How to avoid fake online sites while establishing a genuine online presence

Fake content is in the news these days, thanks to accusations by the Trump administration – which itself offered positions to Breitbart, an alt-right site accused of posting misogynistic, racist, and often false news.

Avoiding fake sites has been critical ever since commercial interest arrived on the web. It can appear in many technical aspects of a website.  Link building was meant to signal to search engines that a site with a large number of links represented a quality source of material that should rank highly in a query.

But now, thanks to social media and user’s overlook in reviewing details of the post they share, it is very easy to spread and repeat information that is not entirely true.

Businesses and marketers of all levels have to be accountable. Sharing links to nefarious sites damages trust and branding.  It can also lead to legal issue

Here are some ways to protect your sites from association with a fake or susceptible site.

  • Establish a social media manager who can review sites and manage a list of trusted sources – essential for linking to highly regarded sites.
  • Examine referral sources in analytics reports for returning traffic segments – see if the sources align to your site’s purpose. For example, if you have a site dedicated to auto parts, you should see traffic from other auto parts dealers or new /used car dealers with whom you are linked. Seeing a site based in a foreign country where you are not doing business is not alarming in and off itself, but it would raise an eyebrow.
  • If you are looking for online communities to join, research their activity. Are there images of offline activity with members? Are those images consistent See if the posts in the community are “natural” or repeated spam, aggregators or generic comments.
  • On referral sites that you are interested in linking to, review the posts created – are they thoughtful with points and counterpoints? Are there author biographies that detail other posts that they have written? In fact, is there even an About Us page at all?
  • Decide how to link offline events into your online presence. Doing so attracts traffic from real people, who you have most likely engaged with in a real affair.  Their engagement creates a real environment on your social media platform, which leads to engagement will help
  • Review Facebook pages for fake fans – ensuring quality fan engagement can protect your page from being seen as a scam and from losing reach in the Facebook algorithm. According to Social Media Examiner, Facebook is rewarding pages that contain higher engagement and quality content “with greater visibility in the news feed, while pages with limited fan engagement and poor content lose positioning in the news feed.”
  • Consider an advertising budget for social media accounts. Many of the platforms have changed their algorithms, which consequently impacts the organic reach of their posts –  there are reports of Facebook having limited organic reach, such as this 2016 Marketingland post in which publishers have experienced a sharp decline in reach.  Planning a few well placed ads for increasing engagement can help drive awareness for events.  The ads can be targeted for region, as well as for interest when social media ads are used.
  • Check your followers, with apps such as Fakers from Statuspeople. The site indicates what percentage of a Twitter feed contains the following statuses: False (meaning fake followers), Inactive (accounts that have not tweeted in awhile), and Good (meaning accounts with active commentary).

Social Media Tips: A look back at Waffle House, The World Cup, And How To Grow Engagement

On July 1st, 2014 Waffle House set Twitter abuzz with a “war” against Belgian waffles. On its Twitter account Waffle House noted that its declaration is in support of the US team during its game against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup Series.

This instance of joining a discussion in Twitter is savvy. The message was short, did not require a lot of media content to support it, and really provided a way for Waffle House to imbed into the discussion at the moment, a global sport.

Here are three quick lessons that small businesses can learn from Waffle House.

1. Verify the social media usage regarding the event.

In short, marketers should understand what volume are being generated on a social media platform, and if possible what demographics are being shared. For the World Cup Series, almost 389,000 tweets were generated in the minute after Chile made a penalty shot that allowed it to avoid an early exit from the terminal for the first time since 1950. The Superbowl generated 25 million tweets, which is more than the 16 million total during Saturday’s round of 16. However given that the World Cup is played over 2 weeks the consistency of exposure for a social media platform can sustain interest around a given subject. It means a lot of exposure for business who can blend a message.

2. Pick a subject that is tangential to your target event and to your product.

Belgian waffles are harmless yet they incorporate the Belgian team Anna food products served by Waffle House competitors. Waffle House does not serve Belgian waffles and his stores. This makes a playful bet that is fun for people to comment and tweet on. Check out the comments that were leveled within 24 hours of the announcement of this war.

3. Be responsive yet allow for mistakes.

In one tweet Waffle House use the word Belgium instead of Belgian – a spelling error. But that did not take away from the spirit of the campaign. Twitter is meant for casual light conversation and the best users make the most of it by responding consistently while posting content, even if the content is posted via a scheduler like Hootsuite. The takeaway is to manage the conversation, not let it get away from the main ideas being shared.

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Social Media Tips: Create videos and increase audience reach online

Meerkat
Meerkat and Periscope can be used to augment your video efforts.

Reach is one of the most basic and, in an elemental way, important metrics for social media. It reflects how far content has been shared. And sharing is – again, being elemental here – important in social media.

Video has been adopted as a means to increase reach and increase engagement. Twitter just announced that user can add brief video snippets to tweets. Facebook announced a change to it algorithm to include video playback as an influence on user feeds. Add in the interest in playback from lifestreams and the new recording capabilities from mobile devices, and it become clear that video adoption is now the “new black” for engagement.

But how can small business initiate its first steps with video? Here are a few ideas on how a business can build its capabilities.

  1. Learn to remix images and video segments in an editor. You can add and delete video segments, as well as insert segments into JPEG images. Camtasia is a popular editor, but others are available.
  2. Consider embedding video in Pinterest – this Zimana post will note how this is done ( add link). Adding video can enhance Pinterest interest and can draw more visitor to a YouTube presence.
  3. Create a video channel about a subject related to the organization, business, product or service. The channel URL can be shared through Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. In addition, Youtube videos can be embedded in a Pinterest board, while a brief video may be a good candidate for Vine or Instagram account dedicated to a video topic.
  4. Embed a video in blog post with associated text. Doing so can increase the average time on site for a blog.
  5. Create a video sitemap. Video site maps tell search engines specific information about the videos relative to the site structure. Sitemaps are submitted for each search engine, though usually sites submit for the largest (Bing, Google, Yahoo). In a sitemap submitted to Google, for example, the entries must include a link to a landing page for a video and some required information like metadata which is inserted into the page HTML code. To learn more, see this link to sitemap information in Google Search console.  Video site maps can also be made in Bing. You can create a site map here.  You may want to check for stand alone software to create multiple site maps.
  6.  Consider Adwords for video. Adding a campaign in which paid search ads are displayed with video is another way to send a message into a popular search platform. Including the video in an ad can provide further engagement.
  7. Save a video file in a cloud storage that can be uploaded into a mobile device. This will permit fast access to video files. For example, a mobile phone with access to video stored on Google Drive can be shared on Facebook, YouTube, or Vine.
  8. Use a live chat such as Periscope or Meerkat to record chats. Blab can also be used, though it is used with two or more people in a conference style. There’s also a new live record in YouTube as well. The links to these hangouts can be displayed in a browser or shared, providing recorded material for viewing.  Users can create video for specific groups on the social media networks.
  9. Use hashtags  on the major social media platforms. Currently Instagram, Google Plus, and Facebook have joined Twitter in offer hashtags. These Zimana posts can show examples and resources.

 

How To Break Into Marketing – Discussion feat. Pierre DeBois and John Anhalt of SpotHub – @GAChicago

General Assembly invited Zimana founder Pierre DeBois and Joe Anhalt, Marketing Manager at Spothub to discuss the current state of digital marketing. The talk with budding students and young marketers took place in Space, an office incubator in Chicago.

Watch these three video to gain tips on what goes on during a typical marketer’s day, what is takes to develop the skills of digital marketing, and what are the latest trends impacting digital marketing today.

 

3 Fast Ways to Brainstorm Meaningful Blog Content

digital marketing analyst
Reviewing analytics data  can help plan the next ideas for your blog

Creating content that attracts visitors to your site or blog is never easy. The value for content certainly exists. Marketing Profs noted that 79% of B2B firms that deploy content marketing create articles. But creating and implementing content when you’re on the hook to get it done is hard.

But as interest in content marketing has developed over the past few years, a few new tools and new platforms have sprung up to improve idea creation. A few steps can make brainstorming less formidable and reveal the topics that your customers care about.

  • Monitor platforms such as Quora, Reddit, or LinkedIn for key questions that are emerging in your industry. Take a look at the answers that pique your interest. If there are some that you do not agree, build a post around what your answer might be. YouTube is also a good resource for how-to videos and short teachable programs.
  • Scan hashtags and industry-related search terms on the social media platform of choice. Hashtags appeared regularly on Twitter at first, but now Iinstagram Google Plus, and Facebook permit hashtag usage. This means you should research the hashtag usage on the platform you intend to use. See what issues are bubbling to the top and write about those. Some great hashtag tools are located here . Find the key topics and folks are talking about and consider weighing in with your two cents on those topics–and don’t forget to feature their tweets prominently in your post.
  • Develop a list of 10-20 key blogs in your industry, put them in a blog reader and sift through them once a week. Find out what topics are being discussed and see if any intrigue enough for a blogpost of your own. If you reference the articles in your blog post, make sure you link back to the original post.

The aforementioned tips can provide a manageable list of sources for highly regarded topics. Give these a try to reenergize your content, enhance your measurement results for your blog, and connect with your customers further.

Do you have older content? Check out this older Zimana post on “evergreen” posts – posts topics that can be revitalized periodically to keep a blogsite fresh