Social Media Choices

The concepts behind social media networking is not anything new, we have always been looking for ways to connect, engage and network with one another but they have taken on an entirely new meaning as well as momentum in the digital age. Where we used to have handshakes, word-of-mouth referrals, and stamped letters, todays relationships are often begun and developed on LinkedIn, Google +, and Facebook.

That means savvy business owners have to know and use a variety of social platforms to stay relevant and up to date, not to mention take advantage of emerging opportunities. Below, you will find what I consider to be some the most important channels and tools you need to be aware of.

1.Twitter Twitter. Perhaps the simplest of all social media platforms, Twitter also just happens to be one of the most fun and interesting. Messages are limited to 140 characters or less, but that’s more than enough to post a link, share an image, or even trade thoughts with friends ect. Twitters interface is easy to learn and use, and setting up a new profile only takes a few minutes.

2.Facebook Facebook. Considered to be synonymous with “social media” by some, Facebook is the one site where you’re likely to find friends, colleagues, and relatives all floating around. Although Facebook is mainly centered around sharing photos, links, and quick thoughts of a personal nature, individuals can also show their support to brands or organisations by becoming fans.

3.LinkedIn LinkedIn. One of the only mainstream social media sites that’s actually geared towards business, LinkedIn is to cyberspace what networking groups once were to local business communities. It is great for meeting customers, getting in touch with vendors, recruiting new employees, and keeping up with the latest in business or industry news. If it matters to your company or career, you can probably do it on LinkedIn.

4. Image result for xing icon imageXing. Another professional networking and recruitment site, Xing has the global presence and focus that LinkedIn lacks. Although it can be mistaken for a job search portal, the site actually has a number of features and communities that make it easy to develop relationships with suppliers, colleagues and even thought leaders within industry.

5. imagesRenren. Literally translating into “everyone’s website,” Renren is China’s largest social platform. Hugely popular with the younger crowd, it works in a way similar to Facebook, allowing users to share quick thoughts, update their moods, connect with others, and add posts or ideas to a blog-like stream.

6. Google+Google+. Social media’s big up-and-comer has really arrived over the past few years. By combining the best of Facebook and Twitter into one site – and backing it by the power of the world’s largest search engine, Google has given users a social site that has a little something for everyone. You can add new content, highlight topics with hashtags, and even separate contacts into circles. And, a G+ profile only takes a few minutes to get set up.

7. Disqus. Disqus isn’t actually a social media platform so much as a social engagement platform, but it can definitely help you improve your social engagement. As a tool for commenting, managing feedback on your own website (or other Disqus-enabled websites), and managing spam/troll type messages, it’s invaluable. Advanced features allow for social monitoring and upvoting.

8. LinkedIn Pulse. Even though Pulse is technically a part of LinkedIn, it’s big and important enough to deserve its own entry. Serving as something between a blog and “best of” outlet, it’s the perfect medium sharing new ideas and keeping up on the thought leaders in your industry.

9. Snapchat. This surprisingly-addictive app gives you the ability to take a picture, add art and text if you’d like, and then send it to recipients for a set amount of time (after which the photo will delete itself and be removed from the company’s servers). Lots of fun, and potentially a good way to stay in touch with friends.

10. TumblrTumblr. This platform is different form many others in that it essentially hosts microblogs for its users. Individuals and companies, in turn, can fill their blogs with multimedia (like images and short video clips). The fast-paced nature of Tumblr makes it ideal for memes, GIF’s, and other forms of fun or viral content.

 

11.Pinterest Pinterest. Serving as a giant virtual idea and inspiration board, Pinterest has made a huge impact on social media in the last few years. Especially popular with women and the do-it-yourself crowd, it lets you share pictures, creative thoughts, or (especially) before-and-after pictures of projects that others can pin, save, or duplicate.

 

12. Twoo. This Belgian social network site is geared for the 25 and under crowd all over the world. Alongside normal social features like posts, updates, and photo sharing, it also boasts online games and chat features that make it popular with younger users who want to stay entertained while connecting with each other.

13. MyMFB. Created as a Muslim alternative to Facebook (it was previously called MillatFacebook), this site aims to connect the faith’s 1.5+ billion followers into a single social platform. While that might sound ambitious, it’s growing quickly and offers many of the same post, update, and sharing features as the original Facebook, and is already immensely popular in some parts of the world.

14. YouTube. As a video sharing service, YouTube has become so popular that its catalog of billions and billions of videos has become known as “the world’s second-largest search engine” in some circles. The site has everything from first-person product reviews to promotional clips and “how-two” instruction on virtually any topic or discipline. Users have the ability to share, rate, and comment on what they see.

15.Instagram Instagram. If you’re looking for a quick, convenient connection between the camera feature on your smart phone and all your social profiles, then Instagram is the answer. Not only will allow you to share via Twitter, Facebook, and the Instagram website, you can choose from a variety of photo filters and invite friends to comment on your photos or ideas.

16.Vine Vine. This site (also available as an app) offers users the chance to share and view brief video clips. While that theoretically offers a virtually endless range of uses, most of Vine’s content is entertainment-focused, with a heavy preference towards “viral” and “meme” clips that are easy to share.

17. WhatsApp. The WhatsApp concept is simple: send text-style messages to anyone else using the platform, but without paying data charges. That straightforward idea has already gathered more than 700 million fans, making the app the world’s most popular messaging platform.

18. VKontaktevk.com. Promoting itself as Europe’s largest social media site, vk.com is essentially the Russian version of Facebook, with the same kinds of profiles, messaging, and games you would expect. Like Facebook, vk.com allows users to enter both personal and professional information about themselves, and to follow or show support for organizations and businesses.

19. Meetup. Meetup is a perfectly-named platform, because it’s perfect for organizing local groups around specific interests. There are meetups centered on just about everything, from music to hobbies, and get-togethers are almost always open to newcomers. That makes it perfect for exploring an interest and making new friends at the same time.

20. Medium. If you’ve ever wished that social engagement could come with an ongoing, up- to-date “how to” manual written by the experts, Medium might be just what you’re looking for. With lots of helpful advice, tips, and articles, it can give you everything you need to start connecting like a pro.

Tools For Content Marketing

Producing great content is very important, so I have decided to give a few of my secrets away showing you what I consider to be some of the best tools for content marketing.

You need to be attracting hundreds if not thousands of people to your articles, blog posts & services in order to increase your subscriber list and grow your authority as an expert in your chosen field.

The list below will show you how to write engaging blog posts, create many article ideas along with very attractive headlines, also I show you how to distribute your content and much more.

Getting Content Ideas

Topsy will allow you to find the most popular content on Twitter, it is great for generating ideas for your daily blogging efforts. You can discover exactly who is sharing and see what and who the key influences are at any given time. You can see who has re-tweeted your content simply by putting in a blog post url and clicking search. Also there is a cool tab called “influential only” which will show you who the most influential people are who have shared an article or blog post, it’s a great way to build relationships with others. Add value & promote for them and they will do the same for you, it’s win win all round.

BuzzSumo will help you find the most popular content on any subject you care to think of. Obtain detailed stats on social media from the dashboard, and find the most shared content and those sharing it. Search any keyword and see the main people influencing that subject field. There are so many things you can do with this tool, check it out to see what I mean.

All Top allows you to discover all of the top blogs on any given subject by aggregating the best of the web. Find a category you are interested in from the dashboard and keep track of the most recent popular posts, giving an endless array of content ideas.

Tag Board, here find interesting content on any topic, by entering a hashtag and watch as the tagboard retrieves countless amounts of epic content from across the internet. It does this by aggregating all of the recent posts from, Google Plus, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook and many other social media platforms that contain the particular hashtag you are after.

Feedly helps in the finding of great content ideas to share online, again this tool will aggregate all of your selected favourite blogs in one easy to navigate dashboard.

Scoop It Here find numerous content ideas by doing a quick and easy search. Nice piece of kit, simple to use.

Social Crawlytics With this tool discover some of the most in depth social sharing data available on the net, and find out which posts are the most popular on the top social media sites around like LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter. Identify the most popular content on your website, thus allowing you to see what is working and what is not. This will give you constant information as to what to blog about next, and which services & products to promote, great for affiliate marketing ideas.

Quora is a great little Q & A facility. The questions here are usually unique, interesting & intelligent asked daily, which will allow you to find new angles to master in any new content marketing campaign. Explore new and interesting ideas for articles and blog posts alike, also good for email marketing content ideas as well as any videos you may be thinking of doing. Quora is not like Yahoo Answers where there is so much repeated waffle and garbage talked about.

Listly Here you can simply type in any keyword and get hundreds of content ideas on any topic, I use it for headline engagement.

Uber Suggest Is great for long tail keyword research and generating new topic ideas as well as finding new keywords to use.

Gaining Creative Content

Toggl Is a cool little productivity tool, it is a simple time tracking tool. To use it just enter the task you are currently working on and click start. Toggl will track your time in the backgound thus keeping you focused on the task in hand.

Evernote can go hand-in-hand with Google Drive & is ideal for writing your blog posts within the system they provide. With Evernote you are able to record audio and turn it into text, free of charge.

Quabel is a distraction free writing app that allows people to focus on creating content speedily. Set yourself a goal and let the timer begin, also this will back up your work as you create it, automatically.

Stay Focused is a Google Chrome extension which blocks sites which appear as time wasting ones, there is also a Firefox plugin called Leech Block which does a similar job.

Camtasia is excellent for creating video, for Mac users then Screenflow is probably best.

Audacity is a free audio editor for those who want to create great podcasts and place them on sites like itunes, soundcloud or stitcher radio.

Canva will help you create very engaging graphics even if your design skills are not too good. There are built in templates to help create social media posts, blog graphics, pinterest photographs, twitter headers, Kindle & facebook covers plus there ads. Creating cool looking graphics is of paramount importance these days when dealing with any kind of social media platform.

Pic Monkey is another photo editing tool that makes life easier when creating images for blog posts, to gain attention.

Pixabay has thousands of copyright-free images that can be used on your blog or
ever for commercial use. No registration is required.

Unsplash Gorgeous, copyright-free images.

123rf  One of the most affordable stock photography sites online. It’s about
a dollar per image.

IconFinder allows you to use icons in blog images.

GraphicRiver Thousands of icons, web graphics, infographics, and other design elements that you can use in your blog posts. Here’s a quick image I whipped up using some cool graphics from GraphicRiver…

ReciteThis Create picture quotes. Great for posting on sites like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Slideshare – Find unique and engaging Slideshare presentations to embed in your
blog post. Fun and easy way to add value to your posts AND stand out.

Recordit Make your content stand out with animated screencasts. Record quick videos with Recordit and then turn them into animated gifs that you can put in your blog post. It’s a great way to make your article stand out from the rest. These also work well on Google Plus.

Wordle Create beautiful word clouds in just a few clicks.

QuotesCover  Create beautiful picture quotes for Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus, and Instagram. QuotesCover makes it easy.

 

Blogger Outreach

The first step to blogger outreach is finding the top influencers in your niche. The best two tools for identifying the top bloggers and social media influencers are Topsy and BuzzSumo. On Topsy, you can enter ANY url (or blog post) and find out the top social media users who shared that article. This is a super easy way to find the top bloggers who are most likely to share your article. The other is is BuzzSumo. Simply enter your main keyword and find the top social media users around that topic. After every post you write, send a personalized email to at least 50 related bloggers and let them know about your latest blog post. This alone can easily generate thousands of highly-targeted visitors. In fact, if I could only choose ONE strategy for promoting my content. This would be it. Even above email marketing.

BuzzStream  One of the most popular platforms for blogger outreach. Buzzstream allows you to scale your blogger outreach without losing the personal touch.
You can build a list of influencers, create email templates, set reminders, schedule emails, track your conversation history, and more.

Contactually Helps you track, manage, and build relationships with other top bloggers. Gives you a systematic way to scale your relationships and keep up with the people who
matter. You can also use their ScaleMail feature to send up to 250 personalized messages. Add a few personal notes to each one and then click send to broadcast your email to all of your contacts. Contactually allows you to create ongoing, meaningful conversations.

InkyBee One of the best tools for finding the most popular bloggers in any niche.
Gmail Canned Responses – Gmail has a magical little add-on that is perfect for content marketers. It’s called “Canned Responses”. First, you’ll need to open up your Gmail settings and click on the “Labs” tab. From here, you can enable “Canned Responses” in your Gmail account. You just enabled a hidden feature that could easily save you hours of time every month.

You can now start creating email templates for your blogger outreach, customer support, frequently asked questions, joint venture emails, and more.
I have 5 different email templates I use for blogger outreach. So each time I publish a new blog post, I can click one button and upload one of my favorite templates. From there I do a bit of customization. I like all of my emails to be fun and personalized 🙂
The more fun you have with your emails the better responses you’ll get. Most people are way to uptight and professional in their emails.
Have fun with it! You’re not a robot.
And then you send it off! But by creating templates, you can send 25 outreach emails in a fraction of the time.

Boomerang Gmail plugin that reminds you to follow up on emails. You can setup Boomerang to remind you in X number of days if you don’t hear back from someone. This tool is essential for any content marketer doing a lot of blogger outreach. Helps you stay on track of multiple conversations. Or even schedule recurring emails to remind yourself of important tasks you need to finish.

BananaTag See what happens to your emails after you press send. BananaTag allows you
to find out whether or not someone opened your email or clicked a link. Integrates seamlessly with Gmail and Outlook. Get detailed metrics for ALL of your blogger outreach.
So when you email your favorite blogger, you’ll know exactly when they opened your email and whether or not they clicked on your link. BananaTag will even tell you whether they’re on their desktop or mobile device. And best of all, your email appears NO different to your contacts. All of the tracking is done seamlessly without any change in the user experience.

Rapportive Integrates seamlessly with Gmail to give you additional (insightful) info on every contact in your inbox.

Refresh.io  This one is a hidden gem. It’s a great blogger outreach tools but still quite undiscovered in the social media world. Basically, Refresh allows you to search just about ANY person on the web and find out some really cool stuff about them.

Do You Make These Social Media Mistakes

Today 90% of businesses use social media, of those that do many make these social media mistakes which can be costly to the growth of your business or brand.

imagesBut, simply opening an account or sending out some tweets and liking the odd thing here and there is not enough to make social media platforms a viable and profitable part of a marketing strategy. By avoiding some basic mistakes, many businesses have the ability to increase ROI and create more opportunities from social media accounts.

 

Listed below are 14 social media mistakes to avoid.

1. Not having a strategy

Less than 20% of businesses say that their social media strategy is mature. Social media users are inundated with information and messages every second of the day. Businesses that don’t have a strategy won’t ever cut through the clutter and deliver an effective message to their target audience. Creating a strategy includes having distinct and measurable goals, developing a clear social media policy, thinking through a brand’s social media voice, and planning out a content calendar with end goals in mind.

Without a clear strategy, businesses could create the best content on the web, but receive little to no engagement.

2. Not integrating with other digital assets

Social media works best when integrated with other digital marketing efforts. One mistake many businesses make is to leave their social media accounts on islands. Not only should the accounts be linked together through profiles, but they should also be directly tied to websites, emails and paid search advertising campaigns. Not connecting these accounts reduces the amount of reach each asset has separately.

3. Not using images

Images on twitter cause tweets to take up more space on the feed and help drive engagement. Tweets that include an image have 200 percent more engagement than tweets without images. While an image may not be appropriate for every tweet, businesses should include one whenever possible to help draw attention to their message.

4. Not providing content users demand

Many businesses decide to use Instagram as another way to push static ads that could be posted on any other platform. However, Instagram is best used when businesses give consumers a behind-the-scenes look at what is going on and give insight into the personality of the brand. Instead of posting a touched up photo destined for the pages of a magazine, businesses should use Instagram to send out a picture of the photo shoot, the models laughing, the chefs cooking, or the crew eating some pizza around a big table. Businesses can stay on message and keep a consistent digital voice while still allowing followers to feel personally connected, which in turn fosters more sharing and increased followers.

5. Not using a consistent voice

A business’ Twitter account should be used for business, not personal anecdotes. While unique, funny and chatty messages can make a Twitter account seem more “human,” getting into arguments, insulting other brands or using it to advance the unrelated interests of executives pushes the platform off-message and can create backlash. Brands shouldn’t have their Twitter account act and sound like a robot either. Repeatedly sending out the same messages can create ill will from consumers as well. The key is to find a happy middle ground where the brand’s voice is consistent, caring and human at the same time.

6. Not utilising images or using the wrong size image

Visual stimulation helps drive engagement on social networks. In fact, 40 percent of people respond better to visual information than plain text according to Zabisco. On average, photos get 50 percent more impressions than any other post type on Facebook, while also gathering more likes and comments according to a study by Roost. To optimize images on Facebook, businesses should make sure to use the correct image size, which varies depending on where the image is going to be used. For the average post, that means uploading a 1,200 x 1,200 pixel image, while Facebook ads have different guidelines businesses should follow to drive the most potential engagement.

7. Not removing the URL from a post

When you put a link in a Facebook update, the social networking site automatically creates a clickable image that also works as a link. Because of this, businesses don’t need to include the URL in the post. While having the extra link doesn’t hurt anything, it does show to some users that the business doesn’t understand the capabilities and features of Facebook, so it’s best to delete the extra URL.

8. Not interacting with followers

Social media is meant to be interactive and consumers expect a certain amount of responsiveness from businesses on Facebook. Responding to posts, thanking consumers for commenting and addressing complaints helps consumers feel more connected to the brand. Businesses should have a strategy in place to respond to comments, both negative and positive, and how to use the social media platform as a part of a crisis management strategy. Not every comment needs a response, but responding to followers helps build camaraderie and trust between brands and consumers, which can affect future sales and word of mouth marketing.

9. Not using the platform at all

Google Plus may be the most underutilized social media platform today. It is directly integrated with Google search results, making profiles an integral part of any digital marketing or search engine optimization strategy.

10. Not utilising circles or communities

Circles on Google Plus allow businesses to segment followers into groups and address each segment separately with unique content. If circles aren’t utilized, each piece of content goes to every single follower. To increase conversion rates and engagement, instead of pushing content to everyone, businesses should create content that appeals to specific audiences and then post that content to the applicable circles and communities.

11. Not including descriptions or prices

Pinning images to Pinterest is simply not enough if businesses want to use the social media site to drive traffic and increase sales. Despite easy access, many businesses are forgoing the use of rich pins, which include a thorough description of the item and the price. Descriptions should use terms that people search for and be as descriptive as possible and including the price entices pinners to click the link. In fact, a study from Shopify found that rich pins with prices get 36 percent more likes and repins than regular pins.

12. Not using active images

Pinterest is all about visual stimulation, but many businesses are using static and uninspiring images to portray products. Instead, businesses should use colorful images that show the products in action. For example, instead of a picture of a sweater on a table, use an image of someone wearing the sweater doing something fun. Curalate looked at a half million Pinterest images and found that factors like color, white space and even the inclusion of faces make a difference in terms of engagement.

13. Not linking to product page

Businesses should strive to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to go from browsing Pinterest to buying a product. To do that, businesses should link directly to product pages instead of home pages or other non-related content. The more links and moves a consumer has to make before buying a product, the less likely they are to make a final purchase.

14. Not using hashtags effectively

imagesThere is no limit to the number of hashtags a business can attach to a post and for some that freedom has led to an overuse of this normally effective outreach tool. Hashtags allow people to filter through the millions of posts every day, and it’s very tempting for businesses to try and wedge their way into conversations where they don’t organically belong by using hashtags. But, just like traditional marketing outlets such as email, traditional mail and phone calls, spam can turn off consumers. Instead, businesses should only use hashtags that directly apply to the post or the company.

 

 

In Conclusion

Brands should strive to create their own social media voice, while also attempting to optimise their social media efforts by avoiding the common pitfalls listed above. Social media has the ability to be an effective and cost controlled method for reaching out to potential consumers, engaging with current fans and helping increase sales. Just like any other marketing strategy, social media efforts should be continually monitored and updated for full effect.

 

20 Twitter Facts and Statistics

What first attracted me to Twitter and social media was that you could achieve world wide marketing for free, called an organic reach. This enabled bloggers to build global brands. That is changing, here are some Twitter facts and statistics you should know about.

This year we are seeing the rapid emergence of pay to play, to reach your followers. So questions need to be addressed.

Is the social media free lunch over? That also leads to another question. Is social going the way of mass media where the only way to gain attention is to pull out the cheque book?

The answer is much more complex than that. It is dependent on many factors including your choice of social networks, tactics and tools.
Is Twitter’s organic reach going to disappear too? Facebook is pushing the comfort boundaries of organic reach.

For Twitter though the filtering is not an option as it is a news breaking social network. Applying filtering algorithms to it’s stream will take away its meaning for existence and continuing evolution. You only have to look at its latest hiring trends that are mass media and television centric to realise that Twitter is pushing towards the integration of television, social and mass media.

That focused strategy by Twitter management to make mass media and social work together is maybe one of the reasons that its latest quarter two results that exceeded every analysts expectations. The World Cup marketing coup by Twitter was evidence of that successful and ongoing evolution. I don’t expect Twitter’s organic reach to disappear as it has too much to lose if it takes the Facebook path.

Twitter facts and statistics

Below are some surprising facts and statistics that show Twitter is on the path to successfully reinventing itself.

1. There was a 24% increase in monthly active users over the last 4 quarters with the total now at 271 million.

2. Twitter has added 53 million users in the last 12 months

3. Twitter’s monthly mobile users now total 211 million, which is a gain of 29%

4. 81% of Twitter’s advertising revenue came from mobile ads

5. Increase in sales is up 124% from a year ago at $312 million compared to $139.3 million in second quarter of 2013

6. Twitter expects to have revenue of between $330 and $340 million in the third quarter of 2014

7. Twitter is growing the fastest in Asia Pacific with expectations it will increase its user base by more than

33% in 2014 according to eMarketer

8. Twitter penetration rates in Asia Pacific stand at 19.8% for Japan, 18.3% for for Indonesia and 12.2% in Australia

9. Twitter penetration rates in the USA stand at 27.9% of all social networks users, 19.2% of internet users

and 15.2% of the total population

10. In the USA the number of Adult Twitter users is estimated at 34.7 million

11. Timeline views reached 173 billion for the the second quarter of 2014

12. Twitter is currently valued at $27.3 billion which is 200 times forward earnings compared to Facebook at 39.4 times

13. During the World Cup there were 672 million tweets

14. Germany’s defeat of Argentina in the final generated 618,000 tweets per second

15. There were 32.1 million Tweets during the World Cup final

16. The previous record for an event was the Superbowl, and that received 24.9 million tweets

17. Twitter spends more than its competitors on stock based compensation as a percentage of revenue on its

employees at $158 million (50.29%) compared to Facebook (10.9%) and LinkedIn (14.3%)

18. Advertising revenue per thousand timeline views reached $1.60 in the second quarter of 2014 which is an

increase of 100% over the last year

19. Katy Perry has the most Twitter followers currently at over 55 million followed by Justin Bieber (53 million)

and Barack Obama (44 million)

20. Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than those without

 

The Social Media Quick Step

Social media is more than just a fun way to engage and communicate with friends & family. It is an extremely powerful business marketing tool if strategically implemented correctly.

A common mistake businesses make is failing to develop a formal social media plan. Having a plan for social media is just as important as it is any marketing strategy. A savvy business owner does not buy traditional advertising without developing a plan, and the same applies with social media.

A social media marketing plan includes many of the same elements of a traditional marketing plan. Research into target markets and consumer purchasing is a must. Identifying brand strengths and weaknesses is also important.

Once you’ve conducted research, it is time to start outlining strategies and developing your plan.

 

 

Below is a social media marketing strategy plan.

1. Identify a social media manager

With the many tasks involved with running a successful business, social media can fall by the wayside. Before your business embarks on a social media campaign, it is a good practice to identify a person or multiple people who will be in charge of monitoring and posting content. It is important for the social media manager to not only ensure content is posted on a regular basis, but also monitor and respond to all comments and feedback. The assigned staff should be willing to monitor the company’s social pages 24/7, which can be easily accomplished through e-mail alerts and mobile apps.

2. Create branded pages

Once you have identified your manager, it’s time to create branded pages. First, determine which social media sites you want to use. Small businesses should consider Facebook, Twitter and Google+ at the very least. In some cases, other sites including LinkedIn, Pinterest and Houzz may also be appropriate. It is important for all of your social media to have the same look and feel as your company website. Facebook cover pages do have some flexibility and allow you to have some very specific elements can be incorporated for maximum impact:

Use colour and photos
Integrate your profile picture into your cover
Incorporate a call to action
Point out where people can call or contact you

After you create your social pages, be sure to include links on your website and invite all of your customers and friends to join your pages.

3. Develop a planning calendar

Now that your social sites are “live”, it is time to start developing a planning calendar. Ideally, this should be done on a monthly basis. Your planning calendar may outline the following: Number of posts per week,
Time the post will be made, you should vary your posting times, Identify content for each post.

A planning calendar lays the foundation and ensures you are maintaining your social sites and posting on a regular basis. Of course, you can also post other news, tips and ideas as they arise. The biggest pitfall businesses run into are they generally have a lot of excitement when they first establish their social media presence, but the momentum quickly fades. Having a monthly planning calendar will help keep your social media efforts moving forward.

4. Generate engaging content

Now that you have identified a manager, set up your pages, and developed a planning calendar, it is time to

start generating engaging content. Once you generate content, you can plug it into the dates/times you have reserved on your social media calendar to compose posts. As you consider content, think outside of your company and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What type of information is not only engaging, but is something followers would like to share? Creating sharable content is one of the quickest ways to pick up new followers.

Let’s take a look at some content ideas:

Weekly tips and advice
Post something humorous (in good taste)
Highlight and recognize your customers
Incorporate “social media” only offers
Be interactive – ask questions people will want to answer
Photos and videos
Coupons and contests
Product overviews
“How To” videos
Sales and special events

Remember, maintaining the attention of your followers will keep them engaged.

5. Monitor responses and track your results

It is imperative to monitor all comments and respond in a timely manner. Good or bad, all feedback needs to be addressed. If someone praises your product and/or service, thank them. If they have a complaint or concern, reach out to them. It is important to investigate the validity of the negative comment and address it immediately. Customer feedback can help you better understand reaction to your products and/or services. Also be sure to incorporate a good tracking system. This can really provide important insight into your customers and their behavior. Companies such as Global Response provide excellent outsourced social media analytics programs that can be easily incorporated and integrated into your social strategy.
6. Use results to better understand consumer behavior 

What better way to gauge customer demand than to ask them yourselves? Don’t be afraid to engage your followers and get their opinions. Doing so can help identify both areas of strength and weakness. As we discussed earlier, prompt response to comments is key to developing a relationship with your followers. Even big box stores work to maintain open and responsive communication with their followers: I find in my marketing practice, social media intimidates many small businesses. If you approach it like any other form of marketing and develop a plan, it can become a very useful and effective tool which complements your traditional marketing strategies.

Here are 9 things you may not know about social media.

1. A social media strategy, guidelines and a system for handling negative comments are the first steps to mastering social media.

2. Facebook’s algorithm means that only an estimated 10 per cent of your Company Page updates are seen by the people who like your page. This percentage has a better chance of increasing if you post regularly, and your fans ‘like’, ‘comment’ and ‘share’ your content. Or you can always fork out money to boost your posts, but this can get expensive.

3. Twitter’s Advanced Search lets you find tweets on a topic within a certain radius.

4. LinkedIn lets you keep information about the people in your network. You can add ‘how you met’, set ‘reminders’ like birthdays or follow up calls, and also add ‘notes’ and ‘tags’.

5. The three main formats of YouTube videos that you can create are ‘talking head’ (like on the news), ‘interviews’ (via Skype or in person) and ‘screenshare’ videos.

6. Google+ has made a change to its ‘authorship’ system. Your headshot no longer appears in the Google search results, but your name still does.

7. You can get super creative with Instagram. There are cool free apps (like Photo Editor) and paid apps (like WordSwag) that let you overlay words onto your pics.

8. Pinners (aka people on Pinterest) absolutely love infographics. Try publishing one yourself and see how many backlinks and social media shares you get. Ask your designer, or else try oDesk, Elance or Fiverr if you’ve got a tight budget.

9. Tools like Feedly, Buffer and Hootsuite make social media a breeze. Follow your favourite blogs with Feedly, schedule your social media updates with Buffer and monitor your accounts with Hootsuite.

Social Bookmarking Made Easy

If you are any kind of marketer online then you should know by now the importance of social bookmarking.

Its not just about facebook likes and how many friends you have either.

I heard about SocialAdr from a friend of mine but was hesitant at first because it sounded too good to be true. She told me, “All you have to do is enter your bookmark details and other members submit your bookmarks to their accounts automatically. It literally takes 5 minutes to get setup.”

So I figured I might as well give it a try.

I signed up for the ‘Free’ account and found the Setup Wizard super easy to use. With the ‘Free’ account you have to setup all your own social bookmarking accounts (only once though) in order to get started. Next, I shared 5 other members’ bookmarks, which was as simple as clicking a single button. I had to do this first in order to earn “credits” which can then be spent when other members share my bookmarks. Then I added a couple of my own bookmarks and a short while later started receiving notification that they had been submitted to a list of social bookmarking services.

Wow. And this was just with the ‘Free’ account!

I was impressed.

It was clear to me that the paid accounts were worth it, so I upgraded to the ‘Lazy Linkaholic’ package (1.6 cents per backlink!). With the ‘Lazy’ account types you don’t have to do any sharing, all you do is enter your own bookmark details, it’s that easy.

It’s been about 2 weeks now and I’ve received thousands of backlinks on autopilot.

If you’re like me and know good value when you see it, you should definitely give SocialAdr a try right now for all your social bookmarking needs.

How important are Social Links.

Below are six reasons social links need to be an important part of your website marketing and SEO strategy.

1. Link building was always about social proofing.

Think about it – why did Google ever allow links to determine which websites ranked above all the others? The answer is simple: links were like “votes” for your website. The more votes you get, the better off you are. So SEO companies started building links (aka “votes”) manually. Then, Google — to counter all of the fake voting — figured out that some votes should count more than other votes. So SEO companies went around manufacturing websites with the best votes. And Google, finally, realized that SEO link building would never work long-term for ranking websites. So Google started penalizing websites with “fake votes” (which is basically anyone who pays a company to do SEO link building for them). Seeing a trend here? The idea behind links as a ranking factor is a very good idea, but since it’s become so easy to manipulate, Google has been forced to turn to social media channels which do the same thing but are much harder to manipulate. Link building was always about social proofing.

2. Social media allows you to “crowd source” your link building.

When you have a following on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, you create a team of fans who can share your content. That’s what social media is all about, folks — being social! (Imagine that.) So when you write a new blog post on your business blog, you can take that content and share it on Twitter and then get some of your followers to share your content. You can also get your website visitors to share pages of your site and your blog on social media by adding simple social buttons to allow people to quickly and easily “vote” for your content right there on your website. Sure, many of these people will never become your actual customers, but that’s not your objective here. Your objective is to build buzz and attention around your website.

3. Being social is the fastest way to multiply your presence online.

The problem with old school SEO link building is your always building “signs” to your website in places where nobody is looking. It’s something like buying a billboard in the desert. Social media, on the other hand, is a dynamic world of interaction and activity where things are constantly happening in real time. This is why it’s so crucial that you have a social media PRESENCE — not just social media accounts where you never or rarely post anything. You’ve got to be active, you’ve got to be social. This is the fastest way to multiply your online presence simply because it’s where everyone is. If you get in front of the right people (which is a matter of consistency, not luck) then you can build some buzz around your business and your website.

4. Social signals is a real thing.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “social signals” floating around out there. Love it or hate it, this is a real thing. Google is definitely measuring your website’s “pulse rate” on social media channels. How often do you share content on social channels? How often do people visit your website for social channels? How many fans/followers do you have? Does your website have social sharing elements available for visitors? Social signals really is the new “link building” metric you should be concerned about and worried about. Forget about how many links you have — especially if you’re building fake links — and start worrying about the health of your social media presence.

5. Social links bring real traffic to your website.

95% (or more) of links from SEO link building never bring a single new visitor to your website. They just sit out there pointing to your site and not really doing anything else at all. This was the other major revelation Google had: They realized that by promoting links as a way to popularize your website, they were creating a web filled with spam and junk all designed to get more links (and only that). Most SEO companies build links on sites that will never bring you an actual customer. They’re just fabricating links to try and boost your search engine positions. Now that it doesn’t work, you’re basically throwing money down a drain every time you pay for link building. Social links, on the other hand, have the real potential to bring real people into your website AND into your social followers or social circles. This means at some point these people could very well turn into a customer or a content promoter for your business.

6. Google hates link building.

The bottom-line is link building doesn’t help your search engine rankings. In fact, it could hurt you far more than it will ever help you. Google has been very clear about this – stop building fake links to your website and start focusing on providing value and being of value within your marketplace. Social media is the very best place to achieve that goal online today.

So there you have it – 6 reasons social media needs to play an important role in your search engine rankings strategy. At the end of the day, search engine rankings are still very critical to your long-term success online. Don’t make the mistake of investing in shady, short-term practices and risk hurting your business long term.

So here is the clincher, if you are a website owner why not get your social links sorted for you with this cool wordpress plugin, go take a quick peep.

 

Social Media Resources

Social media networking these days is all the range; everybody seems to be on some sort of social media site. Not just individuals but small and large businesses are jumping daily on to the band wagon of social media exposure, besides it is a great way to brand yourself, a product or a reputable business.

Some social networking sites focus on different professions and industries so find a few that have a lot of activity in your field and get involved. The sites covered in this guide are amongst the biggest and best online and should be joined regardless of what kind of business you are in. If nothing else they are authority sites and excellent for link building. Take time to create a keyword rich profile, link it to your other profiles on other sites and if you can upload a video presentation and make use of the free advertising it allows. Join groups within these social media sites and even create your own.

LinkedIn

Plaxo

Biznik

Sunzu

Naymz

Ryze

FaceBook

Better Networker

Space Hoot

Social Sites For Every Business

If your business limits its online presence to advertising banners and blogging, it’s missing out. The Internet provides powerful networking opportunities that allow users to effectively target their audience by logging on to social sites like LinkedIn, Digg and more.

Take advantage of these tools by asserting your company’s presence online and reaching more potential customers, business partners and employees. Share your favorite sites on the Web with potential clients and business partners by commenting on, uploading and ranking different newsworthy articles. You can also create a member profile that directs traffic back to your company’s Web site.

Reddit: Upload stories and articles on reddit to drive traffic to your site or blog. Submit items often so that you’ll gain a more loyal following and increase your presence on the site.

 

Digg: Digg has a huge following online because of its optimum usability. Visitors can submit and browse articles in categories like technology, business, entertainment, sports and more.

Del.icio.us: Social bookmark your way to better business with sites like del.icio.us, which invite users to organize and publicize interesting items through tagging and networking.

StumbleUpon: You’ll open your online presence up to a whole new audience just by adding the StumbleUpon toolbar to your browser and channel surfing the Web. You’ll connect with friends and share your discoveries, as well as meet people that have similar interests.

Technorati: If you want to increase your blog’s readership, consider registering it with Technorati, a network of blogs and writers that lists top stories in categories like Business, Entertainment and Technology.

Ning: After hanging around the same social networks for a while, you may feel inspired to create your own, where you can bring together clients, vendors, customers and co-workers in a confidential, secure corner of the Web. Ning lets users design free social networks that they can share with anyone.

Squidoo: According to Squidoo, “everyone’s an expert on something. Share your knowledge!” Share your industry’s secrets by answering questions and designing a profile page to help other members.

Diigo: Make Diigo “your personal Web file” by bookmarking great sites and sharing them with other users by recommending links, commenting on articles and utilizing other fantastic features.

WikiHow: Create a how-to guide or tutorial on wikiHow to share your company’s services with the public for free.

YouTube: From the fashion industry to Capitol Hill, everyone has a video floating around on YouTube. Shoot a behind-the-scenes video from your company’s latest commercial or event to give customers and clients an idea of what you do each day.

 

 

 Professional-Networking Sites

Sign up with these online networking communities as a company or as an individual to take advantage of recruiting opportunities, cross-promotional events and more.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a popular networking site where alumni, business associates, recent graduates and other professionals connect online.

Sunzu: Formerly  Ecademy, Sunzu prides itself on “connecting business people” through its online network, blog and message-board chats, as well as its premier BlackStar membership program, which awards exclusive benefits.

Xing: An account with networking site Xing can “open doors to thousands of companies.” Use the professional contact manager to organize your new friends and colleagues, and take advantage of the Business Accelerator application to “find experts at the click of a button, market yourself in a professional context [and] open up new sales channels.”

Care2: Care2 isn’t just a networking community for professionals: It’s touted as “the global network for organizations and people who Care2 make a difference.” If your business is making efforts to go green, let others know by becoming a presence on this site.

Gather: This networking community is made up of members who think. Browse categories concerning books, health, money, news and more to ignite discussions on politics, business and entertainment. This will help your company tap into its target audience and find out what they want.

Ziggs: Ziggs is “organizing and connecting people in a professional way.” Join groups and make contacts through your Ziggs account to increase your company’s presence online and further your own personal career.

Plaxo: Join Plaxo to organize your contacts and stay updated with feeds from Digg, Amazon.com, del.icio.us and more.

NetParty: If you want to attract young professionals in cities like Boston, Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Orlando Fla., create an account with the networking site NetParty. You’ll be able to connect with qualified, up-and-coming professionals online, then meet them at a real-life happy-hour event where you can pass out business cards, pitch new job openings and more.

Networking For Professionals: Networking For Professionals is another online community that combines the Internet with special events in the real world. Post photos, videos, résumés and clips on your online profile while you meet new business contacts.

 

 

niche Social-Media Sites

Consider linking up with one of these social-media sites to narrow down your business’s target audience. You’ll find other professionals, enthusiasts and consumers who are most likely already interested in what your company has to offer.

Pixel Groovy: Web workers will love Pixel Groovy, an open-source site that lets members submit and rate tutorials for Web 2.0, email and online-marketing issues.

Mixx: Mixx prides itself on being “your link to the Web content that really matters.” Submit and rate stories, photos and news to drive traffic to your own site. You’ll also meet others with similar interests.

 

Tweako: Gadget-minded computer geeks can network with each other on Tweako, a site that promotes information sharing for the technologically savvy.

Marketing Land: Marketing Land is an online forum and networking site for the Internet marketing crowd. Upload articles and guides from your blog to create interest in your own company or connect with other professionals for form new contacts.

Foursquare: Foursquare is a location-based social networking website, software for mobile devices. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application.

SEO TAGG: Stay on top of news from the Web marketing and SEO (search-engine optimization) industries by becoming an active member of this online community.

 

General Social-Media Sites

The following social-media sites provide excellent opportunities for businesses to advertise; promote specials, events or services; and feature published, knowledgeable employees.

 

Wikipedia: Besides creating your own business reference page on Wikipedia, you can connect with other users on Wikipedia’s Community Portal and at the village pump, where you’ll find conscientious professionals enthusiastic about news, business, research and more.

Newsvine: Feature top employees by uploading their articles, studies or other news-related items to this site. A free account will also get you your own column and access to the Newsvine community.

43 Things: This site bills itself as “the world’s most popular online goal setting community.” By publicizing your company’s goals and ambitions, you’ll gain a following of customers, investors and promoters who cheer you on as you achieve success.

Wetpaint: If you’re tired of blogs and generic Web sites, create your own wiki with Wetpaint to reach your audience and increase your company’s presence online. You can easily organize articles, contact information, photos and other information to promote your business.

Twitter: Is a social networking and microblogging service that allows you answer the question, “What are you doing?” by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called “tweets”, to your friends, or “followers.”

Yahoo! Answers: Start fielding Yahoo! users’ questions with this social-media Q&A service. Search for questions in your particular areas of expertise by clicking categories like Business & Finance, Health, News & Events and more. If you continue to dole out useful advice and link your answer to your company’s Web page, you’ll quickly gain a new following of curious customers.

 

 All Things Twitter

Tweet Adder  Automate all of your Twitter posts, add followers on auto and much much more inside.

Tweet Deck.  Free downloadable software straight to your desktop. Manages your FaceBook accounts as well as Twitter.

Twitter Feed.  Automate your blog blog posts. Works with any RSS feed and will also post to LinkedIn, FaceBook and more social networking sites.

Tip Drop. Give and receive tips and advice on any subject you are after.

Twitter Counter. Tracks your twitter stats including a graph of when followers are added.

Tweet Beep. Set-up email alerts.

Twit Pic. Share pictures on Twitter.

Twitter fall. Search tool to find twitter users to follow and follow you back.

Tweexchange. Search if a twitter name is available.

Topsy. Search the latest, most tweeted stories for a keyword and find the most influential twitters that shared it.

Trendrr. Social media brand tracking and management service. Keeps track of live web search, YouTube, Facebook, and twitter.

Twellow. The yellow pages of Twitter. You can register your business here and use it to find the Twitter feed for other businesses.

Hoot Suite.  Now recognised as the leading social media dashboard to manage and measure your social networks. Manage multiple social media sites and schedule messages and tweets. Analyse your social media traffic. Integrates with all the top networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Four Square and many more. Has a free 30 day trial, then great value for money if you stay connected.