How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog in 8 Easy Steps *

How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog in 8 Easy Steps *

Do You Want People Linking to Your Blog Post?


Let me give you a tip for getting more people to link to your blog.  Write lists!  There’s no denying the fact that most people like and even use lists in our everyday lives.  Most of us have a shopping list on our fridge or kitchen counter.  Why do you think that is?

Because we all use lists, there’s something about a list that bloggers and blog readers love.  Here’s a list of reasons why lists can be good for your blog:


  1. Lists are Scannable and Snackable – online readers are lazy. A list communicates your points quickly and easily.
  2. Lists keep your posts brief – a list keeps you focused and prevents rambling.
  3. Lists neatly format your content – No-one likes a site full of messily formatted text.  Lists on the other hand can be quite pleasing visually.
  4. Lists are easy to link to– most of the links to the link above simply summarize the lists keypoints.  Bloggers seem to like linking up in this manner.
  5. Lists can be comprehensive– even your seemingly complete list of topic points begs others to add their thoughts on the subject through their comments.
  6. Lists are persuasivea list can form a convincing case for something by quickly presenting many points that build your arguments toward a conclusion.
  7. Lists can add to the ease of writing– writing lists breaks down my thoughts into bite sized pieces which is good not only for readers but helps me express myself methodically in my writing.
  8. Lists Can Become Memes– it’s hard to describe, but your lists can unleash an avalanche of ideas.


For the above reasons, and many others, bloggers seem to love linking to and commenting on lists and as a result they have the ability to spread quickly


Don’t Over-use Lists in Your Blog Posts


There is obviously a good case for using lists occasionally when writing your blog posts.  However, there is a danger for you to use lists too much.  Sometimes a topic needs to be handled differently because the amount of content to be covered is larger and more in depth.  

In that case a long form blog post can work perfectly or the content may better lend itself to being covered in a series of posts.  Overall using lists as part of your blog writing mix is a viable strategy for spreading your message.


4 Steps to Owning Your Digital Marketing Strategy *

4 Steps to Owning Your Digital Marketing Strategy *

Digital Marketing Gives Your Website Relevance


What is Digital Marketing?


Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies.  Broken down further digital marketing is how businesses create their relationships with and for satisfying customers who desire their product or service.  

Digital Marketing provides relevancy for your web presence.


Digital Marketing Extends Beyond the Internet


Digital Marketing is a function done mainly, but not exclusively on the Internet.  Today more than 50% of Digital Marketing has transitioned from computers to mobile technology which includes mobile phones and related devices.


Digital Marketing’s Scope has Grown


Since the earliest days of the web, use of the internet has changed the way brands and businesses use technology for marketing.  Digital platforms such as company websites and blogs have become incorporated into marketing plans and our everyday lives.  


Your Marketing Will Continue to Evolve


Your marketing efforts are changing from one day to the next, evolving and becoming more complicated.  Additionally as the use of digital devices, including mobile technology has exploded it has changed all of our lives forever.  Instead of visiting physical shops, digital marketing campaigns are becoming more prevalent and efficient in delivering the goods and services which we all desire.


Digital Marketing Methods Simplified


Keep reading to learn how you can tackle and develop your Digital Marketing Strategy.  The four most commonly used Digital marketing methods include search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media marketing, and direct email marketing.  There are other methods, many which are derivative of these listed methods.


Search Engine Optimization


Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process performed to increase the online visibility of websites or web pages which appear in a search engine’s unpaid organic results. 


Content Marketing


Content Marketing is the marketing process focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online.  Businesses use content marketing to attract attention and generate leads, resulting in an expansion of their customer base and an increase in sales.  

Content marketing is also used to increase brand awareness and engage online users.


Social Media Marketing 


Social Media Marketing uses social media platforms and websites to promote a business product or service.  It’s all about engaging your visitors, be informative and provide the information that’s relevant to them.  

Likes and shares are the gold you are mining for.   


Email Marketing


Email Marketing is the act of sending commercial messages, to a group of people or businesses using email to transmit the message.  By it’s definition, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered to be email marketing.


Digital Marketing Beyond the World Wide Web


In it’s broadest definition, digital marketing now extends beyond the Internet to other avenues that provide digital media, such as mobile phones using SMS and MMS.  This extension to non-Internet channels helps to set digital marketing apart from online marketing, another catch-all term for the marketing methods mentioned above, which strictly occur online.


Conquer Digital Marketing and Develop Your Own Strategy


Although it can seem to be impossible to master Digital Marketing, it’s a task best conquered one step at a time.  DM should be looked at as a group of tasks which individually are easier to understand and employ.  

There are also many great and easy to use digital tools available to assist you in accomplishing the necessary tasks.  Explore the possibilities and start today on your journey to becoming a Digital Marketing GURU….

Share your email marketing victories with us.  How has email marketing succeeded for you?


A Marketing Guide to How Keyword Stemming Works for SEO *

A Marketing Guide to How Keyword Stemming Works for SEO *

Keyword Stuffing Used to be the Norm


Content writing years ago was much different than it is today.  Stuffing as many keywords as possible into your content was what everybody did.  The following type of sentence was the standard.  “Orlando Eye is one of many things to do near Orlando.”  Sometimes we’d spell “Orando” or another word incorrectly to account for common typos.  


Google search query list of things to do near Orlando

When stuffing, writers might include five different variations of “things to do near Orlando” in a 300 word article.  Keyword stuffing was encouraged by how search engines handled search queries.  Content writers tried to duplicate the exact phrases or wording that people might search for.  Then they used Google to help people find them.

However, Google progressed, as did marketers and content writers.  Today, you barely have to think about SEO when crafting an article.  If you’re a solid writer and you’re staying on-topic, it gets you there naturally when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. 


Kayaking near Orlando Google Search with keyword Orlando misspelled

Google has become awesome at reading and analyzing text.  In the last decade it’s as if Google has gone from kindergarten to graduating from college.  If you want to optimize your content for “kayaking near Orlando” it’s much easier today.  Google understands that “kayaking springs near Orlando” and “kayaking tours near Orlando” are basically asking for the same thing.  You no longer have to match keywords word-for-word.  Don’t stuff your keywords, because that will result in low-quality articles, and Google hates bad content.


What is Keyword Stemming?


Google’s algorithms developed the ability to understand different forms of a keyword or phrase.  This is called “keyword stemming,” stemming  takes the root of a word (the stem) and determines what variations of the word deliver the information appropriate to the seach query.

If the stem word is “kayak” Google would recognize kayaking with manatees, kayaking orlando, kayak rentals near me and many other variations on that theme.  Google recognizes the variations in addition to the stem word.


Kayak Google search query screenshot

Stemming has been a developing concept at Google for many years.  What has changed is how Google has become better at understanding word variations and how they are used.  Because Google seach has evolved it is no longer necessary to stuff your content with word-for-word keyword matches.

Here’s a great article on how to succeed doing local SEO.


Google is Great for Keyword Suggestions


For most people the simplest solution is the free option available using Google.  Entering your keyword into Google, it will automatically populate with suggestions.  You may not want to use any of Google’s suggestions, however they may provide you with some pretty good ideas.  For “hiking in Florida,” this is what Google comes up with:


Hiking in Florida Google Search query screenshot

Their suggestions are nothing I don’t already know.  However, when I click on a search result and scroll to the bottom, I get helpful suggestions like “hiking in florida everglades” and “hiking in Florida with dogs.”


How You Can Find Keyword Variations


It’s second nature for many of us to write using stem word variations, and it’s easy to see a sentence that needs to be tweaked for optimization.

As an example, let’s optimize the last sentence for “keyword stemming.”  Keyword stemming is second nature for many of us, and I can easily spot a sentence to tweak for optimization.

To find these keyword variations there are many tools that are available.  Doing this is different than doing SEO research.  If you already have an idea what keyword or phrase you want to optimize for, you just need to find it’s variations.  

The following tools will help you create a list of variations.  However, the best thing to do is to train yourself to think in keyword variations so it comes to you naturally.


Karooya Keyword Variation Tool


The simplest keyword variation tool is from Karooya.   It’s a stripped down search tool that gives you straightforward variations, nothing more.  Use it if your brain is stuck and you can’t think of common forms of single words.


Karooya Free Keyword Variant Tool seach query for kayak screenshot

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool


The Keyword Magic Tool from SEMrush lets you enter a seed keyword (the stem) and generate more keyword ideas.  I entered “kayaking in Florida” and selected “Broad Match,” which gives any variation of the phrase in any order.  Here are the results:


Semrush Keyword Magic Tool kayaking in Florida search query screenshot

Several of the variations still have “kayaking in Florida” written exactly like that, and I already know I can use that phrase as-is.  What’s helpful are the suggestions for “best kayaking in Florida,” “best places to kayak in Florida” and “kayaking in Clearwater Florida.”


Ubersuggest Keyword Ideas


Neil Patel’s browser-based app Ubersuggest can give you keyword ideas from a stem word or phrase, and also tell you your chances of ranking for the keyword, plus the top search engine results.


Ubersuggest kayaking in Florida search query screenshot

Updating Your Content for Optimization


If your content isn’t optimized there’s a quick way to optimize.  Seek out partial keyword phrases and update the sentence to maximize the SEO possibilities.  For example, if I want to rank for “keyword stemming” I would search for “stemming” to find sentences where I didn’t use the full phrase.  If I found one like: “Stemming isn’t new to Google.”   I’d simply add “keyword” to the beginning of the sentence and boom, a bit more optimization.

Here’s another example.  Let’s say I want to optimize for “biking in New York City.”  If my original sentence is, “The best biking routes run along the river.”  I can easily change it to any of these options:

  • The best biking in New York City is along the river.
  • New York City biking is prettiest along the river at sunrise.
  • Check out these riverside biking routes in New York City.

I’ve optimized for my keyword and can also experiment with stemming if other variations fit better.


When Not to Use Keyword Stemming


Are there times that you would not want to use keyword stemming?  It’s important to keep your keywords in sync with the context of your article.  Also avoid overusing or misusing keyword stemming because you can create low-quality content that tries to trick Google and disappoints readers.  Here are two examples:


  • If I want to rank for “hiking in New York,” Google may recognize “hiker in New York,” but that’s not the context of my article.  I’m not talking about hikers, I’m covering hiking trails.  This variation doesn’t fit the context of my article, and it may seem like a bait-and-switch to Google or my readers.
  • “Hiking in NYC” may be a Google-friendly variation to “hiking in NY,” but it’s changed the stem word too much and it’s out of context with the article.

Don’t use keyword stemming if it doesn’t fit the context or if the variation is unrelated to the stem word. 


Final Thoughts About Keyword Stemming


It’s important to know what Google hates because it’s very similar to what your readers will hate.  Google serves the user, and its algorithm changes are all about creating a better user experience.  It’s as if Google has done some audience research for you.

Google doesn’t like content that seems engineered or uses clumsy wording.  Keyword stemming gives you the ability vary your wording and focus on your writing quality while including plenty of SEO.

Want to learn more about how Google ranks your web pages?  Check out Elegant Themes Beginner’s Guide to Google’s 4 Most-Important Ranking Algorithms.


5 Easy Steps to Building Better Content Experiences *

5 Easy Steps to Building Better Content Experiences *

Content Drives Your Marketing


Content is the driving force behind all of your most effective marketing strategies.  Content drives your lead generation, inbound marketing, and sales enablement.  As marketers personalize how their prospects and target accounts experience their content, creating these content experiences become your next big hurdle.

It doesn’t have to be a burden.  By planning and up front preparation you will make the creation and scalability of personalized experiences for your marketing strategies and campaigns painless.  You might even have fun doing it.


What is a Content Experience?


A content experience is the environment in which your content lives, how it’s structured, and how it compels your prospects and customers to engage with your company.

The Content Experience Framework developed by Uberflip provides a measurable approach to creating personalized content for any stage of the buyer journey.  The framework outlines five easy steps to help build your content.  


Uberflip Content Experience Framework Screen Shot

The Framework helps you focus, align your team, and deliver meaningful experiences so you can rock your inbound, ABM, demand generation, and sales enablement programs!

Whether you have a content experience platform to help you do it, or you manage it with separate tools, spreadsheets, and serious hacking skills, the concepts remain the same.


Centralize Your Content


Before you can build out content experiences, you need to take stock of all the content you have. There’s a scary statistic floating around the internet that says between 60 and 70 percent of content in B2B companies sits unused.  Why?  

The truth is that marketers simply can’t keep track of it all.  They have content all over the web; on their blog, their social channels, hosted on other platforms, but also on zip drives, in folders, and saved locally.  

Centralizing your content allows you to bring all of your content into one central location and deliver it across multiple channels.  It also helps you establish version control and ensure everyone is using only marketing-approved content.


Organize and Audit Your Content


Once you have all of your content in one place, the next step is to organize it.  What are your topics?  Who are your personas?  Will you organize content by stage of the funnel?  And what kind of content do you have.

Auditing your content is a must-do at this stage.  You have to find out what you have, and then tag or label your content by topic, persona, account, or funnel stage so you can easily find it, decide how you will use it, and how it will be shared in a personalized manner.  Auditing your content will also show you any gaps you need to fill.

Once labeled, your content can be categorized for easy discoverability on the front-end using the top navigation and on the back-end through either a spreadsheet or using technology.  This will allow you to quickly and easily build personalized experiences at any time.

Finally, before you move to step three, be sure to define what content should be recommended.  This can be done using the categories and tags you just created.  

A content experience platform can help you do this, or you can simply add another column in your audit spreadsheet.  For the more advanced, decision trees, and artificial intelligence can be leveraged to determine what to recommend to whom and when.


Personalize Your Experiences


Now, most people would jump right into distributing their content.  However, personalizing your experiences is an important next step.  Creating a personalized content experience will impact how your customers move through the buyer journey.  More importantly, it will define how they view your brand.

You laid the groundwork for this in the first two steps.  Now the real fun begins!  You can create collections of content and design your experiences around them.  That way your target audience can engage with content in different formats in one purposed experience.  

Some examples include a destination for your email engagement campaigns, or a knowledge base for your customers.

To make it truly personalized, you’ll need to include tailored messaging, custom images and branding, and contextual Call To Actions.  These all work together to make your experience richer and more engaging for your prospects, customers, and target accounts.


Distribute Your Content


Now that you’ve created your content experiences, it’s time to put them into action.  You probably will be marketing them across your different distribution channels.  How do you do this?  

The experience you created will have a unique URL and your distribution tactics such as email, organic, social, paid advertising, direct mail, etc. will lead them back to that experience.

Your experiences should be mapped to cover each stage of the buyer journey and distributed across the channels that best complement them.

If the buyer is at the awareness stage and you’re taking an account-based marketing approach you might try a mix of paid ads and direct mail.  Or if inbound marketing is your focus then organic marketing and social media might be your best way in.


Generate Results


Well, it’s time for the grand finale.  Step five is where we harvest what we’ve put into building our experiences.  Because after all, this isn’t just about having a great brand, it’s about driving business results.

Putting the right finishing touches on your personalized experiences will allow you to generate the results you want.  Things like:


By leveraging marketing analytics and , you can capture leads, score your leads based on engagement, and get actionable insights.  You’ll also find you have the ability to maximize the results you see because engagement is contained within this one experience.

As you begin to focus on your content’s environment, structure, and how your audience engages with it. You’ll see your content reach its full potential and perform the way it was intended.  Then it will prove the ROI of your content marketing.  That’s the power of focusing on the content experience.

Now that you know the best way to build personalized content experiences, find out what kind of results you can expect.  How have your content marketing experiences helped you? 


20+ Ways Your Business Benefits From Using Social Media *

20+ Ways Your Business Benefits From Using Social Media *

How Can Social Media Benefit Your Business?


It’s hard to believe that today more than 3 billion people use social networks around the globe.  Many companies are using social to engage people with their brands.  Sherpa Marketing discovered that more people follow brands on social media than follow celebrities.  On Instagram alone, 80 percent of people follow at least one business.

If you’re not taking advantage of social, you’re missing out on a fast, inexpensive, and effective way to reach almost half the world’s population.

How Can Your Business Benefit by Using Social Media:

  • Building Your Brand
  • Growing Your Business
  • Creating and Distributing Content
  • Communicating Your Message
  • Gaining Business Insights
  • Advertising Your Business


Benefits of Brand Building Using Social Media


Social Media Humanize’s Your Brand


According to a UK study from Trinity Mirror Solutions, more than half of adults do not trust a brand until they see “real-world proof”.  To gain the trust of just 50% of adults, your brand must constantly prove that it’s keeping its promises.

To build trust and connect with customers, you have to engage your visitor’s with the human side of your brand.  Do you engage visitors with your brand values?  Do you even have brand values?  Do you look out for the best interests of your customers and employees?  Does your product not only meet, but exceed your customers expectations?

Creating real human connections is the main benefit of using social media for business engagement.  We call these Meaningful Relationship Moments.  Introduce your followers to your companies key employees.  This allows you to also showcase how existing customers are using and benefiting from your products.

social media advocacy program can be a great way to humanize your brand.


Increase Your Brand Awareness


Since nearly half of the world’s population uses social media, it makes social media the natural place to reach new and highly targeted potential customers.

Do you believe that people only connect with brands they already know on social media?  You need to understand that 60 percent of Instagram users say they discover new products on the platform.


Instagram Absolut Vodka Phone Ad

When Absolut Vodka ran an Instagram campaign to promote its limited edition Spark bottle, the company achieved a five-point lift in brand awareness.


Make Your Brand a Thought Leader


No matter what industry your business is in, social media offers the opportunity to establish your brand as a thought leader.  Become the go-to source for information on topics related to your niche.

Though leadership, along with brand advocacy is a great way to build consumer trust.  In fact, LinkedIn research in partnership with Edelman shows that marketers underestimate just how much thought leadership can impact trust consumer trust.

Almost half of B2B marketers surveyed believed their thought leadership would build trust in their companies.  However, more than 80 percent of buyers said thought leadership builds trust.


63 percent of people trust technical experts, compared to only 42 percent of people who trust businesses.

The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer also found that 63 percent of people trust technical experts, compared to only 42 percent of people who trust businesses.

LinkedIn is a great social network to focus on when aiming to establish yourself as a thought leader.  With more than 550 million users LinkedIn regularly ranks as the most trusted social network out of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

While LinkedIn isn’t the largest social media network, it’s highly trusted by those that use it.  LinkedIn provides a unique opportunity to have your voice heard and bolster your standing as an expert in your field.

I’m often asked, “What type of content should I post to LinkedIn?”  While at it’s core, LinkedIn is a social network, two types of posts that may engage visitors better on LinkedIn than other social networks include:


Engage Social Media Users


Most social media users log into their accounts at least once per day, according to Pew Research Center, and many people are checking social multiple times per day.

Every time your fans and followers log into their social media accounts gives you a new opportunity to connect and engage with them.  


A majority of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram users visit these platforms daily graph

You have to keep your social posts engaging and informative.  If they find it useful, your followers will look forward to your new content in their feeds.  Engaging them like this will keep you at the top of their mind.  This will also make you their first stop when they’re ready to buy.


How Can Social Media Help You Grow?


Use Social Media to Increase Website Traffic


Social media posts and ads are two ways you can drive traffic to your website.  Sharing great content from your blog or website to your social channels is a great way to engage readers as soon as you publish a new post

It’s important to not only post your great content.  It’s important to engage your readers, developing a conversation with others, sharing ideas and opinions.

Participating in social chats is also be a great way to increase your visibility.  You need to get attention from new people, showcase your expertise, and drive traffic to your website. The key for you is to offer value in the chat, don’t be too promotional.

Just make sure your website address is included in all of your social media profiles so that people who want to learn more about you can do so easily.  Even better use a pinned post during the chat, highlighting a relevant landing page on your website.


Use Social Media to Generate Leads


Social media offers an easy and low-commitment way for potential customers to express interest in your business and your products. Lead generation is such an important benefit of social media for business that many social networks offer advertising formats specifically designed to collect leads.

For example, Renault Europe used Facebook lead generation ads allowing people test driving a new model to book their test drive directly from Facebook, with just a couple of taps.

The ads had a 7.9 times lower cost per lead than ads linking to a form on the car manufacturer’s website.


Renault UK ran a great ad to Book a Test Drive Today

Use Social Media to Boost Sales


No matter what you sell, social media can help you sell it.  Your social accounts are an indespensable part of your sales funnel.

As social media use continues to grow and social sales tools evolve, social networks will become increasingly important for product search and ecommerce.  Now is the time to align your social marketing and sales goals.

For individual sales professionals, social selling is already a critical tool.


Influencer Word-of-Mouth Drives Sales


Word of mouth drives 20 to 50 percent of purchasing decisions.  You build your brand awareness and credibility when you get people talking about your product or company on social media.  This also helps you set yourself up for future sales.

One key way to drive social word of mouth is to partner with influencers who have a large following on social media and can draw the attention of their following to your brand.

Research from Nielsen, Carat, and YouTube shows that collaborating with an influencer can give your brand four times more lift in brand familiarity than collaborating with a celebrity.


Benefits of Social Media for Content Creation and Distribution


Promote Your Content on Social Media


Promoting your content on social channels is a great way to get your content in front of new people, proving your expertise and growing your credibility and audience.

For example, Adobe used LinkedIn Sponsored Content to showcase its research, including infographics and videos.

Marketing decisions-makers exposed to Adobe’s promoted content were 50 percent more likely to view Adobe as shaping the future of digital marketing and 79 percent more likely to agree that Adobe could help them optimize media spend.

To maximize the social media for business benefits, make sure to have a content marketing plan in place.


Source Your Content for Social Media


There are two key ways your business can source content on social media:

  • Source ideas:  Ask your followers what they want, or engage in social listening, to come up with ideas for content you can create yourself.  Give people what they’re asking for.  It’s a sure way to create content that people will want to read and share.
  • Source material for posts:  Create a contest or use a hashtag to develop user-generated content (UGC) you can share.  Getting your followers involved can build excitement about your brand while also providing you with a library of social posts to share over time.


How much content can you get through a UGC campaign?  Check out the #wanderlustcontest hashtag from National Geographic, which has generated more than 60,000 posts.


Use Social Media to Go Viral


Your content is exposed to new audiences as people begin liking, commenting on, and sharing your social posts with their friends and followers.  Going viral takes this concept one step further.  

As influencers share your content across their network, and their networks follow suit, your content can spread across the internet.  This could result in thousands or even millions of shares.

This exposure is beneficial to your brand because all those shares, likes, and comments show the existing connections with your brand.  If I see that my friend likes your article, I may be inclined to check out what you have to say.  Even if I’ve never heard of your company before.  

A friend’s social sharing is a pre-screening and acceptance of your content.  Today there is more content than any one person could ever consume, we all click on and engage with some of the content that our friend’s like or share.

Going Viral is not easy, however without social media it would be nearly impossible.


Manage Your Reputation Using Social Media


Your community is already talking about your brand on social media.  You need to get ahead of your competition, using social listening will to help you discover critical issues in social posts about your brand before they turn into something major.

Is someone saying something about your business that’s not true?  You have to share your side of the story.  But do it in a polite, professional way.  Is someone praising your brand?  Express your thanks and draw attention to their kind words.

The important thing to remember, your content should be geared to establishing a positive conversation with your audience that will highlight your brand. 


Social Media Makes Communication Easier


Engage Your Audience Using Social Media


Social media networks give you the unique opportunity to interact directly with your customers and fans.  Using analytics it has become possible to personalize your message targeting specific customers.   Social media also gives your audience the ability to interact directly with your brand.  

Social media is unique in that it allows a direct conversation between your brand and your audience.  This ability to establish two-way communications is very different from any past media enagement opportunities.  

Using traditional media in the past offered only one-way communications from your brand to your audience.  These were hit-or-miss because of their inability to target small groups effectively. 


You have to be engaged if you want your customers and followers to be engaged.  Your goal is to establish a conversation with your audience.  Do so by actively responding to comments and questions on your own social media posts in a way that’s appropriate to your brand. 

You can also use social media monitoring to keep an eye on what people are saying across the social web.   Do you use analytics to measure your engagement success?


Use Social Media for Crisis Management


When a Philadelphia Starbucks store had two black men arrested, the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks quickly went viral.  Starbucks was experiencing any companies worst nightmare.  The #BoycottStarbucks hashtag was used more than 100,000 times in just three days.  That would officially qualify as a crisis.

Starbucks, to its credit, responded quickly.  After their first apology, the company followed up with several more statements on social media.  Starbucks then announced that it would close all of its stores for a day of racial-bias training.


Starbucks apology for Philadelphia incident with 2 black customers

Only time will determine if there are long-term negative effects for the Starbucks brand from this incident.  However, the fall-out would have been worse if they had not taken immediate and appropriate steps to address their crisis on social media.

Social media is primarily used for building your brand recognition and credibility.  However it does have another critical use, giving you an effective method to reduce damage to your brand during a social media fueled crisis.  Does your company have a plan in place for dealing with a serious crisis affecting your brand?  

While small brands may not have a crisis blow up to such a large scale, even a small number of negative shares could be devastating to your brand.  Silence is not an option when it comes to responding to a crisis on social media.  Maintaining well managed social accounts and having a plan in place can help make sure you’re present and ready to engage if the worst occurs.


Customer Service Needs to be a Great Experience


It seems to just be common sense that your business must have good customer service.  But how valuable is it really?  Could great customer service actually make you more money?

Today, people expect your brand to be available on social media.  Consumers are increasingly turning to social media to resolve their customer service issues.  Are you prepared to respond to their concerns?

Research published in the Harvard Business Review shows that brands who aren’t meeting those expectations are damaging their bottom line.  It’s not all bad news though.  It’s a great opportunity for you to turn those angry customers into loyal ones.


Responding quickly yto customer complaints makes them willing to spend more in the future

The HBR research, looking specifically at Tweets is eye-opening.  The research shows that customers who receive a response to their Tweet would be willing to spend more with the brand on a later purchase.  

Especially if they get a response within five minutes.  This is true even when the initial Tweet was strictly a complaint.  How quickly do you respond to inquiries or complaints?


Benefits of Social Media for Gaining Insights


Monitor Conversations Relevant to Your Brand


Above, we mentioned social media monitoring is an important part of understanding your audience engagement.  But it’s also an important source of intelligence about your brand, your competitors, and your niche.  Do you follow your competitor’s on social media?  Why not?


Analytics Help You Understand Your Customers

  Social media generates huge amounts of real time data about your visitors and your customers.  Have you thought about how you could use this data?  Understanding the gathered information could help you make smarter, and more informed business decisions.

The social networks all offer built-in analytics that provide you with demographic information about the people interacting with your social media account.   Use this information to help you tailor your strategy to better engage your audience.  


Gauge Social Sentiment About Your Brand


Lots of mentions on social media is a good thing, right?  Yes, in the majority of interactions.  However, if you’re getting lots of negative mentions, you need to quickly figure out what’s gone wrong and address the problem.

Nick Martin, of Hootsuite defines social media sentiment as “the perceived positive or negative mood being portrayed in a social media post or engagement.”


Gauge sentiment around your brand

While it’s important to know how much people are talking about your brand online, it also matters what people are actually saying about your brand.  You should be engaging both the negative and positive commentors in a conversation.


Know What Your Competition is Doing


It’s important to know what people are saying about your competitors.  By tracking mentions of your competitors you might find weaknesses with their products or services.  Knowing about their failure, allows you to address it and reach out with a solution.  Doing so could win you new customers.

Uber Canada had a great idea to deliver free ice cream for a day in Vancouver.  This should have been a huge win for Uber, because who wouldn’t like free ice cream.  Unfortunately things went spectacularly wrong.  The success of Uber’s promotion was overwhelming.  Uber was unprepared to meet the demand.  

Uber failed because people couldn’t get their free ice cream.  Because people were not happy about Uber’s failure to perform.  These unhappy people took to social media to vent their frustrations and complain about Uber’s failure.


The folks at Skip The Dishes saw an opportunity and reached out to people complaining on social media about Ubers failure to deliver.

The folks at Skip The Dishes saw an opportunity and reached out to people complaining on social media about Ubers failure to deliver.  They offered a free ice cream delivery of their own, in the form of a Skip The Dishes credit.

All those Uber haters quickly turned into Skip The Dishes fans, and potential new customers.  To get your free ice cream you had to create a Skip The Dishes Account.  Uber failed because they oversold the idea of free ice cream while Skip The Dishes found a clever way to profit from Uber’s failure.

Monitoring your competition on social media also means you’ll be aware when your competitors launch new products, run promotions, and release new reports or data.  All valuable and actionable information.


Know What’s Happening in Your Industry


Things change quickly in the business world, however in the online world changes happen faster than ever.  You need to be aware of these changes and be able to react to protect your brand in a timely manner.  You can’t afford to get left behind.  

You have to keep your virtual ear to the ground.  Using social listening ensures that you’re informed about upcoming industry changes that could affect the way you do business.


Benefits of Social Media for Advertising


Embrace and Use Targeted Advertising


Great Social Media ads are an inexpensive way to promote your business and distribute your content.  They also offer powerful targeting options so you can reach the right audience and make the most of your budget.

Savvy marketers have embraced this key benefit of social media for business: Marketers spent twice as much on Social Media ads in 2018 as they did on newspaper advertising.

With ad targeting options including Facebook demographic information, geography, language, and even online behaviors, you can craft specific messages that best speak to different groups of potential customers, and only pay for the exact viewers you want to reach.


Retargeting Turns Visitors Into Customers


Nearly 70 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned, never completing the transaction.  Why do you think that happens?  Have you ever abandoned a shopping cart before completing the transaction?  Why did you abandon your cart?.  

The people who have abandoned products in your shopping cart are your prime potential customers.  They have already found your website.  They have browsed your products.  They even made a decision to add something to their cart.  


People who have abandoned products in your shopping cart are your prime potential customers, how do you get them to click the buy button

You were so close to your goal.  Why do you think your customers are abandoning their carts?  The truth is that people abandon shopping carts for many reasons.  However, you can’t just ignore anyone who has shown so much interest in your company.

Using tracking tools like Facebook Pixel, you can show these potential customers social media ads for the exact products they have browsed on your website or placed in the shopping cart.  Retarget these potential customers.  Make the extra effort to convert these visitors from walk-away to take-away customers.


Benefits of Social Media for Proving ROI


Social Media Reporting and Analytics


It is always a challenge for marketers to prove their return on investment.  However, with good social media tracking and analytics tools, you can see the full impact of your social media activities.  Track everything from follows to engagements right through to purchases.

Tools like Google Analytics help you track your website traffic generated from social media, your conversions, email sign-ups, and ROI for both your organic and paid social media campaigns.

FacebookInstagramTwitter, LinkedInSnapchat, and Pinterest have all developed their own analytics within their platform.  There are also many free and paid commercial tools available to help you analyze your web traffic.

So there’s no excuse to be in the dark about how your customers and social followers are engaging with you.


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