Category Archives: Social Media
Social Media Advertising: Does It Influence Consumers? (feat. @Avinash Kaushik and Wall Street Journal)
Blogs are certainly a key element in establishing an online presence. Blogposts provide one place to write about a small business owner’s professional passion and news on industry changes. Blogging is also a way for people to discover your owned content.
Thus blogposts provides a means to manage news about your business, new product introductions, and share good commentary from customers. Sending posts to the right audiences requires crafting the content to appeal to readers.
Establishing a blog is easy, but creating posts can become consuming, turning your business into a baby-Huffington post instead of operating the model that was originally intended.
Below are some tips that can make managing a blog easier, saving time in creating posts and resources to better manage your business. For some tips to create evergreen content – content that can last and save preparation time in creating, take a look at this Zimana post.
- Choose the topic or niche that compliments your passion or business objective. Doing so encourages more quality posts.
- Be conscious on selecting short, descriptive domain names for the blog if a blog is a major component of your business model. It will help regular readers to recall it.
- Create a regular posting schedule. Casual posting will not be considered a major strike, but sporadic posting will not attract a consistent reader following.
- A word about using free blogging platforms for long term strategy; Be wary.They’re great for keeping expenses low for a business – because they are free – but they also lack time-saving features that makes blog curation easier to operate. For example, wordpress.com does not allow modifications of supporting files beyond the content. This means plugins that can add valuable features to a site are not available. WordPress.org – the stand alone version – does permit plugins. Plugins can make certain repetitive operations easier to do and provide opportunity for other features to enhance the reader’s experience on the blog.
- Read blogs from experts on your niche. To spice up content, interview industry experts with topics related to the blog’s niche. Doing so shows that your business attracts other professionals who recognizes the value of your business and your site content. Readers will feel that your site is not just another form of advertising. Also, interviewed professionals will share the content, providing another means for readers to discover your site.
- Use Pinterest and Instagram to enhance post exposure through images, short videos, and descriptions of related offline events. Doing so can add a new means for people to discover your blog.
- Audit outbound links periodically to maintain your blog quality on what sites are associated with curated content. Sites shuts down or deprecate content, leaving your site with broken links.
- Reply to your commentators to encourage commentary. Highlighting commentators can share some valuable suggestions that can lead to the next post idea. It will encourage return visits to the site because their commentary and dialogue is cherished.
- Highlight new posts in the social media presence to reach readers. Facebook Pages allows a highlighted post, while using a Twitter card with associated images can highlight a post shared in a tweet. Take time to craft unique messages for each platform where possible. Google Plus and Facebook provide more characters for more descriptive text. Take advantage to describe what is new about the post content.
- As posts are created, find ways to create internal links on relevant posts. For example, this link here connects to another Zimana blog post on blog content. Using text that describe where the reader will be taken can increase page views and overall engagement
- Use attractive and readable text on your posts. Aim for a font size of 14 or larger – remember that readers may be viewing the site through a tablet or mobile device.
- Conduct keyword research on Google Trends to discover what people are generally searching for online. Doing so will inspire title ideas that can tie into popular online searches.
- Join community forums and groups to meet people who share the blog’s intended niche. Doing so increases the likelihood of discovering new ideas that can be curated.
- Although Matt Cutts, Google search evangelist, noted some limitations in guest blogging recently – see this post from his blog at www.mattcutts.com – inviting other bloggers to write guest posts on your blog can provide a lift in identifying new blogpost ideas. A comment from another blogger about healthcare for small businesses can be the catalyst for a blog on healthcare service trends.
- Create Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest announcements dedicated to announcing your blog. Tweet a message or create a pinned image containing a subscription link. Encourage followers to join your blog. You can also include a subscription offer in any automated Twitter message for new followers (Keep in mind: Not every Twitter follower likes receiving an automated message. Plan for a personal appeal message requesting subscriptions).
- Avoid posts with affiliate links at the very start of a blogging effort. Deploying them too early can alter the “street cred” of the site. If they are used, disclose their presence in the blog and use discreetly, instead of making every link an affiliate link throughout every post.
- Use analytics on each social media platform to see how activity is being generated as followers respond to the content.
- Track metrics associated with the content reports – you’ll find it in analytic solutions such as Google Analytics or Piwik. These reports list pages as the dimension, so a review will increase your understanding of how your content is accepted. Examine the time spent relative to the visits. In some cases your second, third, fourth posts (or lower down) can experience meaningful engagement, indicating topics to build on as a follow up topic.
- Use demographic reports to confirm how well your traffic matches to the intended demographic of the business. Keep a weekly or monthly status of the percent change in demographics – determine the traffic trends as possible.
- Use report flow to see if there is a general flow of site traffic to a particular page. Doing so can reveal if visitors are investigating your other posts as well.
A defining characteristic of content curation is analyzing traffic sources and estimate how visitors react to the content . Constantly monitor the curated and shared content to learn how to make it effective.
You just got your first cup of coffee when you sit down, crack open an analytics report, and see… a blip…a true-to-life spike in your data trend.
What does that spike mean?
Some managers may see a spike as a positive response to content online or a marketing campaign. But before you go a’celebratin’ that increase in traffic, make sure that the increase is due to meaningful changes from your traffic sources.
Consider the following 5 ideas as a great starting point to guide you to a decision if the data is telling you something significant or if it is a blip along the way to improving your digital presence.
- Did the spike influence the volume of goals completed? This is the first question to ask. Asking and answering this question determines if a deep dive into the reports are necessary in the first place. Examine the conversion rates prior to and after the spike event to gain some indication of how significant the influence really is to your site objectives.
- Determine the time period of the spike, and then examine the time on site metrics (Note: Google changed the name of this metric to average session duration). Examine the time metric against visitor volume. The average session duration can decline slightly when there is a high volume of visits – the law of averages implies that there are more chances for a short visit. But the decline should not be extraordinarily low compared to the volume, such as an average session duration (ASD) of 10 sec from, say, 500 sessions. Low ASD compared to session volume implies that bots created some of the sessions. Examine and note if there is more than a 10-15% decline in average time on site/average session duration.
- If the spike appears periodically, consider using a packet sniffer to examine how web elements are being called – it can reveal if bots are appearing periodically to artificially inflate your traffic volume. The packet sniffers available have been mentioned in this Zimana blog post (insert post). Google Analytics also offers a filter in its analytics package to remove bots from its reports.
- Review referral sources to see if there is an influence from a new source. Compare this against your intention of a marketing strategy – are these sites intended or are they something else? Inspect to see if the referral sources are legitimate sites, and not spam.
- Once identified, verify that some of the traffic that remained after the spike has value. Do a comparison of traffic conditions before and after the spike, using data with a 20 – 30 day range as a simple starter. The point is to see if the spike, despite a drop, continued from the source and has some retention of visitors. Consider examining if there is a change in the percentage of returning visitor sessions or goals completions.
Are you based in Chicago and need a brief overview of how to use Google Analytics effectively? Well you are in luck!
Zimana founder Pierre DeBois is conducting a free overview workshop of Google Analytics. Learn how to make the most of the key reports, as well as how to best organize your business resources and digital media to leverage Google Tag Manager and Google Webmaster.
The workshop will be at the 2014 Chicago City Treasurer’s Small Business Entrepreneur Expo, held at the University of Illinois Chicago Forum, on Friday, October 3rd. The workshop will start at 12:45pm (The expo is free to the public from 8:30 am to 3:30pm).
The expo is sponsored by the City of Chicago Treasurer’s office and features a host of resources and panels to aid the small business community in Chicago.
Before you can measure your analytics results, it’s important to have great media that attracts customers and interest. That interest is reflected in the referral traffic, day in and day out. Thus creating great copy is an essential step.
To aid that essential copywrite step, Vertical Response has created an infographic outlining the various difference on email, social media, and website copy. You can learn more about their outlook at the Vertical Response site. In the meantime, use the infographic below to make your copy the best it can be.