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Advertising is one-directional: it’s typically a message delivered outward by a business at a certain cost and to a specific audience that falls flat. The ad itself isn’t likely to be valued for its own sake, and this form of marketing is easily recognizable by today’s consumers for its overtly commercial nature.
Good content, however, gives something back to the user. It gets them thinking about a topic that’s meaningful to them, leading them to realize how your product or services fits into their (or their business’) life or goals. Unsurprisingly, this is the only way to market brands, products, and services successfully on the internet in 2013, and especially for SEO. High quality content naturally gathers a great number of inbound links to a website as we’ve noted before, therefor driving up perceived value, referral traffic, and search engine rankings.
So instead of thinking about simply advertising your small business and making a small business internet marketing mistake, here are some tips on how to start sharing it and taking advantage of the new social web instead. Given a few hours of work each week, this form of marketing is often cheaper and more rewarding than traditional, flat advertising methods.
Have any questions? Feel free to reach out to us for individual strategy and more.
Tip 1: Network and build social capital through social media
People trust recommendations, and they trust them even more from individuals with high levels of social network influence. There are many glittering stars out there in the social media constellations, and when you produce content that they’re excited to share, they’ll drive a geometrically expanded number of users to your business. We generally call this process community building when one or more social networks are used.
These influential people aren’t necessarily looking for discounts as a reward; what motivates them is insider-status and getting to a great product or company “first.” While networking with these types of individuals and organizations may seem tricky at first, remain confident in the fact that if your business, products, or services are of the highest value, then your content will certainly follow through in demonstrating this to taste makers and social movers on the internet. Maintain reach outs by actively tagging your content, and using productivity tools to keep your finger on the pulse of their current conversations.
While these types of digital connections may be more obvious in some industries rather than others–for example a small local bakery vs. a mid-sized financial wealth firm–we’re happy to help you guide you and your business to the exact strategy you need to reach them. The results will not only affect your inbound traffic levels, but SEO as well.
Wednesday, February 2, 2013by The BWD Team in Community Building
As small businesses move forward in 2013 it should be clear that every business needs some form of community management and strategy in place in order to succeed with internet marketing.
On the smaller end of the spectrum, a community manager may simply be an in-house employee donating a few hours a week to basic Twitter “upkeep”. Large businesses with active content on multiple networks such as Instagram, Vine, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and other platforms often outsource the entire function to specialists. Regardless of where your business may fall on this spectrum, your success will definitely depend on an effective content marketing strategy through these 10 requirements.
Why is community management essential? It drives your placement in search engines (SEO) and results in increased traffic, more leads, and more customers.
Here are our 10 commandments for being a great community manager & strategist:
- Write extremely well: Think community management can be left to a green intern? Think again. Excellent college-level writing skills are essential for broadcasting your brand in marketplaces. Altimeter recently concluded that writing ability was the number one requested skill for a community manager. The best writing fascinates, welcomes, and envelops readers and customers.
- Pay attention to the daily details: Strategy building requires that a community manager be in constant communication with all departments of an organization, and must be proactive in gathering valuable feedback from stakeholders. A real-time awareness in all directions is at the core of community management.
- Keep your finger on the pulse of everything related to your industry: These days, content can come from anywhere: blogs, news, and even moment to moment conversation. As a community manager meant to essentially control each of the social aspects of your brand, it’s important that you are constantly in touch with other individuals and tastemakers online. As a result, your organization will not only be extremely cutting edge, but a major part of the conversation online as well.
- Build great analytics tracking and reporting: Quantitative documentation is what drives credibility in the online world. The community manager’s role within the company is partly that of educator, and a structured analysis of content marketing outcomes will support good budget decision-making with stakeholders as well.
Think visually: As you can imagine, a piece of content can definitely entail much more than some typed words. Design carries a huge amount of information about your company, so working with professional creatives to develop images, video, and other media content that’s expressive of your company’s brand is essential.
- Innovate constantly: The field of community management is evolving rapidly, and responding quickly to new platforms or features and developing new approaches to content placement on established ones, such as the case of Facebook and image-based posts, is essential. By actively joining the conversation surrounding the tasks that make up community management–an easy thing to do for a community manager–and even broadcasting your own innovative ideas into the community, you’ll quickly elevate both your brand and your own professional clout as well.
- Expect to take on many roles: As widely acclaimed community manager Jeremiah Owyang points out, we really are in the “wild west of social” with no rules for internet marketing. In this pioneer environment, it’s essential that you remain super-adaptable as a community manager, taking on roles from detective to therapist to cheerleader to damage control to analyst, all within a single day. While some may liken modern community management to PR, we can definitely attest to the fact that a community manager maintains much more varied and adapted roles.
- Be goal oriented: The social media world can be noisy, so guarding against distractions is essential. Make a list of goals for a set period of time, and stick to them. Divide and maintain the social channels that you’re “listening in on,” and try to avoid the latest cat meme or video! Goals can include features such as reducing support costs, increasing customer acquisition and retention, and driving product innovation.
- Manage your time as well as your community! Social Fresh surveyed community managers in its 2013 “Community Manager Report” and found that the majority of managers put in more than 50 hours per week! The good news is that this time is often spread into “free time” when the greatest new idea may pop into your head, or you think of a witty tweet that just has to be written down before you fall asleep. Community management is fun, fulfilling work, so think work/life harmony, not “balance” or “exclusion.” Here’s the hourly breakdown from Social Fresh:
- 6% were at less than 10hrs
- 17% spent 11-20hrs 14% spent 21-30hrs
- 21% spent 41-50hrs
- 26% spent more than 50hrs
- 2% didn’t know
- Love the toolset. Be the toolset. Streamline your Twitter marketing with scaled solutions such as Buffer, Tweetdeck, Topsy and Little Bird, and use fascinating analytics systems like PostAcumen and Curalate to compose and present your data depending on your budget.
And as if you needed any more convincing that the role of a community manager and strategist is an increasingly important one, salaries for this type of postion are continuing to rise! Social Fresh reports, “The first year we surveyed we got back a salary range of $30k to plenty of folks making 6 figures. That range continues to hold true, even internationally. But the average salary has gone up from $49k to $51k to a larger jump this year.”
What kind of community management work do you think your business could use to increase revenue and traffic? Need some assistance nailing these details down? Give us a shout!
The rules of ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) have changed. It’s no longer possible to easily buy your way to a top spot in Google’s organic search engine results pages, and the only way to excel in the modern world of internet marketing and SEO is through great content marketing and shareability.
The most recent updates to Google’s ranking algorithms, Penguin and Panda, have been the basis for a great deal of speculation and discussion about these types of changes to SEO in the last 12 months. However, all high level marketers now agree that great content marketing through blogging or another means is at the heart of SEO success.
If you’re on the fence, here are four reasons your company should’ve started blogging yesterday, and ways to think of content creation as much more than just a few blog posts per year:
1. Blogging & content marketing are not necessarily what you think they are
It’s time to put your business first and rid yourself of any preconceived notions about the frivolous nature and poor quality of blogging from the early days of the web. Today, content marketing actually involves producing a variety of formats based on desired effects and prospective audiences. For example, events like Felix Baumgartner’s daredevil free fall from the edge of space–released on YouTube for the launch of Red Bull’s Stratos line of energy drinks–are a modern example of very expensive content marketing. The video of his fall simultaneously broke many only viewing records, including 8 million live concurrent viewers from around the world at once, while also producing an amazing amount of buzz and marketing for Red Bull.
While most businesses don’t have the budget for this kind of stunt, you can be rest assured that developing content strategy and ideas for your business’ blog or other publications has the potential to be much simpler. Past academic thesis can work perfectly in serialized formats. Or consider the 100 case studies sitting somewhere on your company’s intranet for only a few potential clients to see each month! This type of high end content can bring new life, better search rankings, and more revenue to your business.
2. The only way to gather inbound links and excel on Google is through great content
Unless you’ve literally invented the greatest product since sliced bread, the number one factor in sending visitors to your website thanks to SEO or referral traffic is through inbound links. And what’s the best way to gather inbound links? Through fascinating, high quality content production and distribution on a blog or similar piece of technology. (Check out our Introduction to Link Building post for a quick primer.) Google’s latest updates indicate that its web crawlers will be more interested in conversations that are constantly evolving and adding value to the web, rather than online “brochures” thanks to a constant flow of content. It’s clear by now that static websites will and have become the “billboards” of the web that fade into the background, even with the best design and animation.
While these facts has proved to be true for many years in SEO, the Google Penguin and Panda updates of the last 12 months have truly sealed the deadly fate of these brochure-style sites.
3. Content marketing is the best way to build authority and gather new opportunities and customers
Great content marketing has less to do with an occasional blog post, and more to do with how marketers formulate strategy distribution. It involves finding where your target audience is already residing on the web, and involving them in industry conversations with fascinating, high quality information that sets your business as a clear leader in your industry.
All too often managers and owners of small businesses tend to believe that “blogging” is not for them. This has proved to be especially true in the law, industrial, medical science, and the financial industries. While social media and blogs may be considered too “soft and fuzzy” in these spheres, professionals in these fields really should really frame their potential marketing work in terms of producing and distributing valuable white papers, industry reports, studies and much more instead, and whether they’re in a million dollar business or not.
4. Facebook search will factor in content and recommendations
Conversations and content will also be the basis of high rankings in social search, such as the upcoming Facebook graph search. The web has become the 21st century equivalent of the medieval market or the Middle Eastern bazaar. Blogs and social media networks have become more than a place to buy things and be entertained, as they’re now a place to confide, gather advice, and discover new things. This buzz will be essential to listings in the new Facebook search, because just like Google’s, Facebook’s algorithms will factor in conversations, content, and more. One of the easiest ways to fuel positive feedback for your listing is by taking an active role to ask customers to join in the conversation, either through blogging or social media outreach and community management. Excellent content marketing is just what your Facebook followers need to seal the deal and leave a positive review.
One of the best examples of a company that went from a small neighborhood shop to an international craze through content strategy–thanks to the hit American shows Sex in the City and SNL–is Magnolia Bakery, who kicked off the cupcake craze of the late 1990s and now maintains an active blog and social community continually fostering their popularity.
Great content marketing strategy’s next big challenge will be to reinvigorate the spheres of law, finance, industrial services, professional services, and medicine. The content is there, just waiting to come to life. All that’s needed is some great strategy and a beautiful platform.
Need some help to boost your content marketing strategy? Give us a shout and our experts will begin their work asap.
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