Several months ago, I started a new personal blog. Now when you start a new site, there are a few ways you can go to build traffic: do keyword research and write content targeted for search traffic and link building, network with other high traffic sites in your niche and link building, pay for traffic, or promote your site through social media.
Most people do a combination of all of the above, along with a focus on building their own email list.
I know how to do all that and I do that on other site, but on this sites, I just didn’t want to write with keywords in mind. I want to write what I want to write about. Also, some of the topics I write about on this site are things a lot of people would be interested in, but they aren’t searching for.
Since I nixed two legs of a standard traffic building strategy, I had to focus on building an audience through social media sites. There are a variety of ways I’ve been doing this, but the primary focus has been consistent updates using images.
And it’s worked.
You Only Have Their Attention for a Second
It’s a statement of fact in a culture where a large percentage of the population’s primary form of communication is texts full of abbreviations and hashtags that you only have a few seconds to catch their attention.
You can write awesome content, and you should, but people are probably just going to read the headline. How many times have you seen a friend share an article on Facebook and by their comment, it is very obvious that they didn’t even read it.
What percentage of shares on your newsfeeds are images? It may vary depending on the demographics of your friends and fans, but I would put a bet on it being a high percentage.
Show then Tell
Everyone likes show and tell time, even as adults we do. We want to see it, rather than just hear it and have to create a mental picture in our minds.
That translates into social media marketing.
If you have a message, you need to show them first and then tell. Have a visual image that conveys your message, and then tell them what it is.
Those snapshots are the posts and updates that are shared most frequently by your followers . . . and some of them may actually read them.
The Fickleness of Facebook
-A couple of years ago when Facebook implemented Edgerank, I wrote a post explaining why businesses can’t rely on Facebook for promotion. Edgerank throttles the number of page fans that actually see your status update in their news feed.
Since I wrote that article, it’s actually gotten worse. Worse for the business owner that is. It’s better for Facebook because it almost forces the average page owner to pay for post exposure.
If you want to be depressed, look at the page insights for each post and see how many people actually saw your update.
A Simple Explanation of Edgerank
The algorithm for Edgerank, like Google’s search engine algorithm, is constantly changing. However, the basic principle is, the more people engage with your update, the more of your fans Facebook will show it to.
For example, say your business Fan page has 2,000 fans. When your post is first post, it may only display in the newsfeeds of 100 of your fans. If people interact with it, either by liking, commenting, or sharing, Facebook will display it to more of your fans.
The next status you post will start out with a greater reach than the one before.
Consistency is Key
However, the opposite is also true. If you post sporadic or inconsistent updates, the number of fans your post is exposed to will drop dramatically.
It is important to be consistent.
Use Images to Build Engagement
One of the things that I’ve done on the fan page for the site I mentioned above is use creative quote graphics in daily updates. For that page, those types of updates get the best engagement, even above video.
The interaction from those updates builds up the overall engagement for the page so that when new updates from the blog are published on the Facebook page, the post gets a broader exposure than it would have normally.
Researchers at MIT have discovered the same thing:
Whatever type of image you use, it’s a fact that posts with images get more responses — more likes, comments and shares. Hatch recently tallied a month of posts on the MIT Facebook page, ranked from most- to least-talked about. Of the top 20 posts, 70 percent had photos. Similarly, on Facebook, the engagement rate is 37% higher for posts with images.
Social Media Creativity Made Easy
If you don’t currently have someone managing your social media campaign, you may be thinking, “I’m not creative.” That’s okay. There are options, and here is one of them. We’ve put together social media image sets that incorporate inspiring quotes to encourage interaction from your followers. When you purchase a set, each image is watermarked with your brand so that regardless of where it is shared, your business or website name is mentioned.
It is social media marketing made easier. We can’t make it any easier unless we do it for you (which we can do that too.)
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While the core goal of any small business marketing effort should be developing and deepening client relationships, how that is accomplished is constantly changing. New competitors move in, old customers move out, new markets develop, and new media emerges.
This is especially true when it comes to anything related to online marketing such as local listings, search engine rankings, social media, online video, etc. I can’t tell you how different my promotion routines are from just six months ago, let alone last year.
As the saying goes, “One thing you can always count on is change.”
Taking the Old and Blend with the New
Just because there are shiny new promotional toys in social media such as Pinterest, Google+, and Facebook, it doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon the tried and true methods of traditional publicity.
A perfect example of how to blend old with new media is combining social media exposure with press releases.
Before the control of news dissemination was wrenched out of the hands of the traditional media outlets such as newspapers, radio, and TV, press releases primarily served as a method to try to generate enough interest in reporters to publish a story in their publication. The decision to publish was in the hands of the publication itself.
However, after the explosion of online publishing and the maturation of search engines that could not only index massive amounts of pages and information, but also quantify and categorize it into (mostly) relevant results, the power in publication has shifted.
Now, not only can a business use a press release and be ensure that it will get exposure online, with careful strategy it can also ensure that it gets in front of the eyes of interested consumers. It is not dependent on a particular news outlet for exposure.
Using Social Media with Press Releases
Beyond the multitude of opportunities for online publication of press releases, social media networks can also serve as an additional source of exposure. There are two ways social media can bolster your business awareness.
The first is by exposing your information to different segments of your market. Each social network has fanatics that will use that platform as their primary source of information. Some people do their research on Pinterest, others on Facebook. If your news release is not circulating on that site, the odds are that segment of consumers won’t see it.
Social media marketing allows you to publish where your audience hangs out.
The second way integrating a press release with social media benefits your business and company web site is by providing social proof. Put more simply, in Google’s eyes, social proof confers authority.
Social as Links
One primary factor determining search engine rankings (beyond on-page content and on-site structure) has been links to the site or page. Those links from other web sites (also known as “backlinks”) are seen by search engines, and Google more so than others, as “votes” of authority for that site.
For the past year, there has been a lot of discussion and intimation by Google that social would begin to factor more heavily into the search algorithm. The impact of this has especially been seen in the past six months.
Yes, change continues, but you don’t have to let change completely upset your apple cart. Find ways to take the best of the old and strengthen it with the innovation of the new.
LinkedIn is a social networking platform designed to connect people on a business level. Job seekers can connect with company contacts. Businesses can publicize their job openings and recruit qualified candidates. Professionals can connect with others in their field.
There are many ways that LinkedIn can be used to establish yourself in your industry.
As with any social networking platform, one component is status updates and connecting with your contacts.
In another tutorial, I share how to automatically publish a blog post or article from your site onto LinkedIn. However, you may want to publish a link to the post again later on or publish other status updates. While you can do this directly from your account on LinkedIn, most of us have other things to occupy our day rather than sitting on a social site.
It was previously possible to link your Twitter and LinkedIn profile. Any Twitter status updates would automatically display on your Twitter profile as well.
However, this did not solve the problem of posting updates to your company profile.
Regardless, this integration was recently discontinued and is no longer possible.
So what is the solution?
Whenever possible, I try to create a situation where I can publish once and promote on as many networks as possible with a single click.
I like integrated solutions.
My business social network accounts are part of my content schedule.
The service that I use to manage this schedule is Hootsuite.
Fortunately, Hootsuite announced their addition of LinkedIn Company page updates just prior to the announcement that the Twitter and LinkedIn integration was discontinued.
Updating LinkedIn with Hootsuite
- LinkedIn Profile
- LinkedIn Company Page
- Hootsuite Account
Add LinkedIn Profile/Company Page to Hootsuite
- Click on the Getting Started Tab
- Click on Add another Social Network
- Select LinkedIn
- Click Connect with LinkedIn
Once you have imported your profile and company pages, you can then post or schedule updates.
Posting an Update to a LinkedIn Company Page
- Click in the Compose Message box
- Select the profile/page you would like to post to.
- Either click “Send Now” or click the calendar icon to schedule posts in the future.
To include a link, paste it into the “Add a Link” box and click “Shrink Link.” Any clicks on the link will then be tracked in the Hootsuite reports and analytics.
By using Hootsuite, you can integrate your LinkedIn profile and company pages with your business content schedule easily.
Try a 30 day free trial of HootSuite.
Promoting your local business used to be fairly straightforward. Fifteen years ago, marketing a small business most likely looked something like this:
- Put an ad in the yellow pages.
- Print some business cards.
- Put a couple of flyers together.
- Put a sign up.
- Network with prospective customers and local businesses and ask for referrals.
- Run ads in the local papers occasionally.
This has dramatically changed in the past decade and social media networks are frequently used as the main conduit of connecting with customers online.
One of the most frequently used social networks for businesses is Facebook. The ability to create a page for your business and the potential and ease for your customers to spread the word about your company and services is hard to beat.
The problem arises when that Fan page, on a platform and space paid for by another for-profit business, is made to be the main online funnel for your business. Last week I talked about stewarding your assets and building and nurturing your customer list. The goal should be directing those fans and Facebook audience into a medium that you control such as a newsletter subscription, signing up for an account on your web site, subscribing by SMS, etc.
The Impact of Facebook Fan Page Changes
So what happened with Facebook?
Obviously if you use Facebook at all, you’ve seen the new Timeline. As a user I hate it, but the layout itself isn’t the biggest issue for company or brand pages. The three biggest Facebook page changes that affect businesses are:
No More Welcome Pages
Before the change, if someone who wasn’t already a fan went to the Legacy Marketing Facebook page, they would have landed on this page. The option for directing new visitors to specific information was very cool. In addition, you could create menu links for your page that appeared in the left column. Those are now also gone that have been replaced with . . .
Horizontal Info Icons
Instead of having the ability to direct new visitors and create items in the Page menu, now there are customizable icons that are display in the information bar. Customizable to a point. While you can add icon links to custom pages for your Fan page, only three will display in the information bar (there are four total, but the photo icon cannot be moved.) A visitor would have to click the “more” arrow to see any of the additional icon links.
So you have to choose which three you want to spotlight at a time. This is an example of the custom icons we created for the recent March of Remembrance.
Fan Page Update Throttling
The most serious change, the one that will have the most impact, is that Facebook has begun to throttle the number of fans that see your status updates. If a fan hasn’t interacted much with your page, the odds are your page update won’t show up on their newsfeed.
Kind of defeats the whole purpose doesn’t it?
Your purpose anyway. It’s great for Facebook’s business model because then they can sell you more exposure through their Reach Generator.
So the question is, is your online marketing and Facebook campaign building a customer base for your business, or are you creating a distribution channel that Facebook controls access to and will charge you for the privilege of reaching?
As I was writing this post yesterday, apparently George Takei was also venting his frustration on the changes to the visibility of fan page status updates. Mashable has a story on his comments as well as Facebook’s response.
Over the past four years, this trend of limiting free exposure on Facebook has only increased. Why Facebook has implemented other business promotional tools during that time, the latest change to the page and timeline layout has limited exposure to anything other than recent posts. While Facebook continues to rise in useage, actual engagement rates have plummeted.
Contact Us to Discuss Marketing Options for Your Business.
Let me preface this by saying that this post is a little bit of a rant.
Let me also say that I know if you are a small business owner, that there is a lot of “stuff” that you probably never thought you’d have to deal with when it comes to marketing your business on the internet.
I know when I went to business school, this wasn’t part of the curriculum.
Then add social media into the mix and it can be overwhelming, I get it.
But this is one of my pet peeves:
Profiles are for People
As in, a Facebook profile is for a person, not a business. If you have a business or web site you want to promote, you need to create a page, not another Facebook profile.
This is a pretty simple concept. I get Facebook “friend” requests all the time from businesses. I am not a “friend” with the the business, I am a friend of the business owner.
Do I accept them? Actually, if they are local, I usually do. It irritates me, but at least they are out there trying. I’m not going to get snippy about it. One example of this is the Humble ISD Education Foundation. I’m not going to give the school foundation a Facebook snub just because the person setting it up didn’t know what they were doing.
So I usually just mumble a little under my breath and make a note to have a talk with the sender the next time I run into them.
But today I got a “connection” request on LinkedIn from “Texas Social Media Expo.”
Again, profiles are for people.
What makes it especially odd on LinkedIn is that the whole purpose of the platform is to connect with other people that are maybe a little further out of your immediate sphere. Do you need to make a contact with someone at a particular company and need an introduction? If you have a friend of a friend of a friend that has a connection, LinkedIn will identify it.
The whole point is that LinkedIn networks you through the companies in your current and past work history, education, and any associations. Creating a new profile for every single business you have defeats the whole purpose of that.
There are company profiles that interact with the personal profiles. You can create events on your personal profile and invite people to them. You can also create a LinkedIn discussion group for a particular topic.
Who is this person who sent me this? I have no idea.
The craziest thing about this is that it is for a social media expo!
Does anyone else see the problem with this? Does this seem incongruent to anyone else?
I am assuming that whomever sent this must be the organizer of the event . . . very odd.
With all of the social media options out there, business owners are often confused on what to use, how to use it and how often.
Who has time to sit on the computer posting updates from site to site? I know I don’t. I have work to do!
So you want to make the most you can out of every online effort. The report I wrote, “10 Steps to Success with WordPress” covers just that. How to make the most out of the content that you publish on your site. You can download the report for free here.
If you’re more of a visual person, I’ve recorded a short video with step by step instructions on how to connect your site to automatically publish on your LinkedIn profile, which is one of the recommendations in the report.
To recap, it is just two steps:
- Add the web site url to your LinkedIn profile.
- Add the Bloglink application to your LinkedIn profile.
In order for this to work, the url that you enter has to have an RSS feed that is autodetected by browsers and feed readers.
A word of warning: If you add this application, Bloglink will publish everything on the RSS feed that is discovered at that url. So make sure that what shows on the RSS feed is what you want displayed on your LinkedIn profile.
The concept behind this is to publish once, but to promote in multiple places. If you want to learn more easy ways to promote your content, business, and web site, download my free report, “10 Steps to Success with WordPress