Why Hiring Teenagers to Handle Your Social Media is a Bad Idea

As the owner of a busy company, social media can become just one more thing you have to fit in.

This is why many business owners decide to hire someone to manage their social media for them. This person is usually responsible for all aspects of social media — and sometimes content marketing. Their tasks and responsibilities may include:

– Coming up with new content to share on social media
– Regularly creating new blog posts
– Managing the company’s online community
– Answering questions/responding to comments
– Monitoring relevant conversations on social media
– Often, the social media manager will also be responsible for higher-level tasks like defining goals and tracking KPIs,         coming up with a social media strategy, managing the company’s online reputation, etc

As you can see, we tend to expect a lot from our social media managers!

Not surprisingly then, it isn’t cheap to hire a dedicated, experienced social media manager. According to PayScale.com, the average annual salary for a social media manager is around $47,000 … and this doesn’t include benefits and bonuses!

To work around this, some business owners decide to hire an internet-savvy teen to manage their accounts. They know how social media works?

Sometimes it’s a nephew who’s great with computers, or a local high school student who’s a whiz with social media. In any case, they tend to have one thing in common: they’re CHEAP!

As in all areas of life, we often get what we pay for.

This is especially true with social media!

This article shares why hiring a teenager to manage your social media is a big no-no!

Social media experience doesn’t equal business or marketing experience…

While many teens are great at knowing the ins and outs of various social media platforms, this doesn’t make them business or marketing experts.

Using social media for business purposes is FAR different than using it as an individual user!

An experienced social media manager will know how to:

– Use social media to meet specific business goals
– Use the business-related functions of different platforms (analytics, social ads, etc.).
– Monitor the ROI of social media campaigns.
– Optimize accounts/posts for SEO.
– These are skills that just don’t develop without lots of business experience and training!

Consistency is key with social media management.

Fully understanding how a brand works and what it stands for can take a long time. For this reason, anyone you hire to run your social media should be willing to commit for the long term.

What happens when your teenage social media manager graduates high school? Or wants to take the summer off to hang out with friends?

Training someone to represent your brand online is a big investment of time and money. Hire someone who’s willing to commit to the job for at least a few years, or you could be back to square one sooner than you ‘d like!

A social media manager must be able to handle social media crises like a pro.

When everything’s going well, a teen may be able to competently handle basic social media tasks. If things start to go sideways, you need someone in there who knows exactly what to do, what to say, and how to react.

Take this well-known social media snafu as an example: A Red Cross employee accidentally posted a personal tweet from to the organization’s official Twitter account. It read:.

“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer … when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.”

Red Cross didn’t miss a beat.

Why Hiring a Teen To Do

One has to wonder if an inexperienced teen could have come up with such a direct, clever and humorous response!

Your social media manager needs to be on top of industry and platform changes.

Social media management isn’t just about posting random updates on Facebook or Twitter. What you post and how you post it can be greatly impacted by changes in your industry and in the individual platforms you use.

Is your teenage social media manager likely to monitor what’s happening in your industry? To know which ones your audience is most likely to be on?

A teenager may not have the necessary filters in place yet to manage your social media.

Your social media manager is the face and voice of your brand online. This is a HUGE responsibility!

An inexperienced teen is far more likely to behave or respond in ways that aren’t flattering to your brand.

What if a disgruntled customer makes a particularly mean or rude remark? An experienced social media manager will have faced this many times before and will know exactly how to respond to diffuse the situation. A teen, however, may be more likely to respond quickly and without the appropriate level of professionalism.

And since social media posts have a way of sticking around– even if you delete them– the impact of an unprofessional post or comment can impact your business for a very long time!

Conclusion

I hope this post has convinced you that hiring a teen to manage your social media just isn’t a great choice. The benefits (namely, the low cost) don’t even come close to outweighing the risks.

If you decide you need to hire some outside help but just aren’t able to pay a lot, I ‘d recommend hiring someone more experienced for even just an hour or two a week.

And the best for last:

Access to our complete social media and digital marketing library!

Have you ever hired a teenager to manage your social media? How did it work out for you? Share below!

Google Mobile Penalty

How to Get Ready for Google’s Mobile Annihilation

Google announced back in August 2016 that it will begin to devalue web pages in mobile search with intrusive interstitials as of January 10, 2017. Going forward, Google recommends using interstitials on mobile pages that only take up a “reasonable” amount of screen space.

Here is an example of what Google considers to be “intrusive”:

Google gave site owners plenty of time to prepare for the update, but in case you have not yet done so, I have rounded up 10 pieces of expert advice that will ensure your web pages are not affected by this penalty.

How to Avoid Google’s Mobile Interstitials Penalty.
Advice from Google.
The first piece of advice comes from none other than Google itself. Here’s how Google defines the penalty:.

” To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”.
Takeaway: Content on the pages you have indexed in mobile search must be readily available when a user clicks through to the page from Google.

Be Honest With Yourself: Do Your Pop-Ups Serve a Purpose?
Ben Silverman from Brafton Marketing shares this advice:

” The easiest way to avoid the mobile interstitial and pop-up penalty is to think like Google, whose main objective is to make the internet more accessible, browsable, intuitive and honest, especially for mobile browsers. This means there are some exceptions to Google’s pop-up policy: If yours serves a real, honest purpose, chances are you’ll be okay.”.
Takeaway: Some pop-ups are still acceptable if they are either required by law, such as age verification, or if they don’t detract from the main content on the page, such as a small banner at the top.

Hiding Content With Ads is Now Against Google Guidelines.
The Verge shares this advice:

” For the most part, Google is targeting overlays that gray out the content beneath them to prevent you from reading a website, either for a few seconds or until you find and very carefully tap a little X to dismiss them.”.
Takeaway: Publishers may not be happy about this, but ads that are displayed over top of the main content are no longer acceptable. This includes ads that appear when you land on a page, as well as ads that appear as you scroll down a page. There should be no barrier preventing a user from reading content on the page at any time.

Ad Publishers Need to Adapt and Look Into New Strategies.
HubSpot’s Senior Product Marketing Manager, Marcus Andrews, shares this advice:

” … if they haven’t done so already, marketers solve for mobile SEO. The pain that comes with changing a revenue model is inevitable, but shorter-term– and businesses that rely on advertiser dollars, should figure out ways to make money that doesn’t totally disrupt the mobile user experience.”.
Takeaway: Removing revenue-generating interstitials might hurt at first, but losing organic search traffic could hurt even more. Site owners must adapt and look for non-intrusive ways to generate revenue.

Develop a Content Marketing Strategy for Generating Revenue.
Sitepoint shares this advice:

” The consistent creation and distribution of relevant content attracts users without beating them with a hard-sell stick. Use content– including blog posts, round-ups, guides, videos, infographics, and more– to educate audiences and guide them through the buying process.”.
Takeaway: Since the goal of Google’s interstitials penalty is to make content more accessible, use that to your advantage. Develop a content marketing strategy to sell users on your products and services, rather than intrusive pop-up ads.

Mobile-Friendly Label is Being Removed for All Sites, But Being Mobile-Friendly Still Matters.
Syed Balkhi of OptinMonster shares this advice:

” The first part of the announcement that a lot of journalists skipped over is that the “mobile-friendly” label that Google is currently displaying in search results will be removed for everyone on January 10, 2017 … Since over 85% of all pages in mobile search results now meet the criteria, they will be removing the label for everyone.”.
Takeaway: Google will no longer consider pages with intrusive interstitials as being mobile-friendly, but don’t panic once you don’t see the “mobile-friendly” label next to your content in search results. The label is being removed for everyone, although being mobile friendly is still as important as it has ever been.

Intrusive Interstitials Not Allowed on Mobile, But Desktop is Still OK.
Icegram shares this advice:

” Use display targeting rules in your popup/ interstitial program, and show them only on desktop/ larger screens. Don’t use pop-ups and interstitials on mobile. Instead use smaller messages like banners, inlines or slide ins.”.
Takeaway: You don’t have to remove intrusive pop-up ads and interstitials altogether, you only need to remove them on mobile pages. They can still be displayed on desktop browsers without incurring any kind of penalty.

Check Your WordPress Plugins.
Sarah Gooding of WP Tavern shares this advice:

” WordPress users who use plugins to display pop-up messages, whether it’s for coupons, membership offers, promotions, or another form of advertising, will want to carefully review Google’s size guidelines or consider a different approach for reaching visitors.”.
Takeaway: If you use WordPress plugins to display interstitials, staying in compliance with Google’s new guidelines may be as simple as adjusting sizes using the plugin settings. Remember, keep them small and non-obtrusive. Content should be the main focus of the page.

Interstitials Triggered by Exit Intent Are Still Allowed.
Google’s John Mueller shared this advice when asked if the penalty would apply to pages with an interstitial triggered on exit intent:.

What we’re looking for is really interstitials that show up on the interaction between the search click and going through the page and seeing the content. That’s kind of the place we’re looking for those interstitials.
Takeaway: Interstitials triggered by exit intent are perfectly fine. Google is only targeting interstitials that appear when a user lands on a page.

Page-to-Page Interstitials Will Not Be Penalized.

Takeaway: Google is not looking to penalize all pages with interstitials, only the ones which searchers can land on from search results. It’s still OK to display an interstitial when a user navigates from one of your pages to another.

Conclusion.
Google is always looking for new ways to improve the search experience. There are both positive and negative aspects to this update– site owners just have to keep rolling with Google’s proverbial punches.

Google AdWords

AdWords Basics – What you need to know about starting AdWords

 

In this guide, we’ll define what online marketing is — and what it isn’t to help you make sure your website is ready to deliver results, and finally, explain how AdWords works and what it takes to be successful.

So, let’s start with some of the basics of what online advertising is — and what it isn’t.

When you search for something on Google, you’ll generally see 2 kinds of results on the page:

The first are paid AdWords ads, which can appear on the top, side or bottom of the Google search results page next to or under an “Ads” label. AdWords determines the order and position of these ads based on a few things, including how relevant and useful the ads are to what the person searched for, the advertiser’s bid on the keywords used in the person’s search, and a few other factors.

The rest of what you see on the page is made up of what we call “organic” search results. These are unpaid links to websites with content related directly to what the person searched for. The more relevant the site is to the search term, the higher the link will appear in the list. Your related website could appear here, but your ad won’t.

If you’re an AdWords advertiser, how much you’re willing to pay for your ad could have an impact on where your ad appears in relation to other ads when a person searches for a particular term.

BUT, your payment will have NO impact on the organic search results that person’s search produces. Now that you know the difference between paid ads and organic search results on Google, generate a small test budget and choose some very specific (in demand) keywords that relate to your particular business and begin testing them out with AdWords.

After all, marketing is all about testing…

Let’s put it this way, at the end of the day, spending a small budget on paid traffic with measurable ROI is a heck of a lot more cost effective that throwing money at a billboard that you have no clue your ROI (at least not anything like paid traffic).

As found on Youtube

Why Marketing Automation

Why Marketing Automation & Your Benefit

Trends keep life interesting. It’s always fun to see what sticks, and what fades away. Some recent trends garnering excitement include:

1. Juicing– not like apple or grape, but really green juice that looks like you scraped it off of a fish tank. I’ve heard if you start juicing, you will become totally awesome, 10 years younger, and gain IQ points.

Buzzfeed quizzes– which 80’s rock star are you? Which font are you ?! Comic Sans! … Um, just kidding.

3. Frozen (that song).

4. Game of Thrones– channeling Daenerys Targaryen in meetings just feels good.

 

If you’re in marketing, a “trend” you’ve probably heard about is marketing automation. What if it’s a trend, like juicing?

In a nutshell, what does marketing automation do, and why should you care? I first purchased marketing automation (TPNI Engage, specifically) while working at an another company several years ago.

Why Marketing Automation is More than a Trend

Scalability— Whether you are a startup company with a marketing team of one, or a larger enterprise, you always want to optimize your efficiency. Using TPNI Engage, you can clone whole programs (email, landing pages, etc.) so your team is not setting up programs from scratch each time, while still acheiving massive scale with your leads and sales…passively!

Closed-end reporting was the main reason I investigated marketing automation in the first place. In my current role, I use TPNI Engage daily to evaluate marketing programs and their performance.

I also look at which content assets perform best per program or channel. I check out first-touch and multi-touch pipeline-to-cost, so I know which programs and channels are best for creating a pipeline for the respective investment.

With marketing automation, I greatly improve the likelihood of providing qualified leads at the right time to my sales organization. I have the ability to use lead scoring (put simply, lead scoring assigns points based on desired demographics and behaviors). At my last company, I selected TPNI Engage because of how effectively I could measure campaigns and channels.

Communicating in a personal way– No one likes receiving an email that seems impersonal, ill-timed, or just completely irrelevant. Using marketing automation, you can use behavioral filters to target your audience or trigger messages based on behavior.

Through TPNI Engage’s nurturing capabilities, I can also easily schedule content to activate or deactivate (for example, I don’t want people to receive an analyst report that’s more than a year old, so I can set an end date for that asset). Automation allows me to communicate in a personal way.

Running programs across multiple channels– Lastly, many of us are using multiple channels to communicate with our audiences. With automation, I have the ability to run a multi-channel campaign (for example, I could run social, email, web, and direct mail programs, all within the platform) and I can measure each channel, but then I can also measure the entire effort.

Using marketing automation, I can scale a sophisticated program that involves multi-channel elements on email, social, and direct mail. I can easily 1) set up the entire program quickly, and 2) ask critical questions, which are immediately addressed.

I know most of you are busy, so I hope my perspective helps you understand why marketing automation can help your business– it can do a lot more then “send emails”. If you’re interested in learning more about marketing automation, our Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation is a good place to start.

Several months from now, we may not be drinking green juice or watching Game of Thrones, but I for one will still be using marketing automation (while eating locally sourced kale chips … justing kidding).

If you’re in marketing, a “trend” you’ve probably heard about is marketing automation. I first purchased marketing automation (TPNI Engage, specifically) while working at an another company several years ago. With marketing automation, I greatly improve the likelihood of providing qualified leads at the right time to my sales organization. Using marketing automation, you can use behavioral filters to target your audience or trigger messages based on behavior.

Using marketing automation, I can scale a sophisticated program that involves multi-channel elements on email, social, and direct mail.

If you want to learn how to achieve MASSIVE scale in your business through Marketing Automation, please sign up for our Marketing Automation webinar where we will walk you through the crucial components & steps needed to be securing passive leads & sales! 

2017 social media following

13 Ways to Grow Your Social Media Following in 2017

The new year is here, so I wanted to list some of the most effective ways to boost your social media audience, incorporating some of the key 2016 updates into the mix to keep you up to speed on what’s working right now.

Instagram

Strategically comment on posts

To gain exposure and gain social media followers organically I always recommend getting out there and interacting with social media accounts from other brands, as well as your own your audience. Choose five brand accounts that are similar to yours and leave one genuine comment on their three most recent photos every week.

Like post comments

Popular accounts can get hundreds of comments. Look for posts on those target accounts that resonate with your audience and go through and like the good comments.

Instagram recently rolled out an update which enables you like specific comments– just as you can on Facebook. This adds an extra (and easy) opportunity to get some more interaction for your account.

Don’t forget to like comments left on your own photos.

Use Instagram Stories and Live stories

Instagram Stories and live-streaming can seem a little scary, but they should absolutely be part of your 2017 social media strategy. Not only will you be able to give more context about you, your posts or your business, but creating this kind of content can also see you featured in Instagram’s Explore section. Imagine all the exposure you can gain from that.

Facebook

Use Live Video

Again, video is a big deal and Live videos get the most reach by far compared to other content formats. There are so many ways to use Facebook Live Videos – you’re only limited by your own creativity.

Facebook is also rolling out 360 degree live videos and audio-only broadcasts.

Invite Post Likers to Like Your Page

A feature which has been around for a while (but not everyone knows about) is the option to invite folks who’ve Liked your posts to also Like Page. We’ve used this method with my clients and it’s an easy way to get some quick wins in 2017.

Since videos are getting so much reach and interaction I suggest adding more videos to your 2017 social media strategy. Don’t be nervous, you can create simple videos that still deliver great impact. Here are a few ways on how to easily create great video content.

Live videos add a layer of personality and an element of surprise and delight for your fans. You can create a live video on Twitter directly from the app and the video will stream on your Periscope account as well, which will help your following on that platform simultaneously.

General Tips.

This past year Twitter released an update to their 140 character limit, meaning you can now use all of your 140 characters, even when including a link or photo.

This is the most time consuming, but most effective way to get in front of new followers. Interact with brands similar to you, related brands, influencers, and folks from your target audience.

Surprise and delight your audience (and show them you know how to use the network) by not being afraid to test new features that roll out. They may not always work out for your business, but if you can use them effectively they add an extra element to your social media presence.

Keep your images as high quality as possible or use stock imagery where appropriate.

Use live video.

Since videos are getting so much reach and interaction I suggest adding more videos to your 2017 social media strategy. Don’t be nervous, you can create simple videos that still deliver great impact. Here are a few ways on how to easily create great video content.

To do this navigate to your Facebook Page, click on the post Likers listing on any post and a light box will pop up. Next to each person’s name will be a little wheel, clicking on the wheel will give you the option to invite the person to like the Page if they haven’t already. Easy peasy.

Good luck in 2017.

The new update gives you more wiggle room to add hashtags, or just get a full thought out.

Think about your story.

Have fun and test new features.

Tired of reading that? Live videos add a layer of personality and an element of surprise and delight for your fans. You can create a live video on Twitter directly from the app and the video will stream on your Periscope account as well, which will help your following on that platform simultaneously.

Use high-quality images.

Incorporate video.

Keep Consistent.

Twitter.

( Note: This option only works for Pages with fewer than 100,000 total Page Likes).

Keep interacting.

Twitter’s also just launched the ability to post Live 360 degree videos to the mix for those of you more advanced content creators out there.

Take advantage of the 140 Character update.

When you develop your posts or campaigns think about the story you want to tell. This should help you craft ideas about content and messaging for your channels.

Remember that consistency is key and letting an account go dormant or not posting enough will not help your presence grow. My rule of thumb is to post at least three times a week.

 

To Your Success in the New Year!

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder

www.MPeMG.com

(412) 374-1558

Marketing Automation Image

How to Organize Your Content for After a Holiday, Before

So, it’s the week after Christmas…

At the moment, you’re probably frantically following up on emails and organizing the rest of your week to MAYBE get out early on Friday (New Year’s Eve)…

Well, you’re not alone!

However, there is a much better way to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and you can ring in the New Year without a worry in the world!

You’re about to read about some HIGHLY effective ways to organize your content following a Holiday so that you can rest easy knowing that your boss or customers are taken care of. How?

A content strategy AND automation.

What’s that?

Automation is basically defined as your business activities being programmed to be distributed at a given time in the future without you needing to be present. Of course, there are varying forms of automation, however, this is a very simple explanation.

And a content strategy or calendar is a tool that you use to organize what content is to be distributed on a certain day, week, etc.

Social media platforms like Facebook or email marketing platforms like MailChimp give us the opportunity to schedule posts that can be broadcasted in the future like for the rest of the week or two weeks, or whatever the period of time may be. 

Let’s say that you’re in charge of social media marketing for your business and you are taking a few extra days off after the Holiday, but your job still needs to get done. You have a ton of posts or emails (if you’re in charge of email marketing, etc.) that need to go out immediately following the Holiday and you’re not there…what do you do??

Try this…

Take a few hours prior to the Holiday and decide what content needs to be distributed on which day. Once you have decided on your Facebook content strategy, head over to Facebook (or whichever social media platform and/or your email marketing tool like Constant Contact) and begin pre-programming your content! (How to use Facebook Scheduling Tool)

This will obviously make your life considerably easier AND your business (or company that you work for) will run smoothly, even in your absence!

Automation is here and it’s the future. It allows us to be more productive while giving us more time to do more for our business or company that we work for.

Either way, you’re going to look pretty darn good to your boss or clients 🙂

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Alex, MPeMG

Co-Founder & CMO

www.MPeMG.com

 

Research and locate your audience on social media

Social Media – Search & Rescue

Ian Moyse, a well-known sales leader who has a huge social media presence and was recently rated 2016’s # 1 social influence on cloud, and # 1 on ITSM, Ian has been featured in many social selling leadership reports and has advised many businesses on how to play the social media game.

When used correctly, social media is a very effective method for reaching a wider audience. How can you ensure you’re taking full advantage and are using the right platforms and methods to drive the best results?

Here, Ian shares his tips on how to expand your social media presence.

1. What to consider

Influencing buyers – With 75% of B2B buyers using social media to research a vendor (IDC) and 57% of the buyer’s journey being done before a sales rep is contacted (CEB), the power of social really has evolved. Ian points out that even incremental decisions are being made, based on content shared through social media. ‘That wouldn’t have happened even 10 years ago,’.
Transparency – The buyer and influencer dynamic has evolved – anyone now has the ability to find out everything about, you, your brand, your products, what others think of you. It’s therefore, more important than ever to portray yourself in the best way possible, across any mediums where potential customers may find you, in order to sway their buying decision.
– It’s not enough to just want to be a part of social media because you’ve heard it’s ‘good’, you need to think about what it is you want to accomplish and where you want to go. Possible goals could be; to generate leads, to appear more established than you are, to gain a wider regional reach or to be seen as a thought leader.
2. Who is your audience?

After you’ve identified your goals, you then need to consider who the audience is that you want to reach.

Examples include:

Customers – End customers
Channel partners – Spread your message onwards to their customer base.
Analysts – To become recognized in your field
Journalists – To create an online buzz and get your brand out there
Influencers – To improve the reputation of your business
3. How do you engage with your audience?

What a lot of thought leaders do is they re-post their content, to do this effectively, however, you need to have a wide content library. As Ian says ‘What are the chances your audience are going to see it 50 times’?

Ensure you’re also setting aside time to respond to comments and shares and building that trust through interaction.

Social media’s open 24 hours a day, so posting once a day likely won’t be enough to grab your audience’s attention.

At the same time, social media is called ‘social’ for a reason. It’s all about communicating with your audience and starting up conversations, and these relationships need to be constantly nurtured to keep them interested, whilst also encouraging engagement.

Establish a mix of good content you can re-use, and perhaps post your blog content twice a day, each day, at different times, across 2 weeks. You want to have as many people as possible see it, engage with it and share it on to their audiences. Using a social automation tool will enable you to schedule these in advance to go out at varying times.

4. How do you grow your audience?

Focus – Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to be on all social networks. Instead, focus your efforts on a few social networks suited to your industry.
Take advantage – Hashtags, keywords, Twitter lists, LinkedIn Groups – all of these are great ways to help attract your audience’s attention. I would highly recommend conducting social listening to see how others are using these effectively.
Social Selling – As Ian says, people talk to people. To do this, you need to take advantage of your sales people and give them training on how to use their social media accounts effectively, for building relationships and engaging with prospects.
Thought leaders – Do you have influencers, senior level employees or experts in your field that you could be leveraging on social media? This is also another great way of increasing your social media presence, building trust and adding a more human element to your messaging.
In addition, here are some great tools which Ian recommends to help improve your social media performance and efficiency:

Fiverr – Creative marketplace for finding digital services such as creating great profile imagery and social animations cheaply
Ezgif – Converts videos to GIF’s to make content and bit more social media friendly.
Social media automation tools – To schedule relevant posts to your audience all at once.
Commun.it – A tool to analyze engagement on Twitter & Facebook and to help you re-engage
The main trick is to constantly look for small gains and try to keep up to date with the advancements.

To do this, you need to take advantage of your sales people and give them training on how to use their social media accounts effectively, for building relationships and engaging with prospects.

Influencing buyers – With 75% of B2B buyers using social media to research a vendor (IDC) and 57% of the buyers journey being done before a sales rep is contacted (CEB), the power of social really has evolved. Ian points out that even incremental decisions are being made, based on content shared through social media. – It’s not enough to just want to be a part of social media because you’ve heard it’s ‘good’, you need to think about what it is you want to accomplish and where you want to go. Using a social automation tools will enable you to schedule these in advance to go out at varying times.

” I’m constantly looking for ways to make social media that bit easier for myself or ways to make me look a bit more professional – it’s all about those 1% gains, they all add up.”

Make Your Website Stand Out

4 Ways to Make Your Website Stand Out to Google

Be a Straight Shooter Let Your Customer Know What They’re Getting With Meta Descriptions
Letting users know exactly what you have to offer is key to those coveted clicks. Compelling copy is going to get you noticed, especially if your competitors are ignoring it.

A well-crafted meta description can be the deciding factor between a customer clicking on your result or your competitors, and add in those colorful stars we talked about earlier, you’re really going to stand out. We don’t need to be reminded how important Click-Through Rates (CTR) are as a ranking signal for the search engines. Giving your potential customer a glimpse into the page they’re clicking on is going to help them stick around a little longer.

What’s going to make you stand out and get those valuable clicks? Well, fear not, those search results can get a little more colorful with some quick and often overlooked changes that you can make to add a little pizzaz to those search results.

Make Your Website Stand Out

Make sure you’ve done the legwork; set up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, create a sitemap, watch out for duplicate content, get some search friendly URLs, write fresh content, and make sure all your social profiles are linking back to you. Those stars aren’t just for ads either, using schema you can get them in your organic results, too. Compelling copy is going to get you noticed, especially if your competitors are ignoring it.

Those stars aren’t just for ads either, using schema you can get them in your organic results, too. Adding a little flair to your search result is going to go a long way.

Optimizing your site, reaching out to customers, and honing in your language isn’t just going to help you rise in the SERPs, it’s going to help you connect with your customers and build lifelong relationships with them.

Invite Yourself to the Party & Get Your Site Indexed
Make sure you’ve done the legwork; set up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, create a sitemap, watch out for duplicate content, get some search friendly URLs, write fresh content, and make sure all your social profiles are linking back to you. Sites never stand a chance if you forget to run down the launch checklist. Neil Patel has a handy guide on what you need to do to let the search engines know you exist.

What’s going to make you stand out and get those valuable clicks? Well, fear not, those search results can get a little more colorful with some quick and often overlooked changes that you can make to add a little pizzaz to those search results.

Think Local
If you’re a physical store you have your eyes on the map, you long to see your business name at the top of the snack pack. These days with fewer results it’s a tough ask, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting that spot. Insure NAP consistency, focus on local SEO, and yes, those reviews play a crucial role on nabbing a spot on the map.

Make Your Website Stand Out

Make Them See Stars
If you want your customers to be star-gazing, you’re going to need to incorporate user ratings into your search results. To get them you’ll need 150 reviews in the last 12 months. According to Google, ads with Seller Ratings get a 17% higher CTR than the same ads without ratings.

Conclusion
Sure, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out in the SERPs, but don’t let that deter you. By getting back to basics and focusing on the little things you have an opportunity to broaden your reach.

Using Google My Business to Generate Leads

Have you googled your business lately? Every small business can make a killer digital display, like the one below, that shows up on Google. By using Google My Business

The Ultimate Guide to Google My Business

Google My Business is a free marketing tool that connects customers with businesses. By spending a few hours creating an account, you can drastically increase your chances of being found online and collecting revenue. Use this free and quick scan to get a report on all your online directory listings.

The 10 advantages of Google My Business.

Google says 50 percent of mobile consumers that search for a local business visit it within a day of the search, and 18 percent of consumers make a purchase. Sound like something your business should be a part of? Absolutely.

Google My Business will do more than create the display above; it has a lot to offer.

It’s free. Yes, FREE.
It serves as the ultimate business directory with pertinent business information accessible to customers instantly.
All of the information you list is clickable. Customers can click your phone number to call on their smartphones, or tap your website address to see your site.
The information looks great on any device, including smartphones.
Both local and online businesses can use it.
You can post pictures and videos to your page.
You can access metrics to see how many people are looking for and finding your site.
It drives traffic to your website.
Customers can read and add reviews.
You have one centralized dashboard with access to Google+, Insights, Reviews, Hangouts and Google Analytics.
Set up:

1. Get started by signing up with Google My Business.

2. If your business has a physical address, you’ll enter it. If your business is online, you’ll create a brand page

3. If you don’t have a Google+ account, you’ll have to set up one up at the same time.

Verify your business by postcard or phone. None of the information you enter will appear online until you verify your business.

5. Enter business information.

Tips to enter attractive information on your page.

From the main dashboard, you’ll see this info bar at the top.

From this location, you’ll enter or edit the following:

-Identify photos. These photos include your profile picture and logo.
-Interior photos. Shots inside your store or business.
-Exterior photos. Shots of your building.
-Photos at work. Pictures that represent what you do.
-Team photos. Pictures of you and your employees.
-Additional photos. Any pictures that don’t fit into the categories above can go here.
-Google suggests adding three photos to each category. Some of the pictures, like your profile picture, have suggested dimensions too. It’s best to start with a picture that’s landscape (horizontal) and crop or enhance it with a tool like PicMonkey.

Make sure your pictures are clear and crisp. It probably goes without saying, but don’t use any picture that you wouldn’t put on a paid advertisement.

These statistics provide inside information that allows you to make decisions and customize content to your niche audience.

Aside from your business information, you’ll see several other features on your dashboard. Here’s a look at the additional components on your dashboard, along with things you need to know about each section:.

It provides a more in-depth look at your website traffic, whereas Insights is just looking at the traffic garnered on your Google My Business account.

Pick a business category, or several.
There are hundreds of business categories to choose from. You want to describe what your business is, not what it does. You would enter “Pet Supply Store” not “Pet food and toys.”.

Google Analytics.
Google Analytics provides the master key to all things analytics. This tracking tool, which is also free, provides statistics on your website traffic and audience. You can integrate Google Analytics with VerticalResponse to see how your emails impact our site traffic too.

Every small business can make a killer digital display, like the one below, that shows up on Google. Google My Business is a free marketing tool that connects customers with businesses. Google makes business suggestions to users based on the information you provide. If your business isn’t on Google+, you’ll create an account at the same time you set up your business page. Google My Business can connect your business with customers on the other end of those searches.

Insights.
How many people have seen your digital display? Are people interacting with your posts on Google+? You have access to a wealth of analytics under the “Insights” tab.

Reviews.
Google My Business hosts a review page so your customers can leave public feedback. You can monitor and respond to reviews through your dashboard.

Encourage customers to leave reviews. Remind them at the checkout, or send an email asking them to leave feedback with a link to your Google My Business page.
If you get bad feedback, don’t panic. If it violates the review policies, you can flag it and Google will review it and take action.
Respond to positive reviews too. Thank customers for taking time to share their comments.
Start a hangout.
Need to host a quick conference call? You can start a Google+ Hangout, which is a free video chat service, right from your dashboard. It allows you to talk with up to 10 people and share screens.

Conclusion: Four out of five consumers conduct local searches on search engines to try and find the right business to meet their needs. Google My Business can connect your business with customers on the other end of those searches. With just a small investment of time, you can create a free way to attract customers.

You can enter more than one category too. If your business specializes in more than one category, add it.

You can customize the information you see. Just pick the stats that you want to compare and they will show up on a chart. It’s an easy way to compare stats.

Business summary
Phone number
Website
Business category
Hours of operation
Address (if you have a physical store).
Pictures or a virtual tour.
Some of the information that you enter is self-explanatory. Your phone number is your phone number. We have a few tips to maximize your business introduction, category, and pictures.

There are three main sections: visibility, engagement, and audience.

Here are a few tips when it comes to reviews:.

Uploading pictures.
There are more photos to upload than just your profile and cover art here. Pictures are broken into six categories:.

You can post to a Google+ account right from your dashboard. You can type in an update, or share photos, links or videos. You can even create an event with a simple click.

Google+.
If your business isn’t on Google+, you’ll create an account at the same time you set up your business page. While many businesses flock to Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is the up-and-comer in the social world. Searchmetics predicts Google+ will overtake Facebook in social sharing by 2016.

Business introduction.
Provide a clear, concise summary of your business. A sentence or two will work. Use descriptive words that paint a picture for your customers.

Why is this so important? Google makes business suggestions to users based on the information you provide. If you enter the wrong category, it’s not likely your business will show up in the recommendation area.

Visibility shows you the number of views that your profile, photos, and posts get. You have access to graphs and can change the data to show the last 7, 30 or 90 days.
Engagement shows you how your audience is interacting with your posts. You’ll see stats on +1 clicks, shares, and comments. You can set the graphs to show the last 7, 30 or 90 days.
Audience shows you a breakdown of the people following you. If you notice customers are interacting with your Google+ posts mostly on Friday, save your best content for that day. If your Insights show a strong presence in anther country, consider sharing more links that pertain to those customers.

5 ways to increase blog traffic

5 Ways to Get More Qualified Traffic to Your Blog

You’ve been working hard on your blog, you feel established. We’re right there with you friend – here are five easy steps you can start taking to increase blog traffic!

1. Be Strategic About Your Content

The most successful content is the kind that meets a specific need. Content these days almost always falls into one of two categories: cool and funny or useful and educational.

If you want to increase blog traffic, the best thing you can do is quite simply create better content. Creating “better content” isn’t just about quality.

When it comes to content style, shoot for shocking statistics, beautiful infographics, and rich storytelling via video. Create stuff people want to link to and share.

5 ways to get more traffic to your blog

If you need ideas, check out Quora and see what questions are being asked that relate to your industry subject. Try using Buzzsumo to see what others have written about in your field, then make something even better. Or use one of these eight handy blog topic generators.

Create Evergreen Content For Your Blog

Try to make sure that most of your content is evergreen. Evergreen content is the kind of content that can live forever on the web and that time won’t make irrelevant.

Crafting Kickass Headlines

Some even suggest that your headline is more important than your actual post! If you have a great content piece hiding behind a shabby headline, it’ll die a quick death. Appearances are everything, and just as you wouldn’t show up to a wedding wearing your stay-home-sick clothes, you can’t rely on lackluster headlines to promote your blog posts.

As a blogger, you should always ensure that you’re creating irresistibly awesome headlines. Your headline is what gets visitors to your site and captures their interest.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different headlines. Share your post multiple times with different headlines and see which style works best.

Create a Newsletter To Showcase Your Best Blog Posts

One quick and easy way to start driving more traffic to your blog is to start collecting emails for a blog newsletter. Since these users are already comfortable with your blog, chances are they might explore a bit more on their next visit.

Promotion needs to be a big part of your content strategy so that your hard earned blog posts drive that traffic you so desperately desire!

2. Don’t Fear the Keywords

Go ahead, shout it from the rooftops, “I care about keywords!” Be loud and proud my friend.

If you really want to drive big time traffic to your blog, keywords and SEO have to be a part of your strategy. You get targeted traffic from Google, and users find the information and answers they’re searching the web for.

5 ways to get more traffic to your blog

They key thing to remember with SEO is all good things in moderation.

Use keywords in your context text? Yes!

Use keyword stuffing to saturate your content completely with search queries? No.

Link to other related blog posts you’ve written on a specific subject? Yes!

Include so many links that every other sentence is dotted with blue hyperlinks? No.

Let keywords influence your outline and help conceptualize your post? Yes!

Put keywords and search bots before user experience? No!

With more sites and advertisers online than ever before, all competing for the most popular keywords, how do you stand a chance of competing? Long-tail keywords of course!

Google drives billions of searches a day. Trust me, you want to use keywords to get a piece of that pie.

5 ways to get more traffic to your blog

Why Do Long-Tail Keywords Matter for Bloggers?

Long-tail keywords are search phrases composed of 3+ keywords. They’re easier to target long-tail keywords (and cheaper when it comes to PPC) because there is less competition for these phrases. Targeting long-tail keywords is really your only chance of getting a top SERP spot in Google.

Maybe you ‘d love to rank high in Google for “health food” because your business is a health food store. Well fat (or slim) chance of that happening– “health food” is a pretty competitive term. If you focus instead on “health food meal plans” or “health food on a budget,” your chance of ranking for those longer keyword phrases is tremendously higher.

SEO for Bloggers: Finding Long Tail Keywords

5 ways to get more traffic to your blog

Next, take all the long-tail phrases you’ve come up with and put them into the Google Keyword Planner.

See which phrases drive the most traffic (also take a look at other keyword phrases Google suggests) and siphon out the ones with high search volume and low competition. Those are your gold nugget long-tails! Try to create content targeted around those keywords.

How do you brainstorm these awesome long-tail keywords? Begin typing in a phrase and see what Google’s auto-complete suggestions are.

Next, put a few of those terms into Google and scratch down some Google’s related search suggestions (you’ll find them towards the bottom of the page).

SEO WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

There are some great WordPress plugins designed to help bloggers with SEO. They make it easy to set up your URL slugs correctly, help you craft perfect meta descriptions, setup sitemaps, and aid you in navigating other SEO technical bits that may not come naturally to bloggers.

Two favorites are:

When it comes to promoting your blog, it’s essential that you’re strategic about where you spend your time. While it’s nice to establish your presence across a range of social networks, you’ll quickly burn out trying to excel with every social site.

WordPress SEO by Yoast
All in One SEO Pack
3. Find Your Flock: Hunt Down Your Audience’s Nest

Is your blog heavy on the visuals? Is your blog catered more towards nerd culture?

If you’re looking for seagulls, you go to the seashore. To drive blog traffic, you need to go to where your flock hangs out.

5 ways to get more traffic to your blog

Use Google Analytics to see which websites are driving the most referral traffic. Find the forums and sites your target audience visits, and get active. Engage in discussion and post links or blog comments when appropriate.

Once You’ve Found Your Family, Go All In

Once you’ve discovered your key networks, make those your focal point. Neil Patel points out that Upworthy, in addition to utilizing curiosity-focused headlines and emotional content, also limits the number of social sharing buttons they have on a given page.

Upworthy only has two share buttons– Facebook and Twitter. Consider limiting your social sharing selection to the sites you get the most leverage out of.

5  ways to get more blog traffic

The choice paradox shows that too many choices can overwhelm and stress users. While we may assume more choices are better, studies have shown that most individuals are happier with a few different options, rather than hundreds.

Want More Blog Traffic? Just Ask.

Sometimes getting what you want can be a simple as asking for it. A study by Social Bakers found that users who asked their followers to “RT” their posts on Twitter received 73.48 average retweets per tweet. Those who didn’t ask for retweets received just 2.09 retweets.

If you want people to share your content, ask them to!

This goes for just about all call-to-actions. While your intentions may seem obvious to you, reiterating the course of action for visitors greatly increases the likelihood that they’ll follow through.

4. Optimize For Speed and Mobile

Your visitors aren’t going to wait around for your blog to load. If your page isn’t coming up fast enough, they’ll hit the back button and move on to the next Google listing (ie your competitor) before you can flip a flapjack.

Need to check your site speed? No problem! Google’s Page Speed Insights tool will give you your speed score, as well as tips on what you can do to give your site the kick in the pants it might need.

WPtouch Mobile Plugin
Jetpack by WordPress (there’s a mobile theme option baked in).

Traffic Speedway

In the same vein, modern users spend nearly 3 hours a day on their tablets or mobile phones. Going mobile is a no-brainer for bloggers. If you don’t think your current blog is up to snuff, consider checking out one of these fine WordPress plugins that help create a version of your blog that is optimized for mobile devices.

5. Play Nice With the Other Kids.

Linking to your own blog posts is great for SEO, but it’s important to link to outside sources. This signals to Google that you’re not a spammer and helps build positive relationships with the others blogs you’re linking to. Establishing good relations also makes pitching guest posts a ton easier.

Comment on other blogs and be active in various communities. Consider interviewing major industry loggers or including other bloggers in a “best of” post (for example, Top 10 Blogs Rocking Pinterest).

Good manners go a long way online. If you’re looking to build blog traffic, you’ll want to establish good relationships with other bloggers in your niche. Sometimes you’ll even want to team up with your enemies, Game of Thrones style.

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