18
Dec

Facebook Algorithm Update Targets Engagement Bait

Facebook announced a new algorithm update today. You already know social media success continues to elude many organizations today. It isn’t hard to understand why: The algorithms governing each social media network are shrouded in mystery, competition for attention is fierce, and it takes significant knowledge to know how to trigger engagement from the audience.

Facebook Algorithm Update: Targeting Engagement Bait

Facebook announced today that they are changing their algorithm so that posts using “engagement bait” are penalized. This effort specifically targets posts from people or Pages that ask readers to “Like” it, vote with a specific emoji reaction, or share it. Facebook has been working to find new ways of keeping its users connected to the platform while balancing the desires of their business users and advertisers.

According to Facebook’s announcement today:

So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.

Additionally, over the coming weeks, we will begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed. We will roll out this Page-level demotion over the course of several weeks to give publishers time to adapt and avoid inadvertently using engagement bait in their posts. Moving forward, we will continue to find ways to improve and scale our efforts to reduce engagement bait.

The goal with this December Facebook algorithm update falls in line with Facebook’s priority in recent years: authenticity. They want content to shared that creates authentic interest and engagement. It is interesting to note that Facebook will penalize people and organizations for engagement baiting behavior. The Arkside team has noticed that whenever they are making an algorithm change to try and squeeze more money out of advertisers, they don’t apply the same standards to people. In this case, they are doing exactly that. This is a sign that they want a better experience, not just more money.

Social Media Best Practices

As a business owner or manager, your social media success depends on working with a team that stays current on social media changes and trends. You can’t risk running afoul of the rules and wasting your invested time and money. This new Facebook algorithm update means that you need to create engaging content that is of true interest to your audience.

If you would like a free consultation on how our accomplished team can improve your social media results, contact our office today!

(Image credit: Facebook)

5
May

Arkside Becomes Social Media Partner with Sprout Social

Early last year, we began a search for our official social media partner. Due to the varied nature of our client list, the sheer number of profiles we managed on a daily basis, and our commitment to cross-media integration, we needed a robust platform that could grow with us and be responsive enough to handle our requests and recommendations. After testing six different platform, including industry leaders Buffer and Hootsuite, Sprout Social was our ultimate choice. Together we have grown over the last year and we are both taking our next great leaps together.

Arkside Marketing is now a Founding Member of the Sprout Social Agency Partner Program!

“But what does that mean for me?” Good question. We’re very excited about the answer!

The Sprout platform has already enabled us to offer incredible results for our clients. Their content curation and posting abilities are strong compliments to our unique, cutting-edge social media strategies. When it comes to social, we strive to be a social media partner. Our clients routinely outperform industry standards for engagement every month. Now we will be working more closely than ever with Sprout and creating new opportunities. These are just some of the tools at our disposal for the benefit of our clients:

  • Direct API access to key social media networks Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+.
  • Sprout’s Viralpost audience engagement analyzer
  • In-platform image editing
  • Employee advocacy support (“brandvocates”)
  • Competitor tracking
  • Keyword monitoring
  • RSS feed integration
  • Post click tracking
  • Google Analytics integration
  • The latest social media industry news, tips, and strategy
  • Case studies and whitepapers
  • Mobile & desktop curation, scheduling, posting, and monitoring
  • Enhanced customer support
  • Access to an exclusive community of social media professionals

From Day 1, Arkside has always believed in treating our media vendors like partners. We treasure our relationships because the media is a partner in the success of our clients. That approach has paid tremendous dividends. This week is another shining example. Sprout has worked with more than 17,000 clients over the last seven years including UPS, Bentley, Hyatt, and Stanford University. They have won more than 25 awards since their founding. We are honored to be chosen in a small group representing less than 0.004% of their client roster to help launch their new Agency Partner Program.

Why Arkside as Your Social Media Partner?

There are thousands of individuals and agencies to choose from that offer social media management. As Founding Members of the Sprout Social Agency Partner Program, we collaborate with their amazing team which elevates our abilities to drive new brand awareness and revenue to your business. We offer expertise in organic and paid social media campaigns. Beyond social, we can analyze, optimize, and integrate other media such as radio, billboards, and Google into your media mix for the best possible ROI on your marketing investment.

For organizations that have an in-house marketing team, we work with seamless collaboration to ensure success. They are a vital element of content development. Our CEO and Digital Coordinator can train your existing staff (once or at regular intervals) on the latest social media best practices, internal process development, crisis management, and employee empowerment.

If you looking for a social media partner to see the best results from social media, contact us today. The consultation is free. We can even perform a confidential audit of your existing vendor to identify potential areas of improvement. Give us a call and let’s explore your possibilities!

26
Apr

Twitter Case Study: How to Reach Customers

Wondering how to engage with your target audience and tap into a larger audience of potential customers? TV is a great way to do it. “But wait,” you say, “isn’t this about Twitter?” The following Twitter case study will show you how Arkside Marketing can use Twitter to harness an engaged TV show audience and make it work for you!

22.1% of adults text friends/family about content while watching it.

By now, you have probably heard of “live tweeting”. Fans from around the world can connect in real-time over their favorite TV series or live event. For advertisers, it is a great way to connect with an audience of loyal, interested fans. Go on Twitter during a Monday night showing of The Bachelor and you’ll see hundreds of thousands people tweeting their dramatic reactions and raw emotions to what is happening on screen. Shows like the Biggest Loser, Scandal, and The Walking Dead have huge audiences that follow along on Twitter.  These are called “multi-screeners”. They utilize two or more screens simultaneously; Twitter and television, in this case. Some shows take matters into their own hands and have cast members live-tweet during the show to enhance the conversation. You can participate and join the conversation as an expert! When done professionally, your involvement can expose you and your business to a new, captivated audience of potential customers.

12.3% of adults Tweet about a show’s content while watching it.

Our goal with this Twitter case study is to show we approach Twitter live-tweets and the benefit it brings our clients.

THE CLIENT

A medically-supervised weight loss program in Riverside, CA.  Their program uses a combination of high quality meal replacements, appetite suppressants, exercise guidance, and dietary management.

THE SITUATION

Part of our strategy for the client was to increase their brand awareness and explore opportunities with new markets. Shortly after the strategy was approved, we learned that the TV show, My Diet Is Better Than Yours, would be airing their season finale. This was a high profile opportunity to introduce the doctor (proprietor of the business) to his unreached audience. The client was briefed on the logistics and agreed.

THE SHOW

My Diet Is Better Than Yours is a television show on ABC that pits weight loss experts and their diets against each other to see who really has the best diet technique for their “patient”. The diets combine diet and exercise to see which diet can yield the highest percentage of body fat lost over the course of 14weeks.

LOGISTICS

The client would watch the show live and text his thoughts to a member of our digital team. These texts would then properly condensed and hashtagged with appropriate account tagging to be tweeted. Our team member would then monitor the account for engagement: Likes, Re-tweets, and inclusion in conversation. They would then reply as appropriate from the client account.

LIVE TWEETING

We live-tweeted the finale of My Diet Is Better Than Yours, which lasted 2 hours. The client was prepared by our team with what type of reactions would work best and how our team would convert his reactions into tweets. Our team member made sure that every tweet contained the hashtag for the show, and made sure to tag appropriate parties in each tweet.  Each tweet went out no more than 60 seconds from when the doctor’s reaction was received. If someone mentioned the client in a tweet, our team member would then engage in a conversation with that person on behalf of the clinic. If any questions came up that needed an expert opinion our team member would promptly text the doctor.

RESULTS

Over the course of the 2 hours we:

  • Sent 82 Tweets
  • Received
    • 66 Likes
    • 23 Re-tweets
    • 4 Replies
  • Generated
    • 12,376 impressions
    • 5 new followers
    • 7 ReTweets and 9 Likes from a Twitter Verified celebrity account
    • 11 Retweets from other stars of the show
    • 13 Likes from other starts of the show
    • Engagement rate of 1.76% (event)
    • Engagement rate of 1.08% (entire month)

This is the highest monthly engagement rate achieved on the client’s account as of this live tweeting event and nearly double the engagement rate of the previous month.

Summary: As you have seen in this Twitter case study, engaging with your target audience can be achieved when done professionally. It takes an understanding of Twitter best practices, experienced staff, and a strong relationship with a client. Most importantly, it can be enjoyable for everyone involved. Seek out the interests of your target market and align your efforts accordingly. Doing so creates a better relationship with your current audience and can help earn new, relevant relationships.


If you would like to learn more about how Arkside Marketing can help your business find success on Twitter and how to integrate with your other marketing efforts, contact our office today. The first consultation is free and we will analyze your social media at no charge.

31
Aug

Facebook Case Study: How to Increase Reach and Engagement

Tired of posting to Facebook and not getting results? This Facebook case study is here to help. Good social media is not something for your receptionist or “any young person” to handle. Facebook for your business is different than having a personal profile. You have goals to sell more widgets, promote your brand, earn new customers, turn loyal customers into fans (more on this later), and increase traffic to your website. To achieve these goals -or any others on social media- you need to understand what works.  You must also be prepared to dedicate multiple hours per day to finding content, sharing images, promoting posts, replying to comments, finding new audiences, and analyzing previous results.

Our goal with this Facebook case study is to show how we approach Facebook management (along with other social media networks) and the results we create for our clients.

THE CLIENT

Craig & Sons Termite & Pest Control, Inc., located in Redlands, CA. Their service area is approximately 35 miles from their office. They are a family owned business for many decades and provide all pest removal and prevention services to residential and commercial clients.

THE SITUATION

Craig & Sons had been working with a national media company (who will go unnamed) that built their website and “managed” their social media. After failing to see any meaningful engagement on Facebook and no other social accounts being used, Craig & Sons was seeking alternatives.  After explaining our approach to Facebook and other social media, we were honored to earn their business.

PRIOR FACEBOOK RESULTS

Posting Schedule: The previous company had no posting schedule. Content seemed to appear randomly: sometimes four posts a week (still less than half of what it should be) and other times once a month. In all cases, the posts would lack any images or video. Just a few sentences of text. This is completely insufficient. According to some studies, the average life of a Facebook post can be only 2.5 hours!

Audience Reach: In the six months preceding our takeover, only three posts ever reached (not engaged, simply reached), more than 100 people. This was on a page with over 250 fans. Two of those posts were posted directly by the client so they can’t be attributed to the media company.

SEO Performance: In the six months preceding our takeover, only four clicks from Google went to their Facebook Page. One substantial benefit of a successful Facebook Page is search engine ranking. Beyond linking to your website and encouraging search engines to boost it on page one, you also have the capability to have your Facebook Page rank on the first page of Google (and other search engines) to knock out a competitor.

Audience Engagement: Reaching an audience is one thing. Getting them to engage with your content and your company is another. Only ONCE did they get an engagement level of 10 people or higher. Half of that engagement was directly attributable to a post from the client.

Summary: Despite having thousands of employees and millions of dollars to develop effective social media strategies for their clients, this company approached social media as less than a hobby. Their client suffered from a wasted investment.

Remember Arkside Rule #1: Always treat marketing as an investment!

THE NEW SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

1) Understand the target market: home owners and property managers, age 35+, located within 1-35 miles of the Craig & Sons office

2a) Create accounts on Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest
2b) Optimize their existing Facebook Page (and the other networks) to include keyword-rich bios and easy-to-find contact information

3) Capitalize on the creepy factor of bugs with visual content and include educational elements so the audience becomes more aware of bugs and other pests, how to prevent infestations, and how Craig & Sons can take care of pest problems

4) Build a posting schedule focusing on the days with the most social traffic, optimizing time-of-day placement

5) Utilize social profiles for engagement, customer retention, and SEO value

6) Posts need to be image and video heavy while still maintaining the traditional “80/20 Rule”

7) Employees were trained on engagement and encouraged to Like the Page (if they had not already)

Date work began: June 6, 2015

NEW FACEBOOK RESULTS

Facebook case studyPosting Schedule: As most people don’t want to hear about bugs on a constant basis -especially a sales pitch about bug killing- we identified the days of the week most relevant to the client’s target audience. On those days, we create 1-2 posts per day. These are scheduled during “prime time” when the audience is most likely to be on. Approximately 20% of those posts in a given week link directly to the client’s website. The remaining 80% are funny, creepy, educational, or otherwise relevant content for the intended audience. Hashtags are included when appropriate as they are now searchable on Facebook.

Beyond Facebook, we also create unique content for Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. These platforms were selected due to their user demographics, capability for visual presentation, and popularity.

As a combined group, all four social channels receive relevant content customized for the intended audience. Twitter receives more posts and Instagram the least. This is based on substantial research regarding how users interact with brands on each network. All four work together to promote a cohesive brand presentation no matter which social network a potential or current customer may discover.

Facebook post reach case studyAudience Reach: Beyond taking their number of Likes to over 300, our relevant organic content now reaches more people each week than previously achieved in a month. This is without a single paid ad or otherwise promoted post. The goal is to provide information that matters to the audience so they Like, Comment, and Share with their friends.

It is worth noting that this new approach, which put much more content in front of the audience than they had seen previously did not result in a single Unlike, Hide Post, or Report as Spam action!

Facebook external referrer case studySEO Performance: The SEO improvement was extremely fast. In just six weeks we saw at least eight clicks to the Facebook Page directly from Google search results. We also began to see traffic from Bing, Yahoo!, AOL, and even LinkedIn. These demonstrate moments in which a competitor may have appeared but had been outranked by Craig & Sons’ Facebook Page.

Audience Engagement: We often describe our “Useless Army” concept to potential clients. It is the idea of having thousands upon thousands of Facebook Fans but none of them actually engage with the Page. No Likes, comments, or shares – or at least very few. So what good is an army of Fans who don’t interact with your posts? In one word: useless.

Facebook Likes, comments, and sharesIt is our goal to encourage engagement so that the Page and its content rank highly on Facebook (i.e. – Recommended Pages) and search engines.

As you can see here, the new content immediately achieved greater engagement across all three measurements: Likes, Comments, and Shares. Such interaction helps Craig & Sons demonstrate expertise in their field, passion for their industry, and a commitment to truly engaging with their audience.  Where the previous company only achieved an engagement level of 10 people or higher one time in six months, we have done it more than a dozen times without any direct client posts. When people have great content to share, you empower them to become “brandvocates”.

What is a “brandvocate”? The term describes anyone not employed by the company that promotes your product or service without compensation. They advocate your brand to their friends and family for one simple reason: they like what you offer. They are a valuable marketing asset because they are genuine, loyal, and provide free word-of-mouth advertising. Social media gives them the ability to do this on a massive scale.

Summary: Success is a direct result of multiple efforts. It requires an understanding of the intended audience, posting schedules based on research and demographics, relevant content curated and shared by people, better search engine optimization, and new levels of audience engagement.


If you would like to learn more about how Arkside Marketing can help your business find success on Facebook or other social media, contact our office today. The first consultation is free and we will analyze your social media at no charge.

29
Dec

Law Firm Badly Disavows Racist Commercial

Cardinal sin of advertising: racism.

Divine blessing of advertising: a good ad agency.

The law firm of McCutcheon & Hammer seems to be the unfortunate victims of advertising that they didn’t want. According to them, they didn’t even pay for it. Or ask for it. A commercial production company created the offensive ad below using a horrible Asian stereotype character and it was uploaded to the firm’s YouTube channel. Check it out below (on the production company’s YouTube channel) and then scroll down for updates since the video was discovered last week.

Things got weird once the video went viral. The law firm claimed that it never commissioned the video and that their YouTube channel was hacked. It is a fair assumption that a local TV production company doesn’t have the ability to “hack” YouTube (which is owned and secured by Google). So let’s assume the law firm is using some legalese and hinging the accuracy of their statement on the first part of the statement. They never commissioned this particular video and, therefore, never authorized it being uploaded to YouTube.

Since both sides make opposing claims and the ad involves a very derogatory portrayal of Asians, the Natiaonl Asian Pacific American Bar Association has looked into the situation and made some odd discoveries:

1) Neither party is willing to produce documentation to support their claim.
2) Neither party is eliminating the idea that someone pretending to work for the law firm is responsible. (If this is true, the production company is disastrously negligent in their client authorization process!)
3) The video is still online.
4) The law firm has not followed through with any threat to sue the production company.
5) This is still very bad PR for the law firm and production company.

All that said, the judgment on this one is bad all the way around. The production company makes junk, and racist junk at that. The law firm has done terrible damage control. If this were professionally handled at the onset, it would have been cleanly wrapped up and the reputation of the firm would still be in tact. Such is not the case today.

23
Dec

Decline in Facebook Page Organic Reach

It isn’t a rumor, nor is it a conspiracy. Facebook organic reach has been slashed. Facebook has admitted to changing its algorithm so businesses (or anyone else with a Page) are forced to pay if they want their posts to be seen. While most businesses saw a decline to about 15-20% organic reach last year, many are now reaching only 2%. In the case of the Arkside Marketing Facebook Page, we are seeing 5-8% consistently.

Facebook has become the bridge troll with a pay-to-play model.

General Motors Called Facebook’s Bluff

The origin of this change reaches back about a year and a half. Facebook had one billion users and was the place to be. Many Fortune 500 companies were clamoring to get on the bandwagon but still hadn’t figured out how. Even at the end of 2012, only 66% of the F500 were on Facebook, let alone using it effectively.

But in May 2012, General Motors’ firebrand CMO, Joel Ewanick, made the decision to fire their social media agency of record and stop all advertising on Facebook. Quick way to save $10 million. The stated reasoning was that they didn’t see any substantial return on their investment so they would stop advertising and continue with their organic Facebook Page fan base of a few million followers.

Even with Facebook making it impossible for brands to reach 100% of their followers, most were still seeing what you posted. Why advertise? Faceb0ok was cannibalizing itself. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

Not only did they just eliminate themselves as a top Facebook advertiser (and revenue source), but they did this the week Facebook had their IPO. Ouch.

We believe Joel was right.

Ewanick and General Motors exposed the flaw in Facebook’s plan. Spending wasn’t necessary because people were organically finding, Liking, and sharing brand content.

Facebook had to fix the giant hole in the ship. Now you have to pay to get on board.

Effect on the Facebook Page for Business

Post-IPO, Facebook has been under immense public pressure (especially from our own Founder who has had issues with the platform). They have been busy addressing their failure on mobile devices and an unfriendly ad platform. Organic results were odd also. For many years, it has been frustrating for businesses on Facebook because they are treated badly. Even when a customer says they “Like” a business, Facebook doesn’t see that as permission to show your content. In their belief, just because a customer says they “Like” something, that doesn’t really mean they want to see anything from it.

In high school, guys wanted “no” to mean “yes”.
On Facebook, “yes” actually means “no”.

Now, “yes” actually means “no way in hell”. So what is a business to do? According to Facebook, a business is to pay for ads.
“Your brand can fully benefit from having fans when most of your ads show social context, which increases advertising effectiveness and efficiency“.

Perhaps the most offensive and glaring admission is this:
“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.

If someone tells you they like something and you block them from seeing it, how does that equal a meaningful experience?

Social Media Sharing Options

1) Save Money and Reach Fewer People
There are many social media agencies and managers that we have spoken to whom have told us they will be focusing less of their time (and their client’s money) on Facebook Pages. In their view, the task of reaching a fan base is so time consuming and expensive that better results can be found on other social media or even traditional media.

2) Spend Money and Reach More People
Other social media agencies and managers have said they will pay, if necessary. Facebook wants to command paid media and may be a force that is too large to ignore. For those companies with substantial followings in the thousands or hundreds of thousands, a marketing investment may be a wise decision.

At Arkside Marketing, we have  saying, “advertising is an investment. If it is only an expense, you are doing it wrong.”

3) Leave Facebook
Yes, we’re serious. For some businesses, the Facebook Page organic reach may have provided a nice bump in social interaction, but their new model decreases the return that could possibly be achieved. Could that time be better spent on other social platforms such as Twitter or the SEO-friendly Google+?

In the spirit of full disclosure, we have not recommended that any of our clients abandon Facebook. Each of them can continue to successfully reach their audience, but to a smaller degree. We also plan to continue our own Facebook presence, but will reduce our advertising to large announcements.

Facebook In The Future

Although we agree with his decision, we blame Joel Ewanick for this. Ultimately, it would have occurred anyway. Facebook had to realize their shortcoming. But now that it is here, what will your business choose? The pay-to-play model is here to stay, mainly because it doesn’t seriously infringe on Facebook’s main product: its users.

Contact Us

If you would like an objective evaluation of your social media presence and strategy, contact our office.

26
Nov

Facebook Star Rating System Mystery

By now, it is no surprise that Facebook has launched another feature without much explanation of how it works. They do this with EdgeRank updates and advertising options. Of course, privacy glitches features have been repeatedly changed without explanation as well.

Almost Nothing Added to Facebook Help

In this case, Facebook unveiled a new 5-star rating system for business Pages and at least two weeks have gone by since any details have emerged from the Menlo Park headquartered company. The star ratings appear under a business name on their Page and seem to be visible to all Facebook users.

This is what we know from the two questions Facebook has added to its help section:

  • For a business to be rated, it must add an address to its profile
  • Businesses can remove their ratings by removing their address from their profile
  • Comments can accompany ratings, but they are not required

Unanswered Star Rating Questions

Other than showing the rating to the public, Facebook has not shared what this means to the Page owner.

1) Does a score impact how a Page appears in search results?
2) Why not show how many ratings have been received?
3) Are mobile and desktop ratings scored equally?
4) Are any filters applied to “score” ratings? (i.e. – John Smith has 1,000 friends and reviews many businesses…will his rating be worth more than Jane Doe who has 100 friends and rates 1 business a year?)
5) How are false reviews flagged/responded to/deleted?

As we said, these important issues are not being addressed so the system is of little value to businesses today.

Another Voice for Customer Service

However, there are some noteworthy elements about the project in general. The Facebook star rating seems designed to infringe on the business models of companies like Yelp and FourSquare. By connecting a rating system to a business’ Facebook Page, it reduces the need of someone to leave and see how they rank on another site. It also mimics the Page/Places/Local integration currently being attempted by Google on their Google+ social media platform.

It is the integration that is key. Social media sites are continuing to explore new options to integrate themselves into a user’s daily life. It also puts another focus on customer service within a business and making that reportable to the public. More and more, businesses are being forced to provide better experiences because each customer has a voice.

Facebook alone has 1.1 billion voices.

The new rating system is yet another element that must be incorporated into a business’ reputation management and overall social media efforts. They must solicit reviews from current customers, monitor their star rating, and promote a four or five star score.

26
Sep

Twitter Study: Online Tweets Drive Offline Sales

In case you haven’t heard, Twitter plans to go public with an IPO sometime in 2014. Cheekily, they made this announcement in a tweet. Now they are under intense pressure to prove their value. How can Twitter be profitable? Can it grow? Can it help business? How will it attract advertisers? With a recent blog post, Twitter has set out to prove that tweets drive offline sales.

Majority of Sales are Still Offline

Twitter partnered with Datalogix to determine the impact Promoted Tweets (and tweeting in general) had on offline sales. Despite the surging popularity of social media with businesses and their consumers, 94% of purchases in America are still made offline, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

So how can businesses use Twitter to impact their offline sales?

Promoted Tweets, according to Twitter.

How Twitter Impacts Offline Sales

The logic is fairly simple but execution is key. Tweeting is about condensing any idea or action into a message of 140 characters or less. The people that see those messages have just become a branding audience and, in most cases, the goal is to move from branding to action. You want people to act on the information or call-to-action you provide.

When 35 CPG brands were studied, it was determined that Promoted Tweets (one of Twitter’s advertising products) directly correlated to a 12% sales lift offline. Also impressive, organic Tweets helped push an 8% offline sales lift.

Impressed? Wait, there’s more. (We’re not cheerleaders for Twitter. This just happens to be excellent marketing data that we believe can help our clients achieve great success in social media and gaining incremental sales. You want to sell more, right?)

Twitter’s data also showed that customers exposed to Promoted Tweets bought 29% more than customers who were only exposed to organic Tweets.

Measuring Social Media Impact

Twitter has helped advance the measurement metrics of online promotion affecting offline sales. It is a critical tool for any brand who seeks to grow their business with the inclusion of social media in their marketing mix. Verifiable sales are an element of measurement, just like website traffic, online buzz, or media coverage.

Facebook also had a recent announcement about conversion from online ads to offline purchases. This segment continues to grow and should not be ignored.

Summary

It is becoming more difficult for skeptics to deny the importance of social media in marketing. Its importance has been documented for SEO objectives and its genuine dollars-and-cents value is being better quantified every day. If you would like to learn more about effective social media and how it can lift your sales, please contact Arkside today.

16
Sep

Google SEO Has Social Media as 7 of Top 10 Factors

It was recently reported by Searchmetrics that Google is strongly prioritizing social media activities in their ranking algorithm. This knowledge should have profound implications in the SEO strategy of your company and how you include social media in your overall online plans. The SEO strategy you have built with your Arkside consultants incorporates this information already and we encourage you to utilize these best practices in your social media efforts.

Social Media Factors for Google SEO

Seven of the top 10 factors in a website’s rank involve social media. They are:

1) Google +1
2) Facebook Shares
4) Facebook Total
5) Facebook Comments
6) Facebook Likes
7) Pinterest
8) Tweets

The importance of social media elements has been a growing trend in Google’s SEO algorithm and 2013 seems to reinforce that notion. Although backlinks continue to remain vital, there are other factors which have decreased in importance such as keywords links and domains. It is interesting to note that Google is specifically including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, while ignoring LinkedIn which is a hub of deep knowledge on nearly every possible industry. We’ll have to see how or if this evolves over time. When sharing your content on social media, remember that people don’t want to see you talk about yourself all day. For every 7-10 social media posts you make, one should be about you.

Content is Still King for On-Site Google SEO

Also of note in the report are the on-site elements Google is looking for. It is no surprise that “content is still king” and Google wants websites to create unique content that is valuable to the intended audience. As a contrary example, the Arkside Marketing blog is filled with information about the company, areas of marketing, best practices, and client profiles. If we suddenly began blogging about fishing or the latest updates to IRS tax code, Google might devalue our site for being grossly off-topic. Ensure your website has fresh, unique, and quality content in order to build your authority on your topic(s). These are the on-site factors examined by Google:

  1. Number of internal links
  2. HTML length
  3. Keywords in body
  4. Keywords in external links
  5. Text character length
  6. Internal link is self-referential
  7. Keyword in internal link
  8. Number of external links
  9. Image count
  10. Keyword in H2

Backlinks Required, But Remain Cautious

Missing from the first list in this blog post is #3 – Number of backlinks. Google still considers this to be a critical metric of your authority on a particular subject. If you have good content, Google assumes people will like it, link to it, and share it publicly via their own site or social media channels.  This does not mean you should implement any “black hat” SEO techniques and create blog farms filled with backlinks to your site. White hat techniques are still the unarguably best way to achieve Google SEO success.

Summary

While Google hasn’t made many dramatic shifts in their ranking priority from last year to this year, social media has climbed in importance and must remain a key factor in your online strategies. Use social media to promote the high-quality, unique content on your site and encourage people to distribute that content via backlinks and social media sharing. This is how you will achieve digital success.

10
Sep

3 Ways Direct Response Advertising Can Sell After Hours

When the doors to the office are locked for the evening, that never means you have to stop receiving phone calls, generating website traffic, receiving emails, or educating your customers. There are many ways that your direct response advertising campaign can continue to sell after hours. Advertising is an investment and, like your money, it should always be working for you.

Let us pretend your company sells mattresses. You have three showrooms within 200 miles of each other and they are open 9am – 6pm seven days per week. Your website shows your full product catalog along with information about your company and how to contact any store.  You are currently running a radio ad campaign and 20% of your commercials are running from 8pm – 12 midnight. (Don’t worry. You got these for free as a result of our negotiating.) You also have a television campaign running from 4pm – 12 midnight, a YouTube channel, Facebook Page, Twitter feed, Google AdWords, and a long-term SEO strategy.

How do you continue to sell after 6pm?

After Hours Call Center Services

Your radio and television ads include a phone number. But after 6pm, you don’t have a live body in the office to answer it. That is no reason to stop your customer from calling after hours. There are many call center services with locations around the world (remember the time difference) that can provide professional operators to take calls for your business after hours. They speak proficient, sometimes fluent or native, English, and can be trained to follow your company protocol for greeting and working with after hours calls. This can include instruction on what to do with urgent calls and whom to reach. Messages can be taken and delivered via fax or email for convenience.

They can also direct customers to your website and/or social media networks, which we will cover in the next sections. Always remember that your staff and marketing media should be a resource to the customer.

Website Live Chat

Your direct response advertising should include a reference to your website. And your website has a live chat operator, right? If your answer was “no”, we hope there is a great reason because a live chat operator can help you move more mattresses when your brick and mortar is closed. According to a 2010 Forrester Research study on live chat, “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.

In addition to answering questions just before or even during someone’s purchasing process on your site, live chat also offers specific after hours benefits. If most or all of your competitors are lacking a website live chat feature, you are in a unique position to help your customers AND sell to them while your competition waits for 8am the next morning.

Live chat is also a great means of reducing cost-per-sale.

  1. Online conversations cost less than a phone call.
  2. Call/chat center employees can handle multiple chat sessions at a time, but only one phone call at a time.

Customers hate waiting. By allowing your employees to multitask, you can substantially reduce the backlog on your phone system during the day (not to mention reduce call volume dramatically) and increase the overall number of customers who received support.

Finally – use it in your advertising! Promote your competitive advantage of having help available 24 hours a day, especially if that is when your advertising is running.

Social Media Conversations

It isn’t wasted time or space to include social media in your direct response advertising if you can help questions and sell mattresses via social media. In much the same way live chat can help you sell after hours, so can social media, but with more opportunities. Live chat requires initiation by the user on some level to begin the relationship. All of the social media sites give your business the opportunity to start a relationship, answer questions, promote a new mattress line, or offer advice.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A recent study showed that Google prioritizes social media factors in its calculations for search rankings. Seven of the top 10 factors involve social media. If for no other reason, make sure your company is using social media to enhance its own rankings in search. Never make it a challenge for customers to find you, especially after hours when customers have plenty of time to search and choose between you and your competitors.

Content is also critical for SEO and customer engagement. No one wants to see a Facebook Page or Twitter feed filled with self-promotion. Talk about events in your community, share interesting and RELEVANT photos and videos, and create contests to prompt customer engagement. These are a few of the things you can do that will earn a customer’s attention while they try to learn more about you and your mattresses in the wee hours of the night.

After Hours Staffing

Ensure that your staff or an outside vendor are monitoring your social media networks after hours. They should have the ability to respond to messages, reTweet, share information, and assist customers with making purchases on your website. The goal is to be far more than an answering service taking messages for someone to handle in the morning.

Your social media team should be thoroughly familiar with your website. This is vital so they can direct customers to the right page at the right time. For example, a customer wants to know how many years a mattress will last. Your social media team should send that person to a Testimonials page about the mattress line, not a description of the features. (Of course, if your product page has testimonials on it, that is okay.)

Summary

There is no reason you need to wait for your doors to open to sell. Utilize your after hours direct response advertising to direct your potential customers to the places they can find answers. With these three techniques, you can successfully and cost-efficiently sell your product or services after hours.