All blog posts about Social Media.
A new year brings new challenges in social media marketing. Luckily, this is the best time of the year to review your social strategy.
Back in 2008, Search Engine Watch published the article ‘Social Media and SEO – Friends with Benefits‘, and I’d highly recommend reading it back now for a stark reminder of how far the digital world has progressed in the last nine years.
Some of the key statistics and points featured in the article (although contemporary at the time) may seem somewhat archaic in 2017:
These are now the go-to channels for marketers wishing to attract users and user attention, with businesses putting aside huge budgets to reach audiences on these platforms.
Facebook and Google have also both influenced how users search for information online and respond to advertising, in ways that marketers need to be aware of and adapt to in order for their advertising campaigns to be a success.
Both channels are powerful in their own, unique ways, but both also have their problems.
How can marketers overcome these challenges and optimize their campaigns for the twin giants of Google and Facebook?
Content produced in association with Fospha.
We all know that Facebook is growing at an amazing speed, with 1.28 billion people logging on for an average of 35 minutes every day (Mediakix, 2016). Clearly, this platform has monopolized users’ free time, so there is now no better way for marketers to target potential customers as they go about their everyday activities.
However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.
When someone uses a search engine, such as Google, they are looking for what they are interested in – giving marketers some idea of who and what they should target.
But there is slightly more guesswork involved with Facebook ads, with marketers needing to ensure that they are pushing relevant content onto consumer’s feeds, to avoid it getting lost in the mass of content that is already on the platform.
On Facebook, people share almost every conceivable detail of their lives. Harnessing this data to create personalized and targeted ads is the key to taking advantage of the Facebook boom – and to delivering the right content, to the right individuals, on a platform they are already browsing.
Marketers can even go a step further – combining all known information about consumers, including that found outside Facebook, like website visits and previous purchase history, to create even more targeted content.
The more granular and rich your incoming data, the better your Facebook ads will be, and the more likely they will lead to conversions.
Google now processes an average of over 40,000 search queries every second – translating to over 3.5 billion searches per day. This number is huge, and when you consider the fact that every single one of those searches is a user looking for something to meet a specific need, you understand whykeyword bidding is such a powerful tool for marketers.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the beauties of Google is that when a person searches for something related to your brand, you can be pretty certain that they are interested. But with this specificity comes greater competition from businesses wishing to capitalise on these potential customers.
Indeed, whilst the average CPC for Facebook Ads in the US was $0.28 in Q3 of 2016, Google AdWords was costing businesses a whopping 88% more, at a search average of $2.32 (AdEspresso, 2017; WordStream, 2017). Marketers need to ensure that they don’t get so caught up in the appeal – and ease – of AdWords bidding, that they spend huge budgets for little outcome.
Invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning, so that your bids are automated according to how potential customers are responding at any given moment. Marketers can only adapt so quickly, but by optimizing and automating your keyword bidding in this way, you can ensure you do not over, or underspend, your budget.
So, is there a winner?
Clearly, each channel offers something that the other cannot – meaning that marketers shouldn’t really have to choose between one or the other when planning a digital campaign. The important thing is being able to overcome their pitfalls, in order to increase ROI and customer conversions.
We’ve found that the best way is to take advantage of your customer data, in order to deliver personalized and targeted content across your channels.
Twitter is one of my top slam-dunk assets for trying to displace negative content in search results. If your reputation has been harmed by some negative content that ranks when your name is searched, a strong Twitter account could be one of your primary resources for pushing the bad stuff lower on Google and Bing. Unfortunately, many individuals, small businesses and reputation agencies do a poor job of optimizing Twitter profiles to enable this to happen. Read on for my ninja-level tricks for Twitter SEO!
When searching for the names of individuals and businesses in search engines, Twitter accounts can appear on page one of Google and Bing if they have been properly optimized. For example, a search for Coca-Cola shows the brand’s main Twitter account on page one in the second position, just below the corporation’s listing for their official website.
In another example from Bing, if you search for Pepsi, you’ll find the official Twitter account of the brand appearing on page one for its name searches.
It’s probably borderline unremarkable to report that a search for “Trump” in either Google or Bing brings up President Trump’s Twitter account listing within the top two or three positions in the search results. But if you search on Google for other big names, you will often find that their Twitter accounts are ranking high as well.
In the example below, featuring the CEO of Tesla cars, Elon Musk, Google has evaluated his tweets to be so salient for his name search that a carousel of them are displayed in the search results, directly below his Twitter account listing.
Of course, these are astronomically popular Twitter accounts for celebrity individuals and strong brands with sophisticated social media management. However, even lesser-known names can achieve placement on page one in search engines. And, if you’re on page one, you then have a good chance of using your Twitter account to displace anything negative about you on the first page.
But this can’t happen if the Twitter account is not properly optimized. So, I’ll launch straight into some ninja tricks for maximizing the ranking power of your Twitter profile.
Optimize your Twitter handle!
I’d count this as one of the two most influential and critical elements for your Twitter optimization effort. Your handle, also known as your username, is incorporated by Twitter into your profile URLs and page titles. It also can appear numerous times in the visible text of the profile, and in links and titles pointing from elsewhere to your page.
To best optimize the handle for rankings of your name, you need to craft the handle to be spelled as closely as possible to the version of your name that people type in when searching for you. People who don’t understand search engines get this wrong all the time. Here are some tips on crafting good names:
- Again, imitate the version of your name that people use to search for you. (People often leave off words like “Inc.” and “Company” when searching.) The ideal naming convention is to spell out your name, leaving out any spaces. The closer you match your spelling, the more search engines are likely to evaluate the handle to be highly relevant for your searches (e.g., @chrissmith).
- If your ideal name configuration is unavailable, which is more likely the more common your name is, then you will have to craft a variation on it. Try to choose an abbreviation that’s as close to the original name as possible. The higher the degree of similarity, the more relevant the search engines will consider the name compared with your actual name. Craft a name that may look like yours if read rapidly, and then test it by using that name to search in Google. If Google automatically associates the alternate version with your website and other online identity materials, then chances are good that you’re on the right track.
- If your name is longer than the 15 characters allotted by Twitter — which happens ALL the time — you will obviously have to abbreviate it. Again, craft this abbreviated name carefully and test it in Google. For instance, if I tried to use my full name without spaces, it would be: @chrissilversmith. At 16 characters, it’s one character too long to be accepted by Twitter. Instead, I might choose to use @chrissilversmth or @chrissilvrsmith.
- People love to generate “cute” Twitter handles that may not even closely resemble their actual names, and they can still rank in search (if other factors and the popularity of the profile are sufficient). You can see my Twitter handle of “Si1very” for an example of this — by the time I joined Twitter, it was difficult to get precise matches for common combos of names like “Chris,” “Silver” and “Smith.” My Twitter profile is otherwise fairly well-optimized, so I can get away with this. But if you’re working hard to get your profile to rank well in Google, DO NOT USE CUTE TWITTER HANDLES that don’t closely match your name!
- Do not add emojis to your username. It may look fun, but the added characters could cause your name to appear to be a less relevant keyword match when people search for you online. If you want to experiment with this later on, after you’ve solved your reputation issues, go for it. But, it could otherwise be sand-bagging your efforts.
- It’s tempting to use underscores for multi-word names to take the place of spaces (e.g., @chris_silver). Avoid doing this because Google does not treat the underscore as a “white space” character like spaces, periods, dashes and so on. It’s unfortunate that Twitter does not allow one to use dashes. In rare cases where it may be the best option available, you may use the underscore, but be aware that it only provides a fuzzy match relevancy that can be very weak — so, you need to focus on shoring up all other factors to ensure the page ranks well for your name searches.
Optimize your full name
In addition to the Username field, Twitter provides a “Full Name” field (some people refer to it as a “headline”). The Full Name appears prominently at the top of your profile below your profile avatar pic, and also appears with your avatar icon on all of your tweets.
The Full Name is quite important for a few reasons, including: 1) the name becomes incorporated into the profile page’s Title text, along with the username; 2) it’s displayed in larger text near the top of the page within an <h1> headline tag; and 3) it appears with all of your tweets, and this text is anchor text everywhere your tweets may appear, linking back directly to your profile page.
So, the Full Name helps reinforce for search engines what your name is, and therefore what keyword sequence the page should be considered most relevant for. As with the Username field, one has limited characters to use, albeit it’s longer than the usernames, being 20 characters long, maximum.
Make the Full Name imitate your actual name that people search on as closely as possible — hopefully the 20 characters are sufficient length to hold your full name. If not, you’ll need to abbreviate it in some way.
Leave out nonessential words, and experiment by searching on the name variations to see how Google may evaluate the sequence — does Google already associate the name you craft with your existing online identify materials? If so, that’s a very good sign.
Optimize the ‘Bio’ description field
This description field is yet another area for adding some keywords related to you. If your name is so long as to not be included in the Username and Full Name fields without abbreviating, definitely reiterate the full name in the Bio, at the beginning of the text field. Otherwise, the bio can allow you to include other combination keywords that can be valuable to your online identity and representation in the search results.
The field should certainly describe succinctly who and what you are. But you could also include the name and Twitter handle of your company, if you’re an individual, or the name of the city where you’re located if you’re a local company. Any other keywords that may be mentioned in combination with your name in searches could also be included here. (Very oddly, I note that Twitter does not use the Meta Description tag on its profile pages — something that seems like a glaring missed opportunity from a search optimization perspective. If they used it, the bio text would seem a natural fit for all or a portion of that Meta Description. Hmph!)
Fill in the Link URL and Location fields
These should be no-brainers, but they apparently aren’t, since some individuals and even businesses, will leave these blank. Filling in your Link field with your website URL can strengthen its rankings in search. Please be sure to use the proper, canonical URL for this.
Avoid using shortened links or other redirecting links. Your main website should also NOT be just a Facebook page — it should be to a standalone website about you or your company.
Check the link after adding it — typos sometimes do occur. With the Location field, this is primarily important if you’re associated with a particular place, such as a city or metropolitan area. It should be listed as “City Name, State.” Do not get coy and put geocoordinates in this field, or phone numbers or anything that is not a place name. If you’re a nationwide brand or not primarily associated with a particular locality, you may leave the Location field blank.
You may be surprised to learn that simply tweeting a lot over time will optimize your Twitter profile, but it really does. Each individual tweet is linked back to your Twitter profile page. So, the more tweets, the more links within Twitter are pointing to your profile.
This doesn’t mean you can spam the heck out of Twitter via your account — even if Twitter anti-spam monitoring systems allowed you to do that, there are additional factors that Google uses to determine the trustworthiness and value of tweet pages. Also, if and when other accounts may retweet your posts, this produces links from their profiles over to yours as well.
Doing Twitter properly with good content can result in building a valuable corpus of links that builds your profile’s strength. More tweets equals more opportunities for links to your profile. Also, tweet frequently.
Retweets and Likes
Sharing others’ content by way of retweeting it or clicking to Like it (the heart-shaped button, also sometimes referred-to as “Favorite”), enables you to come to the attention of other Twitter users. Even better, some retweets and Likes will actually provide you with links to your profile.
Imagine obtaining a link from the main profile page of a prominent Twitter account user, such as Ellen DeGeneres or Time magazine. Well, it is possible.
Not all retweets or Likes will nab you a link, unfortunately. On a tweet’s main page, up to nine linked icons may appear from the total set of Twitter users who retweeted or Liked the tweet. Don’t obsess over becoming one of the nine, but just steadily retweet and Like other people’s tweets that make sense for your account’s topic areas, and you’ll eventually accrue some valuable links to your own profile.
Obtain more followers
On one hand, Google has stated that they do not analyze things like number of followers on Twitter. On the other hand, they do analyze links between pages in determining their relative ranking values, and they may have worked to assess the authoritativeness of identities connected to social media accounts — meaning that followers could factor in, but certainly interactions associated with links (i.e., tweets and retweets) may add up.
The more people who follow you, the more people will have a chance of seeing your status update postings, and the greater chance you have of them retweeting your posts. At my agency, we have consistently found that Twitter accounts with healthy numbers of followers tend to rank better in search.
There are multiple ways to get more followers. You can return-follow those who follow you, and follow other accounts that have a close follower-to-followed ratio. You can pay for advertising on Twitter to get followers rapidly. There are a number of other methods for increasing your followers as well, but proceed carefully, because some methods require adept experience.
Verify your account
A study done by Stone Temple Consulting found a high correlation between verified Twitter accounts and indexation of their tweets — a significant indicator that Google could consider verified accounts to be more worthwhile. The more your tweets get indexed, the more your profile page is likely to achieve ranking benefits as well.
Now, it’s quite likely that verified accounts may generally have a number of other signals that convey authority to Google, aside from a checkmark icon, so verification itself may not be the advantage that these accounts seem to enjoy. In our experience, there are many instances of non-verified accounts that rank well in Google, too. But, there could be some advantages to this, so if you wish to cover as many bases as possible, go for verification.
Link to your Twitter account
It’s amazing how many people and businesses neglect to link out to their Twitter profiles. Linking directly to your Twitter account from your primary website and other ancillary sites can help ensure it gets indexed and gives it more chances of ranking.
It also gives your website visitors a chance to connect with your tweets. Don’t forget to incorporate your name in the link’s text to reinforce the keyword relevance.
Post images and videos frequently
Tweets containing images or videos generally will have more interactions — particularly interactions like Retweets and Favorites/Likes that can be valuable to you. Sure, you may not be able to generate such content super-frequently, but you can also get value out of curating such content from other sources.
Incorporate Twitter Cards on your site
If you blog or otherwise post articles on your website on a consistent basis, set up the semantic markup code on your site’s pages to integrate Twitter Cards. They allow previews of a web page’s content to show up when tweeted, and these previews automatically make tweets much more interesting-looking than strictly text-based tweets.
Twitter Cards will pull in example photos or videos from your web pages when their URLs are tweeted, and the content will draw in users to interact with it more. If your site is delivered on the WordPress platform, then Yoast’s SEO for WordPress plugin can provide you with the proper code for Cards, making implementation very easy.
Use emojis in your tweets
As far back as at least 2009, I have recommended using emojis and other special characters in tweets because I had observed that it increased engagement rates. Others have researched this and found the same. Since engagement rates often equate with links to your tweets and Twitter account, this means using emojis can bump up your links a bit over time, too, helping your account to rank better.
Further, Google is also now displaying emojis in its search results at times, so if and when your tweets get indexed, they may also get more click-throughs from searchers. Check out this Google search listing of a tweet from Coca-Cola on World Emoji Day for an idea of just how attractive this can be:
I suspect that when you’re operating a well-optimized Twitter account, your profile link to your site and links in your tweets that get indexed by Google may help the content you’re linking to achieve better rankings. Now, Twitter has set all profile links and status update links in tweets to include the Nofollow attribute — meaning that it’s signaling for the links to not pass any PageRank benefit.
Some interpret the presence of Nofollow in link attributes as conveying zero SEO benefit. However, there are two things to keep in mind. First, it’s possible for Google to choose to ignore Nofollow for a particular site, or particular content from a particular site. So, under certain circumstances, Google may be using links from Twitter that meet certain higher-quality criteria for passing PageRank.
Second, even if PageRank is not conveyed, Google could be using tweets as another source for discovery of links — so, Twitter can potentially help your content get indexed quicker by Google, even if it might not help that content rank higher. And getting indexed earlier can enhance ranking performance indirectly. Research on this topic has varied for some time, and it’s frequently difficult to eliminate the many other variables involved in rankings.
However, in a reputation management campaign, your primary focus should be centered on helping your Twitter profile page to rank higher in Google. Any theoretical enhancement of your other content that you tweet out should be considered a nice bonus after that.
These SEO tips should help you really leverage Twitter as a major asset in your reputation repair campaign. Do not miss out on the advantages Twitter has to offer in this respect. Add URL Directory.
There are millions of people on Pinterest, searching, pinning, and sharing – so it’s important to recognize its potential for building awarenessand filling the top of the funnel, particularly for ecommerce companies.
This blog will discuss a couple of recommended targeting types within Pinterest to help fill the top of the funnel and essentially build up your audience. From there, once your audience is built out, we’ll run through how to actually capitalize on these new users to drive sales.
Let’s jump in.
Use Pinterest to fill the funnel
Pinterest has some specific features that are highly effective for building your audience. These include:
You can leverage user intent by targeting specific keywords that users are searching within Pinterest.
For example, if you are a trendy clothing brand that sells sweaters, you may want to target “trendy sweaters” and have your ad (in Pinterest lingo, your promoted pin) show up in the search results and related pins.
Pinterest will determine a user’s interest based on the pins they have engaged with and saved. Your ad (promoted pin) will show up in the user’s home feed or relevant topics feed.
A Promoted Pin on Pinterest
This is similar to Facebook’s lookalike targeting; you can upload a customer list and Pinterest will target audiences similar in behaviors, traits, and characteristics as that customer list. Our recommendation is to start off with your top customers – for example, your highest-LTV or AOV audiences.
I would initially recommend prioritizing the Actalike and keyword targeting as they tend to be more effective at getting in front of highly relevant audiences. But by leveraging any or all of the targeting options, you’re discovering and engaging with new, relevant audiences and driving them to your site.
That said, make sure your expectations are aligned. You should not expect to see Pinterest as a lever for immediate purchases, but more as a longer-term play where you’re developing an awareness and building your audience to hit later via a few different methods below to actually drive the sale.
That said, let’s talk about how to…
Convert Pinterest engagement into sales
Now that you’ve engaged with your audiences via Pinterest, you should be capturing those audiences for remarketing purposes.
First, to be smart with your remarketing efforts and truly understand the value of Pinterest, you should make sure every link on your Pinterest ads include a tag that labels it as Pinterest. You can use UTM parameters or anything else, but essentially you want to make sure that you can identify these audiences that have come through from Pinterest and segment them out.
You can then create specific audiences within both Google and Facebook (for example) that have come in through Pinterest. (E.g. url contains ‘utm_source=pinterest). Now you can separate out these audiences, and as you use them in your retargeting strategies, you can understand if the Pinterest audiences you have built are actually converting into sales.
Speaking of converting, I’d recommend the following methods:
RLSA (remarketing for search ads)
Layer your Pinterest audiences onto existing search campaigns and add a higher bid modifier. These audiences have already visited your site and developed a familiarity with your brand. If they end up searching for your product, you want to make sure your ad appears high in the search results to remind them of your brand, pull them to your site, and entice them to convert.
One RLSA strategy I’d recommend is to create a separate “broad” RLSA campaign where you can bid on head terms, and broader but still relevant terms that you normally wouldn’t be able to afford.
For example, you typically may not bid on a term like “womens clothing” because it is so generic and has heavy competition, but given the user has already visited your site, you can create an RLSA campaign, layer your Pinterest audiences, and bid on the term.
The thought behind this is that by serving your ad on this more generic keyword, you are reminding them that you sell women’s clothing. Since the users have been to your site, they’ll have a sense of if it’s worth visiting. Essentially, this is way of getting in front of relevant eyes without doing significant harm to overall efficiency.
You can do this on both Facebook and GDN where ads include the product the user has visited on the site (as well as other relevant products). The usual segmentation caveats apply; you want to make sure you’re segmenting by time lapsed since the visit and depth of site pages reached and bid accordingly.
Remarketing for shopping
Make use of your audience list by layering it onto your shopping campaigns. Again, the goal here is to bid more aggressively so you can ensure your ad shows up for the audiences who have engaged with your Pinterest ad, visited the site, and developed familiarity with the brand. You’ll typically see higher CVRs for these types of audiences.
The main takeaway here: if you’re not investing in Pinterest, you’re missing out on engaging a robust, potentially high-ROI audience. The platform itself has come a long way in adding marketing-friendly features and reporting capabilities to position itself as a long-term player. Get on board now; the traffic’s not getting any cheaper.
No matter what stage your startup is in, you'll want to start or continue to grow your social media audience. The more people you can reach on social media organically and through advertising, the better your launch and your on-going sales will be.
Here are 15 tips for growing your startup's audience on the three top social networks, starting withstrategies common to all of them:
1. Create strong social profiles and pages.
The starting point for growing your audience on any social network is strong profiles and pages for your social accounts. This requires including branded cover photos and profile photos. It also requires filling out all of your details. On Twitter, that's as simple as a 160-character bio, website link and location. Facebook wants a short description, website link, address and phone number. In short, fill out as many fields for your social profiles and pages as you can.
Next, share a few updates (five to ten) before you start your quest to build an audience. This will give people who visit your social accounts a reason to follow you. If you don't know what to post, do the following:
2. Share quality content.
Even before your startup gets going fully, start building your audience on most networks by sharing content your target audience will enjoy. For example, if you have a startup for a Facebook marketing tool, start sharing content about Facebook. That could mean blog content, podcasts, videos, presentations, infographics, etc., created by you or by others.
3. Use friend-finding features.
Most networks have a way to connect you with people you know. Twitter allows you to search email contacts, Facebook allows you to search email contacts and utilize an advanced people search. Instagram guides you to your Facebook friends on Instagram in its app. LinkedIn allows you to search your email contacts and suggestscurrent and former classmates and work colleagues based on your profile information.
4. Add links to your top social accounts on your website.
You can do this by adding small square social network icons to your website's header, footer and sidebar. You can also add the official buttons for each network on your website. You can find the official brand assets, buttons, badges and widgets on Facebook (brand assets and button generator), Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can also look into social network icons on stock image sites like DepositPhotos.
5. Add links to your top social accounts to your email signatures.
Make sure that everyone you communicate with via email knows about your startup, by adding links to your top social accounts in your email signature. You can do this using small square social network icons or standard text links. You can also use services like WiseStamp to create professional signatures with your social links.
6. Cross-promote your social accounts.
Already have a large audience on one account? Ask its members to connect with you on another. That will be as simple as sending a tweet to your Twitter followers asking if they are on Pinterest, and if they are, they should follow you there, too.
Also look for opportunities to link from one social account to another. Pinterest, for example, will allow you to link to Twitter and Facebook. Woobox, a Facebook app maker, has apps that allow you to add tabs to your Facebook page for Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for free.
Now, here are tips specific to Twitter:
7. Follow your target Twitter audience and engage with them.
Twitter allows you to follow up to 5,000 people. You can follow more after people start to follow you. When you follow people on Twitter, they get a notification that they are being followed. In addition to following people, start chatting with them.
Use Twitter Search to find people that match your target audience. Twitter will search keywords in people's bios as well as their tweets. When you see a tweet from someone that you can reply to, do it. If people like your reply, they just might follow you back.
8. Use Twitter advertising.
If you have an advertising budget, try Twitter advertising. Twitter will promote your account to your target audience members to encourage them to follow you.
Here are tips specific to Facebook:
9. Use your Facebook page to 'like' other pages.
If you click on the drop-down arrow next to your photo at the top right of your Facebook dashboard, you have the option to use Facebook as your page by selecting it from the list. This will allow you to 'like' other Facebook pages as your page and comment on them. Find pages where your target audience are engaged and start communicating with them with your page.
10. Open your profile up to Facebook followers.
Facebook has a setting that you can enable to allow others to follow your personal profile. Any public updates you share will be shared with your followers in the news feed without your having to accept them as a friend. This will help you grow an audience that you can promote your business to while keeping your private things private.
11. Participate in Facebook groups.
Another way to utilize your personal profile on Facebook is to engage in groups related to your niche. Find groups your target audience would be interested in, join them and start engaging in the discussions.
12. Follow others on Twitter.
As happens with Twitter, when you follow other people on Instagram, they will be notified. You can find your target audience by searching for hashtags they would likely use when they post on Instagram. Then follow people and engage with them by commenting on their photos and videos in the news feed.
13. Use hashtags on Twitter.
When you share photos and videos, be sure to use hashtags in your captions. Hashtags are utilized by Instagram users to find visual content on specific topics. As people come across your photos and videos in a hashtag stream, they will be able to click a button next to your name to follow you.
Here are tips specific to LinkedIn. It can be tough to build an audience upon due to LinkedIn's goal of having people connect only with those they know well, but LinkedIn is great for B2B connections:
14. Participate in LinkedIn groups.
LinkedIn groups are great for engaging with other active LinkedIn members. Participate in the discussions and provide valuable answers to get people to want to connect with you.
15. Comment on LinkedIn's blog posts.
LinkedIn allows members to post blogs, and some of those members have thousands of followers. Find people in your niche with lots of followers, follow their latest posts and engage with your target audience in the comments of those posts.
These are some of my top quick wins for growing your startup's social media audience. Do you have any extras to add? If so, please do in the comments!