Content Marketing

12 Tips for Creating Shareable Social Media Content

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Editor's Note: Rachel Bartee is an experienced content writer, and joins us today to discuss several content creation tips that will encourage social media followers to like and share.

 

Content creation is a vital element in contemporary marketing strategies. However, while nearly 90% of all companies engage in content marketing on some level, few manage to produce contagious content that Internet users share. Without this level of engagement, content can hardly fulfill its true purpose.

Fortunately, there are many ways to create interesting content that is more likely to spread across social media, and in this article I will present you with practical tips for doing so. But first, let’s talk about what goes on behind the scenes of social media sharing -

What Motivates Users to Share Content?

There is a science behind what motivates users to share digital content. Researchers have discovered a number of psychological triggers that inspire people to engage in online activities, and here are some of the most important ones:

  • Social Approval: People love to express their attitudes and receive affirmative feedback from their circle of friends and acquaintances. Sharing content is a way to express one's personality to a group.
  • Communication: Humans are social beings. We all want to nurture relationships with other people, and digital content enables us to do this more easily and frequently.
  • Support Ideas: Social media is often used to signal support for ideas, political views and personal beliefs; in this is way, users connect with a greater, altruistic good.
  • Entertainment: At the end of the day, plenty of people use social media to wind down. Entertaining content includes humor, memes, videos, music, and more.

It can be difficult to segment the way people interact online, since these categories can and frequently do overlap. However, thinking about these basic motivations is still a useful starting point for developing content that will motivate users to get involved. With that being said, here are:

12 Tips to Make Your Social Media Content More Shareable

1. Create High-Quality Content

This seems like the most obvious point, and it is, but it's also forgotten too often. There are no shortcuts: shareable content is always high-quality content. If you focus on superficial topics and don’t invest enough time into research or content creation, you cannot expect your followers to become interested and engaged. This is one reason why longform content is doing better than ever.

Content development can take time and effort, so if you need professional help, here are some simple resources I have used in the past:

  • Blog Title Generator: This tool will show you the list of the most relevant topics in any given niche.
  • Headline Analyzer: Headline is the first thing that your readers notice and you have to come up with a catchy and intriguing solution. Headline Analyzer will tell you if you’ve succeeded.
  • Essaysontime: If you decide that serious content creation is out of your reach, you can always ask for help from this expert writing service.

2. Use Smart Structuring

Internet users read very quickly, and nothing will turn them off more than a "wall of text". Format your content intelligently by using numbered lists, bullet points and headers to easily highlight key information points.

3. Add Value to Users' Lives

Informative content is good, but if your readers and clients can’t put your words in practice then they will not benefit from what you publish. A primary goal of content is to solve users' problems and show how to overcome them; this will not only build brand loyalty, but it will keep them coming back for more. As long as the content you create is genuinely helpful, it's also certain to be passed around.

4. Keep Your Audience in Mind

Before ever creating or sharing content, think about your audience: ask yourself if it's something they would like to see and share with their friends. Once you have some ideas, you can even poll your audience to generate comments and perhaps initiate debate. This not only creates engagement, but gives you special insight into what they want.

5. Create Infographics

Infographics are informative but easy to understand. And because they come in the form of images, they are convenient for the majority of Internet users who mostly share visual content on social media. Using tools like Piktochart, you don’t even need the knowledge of a graphic designer to create a reasonably high quality infographic. The most important thing is to use your business expertise and data to create something your audience will find valuable.

6. Trigger Emotions

Some of the most successful marketing campaigns went viral because they sparked strong emotional reactions among users. A lot of studies have proven that emotions like happiness, anger, or sorrow have the power to engage people and make them share digital content. Do you remember the #ItCanWait campaign? Study how AT&T used narrative, art and user engagement to skyrocket this public safety campaign. Be careful not to co-opt causes that are unrelated to your business, since insincerity can backfire. But when you see an opportunity to contribute, do it well.

7. Remember the good old times

Talking about emotions, never forget nostalgia. Users universally enjoy content that hearkens back to old memories, and if you analyze your audience precisely, you can get an easy target for what will appeal to them. Consider this 90s themed commercial by Microsoft, aimed at Millennials to promote its Internet Explorer web browser (and be sure to notice the tremendously positive response it elicited):

8. Offer Incentives

People love free stuff. It’s a fact that you can occasionally use to boost interest in your products or services. Frequently social media pages will offer a giveaway based on a random drawing, and to enter the drawing users are simply asked to share, like, or follow a page. This can create a big ripple effect that more than compensates for the investment in a reward.

9. Exploit Trendy Topics

Staying up to date with trendy topics is obligatory for all marketers. You should always follow the latest industry news, and use them to create shareable content when appropriate. Consider how this Norwegian Airlines commercial provoked positive reactions by responding to celebrity news surrounding Brad Pitt.

10. Organize Contests

Contests are a great way to engage your audience and inspire them to share your content. Users love to compete and they usually do it with their friends and colleagues, which is the main sharing motive for them. All it takes is a nice idea and a little bit of budget to launch the contest – just take a look at the KFC football challenge.

11. Be Funny

Your business is serious but your content doesn’t have to be. On the contrary, funny posts, images, and videos grab the users’ attention and promise you a fair portion of shares, so don’t run away from it.   

12. Use video content

Video is quickly becoming the dominant form of online content, and some studies even say that video content will make up 80% of all Internet traffic by 2018. As a result, you have to embrace video as part of your content strategy. This is also why Twitter – once known as the photo-sharing network – added video to its portfolio. This kind of content has a big potential to go viral, just like this Nike video did.

About the Author: Rachel Bartee is a content writer and a marketing consultant from Davenport. She is content-oriented and knows how to put words into action. She feels passionate about travelling and inspired by her morning yoga. Reach her on Facebook or Twitter.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Introduction to Content Marketing Strategy

8 Steps to Discovering and Creating Content Your Audience Will Love

B2B Social Visual Storytelling on Instagram, Pinterest & Tumblr

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 

 

 


Infographic: How to Start a Business Blog

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Editor's Note: Wanda Carlson is a business writer and graphic designer who contributes to WebsiteSetup. Today, she joins us to share an original graphic that concisely explains how to build and maintain a blog for your company.

 

As a business maintaining or striving to maintain an online presence, there is almost nothing better you can do than to keep a blog. According to the 2016 Content Preferences Survey by Demand Gen, about 47% of buyers read 3 to 5 pieces of content before initiating a purchase. Consequently, by failing to adequately focus on content, businesses can forfeit up to half of their potential revenue!

It's worth considering why businesses make this mistake. One answer could be the sheer number of good, productive marketing strategies for an online business. These include maintaining an active social media presence, an email list, or targeted advertising campaigns.

Depending on the company and product, any one of these strategies may be well worth pursuing. But one thing tends to remain constant from business to business: a single strategy should not be pursued at the expense of everything else. Online marketing is no different; publishing original content on a blog is not only a great way to earn and convert inbound traffic all on its own, but complements social media and email marketing activities very nicely.

Infographic Summary

In the following infographic, we will explain the basic steps you should know to create and maintain a business blog. Here are a few key takeaways:

  • There are numerous blogging platforms, and depending on your needs, you may decide to choose something specialized to an industry. However, after many years, WordPress remains the strongest multi-purpose platform on the web. Not only is it fast, easily customized and free, but has a large support community that can help if you run into any issues.
  • Craft diverse and genuinely valuable (rather than salesy) content for your blog on a regular schedule, in a voice that comes naturally to you and reflects your brand identity, with a carefully considered audience in mind
  • Be engaged with your own audience, and other influencers in your community to build authority and backlinks. Integrate content into your other marketing strategies by sending blog posts to social media, or to email subscribers.
  • Stay relevant by paying attention to important trends, and bring search engine traffic to your blog by optimizing content for SEO.

With that, here's the infographic - feel free to save and share with colleagues or friends!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Expressing the Brand Through Content Marketing

Creating and Curating Content People Love

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


Mobile Content Strategy: 6 Ways to Engage Your Mobile Readers

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Editor's Note: Mary Walton works as a professional editor for Politics Assignment Help Australia and writes for Simple Grad. Today, she joins us to discuss strategies for optimizing mobile content for higher conversion rates. A version of this article first appeared on SplitMetrics.

Wondering how you can make your posts, descriptions and emails more engaging for mobile readers?

Whether you’re creating content for a blog, struggling to write a high-converting app description or optimizing text for App Store banners, there are several basic rules for building a successful mobile content strategy that will help you optimize each and every element on a user’s journey.

In this article, we will review 6 ways to refine your app descriptions and improve content for mobile devices.

Mobile has become the top way that many people to engage with content online. As smartphones become ever more ubiquitous, your content is making its way to a whole new market. Because of this, you have to look at copywriting in a whole new way. Here are 6 tips for writing mobile content that will engage mobile readers, and lead to higher conversion rates.

1. The key to a successful mobile content strategy isn’t to write less

It’s no secret that there’s less screen real estate when it comes to mobile. Some marketers take that to mean they have to write less content to keep a reader’s attention. But this kind of thinking is a trap. However limited they are by technology, mobile readers are not substantially different from desktop users: quality matters more than quantity. Remember, you can’t cut quality into truncated copy. In your mobile content strategy, focus on creating content that your readers will find useful.

2. Front load your mobile content

On desktop, you can show the reader several paragraphs before they have to scroll. But on mobile though, you have less space. This means you need to grab your audience's attention right away. As such, try front loading the most important information to the top of an app description, article, or post.

app description mobile content strategy splitmetrics

‘The important, attention grabbing copy needs to be in the first few sentences," says admissions officer Tim Leyman at Academized Paper Writing Service. "For example, if you were writing about cooking barbecue food, you may start out by saying ‘It’s summer and you’re looking for the perfect barbecue foods. We’ve rounded up all the recipes you should try this season.’ This tells the reader exactly what you’re going to do, and encourages them to scroll down."

3. Use plenty of images

On mobile, readers are much more interested in dynamic images. This doesn’t mean that text content doesn’t have a role to play, it just means that you need to find a way to complement app screenshots, icons or images in blog posts with your text content.

Sites like Buzzfeed have got this mobile content strategy down to an art. They use images to illustrate their points, and their text content simply elaborates on what they’re showing.

buzzfeed splitmetrics mobile content strategy

4. Short paragraphs work best on mobile

Readers tend to view paragraphs as a complete thought: the longer the paragraph, the longer the thought.

On mobile, this can look far too complicated and readers can get lost. The best way to deal with this is writing shorter paragraphs. Make it your goal to make a point in as few sentences as possible. Your content should still flow, but be ruthless about cutting unneeded words.

description mobile content strategy splitmetrics

5. Create short and snappy headlines

Again, because you don’t have a lot of screen real estate, your headlines should be short and snappy. Creating good headlines for mobile is a real art. You have to give readers information about what the app or article is about, but at the same time you need to keep it short so it’s not taking up too much room on the initial page or screenshots.

mobile content screenshots splitmetrics

6. Online tools can help with creating mobile content

There are plenty of online tools that can help you write good online content for mobile. Give some of these a try and see if they help you:

– Easy Word Count: This site gives you an accurate word count of your text, helpful when you’re trying to keep it short. It also highlights any mistakes you’ve made in text.

– Click To Tweet: This tool creates sharing buttons for your website. Simply include one with your post, and your reader can click it to share with all their followers.

– Paper Fellows: If you need some encouragement with your writing, turn to this writing community. It’s full of other writers who can help you out.

– Citation Generator: This tool gives you the right citation for any source you use. Make your writing informed and trustworthy using this.

– Marketing Essay Help: Need some help with your editing? There are lots of helpful editing guides on this site.

– Ideaflip: If you have more than one copywriter, this is the app for you. You can share ideas in real time, wherever you are.

– Do My Assignment: This is the tool for you if you need proofreading assistance. It’s definitely one of the best proofreading tools online right now.

– Calmly Writer: The internet is full of distractions, making it hard to write. This tool helps you avoid all those distractions and get on with the job.

– Cheap Essay: This writing service is an excellent grammar help. Talk to the experts here if you feel your grammar needs improving.

– Snip.ly: This tool is the perfect call to action. It adds buttons that readers can click on to read anything you want to link to.

– SplitMetrics: Use SplitMetrics if you want to A/B test app descriptions and develop a mobile content strategy that drives installs.

These tips will help you write for a rapidly growing and important market. Get it right, and you’ll see conversion go through the roof.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Foundational Principles for Website Conversions

Engaging with Mobile Marketing: Choosing the Right Mobile Content

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


3 Ways Content Marketing is More Than Just Managing a Blog

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content marketers

Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To complement the brand new content marketing classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to explain the responsibilities of a content marketing master.

 

After spending hours and hours of planning and posting content, many content marketers slip into thinking their role is simply an exercise in blog management.

They think, "As long as my blog is populated with new content, gets clicks (and the occasional conversion), my job here is done." Then they brush off their hands, and go home for the day.

Most content marketers know their role is not that simple - that there are search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) concerns that must factor into every editorial decision before posting an article.

But sometimes even great content marketers fall into the camp of complacency, and forget that producing quality content means wearing more than one (or even two) professional hats.

The best content marketers balance at least three professional hats, all of which intersect with other corporate departments: They are one part researcher, one part brand ambassador, and one part SEO expert. That’s why today’s blog manager should be working like a Content Marketer in Chief, otherwise known as a Chief Content Officer (CCO).

1. How Content Marketing is Being a Researcher

Content marketers - and especially blog managers - know they need to do their homework. They know that producing good content means researching what other blogs are releasing, teasing out trends in industry discussions, and developing new ideas that will establish their brands as thought leaders and innovators in the public arena.

If they are aware of search engine optimization practices, they also know that executing a good search engine marketing strategy means staying up to date on changes to search algorithms from the most popular search engines, which could affect their company’s place in search rankings.

With all these knowledge bases, a Chief Content Officer should  know how and where to allocate resources in order to optimize content reach and production. This includes knowing when to hire out talent, when to pull the trigger on ad buys, and when to invest time and money in marketing technology that will provide further insight into the company’s target market.

2. How Content Marketing is Being an SEO Expert

Good blog managers know they need to get creative to produce the type of content that helps them rise in rankings. They should also know that to achieve brand recognition, they must encourage, manage, and project their own authority as an organization that pushes the envelope of thought leadership in their industry and knows what places them in Google Search’s top 10 search results.

For content marketers who have the mentality of a Chief Content Officer, this is where it becomes important to not only be a creative expert but also an SEO expert.

Chief Content Officers know all the tricks of the trade when it comes to search engine optimization. They are uniquely suited to harness the power of a variety of softwares and dashboards, pick up on industry trends, and find innovative ways to enhance their content’s placement via PageRank. The goal for Chief Content Officers is not just to make as many search results as possible, but also to expand their organic presence, quality scores, and relevant search traffic through an advanced understanding of how search engines and other websites value their content.

3. How Content Marketing is Being a Brand Ambassador

Blog managers and content marketers of all stripes should know that they operate on their company’s front lines. They should know that what they post and publish represents the voice of their brand; they are brand ambassadors, and first impressions  determine how their organization is perceived by the public.

For content marketers that have the mentality of a Chief Content Officer, the content they publish is more than an exercise in brand management: it is an exercise in brand execution. Every blog post that’s published, every video or social comment that’s posted is where the proverbial rubber meets the road, where not only the content marketer’s vision for the brand comes into play, but also where each and every executive’s voice and vision for the company comes into play.

In other words, content marketing is how every theory about how a brand should impact its audience meets practice, where customer meets executive, and vice versa. That’s  why content marketing is so much more than managing a blog.

Do you have what it takes to market content like a Chief Content Officer?

To learn how you can adopt the strategies of today’s best content marketers, check out our classes on content marketing from Content Marketers in Chief: Joe Pulizzi, Lisa Buyer, and Denise Robert McKee.

 


A Strategic Guide to Promoting and Selling Digital Goods Online

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Editor's Note: Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist who writes for SEO Sandwitch. Today he joins us to discuss digital goods, and how to sell them online.

 

Selling digital goods was once a complicated venture, but over the years and with the introduction of numerous online services and tools, it is now much simpler.

Digital products are informational in nature. They may exist in many formats, including eBooks, audio or video courses, bulletins, programming and access to membership sites.

7 unique aspects of marketing digital goods

  1. The target audience for digital goods is unique. Your customer base stands to be benefited by your product, but may not be aware of its existence precisely because it did not exist before.
  2. It follows that product discovery is often not accompanied by a desire to purchase; this makes your marketing message highly important.
  3. Price is less of an issue because it costs less (or even nothing) to create copies of digital content for the maker.
  4. Mechanism of sale is very different from traditional or online commerce; whereas physical goods may be sold in online stores, digital goods often require an individual landing + sales page. This is especially well for one-off items like e-books. 
  5. There are also specialized selling platforms for digital products, and some will be reviewed in this article.
  6. ‘Packaging’ heavily influences the sale of a digital product. The way you design your landing page, cover art, etc. will influence the initial interest it generates among audiences.
  7. Digital goods often come with additional bonuses that raise the perceived value of the purchase for the audience.

These core differences in the nature of e-commerce of digital and physical goods change the game for marketers. Read on to learn how you can formulate and execute a better plan for selling digital goods - 

Selling Your Products Directly

E-junkie

E-junkie is a very simple marketplace that uses HTML codes to generate great product pages for your digital goods. It's a great and easy choice for beginners: simply create an account on the E-junkie website, list your item and install the code on your site.

Once you get started, you'll be able to manage a lot of different options including inventory management, affiliate management, Google Analytics tracking, and more.

An advantage to E-junkie that sets it apart from other options is that you will not be charged a percentage or portion of your sales. Rather, you'll have flat monthly subscription fee which starts from $5/month.

There are many services similar to E-junkie if the format works well for you: others include Easy Digital Downloads, SendOwl, Gumroad and Sellfy.

PayPal

It's impossible to mention digital goods without discussing PayPal. PayPal has been a staple of digital commerce for many years, especially because of its strong protection policies that prevent sellers and buyers from being scammed. has always put their efforts in protecting buyers and sellers from all kind of scam. You can integrate PayPal into a WordPress website and use it to sell digital goods with a simple plugin.

The WordPress PayPal Shopping cart is simply a plugin which will help you to sell your products from your WordPress website with one click.

In order to set up:

  • Download the WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart plugin and upload it your site.        
  • Activate the plugin through your WordPress “Plugins” menu.
  • Click on "Settings"
  • Configure the options to your liking. This can include your email address, your shopping cart name, and the URL users will return to after purchasing.
  • Navigate to a page where you want your product to appear.
  • Make use of the trigger text to insert the product into your page.
  • Publish your page when you’re ready.

Marketing Your Digital Goods – How It’s Done

Finding Opinion Formers or Influencers

Influencers are those whose opinions, attitudes and activities influence others. Getting these people to like your product is a great way to spread the word. Start by researching the most important figures in the market you are selling to; then, reach out to them and pitch your product.

Blogger Outreach and Guest Blogging

This is a 2-pronged strategy that works well when your digital products are centered around information or education (for instance, courses, webinars, books, etc.).

First, identify the most influential bloggers in your niche, and reach out to them with your product hoping for some coverage on their blogs.

Sharing free samples often does the trick here. You can also become a guest blogger on their blog or invite them to become a guest blogger on your blog and target readers with proper landing pages that lead to your course.

Sam Ovensmaster entrepreneur and online educator - does this brilliantly, not only by maintaining a high quality and much followed blog of his own, but also by contributing to other blogs and getting fellow bloggers to chip in with their insight on his courses.

Tip: AllTop is a great tool for finding popular blogs relevant to a topic. Just search with your main keyword and you’ll see a list of categories. Click on the closest match to make your list.

Get Some Product Reviews

Expect any potential customer to research your company on Google, and prepare for this by making sure that solid and positive customer feedback is easy to find. Invest effort towards:-

  • Capturing genuine positive messages by sharing free samples and curating them on your landing pages, along with proof of authenticity.
  • Requesting that shoppers leave reviews on at least a couple of review websites, in exchange for discounts on subsequent purchases.
  • Looking to be innovative? Create a podcast with a customer who’s benefited from your product; host a webinar, and think out of the box.

Note: Never solicit positive feedback, as this is considered unethical by most major online retailers and users. Ask for honest feedback, and make your product great so the reviews will be too.

Final Suggestsions

There are a few important tips to adopt if you want to gain a bigger presence in the marketplace of digital goods. Here are a few -

Offer a special reward: Everybody adores free gifts with a purchase. That is the reason numerous digital products include free digital books, worksheets or other resources with a download. It’s an additional perceived value that can persuade doubtful customers to finish a transaction.

Always test: Testing is time consuming, but gives you the sort of information that you need to set the ideal price for every product. It will also help you in to see the real results with every methodology you apply, which will enable you to pick the best pricing approach.

Know the market and price competitively: Finish a competitive analysis and assessment in order to know how others in the business are selling similar digital products. At that point price yours to position it against the opposition. On the off chance that your product is especially unique, include content that your competitor’s products do not include and consider pricing that is marginally higher.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

How to Find & Engage Brand Influencers

Beyond Blogging: How to Create a Vibrant Thought Leadership Community

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


The 4-Step Content Marketing Strategy for Growth-Hacking Conversions

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To complement the brand new classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to discuss a growth hacking strategy that content marketers can use to boost their conversion rates.

 

There are thousands of workable content marketing strategies, but a select few have higher-than-average conversion rates. These content strategies fall under the category of growth-hacking strategies, which include ways of enhancing leads and conversions in a very short period of time.

One of these content strategies is the four-step process outlined below, which I’ve personally seen increase conversion rates for nearly a dozen affiliate marketing websites focused on growth hacking. Let's dive in!

1. Research and Develop Consumer Insight

Every business has indicators of success, or success signals. These success signals range from the number of leads generated by a single blog post (obvious), to a single click through to a landing page (less obvious).

Growth hackers and conversion-oriented content strategists research and develop consumer insights by harnessing the power of data to narrow down exactly what these success signals tell us about our users. Their methods might include conducting polls, surveys, and interviews—each of which can be achieved with ease on social media—as well as implementing user tests or following the trail of web analytics wherever it goes, which can require some buy-in.

(Source: Inflow)

All of these methods can and should be used to pinpoint exactly what your business is doing that is working to convert casual users into customers, and what your site is doing that isn’t working to convert casual users into customers.

Pro-Tip: Use at least two different methods to test your insights into what’s driving users to convert.

2. Publish Information Most Relevant to Incoming Traffic

One easy success signal we haven’t mentioned is incoming traffic to your website.

Most businesses know that if users perform a search and click through to our website, then we’re doing something right in terms of relevance.

But content strategists and growth hackers also know that a steady stream of traffic doesn’t always spell a steady stream of conversions. They also know that the right kind of traffic does.

So what’s the right kind of traffic? Organic search traffic.

Organic search traffic is drawn to your website because you publish some of the most relevant information pertaining to a certain set of keywords, whether that information appears in an advertisement, a search result, or both.

Now having the most relevant information available on a certain set of keywords also means publishing content well and publishing ads often, both of which should focus on repeating the set of keywords that best draws your organic search traffic.

Pro-Tip: Match your calls-to-action with the keywords that incoming traffic is searching before they are referred to you. That means if users who search “content marketing strategy” are coming to you, you should probably include a call-to-action that says “Get Our Content Marketing Strategy” on a landing page.

3. Appeal to Authority for Credibility

If content strategists want to enhance the pagerank for their content on Google (or any of the Internet’s most popular search engines), they need credibility.

What most people underestimate is how long the path to earning credibility usually is. Even sites that start with a bona fide audience or brand name can lose public interest quickly if the content doesn’t measure up to that audience’s expectations. This is why earning credibility is arguably the most difficult step to surmount in this four-step process: it requires knowing how to build relationships and play the long game, fast.

Growth hackers and content marketing strategists know that in order to gain credibility, they must efficiently use each and every piece of content they publish to build trust and establish relationships with authorities in their industry.

The most surefire way to build trust and establish relationships is to curate content that appeals to authority. Publish content you want those big names to read. Build a network of company reviews, logos, and backlinks that connects your brand with some of the biggest and brightest names in industry. Then watch your conversions start to grow.

This takes time, patience, and maintenance, but it will pay large dividends if you persist.

Pro-Tip: Post company email addresses with a person’s name attached to them on your contact or support pages. Doing so enhances transparency, trust, and ultimately credibility.

4. Offer an Option with Calls-To-Action

Think about the last time someone asked you to do something. Now think about whether or not you were happy to do it. If you were, chances are the person gave you an option, and you chose to do what they asked because you felt it wasn’t too much to ask, especially if the other option didn’t sound as good.

If you didn’t choose to do what they asked, then chances are they offered you too many options when too much was at stake, and you felt the offer was too much to ask, which may have forced you into a state of so-called “analysis paralysis,” or worse, to simply ignore the offer in the first place.

So why do people prefer fewer options to more? According to two studies by the same two researchers, giving people fewer options increases their likelihood of making a decision to buy something.

That means it is a virtue in sales to provide consumers with a simple choice.

The same can be said for the content marketing and conversion strategies of growth hackers.

Growth hackers know that less is more, as well as how to avoid overwhelming users with too much information and too many options. One of the best ways to do this is giving users a choice on your call-to-action pages, even if that choice is as simple as a Sign-Up or Login button. Allowing users to choose between two versions of free content (e.g., Free Trial and a Study) is also a great way to increase conversion rates and gain some insight about what your users prefer.

Pro-Tip: Remove the navigation bar from CTA landing pages. Doing so has been shown to increase conversion rates by as much as 16% for Free Trial offers and 28% for Demo offers.

Is the conversion rate for your content marketing strategy optimized? To learn more about how you can implement a content marketing strategy that optimizes your conversion rates with consumer insights, credibility, and calls-to-action, join OMI's newest classes on Content Marketing Consumer Insights and Content Marketing Channels.

For ten days, access to our new courses is completely free.

 


Infographic: Choosing The Best KPIs to Boost Your Growth

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Editor's Note: Colin Cieloha works for Skilled, where a version of this article first appeared. Today he joins us to share a comprehensive strategy for choosing the best KPIs to grow your business, all in a simple infographic.

 

KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are an essential part of modern business planning and goal setting. These carefully chosen and specific metrics can be tracked to indicate the performance of a department, employee, marketing strategy, or any other object oriented venture.

This diverse utility makes KPIs a unique tool for achieving your business's vision and objectives. However, when it comes to implementing KPIs, managers often find it hard to isolate the most useful ones to track. That's no wonder: the average Internet Marketer has over 20,645 potential options.

In this infographic, we outline a comprehensive strategy for choosing KPIs that will optimize the success of your business. We cover common mistakes that lead to the adoption of poor KPIs, and aim to give you a feel for the metrics that are relevant to your goals. Before diving in, here's a summary -

Using KPIs

Good Practices

Before choosing KPIs, you should have clearly defined goals that follow the rules of SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited. Here's a cheat sheet for factors that correspond to common desired outcomes:

  • A website visitor count can help to predict and understand customer needs.
  • Income from leads helps to predict future sales based on projected traffic and conversion rates.
  • A visitors to leads ratio helps you to gauge the value of your current traffic.
  • Optimizing response time leads to faster engagement between your sales department and prospects
  • A leads to clients ratio helps to diagnose areas of your sales funnel that need improvement.
  • Customer lifetime value indicates the revenue that a customer is likely to generate during the span of their relationship with your company

Marketers should understand that the best factors for gauging success change depending on business type. For instance, a content website should focus on click through rates and time spent on page are important; these factors are less important for e-commerce sites, which should focus on cart abandonment and products per order.

After selecting the KPIs for your business, its important to monitor them on a regular basis. Analysis will help to determine

  • What changes your company should make to attain desired outcomes.
  • Which KPIs are more useful than others: the poorest should be weeded out.
  • How often your KPIs should be tracked (weekly, monthly, quarterly?)

Worst Practices

Common mistakes when choosing KPIs include:

  • Measuring factors that are irrelevant to your success
  • Tracking too many KPIs at one time
  • Choosing factors that are difficult or even impossible to measure

E-commerce stores frequently overrate certain KPIs, and overlook better ones. Examples of overrated KPIs include,

  • Number of visits
  • Pageviews
  • Emails sent
  • Twitter followers
  • Bounce rate

Underrated KPIs include:

  • Revenue conversion rate
  • Average order value
  • Cart abandonment rate
  • Task completion rate

Continue your crash course in choosing KPIs with the infographic below. Feel free to save for future reference, or pass it along to your colleagues!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

Web Analytics Fundamentals for a Data-Driven World

Planning SEM Campaigns: Establish Goals & KPIs

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media market

 


How to Build an Engaged Social Media Community

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Editor's Note: Tess Pajaron works in business management for Open Colleges. Today, she joins us to explore how brands can build an active and engaged social media community.

 

While consumers have been using platforms like Facebook and Twitter for over a decade now - beginning with the raging success of MySpace in the early 2000s - brands have only begun to catch on in the last five years and realize the full potential of social media for marketing.

Social media not only makes people better, but offers plenty of amazing opportunities to businesses of every shape and size.

Instead of using social networks solely as marketing platforms to advertise products, companies can now use social media to build customer experience and create engagement. The ability to connect and communicate directly with a target audience allows brands to build a solid fan base and grow their community easily.

Here are 6 tips to help you create an engaged network of followers that will support your brand -

1. Make sure your business is easy to find

You can't grow your social media community or spread the word about your product unless customers can easily connect with your business.

Here are a couple of tricks you should use to make sure that your brand is accessible to customers and prospects:

  • Your social sharing icons should be prominent on your website
  • Feature the URL of your website and social media handles on business cards and other print media
  • Include a link to your brand website in social media channel descriptions
  • Personalize your email responses: don't solely rely on automated messages
  • Track all associated hashtags and mentions to know who is talking about you and your product. Engage with those who are!

2. Know your audience

Your social media community is not a homogeneous gathering of people who behave in the exact same way. Rather, it is comprised of individuals. Each one of them has unique reasoning and behaviors that predict how they will interact with your brand. Segment your audience, and target these smaller groups with the right messaging in order to reach them more effectively.

To create a strong social media community, good communication is vital. And in order to communicate well, you need to get to know your family. You will have a completely different relationship with different segments of your family. Your engagement with followers will differ on the basis of what you know, resulting in better responses.

3. Solve the problems of your followers

Use social media not just to directly promote your products, but to interact with your customers and learn what their key pain points are. If you want more results from your marketing, you need to do your best to solve problems for your customers.

Most likely, there are plenty of businesses out there that offer similar products to yours, so you need to stand out. That's something you can achieve by building trust in your community and helping your followers with issues unique to them.

Invite your community to join you in helping others deal with such issues. Promote user-generated content on your social media channels as well – that's how you build loyalty and offer real value.

4. Be generous

Motivate the members of your community to share their own content and spark exciting conversations on your social profiles. One way to do this is offering incentives, like coupons, or giveaways. Another way is by sharing user-generated content, and bringing valuable contributors into the spotlight.

Analyze your social media data to find out who your top contributors are. These will be the people responsible for engagement on your website. The more feedback signals you get – like shares or comments – the more likely the social platform is to show your posts to a higher percentage of your followers.

Create content for your top users. Be generous and add a personal touch to all your communications. That's how you build relationships and help fans feel connected in the community surrounding your brand.

Don't forget to keep the communication lines open and instantly respond to your followers if they reach out to you.  

5. Listen to your audience

To build a social media community, you need to produce content that your audience wants to consume. That's why your first step is finding out what they want, and there are many ways to go about doing this.

Create a quick video and ask your fans what they want to talk about. When your community provides you with answers, follow through by implementing new initiatives based on what they requested.  

Put your followers and their needs or desires at the center of your social media strategy. Actively listen to their social chatter to build further engagement.

Instead of asking your followers to share photos of the products that they purchased, ask them to share content that shows what your products have enabled them to do.

Make your social media channels focus on lifestyle, not just on products or services. You can be sure that purely promotional content will reduce engagement. Offer your fans behind-the-scene content that shows the inside of your company or how your product is developed. That's how you take your brand to the next level and develop a community of people who share a sense of purpose.

6. Be honest

People like to deal with businesses they trust. A smart way to build trust in your business is admitting to your mistakes when you make them. No company is 100% perfect. And some forget that it pays to be open and honest.

If you admit your faults and offer transparency in the face of criticism, you will win big among followers by showing your willingness to listen and your ability to adapt. On the other hand, if you try to mask a bad situation or avoid the problem, you will be on your way to destroying that trust. Show the human side of your business to win loyalty among your fans.

Conclusion

Social media is a great opportunity for brands, but building a community is about much more than just promotion. With a little bit of effort and creativity, you stand a great chance of engaging existing customers and raising your bottom line in terms of prospects and exposure.

Get started with any of the methods listed above, and watch your community grow!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

How to Perform Segmentation Using Google Analytics

Content Marketing Implementation: Executing a Winning Content Program

Crisis Management with Social Media

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media market

 


Build a Social Media Presence From Scratch

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Editor's Note: Jo Robinson is a content writer for Media Shark. Today she joins us to explain the importance of a social media strategy for business, and how your company can build a presence from scratch.

 

As a business owner, your social media presence is non-negotiable.

On a personal level, you might find Facebook futile or Instagram infuriating. But professionally, if you want your business - and especially your online business - to succeed, an active presence on those platforms is crucial.

#That's a bit dramatic @writer', I see you tweet.

But it's not.

Your potential customers are active on social media and it's essential to keep yourself at the forefront of their minds; to increase sales, you meet your prospects where they are at.

Establishing a social media presence will also help you build relationships with your existing clients, strengthen their loyalty, increase your web traffic, and offer a point of difference to your competition.

Assuming, that is, you do it right.

Your attendance on social media is compulsory, but if you've been delaying the inevitable, do not be afraid: it's never too late. Now is the time for your brand to get socially active. Here are seven steps for building your social media presence from scratch, and gaining a meaningful following that will help you build your business.

1. Pick the platform(s) that work best for you and your brand

There are many social platforms to choose from these days: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Tumblr are just some of the mediums in a growing list of viable social networking sites.

The good news is, you don't need to be on all of them! In fact, spreading your resources too thin is counterproductive: there's nothing worse than Googling a business and finding an old, abandoned Twitter account sitting among half-baked hashtags and a default profile picture.

In the beginning, choose one or two platforms, and start there. Do some research, and pick the ones where your target audience is present. The quality of your content reflects on your company, so don't create profiles for the sake of it. Put your energy into growing and maintaining relevant platforms to avoid seeming like someone who isn't committed to their business.

2. Craft your profiles

You showed up, and made an account. Good job, but you're not done yet: your social media profiles should never be an after-thought. They're extremely powerful opportunities to strengthen your brand and communicate who you are, so it's essential that you give your profiles the #TLC they deserve.

Good Branding

Choose a profile and cover image that's consistent with your brand. Depending on the nature of your business, either a logo or a professional image of the business-owner works well. Low-quality images are a no-no, so make sure to use high-resolution images if you have them, or produce them if you don't.

Add your logo to all images throughout your social media and when you add any copy, consistently use the same font in line with your style guide.  

nutella social media

Nutella's brand imagery is front and center

Your biographies should be completed using your short and long business description, and all contact information should be filled out.

Make sure you add a ‘contact now' button to Facebook and Instagram so people can call you as an easy next step to their browsing.

Social media counts towards your SEO search ranking, so this is another golden opportunity to get keywords next to your business name on search engines. 

With informative and engaging profiles, social browsers who visit your page(s) will know that you mean business and you've got something worth their time, so never slack on this bit.

3. Share with your audience

On the Internet, it's easy to buy fake followers. Don't do this. Not only is it inauthentic, it's also completely unnecessary: if you produce engaging content that your market enjoys, your followers will grow organically and you'll also get engagement too.

Content is the currency of social media, so if you haven't begun a content strategy yet, now is the time to start. Here are some suggestions:

  • Attach a blog to your website, and write helpful articles related to your niche - you can hire writers to help you with this job, or invite guest posts from influencers
  • Commission white papers that reflect the state of your industry
  • On heavily visual networks like Pinterest, infographics are a proven strategy

Whatever you do, give to your audience, and they will have a good reason to stick around.

Nutella_Facebook_Posts.png

Nutella shares content featuring their own product to encourage interaction

Before your page grows, you need a small initial following. Start by:

  • Sharing your page with people you know, or people in your company
  • Share it with existing customers by email
  • If you're on Facebook, join relevant Facebook groups, and share page content there
  • On sites with tags (like Twitter and Instagram), adding useful tags will help you get discovered

Once you've made a start, your followers will grow organically and you'll know that people are there because they will be genuinely interested in you and your content.

4. Post consistently

We've all seen it. A nice, attractive page, a few posts bubbling with excitement about a new business, and then...

...nothing. nothing but a screen-based version of an awkward silence. Think tumbleweeds and crickets floating across your screen as people wonder where the rest of your content is. The last post was 40 weeks ago and your customers - protip: the people with money to give you - have no idea if you're even still in business.

Until you've built up a loyal following, you need to post regularly and consistently. This might be once a week, or it might be once or more per day. How often you post depends on the nature of your business and your market, but the key is consistency.

Unless you have a dedicated social media manager, uploading content on the fly will never work. You're a busy person and social media will always get pushed to the bottom of the pile. Spend some time scheduling content to make sure your reach is constant, and your followers know what they can expect from you.

5. Offer incentives for sharing your posts

All humans have a ‘what's in it for me' attitude, so once your immediate friends and family have liked and shared your page, it's helpful to devise incentive-based offers to create a traffic boon.

Offer goods to your audience and potential audience such as discount vouchers, a free product, or entry into a competition for sharing a post which will extend your reach.

Always check with your platform owner as restrictions can apply to competitions, and you need to make sure your posts always sit within their guidelines.

6. Respond to engagement

Your pages should be a welcoming environment where people can hang out, express their opinions, and feel included, so always acknowledge people who respond to your content.

Tag people in comments, and like/reply to reviews and posts on your page; yes, even the negative ones!

This is your opportunity to create strong relationships with your market and put yourself at the forefront of their minds. As your followers witness this engagement, they're more likely to pop over and follow you too, further building your audience.

7. Use analytics

Finally, most platforms now provide free analytics which you should take advantage ofPosting the wrong content at the wrong time for the wrong audience will bring you to a roadblock in terms of growth. Useful metrics to pay attention to include

  • Number of reactions/shares/comments on a post
  • Days of the week, and times of day that your users are most active
  • How many clicks a link received
  • Demographics of your audience: age, sex, location, interests

Using this information, you can build a better social media strategy while simultaneously boosting your marketing efforts. Pay attention to people, and they will pay attention to you.

Conclusion

Building a social media presence can be a slow process, but it has a snowball effect. Stay in it for the long haul! With consistency and effort, an active social media presence is well worth the benefits it will bring your business, so use the outline above to devise a strategy you can commit to.

Bio: Jo Robinson is a content writer at Media Shark, where she can be contacted. With an exciting background that includes police forensics and professional fundraising, Jo's a whiz with words and appeals to a wide range of audiences.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Social Media Brand: Expressing Brand through Social Media

Creating and Curating Content People Love

Leveraging Analytics

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 

 


The Future of Facebook for Digital Marketers

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the future of facebook

Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To celebrate the launch of our new Facebook Fundamentals CertificationJosh joins us today to discuss the future of Facebook, and how digital marketers can begin to prepare for it.

 

Over the years, Facebook has set a trajectory to grow its user base, find new ways to monetize, and expand its investment reach to new tech markets like artificial intelligence and virtual reality. For digital marketers, this direction has ushered in constant connectivity across a broad range of user tools; specifically, ad networks, business pages, and platforms that permit access to Facebook’s social media data.

Generally speaking, it’s impossible to predict the future of Facebook with much accuracy. The Social Network’s ranking algorithms change regularly, and we never know when a new platform might disrupt its momentum. But we do know that Facebook marketers who push quality content over salesy promotion are achieving unprecedented levels of connectivity, which allows for more loyal engagement from friends, fans, and followers.

Our predictions for the future of Facebook is based on its own stated 10-year plan, and because we don’t expect that trajectory to change much in the near future, we’ve come up with three routes that digital marketers might go to enhance connectivity with their Facebook audiences. All three routes were chosen to make the prospect of interacting with audiences more attainable as time goes by. Let's dive in:

Mobile Video

Video is a main staple of Facebook’s marketing menu. Although private video calling has been available since 2011, Facebook’s public video viewing feature became especially popular in 2014 after News Feed started showing users data about people who were viewing the same videos as them.

Since then, the trend has largely moved towards mobile video, as the company develops Facebook Live and Messenger Day so users can easily share video on-the-go. These new tools are designed to provide more outlets for uploading the Internet’s most popular form of content (video) while at the same time encouraging a greater level of intimacy between users, their friends, and their followers.

While mobile video tools have been put to good use by private users, many businesses have not yet taken advantage of them or unleashed their full potential to unlock a deeper sense of connection with their audiences. But the versatility of these tools make it wise for small businesses and entrepreneurs to think about how they might open up the throttle, and rocket to relevance by taking advantage of Facebook mobile video.

Rules of Engagement

Facebook Policy has structured the social web to be as friendly as possible, but that doesn’t always mean Facebook hosts the friendliest platform on Earth. It’s impossible to know when an online troll might comment in poor taste, leave a slanderous review, or inundate your Business Page inbox with junk intended to harm or hack. It’s also difficult to know when your business might be over-promoting. This is why it’s important for businesses and entrepreneurs to develop rules for Facebook engagement. Nominating social media moderators to post quality content and monitor for quality control in messages, reviews, and comments is a great first step in this direction. But those moderators need to be on the same page.

One of the easiest codes of conduct to put into place is the 80/20 rule, which stipulates that we should post content from other sources 80% of the time and content from our own company 20% of the time. That way, we simultaneously draw new customers and avoid pushing old ones away. When we follow them, rules of engagement on Facebook work to establish businesses as principled and credible thought leaders. At a time when the future can seem uncertain and online behavior can seem overly driven by emotion, working to establish credibility and trust works doubletime to foster a deeper sense of connection between businesses and their customers.

Newsjacking the News Feed

Although little more risky than coming up with a code of conduct, newsjacking has become a popular way for businesses to get attention on days when the news won’t let us get a word in edgewise. Newsjacking occurs when a business uses its social presence to ride (not hijack) a news story, by delivering a timely message that is relevant both to the business’s purpose and the story at hand.

Great examples of newsjacking have occurred during live events such as the Super Bowl, the Oscars, or the Olympics, when brands try to inject some comic relief into a topic of conversation. While this tactic often works best for topics in pop culture and entertainment, it’s more difficult when it comes to politics, a topic that enters Facebook conversations more readily than it used to. While this isn't to say that brands cannot successfully involve themselves in a political moment, this is much harder to pull off than the average newsjack, and it can be much safer to stay out of politics altogether.

That being said, with all the political news on Facebook News Feeds, there is ample room for businesses to come out and make a statement. This is especially true in a day and age when businesses are expected to have a social conscience and break their own news. But when it comes to News Feed, the key to successful newsjacking is aiming to address the root reason why customers care about your business at the same time as you address a relevant news story.

If a business can accomplish this in all the right way, the future of Facebook could hold controversial ads that get attention at the same time as they connect to a businesses’ usual customer bases. Such a future might also mean reaching unprecedented levels of new customer loyalty.

Want to master Facebook Marketing? Sign up for our new Facebook certification today!