Blog

The 5 W’s of Content Generation: The What

I am sure that many of you started out like me with faithful Mr. Google when trying to figure out what to post on your social media platforms.  As you may know, as soon as results came up in my search, there was an overwhelming amount of information and ideas on what to post and how to do it! I got lost in all of the possibilities and the wheels started turning, but something was missing. There were endless generic ideas of what to post, but it kind of ended there. If you haven’t read our other posts about The 5 W’s of Content Generation (Who, Why, Where), I would encourage you to do that. As I have said, they build off each other. I believe the information I was finding was helpful in a way but was lacking all the prep work that I have tried to outline for you in these posts.

We last spoke about where you should post or which social media platforms you should utilize in W#3. Honestly, I was having a hard time separating the where from the what because they are so closely related. Really, all these topics are closely interwoven, but that is a whole other blog post. I gave you a small peek into what is normally posted last week when I spelled each platform out. Now we should talk about things in a little more detail.

Facebook

One study found that the ideal length when posting on Facebook is about 40 characters. Facebook posts with 40 characters or less have 86% more engagement than other posts. This means using short, to the point sentences that will get your message across. Another thing to consider is the size of the photos shared. The optimal size for a Facebook post (shared) image is 1,200 x 630 pixels.

Twitter

Users scrolling through Twitter tend to prefer tweets that are shorter. Posts 70 to 100 characters get the most engagement and retweets. To ensure that your photos stay high quality, keep them between 1,024 pixels wide and 512 pixels high.

Instagram

Instagram is unique in that you can post many times a day without overwhelming your audience. There isn’t a lot of information on what size is best, but my experience medium to short posts do the trick. Instagram is also the most photo-friendly of the social media platforms. Almost any size picture will work with a maximum size of 1,935 pixels wide by 1,935 pixels high.

LinkedIn

OkDork recommends that you keep titles between 40 to 49 characters and content around 2,000 words long to get the most consistent engagement. There is a lot of flexibility with the length of posts and size of images. Keeping your image around 800 pixels wide by 400 pixels high is a safe middle ground.

Google+ or Google My Business

Google plus has a Knowledge Panel like the Facebook feed. The Panel only shows the first 100 characters of your post, so I would suggest keeping it under 100 characters.  Images on Google+ will now be cropped in a 4:3 ratio and images must be 400×300 or larger. It is also important to remember that Google+ will crop part of the photo out when seen on the Knowledge Panel so put your information in the middle of the image if possible.

My favorite type of post to use on social media platforms is the poll. Facebook has an option to post a poll and add images to each option (image polls are limited to two options only). I believe this is one of the best ways to jump start engagement and get customer feedback because it is convenient and fun! People love to share their opinions and see if their preference is with the majority. Don’t feel like you are limited to just Facebook though. If you want to do an image poll on another platform, use a photo grid maker and make the options into one image.

Take everything we have talked about so far, add these minor restrictions to it and you should be in good shape. I want you to remember that while this information is designed to help you create addictive content, it may not be perfect for everyone. You may need to tweak things here or there or change something completely! Test things out and find out what your audience likes. Go forth and prosper my friends!

Sincerely,

The Maiden

Sources:

10 LinkedIn Publishing Tips: We Analyzed 3000 LinkedIn Blog Posts

https://www.inc.com/larry-kim/your-one-stop-facebook-image-sizes-cheat-sheet.html

https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-image-sizes-guide/

Google+ Profile Picture and Cover Photo Size Guide

http://www.bizreport.com/2016/04/what-is-the-ideal-length-of-a-social-media-post.html

12 things to know to succeed with Google Posts

Google My Business: Are You Optimizing Your Google Profile?

If you are a local business who services your community, you need to be marketing on Google My Business! In recent years, Google caught a lot of flack for their Google + platform. One of the benefits of Google + is the listing for a business. These listings are very important if you rely on customers finding you on a Google search (which most of us do!) We’ve all done a Google search to find out the phone number or a website for a business and most of us have used the Google My Business tool without even realizing it. If you’ve wondered how to get your business listed on the right-hand side of the search menu with your profile, we will walk through how to set it up in this article.

Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to manage how your business appears in Google Search and Map. This includes adding information such as the business name, location, hours, description, monitoring customer reviews and the access to reply to them, and adding photos and other visual content such as your logo. Having a complete profile will help you rank higher on searches and will organically help your search engine optimization (SEO). There is a saying that Google loves Google and this applies to a  business profile as well.

One of the steps you will have to do when completing a profile is getting your business verified. This step is the one that could potentially take the longest. There are a few ways that you can get verified with Google. The typical way is with a postcard that Google mails to your business address. It will contain a verification code that you enter once you receive it. Please note that you might have to request a postcard a couple times before one arrives. Some businesses will have the option to verify by phone or email. This method seems to be a little more reliable and much quicker! If you have Google Search Console installed on your website, you will be able to use the instant verification process because Google has already verified your business. (Side note: If you haven’t installed Google Search Console, please do so immediately! This is a great tool that gives you insight into your website’s search performance and health.)

Are you using Google Analytics and Google Search Console on your website? Google Analytics is a tool that provides you with information on how users are finding your website, where they are coming from, how many pages they visit, how long they are staying on the website, where they are located, and other vital information to help you see how successful your marketing efforts are. This software is something you want to check frequently for best results. Paired with Google Analytics, your Google Search Console will give you information on keywords users searched for in which your website was listed. This information is important to know so that you can optimize your blog posts for content that your potential customers are searching. This software also allows you to check the indexing status of the site and if there are any errors. It can help determine what problems need to be fixed so that it is optimized.

Google review is a crucial part of your profile. Many customers will check online reviews of products and services during their searches. Be sure to respond to each review that is posted – both positive and negative. Thank your customers for taking the time to provide valuable feedback. In the case of a negative review, be sure to apologize to the customer, offer them a solution to the problem, and get the discussion offline as quickly as possible. An example of a response might be, “My name is Heather Galaska and I am the owner of Social Media Maiden. I am so sorry to hear that our services did not meet your expectations. I would love the opportunity to discuss this with you further. Please give me a call (or email) at …. at your convenience.” Consumers are not so worried about a negative review here and there, but they worried when the company doesn’t respond. Don’t let something this simple deter other customers from contacting you.

Another feature of Google My Business is that you can post your social media content there as well. Posts will expire 7 days after they are posted, and the mobile application will help you with gentle reminders about content expiring. This will help you make sure you have fresh content that gets uploaded on a consistent basis.

Here’s a brief tutorial on how to set up your account.

Google My Business

Click on Add Location

Google My Business: Are You Optimizing Your Google Profile?

Google My Business: Are You Optimizing Your Google Profile?Google My Business: Are You Optimizing Your Google Profile?Google My Business: Are You Optimizing Your Google Profile?

Google My Business: Are You Optimizing Your Google Profile?

From here you will be asked how you would like to verify the business. You can have a postcard mailed to the address listed in the profile, verified through your website, or via phone.

Once your listing is verified, you will be able to create and implement your Google My Business marketing plan. Be sure to include lots of visual content and links back to your website, making it easy for potential customers to understand what you do and how to work with you!

As always, we are here to help. We offer a free 30-minute consultation so that we can help determine your marketing needs and we have online marketing packages, consulting and coaching, and virtual administrative assistants to help you organize your business, prioritize your marketing, and monetize your expertise. Call us at (720) 229-4165 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.

Now get out there and be social!

 

The 5 W’s of Content Generation: Where

These days, it is even more important to create the best content possible for your social media platforms. This is how the where of content generation enters. Frank Strong said, “Content is currency— something we trade for our audience’s attention.” It is also not enough just to share information, it must grab your audience’s attention and cause a reaction.

You should start off by asking yourself: “Which social media platforms do I utilize now?” I would encourage you to use a variety of platforms. Even if that means going right now and making some accounts just for the business, do it! It will give you a direct line of communication with your clients, enables you to learn more about your audience and helps you drive traffic back to your website. The more that you can get the word out about your business the more customers you will have, period. If you would like to be selective, think about what we talked about in W#1- the WHO of Content Generation and look at this graph:

The Where of Content Generation

If you take your target audience into consideration, which platforms does it frequent? For example, if you are a company selling hearing aids, you will want to be sure to market on Facebook and YouTube. They have the most users that are of the 50+ age demographic. If you choose to have different platforms, you may also want to vary what you put on each one. Wording things differently or posting different content altogether could result in more engagement.

Here are some ideas of what is usually posted on each platform:

  1. FacebookVideos and curated content

Facebook has over 1 billion users daily, this is simply too big to ignore. It’s not just the large user base that makes Facebook a powerhouse. There are Facebook Audience Insights that allow you to learn more about your followers and create ads that are tailored specifically to the audience.

  1. InstagramHigh-res photos, quotes, Stories

This could be a good choice if your target audience is in the 18 to 24-year demographic.

  1. TwitterNews, blog posts, and GIFs

It is a good idea to be on Twitter so that you can monitor what people say about your business. As your business grows, so will the number of people discussing it. If there is a conversation going on about your services, you need to be a part of it! Hashtags are a very easy way to track stuff, especially on Twitter and Facebook.

  1. LinkedInJobs, company news, and professional content

LinkedIn is a little bit different than the others listed because your business doesn’t need to be on it YOU do. As a CEO or Owner of a company, you need to market yourself as such. You need to show off your credentials, expertise and build authority and trust.

  1. PinterestInfographics and step-by-step photo guides

Pinterest is a good choice for certain businesses in specific industries. If your business involves: food, travel, DIY crafts, health, Beauty, or fashion this could be a great asset to you. Also, note that most of Pinterest’s audience is female.

  1. Google+ and Google My Business: Blog posts that you want to rank on Google

Everyone wants their business to show up on google. Creating a Google+ account allows Google to create rich media results for your business. Make sure that your profile is always up to date.

Social Media is ever changing! Do not feel like you must live and die with any one social media platform. If you start on Twitter and feel like you are not getting any traction, change it up! Take it one step at a time and continually evaluate. Do your research and make sure that you read the other two blog posts. They all build off each other.

Sincerely,

The Maiden

The 5 W’s of Content Generation: The Why

Psychology has always been one of my favorite topics of study. Ever since I was a child, I can remember I wasn’t content with knowing how something worked. I wanted to know why! I am sure my parents were tired of hearing me ask over and over why-why-why, but it has blossomed into a beautiful curiosity. I am excited to present the next W in our series; the WHY of social media content generation. More specifically the psychology of sharing.

Though there have been many studies done on social media in general, I have only been able to find one major study done about WHY people share on social media. The New York Times’ study, “The Psychology of Sharing, Why do People Share Online,” was published in 2011. It was a comprehensive research study in which the results were based on two qualitative research phases and a quantitative online survey of more than 2,500 medium-to-heavy online content sharers.  However, they pulled it from the website in 2016. I am not exactly sure why.  I was hoping to get a glimpse of the original study to pull from directly for this article, but alas we will have to stick with second-hand sources. The information that I have found from other sources seems to be fluid throughout, so I believe the information still has merit.

The study broke down into 5 reasons that people share information:

The reasons people share are:

  1. To bring valuable and entertaining content to others.
  2. To define ourselves to others.
  3. To grow and nourish our relationships.
  4. Self-fulfillment.
  5. To get the word out about causes or brands.

Notice how every reason has an underlying emphasis on relationships. Whether it is to entertain or for professional growth, we share up our “status”. However, I believe there is another factor that plays a large role in content sharing: emotion. Jonah Berger wrote a book all about this phenomenon called: “Contagious: Why things catch on”. Berger’s research focuses on six principles that cause something to be wildly shared and goes viral:

  1. Social Currency: We share things that make us look good
  2. Triggers: Easily memorable information means it’s top of mind and tip of the tongue.
  3. Emotion: When we care, we share.
  4. Public: Built to show, built to grow.
  5. Practical Value: News people can use.
  6. Stories: People are inherent storytellers, and all great brands also learn to tell stories. Information travels under the guise of idle chatter.

Jonah realized that there are two main factors that make something “contagious”. How positive the article is and how excited it makes the reader.

So what? Now that I have thrown all this information at you, how does this translate into successful content generation? Well just this: take what you have learned last week in the Who of Social Media Content Generation and think about what your audience might connect to. How can you use relationships, status, and emotion to promote your services and strike a cord in your audience? Joe Matsushima the co-founder of Denizen Company once said, “Sharing is a fascinating phenomenon because liking–or even loving something doesn’t necessarily lead to sharing it with your peers. Typically, what leads a person to share something on social media is when it has a connection to them as an individual, be it political, emotional, cute or funny. People want to share with others how they perceive the world and reflect their tastes and how they define themselves.”

Sincerely,
The Maiden

The 5 W’s of Content Generation: The Who

In 2017, 81% of the population in the United States had some kind of social media account compared to 24% in 2008. It is hard to ignore the power of social media marketing when there are roughly 2.34 billion social media users worldwide and it is expected to grow to 2.95 billion by 2020. Since social media is busy, learning how to captivate the attention of your audience and producing shareable content is key. Over the next 5 weeks, we will dive into the Who, Why, What, Where and When of content generation to directly reach those interested in your product and ultimately put more money in your pocket.

W #1: WHO-

When coming up with ideas to share on your social media platforms, I believe that the first step should be determining who is your target audience. A target or market audience is a group of people that are most likely to be interested in your product or services. For example, if you own a lawn care business, you would most likely target home or business owners in your marketing plan. Think about the specific needs your products or services fulfill. Defining this group will greatly vary depending on your products or services and where you choose to offer them.

Here are some questions to ponder:

What age group do your services cater to? As people mature, so do their likes and dislikes. The entertainment industry specializes in using age to determine a target audience. They choose certain programs to show at certain times, depending on who is most likely to watch. Similarly, the toy industries advertise their products during Saturday morning cartoons. Why? Because their target audience is watching.

Where does it make sense to market your services? For example, Subaru brand of cars does very well in Colorado. They capitalize on marketing their safety and ability to perform well in snowy and icy conditions – which there are a lot of in the Rocky Mountains. When using the influence of geography in your market research, make sure that your product will appeal to many different types of consumers and is not too specific. A car is something that is attainable for anyone that has a license, which is a large group that also encompasses other marketing demographics.

Do you believe your product caters to a specific gender? For example, the makeup industry markets almost entirely to females. Make sure you do your research before marketing using only this approach because you can alienate an entire gender group lessening the chance they will buy your product.

All these strategies will work well by themselves, but what you really want to do is combine them to create a comprehensive target market profile. For example, the beer industry has determined that most of the beer drinkers are heterosexual males, who are also sports fans. So, they use attractive women to market their beer during sporting events. It seems catty, but it works. Once you figure out who you are marketing to, the content will quickly follow. Tune in next week to understand why consumers share information on social media, and how to capitalize on it.

Be sure to remember the essentials of an effective social media strategy. You can visit our past blog post on the topic here.

Sincerely,

The Maiden

 

Stats Can be Found Here

Why Video Marketing is Crucial

Hi! Sharon here, bringing you something to think about to help your business. Today, we will be looking at why video marketing is a crucial part of your marketing plan.

Not long after I first bought my business I was thrust into a situation, quite by unanticipated fortune, where I was asked to videotape a very important public meeting for members of an area nonprofit. There was some tension and some of the members very much wanted documentation of what was said, and what happened, during their annual membership meeting. Since that day, it has become an integral part of our business mission to videotape area town hall meetings, political debates, celebrations and other events to help keep community members informed about issues that directly affect them and to capture the fun that we have in our mountain communities.

YouTube is the 2nd most visited website on the internet with an average of over 8 minutes spent per visitor who looks at almost 5 pages per visit. Most content is uploaded by individuals, but businesses can make, and certainly have, good use of the platform.

One of the fun email subscription lists I’m on is Mashable, a site that has become famous for finding and curating the latest must-see content on the internet. At one point they were valued at $250 million dollars, and that was quite astounding for a business that doesn’t really create its own content but simply, essentially re-shares others’ content. They became successful because they did the work of scouring the latest YouTube videos uploaded (mind-boggling), viral news stories, celebrity gossip, social media marketing, tech, and even politics here and there, and packaged it in easy tidbits daily for email subscribers. One of their recent shares was this story on Facebook Watch, FB’s new video push, and how they think it will overtake YouTube in the coming year. Video is hugely popular on any website and will only continue to be used more and more for marketing.

https://mashable.com/2017/12/05/how-facebook-watch-will-overtake-youtube-as-biggest-video-platform

What does this mean for us? If we want to keep our pages growing and keep engagement high, we’ll need to add in more video, be it video you take and upload after the fact, live-streaming at events, or <shudder> videos of yourself talking to the audience about something. Even that last has me cringing. It doesn’t have to be professional and polished, as a matter of fact, people resonate with obviously non-professional work (as evidenced by the thousands of cat and “Hold my beer and watch this” videos).

Some tips I have:

Make them short, fun, and snappy! An action that doesn’t take long is perfect; for example, a steam engine rolling out and heading down the tracks while you talk briefly about the history of that railroad and what it’s doing today and what fun visitors can have there.

Have a goal in mind of what message you want to get across & don’t deviate. You’ll end up going on longer than you intended and your audience will become confused/bored and drop out.

Practice dialog ahead of time or at least have an outline in your head. Try not to add too many “ahhhs” and “ummms”. It’s okay to have a moment of silence while you take a breath, it gives their ear & brain a chance to rest and reset.

Turn your phone sideways (unless you are doing Facebook Live – then you must leave it vertical/upright!) and hold it as steady as possible while shooting. Don’t pan too fast if you want to show a larger area than what fits on the screen, and don’t move around too much. Watch news broadcasts – they pick a vantage point with nice/relevant background if at all possible and stand still while talking – it’s simple and it works.

Do some tests with live video on your personal pages first to get comfortable with it! Then have fun!

Now, the one thing I will caution you about Facebook and video: uploading it straight to Facebook, as opposed to uploading it to YouTube first and then sharing the link to FB (which Facebook hates and will punish you by dramatically lowering your reach, I know, I’ve seen it on my page), is all well and good, HOWEVER, make sure you also upload it to YouTube later. Posts on Facebook get buried and a year later when you are trying to find that video again to share a reminder of that event or do something else with it, is damn near impossible. YouTube gives you an easy link to use to share/embed it elsewhere and makes it easy for people to find any/all videos you’ve ever made by surfing through your YouTube channel.

Ideally, you should upload video straight to your own website but this isn’t always an option or easy to do. If you can’t, be sure to create a video page where you can put all of your YouTube videos in as thumbnails for people to see if they don’t know you have a YouTube Channel. Remember the goal is to always use social media to drive traffic back to your websites. So even if you upload it straight to Facebook, include a link to your website for more information that relates to that video topic.

To follow up on my suggestions, I found a great “Facebook LIVE Streaming Tutorial” by Think Media. This is one that I took notes on and will be using in the future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7CZHtEfXDw

I was surprised and pleased to learn that the ideal video length is 18 minutes and I also liked that once finished, these can be modified with a few slight edits to make them useful for re-broadcasts.

What topics do you think you could cover for your business or organization? What are people most interested in, or most confused by, that a video would help them more than reading a paper or email? What can you teach them that would make them want to come back to you for more info?

Questions? Comments? Brainstorming ideas? Please bring ’em on!

Social Media Maiden – Adidas Social Media Fail

Today, I wanted to spend time talking about another social media fail from the corporate world. It boggles my mind, looking through my options to write about, that some of these social media fails even happened. I assumed there would have to be some crazy approval process with 32 company signatures and a blood sacrifice to get anything pushed out to the public. However, either those 32 people have no common sense whatsoever, there isn’t an approval process at all or they don’t have a good proofreader.

I chose to highlight this fail from Adidas because I wanted to call attention to a different type of social media fail. Take a look.

At the end of this year’s Boston Marathon, Adidas sent an encouraging email to its customers who had decided to participate. It reads, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”

Anyone who remembers what happened just a few short years ago can understand why customers would have a problem with this wording. As a business owner, I see the good intention in this gesture! I wanted to show that in this case, it mattered more HOW the information was conveyed more than the kind gesture. The road can be paved with good intentions, but if the information isn’t shared with care and intentionality it doesn’t matter.

The best way to combat this issue is to have a proofreader. Preferably someone who is outside of your business and in your target audience. Though it is hard to fathom, you may not remember or even know about every horrible past event in history. It is also very hard to know everyone’s culture and past experiences. We live in a world that seems to get highly offended at just about anything it can. Having someone else to refer to will help get little things like this corrected before it rolls out on social media.

I want to end with this thought: even with your best efforts, you will most likely still end up offending someone at some point during the life of your business. When this happens, I would encourage you to take a deep breath, take a step back and ask yourself: Did I say or share this information to purposefully offend or hurt another human being/ culture/ animal? If you answered yes; then reflect on that. But if you didn’t mean to offend others, then at least you can rest in the fact that you honestly made a mistake and can issue a sincere apology saying so.

Until next time,

The Maiden

How Is Your Brand Awareness?

One of the most challenging things about building your brand awareness is making sure that your community and prospects know your name, but not get overwhelmed or bombarded by your brand. It’s The building line that must be delicately balanced. When done correctly, people will recognize your name but can’t remember exactly where they heard of you. On the other hand, you don’t want your audience to know your name because you are harassing them with your marketing. There is such a thing as bad PR, especially in the instant age of social media.

With this line of education and annoyance, increasing your brand awareness has become a balancing act. When executed correctly, you can build a positive community name.

Consistency in Branding to Build Brand Awareness

Does your business card, letterhead, signage, print marketing, and other hard copy materials match? Do you use the same logo or logo combinations? Having people recognize your logo is a crucial part of brand awareness. It is especially important that your print marketing and digital marketing have the same look. When customers are looking for your social media accounts, you want them to be confident that they have found your brand. Don’t let them wonder if the account is yours or someone else’s. If they must think about it, it puts a little taste of mistrust of your brand in their mouth. Be sure that all materials, logos, and color schemes match!

Create Infographics to Build Brand Awareness

We have become a society that relies on visuals. This is especially true in advertising. Infographics can easily be created with free software like Canva and will help your audience better understand your industry. With this knowledge, they will be more likely to purchase your product or refer others to your brand. Infographics are also great because they are shareable on social media and will always be associated with your business. Be sure to put your contact information and branding on the graphic so that any share will retain your brand information.

Pursue Local Partnerships to Build Brand Awareness

Is there a local business that compliments what you do? Is there a business that is in the same industry but services a different clientele? These are great partnerships to pursue. You can do joint advertising, create content together about your industry, and support one another with leads.

Social Media Maiden has two partnerships that have been extremely beneficial to brand awareness, lead generation, and have cultivated amazing friendships. We have partnered with My Mountain Town and N-Compass Writing Services to help provide customers with local advertising options and professional writing services.

Run Social Media Contests to Build Brand Awareness

Who doesn’t love getting free stuff? This is a fantastic way to create awareness and generate leads for your business. There are lots of different things you can give away in these contests, and you are generating a list of contact information that you can use in your marketing. You can offer a free ticket to a local event, you can give a free month of access to your membership site, you can give away valuable tips and tricks of your industry, or you can give away a gift certificate for a local business or restaurant. Think of ways that you can help support another business in your community while you are building your list of prospects.

Publish Original Content to Build Brand Awareness

This is an underutilized tool. There are many ways you can publish original content and use this content to be see as an expert in your industry. Writing a blog, Facebook Smart Publishing, LinkedIn, Medium, and Quora are great ways to get your content out to more people. There are also a lot of industry websites that are looking for guest content. You know your business and all the ins and outs that go along with it – utilize that knowledge and become a teacher!

Be a Storyteller to Build Brand Awareness

Invoking emotion is one of the best ways to create a bond with your audience. Tell stories about your work and how it has helped others. Get personal and show people how you truly make a difference. By telling these stories, you connect with your reader in ways that you may not have imagined. The reader may not have thought about how a product or service you offer could make a difference until you tell them how it works in real life. Building that connection can change your business. Be sure that you obtain permission from the client you are looking to highlight, leave out any personal details to make the person you are talking about identifiable to others, and be sure you are within any compliance or regulatory rules of your industry.

Create a Podcast and Video Series to Build Brand Awareness

A lot of what you create for original content and practical stories can be used for material in a podcast and video series. People learn information differently, so offering them content in audio, visual, and in written form ensures that you are reaching everyone in a way that they will understand.

Being creative in how you reach your audience will go a long way in establishing your brand awareness. Once you find your voice, stick with it. Be authentic to who you are as a person.

Now get out there and be social!

This article originally appeared in Colorado Serenity Magazine, April 2018 edition

How Are You Ranking?

Have you ever Googled your business?

Do you know where you rank in the search engines?

Do you want to be listed higher than your current ranking?

These are all questions that are good to answer. Clear out the cookies on your browser and do a search on your company. This initial answer can be very frustrating. Remember, this is the baseline that you are starting from and it only goes higher from here. The good news is there are ways you can help your Google ranking that doesn’t cost you a dime!

How To Boost Your Google Ranking with Blogging

Before you start to hyperventilate and exclaim that you can’t write, and you don’t have the time – hear me out. Google is constantly indexing websites and looking for updated content on those sites. The easiest way to put additional content out is with a blog. They don’t have to be long-winded and epic. The average reader has the attention span of 500 to 700 words. If you put out a blog once a week, not only will Google start to index you higher, but you have content to push out to social media and create backlinks. Backlinks show Google the popularity of what you have to say. Starting out, you may only have backlinks that you have created and shared, but the more followers you gain, the more your content will be shared, and the more authority Google is going to give you. You must make time for that!

How To Boost Your Google Ranking with Pinterest

This is the secret goldmine of social media. Pinterest is not just for the crafters and moms looking to keep their children entertained during school breaks. There are so many fascinating blogs and tidbits of information that are contained within these virtual corkboards. Make your blog posts pins on Pinterest, add your website, and watch your content get pinned to boards. The link to your website stays with each pin and allows someone to find your website quickly. It is an effortless way to reach a larger audience and more potential customers. The more blogs and original content you link back shows your followers how much of an expert you are and shows Google that you are actively participating in your business. Google search spiders LOVE that and that’s a win-win that will build your reputation and your company.

How To Boost Your Google Ranking with Twitter

Most people don’t think of Twitter when they are working on their marketing plans but used strategically it can not only help boost your website’s visibility, but it can help build business relationships! Twitter has become synonymous with breaking news, but its users focus heavily on sharing and engagement. They are FABULOUS at helping those businesses who love to have conversations with them build their brand and get them out there into the far reaches of the social media stratosphere. On Twitter, it’s much easier to build a legion of followers than it is on Facebook, and each link back to your website helps drive traffic right where you want it. Create relevant lists, re-Tweet, comment, and be active and this platform will serve you well – no matter what industry you are in!

How To Boost Your Google Ranking with
My Mountain Town

Long before Facebook or “social media” was a thing, My Mountain Town served the Foothills community by providing a place for online conversations, a way for businesses and nonprofits to share their events, news, and sales, and services you can’t find anywhere else (such as installing webcams that covered the highway so residents and visitors could see road conditions and weather). It’s grown and adapted over the years, but the core mission remains the same, to connect neighbors, area businesses and nonprofits so we can all learn from and support one another to make this community thrive, and it has become the best website to post on to boost your SEO for your business. Where backlinks (aka “inbound marketing”) to your website come from is important to Google. As those of us who do social media marketing for a living like to joke, “Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? Page 2 of Google search results!” If you want to be found by someone searching for the services or products you provide in the area, then you must show up on Page 1 and posting on My Mountain Town is the easiest and most effective way to accomplish that. Plus, My Mountain Town has an already-built local audience that you want to reach; people who come to the site because they are looking for local forecasts, emergency information, webcams, or fun topics to discuss. Connect with your customers and build your business!

One thing to consider in your social media marketing plan is where you post your content and how it is going to help you grow. I am not harping on the local community groups on Facebook, but they ARE NOT helping your SEO. These private groups are not indexed by Google, but they ARE a way to reach your local community. It’s a mix of where you want to spend your time. I highly encourage you to spend more time on networks that are going to help your Google ranking. There is not one avenue alone that is going to make your customers find you faster – it’s a delicate combination of time, excellent content, and engagement.

Now get out there and be social!

The article was orginally written for Colorado Serenity Magazine, March 2018 Edition.

How Are You Engaging?

How Are You Engaging
by Heather L. Galaska

Engagement is Queen

It’s been said that when it comes to social media marketing that content is king, and engagement is queen. There is a lot of truth in that statement. Gone are the days that a sales post on social media would draw an online consumer to your website or reach out to your brand. Today, online marketing consists of one main thing – how your audience engages with you. I’m sorry to report it does not matter how many thousands of followers you have on your accounts, if they aren’t saying anything, the high number is irrelevant. To get your audience to engage with you, you must provide information they are interested in and evoke emotion. Here are a few tips to help you engage with your audience and manage your social media marketing.

Build a Relationship

The statement people buy from people they know, like, and trust also applies to online marketing. Your social media is just like building relationships in your community. As a business owner, you attend mixers, community events, volunteer for organizations, and get involved. You MUST get involved in your marketing. If you can’t get involved, then hire someone who can. You wouldn’t walk into a mixer and expect every person in the room to purchase from you and you can’t expect that from your social media either.

Think about the brands you follow and why you follow them. Are they witty? Do they provide information that is useful? Are they unique? Collect the answers to these questions on how you use social media and implement them into your marketing.

Listen

Many brands aren’t aware of what consumers are saying outside of tagging the business on social media. If you want to know what your customers really think, you need to be listening socially and searching your brand. Many times, a user will not tag the business in their post and you can miss vital information and feedback from not realizing what is being said. Be sure to answer questions, offer to fix a mistake, and say thank you. Your consumer will be impressed to know you hear them.

Keep an Eye on Important Keywords

Do you know the keywords your customer uses to find your brand? Do you know how your consumer feels about your industry? Do you know what discussions are being had about those topics? In addition to listening to your consumer, you want to be socially listening to important phrases and keywords as well. Once you have an idea of your audience’s knowledge, you can tailor content specifically to them.

Provide Content Your Audience Wants to Read, When They Want to Read It

Are you watching the analytics on your website and your social media? Do you know what type of posts is most popular with your audience? What time of day do you reach the most people on social media? When is your audience on each social network? Are you looking for this information and adjusting your posts and timing? It is important to understand your target audience and their behavior. You will get more engagement if you post when your followers are online. If you are marketing to a new mom with an infant, you want to be sure you are posting when she is on social media. That midnight feeding could become beneficial to your business.

Timely Responses

How often are you on your social media accounts to check to see if you have any comments or direct messages you need to respond to? How long does your social follower have to wait to get an answer to their correspondence? Many people use social media in place of picking up a phone and making a call. You wouldn’t wait long before you return a voicemail and you need to implement that same rule on your social media. Technology has put the world at our fingertips and as consumers, we demand instant attention. Keep this in mind as you allocate your day.

Market Where Your Customers Hangout

Do you know what social media outlets your ideal client spends the most time? Are you marketing on that platform? Are you spending time on the network and engaging with them? Are you congratulating them on milestones in their life? Do they know you?

It’s not just having online conversations with your audience, but it’s also spending your marketing budget (both time and money) only where your audience is. If you are targeting a 55-year-old male for your product or service, you are probably not going to find them on Pinterest. Do your research and optimize your resources.

Having a successful online marketing strategy requires time and dedication. It’s all in the relationship with your follower. Now get out there and be social!

The article was written for Colorado Serenity Magazine, February 2018 Edition. www.coloradoserenity.com