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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

9 social marketing mistakes you should really try to avoid making

social media you're doing it wrong
College kids, company employees, soccer moms, and stay-at-home moms do one thing when they turn on their computers (or smartphones) — log into their Facebook account and start liking and sharing everything their friends have published. This has sort of become a routine for most of us. It has in turn changed the world of marketing altogether.
While a few years ago everyone was focusing on targeted ads through advertising networks as Google Adsense, they are now turning to social media.
Facebook’s advertising platform is now so popular due to its capability to better target the users. A user base of one billion from all over the world doesn’t hurt either. If done properly and intelligently, Facebook can transform any business. Still, a few are using the social network in the wrong way, causing more bad than good. Let’s look at a few social media mistakes that you could avoid pretty easily.
1. Targeting the wrong network
Look at the top social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus, etc. Each of these social networks has its own specific use. Company HRs looking for professional resumes should probably be more focused on LinkedIn rather than Pinterest. There has even been a recent recruitment for a six-figure job from Twitter. An online shop selling stuff for ladies can get better business by targeting a Facebook interest group.
Google Plus is Google’s social network and it has come up with a specific target group consisting of online bloggers and freelance writers. Hence, if you are looking for good authors for your company, you can probably find them through Google Plus’s authorship program.
Hence, it has to be understood that each social network has its own use and you have to target the one that is most important for your cause.
2. Not branding properly
Social media is perfect for your branding needs. A very important aspect of social media is its capability to go viral. Share a really fascinating and funny image on Facebook or Instagram and you can see it making rounds gathering likes in a crazy fashion. When you are starting a strategy on your choice of social media, develop a page that really emphasizes your brand insignia.
Imagine for instance that you are marketing a movie production company through YouTube. You build up a basic YouTube channel and put up some videos and trailers of your movies. What if you use a generic image instead of your brand’s logo? Or if you come up with a mashup that blends your insignia on an uninspiring background? That kind of marketing is bound to fail. Make sure your visitors know your brand and make them respect it.
3. Sharing unrelated stuff just to get likes
If you are trying to develop your Facebook page by sharing a lot of stuff that you think people would be interested in, then you should really know how to do that. As an analogy, think about a publication like the BBC. The BBC has gone into our lives as a source of high-quality news about things that matter. Now, think about another source like TMZ.com or the Daily Mail. These publications are targeting a different kind of audience altogether. If the BBC lowers its standards and starts sharing pictures of celebrities’ famous bums for a few viral shares and likes, then it simply loses its value and respect.
This is so with all kinds of companies and services. If you are marketing something, stick with it, and do not stray to some other unrelated stuff that you think may gather you some likes.
4. Wrong timing
If you are into breaking news, then the timing has to be almost perfect. Only a person really well versed with the industry can publish news at appropriate times. If you are reviewing an event that happened a month back, you should have something new to add to it, or don’t attempt it at all.
5. Retweeting without anything new
One thing that you can find quite often is people tweeting links from popular news sites and publications. All they are doing is giving something to their followers to think about. Most of the people simply tweet a link or make a retweet to keep their Twitter accounts active and alive. Here is one example:
“Samsung released galaxy S 4 in New York :.”
Most of the tweets are in this fashion. If a person wants to know what is happening, they can gather that information from a professional news site rather than from your lame tweet. Instead of doing this, make the tweet interesting, with something unique that you add to it. Such as:
“Samsung released Galaxy S 4 and it doesn’t have an 8-core processor as many people believe.”
If you cannot insert a link, don’t do it. Just speak what others will find unique and interesting.
6. Personal tweets
This particular thing has been mentioned over and over again. Do not tweet your personal things if you are not a celebrity, someone like Justin Bieber. And if you are a celebrity, you don’t have to tweet your personal stuff; others will do it for you! In short, you would never have to tweet about your personal things. Imagine nobody knows about you, and all your tweets are about when you go to bed, what you had for lunch, and who you met today, then people will soon get bored and stop following you.
7. Don’t attack the competition
Attacking your competition through social media is another important thing to avoid. If you believe your competition is getting ahead of you, just ignore it and simply concentrate on improving your side of the business. By putting up strategies like this Microsoft attack on Google, you are misrepresenting yourself to the consumers.
One thing: you are letting your customers know that you are desperate, frustrated, clueless, and weak. That sends a really bad message to your customers, a really bad one. An important thing that builds a company’s reputation is the respect the customers have toward the company. Many customers stick with companies like Microsoft and Apple because they love the personality of these companies. They like how steady and dependable their products are. By launching hate campaigns, they can easily destroy this trust.
8. Not connecting properly
If you have a Facebook page going on and you have people messaging and commenting on it, be active and reply to those messages. A huge part of your customer service has to be taken online via social media. There are major advantages to this. With social media, word-of-mouth marketing is big, much bigger than the real world. If you share a solution to an issue via your Facebook profile, that solution can be immediately shared by the people viewing it with their friends, and it could go viral. After a while, this kind of interactions can change the way your customer service works.
Several companies still do their customer service through product forums. Social sharing of solutions can be built into these forums to enable better resolution of issues.
9. Not tracking statistics
All social media sites can give you the statistics of what is happening on your profiles. Within Facebook, you can learn about who is sharing your stuff and what draws attention through the Page Insights. Within Twitter, you can get important information about retweets, mentions, direct messages, etc. You can even track a page’s success by looking at how many tweets or Facebook likes it gets. Not giving attention to these statistics is a very wrong thing to do. Only by knowing what works, you can continue to provide what works.
Social media can work wonders if you care about it and do it the right way. If not done properly, you will simply waste a little while of your valuable time. What I have given here are only a few tips, and there are many other important things that can go wrong. Take care of your social profiles and make them stand out.


How to Increase Your Twitter Traffic

In a few short years, Twitter has become extremely popular around the world. People tweet about many different topics. Many talk about their personal interests while others use Twitter as a way to promote their business, website or artwork. Twitter is one of the most effective ways to increase traffic to your website.
With increased traffic, you’ll likely make more sales. But, how can you increase your Twitter traffic? Here are some effective ways to do that.
A good place to begin is by letting others know that you are on Twitter. You can include a link to your Twitter profile in emails, blog posts, and your website.
Tweeting regularly also helps to drive traffic to your site. This will help you to gain followers who may visit your site through links in your tweets. Also be sure to have a link to your site on your profile.
Find quality accounts in your niche to follow and retweet some of their best content. Many of them will follow you back.
You will want to build good relationships with your followers. Don’t inundate your followers with promotions or too many links. Concentrate on posting helpful information and interacting with your followers.
Using Twitter can be a lot of fun, but it also takes hard work to use it effectively to promote your business. Don’t expect results overnight. It takes time to build up a respectable following of people who trust you enough to further investigate your business. If you concentrate on quality instead of taking shortcuts, you will no doubt find Twitter to be a very effective tool for reaching out to your customers.


Monday, 29 April 2013

5 Underutilized LinkedIn Marketing Tools

When it comes to nurturing professional relationships and developing a community, LinkedIn is one of the best resources. But while entrepreneurs might already be aware of important features such as its custom groups or the Question and Answer section, there are a number of tools and features that the professional networking site offers that have gone mostly unnoticed.
I recently connected with Fenot Tekle,senior communications manager from LinkedIn's Marketing Solutions team. Here's what she had to say about how small-business owners can use LinkedIn to help take their ventures to the next level:
Entrepreneur: What LinkedIn tools are underutilized by small-business owners?
Tekle: We offer a number of tools that small-business owners should be aware of when considering how best to engage with professionals on the platform, including:

Partner Messages: Small-business owners can utilize LinkedIn's InMail messaging platform to deliver relevant messages to specific audience segments.
Polls: This allows users to easily find answers to their business and market research questions. You can share a poll through LinkedIn's Facebook or Twitter integrations, or embed the voting module on your own website or blog.
Display Ads: Yes, businesses can advertise on LinkedIn. The display ads service allows advertisers to target specific groups of professionals through display ads on the LinkedIn platform.
Recommendation Ads: These ads display the number of recommendations that a small-business owner's product or service has generated on their LinkedIn Company Page.
Targeted Status Updates: Users can tailor the content in their status updates to specific types of company followers. Make sure the right people are seeing the right content.

Entrepreneur: What's the best application for an entrepreneur to promote their business?
Tekle: The targeted status updates, a feature that increases the relevance of conversations between companies and members. Accessible from a LinkedIn Company Page, the targeted status update allows an entrepreneur to tailor relevant messages to professionals who follow their company.
Entrepreneur: For business owners, what's the most important metric to measure?
Tekle: Key metrics will vary from one company to the next, but, in general, business owners are interested in seeing an increase in engagement.
An increase in engagement is the beginning of turning followers into advocates for the business. Engagement analytics are accessible on any established Company Page, so it's convenient for business owners to track their progress.
Entrepreneur: What does an entrepreneur need to know to get the most out of LinkedIn advertising?
Tekle: Have a clear understanding of the target audience. There are many tools available to marketers to attract desirable targets, but campaigns will likely be most effective if business owners reach the right audience, with the most the appropriate content in the right context.


Friday, 26 April 2013

4 Things You Need to be Doing on Social Media -- Now

4 Things You Need to be Doing on Social Media -- Now
Image credit: Shutterstock
By now, if social media isn't a critical element in your online marketing strategy, it should be. Having a presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can add value to your product, to customer service and ultimately to your brand.
But simply having an account and broadcasting company news isn't enough. To attract and keep customers -- and to build a strong brand online -- business owners need to be active on social media. They have to provide valuable information and engage with their followers.
Here are four things businesses should be doing on social media in order to grow the brand online:
1. Engage with followers and provide customer service.
Your customers are engaging with your brand wherever they are -- including over social media. Don't miss this opportunity to listen to what they're saying to and about you, and to provide the best customer service.
Why is this so important? Responding to customer questions and resolving issues over social media shows everyone who's following you -- and potentially anyone who is online -- that your company cares about its customers, potential customers and goes the extra mile for people.

Tools like Hootsuite and Tweedeck can be handy for monitoring mentions of your brand over social media. As for when and who you respond to, set the tone early. If you reply often, people will expect it. If you don't reply a lot, people will see that as well and might stop engaging with you as often.
2. Crowdsource ideas.
Use social media as a marketing research tool. Just as people can reach out to you, follow you and stay connected with you, business owners can do the same with their customers. Social media is a two-way street.
Say, for instance, you're getting ready to launch a new product. You can ask your fans and followers what they think about specific details like which colors they prefer or what types of features they want. Not only can you get real, valuable market research at no cost, you're involving the consumer in decisions. Asking customers for their opinions can help show that they matter, and when they see their ideas become a reality, ideally you create brand and product champions.

3. Keep an eye on the competition.
Remember the old saying: Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.
When it comes to business, it's good to know what your competitors and other companies in your market niche are doing. By keeping an eye on their social media feeds, you can learn a lot about a company -- what it is doing differently, what it's good at and what it's bad it. Use this information to implement things in your strategy that you might be missing such as contests, giveaways or forms of content that their followers respond to most.
4. Establish yourself as an industry expert.
Nobody can know what you know unless you share your knowledge. By sharing information like tips, advice and answering questions about your industry, you can position yourself as a valuable resource.
Develop a content-sharing strategy where you respond to questions daily, provide unsolicited tips and share your perspective on industry news. Over sites like Twitter and reddit, also consider scheduling events such as question and answer sessions. Let your followers know that you'll be hosting the session, set the date and time, and determine the theme or topic you'd like to discuss. Then let your followers know that you'll try to answer everything they ask.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Should Your Business Have a Podcast?

Should Your Business Have a Podcast?
Image credit: Shutterstock
Your business probably has a website, Twitter account and Facebook page, but does it need a podcast? Consumers enjoy podcasts because it gives them alternative and more convenient ways to consume content, says Deborah Shane, a Florida-based branding expert and podcast host.
She says that more professionals are using podcasts as a marketing tool to establish expertise and distinguish themselves from the competition. Shane's Metropolis Radio business podcast has featured more than 350 guests and has been downloaded 245,000 times in the last four years. The 15 to 30 minute segments consist of interviews with expert guests on topics such as branding, social media, and entrepreneurship. "Podcasting has opened up more doors than just about any platform I've used," Shane says. By inviting experts as guests on her show, she's networking, building credibility, and making professional connections.
 But podcasting is a time commitment. Shane suggests waiting a month before you start promoting your podcast. Use that time to create visual branding for your site, think about the content you'll provide, the show's format, how frequently you'll record the podcast and which guests you'll invite on the show, etc.
Shane recommends using BlogTalkRadio, which offers a free, turnkey solution to record your show and link it to iTunes, Facebook and Twitter. Once a show is scheduled through BlogTalkRadio, the host and their guest(s) call a special number and are patched through to a "studio" dashboard that the host controls on his or her computer where he or she can take calls live or interview through the switchboard.
The show is recorded live and archived as a podcast, where it's made available on iTunes and can be shared on social networks or blogs. Editing is not available with the free version, but premium paid levels (which range from $39-$249 a month) allow users to edit their shows.
Here are six things to consider before starting a podcast:
1. Choose your format. Shane uses a late night talk show format and discusses talking points with her guests beforehand, but allows the conversation to evolve on the show. Another popular format is giving a tutorial or lecture on a topic relevant to your business that many people have questions about.
2. Record a podcast at least once a week. You want to listeners to know when to expect new content. While "live listeners" (people listening to the show as it airs) are great, Shane says the goal is to increase the number of downloads your podcast receives once it's posted.
3. Find guests with energy. Your guest may be brilliant in their field, but you want someone who's interesting and with whom you can have a good conversation. Shane suggests reaching out to experts in your field who have written a book or have a lot of Twitter followers, so they can promote their appearance on your show. The appearance is mutually beneficial, as they are gaining credibility as an expert, and you're building an audience and area of expertise.
"Great guests are actively marketing on their own social media platforms. They have energy, articulate well and know how to tell their story," Shane says.
4. Practice. Do two or three practice shows to get the feel for podcasting. Shane recommends recording a few test shows and posting them on your site to become comfortable with the process before promoting the podcast. You can set the show as "test" or "private" when scheduling your podcast.
5. Promote your podcast consistently. Use your other social media platforms, blog, website, etc. to promote your podcast before, during, and after the show has been recorded. BlogTalkRadio allows you to post updates automatically to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
6. Get ideas from the competition. Visit podcast.com or iTunes to see how other businesses are using podcasts to promote themselves.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

5 Online Marketing Strategies for a Tight Budget

5 Online Marketing Strategies for a Tight Budget
Image credit: Shutterstock
In a world where attention is currency, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to attract the eyes and ears of your target market. Not only are you up against larger companies with nicely funded marketing departments, you're also competing with social media and a multitude of other distractions for the attention of your prospects.
But that doesn't mean your marketing efforts have to cost a ton of money or be overly dramatic in order to stand out from the crowd. Here are five creative and inexpensive ways to market your business in a digital world:
1. Get endorsed by a local celebrity.
Many business owners dream of having their product or service endorsed by a global celebrity. But instead of trying to get a superstar to support your business, try seeking out a local celebrity instead.
Who exactly are local celebrities? These are people your local paper is writing about -- perhaps an "unsung hero" such as a teacher or a resident who's doing something positive and newsworthy. Since they're in your neighborhood, these people should be relatively easy to locate and contact by phone or e-mail. Let them know you'd like to send them a gift, namely your product or service.

The only catch: you'd like to follow up with them in a few days to get their honest feedback. Their responses can make for useful blog or marketing content.

2. Create a LinkedIn group.
Not only is a LinkedIn group free to create, it can enable you to offer your professional network a vibrant, useful information resource all while driving traffic to your site and increasing sales. Just don't use the platform to hard sell anyone.
It can take time and effort to get one going, but the goal should be to help provide resources and start discussions on topics that can benefit your community. Groups should also be a place for your members to network with other professionals online.
3. Get published on niche blogs.
While it may be difficult to get on the front cover of a major magazine, you can create marketing opportunities by being featured in a popular niche blog. Identify three to five blogs that target your market then contact the creator and offer a few ideas of how you'd like to bring value to his or her readers. You can:
  • Demonstrate good will by offering the niche blog owner a small amount of your product or service for free, which they can give away to their audience as a gift. This is different than a product review, which only offers information.
  • Send ideas for blog posts you'd like to write and explain why they would be helpful for their readers.
  • Ask if you can interview them for your site. This might entice the blog manager to promote your content since it highlights his or her business.
4. Create videos for YouTube.
With more than 800 million unique visitors a month, YouTube can be a powerful platform for marketing a business online. To do so, go beyond simply posting random videos of your product or sharing your thoughts.

The marketing videos you create should include the following elements:
  • A keyword-researched headline
  • A clear editorial message (don't try to accomplish too much in one video)
  • A call to action (tell the viewer to do something, such as subscribing to your channel)
While you can spend a small fortune on cameras, lighting equipment and editing software, the camera built into your smartphone should be able to capture suitable online video. As for editing, if you're on a Mac, for instance, you should already have iMovie in your applications. Even if you don't have a Mac you can find free software online or hire a professional editor on sites such as Fiverr.com, possibly for as little as $5 depending on the scope of the work.
5. Write an e-book about the biggest issues in your industry.
No longer do you need a publishing company or thousands of dollars to get distribution for a book. Amazon, for instance, will let you upload a digital book for free, with a 33 percent take on every sale. The goal is not to make a profit from direct book sales but to use it as a lead generation tool, encouraging readers to opt into your website for further information.
Even time-strapped entrepreneurs who aren't great writers should consider this. You can search sites like E-lance or Odesk to hire an affordable ghostwriter who can help you convert your blog posts or audio recordings into book format.
When it comes to marketing your book, set the price between $1 and $5 -- which makes it affordable -- then use social media, video marketing and e-mail list marketing to promote it. To generate more leads, keep in mind that Amazon allows prospective buyers of your book to take a sneak peek of the first few pages. Be sure to embed links into these early pages so you can capture leads from people who were interested but didn't wind up buying your book.


Monday, 22 April 2013

18 Tweetable Twitter Tips for Newbies

Twitter whaleFor those of us who’ve been using Twitter for a while, we sometimes forget that there are new adopters of the network every day. Trying to figure out Twitter back in the day was bad enough; can you imagine what it’s like these days?
So here are 18 tweetable Twitter tips for newbies (check out that alliteration!). They include tips on how to get set up with, and use smartly, a social network I still love.
And I’ve also included a “tweet this” link for a Twitter-friendly version of each tip (hence the “tweetability”). So if you particularly like some, perhaps you wouldn’t mind sharing?
1. Use a real photo of yourself for your avatar. (I know, sounds like a d’uh moment, but you’d be surprised).
2. Make sure your avatar is “SFW” (safe for work… and yes, you’d be surprised again).

3. Use your real name, or some iteration thereof, as your Twitter handle. Leave your inner Hotlips Houlihan alone.

4. Try to keep your Twitter handle to as few characters as possible. This gives you more “real estate” to use when actually tweeting.

5. Fill out your 160-character bio. Creativity is fine, but don’t overdo it.

6. Use “Twitter speak” in your bio, such as other Twitter handles to refer to organizations and appropriate hashtags. These show as live links on Twitter.com, so have the advantage of “fleshing out” your bio, not to mention show you understand the lingo.

7. Include a link in your Twitter profile. If nothing else, use your LinkedIn profile; else your personal website or blog or, if a business account, to your company’s preferred URL. People like to know who they’re talking to (and might end up doing business with).

8. Don’t have an overly complicated Twitter background that makes your profile hard to view on the web. It’s distracting.

9. Use the “mom” rule of thumb when conversing on Twitter; if Mom wouldn’t like it, don’t say it.

10. Acknowledge and reply to @ mentions as soon as possible.

11. Attribute blog posts, news articles or other curated information to the original source using their Twitter handle.

12. Leave at least 10-12 character spaces in your tweets, so others can easily retweet you if they wish to.

13. Use “MT” to indicate you are retweeting another’s tweet, but with modifications of your own.

14. Use hashtags wisely; they can be a great way of broadening a conversation and audience, but irritating if overused.

15. Don’t use auto-DMs or “verification” programs to “welcome” new followers. The best way to welcome someone is to start talking to them on the public timeline.

16. Don’t constantly DM your followers asking them to share news, promotional events, etc. Use your asks sparingly, and they are more likely to be well-received.

17. Don’t automatically RT tweets, especially those of a “breaking news” nature, without first verifying the source and accuracy of content.

18. Don’t click on suspicious links in your DM stream, that urge you to see “what they’re saying about you,” etc. Instead, send your friend who supposedly sent that to you a message – on the public timeline, or another network, if you are connected there – to let them know their Twitter account has been hacked.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

What You Can Learn From the Boston Bombing Social-Media Circus

What You Can Learn From the Boston Bombing Social-Media Circus
This week's need-to-know social-media news.
After explosive devices detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three and injuring 180 people, social media sites including Twitter erupted -- but not always with trustworthy information. Several top news organizations came under fire for reporting information despite conflicting reports of what was unfolding. For business owners who often share or comment on breaking news over social media, it was easy to wind up sharing faulty information. And some brands ran afoul of consumer rage when their marketing efforts -- many running on automated programs -- were issued amid the chaos.
The confusion continued as the week went on. By Thursday, the FBI reprimanded users of sites like reddit for conducting their own digital manhunt for the Boston bombers. Similarly, local Boston police asked journalists on Friday to stop live-tweeting police actions and scanner traffic in order to preserve the safety of officers and the effectiveness of their manhunt.
Given the immediacy of how news is spread over social media, and the potential for sharing incorrect information, business owners should avoid sending scheduled marketing messages and commenting on moment-by-moment updates during sensitive breaking news events. For brands, a more effective use of social media could be to share links to positive and constructive services. In this case, examples might have included Google's Person Finder tool or EvidenceUpload.org, a way for people to send their photos and videos from the marathon directly to the FBI. -- PRDaily, ReadWrite, Daily Dot and Mashable


7 Tips For Building a 'Power Network' on LinkedIn

7 Tips For Building a 'Power Network' on LinkedIn
Image credit: Shutterstock
Among the social networks, LinkedIn can be one of the most useful when it comes to cultivating critical, lucrative business opportunities, since it has a high concentration of business decision makers. The trick is going beyond connecting with cousins and college buddies to strategically building a "power network" of individuals who should be potential clients.
But building a power network on LinkedIn doesn't happen overnight. Here are seven tips for making the kinds of connections that can benefit your business the most:
1. Optimize your profile: One of the easiest ways is to update your profile picture. LinkedIn views this kind of update as "freshness" and it can help your ranking when others are searching for someone like you.
2. Tell people who you are, who you help and how you help them in your headline: A headline that communicates these points is often what grabs a person's attention when searching the site. I should be able to read your headline and know exactly what you offer and why I should get in touch with you. Be clear and compelling.
3. Fill out all current and past work experiences: You never know who's looking for you, possibly a co-worker from an old job, or maybe a classmate that's suddenly feeling nostalgic and wants to see who they can find online. By listing all of your places of employment -- including your educational institutions -- you can create a larger net for capturing searches. Plus, these connections could be second- or third-tier connections to people you've been trying to meet.
4. Join targeted groups: This can be one of the most effective ways to connect with like-minded professionals who are serious about using LinkedIn to form deeper business connections. Participating in these groups also enables you to share your knowledge and to learn from other members.
5. Create a targeted group: Not only can leading a group give you a certain level of credibility, it allows you to connect with people who are influential within your specific industry.
6. Send personal invites: These, in my opinion, always trump generic requests to connect. The invite is your first communication on LinkedIn, so make a good first impression by writing a personal request and asking how you can help the person, or whom you can introduce them to.

7. Get endorsements and recommendations: This can help enhance your profile, but there's a right way and a wrong way to do this. Don't send a mass or generic e-mail to clients or colleagues asking if they can endorse your skills or write a recommendation. First, identify people who have a great story to share about you and your skills. Contact those people directly, via phone or e-mail, and let them know you're personally reaching out to them because of (insert how you've helped them here) and would appreciate it if they'd be willing to write a quick recommendation for you, based on that story.
The same goes for endorsements, which are much easier to give since it's just a click of a button. It also helps if you mention you'll be endorsing their strongest skills as well.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Maximize Twitter to Monetize Your Brand

Featured Article Picture
Twitter is one of the most widely recognized and versatile social marketing tools appropriate for your personal branding efforts — as long as you know how to maximize its benefits.
Twitter isn’t just about tweeting popular information or conversing with associates. It is about networking with as many individuals as you can.
But, therein lies the question: how do you expand the visibility of your brand? Excessive tweeting and even posting valuable information or helpful links isn’t necessarily going to improve awareness. There are certain tools and techniques that need to be applied to make the most of your online Twitter existence.
Improve your following
One of the most powerful tools on Twitter is the hashtag (#). Ensure you use hashtags to grab the attention of others on special days like #FF (Follow Friday). This is a tool that allows you to recommend other Twitter accounts and mentionable brands.
It’s a great opportunity to improve your number of followers, and is likely to get you some recommendations as well. Remember, Twitter is a network that works well if you work with others. Competing will only hinder your efforts. Just be sure to leave room when making a recommendation so those you recommended can thank you or re-tweet it later (perhaps including it in their favorites).
Spark a conversation
When commenting on valuable content that has been tweeted, posted, or otherwise written, be sure your comment is thorough and self-explanatory. What made it valuable to your specific area of expertise? Don’t just recommend it; explain why it is your recommendation. You are working toward word-of-mouth marketing by recommending those that will return the favor — this will improve your visibility and expertise.
When re-tweeting, expand your material by adding in valuable commentary that can be linked back to you. Re-tweets are often limited to simply saying “what they said,” but it doesn’t benefit you as much as it could. Additionally, keep in mind that short URL’s should be used for the sake of space, plus it allows you to comment on it or clarify its purpose (be sure that you do so).
Mention to generate attention
Twitter feeds can be littered with a largely unorganized mess of conversations, which is why the @mention should be used to help clarify a conversation. It can be used in another way as well. Have you recently added new followers? Investigate them — what is it that they do? Brand? Professional experience? Application? Find something to initiate a conversation with them by @mentioning them as a recommendation, showing appreciation for the follow, or otherwise begin developing a stronger network with them.
As a helpful hint, when acknowledging an article, mention the author as well (using their twitter account). This is far more likely to get the author’s attention than simply mentioning or linking to their article.
Twitter has an array of tools, all of which must be used to maximize your networking experience. Be sure you make the most of your opportunity by mentioning, recommending and sharing others so they will share you too.

Maria Elena Duron, CEO (chief engagement officer), buzz2bucks, a word-of-mouth marketing firm, is skilled at making networks “work” and harnessing powerful online and offline buzz, she facilitates online visibility services and word of mouth coaching and workshops — taking companies and professionals from buzz-worthy to bucks-worthy, buzz2bucks.com.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

LinkedIn Launches Mentions to Get Its Members Talking

Featured Article Picture
LinkedIn is following Facebook’s lead in a bid to make conversation easier on the professional social network.
LinkedIn has launched a new ‘mentions’ feature for its English-speaking members, although it will also roll out globally in the near future.
“We know that LinkedIn members are some of the most engaged professionals online,” said LinkedIn Associated Product Manager Angela Yang in a blog post. “After all, you are involved in millions of conversations across LinkedIn day after day.
“That’s why we want to make it even easier for you to start those conversations, share knowledge with one another and ultimately become even better at what you do.”
LinkedIn image
LinkedIn image
How does it work?
• With mentions, members can now mention one another by typing a connection or company name in the status update box or in the comment field on the home page.
• Select a connection from the drop-down menu, then complete your status or comment and post it.
• The person or company you mentioned will receive a notification alerting them they have been mentioned.
The feature allows you to mention not only first-degree connections, but other LinkedIn members engaged in conversations in the comment sections of posts on the LinkedIn Homepage as well.
“Mentions will make it easier for you to start conversations with your network while also enabling you to respond in real-time when someone begins a conversation with you,” Yang said.
“We also know you’re engaging in meaningful conversations across other areas of LinkedIn, so look for the ability to mention your colleagues beyond the Homepage in the near future.”
LinkedIn 2


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Debuts for English Speaking Members, to Roll Out Globally 'Soon'

Featured Article Picture
LinkedIn is following Facebook’s lead in a bid to make conversation easier on the professional social network.
LinkedIn has launched a new ‘mentions’ feature for its English-speaking members, although it will also roll out globally in the near future.
“We know that LinkedIn members are some of the most engaged professionals online,” said LinkedIn Associated Product Manager Angela Yang in a blog post. “After all, you are involved in millions of conversations across LinkedIn day after day.
“That’s why we want to make it even easier for you to start those conversations, share knowledge with one another and ultimately become even better at what you do.”
LinkedIn image
LinkedIn image
How does it work?
• With mentions, members can now mention one another by typing a connection or company name in the status update box or in the comment field on the home page.
• Select a connection from the drop-down menu, then complete your status or comment and post it.
• The person or company you mentioned will receive a notification alerting them they have been mentioned.
The feature allows you to mention not only first-degree connections, but other LinkedIn members engaged in conversations in the comment sections of posts on the LinkedIn Homepage as well.
“Mentions will make it easier for you to start conversations with your network while also enabling you to respond in real-time when someone begins a conversation with you,” Yang said.
“We also know you’re engaging in meaningful conversations across other areas of LinkedIn, so look for the ability to mention your colleagues beyond the Homepage in the near future.”
LinkedIn 2


10 Ways to Make Your Blog More Social

 Having a blog is relatively easy; all you need to do is create a custom domain name and start writing and publishing posts. The tricky part of blogging is getting people to not only read what you’re writing, but also to respond to it. It takes a lot of work to build your blog into a place where people feel comfortable coming and sharing their ideas and perceptions regarding a particular topic, and then go one step further by sharing your post with other people. So how do you create a blog that encourages people to be social? These 10 tips will help you establish a space where your readers want to both read and communicate:
  1. Keep a consistent writing schedule. The first step to making your blog a social place is to write quality articles on a consistent basis. Keeping a sporadic blogging schedule discourages people from coming back regularly to read your posts. Your readers need to know that they can count on you to have new content up around the same time each week.
  2. Respond to your commenters. It takes extra time and effort to comment on a blog post after reading it, which means that your commenters felt your post was worthy of both reading and responding to. Show your appreciation by taking the time to respond to these comments. Doing so helps foster a relationship with your readers and encourages them to keep coming back.
  3. Allow guest posting. Letting other people guest post on your site is a great way to get people responding to the post and talking about your site. Guest posts also offer you more exposure because the writer will link over to your site from their own blog and they can showcase a variety of topics you might not have otherwise blogged about. This is a great way to get people talking about all sorts of different topics.
  4. Guest post for others. Just like allowing guest posting on your site is beneficial to your blog, you should also guest post for other blogs. Include a link to your site in your guest post or your author bio so that the people who read the blog you’re posting for can find your site easily.
  5. Make yourself useful. E-books, tutorial posts and posts full of handy information are all great ways to get people to read your content and share it with other people. The more useful your posts are, the more likely it is they’ll get passed around the blogging community.
  6. Share your posts on social media. At this point, utilizing social media should be a no-brainer, but some people still haven’t taken advantage of marketing through their social media sites. Don’t be that person! Promote your posts on Twitter and Facebook. Consider creating a Facebook page for your blog. When someone comments or tweets about something you’ve written, respond to them. Social media is one of the handiest tools you can have in your arsenal when it comes to being social!
  7. Avoid posts that are overly wordy. Don’t write posts that are just one big block of text, because the likelihood of someone reading it all the way through is slim to none. Instead, write posts that have bullet points or numbers so that people can scan through what you have to say and still hit all the important points. These types of posts are the posts that tend to get shared on other blogs and social media sites more often because they contain useful information that is easily readable.
  8. Create posts that are visually appealing. Don’t neglect the power that pictures and carefully placed white space have on a blog post. Make sure that you utilize white space wisely as you write and that you insert appropriate pictures and graphics when you can – white space gives your readers a quick mental break from reading and the right graphics or pictures can create a lot of buzz and help reinforce a point you’re trying to make.
  9. Vary the types of posts you create. Don’t confine yourself to writing the same types of posts every day – people will get bored! Instead try a list post one day and a v-log (a video blog of you talking) the next. Switching up the type of posts you publish keeps people interested and engaged.
  10. Become a brand, not just a blog. Get a custom header with a logo designed and have a blog name that is memorable. Be sure to use your logo on your other social media sites in addition to your blog. Over time people will begin to recognize your logo as an extension of your blog, and having a snazzy blog name creates an impression with people. Making your blog into a brand takes your blog up a notch and helps you seem professional.
BONUS: Ask questions at the end of your posts. Asking questions forces the reader to think about what you’ve written and evaluate how they feel about the topic at hand. Plus, more often than not, people will respond to the question in the comments section.
Readers want to find blogs that they can comment on and be social with. After all, blogging is a social medium. By doing everything in your power to make your blog a more social place you can help skyrocket your blog to success.


Monday, 15 April 2013

New Google Tool Acts as a Digital Will

Google Users Can Have Accounts Deleted or Data Sent to Loved OneFeatured Article Picture

Google has launched a tool to give its users control over what happens to their digital identities after death.
Death is not something we like to dwell on but, as our lives become increasingly integrated with the digital world, what happens to that data is a legitimate concern — one that Google is addressing head on with its Inactive Account Manager.
The tool is kind of like a will — it tells Google your last wishes for all of your data hosted on its network.
“Not many of us like thinking about death — especially our own,” product manager Andreas Tuerk wrote in a blog post. “But making plans for what happens after you’re gone is really important for the people you leave behind.
“You can tell us what to do with your Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason.”
The first step in the process is to set a “timeout period,” after which your account can be labeled inactive. The timeout period begins with the last time you sign in to your Google account.
Because there are a variety of situations other than death that might prevent you from accessing or using your accounts — such as switching to Bing or Yahoo — Google will send an e-mail or text message to the secondary address you have provided as a reminder before the timeout period ends.
The next step is choosing what will happen to your data once your account officially becomes inactive. You can have your data deleted after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity or you can choose to have your data sent to someone you trust.
Data from the following services can be sent to the person you designate: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube.
“We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife — in a way that protects your privacy and security — and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone,” Tuerk said.
The tool will also benefit Google — the search engine firm will be able to get rid of inactive accounts without complication.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Your Guide for Creating & Optimizing Video Content that Ranks on Google

How YouTube Can Help Your Business: Why Video Content Is Great for SEO
Having a hard time getting your business to show up on Google's first page? You might be surprised at just how much a YouTube video could help.
In an aim to give searchers the best set of results possible, Google has continued to grow its blended search results, offering videos and images in addition to classic website content on Google’s valuable first page.
This can be frustrating for some businesses that once had first-page rankings, but have since been pushed off by video and image results.
how to rank high on google with videos
The blended search results can work in your favor too though, especially for small businesses. Create the right kind of SEO-friendly YouTube videos, and you could find yourself with some prime Google real estate that’d be much more difficult to obtain with a regular webpage result.
While it can be difficult to usurp well-established competitors from the top webpage queries, the competition for videos is much lower, giving smaller businesses an enormous opportunity to rank high in the SERPs.

Step 1: Creating Your Video Content Ideas and Concepts

Some businesses, like Orabrush, have been lucky enough to create video ads that have gone viral, but hoping for results like this can set you up for failure—having a video “go viral” is unlikely and difficult to achieve.
Create video content that ranks in Google
Instead, create a video that isn’t a commercial, but instead provides valuable information people will want to share with their friends. Consider:
  • Product Demonstrations—Try creating videos that would show consumers how to select one of your products based on their unique needs, or a video demonstrating how to use your product.
  • Educational Videos—Think tutorials, learning videos, and how-to sessions demonstrating your industry knowledge. After all, you are the expert at what you do, so showcase your expertise!
With people becoming increasingly reliant on searching the web for help and advice, I’m more in favor of the educational resource videos. People will be grateful to you if you teach them something, and while it requires some selflessness on your part, demonstrating the knowledge and confidence you hold in regards to your industry works in your favor.
Some example ideas might be:
  • Selling winter apparel? Show different ways to wear scarves, or demo different styles of winter jackets for different needs.
  • Do you bake custom cupcakes? Show some of your baking process, how you pick out ingredients, and give some baking tips for viewers at home.
When brainstorming your video content, also think about:
  • What keywords are you shooting for? Just as you keep in mind your keywords when you create SEO content for your website, you want to consider what keywords you’ll use for your video. Conduct some solid keyword research and find some good long-tails to use. You can judge the competition for certain keywords by searching YouTube and seeing how many results come up.
  • A possible series? Once you find some really great concepts, you might be able to generate ideas for a regular, ongoing series. Or at least a hit mini-series.

Step 2: Recording Your Video Content

Consumer video recording devices work great, and depending on the quality, your webcam might be just fine too. Don’t worry if your video doesn’t look super professional—a bit of that home-made quality assures viewers that it’s not just another commercial video.
Before recording, review the main points you want to talk about and practice several times. You can give a quick plug for your business at the beginning and end of your video, and be sure to include a link to your site.
You’ll want to keep the complete edited recording relatively short: ideally between 2-3 minutes. There’s a wide selection of free editing software available that will do the trick so long as you don’t want to get too advanced. You might even already have some video editing software on your computer without realizing it—Windows usually has Movie Maker packaged, and Macs have iMovie.
Bonus Hint: You technically don’t really need to record a video – you can use screen captures or slide shows just as easily. Where is the fun in that though? You’ll never get discovered by Hollywood that way


Friday, 12 April 2013

10 SEO Reasons to Add Facebook to Your Content Strategy

Over a year ago now, both Google and Bing announced that they factor social signals from social media into their organic search algorithms. As the lines between social media and search engine optimization continue to thin, social media will gain importance for SEO. As Google described it, social media is about relationships and relationships prove relevance. Relevance is at the core of organic search.
It’s well known that Facebook has 845 million active users and 50% log in daily. These numbers are astounding! I guarantee you that your customers and prospects are included in those numbers. They are on Facebook and they’re likely trying to engage with your brand.
If you don’t yet have a Facebook Page for your organization, you really ought to consider optimizing your content marketing strategy to include one.
Here are 10 SEO reasons why your organization needs a Facebook presence:
  1. Facebook SEO GuideGoogle and Bing crawl and index Facebook Pages because they are publicly available. As a result, Facebook Pages do indeed come up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
  2. Google announced in early November 2011 that they now crawl and index Facebook Comments.
  3. People are starting their branded searches at the Facebook search box. Test to see if your brand comes up when you search for it in Facebook.
  4. SEO is now about web presence optimization (WPO) and Facebook is a must for any web presence.
  5. Your target audience (unless you think they’re not included in the 845 million Facebook users) is hanging out there.
  6. The “Like” button is the new “backlink.”
  7. The “Liker” (the Facebook User who did the “Liking”) is the new “lead” or “contact.”
  8. Your Facebook presence adds quality backlinks to your website.
  9. Facebook is accessible on mobile devices, giving your prospects and clients easy access to your content and brand.
  10. Your competitors most likely have a Facebook presence.
SEO as a digital marketing tactic continues to evolve because our friends, at places such as Google, keep adjusting their organic search algorithms. In fact, it is estimated that in the past 12 months Google made 500 adjustments to their algorithm. As the lines between SEO and social media continue to fade, we can count on one thing – that Google will continue to tweak their algorithm to include more emphasis on social signals coming from not just Facebook, but also Twitter and Google +1.
Learn how to optimize your Facebook Page for organic search and improve your web presence. DOWNLOAD: SEO your Business Facebook Page for Google – A How-To Guide
This is a guest post by Krista LaRiviere, CoFounder & CEO of gShift Labs, a web presence optimization company. She blogs and speaks about SEO and the importance of social media, public relations, and press releases to SEO. Her team has helped hundreds of organizations get control of their entire web presence in order to rank higher organically in the search engines. She believes SEO campaigns should be just as easy to execute, track, manage, and measure as email marketing and paid search. Connect with Krista: @KristaLariviere, +KristaLariviere, @gShiftLabs, +gShiftLabs, and on Facebook.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Benefits of Online 'Office Hours': Why You Should Consider Live-Tweet Sessions

Last week the White House launched a new “Office Hours” Twitter program, in which U.S. citizens are invited to tweet their questions and concerns over the nation’s deficit reduction and debt ceiling negotiations. Using Twitter to encourage healthy dialogue between individuals and large corporate entities is nothing new, but establishing predetermined times for concentrated discussion is a trend still growing in the Twitterverse.
The White House office hours grew out of last month’s Twitter “townhall”; people were encouraged to #AskObama questions concerning the economy, healthcare, and the like. The president answered in true Twitter fashion, making him the first president to live-tweet to the nation.
Twitter Townhall


The Doctor Is In: The Marketing Advantages of “Office Hours”

Having established hours when you’ll be available on Twitter has its advantages. Twitter’s integration with mobile phones encourages instantaneous responses and fast-paced tweeting, but a disconnect still exists between users most of the time. For introducing questions, it feels a bit like throwing a fishing line into a murky lake – there’s no telling if anyone is really out there.
Setting up a real-time Q&A session on Twitter guarantees visitors that someone is listening and establishes reliable conversation.
I had a recent nightmare experience with Comcast customer support, as I was forced to speak to numerous androids, and then human representatives who weren’t much more help. I had to call five separate times before finally finding a kind ear, who was able to help me quite easily.
As humans, we have a desperate desire to be heard. Businesses rely on social media because it helps establish community; but communities can’t happen with a single person hollering down a well and waiting for an answer.
A live tweet session is a great way to provide people with live personalized attention without a direct phone call.
Take a look at how others have used established tweet-times to garner interest:
  • Fashism hosts “ask the expert” Summer Fridays in which folks tweet their fashion woes and have live celebrity fashionistas respond with style tips.
  • Community online shopping site Moxsie introduced #BuyerChat events on Twitter in which followers play the part of virtual shoppers, providing clothing designers with real-time feedback.
  • Lucky Magazine hosts regular fashion Q&A sessions to help prevent fashion faux pas.
Lucky magazine

Have Something to Offer

Naturally if you’re hosting a live Twitter event, you’ll want to be prepared; that means taking time to think about the kinds of questions that might be posed, and having answers ready.
Not all questions have simple answers, in which case you may want to use Obama’s technique of having material ready to link to in order to explain more complicated answers (as you can imagine, the debt crisis doesn’t fit easily into 140 characters).

Hashtag Television

Live tweeting in the form of hashtag television is becoming increasingly popular, as TV watchers unite on Twitter to discuss the thrills and triumphs of their favorite characters live with other like-minded devotees.
Originating with the #trumproast, other television shows, such as Glee, have begun displaying their hashtags in the lower corner throughout new episodes.
With tablets and smart phones growing ever more popular, it’s not uncommon for TV viewers to divide attention between the big tube and smaller screens in a show of multi-tasking mastery. Seeing a hashtag during a favorite show prompts the viewer to find out more, even if they aren’t sure what it is (although who mistakes a pound sign for a hashtag anymore?).

Show Them You Care by Being There

Live tweeting is a technique that is still catching on with most companies, but it’s a great idea to consider. Many groups host one-time live Twitter events, but making them a regular routine fosters community and user loyalty. Talking with live individuals reminds users that you are indeed human, and are truly listening!
Make being present a habit, and customers will reward you with devotion and virtual hugs.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Twitter Paid Advertising for Small Businesses: How to Get the Most Out of the Promoted Tweets Platform

Twitter’s pay-per-click advertising platform, now in beta, has opened up to offer access to some small businesses in addition to the larger advertisers who have been able to advertise via Twitter ads for some time. Getting access to the promoted tweets platform and understanding the different types of advertising available to you via Twitter could be a point of confusion for small businesses, so let’s outline the different means of advertising on Twitter.

Available Forms of Twitter Advertising

There are a few different ways you can advertise on Twitter:
  • Promote Tweets to Twitter Search – You can pin a promoted Tweet to a specific search (you could choose some of your core keywords or advertise on a competitor’s brand name).
  • Promote Tweets to Your Followers – You can also promote specific tweets to people who already follow you – this might be a good place to promote a specific offer you want followers to take, to promote your presence at events, or to promote content you want to get more exposure for.
  • Promote Tweets to Users Similar to Yours – This is a good way to get additional exposure beyond your follower base, as the platform will find users similar to your followers and show them your promoted Tweets, which might promote certain offers and/or content.
  • Promote Tweets to Trends – Similar to search, you can promote a Tweet in response to a specific trend, such as showing an ad for NBA jerseys in response to an #NBAfinals trend.
  • Brand Pages – You can create an “Enhanced Profile Page” which is a branded page similar to a Facebook fan page.
  • Sponsored Accounts – You can also pay to have your Twitter account sponsored to users who the platform determines would be interested in your account.
If you’re a larger advertiser and can commit to at least $15,000 over three months, you can have access to all of these features, or if you’re a smaller business and want to test the platform via self-serve ads you can leverage the promoted accounts and promoted tweets (to users similar to yours).
You can learn more about the small business platform and get $100 in free ads here:
And you can sign up for a new Twitter ad account here:
For a small business, self-serve account you can designate how much you want to pay per follower, for the promoted accounts product, and you can designate a daily budget as well as a cost to pay per new follower:
Twitter Promoted Account
As you can see a bid is recommended and they project how many new followers you can expect per day.
Promoted tweets is very similar, but in addition to controlling budget and cost per follower, you can also accept or reject actual tweets to promote to Twitter users who are similar to your followers:
Promoted Tweets
You can promote specific content you want to gain exposure for (such as link baits, Webinars, white papers, discounts or coupons, etc.) and while you can’t hand-designate specific tweets you can “reject” tweets to help cultivate the five tweets that actually show up as promoted.
Pushing hard offers via Twitter ads can be very ineffective, but investing in growing your follower base and exposing your tweets to more Twitter users can be a great way to help generate more exposure for your content and can actually drive leads and sales to specific types of offers. You have much less targeted control with many of Twitter’s promoted products as you’re basically promoting an existing account or tweet that you’re using for another purpose, rather than hand-crafting an account to drive specific traffic to a specific page via a specific ad as you would with AdWords. But if you’re cognizant of the prices you’re paying (in some cases as low as .50 per engagement) and the traffic and interaction with your site that’s being generated as a result, Twitter ads can be a valuable part of a balanced set of lead generation channels that also includes PPC, content marketing and so on.
About the Author
Tom Demers is co-founder and managing partner at Measured SEM LLC, a boutique Boston, MA SEO and PPC agency offering search marketing consulting services including pay-per-click account management, a comprehensive SEO audit, content marketing strategy, reputation management for SEO and link building services and strategies for a variety of specific niches such as B2B SEO services.
You can learn more about how Measured SEM can help your business by getting in touch with Tom directly via email at tom at measuredsem.com, or by following him on Twitter.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

How to Drive Google Image Search Traffic That's Actually Relevant

My personal blog gets a lot of traffic through Google Image Search. In fact, two of my top 10 organic keyword referrers are “jeff bridges” and “young jeff bridges,” thanks to a post in which I ask the age-old question, who’s the ultimate in “cocky-hot,” a young Jeff Bridges or James Spader circa Pretty in Pink? (Scientists have not yet reached consensus on this issue.)
Google Image Search
Well, traffic is traffic, right? Meh – maybe for a blog that has no real business goals. But let’s pretend for a second that I am running a business and have goals to reach. As such, there are a few problems with this traffic:
  • It’s irrelevant – People who search Google Images for pictures of Jeff Bridges don’t really care what I have to say, about Jeff Bridges or otherwise probably – they just want to look at Jeff Bridges, or maybe they want to find a picture of him to use on their own site. My blog isn’t about Jeff Bridges or movies or acting or celebrities at all.
  • It bounces/doesn’t come back – Once visitors get what they came for and realize that I don’t deliver an endless stream of Jeff Bridges pics, they are unlikely to bookmark my site and put it into their regular reading rotation.
Sometimes people use image search because they just want to steal your cute cat pictures and put them on their own blogs. But sometimes, people are genuinely looking for information (or products) that can be represented visually.
If you’re running a business site/blog, you should always be thinking about how you can build a return audience with your content. If people find your site and convert right away, great! Have a Hershey’s kiss. But often with content marketing, the goal is to form a new relationship, to nudge the prospect down the funnel and one step closer to eventually becoming a customer. So you want most of your visitors, even new visitors who find you through a Google search, to be relevant to your business.
With that in mind, here are three ways you can maximize your Google image search traffic.

Think of Google Image Search as an Easy Win

Several months ago we made a conscious effort to better optimize our site for Google image search rankings. Notice the strong upward trend in traffic from image searches:
Google Image Search Referral Traffic
The bounce rate for this traffic is also relatively low – in fact it’s lower than our site average. (To look at your own Google image search numbers in Analytics, go to Traffic Sources -> Sources -> Referrals, then click on google.com, then /imgres.)
It’s often easier to drive traffic through image search or video search than plaid old regular search – in part because there’s less competition and in part because the competition is less likely to be properly optimized. So think of image search as an easy win. If you play your cards right you can start to drive traffic from image search pretty quickly. The trick is making sure that traffic is relevant and valuable. That brings us to our next section.

Create Visual Content that Speaks to Leads

When trying to create content that ranks for your SEO keywords, it’s always a good idea to start with those keywords, rather than writing whatever and forcing keywords into your content after the fact. Similarly, when optimizing for image search, start with keywords and go from there.
Many keywords lend themselves naturally to visual content, but almost any kind of content can be enhanced with images. “How to” keywords are especially conducive to image-heavy content, because it’s often easier to illustrate a process than simply explain it. (This is why some build-it-yourself furniture comes with instructions that are all diagrams, no language.) How-to keywords are also great for driving highly relevant long-tail traffic, and when you can provide the perfect answer to a question, you increase your chances of converting that visitor to a customer later on.
Here are some examples of how you can create visual content to support how-to keywords for different business types:
Optimizing for Google Images Search
In all these examples, you’re going after traffic that is highly relevant to your business, and you’re using images to help you attract and keep that traffic. The thinking is, even for informational keywords like this that might not directly lead to a sale, you’re raising awareness of your brand and positioning yourself as an authority on the topic at hand. This can only help you down the line. (Hint: Look for opportunities to capture some lead information, for example by prompting blog visitors to sign up for your email list, so you can nurture them with targeted offers. Or set up a remarketing campaign in AdWords, so those visitors continue to see your display ads for the next month or so. If they were looking for information in your field, they may need more help, in the form of products or services, in the near future.)
So how do you make sure that your images show up in the Google results for your target keywords? I was just getting to that!

Use Image File Name and Tags to Your Advantage

A lot of sites don’t properly optimize their images, whether from laziness or ignorance, which makes it easier for you to step in and outrank them. Our internal tests suggest that optimized images actually improve your rankings in regular web search, too.
Google can’t “read” your images yet (and still no flying cars!), so you need to use the text that surrounds the image to tell Google what the picture is “about.” To optimize your images for Google image search, there are two main elements you need to focus on:
  • The image file name – When you save your images, use file names that describe the photo and are optimized for the keyword set you’re targeting. In the “how to dress for a job interview” example above, you might save a picture as “mens-suit-for-job-interview.jpg” – notice that this is readable, descriptive text, compared to some meaningless string of numbers like “IMG0009.jpg”
  • The alt attribute – When you code an image into your site, you can use the alt attribute to describe the image in text. If someone’s browser won’t display the image, they’ll see the alt text instead. Google can also crawl the alt text to learn what the image looks like. This is a good place to put one of your keywords – ideally, the keyword will actually describe the image accurately! The HTML might look like this: img src="mens-suit-for-job-interview.jpg " alt="job interview appropriate suit". Or you can add it via your content management system – here’s what the field looks like in Drupal:
Alternative Text for Image Search
Secondary elements that could also influence your rankings are the text near the images/on the same page (the caption, surrounding text) and anchor text in links that point to the image or the page with the image.
Remember to apply your keyword research here – your file names and alt attributes should describe the images you’re using, but your choices should also be driven by your SEO goals. If you’re targeting a keyword like “email marketing guide” and all your images are cute cat photos, you’re not really maximizing the relevance factor. Also remember that ads/banners are images – if you’re using display creative on your web pages, don’t forget to optimize those too.
Finally, make sure your images aren’t ugly, distorted, slow to load, or otherwise unwieldy. Here are Google’s recommendations for keeping images user-friendly:
  • Good-quality photos appeal to users more than blurry, unclear images. In addition, other webmasters are much more likely to link to a good-quality image, which can increase visits to your site. Crisp, sharp images will also appear better in the thumbnail versions we display in our search results, and may therefore be more likely to be clicked on by users.
  • Even if your image appears on several pages on your site, consider creating a standalone landing page for each image, where you can gather all its related information. If you do this, be sure to provide unique information—such as descriptive titles and captions—on each page. You could also enable comments, discussions, or ratings for each picture.
  • Not all users scroll to the bottom of a page, so consider putting your images high up on the page where it can be immediately seen.
  • Consider structuring your directories so that similar images are saved together. For example, you might have one directory for thumbnails and another for full-size images; or you could create separate directories for each category of images (for example, you could create separate directories for Hawaii, Ghana, and Ireland under your Travel directory). If your site contains adult images, we recommend storing these in one or more directories separate from the rest of the images on your site.
  • Specify a width and height for all images. A web browser can begin to render a page even before images are downloaded, provided that it knows the dimensions to wrap non-replaceable elements around. Specifying these dimensions can speed up page loading and improve the user experience. For more information about optimizing your images, see Optimizing Web Graphics on the site Let's Make the Web Faster.
By following these tips, you should see an increase in your Google image search traffic – and it will be quality traffic you can actually capitalize on