Author Archives: ROI Content Marketing

Social Media and Google

Does Social Media Activity Influence Google Rankings?

01 Apr 15
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Ever since the beginning of the seo craze years ago, webmasters have been debating the pros and cons of social media activity and its impact on search engine rankings, specifically in relation to Google. Spokespeople for Google, including Matt Cutts, the Head of Google’s Webspam Team, have adamantly denied suggestions that social media directly affects a website’s rankings on Google, but this article will explain why social media does correlate with search engine visibility and rankings.

Social Media Marketing Can Drive Traffic to Your Company’s Website

I recently asked my boss if I could create a Twitter account to prove that building a network on social media may lead to greater visibility and presence online. Within a few days, our company had nearly 100 followers, about 10 “favorited” tweets, and several “mentions”. In addition to being active on Twitter, we setup a Bitly account so we could create custom links and track how many Twitter users actually followed the links. We immediately noticed we were getting activity on our links, and our website traffic was increasing as well. So how does this correlate with search engine rankings?

The more frequently your brand is mentioned and seen on the web, the better your search engine rankings will be. This is especially true with Google’s own social networking site, Google Plus. The more circles you join, the more active you are, the more your content is +1’d and shared—the more your traffic will increase and the more Google will like your website. Google also likes it when you use other popular social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

Social Media Gives You a Platform to Interact

Jason Demers, a contributor for Forbes, discussed The Three Pillars of SEO for 2014 in a fantastic article published earlier this year. It’s no surprise that social media is one of the three pillars mentioned in the article. Not only does social media drive traffic to your website, but it also gives you an opportunity to interact with followers and potential clients. You may be thinking—“social media is for companies involved in business-to-consumer marketing, but I focus exclusively on business-to -business marketing in my industry.” If this is your mindset, I have great news for you. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of social sites on the web that were made specifically for b2b marketers (Twitter, LinkedIn, and Explore B2B are great places to start). No matter who your target audience is, you need a social strategy to improve brand awareness.

Like Link Building Much?

For years link building has been the central focus for seo’s and marketing firms. Link building is still alive and well, though the quality standards have changed drastically since Google’s Penguin 2.0 and subsequent 2.1 update. It’s no longer valuable to simply create a bunch of spun content and blast it out to various sites around the web. Instead, a webmaster or marketer is encouraged to take special care when planning a link building strategy. Interestingly enough, link building can be accomplished in the social sphere, and in some cases can be more effective than submitting content to content submission sites.

Community web forums like Reddit give companies and webmasters an opportunity to share content they’ve produced on a blog or external website. When a link is posted on Redditt, users are able to rank content and make comments, which can bring a lot of brand awareness if the content is high quality. Marketers and webmasters can also build relationships online and share links to offsite and onsite content when the opportunity arises. Social media users will be upset if you’re bombarding them with promotional messages, but if the relationship is solid, they won’t mind a link here and there.

Tying it all Together

Hopefully this article has opened your eyes to the advantages of social media marketing and it’s effect on search engine rankings. Just remember, like any smart company, Google doesn’t show all of its cards to the public. Though spokespeople may say social isn’t extremely important, you can’t argue with the results. For more information on digital marketing and advertising, contact us for a free consultation.

 

 

Twitter Marketing Strategy

5 Twitter Rules to Live by

01 Apr 15
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Everyone is familiar with those companies and individuals that refuse to stop touting their own greatness on Twitter. Frankly, we’re all tired of hearing from those people, but it’s even worse when “that guy” or “that girl” or “that company” is you. Yes it may be hard to digest, but realize no one is immune from the temptation to promote oneself on Twitter. The social network makes it so easy, and it’s only 140 characters so it can’t be that bad right? Wrong. If you plan to use Twitter to market yourself and promote your brand, pay close attention to the following Twitter rules that every marketer and business owner should live by.

Give Helpful Tips and Provide Free Information

If you ask any social media guru to tell you the number one rule to live by, it’d be this one. Social Media is not an opportunity to talk to customers and clients about the services you offer, but it is a chance to establish yourself as an authority figure in a particular industry. Yes it’s true that every marketing tactic needs to measure ROI, but your early Twitter efforts should focus on building your network, attracting new followers, and disseminating useful information that everyone can use to their advantage. When you become helpful instead of promotional the people in your network will begin to see your value and they may reach out to you about the products and services you offer without a prompt. No matter what, always provide information that helps people solve a problem or answer a question. Once the relationship is established you can begin making followers aware of discounted or free products that will help them be more successful in their business.

Use Authentic Communication

Regular Twitter users can spot an automated message from 3,000 miles away, so it shouldn’t surprise you that it’s not the most effective way to reach out to potential followers. If you decide to engage in communication on Twitter, let the user know you actually care about having a discussion. If you liked a particular tweet posted by someone, mention something specific from the tweet in your message and tell them you’re looking forward to future posts. You’ll find that the more you engage sincerely with other users, the more you’ll earn “favorite” tweets, retweets, and comments on your feed. You’ll also get more followers because other users will see you interacting on a consistent basis with Twitter users. The increase in followers will lead to more traffic when you send out a tweet.

Don’t Focus on Too Many Social Platforms at Once

Too many marketers believe that being active in the social media scene means creating an account for every social networking site in existence. While this may initially seem like a genius idea, you’ll quickly learn you don’t have the time or resources to stay active on each platform. With that in mind, be sure to research the platform your potential customers or clients are using and sign up for an account on those. It’s smart to only operate on 3-5 platforms at once, but the fewer the better. The good news is any business can use Twitter, whether your focus is B2C or B2B marketing.

Don’t Obsess About Your Number of Followers

Traditionally marketers measure their success on Twitter by looking at their total “number of followers”. While it is important to have followers, you should never use that as the benchmark for a successful campaign. Instead you might consider focusing on how many times you can start a relevant conversation with someone, or if your response time is appropriate. In time, you’ll see your number of followers increase as you engage with them. Do your research and pay attention to which posts are most effective with your Twitter audience and you’ll always be headed in a positive direction.

Stay True to Your Brand

In the end it’s all about staying true to your brand. It’s smart to take advice from marketing professionals who know their way around the social media sphere, but at the end of the day the originality of your brand is what will win people over. Don’t copy what someone else verbatim. Step out of your comfort zone and reach out to your customers and clients. They’re waiting for you!

Hire a Marketing Firm

Why Your Small Business Should Hire a Marketing Firm

05 Feb 15
ROI Content Marketing
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When you bring up “advertising agency” or “marketing firm” around a small business owner, you shouldn’t be surprised if they close their office door or walk away from you. Hiring a marketing firm involves spending money, which many small business owners view as a threat to their bottom line. Every successful owner is taught to cut costs, run efficient operations, and do everything themselves, which frankly is a flawed way of thinking and can end up causing more work in the end. If you want to create better brand awareness around your products and services and ensure success in the world of small business, you should consider hiring a marketing firm to handle your marketing efforts. Why? Glad you asked.

Let the Experts Handle it

It’s totally possible for a small business owner to handle their own marketing efforts, but once they begin thinking about the knowledge needed to do so, the whole process can seem a bit overwhelming. To run an effective marketing campaign that actually contributes to your bottom line, you need to understand all the intricate details of social media marketing, content marketing, seo, paid search, and website maintenance. For someone who spends their entire career doing these tasks, this might be a walk in the park, but for a busy small business owner it may require weeks and months of study to obtain the necessary knowledge and skillset. Even if you decide to do it yourself, you likely won’t do it as well as a professional who stays on the cutting edge of marketing strategy.

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Save Yourself Time

In the world of business, time is money. We briefly talked about how much time is required for marketing in the previous section, but a reminder never hurts. Pawning off your marketing efforts to a marketing firm allows you to focus on the important details of your business without wasting valuable time. If you’re tired of wearing a billion different hats at the office, simplify your life and hire a marketing firm. When you’re not worrying about marketing you can worry about everything else. Marketing professionals know short cuts to access a plethora of information that can help your company succeed. A task that takes 3 hours for a marketing professional to complete may take you three days.

Save Your Company Money

It may seem contradictory to think that hiring a marketing firm could actually save your company money, but it’s the truth. Many ad agencies and marketing firms can save you money when bidding on ads, purchasing ad space, or engaging your audience through other means. If you take care of your own marketing you may spend thousands of dollars more than you need to.

Creating a Brand That Will Last

Though small business owners are very aware of the fine details of their industry, they don’t always understand brand development—a crucial part of any marketing strategy. Developing a brand for your company requires the assistance of someone who can see the big picture, who knows what your customers and clients are looking for, and can put all of that into motion. To create a brand you need to know your target market, the budget of your target market, and what appeals to them. A professional marketing consultant can prepare a marketing campaign that appeals to your target market’s interests. Eventually this will result in lead generation and an increase in sales.

Working From Home Benefits

Do You Have What it Takes to Work From Home?

05 Feb 15
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It’s no secret that small and large companies alike are hiring more work-from-home employees, but experts agree that not every person is cut out for a telecommuting gig. Between attempting to take care of your regular job responsibilities, watching the pet, and feeding the baby, working from home is not quite as easy as it may sometimes seem. Though your boss may approach you about the possibility of working from home at some point, consider these three suggestions before making a quick decision.

Designate an Office Space That Will be Used Only for Work

Too many telecommuting employees have tried and failed to do their work while eating breakfast in bed, wearing pajamas, and watching a few episodes of Seinfeld. Of course there’s nothing wrong with any of the activities I just mentioned, but trying to balance the various distractions at home with the job at hand is something even the most disciplined employee can struggle with.

If you want to be productive while working from home, consider getting a separate office space that will only be used for work. Even if your office is only a few feet down the hall from your bedroom, make sure that when you’re “at the office”, you’re really at the office. It’s easy to get distracted by everything that home offers—endless snacks, television, no internet restrictions and family, but if you want to prove to your boss that you can be productive in any environment you need to treat your home office the same way you treat your office away from home. If you’re having a tough time concentrating in an office inside your home, maybe use a garage or other detached area for your work. Even a library might suit you better than an extra bedroom.

Set Rules Beforehand

Creating a separate office space is not the only key to becoming a productive telecommuting employee. After you’ve decided on an office you need to set a few ground rules for yourself.

One of the biggest distractions telecommuting employees face on a regular basis is children, partners, and spouses. It’s one thing to work from home in an empty apartment, but it’s an entirely different challenge to work under the same roof as the people you love. In order to stay productive you need to let your family know that you’ll be working in your office with the door closed, and no one is to enter unless it’s an absolute emergency. You also need to keep other distractions out of your office, like television, movies, and video games. Make sure everyone in your home understands the rules before you begin working from home.

Adhere to Regular Work Hours

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you neglect normal working hours. If you work a 9-5 job, work those same hours from home to avoid cutting your work day short.

Though you may be tempted to jump out of bed, grab a bowl of cereal, and ease back into the recliner with your laptop, it’s much more effective to work in an environment that’s similar to your regular office space. Shower when you get out of bed, eat a balanced breakfast, and then work in your office during normal business hours. You’ll find it easier to ignore distractions if you stick close to your normal work schedule.

If it’s not for you, Return to the Office

Although my current employer let’s me work from home half the week, I’m fully aware that working from home isn’t for everyone. If you find it difficult to concentrate and stay motivated while working from home, kindly ask your boss if you can return to the office environment. There’s nothing wrong with honesty, especially when it comes to your work productivity. Your boss won’t have a problem welcoming you back to the office. Over time you may build up the discipline necessary to work from home.

Small Business Marketing

What Your Small Business Needs to Compete Online

05 Feb 15
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When you’re running a small business, it’s important to look for any advantage that may encourage potential clients and customers to choose you over the competition. This is not always an easy task, especially once you realize there are hundreds and thousands of competitors vying for the same space you’d like to occupy online. Although managing a small business in a competitive market is not simple, there are a few tactics you can use that will make a significant difference, and possibly even propel you above the competition. If you want to be successful with your small business, whether you’re a restaurant or an e-commerce site, follow these suggestions.

Website with Quality Content

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many small businesses pay no mind to their presence online. Not only does your company website serve as an online business card, but when optimized, it can help you appear higher in the search engine results. Each page of the website should include a title tag, a meta description, and an H1 tag, as well as descriptive content that tells the visitor what the page is about. If you’re familiar with seo, research some target keywords for each page and then incorporate those keywords into the content. It’s also a great idea to include pictures, videos, and ensure the website is not crammed with excessive clutter and advertisements. The site should look clean, simple, and professional. Less is more.

Provide Visitors with Free Tips and Information

Many small and large business owners feel the need to charge for everything, even if it’s a small bit of information someone can find for free elsewhere. Let me just tell you this is not the way to win customers and increase sales. If you really want your potential clients and customers to cozy up to you, consider providing free information via your blog, your social media sites, and through email message. You’ll be surprised by the positive response you receive. When you provide free insight, customers learn to trust your brand. Once the relationship is strong, they will be more likely to make a purchase or take action.

Earn Quality Back Links to Your Site

Link building has always been a central focus of seo best practice, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can end up in a train wreck. Google and other popular search engines don’t look highly on strategies that involve link farms, paid links, or excessive directory links, so you have to focus your efforts on earning links organically. If you have a pr specialist, you may consider having them try to obtain links from local newspapers and reputable media sites. You can also submit articles to websites with a high page rank (Google ranks sites according to authority and quality), or submit content to industry sites to garner more exposure. Whatever you do, don’t pay for links or take the easy road. Quality link building can take time. It’s supposed to.

Engage in Social Media

Small businesses need to be active in the social media scene, but that doesn’t mean you should sign up for every social site under the sun. Before you create your social media strategy, research what platforms your customers or clients are using and plan to be active only on those platforms. Though social media is effective, it is possible to spread yourself too thin. B2B marketers should look very closely at sites that allow them to network with other businesses, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Biznik, and Explore B2B.