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How do you get positive online reviews?

 

Since a more visible online presence is a key driver in SEO and your online marketing strategy, many businesses wonder about how to get customers to write good online reviews of their product or service. There is only one really good answer: make whatever it is that you provide, good.

While it is much more likely that folks with an axe to grind are often quicker to pull the “review trigger,” many happy and satisfied customers will take time to do the same. Review sites have become very social in that you can make friends or follow other users and people like to share their experiences – even good ones!

While you can encourage or promote customers to do reviews for you, solicited or compensated reviews are a big no-no and will often create even bigger problems. You can use other social media platforms to promote your listings and encourage those review writers. Try this: “If you enjoyed your stay with us, you can share your experience at LINK” or “How did we do? Let us know at LINK.” Of course in both these cases, what you are offering or doing had better be good.

Even those tactics may not help in the long run. People are not necessarily going to write reviews for you because ask for them, but they will do them if you deserve them. Be awesome at what you do, have a good product, back it up, and engage with your customers the right way. The good reviews will come in.

 

Thank you Donald MacMelville

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Guide to Optimizing Your Social Media Channels

For some, the word “optimization” conjures up thoughts of complicated mathematicsand data analysis. It can seem like one of those things that only a true “data geek” could ever hope to understand.

At its core, however, the science of optimization is really quite simple: It’s all about making improvements. It’s about taking what you already have and then — through experimenting and measuring — figuring out ways to make it even better.

Below are some best practices you can implement and experiments you can run for optimizing your social channels.

Use the Proper Image Dimensions for Social Profiles and Posts

If you don’t pay attention to the dimensions of the images you’re uploading and sharing, you could end up with unpleasant cropping or distorting. This is especially true when it comes to social media cover photos.

To ensure your social profiles showcase your brand and business in the best possible light, stick to the recommended image dimensions (in pixels) that the social networks provide. Here’s a list of dimensions for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube. All dimensions are given as width x height.

Facebook

  • Cover photo: 851 x 315
  • Profile picture: 160 x 160 (upload as 180 x 180)
  • App icons: 111 x 74
  • Timeline: 504 x height is up to you (shared image), 484 x 252 (shared link)
  • News feed: 470 x 394 (shared image), 470 x 246 (shared link)

Twitter

  • Header image: 1252 x 626, 1500 x 500 (redesign)
  • Profile picture: 250 x 250
  • Image in feed: 1024 x 512

LinkedIn

  • Banner image: 624 x 220
  • Logo: 100 x 60
  • Link Thumbnail: 100 x 100

Google+

  • Cover photo: 1010 x 608 (recommended), 480 x 270 (minimum), 2120 x 1192 (maximum)
  • Profile picture: 250 x 250
  • Image post: 4:3 aspect ratio (800 x 600 minimum)

Pinterest

  • Board cover: 217 x 147
  • Preview image: 51 x 51

YouTube

  • Banner image: 2560 x 1440 (TV), 2560 x 423 (desktop), 1546 x 423 (mobile)

Test Post Frequency to Find Your Sweet Spot for Each Network, will help Optimizing Your Social Media Channels

The data shows that for Facebook, posting once every two days was the optimal frequency for generating Likes. For Twitter, tweeting between 1 and 4 times per hour proved to be the most effective frequency (as determined by the average clickthrough rates of tweeted links).

While these numbers can serve as great reference points, it’s important to remember that your ideal posting frequency will depend on how many overall posts are filling the feeds of your social followers and subscribers.

For example, if the majority of your Twitter followers only see around 20 total new tweets in their feeds every hour, and you tweet at a rate of four times an hour, that amounts to 1 in every 5 of the tweets they see coming from you. Seems a little spammy, right? By learning about your follower and subscriber base — and testing different post frequencies — you can mitigate social “spamminess” and optimize for engagement and lead generation.

Here’s a simple strategy for determining your optimal post frequencies. First, for each network you’re testing, schedule your posts apart by two hours, and stick to that posting frequency for a week. During that time, make sure to keep an eye on your key social metrics (Likes, shares, clickthrough rates, leads generated, etc.).

The following week, reduce the buffer time between your posts to an hour and a half, and see if (and how) that reduction in post frequency affects your metrics. Continue to reduce the buffer time between your scheduled posts week over week, and through some simple analysis, you can hone in on the post frequencies that maximize the metrics you want to optimize for.

Figure Out the Best Times to Post

In addition to having calculated ideal post frequencies, Zarrella looked into the best days and times to post to various social media channels.

For example, his data showed that when it comes to expanding your reach on Twitter, 5 p.m. is the best time to tweet. (That’s when the highest percentage of retweets occur.) For Facebook, noon and a little after 7 p.m. are the two top times for maximizing your reach, as those are the two times of day when Facebook shares spike.

Ultimately, however, there are many different studies that all point to different ideal days and times for posting. So, as was the case with post frequency, you’ll need to do some testing to figure out your ideal post times.

To start, open up your social media publishing tool and sort your past posts by the number of clicks they’ve received. By scrolling through this list, you should be able to identify any prominent trends related to post timing. For example, if you see that seven of your top ten most-clicked LinkedIn posts were shared between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., that’s a good indication that 1-2 is your LinkedIn posting “sweet spot.”

 

Integrate Social With Your Other Marketing Channels

For the sake of organization  your marketing channels don’t live in silos: They’re all interconnected.

optimize-marketing-channels

When it comes to social media, this interconnectedness is especially apparent (and important). Here are a couple of tips to help you integrate social with your other marketing channels.

Add Google Authorship to your blog.

If you haven’t done this already, stop what you’re doing and get on it! Google Authorship ties your Google+ profile to your blog posts, which allows Google to display information (e.g. your name, profile image, and the number of circles you’re in) next to your posts when they appear in search engine results pages (SERPs).

While marketers continue to quantify the benefits of setting up Google Authorship, many have found it has a positive effect on clickthrough rates and page views.

Incorporate social sharing and follow buttons into your emails and thank you pages.

Your blog isn’t the only channel that can benefit from having social buttons. By incorporating these buttons into your emails, you can help drive more opens, clickthroughs, and conversions, and — more generally — you can make it clear to your contacts that there are other places where they can engage with you on the web (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.).

Thank you pages are another easy-to-overlook location where adding social buttons can make a difference. These are the pages where people actually download or access your content after filling out one of your landing pages.

While we recommend removing all navigation links (including social buttons) from landing pages to make sure people focus on filling out the forms, with thank you pages it’s a different story: Visitors have already submitted their contact info, so if you can convince them to share your content, awesome! Just make sure that when you set up your social sharing buttons, they point to a landing page (and not the thank you page itself).

 

Thank You Erik Devaney

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Four Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes

ONE PERSON I KNOW has a mistaken impression of how to successfully use social media for his business. Many people would consider this individual (who we will call John) an expert in marketing, since he is a V.P. of product management and marketing for a division of a $1 billion software company.

John is very knowledgeable about almost every area of marketing, but he thinks social media should be used in much the same way as direct mail or email marketing.

Social Media for Small Business

When it comes to social media for small businesses, you can learn from John’s mistakes.

“There’s nothing new in marketing,” John likes to say. Still, social media does have some significant differences compared to other marketing disciplines. Fortunately, we can all learn a great deal from the four major social media mistakes that John is making.

Mistake #1: Assume that Growing the Size of Your Network is Top Priority

John has made the goal of growing his company’s friends and followers as the top priority of his social media campaign. This is his first mistake. John has come to this course of action by drawing on his success in email marketing. He has seen how growing an email list of prospects is typically an easy way to grow sales. For example, if you have a list of 10,000 qualified prospects and you send them an email, then typically a certain percentage of the list will buy your product. If you double the list to 20,000 qualified prospects, then twice as many people will buy your product.

The results in email marketing are sometimes so consistent that some marketers call their email list an “ATM machine” because every time they hit their list, they get to make a withdrawal.

Mistakenly, John assumes that social media works the same way. If you double the number of high quality followers, then you get twice the results. As a result, one of his favorite tactics is to grow his followers through giveaways and contests. Contests are a great way to grow followers quickly, but often you end up with people in your network that don’t really help your business – unless your contest is very targeted to people who are interested in your offering.

Unfortunately, social media marketing works quite differently than email marketing. In social media, the quality of your relationship with followers and the level of engagement with followers are two much more important factors.  In other words, it’s more productive to have fewer, strong, active relationships than it is to have many weak relationships. This is an important social media marketing point that many business owners don’t realize.

So how do you develop strong social media relationships? Let’s look at the second mistake that John is making.

Mistake #2: Start Selling Right Away

John thinks that he can immediately start selling his products to his followers and that’s just not how it works. It takes time and investment in your network to build a trusted brand and community. If, like John, you self-promote before you’ve built strong relationships, then good luck getting followers to help you in the future.

Before you ask for anything from your network – e.g., post your blog article, retweet your content, review your product, buy your service — you need to have relationships that are win – win. More specifically, your followers need to see that you are doing things (and continue doing things) for them before they even consider doing something for you.

Here are four ways you can start to do this:

  1. Help others by sharing their content. This means sharing on Facebook and LinkedIn or retweeting on Twitter and repining on Pinterest.
  2. Try to help others when they ask. This usually requires more time and effort than simply sharing others’ content, but it often means that the bond between you and that person will be stronger. When it comes time to ask for something, they will be more likely to help.
  3. Don’t just read that post, leave a comment. Bloggers share their blog posts with the hope that you will click through and read it. Let them know that you have read it by commenting on their blog or a social media channel. But you don’t want to just say anything in the comment; make sure it will benefit others that are reading it, too. That way, the author will know that you are contributing to their effort.
  4. Prove that you are the expert in your field. If you answer questions with the very best information and share the very best content and leave the most insightful comments, then smart people will take notice and recognize that you know what you are talking about.

Mistake #3: Not Being Personal

John wants everyone representing his company to use the company logo as an icon when posting to social media. He feels that this will help build the company’s brand. While using a consistent logo on marketing materials is a very good idea, it’s not appropriate for social media.

Social media users build relationships (one-to-one) with people, not with companies. People understand that a company cannot truly participate in social media; it has to be individuals who represent the company. If people don’t know who is behind the logo, the relationship will start with a certain level of mistrust. Individuals will have more credibility, and people will respond to company representatives more cordially when they are communicating with an individual.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Social Media Customer Service Requests

The final and maybe the most important mistake that John is making is instructing his people to ignore customer service requests via social media. He wants to force all customer service and technical support to his phone lines, where they are better prepared to support customers.

What he doesn’t understand is everyone is watching when his people don’t respond, and this sends a strong message to potential customers that his company does not listen. There may be no better way to influence large numbers of prospects than for a customer service representative to resolve a customer problem quickly and efficiently via social media. It says to the world: we have customer service issues just like everyone else, but we will communicate with you about these issues using the media of your choice, and we will do a good job and resolve your issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Jennifer Kamerman

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How often should you post on Facebook?

How often should we post on Facebook? Is there a magical number?

While every brand has its own formula for resounding success, on average your company should post at least 1 – 2 times per day on your Facebook page.  As follows are four good reasons to keep the content flowing.

1. They might like you, but it’s all about the newsfeed

After a user has liked your page (or chosen to follow it), the user will probably never visit your Page again.  According to multiple studies, 90 – 95% of fans never return to a page after they like it.

This means that the biggest (and perhaps only) opportunity you have to influence and engage with your followers is via their Newsfeed. And how are you going to get into your followers’ Newsfeeds? Via posts!

2. Facebook’s Newsfeed algorithm rewards engagement

To decide what goes in the user’s Newsfeed, Facebook uses an algorithm which evaluates over 1 million different factors.  Those factors are constantly changing, but Facebook says that “Our goal is to show the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them.”

I know, that’s not very specific.  Here’s what you need to know:

  • Establishing a good relationship with followers where they often like, share and comment on our posts influences our placement in that user’s Newsfeed. The better the relationship we have with a user, the more likely it is that our posts show ups in this user’s Newsfeed.
  • User engagement on our posts also influences how many other people see that post. The more users that get involved in a post (e.g. likes it, share it), the more users will see the post.
  • All stories in the users Newsfeed are fairly new: it is a Newsfeed, after all. If you have posted something yesterday, it’s unlikely your followers will see your post today (unless your post engaged a lot of users, which give it a bump), since their Newsfeed is full of newer stories from friends, groups and other Pages.

3. Different followers log in at different times, and Post On Facebook

Let’s say you publish a new post on Facebook in the morning. The majority of your followers that are logged in that morning will probably see this post, but what about those users who don’t log in until the evening?  Because the newsfeed rewards newness, chances are that your AM post is going to get pushed down by newer stories from their community.  So, it’s not only important to post at least twice a day, but also to make sure that you post on Facebook when your fans are online.

4. The statistics tell us a story

The data doesn’t lie: Pages that publish posts more often have more active followers. And with more active followers, posts get a higher reach.  And with higher reach, your page will get more likes.  It’s a snowball effect, and to prove this hypothesis, earlier this year I analyzed some of our data on LikeAlyzer.

LikeAlyzer - posts per day

To run this study, I took a deeper look at 25,000 different Pages and how often they posted.  Here is what I found:

  • Pages that post between 1.5 – 2 new posts per day engage (on average) twice as many users as Pages that posts once or twice per week.
  • Pages who post once per day engage almost 10% of their followers.

Caveat Poster: Quality before quantity

If you’re looking to learn more about how to know what your audience will find compelling, check out our latest (and free!) e-book.

While frequency is important, it’s not more important than the quality of your content. You should never post more than 1x per day if you can’t provide any value to your followers.  Nobody likes a spammer and less quantity with higher quality is better than high quantity with lower quality.  On Facebook, you are never better than your last post and if that post is a bad one, users will choose to unfollow you.

So, to sum up: Post regularly (if you have the content, at least once per day), experiment with different types of content to see what your unique followers like the best, make sure that your followers engage with your posts, and post when your followers are online.

 

 

 

 

Thank you Robert Rydefalk