Dubbed as the biggest network for professionals with over 175 million users, LinkedIn allows small businesses to make connections with others in their chosen field. Aside from building connections through this platform, however, LinkedIn gives small businesses a chance to market their products and services to a more targeted audience.
The people at LinkedIn identified some underutilized tools that small businesses can reap tons of benefits from when using the platform.
One of these tools is “Partner Messages”. Users can use LinkedIn’s InMail messaging to directly send marketing messages to a specific group of people.
Also, through polls, business owners can easily come across answers to their business and market research questions. What’s more, these can be shared on social media like Facebook or Twitter or on a business’ own website.
LinkedIn also displays ads to a specific audience onsite. Moreover, there is also the “Recommendation Ads” tool that displays the number of references a product or service has received in their LinkedIn company page.
Lastly, there’s targeted status updates. This allows users to create status updates that cater to specific types of company followers.
In its attempt to limit webspam and low quality content and web pages, Google has recently announced a new exact match domain (EMD) update.
Matt Cutts tweeted that the update is a minor tweak that will penalize low-quality exact-match domains. He also said that the EMD algorithm update will affect only 0.6% of English-US queries. It is also unrelated to Panda or Penguin according to him.
The problem with EMDs is that since they precisely match user search queries, ranking these websites prior to the update has been relatively easy. This is why SEO and marketing experts resorted to using EMDs over the years. However, some websites with sub-par content also crawl up to the ranks just because they are exact match domains. They also tend to outrank high quality websites that choose other keywords for their domain names.
Shifts in search results concerning EMDs are expected when the update begins to take effect. The good news is that the update will only penalize low quality EMDs.
Instead of trying to bypass the new update, webmasters and business owners are advised to instead generate high quality and unique content. Moreover, developing a trustworthy brand and building actual relationships with real people is also a useful tactic.
Website traffic becomes profitable through converting visitors to customers. This can be done effectively through conversion rate optimization. It is a series of steps that aims to reduce bounce rate (the chance of visitors leaving the website) leading to increased profits for business owners.
It generally begins with research and analysis where the problems of the website are identified, followed by coming up with solutions to address these issues, developing specific tactics and testing them, and then reviewing and redeveloping the tactics.
There are several options available for business owners to begin their CRO efforts. However, conversion is a relative experience for websites. Just because one system worked for one doesn’t mean it will work for another. It’s better to find out what’s wrong with a website before trying out a “best-practice” approach.
Here are the reasons why CRO is beneficial for business websites:
- CRO works great with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Some business owners leave conversion to chance. This shouldn’t be the case because apart from generating traffic, business websites aims to sell products and/or services.
- Increased conversion rate means more profits since there are more customers that buy a brand’s products.
- Pay per click, affiliate marketing, and other advertising becomes more profitable since bounce rate is decreased; and
- Market share increase because you get more customers and more repeat business.
In May of 2012, Paul Scrivens wrote an article about MUD or Minimum Usable Design. Simply put, minimum usable design refers to that 50% mark where design is finished enough to function and to provide its needed service.
This applies to websites and logos. Scrivens said that working in 50% increments allows you to knock “knocking out half of what you need to do, eventually you will get close enough to your goal where good enough is as good as you are going to get.”
Anchoring on the idea of having the first half of the design progress should make the project at least 50% usable, when creating a project, the first thing you need to accomplish is the search box and button. This is because the search box and button will deem the site functioning. From there, you can further work your way towards finishing your design 50% at a time.
However, this does not mean that you should show your design to the public at the 50% mark. The minimum usable design principle is just a way to gauge your progress and to allow you to finish what needs to be accomplished first.
Minimum usable design lets you “aim for the next halfway point” that will get you closer to your desired end result. This allows you to make improvements on your design easier.
Businesses are always looking for great social media marketing strategies that bring actual results. Podcasts are a great way to supplement social campaigns. It effectively combines IT and marketing to promote quality content, create brand awareness, and in the long run generate sales and high ROI.
Since podcasts are simply audio content, people find it more convenient than written content. Simply put, listening is easier than reading so make sure to release quality content when you speak. You can also inject keywords into your podcasts.
There are many audio sharing sites available online like Sound and Cloud iTunes. When you put links to your podcasts, listeners will be encouraged to promote your content. It is also ideal to post your content in communities that will share your content. This will make promoting your social campaign easier.
A great idea to include in your podcast is news. However, reiterating the same piece of news is not enough. You can try adding in your opinion and even solutions to current issues while you promote your social campaign and SEO efforts through social media. Listeners can benefit from your quality content and information and they can also share them, which is beneficial for you.
Facebook and Google+ are undoubtedly two of the biggest social networks today. Both are constantly trying to one up the other.
On one hand, Facebook has over 900 million registered users, 530 of which are active. The average FB user spends over seven hours on it.
Meanwhile, Google+ has 170 million users where 100 million are active. Since its launch in 2011, it has been adding up t 10 million users every month.
Google+ features compete well with that of Facebook. G+ Circles, Hangouts, and richer media sharing features (it can take up to four megapixels of photos and 1080p of video) have given Facebook a little shakeup in the past few months.
Both sites are great for marketing brands but require different strategies to work well.
Facebook is geared more towards generating interactions with features such as Likes, Comments, and Status Updates. This means that FB is useful for traditional marketing where ads and messages are served to a large audience.
Google+, meanwhile, is geared towards user content with most popular posts with features such as Pictures, Video, Long Posts, and Status Updates. It is easier to conduct content marketing on Google+ since it allows for an easier way to distribute content.
Content is king when it comes to generating outstanding social media analytics results. Since social media marketing is mostly content-driven, it is important to create messages that work well, lest a brand’s followers would lose interest in it and unfollow it in social networks.
Content, however, has the tendency to turn into spam if it is not well thought out. Aiming for the following will not only avoid creating bad content but would also make a brand’s social media analytics look good:
1. Generating Viral Content – Simply put, good content gets shared. Viral content reaches a wider range of audiences. The more shares your content gets, the better your analytics will look.
2. Engagement-driven Content – Social media aims to generate interactions between a brand and its customer base. Content that is geared towards engagement creates conversations which are great for analytics.
3. Shares from Followers – Brands get to be endorsed by its followers daily through sharing, re-tweeting, and reposting their content. Creating content that is worthy of being reposted will guarantee this.
4. Retention – As a brand gains new followers, the visibility of content to the audience becomes greater. Using useful and interesting content to retain a brand’s followers is useful for better analytics.
The giants when it comes to customer engagement these days are Facebook and email.
Traditionally, email has been widely used for online marketing but Facebook has been experiencing a boom in recent years not just in popularity but also in revenues.
Email boasts of the following benefits:
- Ease of creating mailing lists
- Easy customer integration
- Low cost
- Easy tracking of campaigns, measurable ROI
- Ability to “push messages
- Generating of repeat business
- Opt-in features.
On the other hand, Facebook takes pride in the following:
- Ease of gathering of “likes” and followers
- It is open to a wide array of audiences
- Low cost
- Ability to measure campaigns
- Immediate interaction with customers
- Ability to generate brand awareness
- Ability to improve search engine ranking.
Despite Facebook’s increase in following and its uncanny ability to reach a large number of people, email still triumphs over it.
91% of people go online to check their emails while only 64% go online to access their social network. Moreover, checking emails is reportedly the number one activity on mobile.
Social media marketing may deserve the hype it is getting but email still packs more benefits for brands when it comes to engagement.
People nowadays are not limited to using their mobile phones for its traditional purposes of calling and texting. With mobile internet being widely available for many, people have moved on to using their mobile phones for surfing the web and accessing social networking sites.
As of 2011, there are 5.6 billion mobile phone units worldwide and the average mobile phone user spends about 2.7 hours a day on social networking sites. Moreover, 91 percent of these people use their mobile phones to socialize online compared to the 79 percent of desktop users who socialize online.
47 percent of the people with mobile internet use it to browse social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, 62 percent send and receive instant messages, 29 percent post messages to boards, 35 percent post comments on social networking sites, 34 percent chat on social networking sites, 33 percent post photos, 33 percent forward items, 18 percent tag photos, 24 percent comment on blogs, and 29 percent connect with other professionals on site.
According to experts, people find accessing social media through their mobile phones is much easier and much simpler than having to sit in front of a desktop unit. This activity has taken and “on the go” nature that people can easily update their profiles and even talk to their friends without having to go to a computer screen.
Microsoft’s FUSE Labs has recently developed an experimental research project that they called So.cl. It lets users search, express, and share ideas through story collages. It combines the power of search and social media in one platform. People can share anything they find online from interesting images and videos to links and assemble a visual presentation that can be shared within the community.
It allows users to find what they need and share what they know easier than ever before.
It banks on the concept of spreading viral content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Micrososft, however, said that So.cl is not intended to replace full-featured search and social networking tools.
Its layout features three columns where navigation tools are at the left, a social feed is at the center and invites plus other options are at the right. The status box at the top center of the page lets users put in what they are searching for.
Just like Google+, So.cl lets users share videos that are worth viewing and talking about through its Video Party function. Apart from viewing videos together with other users, people can also talk with others through the chat box at the right side of their screen.
Being an experimental research, however, it is not known whether So.cl will be released as a main stream product any time soon.