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How SEO and SMM Work Hand-In-Hand For Your Brand

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31Jan

Does your business need social media marketing? Yes. Does your brand need search engine optimization? You bet. While some marketers thing these two online marketing strategies stand apart from each other, they’re actually just different parts of the same strategy to increase your brand awareness.

It’s time to set the record straight.

First off, let’s explore these two concepts. 

Search engine optimization is a process which allows a web page to appear in the most viewable placing possible in search engine results. For example, if someone looks up “fishing supplies” on Google, Bing, Ask, AOL, or Yahoo, they will get a list of related web pages that feature fishing supplies. Businesses that incorporate SEO strategies will, in theory, appear above others.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, is a tad bit different. Entirely different, actually. This method allows businesses to not only appear in search results on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest, but it also allows them to interact with customers through a variety of avenues. Marketers can represent their brand via profiles and pages. They can also share a constant stream of original and curated content, similar to an individual’s activity on these platforms. 

We may be tempted to ask ourselves which one is better. SEO or SMM? Well, these two are not competitors. Instead, they cater to completely different aspects of the online marketing industry. The two are essentially completely different crafts despite contributing to the final product of increased online visibility. 

That being said, social media marketing contributes to online marketing efforts in ways that SEO, in its nature, cannot. Here are the top advantages social media has over SEO: 

1. Immediate customer and audience communication. Businesses on social media have the ability to respond to customers who are trying to reach out via messages, tagging, tweets, etc. After all, it is social media.

2. The ability to send out constantly fresh and updated content. SEO allows you to be in the spotlight in search engine results. Social media allows you to be in the spotlight of social media news feeds. The average Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram user checks their feeds multiple times a day, thereby increasing your chances of getting engagement.

3. Quick personalization and “damage control.” Are there negative comments about your business on social media? No problem. You can immediately respond to the “crisis” in a positive and professional manner. Does a negative comment pop up on search engines? You’re in for quite a headache.

4. The benefits of “peer reviews” and user-generated content. People like to read reviews from their fellow consumers. While places like Angie’s List and Yelp are helpful for this, social media is one of the most popular places for reviews and offers a special advantage- companies have the ability to respond and tell your side of the story, whether the review is positive or negative.

5. Considerably less expensive promotional options. Social media isn’t completely free if you want to be successful. Facebook advertisements, for one, is a very helpful albeit paid service. Still, social media promotional services may prove to be inexpensive when compared to premium SEO options.

Now, there is one bridge to connect these two worlds and that is Google+. By posting social media content on this platform, your SEO rankings will be improved on Google via the keywords you used in your updates. Google is by far the most popular search engine and offers this helpful solution to have best of both worlds. 

When it comes down to it, SEO is a visibility tool. SMM is a communication tool.

There is a place for SEO. No smart online marketer would say otherwise. It can help service-based businesses show up when people are searching for solutions. However, SEO in no way replaces social media marketing. By representing your business on Facebook, Twitter, and the other platforms, you’re essentially giving your customers the opportunity to benefit your company by tagging your business, giving 5-star ratings, sharing your posts, and much more. It’s a completely different marketing animal, and one that is proven essential for online brand awareness. 

Contact us today to start your online marketing journey!

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Coming Up With New Content Ideas

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17May
Coming up with new content ideas for your website can start to get tough after a while. Once you’ve ticked off the obvious topics in your industry, you may find it a bit of a struggle to come up with new ideas.

It doesn’t seem to get any easier either. The more you write, the less there is to write about.

The upside is that this creative chasm can challenge you to come up with more engaging content that isn’t on every other website in your industry. The downside is that coming up with ideas takes a little more work.

Below are a few exercises and routines we follow to keep ourselves inspired. To lessen the work of idea creation.

1.  Start With An Image

Whenever we make a piece of content, we also make an image afterward. Whether it’s a blog post or a social media update, once the copy is done, we move on to the picture.

But who says the copy has to come first?

Sitting down to create an image without any copy to restrict you is a great way to find some inspiration. Once the image is done, you can allow that to inspire your copy.

Ask yourself, “What type of article would this image be good for?”

2. Read

A good writer is also a good reader.

We write about marketing, so we also read a lot about marketing. News articles, emails, blogs, social media posts, and books. Reading the views of others in our industry keeps us in the conversation and aware of current trends.

But we also dip outside of marketing too. Marketing, like many other industries, is something that can be relevant to many other things.

Whenever we find out about a new idea or a new trend, we wonder, “Can this be applied to marketing?” This can often lead to inspiration for content.

Could the last book you read apply to your industry in some way? Does a trend in the news also point to something in your own industry?
If the answer is yes, you’ve got something to write about.

3. Take your time and forget about inspiration

Inspiration is the strangest thing. The more you try to grasp it, the further it seems to be.

One exercise we often do on team building days is we ask our Go! Agents to come up with an interesting fact about themselves.

Most of the time nobody can think of anything. They’re stumped. But all of our staff are creative and interesting people, so why is it so hard for them to come up with something?

The issue is, nobody likes to be put on the spot. When you force yourself to come up with an idea that’s exactly what you’re doing. The hardest way to come up with an idea is to think, “Idea, idea, idea!”

Our best ideas happen when we’re not trying to come up with them at all. When we’re driving home, taking a shower or just before we go to bed.

It’s good practice to carry a notepad with you so you can collect ideas. Even when your deadline is weeks away.

As counter-productive as it seems, not thinking about coming up with an idea makes ideas appear on their own.

4. Revisit Old Content

After my last tip, I’ve either got you nodding your head, or I’ve completely lost you. You might be frantically screaming at your monitor, “I NEED AN IDEA RIGHT NOW!”
Maybe you have a deadline in 2 hours and you haven’t even started your piece yet. Worst of all you can’t seem to find any idea at all.

When this happens to us, we always find it’s good to revisit our old content. Often this helps to remind us of old ideas.

But at the same time, creating content that is a direct response or follow-up to old content can be a winner.

One thing we like to do is find our most popular older content and write another post that expands on it. If lots of people loved your post about skincare tips, chances are they’re hungry for more!

The best thing about this is you’re giving your audience more of what they want. So your content is defined by others instead of yourself.

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4 Ways Simplicity Is Best For Social Media

4 WAYS SIMPLICITY IS BEST FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
9May

When people log on to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another platform, they are immediately bombarded with enough content to make their head spin. With millions of tweets to read, comments to like, and live videos to stream, just viewing social media could be a full-time job! This, in a nutshell, is why simplicity is key.

People do not have time to try and decipher your message. They like clear-cut, concise ideas that are presented in the most convenient fashion possible. How can your brand adapt this simple philosophy?

Check out these 5 methods of keeping things simple with your online marketing.

1. Short, punchy sentences.

When you are writing social media content, take a step back and try to determine which words are absolutely necessary. Take out anything extra and while you’re at it, replace weak words with stronger ones. This will help your message get across in a reader-friendly fashion.

2. “Iconic” imagery.

A rule of thumb in the world of graphic design is “if your design can’t be recognized when it’s on a billboard and you’re speeding by a 70mph, then it’s not an effective design.” Simplicity is the answer for designers and as such, your visuals should be instantly recognizable as online viewers “speed scroll” through their news feeds.

3. Call to actions.

Don’t make your readers have to go very far to visit your website. Provide a link and most importantly, make sure it takes them to exactly where you want them to go, whether a homepage, landing page, contact form, etc.

4. Numbers and bullets.

Imagine this article without these ideas being broken down into numbered points. It would be just a blocky mess. Breaking down information, specifically blogs and social media articles help your reader to take easy, digestible bites and understand the overarching takeaways.

So, let’s not waste any more time. It’s simple. Get to work on social media marketing!

Need help with social media? Contact us today!

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Why Is Everybody Jumping On The Snapchat Bandwagon?

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3May

Life is filled with fleeting moments. A baby’s first steps. A first kiss. Graduating from high school. A 25th-anniversary dinner.

Social media has allowed us to share these short but BIG moments with our friends. So others can experience the highs in our lives and connect with us.

But there’s a flipside:

When we share these significant moments, they stay shared forever. Our special moments become less significant because they become permanent fixtures of our social media. Do the first steps of our baby really belong beside status updates about what we ate for lunch or what we watched on TV last night?

Our fleeting moments are no longer so short on social media. They exist til we say otherwise.

Enter Snapchat.

Snapchat became popular because of its lack of permanency. Users send each other photos which self-destruct after being viewed.

When the app was first released, many people couldn’t get their head around it. Why wouldn’t they want to keep their photos? Skip forward 5 years and Instagram and Facebook have released their own tools for temporary content.

So why does temporary content work so well?

Because it can make those fleeting moments special again. We can experience them, share them, then they disappear and are allowed to become memories.

Once more we can look back at milestones with fondness and nostalgia. Rather than be reminded of them time and again when we go on our social media.

Temporary social media posts also have an allure to them. They remind people that what they’re seeing is right now. Not something that happened last week.

That builds connections.
People feel like they’re there with you. Experiencing the moment.

Next time an amazing event happens, in your life, or even at your business, consider using Instagram or Facebook Stories to document it. Give your followers a chance to connect.Create some happy memories of your own.

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If Trust is King….is SEO Queen?

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23Feb

Content is king.  And if you are interested in marketing your business using social media, it is important to generate original content.  Writing original content will not only help you get more traffic from social media sites and search engines, but also help you engage with your target audience and create a power of influence.

I want to give you a proven tactic that will help you get your content rolling BEFORE you even put pen to paper to formulate your first blog or social media update.

Building keyword lists.

With all of the fervor over the power of content marketing, one aspect of it that I don’t think is stressed enough is the use of keywords when developing your content.  Those who know search engine optimization (SEO) tactics know how important keywords are to online success.  Keywords are how the right people will be able to find you, your company, your services, and your products online when searching for you—plain and simple.

If you currently have an active SEO campaign, whoever is managing this activity should be able to supply you with a list of keywords.  Another key person who could help you is your website designer or manager.  Even if your website is 10 years old, your keywords should be present throughout.

If you do not have these resources, I have a simple two-step process to help you formulate your first keyword list.

1. Pull out a list of your target market

2. Pull out a list of your products/services

By looking at these documents, you will be able to consider who is searching for you online and what words they are they using to find you.  Go above and beyond what you think the term “keyword” means, and really think about how your target market would look for you on search engines like Google.  Come up with a list of words and short phrases that you think your target market would use to find you online. I would first write this down on a pad, but then transfer to an online document for future tweaking.

Need some more help coming up with keywords and phrases?  The Google Keyword Planner can provide some good outside-the-box ideas.  Also, this tool will help you discover competitive keywords and phrases that have high searchability but low competition with others in your market.

The point of this exercise is to come up with a solid keyword list that you can begin to use when formulating and executing your content strategy for social media and other content.  The more relevant keywords that you pack into your social media updates, blogs, and website, the better chance you have of showing up in Google searches and social media searches for your topic.

Once you start to incorporate your keywords into your content, a great tool to see how your keywords are working for you is Google Analytics.  If you are not using this wonderful tool to monitor your website, I would suggest that you install it now.  It is free, and it helps you determine where your traffic is coming from and what words potential customers are using to find you.  Just ask the person who manages your website if this tool is installed and, if not, get it installed today.  Above and beyond keywords, Google Analytics gives you real-time data about on the effectiveness of your website on many different levels.

Keep in mind that your keyword list will continue to evolve and grow as your business does.  I would suggest taking a look at your list every month to see if it needs tweaking.

While building and maintaining a keyword list can be taxing, in the end it will truly help your content strategy get off and running with a bang!

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