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Influencer marketing has skyrocketed since it first made its mark.

That’s very much due to the way purchasing decisions have changed over the years. In 2018, a study found that only 4% of people trusted celebrity endorsements. This is probably because they prefer to seek product and service recommendations from those who are, above all, knowledgeable and credible.

And today, those qualities often come in the form of social media influencers.

When it comes to getting advice or recommendations on what to do — which product to buy, which movie to see, and where to travel on vacation — there are still areas where we trust our peers more than we do “experts.” 

But that’s part of what makes an influencer so powerful: Despite perhaps being an expert in his or her field, by sharing content and insight in a certain way, consumers view that person more as a peer. We have things like constant access to video and other visual content to thank for that — the tools that help us “get to know” people online in ways that weren’t quite as accessible only a few years ago.

So, how can you tap into this area, and become an influencer in your own field?

Influencers are ordinary people who have earned a substantial loyal following because of their expertise and transparency. Unlike celebrities actively endorse products on their social media accounts, influencers achieved their fame because of the valuable information they share with their followers.

It’s for this reason why one of theinfluencer marketing trends experts anticipate in 2019 is the increase in demand for social media influencers, specifically micro-influencers (influencers with less than 100K followers). Not surprising, more and more people want to become social media influencers.

The question is: where do you start?

In this blog post, I’ll be laying out ten ways how to become a social media influencer. On their own, they will help you slowly make your mark and establish you as an influencer in your industry. But do all these together, and you have a powerful strategy that will help speed things up exponentially.

1. Find your niche.

If you want to become a social media influencer, the very first thing you need to do is to choose a specific niche where you want to be known.

Although most social media influencers start out posting content, they’re passionate about, what sets them apart is the fact that they tend to focus on a particular niche within the industry they’re passionate about.

To find your little corner of influence, you’ll need first to determine who is your target audience by developing a unique persona—a semi-fictional representation of your ideal reader. Tools likeHubSpot’s Buyer Persona Generation Tool can help you identify the individual wants, needs, challenges, and goals of your ideal reader that you can help solve and address, pointing you to the right niche to establish yourself and grow as an influencer.

2. Use the First Principles Thinking approach.

In an interview with Kevin Rose, Elon Musk explained that there are two reasoning approaches people use. The first and most common is the analogy approach. People that use this reasoning method decide to do things based on what has happened in the past.

That’s why we often see many people in a particular industry doing nearly the same thing, talking about the same topics, and even using similar formats when it comes to publishing and promoting their content.

The second reasoning approach is what Musk refers to as the First Principles Thinking approach. Instead of basing decisions on past successes or failures, Musk and others that use this reasoning approach study objective fundamentals and make their decisions based solely on that.

What’s good about following Musk’s way of thinking and reasoning is that it opens you up to other possibilities and approaches by “forcing” you to disregard the status quo, and think differently. Doing that can help set yourself apart from other influencers in your niche, and allow you to bring something new and fresh to the table for your target audience.

3. Choose your social media channel.

It’s important to pick the right social platforms where audiences with interests that align with your brand could engage with you. Two of the most prominent social networks where influencers are thriving in 2019 are Instagram and LinkedIn. 

Instagram is the channel where 93% of social media influencers focus their content — because it gives them the best results.

Source: Marketing Profs

However, just because those are the current statistics doesn’t mean that Instagram is a perfect choice all the time.

The reason is simple: Your ideal audience may not be spending most of their time here.

On Instagram, you might see influencers that focus on lifestyle-oriented industries. For example, you might see a travel blogger posting about hotel stays or videos of food bloggers making a recipe. Because Instagram is quickly becoming video friendly with its Stories feature, you might also see sponsored content and marketing videos such as influencer hosted makeup tutorials.

Although LinkedIn is gaining more traction with lifestyle content, influencers can succeed on this platform when they focus on career or academic tips, or job-related content. While LinkedIn does offer video posting options, influencers can also embrace text more heavily on this platform by publishing blog-styled posts or regular text-posts.

If you want to quickly grow your following and establish yourself as a social media influencer, you need to make sure that you choose the right social media channel based on your niche and ideal audience.

Here are three questions to ask to help guide you in choosing the right social media channel:

Who is your target audience?

Again, this is where creating a holistic persona of your ideal audience is crucial. Instagram and Pinterest are excellent choices if you’re aspiring to reach out to millennials. On the other hand, if your target audience consists mostly of business executives, LinkedIn may be your best bet.

Where are the other influencers in your niche?

Aside from sharing the same target audience, being active in social media channels where the big influencers in your niche open the door for you to reach out to them, and even collaborate with them in the future.

One tool I found extremely useful for this is BuzzSumo. When you do a search here using your targeted keyword, you’ll not only see what topics other influencers have tackled, but where they also share these pieces of content.

This is extremely valuable — it points you to the social media channel where the content is shared the most, making these ideal places to reach out and grow your following.

What type of content will you create?

Some social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to post a diverse range of content formats while others like YouTube and Instagram only focus on providing users a specific content format.

That said, it’s vital that you select the social media channel that best suit the content strategy you’ll develop, which we will look into in the next section.

Regardless of which social media channel(s) you choose, remember not to go overboard with your selection. Stick to using two to three networks. Otherwise, you’ll be spreading yourself too thin, and will find it difficult to build your credibility and following.

4. Develop your content strategy.

Just like in inbound marketing, the format and quality of the content you publish will make or break your chances of successfully building yourself as a social media influencer.

Decide on the format you’ll use when creating your content. It should be one through which you’re able not only to deliver valuable information, but also, express your personality and voice — which help add uniqueness to the content you produce for your target audience.

Part of developing an effective content strategy is giving your audience the right balance of informative content and personal content. Remember, one reason why people trust influencers is due to their relatability.

One efficient way to do this is through the 5-3-2 principle: Out of every 10 posts you publish in your social media account, five of these should be valuable content written by someone else, three are educational and informative content you created yourself, and two should be posts about yourself.

Now, you may be thinking, “How will this help me become an influencer if half of the content I’ll be publishing is curated content?”

For starters, influencers are known for being able to provide valuable content to their audience. That includes sharing content written by others that they believe their followers will find useful.

More important, sharing content published by other influencers in your niche will help you slowly get their attention. As a result, it will be much easier to reach out to them and ask them to do the same for you later on.

If you need help discovering topic ideas for your content, try these resources.

This is found at the bottom of the page after you search on Google. It lists down the most frequently used long-tail keywords used by your target audience when searching for content on the internet.

Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a website that gives you a comprehensive list of the different questions that are commonly asked around your chosen keywords, which you can then answer through your content.

Quora

Similar to Answer the Public, Quora gives you a list of different questions asked surrounding your selected keyword. The main difference between the two is that unlike Answer the Public, which offers you a list of questions based on search algorithms, the questions you find in Quora are those that were left explicitly by individuals currently facing a problem or challenge.

At the same time, Quora allows its members to leave answers to these posted questions. This gives aspiring social media influencers the chance to flex their muscles, and showcase knowledge on this topic — and, eventually, your niche.

5. Distribute your content.

No matter how great your content is, if you’re not getting people to see it and engage with it, it’s not exactly useful.

That said, it’s important that you carefully plan out when you’ll be publishing and distributing your content on social media.

The best time to post content on social media hugely depends on which social media channel you chose to use. This infographic provides a detailed breakdown of the best days and times when to distribute content for each of the most popular social media networks.

It’s just as critical to know how to post your content on social media. While each social media channel has its own rules and guidelines, here are some general best practices that are applicable regardless on which social media channel you use.

Stick to one theme per social media channel.

Focusing on one specific theme for each of your social media channels allows you to give your followers a more holistic picture of who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. That way, you’re able to publish more diverse content while still keeping your profiles very sleek and cohesive.

More important, it helps you categorize the different types of content you publish. That way, your followers know which social media channel they’ll find the content they need from you.

Customize your message.

Even if you’re posting the same piece of content on different social media channels, always take the time to make sure that you customize the message you include in it. Not only does it make each of your posts more personalized, but as Aaron Haynes, founder of Fenix Pro points out, it prevents your followers from feeling like their being spammed on their social media feeds.

“You need to make sure that you tailor every single content you post caters to the wants and needs of your followers, whether it’s a regular post or a paid post,” he explains. “The worst thing is that they can report your account as spammy, which could mean the end of your social media influencer dream.”

Optimize posts for mobile.

The average person spends over three hours on his or her mobile device.

Source: eMarketer

And within that time, 80% of it is spent on social media. That said, make sure that the posts you publish are just as appealing in mobile as they would be when viewed on desktops or laptops.

6. Post tutorials on Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook.

People who are looking to learn more about brands or products love to use video to do so. If your strategy or industry is highly visual, consider showing audiences how to use a product you’re trying to promote with a quick how-to.

Once audiences see a product in use, they might want to replicate the how-to project you’re doing or feel like the product is easy to use. These thoughts might lead them to an actual purchase and make your clients or sponsors very happy. 

To help you brainstorm ideas, here’s a quick guide to how-to videos that really work.

7. Or, write LinkedIn or Medium thought leadership.

Thought leadership is content from an industry expert that offers advice or information on a certain topic. If you want to be an influencer in a business-related industry, or have people look to you as a leader or management-guru, a great place to start posting thought leadership is on LinkedIn

As we mentioned above, you can use LinkedIn’s blog post feature to write a more long-form post, comment on other posts or discussions, or just publish standard posts. If you prefer video, the platform also has options for that as well. 

If you want to write a lot of blog posts, another great place to publish your work could be Medium. Users on Medium see posts on their feed based on their interests and who they follow. So, if users share the same interests as you, they might be directed to your post.

8. Grow your network.

While you’re still in the process of establishing your credibility and expertise as a social media influencer, you’ll need to actively grow your follower base.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is through blogging. Even though more Internet users are turning to social media networks for information, the fact remains that you don’t entirely own your space here. One misstep can easily cause these social media networks to take down your account, causing you to lose all of your content and followers.

Blogging can help you kickstart your follower base by helping you get discovered. By including social media sharing buttons on each of your blog posts, your visitors can share your content with their respective social media networks.

If you have the budget, and you have a premium content offer on your blog, Justin Morgan — a.k.a., the Dental Marketing Guy –recommends promoting it as a sponsored post. That way, your content can find its way onto the feeds of those that match your ideal persona, introducing yourself and what you have to offer to them.

Blogging is also an efficient way to reach out and connect with is influencers in your niche as well as those related to yours. Blogging was how I connected with key influencers in my niche and exponentially grew my follower base.

Creating guest posts is another way of growing your followers. Getting featured on a reputable site within your niche helps you further establish your credibility and authority. At the same time, it will help you capture the attention of the more prominent influencers in your niche, and even open the door for collaboration with them.

9. Engage with your followers.

When your followers leave a question or comment on your posts, take the time to acknowledge and respond to them. That can make them feel like they’re valued and that you sincerely want to help them. It will also help you develop a relationship with them.

Of course, not all of the comments and questions will be positive. As an influencer, expect that you’ll have your fair share of negative comments and criticisms. Make it a point to keep your cool and address them professionally.

10. Evaluate your progress.

This step is crucial, especially if you’re looking to collaborate with brands for their influencer marketing campaigns, since this is one of the things that brands look for in an influencer to partner with.

Most social media channels give you insights and analytics to monitor your progress — things like demographics, reach, and engagement rate, that will show how quickly (or slowly) you’re building your audience. It will also shed light on which content formats get the highest engagement rates, so that you can create more of these.

11. Stay updated.

If you’ve been active on any social media channel, you know how often networks update their algorithms, as well as their posting terms and conditions. As an aspiring influencer, you need to keep yourself updated with these changes to avoid penalizations.

You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with FTC guidelines and policies, especially if you’re going to be collaborating with brands to promote their products and services on your social media accounts.

With influencer marketing proving itself as a highly effective marketing strategy, the FTC has become even more vigilant in monitoring brands and partner influencers that might be violating marketing guidelines.

12. Be consistent.

According to Adam Steele, founder of Loganix, if there’s one thing that surpasses quality content, it’s consistency.

That’s because your followers need to be able to count on you to deliver quality content on a consistent basis. If you don’t, they’ll eventually stop following you, or at least paying attention to you.

Scheduling your posts using a social automation tool like eClincher or HubSpot’s social publishing tools can help ensure that you stay consistent with your posts. Instead of manually publishing on each of your social media profiles, these tool allow you to create, upload, and schedule posts in batches.

Positioning yourself as a social media influencer will take some time, so you’ll need to be patient with the process, and stay consistent with it.

Most important, understand that becoming a social media influencer in your industry is not the end destination. Instead, it’s a stepping stone to more significant opportunities and responsibilities.

This content was originally published here.

17 Powerful Ways to Improve Your SEO

 

Today you’re going to learn EXACTLY how to improve your site’s SEO.

In fact, these 17 techniques helped grow my site’s organic traffic by 21.30% in 3 months:

Three months' Organic Traffic growth

The best part?

Everything here is working GREAT right now (in 2019).

Over the last few weeks I’ve got my site to rank in different Featured Snippets.

And this:

My secret?

A new strategy called “Snippet Bait”.

Here’s how it works:

First, find a keyword that you already rank for.

Why is this important?

According to Ahrefs, 99.58% of Featured Snippets come from the first page results.

So if you’re on page 2, you have pretty much zero chance of getting in a Featured Snippet.

For example, here’s a page from my site that was ranking on page 1.

Backlinko post

Next, look at the Featured Snippet at the top of the SERPs:

Featured snippet

And identify what TYPE of Featured Snippet you’re looking at:

  • Definition Snippet (“What is content marketing?”)
  • List Snippet (“Top 10 Content Marketing Tools”)
  • Table Snippet (“Content Marketing Tool Prices”)

Finally, add a snippet of content to your page that’s designed to fit inside that Featured Snippet box.

(This is the “Snippet Bait”)

For example, a while back I wanted to get in the Featured Snippet for the keyword “nofollow links”.

So I wrote a little section that would fit PERFECTLY inside of a Featured Snippet box:

And it worked! About 2 weeks later, the section I wrote was at the top of the search results.

Nice.

2. Improve Dwell Time With This Simple Step Content

Is Dwell Time a Google ranking factor?

In my opinion: YES.

After all, if someone quickly bounces from your page, it sends a clear message to Google: people hate that page.

And they’ll quickly downrank it:

Low dwell time = Lower rankings

The question is:

How do you prevent people from bouncing?

Embed videos on your page.

For example, I recently compared my bounce rate for a sample of pages with and without a video.

And pages with video had an 11.2% better bounce rate than pages without a video:

Average bounce rate

That’s why I embed videos in almost every new post that I write.

Sometimes I make the video an entire step or tip:

Or as a way for people to learn more about a specific topic:

Which leads us to…

3. Find Low-Competition Keywords With “Ghost Posts”

Here’s the truth:

Most “Keyword Competition” scores are WAY off.

That’s because most of them focus 100% on one metric: .

Are backlinks important?

Heck yeah!

But backlinks are only one piece of the puzzle. First page rankings are also based on:

  • Organic click-through-rate
  • Search Intent
  • Page speed
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Lots more

That’s why I now ignore most keyword competition scores.

Instead, I use “Ghost Posts”.

For example:

A few months back I wanted to rank for the keyword: “Free SEO Tools”.

According to Ahrefs, this keyword is “Super Hard” to rank for:

Instead of giving up, I decided to test this keyword’s difficulty with a new technique: The Ghost Post.

Specifically, I whipped up a quick post and published it on the 4th page of my blog feed.

Backlinko post

In other words: I didn’t promote the post in any way (hence the name: “Ghost Post”).

To my surprise, I cracked the first page for long tail versions of my keyword (like “best free SEO tools”) within a week or so:

SEMrush – Organic Search Results for

And I even started to pop in and out of page 1 for my target keyword.

That’s when I decided to promote the post on social media:

Backlinko Twitter post

And give the content a much-needed upgrade.

As it turns out, this “Super Hard” keyword was ridiculously easy to rank for.

In fact, I now rank #1 for that keyword:

Google rankings for

Even though my page has WAY fewer backlinks than the other first page results:

Backlinks comparison of

(Note: I’m not bashing Ahrefs’s Keyword Difficulty score. I’m just showing you another way to figure out keyword difficulty).

With that, it’s time for…

4. Use Sitelinks to Boost Your Organic CTR

Last year I decided to make Organic CTR a top priority.

But I quickly ran into a problem:

Besides optimizing your title and description for clicks, how can you push more people to click on your result?

Sitelinks.

You probably already have sitelinks underneath your result when you search for your brand in Google.

Backlinko sitelinks in Google Search

As it turns out, you can ALSO get sitelinks on all sorts of pages… from blog posts to ecommerce category pages.

And these sitelinks can make a BIG dent in your click-through-rate.

How do you get sitelinks?

A table of contents.

For example, when I published this post, I added a table of contents with “jump links” to each tip.

And once my page cracked the top 5, Google hooked me up with sitelinks.

Sitelinks in Google for

As you can see, these sitelinks REALLY help my result stand out.

In fact, sitelinks are one of the reasons my page has a 14.9% CTR.

“How to get more YouTube subscribers” CTR

Here’s the deal:

People don’t link to “great content”.

They link to sources.

For example, I published this guide to the Google Search Console last year.

Backlinko post

And I’m not afraid to say that it qualifies as “great content”.

The post is full of actionable tips:

Actionable tips from

It even has a custom design:

Google Search Console post – Custom design

Despite being a very solid piece of content, it only has 159 referring domain links:

Referring Domains for

On the other hand, check out this voice search study I published around the same time:

Backlinko post

Most people would also call this post “great content”.

But this piece of content has referring domain links:

Referring Domains for

(79% MORE backlinks than my GSC guide).

What’s going on here?

Well, my Google Search Console guide isn’t that easy for someone to link to.

Unless you’re writing about the GSC and want to send someone to a resource to “learn more”, there’s no compelling reason to link to my guide.

On the other hand, my voice search study gives bloggers and journalists data that they can EASILY reference.

Search Engine Journal mention of Backlinko

Which has led to hundreds of high-quality backlinks.

6. Target Keywords With BIG Commercial Intent

When I first got started with keyword research I’d focus 100% on search volume.

If a keyword got a bunch of searches, I’d say: “that’s good enough for me!”.

Not anymore.

Today, I put A LOT of weight on commercial intent.

(In other words: how much are Google Ads advertisers spending on those clicks?)

For example, I recently started targeting keywords like “link building services”.

Backlinko post

This keyword doesn’t get that many searches:

But with a CPC of $25.00, I know that the traffic is made up of legit buyers:

(Fun fact: I published this page as a “Ghost Post”. As it turns out, “link building services” is MUCH less competitive than most tools claim)

Google rankings for

Found an AWESOME keyword that converts well for you?

Get bonus traffic from that term with a YouTube video.

For example, this post is targeting the keyword “how to get more traffic”.

Backlinko post

Unfortunately, I’m stuck in the #4 spot.

Google rankings for

To make matters worse, I’m cramped below 3 video results.

Stuck under video results in Google SERPs

(But I’m working on it 🙂 )

In the meantime, I decided to create a video on that topic.

And because I optimized my video the right way, it takes up valuable real estate at the top of Google’s search results:

Google video results for

Want to see how I optimized that video? Check out this quick tutorial:

8. Rank for “Topic + Statistics” Keywords

This is the dirty little secret that lots of sites use to get LOTS of backlinks on autopilot.

For example, Student Loan Hero has over 21.1K links to its “US Student Loan Statistics” page:

Backlinks for Student Loan Debt Statistics page

Here’s how they did it (and why this approach works so well):

First, they identified a topic that bloggers and journalists tend to write about.

(In this case, stats about student loan debt)

Then, they created a page that curated stats from different sources.

Student Loan Debt Statistics page

Finally, they optimized that page around the keyword: “Student Loan Debt Statistics”.

Which now ranks on the first page for that term:

Google rankings for

Why does this work so well?

Think about it:

Who searches for “Topic + Statistics” keywords?

Journalists!

Specifically, journalists looking for stats to include in their articles.

And when you rank for that term, you’re going to get linked to like there’s no tomorrow.

Very cool.

9. Optimize Old Content For User Intent

I’ve talked about matching your content to search intent before.

User Intent section from Skyscraper Technique post

But the bottom line is this:

If your site isn’t what searchers want, Google won’t rank it.

(No matter how many links you have)

For example, I first published this post in 2015:

Old Backlinko post

As you can probably guess, my target keyword for that page was “SEO Campaign”.

And I quickly carved out a spot on the middle of the first page of Google for that term.

But one day my rankings and organic traffic started to drop.

Google Analytics – Shot of Backlinko traffic drop

This wasn’t a super high-priority keyword. So I just kind of ignored the problem and hoped it would go away.

It didn’t.

That’s when I realized that my content was a HORRIBLE fit for user intent.

Specifically, my post didn’t outline an SEO campaign. Instead, I talked about a single strategy (“Guestographics”):

Snippet about Guestographics from SEO Campaign post

So I went back to the drawing board. And I rewrote the post from scratch.

This time, I made sure to publish something that someone searching for “SEO campaign” would love.

Sure enough, the new version of the post now ranks #1 for that term:

Google rankings for

10. Content Partnerships

I’m a BIG fan of Content Partnerships.

Why?

Because it makes your content promotion twice as powerful.

Think about it:

When you publish something on your site, you send as many people as you can to your post.

Single-author content has limited reach

But you’re only one person (or company). So your reach is pretty limited.

But when you partner with someone else, BOTH of you send people to your new content:

Content partnerships increase your content's reach

Which doubles the amount of eyeballs, links and social media shares that you get.

For example, earlier this year I partnered with BuzzSumo to create this content marketing study.

Backlinko post

And because we both promoted it to our audiences, it got A TON of traffic:

Google Analytics – Traffic for Content Study post

11. Repurpose Content Into Different Formats

Last year I realized that I was making a HUGE mistake.

The mistake?

Every time I sat down to write a new blog post, email newsletter or video script… I was starting from scratch.

Which meant it would sometimes take me to finish a single blog post.

That’s when I realized something…

I already had TONS of content on my YouTube channel. Content that people loved.

So I decided to base my next blog post on a popular video from my channel: a video about getting more YouTube subscribers.

It took some time to turn my video into a blog post.

Conversion of

But it was 10x faster than starting with a blank Google Doc.

The best part?

My post did GREAT.

That post brings in 15,701 search engine visitors per month.

Search engine traffic for

And it currently ranks in the top 3 for my target keyword:

Google rankings for

Pretty cool.

12. Double Down On Broken Link Building

I already published a guide to Broken Link Building.

So I’m not going to go over the process again here.

Instead, I’m going to show how I used Broken Link Building to get this sweet backlink:

Time Doctor – Backlink

First, I looked for a piece of content on my site that I KNEW people would want to link to. And I chose this CRO guide:

CRO Guide

Next, I found a site that wrote about content marketing. And popped their homepage URL into Ahrefs.

Time Doctor in Ahrefs

And clicked on “Outgoing Links” → “Broken links”:

Ahrefs – Outgoing links – Broken links menu

Which showed me all of that site’s broken external links:

Broken links for Time Doctor in Ahrefs

Once I found a broken link that was similar to my guide, I reached out to the person that runs their blog. I let them know about their broken link and offered my content as a replacement:

Brian's outreach email to Time Doctor

And because I added value with my outreach, they happily linked to me:

TimeDoctor's reply to outreach email

That’s all there is to it.

13. Find Backlink Opportunities With “Link Intersect”

It’s no secret that reverse engineering is a GREAT link building strategy.

But it’s not perfect.

After all, let’s say you find a site that just linked to your competitor.

You have no idea if that site linked to them because they have an existing relationship, they just sent an awesome outreach email… or a million other reasons.

But when you look at who links to MULTIPLE competitors, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.

(After all, what are the odds that the site has a relationship with three different sites that it links to?).

That’s where Link Intersect comes into play.

To use it, fire up good ol’ Ahrefs and enter three domains into their Link Intersect tool:

Ahrefs – Link intersect homescreen for Moz, Ahrefs and SiegeMedia

And make sure to put your site in the “But doesn’t link to” field:

Ahrefs – Link intersect

And voila!

You’ll see everyone that links to these 3 sites… but doesn’t link to you.

Ahrefs – Link intersection results screen

And if your site publishes better content than your competitors, there’s a really good chance these peeps will link to you too.

14. Target Brand New Keywords

Want to find popular, low-competition keywords?

Of course you do 🙂

Question is:

How?!

Target NEW keywords.

I’ll explain…

Most keywords are competitive for the simple reason that there are LOTS of sites trying to rank for them.

But when you target new terms, you’re competing with fewer people.

Which means you can often rocket your way to the top of the search results.

For example, last summer I created a guide optimized around the growing term “Voice Search”:

Backlinko post

Because the term “Voice Search” was relatively new (especially compared to old school keywords in my niche like “link building”), my guide cracked the bottom of the first page within a week.

And it currently ranks #2 in Google for that term:

Google rankings for

15. Use Concept Visuals

This is a way to get high-quality backlinks WITHOUT having to grind with outreach.

In fact, I’ve used this approach to get links like this:

Image backlink from Monitor Backlinks blog post

And this:

Image backlink from Convince and Convert post

All without sending a single outreach email.

With that, here are the steps:

First, create an AWESOME visual that helps people understand a tricky concept or idea.

This can be a graph, chart, visualization or table.

Here’s an example:

Next, feature that visual in your content.

And if the right person sees your visual, they’ll use it on their site:

Rinse and repeat for every post that you publish.

Pro Tip: Focus on creating visuals for NEW topics. That way, you’ll be one of the few sites with a high-quality visual of that topic.

16. Hack Industry Glossaries for Keyword Ideas

Need some outside-the-box keyword ideas?

Check out industry glossaries.

For example, this nutrition glossary covers 100+ different terms:

NutritionData – Glossary section

You can either straight up copy these keywords into a spreadsheet.

Or use them as seed keywords and pop them into a keyword research tool.

Either way, glossaries are an AWESOME way to find new keyword ideas.

Pro Tip: Pop the glossary URL into the Google Keyword Planner for a mega list of keyword ideas:

Mega list of keyword ideas from Keyword Planner

17. Get Backlinks From Content Curators

Most people struggle with outreach because they send garbage like this:

Bad outreach email

There’s a lot wrong with this outreach email.

But the biggest issue is that I don’t have a place on my site where a link to their content makes sense.

So I hit “Delete”.

That person would have had a lot more luck reaching out to a Content Curator.

Content Curators are just like they sound: people that curate their industry’s best stuff.

For example, you might have seen the SEO Marketing Hub that I created a few months back:

Backlinko – SEO Marketing Hub

Well, because I got my content in front of Content Curators, I was able to get a handful of links to my site like this:

SEO Marketing Hub - Backlink from AuthorityAlchemy's link roundup

No arm twisting required.

Bonus #1: Find Question Keywords With Question DB

QuestionDB is like Answer the Public.

QuestionDB – Homepage

But in my opinion it’s actually a little bit better.

Why?

First of all, it’s MUCH easier to use.

Unlike Answer the Public, with crazy charts and images of some bearded dude, the questions are laid out in a simple table.

QuestionDB – Report for

And because QuestionDB focuses on questions that people ask on Reddit, you can find keyword and topic ideas that most other tools won’t show you.

QuestionDB – Report for

Bonus #2: Rank For Brand Name Terms

Low competition.

High volume.

Great CPC.

I’m talking about brand name terms.

For example, look at these two keywords:

Branded .vs. Unbranded search volumes

That’s right: Mailchimp gets searched for 280x more than “email marketing software”.

And it’s the same story with most categories:

The brand gets WAY more searches than the topic or category.

(The one big downside of targeting brand names is that you’ll never rank #1. But it can still be totally worth it)

That’s why I’ve started to publish content designed to rank for brand names.

For example, I have this BuzzStream review post on my site.

Backlinko post BuzzStream Outreach

Not only does my page rank for “BuzzStream Review”:

Google rankings for

But it also ranks high up on the first page for the popular brand keyword “BuzzStream”.

Google rankings for

Now It’s Your Turn…

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which of the 17 SEO strategies from today’s post are you going to try first?

Are you going to target brand keywords?

Or maybe you want to try Snippet Bait.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

The post 17 Powerful Ways to Improve Your SEO (In 2019) appeared first on Backlinko.

This content was originally published here.

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Before the end of this article, you will come to know what makes digital marketing important. Digital Marketing is a marketing concept that has gained wide-fire popularity and built an insane level of following over the last few years alone. Described by people in different ways such as internet marketing, online marketing, and electronic marketing, droves of businesses and consumers alike are increasingly exploring ways of harnessing the power of digital marketing to drive their agenda.

Owing to the growth of its usage across different personal, social, and business spheres in recent years, there are perhaps as many real and proven information on digital marketing as there are misguiding and unfounded ones.

So the big question really is— what exactly is digital marketing?

Lending some help from Wikipedia, digital marketing is:-

an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.

Perhaps Wikipedia’s definition of digital marketing might be too technical for some people to digest or remember — I prefer things being simplified and easy-to-read.

So here’s a simplified definition of the same concept…

Digital marketing is basically any form of online activity you perform to:

  • Get people’s attention
  • Build the interest of online users and convince them to take a specific action – buy a product/service, join an email list, share content, etc.

But it’s incomplete to explain digital marketing without considering how it came on the heels of traditional marketing.

Before the advent of technological advancements— such as the internet— that gave rise to digital marketing, traditional marketing was widely adopted by marketers and a lot of attention was given to creating awareness about products and services through:

  • Running TV or radio commercials
  • Advertising in local and national newspapers and magazines.
  • Setting up ads on billboards and churning out leaflets and flyers.

And although traditional marketing isn’t exactly extinct in today’s world, most marketers agree that digital marketing is inexpensive, more measurable, easy to test and pivot, and overall, offers more marketing ROI than traditional marketing.

In summary, while traditional marketing uses a “push” approach to get a message out, effective digital marketing adopts the “pull” approach to attract people and convert them to customers.

Who should use digital marketing?

The application of digital marketing is useful to both individuals and businesses— typically anyone who wishes to reach an online audience and influence them to take some kind of action. More than ever before, small and large businesses are adopting digital marketing tactics to connect with their target customers and influence their buying decision. That’s basically the summary of what every business seeks to achieve with digital marketing.
Now let’s consider how digital marketing works for B2B and B2C businesses

Business-to-Business (B2B) Digital Marketing

Business-to-Business (or B2B) marketing involves creating business relationships with other businesses that lead to sales. The central digital strategy for most B2B companies may involve attracting qualified online leads (small to large-sized businesses) to your website through online ads on Google and other relevant industry websites.
In general, effective B2B marketing is more than driving qualified leads to your website and closing them. Rather it involves a carefully thought-out process of building reputation, trust, and credibility with your customers during the entire process of marketing to them—and even after they become paying customer.

Business-to-Customer (B2C) Digital Marketing

Business-to-Customer (or B2C) marketing involves building a marketing campaign and a product or service offering around the personal needs of end consumers. Traditionally, B2C businesses refer to businesses like restaurants and shopping malls. However, with the global prevalence of the internet which led to the rise of e-commerce, B2C businesses sell products and services on websites, social platforms, and retail marketplaces.

Unlike B2B marketing where the value and benefits of the product come to the fore during marketing, B2C marketing considers the emotional needs and preferences of the buyer and wraps its marketing message around the core needs of the buyer.

So can we say digital marketing is worth a try or is it merely another hype used by sleazy marketers to make businesses shell more money?

What Makes Digital Marketing Important?

digital marketingLet’s face it— these days almost everything is pointing away from analog to digital. More consumers and businesses are coming online and there are more mobile devices, laptops, and desktop computers connected to the internet today than we could have ever imagined 5 or 10 years ago.

Interestingly, these digital trends don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon and for obvious reasons, businesses that are the tail’s end of these sweeping digital trends run the risk of losing customers and being swept out of business completely.

So what makes digital marketing important? There are indeed several reasons, the least of which is not that marketing experts across the globe seem to agree that believe that digital marketing is the future of B2B and B2C marketing— making the future of traditional marketing uncertain.

But even looking beyond experts’ predictions, we also see that digital forms of marketing and communication are both faster and more far-reaching— which is good news for marketers looking to maximize the ROI of their marketing spend as well as consumers looking to consume information conveniently and connect with the rest of the world at the push of a button.

Before we look at some of the other benefits digital marketing offers businesses, let’s consider some of the biggest categories of digital marketing at present:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Email marketing

Let’s look closely into each of these categories

Search engine optimization (SEO)

If you’ve been in the online space for a while now, chances are you’ve heard of SEO. Now, if you have a personal or business blog/website, I can easily guess that you’ve read or even tried implementing some SEO on your site yourself.

Despite being a popular and proven online marketing concept, however, some people still view and treat SEO as a mere fancy marketing jargon or tech oddity.

Are any of these views correct? Not even remotely.

In a previous post, I explained SEO (On-page and off-page)  in details. However, for this post, let me simply define the concept as I would to a 5th-grader.

So without ambiguity,

SEO is simply the process you follow to optimize any online content you create so that search engines like Google are inclined to give it a favorable placement on their platform whenever a random user searches for keywords related to your online content.

There are perhaps a million and one benefits to implementing SEO for your website— but my personal favorite is that, if executed correctly, SEO could give any business with a low marketing budget a good fighting chance of competing for online relevance with big spenders. That’s because a good share of search engines’ SEO algorithms dwell in the realm of non-paid (or organic) user activity.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Previously we highlighted SEO, now SEM— which is in the same family with SEO. SEM — refers to the process of paying search engines or third-party traffic sources to increase the online relevance of your blog/website. In case you’re confused by the two similar concepts, here’s a snapshot to simplify things:

SEO: Gaining online traffic through non-paid or free listings.
SEM: Gaining online traffic through paid search listings

Content Marketing

Content marketing has existed long before the internet came on board, yet when the average person hears of “content marketing”, their mind straight away thinks of blogs, social media, and YouTube.

Certainly, content marketing is all of these— and much more. But it’s important to establish that, behind every successful content marketing is storytelling.

The fact is, humans, love stories and brands that weave remarkable stories around their message usually capture the hearts (and wallets) of their customers.

So here’s a way to correctly interpret content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute:

a Long term marketing approach that centers on creating and disseminating useful, relevant and constant content in other to engage and retain a clearly defined target audience — and, essentially, to drive valuable customer action.

It’s hard to add or take away from that definition. But to further simplify things, content marketing takes the approach of using various forms of high-value content to build a strong and ongoing relationship with a target audience.

After reading all these, you may ask—what’s my personal advice on content marketing?

Simple!

Whatever you do in the planning of your digital marketing campaign, never leave content marketing out of the mix. It has been and will always a winning digital marketing strategy.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media is the eighth wonder of the world. Never before has there been a time in human history when over a billion people could have social interactions with themselves on one platform. We all know the potential of social networks is immensely powerful. Marketers, perhaps, know that best.

Social media marketing is basically any form of marketing done on social networks where anyone – whether individuals or corporate brands— can promote a product or service. All you have to do to see SMM in action is to go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and in less than 5 seconds, you may either come to a sidebar sponsored ad or a promotional content on your newsfeed.

Whilst the previous SMM approaches mentioned are direct, there are other indirect but equally effective methods of marketing on social networks, such as recommendation marketing, whereby people in your contact list or network, casually recommend a product or service they’ve previously used and got good results from.

Since we are most likely to buy from people that we know and trust, brands take advantage of strategies like these to further increase their marketing success on social platforms.

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)

In the space of online advertising, PPC is “household name”. Pay-Per-Click advertising is a digital marketing model where advertisers pay a PPC engine a certain fee whenever a targeted user clicks on the published ad.

At the basic level, advertisers use PPC to drive traffic to their blog or website— although PPC has wider and more advanced applications. This category of digital marketing links back to Search Engine Marketing (SEM). So, generally, we can say PPC is one of the several applications of SEM. The other applications will be discussed in a future post.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is yet another digital marketing strategy that advertisers use to influence product sales. Also referred to as performance-based marketing, the basic concept of affiliate marketing involves rewarding marketers (called affiliates) for each visitor or each customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing activity.

In traditional affiliate marketing, there are usually four key participants:

  • The Brand—otherwise known as the merchant or retailer
  • The Network— the platform that coordinates the selection of marketing offers as well as payments to affiliates.
  • The Affiliate— also referred to as the publisher, the affiliate manages to create online marketing campaigns for a brand’s product or service offering and receives a reward only when a customer takes an action a pre-determined by the brand.

Email marketing

Lastly, we consider email marketing. Similar to social networks, the email platform provides an opportunity for the marketing of products and services to be done. For most people, on any given day, we are faced with a barrage of automated emails bearing suspicious names and subject lines— which we bunch and delete altogether.

But occasionally, we receive emails that catch our eyes and instantly pique our interest, which makes us read them. And not only do we read them, we even share them with people on our contact list.

That’s the power of exceptional email marketing.

Therefore effective email marketing transcends “tricky” copy and colorful graphics—and instead focuses on delivering a personalized message that the reader will find helpful, based on their existing pain points or needs.

Having discussed all 7 categories of digital marketing, it’s important to note that there are many more forms of digital marketing such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).

But coming back to the benefits that digital marketing offers businesses, marketing campaigns are markedly more affordable yet more penetrating via digital marketing tactics compared to traditional marketing.

It’s Cost Efficient with a positive ROI

Without a doubt, a business can execute a digital marketing campaign that reaches a wide audience with as little as $5— which any business can spend in targeting qualified audience groups on Facebook ads, Twitter or Instagram ads— whereas you need thousands of dollars for traditional offline marketing.

Traditional marketing vs digital marketing

On one hand, running $5 ads on social networks will help you establish the market viability of your product or service while boosting your brand presence in the process. The ROI of $5 could amount to thousands of dollars with the right strategy in place. While on the other hand, as with traditional offline marketing, you risk spending thousands of dollars to eventually discover that your target audience may not need your product/service.

Pushing matters even further, let’s admit it—it’s both difficult and limited to monitor and track traditional offline marketing. However, most digital marketing tactics allow you to know how much you are getting in return for every dollar you spend.

This way you are not second-guessing whether your marketing campaign is making you money or not. What else could be better than monitoring and optimizing the performance of your marketing efforts in real-time?

Take away

The bottom line is clear— we are in the age of digital. Therefore, businesses that will rise in relevance and market shares — and not merely survive — would be those who adapt fastest to the ever-changing marketing climate of digital. That being said, a digital marketing plan would not be successful without a clean, functional and responsive website design.

If you manage a small business or the company you work for is looking at working with a reputable digital marketing agency in Toronto, to implement a single (or a combination) of the digital marketing strategies discussed in this post— contact us immediately, or fill out the form below. You could also book an appointment if you wish.

The post What Makes Digital Marketing Important? appeared first on Toronto SEO Company.

This content was originally published here.

We may be a bit biased when it comes to talking up the benefits of social media, but fortunately, you don’t just have to take our word for it.

Food for thought: 59% of marketers are actively using social to support their lead generation and business goals. Meanwhile, it’s hard to find a brand that isn’t active on social media in some way, shape or form.

However, there are still plenty of critics who don’t see the benefits of social media from a business perspective.

To the general public, social media often gets a bad rap for being a time-sink. More importantly, measuring your ROI from social media can be difficult versus more straightforward marketing channels (think: PPC, email marketing, etc).

So you may be asking yourself “What are the benefits of social media?”

Well, we have an answer. Actually, we have nine of ’em.

The 9 most overlooked benefits of social media

Social media deserves your attention now more than ever.

Although it may not immediately result in a flood of cash or that “viral” moment you are hoping for, there’s so much that social can do for your brand both short and long term.

Here’s our breakdown of the social media benefits that often fly under the radar for modern businesses.

1. The ability to uncover industry trends in real-time

Simply put, social media is a potential goldmine of business intelligence.

How so? For starters, think about the transparent nature of social media. We’re able to see unfiltered, real-time conversations between consumers and brands alike.

If you want to know what a brand is doing well or likewise what customers are complaining about, it’s all out there in the open.

And of course, your target audience’s social activity and shared content can clue you in on industry trends. For example, Instagram hashtags such as #summerootd or #festivalfashion can highlight everything from relevant influencers to fashion trends that are currently all-the-rage.

And if you want to tap into those trends via social conversations, look no further than social listening to do the trick. For example, features such as trend reporting in Sprout Social help hone in on what customers discuss when they talk about your brand. This includes key terms and hashtags associated with your business.

However, these mentions represent more than just chatter.

For example, social conversions can clue you in on everything from which products your customers love to areas where your company might be falling short. A flurry of praise or customer complaints can spur you to take action based on follower feedback. In turn, brands can come up with real-time solutions and products that their customers will buzz about.

Perhaps one of the biggest social media marketing benefits is the ability to spy on your competition.

What are they currently promoting? What sort of ads are they running? How is your content strategy different from theirs?

These answers don’t have to be question marks. By conducting social competitive analysis, you can uncover opportunities to step into a new lane in terms of content or advertising.

For example, maybe you realize that your competitors are crushing it with Facebook ads but their Instagram presence is totally lacking. In turn, you might explore influencer marketing or user-generated content campaigns for the sake of standing out from the crowd.

Looking at your competitors’ social performance is a cinch with tools like Sprout. Our competitor and sentiment analysis reports allow you to look head-to-head to monitor growth and engagement to ensure that you aren’t falling behind.

Through this analysis, you can also discover which pieces of your own content are scoring the most engagement. Understanding your top-performing content is likewise key to understanding how to break through the noise in your industry.

3. Provide better customer service

According to the 2018 Sprout Social Index, nearly half of all consumers have already taken to social media to ask questions and raise concerns.

Unlike awkward phone calls or lengthy emails, social customer service is quick and to-the-point. Providing social customer service means having meaningful, back-and-forth conversations with your customers that are oftentimes forward-facing.

In other words, prospects, customers and competitors alike can see how you interact with your buyers. Putting positive interactions front-and-center is a huge plus for any business.

Whether it’s listening to feedback or addressing specific concerns, an ongoing advantage of social media is that it’s the perfect place to provide speedy service and let customers know that you’re there to lend a helping hand.

And of course, social media also represents a prime channel to gather customer feedback. Responding to questions and concerns signals that you’re invested in serving your audience.

Want to know if you’re providing stellar customer service? Sprout can help with that. Sprout’s suite of social listening tools includes sentiment which tracks your brand health, ensuring that your social mentions remain on the positive side. An influx of complaints or questions could signal big-picture problems with your customer success strategy.

4. Curate customer content and stories in a snap

Customer photos and success stories go hand in hand with higher engagement and conversion rates.

And there’s no better place to gather both than social media.

For example, monitoring your mentions and tags can help you uncover positive customer interactions that you can share with the rest of your followers. Many major brands and retailers regularly curate customer photos to use throughout their marketing campaigns.

This is exactly why having a branded hashtag is so important. By encouraging your customers to tag their content, you can uncover shareable posts that your followers will love while also making a connection with your customers.

So many brands have their social presence centered around customer experiences and it’s no surprise why. Social proof in the form of customer content not only shows that you have satisfied customers but also provides your brand with a much-needed sense of authenticity.

5. Positioning power over your competition

This might seem like a no-brainer but it’s worth mentioning.

Simply having an active presence on a social channel represents positioning power for your business.

Think about it. Let’s say your closest competitor has an Instagram account that’s booming with customer photos, Stories and sleek snapshots showing off their product.

On the flip side, you have an Instagram profile that’s gathering cobwebs.

Not a good look, right? Consistently publishing on channels relevant to your business signals that you’re active and open to new customers.

Oh, and don’t forget the literal positioning power of social media in search engines when someone looks up your brand. Your Facebook or Instagram could very well be your business’ first impression on a customer versus your website. This again speaks to the importance of maintaining an active presence.

6. Build backlinks and a better search engine presence

The SEO impact of social media has been hotly debated for years.

That said, the relatively recent concept of linkless backlinks signals that there is a correlation between social media and search performance.

In short, shares and click-throughs via social represent positive search signals to Google. If nothing else, social can represent a sizable traffic source (granted you’re tracking your social traffic via Google Analytics).

Don’t neglect social media as a content distribution channel. A popular piece of content that scores hundreds of likes and shares can drive serious referral traffic to your site, especially when you optimize your social scheduling with something like Sprout’s patented ViralPost technology that ensures you’re utilizing optimal send times.

7. Appeal to younger, social-savvy customers

To say that social media has transformed the traditional advertising landscape would be the ultimate understatement.

Thinking of social media as a sort of hip, “young” advertising channel might seem a bit cliche, especially since it’s capable of reaching customers of all ages.

That said, research reinforces that Gen Z is shaking up marketing by responding less and less to traditional advertising. Given that younger customers are growing up alongside social media, brands will need to adapt beyond in-your-face commercials and ads.

And right now Instagram is the place to be to reach those younger customers. According to recent social media demographics, the vast majority of users on Instagram are under the age of 30.

As younger consumers hop from platform to platform, brands should likewise expect to experiment with new ad channels. The popularity of user-generated content, Stories and influencers highlights the sort of authentic, experience-focused advertising that continues to appeal to the younger crowd.

8. Humanize your brand

Businesses today rightfully want to show off their human side.

And so many brands have benefited from dropping the “suit and tie” vibe in lieu of getting personal with customers on social media.

MoonPie is one of the most popular examples, adopting a snarky, meme-heavy social presence that feels like it’s run by a teenager. Although this sort of approach to social isn’t for every brand, it’s definitely not what most customers would expect and therefore drives engagement.

Some brands manage to humanize themselves through philanthropy and activism. In a day and age where half of consumers want to see brands take a stand on social and political issues, brands like Ben & Jerry’s do a brilliant job of highlighting their human side.

Simply showing off your colleagues and coworkers is an easy way to put a face to your brand, much like Sprout does with our #TeamSprout series.

Lastly, one of the key benefits from social media marketing is more leads, plain and simple.

Given that there are billions of people already active on social media, there’s a non-zero chance that your audience is already there. Whether through paid ads or content promotion, you can reel in more top-of-the-funnel leads by raising awareness for your brand.

In fact, 77% of Pinterest users discover new brands and make purchases based on what they see on the platform. Having a social presence which introduces people to what you’re selling represents yet another way to score more sales. Even if these leads don’t make purchases directly through social, raising awareness could lead them on the path to becoming full-fledged buyers down the line.

And with that, we wrap up our list!

What are the biggest benefits of social media for your business?

A social media presence has become an expectation for brands rather than an exception to the rule.

And we totally agree that businesses shouldn’t latch onto social media “just because.”

Instead, businesses should assess the potential benefits of social media themselves based on specific, actionable goals. Although the impact of the benefits above varies from brand to brand, there’s no denying the business implications of having a social presence.

Of course, we still want to hear from you! What do you see as the benefits of social media for business? Let us know in the comments below!

This post The 9 most overlooked benefits of social media originally appeared on Sprout Social.

This content was originally published here.

Instagram is becoming a major social media marketing player, and major brands are noticing and starting to engage using the Instagram platform.  Now is the time for you to start exposing, engaging and acquiring new leads and customers using the social media power of Instagram.

If you’re posting regularly to an Instagram account with beautiful images and you still aren’t seeing growth, then you may indeed be very frustrated. Thought will start to creep in that perhaps Instagram just isn’t right for you or your online business strategies…

Or, maybe you are thinking that perhaps you’re doing something wrong with trying to grow your business through Instagram.

Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that organic growth on Instagram takes time. With that said though, here are five tips that can make a big difference and ensure you grow that bit more quickly.

To help you get started the right way – here are 5 tips to organically grow your Instagram account towards helping market your business, services, and products:

  • Optimize Your Account

    All of the largest and most compelling Instagram Accounts all have the following optimizations in place: a biography that is super compelling; a profile picture that captivates the viewers, and they have a relevant website linked to the account.  This is one of the first things your audience sees and remembers about your Instagram account.

  • Use Portrait Orientation

    Taking photos with a portrait orientation is generally considered the best practice in Instagram marketing. If not, then you should at least choose square images. This way, your image will stay on the page longer while the users are vertically scrolling, meaning more engagement and hopefully more likes.

  • Post At The Right Time

    Posting at the right time of day has been shown to be hugely important when it comes to your Instagram success. This way, you maximize the number of people who are awake and who are using the app. Research suggests that posting some time between 10am and 3pm on a weekday will net you the best results. BUT this doesn’t account for global time differences. If you’re aiming for a global audience, then posting at 6pm GMT might just be the smarter strategy.

  • Post Frequently

    How frequently? in the best case scenario, you should be posting 2-3 times per day. This will ensure that there is a steady flow of content on your site and that it doesn’t seem as though the page has been abandoned. What’s more though, is that posting this regularly will mean almost all of your viewers will see at least one image from you per day.

  • Use Hashtags

    Hashtags make a big difference on Instagram, so make sure you use them often and use them well. One of the most important tips is to use as many as possible (30) in order to maximize your chances of a big hit. Find the sweet spot in terms of popularity too – 30,000 is a good number of posts to see.  Find the most popular hashtags in your respective industry from industry influencers.

  • Personalize Your Account's Look and Feel

    Many accounts are all over the place, with every image they post looking completely different and the end result being a page that has no consistency. Making sure the majority of your images have a consistent look – even picking the same filter for every photo – can prevent this issue and help people to better understand what you’re about and whether they should follow.

  • Get Shoutouts From Relevant Industry Leaders

    Research and contact industry leaders and see if they will post a relevant shoutout for you – and what, if any cost it will be.  Make sure you track all of your contacts and results to be consistent and not viewed as a pest for the contacts that decline.

Therefore, just following the above tips will help you get started on the right path to your success using Instagram for your marketing needs. Take the time now to review again the above quick start tips we outlined and start engaging your base using the amazing and viral power of Instagram.

To celebrate International Small Business Day, Google today launched a new website that will suggest its products that seem like the best fit for a specific business.

The Google for Small Business portal was announced today at the Grow with Google Learning Center in New York City, where the company offers a variety of workshops and classes. During a break in the event, Kim Spalding, Google’s global product director for small business ads, told me that the website “gives everyone a place to start with Google products.”

After all, she said, “small business owners struggle with time” and particularly don’t have time to become experts on digital marketing.

So on the new site, they can enter their company name and website (assuming they have one), then answer a few questions about their business and their goals. Google will then create a customized, prioritized list of actions, which may involve launching ad campaigns, or building up their online presence, or installing Google Analytics.

Spalding suggested that this could be particularly useful for small businesses that are “just getting started,” as well as more established business that are starting to develop a digital strategy.

While Google for Small Business can recommend a wide range of products, Spalding pointed to two “hero tools” that are part of the lineup — Google my Business, which allows business owners to create their own profiles and websites, and is “a complete free product from start to finish,” as well as Smart Campaigns, which Google launched last year to automate the ad-buying process for small businesses.

This content was originally published here.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a model of internet marketing that is used to drive traffic to websites. Advertisers set their own preferences and can choose their target audience according to their needs.

Parameters for PPC advertising may include selecting a particular location to focus your marketing on, the type of device used to access search engines, and the cohort with the largest number of customers likely to convert to a sale. Remarketing or ‘retargeting’ with Google Ads is a strategic form of advertising that allows you to target previous visitors to your site. With this type of marketing, the cost per click is significantly reduced, and returning visitors to your site are twice as likely to convert.

Previous visitors to your site are already familiar with your brand and have a prior interest in the services or products you offer, as such they are the perfect ‘target’. High-quality traffic, such as previous website visitors, is much more likely to generate a better ROI than a non-targeted audience. Remarketing with AdWords is a powerful marketing technique that allows you to target and reconnect with your previous visitors long after they have left your website.

Your ads will be displayed on other websites and act as a ‘constant’ reminder’ of the services and/or products you offer to your previous visitors. After leaving your website, a cookie is stored on the user’s computer and acts as a ‘flag’. The ‘flag’ alerts Google that this person has accessed your website in the past. Your ads will be displayed when the viewer visits another website that has Google ads enabled, but this only occurs if you have also enabled remarketing in your AdWords campaign. If your competitors have Google ads enabled, then your ads will appear on their site.

What is actually needed to start AdWords Remarketing?

You can enable remarketing in AdWords in a few simple steps. Google walks you through the process of setting up a remarketing campaign and AdWords will create your remarketing tag and visitors list to get you started. Creating a remarketing campaign for the Google search network is a slightly different process, but Google offers advice and an easy to follow guide for businesses who want to focus on search ads.

Google Ads offers remarketing options, such as:

  • Standard remarketing.
  • Dynamic remarketing.
  • Remarketing lists for search ads.
  • Video remarketing.
  • Email list remarketing.

You can also select your target audience and optimize your remarketing campaign for maximum ROI.

What are the Expected Adwords Remarketing Expenses?

Remarketing with AdWords is one of the most cost-effective ways to conduct an advertising campaign. Costs will vary according to your marketing strategy. However, remarketing is much less expensive than standard PPC advertising campaigns. PPC is a great marketing method, but every industry has its competition and ‘click fraud’ is a type of fraud that occurs with PPC advertising. Click fraud occurs when advertisers deliberately and repeatedly click on an advertisement with the intention to drain revenue from their competitors. Click fraud is a method also used to increase the revenue of the host website with ad publishers clicking on their own sites to generate revenue. It pays to protect your PPC investment from shady players by checking out Googles anti-click fraud program designed to catch and analyze fraudulent clicks.

Remarketing with AdWords is a powerful marketing strategy. By tailoring your ad, targeting your audience, choosing the location and device, and by protecting your PPC budget, you can pretty much guarantee a high ROI.

Get started with a small budget campaign and as you start to see the results from optimizing the campaign settings, you can increase the budget and reap the rewards. Alternatively, you can seek the assistance of a reputable Online Marketing Agency to set up and manage your campaign.

 


This content was originally published here.

The small business world can be a grind working in and on the business to reach goals and milestones and grow.

Owners and employees wear a lot of hats and often excel at filling a lot of roles.

The day-to-day requirements of sales, operations, payroll, invoicing, service, and fulfillment take a ton of time and energy.

Something that gets squeezed out is marketing.

The marketing mix for a small business often covers the essentials and things that are closest to the bottom line.

These are often identified as the website and campaigns that impact lead or sales generation closest to the last click or to the conversion. Those include things like email marketing, SEO, and paid search.

Often, social media is left out of that mix or only done in a way that meets a bare minimum to show the business is real.

Social media doesn’t have to be a massive commitment or time investment. It also doesn’t have to be a big mystery as to how it could impact the business and fit into the marketing mix.

By working smarter and not harder, you can use eight tips to put together a social media strategy that makes sense for the resources you have and ultimately can engage your audience and positively impact your business.

1. Identify Personas

There are a lot of resources that speak to the process of persona development and how it can help in the content marketing and overall marketing strategy for your business.

If you haven’t defined who the target audience is for your products, services, or offering, then you should start here.

You don’t have to go through a massive branding or research project to get to the info you need.

If you don’t know where to start, I suggest jumping into your current Google Analytics account and activating the interests section and seeing which affinity groups are noted.

If you don’t have the luxury of current data, you can dig into the Google Ads display planner and Facebook ad planning tools to explore the options for interests, demographics, and behavior and see how the categories and targeting fit with your understanding of your clients or customers.

Using any working or refined models of specific personas, you can save time and fine tune your messaging and targeting in the social media networks to cast the right-sized net and get specific enough with your content.

2. Know the Customer Journey

We all typically know the most about what step or two is the best at driving engagement, sales, or leads. That may be a specific marketing channel, a campaign, or even a category of content.

The problem is that most companies don’t have a 1-touch customer journey that results in a sale on their first visit.

The customer journey can be a little difficult to get a complete picture of, but there are ways to look at what content is resonating with your audience before they convert and you can talk with them to see what they find valuable in making their decision.

There are reporting platforms that can tie it all together, but at the very least, you should get some visibility into the steps in the funnel that customers go through ultimately as they research before buying.

3. Track Everything

If you’re finding challenges with the first two tips, it is likely because you don’t have as much data or information as you’d like. I’m glad you’re still reading and made it this far.

Tracking and measuring are critical for digital marketing.

Without capturing data, you’re left with using industry trends or just giving it your best guess based on what you know about your industry and the things that work in the offline world.

Make sure that all pages on your site are tracked in Google Analytics.

Ensure that all content you are deploying in email, social, and other sources uses UTM tracking parameters so it can be properly categorized in Google Analytics.

Find ways to utilize promo codes and other source codes to merge offline and online data.

The more you can track and measure, the more informed you can be as you evaluate the worth of your time and dollars in your content investment and specifically when you deploy it through social.

4. Use Agile Methods

Ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, and long-form content may be the perfect thing to use to engage and resonate with your audience.

However, these are all big investments to make in the content creation stage before even deploying.

A great way to test out social and figure out the right types of content, frequency of posting, targeting options (for sponsored and ad content), timing, etc., is to perform more frequent, smaller tests.

Agile marketing has become a valuable strategy in recent years. It features an agile mindset similar to what you’d expect in software development and other disciplines.

As a small business, you probably don’t have the time or budget for a statistically significant sample size anyway, so go all in with a wide range of content and options and see what works before you invest a ton into a single piece of content or single strategy by which you plan on judging the viability of social as a channel.

5. Repurpose Content

Where possible, you could and should look for opportunities to leverage existing content and sources.

If you created a great blog post as part of your SEO strategy, test it on social?

If you’re creating content for your email audience, repurpose some of it on social.

By using content in more than one place, you can get a better return on investment for individual pieces of content, plus get more data and see how it performs across various channels.

Also, just because something is evergreen or a tip is not new, that doesn’t mean it isn’t to your audience.

As long as the information is still accurate and relevant, there’s no harm in sharing something that has been on your site for a couple of years.

Your hidden gems of quality content might be a little too hidden or limited to just your search or other audiences. Using content you know works and resonates is a solid strategy for testing on social as well.

6. Learn From Your Competition

When asked how often a company should be posting on social media and what types of content, I can never right away answer the question directly for them.

The answer is always “it depends.” I don’t have a special best practice number of times to post per week or month. It is all relative to the industry and audience.

Competitors are a great place to look for cues and help. Don’t assume that any or all of your competitors are doing it right.

Do know that you can look externally at their social profiles and see:

Whether capturing all of this in a spreadsheet or other format, you can quickly see patterns that emerge in what is working and what isn’t.

I recommend doing this type of basic research or study before arbitrarily deciding what your social plan should be.

7. Plan for Times When You Don’t Have Time

Even if you’re 100% committed to staying on the social media plan, things will happen.

With the hats that you wear, you’ll get pulled into something that is a higher priority. Or, maybe you’ll get to take a vacation and unplug.

Regardless, there will be times when you don’t have time to focus on social media. That’s OK!

Plan for the times when you don’t have the time and attention now.

Build a content calendar and framework. Know who is posting what content and when.

If you can spread the roles around to others and make sure everyone is committed and following the plan and guidelines, you can ensure that the content strategy, implementation in social, and testing process won’t fall apart the second that other things take attention away from it.

Like other endeavors in business and in life, if you fall off, get back on soon. Stick with it as there’s value in the information gained and meaningful connections made by utilizing social media in your digital marketing mix.

8. Optimize Like You Would in Other Channels

Know that there are going to be some home runs as well as some strikeouts. Take an optimization and agile mindset into social like you would in search marketing.

Set a period of time that you want to test, set your strategy, and then optimize through testing.

Always be testing!

There are a lot of reasons why social media is not at the top of the priority list in the marketing mix of small businesses. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be effective.

There’s also no reason it should be the biggest investment you make.

Smart strategies that are designed to stay on track and properly leverage social through:

This content was originally published here.

About The Business Advertising Professionals

We are a team of professional marketing and online specialists based in the Houston, TX area. We help small business owners, entrepreneurs and individuals keep up with the name brand and deep-pocketed business in the competitive marketing space.

We work to combine design, consulting, social media, SEO and video marketing with professional and deep;y customized solutions to help you Engage, Expose and Acquire new customers and prospects. 

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Richmond, TX 77406

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