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Does Your Social Media Content Annoy Or Engage?

social media contentDo your social media posts annoy your readers? If so, you run the risk of a shrinking readership as your audience turns to other social media accounts where they can find useful, entertaining and compelling content.

With the amount of time that people now spend on social media, your business can't afford to post irritating content that could cost you readers.  Neilsen's Social Media Report 2012 says that 30 percent of mobile online user time and 20 percent of personal computer time is spent on social media sites.

Identify and avoid social media content that turns readers off. Instead, concentrate on creating engaging social posts, tweets and status updates that will broaden your online audience.

When Social Media Content Becomes Annoying

So what annoys readers? Review your last week of Tweets, Facebook status updates, LinkedIn posts, and Pins. If your social media strategy includes some or all of these mistakes, it's time to revisit it.

  • Too many posts: A constant stream of social media posts every few minutes, is annoying even if your content is excellent. People are busy, and don't have time to sift through mountains of updates. Instead, choose your updates and time them carefully based on the data generated by your social media analytics.
  • One-way communication: Are you guilty of only posting hard-sales type social media updates? An occasional post mentioning a new product or sale that may benefit your readers in some way is fine, but readers quickly tire of the in-your-face sales tactics that some businesses use online.
  • Social media advertisements:  Along the same lines, according to Neilsen's Social Media Report 2012, about 33 percent of social media users are irritated by blatant advertisements on social media sites. Remember, they are on the sites to socialize, interact, and communicate.
  • Useless or fluff content: Have you heard the expression "Content is King?" It applies to your social media accounts as well as website content. Readers don't want to waste their time scrolling through Twitter feeds full of useless, stale, or repetitive updates. Prior to publishing each new post, ask yourself, "Does this provide value to my readers or lead them to content that does? Will it open up a new conversation?" If the answer to both is no, it could fall into the "annoying" category.

How to Engage Readers With Social Media

Replace your annoying social media content with posts that grab your readers' attention in a positive and unique way, using language that inspires readers to take action and participate in your online conversation. Think of your social media strategy as a vehicle to drive a conversation with readers and potential customers, instead of as a platform for broadcasting your sales message. Look for opportunities such as these to create two-way communication and invite your audience to share their thoughts, comments and feedback. This keeps your readers engaged and involved in your social media efforts.
  • Customer Service: Social media provides a unique channel for site owners and businesspeople to provide customer service and customer care online, a convenient alternative to telephone or face-to-face contact. This is an excellent way to encourage reader communication via Twitter or Facebook.
  • Contests and Giveaways:  Use your social media accounts to run contests and giveaways. Some businesses offer online ballots, discounts, or giveaways through Facebook once participants "Like" a Facebook business page. Engage your readers and use their creativity and input to develop new products, services, or even web content. For example, do you need a name for your new widget? Run a contest through your social media account and award a prize for the winning entry.
  • Reader Recommendations and Stories: A great way to get readers to participate is to ask them to share stories and recommendations on how they use your products and or services. As Neilsen's Social Media Report states, people are more receptive to reading about the experiences and recommendations of others than viewing ads on their favorite social media sites. 

Create an Online Community Around Your Brand

Change your mindset about the role social media plays in your business. Instead of thinking about how you can use it to sell your products or services, consider social media an online tool for creating a community around your brand, and as a virtual meeting place to interact with your followers and customers. Remember to keep your posts short, and position them as conversation starters that compel your readers to respond. Once you change the way you view social media opportunities, it will become easier to think of creative, compelling and engaging social media posts. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

5 Easy Ways to Get Started with Content Marketing

content marketing

Just do it! This well-known Nike tag line has been used countless times as a call to take action – anywhere, anyhow. It’s particularly relevant to content marketing, which so many marketers avoid simply because they don’t know where to start. With all the “advice” available about what/when/why/how and where your content should be, it’s no wonder people are stuck on the launch pad. If this is your problem, here are 5 steps to help you break the chains holding you back - without breaking the bank.

5 Ideas For Creative Visual Content Marketing

visual content marketing

Visual marketing is blowing across the Internet like a game-changing storm. You've seen interesting photos on social media, links to infographics on Twitter, and images with QR codes in print media. You may even have seen television commercials with stunning images but no words.

Creative marketers will pay attention to this trend because people are word-exhausted and ready for a change, and visual content is the balm that heals those weary media consumers. Give them what they want. Here are five creative ways to market with visual content.

1. Infographics. The Internet is so saturated with words that it's easy to lose exhausted readers. Infographics are the antidote for word saturation. A cleverly done infographic can condense massive amounts of information and present them in an interesting, memorable way. Expert educators tell us that people remember about 20% of what they read, but 83% of learning occurs visually. Not only will you be able to get your messages across, but those who view it will remember the message better. Their minds will have an image to grasp onto when they think about your product or service. Infographics can be included on websites and blogs, and they're ideal for posting on social media networks, especially on Pinterest and Facebook.

2. Photos on Social Media. Does your product or service seem removed from humanity? Starbucks solved this problem by posting photographs of employees, customers, and community advocates participating in the Starbucks Global Month of Service project. Not only will your Facebook fans see you in a more personal way, but they'll share the photos, especially if they see themselves in them. Does your business participate in local fairs or events? Take photos at the event, and post them as soon as possible--ideally while you're still at the event and can comment: "Enjoying the sunshine at the County Fair with Mayor Cleburne and Girl Scout Troop 2553!" I guarantee that every girl scout in the picture will post the photo on her wall.

3. Images with QR Codes. Producing physical visual content can be a way to move customers from a locale to the Internet. Let's say you set a display sign outside your electronics store with a stunning picture of a brand new gadget. No words, no price, no description--just the image. The only non-image item on the display sign is the QR code in the top corner. Out of sheer curiosity, people will scan the QR code, and you will have moved them from casual passersby to potential customers with an interest in your product. On the website they're directed to, you can include details about the product, videos, links, and store hours.

4. User-generated Content. A local sandwich shop, Which Wich, found a way to get their customers to produce visual content for them. Anyone who climbed a Fourteener (a mountain over 14,000 feet tall) and took a picture of themselves at the top holding a Which Wich sandwich bag would get a free sandwich. In addition, any customer at the shop can draw a picture on a sandwich bag and hang it on one of the cable clotheslines on the restaurant walls. Which Wich employees take pictures of the best sandwich bag artwork and upload them to Flickr. Anytime you get users to generate visual content for you, you have users with vested interests in your products, and you also widen your social networking reach.

5. Go for Bold and Glossy. Whatever visual content marketing images you produce, make them beautiful. That doesn't mean you have to use stock photos of people with unearthly white teeth, but get a decent camera and learn how to use photo editing software. When you're competing with millions of other websites and social media posts, your visual content needs to stand out. If you're posting product images, make your products look stunning. If you're producing infographics, make them look bright, neat, and professional. Humans love beauty. Give them some, and they'll pay attention to you.

Visual content marketing is sweeping the Internet, so don't delay adding this important component to your marketing repertoire. Begin today by posting more photos and infographics to your company's website and social media networks. Then make a plan for more creative and sophisticated visual content marketing campaigns like the one used by Which Wich. Visual content marketing takes more thought than resources, which makes it perfect for new start-ups or companies who are operating their marketing on a shoestring. Catch the vision, and watch your traffic increase.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

5 Cures For Painfully Boring Marketing Content

marketing content

So, you think your marketing content is awesome, but no one seems to be interested. The cold, hard truth may just be that it’s boring. Sorry. However, you’re not alone. Most of the marketing content that you find online is lame. And, if you can’t grab a person’s attention in less than five seconds, you can bid farewell to their business because they’ve probably already clicked the “back” button on their browser.

To make your marketing content succeed, Geoff Livingston shares in a Copyblogger article that your materials have to “rise above the noise.” Here’s a look at how you can make your content interesting, less boring, more captivating and worth sharing:

  1. Stop appearing self-centered. One of the biggest content marketing pitfalls is focusing on the person, site, product or company that you’re pushing instead of the audience. If you take a look at the online marketing content that you find boring, there’s a good chance that it’s about how great a product, service or site is, and reasons why. With all the bad content that’s hijacked the Internet, consumers usually don’t care about what you have to say about a company, product or service. There’s too much “I,” “we,” “us” and “our” type of language. Instead, focus on your listeners, viewers or readers, and offer a solution to their problems or needs. For example, instead of saying, “We’re the number one source of wacky toys online,” try, “Find something unique for everyone on your gift list—even the hardest to please.”

4 Festive Holiday Content Marketing Strategies

content marketing strategyThe holidays are one of the best shopping times of the year for most retail businesses, whether they sell out of a physical location or from an online store. Even those that don’t sell online do much of their marketing in the digital space, so driving traffic becomes a vital part of their holiday program. From electronics to food, clothing and camping gear, inbound marketers do everything they can to encourage prospective customers to come looking for them, generate desire for their products and choose their company over the competition.

Here are four ways to ramp up your content marketing ahead of the festive season.

Social Media Mania

Content Marketing: Generosity Makes the Sale

content marketing

I grew up as a member of a lower-middle class income family in a tiny community out in the sticks in the South. My dad worked a 12-hour rotating shift job and my mom took care of the home. We didn’t have everything we wanted, but I never remember ever needing anything and not having it.

From Likes To Leads: The Power Of A Social Media Content Strategy

social media content

They like you; they really, really like you. But have they become leads and customers? Have they gone beyond hitting that “like” button on your blog post, article, or other piece of content to giving you some of their information in return, telling you that they are receptive to more content on the same topic? Or to a sales call?

5 Surprisingly Simple Ways To Tell Your Brand's Story

brand marketing

In movie-making, it is often said that all of the special effects magic and big name actors in the world cannot save a film with a bad story. Examining some pricey duds from the past shows this to be true. The story is the basis of the entire experience, and is arguably the main reason we remember great films.

Creating Content For Different Learning Styles

content creation

You have probably heard of education trending towards recognizing differing learning styles. Well, this same idea can apply to marketing as well. And with a tool like the Internet, there is a growing range of sensory based content that can be created to appeal to a single target with varying presentation needs. With everything from text-based articles to streaming video, there is something for everyone.

Why Geo-Targeted Content Is Important To Your Business

geo-targeted content

Many Internet-based businesses have taken advantage of the fact that their customers don't have to live in their geographical area. EBay is a perfect example of this. If you're trying to sell an item that can be shipped through the mail, your potential customers can live anywhere.

Not all businesses sell items that can be shipped, however. Perhaps you have a basement remodeling company, a hair salon, or an ethnic grocery store. These businesses depend on local patronage, so Internet marketing has to make adjustments. When marketing for a locale-specific business, it's imperative that you use geo-targeted content.

Geo-targeted content refers to a specific location, and it's key to local search success.  In fact, according to Google, 73% of online activity is related to local content.  So, geo-targeted content should be a big part of your content marketing strategy.

Keywords, including long-tail geo-specific keywords, are critical to an effective local search strategy. Here are some examples:

Vinyl Siding Kansas City, MO

Chinese Buffet Pasadena CA

SAT Prep Miami Florida

You may recognize geo-targeted keyword tactics because you've used them as a consumer. It's Friday night, you're in the mood for pizza, and you're in an unfamiliar city. You turn to your phone and type in "pizza Denver," and before you know it, you're sitting in a red vinyl booth eating breadsticks and waiting for your Canadian bacon pizza. Surely, there are pizza places in Denver that have not taken advantage of geo-targeted keywords, and just as surely, those business owners are missing out.

Why are they missing out? Because adding geo-targeted keywords lowers your local search competition and raises your converting traffic. Let's see how it works.

Lower Your Search Competition

If your LASIK surgery practice has developed a website, you'll show up in the search engine web rankings. A potential customer would type in "LASIK surgery," and roughly 4.3 million hits will show up. If your website is relatively new, you could show up close to the bottom of the rankings, and no one will ever organically happen upon it.

When you use geo-targeted keywords, however, you significantly narrow your competition. A Google search for "LASIK surgery mesa az" yields less than 93,000 results. It will be much easier to rise in the rankings when you narrow the playing field with geo-targeted keywords.

But that's not the only benefit. 

Raise Your Converting Traffic

When people search for generic terms like "LASIK surgery," they get hits from all over the world, most of which are completely useless as far as the actual surgery is concerned. This is okay when someone is doing preliminary research. In the case of LASIK surgery, maybe they want to know how much it will cost, what the risks are, and how long it takes to recover. This is all useful information, but it doesn't necessarily convert into business for the website owners.

However, when potential customers use geo-targeted keywords like "LASIK surgery mesa az," they're much more likely to find local practitioners who can help them. These searches convert into phone calls, appointments, and paying customers. This kind of traffic flow leads people from the distance-based contact provided by the internet to an interpersonal-based relationship, which is the core of locale-specific businesses.

As you experiment with geo-targeted keywords, keep a close eye on your website's analytics. Your analytics will tell you if your geo-targeted keywords are increasing traffic, and if they are, where that traffic is coming from. Pay attention to details like this because you can home in on which keywords work best for driving traffic to your website and focus more pages and more blog post content on those keywords.

Don't miss out on local business that you could easily reach through geo-targeted content. Someone may be just blocks from you right now, looking for a service that you provide, typing your keywords into a search engine. If you're buried at the pile of a global search, they won't find you. But if you show up in their neighborhood search, Bingo! Your bottom line looks better today.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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