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What Not To Do On Social Media

Don't Do It road sign
18Apr

Social media is one of those movements that really only work if the user is, well, using it correctly. It might seem overly simple, but there are certain unspoken rules and etiquette that should be abided by in order to have success. And, like the people that use it, the internet landscape, specifically social media, can be a tad fickle. Here are some good rules to abide by when presenting yourself to the world wide web and the many eyes that are watching you. Michael Morelli of Morellifit and Instagram giant (5 million followers going strong) has some suggestions on what to steer clear from.

  • Make sure you come off honest, true, and not like a scam artist. Nobody wants to question if you are who you say you are. There’s already enough of that on the internet. It’s important to show that you know that you’re a credible source of information for your field of specialty. Make sure the facts are actually true and that you’re posting credible information. If it’s your opinion, make sure you don’t push it too much, nor do you want to present it as fact.
  • Once you’ve built a decent following, they’re going to expect a consistent flow of new content and posts. Congrats, on your quest to reach out, you’ve become somewhat of an entertainer and news source, which you’ll have to keep up with. Be aware that internet silence can be deadly. You don’t want to be one of the mute screen names that eventually get deleted.
  • Do not push the sales side of your social media campaigns too much. This one is important because if you seem too much like a used-car salesmen (no offense to the automotive industry) you’re going to lose followers, and fast. Be sure to water down your pitchy posts with interesting news articles, contests, questionnaires, quizzes, whatever is engaging and relatable to your field.

It’s important to understand that, when using social media, you’re not speaking to an empty room. There is audience, and they’re expecting quality posts. Make sure you can deliver while still trying to push your brand in a subtle but effective way.

For more info about these helpful steps, Michael Morelli’s insightful article: http://ow.ly/10A9Up

Comment your thoughts below!

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Want More Social Media Connections? Then Put Your Email Database to Work!

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23Feb

I am sure you have heard others talk about the importance of building a mailing list.  Businesses just like yours have been amassing potential customer data for decades.  If you have a sales department, it is likely that they have a lead list that includes names, postal addresses, phone numbers and email addresses so that they can engage prospects and translate them into sales.

If you have been gathering this information and saving it in a central place, well done and my hat’s off to you!  If you are organizing all of this information for the first time, well, you will have a challenging time.  Notice I used “challenging” instead of impossible…because it isn’t impossible in the least!

By centralizing your customer information, you will be able to market your business more effectively across the board and roll out a social media marketing campaign that is both effective and painless.  As the members of your list are already engaged with your brand, you can easily add them to your social networks by using some simple functions on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.  You will not only be able to grow your connections, but also engage with your list members in a more enriching way.

To get started, open a blank spreadsheet.  You can use a cloud-based customer resource management tool (CRM), but if you want to keep it easy, spreadsheets work fine.

Make three separate sheets in your spreadsheet and title them in the following order:

1.  Prospects (leads who have not done business with you)

2.  Current Clients (anyone who is currently doing business with you)

3.  Past Clients (anyone who is no longer doing business with you)

I like to break down customers into these three separate sheets to keep a clear delineation amongst the data that I am trying to organize.

Next, set up three column headings on each sheet:

1.  Company

2.  Contact

3.  Email

Now begin the compilation process.  (This is the not-so-fun part.  But think!  This will help grow your business offline AND online!)  Look for email addresses where they will be found most readily.

•  Professional email accounts

•  Personal email accounts (for any customer crossover)

•  Trade magazines, newspapers, blogs, and websites

•  Business cards

•  Marketing collateral (pamphlets, brochures, etc.)

•  Conference/event guides

•  Association databases

Last, import the data to their corresponding sheets.

Once you have completed this process, you will have a nice, tidy batch of information that can be utilized for social media by simply following the instructions on each site, and that can be used for newsletter mailings and email marketing.  The other great thing about this list is that you can also use it to locate people that you are looking for on social media.

For example, say that you are looking for a prospective customer whose name is John Smith on LinkedIn.  Well, that could be a tricky name to search for on LinkedIn, as it is so common.  But by having easy access to his email address, you can copy and paste that into the search and be able to find him more readily.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are many ways to utilize your lists…and the opportunities will just continue to grow.  Like I mentioned, preparing items for your social media marketing campaign will provide benefits to other aspects of your business marketing.  Social media is the oil that makes the marketing

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Increase Social Media Engagement: 10 Ways to Optimize Your Social Media Content

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22Jun

Attempting to master social media marketing can be both confusing and overwhelming at times.  Keeping track of all of the latest changes and trends, while trying to implement all of the newest tips and tricks can be challenging for a busy company.

When it comes to social media, the nucleus of all engagement is content.  So no matter what different changes may happen to the structure of social media sites, the one thing that will remain the same is the importance of well executed, optimized, engaging content.

Say you already have excellent content in place, but your posts are not generating the results that your campaign needs to deliver.  What’s the problem?

While writing great content is a constant, optimizing it is a constantly evolving medium.  Optimizing your content for social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can be as specific as changing an element within your post to work with the infrastructure of each one of these juggernauts.

We all know that writing custom content for your social media marketing campaign can be time consuming, so let’s make sure that all of that time spent is an investment that will go towards accomplishing our goals.

What I want to share with you here are ten of my own personal tips for helping your social media marketing content truly “pop” online so that you will get increased engagement through shares, likes, comments and much more!

The list below is not in order of importance: these are all vital factors that will help enhance your social media campaign’s success over time:

1.  Keywords: When developing strong social media content, keywords are absolutely essential.  The words or phrases that your target audience use to find your company (both online and offline) should always be handy when you are developing your content.  My tip is to create a list of keywords that you can add to your updates, and then use them when suitable.  These keywords will turn into hashtags and will help increase your visibility and engagement (more on this later).

2.  Be Conversational: What does your content look like?  When you read it out loud does it sound like a used car advertisement?  Does the post draw you closer, or push you away?  Imagine your post intermingled with all of the other posts (of direct and indirect competitors) vying for your target audience’s attention.  Does it still stand out? One of my top tips with social media posts is to remember that they need to be “social” i.e. conversational.  You want to start a conversational exchange with your audience – which is what engagement is!  So read your content out loud after you write it and make sure that it reads as if you are saying it – not writing it. Having your content sound “human” and not like “sales and marketing copy” is absolutely essential.

3.  Use Different Content Lengths:  Not every social media site is looking for a 140 character solution.  So writing one update and sending it through to all social media networks is not the best rule.  The ideal way of optimizing your content for size is to begin by writing a short update for Twitter (maximum 120 characters to promote sharing). Then write a slightly longer one that you can post on Facebook and LinkedIn.  This way you are able to move beyond Twitter’s character constraints when writing content, giving you freedom to enhance your posts with more engaging content, as well as giving you the ability to add further optimization through additional hashtags, tags, links, and more.

4.  Call to Action: One of the first things I learned when I launched our online marketing agency 7 years ago was the power of asking for what you wanted.  People move through social media content so fast that they don’t have time to read your mind and or read between the lines.  If you want someone to perform a certain action, make sure to tell them what you would like them to do: read this story, click this link, sign up today, etc.

5.  Shorten Your Links: On some social media sites, namely Twitter, size is everything…when it comes to characters of course.  So when you are sharing a link within your allowed 140 characters, and the link takes up nearly 60% of your available characters allocation – how are you supposed to engage your audience?  Use a link shortening tool to save space to allow your content to breath.  Also, if you are sharing links on other social media sites, a short and concise link will prevent the link breaking when posting to your social media profile.  It’s a little extra insurance that will come in handy.

6.  Hashtags: A hashtag is a type of label used on specific social media sites which makes it easier for users to find social media updates (or messages) with a specific theme or specific content. In basic terms, a hashtag indexes a post to be about a certain topic, rather than just mentioning it in the conversation so that it can easily be found and referenced.  By hash tagging your KEYWORDS within your social media content, you will enhance your “find-ability” on the social web exponentially, thus optimizing it.

7.  Tagging: Tagging on social media is a way of connecting YOUR social media content with another person, company, topic, or event.  So whereas hashtags connect general KEYWORDS together (such as #socialmedia, #onlinemarketing, #contentstrategy), tags connect social media content to specific social media accounts. This is a great way to increase your visibility with not only potential customers, but also referral sources and influencers. These are essential in helping your content gain more visibility and engagement through association.

8.  Photos/Images: While many people are getting wrapped up in the semantics of writing the “perfect social media post”, they are forgetting one of the most straightforward engagement enhancer: visuals.  While you can have a perfectly optimized post, it is not truly optimized unless you add a visual.  By adding a complimentary picture, a custom designed graphic, infographic, or even a candid shot that you took with your phone, you engage your audience in a more instantaneous way.  For example, think about when you scroll through the newsfeed, are your reading the content or looking at the pictures? You’ll find yourself engaged with visuals more quickly than the actual written words.

9.  Videos: Videos have long been heralded as the “be all and end all” of online marketing optimization.  So why aren’t more people doing them?  Time, money and lack of know-how.  Well, you are not alone if this sounds like you!  Videos done professionally or casually with your mobile device, can bring your content to life and create engagement.  You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg to create an engaging social media video.  As is true in the previous point (visuals are crucial to enhancing engagement), videos really promote enhanced engagement.  For example again, think about how many times you stop at those auto-play videos on Facebook.  You probably remember the video as opposed to the content.  Or the video led you to actually reading the social media posting associated with it, which you would have normally overlooked.

10.  Don’t Always Rely on Third-Party Scheduling Tools: Especially when it comes to Facebook and LinkedIn.  While third-party tools won’t affect your Twitter posts, they really do reduce your optimization opportunities on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn: your hashtags won’t work, your tagging won’t show up, and your previews are tough to edit.  Not to mention the fact that many sites don’t add posts scheduled through third-party tools to the insights that help you understand what posts are successful and which ones aren’t.  By adding your content directly to Facebook and LinkedIn you will escape this risk.  This way you will have full control over how effective your content is.  It will take extra time, but will increase your overall effectiveness!

These are my top 10 ways of optimizing your social media content to promote increased engagement.  While they may take a little extra time, it is a worthwhile investment.  Engaging your audience with your content is one thing, but actually having the tools to make your content more findable is absolutely essential to success.

I’m sure there are also ways that have worked for you.  If you have any others that you think should be added to the list, what would they be?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Tag, You’re It! The Importance of Tagging in Social Media Engagement

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16Jun

If you are executing social media marketing campaigns for your company, the odds are that you are encountering a foreign language.  Not necessarily a foreign language in terms of continent, but in terms of social media lingo.

Social media lingo is one of the biggest barriers to entry for many companies.  Learning a whole new “online language” is not something that many rapidly growing businesses have time to learn, or even the patience to deal with.

But with that said, if you want to start generating leads for your business on social media, you need to learn a few key terms.

In order to gain more engagement with your content, it needs to be optimized for social media so that the largest audience will be exposed to it.  The first optimization tool was hashtags (which I have written about previously) and the second I want to discuss here is Tags.

Tags are generally referred to as a keyword or term assigned to a piece of information. This kind of tag helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. I want to stick with one aspect of that definition and go into more detail.

Tagging on social media is a way of connecting YOUR social media content with another person, company, topic, or event.  So whereas hashtags connect general KEYWORDS together (such as #socialmedia, #onlinemarketing, #contentstrategy), tags connect social media content to specific social media accounts.

Whereas a hashtag uses the “#” symbol, you would tag another account by using the “@“ symbol.

For example, say I wanted to tag The Go! Agency in a Facebook update. This is how it would look as you type it:

“There is nothing worse than not being able to get people to read the social media content that you are writing.  Try these quick tips to increase your Facebook Page’s engagement, courtesy of @The Go! Agency.”

Now, when you put the tag into Facebook (not through a third-party tool like Hootsuite), when you type the @ and then begin typing “The Go”, you will see a drop-down list appear and you choose The Go! Agency from the list.  So when you post the same update above it would look like this:

“There is nothing worse than not being able to get people to read the social media content that you are writing.  Try these quick tips to increase your Facebook Page’s engagement, courtesy of The Go! Agency.”

As you can see The Go! Agency is underlined in the post.  This is now hyperlinked to The Go! Agency’s page.  By doing this, if I am posting this tagged post on my personal Facebook Page or another Facebook Page, The Go! Agency would not only be notified about the post, but if they allow posts from others on their Page, it would show up.

This will not only increase the number of eyes that your post will receive, but this will increase engagement.

Think about it like this: tagging helps you get in front of a whole new audience – one that you normally wouldn’t be able to access.

Let’s go for a multiple tagged post and see what that looks like…

Say I am an Austin, Texas-based pharmacist who owns a range of pharmacies in the area.  Here is an update that I might share with my audience.

“If you are located in the Austin, Texas area – I’m sure you have heard about the wave of sinus infections that have been making the rounds lately.  It is always good to keep up with the latest pharmacist-recommended health products.  Here is a list of all of the pharmacist-recommended health products of 2015: http://ow.ly/OowWp”

Now this is a terrific update.  It targets the appropriate local market, it talks about a current event, and offers a list of engaging helpful information for the target consumer.  But it might only be seen by a small few.  Why don’t we enhance it so that it can get more views.

Take two:

“If you are located in the @Austin, Texas area – I’m sure you have heard about the wave of sinus infections that have been making the rounds lately.  It is always good to keep up with the latest pharmacist-recommended health products.  Here is a list of all of the pharmacist-recommended health products of 2015, brought to you by @Yahoo Health: http://ow.ly/OowWp”

Now, let’s look at that same post with added hashtags:

“If you are located in the @Austin, Texas area – I’m sure you have heard about the wave of #sinusinfections that have been making the rounds lately.  It is always good to keep up with the latest pharmacist-recommended health products.  Here is a list of all of the pharmacist-recommended health products of 2015, brought to you by @Yahoo Health: http://ow.ly/OowWp #SouthCongress #SunsetValley #AndersonMill”

The hashtags increase the optimization of the post by pointing out the keywords that people may use to search for this topic or like topics (sinus infections).  To increase the local focus, the pharmacist tagged the areas of Austin where he has locations (South Congress, Sunset Valley and Anderson Mill).

Now this is very specific Facebook tagging.  Let’s quickly look at how you would tag content on different social media sites:

*Facebook: You tag another account using the “@“ symbol.  If you are using your Facebook Page, you are ONLY able to tag other Facebook Pages. If you are tagging from your PERSONAL Facebook Profile, you are able to tag both Facebook Pages AND Facebook Profiles. These tags ONLY work when you post natively on Facebook.  When I say “natively” I mean directly to Facebook and not using a third-party tool.

*LinkedIn: From your LinkedIn account you are able to tag BOTH people and companies by using the “@“ symbol.  This will only work if you post natively on LinkedIn and not through a third party scheduling tool.

*Twitter: This is where the social media tag originated from.  Here you simply add the @ symbol and then the account’s username you want to tag.  For example if you wanted to tag me in a post on Twitter it would be something like this: “Struggling with understanding tags? Check out this great new post by @ChrisGoAgency.”  The best part?  You CAN use a third-party tool to schedule and get the same effect.  You do not have to post natively to Twitter to gain the benefits of tagging.

There are many other sites that I could mention here, but these tend to be the most popular for new companies just jumping into the “tagging”, “hashtagging”, and social media optimization process.

Remember, by tagging another company you will increase the size of your audience as well as the amount of engagement that you can expect on your posts.  Have any questions – please ask!

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Improving Facebook Engagement: What You Need to Know About Native Scheduling

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1Jun

As a busy executive myself, I am sure that you are pressed for time on a daily basis.  Who isn’t?  With all the questions, requests, appointments, and projects that you need to complete – I am surprised at times that we can keep it all together.

So what is one thing we always look for?  Shortcuts and time-savers!

This couldn’t be more evident when it comes to us administering our social media marketing campaigns.  We are always on the lookout for shortcuts, or shortcut tools, that will help us save time with many aspects of executing our campaigns.

But, little do many of you know, these tools can also come back to bite you in the end – without you even knowing.

A prime example of this – Facebook.

Facebook has recently altered its algorithm (their custom self-contained step-by-step set of operations and how they are performed) to favor content that is posted DIRECTLY to Facebook.

Not through Hootsuite.  Not through Buffer. Not through SocialOomph. Not through SproutSocial. Not through…well, you get the idea.

So, what can you stand to lose by using a third-party tool to schedule your Facebook Page posts?  Here are 4 very important factors:

*Images: Many scheduling tools struggle with images and in many instances are very limited in terms of customization.  This limits your success level as images are powerhouses of engagement.

*No Facebook Insights: When you post using third-party tools many times, if not all, the posts you schedule will not be picked up by Facebook Analytics.  Meaning that you will not be able to see how your posts stack up against each other when it comes to engagement.  This means Facebook Analytics will not track the likes, shares and comments associated with any post that you scheduled using the third-party tool.  So if you are using Hootsuite, and then refer to Facebook Analytics, the data that you see is not representative of actual engagement.

*Drop in Views: Many companies have reported large drops recently in their post viewership recently.  This has been attributed to their posts being scheduled through a third-party application.

*Tagging: It is very tough to tag other businesses through a third-party application, which results in a loss of valuable exposure.

These are the current issues that many companies are facing…but there are surely more to come.

How do you get around this?  When it comes to Facebook, use the Native Facebook Scheduling tool that is available on your page (and appears as an option on every post that you write).

The process is simple.  If you want to work a week at a time, get all of your posts handy and then one-by-one go through the 5 step process:

1.  Go to your Facebook Page and input your update in the “What have you been up to?” box at the top of your timeline.
2.  Make sure that the hyperlink has produced an image preview.  Don’t like the image? Replace it by clicking the “+Upload Image” button at the bottom of the image.
3.  Don’t like the headline or the short description that has been automatically generated by the link?  Click to the right of the title AND body copy and write something more engaging in each spot.
4.  Make sure that you have hashtags in your post and that they are hyperlinked and relevant.
5.  Do you mention another company, product, service, etc that has a Facebook Page.  Make sure to tag them!  Use @ and then the company name to choose them from a drop-down list.  The more tags the merrier.  Just make sure they are relevant.

Now it is time to schedule, which is even easier!

Click the arrow next to the word “Publish” at the bottom of your update box and choose the time in the future that you would like your post to go out.

Click “Schedule” and you are done!

When the set time comes, the post will go out exactly as you have customized it during the process listed above.

What you may have noticed here is that by doing the scheduling directly through Facebook, you have more options to customize your message and how it appears to your target audience.  When using a third-party application you do not get this exact same set of options.

While this may add a bit more time to your weekly schedule, it is time well spent.  Why spend your valued time writing, when no one is going to see it.  Try this and watch your post engagement go up over time.

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The Go! Agency: Celebrating 5 Years of Excellence!

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24Oct

I am so proud to announce that The Go! Agency has reached an important milestone…five years of excellence in online marketing.  Since the firm launched in 2009, we have developed a skilled team of professionals whom have helped hundreds of clients around the globe reach online marketing success.  To celebrate this anniversary, we have news and exciting offers to share with you!

New Headquarters  

We moved to our state-of-the-art offices in Largo, Florida, that include a classroom for our newly developed training and consulting services. We would love to see you, so drop by!  You can find our address at the bottom of this email.

New Website Content

Besides giving a makeover to our website’s design, we’ve added tons of case studies and client comments to give you more insight on what we do! Plus, don’t forget about our blog and iTunes podcasts for online marketing tips and information.

New Staff

We have recently added a staff member, Sheila Julien, our new Head of Content.  We are so happy to add Sheila to our thriving and growing team!

New Books

Did you know that The Go! Agency wrote the book (actually, books) on social media marketing?  I just released my book, “Is Social Media Right for My Business?” and our VP, Dale Griffen, has published his book, “The Secrets to Healthcare Marketing.” Both are available on Amazon Kindle for $4.99 each.

Your Special Gift! Exclusive 5th Anniversary Offer

Interested in learning more about online marketing and social media but not sure where to start?

Now is the perfect time to find out!

Go! Pro Marketing Package

You will get a one-on-one consultation with me that includes:

  • A full audit of your branding
  • A full audit of your marketing plan and budget
  • A full audit of your social media marketing presence
  • A step-by-step plan and checklist of your next steps
  • A support materials packet to help you create and schedule a marketing plan, social media plan and content calendar
  • Lots of other exclusive goodies

We are offering this $1,250 package to our special connections for only $299!  A discount of nearly $1,000!  To learn more about this limited time offer, contact me or Dale at 866-926-2636 or at info@thegoagencyuasa.com.

We are so happy to have you in our network and promise to continue to bring you only the best when it comes to online marketing!

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Are You Ready for a New Twitter Profile? Ready or Not, Here it Comes!

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16Apr

Lately all of the social media juggernauts have been undergoing some major changes in order to make them more intuitive, attractive and powerful when it comes to engaging your target audience.  Facebook has rolled out some important changes to Pages, LinkedIn has rolled out Showcase Pages and now Twitter is rolling out an entirely new Twitter Profile layout.

For those of you who have been avoiding Twitter, this just might be a the perfect time for you to get started.  Why?  This new design is the most straight-forward of all of the previous incarnations and will help you get started quickly with great new features.

Just so you know, this change is going to be rolled out first for the web version of Twitter, which is what we will focus on in this article (not the mobile version).

Now here are the top 6 new features and changes to your Twitter Profile you need to be aware of:

1. New Header Image.  In order to bring your Twitter account to life, Twitter has now introduced a massive new image-driven layout to show its dedication to the visual.  These layouts will be slowly rolling out to all Twitter users, and those who create a new account can receive one right now.  For best results the image should be 1500 x 500 pixels.  Make sure that this image is cohesive with your brand and other social media images.  My top tip is to choose some of the branding from your online point of sale (website) and recreate it here.  Using online photo/image editors you can do this yourself, but of course a graphic designer can be an absolute asset.

2.  Larger Profile Pic.  Now you will be able to showcase your brand logo with a larger more vibrant image on your Twitter profile.  The new size for the Profile Pic is 400 x 400 pixels.

3.  Profile Layout Change.  You will now notice that there is a 3 column view where on the left hand side all of your most important information is instantly visible.  Your name, bio, location and website will be prominently featured on the left hand side (much like the recent changes that Facebook made to their Pages).  Also in the left column you will find all of your photos and videos.  Another upgrade is that underneath the new header image are tabs (which will also be used on Facebook Pages) that break down your profile into the following choices: Tweets, Photos/Videos, Following, Followers, Favorites, More (which include lists).  This design has streamlined all of the noise on Twitter so that navigation and engagement can be more straightforward.

4.  Pinning Tweets.  Much like Facebook, you will be able to “Pin” Tweets to the top of your Twitter feed so when people visit your profile they will be met with what you deem to be the most important information for them to engage with first.  This is a great self promotional tool to get your message across to the masses.

5.  Larger Popular Tweets.  If one of your tweets is getting a lot of attention, it will appear bold and larger than your others so that it pops out in your feed.  This is a great tool to track successful tweets and monitor them, as well as showcasing your most popular content to your target audience.

6. Filter Tweets.  This is a great new tool that will help visitors to your Twitter profile filter your tweets based on their own personal criteria.  So for example if someone comes to your profile and filters your tweets using “promotion”, only your tweets with the word “promotion” will show up.  This is a great way for people to engage with the content they want and for you to search for information that your business may need (ie: competitive analysis).

I’m sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the changes that Twitter is going to be making – but I like the direction that they are moving in.  There has even been talk of removing hashtags (#s) and @ replies in order to make the platform more intuitive!

If you are having problems making sense of Twitter and not sure how to get the traction that your brand deserves on Twitter, let us know.

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Is Your Facebook Page Ready for These Changes? What You Need to Know About the New Timeline Layout

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15Apr

Just when you thought you had finally made sense of the new layout changes Facebook has introduced over the past months, they go and introduce even more!  The difference this time is that the focus of the changes is not your personal profile – it is your Facebook Page: where you market your business to the Facebook masses.

Rest assured, these changes are not immediate game changers and will not create too much work in the short-term.  Facebook, like many social media sites (including Twitter and LinkedIn), want to put the focus back on the newsfeed and increasing engagement with relevant content.  In order to do this, they have streamlined the layout of Pages to help support this initiative.

Whether you are familiar with Facebook marketing or are a newbie, I’ve compiled a list of the changes (as of now) that will be rolled out to all Facebook Page owners in the coming weeks.  I’ve also added short descriptions of the benefits of these features for marketing your business on Facebook.

The features below will be visible to administrators of your business’s Facebook Page – so when you take a look around the new layout you can follow along using the right interface.  So make sure that you are viewing your page from an administrator account to check out all of these new features.

Now, let’s share those new features!

1.  Main Navigation Bar.  In order to streamline the look of pages, as well as move the newsfeed items closer to the top of the page, gone are the old TABS (which used to appear as a row of small rectangular boxes underneath your cover image).  In their place will be a main navigation bar – very similar to that which you would see on a website, or on Twitter.  The new buttons will be Timeline / About / Photos / Videos / More (which will include existing TABS).  While the loss of TABS will annoy some, having your content pushed right to the top and more highly visible should increase engagement.

2. Reorganized Timeline Layout.  As you will see, some items have been shifted around to make way for the new streamlined look.  Now instead of having your posts appear on two columns running down the page, they will all appear in one column which will run down the right-hand side of the page.  The left hand-side will now be devoted to one column all about your business.  Included in this column will be your map, operating hours, website URL, phone number, photos, videos and more.  This enables you to present your information in an easy to read format that is intuitive to navigate.

3. Administration Tools – Easier Access.  Whereas you used to have to scroll to the top to view ‘likes’, advertising campaigns, messages and notifications – these will now appear on a floating menu that will always be visible, no matter where you are on the page. Also, the top management bar will get a facelift and be easier to use with larger buttons with more useful choices. Again, this simple change will save time when managing your page.

4. Pages to Watch.  Of all of the features, I think this one is going to be the most important for those of you out there who are serious about Facebook marketing, especially when it comes to measurement and analysis.  Rather than having to go through the sticky Insights (which I’m not 100% sold on), this new “Pages to Watch” feature will enable you to add Facebook Pages that you want to keep an eye on (AKA your competitors’ pages) to one section where you will be able to measure their growth against your own.  This will enable you to measure their new ‘likes’, posts, engagement and more in real time.  This is a wonderful way to keep up with your competitive analysis and see how you stack-up against your competitors on a daily basis.

Overall, Facebook is trying to bring focus back to the timeline posts – which is a wonderful thing.  On the other hand, they are also trying to push more companies towards dipping into their advertising model.  My thought on this?  Before jumping into advertising on Facebook, make sure that you have a compelling content and outreach strategy that you have tried out and measured for a few months.  In order to see how effective you are on Facebook, you need to identify what results you want, how you want to get them, and how you will measure success.  Without these items, you can be shooting in the dark.  If after all of this you still need a bit of a boost while you are marketing on Facebook, then look into ads – or just call The Go! Agency toll free at 866-926-2636.

Facebook is a crucial element of your online marketing strategy – so don’t take its importance lightly.

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LinkedIn Showcase Pages: A Major Change to Your LinkedIn Company Page

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14Apr

If you have been keeping up with the content I share here on our blog, as well as on my radio show “The Social Marketing Academy”, you will know that I am a huge proponent of the power of using LinkedIn to promote and brand your business online.  The sheer number of possibilities available to your business on LinkedIn is seemingly endless.

Aside from your professional LinkedIn profile (which is where you go when you log into your LinkedIn account) you also have the opportunity of creating a LinkedIn Company Page.  I’m sure that many of you reading this already have LinkedIn Company Pages and have packed them with the information your target market would find engaging.

But did you know that LinkedIn has recently made a major change to that Company Page?

If you are reading this now, your LinkedIn company page no longer has a “Products” or “Services” page – as well as a featured products and services splash page.  This page appeared on the top tab next to your logo and when you clicked on it, you were able to see the list of products and services as well as an optional splash page to further engage your audience.

While this leaves a huge void in your Company Page – trust LinkedIn to already have the solution ready for you to use.  In order to help companies focus more on sharing information regarding specific services that are offered by their companies, LinkedIn has created “Showcase Pages” which allow you to create a custom page for each individual product or service that your business offers.

These pages can be very useful in increasing visibility to key service/product offerings that you want to focus on, so let’s get you started in creating your first Showcase Page today!

Here is a quick step-by-step guide to getting your LinkedIn Showcase Page up and running in just a matter of minutes:

  1. From all of your products/services, choose your most popular one to focus your first Showcase Page around.
  2. Go to your LinkedIn Company Page and then click the “Edit” tab on the right-hand side.  On the drop-down menu, choose “Create a Showcase Page”.
  3. On the box that pops up, add your Showcase Page Name – which would be the name of the product or service that you have chose to feature. Then choose the page administrators (you will be shown as a default administrator) and click “Create Page”.
  4. This will now take you to the main “Overview” section of your Showcase Page.  This is where you have to get your branding right. It all starts off with your Full Width Image.  This will be similar to your Facebook Cover Image and should be inline with the branding you use on your website or online point of sale. Make sure that this is 974 x 330 pixels or larger with a maximum file size of 2MB. It can be in PNG, JPEG or GIF formats. Click “Add Image” and then choose it from your files, upload and click “Save”.
  5. Now you will see a gray box where there are 3 items you need to complete.  First, choose the language you want to optimize your Showcase Page Name and Description for.
  6. Next make sure that your Showcase Page Name is correct, and then move onto the Showcase Page Description section.  Here you need to briefly describe your product or service and let your target audience know what to expect from this page.  The catch?  You only have 200 characters to do it with – so you have to get right to the point! Note: I think this is the most challenging step of creating the Showcase Page.
  7. Designated Admins: here you can add or change the administrators that you chose when you first created the Showcase Page.
  8. Logos.  Now you have to choose your logos for the page (which is very similar to when you create your Company Page in the first place).  If your product or service has its own unique logo, then add it here.  If not, use your company logo in these spaces.  Make sure that your standard logo is 100 x 60 pixels and your square logo is 50 x 50 pixels.  These will be used in your Showcase Page’s network updates, so make sure it is on-point!
  9. Featured Groups.  Do you have a custom LinkedIn group directly associated with the topic of your Showcase Page?  If so, add it to the Featured Groups section by typing in the name and choosing it from the list provided.
  10. Next scroll up to the top, and on the right-hand column you will see a spot that asks you for your Showcase Page Website URL.  Copy and paste in the URL from the page in your website that is directly associated with the product or service you are featuring on your Showcase Page.
  11. Now choose your Main Showcase Page Industry from the drop down list.
  12. If you want to associate your Showcase Page with your company, click “Enable”.  If not, leave the box unchecked.
  13. Click Publish!

Now you have created your first Showcase Page!

But what now?

Now you will be able to share updates to this Showcase Page that are SPECIFIC to the product or service.  Say for example, that your company is an assisted living facility and you have created a Showcase Page around your “Memory Care” service.  So, when you go to post updates to your page, these posts will be related to your memory care service, memory care topics and other related items that would interest those members of your target market who you want to engage with your page.

Essentially Showcase Pages are Company Pages on steroids as you can provide a full page of useful information related to a specific product or service.  Make sure that you are able to post on a consistent basis and make sure that you promote them to your extended networks online and off.

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Own a Fitness-Related Business? Avoid These 6 Social Media Marketing Mistakes!

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19Mar

With all of the information out there about social media, it is tough to know what to pay attention to and what to take with a grain of salt.  Yet even with all of this information, we all still make our fair share of mistakes when executing our social media marketing campaigns.

As the owner of an online marketing agency, everyday I speak with people who are trying to make the most out of their Facebook and LinkedIn profile, or making their “tweets” count on Twitter.

One market in particular that I’ve found struggles to find social media success is that of the fitness industry.  While some businesses are absolute super stars, there are many that are not measuring up.  This is completely understandable when it comes to the many facets of not only running your fitness-based business, but also learning the online marketing ropes perhaps for the first time.

Now, this is not the end of the world and you can definitely turn things around.  To get you started, I wanted to share some of the most common mistakes that I have seen fitness-based businesses make over the years on social media marketing sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.  Here is the list with descriptions and tips on how to combat them in the future:

Mistake #1: Lack of Research

This is a very important one.  With all of the hype around social media (and also due to the fact that creating accounts is free and easy), many of us are eager to just jump in head first.  Keep in mind that social media is a branding and visibility platform and thus needs to carry the right messaging and voice.  Before you go full speed ahead, first see what you are getting yourself into.

I suggest creating a sparse profile and taking the time to look through each site.  Where is your target market?  What is your competition doing right (which can really help you come up with a strategy)?  What applications can be useful?  How are people communicating?  What tools to I have to communicate with my market?  While Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can work to everyone’s advantage, if you only have time to manage one or two presences, it is best to be able to pinpoint the right ones and save yourself time and effort.

Top tip: a great way of seeing what sites suit your business is by asking your existing audience via polling.

Mistake #2: Lack of Focus

When you execute an advertising campaign, you know who you are targeting.  When you do a public relations campaign, you know what market you are trying to reach out to.  When you do an email marketing campaign….well, you get the point.  Social media is no different.

Social media allows us to target with laser focus, you just need to identify who you are trying to reach.  Once identified, the key is to connect with “meaningful people” not just random people to get “the numbers.”  Come on, why connect with 10,000 people who don’t care about you?  What good does that do?  Find connect and engage with people that matter.  Focus!

Top tip: Social media is another marketing channel, it is not the “be all and end all” of your entire marketing strategy!

Mistake #3: Lack of Consistency

If you are going to execute a social media campaign, make sure to do it on a consistent basis – not whenever you can grab a free second.  By consistent I mean daily, weekly, bi-weekly…on some sort of schedule.  Since you are growing your audience, you need to be in front of them gaining that visibility and credibility consistently.

Top tip: Create a schedule of when you will be executing social media and what messages you will be highlighting.  It takes a few minutes, but can save hours of weekly work.  No time to even make a plan?  Outsource!  It’s not a dirty word anymore.

Mistake #4: Using a 100% ‘Push’ Marketing Approach

Push marketing is used all of the time in traditional marketing.  While it is a perfect fit in many instances, it is not the foundation of an engaging social media strategy.  Push marketing literally “pushes” what you want directly into your audience, while “pull” marketing using social media is about starting a conversation, engaging, enchanting and much more.  My suggestion is to use a 90% pull and a 10% push marketing equation.  This is something that I have used and it works a treat.  This way you can grow your audience and create value before offering up a special discount.  If they believe you to be credible through your pull approach, when you incorporate the push elements you will have higher levels of success.

Top tip: To ensure you are not missing your ratios, write all of your social media updates at once.  So if you are writing 10, make sure 2 are self promotional and the other 8 contain entertaining, engaging or educational content.

Mistake #5: Wrong Goals

Truly look at what you are trying to achieve, and “more sales” is not enough.  Social media has many outcomes, so it is smart to have a broader scope.  Think in terms of hits to your website, newsletter signups, ebook/book sales/downloads….this is the way to go!

Top tip: Social media ROI is based around the goals that you set out for your campaign.  Make sure to write down your goals and measure them on a weekly and monthly basis!

Mistake #6: Lack of Planning

Again, I am going back to the importance of a  plan:  without a plan, you plan to fail.  Although we know this cliche all too well, there is definitely truth to it.  Why?  Because a strategic plan saves you time and money – two things that we all can use, right?

Sit down and figure out your marketing strategy and then layer your social media strategy on-top.  Social media can support and enhance everything you do, you just have to keep the two connected.  Without the connection, you are wasting the power of cross marketing and branding.  Flying blindly in a new marketing medium could not only be risky for your reputation, but also cause you more trouble than you can handle.

Top tip: Spend the time to write a plan and save your most valuable resources – time and money!

I hope that these mistakes are ones that you have not made and if you have, you will no longer make.  It is important for us to all to take a close look at our plans and strategies in order to see how strong and effective they can be.  Without strategy or planning, a social media marketing campaign takes a lot more time and a lot more effort to execute.  In the ever competitive fitness industry, making sure that your brand is cohesive and your marketing is on-point is paramount to your success (online and off).

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