Leveraging LinkedIn for Business

Linkedin ChocolatesWith each social media site comes its own set of advantages, characteristics, and user base. While some sites, like Instagram and Vine, may share similar demographics and video sharing capabilities, other sites are more unique to themselves. This is certainly the case with LinkedIn, a social media site designed with business in mind.

At its core, LinkedIn was created as a place for business professionals to network. It’s a place where businesses can form new partnerships, where employers can look for new employees and vice versa. LinkedIn users are, on average, better educated with higher paying jobs. All of these factors make for an excellent marketing opportunity for a business.

Creating a LinkedIn page for your business allows you to tap into that population, allowing you to target engagement with people who may be better connected within your community and also may have a little more to spend on your service or product. There are the obvious businesses that stand to profit from networking with the professionals on LinkedIn—a suit tailor, office supply store, or anything in the technology industry, for example—but just about any business can take advantage of the free marketing opportunity LinkedIn presents.

Find ways to advertise your business to the LinkedIn crowd. If you own a bar and grill, maybe push your happy hour. You can even offer special LinkedIn-only deals to your followers. Boutiques can push business professional-friendly attire. Salons can show off styles that would stand out in the workplace. The point is that though you may not view yourself or your business as something that would fit on the professional networking site, the people already using LinkedIn make for excellent potential customers.

When to Use Twitter Ads for Business

Twitter Bird SketchFor all the great things social media has to offer small businesses, perhaps the greatest might be the simple fact that it’s free. All of these services allow you to reach thousands and thousands of potential customers without spending a dime.

Well, sort of.

While it’s true that sites like Instagram and Vine don’t charge users to start an account and begin posting to their ever-growing list of followers—i.e., potential customers—that doesn’t necessarily mean that a post is going to be seen, read, or clicked on. How do they offer their service for free? Advertisements.

So while you may be posting for free, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a post is as effective as it can be. In fact, this is sometimes by design. A site like Facebook actively makes it more difficult for posts to be seen these days, gently prodding its users to pay to “boost” their posts so that they experience a wider reach.

While Twitter doesn’t actively limit a tweet’s reach, its wide-open, anything-goes Twitter feed means that a tweet can be quickly buried and quietly forgotten. If a follower of yours only follows 50 users, than your tweet is more likely to be seen. But if they follow hundreds of users, than their twitter feed is more likely to be full of so many tweets that they’re bound to miss some—including yours.

To combat this, Twitter offers its own paid model for tweeting. Users can pay to have tweets appear at the top of their followers’ Twitter feed, which is the ideal location for being seen. Obviously you’re not going to want to pay for every single tweet but if you have a special offer, sale, or event coming up and you want to ensure that it’ll be seen by more of your followers, than paying for a boosted tweet is the right option for you.

Top Internet strategy, marketing and technology links for the week of May 4, 2013

Here are the top Internet strategy, marketing and technology links for the week of May 4, 2013… [Read more…]

Are You Listening?

It’s admittedly a tired stereotype.  In TV shows and movies we are beaten over the head with images of the therapist repeating questions back to the patient for comic effect.  “What do you think about that?”  As a fictitious talk radio therapist, Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier Crane began each of his broadcasts with the iconic phrase, “I’m listening.”  As digital marketers we talk a lot about this but are you listening?  Are you really listening?

If you cast aside all of the social media talking heads, the biggest way in which channels like Facebook and Twitter are different from our traditional broadcast mediums is the fact that they are multi-directional in nature.  Simply put, this means that rather than crafting the perfect 30-second TV spot and blasting it one-way at whomever may be watching, we are now having conversations where our community can actually talk back (gasp!). – Are You Listening? by Nick Westergaard

3 Counterintuitive Ways to Reach a New Audience Through Partnerships

Traditional wisdom teaches small businesses to partner with people whose services complement their own. If you’re a wedding planner, partner with a caterer. If you’re a landscaper, partner with a house painter, etc.

But to truly stay ahead of the competition, small-business owners need to think outside the box by initiating partnerships that dramatically increase the value that they offer their current and prospective clients.

Below is a guide to implementing three counterintuitive strategies that will expand your business reach and let you tap into new market segments through business partnerships.

Reach a New Audience Through Business Partnerships

Strategy #1: Go Where Future Clients Are Already Fans

In 2009, Chicago-based insurance company Aon signed on as the new sponsor of England’s celebrated Manchester United soccer team. Commentators questioned the connection.  Aon is strictly a business-to-business company, and the most visible part of a Manchester United sponsorship would be the addition of the company’s name to team jerseys.

But Aon stood by its decision. After all, millions of soccer fans wear those jerseys and the sponsorship would effectively turn them into what the company’s chief executive called “walking billboards.” Even better, Manchester United boasted a large fan base in Asia, one area where Aon was looking to grow at the time it secured sponsorship rights. This partnership allowed Aon to flood its future target market with its name, thus building brand recognition. – 3 Counterintuitive Ways to Reach a New Audience Through Partnerships by Ted Devine

Are You Making These 5 Basic SEO Mistakes?

Not getting the search traffic you were hoping for? In a new Webmaster Help video, Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts reveals five of the biggest basic SEO mistakes webmasters make, and suggests a few ways to improve your website.

1. Your Site Can’t Be Crawled

The biggest mistake, according to Cutts, is having a site that isn’t crawlable – or not having a domain at all.

Google uses web crawlers (a.k.a., bots or GoogleBot) to find and index web pages by following links. If you make your good content really hard to find, then Google can’t crawl, index, and rank your content.

To fix this, Cutts advises surfing around your website to make sure you can reach the pages on your site by clicking on regular links, ideally in a text browser (to do this, from Google’s search results, click on Google’s cache of your page/site, then click the “Text-only version” link).

2. You Aren’t Using Words People Search For

Do your pages use the words people search for? If not, users won’t be able to find your website.

For example, Cutts said if you have a page about Mount Everest’s elevation, you wouldn’t just put the words “Mount Everest elevation” – you’d want to use words like “how high is Mount Everest” because people are going to type that into the search box. Or, a restaurant website should include its menu in plain text, not just a PDF, and include its business hours. – Are You Making These 5 Basic SEO Mistakes? by Danny Goodwin

The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing

You already know that content marketing is the new SEO, but how do you do it? There are a lot of guides on the Internet that talk about it, but no one breaks it down from A to Z.

Due to this, I decide to write The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing along with the help of our Crazy Egg blog editor, Kathryn Aragon.

Here’s what is covered in this 40,000 word guide:

  • Introduction – a break down of what you are going to learn.

  • Chapter 1: Build a Strong Foundation – why not make those important content marketing decisions now so you can lay a strong foundation? In this chapter, you’ll get to know your objectives, your target audience, and your content strategy. You’ll also learn the technology and work flow that will help you meet your objectives.

  • Chapter 2: Generate Clickable Ideas – having a content marketing plan isn’t enough. You need to be able to generate enough content ideas to keep you going for months if not years. This chapter will teach you how to generate ideas for any industry. – The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing by Neil Patel

Which Social Media Tool is Best for My Small Business?

Social media marketing is a vast landscape.

When you decide it’s time you started making better use of social media to promote your small business, it’s easy to get distracted for hours looking at all the different social networks and wondering:

Which of these should I be using?

Let’s break this down and look at the big networks one at a time.

Do I Need to Be on Twitter?

With a character limit that affords you one or two short sentences plus a URL, Twitter’s the place to broadcast interesting, concisely phrased updates and curate some of the best content in your niche.

Small businesses can make excellent use of Twitter for self-promotion, but there are other possibilities, too. You could offer customer support via tweets, or tweet out market research questions and collate the answers.

If you won’t be on hand to respond to Twitter messages on a daily basis, it may not be a good choice for your business. Twitter users tend to expect a rapid response, and can get snippy if it takes days to get an answer. – Which Social Media Tool is Best for My Small Business? by Sophie Lizard

Top Internet strategy, marketing and technology links for the week of April 27, 2013

Here are the top Internet strategy, marketing and technology links for the week of April 27, 2013… [Read more…]

Boost Your B2B Marketing Efforts with TwitterChats

Most Marketers use Twitter as a broadcast medium, creating bite-sized nuggets of interest for their prospects, clients and industry. There is a new revolution that is key on the Twitter-Sphere, whereby people can hold live discussions on topics related to the business or the industry with like-minded individuals. These are know as Twitter chats.

According to Hubspot, “Most Twitter chats have one or more organizers who moderate the discussion and set the day and time for the conversation. Additionally, the chats use hashtags, which are words or phrases that are preceded by a “#” sign, example: # inboundmarketing . Hashtags allow people to follow the group conversation using Twitter Search. To follow a chat in your industry you can simply put the hashtag for the conversation into Twitter Search and watch the the tweets flow.”

Some chats are just on Twitter, while others can accompany a live in-person meeting or conference . Another popular pairing is a TweetChat with a webinar.

Now, Twitter chats aren’t really new. Chats reached their maturation during the last presidential election, when both parties were trying a variety of ways to reach out to potential voters. But for the B2B industry, this form of communication is increasing in popularity as a means to get in front of very specific vertical markets. – Boost Your B2B Marketing Efforts with TwitterChats by Lee Rush Schwartz