6 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season in Your Social Media Marketing

social-media-marketing-holidays

“On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact midpoint, everybody stops, and turns, and hugs, as if to say ’Well done. Well done, everyone! We’re halfway out of the dark.’” -Doctor Who

Last night, I drove home from work in the dark. I hadn’t stayed late putting the finishing touches on another devastatingly brilliant blog post. It was just that, after the long Thanksgiving weekend, the darkness has finally caught up with the end of the work day. And there’s plenty more dark to go before the days get longer.

On the bright side, that means the holiday season is here. There are at least four major holidays and plenty of minor ones to go around.

All this festivity offers us unique chances to make a connection with potential customers. ‘Tis the season for savvy social media marketing.

You don’t have to drape your Facebook page in tinsel or string lights on your Twitter feed to catch the holiday spirit. In fact, the bigger, tackier celebrations are less likely to feel authentic, and more likely to alienate those who don’t celebrate a particular holiday.

It’s better to celebrate the holidays on social media the same way you do everything: With your audience’s needs and wants firmly in mind.

Here are a few ideas for getting your brand into the spirit.

#1: Go Behind the Scenes

Your audience always wants to see the people behind the brand. During the holidays, those who are celebrating will enjoy seeing others celebrating, too. Snap candid shots of decorated desks, bedecked halls, and your annual office party.

Collect memorable holiday stories and favorite recipes from your co-workers, too, and share them with festive holiday portraits. Ugly sweaters and santa hats are optional, but encouraged.

#2: Encourage Your Audience to Share Holiday Photos

During the holiday season, most people’s thoughts turn to happy childhood memories. We recall the warm glow of the menorah, or waking up early to see the presents under the tree–these memories are indelible. For kids born in the 70s and 80s, these precious moments were captured in pictures that look pre-Instagrammed.

Encourage your audience to share their favorite memories and photos with your brand. Create a branded hashtag you can use on Instagram to collect cool retro holiday photos and the stories that go with them.

#3: Shine Light on a Worthy Cause

One of the most powerful ways your brand can get noticed this season is to turn the spotlight away from the brand. Instead, highlight a charity that your brand can support, and offer a way for your customers to lend their support, too.

British retail chain John Lewis came up with a great way to support a good cause last year. Their annual holiday ad campaign centered on helping lonely senior citizens. On the campaign’s landing page, customers could watch a heartstring-tugging video and donate to the charity.

#4: Focus on What Your Customers Need

This time of year consumers are drowning in a flood of holiday-related advertising. Everything from $500 cell phones to $40,000 cars are positioned as perfect holiday gifts. Every retail outlet is playing some variation of Christmas music non-stop.

It seems brands desperately want to put their customers in a holiday buying mood. But that’s not what customers want. They want ways to deal with stress, or help finding the perfect gift, or a moment of silent reflection. B2B companies want help making their budget for next year, closing out 2016, making sure their customers feel appreciated.

Take some time to think about what special wants and needs your specific audience has this time of year. Better yet, ask a few of them. You could end up creating some powerful, useful content instead of more holiday dazzle. For example, last year on this blog we created an online retailer’s checklist to help our audience.

#5: Sum up the Year

Not every consumer spins a dreidel or stuffs stockings this time of year. But the vast majority do celebrate the New Year. It’s a time to look ahead and to reflect over the past year.

If Christmas carols or Kwanzaa lights don’t suit your brand voice, New Year’s is still a safe bet. Take the opportunity to tell your current and potential customers about your brand’s year. Let them know how the company grew, what you learned, and most importantly how you are planning on treating them even better in 2017.

#6: Highlight What Unites Us

This season is about more than lighting candles and giving gifts. It’s a celebration, as the quote up top reminds us, of being alive, being together, and being halfway out of the dark. Your brand can celebrate these ideals–family, togetherness, love–without committing to a single holiday in particular. Instead of singling out a specific group, you can remind everyone we’re all in the same group. Regardless of race, creed, gender, or political leaning, we can all agree Nick Offerman is a national treasure:

Click here to view the embedded video.

What is your brand doing to make the holidays special for your customers? Let me know in the comments.

Stay tuned for pictures from TopRank Marketing’s upcoming ugly sweater and cookie bake-off events. Sound like fun? We’re hiring.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
6 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season in Your Social Media Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Source: online marketing

We Answer the Top 5 Questions People Have About Content Marketing

top-content-marketing-questions-answered

As marketers, it’s our job to know our audience. To understand their pain points. To empathize. To provide them with the answers or solutions they’re looking for.

So how do we do all these things? One way is through content marketing.

Over the past few years, content marketing has been increasingly embraced by marketers. In fact, this year 88% of B2B marketers and 76% of B2C marketers said they used content marketing, according to the 2016 Benchmark, Budgets & Trends—North America reports from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

But there are still a lot people out there who are searching for some of the content marketing basics.

Our team recently dug into content marketing related keywords and keyword categories, as well as related SERPs and our own data, to identify what people really want to know about content marketing. As a result, we identified five common questions users have about content marketing—and we’ve answered them all below.

Let’s dive in.

#1 – What is Content Marketing?

Simply put, content marketing is a strategic marketing technique that aligns business and consumer information needs with relevant content.

At TopRank Marketing, we believe in an integrated approach to content marketing, using multiple content marketing tactics to help our clients be the best answer for their customers, wherever and whenever they’re searching.


Wherever your customers are looking, be present, useful and “info-taining.” @leeodden
Click To Tweet


From blogging and social media to infographics and eBooks, content marketing is most effective when you employ a variety of tactics to consistently inform, persuade and build rapport with your customers—without trying to sell them something outright.

For a deeper dive into this topic, check out our post What is Content Marketing? Definition, Examples & Resources for Learning More.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) own resource on what content marketing is. Find that resource here.

#2 – What is a Content Marketing Strategy? (And Why Do I Need One?)

A content marketing strategy provides the answers to the why, who and how a content marketing program will help you achieve your business objectives. It’s your infrastructure. Your game plan. Your roadmap.

Without a strategy in place, you’re throwing content out there and hoping it sticks. With a strategy in place, you’re able to plan, produce, promote and measure the effectiveness of your content, and use that information to propel your efforts forward.

Get more on this topic by checking out our post What is a Content Marketing Strategy (And Why Do I Need One?).


“Build an audience first and define products and services second.” @joepulizzi
Click To Tweet


#3 – How Do I Create a Content Marketing Strategy?

Your content marketing strategy is your foundation and it should be uniquely tailored to your brand and audience. Here are some best practices to get you started on creating your content marketing strategy:

  • Identify who your target audience is and their paint points. This will allow you to come up with valuable and relevant content concepts, and address the needs of your audience.
  • Define your objectives. (e.g. more brand awareness, increasing site traffic, increasing conversions, newsletter signups, etc.)
  • Identify the content marketing tactics you plan to use in your strategy. (e.g. blogging, PPC, webinars, social media, etc.)
  • Identify the social channels your plan to use to engage with your audience. Ask yourself: What channels does your audience use the most? What content do they respond to the best?
  • Define how you will measure results. (What metrics and tools will you use to see if what you’re doing is working?)

Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue. @DrewDavisHere
Click To Tweet


Resources

#4 – Why Content Marketing?

In today’s digital world, buyers are self-directed. Research indicates that 71% of B2B buyers get their information online. Content marketing is a way to satisfy your customers’ quest for answers and arm them with the information they need to make decisions. Content marketing also creates signals across the web that build credibility, authority and rapport with your audience, along with many SEO benefits.

In addition, research shows that content marketing is typically more cost-effective than other forms of advertising or marketing, can drive higher conversion rates and increases audience engagement.


If your content marketing is encouraging engagement, that’s a sign of relevance. @JasonMillerCA
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Resources

#5 – How Do I Do Content Marketing?

Content marketing is not just one tactical technique—it involves using a myriad of techniques within your strategy to drive toward your goals. We call this an integrated content marketing approach. Below are just some of the content marketing tactics that you can use:

  • Blogging
  • Co-creating content with industry influencers and thought leaders
  • eBooks
  • Social media
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters
  • Email marketing
  • Content curation

Writing is thinking. And for us as marketers, good writing is good marketing. @marketingprofs
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For more information on all of these tactics, as well as more than 20 others, check out our post: Content Marketing – Tactics and Best Practices. Here we offer pros, cons, best practices, industry expert insights, examples and resources for 30 content marketing tactics.

Resources

What other questions do you have about content marketing? Ask them in the comments section below!


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
We Answer the Top 5 Questions People Have About Content Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post We Answer the Top 5 Questions People Have About Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: online marketing

10 Kick-Ass Cyber Monday & Holiday Deals for Digital Marketers

10-deals-for-digital-marketers

Digital marketers everywhere—especially our friends in the B2C marketing world—have spent the last weeks and months perfecting their marketing strategies for the holiday season. Now that the most wonderful time of the year is officially here, we want to make sure our fellow marketers don’t miss out on deals that can help them perfect their craft.

So, in the spirit of the holiday season, we’ve put together this handy list of Cyber Monday and holiday deals that any marketer would absolutely love to scoop up. From books and conference tickets to free tool trials, you’ll find a variety of great deals.

Digital Advertising

#1- $100 Bing Advertising Credit

Bing Ads Cyber Monday Deal

Depending on your product or business, Bing Ads could be a great way to drive traffic, sales and ROI. If you’re ready to dabble in Bing Ads, the holiday season may be a good time to do it, as the search engine is offering a $100 advertising credit through Jan. 15, 2017.

Get the deal.

Tools, Software & Web Services

# 2 – Free SEMRush Trials (PRO or GURU)

SEMRush Cyber Monday Deal

SEMRush is an incredible tool that can help you conduct SEO and PPC keyword research and track digital marketing efforts, among other things. If you’re thinking about signing on for this tool, now is the time to do it.

Until Nov. 30, 2016, you can get a free one month trial of the PRO plan, which is priced at $69.95 a month. In addition, a free 14-day trial for the GURU plan, priced at $149.95 a month, is also available through Dec. 11, 2016.

Sign up for the PRO deal.

Sign up for the GURU deal.

#3 – 20% of Everything on Yoast.com

Yoast Cyber Monday Deal

Yoast, notably known for its SEO plugins for WordPress, is offering 20% off everything on its website on Cyber Monday.

Browse offerings here.

#4 – Up to 40% Off GetResponse for Life

GetResponse Cyber Monday Deal

GetResponse is an all-in-one online marketing platform that allows you to create and deliver emails, host webinars, and build, publish and host landing pages, as well as marketing automation.

Currently, the software provider is offering 15% off all plans. But there is also a 12- and 24-month pre-pay discount for EMAIL, PRO or MAX that is up to 40%.

Get more details here.

#5 – 50% off Envato Market Website Tools

Envato Market Cyber Monday Deal

Envato Market offers more than 9 million digital products to design and build beautiful websites. On Cyber Monday, the company is offering 50% off of over 500 different items, including web templates and themes, video and stock footage, and graphic templates. The sale will last until 2 p.m. Dec. 1, 2016.

Browse all sale items here.

#6 – Over 60% of BlueHost Plans

Bluehost Cyber Monday Deal

In the market for a new hosting service? BlueHost might be worth your consideration, especially now that they’re offering over 60% off on their web hosting services. The discount applies to the first term and goes to the regular rate upon renewal.

Check out the deal and the different plans available here.

Professional Development

#7 – $520 off Social Media Marketing World Tickets

SMMW Cyber Monday Deal

The next Social Media Marketing World event is set for beautiful, sunny San Diego, CA—and you could get a huge discount on your ticket. The event is offering 100 tickets at $520 discount until Dec. 2, 2016 or until they’re sold out. The normal price of the ticket is $1,597, so you’re getting about a 33% discount.

Register for SMMW here.

Books

There are a number of fantastic and inspiring digital marketing books that any marketer would love this holiday season. Below are a few of our favorites. (And you can bet that Amazon will be a great place to get them for a great deal on Cyber Monday).

#8 – Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

In this book from marketing veteran (and one of TopRank Marketing’s favorite marketers), Ann Handley, you’ll find some inspiration for writing better content and being a sport in the content marketing world.

Find the book on Amazon.

#9 – X: The Experience When Business Meets Design by Brian Solis

Book by Brian Solis

In this book, bestselling author and experienced marketer Brian Solis shares why great products are no longer good enough to win with customers and why creative marketing and delightful customer service too are not enough to succeed.

Find the book on Amazon.

#10 – Optimize by Lee Odden

Optimize book by Lee Odden

If you didn’t know, TopRank Marketing’s very own CEO Lee Odden is also an author. Optimize, his debut book, was designed to give readers a practical approach to integrating search and social media optimization with content marketing to boost relevance, visibility, and customer engagement.

Find the book on Amazon.

What other Cyber Monday and holiday deals have you found for marketers? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
10 Kick-Ass Cyber Monday & Holiday Deals for Digital Marketers | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Source: online marketing

Online Marketing News: Retail Holiday Social, Instagram Live & Online Shopping Accelerates

holiday-retail-customer-expectations

holiday-retail-customer-expectations

Retailers Will Get 30% More Social Messages This Holiday Season [Report]
What do customers expect from brands this holiday season? 38.8% are looking to brands to spread holiday cheer, followed by 19.5% who are looking for updates on promotions. In addition to looking to brands to help them make purchasing decisions, about 33% of survey respondents said they’re likely to post about a gift on social media. The takeaway? It’s time to spread that holiday cheer on social — before and after the holiday. Sprout Social

Instagram Launches Live Video on Instagram Stories: Here’s All You Need to Know
As part of the now seemingly ‘official’ war between Facebook and Snapchat, Facebook owned Instagram has released live video on Instagram stories. That’s not all — Instagram also announced the release of disappearing photos and videos from groups and friends. Buffer

Online And Mobile Shopping See Seasonal Acceleration
The holiday season this year will be a big one for online retailers, according to a recent round of predictions. Shoppers are planning their online purchases in advance, and in great numbers — 77% of shoppers plan to avoid physical stores this holiday season. Online retailers, take heed: Release your online holiday promotions early, and make sure your team is prepared. MediaPost

Moz beefs up Moz Local with new features, distribution and automation
Moz local users will be thrilled with this week’s news. Moz has announced some awesome new features of their Local suite, including Google My Business automated sync, listing alerts, reputation monitoring/management, expanded distribution via NavAds and improved SEO metrics. Search Engine Land

LinkedIn Rolls Out Audience Insights
LinkedIn (client) has announced the launch of audience insights on their mobile app, while desktop audience insights are following close behind. SocialTimes reports: “Tapping on the “Me” on users’ content in the LinkedIn mobile app will bring up real-time insights on who has read their posts, what companies they work for, their job titles, their locations and how they discovered users’ content.” SocialTimes

facebook-pages-get-5-billion-messages-per-month

Reap the Benefits of the Most Wonderful Time of the Year All Year Long [Infographic]
The holiday season, as we all know, is the most wonderful time of the year for marketers and consumers alike. Then, along comes January to spoil the fun. But it doesn’t have to. This infographic shows how to keep that holiday cheer — and results — going all year long. Marketo

Facebook launches a unified inbox for businesses on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram
In response to one of their most frequent requests — to combine inboxes to make it easier for brands to reply quickly — Facebook has combined inboxes for Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram to help brands more effectively and efficiently manage their direct messaging. TechCrunch

Mobile Apps Capture Consumer Attention 37 Minutes a Day – Up 20% From the Beginning of 2016
A recent report from Opera Mediaworks found that mobile app use duration is on the rise, even since the beginning of this year. This time is reportedly taken from other viewing activities, like TV programming. This report is packed full of app engagement related information. Opera Mediaworks

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet to @toprank or @Tiffani_Allen, or leave a note in the comments.

The post Online Marketing News: Retail Holiday Social, Instagram Live & Online Shopping Accelerates appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: online marketing

12 Reasons The TopRank Marketing Team is Thankful for Our Clients

toprank-marketing-gives-thanks-clients

Today is Thanksgiving and for many people around the nation, that means gathering with friends and family to give thanks for the things that they have, and the things they’ve learned.

This year, our team at TopRank Marketing would like to shine a light on some of our clients and give thanks for the many ways that they have inspired and guided our team over the years.

We are incredibly honored and thankful to work with such an amazing group of clients. To celebrate these great people, I’ve reached out to some of our team to share what they are thankful for and have learned from our rockstar clients.

Lee Odden – CEO

lee-odden

I am thankful for our clients, who have placed their trust in our agency team to deliver thoughtful, creative and effective marketing programs. Our clients are our partners in success and without them, we have no business.

Our agency has had a great year and more importantly, created the groundwork for even better growth in the years to come. I am very thankful for the teamwork that has helped make our clients successful and the increasing levels of marketing sophistication and passion for learning that exists amongst our group of professionals. I also appreciate that functions like operations and marketing can be effective whether I am meeting with prospective clients in another country or in the next room.

Last, I am also thankful for an agency management team that works as hard and smart as anyone I know. They quickly adapt to changes in ourbusiness and the industry and help their teams do the same, all with a focus on client success!

Alexis Hall – Director of Client Accounts

alexis-hall

I’m consistently impressed with how much our clients know about their current and target customers. The depth of insight that they are able to provide is incredibly useful and allows our team to focus on creating marketing strategies that are tailored specifically for that audience.

Kevin Kotch – SEO Analyst

kevin-kotch

It is hard to say that I’ve learned just one thing from a client that I’m thankful for. In their own way, each client teaches me how to become a better marketer. However, the team at Sisal Rugs did teach me that a pug can be an awesome taco too.

Leila de la Fuente – Account Manager

leila-de-la-fuente

I learned that we shouldn’t be scared to deploy B2C tactics for B2B clients. Behind all businesses are people, it’s all in how you approach it! I’m thankful for a new perspective.

Josh Nite – Content Marketing Lead

joshua-nite

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions in general, and Jason Miller in particular, taught me that it was okay to show personality in content. I was timid about adding that flair when I first started, but am a lot bolder about it now.

Amie Krone – Operations Manager

amie-krone

I’m thankful for learning the answer is never ‘no’. If you’re creative, determined and willing to put in effort, there is always another way.

Knute Sands – Content Marketing Manager

knute-sands

I am thankful for our clients who are willing to take risks, trust our team and try innovative marketing tactics. Even “best practices” fail from time to time, which means we are constantly tweaking our tactics to get the best results. Trust is a big part of this process.

Ashley Zeckman – Director of Agency Marketing

ashley-zeckman

I am thankful for clients that put their trust in our team, but expect amazing work in return. Having both our internal leadership team and our client teams constantly raising the bar helps all of us strive to be better each day. Knowing that many of our clients consider us partners instead of just vendors allows us to have the easy and the hard conversations, both of which positively impact our ability to deliver great results!

Julia Ramos – SEO Copywriter

julia-ramos

I’ve learned that integration cannot stop at the agency level. It takes effective communication and collaboration within the agency-client relationship to realize the full potential of both the information we share and the tactics we recommend.

Caitlin Burgess – Content Marketing Lead

caitlin-burgess

I’m thankful that our clients are passionate about what we do together, which has showed me that passion is a key ingredient in maintaining a great agency-client relationship and driving results.

Tiffani Allen – Account Manager

tiffani-allen

I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to disregard conventional wisdom and go for a totally out of the box solution to even a common marketing quandary – especially when it scares you a little bit.

Evan Prokop – Digital Marketing Manager

evan-prokop

I’m thankful to our clients for challenging me to be constantly innovating, learning and evolving. Our clients are from a wide variety of industries, but the commonality is that they all come to TopRank expecting great results, and finding ways to help them get there keeps my days interesting.

Have A Wonderful Holiday!

No matter where you are or what you’re doing, we’d like to wish you a happy thanksgiving. Take this time to love the ones you’re with, appreciate what you have and celebrate what this year has brought.

If there is anyone in your professional life that has inspired you, we’d love to hear more about it in the comments!


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
12 Reasons The TopRank Marketing Team is Thankful for Our Clients | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Source: online marketing

Why Most Content Doesn’t Get Social Shares–And How to Get Yours Seen

content-social-shares

It’s been a little over a year since Buzzsumo’s Steve Rayson dropped a bombshell on content marketers. After his company analyzed over one million blog posts, it was Steve’s sad duty to inform us that:

  • 75% of posts received zero domain links
  • 50% of posts received 8 shares or less
  • 75% of posts received 39 shares or less

In other words, that beautiful content we spent so much time crafting? Half of it didn’t attract enough people to fill a baseball roster. Three quarters of it didn’t attract enough people to fill a school bus.

It’s hard to feel good about numbers like that. But you don’t have to feel hopeless and you don’t have to take it lying down. Your audience is out there, waiting for great content to rise above the swelling tides of mediocrity.

Here’s how to create and promote content that will get you out of the ignored 75% and into the top 25.

Great Content Starts with Clairvoyance

How are your personas working for you? More importantly, how did you create them? For a long time, the industry standard was to sit around a table and think really hard about potential customers and what they might be like.

In other words, imagination instead of empathy. Projecting instead of listening. Which results in content being created for fictional characters.

Great content demands a deep understanding of your potential audience that can only come from data. Dig into keyword research. Comb through your support inbox to see what people are asking. Check your competitor’s content to look for holes you can fill. Ask your current customers, potential customers, and the ones that got away.

Social media and technology make it easier than ever to read your customers’ minds. If your content starts with clairvoyance, you’re well on the way to creating something genuinely useful.

Great Content Has a Point of View

Once you have that mind-reading-quality data, use it to write content that is essential. By that I mean it has a manifest reason to exist.

At this point we usually talk about “adding value” and “being useful.” Both of these concepts are great. But odds are there’s already content out there about your specific topic, bringing the same level of value and utility as yours will.

Point of view is the differentiating factor. It’s what you have that every competitor does not.

My brand is uniquely qualified to write this content because…

That’s the sentence you’ll need to finish before you draft the content. The answer should be obvious to your reader before they hit your first subhead:

  • Because everyone else overlooks this critical point
  • Because I, the author, have unique personal experience with this
  • Because the prevailing industry opinion on this is wrong
  • Because doing it this way will save time/money/headaches

Stir up controversy; speak from authority; show a better way. Don’t be shy about it, either. That’s how to create content worth sharing.

Great Content Is Amplified by Great Strategy

Let’s be honest: If it were enough to create essential content based on solid research, the numbers up top would be a lot more favorable. As it is, creating content isn’t even half the battle; it’s more like a quarter of it. The remainder, what turns your content into content marketing, is amplification.

Ideally, your content should come with amplification strategy baked in. It has stats you can pull out to make cool social media images. It has an eye-catching visual to compel a click. It includes influencers who are primed and motivated to share.

And, most importantly, it has some kind of budget behind it for paid promotion. As our friends (and clients) at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions say, “Organic is good. Paid is better.” Think of it this way: Is it better to reach the audience that happens to come by, or better to reach out and grab the exact people who are going to be most interested in your content?

Definitely take all the organic traffic you can get, don’t get me wrong. But don’t rely on it. Use the next-level targeting available on social media to put the content right in front of your best audience.

Great Content’s Impact Is Measured Beyond Social Shares

The points above can help your content earn social shares. The next step is to consider the value your content brings in that can’t be measured in likes, retweets, or re-grams (that’s what shares on Instagram are, right?).

The post that gets 1800 likes but not a single conversion is not your best post. The post that hits Buzzsumo’s average of 39 shares, but gets 20 people to download an eBook? That’s worth celebrating. Don’t judge all content by the top-of-funnel metrics of traffic and shares.

This is especially true for B2B. Think of Volvo’s ad with Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits:

Click here to view the embedded video.

It’s a seriously cool ad. It won awards, justifiably so. It’s a work of art. And it’s sitting at nearly 85 million views.

But Volvo didn’t sell 85 million big rigs from this ad. The better number is 1100: That’s the number of commercial truck owners and buyers who saw the video and said they were more likely to choose Volvo. By the right metric, it was a success. The view count was just gravy.

Ready to Create Better Content? Great!

We marketers produce approximately eleven hojillion pieces of content a year. And that number’s not going to get any saner in the future. It’s on us to create content that rises above mediocrity. Content that arises from intensive buyer research, presents value with a strong point of view, and is strategically amplified to hit the audience it is written to delight. And it’s on us to measure that content’s impact beyond watching numbers go up on a social share counter.

Are you passionate about making content that stands above the rest? TopRank Marketing is hiring.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Why Most Content Doesn’t Get Social Shares–And How to Get Yours Seen | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Why Most Content Doesn’t Get Social Shares–And How to Get Yours Seen appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: online marketing

7 Tips for Running a Successful Social Media Marketing Campaign

social-media-marketing-campaign

In today’s digital world, social media is a staple tactic within most marketing strategies, with 92% of companies considering social media important for their business. But as a widely adopted tactic, many brands and marketers are finding it more challenging than ever to stand out in news feeds, grow their follower base, and maintain or increase engagement. Of course, recent platform tweaks aimed at improving user experience have thrown a wrench into the mix, too.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, it may be time to get more creative and deliberate with your social media marketing strategy. How? By designing and launching a unique social media marketing campaign or contest to liven things up.

Social media campaigns and contests are targeted events or promotions that have a specific focus and goal, and are integrated into your overall social media marketing strategy. For me, some well-known examples that come to mind are the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Dove’s multi-faceted Real Beauty campaign.

So, if you think a social media campaign or contest is a good next step for your marketing efforts, consider some of the following tips to help you find some success.

#1 – Create a detailed campaign strategy.

Taking the time to create and document your campaign strategy will help you think critically about your campaign goals, how you’ll execute tactics, and how you’ll measure success. In addition, your strategy can be used as a handy guide to keep you on track throughout the life of the campaign.

Ask yourself the following questions as you work to create your campaign strategy:

  • Who is my audience? (What motivates them? Are there any pain points I’m trying to address?)
  • What is my campaign objective? (What do I want my target audience to do?)
  • Which social networks are the best fit for this campaign or contest? (Which social platforms are the best match for reaching my audience and my campaign goals?)
  • What tactics will I use to execute my campaign? (Blog content? Video? eBooks? Webinars? Influencers?)
  • Which of my own team members will play a role in this initiative? (Who is responsible for executing each part of the campaign?)
  • How will this campaign fit into my overall social media marketing strategy?
  • How will I measure success? (Website traffic? Engagement metrics? Contact forms? Downloads? Purchases?)

#2 – Offer something of value.

People need a reason to pay attention and participate in your campaign or contest. Discounts and giveaways are certainly powerful motivators.

As an example, TopRank Marketing client Welter Heating, a family-owned HVAC company, put on a social media trivia contest, with the prize being sets of four front row tickets to an upcoming baseball game. The goal was to drive social awareness and engagement, as well as website traffic. Calls for entries were posted on their main social media pages and a small budget was allocated to sponsored Facebook posts.

Ray Welter Heating Contest

In the end, we saw a 166% increase in overall website traffic as compared to the same period the previous year. The contest even generated a couple calls for service.

But it’s important to note that your offer doesn’t have to start and end with a valuable prize. You can also offer value by promoting your participants contributions. For Welter Heating, that meant highlighting winners in a blog post and also sharing images of them enjoying their prize winnings.

Social Media Marketing Contest - Welter Heating

#3 – Research campaign and contest rules.

Each social media platform has unique rules and guidelines for conducting campaigns and contests. Do your homework ahead of time to make sure you know and understand the rules so you don’t face consequences later.

Explore the links below to get started with your research:

#4 – Don’t forget SEO best practices.

All social media platforms contain their own search engines and many of them can be indexed by Google, Bing and other third-party search engines, making SEO an important component of any campaign or contest.

Before launching your campaign, compile a list of targeted keywords, as well as any relevant hashtags, that you’d like to rank for socially. Once you have your list, conduct native query searches for the terms to discover who or what kind of content is coming up in searches. Theses insights can help you refine your keyword list, ensure relevancy, and potentially get a glimpse of the competition.

#5 – Create a campaign or contest landing page on your website.

If one of your objectives is to drive traffic to your website or a specific asset on your website, creating a tailored landing page is a must. A landing page can help assure your audience that they’ve landed where they need to be to take action. It’s also helpful for tracking how your audience is engaging with your campaign content, rather than just sending them to the homepage.

#6 – Actively engage with participants.

The best way to organically boost campaign or contest engagement is to actually engage with your participants. At a bare minimum, every positive engagement should get a like or a favorite out of you. But for maximum impact, make an effort to be real and encourage more conversation. If you do this, there’s a good chance the

Whether you’re tracking comments, mentions or hashtags, use your preferred social media management tool to keep pace with activity so you can quickly respond. If you’re in the market for a new tool, there are several options—both free and for a fee—out there. Some of those options include: Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Sprinklr, Spredfast and Buffer. Choose the one that best matches with your budget, goals and the networks you’re using.

#7 – Repurpose the UGC you receive.

If you’re asking your audience to share photos, stories or feedback, their responses can be great fodder for blog content or additional social promotion.

BeCharming.com, a certified-PANDORA retailer based in Minnesota and a TopRank Marketing client, launched its #BeCharming campaign in the spring. The goal of the campaign is to encourage PANDORA-lovers to share how they express themselves with PANDORA jewelry through photos on Instagram.

Several of the submissions have been featured in related blog posts. One of the most recent stories discusses how PANDORA has helped a mother and daughter honor special memories and grow their bond.

social-media-campaign-pandora-example

The Big Takeaway

Social media campaigns and contests can be an effective way to add some lift to your social media marketing efforts. The big thing to remember is that your campaigns and contests don’t have to be huge productions with a ton of money behind them, but they do need a thoughtful strategy with your audience and their needs at the center.

What social media campaign or contest has really resonated with you? What can other brands and marketers learn from it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Disclosure: Pandora MOA and Welter Heating are TopRank Marketing clients. 


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7 Tips for Running a Successful Social Media Marketing Campaign | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 7 Tips for Running a Successful Social Media Marketing Campaign appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: online marketing

Is Bing A Thing? The Answer: It Depends

is-bing-a-thing

It’s no surprise that Google is the most popular search engine in the world. In fact, according to NetMarketShare, it owns over 75% of the desktop search engine market share and over 94% of mobile/tablet search engine market share.

Desktop Search Engine Market Share - October 2016

Desktop Search Engine Market Share – October 2016

 

Mobile/Tablet Search Engine Market Share - October 2016

Mobile/Tablet Search Engine Market Share – October 2016

And it’s stats like these that have SEO and digital marketing professionals everywhere focusing solely on Google, when looking to improve organic search visibility. Why focus on optimizing for Bing, or Yahoo, or AOL, when they take up such a small piece of our search pie?

So when we’re asked the question, “Is Bing a Thing?” we’re quick to dismiss the need for optimization focused on Bing’s ranking algorithm; but the truth is, the answer should be “It depends.”

Understanding Bing’s Role in Your Audience’s Search World

The first place to start is your website analytics.

Just yesterday, we saw our client’s Bing traffic hit an all-time high – now accounting for over 5% of the traffic to their site and over 10% of their revenue. What does this tell us? That visitors that find their site through a Bing search are more likely to convert than those on other sources of traffic. In this case, we may want to consider optimizing the website for Bing, where applicable.

What differences in search algorithms do Bing and Google have? According articles from HubSpot and Ignite Visibility, here are a few:

  • Bing favors factually relevant results over socially relevant sites
  • Bing places more weight on only websites with official domain names like .gov or .edu
  • Bing places more emphasis on social media signals
  • Bing still considers keywords used in page title, meta tags, and meta keyword field

What’s important to realize is that every site’s audience is different, and their search preferences are different too. Take a look at your website’s organic search traffic sources over the past 12 months. If you’re seeing that month-over-month, Bing’s piece of the search pie is increasing, then it’s time to consider taking steps to optimize your site to meet Bing’s ranking factors as well as Google’s.

The Future of Bing

In the first quarter of 2016, the comScore released news of Bing’s growing market share. The data showed that as Bing gained a few points of market share, Google lost a few. Sources like SEOChat and SearchEngineJournal theorized on the possible continued growth of Bing this year, with new contracts and acquisitions in the works to improve capabilities and accessibility.

So, as 2016 comes to a close, do these theories hold up? Comment below to let us know if you’ve experienced a notable change in search engine market share in your own analytics.

 

 


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Source: online marketing

Online Marketing News: ‘Tis Pinterest Season, Self-Serve InMail and Nutella Spreads Happiness

pinterest-holiday-shopping-marketing

pinterest-holiday-shopping-marketing

Holiday Marketing Campaigns: ‘Tis the Season for Pinterest [Infographic]
MarketingProfs reports: “People on Pinterest tend to spend twice as much as the general public, and 67% of them will be using Pinterest to plan for holiday purchases.” Learn more from this holiday spirited infographic from Pinterest. MarketingProfs

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail goes self-serve
LinkedIn (client) has opened up their Sponsored InMail ad solution to be run through LinkedIn Campaign Manager. Previously, this solution was only available to marketers with an account representative to execute these campaigns. Marketers can now self-service Sponsored InMail, targeting users by location, industry, title, and more. ClickZ

How Nutella’s First Branded Content Series Will Spread Happiness
Nutella is spreading the happiness in their new documentary series ‘Spread the Happy,’ featuring ‘real people and real stories.’ AdWeek reports: “The release of the series is timed to the holiday season. There are four episodes total with a new one released each week on the brand’s YouTube channel.” Is this a new face for content marketing? Time will tell. AdWeek

More Than One-Half of Consumers Prefer Social Customer Service (Report)
According to a recent report, 54% of consumers prefer to access customer service through social media or SMS messaging. This is a continuation of the trend of social-first customer service. As we’ve seen, social connections bring about brand advocacy, with 46.7% of consumers saying that personal responses from brands strengthen their brand loyalty. Social Times

Instagram Stories get better with new features
While Instagram stories were once rumored to be a duplication of Snapchat’s stories, they’ve found a surprising way to differentiate their service. Instagram stories are now allowing links for verified accounts, mentions and Boomerang — their unique video loop. Marketing Land

b2b-marketers-spending-on-programmatic

Google, Facebook Move to Punish Fake News Sites With Ad Rules
Bloomberg reports: “On Monday, Alphabet Inc.’s Google said it’s implementing a new policy that pulls its popular advertising tool from websites that run ‘misrepresentative content’ although it stopped short of banning fake news from its pages. Facebook clarified existing rules that it won’t integrate or display ads in apps or sites that are illegal, misleading or deceptive.” Bloomberg Technology

Google expands AMP, as it presents a friendly face to publishers
Google is expanding AMP — Accelerated Mobile Pages — to include AMP for Ads, extending to native and video ads. Google is reportedly doing this as it’s a tough time for publishers, and the company wants to help secure their financial future through the open web. Data released seems to back up that assertion, as most of the publishers they surveyed, 80% or more, have higher visibility and click through rates. Digiday

Facebook Reports More Measurement Glitches
Ad Age reports that on Wednesday, Facebook “said in a new blog post that it had given marketers and publishers faulty numbers in a few other spots, inflating how many people visited their Pages and how long they spent reading Instant Articles.” Coming out after the platforms’s recent bout with faulty email metrics, this is causing some concern among social advertisers. Ad Age

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back soon with more online marketing news! Have something to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

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Source: online marketing

Artificial Intelligence is Here: 5 Brands Implementing AI

Artificial Intelligence Marketing

To most people, artificial intelligence (AI) is represented in terms of robots with human-like similarities. Today’s reality is that of AI powering technologies and driving companies to complete tasks and make things easier. Companies are using AI more than ever, even for tasks that you may not consider.

To understand how AI impacts your business, it’s important to understand exactly what artificial intelligence is. According to Merriam Webster artificial intelligence is, “an area of computer science that deals with giving machines the ability to seem like they have human intelligence.” These machines allow technologies to seem like they have a human element while improving the efficiency and consistency of the company.

Below are five companies that leverage an artificial intelligence system to provide a better user experience for each user.

Google – Machine Learning Algorithm

google-ai

As mentioned in a previous post on the impact of artificial intelligence, Google is using artificial intelligence to help their algorithms understand and learn. Google can use AI to make the results more accurate for each user, which provides a better use experience. Google has always been focused on providing the best result for each user.

Besides using artificial intelligence for their algorithms, Google is using the technology for the self-driving cars too. The goal of self-driving cars will be able to analyze the road ahead of it and make decisions in advance by learning from past experiences. The more experiences the self-driving cars encounter the more it can learn to make sure the people riding in the car are protected.

Lastly, like Siri from Apple, Google uses AI to help power its own personal assistant on smartphones. Google will use the technology to learn about certain locations a person typically goes to or eats at. Google also pulls in information from events and emails to show people the information they might want to see as quickly as possible. Google’s personal assistant over time while learn more about the user to help them find the information they are looking for as quickly as possible.

 

Rare Carat – Kayak of Diamonds

rare-carat-ai

Rare Carat is a website that calls itself the “Kayak of Diamonds.” Rare Carat uses the IBM Watson technology to compare the price of diamonds across various online retailers. The technology allows users to find diamonds at the right price without feeling like they are paying too much if they happened to go to a traditional brick and mortar jeweler. Besides using the technology to find the best diamond, Rare Carat is looking into more AI options that would walk a user through the entire process, much like what you would find in the store. That AI technology would would act like a representative that would answer questions and concerns while someone is making the purchase.

 

Under Armor – Personal Fitness Advice

under-armor-ai

Under Armor leveraged IBM Watson to create a health-tracking app call “Record.” Record is an app that will track and analyze workouts, sleep data, and nutrition, while also importing data from other fitness tracking apps. The biggest benefit of the fitness-tracking app is the ability to provide personalized recommendations for nutrition and training advice. By using AI, the app will change the way people can seek fitness advice by basically getting a personal trainer experience without going to the gym.

 

Wayblazer – Language recognition API

wayblazer-ai

Wayblazer, like many other companies, leverages the IBM Watson technology for the travel industry. Wayblazer focuses on the language recognition API to analyze cues and triggers from the traveler’s search to yield personalized hotel recommendations. The AI technology will allow personalized experiences to each user which can lead encourage them to select the right hotel without extensive research.

 

Spotify – Finding the best music

spotify-ai

Like other music and video streaming services, Spotify uses AI and deep learning to provide recommendations on similar music that users will enjoy. The application monitors the listening preferences and inserts them into a learning algorithm to make the song recommendations. You can see the deep learning being used with the Discover Weekly playlists that show related music based off of preferences. Also, Spotify has been showing suggested songs based on the type of music a user listens to more frequently. This use of AI may not be as advanced as other companies but it still uses predictive analytics and AI algorithms to learn about each user, enhancing the product.

Artificial Intelligence to the Rescue

Artificial intelligence is already pushing companies in the right direction to creating the best user experience. The tools and technologies that are being driven by AI will only increase. Artificial intelligence can help companies become more efficient and create more technologies to help each individual user.

Ask Yourself: Is there an opportunity to leverage AI in your business to help your customers?


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Source: online marketing