Tag Archives: Social Media

5 online marketing essentials..

5 Mar

Online marketing refers to the ways a business can market, promote and advertise its products, services or brand online. Online marketing helps promote your business to a target audience through multiple online channels – utilising these channels effectively means a business can reach a relevant, targeted market efficiently.

1. Search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) aims to improve the placement of your website in search results of search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing, for selected keywords relevant to your business. SEO involves onsite coding and content changes, as well as completing offsite tasks to improve its search engine friendliness. The more likeable your website is to the search engines, the more chance they will rank it highly in the results. SEO can be an effective online marketing strategy for driving traffic to your website in the long-term.

2. Pay-per-click advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is available on popular search engines like Bing, Yahoo! and Google, and involves the advertiser paying if the ad is clicked and a visitor arrives at their site. PPC is broken into two segments, Search Network and Display Network. The Search Network ads appear next to and above the organic search results. The Display Network ads appear on partner websites. PPC provides an instant, direct means for a business to start marketing online, and an immediate calculable return on investment.

3. Email marketing
Email marketing uses email as a platform to market your product, service or business to a bulk email database. Email marketing, is in fact, a form of direct marketing that can be targeted to specific audiences. For example, your current customer base, or potential customers, that have signed up for newsletters. Sending email marketing campaigns is one of the most effective online marketing strategies available. Keeping your operations front-of-mind for continued brand loyalty and customer retention is imperative for all businesses.

4. Social media
In recent years online marketing has become heavily slanted towards social media. This means promoting your business via social media channels such as a Facebook Business Page, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn Business Profiles, YouTube and others. Social media enables businesses to get involved in real conversations with current and prospective clients in a public forum. Running competitions, answering questions and promoting your brand via social media is all part of running a successful online marketing campaign.

5. Business website
All the above online marketing strategies can help you promote your business to a relevant, qualified target audience. They can be used as either short term traffic driving tools or long term brand building campaigns – but if you fail to have a business website that delivers your brand message, product or service in an easy to digest, favourable light, then your entire online marketing campaign will be a waste. A professional website with user friendliness built in will be the glue that holds your online marketing together.

How Google’s +1 Button

1 Mar

Since the days of Google Buzz, the +1 button has been a mystery to users and content producers alike. It’s different from Facebook’s “Like” button, in that it doesn’t directly share content to a user’s social stream. But the cultivation of a social graph has long been the goal of Google, and its connection to search was likely inevitable.

Google defines the +1 as a feature to help people discover and share relevant content from the people they already know and trust. Users can +1 different types of content, including Google search results, websites, and advertisements. Once users +1 a piece of content, it can be seen on the +1 tab in their Google+ profile, in Google search results, and on websites with a +1 button.

The plot thickened last month when Google launched Search plus Your World. Jack Menzel, director of product management for Google Search, explained that now Google+ users would be able to “search across information that is private and only shared to you, not just the public web.” According to Ian Lurie from the blog Conversation Marketing, in Search plus Your World, search results that received a lot of +1s tend to show up higher in results.

Google has come out and described the purpose of a +1, but hasn’t necessarily explained the direct effect a +1 has on search ranking. Here’s a breakdown of what we currently know.

Does a +1 Affect my Site’s Performance in Social Search?
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. Take this scenario:

When a Google+ user +1’s a piece of content, he gives it his “stamp of approval.” Then, say one of his connections from Google+ searches for the same or related topic. Because of Search plus Your World, his friend is more likely to click on the same link the original user +1’d (when a signed-in user searches, his Google results may include snippets annotated with the names of connections who have +1′d the content). This is because content recommended by friends and acquaintances is often more relevant than content from strangers, according to Google.

This is also true for users who are not signed in to their Google account when they search. When a user searches for the same phrase, the results might display the total number of +1’s a link has received, which is another validation that it’s a relevant link.

How Does This Relate to SEO?
Since the +1′d link has a chance at a higher Click-Through-Rate (CTR), there is a greater potential the link will be shared, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any social network. An experiment by Rand Fishkin, CEO and co-founder of SEOmoz, tested the relationship between Twitter and Facebook shares and search results in Google. He found a positive correlation between the number of retweets and shares a link received and its search ranking. This means, the more the link was passed around on Twitter and Facebook, the higher the search rank of the page. This in turn led to better SEO.

What’s the Take-Away?
A Google +1 can indirectly lead to a better page rank. A greater number of +1’s increases a link’s potential for a high CTR, which could lead to increased social sharing, and in turn can increase its Google search rank. What’s important to note here is the correlation, not causation, between +1′s, other social shares, and search rank.

The bottom line is, the SEO effects of a +1 are very indirect, which means traditional SEO practices should not be ignored. SEO methods such as link building, relevant keywords, and URL structure have a more significant impact on page ranking.

The Google +1 feature is still in its infancy of course, and more data needs to be gathered to draw a statistical correlation to search. As Google said, “For +1′s, as with any new ranking signal, we are starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality.”

SEO experts, such as Erin Everhart from 352 Media Group, have a positive outlook on the future of social search. She says, “I don’t think we live in a world, nor will we ever live in a world, where any social cue doesn’t have influence over SEO.”

Are you seeing the effects of Google +1 on your SEO? Will the +1 eventually have a direct effect on search rank?

10 Social Media Tips for Bloggers

19 Feb

  When it comes to building an audience and driving traffic, bloggers are turning to social media with record results. Instead of relying on organic search or (gasp) IRL friends, successful bloggers know they have to develop a following on key social networks as a way to promote their brands and ultimately get more clicks. Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon and now Pinterest provide the savvy blogger with plenty of opportunities to attract new readers and engage with regulars, but it can be overwhelming if you’re new to social media or if you only use it for fun. Here are 10 tips to help bloggers navigate the increasingly complex world of social media — while still making time to write content. 1. Display your social media icons prominently toward the top of your website. Make it as simple as possible for your blog readers to connect with you on various social media platforms. They shouldn’t have to hunt around to find your Twitter handle, but should be able to click on a button and be taken right to your profile. Bonus points if your social media icons reflect the overall design or feel of your blog. 2. Every blog should have its own Facebook Page. Even with Facebook’s new subscription feature, there’s still merit to giving your blog its own space on Facebook. It’s nice to be able to post a link every time you publish something new, and not have to worry about annoying your friends. Plus, readers who don’t your name but know the name of your blog can search for it on Facebook. Show your fans some love on your blog by using the Facebook social plugin, which makes it easy to convert readers to fans. 3. Generate traffic with StumbleUpon. This “recommendation engine” serves as an alternate browser where users click through pages that their SU friends and SU itself have recommended. You can submit your own blog posts into the system, but it works best if you also share them with your SU friends and accept their shares back. Like most social platforms, you need to have a strong following to get good results. While people are still trying to figure out what makes SU content go viral, many bloggers have seen terrific, albeit fleeting, traffic spikes through the service. 4. Import your RSS feed onto your LinkedIn profile using its Blog Link application. As long as your blog somewhat pertains to your professional goals, you should be showcasing it on LinkedIn. List it as one of your three websites in your profile, where it will be labeled “Blog.” However, by using the Blog Link application, your most recent posts will display right on your profile. 5. Pinterest is the hot new frontier for bloggers. Pinterest is the cool new kid, and all of the bloggers are scrambling to establish a presence there. Pin your best photos onto themed boards with links to a relevant blog post. Blogs with strong visual content, like fashion, food, design, crafts and travel, are a natural fit. Infographics will also do quite well. Don’t forget to add a Pinterest plugin (like the Pinterest “Pin It” Button for WordPress users) to make it easy for your readers to share your content on their Pinterest boards. 6. Use link shorteners even when you don’t have to. Twitter will now shorten your link for you, and the length of your link doesn’t matter on Facebook and Google+. But by using a link shortener like bit.ly, you will gain access to metrics, so you’ll know how many people clicked and at what time. With this essential data, you can experiment with different ways to tease your content and different times to post it. 7. Use your blog name as your username whenever possible.Promote your personal brand by consistently using your blog’s name for your Twitter handle, StumbleUpon name, Pinterest name and so on. Then, people don’t have to wonder about your blog’s name — it’s right there. Also, people will remember you easily across platforms, which is key as you develop up your online community. 8. Join blogger groups on Facebook. There are some very active groups on Facebook that are terrific resources for any blogging issues you encounter. Look for groups like “Travel Bloggers” or “Global Bloggers Network.” WordPress geeks have “Advanced WordPress” and Central Florida residents have “Central Florida Bloggers.” Not only are blogger groups good for problem-solving, but it’s well-known that bloggers like to read other blogs. Do some searching and find a bloggers group that’s suited to you, or start your own! 9. Be generous with other bloggers. Promote other bloggers’ content, and hopefully they’ll return the favor. You can’t simply blast your own content anyway — you need some variety in every social media stream. So why not check out what your fellow bloggers are posting and give them a retweet, a share or a repin whenever you can. And don’t forget to reciprocate and share content from bloggers who share yours. 10. Be on social media — even when it’s not driving traffic. It can be frustrating when you feel that you’re doing everything right (posting good content on the appropriate platforms in the best way possible) and you’re still not getting many clicks. But console yourself by thinking about all of the links that you see throughout the day that you don’t click on. Just spending time on social media platforms is great way to forge relationships, keep up on industry news and find inspiration for that next blog post.

How the Fashion Industry is Embracing Social Media

4 Mar

“People want to feel connected,” says Kelly Cutrone, owner of People’s Revolution and executive producer of reality TV series on Bravo Kell on Earth. Cutrone has orchestrated the campaigns of hundreds of clients, including Donna Karan and Lisa Marie, and has always incorporated a digital strategy when working with them. “It’s one thing if you are a luxury brand and have been around for 60 years and can weather the retail storm we’ve had, but if you are a new brand that’s just starting out — whether you are a writer or a retailer — innovating through social media is crucial. Those that are hidden and guarded will not progress.”

In the past six months, the amount of fashion insiders embracing social media has skyrocketed. On any given day (depending on who you are following) you can learn that Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy is still pondering locations for their rapidly approaching fashion show. You might know that designer Rachel Roy had an interview with a media outlet, or that designer Tory Burch is hoping to see models with “some meat on their bones” in her show. By letting the public behind the fashion influencer curtain, stalwarts and luminaries have created and connected to an entirely new audience, and capitalized on the 400 million Facebook users and more than 22 million Twitter users. Social media, it seems, has become the hottest trend since skinny jeans and stiletto heels.

“Ignoring the Internet [and social media] is madness,” says designer Diane von Furstenberg who has been advocating for transparency in the fashion industry for years. “We decided to have a presence because it was a very organic way for us to communicate online. And yes, we think about [transparency] but don’t worry too much. We try to keep the focus on the clothes that are in the store, or buy now and wear now, not what is on the runway. But people will always get access to that as well.”

With her following at over 22,000, von Furstenberg is one of the most beloved and popular designers on Twitter. And while that number doesn’t seem high compared to the 4.5 million followers Ashton Kutcher has, von Furstenberg’s followers are loyal key influencers whose voices hold a certain amount of authority not only in the fashion industry but also in high-tech social circles.

 The viral marketing capabilities of re-tweeting by this targeted group is something an advertising budget cannot buy. Within the last year of having a major online and social media presence, von Furstenberg’s online traffic has increased by 13% and sales “have been great” according to a source in the corporate offices of DvF.

“Brands are learning how to humanize without killing their mystique,” says Shiv Singh, VP and global social media lead at Razorfish and author of Social Media Marketing for Dummies. “You look at brands like Chanel, who have pushed designer Karl Largerfeld into the social media sphere to further connect with their customers, or Victoria’s Secret, who has 2.63 million fans on Facebook and 1.7 million for Pink — you are able to see how these brands are able to connect with their customers and monetize on it through awareness, loyalty and engagement.”

Likewise, Burberry who launched the “Art of the Trench” campaign last summer shot by photographer Scott Schuman saw incredible success by having fans comment on the pictures. Schuman, who has launched himself into the fashion stratosphere with his photography blog “The Sartorialist” says he has never updated his Twitter account (he claims it is someone he doesn’t know who is posting) but has upwards of 34,000 followers. “The Burberry campaign was the first of its kind to not use a large budget for hair, makeup and models. They got me, and my style of taking photos, and it allowed us to communicate with the customer on a whole new and very real level.”