My Marketing Gals

Simplified Online Marketing

Filtering by Tag: marketing online

Blogging for SEO: Creating a Keyword Rich Title

If you want your blog to come up in search engine results you'll need to pay close attention to writing a keyword rich title to get noticed.  

  • Think like your audience. What keywords will they search for to find your blog? Put those words at the front of your title. "Designer Handbags: What's trending this summer?"  Research keyords in your industry with a tool such as  google adwords or Keyword Tool
  • Notice the key words are at the beginning of the title. This isn't by chance. As search engines scan new content they look at the beginning of sentences.  
  • Ask a question or offer a solution.  Your target audience is often searching for answers, solutions or advice on a topic.  "Tooth Grinding: 7 ways to stop grinding your teeth."  People love the quick solutions and offering 7 steps or 6 ways, etc. is always popular. 
  • Use the colon for added search benefit. Notice in our above examples we lead with the category or topic and then use another set of keywords which offers more details about our article. 
  • Many blogs convert this title automatically into the blog/page title. This is terrific for SEO. The page title is one of the most important places you can control in SEO. Make sure your page name has your keywords. 

Instagram for Business - Connecting you to your target audience.

With over 1 million users in just two months and over 150 million users currently this free photo sharing platform is capturing moments across the world.   Increase your business' visibility and  connect with your target audience.  Start your free Instagram account at www.instagram.com.

After creating your account be sure to follow other businesses and get comfortable with the platform. You should also subscribe to the Instagram for Business Blog for inspiration.  http://business.instagram.com/blog/  Remember that people (your target audience) needs to connect with your business.  Don't take a few photos of your products and think that's it. You should be creative with your images. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Create your profile by completing all of the fields offered.  Use your keywords, mission, profile images, etc.
  2. Use the Instagram tools, like filters, hashtags and your keywords. Add a description to capture attention. (content, content, content)
  3. Show your team and the people behind your business. (Have an office pet or mascot? Photo often if so - furry friends are popular)
  4. Share some history. How was it made? What inspired you? How did your business evolve? Thank those who inspired.
  5. You don't need a professional photographer to showcase your products. Share images of your product in use. Perhaps share results or benefits from using your product or service.
  6. Share any community events, sponsorships and other activities your team/company participates in.
  7. Follow trends and participate.
  8. Cross promote your Instagram across other platforms.
  9. Embed your Instagram photos into your website.
  10. Respond to comments.

The team at We are Social Media put together a terrific infograph timeline of the history of Instagram.

7 ways your employees can support your business through Social Media

Many business owners are using social media to connect with their target audience, but many neglect sharing their plan with staff.  This is a huge opportunity to excel your social media to the next level.  My Marketing Gals takes time to meet with each new clients team after we set up accounts in order to get them involved.  I thought I'd share our

meeting notes so more businesses can train their employees for added support.

1.) Explain your Social Media Goals and ensure they understand your mission:  

  • If they are commission sales then they will be further motivated for the company to succeed. Be sure and have a social media policy if staff are creating their own social media 'business' pages and a code of conduct for using their personal pages and talking about the business.
  • Non commissioned employees need to understand how a prosperous company has a better chance at  job security and is good for business.

2.) Ask for employee/staff support. Oftentimes your staff is the front line for your business. Their interaction with customers is meaningful to your bottom line. Here are a few ways your staff can support your business via social media:

  • Ask them to ‘like’, ‘follow’, comment, etc.  from their personal accounts.  Don't forget to have them list their  LinkedIN employer as the official "company" page you set up and have them "follow".
  • Have staff send a recommendation. Who wouldn't like seeing a company with happy employees.
  • Share (retweet) posts, on your personal profiles.
  • Suggest friends/ family  ‘like’ or ‘follow’
  • Have staff call their friends/family, that have purchased from you, for a recommendation.
  • Adjust their email auto signature to include links for social media accounts.
  • Note: Not an open door to play on personal accounts during work hours.

2.) Take photographs: Pictures are worth a 1000 words. It's true: people are draw to images. Look at someone in line waiting browse their mobile device. Posts with images are more likely to be looked at. Sure, you  may have a professional take portraits and other business shots, but since social media posts are in the moment you may not have that pro on hand for these. Ask your staff to help. (especially if they service on location) When taking photographs be sure to...

  • Set camera/phone to high resolution.
  • Send large (not small) images.
  • In low lighting situations, steady camera on table or firm surface to avoid motion blur.
  • Don't get too close (can crop later if needed).
  • Take before and after photographs.
  • If a customer is in the shot have a quick release form, on hand, allowing permission to post.

3.) Listen for stories. As your staff interacts with customers they should listen for stories  and find examples that your target audience can relate to or learn from. These stories or real life examples can easily be turned into an interesting post on your social media that customers will relate to and "like", "Comment", "Share", "retweet", etc.

  • How your product/service helped them.
  • Perhaps they purchased for special celebration. (50 year anniversary, birthday, lost weight, retired, reached other goal, etc.)
  • Dog chewed up, flood, fire, etc.
  • A 'what not to do' or misuse of item that your staff is servicing.

4.) Asking for Reviews/Recommendations: People love supporting local businesses and many are glad to help. 

  • Simply ask for a recommendation.
  • Show how easy it is to leave one.
  • Urgency is key as people have good intentions but forget.  If they have a smart phone ask them to pull up the site and do it now.
  • Share how you and your business love feedback so further improvements can be made.

5.) Create a process for your staff to ask for customer participation.

  • Discuss timing for when your staff should ask a customer to support your business or give a review.
  • Create a postcard, or back of business card, with social media addresses, QR code and simple instructions along with a few benefits that is handed to every person as they leave/purchase. Use signage on the counter, in the washroom or other places customers linger.
  • Have a person designated to send all of this information to. My Gals create an email account, for each of our clients, to share with staff dedicated just for this purpose.

6.) Script & practice statements to share with customers.  You may even want to role play with staff in a team meeting to formulate your wording. Examples include...

  • Were you pleased with our service/product? Would you recommend us to friends and family? We are on facebook, twitter and google +.  Would you do me a favor and “Like” / “Follow” us there and write a recommendation or post on your wall about us.  
  • Can we send you a reminder email in a week? 
  • Ask for email and permission to add to enewsletter. 
  • Did you know we have a referral program? Perhaps you can mention us on _______ and earn ______. Your friend will get a discount on their first service too. 
  • Taking photos? Would you mind if we shared photos on our facebook page? Be sure and “Like” us so you can share with your friends and family.
  • Have your company website saved on your smart device and show them where the links are.

7.) Ensure your staff understands how customers benefit from engaging with your business via social medial. 

  • We will be offering tips, offers, seasonal advice and would greatly appreciate you supporting our locally owned business
  • SEND photos, stories, etc. from the field/store to your marketing department.

Having the support of your business is a great place to expand your reach across social media.  Keep in mind this should be a voluntary act from your employees. Do not force them to participate.  You may want to take time and write some official rules regarding usage of social media at work.  Also, schedule time for employees to support their business online and share important links in your company enewsletter.

Facebook Tests 5 Star Ratings

Facebook is testing a new Page feature and displaying stars front and center on Business Pages.  You may have seen it on some of your favorite pages.  Not all facebook users can see this feature and not all pages have stars prominently featured on their page. Who knows the test may not launch fully, but in the meantime Page owners are taking notice. facebook tests 5 star ratings

What we do ‘like’ is that this could be an advantage for small and locally owned businesses. Since many locally owned businesses lack a huge number of likes, this gives visitors an opportunity to see ratings prominently rather than judge by # of fans.  Local and smaller businesses often struggle with increasing ‘likes’.  Small budgets for facebook ad’s, contest apps and marketing dollars to promote their page and increase likes.  We advise our clients to put the focus on their target market and 'real' ‘likes’ and less worry about the number.  Our page and our clients pages have real people that genuinely like our page (and our business). Many have shopped or bought products and services from or plan to.  With a ratings system this may minimize the battle of wanting a higher number over quality followers.  Don't get me wrong...we strive to increase 'likes' and  connect with potential (and current) customers, but it's not our main focus - quality connections over quantity.

What we don’t like is the automatic 3.5 star rating given by facebook when in fact a page has no recommendations yet.  One of our clients has one star rating of 5, yet facebook shows only 4 prominently featured. Another has four 5 star ratings and a 3.5 star featured listing. The star rating should be an actual star rating based on real page recommendations and not randomly given by facebook.  Perhaps this is a glitch in their test and will be fixed. We sure hope so! 

A few other lingering thoughts on the new ratings feature...

  • Will admins be able to ‘hide’ reviews they don’t like once this star rating goes live on all pages? Currently admins can ‘hide’ a non favorable review.
  • Will facebook allow “Reply to” each review and rating?  Owners should be able to thank or defend themselves. It would also be nice if fans could reply to reviews as well. Even the best businesses have an occasional hater out there that keeps posting. Which leads me to my final question...
  • Currently page admins can ‘block’ someone from participating with their page. This is great for disgruntled employees and that ever nagging hater that won’t forgive and move on, or people that haven't even used your products and grumble for odd reasons.   (Two, of our clients, have a few haters that dislike a radio station my clients  advertising on. Will their bad reviews affect the rating even though they've never used these clients products or services?   Will these ‘blocked’ people be removed along with their review? Does this skew results if so?

While we wait and see what Facebook does with the new Ratings test you can do something.   Ask your customers to support your business by making a recommendation on facebook. Also, don’t forget to support your favorite pages by recommending. Don't spend too much time as this could pass in an instant.

Integrating Instagram into your facebook business page and website.

Most savvy internet users know that using images increases activity. We live in a visual world and our eyes stop with photographs to take it in. While there are many social sharing photography applications out there we'd like to share one of our favorites. Instagram.  Many are integrating this app into their personal profiles, but how can a business use? We will share two ways to integrate Instagram into your business. 1. ) Integrate on your website by embedding code. http://embedagram.com/ was an easy site to extract html code for our business instagram account.  We were able to  easily  put this code into our Square Space website (currently in development.) We have a scrolling bar of the latest photographs and even downloaded a camera icon for fans to follow us on Instagram. (we hope to launch our new website soon so you can check it out. We've placed it on the 'about' page.) www.mymarketinggals.com

instagram-blog

2.) Integrate into your Facebook Business Page. To do this.. type "Instagram feed for Pages" into the facebook search bar and follow instructions.  You will now have a tab on your page with "Instagram". When clicked you will see the latest photos in your Instagram account and there will be a "follow us on Instagram" button so fans can easily start following your Instagram account. While this is great for those who visit your page and browse what you are about, how about those who only see your posts in their newsfeed? We will now share how to  share your instagram photos on your Facebook Page Wall -- From your business Instagram account, click on your profile (tool gear) and then select "Share Settings" and then where the default facebook "share to timeline" is, click on it.  You will then be given the option to share on a page that you are admin for. If you've already linked to your facebook personal timeline you will need to unlink and go back to the steps above. Here is Instagram help on this topic. - http://help.instagram.com/493008720719279. We had a personal timeline chosen initially. To remove go into Apps on your facebook personal profile, chose 'account settings' then 'apps' and removed Instagram. Go back to Instgram on  your mobile device and click 'Share', 'Facebook'. Review terms and agree. You will notice , 'timeline' as top choice then the pages you are an approved admin for underneath. Simply click the page you want to integrate and start posting away.

One other detail under facebook sharing is to share 'likes' on timeline. If you want to share other Instagram photographs on your timeline automatically then select "share likes to timeline", otherwise turn off this feature.

So, snap away photographs for your business and post, with ease, into your website and business facebook page.  Comment below your favorite photography app for business or other ways to feature your photographs.

How to navigate in Twitter for business

While putting together a cheat sheet for a client on twitter I decided to share on my blog.  Twitter can be a bit foreign to many until you get used to it. Let's start with why you should use twitter. 1.) Manage your reputation.  There may be others talking about you and you don't even know it.  I had a client once (restaurant owner) that had many talking about his new place and how to find him. Luckily it was all good.  Had he been aware he could have thanked those who were singing his praises, or added their favorite items to upcoming specials. Many aren't so lucky and customer service issues may not have been resolved.  Consumers have a voice today that is much larger than years past. If someone receives bad service they want to tell everyone about it and you  might not even know it unless you check what they are saying. Your response to good and bad statements speaks volumes about you and your business.  2.) Branding - Get your name out there. Use Twitter as your own PR hound and get news out there. You can brand your twitter profile with custom backgrounds and links to your web, etc. Use your voice to engage with your followers and connect with them on a personal level. 3.) Listening is key on twitter. Find out what your prospects want, need or challenges they've had. You also need to listen to what your competitors are doing. Remember twitter is in Real time; those listening and reacting in the moment are more successful. Remember recently when the lights went out at Superbowl...Oreo was quick to react and  tweeted something along the lines of ' You can still dunk in the dark" earning 10,000 retweets in one hour.  Their quick response made news headlines the next day and all over the internet, not just twitter. Click here for full article from Ad Age: http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/marketers-jump-super-bowl-blackout-twitter/239575/

Check back soon for more specific how to's in twitter.

Here are some links you  may enjoy.

Hashtag know how

Revoke Access to Unused Applications on facebook

If you are like me you've explored applications to enhance your facebook page.  I've used applications for many clients, especially those without websites. I've been able to create biography pages, pull in YouTube videos, connect twitter and other social media accounts all with app's. (Many of which are free to use if you don't mind the advertisements.) When you install these applications you agree to their terms. You grant permission for these app's to use your data and oftentimes the ability to post on behalf of your page. My advice today is to review the app's you've allowed such permission and delete the ones you no longer use. To see what applications you have on facebook follow these instructions:

  1. From your personal facebook home screen look on the left side for 'Apps' and click on 'App Center'.  
  2. Towards the bottom of the page click on "Your Apps".  You will see a list of all of the applications you have loaded as well as the date you have used last. If you would like to revoke access simply delete.
  3. Delete unwanted applications by hovering your mouse over the application and look for the small 'x' to the right. Click on the x and your application will be removed.

screen-grab-apps

That's it for revoking access to applications.  While we are in this screen there is one other area I'd like to point out.  How many times have you received requests for games or other applications (from friends) to join them in something you are not interested in?  Just above 'your apps' you will see 'requests'.  This is where you will see current requests and even a list of past requests. You can do two things here to stop receiving these requests.

  1.  Block the apps from asking again or being recommended by friends. Select "ignore requests from (enter game/app name here).
  2. You can also 'ignore apps from _name__' (those friends that send you requests for everything that annoy you so much. Don't worry you'll still be connected to your friend and be able to send messages, but you just won't receive their requests for applications/games, etc.) You are blocking their requests not blocking the person.

Hope this helps. Feel free to comment on your favorite applications.

Helpful Links:

https://www.facebook.com/help/272999036130710/

No need to protest facebook's Data Use Policy with a copy and paste copyright message on your timeline.

Another hoax makes it's way through facebook and causes an uproar in how your data is used by Facebook. Image Uh oh, here we go again. Facebook updates once again and newsfeeds are full of advice (some misguided) and protests.  On November 21st facebook announced ‘updates to Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities”.  An e-mail was distributed, from facebook, recommending you to review the policy as well as asking for comments to proposed changes.

Many are now seeing posts to copy and paste a copyright notice on their wall. This hoax makes you think that facebook does not have permission to use anything from your profile without your permission. This is useless and not necessary.  When you initially sign up for facebook you agree to their terms.  Facebook does not own your photos or content, you do however grant facebook permission to use, distribute and share things you post. Read the terms here for full disclosure. https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms.  This latest notice (from facebook) has many talking about an invasion of privacy to share information with advertisers, game/app developers and facebook developers. Again, this is nothing new. Anyone with a facebook account agreed to this when they signed up. The notice simply lists updates and tools to make it easier to understand what is being shared and any feedback before the revisions go into effect.

While personally I’m not thrilled with the idea of outsiders accessing my data I understand why, and agreed to it when I opened an account.   While many may not like this you must remember:

1.) facebook is a business (businesses typically have a goal in making a profit) 2.) It’s ‘free’ to use (though it does have a catch and this is part of it)

While agreeably advertisements and game requests are sometimes annoying, especially when we are not used to seeing them (or so many), but on the positive side..the advertisements you see are targeted to you and your interests.  If only television, newspaper, local billboards could target ad’s that only relate to me and my interests...now that would be something. You might actually find a few advertisements interesting.

My advice:

1.) Review and customize your privacy settings. Don’t let the default setting make these choices for you. (I will blog my recommendations next, subscribe/or check back). 2.) Think before your post.  Everything you say and do can come back to haunt you. 3.) Accept that facebook is a business, free to use, mainly in part because of the advertisers and developers. 4.) Remind yourself of all of the positive things you enjoy about facebook. Decide if it outweighs the recent change you don’t like. 5.) Be careful what app’s you sign up for as you are further extending your content and data to be shared with them.  (update your app’s in settings from time to time and get rid of the ones you no longer use.) 6.) Select ‘ignore’ for requests to join specific games or app’s that your friends are using

I’m not saying you have to ‘like’ it.  You could take an extreme approach and deactivate or delete your account. (Though you are never fully gone from facebook, remember you posted and shared many things with others and are on their pages.) Be sure and click on ‘help’ from your facebook account if you choose to delete or deactivate.

Links you  might find interesting or useful.

LinkedIn Introduces Endorsements

With just a few clicks you can now endorse 1st connections.  A much faster way (than recommendations) to support those you have done business with.  Many intend on sending  a recommendation for  colleagues and connections, but just haven’t gotten to it.  Now with endorsements it only takes a few seconds to show your support and appreciation for connections. You may ask “How can this add value?”  (1)  You increase your credibility by having others vouch for you. Sure anyone can list a skill, but do they really have what it takes to own it? Connections verify that “yes” in fact this person is an expert here. (2) It’s also very valuable in building strong connections and allowing potential networking connections to quickly identify your strengths. And (3) Show your appreciation for others with the support of an endorsement. You stand behind them and want to see them succeed. Who wouldn’t be grateful for this? Toot their horn for them so to speak. (They may very well return the favor.)

Here’s how to make an endorsement:

  1.  simply visit your connections profile page and scroll down to Skills
  2. click the plus sign.

That’s it. Since this is a new feature, you will also be prompted to endorse various connections while exploring LinkedIn. Typically this allows only one skill  at a time. Visit your connections profile to endorse many skills at once.

You can also add skills for someone if you’d like. Perhaps you worked with someone, in the past, who had a slightly different skill set than they are showcasing now. If you’d like go ahead and add the skill and endorse.  If they don’t like that you did this (or someone added a skill for you that you don’t want) - simply click on the right arrow next to the skill and select “Hide Endorsement”

Want to know if you’ve been endorsed? Don’t worry, you will receive an e-mail from LinkedIn.  You can also see these in your profile view. Not only will you build credibility for your connection, but notice your profile picture is tagged next to the endorsement.  Perhaps you’ll expand your network and connect with future clients.

P.S. Don’t quote me, but with keyword rankings I wonder if this will effect search engine results with more endorsements. I haven’t found any proof of this but a gal has to wonder.

View this slideshow, from LinkedIn, for more details with visuals. http://www.slideshare.net/linkedin/introducing-linkedin-endorsements

Pin this! Or maybe not?

I often link to great articles all over the internet. Hubspot is one of my favorites - here is an interesting article from them that might make you think twice who you link from. Pinterest encourages sharing things you like from all across the web.  A website (or their lawyers) might have something to say about it though.  http://ow.ly/cnuCW

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