• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on January 22, 2015

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • Make them laugh, cry or smile. It’s very difficult to get people to share the content you post on Facebook without making some kind of an emotional impact on them. No one really feels the need to share boring content. Would you?

    We all know how important social media is to our overall digital marketing efforts. Not only can it help your brand reach more and more people online through effective social media campaigns, but it can also improve your rankings through search. Here are 5 ways you can get people to share your content on Facebook.

    Ask for it.

    Yep, it may sound simple enough, but placing a call-to-action at the bottom of your Facebook post can encourage more people to share your stuff. Numerous studies, including this one, have demonstrated that specifically asking readers to share your content on Facebook dramatically increases the likelihood of further social sharing. These findings are consistent with the general marketing principle that if you want people to take a specific action, you need to specifically ask for it. (The same study found that the same holds true on other social channels, including Twitter, and that blogs that contained a call-to-action received more comments, views and links than those that did not.)

    Make them laugh, cry or smile.

    It’s very difficult to get people to share the content you post on Facebook without making some kind of an emotional impact on them. No one really feels the need to share boring content. Would you? However, create a post that makes your readers laugh, smile or even cry, and your content is much more likely to go viral on many a Facebook newsfeed. It’s a well known technique to inspire more engagement with online content, repeatedly put forward by many of the top social media monitoring companies such as iSentia.

    Go visual.

    Whenever possible, always include an image to go along with your Facebook post. The average user online prefers to consume visual content instead of reading lines and lines of text – especially when it comes to Facebook. In fact, using an image or infographic in your post can increase user engagement by as much as 53%, resulting in more likes, comments, and inevitably, shares.

    Create a connection.

    In an age of seemingly diminishing face-to-face contact and interaction, creating a connection with your customers in any way possible – including via Facebook – is extremely important. One of the best ways to foster a connection with users online is to showcase your company’s charitable efforts. A recent New York Times study found that 84% of people share content they come across online that allows them to be supportive of specific charities and causes. For example, creating a post that brings awareness to the fight against heart disease can help create a personal connection with Facebook users who may then share your post to build further awareness. Not only will this allow users to show their support for the cause, but it will also promote the company to more and more people online.

    Provide an incentive.

    Finally, if you really want to get more people to share the content you post on Facebook, then provide some kind of an incentive, such as a discount, special offer or gift certificate. Everyone loves a freebie, or at least a discount. Try and tie in a special offer for your Facebook audience and hopefully you’ll inspire them to share your content – if only for their own self benefit!

    So there you have it. Try and incorporate at least one of the above the next time you’re crafting your Facebook posts, and hopefully you’ll increase your audience online and ultimately take your business to the next level.

    SXSW is right around the corner, and to maximize opportunities at SXSW Interactive 2015 this year, you need to prepare. Luckily, I am here to help.

    I have been to SXSW for the music. And I can quickly list out the rules for that week: THERE ARE NONE.

    Now, take this concept and try to place it over top SXSW Interactive and you have a massive headache of time constraints, conflicting wants/needs and getting lost in a hotel. Which has happened to me before. Stop laughing.

    So, here are 4 simple things you should do to make your SXSW.

    1. Plan.

    This sounds super simple.

    And of course, it sounds like a straight-forward idea. But, this event has lots of speakers. LOTS. Download the SXSW 2015 app.

    Plan out each day with speakers to see, people to meet and events to attend. The app will deliver push notifications and location mapping to help you get wherever you need to go-on time! Log into social.sxsw.com and search for the kind of people you may want to meet while you’re in Austin (Like me!).

    It’s way better to get basic intros out of the way and plan a rough time to meet before you get to Austin. Once you’re there, everyone is too “busy” to plan.

    2. Go Together.

    Going with a group allows you to see the most and learn the most from the overall event. You can divide and conquer. The best sessions and speakers aren’t always right by each other. And, a lot of amazing speakers are giving their talks at the same time. Also, it’s far less awkward and threatening for two people to nudge into a group and introduce themselves than one.

    3. Connect with People.

    It seems like everyone at SXSW, literally everyone, is willing to talk with you. So, don’t go to SXSW and shell up and simply write notes about the speakers or record the presentation. Further, if you are having a great conversation that runs into the time you were planning on attending a session, seriously consider skipping the session.

    The relationship you are forming is likely more valuable. The connections you make with people in “meat-space” at the convention can help generate multiple additional connections online, either with their brand, their fellow employees or other members of their organization, or their plain old “friends”.

    4. Post on Social Media.

    If your account goes radio silent at SXSW, then you are managing your social media poorly. If you think it is because, “I am too busy,” you aren’t. Many of the sessions have their own hashtags and everyone (including the presenter) expects you to be tweeting during the presentation. Sometimes the underground conversations are at least, if not more, informative than the listed speaker’s PowerPoint.

    It’s also a smart way to see who in your sessions might be mart, interesting and worth introducing yourself to afterward.

    Also, I forgot three last points.

    EXTRA POINT 1: Wear comfortable shoes. Seriously. You look fine. Just wear something you can walk in easily for longer than 1 mile.

    EXTRA POINT 2: And if you are coming from the Northern Lands (aka Chicago and above) wear sunscreen. The sun in Austin feels like it sits on your neck.

    EXTRA POINT 3: Bring a reusable water bottle. Fill it at the drinking fountains around the convention center. Trust me, between the dry Austin air and the free alcohol some corporate sponsor supplied the night before, you will be dehydrated if you’re not careful.

    So, take the time now to plan your itinerary, along with who is going with you and how everyone will talk about being at SXSW. And don’t forget comfortable shoes and sunscreen.

    See you there.

    Did you know that social media marketing is a component of search engine marketing? If you have ever been confused, learn the main differences between SEO and SEM.

    Did you know that social media marketing is a component of search engine marketing? All digital marketers should know the primary difference between SEO and SEM. Whether you handle social, search or design, being aware of different terminology when it comes to online marketing is useful so you can understand the different digital tasks that marketers are working on.

    There are so many jargons to learn when it comes to online marketing. But surely you've heard of the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by now. Even if you don't know what it entails, you probably know your website has to be optimized in a certain way to rank higher on the search engines like Google and Yahoo. Higher rank means more traffic, hopefully leading to more conversion.

    Let’s say you are in the real estate business, just like our company. Search engine optimization is an important marketing component because we can drive visitors searching for valuable keywords related to our apartments directly to our website. The beauty is that once you are ranked well organically, you don’t have to pay for Pay-Per-Click advertising

    Then what is SEM (Search Engine Marketing)? The two terms, SEO and SEM are often used interchangeably, even by industry experts. But they are only half correct. While SEO can be a part of SEM, it doesn't work the other way around. Simply put, SEO is a subset of SEM.

    What is SEM?

    Search Engine Marketing encompasses different techniques to harness a search engine's technology. The two major tenets of SEM include SEO and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads. Google AdWords and Bing Ads are some of the most popular PPC vendors.

    You might have seen PPC ads on Google – they are generally located above or on the right-hand side of the search results and you can distinguish them quite easily. In this way, SEM incorporates both free and paid means to achieve higher ranking on search engines.

    SEM can also include social media marketing, as social media has risen in prominence in the last few years to influence consumer behavior. In short, SEM refers to all available forms of marketing to increase your website's visibility on search engines.

    How is SEO different from SEM?

    There is no main difference per se, as SEO is simply a narrower discipline of SEM. SEO's primary aim is to provide natural, organic search results for free. With SEM, things may not always be free as it uses paid ads for the certain keywords on search engine results page.

    If you are a social media marketer and have not yet added, “Search Engine Marketing” to your LinkedIn skillset, you can now confidently do so. Social marketing is just one of the many pieces to the pie of search engine marketing. Just make sure you know the difference between SEO and SEM so you can be prepared to answer this in your next big meeting! 

    Creating a killer landing page can be the difference between converting a highly valuable customer or letting them walk out the door and go to a competitor.

    "If you build it, they will come," said no online marketer ever. Having a good website is just the start. Without the right marketing effort, your website is one of many millions of sites on the internet sphere sinking into oblivion.

    You'll feel like you're getting pulled into many directions when it comes to your online marketing endeavor. There's SEO, social media, PPC, some other buzzword, and last but not least, landing pages.

    Why do you need a landing page?

    Actually, the real question is, why do you need a good landing page? You need it because it provides a focus for your sales funnel. Your visitors are a culmination of all your marketing techniques – SEO, social media, paid advertising, email campaigns, etc. An awesome landing page will capture these visitors and turn mere prospects into buyers, subscribers, or whatever else you want them to be.

    A solid landing page has the potential to dramatically increase your conversion rate percentage. If our law firm is bidding on the keyword, “Divorce Attorney” it would make no sense to send them to our homepage where there is information on criminal divorce law and personal injury accidents. They should be driven to a landing page on divorce law, with compelling imagery and a strong call-to-action.

    People browsing the Internet have a very limited attention span. You need to grab their attention immediately. A great landing page will do just that.

    Stop wasting money on your online marketing efforts. Take the time to invest in a high quality-landing page, which will result in more contact forms, sales or phone calls for your business.  

    How to create a good landing page

    Think of your buying experience online. Many landing pages are mediocre, if not barely functional. At the worst, they read like flashy sales pages and you are instantly turned off by them. A good landing page has several components:

    ·       A quick and obvious USP (Unique Selling Proposition) – You don't ho and hum when it comes to telling your visitors what value your product or service provides.

    ·       Image or graphic that grabs attention – A picture is really worth a thousand words in this case, as it communicates ideas faster than text. You know internet visitors; they don't like to read.

    ·       An obvious Call-to-Action – It should be focused. No visitor should ever wonder what they should do next.

    ·       Benefits, not features – It's not about what you sell (or do), but how it makes your visitors' lives better.

    ·       Social endorsement – People generally crave social proof, which is why testimonials and endorsement are so powerful.

    The list is a bit formulaic, but it's known to work. A good landing page is the bread and butter of conversion principles. 

    When it comes right down to it, your website is the only piece of online real estate you own and control. Investing in social networks makes sense. But, keep in mind that any changes to how they operate can have a significant impact on your business, if you're relying exclusively on them for your online presence.

    2013 Nielsen Survey Results for 'Under the Influence: Consumer Trust in AdvertisingWith all the talk of social media, we can sometimes lose sight of one of our most important online resources: a branded business website!

    Nielsen global survey on consumer trust in advertising reported branded websites are the #2 most trusted and influential advertising source. Second only to recommendations from people we know, the #1 most trusted and influential advertising source.

    The Only Online Real Estate You Own & Control

    When it comes right down to it, your website is the only piece of online real estate you own and control.

    Investing in social networks makes sense. BUT keep in mind that any changes to how they operate can have a significant impact on your business, if you're relying exclusively on them for your online presence.

    Facebook is a good example of this. Over the past few years changes to Facebook Pages have meant that most of your fans (those who have liked your Page) will never see the content you post to your Facebook Page, unless you pay to promote the content.

    For those businesses who have spent time and money to build their fan base, this has been a major blow. But it's important to remember your business Page is NOT owned and controlled by you. Ultimately, it belongs to Facebook.

    Making Your Branded Business Website Easy To Find

    Essentially, all of your online, print and other marketing strategies should pave a way to your website. Social media is important but it is not more important than your branded business website! (Nielsen's Under the Influence: Consumer Trust in Advertising report supports this premise.)

    Everything you do - advertising, communications, marketing, promotional, sales - should make it easy for people to find your branded website! This is true whether you have a physical business location, operate your business out of your home or run your business exclusively online.

    There are many ways to make sure your website address is readily available and more likely to be used:

    • Include your website address on all your printed and online materials. (Including business cards, newsletters, invoices, signage, letterhead, newsletters and eNewsetters, promotional and product/service information pieces.)
    • Include your website address (hyperlinked if possible) on all of your social networks. (Most social networks provide a specific place for this information.)
    • Include your website address at the end of your email signature (hyperlinked), along with links to your major social networks.

    Make sure your website address, and other important contact information, is one-click away by making the link readable (title cased), online and in print, and clickable (hyperlinked) for anything digital.

    The Face Of Your Business Online

    Much like a physical store front, your branded business website is a critical piece of your overall sales and marketing strategy. It is the face or virtual store front for your business on the Internet, whether you realize it or not.

    For this reason, having a branded website isn't enough! Just as having a store that looks good only on the outside isn't enough.

    An attractive outside or first impression makes it easier for people to decide to open the door to your business. Once they've opened the door they want to see what you're made of ... they're looking for substance. And substance will mean different things for different businesses.

    Making Your Website Visitor Friendly

    To give a good first impression of your business and to make your website one that visitors are likely to feel has value, make sure it is . . .

    • easy to read/view on devices of all sizes (responsive design), including the thousands of different sized mobile phones, phablets, tablets, laptops and pcs.
    • attractive to your target audience, with branding that clearly reflects the 'face' and personality of your business.
    • functional and easy to navigate for visitors. So that impatient people (and that would be most of us!) don’t leave your website because it feels confusing, cluttered or difficult to find what they're looking for.
    • quick to load. Visitors expect your site to open in seconds, not minutes. If they have to wait too long they'll leave your website and potential business will be lost.
    • well written with good quality photos and images. Anything less than this reflects on the quality of your products and services.

    Today, most consumers want to check you out online before they decide to buy your products or services. This is true whether someone has personally recommended you, they've seen an ad online or in print media, they've met you at a Chamber of Commerce meeting or they've seen something positive a friend has shared about you on social media or elsewhere.

    Make sure your website isn't slamming a door in the face of future business because it isn't doing the job you need it to do. As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression!