iMarket Solutions Blog : Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

4 Lessons From Rand Fishkin At Content Marketing Retreat

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
Pamela Muldoon, iMarket Solutions & Rand Fishkin, MOZ

Pamela Muldoon, iMarket Solutions & Rand Fishkin, MOZ

Recently I attended the Content Marketing Retreat on Whidbey Island in Langley, WA. This is the fourth consecutive year for this retreat, sponsored by the Langley Center for New Media and FusionSpark Media, both located on the island. This year’s theme was “Best Practices for Measuring Content Marketing ROI,” and the list of presenters took on such topics as SEO, tracking the right metrics, converting rich media to leads and measuring word-of-mouth marketing.

iMarket Solutions proudly partners with MOZ to track the various SEO tactics for our clients. The opportunity to see co-founder Rand Fishkin present his keynote was a pleasure and a learning experience all in one. Rand’s presentation “Why Your Content Marketing Will Fail” offered up some wise reflections on how online marketing has evolved, and provided some excellent tips on helping your business get the most from its digital space.

Content Marketing Is Not A Straight Line

When we design content for the web, we often treat it as a step-by-step process that our consumers will take to locate us, click on our offer and subsequently buy our goods or services. Anyone who has ever searched the web knows that this is not the case at all. We battle against baby photos and cat videos on social channels, Facebook posts from friends, and the latest celebrity meltdowns screaming across the news sites. Consumers have a low attention span – especially on the web – and they rarely need us when they see us. It’s when they need us to solve a problem that we want them to remember us.

Rand Fishkin Preso Tweet - P Muldoon

Content Without Community Will Not Work

Content spreads because it inspires a community. Great content can reinforce an already set belief in the person exposed to it. It often refutes an opposing argument which can bring about heated, passionate conversations. Content that is in someone’s financial or promotional interest will also gain momentum. If it makes the person sharing it look smarter, feel more important and perhaps come across as a bit more worldly, it can gain some ground. Content does not necessarily need to be mind-blowing. It simply needs to build a community with a connection to the message.

Rand Fishkin Preso Tweet - Brian Vellmure

SEO Is Content’s Most Powerful Channel

According to Statisticbrain, over 6 billion searches take place on Google every day. While search traffic is distributed via keywords, social allows for a more highly concentrated effort. Of all the social networks, Facebook continues to be the biggest driver of social traffic to websites. (SimpleReach) When done right, content marketing becomes the rising tide that lifts the SEO ships. Without it, it becomes incredibly hard to earn the types of links that will provide domain authority and rankings in search engines.

Rand Fishkin Preso Tweet - M Heinz #2

Do Not Give Up Too Soon With Your Content

A solid content marketing strategy allows the process to gain momentum over time and permit the analytics to deduct subsequent steps, changes or modifications. Too often we stop too soon. Content marketing is truly a marathon, not a sprint, and failure only occurs if you do not learn from the experience. Keep pushing on, trying new ideas and being patient and persistent. We often quit just before the momentum can take hold, and a steady effort can make a world of difference.

Rand Fishkin Preso Tweet - What Now Exactly

Don’t let your content marketing efforts fail. Take to heart the lessons shared by Rand Fishkin and you, too, will find more success in your digital marketing efforts.

And if you’re looking to add a unique marketing conference to your list in 2015, consider attending the next Content Marketing Retreat in May. With top-notch presentations in a beautiful location featuring an intimate theatre setting, next year’s conference should be well worth the price of admission.

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Increase Followers with the Bing Social Search Feature

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Google and Bing have confirmed that social media activity is taken into account when determining your website’s search engine ranking, but Microsoft is looking to make its search engine the most social way to find what you are looking for on the web. One of the ways they plan on doing this is through the Bing social search feature which displays within their search engine results at Bing.com.

Bing has introduced a panel on the far right of its search engine interface known as the “social sidebar”. This panel contains social media updates from Facebook, Twitter and more. With Facebook, users can log in to their personal Facebook accounts and interact directly with their friends, asking questions and providing answers relevant to content that they may be searching for through Bing. Bing also searches through Twitter to find highly active and optimized Twitter profiles that are tweeting information relevant to users’ searches, and displays the tweets within the panel.

Below you can see an example of how Bing social search works with our client, JD Plumbing Company:

Bing social search result screenshot

 

When searching for a plumber in Raleigh, NC, Bing was able to locate JD Plumbing Company’s Twitter profile and find a tweet that was created and optimized by our team. As a Social Domination client, we created tweets and then used hashtags to categorize them with SEO-related keywords. This allowed Bing to find and promote JD Plumbing Company through their social search toolbar. This is a huge benefit to businesses that are effectively using social media to promote their product lines and connect with fans. People are 90% more likely to connect with brands endorsed and recommended by a friend, so not only is social media a great SEO enhancement; it is also a great sales enhancement. Brands that are not utilizing social media are missing out on this amazing opportunity to be found in the search engines! Between the Bing social search feature, Google Knowledge Graph and Google Local Carousel, search engines are just begging to help increases your company’s visibility.

Find out how we can help you and your business with one of our social media marketing solutions by visiting our website today!

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Enhance Your Facebook Business Page

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Facebook has over 250 million users, 52 percent of which use it daily. And it is no longer just for the youth audience, the 35 and older demographic now represents more than 30 percent of users. That means using Facebook to promote your business is becoming a more and more effective way to reach potential customers. To help you build a stronger presence on Facebook, iMarket is offering an enhanced Facebook business profile.

With this new service, we will design a full banner and a landing page (like the one here) which entices people to “like” your business page. This is a great place to offer incentives, such as a special discount for Facebook fans, which will convince people to want to connect with you on Facebook. After the person has “liked” your business, a special Welcome page will display for them.  From the landing page, your welcome page, and a contact tab under your banner, your visitors will be able to access an integrated contact form so they can email you right from Facebook! All of these features will be designed to match your website and increase brand awareness of your business.

Why get this service? The new landing page is much more effective at converting visitors into “likers.” And the more people that “like” your page, the more people your posts will reach.  Social media is an excellent form of word-of-mouth marketing, which allows new customers to hear about you through their friends. There is the added benefit of allowing these potential customers to get to know your company through your posts and be able to contact you instantly.

Social media marketing can be very powerful, but you need to utilize it effectively.  Since most companies today are embracing social media, an enhanced Facebook presence will put your business ahead of the crowd. Combined with our content management package, in which blogs posts are sent out to your Facebook page three times a week, you will establish yourself as a knowledgeable resource for your customers. For more information, contact us today!

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Facebook Reveals New Changes

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

If you have been on Facebook in the past few days, you might have noticed some significant changes. In order to compete with the new Google+, Facebook has changed its friend lists to allow more privacy, added a subscribe button, and added a real time feed with the latest updates. But this is only the beginning of  the alternations that Facebook has planned. At the F8, its annual conference, Facebook announced that it would be releasing a major overhaul of user profiles, as well as new apps for music, video, and social news.  An example of a feature is timeline, which will display all of your important events of your life (that you shared on Facebook) on a single page.

To learn more about all of the changes that Facebook is planning on roll out, check out this video on Mashable.com: http://mashable.com/2011/09/22/facebook-f8-live-video/#26983Timeline-Mobile

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Twitter Analytics

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Twitter is one of the main social media tools, businesses as well as people are able to share their 140-character tweets to connect with their customers and talk about special deals. But does Twitter actually drive traffic to your website? Or are you only getting to your customers thru Twitter itself? To answer this frequently posed question, Twitter recently announced that it is releasing a web analytics tool to show businesses not only how much their content is being shared on Twitter, but also the amount of traffic that is being driven from Twitter to their main website. While only in beta right now, Twitter plans to roll out the full verison to everyone in a few weeks.

To learn more, check out this article on Mashable.com:  http://mashable.com/2011/09/13/twitter-web-analtyics/

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Easy Ways To Get More Twitter Followers

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Twitter is an excellent way to keep in touch with people and companies in which you have an interest. It is also a great way to promote your own company. Twitter, like all other social media, is a way to connect to your customers and build their loyalty. It lets them get to know you on a more personal level and interact with you more often. This helps create not only loyalty but also top of the mind awareness, so you are the first one they call when they have a problem you can fix.

It takes a little time to learn how to use Twitter, but it is very easy once you get the hang of it. The hardest part is getting started. Here are a few ways to start building your Twitter Following:

  1. Follow other people: an easy way to get more followers is to start following other people and companies. Focus on local companies and organizations. Try to reply to things they post and some of them will begin to follow you.
  2. Tweet about local events: they are more likely to get “retweeted” and thus bring more people to your Twitter profile.
  3. Make it easy for people to follow you: put a link to your Twitter page in a newsletter or email signature.
  4. Tell your customers about it! Offer exclusive deals or contests for your Twitter followers.
  5. Retweet (forwarding another user’s Tweet to all of your followers) things you think are interesting:
    • Find a Tweet you think is interesting
    • Click the arrow in the top right corner of the post
    • Choose the “Retweet” option

If you have done any of these five things you will have increased your number of Twitter followers and hopefully learned a bit about how to use Twitter for business. If you need help with the basics on how to use Twitter, check out their Twitter 101 Guide.

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Five Easy Ways To Get More Facebook Fans

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Facebook is a great way to interact with your customers and help build their loyalty. But if you are new to Facebook, how to use your company page effectively might seems a little confusing. The most important thing you need to know about Facebook is that it is a way for your customers to connect with you and get to know your company better. It is also great way to get involved in your local community. And if you have customers who are already fans of your company in real life, it isn’t too difficult to translate them into facebook fans. Here are five easy ways you can get more fans on Facebook:

1. Invite people to like your page

  • Go to the Get Started option on the left sidebar
  • Import your contacts (Outlook, Constant Contact, .csv file, etc)

2. Get your company involved. Ask your employees to “like” your page and ask them to tell their friends
3. Make it easy for your customers to “like” your page; tell them about it, include a link or call to action in your newsletter, on your business cards,  or in an email signature
4. Offer special Facebook deals, contests, or promotions that are only available to people who “like” your page
5. Create good Facebook content that appeals to your local audience:

  • Talk about local community events (local kid wins spelling bee, ABC HVAC is sponsoring the Toys for Tots program, etc.)
  • Ask questions
  • Give trivia or helpful hints
  • Tell jokes
  • Respond personally to whatever your fans post

Doing any of these things will increase your popularity on Facebook, and the longer you have a Facebook page the more “likes” you will get.  Good luck!

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Bing, Facebook, and Google +1: Who’s Going to Dominate Social Search, and What It All Might Mean for HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical Service Businesses

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

As we discussed in some previous blog posts, Bing is making a bid to challenge Google’s dominance in the search world. We’ve already looked at Bing’s deal with Blackberry, which may give Bing a lot more traction in the mobile search market. Now we’re going to look at Bing’s deal with Facebook, which adds an exciting “social” aspect to Bing’s search results – and Google’s attempt to strike back.

Here’s how it works. Bing search results will now include “Likes” from Facebook. If you’re logged into Facebook when you make a search – say, to find a local plumber – you’ll get a list of plumbers’ websites, and if any of your Facebook Friends have “Liked” any of the websites in the list, you’ll see a little thumbs-up “Like” icon and the name of your friend(s) who “Like” the site.

Of course, when your Facebook Friends make searches in Bing, they in turn will be able to see which websites you have “Liked”. To make it as easy as possible for everyone to contribute their opinion, There’s even a Bing toolbar that lets you “Like” a website right from your browser controls – you don’t have to hunt on the website for the little “Like” icon.

It’s certainly handy to be able to see at a glance if one or more of your Friends “Likes” a website – especially when you’re trying to evaluate something you don’t know much about. Many people rely primarily on word-of-mouth to choose heating, plumbing, and electrical contractors, and “we think consumers searching for service businesses will quickly come to use “Likes” to choose one contractor over another.

But the Bing/Facebook integration goes deeper than that. Bing will actually use your Friends’ “Likes” to help calculate the search engine results it presents to you – that is, the sites that your Friends “Like” will get a higher spot in the listings. And because each person has a different group of Facebook Friends with different “Likes”, Bing will present a different set of search results to each person – a truly personalized search.

For businesses, this means that it will be increasingly important to encourage happy customers to register their satisfaction online. There are some great ways to do this, and we’ll revisit this topic again in future blog posts.

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How to Encourage People to Connect to You on Social Media – a.k.a. Let Me Bribe You to Become My Friend

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Some people, especially satisfied and loyal customers, will become your Facebook Fans simply because you ask them to. But many people are starting to become a little jaded and wary when it comes to online contacts. They have suffered too many spam attacks and received too many urgent fundraising emails, and they want to be sure that it’s worth their while before they give away their online contact information.

A recent Dilbert cartoon showed Dilbert bribing a woman in his office to become his Facebook Friend, making her a “Frienditute”. As long as you do good work and treat your customers well, Frienditution won’t be necessary, but when you ask people to become your Fan or Follower, you will probably need to follow it up with a value proposition of some kind. This basic proposition should be part of your “please become our Fan on Facebook” speech that you’ve trained all your employees to give.

Your Facebook/Twitter value proposition can be simple and doesn’t have to cost more than your usual advertising:

  • You’ll offer tips to help people save money and avoid expensive repairs (this only costs the time it takes to write and post the tips on Facebook or Twitter)
  • You’ll offer Facebook- or Twitter-only specials (you probably offer specials periodically anyway – this is just a different place to publish them)

If you’re finding that your basic value proposition isn’t sufficient to overcome people’s reserve, you can offer people specific rewards for signing up, such as:

  • A coupon that they’ll get immediately when they “Like” your Facebook page or sign up to follow you on Twitter. The better this coupon is, the more Fans/Followers you’re likely to get.
  • A year’s membership in your service plan. (This will not only be a great enticement to “Like” your Facebook page; it will also build repeat business by showing customers the value of your plan.)

Of course, whenever you offer coupons or specials, especially big-ticket ones, you want to offer them for a product or service you want to get people excited about/hooked on anyway.

You can also offer people something that has absolutely nothing to do with HVAC, plumbing, or electrical services. This will be appealing to the many people who hire you because they are not actually interested in the mechanical aspects of their homes – and who may not get that excited about coupons for services.

For example:

  • You can team up with another local business to offer coupons or gift cards. (A great choice is to work with a business that sells products that appeal to women, since women are often the decision-makers when it comes to services for the home. What woman will be able to resist a coupon to a local spa?)
  • You can enter your new Facebook Fans/Twitter Followers into a drawing for something really exciting. For example, one of our clients has a drawing every month to give major league baseball tickets to one of their new Facebook Fans. This is a great choice, even for female customers – a lot of women are sports fans, and those who are not will feel like heroes when they present the tickets to friends or family members.

One caution: you should only offer major coupons or other big-ticket items as incentives if you have a well-developed plan for your Facebook Page – that is, only if you already have an outside provider or have designated someone on your staff to be responsible for updating your Page regularly. Otherwise, you may be wasting your marketing dollars developing a channel you won’t use.

But here’s a Facebook/Twitter development strategy that is always worthwhile, even if you never use Facebook or Twitter again: connect your social media efforts to local charities. For example, a local bank in our area is donating $5 to the local animal shelter for every person who becomes a Fan of their Facebook Page. Another organization in our community is giving a pair of warm winter gloves filled with candy to needy kids for every new Fan. Both campaigns got free front-page mention in our city’s newspaper, including the actual URLs where people could go to sign up.

This is a win on so many levels!

  • You help a charity you care about
  • You build up a Fan and Follower base
  • You’ll attract people who may not know much about you but who care about the charity – and then you’ll be able to use your social media posts to win them over as customers
  • You’ll enhance your reputation in the community
  • You may get free publicity in your local paper (especially if you send out a press release)
  • You’ll get great word-of-mouth publicity – all the people who work for/care about the charity in question will talk it up to their friends and neighbors
  • You’ll do all this for the cost of a donation that you would probably have made anyway

We can’t recommend this strategy enough. Be creative, have fun, and do some good this holiday season!

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How do I get Friends, Fans, and Followers?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

It’s simple. Ask.

And, keep in mind the old German saying: Fragen kostet nichts. It doesn’t cost anything to ask. It doesn’t cost anything to ask people to be your Facebook Fans. Or at least, it doesn’t have to cost very much.

Now, of course, because you’re a business, you’re not looking for Facebook Friends – those are for your personal profile. What you’re after is Fans (people who “Like” your Facebook Page) and, if you have a Twitter account, Followers for it.

There are all kinds of elaborate, even high-tech, strategies for increasing your Fans and Followers. We’ll talk about them next week, and you can implement some of them if you want. But start with the low-hanging fruit: use your existing channels of communication.

There are lots of ways your business already communicates with customers and prospects, such as:

  • Your company website
  • Yellow Pages advertising
  • Other print advertising (newspapers, etc)
  • Broadcast media (TV, radio)
  • Print or email newsletters
  • Sales brochures and business cards
  • Bills/invoices
  • Door hangers
  • Refrigerator magnets
  • The sides of your company trucks
  • Your dispatchers and techs, who talk to your customers every day…

You get the idea.

Use all these communication channels to let people know that your business is on Facebook and/or Twitter, and then simply ask people to connect with you.

Here’s how:

  • Add Facebook and/or Twitter icons to your email newsletters and to every page of your website, and ask your customers to become your Fans and Followers. Customers who are already online only need to click a few times to seal the deal. This is the most opportune time to make the request, because you’re asking them to do something easy. (Want some suggestions for how to do this? See the bottom right of our homepage, or scroll down to the bottom of this post. You can download Facebook and Twitter icons from the Help section of each website. Note that when you use the icons, you may not change the way they look.)
  • Get your own “vanity URL” for your Facebook Page (a personalized web address that contains the name of your business, i.e. http://www.facebook.com/cocacola). Then, publish your Facebook address everywhere you publish your company name – in all of the media listed above. Let people know that you’re out there on Facebook. When the moment is right, be more explicit about what you want – specifically ask people to visit your Facebook page and “Like” it.
  • A great moment for asking customers to connect to your Facebook page is right after they’ve indicated to you that they are happy with the work you’ve done. Say, “We’re glad you’re satisfied! The best way to thank us is to go online and become a Fan of our Facebook Page and tell your Friends about us.”

All these methods are easy and cheap. You make a simple addition to your website; when you use up your current supply of sales materials and invoice forms, you add your Facebook and Twitter information to them for the next print run; when you record your next TV or radio ad, you include your social media contact information in the script. Probably the most expensive change will be to paint your Facebook URL on the side of your trucks.

And of course your conversations with your customers are absolutely free – and those are by far the most effective way to increase your Friends, Fans, and Followers. So if you do nothing else, make sure you teach all your employees how to give your “please become a Fan of our Facebook page” spiel.

Of course, as the parent of any small child knows, sometimes asking is more effective when followed by an incentive. Next week we’ll talk about how to use incentives to increase your Friends, Fans, and Followers.



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