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Blogging – Be Your Brand

successful bloggingSuccessful blogging seems to be one of the biggest challenges we see for many marketers. But in my opinion blogging is one of the most valuable activities an organization can do. It’s a chance to dig deeper than you would on your web site, or in other social media channels. You can establish real domain expertise, add depth to your brand, and even accomplish silly objectives like increasing search engine traffic and user time spent on your site.

That’s why when I see a good brand with a great blog, I feel compelled to share it. Recently, I’ve run into November Bicycles – a company dedicated to making great wheels at a great price. They’d received numerous kudos in some online forums I frequent, so I checked out November’s web site to learn more. The web site itself is solid, but simple. Much like their products, the brand was all about high-value without compromising performance and quality.

But even more impressive is their blog. In straight, no bullshit language, these guys mix discussions of the issues they address in wheel design and construction, opinions on the industry, and current promotions in a way that’s engaging, compelling and provides a successful blogging experience! I want to come back and check the blog regularly. It’s interesting and I learn something on every visit. With topics ranging from selecting the right spoke, to the importance of execution for corporate success, there’s something that adds brand richness, and makes me see them as knowledgeable, trustworthy experts.

blogging

Oh, and I bought a set of their Alloy Nimbus T11 wheels for my cyclocross bike. If I like them as much as I think I will, there’s a good chance come Spring I’ll sell my road bike wheels and order some Rail 52’s. I’d call that engaging a prospect. From consideration, to purchase, to repeat purchase. The true “Yahtzee!” of marketing…

-Sean-

Social Media Image Size Guide [INFOGRAPHIC]

I have been updating a couple client social media sites recently and realized that it has been a while since we updated a social media image size guide. In fact, June 2013 was the last time I published information on correct sizing of images!

The size of social media images changes from time to time, so having the most current data available is paramount. Each social media profile has unique size specifications and failure to properly size images may result in misalignment, cutting off part of the image or simply not being able to post them. There is nothing more frustrating to me, than seeing a company that does not have consistent branding across all social media profiles, so please feel free to print and reference this social media image size guide.

This infographic is a great source to reference when creating the correct size images for your LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Having trouble managing your social media? Need assistance with analytics or even initially creating your social media presence? Perhaps a social media audit is necessary. Regardless of your need, PWB marketing can assist your company in getting the most from social media.  Call our office today at 734-995-5000 for your social media answers.

 

Help Monitor Social Media Mentions with Google Alerts

A few months ago PWB was nominated for best “Ad Agency/Design Firm” in the 2013 Readers Choice Awards by local publication Current. We missed hearing that we were nominated for the honor and that voting was going on, but caught that we placed as runner up once the awards were published. Want to know what tool may have helped us catch that bit of news? Having a Google Alert for PWB Marketing – It’s a smart social media tool that can help track important keywords and phrases. Want to know more about using it to track social media mentions for your company? Tuesday’s Quick Tip can help you out!

I have Google Alerts for all of my clients, but somehow missed adding one for PWB Marketing – That’s been remedied. Google Alerts are great for catching important news in your industry, perhaps competitor mentions and certainly on your company name or names of individuals within your company. Alerts can help you quickly monitor what’s important to your company and they are easy to set up. To set up a new Google Alert, simply visit the landing page, add the keyword or keyword phrases you wish to track and choose the frequency of the alert. That’s it.

Google Alert PWB

Will you try out Google Alerts for your company? The results may surprise you.

Image Sizes for Social Media Branding [Infographic]

A week ago when I logged in to a clients YouTube channel to upload some video, I noticed a prompt that made me grown. I was notified that the channel layout was about to change. Again.

youtube changes

“Upgrades” or changes often mean the creative needs to be edited when branding a social media site like YouTube.

What does this mean to me? It means that I will be busy for the next little while adding new creative to each client channel PWB manages. In this case it was alright though, since the client’s (Uniloy) YouTube channel needed new artwork anyway. What I discovered though is that as part of the process, you are “encouraged” to edit your Google+ page.For my personal reference, that is why I had one of our art directors create a new Social Media branding Infographic.

The changes to cover art sizing are frequent enough, and none of the channels – Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Google+, YouTube – have the same size images. Heck, they don’t even have image sizes that can be easily scaled when branding your social media pages!

So please feel free to use this infographic for your reference when adding branding to any of the popular social media sites! The infographic will help you create the correct size images for your LinkedIn or Facebook cover photos, Google+ channel art or Twitter and YouTube header!

social media branding infographic

When editing social media sites, it is important to remember what size images are for creative branding! Use this infographic as a reference to understand what size images you will need for your LinkedIn or Facebook cover photo, Google+ channel art or YouTube and Twitter header image.

One word of caution. Although my art director created the exact size image for Google+, we needed to trick the system by adding a couple of pixels to the height and width. Otherwise the image would not load to the site!

More B2B Social Media Fact vs. Fiction

Updated 2013 stats – Know B2B social media facts from fiction. Fiction: Social media offers limited value to B2B marketers. Here are 8 Tweetable Facts bout how B2B companies are  using social media to generate leads, connect with customers, and reach business goals.

[FACT] B2B companies that blog generate 70% more leads/month than those who do not.  TWEET THIS

[FACT] Increasing blogging to 6-8x/month nearly doubles leads according to @Hubspot. TWEET THIS

[FACT] 83% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn to distribute content. TWEET THIS

[FACT] B2B companies that blog 15x/month get 5X more traffic than companies that don’t blog according to @HubSpot. TWEET THIS

[FACT] 46% of marketers plan to increase their spend on content. @CMIContent  TWEET THIS

[FACT] B2C marketers use mobile and print more often than B2B. TWEET THIS

[FACT] 67% of B2C companies and 41% of B2B companies have acquired a customer from Facebook. TWEET THIS

[FACT] B2C marketers use LinkedIn much less frequently (51%) than their B2B peers (83%).  TWEET THIS

Great Example of Photos in Social Media [Infographic]

Sharing photos in social media often improves the chances that posts get views. It can also help improve user engagement. Hubspot recently reported that Facebook posts using photos received 53% more Likes.  In fact imagery is one of the major reasons for the Facebook News Feed redesign. Simply slapping images into posts onto Social Media sites, like Facebook or Twitter isn’t going to cut it. Want to see a great example of sharing photos in social media?

The Soup Facebook

Last week on Facebook, I noticed an image shared on The Soup Facebook Page.  It wasn’t simply loaded to the wall in the hopes that someone would see it, instead the photo featured a large yellow rectangle blocking the image. Viewers were then instructed to click-through to see the image, then come back to Facebook to comment  on the “Caption This” photo contest.

You may ask yourself, “Why is that important, or in the very least, why would that be noteworthy?” I would then argue that in posting an image with a good part of it blocked, the viewers are drawn in. They are drawn in by the yellow block but they also get the “what’s behind the curtain” feeling and want to peek. That my friends is user engagement. The Soup’s social media interns have just caused fans to take an action!

What makes this example even more special is that the contest wasn’t being run on entirely on The Soup Facebook Page. The post directed viewers to click-through to The Soup to see the image, then asked the viewers to come BACK to Facebook to post their comment. Pretty brilliant eh? Simplicity often is.

A week later The Soup posted the entire image to their Facebook Page which included the best caption. They also wrote a second blog post about the image and Caption This contest that included a second award for the comment with the “Most Likes.” Want to see if YOUR comment won the most likes? You created more user engagement by having fans click-through to the blog yet again.

Want to know something even more amazing? Between their website analytics and the basic analytics Facebook provides, The Soup should be able to guage the effectiveness of the contest, two Facebook posts and two blog posts! It must be working for them. There are more “Caption This” contests happening that include the yellow rectangle.

Now lets’ stop for a moment to consider the many social media sites. How can your business grab attention on each of them by posting photos? Are there things your company can do to improve user engagement acorss channels?  With millions of potential viewers and rapidly growing social media platforms this better be something your company is thinking about.

social media, photographs in socail media

Using photos on the many social media platforms often increases visibility. Are you using images to reach more readers? Does using photos improve user engagement?

Infographic Sources: Facebook, Hubspot, CNN

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media Censorship: Think Before Deleting Comments

social media censorship

Negative opinions and comments that you don’t like don’t merit immediate censorship – Think before hitting delete!

I was chatting with a friend the other day about a comment she didn’t like on a Facebook post. She told me “Well I didn’t like it, so I removed it.” I asked if the comment was especially negative, off-topic or otherwise offensive and she stated that no, she just didn’t like it.  This really struck a cord for me, and not in the most positive way.

For social media to be “social” there has to be dialog – Two way dialog. My policies often include never removing negative comments or “opinions” unless they are purposefully nasty to the blog author, advertise irrelevant products or are somehow derogatory in nature. Certainly this leaves room for interpretation, however I feel strongly that everyone has a voice and that voice should be heard so long as it is respectful of whatever policies are in place.

Simply removing a negative opinion often “fires up” the individual who made the comment. It’s like adding fuel to the fire and can cause you to get burnt in the long run. So my advice is to simply leave the comment where it is and respond directly to the post.

Here are a few brief things you can do to address a negative comment on your social media outlets.

  • Take control before things spin out-of-control and address comments head-on.
  • Be respectful to those posting the comments; Always take the high-road and be sincere in your response.
  • Address comments as quickly as possible – A good rule of thumb is to respond to Facebook or blog posts within 24-hours or to Twitter within a few hours.
  • Personalize how you respond using the individuals name if at all possible. Don’t use terms like “valued customer”. If the writer used an alias to hide their identity, use that name in your response.
  • Follow-up to the comment in other ways. Can you call the individual? Email them? Respond with a personal message on Facebook?
  • And most importantly don’t hide your head in the sand and hope it will go away. It won’t!

When considering social media censorship, remember to be proactive by creating a social media policy ahead of time to guide you and your team should a situation arise. At that point you can ensure discussions remain within the parameters you have set and can enforce the policy regarding offensive posts and comments.

[Infographic] Tips to Increase Reader Engagement on Social Media Sites

There are three basic rules when considering what to share on the various social media platforms.

1) The best content posted to social media sites is easy to understand and fairly simple to share. Consider creating infographics, #factoids, summary videos and quotes that may be easily Tweeted and shared.

2) Content should catch the eye of the reader. Use photos, graphs, graphics or embedded video for a big impact, interaction and responses. According to a recent Hubspot report,  posts that include photos get 53% more “likes” and 104% more comments than those without.

3) Consider when to post content. Is your audience looking for your product or service at a certain time of the day? Are there better times to post content? And most important, what time during the day will you get a higher response rate from posted content? Linchpin SEO reported recently that Facebook posts that are published overnight get a 14% higher interaction than those posted during daytime. Why? It’s likely because of the sheer volume of posts from 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and also because Facebook would like you to pay for a sponsored post so some content is being limited to your audience.

Want to know a little more, check out this social media calendar infographic with several recent statistics for 2013.

2013 Social media facts

Facebook Ads In Your Inbox

Fear not, it’s really not the end of the world, however it may be the end of an era. Or is it the beginning of another? Facebook is trying REALLY hard to make some money, and has implemented changes that allows YOUR Messages inbox to be monetized – Yes that’s right, they are beginning to sell your inbox to the highest bidder. Enter the “Inbox delivery test.”

On an announcement in Facebook, the marker has said the following:

“Facebook ads are designed to get the most relevant messages into your Inbox and put less relevant messages into your Other folder. We rely on signals about the message to achieve this goal.

Some of these signals are social – we use social signals such as friend connections to determine whether a message is likely to be one you want to see in your Inbox.

Some of these signals are algorithmic – we use algorithms to identify spam and use broader signals from the social graph, such as friend of friend connections or people you may know, to help determine relevance.

Today we’re starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance. This test will give a small number of people the option to pay to have a message routed to the Inbox rather than the Other folder of a recipient that they are not connected with.

Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.

This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient. For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox. For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them.

This message routing feature is only for personal messages between individuals in the U.S. In this test, the number of messages a person can have routed from their Other folder to their Inbox will be limited to a maximum of one per week.

We’ll continue to iterate and evolve Facebook Messages over the coming months.”

If you are a marketer. This may be really GREAT news! If you are an individual that thought Facebook was safe from messages like this – well things are a changing. Marketers will now be able to PAY to assure that everyone and anyone will see their messages.

Is Using Klout Right for You and Your Business?

Last week I took some of my own advice when an online social media tool just didn’t seem to be working for me. I stopped using it. OK, more specifically, I opted out of using Klout. According to Klout, you are scored based on the ability to drive an action. In other words, every time you create content online or engage with someone, you influence them. Klout scores this collected data in order to measure:

    • How many people you influence,
    • how much you influence them
    • and what the influence of your network is.

Instead of being beneficial to me however, it was a huge time-suck that wasn’t returning any investment on time. In fact it is likely that Klout was sending my personal user data to the next highest bidder. So I weighed the pros and cons, and decided the lack of personal privacy was not worth it. I’m not alone in this either, as many people have been opting out as their outrage in the Klouts algorhythm and privacy issues has grown.

Being that social and online media is a big part of what I do however, this was a carefully weighed decision. I needed to remind myself that the primary reason I initially tried it was to understand Klout’s power and how it may help my clients – And it is a powerful tool that can help you better understand how you motivate YOUR clients. Personally however, that’s why it scared me.

As an individual Klout was tracking my personal relationships and not necessarily my business relationships; I network a lot and can pretty clearly indicate the potential clients I have spoken to as a result of my Tweeting, blogging or being on Facebook. I blog for clients, I have my own blog, my blog has its own Facebook page, however Klout was pulling information from my personal social media accounts instead of from where I truly wanted to consider my influence over others – From my actual work. Go ahead and measure how many times my business tweets have been responded to, or how many fans I have on my blog’s Facebook page or RSS followers on my blog, just don’t touch my personal information.

I can already determine how well my blog posts and websites rank, so for me the tool wasn’t providing anything I didn’t already know. I understand that sometimes my business and personal life converge into one persona, but Klout was using my personal network to measure my value exposing me to something I don’t want, an all-knowing Big Brother invasion of privacy.

If your business is using the metrics of Klout however, that might be a reason to keep or establish an account. Businesses what to know that the time spent online is being used efficiently. They depend on data to develop strategies and commit resources for the biggest return on their investment. Some companies are even using Klout scores to directly market their products and services to influencers. These are things to consider when considering using a social media platform or new tool.

As always, it all comes down to understanding how much time you have available, and how you allocate that time to get the biggest bang for your buck. Don’t choose to “Do” or “Not Do” something because someone tells you to. Choose to “Do” or “Not Do” it based upon your needs, resources and return on the investment!