If you’re like me, you might be a little wary of automated solutions that allow you to grow your Twitter list exponentially, but also have the potential of getting your account shut down. So instead, I thought I would share with you my simple strategy for slowly and steadily growing your Twitter followers.
This isn’t about getting a huge number of just any Twitter followers, but a smaller concentration of Twitter followers that will be interested in your content.
Tweet Links with Author’s Twitter Handle
If you read and tweet blog posts a lot, chances are you are using the Tweet button on the post or an app like Buffer to schedule your tweets. But one thing you might be missing out on with either approach is adding the blog post author’s Twitter handle to your tweet. Let’s say you were tweeting a post off of Mashable, for example. It’s not likely that @Mashable will notice your tweet considering they have dozens of posts daily that are getting tweeted around 1,000+ tweets each.
The people who might notice your tweets, however, are the authors of those posts. Simply click on the name of the author to get to their author page.
There, you will find a link to their Twitter profile.
When you tweet the post, be sure to include the author’s Twitter handle in the tweet and also follow the author.
Does this work all of the time? Of course not. But if you’re already tweeting a blog post, you might as well take the extra moment or two to find the author’s Twitter handle and include them in on the tweet. As a bonus, if you do establish a good relationship with a regular author on a major blog, you could ask them to introduce you to their editor to get a great guest posting gig for yourself!
Follow People Who Tweet Your Posts
Do you notice the same person regularly tweeting your posts? Simply follow them and thank them for tweeting you! This personal interaction may get them to follow you back if they are not following you already.
Follow People You Converse With
Do you get the occasional Twitter question from someone who isn’t following you? If they’re talking about your niche or industry, be sure to answer and follow them. They’ll likely take notice and follow you back since you’ll be fresh on their mind!
Monitor Keyword Discussions
Not sure where to find new followers? Try this approach. Search for a particular keyword on Twitter to see who is talking about it.
You can save your searches on Twitter itself or, better yet, save this search in a Twitter management tool like HootSuite so you can continuously monitor it.
Whenever someone asks a good question, answer it and follow the person. Since you’re helping them out, they’ll likely view you as an authority and follow you back for more information!
Last, but not least, make sure you get the most exposure for your tweets by simply adding a keyword hashtag to them. You know things like #seo, #socialmedia, and #blogging are popular. But if you’re not sure about others, use Tospy Analytics to search hashtag ideas to see which ones get the most usage.
Beneath the graph, you can see the types of tweets that are shared with that hashtag and the number of influential users that use it.
By doing this, the people who follow that hashtag will see your tweet as well as the people who create Paper.li papers and other content based around the hashtag.
How Do You Grow a Steady Following on Twitter?
These are just a few ways to build a slow and steady following on Twitter that shouldn’t backfire and get your account penalized. What other methods do you use to build followers?
You’ve seen the Facebook stats: 845 million active users (161 million active US users), 2.7B daily likes, 60% of all internet users in the US and UK are on Facebook, and 2 billion total registered users. The social media site we’ve been use to for the past 5+ years has grown and evolved – and your marketing strategy should as well.
Improving your Facebook marketing strategy over time requires a bit of trial and error. Heavy testing is involved and is my – 1st T: TEST. If you aren’t testing now, you’re missing out. Having your social media team utilize Facebook Insights is crucial to your success. Test and monitor your messaging strategy in the following ways:
- Time & date of successful status message updates
- Type of content and it’s success – pictures, video, etc…
- Trends in weekly total reach – look for cyclical patterns and spikes
- Friends of fans count – look for spikes to help you determine your most influential fans
- # of engaged users and reach per message
There are key sets of data you can obtain by testing, as you can see above. Utilize this information to target your messaging in a better way to your audience – T #2: TARGET. It makes sense that messaging strategies that target your demographic are going to be the most successful, but surprisingly many Facebook admins update their status messages ‘willy-nilly’, often forgetting who their real target market is.
With T #1: TEST, you’ll get a good idea of how your current fans engage with your page. Use this information to target your messages. Do Q&A type of posts work better? This type of messaging, when asking the right questions, can target users in certain buying cycles and help push them over the edge to make purchases. Is more engagement on posts targeted to a certain type of fan? Status messages catering to a female demographic, if you have more female fans than male, can produce higher engagement scores. Do you have a lot of international fans? Page admins can target messaging by location or language. Look at the data and target – enuf said!
And on to – T #3: TAG. It’s surprising to me how few brands actually use tagging. This is one of the best features on Facebook that allows you to cross promote your page and engage as a brand with other pages. Start using tagging in status message updates to highlight business partnerships, give shoutouts to employees, highlight an awesome charity or shed light on a new cause. Start using tagging to engage with other pages and you’ll find the fans of those pages will slowly follow.
Something else to remember when using Facebook to market your business is – T #4: TRENDS. I use Facebook both personally and professionally, so it seems I’m logged in quite a bit. Over time you start to notice trends in the messages of your friends. Whether it’s things they’re talking about, types of questions they’re asking, events they’re reporting about or even content they’re sharing – these are all opportunities as marketers to get great ideas for your business page.
For example, the “meme” trend and caption photos are pretty hot right now on Facebook. As a business page you can utilize this trend and make your own memes or caption photos. If you weren’t following the trends, however, you may have missed this type of messaging on Facebook. The “Doppelgänger” fad from a few years ago is another example. Using these trending topics to engage with your users can help improve engagement and the effectiveness of your efforts.
Well there you have it, the 4 T’s to help improve your Facebook marketing strategy. Can you think of a few more T’s to add to the list?
Do you want to keep up with the latest news for your favorite Facebook fan pages, but don’t want to miss out on them because EdgeRank is hiding them from your new feed? Or would you prefer to not have to go to Facebook at all until your favorite pages have updates?
One of the Google Chrome extensions I use, RSS Subscription Extension, puts an RSS icon in the browser’s address bar when there is an RSS feed discovered on a page. On Facebook pages that haven’t been converted to the new Timeline design, that icon comes up so you can subscribe to your favorite page’s RSS feed.
For pages with the new design enabled, however, the RSS feed has gone missing.
Fortunately, the feed is still available though. You just need a little workaround. To get any page’s RSS feed, first you will need to grab the page’s ID number. For pages that do not have a customized username (http://facebook.com/username), the ID number will be at the end of the URL. For those pages that have a customized username, the quickest way to grab the ID is through the Open Graph. Simply take the page’s username and add it to the following URL.
Highlighted in the above is my page’s ID number, 255576081168962. To create the RSS feed, take the page ID number and insert it in the following.
Take this URL and paste it into your preferred RSS reader. Mine is Google Reader, so I would paste it in to the Subscribe field.
Now, you can see your favorite page’s updates all in your RSS reader.
With Google Reader, you can even gain some insight into how many times a page posts per week on average.
I’m not sure how accurate that really is, but you might find it insightful sometimes. My page shows an average of six posts a week when lately I have only done one to two per week. Mashable’s page, on the other hand, shows an average of 120 post per week and 23 subscriber’s to their page’s RSS feed.
Do you use RSS feeds to follow Facebook pages?
How much do your customers really use social media? This seems to be a question that’s asked often and answered often. You might ask this question if you’re just starting out in a new industry or maybe you’ve been in your industry a while but just don’t have a clue where to start online. Lack of knowledge, disconnect with data and not knowing who your customers are can cause issues when trying to figure out how social your customers are.
The first step in figuring out how social your customers are is research. Turn your lack of knowledge into expertise just by putting in the research. Conduct social listening exercises across multiple platforms to get started. Here are some suggested social listening exercises to help you gain the social insight you need into your industry.
Monitor the large social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and even MySpace. Use the search functionalities of each of these sites. Search for keywords related to your products or services. Who is talking about your products and services? Are any of these users very influential – you can figure this out by going to their profile and looking at how many friends they have and how active they are.
Additionally, try typing in frequently asked questions into the search bar. Are there users asking those questions? Make note of how regularly messages are sent out and/or responded to. This can help you figure out how social your customers are too.
Search for competitors brand pages. You can gain a lot of insight by seeing just how other brands are using social media. How active are their fans? Do fans comment, “like”, “share” and post regularly? Do they foster a sense of community on their pages? Make note of how your competitors are using social media marketing.
Use a search engine to find discussion boards and forums. How regularly are people posting, answering and sharing? The conversations in forums and on discussion boards can show you how often your customers feel compelled to post about industry related topics.
Blogs & Industry News
Use a search engine to find industry blogs and websites. Does the site allow contributors? How many bloggers write for the site and how active are they on social media? Make note of how regularly posts are updated, commented on and responded to. This can help you see exact how social your customers are.
With each of the listening exercises above you’ll gain great insight into the social activities of your prospects. In addition to the research you put forth through social listening, try looking at studies put together by by Forrester, Marketing Hub, Pingdom, and others. Some of these studies will help you identify how social certain demographic groups are.
Additionally, you can get insider tips from people within your own industry. Search Google for articles about marketing to your industry through social media. Or follow experts like Jay Baer who wrote this great blog post, “4 Detective Tricks to Find Your Customers in Social Media”.
Hopefully after a few of these exercises you’ll start to get a better grip on exactly how social your customers are. Don’t forget to go back and conduct these exercises often – the social activities of your customers change over time.
What sites do you currently use to conduct social listening?
One of the many questions looming around the new Facebook pages with timeline design is how brands that are more informational and less visual going to fare with the timeline cover photo. So today, let’s take a few minutes not thinking about all of the other massive changes to Facebook page functionality and instead take a look at some of the top well-known brands in the online marketing space using the new Facebook pages.
Search Engine Land
I decided to start off the list with Search Engine Land because their photo goes to show that anything goes with Timeline cover photos. Does this mean that SEL thinks they rock? Maybe. Whatever it is, it is cute!
HubSpot uses an artistic rendering of a city skyline plus their logo as their Timeline cover photo. It’s a simple and creative way to represent their brand.
Raven Internet Marketing Tools
Raven Internet Marketing Tools uses a quick snap of what looks like their booth at a conference as their Timeline cover photo. It’s a great way to show a little about their product and their involvement in industry events.
Mashable adds the people element to their Timeline cover photo by using this mosaic of Mashable’s members. How awesome would it be to have your avatar featured in this collage!
BlueGlass uses their Timeline cover photo to highlight their upcoming Internet marketing conference in Los Angeles. It’s a great way to draw attention to what is happening now with your business.
Another example of putting people behind the brand, Distilled uses this awesome shot of their team as their Timeline cover photo. They certainly do fit their description of enthusiasm.
Search Marketing Expo
Although I’m not sure how I feel about the quality of the photo, Search Marketing Expo uses the perfect Timeline cover photo to show what it is like attending one of their conferences.
WebProNews uses a mixture of celebrities and Internet rockstars in their Timeline cover photo as a part of their interview collage. It certainly made me curious enough to go to their website and see if I could locate some of these interviews!
Unbounce uses their Timeline cover photo to showcase details about their main product. It’s a simple way to let people know what your brand does when a visitor comes to your Facebook page.
There’s nothing wrong with simplicity if all else fails and you can’t come up with a creative Timeline cover photo idea. AllFacebook just uses their name on the standard Facebook blue background.
What are some favorite Timeline cover photos you’ve seen so far on pages using the new Facebook page with Timeline design? What are you planning to use for yours? Please share in the comments!
Are you using a social media calendar to keep you organized? Many experts suggest utilizing a social media calendar to make your time more efficient and to keep things consistent. Similar to an editorial calendar, a social media calendar lays out a rough sketch of what your week, month and sometimes year will look like as far as messaging and interaction through social channels goes. Lisa Buyer gives a great overview of what a social media calendar is on SearchEngineWatch.com if you’re interested in learning more.
In addition to Lisa’s great suggestions I wanted to share a few tips of my own to help you improve efficiency and consistency. Here are four of them:
Be Consistent and Use Data
When many people are responsible for monitoring and responding via social channels for a brand, consistency can sometimes fall to the way side. Look back at your own brand’s messages from the last month. Is there consistency, relevancy and organization? Even the most well thought out social media plans can get misaligned.
Examine the messages you and your team sent out in the past month and look for consistency. Make changes to your processes and add information to your social media calendar to help with consistency as needed. Pre-populated messages or a bank of messages can at times aid in keeping things consistent. Tweets and posts about holidays, days of remembrance, for special promotions you know about in advance, to re-promote website content or even in response to commonly asked questions are great ideas for a bank of messages. These evergreen social messages can be used and improved to fit the need at the time.
I often look at the past month’s messages at a whole when I’m preparing a month end report and analyzing any of the data available to me: website analytics, Facebook Insights, click through rates via bit.ly, social search numbers from sites like Topsy, etc… Looking at both of these areas will help you to identify gaps in consistency as well as gaps in strategy or messaging style. Overtime you’ll be able to compare this information month over month and year over year to see trends. What messaging style is working and which isn’t? What time of day and time is best? This information can be added to your social media calendar.
Avoid the Social Media Time Suck & Use Tools To Help You
Inevitably social media can be a huge time suck. When you’re looking at data, examining messaging, engaging with customers or prospects…the hours just fly by. That’s why it’s important to keep yourself on track and avoid interruptions when working on specific tasks. Close your e-mail, avoid distractions at the office and stay aware of the time.
Just being aware can help you to be more efficient. Add estimated time for tasks into your social media calendar. Gauge consistency of time with your teams work. When it comes down to asking if there is return on this social media investment, you’ll at the very least have some raw data to work with that shows the effort put forth. Additionally, if you’re managing a team you can instruct changes to processes.
Last but certainly not least, my suggestion to you is: use tools! If you aren’t already using a few tools in your social media arsenal then you should start. I’m a huge fan of Hootsuite and enjoy their pro account platform – to me it’s worth the spend. Monitoring keywords, mentions and scheduling tweets on occasion (yes I admit I do this) are just a few ways the platform can help. Additionally Tweetdeck and Seesmic are platforms commonly suggested.
A tool that can be used to help with your social media calendar is suggested for users who are on social media to promote their blogs. If you have a WordPress website you can add the Editorial Calendar for WordPress plugin. Here a writer discusses how using this type of plugin can help improve efficiencies.
Do you have additional tips to help improve a social media calendar?
Video marketing is hot right now, and chances are you may have already tried to capitalize on that with some videos on YouTube. You may think you are done once you have uploaded your video, optimized it for searched, and shared it with your audience. But if you’re only checking your number of views from this point out, then you’re missing out on some important data – your video statistics.
Public Video Statistics
When logged into your YouTube / Google Account, you can go to your video and click on the statistics button under the video.
First, you will see the public data about your video, viewable to anyone who clicks on it. This view will give you the overall traffic history, plus some details about specific “discovery events” that led to the most amount of views including search queries and sites it has been embedded on.
To make this data private, you can click on Private next to Privacy settings. Then, you can continue to the juicy data by clicking on the View more statistics link – the stuff only available to the video owner.
In-Depth Video Analytics
Within your private video analytics, you can set specific date ranges including the last seven days, last thirty days (default), this month, last month, this year, last year, lifetime, or custom range. I prefer using the lifetime option which will include data from December 2009 to the present. Then you can see the following information on the Overview screen for the data range specified.
- Number of views.
- Channel subscriber changes.
- Video engagement (likes, dislikes, comments, shares, favorites added, or favorites removed).
- Demographics (top viewer locations, male vs. female).
- Video discovery including top playback locations and traffic sources.
You can click on any of these boxes for more information. I find the most useful areas to be the following – you can access them using the menu on the left hand sidebar.
This will show you where the majority of your viewers are coming from and the gender breakdown between male and female viewers.
This will where most people watch your videos. You can also click on the link for Embedded player on other websites to see what websites have embedded your video. This information could come in handy in a variety of ways, such as asking someone who likes your video to link to your website, connect with you on a social network, or accept a guest post from you.
This is another hotbed of information about your video. Click on the links to see where on YouTube your video receives views (such as another member’s favorites or your own channel page), external websites linking to your video, YouTube search terms leading visitors to your video, Google search terms leading visitors to your video, and more. The search terms leading visitors to your video can be especially helpful when you want to create more videos but are unsure what keywords to target.
Not sure if your videos are too long or too short? Wonder what part of your video content makes people leave? Find out by looking at the Audience Retention graph which shows you what times during the video people start to exit. This can help you change the length of future videos to fit your audience’s attention span.
Engagement reports will tell you more information about people who subscribe to your channel, like or dislike your video, favorite your video, comment, or share. This can help you learn more about the audience that actually engages with your video as opposed to just watching it.
Do you use your YouTube statistics and analytics? How has this information helped you in future video marketing campaigns?
If you write about social media often, you might find yourself needing a few statistics. The following sources will give you the most current data available about social networking usage.
The following sites are a good place to start for statistics about most of your favorite social networks.
Wikipedia is a good first stop to get the latest stats about social networks. Their pages usually have each social networks launch date, current number of users, founders, revenue, traffic, and other information as applicable. You can see what I mean on Wikipedia pages for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and so forth. Be sure to click on the number next to each stat to see the official source for more information.
If you’re looking for traffic and demographics, Quantcast is a great source. See some interesting information about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, and so forth. Use the search box to find even more domains.
The Top 10
All About Facebook
Facebook seems to have the most data out and about on the web. Here are some great sources.
Facebook Fact Sheet
Facebook itself offers some basic statistics about their network on their company info fact sheet. it includes the current number of employees, number of monthly and daily active users, board member names, and locations of Facebook offices worldwide.
Inside Facebook Gold
Need some in-depth statistics about Facebook? Inside Facebook has a gold membership that allows you access to the latest demographics about Facebook usage. While their membership is currently closed to new enrollment, you can still get some interesting stats for free on their membership page including the number of users in the top 25 countries on Facebook and global audience demographics.
Facebook Pages Leaderboard
All About Twitter
Not quite as detailed as the information on Facebook, but the following are stats about Twitter.
What is Twitter
There aren’t too many interesting stats on the What is Twitter page, but the ones that might catch your eye are the number of tweets per day and active users!
Top Twitter Users
TwitterCounter has a page for the most followed Twitter accounts. The top 20, with exception to Barack Obama, YouTube, and Twitter en espanol, are mostly celebrities.
All About LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s About Us page covers the latest LinkedIn facts including overall membership plus breakdowns of the number of members in 14 different countries.
YouTube’s Statistic page has tons of neat information including how many hours of video content is uploaded every minute, how many videos are viewed per day, unique users per month, user demographics, and more. There is even a section about social usage of YouTube such as the number of people connecting their accounts to other services (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), how many people auto share, and more.
What sites do you use to check social media statistics? Please share your resources in the comments!
Jeffrey Davis recently reported a 30%- 40% drop in his site’s referral traffic from StumbleUpon. There’s absolutely no doubt that SU is one of the most potential sources for getting a good amount of referral traffic. In fact, many blogs receive as much as 60%-80% of their overall traffic from SU.
After SU rolled out their redesign last year, users felt quite happy to know that the site was paying some careful attention to its on-topic features. But, as soon as, SU bid adieu to direct links recently, everyone was taken aback. Earlier, you could easily ‘x’ out a page and visit the original URL from inside the site. Now, while logged in, you can’t get out so easily.
There’s one way, though somewhat clumsy. If you want to visit the original source, you need to copy-paste the URL above, while leaving the SU part of the URL out.
Here’s what the URL looks like.
Well, SU is trying to confine users within its own eco-system. Funny, isn’t it?
On the other hand, Pinterest (a visual bookmarking site) is attracting eyeballs from many sides. Though it’s a new entrant in the social arena, it’s fast turning into a potential sources of traffic for a wide range of businesses. According to a recent report by Shareaholic, Pinterest is now rivaling Twitter in terms of driving referral traffic to a website or blog.
What’s more, Pinterest is generating more referral traffic than its elder social brothers like Google+, LinkedIn and Youtube are doing together. Though a lot of businesses are still quite unaware of the traffic opportunities that a social bookmarking site as young as Pinterest can bring, others are flocking to this Pinboard in large numbers.
Though Facebook still rules when it comes to driving referral traffic, Pinterest is fast picking up steam. The growth of this visual pinboard has been phenomenal over the last couple of months. Shareaholic recent findings (after analyzing data from as many as 200,000 publishers) reveal that Pinterest drove around 3.6% referral traffic in January this year, shooting up from merely 17% in July and 2.5% December last year.
Many have been reported to ditch SU as well.
So, Do You Need a Shift in Your Referral Traffic Strategy?
Absolutely! If you don’t evaluate your site’s referral traffic statistics now, it may be too late. You really need to know about the sources that drive the maximum traffic to your website or blog.
Log into your Google analytics account and click ‘Referring Sites’ under the Traffic Sources tab on the dashboard right away. Find out what those referring sources stats look like. When you know what sources work most in your favor, you can adjust your traffic generation strategy effectively.
Did you notice a sudden drop in your site’s referral traffic from SU? Which social platforms drive most of this traffic to your site? Please feel free to talk back in comments.
Over the past few days I’ve done a bit of research for an upcoming post on SearchEngineWatch.com, brainstorming ideas on how brands can use Pinterest. In the end I found there are 5 or so industries that hands down should be using Pinterest for some of their social media marketing efforts. Whether it’s to help sell products or services, this new social networking site can be put to good use. Let’s examine these 5 industries.
When I first started exploring the site a few months ago my immediate thought was – wow this would be a great site for someone planning a wedding and that’s exactly what I’m using it for. My baby sister is getting married soon and as the maid-of-honor it’s my duty to keep her up on all the hip wedding trends, but when you live 1,000+ miles away that can be difficult. That’s where Pinterest comes in. She and I share our ideas on a board and look to other boards for ideas. Simple and painless – well sort of. This whole wedding planning thing is stressful!
Creating inspiration boards to establish your wedding style is all the rage. Imagine as a wedding dress designer, photographer, jewelry designer, event planner, caterer, baker, etc… using the site for something similar but to cater to your customer or prospects needs. Brides can repin your pins, click through to your website and purchase your products or services. Anyone in the wedding industry really should consider using Pinterest.
Arts & Crafts
If you’re in the business of selling handmade items or art then Pinterest is perfect for you! Similar to Etsy, Pinterest allows users to browse products in their gift category section. Upload your wares and start selling – but not through the Pinterest site. You’ll need your own storefront or Etsy shop in order to accept payments and deal with those details. Pinterest is just a way to showcase your talents and let others see the products you want to sell. Simply add “$” to the Pin description and Pinterest will place your content in the gift category, along with a nice banner illustrating the price of your item. It’s that easy!
The fashion industry is ripe with competition which makes it all the more important to have your style stand out. If you’re a clothing designer, stylist, clothing buyer, personal shopper, style editor or fashion blogger then Pinterest is perfect for you! The site allows you to show off your style in a clean and elegant way, which in turn can help you sell your own services or products. Connect with others that have similar styles and position yourself for opportunities to collaborate with others.
Travel & Hospitality
The travel and hospitality industry relies heavily on appearance. With Pinterest travel agents can set the mood for your next excursion by creating vacation inspiration boards full of fabulous pictures from the area or highlighting activities you can do when you get there. Additionally, a hotel could create similar inspiration boards, enticing web visitors to plan their next vacation. A spa might have photos of the area, activities around town, lodging and of course photos of spa services. It’s all about telling a story and Pinterest can help you do that if you’re in the travel & hospitality industry.
Last but certainly not least is the real estate industry. Selling a property takes a lot of effort, so why not make it easier on yourself by pinning photos of a featured real estate property? Take it a few steps further and pin photos of the area, the local school, areas of interest around town, community areas, or even pictures of possible upgrades the prospective homeowner can make to the home. Help to create a sense of what the home will look like after they’ve purchased it and prospective buyers can start to see themselves actually living there.
Well that makes 5 industries that should be using Pinterest. Have more to suggest to our readers? Add to the comments below!