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10 big ways social media participation raises search ranking 0

Posted on July 06, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

social media and search ranking

  • 54% of people find a website from natural search results (source: Forrester)
  • 33% choose the website in the #1 position on the first search page (source: Chitika)
  • 32% find a website from social network sites (source: Forrester)

The numbers say high search ranking and strong social media presence give a website the best chances of being found.

But a website has an even better chance if social media and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, the strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high search engine ranking, work together.

Here are 10 real ways social media participation raises search ranking.

  1. KEYWORDS SET GOALS: To get to a top rank, you have to start with the keywords you want to rank highly for. No software platform is a substitute for your own judgement. But Google Webmaster Tools can tell you what keywords people use who come to your website. Google Keyword Planner can tell what is the monthly search volume for those keywords and social monitoring tools like Topsy, Social Searcher and Radian 6 can tell your what people say about these keywords and your brand. Together, they give you a road map for the keywords on social network sites and your website that are likely to attract the most attention and interest.
  2. SOCIAL MEDIA IMPROVES LINK POTENTIAL FOR SEO: Social media activity helps increase awareness of a brand’s website content. This increased familiarity leads to links that signals to search engines your brand is an authority on your chosen topics. Tools like Alexa and Marketing Grader measure if social media is increasing links to your website.
  3. SOCIAL SHARES ARE THE NEW WAY TO BUILD LINKS: Because links raise search rank through authority, they have been manipulated in the past through black hat techniques such as invisible text and creating “fake” websites. Google now discredits these tactics. Instead, they have chosen to look at links through social signals like blog mentions, Tweets, Facebook Posts and+1s as a non-manipulated way of getting links and demonstrating authority.
  4. AUTHORSHIP SHOWS AUTHORITY: Google+ allows an author’s picture to appear next to search results of content they have created. With Google authorship, you can improve your search ranking and brand yourself as a thought leader in your field as well as add a face to your work.
  5. GOOGLE FAVORS GOOGLE+: Google+ may not be a great social network but Google has given their Plus button a big advantage when it comes to their own ranking factors. If you have a Google+ button on your website, sharing on Google+ can have a big effect on search ranking.
  6. SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES RANK IN SEARCH ENGINES: While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence search results. In fact, social media profiles are often among the top results in search listings for brand names. They can double, triple and quadruple the number of times your brand is seen on a search engine page.
  7. SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE SEARCH ENGINES TOO: People don’t just go to Google or Bing to look up things. For example, YouTube is the #2 search engine. If your business is active on a particular social network, it’s likely people are going to find out about you there as well as search engines.
  8. GOOGLE AND TWITTER EQUAL STRONGER SEARCH: In February, Google and Twitter penned a deal giving Google access to the “fire hose” of Twitter’s public data, generated by its 300 million users. Now, all of Twitter’s profile information, Tweets, and other public data are immediately accessed and available on Google in real time.
  9. CONTENT LIVES IN TWO PLACES: Even with all these ways social media and SEO can work together, great content is still the primary ingredient that raises search ranking. Now, it can live and be distributed in two places – on your social networks and your website.
  10. IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT: Now, with a plan and process in plan, a measurement plan can help measure your progress and optimize results. Look at goals and track progress through metrics like keyword rank, website visits, Likes, Re-Tweets, Shares, Comments, Views and conversions. Make the measurement that are most important your Key Performance Indicators.

SEO doesn’t have to be technical or handled by technical people. In fact, if you are consistently putting out strong keyword-based content in a variety of places, you should see the impact of social media and SEO working together in short order.

Did these ways convince you that social media participation raises search engine ranking? Does your business need help making it happen?

5 ways for marketers to win with Millennials (Infographic) 0

Posted on May 24, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

1

by Richard Kao and COS, (BarnRaisers Community Builders)

1. Make Your Products & Services Useful & Affordable

Millennial consumers had to absorb the impact of the 2008 financial crisis characterized by massive student loan burdens and recession. The generation is hopeful, yet they remain cautious of their spending.

57% of the Millennials surveyed said their spending habits won’t change even with the $30 billion inheritance money that will come from Baby Boomers.

If you want to earn this generation’s support, making your products and services as useful as they can be while staying within reach of budgets is the way to go.

And for good measure, revamp your return policy as 55% of Millennials are always on the lookout for the most affordable return option when shopping.

Just take Zappos.com who built a business around shoes AND their easy, efficient return policy. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your purchase, just return the merchandise (within 1 year of purchase) and that’s it. There are no shipping fees to deal with, and there’s no need for receipts as you shopped online and orders are tracked.

Lesson learned: keep your products high-quality and affordable and your return policy easy and clutter-free like Zappos’ – your business could take off because of it.

win with millennials #2

2. Focus On An Integrated Customer Experience

An integrated customer experience is about providing products and services to customers in the smoothest way possible by adopting a multichannel approach. And when you live up to your business’ promises while delivering such a seamless service, it leads to conversions.

Let’s put the spotlight to Grainger, which has sold industrial supplies, equipment, and power tools for contractors and building professionals since 1927.

Their almost-century long presence and experience in the industry shows, especially in the way they use technology (their app especially) for providing an integrated customer experience.

Their app lets you find highly specific products by typing them or speaking to the search box. Products purchased can also be shipped to your chosen location or a nearby store – while even tracking your order’s progress real-time.

Consumers’ shopping cart data is also synced across their PCs and other devices, making it easy to access Grainger and their selection of industrial products while on the job site.

Also, Grainger features a “click-to-call” for help feature which lets you find the nearest Grainger location and share must-buy lists with co-workers. The company knows exactly what their consumers need and has built a smooth service framework from there.

The business and IT world are starting to explore the concept of omni-channel shopping – the next step from multi-channel retailing.

This provides consumers with an across-channel experience. It’s the inter-linking of multiple marketing and sales channels that makes this approach to customer experience truly seamless, benefiting both the consumer and retailer.

For example: a customer can check a product’s availabilityvia his desktop (using the merchant’s website); reserve the item and purchase it 2 days later using his smartphone; and pick up the item at his chosen location.

win with millennials #2 win with millennials #3

3. Build Brand Loyalty Through Rewards & Product Quality

In a world where many products and services are alike, Millennial consumers seek to be rewarded for their buying choices. After all, they could’ve bought from someone else instead of your company – and they’d still get what they want or need.

Research carried out by Thrive Analytics and Local Search Association in 2014 revealed that 71% of US smartphone users (aged 18 to 29) shared their location with businesses to get personalized offers and deals, while 67% said the prospect of gaining loyalty points convinced them to do so.

So set yourself apart from the competition by rewarding your customers for choosing you over other product / service providers.

Follow the example set by Starbucks. Their My Starbucks Reward program makes it easy for users to be rewarded.

They can earn points by paying with their registered cards,completing incentivized actions, participating in product promotions, engaging with Starbuck’s mobile app and social channels,buying in grocery stores and more.

The Stars earned are saved in the customer’s profile and can be used for redeeming drinks, food items, etc.But that’s not all: the program also has Green and Gold levels that members can move up to once they reach a certain number of points, giving the most loyal of customers and avid fans the opportunity to get more out of their membership.

win with millennials #4

4. Use Social Media To Engage & Get Millennials Involved

The phrases of note here are “engage” and “get them involved.”

Millennial consumers do “Like” and “Follow” retailers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. They may find the brand cool but research has shown that their social media relationships with brands and retailers are mostly transactional.

In simpler words: to find good deals, coupons, and the latest promos.

One Millennial consumer noted:

“I would have to be pretty emotionally moved to just ‘Like’ a retailer for no reason.”

And that should be the plan! Businesses shouldn’t be on social media just to establish presence. The goal instead should be to generate positive buzz and to get talked about by Millennial consumers. Be the topic of social conversations for the right reasons and your brand and sales will enjoy a significant boost.

Consider this too: Millennials broke the record for volunteering hours, and the number of non-profit organizations and socially-focused businesses founded by the generation is just as astounding.

With that in mind, perhaps it’s a good idea to combine social media engagement with campaigns that address the social and economic issues this generation faces.

5. Create More Apps To Inform, Engage, & Educate

Tech manufacturers (especially those in the mobile industry) can look forward to sunny days ahead with 40% of Millennials gearing up to purchase a tablet in the next 5 years. Those ahead of the tech curve (38%), so to speak, are prepping to buy a wearable device like Apple’s new iWatch.

So what does that mean for business OUTSIDE the smartphone and tablet industry?

The statistics above means businesses should create better apps to inform, engage, and educate Millennial consumers…or risk losing brand exposure and even sales.

One fine example is CVS Pharmacy app which enjoys a 4.5 star rating and over 16,000 reviews on iTunes: it lets you easily find a store nearby,save money with digital coupons, and even collect points without leaving the app. The app also lets consumers scan prescription barcodes with their phone’s camera to refill their medications.

win with millennial #5

5. Create More Apps To Inform, Engage, & Educate

Tech manufacturers (especially those in the mobile industry) can look forward to sunny days ahead with 40% of Millennials gearing up to purchase a tablet in the next 5 years. Those ahead of the tech curve (38%), so to speak, are prepping to buy a wearable device like Apple’s new iWatch.

So what does that mean for business OUTSIDE the smartphone and tablet industry?

The statistics above means businesses should create better apps to inform, engage, and educate Millennial consumers…or risk losing brand exposure and even sales.

One fine example is CVS Pharmacy app which enjoys a 4.5 star rating and over 16,000 reviews on iTunes: it lets you easily find a store nearby,save money with digital coupons, and even collect points without leaving the app. The app also lets consumers scan prescription barcodes with their phone’s camera to refill their medications.

Below is the infographic. We appreciate this work from Richard and COS. Did it teach you something new about how to win with Millennials?

5 ways marketers win with Millenials

 

 

6 insights into the social media paradox 0

Posted on March 15, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

  • 50% of business owners have increased their time on social media
  • 55% state they use Facebook, Twitter and the other major platforms for customer acquisition and sales leads
  • 60% say they see no results (source: Forbes)

Why do so many companies put so much time into activities that don’t produce results?

A paradox is an absurd or seemingly self-contradictory statement that, when investigated, is well-founded and true. These facts say there is a paradox (or paradoxes) about the way businesses use social media. Because spending so much time and seeing no results makes no sense.

Some social media paradoxes to explain these paradoxes are:

  • Social media is perceived to be an end when it is a means to an end
  • Social media is so attractive because it is the least social form of communication
  • There is no such thing as a strategy for social media; there is only a business strategy in which social media fits

The Socio-media-logy chart above illustrates a social media paradox. Although to “run” is the fastest way to get someplace, the paradox is companies would see better results with social media if they took the time to “crawl” and “walk” first.

Here are 6 insights into the social media paradox.

  • BUILD IT AND THEY DON’T COME: On average, there are 1,500 stories that can appear in a person’s Facebook News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. Even Facebook says their organic reach is declining. Over 2,000,000 blog posts are written and 864,000 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every day. Your business may expect if you build, your audience will come, but the numbers say they don’t.
  • TARGETING INVOLVES KNOWING WHERE TO AIM: It doesn’t matter how many social networks your business uses if you don’t where your target customers are most likely to be So, before you began, a little research goes a long way. Look at the social presence and growth of your competitors on their social networks. See what thy post; what is commented on and shared. Listen using keywords about your industry or brand using a social search engine like Topsy or HootSuite. Profile what social networks are used most often on Social Searcher; what days of the week, what time of day and when content is most shared on BuzzSumo.
  • INFLUENCE COMES FROM KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT IS PERSUASIVE: 15,100,000 consumers go to social media before making purchase decisions. 81% said friends social media posts influenced their decisions; 79% like a company Facebook page because it offers discounts and incentives; 44% of women trust their favorite blogger. Do you know what’s likely to influence purchase decisions for your brand? Are you doing it?
  • PERSUASIVE CONTENT TEACHES SOMETHING NEW: Social media is the least social channel if it is used to broadcast information that is put out on non-social channels. That’s why it’s most effective use is usually for a purpose not meet by other marketing channels. One that is socially oriented. Customer service, product in use demonstrates, new usages, crowd sourcing new ideas and customer feedback are just a few of the ways social media can be used to teach something new and amplify your selling proposition.
  • TRUST IS BUILD WITH CONSISTENCY: Research shows that 42% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within 60 minutes. 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekend, even if it’s not during normal business hours.Being reliable, honest, timely and showing integrity and qualities that build trust. They happen not in a single occurrence but by showing up authentically day after day, week after week and month after month. They pay dividends in good times and in bad.
  • IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT: You can’t determine what is successful until success is defined. Success doesn’t have to involve a whole new nomenclature either. For example, it can be done with: 1) Reach = a measurement of the size of audience you are communicating with; 2) Engagement = the total number of likes, shares, and comments on a post; 3) Conversions = he number of people who achieved a desired result and 4) Sales = did your business make any money? It can also be done with just a couple of analytic tools like Google Analytics and Buffer.

Does this explain the social media paradox? Did it teach you something new? Does your business need help with the social media paradox?

Strategy or tactic? 21 ways to tell the difference 0

Posted on March 07, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Strategy or TactcIn 500 B.C., Sun Tzu, the Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who wrote The Art of War said you can’t win a war without a strategy and tactics. Why? Great tactics win battles but great strategies win wars.

That wisdom is just as applicable today. Whether it’s war, marketing, sales, research, business intelligence or personal, both are inextricably linked and co-dependent.

Sometimes, when people are creating a plan, there is confusion about whether something is a strategy or tactic. It’s important to know. As Sun Tzu states, the wrong application can influence the outcome.

Strategy or tactic? Here are 21 ways to tell the difference.

  1. Strategy is an idea; tactics are actions
  2. Strategy fulfills your predetermined goals and objectives; tactics and the things that make it happen
  3. Strategy is a plan for reaching a specific goal, while a tactic is the means you use to reach the goal
  4. Strategy does not depend on brilliant tactics for success; but even the best tactics can’t compensate for a lousy strategy
  5. Strategy identifies clear broader goals that advance the overall organization and organize resources; a tactic utilize specific resources to achieve sub-goals that support the defined mission
  6. Strategy is long term and changes infrequently; a tactic is short term and flexible to market conditions
  7. Strategy uses experience, research, analysis, thinking, then communication; a tactic uses experiences, best practices, plans, processes, and teams
  8. Strategy produces clear organizational goals, plans, maps, guideposts, and key performance measurements; a tactic produces clear deliverables and outputs using people, tools, time
  9. Srategy is the thinking aspect of planning a change; tactics are the things that get the job done
  10. Strategy requires a deliberate allocation of resources in a given direction; tactics are the choices one makes when executing a strategy – they are the means to an end
  11. Strategy answers the question: “Who are we?” Or, more specifically, what is it that we stand for. A tactic answers the question, “What do we do?”
  12. Strategy is done above the shoulder; tactics are done below the shoulders
  13. Strategy helps you understand outcomes and helps predict future outcomes; tactics are steps you take
  14. Strategies are a broad look at how a company will achieve its objectives; tactics are very detailed plans which must take into account the specifics of a tactical environment
  15. Strategy addresses the “why” of an operation and tactics address the “how”
  16. Strategy focuses on the big picture, the highest level scope of a particular unit in a given mission; tactics focus again on the small scale for a given unit
  17. Strategy is a matter of figuring out what we need to achieve, determining the best way to use the resources at our disposal to achieve it, and then executing the plan; tactics are the art and science of winning engagements and battles
  18. Strategy  is proactive, and looks for the future. It focuses on the long term; tactics are any movement done in order to achieve a momentary goal
  19. Strategy and tactics are different, related, and intertwined.  You won’t succeed with one and not the other
  20. Strategy is a general plan before the encounter and tactics is the way the strategy is played out
  21. Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.  Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat

Did this explain the differences between strategy or tactic to you? Does it help you with your plans? Are you applying them in the right way?

10 experts give top criteria for killer presentations 2

Posted on November 15, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

  • Only 50% of a presentation is remembered after 10 minutes
  • Only 25% by the next day
  • Only 10% within a week (source: Jack Malcolm)

Even though you sweat and toil over a presentation, the facts indicate your audience quickly forgets most of it.

So what do you do to stand out? Make you audience remember? Achieve the goal of the presentation?

10 experts give their top criteria for killer presentations.

  1. FRAME YOUR STORY: There’s no way you can give a good talk unless you have something worth talking about. Conceptualizing and framing what you want to say is the most vital part of preparation. When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle—people see the world differently afterward. – Chris Anderson, Curator of TED
  2. HAVE GOOD MATERIAL BEFORE GOOD PRESENTATION TOOLS: There are lots of fantastic presentation software options including Power PointKeynote and Prezi. Whatever tool you use, do not rely on it too heavily. What truly matters is the content and your delivery. The best use of any presentation tool is to help organize your thoughts. Successful speakers know the material well enough to work from scribbled notes as much as a glitzy presentation. – Meaghan Edestein, Global Strategic Management Institute
  3. PUT THE BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: I’ve seen many presentations where the story is dragged out and tension is built, as if the person was trying to make a movie and build to the climax. But most people appreciate getting to the climax quickly without lots of buildup or foreplay. It isn’t a movie and it isn’t sex — people are busy and need to deal with the issue and then move on. – Mark McMillan, McMillan Leadership Association
  4. FIND THE PERFECT MIX OF DATA AND NARRATIVE: Most presentations lie somewhere on the continuum between a report and a story. A report is data-rich, exhaustive, and informative—but not very engaging. Stories help a speaker connect with an audience, but listeners often want facts and information, too. Great presenters layer story and information like a cake, and understand that different types of talks require differing ingredients. – Nancy Duarte – author of Resonate
  5. MAKE THE COMPLICATED SIMPLE: A confused mind NEVER buys, so focus on finding ways to make you the most OBVIOUS choice. – Michael Bremmer, Telecomquoates.com
  6. HAVE A CONVERSATION, NOT A PRESENTATION: No one likes being presented to. Fortunately, they do like engaging in conversations. Relationships are the heart of leadership. Further, relationships must be two-way, born of interactions. So, you and I should stop making presentations. Instead, we should engage in conversations with the people with whom we are communicating.- George Bradt, PrimeGenesis
  7. FOLLOW THE 10-20-30 RULE: I am evangelizing the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. I am evangelizing the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting. You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion. Force yourself to use no font smaller than thirty points. I guarantee it will make your presentations better because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well. – Guy Kawasaki, Venture Capitalist
  8. CHUNK YOUR PRESENTATION TO CREATE PAUSES: Many people will advise that you talk slowly when giving a speech. Quite simply, chunking is forcing yourself to break your speech up into chunks of words, making pauses a necessary step before moving onto the next chunk. – Meghan Keaney Anderson, HubSpot
  9. USE A STRONG VISUAL ON EACH SLIDE: Fill the screen with a single, engaging photo or graphic that illustrates your point. Pop a word on top of it to alert the audience to what you’re about to discuss and to keep you on track. Images also increase retention and recall. – Karl Gude, Creative Process & Visual Storytelling Instructor at Michigan State University
  10. LEAVE THEM THINKING: A great speech is one that inspires the audience to think about a subject from a fresh perspective. As soon as you’ve gone, your audience is likely to turn its attention to other things — perhaps to presentations competitive to yours. Leave something to remember you by. – Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson, authors of Writing That Works

Presentations are a means to an end. If you’re presentation nails it, you’ll get there. If it doesn’t, you’ll be left wondering. Does this help you create your next killer presentation?

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