivened our own content, and we couldn’t be happier to see them make this list.

So without further ado, here are the 2013 #Nifty50 Men! Feel free to celebrate their achievement by dropping them a line on Twitter, and don’t forget to check out the Webbiquity blog for the 2013 #Nifty50 Women!

Vala Afshar @ValaAfshar

Vala Afshar

David Armano @armano

David Armano

Jonathan Becher @jbecher

Jonathan Becher

Sander Biehn @sanderbiehn

Sander Biehn

Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael

Michael Brenner

David Brier @davidbrier

David Brier

Michael Brito @Britopian

Michael Brito

Terry Brock @TerryBrock

Terry Brock @TerryBrock

Mark Burgess @mnburgess

Mark Burgess

Chris Carragher @cjcarragher

Chris_Carragher_N

Dan Cristo @dancristo

Dan Cristo

Dino Dogan @dinodogan

Dino Dogan

Mike Edelhart @MikeEdelhart

Mike Edelhart

David Edelman @davidedelman

David Edelman

Mark Fidelman @markfidelman

Mark Fidelman

Sam Fiorella @samfiorella

Sam Fiorella

Jez Frampton @jezframpton

Jez Frampton

Nis Frome @nisfrome

Nis Frome

Sean Gardner @2morrowknight

Sean Gardner

Glen Gilmore @GlenGilmore

Glen Gilmore

Andrew Grill @AndrewGrill

Andrew Grill

John Hagel @jhagel

John Hagel

Arik Hanson @arikhanson

Arik Hanson

Kent Huffman @KentHuffman

Kent Huffman

John L. Kennedy @johnlkennedy

nifty50_Kennedy.fw

Jure Klepic @jkcallas

Jure Kelpic

Bryan Kramer @bryankramer

Bryan Kramer

Simon Mainwaring @simonmainwaring

Simon Mainwaring

TJ McCue @TJMcCue

Nifty50 TJ McCue.fw

Billy Mitchell @billymitchell1

Billy Mitchell

Jacob Morgan @jacobm

Jacob Morgan

Tom Peters @tom_peters

Tom Peters

Howard Pyle @howardpyle

Howard Pyle

Erik Qualman @equalman

Eric Qualman

Ajay Ramachandran @ajay

Ajay Ramachandran

Andreas Ramos @Andreas_Ramos

Andreas Ramos

Kevin Randall @KevinBrandall

Kevin Randall

Ron Ricci @RonRicciCisco

Ron Ricci

Tony Riches @tonyriches

Tony Riches

Alex Romanovich @alexromanovich

Alex Romanovich

Ted Rubin @TedRubin

Ted Rubin

Neal Schaffer @NealSchaffer

Neal Schaffer

Dan Schawbel @DanSchawbel

Dan Schwbel

Gary Schirr @ProfessorGary

Gary Schirr

Brian Slattery @BrianSlatts

BrianSlatts.fw

Andy Smith @kabbenbock

Andy Smith

Brian Solis @briansolis

Brian Solis

Bill Strawderman @marketingbard

Bill Strawderman

Todd Wilms @toddmwilms

Todd Wilms

Tony Zambito @TonyZambito

Tony Zambito

Nifty50_2013_Writers_Images_WOMEN_FINAL_RD_FINAL_2012822

Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess) CEO and CMO of Blue Focus Marketing, author of The Social Employee – How Great Companies Make Social Media Work, published by McGraw-Hill, in summer 2013.  She is a social branding consultant with expertise in social business and social media. She is an expert blogger for AT&T Networking Exchange on social media. Proud to be an invited contributor to the Wharton FOA’s Advertising 2020 Project. Active Member of the Wharton Advertising 2020 Contributor Community.

She was awarded Wharton Future of Advertising’s MVP and praised as a “brilliant strategic thinker in the social media space.” Huffington Post honored her as one of 40 global women “Passionistas” for her “great business expertise and timeless blog posts.”  Also,  Huffington Post “Top 100 Business, Leadership and Technology Twitter Accounts You Must Follow.”

She was featured in Fast Company and Business Insider.  Invited speaker on “Expanding Your Social Influence” at the AT&T Networking Leaders Academy Annual Conference. She is a four-time winner of the Twitter Shorty Award in Marketing [The New York Times hails this as the Oscar of Twitter], named Top 75 Twitter Women, 2012 Top 100 Branding Experts on Twitter, and a 100 Top Marketer on Twitter.  Cheryl is a syndicated blogger. She is the co-founder of #Nifty50 Top Twitter Women and #Nifty50 Top Twitter Men. Google+

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21 of the Best Social Media Marketing Guides of 2013 (So Far)

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

The use of social media and social networks for marketing has rapidly advanced in the past few years from the “should I do it?” stage to the “how do I do it?” level to the current “how do I measure and optimize social media marketing efforts?” phase.

You’ve seen the statistics on social media marketing: 93% of marketers use social media for business. 90% of Inc. 500 companies use at least one major social media platform. And 92% of small businesses say that social media is an effective marketing technology tool.

Yet most marketers still struggle with how to measure ROI from social media efforts, and with questions like: how we budget for social media programs? What are the best strategies for promoting social content (and which bad ideas should be avoided)? Which social media marketing tools are most useful? And how do we ultimately attract new customers through social media?

Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than 20 of the best social media marketing guides, strategies, tips and tactics of 2013 thus far.

Social Media Marketing Guides, Strategies and Tactics

15 Strategies To Get More Shares For Your Content by Marketing Land

Courtney SeiterWe’ve all had the experience: you produce a fantastic, thoroughly researched, though-provoking piece of content and…instead of sharing your wonderful piece, your network is busily sharing something just not as good. Argh! Why? Noting that “The secret of getting your content shared by more people isn’t always producing better stuff – sometimes it’s making better connections or just thinking a little differently,” Courtney Seiter shares 15 strategies for getting making your great content “go that extra mile,” such as forming alliances, joining communities and rewarding sharers.

Social Media Priorities – Where Should You Focus? by Social-Hire

Tony RestellWhere should you focus your social media time and efforts? While acknowledging that the “audience you want to reach and your own professional goals will influence where your social media priorities for the coming year should lie,” Tony Restell nevertheless offers some concrete recommendations, like spending time on Google+ communities because of “the overlap between Google+ and Google search results.”

How to Effectively Budget Your Social Media Program in 2013 by ClickZ

Jasmine SandlerJasmine Sandler suggests marketers take six key considerations into account when budgeting for 2013 (or 2014) social media marketing plans, among them social media content development (“Content takes professionalism in design, writing skills, video production, photography, webcast production, audio development, and more”) and social media management (“Social media management takes listening, research, staying on top of trends and influencers, and ongoing creative thinking. Social media management, even for SMB organizations, takes a full-time salary worth of work. Don’t skimp on this and expect a junior person to take it on and run it”).

The Truth About Social Media by Forbes

Suw Charman-AndersonWriting that social media is “not about how many tasks you can tick off your to do list but about nurturing your following and making sure they feel valued…about creating community, relationships and loyalty”), Suw Charman-Anderson offers eight thought-provoking if sometimes painful observations, such as “being a writer doesn’t make you special” and “accept that you can’t be everywhere.”

30 Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore by HubSpot

Ellie MirmanEllie Mirman advises marketers to ignore these 30 examples of social media “wisdom” that really isn’t, like “social media is the new SEO” (no, it’s a supplementary activity—and a valuable one—but not a replacement), “an intern can manage it all for you” (hmm, sounds like another post on social media marketing myths), and that you should “use a tool that autopublishes your posts to all social networks at once … to save time” (ach, no!).

How Small Businesses Can Use Social Media at Events by MyBeak Social Media

Guest blogger James Barnett offers helpful tips for using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and blogging to run PR campaigns at live events, for example, on Twitter: “Use hash tags (#) to stay on topic with trends and create a buzzword around your brand. Re-tweet positive PR and update followers daily during the event. Request a re-tweet and support other exhibitors if they are willing to do the same.”

19 Things Successful People Do On Social Media by Forbes

TJ McCueWriting that, “Successful people believe they are adding value to your day, on and off social media,” TJ McCue details how social media pros use the tools effectively. Among their practices: they are genuine; they focus on quality over quantity; and they “believe in their network and leverage it.” They do not, however, send auto-DMs to all new followers or tweet what they had for lunch.

7 steps to rank your video higher on YouTube by iMedia Connection

Jon WhitingJon Whiting lists seven tips for improving video rank on YouTube. Beyond the obvious (keywords, title, description), he notes that “appearing higher than all the other videos targeted at the same keywords will depend on user engagement. This includes metrics like total number of views, likes, time spent watching, how many shares it gets etc. Try to encourage as many people as possible to view and like your video.” While this post isn’t an exhaustive guide to YouTube SEO, it’s a great start.

Social Media and the Sales Cycle by Marketing Wisdom for the 21st Century

Margie ClaymanCan social media help shorten b2b sales cycles? Perhaps, but here the insightful and engaging Margie Clayman skewers some of the arguments made on behalf of that premise. Prime example: “the argument that sending a message via LinkedIn thanking people for a meeting also seems to be a straw man argument. You don’t need to use LinkedIn to contact people you met with if you don’t want to. Email can work. Even better, send hand-written thank-you cards. That will really blow them away. It’s not a bad thing to use LinkedIn for post-meeting messages, but it’s not a convincing argument when debating whether social media can shorten the sales cycle.”

Executable Game Plan for Winning Ultimate Customers with Social Media by SocialSteve’s Blog

Steve GoldnerSteve Goldner lays out a practical action plan for moving “potential customers from interest to promoter step by step,” starting with gaining their attention (e.g., by determining and using they keywords your potential buyers use) and ending with nurturing advocates (when advocates “genuinely like you or your brand and what you deliver…you are now extending to the reach beyond your audience – to your audience’s audience”).

Expert’s Corner: How Manufacturers Are Harnessing Social Media by ThomasNet News

Mike KeatingMike Keating reports on how manufacturers are successfully using social media to increase awareness and sales, including blogs, YouTube, SlideShare, Quora, and most importantly, LinkedIn: “LinkedIn is the preferred social networking venue for B2B and B2G. You can reach out and connect with your clients (government or industry), define and demonstrate an area of expertise, develop a thought leadership position, and tie all your social networking back to your company website. Companies (including manufacturers) with an active social networking presence are growing much faster than those without one.”

Infographic: Size isn’t everything when it comes to social platforms by leaderswest

Jim DoughertyJim Dougherty highlights an infographic which illustrates that which is the “best” social network for your marketing efforts depends upon several factors such as your goals (Google+ and YouTube are great for SEO, Facebook and Twitter for driving traffic, LinkedIn and Pinterest for brand exposure), target audience demographics, and the skills at your disposal.

31 Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips Based On Research by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenThe prolific and insightful Heidi Cohen here culls more than 30 tips from Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, among them guest blogging, providing perks to brand advocates on social media, and answering “customer questions…Make a list of your customers’ top questions and respond to each one.”

Why B2B Marketers Still Don’t Get Social Media–And 7 Steps For Fixing That by Fast Company

Wendy MarxReporting that “while B2B social media spending increased 9.6% last year, the majority of B2B companies failed to integrate social media into their business practices,” the brilliant Wendy Marx offers guidance for how B2B vendors can improve the productivity of their online social activities, such as by carefully structuring a social media team, training employees, and establishing accountability.

Social Media Strategy: The Answer to the Top 5 Social Media Marketer Questions by Maximize Social Business

Neal SchafferNeal Schaffer answers five common questions about social media marketing, including questions about the best social media management tools (see below), how to measure the ROI of social media marketing (see further below) and how to create a social media marketing strategy.

Infographic: Optimize your Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Pinterest posts by leaderswest

Writing that “People have an attention span of eight seconds, so it’s incumbent upon writers to make their content as accessible as possible,” Jim Dougherty (again) here presents an infographic that “offers some very pragmatic and practical tips” such as including images on Facebook posts, mentioning influencers in tweets to drive engagement, and tagging brands and people with the @ sign on Google+.

Social Media Tools and Reviews

50 Top Tools for Social Media Monitoring, Analytics, and Management by Pamorama
***** 5 STARS

Pam DyerFrequent best-of honoree Pam Dyer provides brief reviews of a wide range of free and fee-based social media tools, from Buffer (“An app that manages multiple Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts, with the ability to set a tweeting or updating schedule unique to each. Includes detailed analytics for all your posts”) to UberVU (“Keeps track of all the major social media platforms in real time and delivers opportunities for audience engagement”).

SlideShare Is The Biggest Opportunity In B2B Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider

Michael BrennerWriting that “With more than 50 Million visitors per month and more than 100 million pageviews, SlideShare is one of the top websites in the world and should be a key focus of any B2B content marketing program. According to Comscore, SlideShare is used by business owners and business executives at a rate 5 times any other social network,” Michael Brenner explains how to create an effective SlideShare deck and links to some noteworthy examples.

10 Must Have Social Media Tools for Small Businesses by iag.Me

Ian Anderson GrayIan Anderson Gray reviews 10 vital social tools for managing and monitoring social media, including Feedly (one of the most popular alternatives to the now-defunct Google Reader), ManageFlitter (Twitter management), and Commun.it, which Ian calls a “social media relationship management tool.”

How To Calculate Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI: 14 Formulas to Measure Social Media Benefits by Search Engine Watch
***** 5 STARS

Angie SchottmullerIn what is possibly the best post ever about how to calculate the ROI of social media activities, Angie Schottmuller provides not just one or two but more than a dozen different formulas for tracking different types of return on investment, broken down into categories such as advertising value, content value, support value, and lead and sales value.

Social Media ROI: It’s Possible With These 7 Metrics by Kruse Control

Kathi KruseReporting that a MarketingChart study “reveals there’s a mismatch between marketing budget and effectiveness in key areas. Two are mass media and customer support, which are being overspent on versus their return on investment. Alternatively, email and social are being underspent on while they have a more effective ROI,” Kathi Kruse outlines a simple set of metrics for evaluating social media effectiveness, from “Engagement: number of likes, comments and shares” to value of sales closed.

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15 Expert Guides to WordPress: Tips, Techniques, Plugins and More

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Powered by legions of fans and armies of developers, WordPress has evolved from a humble blogging platform to a flexible, robust and ubiquitous CMS.

Expert WordPress Tips and TechniquesWordPress now powers one out of every six sites on the web, and half of all sites built on a content management system (CMS)—more than 60 million websites, including 45 of the Technorati Top 100 sites. (See below for sources.)

Nevertheless, it’s not perfect. So if WordPress is your platform of choice,  how can you overcome or work around its shortcomings and quirks? Optimize the speed of your site? Extend it, socialize it,  keep it secure, back it up, SEO it, and measure your results?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in 15 expert guides to WordPress tips, tricks and plugins.

WordPress Tips, Tactics and Facts

The Top 10 Most Infuriating Things about WordPress and How to Fix Them by jeffbullas.com
***** 5 STARS

A guest author on Jeff’s blog, the enigmatic “Jamil,” provides a remarkably helpful and even entertaining look at 10 top shortcomings of WordPress and how to avoid, overcome, or work around them. Even if some of the “fixes” aren’t particularly helpful (the recommended solution to plugin incompatibility is prayer, and the answer to the notoriously unhelpful default WordPress search functionality is “Get literally any other search bar”), you’ll lean a few new things here and enjoy doing it.

WordPress is the Emerging Monopoly in CMS #infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie PelserJust how popular is WordPress? According to Berrie Pelser, “Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power (their websites)…By March 2012, with about 72.4 million users for the content management system, the WordPress grew as the largest of its type on the planet. It provided hosting to more than 50% of the CMS users and more than 45% of the top 100 sites as rated by Technorati.” You’ll find those and many more such stats in this fascinating infographic.

How to Create Different Widgets on Different Pages Using a Plugin by SteamFeed

Rachael ButtsRachael Butts supplies a tutorial on how to use the Display Widgets plugin to “display different widgets on different pages, thus allowing you to have custom sidebars on your WordPress site.” She also offers tips for using the plugin, such as to customize the sidebar menu based on the page your visitor is viewing.

Custom Post Types – WordPress Evolves Closer to a Content Management System by Masterful Marketing

Debra MurphyThe engaging Debra Murphy explains what WordPress custom post types are and writes that “Theme developers can now use custom post types to create an array of content that can be edited through the visual editor and used anywhere on the site,” such as image galleries or product catalogs.

My Favorite Things to use with WordPress by SteamFeed

Rachael Butts (again) reviews eight of her favorite “things” to enhance WordPress, including the Woo Themes framework, Simpicity theme, Gravity Forms plugin for creating and managing forms,  and MailChimp for email marketing.

How to Speed Up a WordPress Site

5 ways to speed up WordPress by Rainbow Fire

A handful of excellent tips for reducing your blog’s load time (and related user frustration), among them installing a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache (“using a caching plugin can prove a vital way to speed up WordPress by ensuring that only the first visitor to your page needs to go through the entire process. The plugin will save the data from this first visitor, and serve it directly to any subsequent visitors thus reducing the strain on your database and the user’s browser”).

4 Things to Speed Up Your WordPress Site by SteamFeed

Rachael Butts (once more) offers four quick tips for increasing WordPress speed, such as using a content delivery network (“CDN’s load your website from a local server, say one in England, so your website for this user would be very fast because it is not pulling from a server in the States”). If your visit volume justifies this, starter plans are surprisingly affordable.

Top WordPress Plugins and Reviews

7 Must Have Plugins For Starting A Blog by Geekless Tech

Garen ArnoldGaren Arnold recommends plugins to cover basic functions from commenting and social sharing to SEO and, for security, Backup Buddy: “Backup Buddy is a fantastic plugin which will allow you to backup your mSQL databases automatically…There are a lot of similar plugins that do the same; this one is paid but well worth the money.”

37 Top WordPress Security and SEO Social Media Plug-ins 2013 by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie Pelser (again) lists more than three dozen top security and SEO plugins for WordPress along with brief descriptions of each, including Digg Digg (“Add a floating bar with share buttons to your blog. Just like Mashable!”) and Simple Login Lockdown (“A simple way to prevent brute force login attemps on your WordPress installation”).

10 Time Saving WordPress Plugins by Brad S. Knutson

Brad KnutsonBrad Knutson serves up thoughtful reviews of “WordPress plugins that webmasters, developers and bloggers use to save time every day,” from the comment spam-squashing Akismet to Social by MailChimp, which very helpfully publishes “comments, retweets and replies as WordPress comments. When you share your post across multiple social media platforms, the conversation is often carried on in many different places. This plugin aggregates your conversations and keeps them in one place.”

30 Most Popular WordPress Plugins – infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie Pelser (yet again) highlights a list of popular WordPress plugins, this time in infographic form. Among the recommendations here are the self-explanatory WP-DB-Backup and WP-Polls, as well as WPTouch, which “automatically transforms your WordPress website for mobile devices, complete with ajax loading articles and smooth effects.”

Starting a WordPress Blog? Make Sure Your Have these Plugins Installed by Techetron

Mushfiqur RahmanMushfiqur Rahman reviews his top 10 must-have plugins for a new blog. Beyond a few obvious choices (Akismnet, SEO Yoast, Google SML Sitemaps), he also includes Broken Link Checker for automatically finding broken links, WP Mobile Detector for automatically detecing device type and serving up the proper display of your blog, and Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin.

The 17 Best WordPress Plugins for Social Media, SEO, and Better Visitor Engagement in 2013 by Maximize Social Business

Neal SchafferNoting that “WordPress powers one of every 6 websites on the Internet, nearly 60 million in all, with 100,000 more popping up each day,” Neal Schaffer explains the importance of minimizing page load time and some tactics for increasing your site’s speed, then reviews his favorite social media and SEO plugins including JetPack Publicize, Scribe SEO and Social Author Bio, which provides “fully integrated Google Plus Authorship.”

15 Social Media WordPress Plugins for 2012 by iMediaConnection

Noemi MadridNoemi Madrid reviews more than a dozen plugins for integrating your content with and sharing it on social platforms, including plugins specifically developed for interaction with Facebook, Google+, Flickr, Pinterest, Storify, YouTube, and even MySpace.

The Complete Set of Social Media Plugins for WordPress by Web Teacher

Tom ChuWhile this isn’t a “complete set,” guest author Tom Chu does serve up helpful reviews of half a dozen social media plugins ranging from Sociable and ShareThis for general social sharing to “deep integration” plugins like Social Metrics, which “displays your site’s social media performance statistics and gives them back to you in an intuitive way to help you to understand what you’re doing right and where you can improve.”

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24 of the Best Google+ Guides, Tips, Rants and Raves of 2012

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Will Google+ be a “Facebook killer” or just Google’s next failed social network? It’s certainly gaining traction, with over 500 million users now on board, already half of Facebook’s total. Then again, the average Facebook user spends nearly seven hours per month on the site—compared to just three minutes for the average Google+user.

Best Google+ Guides, Tips and Rants of 2012Many of this year’s best posts about Google’s newest social platform were written early in the year. Since then, though the user base has continued to grow, enthusiasm seems to have waned. While Marty Weintraub offers a more provocative metaphor below, it almost seems like Google+ is becoming the colonoscopy of social networks: everyone agrees it’s vitally important, but few people really want to talk about it or spend any more time on it than absolutely necessary.

“Ghost town” or not, many experts agree that Google+ is here to stay, and it’s valuable for b2b marketing, SEO, personal branding, and reputation management. So what makes Google+ special? What are the best practices for business use of the platform? How can an individual or organization most efficiently grow a following there? And will Google+ end Facebook’s domination of social networking—or will it “break the Internet”?

Find those answers and more here in two dozen of the best Google+ guides, tips, rants and raves of the past year.

Google+ Guides and Tips

5 Things Google+ Offers Brands That Facebook Doesn’t by Sprout Insights

Susan GuneliusSusan Gunelius outlines five social networking features unique to Google+, including circles (which enable you to “separate your customers from your colleagues and online influencers from your business partners”) and hangouts (which can be “used for things like small-group webinars, question and answer sessions, and more”).

Why brands will lose if they ignore Google+ by iMedia Connection

Though he calls Google+ a “half-baked invention,” Daniel Flamberg nevertheless advises that “savvy marketers should use Google+ these five ways,” including experimenting with hangouts, expanding social assets and audiences, and optimizing branded search: “Link owned digital assets to Google+. Use the +1 and encourage your followers to do the same. Plant +1 badges on all your assets to take advantage of the Direct Connect tool that automatically brings customers and prospects searching in your category to your page.”

6 Steps to Getting Started With Google+ by Social Media Examiner

Marc PitmanFor marketers who are either still on the fence about Google+ or just haven’t done much with it, Marc Pitman provides an excellent guide to the basics like filling up your links “While you’re editing your ‘about’ page, be sure to pay attention to the ‘other profiles’ section…(consider adding) links to other social media networks, links to your business sites (and) links to special pages on your website.”

The First 5 Things You Should Do With Your Google+ Business Page by WindMill Networking

Mark TraphagenOnce you’ve finished with Marc Pitman’s post above, Mark Traphagen presents a five-step process for taking your business presence on Google+ to the next level, starting with 1 four-item list on optimizing your page for SEO followed by upgraded the visual appearance of your page and filling your stream with quality content.

3 reasons Google+ is not a social network by iMedia Connection

Lauren FriedmanLauren Friedman explains why she thinks Google+ is not a social network but brands should be there anyway–for example, for SEO purposes: “The best way brands can take advantage of Google+ is to amp-up their SEO. Each time a user clicks the +1 button, it helps with that brand’s SEO and the content getting served to users above other content. Search results are personalized based on the +1s of those in your circles, and as a marketer, that changes the game. Search results are still based on Google’s proprietary algorithms, but sites with more +1s will appear to be more relevant and thus ranked higher.”

3 Successful Google+ Pages and Why They Work by Social Media Examiner

Lisa PeytonLisa Peyton highlights three examples of successful Google+ brand pages such as the NASA page, where “The active space and science community on Google+ may support speculation that platform users are mostly tech-savvy early adopters. This finding contradicts the fact that the TOP Google+ profile belongs to pop star Britney spears. However, her page garners less engagement based upon the number of followers than the top brands outlined in this article.”

Google+ for SEO? Don’t Focus on Your Brand Page! by B2B Digital Marketing

Eric WittlakeContradicting popular wisdom, Eric Wittlake argues that “Google+ Brand Pages are not the ticket to SEO success. In fact, if you focus your Google+ efforts on your new brand page, you will miss the most important search benefits of Google+.” He then outline three strategies he says are designed to improve search rank and traffic.

6 Reasons Why Adding Google+ to Your Web Presence & SEO Strategy is a Good Idea by iMedia Connection

Krista LaRiviereKrista LaRiviere of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs offers six reasons for brands to embrace Google+, among them fresh content (“Google+ is just one more place to publish your press releases, blogs, testimonials, case studies and news. The difference with Google+ is that your content, if found, will be listed at the top of Google personal results mixed in with traditional search results”) and the fact that Google+ produces social signals which factor into Google’s ranking algorithm.

32 Totally Free Google “Search Plus Your World” #SEO Resources by aimClear Blog
***** 5 STARS

Marty WeintraubFrequent best-of honoree Marty Weintraub compares Google+ to a dominatrix (it makes sense the way he writes it), offering short-term pleasure (search rank improvement) at the expense of long-term frustration. Still, he thinks it’s worth the effort to chase the temporary bump and so shares an excellent list of nearly three dozen how-to articles from writers like Lisa Barone, Matt McGee and Stephanie Cain.

Reputation Management: How Google+ Can Be Your Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy by Business2Community

Danny DeMicheleContending that “PageRank, Google’s ranking scoring system, is profoundly impacted by these (Google +1) votes,” Danny DeMichele provides a simple four-step process for using Google+ as part of a broader reputation (personal or brand) strategy.

20 Google+ Terms and Definitions You Need to Know by Sprout Insights

Susan Gunelius (again) presents helpful definitions of basic (e.g., “Chat: Using the Chat feature, you can notify people in your Google+ Circles that you’re online and available for an online chat from within Google+”) and advanced Google+ terms (such as “Data Liberation: Use this feature to download and backup the content in your Google+ Account, which is available through the Google+ Settings option [the gear icon in the upper-right corner of your screen when you’re logged into your Google+ account”]).

How Google’s +1 Button Affects SEO by Mashable

Keith KaplanKeith Kaplan explains that although “The +1 has an indirect effect on your site’s search rank. This does not mean the more +1’s a link has, the higher rank it achieves in traditional search results,” it can indirectly help with SEO by making a piece of content more likely to be clicked on and shared on other social networks—which does actually affect rank.

How to Effectively Create a Google+ Following of 10,000 Engaged Fans by Search Engine Watch

Eric SiuEric Siu shares advice from Fraser Cain, publisher of the Universe Today space and astronomy news website, on how to build, maintain and engage a large following on Google+. Eric contends that Fraser’s success, based on unique content and active network, belies the notion promoted by some (such as Austin Carr, below) that Google+ is a “ghost town.”

Build Your Google Plus Page Following with Topical Pages by WindMill Networking
***** 5 STARS

This tip from guest blogger Mark Traphagen (again) is almost too good to share. “What if you could create opt-in subscription lists on Google+? You can! Here’s the wonderful secret: you can create a Google+ page about virtually anything, including a topic. It doesn’t necessarily have to be connected with a brand name.” He then details a “simple strategy for using Pages to create opt-in subscription lists about specific topics.”

Quick Tricks to Make Your Google Plus Business Page Sparkle by ZD Design Blog

Donnie BryantAgain arguing against the “Google+ is a ghost town” thesis, Donnie Bryant here provides a handful of helpful tips for getting more performance out of a Google+ business page, from creating a short URL and maximizing the use of photos and video to encouraging sharing.

The Marketer’s Guide to Google Plus by KISSmetrics

Zach BulygoZach Bulygo offers a highly detailed and richly illustrated guide to marketing on Google+, from the basics of business page setup and getting a verified name to optimizing your tagline, use of photos. Google+ author tag and the +1 sharing button.

How to Use Google Plus for Personal Branding and Establishing Author Rank by WindMill Networking

Neal SchafferNeal Schaffer quotes Mark Traphagen (one last time), who calls Google+ a “powerhouse” because of its “tight integration into Google search. Google+ posts are easily indexed by Google search, and unlike tweets or Facebook posts, are treated much like regular web pages. That means a well-constructed G+ post (with a main keyword in the first sentence/title and a good amount of engagement) can rank well in Google search and, unlike other social media status posts, actually stay ranked for a long time,” and explains why Google authorship is important and how to set it up.

Google+ Rants and Raves

Google+ Is Going To Mess Up The Internet by ReadWrite

Jon MitchellJon Mitchell is not a fan of Google’s latest social network and isn’t afraid to say so. He writes, “Google tools used to enhance the Internet. But as Google ships ‘the Google part’ of its new Google+ identity, it’s breaking the Web it once helped build,” and then offers half a dozen specific reasons why.

“Don’t Be Evil” Tool — Backed By Facebook & Twitter — Shows Google’s “Search Plus Your World” Can Go Beyond Google+ by Search Engine Land

Danny SullivanDanny Sullivan details the use and results from the “Don’t be Evil” browser bookmarklet, stating that “The companies behind the tool feel Google’s hasn’t focused on what’s best for its users with Search Plus Your World. They have a good point. But the tool makes this point better than all the debates that have happened so far around Search Plus Your Word, because it shows what Google could have done to better serve searchers, if it had wanted to.” He also explains how some features of Google+ are part of the problem.

How Google+ Is Encircling Your Brand by MediaPost

Though he believes “Google+ is emerging as a great way for brands to connect directly with consumers,” Gavin O’Malley also notes that a disproportionate share of interaction is driven by a few aggressive, early adopting brands on the platform, and points out “Google+ still has less than 1/100th the number of total consumers interacting with the top 100 brands that Facebook has achieved.”

Exclusive: New Google+ Study Reveals Minimal Social Activity, Weak User Engagement by Fast Company

Austin CarrAustin Carr reports on the findings of a study which paints “very poor picture of the search giant’s social network–a picture of waning interest, weak user engagement, and minimal social activity.” Among te research findings from RJ Metrics, “Roughly 30% of users who make a public post never make a second one” and “Even after making five public posts, there is a 15% chance that a user will not post publicly again.” The author concludes that Google+ “might indeed just be a ‘virtual ghost town,’ as some have argued.”

Think You Don’t Need Google+ in Your Business? Think Again! by Rebekah Radice

Rebekah RadiceWhile acknowledging that Google+ has its shortcomings and that many marketers remain (not entirely unreasonably) skeptical about the platform, Rebekah Radice nevertheless offers half a dozen reasons to embrace Google’s social network, such as the circles and hangouts features and the B2B networking value.

With Google+ Communities, Google launches its own version of Facebook Groups by VentureBeat

Tom CheredarTom Cheredar explains how Google+ Communities work and how this capability compares with Facebook groups: “There are a few notable (notable differences between Google+ Communities and Facebook Groups), including the ability to start a Google Hangout video chat with the community and sharing things specifically with G+ communities from any +1 button. That’s pretty cool, and something that might actually attract people to use it over Facebook.”

Google+ becomes the world’s social platform…with Community by Relevanza

Steve HartWriting that “While Google announced Google+ reached 500 million users, the bigger announcement by far was the roll out of Google+ Communities,” Steve Hart explains what Communities are, how they work, what they can be used for, and why they are “a BFD.”

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