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Social media continues to grow and adapt into a more exciting technology than ever before. While it was once a purely personal platform, the business and marketing applications are ace. Now we have entire degrees dedicated to the practice, and firms popping up all over the world promising to help brands expand on and off the web.
While many offer tools to allow you to measure your own analytics, others handle everything for you. In any case, a business can improve their visibility, leads, conversions, and evangelism with the right social media analytics company.
What is a social media analytics company?
Social media analytics companies use social media API data for easier reporting, monitoring, trend tracking and competitor analysis. Social media analytics aims at helping you estimate your social media ROI (return on investment) and improve your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Here are some great ones to keep an eye on this year.
1. Sprout Social
SproutSocial Social Media Analytics
Sprout Social has been continuously praised by users and tech review sites as being one of the best on the market today. This is usually a reference to their various social media analytics tools, which include an impressive list of free ones. They cover multiple social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linked, and monitor traffic sources.
With the recent acquisition of another social media analytics company Simply Measured, the suite has become even better.
Pricing starts at $99 a month
SumAll Social Media Analytics
SumAll is an all-in-one social monitoring tool that has two options: free, or a $99 paid plan. On the free side you have smart tweets, desktop view, and unlimited profiles for both. You also get actionable analytics tool and weekly report to help you grow your social efforts. It looks like they have canceled their paid plan which is both awesome and surprising.
They have pretty good support, so you never have to worry about your emails or calls going unanswered.
Brandwatch Social Media Analytics
Social listening is an important skill, but it isn’t one many companies have mastered. Which is why they turn to Brandwatch. This firm will help brands to not only hear the conversation happening around them, but understand and utilize it for their advantage.
They have two products to choose from: Analytics and Vizia. The first is basic social reporting and monitoring like you would expect. The second is a complete social command center with advanced features to get the most out of your data.
They feature three plans on their website with zero info on actual pricing which is somewhat confusing. You need to request a demo to find out the rates.
From third-party reviews I was able to find that they start at $800 per month
Talkwalker provides centralized social media analytics dashboard offering you graphs and analysis for:
Hashtag and campaign tracking including shares, reach, engagement, mentions
Google Analytics integration for social media ROI estimation
Virality that monitors how your content spreads across the web
Influencer marketing helping you identify industry influencers and (future) brand ambassadors
Pricing starts at $9,600 per year with more advanced package pricing available only on request.
Finteza Social Media Analytics
Finteza is the free on-site analytics platforms with an array of possibilities including analysis of your social media traffic. This is not purely social media analytics company but I firmly believe that nothing will provide you with more actionable insight than your own site visitors.
Finteza is quite easy to set up. It will start collecting and showing the data the moment you install the tracking code. It’s an independent company that allows you to manage ads and create conversion funnels. To read more on some social media traffic analysis it provides, read here.
6. Social Bakers
Socialbakers Social Media Analytics
This is analytics company that offer multiple solutions for brands that need something more than basic analytics. Social Bakers core platform handles monitoring, engagement, competitive and industry benchmarking, competitive analysis and more, customized to meet the specific needs of companies that are based on sales. This is unique to many other platforms that could also be used for non-sales brands, such as blogs.
Its AI-powered algorithm monitors your social media audience and turns it into personas which you can better relate to and thus effectively target.
Pricing starts at $240 monthly
Awario Social Media Analytics
Awario is a social tool that operates within four categories: brand management, conversation management, profile management, topic monitoring, and lead generation. This gives an intensive approach to data gathering and implementation that attacks the problem of a weak campaign from all angles.
Awario includes a solid sentiment analysis feature that allows you to filter your brand mentions for negative, positive, and neutral sentiment. You can use this information to effectively delegate customer relationship-building based on how happy (or unhappy) your customers are.
They offer a free trial, and their pricing starts at $29 per month
Cyfe is not a social media amalytics platform, per se, but they can combine a lot of API data for easier monitoring and analysis. It is my personally favorite tool for collecting and archiving all sorts of social media stats and trends. It supports all kinds of sources including Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus. You can connect it to your Google Analytics to monitor correlations and keep an eye on your social media campaign effectiveness.
It’s a huge time-saver, especially if you manage clients and need to monitor dizens of accounts within one network. Unlike many social platforms, it gives you a fair amount of features and perks without having to spend a dime.
Keep An Eye Out For These Guys!
These social media analytics companies are sure to grow in the future. As they do, you will have plenty to take advantage of as a user, in order to grow your own brand’s visibility and engagement.
Anyone you think should be on the list? Let us know in the comments.
I am a huge believer in content. Providing great trendy content is by the most reliable and efficient way to market your site. No wonder many Internet marketing companies are switching to various content marketing services.
However producing great content on a regular basis may be overwhelming (and as many people believe, impossible). Coming up with new and new great and popular article ideas is something we are all struggling with. Therefore organizing and streamlining your brainstorming process is so important.
I have come up with three efficient ways to create a content brainstorming dashboard (feel free to try them and stick to any or all):
I am not going to lie: My major source of inspiration is keyword research. Maybe it’s because of an SEO background but I have yet to find a more effective content inspiration source than the actual search queries.
Here we turn to keyword clustering technique, that is grouping key phrases by meaning. I described the technique in much detail here.
Serpstat is a great tool to create a keyword dashboard:
Serpstat identifies related keywords by looking at Google SERPs for each query and identifying those queries that trigger overlapping URLs.
You can choose between soft and hard clustering to determine how closely related terms should be within one group. And you can change the relevancy setting any time after your cluster is created.
To get into more detail about how the tool works, read this article describing their method.
Once I create my cluster breaking my keyword lists into actual article topics, I always run the tool called Text Optimizer that extracts related terms from Google search snippets and allows you to build more varied and comprehensive content:
You can create a nice PDF export of this dashboard and send to your content researcher or writer. This tool works wonders for improving content quality.
Content Brainstorming Dashboard #2: Aggregate and Filter Your Sources
We all have some individual sources of inspiration. The most well-known are:
Find the hottest trending stories that are being shared all over the social networking spectrum here. They have several ways of finding content. The first is seeing the most popular on the front page. Then you can go by category, like Politics, Tech, Lifestyle, Sports, Animals, What’s Hot and More. Above that are more specific items, under LOL, WIN, OMG, Cute, Geeks, Trashy, FAIL and WTF.
Known as the first to often catch any technology related news, especially where it is trending, Tech Meme is one of the most popular sites that is still rarely talked about. You can see top news or what is newly released. The format is really simple, and they have a search bar if you find you need something specific. One useful element is a ranked list of their top sources, which is worth checking out.
If there’s anything hot under the sun, chances are, it’s been already “infographed”. Tracking new infographics is one of the best ways to come up with cool content ideas (especially round-ups). Besides, infographics are created for re-publishing, so re-using them is not only legit but highly encouraged.
Again, quite a few options here, but I like Visual.ly because they have a very handy RSS feed that displays an infograph thumbnail and short description.
Obviously, you can have your own sources depending on your niche. The above ones were picked because they are more or less niche-less, so writers in any vertical may find them useful.
So now that we have determined the sources, let’s aggregate them!
Trend tracking is a must if you are into content marketing.
The Internet is a whirlpool of information. Graphs, memes, articles, whole books, movies and albums, shopping carts, pictures, personal comments list goes on and on. Most of the stuff on the web you will never see, much less use. It is constantly updated and often what is posted will become obsolete within days, even hours.
There is just too much to shift through, and blind searches aren’t helpful. Endless supplies of topics will leave random search attempts for the sake of finding trends an empty endeavor.
Having a list of trend tracking tools by hand when you are stuck will improve your content brainstorming productivity. When trying to come up with a good post idea, try visiting one of these trend tracking dashboards:
Google Trends – One of the most well-known and used sites for this purpose, Google Trends gives you an easy to understand look at what is hot right now. They are all based on what is being searched for most at the moment through the engine. When you select one of the search terms, it takes you to a collection of stories on the topic. You can also see more terms, and search out anything else.
Trendsmap – Sometimes what you need to brainstorm is simply to switch to a completely new layout. Want to know what is being posted on Twitter based on the location of the tweeter? This is a real-time map that takes trending topics and shows them based on where it is most commonly being shared. You can see what is being talked about all over the world.
Reddit – The ultimate source of user-generated discussions, both sad and funny, Reddit is a must when it comes to being aware what is going on around the web.
You can use Buzzsumo to aggregate your favorite sources. You can also use this spreadsheet: The brainstorming spreadsheet aggregates search results from the following sources:
Traditionally we think that the creative process is counter-productive. You need time to brainstorm. In today’s world most of us don’t have time at all but we brainstorm a lot. How do you increase your brainstorming creativity? Please share your ideas in the comments!
The web audience is changing. With mobile and voice search, the shopping journeys are becoming more fragmented and harder to predict, the attention spans are getting even shorter and the content supply is often greater than demand.
Consequently, it is increasingly important to understand how your site users are interacting with the page elements, and what you can do to better engage them.
What is User Engagement?
Put simply an engagement is just about any sort of action a user performs on your page. This could be anything from clicking a link to scrolling to the end of your page…
In our era of information overload and on-the-go web surfing, we tend to be happy with any type of user engagement we are able to get.
In fact, we want to know how users engage with our pages to better understand what attracts their attention, what prompts them to convert and what pushes them to leave. Understandably, we want to build more engaging page elements and we want to get rid of anything that distracts or annoys them.
Any type of user engagement is important for us to understand how users interact with our web pages.
How to Analyze User Engagement: Tools
Google Analytics: Time on Page (And More)
Google Analytics has a lot of metrics (some of them are being very much misunderstood) that help you better understand user engagement with the page.
Bounce rate always comes to mind first, but let me note right there: A high bounce rate does not indicate poor engagement or low content quality. As a matter of fact, a high bounce rate may indicate that users were able to find what they were looking for right away (so they didn’t have to browse around). So I wouldn’t consider bounce rate an engagement tactic (unless it suddenly increased which may be a sign of something going on).
Time on Page can be a slight indication of a good page engagement (at least you can see people spend some time reading).
Tracking your site “Time on Page” metric using Google Analytics is very easy. To see page-by-page numbers, go to Behavior -> Site Content -> All pages:
Using Google Analytics Goals you can set up “Duration” goal to monitor sessions that lasts a specific amount of time or longer.
Other goals you can monitor using Google Analytics include:
Pages per session (when a user views a set number of pages)
Event (there can be a variety of events you may want to monitor – all of which indicate different types of engagement. These include form submit, video play, ad click, etc.)
Once you set up your goals inside Google Analytics, you get access to two more reports, called Funnel Visualization and Goal Flow. Both provide a visual representation of how your users interact with your on-page CTAs:
Hotjar: Mouse Moves and Page Scrolls (and more!)
While Google Analytics does a pretty good job monitoring your on-page clicks, heatmaps monitor other types of on-page engagement:
Scroll maps show how far into the page the users tend to scroll down
Move maps visualize mouse movements
(There’s also a click map too but we are focusing on non-click tracking here).
Hotjar lets you set up both types of tracking. It also offers a free account that lets you track 2,000 visits a day (you are unlikely to need more).
Move maps work great for identifying page elements that distract your site users from performing important actions on the page, e.g. you don’t want your readers to stare at an image instead of clicking your “Subscribe” button.
Hotjar also allows you to visualize and compare user engagement on a desktop and a mobile device.
Finteza: CTA Clicks
While Google Analytics is very efficient at tracking your primary page goal, it’s not as easy to use for evaluating and comparing multiple CTAs.
The thing is, you probably have dozens of calls-to-action including sharing buttons, optin forms, links to your money-pages, etc. How to track and compare all of them?
Finteza is a free analytics suite that helps you monitor hundreds of events easily. Events can be added using Finteza dashboard or their WordPress plugin. Then you can easily build up your funnels to compare your multiple events and see what actually results in the final conversion:
Finteza provides a much easier and clearer event tracking functionality than Google Analytics, so it’s something to look into.
And which tools are you using to monitor different types of user engagement? Please share in the comments!
Competitor marketing is pretty much the obsession of every business owner out there. They want to know what the other guy is saying, doing and what is working. They also want to know what isn’t working, so they can swoop in and poach their customers (admit it, you do this any time you can).
But keeping up with the competition’s moves is hard and without the right tools you will never know if you are getting the full picture. Without the full picture, how can you take advantage of the data you have?
Here are eight tools to help you track, analyze and beat your competitors by gathering all the information you can and making an informed strategy that covers all the bases.
1. ClickCease: Beat Your Competitors’ Fraud Click Efforts
I am always amazed when I find out that these huge companies are using fake click services to drain your PPC budget. People can call it whatever they want, but we all know what it really is: click fraud.
ClickCease fights against it from the other side. Click fraud can begin to impact your brand when those bots find their way to your site and screw with your own numbers. Click Cease works by blocking those fake clicks from your site and so protects your PPC campaign.
2. Serpstat: Identify Keyword and Ranking Gap
Which queries are your competitors ranking for that you are missing? Are there any missed opportunities in your marketing strategy caused by poor site architecture? Where else can my site attract search traffic?
All of these questions can be answered by Serpstat’s Domain vs Domain tool. It’s highly visual and interactive and allows you to to dig deeper in your competitors’ ranking identifying their common keywords that your page are missing.
3. Spyfu: Monitor Your Competitors’ SEO and PPC Tactics
Spyfu is often cited as the most helpful keyword tool out there. Why? Because it literally spies on your competitor’s. It allows you to download a report of the most profitable keywords they are using and ads they have put out. You can examine the metrics and compare them to other keywords they are using, or your own.
Then you can create a better strategy for your own organic and paid search campaigns to compete with theirs. When I first heard about it I was skeptical, but having used it many times now I can honestly say this is a valuable tool that I couldn’t do without.
4. Buzzsumo: Monitor Your Competitors’ Content Marketing Efforts
Everyone knows and loves Buzzsumo so I won’t say too much about it. What I will say is that it is great to use for a more faceted approach to monitoring your competitors.
You can look at Most Shared, Trending, Backlinks, Content Analysis, Facebook Analyzer and Questions Analyzer. So you get more than just a basic idea of what is out there right now. You can see various angles for a better, more complete analysis.
5. Majestic: Monitor and Analyze Your Competitors’ Backlinks
How are your competitors build their backlinks? How do they get people talking? Is there an opportunity for you too? Or are there mistakes to learn from? Looking at your competitors’ backlinks is the best way to keep an eye on their marketing efforts and adjust your own.
6. Sentione for Monitoring Your Competitors’ Brand Mentions
Sentione is a social listening platform. It works by scouring the social web for any mentions of your brand, so you can see what people are saying, interact with them and engage your audience.
Many brands will use Sentione to find complaints about products, as well. But you can go a step further by discovering what people are saying about competing brands. Do they have a need that isn’t being met? Your product to the rescue!
7. Kompyte: Watch Your Competitors’ Important Landing Pages
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could know the second your competitors made a change to their website? Or if they were announcing a new feature from their most popular product? Or they started a new marketing campaign?
Kompyte lets you monitor all of those things in real time so you know the second a change is made and can react accordingly. You can also watch their search ranking and even analyze their content in real time.
8. Owletter: Captures, Stores & Analyses Your Competitors Emails
I was skeptical about this tool because it seemed a little too good to be true. I have worked a long time in email campaigns and the ability to accurately analyze the other guys without scouring over it myself? It seemed doubtful.
But I was pleasantly surprised and found that Owletter is great for monitoring content campaigns in general. Plus at only $5 a month it is a steal.
Do you have a tool that belongs on this list? Let us know in the comments!
A comprehensive social media strategy is imperative to business success in a digital world. 93% of marketers are using social media for business – are you part of the 7% that doesn’t?
Social media is more than simply making posts on Facebook and responding to customers on Twitter. A strong social media presence is a critical part of the purchase decision making process. 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions, with 47% of Americans saying that Facebook is their top influencer of purchases.
If you don’t have an active social presence that both engages and informs users, you are losing customers to competitors that do.
Benefits of social media
A social media campaign is about more than just posting updates and promoting sales. A well-rounded social media program will involve the following:
Monitoring the social space for mentions of your brand to prevent reputation issues from taking shape.
Responding to customer service inquiries and product questions to ensure a positive experience with your business.
Marketing your existing content to bring more traffic to your site.
Tracking clicks and conversions on your site as a result of social advertising.
Creating meaningful one-on-one relationships with customers that will lead to return purchases or recommendations to their peers.
Make sure you are posting enough that customers are up-to-date on your products and services, but not so much that they feel as though they’re being bombarded with updates.
The frequency you should post greatly varies by your industry and audience, but these are general posting suggestions:
Facebook: at least twice per week, not to exceed once per day
Twitter: at least once per day, with tweets spaced out at least an hour apart
Google+: at least once per week, not to exceed once per day
LinkedIn: at least once per week, not to exceed once per day
Follow the 80/20 rule of posting
You may be tempted to fill your social networks with news about sales, specials, and promotions. Fight that temptation. Users are far less likely to interact with brands if they feel like they’re actively being “marketed” to.
Instead, follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of what you post should be engaging (questions, photos, articles from third parties), while the remaining 20% should be about your company, products, or services.
Invest in a social media dashboard
You’re busy, we get it. Good social media takes time and effort, but a social media manager will help you use your time wisely.
Tools like HootSuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer allow you to schedule posts, measure engagement, and monitor social chatter about your business.
Pay attention to what’s going on in your industry, as well as the world
Being in tune with your audience’s interest will help you engage with them and will build a strong customer relationship.
Monitor industry publications, competitor social media accounts, and popular blogs to stay aware of what’s important to your customers.
There are hundreds of social media sites out there, and obviously your business does not need to be on all of them. The first step is identifying which social networks will be the most beneficial for your business.
A few important things to note before you begin creating your social media profiles:
Keep your username/handle consistent. Deviating from your set username can confuse your customers and make it more difficult for them to find you. Use a tool like CheckUserNames to see if your chosen username is available on the social networks you plan on using.
Only focus on social networks where your customers are. There are a lot of social media sites out there, and it would be a waste of your time to try to be active on all of them, especially if your target audience doesn’t spend time there.
Put the URLs to your social profiles everywhere: your website, your email signature, your promotional materials. The best way for people to find you is organically; don’t make it harder than it needs to be to find you.
Major Social Networks
Facebook: The obvious choice. 71% of online adults are on Facebook, which makes this the first step when setting up your business’s social profiles. In the digital world, if you don’t have a Facebook page, your business doesn’t exist.
Twitter: With over 280 million monthly active users, Twitter is another popular choice for businesses. Due to the conversational nature of Twitter, this is a very popular platform for addressing customer service concerns and connecting with your users.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the prime social network for B2B companies looking to reach other businesses and professionals in their field. LinkedIn boasts a membership of 345 million users worldwide, including 7.9 million business decision makers and 4.2 million corporate executives, making it the perfect platform to connect with other business professionals.
Secondary Social Networks
These social networks may not have the commonality or large user base of the ones listed above, but they are still worth having a presence if it makes sense for your business:
If you are a local business – meaning, a business with a storefront that caters to a particular area or region – there are a number of local social networks that can increase your visibility in search engines and help customers find you:
Aside from the popular social networks, you may find that there are niche social media communities that make sense for your business to be active on (for instance, Birdpost for bird watchers and Ravelry for knitters).
While they may not have the audience size of Facebook, these niche social networks likely have a much more targeted demographic for your business to interact with.
Using social as a customer service channel
Social networks have become a prime channel through which customers solicit customer service. 35% of consumers have asked a customer service question via social media, and 53% of users expect to hear back from the brand they’re interacting with within one hour. Businesses can simply not afford to ignore customer service requests on social media.
These tips will help you keep your customers happy as well as protect your brand’s reputation.
Respond quickly. In a study, 38% of users said they felt more negatively about a company if they didn’t receive a timely response. Try to respond to all customer inquiries within one hour. If you can’t fully answer a customer’s question, at least let them know you are working on finding them a solution so they are not left in the dark.
Listen to your customers. They may be using social media to voice their complaints or praise your products. Either way, they can provide valuable insight into your company’s strengths and shortcomings, and allow you to improve your business based on their feedback.
Always respond professionally. Whether the customer is right or wrong, remember that social media is public and what you say will reflect on your company.
Respond to positive comments. If a customer is taking time out of their day to praise your business, thank them for their patronage. If they repeatedly wax poetic about their great experience, give them a coupon. This is how brand ambassadors are built.
Answering questions and thanking customers for their patronage is easy, but what happens when someone slams your company? Whether it’s true or not, once it’s posted, there are a host of issues you have to consider:
Is this comment going to harm my company’s reputation?
How can I help this customer?
If the complaint is true, what can I do to prevent this from happening again?
53% of Twitter users expect to hear back from the company they’re interacting with within an hour. That doesn’t give you a lot of time to plan a response, so consider creating an action plan for responding to customer inquiries.
Create an action plan
You need to develop a strategy for dealing with negativity. Since customers will be counting down the minutes until your response, take the time to nail down your strategy now so you’re able to nip problems in the bud as they happen.
If you did something wrong, acknowledge it and apologize. Radio silence – or worse, denial – will alienate customers and often drags the problem on much longer than if it was addressed head on.
Don’t feed the trolls
Sometimes, people are just mean and there’s no way to make them happy. If you attempt to remedy a situation with a customer and they are rude, hateful, or continue flaming your company, it’s time to move on.
At the very least, request that they email or call you to continue the conversation so that it’s not publicly plastered all over your social accounts.
Learn from other companies
Unsurprisingly, social media crises are handled inappropriately all the time. Reading case studies about companies that have mishandled or successfully handled a social disaster can help you build your own strategy.
Most social networks offer some sort of paid promotion or advertising features to help get a brand’s social media account or posts in front of more eyes. While companies can rely on organic reach and word-of-month for increased exposure, paid promotion can ensure wide reach and help drive more traffic and leads in a measurable way.
Facebook ads are the most common and prolific social media ads due to their ease of use, hyper-targeting functionalities, and price. They are becoming even more popular as Facebook slowly drives brand updates out of users’ News Feeds in attempts to show what it deems more relevant content.
attract more likes, comments, and shares on your posts
drive traffic to your website
promote mobile app downloads
track conversions made on your website as a result of social advertising
Ads can be targeted broadly to a particular geographic area or industry, as well as more granulated demographics including specific interests, hobbies, and online purchase behaviors. Businesses can also create a Custom Audience using phone numbers or email addresses to help reach customers you already know.
LinkedIn’s self-service ads are fairly limited, with the more robust products offered only to marketers with a sales rep at the company. Regardless, businesses can use the self-serve ad to put content – and existing posts – in front of the right audiences.
Because LinkedIn caters to professionals, there are a variety of handy targeting options including job title, industry, and company size.
We love tools here at Internet Marketing Ninjas, and we’d be remiss not to share some of our favorite social media tools.
One of the best ways to plan your social media marketing campaigns, is to create a year-long content roundup including all big holidays, related awareness weeks and trends and other seasonal trends.
Why Planning Early Is Crucial
Holidays and seasonal trends are an opportunity for savvy marketers to take advantage of a mass feeling of goodwill, positivity and cheerfulness, and make it work for them. Why else would the biggest brands in the world spend the biggest bulk of their annual budgets making holiday-specific advertisements, or running massive campaigns on social media pages? It doesn’t just work for giant corporations that are doing direct sales. It works for everyone.
Best of all, holiday posts have the three most important elements of popular social posts: they capitalize on an emotional response, they are time-specific and so generate a lot of shares and engagement, and they are ridiculously easy to produce.
The sooner you get the prepared, the better off you are going to be. So here are some tips on how to start planning your social posts today.
How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar
So how to create your social media calendar?
Make a list of holidays, awareness days and seasonal trends you want to catch
Come up with the list of hashtags, questions, visual marketing ideas and time-sensitive lead magnets
Put together everything using a calendar
ContentCal is a great way to create an actionable social media content calendar your whole team can collaborate on. Start with its “Campaigns” feature: Put your holidays and ideas there, specify start and end dates and create a detailed campaign brief including all the keywords and hashtags you have identified.
Once a campaign is created, it will show up as a ribbon on your social media content calendar view:
Clicking the ribbon will take you (and your team) to your campaign brief where you can see (and add) related hashtags and angles around the trend.
From there your whole team can add social media updates to your shared “Pinboard” for you (or your moderators) to review and put on the specified days.
This is a great way to involve your whole team into social media content planning for more and better results
A Note of Planning
Not all seasonal trends are obvious. I suggest running your core topics and keyword through Google Trends to get a better idea on how to time your social media content better:
No one is saying that you have to produce a John Lewis Christmas ad for your social media pages. That would be an insane amount of effort, and holiday posts should be simple and fairly easy to produce and share. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look at what others have done, and follow suit.
REI Coop had a brilliant holiday campaign that tried to get their followers away from stores and into nature. Their Twitter used the hashtag #OptOutside, encouraging people to comment with pictures or stories about what they were doing with loved ones in the great outdoors, instead of spending hours of their life in malls buying expensive gifts. It was a roaring success, and it produced opportunities for user made content, email newsletters, and a lot of shareable moments. Without adequate planning they never would have been able to make such an impact.
Run a Contest
Contests are always huge draws for your audience, and the holidays are the perfect time to host them. With a couple weeks of promotion and planning you can automate the majority of the contest, and just manage it in the weeks leading up to each holiday of your choice. People are already in a festive mood, and more likely to take part.
Don’t just do a drawing or giveaway. Make it something create, fun challenging, and otherwise interesting. This is also a great idea because it works and is easily adaptable for any platform that you happen to be active on. So you can customize it to most appeal to your audience.
Holidays are ripe for visual content. Creating a simple, but beautiful graphic is easy, since so much imagery is already in popular culture for you to draw on. You don’t have to struggle to find things to connect with your audience; a snowman, sparkling lights, snowy mountains… they are all non-culturally specific visuals that you can use, which still immediately cause your viewers to relate. That is one of the best things about holiday posts.
Pixteller always offers lots of timely holiday themes for holidays. The tool also allows to create animated visual assets:
If you have the expertise or access, also consider holiday specific videos. These are passed around like hotcakes, and are a great addition to your campaign. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy.
Wave is any easy way to put together festive videos and they have a few awesome holiday themes too. And they also have a handy calendar listing big and small holidays for you to prepare for:
Get People Spending Money With Special Coupons
Why does your social media profile exist? Branding and promotion, engagement and interaction, but mostly to improve profits in the end. Everything you do is with that end goal in mind. If you sell direct products you can vastly boost your sales over the coming months by offering coupons good only during specific time blocks until the end of the holidays.
Now, when I say specific time blocks, I don’t mean coupon codes that are good for the entire month. I am talking time sensitive super deals that last hours, maybe a day, and where you can only find them through links on social media. Amazon has a version of this, where they have deals which are good for a day that they advertise on a single page, and then post about.
Do you have any tips for creating a social media content calendar well before the holiday comes about? Let us know in the comments below!
Search traffic remains one of the major sources of traffic and conversions to any website. Keep your organic search visibility in mind when working on your most important “money pages” (i.e. those that drive direct sales).
In this article I’ll go you through both basic and advanced keyword research tactics for your product pages that will also positively impact conversions.
Keyword research lies at the heart of any marketing campaign, whether it’s a local or an international business. And despite what many business owners may think, keywords are not for search engine optimization only.
Keyword research helps a marketer:
Analyze your competition and learn from it (what is it they are doing that seems to work for them?)
Identify market gaps (what is missing and where does my opportunity lie?)
Understand your customer better (what is it they are searching for and how can I help them?)
Think about keyword research this way:
Behind each search query there’s a human being with an actual problem. Whether your (product) page is able to solve that problem well defines how successful your business is.
In order for keyword research to be able to provide the required amount of insight, you need to:
Group those keywords by relevancy (Providing a solution to each group)
Group those keywords by search intent (What is it your customer is going to do when searching?)
Let’s see these two in action!
Step 1. Identify and Group Your Keywords by Relevancy
The first step of keyword research is running your core term through tools like Spyfu, Majestic, Ahrefs or Wordstream and downloading hundreds of phrases your target customer is typing when searching for solutions, answers and/or products in your niche.
How to make sense of those enormous lists? There’s no way you can create as many landing pages to match all those search queries.
The solution is: Keyword clustering
Identify groups of keywords by relevancy and optimize your product page for the group of keywords instead of each individual one.
Serpstat’s clustering feature is a great way to make sense of huge keyword lists. It breaks your lists into meaningful groups based on how they are related:
How can this research help both rankings and sales?
Grouping your keywords helps you maintain focus: Instead of trying to target each individual query, it allows you to create landing pages that can get ranked for a variety of keywords within one group and capture all those potential leads.
On the other hand, keyword clustering gives you a better understanding of your niche, types of queries and questions your target audience tends to ask online. This provides you with more structured and organized ideas on how to serve them better.
Step 2: Group Your Keywords by Search Intent
Search intent analysis is the most important aspect of keyword research. It defines all your further actions when it comes to content creation and search engine optimization.
Search intent reflects the most probable kind of action a user is likely to take when searching. In other words, it helps you identify what your target customer intends to do when searching.
There are three main types of search intent: Do – Know – Go
Do: Commercial search intent, also known as “transactional” search intent (your target customer intends to buy)
Know: Informational search intent (your target customer is exploring the topic)
Go: Navigational search intent (your target customer is searching for you or your competitor)
Now, with our step above in mind, instead of assigning intent to each individual query, we try to identify search intent behind our keyword groups, which is much more doable:
So what’s next?
Match Your Landing Page Content to Search Intent
Now that we know what people are searching, create and implement your keyword optimization plan:
Search Intent Type
Landing page type
Use these keywords on your product pages (especially in the title and in the subheadings (H1, H2)
Use your primary call-to-action / sales funnel
Create articles, guides and tutorials (Linking to product pages from within context as one of the solutions)
Use your lead generation funnel to tie these searchers to your brand
Use your primary call-to-action / sales funnel: Get creative here!***
How can this research help both rankings and sales?
Search intent helps you understand your customer better and consequently serve them better. There’s no point in trying to sell right away to someone who has no intention to buy: This will result in page bounces (sending poor signals to Google and losing your leads).
Matching your page content to the search intent results in higher conversions and better page engagement (which is also an important search ranking signal)
The first two steps may have taken you a couple of days of work. On the bright side, this research will last you for a year or so (before you’ll have to re-address your search positions or introduce a new product)
Now that you know which keyword group refers to each product page, and which action is intended (“buy”, “research” or “research, then buy”), it time that you start creating content.
Google generates these search snippets based on what it is they have found to be serving the user best. We can reverse-engineer Google’s editorial decision and build the product page that matches both Google’s and users’ expectations best.
That is exactly what TextOptimzer is doing: It grabs your query, searches Google and using semantic analysis extracts related terms and categories for you to build the best product page around:
[Text Optimizer urges to create a better copy by suggesting what Google and its users expect to see on that page]
You can use it before you create your page as well as for your existing content (in which case it will compare your content to Google’s SERPs and suggest areas of improvement).
How can this research help both rankings and sales?
Like with search intent, this is another level of matching users’ expectations better, this time using Google search result page analysis.
The idea is, Google has already found that these terms tend to do a better job satisfying their users, so our task is to add them with in the copy to engage those people better, once they land on our page clicking through the search result.
Step 4: Ask and Answer Questions
Niche question research gives you even more insight into your target audience struggles and your own content opportunities. With Google’s “People Also Ask” boxes this research is easier than ever.
Notice those “People Also Ask” boxes all over search results offering users a list of related questions on the topic they have just typed:
Whenever you are working on your product page copy, take note of those “People Also Ask” results and think how they can be utilized.
It makes perfect sense to address popular questions on the landing page. This will accomplish several goals:
Improve the page organic rankings (more optimized content generally helps rankings)
Get it featured more (Most of those questions trigger “Featured Snippet” results when typed into Google’s search bar)
Improve conversions+user engagement by giving your target customers good answers to their questions (and showing how your product can help)
Featured Snippet Tool helps you research People Also Ask opportunities for any page: It checks your domain’s and/or URL’s important search queries and generates “People Also Ask” results for all of them:
How can this research help both rankings and sales?
Questions are highly engaging: Asking a question triggers an “instinctive elaboration” reflex in human beings prompting them to stop and look for an answer. And higher engagement results in more time spent on a web page, more time to consider your offer and a higher likelihood of the conversion.
Putting it All Together: Creating a Search Optimized Product Page
So to make it easier for you, here are your basic steps:
Identify keywords people may be typing into a search box when looking for products and/or solutions you offer (using tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Spyfu)
Group those keywords by meaning using Serpstat clustering
Identify search intent behind each group to map out which group should applied to which landing page
Build content implementing the chosen group of keywords as well as related and neighboring terms using TextOptimizer
Digital marketing is probably the fastest-changing marketing field out there: New tools are being built, more platforms emerge and more channels need to be included into your marketing plan.
How not to get overwhelmed while staying on top of the latest marketing trends?
Here are a few tools that help you scale and automate some parts of your marketing routine making you a more productive and empowered marketer:
Tools to Semi-Automate Marketing Tasks
1. Automate Your Email Marketing with Mailchimp
Email marketing has been predicted to die soon ever since social media networking was born. Yet, the two happily co-exist. In fact, email marketing has been growing steadily and getting smarter too: There’s advanced segmentation options now, structured markup and marketing automation.
When it comes to the latter, don’t get discouraged: It’s easier than it sounds. It all comes down to reaching out to your customer at the exact same moment they are ready / most likely to perform an action. It cannot be done without automation, obviously.
Mailchimp is one of the easiest, user-friendliest platforms to try your hand at some basic email marketing automation. You can set triggers to send emails to your customers at the right moment. Those email triggers may include:
Send a follow-up email when someone entered specific landing page on your site
Email birthday / holiday congratulations
Send abandoned cart reminders
Send recurring emails on the same day of each year
2. Automate Your Lead Generation Efforts with ClickMeeting
Webinar marketing is hard enough: It needs talented hosts, solid organization skills and the whole marketing team to manage. But do you know that your webinars can drive recurring value after they were live?
Record webinars to create an on-demand library (to generate more leads)
Re-play recorded webinars from your library any time when the topic is the same (and only do a new Q&A each time): This is a great idea for recurring demos when you basically need to repeat the same thing over and over again.
3. Automate Your Customer Interactions with MobileMonkey
According to a study by Twilio, 90% of consumers want to use messaging (i.e., texting, Facebook Messenger) to communicate with businesses. It’s an overwhelming amount of customers who are ready to make a purchase but just need that final push.
How not to lose them without keeping your team online 24/7?
Automate the beginning of that conversation and, if needed, empower with real human conversation when your team is back online.
Facebook itself helps you automate some of those private interactions with customers through their Instant Replies and Away Messages.
If you need more advanced interactions, try MobileMonkey: It allows to create Facebook Messenger chatbots that are trained to give your customers what they need at exactly the moment they are asking for that:
For example, it can send users to your on-demand webinar sign-up page whenever they are typing “webinar” when chatting with your business on Facebook:
4. Scale Social Media Update Scheduling with Drumup or Mavsocial
You may be already promoting all your brand assets on social media but spreading that message once is not enough, especially when it comes to Twitter.
According to various studies, the average lifespan of a tweet is not more than 20 minutes. Even with impressive and engaged following base, you are only reaching a fraction of your Twitter audience with one Tweet at a time. That’s when recurring tweets come in handy.
A great way of using recurring tweets is by publishing eye-catching images with evergreen quotes that your audience will always find valuable. While you’re at it, make sure to brand those images with your logo to gain more brand awareness. If you don’t have a logo yet, check out the Tailor Brands logo maker to quickly generate one.
You should schedule recurring Twitter promotion for the same content assets far into the future to happen on different days of the week at different time slots of the day.
Drumup and Mavsocial are two great tools that make it easier for you: Add one tweet and they will spread it out across your Twitter schedule to help you reach most of your audience:
Tools to Send Instant Alerts: Emergency Preparedness Tools
5. Get Instantly Alerted of Any Anomalies with Sisense
There’s so much that can go wrong with your online business at any given moment. Getting instantly alerted is basic disaster preparedness.
And most of the things you need to know about especially quickly can be quantified using a business intelligence platform. These could include abnormally high clicks within your PPC campaigns (e.g. all originating from one geo location and bouncing out within a few seconds of the landing page load), an abnormally long customer support thread, an abnormally large order. Those abnormalities can mean both a good or a bad thing but in most cases there’s some type of action that need to follow (e.g. a personal follow-up email, an escalation to a different department, a quick bug fix, etc.)
The Sisense BI platform allows you to link up any number of structured and unstructured data sources to your account, allowing you to build dashboards for monitoring the metrics that matter to you most for ongoing growth.
The platform also supports chatbots and voice queries for queries and updates on the fly, while its real time alters, calledSisense Pulse, enable you can stay in the loop on your most important KPIs across all your dashboards. With Pulse, you’ll get alerted of important anomalies that are going on right now.
This allows you to stay on top of everything, from marketing campaigns to customer interactions without having to go through dozens of dashboards and stats all day long. It can also automate the immediate action (e.g. a personalized email) and workflows (for your teams to know exactly what they need to do immediately).
Alerts allow your team to take immediate action when important business changes occur.
Alerts can be easily integrated into a third party application, such as Zendesk, Slack or Zapier
Alerts can be delivered as push notifications to your mobile device for you to act immediately
6. Get Alerted Immediately When Your Site is Down
Downtimes happen to the best of us, even huge corporate sites. We’ve all seen downtimes happen to Facebook, Google and even Twitter. The key is how fast you react.
Pingdom instant alerts allow you (as well as your dev team) to get alerted immediately when your site is down for whatever reason. The alerts are delivered in emails and text messages for you to never miss them:
It also checks your site from different IPs from around the world and alerts you whenever your site is inaccessible in a certain location, not just globally.
7. Get Alerted Whenever Your Site is Hacked with Google Search Console
If you have a website, it will be hacked one day. It’s inevitable. The sooner you understand that, the better.
Yes there are ways to make it more secure, but you can never be 100% secure when you are online.
I’ve tried all kinds of security notification systems, and Google seems to be the most reliable. It’s the fastest and it includes all kinds of hacking attacks out there. Google’s malware alerting system is the most convincing reason to get your site verified with Google, in my opinion.
8. Get Alerted of Your Looming Reputation Crisis with SentiOne
Reputation management is a must, we already know that. Whether your brand is actively interacting on social media or not, your customers may be publicly discussing your business on social media. And with there, there always comes a risk of social media reputation crisis.
How fast you are there to manage the crisis usually determines how successfully your brand will be able to get away with it. Therefore social media monitoring alerts are so important.
SentiOne is a solid reputation management platform that sends highly targeted email alerts whenever your brand is being discussed online. The mentions in the email are categorized by sentiment which is very useful when it comes to quickly spotting if anything weird is going on:
9. Get Alerted of Traffic Anomalies with Google Analytics Instant Alerts
Finally, traffic fluctuations are normal but you still want to be alerted whenever they happen to be on top of that. Google Analytics Instant Alerts is an easy and free way to enable those alerts for your sites.
Which tools are you planning to use in 2019 to better scale and organize your marketing? Please share!
Keeping up with the latest trends is a must for any business, but ignoring technology trends in the digital world is the matter of staying in business.
Unfortunately, those trends (while easy enough to find mentioned online) are rarely explained well. There seems to be this mistaken idea that anyone who has an interest or need in the practice will just magically get the jargon. As we all know, that is one superpower that doesn’t exist in the real world.
It can be easy to throw your hands up in defeat and ignore the trends in favor or the old familiars you have already worked out and employed. But is that really the direction you want to go? There is one statistic you should know about ecommerce:
Statista has estimated a profit growth up to $4.5 billion dollars by 2021.
With predictions like that, you can’t afford to be behind the times. It is time to step out of the comfort zone and start taking advantage of trends as they come. Especially since these four are going to be continuing well past 2018.
So here they are, in plain English, simplified and explained.
This is one of the most complicated terms out there, especially if you are pretty new to ecommerce world and how it works. Trying to find a way to break it down can get complicated, but the actual idea behind it is simple.
I want you to imagine a warehouse, filled with products in boxes. Forklifts are waiting to lift the merchandise off the shelf and get it sorted, packaged and shipped by the workers manning the shipping line.
Now imagine a store, such as Amazon. Customers can shop for the items they like on an easy to use, searchable database. They don’t see the warehouse with its many boxes, scrambling employees or moving machinery. They see a search engine, results and their shopping cart. It is inviting and friendly.
Headless ecommerce is the warehouse. It is everything that is happening in the background on a separate platform run through a cloud service. You run the business and technical end through that cloud platform. The storefront, like the Amazon website, is disconnected entirely.
[Headless ecommerce is] when you’re paying for a platform to manage your data and your orders, but you create the user interface that sits on top and makes everything look pretty.
Leader In This Trend
BigCommerce has quickly emerged as a go-to platform for headless ecommerce: Following the need for brands to turn their websites into “destinations driven by community, content and brand experiences”, headless ecommerce helps to accomplish the task by providing increased flexibility, marketing effectiveness and personalization options.
Headless commerce architecture is the decoupling of the front-end presentation layer from the ecommerce platform, typically resulting in more flexibility in content management and delivery, as well as UX…
Remember: ecommerce currently makes up only 13% of total global sales. As that number increases, brands will look to new, quick to test and implement, strategies that enable growth long-term.
What is ROPO (“Research Online, Purchase Offline”)?
You are in a store and you see the new 4k TV you have been eyeing for months. The tag is claiming that it is on sale for 15% less than usual. What a steal! But is it really?
Being the savvy consumer you are, you whip out your smartphone and do some Googling. According to what you find, you can get the same TV for 20% cheaper if they go to a different store just five miles away, including free shipping.
This is the heart of ROPO, or Research Online, Purchase Offline. Customers have been following a consistent trend of researching online both at home and on their phones before they make purchases.
In fact, the more tech-savvy the consumers become, the more of them showcase the ROPO behavior (that’s exactly what 2018 research shows).
Integrating your ecommerce strategy with your local brick and mortar is absolutely crucial. That includes keeping customers up to date about sales, having prices on site for products, offering coupons and allowing ordering online for instore pickup.
Omnia is one of few marketing automation companies that offer ROPO analysis and integration solutions:
Import your online and offline sales into a single system
Identify the ROPO differences between different products
Adapt your Adwords bids
Adapt your prices based on customers’ conversations
What is Conversational Marketing?
Once upon a time, a study by Twilio found that 90% of consumers wanted to use messaging (i.e. Facebook Messenger, texting, etc.) to communicate with businesses.
Shortly after businesses have realized that one-to-one conversation is not only doable but also scalable. You can teach a machine to talk to your clients on your behalf and escalate that conversation to a human support team in case it needs more personalized attention.
That is what conversational marketing is all about. You are having a conversation and learning what the customer wants, while offering them answers to their questions.
Leaders In This Trend
Chatbots have become increasingly sophisticated. Platforms like Botsociety and MobileMonkey also make them easy to customize.
Adding a chatbot to your marketing strategy is a great idea for simple questions and information your customer may have. It also frees you and your employees up for the heavier (social) lifting.
What is Shopping Natively / Social Commerce?
Allowing your customer to shop natively means offering your product range right inside major social media platforms.
In other words, social commerce is defined as the ability to make a product purchase from a third-party company within the native social media experience.
It requires integration with a buying platform, which is often built right into the social platform itself. But it also allows to tap into the platforms’ existing communities allowing them to buy from you without the comfort of their social media homes.
Videos work great for content marketing for three reasons:
Certain demographics of users LOVE watching videos;
Videos open up more marketing channels (Youtube, Vimeo, etc)
Videos are highly engaging: People like sharing videos
Social media networks give your update an organic boost when there’s a native video in them
Videos get your message across much more effectively than text
Your customers expect to find you on Youtube
Now, the days when video content was so hard to create that most people were just shying away are over. Videos are no-brainer now. When it comes to video tutorials and mashups, I am simply using iMovie (free easy time-saver). However, in many cases, you won’t even need any desktop software.
There are some awesome online tools that allow you to create professional videos that will diversify your video marketing and let you experiment with genres, styles and types. The first one that comes to mind is of course Youtube Hangouts on Air.
But it’s not the only one!
The following four tools are all freemium, so you’ll have a chance to play for free first:
Price: $8 per month (billed as $96 every year)
Animoto is a huge time-saver! Grab your screenshots and videos, choose (or upload your own) music, add text breaks – you are done! A new video is ready to distribute.
I like using it for screenshot showcase (for tutorials) and for summing up discussions, hangouts, etc but I am sure there can be lots of other ideas (this about weekly user photo showcase, testimonial showcase, etc. etc.)
The cheapest plan allows you to create custom videos that will have Animoto logo at the end.
Animatron was the first tool I ever used for creating videos and content re-packaging, therefore it is listed #1 in my list.
Price: $19 per month ($228 billed annually)
Powtoon is a freemium tool to create animated presentations and video instructions. The best thing about this tool is that it lets you create video instructions that grab attention and have huge viral potential as opposed to traditional step-by-step video guides.
It has lots of templates with different mascots:
There are lots of available elements inside: Characters, animations, text affects, image holders, etc. The free version will keep its watermark on the final version.
Powtoon is awesome for creating concept explanations, fun tutorials and even promo videos.
The PRO package gives you 2 GB of storage. There are higher-tier plans available if you need more.
Price: $39 per month
One of my recent favorite tools, Wave.video by Animatron has one of the easiest and user-friendly interfaces. It claims to have 200 million stock video clips, lets you import your own assets and allows you to instantly resize your projects and ads to 30+ popular formats to fit your favorite social media platform. You can mix and match stock content with your own media and add stunning transitions between the clips.
The PRO package allows you to create videos which are max 5 minutes long (which will be enough for most cases). If you need to create longer videos, you’ll need to select a more expensive package.
Price: $23 per month (billed $276 annually)
Biteable is a new tool that allows you to easily put together all kinds of videos, like ads, explainers, presentations and social media content. They offer a solid collection of templates, backgrounds and music allowing you to create original videos “in minutes”. You can also upload your own images to customize the look and add your own branding.
Are there any other time-saving video creation tools you are aware of?