How to Gain Followers on Twitter

How to Gain Followers on Twitter

Do you have Twitter followers that aren’t very relevant to your industry? Do they seem random?

Twitter ads can help you gain followers, but sometimes the problem (like with Facebook advertising) is that these followers are not quite relevant to your industry or business. So what are some ways to gain quality Twitter followers without spending money on Twitter Ads?

There are over 30 million articles on the web about gaining Twitter followers and many of them give some great ways to increase your following. Here are some ways I prefer to use to gain quality, relevant Twitter followers:

  • Take some time and look at people’s profiles or their content to figure out who is relevant to your industry. Once you’ve identified these people, follow them and even try to interact with them. For example, find a person that writes blog posts relevant to your content, re-post one of their articles and tag them.
  • Make a list of the top influencers on Twitter in your field. Twitter lists are wonderful – you can keep them private or make them public. Create a list to place your top influencers on. Once you have the list, try to interact with these people. At first, they may ignore you but with persistence they’ll most likely interact with you, helping you gain recognition.
  • Monitor key words relevant to your industry and search for tweets that include these words. You can also connect with people who have similar interests to your target audience using the free service ManageFlitter. This service allows you to search for key words in peoples bios and then follow them. ManageFlitter is a program we here at ME Marketing use quite frequently.
  • Add a Twitter icon to your email signature with a hyper-link to your page. This way, people you’re emailing can easily find you on Twitter or even Facebook. Make sure your Twitter and other social media accounts are easily accessible from your website with a social media bar at the top of the webpage.
  • Join a Twitter chat to interact with other users who are in your same industry. Twitter chats happen every day for all different fields and interests. Find one related to you and start networking. iSocialfanz has a great page about Tweet Chats. Brian Fanzo, who is iSocialFanz (you can follow him here) even has a calendar of marketing-related Tweet Chats that you can subscribe to and participate in.

Don’t forget to give your followers a reason to follow you, become follow-worthy by continuously posting about useful and informative industry topics. Make sure you’re posting content that is worth publishing and that your targeted audience will be interested in.

Gaining industry relevant followers on Twitter doesn’t happen overnight but it can make a huge impact on the social media success of your business.

What are some ways you use to gain quality followers?

The First Step to Success in Social Marketing

The First Step to Success in Social Marketing

I have figured out the key to success for social media marketing!

Sounds like some slimy sales pitch you’d hear on TV, right?

Well, maybe so, but after some years in this industry, the main key to any social success is simple.

It’s know your purpose, know your “why”.

Simple enough, right? Not really.

Knowing your “why” in using social media is the one crucial element that will make or break your social media marketing.

Knowing your “why” is knowing your purpose in using social media for your business.

Are you using social marketing for leads? Sales? Exposure? You cannot function without knowing your purpose in using this tool we’ve been blessed (or cursed) with. This is THE first step in formulating your business’ social media strategy.

To figure out your “why”, ask yourself these questions…

  • What is motivating me to pursue social marketing for my business?
  • Do I have a community online?
  • What do I want to achieve most from social marketing – is it sales? leads? exposure? be famous?
  • Am I using this for one event or promotion or to create an online community of raging fans?

After you’ve answered those (or other questions), write out your purpose. For example, it could be “My reason for using social media is to create an online presence to enhance the visibility of my business.” or “My reason for using social media is to drive traffic to my website.”

Writing this out will make it more official – it will be your social marketing mission statement.

Everything done on social media should be done with purpose. You should have a reason for every post you publish.  Every picture your post. Everytime you type a single world. All of this needs to point back to your “why” statement. In fact, everything needs to go back to this.

If you never figure this out, then you’ll never be successful in your social marketing efforts.

Have you figured out your “why”?

Social Media for Business: 3 of the Best Things About It

Without a doubt, social media has revolutionized the way people – and businesses – communicate. Maybe even more so than the telephone did, way back in the day. Every day, we find new and potentially better ways to incorporate social media into our daily lives. On the flip side, the major platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.), are continually developing enhancements and improvements. They do so in hopes of winning and retaining their users.

This certainly bodes well for businesses that plan to use, or are already using, social media as part of their marketing strategy. Social media for business is growing more popular – just as it has for individuals. Even though some people still consider social media for business to be a passing fad or trend, most of us know better by now. Stats, such as the following via Buffer, show how social media usage is only growing:

  1. The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket. This demographic has grown 79% since 2012.
  2. Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn….yes, every second.
  3. 93% of marketers use social media for business.

The numbers don’t lie, right? But what is it exactly that makes social media for business so appealing? With so many people using it already, and with so many more joining in on a daily basis, there must be plenty of good reasons.

These are 3 of the best things about social media for business:

Social media for business costs less than traditional marketing

Traditional marketing often requires a good-sized budget for funding activities such as printing and mailing marketing brochures, or hiring people to make phone calls. Many businesses are learning that marketing via social media, by comparison, costs much less – at least monetarily. As Megan Conley states in her recent article for Social Media Examiner,

Traditional marketing can be a drain on your funds. Social media marketing, on the other hand, is pretty low-cost and gives you a direct line to current and prospective customers.

Social media for business provides online consumers with more information…and provides more exposure for brands

As noted above, people are joining social media at nearly astronomical rates…and the numbers are growing on a daily basis. The brands that are regularly engaging and interacting with their followers on social media have advantages over the others that aren’t. Social media for business is efficient and effective “word of mouth” marketing. It reveals benefits to brands in the forms of increased traffic to their websites and more leads generated.

Social media offers efficient and easy networking and communication for businesses of all sizes

Social media makes it easy to network with anyone in the world, at any time of day. Virtual meetings and communications will never completely replace the experience of face-to-face meetings. However, they do have plenty of other benefits, including saved time and money.

Effective communication is important in every business, big and small. The expansion of social networking has thrown open the door for corporations of any size to build a strong network of loyal customers. The Internet is swelling with online communities, discussions groups, forums, tweets and fan pages, all ready to sing the praises of any business working online.

~ Be Social Worldwide

 

Over to you

Are you using social media for your business? What things do you think are best about it?

Why Should I Hire Someone to Handle My Social Marketing?

Ask Mandy Q&A: Why Should I Hire Someone to Handle My Social Marketing?

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.
Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

Just about every business has a place on the social sphere. Whether it’s a retail business on Pinterest or a night spot on Twitter – there is something for everyone. Handling social marketing to promote those businesses on that platform is something else. Most business owners try and slack off because of lack of time. Some just have no clue where to start. This brings me to this week’s question –

Why should I hire someone to handle my social marketing and where should I look?

For businesses today, you need to have someone experienced handling your social marketing. Things change so fast and often without notice, it’s hard for business owners to keep up. I’m going to cut right to it. Here are four reasons you should hire someone…

  • This is one person who is dedicated to expanding your brand online.
    • Your SMM (social marketing manager) will be the one who seeks out new followers and fans.  They market you online to their network and friends.  Your SMM will be your business’ cheerleader.
  • You will have someone to respond and engage with your customers/clients for you.
    • Around 85-90% of posts on business’ Facebook pages are not responded to.  Your SMM will respond to each post, tweet or Google+ share.  People want to be acknowledged.  With a SMM, they will be and a relationship will be built.  Social media is called SOCIAL media, right?
  • They take the think-work over for you.
    • Ahh, they work so you don’t have to think!  SMMs create exciting content that prompts response.  With some direction from the business owner or not, they will shoulder the majority the work for you. I see it as a partnership, so do expect to participate in some manner.

and most importantly…

  • They free up your time to do what you love to do – run your business!
    • What business owner wouldn’t want more time to help run their business?  With a SMM, they do exactly that.  You won’t get stuck on Pinterest for 3 hours looking at home decor or recipes (oh come, you know you do!) while you’re supposed to be entering yesterday’s sales!

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  The internet is crawling with social marketing professionals, but I suggest you do your homework first.  Look for someone with experience and has a good following on all the social platforms.  When investing money in this, you want to make sure they are qualified and are reputable.  Your business depends on it.

Okay, so where do find someone?  Here are my suggested steps:

1.  Start with LinkedIn.

Search various related keywords such as “social media strategist”, “social media consultant” or “social media manager”.  It will pull a list of professionals in those fields.  You can tailor it to your geographic area or it can be worldwide.  LinkedIn gives you a great way to look at each person or company.  You can see their work experience, their social media links and recommendations.  After finding a candidate on LinkedIn, check out their other profiles – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+.  You want someone who is practicing what they preach. This is key. There are a lot of fakes out there claiming to be experts. Don’t fall for it.

2. Look at all of their profiles…carefully.

I just said there are fakes out there. Take a look at all of their social profiles. Are they claiming to be an expert, yet only have 25 Twitter followers? Do they say they are the leading thought-leader yet only have a single blog post to show for it? Make sure they are walking the talk. If they give you some bullcrap about how they put their clients first and don’t have time for their own business, call them out on it! THEIR business is their first client. If they can’t take care of themselves, how do you think they will take care of you!?!

3.  Once you have someone you are interested in working with, schedule a time to talk.

You want to get to know the person you chose.  They need to get to know you and your business so they can accurately represent you and your business.  You want your social marketing manager to understand the tone of the business.  Do you take a more humorous approach?  Maybe you are quite serious.  If you are a medical business, your social marketing (or media) manager needs to understand how HIPAA plays in to it.

If you do not have any social media profiles set up, you and your prospective manager can go over where you need to be and how often you need to post.

Some things to consider:

  • Where are your customers – do they tweet?  mainly hang out on Facebook?
  • What are some peak times to post – is your market on at night?  lunchtime?
  • How much guidance are you going to give your social media manager?  Will you give him/her a list of specials or promotions?  Links to websites to pull information from?

4.  Make sure everything is put on the table and be open-minded!

You will want transparency in this relationship.  Tell him/her your expectations, goals and ideas.  Be open to ideas they may come up with.  Sometimes the most successful promotions are those that are outside of the box.  Tell him/her you expect honesty from them – if something isn’t working, have them tell you.  Occasionally you may have to switch strategies until you find the one that works.

If I have left something out, please add it in the comment section! I’d love to get your feedback.

 

Do YOU have a question about social media for businesses? Simply click here to ask!

Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

5 Ways Millennials Can Use LinkedIn

5 Ways Millennials Can Use LinkedIn

As a member of the millennial generation, I have become well versed in the language of social media. So much so, that colloquial such as “hashtag” has been integrated into my speech.

However the one outlet of social media that I feel my generation neglects is LinkedIn.

For millennials who are naive to LinkedIn it is essentially a social networking site used by professionals to connect with one another. It has been proven by many companies to be quite successful in promoting their brand and mission. It has also been revolutionary in the workforce during an economic recession by forming connections all across the world without the expense.

To many, it may seem as though LinkedIn is just for (dare I say it?) old people.  However this is a fallacy. There are incredible benefits to young professionals who properly use LinkedIn, especially when entering the work force.

However, in order to reap the benefits, you must utilize it to its full potential.

Don’t be shy

Have a clean cut and professional picture of yourself. If an employer can put a name with a face, then you already are more memorable than those who have a mysterious grey avatar.

Make it personal

When completing your profile, make sure you make it unique to YOU. Add skills and experience that are important and personal. Showcase your accomplishments and make yourself stand out.

Keep it current

Attempt to refrain from jobs you may have had in high school that have little to no relevance to the future job you hope to land one day. Saying that you gained some wicked biceps from scooping ice cream at the local ice cream shop might be a good thing to leave out.

CONNECT

What is social networking without connecting to people? After all, LinkedIn is essentially a professional Facebook. However it is important to realize that in order to maximize your presence and professional outcomes, you must be picky about whom you connect with. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is not a place to connect with someone who is a friend of a friend. Be smart about who and what you connect with.

Use it

Intimidating though it may be, using LinkedIn is the only way it will benefit you. Showing that you are active on LinkedIn gives employers the notion that you are engaged and aspire to have your professional career skyrocket.

Being in your mid to late twenties and entering into the “real world” can be unnerving. The thought of moving back in with mom and dad petrifies you, but so does the thought of being on your own. Make it easier on yourself and do what you do best, socialize and network, and you will profit from the benefits of a successful career.

Do Your Posts Scream “Buy! Buy! Buy!”

Do Your Posts Scream -Buy! Buy! Buy!--As a marketing major, I spend most of my spare time looking at blogs and browsing Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to catch up on the latest marketing news.

Overtime, I’ve started to notice most companies use their social media accounts to sell their products or services. I know you’re thinking of course they do, why else would they be using social media? I agree, companies should use social media to create brand awareness and recognition. However, the problem comes when companies only post content trying to sell their products.

Promotional messages and advertisements try to reach consumers 24/7. As a society, we cannot watch television, browse the internet, or even check Twitter without seeing an advertisement. Advertisers are also trying to come up with even more inconspicuous ways to advertise products because the old methods aren’t working anymore.

Consumers have become annoyed with the constant promotional messages and they have begun to tune them out. Think about it, when you’re watching TV and a commercial comes on, most people get on their phones or run out of the room to get a snack. People drive by billboards barely looking at them and when commercials come on the radio they just switch the station. People do pay attention to ads but they use social media as an escape.

Consumers primarily use social media to connect with friends and catch up on the latest news. People tend to divert from posts using hard sales tactics to get them to buy a product. For example, I used to follow a local hair salon on Instagram. They would always post photos showing haircuts they did with a caption about calling them for an appointment. I eventually unfollowed them because I felt like I wasn’t getting anything out of their posts.

I’ve also been following a beauty company called Birchbox on Instagram (see below). Their posts are informative and interactive. They’ll post pictures of products and ask their followers what other products they would suggest. Their posts range from tips and tricks, to contests, to different hairstyles they think their followers should try out. Some of their posts promote products they sell in their shop and most of the time I’m more inclined buy them because I trust the company. This trust comes from feeling that instead of just trying to sell me a product, the company has my best interest at heart.


Since consumers are turned off by blogs and social media accounts that scream “buy buy buy”, how can you use social media to your advantage?

Users want to feel like they are getting something out of your posts and businesses need to focus their content on interacting with users. Posting consistently and interacting can make a world of difference. So if one of your followers comments or replies to your post, respond to them or ‘favorite’ the post. Most companies make the mistake of being a pusher instead of engaging with users and creating brand loyalty.

How do you keep your posts from screaming “buy! buy! buy!”?

Ask Mandy Q&A: Tips for Social Media Time Management

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.
Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

 

Join me in raising your hand if you’ve gone onto Facebook to check on a page or logged into Pinterest and 3 hours later come up for air and have gotten nothing done!

Sadly, we’ve all been there.

The question I received recently had to do with time management –

How can I effectively manage my social media time?

There are many ways to answer that question, so here are my tips to more effectively manage the time you have for social media…

AUTOMATE!

Yes, I know you’re being told to NOT do this, it is perfectly okay to automate some of your social media actions. You cannot automate real-time interactions and engagement, so keep that in mind. HootsuiteSprout Social and Buffer are three popular scheduling platforms.  All of these allow you to schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.

What do I suggest?  Take about 1 hour, once a week, to schedule your content for the next week.  You can then spend the rest of your time responding and interacting!

PLAN AHEAD!

If you have a goal to blog 1-2 times per week, dedicate time each week to spend writing and scheduling those posts.  This will save you from the “oh crud” moment you have when you realize you are suppose to have a post up in 12 hours!  WordPress sites have scheduling functions within them to schedule a post for the future.

The plan ahead suggestion applies to more than just blogging – plan ahead as much as you can for everything.  This will keep your organized and in a routine.

DON’T DO IT ALL.

Yes, I did just say you do not have to do everything.  Many businesses think they need to have a presence on every.single.platform when in reality, they don’t.  If you know your target market posts on Facebook more than any other, then concentrate on that one.  There is no sense in wasting your time updating 5 or 6 social media platforms when your customers are only on Facebook or Twitter.

Concentrating on those platforms that your target market is on and forgetting about the rest will free up a lot of time.  Trust me, it easy to lose time on these platforms – just stick with what works!

Also, outsource the things you aren’t great at. This could be bookkeeping, graphic design, even blogging. You’ll save time and energy and stress.

TIME YOURSELF.  

Decide how much time you want to spend on each platform and then set a kitchen timer or an alarm on your smartphone to buzz when your time is up.  For example, if you want to set aside 30 minutes per day on Facebook, set the timer to start when you do and then it will let you know when your 30 minutes is up.  At that time, move on to something else.  I know of several who do this and swear by it.  Placing a time limit can force you to concentrate on what you need to do and get it done.

By implementing these tips, you will find your time better managed and your product increased.

What tips would you give to better manage your time?  Comment below, I’d love to hear them!

 

Do YOU have a question about social media for businesses? Simply click here to ask!

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Living in the Moment with Social Media

living in the moment with social media (3)Recently I heard the argument that my generation, that of the millennials, spend too much time ‘capturing’ the moment as opposed to living ‘in’ the moment. We are too caught up with making sure our social media is depicting the fun we are having instead of fully experiencing the fun.

As condescending or negative as this argument may appear, I believe it is 100 percent valid.

But, is this a bad thing?

My generation has grown up side-by-side with social media and have developed hand-in-hand. As social media created more outlets for sharing, we developed the skills to use them. As social media offered ways to feed our narcissism, we were happy to oblige.

However, is this truly narcissism or censoring our social media to make it seem like we are having a great time 24/7?

Yes and no.

An article by Nina Friend in the Huffington Post states ways Millennials can take back their lives. In her article, she states “we [millennials] care more about our cyber selves than our actual selves” and that “we have the ability to remove unattractive photos from our Facebook timelines so our friends only see us when we look good.”

Social media has made the photo album obsolete. Why would I, an average person, waste time and money to capture photos, print them, and organize them in a photo album I can only share with those I come into direct contact with to? I wouldn’t. And being that the virtual photo album has replaced that of the physical, why would anyone keep bad pictures? I cannot think of one instance of my parents keeping bad photos in their albums, so why should my generation do the same? Yes it can be perceived as narcissistic editing, but we are not the first generation to do so.

With the ease of sharing and uploading, my generation uses social media as the new diary and photo album. We can share what we want with ourselves and the world with immediate gratification. Yes, there is a bit of Pavlov’s dog experiment where with each upload, we like to receive the notification, but what it really comes down to is ease of access and recording our lives for later, nostalgic review.

Friend continues in her article saying we need to “focus on the experience, not the reaction” with reaction referring to the social media response to our depictions of what we are doing. If anything, I am a prime example. I take pictures on my phone all the time because I never know when I will want to relive the experience or show someone what I saw later. Is it necessary to take pictures all the time? Probably not. Have I been asked by my own family why I take so many pictures? Definitely yes. But maybe one day I’ll upload them in a fit of nostalgia or I’ll think of the perfect caption and upload the picture to social media so I can share my experiences with others. Regardless of my picture taking, I guarantee I’ll brainstorm a caption for approximately five minutes before uploading to ensure the most amount of people appreciate the fact I am sharing an event in my life through the form of ‘likes’.

Friend makes very valid points such as if you find yourself doing something just to prove to others that you did it, rethink your intentions. Now this is where it gets tricky. Yes social media has taken the new form of diaries and photo albums as far as recording our day-to-day activities, but this goes back to the Pavlov narcissism we’ve developed thanks to “likes,” “favorites,” etc.  [Tweet “As long as we can upload our lives with ease, we will be victims to the notification in some form in a bitter sweet combination of necessity and narcissism.”]

From my interaction with other generations personally, I have found that millennials are leading the crusade into virtual recording, Generation Z (those born after 2000) are following the example of the Millennials and getting involved with social media at younger ages (sometimes before double digits). Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) is constantly playing catch-up. Trying to maintain the same proficiency as the younger generations to maintain a sense of being tech savvy and youthful. Lastly, Generation Baby Boomer (1946 – 1964) and the Mature Generation (1927 – 1945) share some of the ‘catch-up’ traits of Generation X, but mostly only keep up with social media – if at all – because their siblings, children, or peers have pressured them into using it because they feel like they have to.

The above description is exemplified at all of my family functions. My cousins born in the 80’s and 90’s check our social media or tweet about the occasion, those born in the 2000’s talk about pop culture and Instagram, my dad and his siblings discuss the ease of access of Facebook and keeping in touch with old classmates/keeping an eye on their own and each other’s children – my dad proudly resisting the ‘need’ for any form of social media, and my grandparents sharing the Facebook page my aunt made for my grandma but having no clue how to use it other than scrolling and accidentally ‘liking’ something from time to time.

The generation prior to us took photographs, we take (profile, Facebook, Instagram) pictures. The generation before us kept journals and diaries, we maintain blogs and tweets. The argument is not whether we are living in the moment or not. As technology has progressed to virtual foundations, so have our tools to record our lives.

The Hashtag Milestone

I recently went to a wedding that made me realize the practicality and cool-factor a simple hashtag could have.

At the wedding, guests were encouraged to take pictures and not just take them, but share them. The bride came up with a hashtag for everyone to use on their Instagram posts of the wedding. The hashtag created a forum for sharing and contributing between the wedding attendees and a way for those unable to attend to keep up with the festivities.

Instead of wondering if our distant relative would ever develop the pictures they were taking and hope we would eventually see the physical copy, everyone was able to receive almost instant gratification by simply checking the hashtag.

This hashtag also made it easy for the couple and attendees the security in knowing if they liked someone’s pictures but didn’t know their name, they could simply search for the hashtag at any time and easily find them again.

This simple hashtag technique of using #(last name of couple)wedding worked amazingly for this event and introduced me to a concept I had never really thought of – creating an event specific hashtag. Yes, I have seen this done for award shows and other television broadcasts and trends, but I never thought of making one for a life event, or something I was doing.

Does this open the floodgate for what I see as my major life events? #LastFirstDayOfSchool #MyGraduation, #ACarruthWedding, etc.? Will this create a new trend of people hashtagging everyday events as well, or has that already happened? #AlexsFirstBlogPost #InternsUnite #Blessed.

Regardless of where the trend goes, the event-specific, even personal event, hashtag is here to stay, as exemplified by the countless blogs and articles dedicated to teaching others how to make event specific hashtags and where to find popular ones. Below are just a few of them.

A Hashtag Directory:

http://memarketingservices.com://twubs.com/p/hashtag-directory/event/1064592_179

How to make an event specific hashtag: http://memarketingservices.com://tradeshowsocialmedia.com/event-hashtags-a-guide-to-using-them/

How to build a hashtag to gain event engagement:

http://memarketingservices.com://blogs.constantcontact.com/product-blogs/social-media-marketing/hashtag-event-engagement/ AND http://memarketingservices.coms://business.twitter.com/tactics/use-events-engage

Hashtag Strategies for making them:

http://memarketingservices.com://blog.wishpond.com/post/62253333766/3-key-hashtag-strategies-how-to-market-your-business

How to use hashtags: http://memarketingservices.com://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/32497/How-to-Use-Hashtags-on-Twitter-A-Simple-Guide-for-Marketers.aspx

 

It seems as though whether you are at a conference, a retreat, a sporting or entertainment event, or even personal milestones, there is a hashtag for it encouraging group interaction and sharing.

It’s so easy to live in the moment these days. I wonder what it will look like in 10 or 15 years? How are you using social media to live in the moment?

Ask Mandy Q&A: Top WordPress Plug-Ins

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.
Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

 

Blogging should be a mainstay in any business. It does not matter your industry, blogging will help you be seen as an authority in your field. When you start out blogging, there are a few choices to consider – which platform do I want to use, WordPress, Blogger or something else? What kind of look do I want it to have? How often should I publish? These are all decisions you have to make based on your goal in blogging.

In my honest opinion, WordPress is the way to to. It’s user and social friendly, there are so many theme options to pick from and their support is great. Most major websites are built on WordPress. Once you choose this platform to go with, you have to choose plug-ins to use. This leads me to this week’s Ask Mandy question, submitted by one of our community members –

I’m starting a blog, was curious if you have a set list of preferred or needed plugins that you use, or recommend, is there any kind of system or resource you have used to install them on your blog?

I will start of by saying I am only experienced in WordPress – I’m sure there are plug-in type things to install on straight HTML or Joomla sites. That being said, here are the top WordPress plug-ins I use –

Akismet 

This is the ultimate spam comment blocker. It’s free to use and will keep your comment stream spam-free.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

There are several SEO plug-ins out there, but this one is my favorite. It’s very easy to use and I love the stoplight grading system it gives you for each page and post.

Revive Old Post (formerly Tweet Old Post)

This plug-in is the reason Twitter is the #1 driver of traffic to my website. This plug-in will tweet out, on the schedule you decide, older posts that you have written, constantly keeping your content out there. Of course, this only works for evergreen content, so you’ll want to exclude those that are time-specific.

Filament

Filament is the owner of Flare, a social sharing plug-in. See the neat bar on the left of my screen where you can share this post across the web? That’s Flare. It’s easy to set up and you have several placement options and social network options as well.

Disqus

Disqus is one of the many commenting plug-ins available for WordPress. You can use the one given to you in WordPress or you can add one with some more oomph. I like Disqus because I can keep track of comments on my site and other sites I’ve commented on that use this.

Simple Social Icons

Every blog or website needs to have your social links on it for people to connect with you on the web. What I love about this plug-in is the customization. You can match your business colors and make them various shapes.

Of course, there are thousands of plug-ins to choose from and I have more than these 6 on my own site, but these are the ones I make sure are on my clients’ sites as well. When you use WordPress, they are all single-click installation so there’s no upload to an FTP server. You simply click “add new”, find the one you want and click “install”.

I would love for my community to chime in with their favorite plug-ins as well! Which ones would you add?

 

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3 Tips to Help You Rock the Linkedin Publishing Platform

3 Tips to Help You Rock the Linkedin Publishing Platform

If you’re active on LinkedIn, the chances are good by now that you’re seeing more posts from people in your network. LinkedIn started rolling out long-form publishing capabilities to its members in February, 2014. Some bloggers started using the LinkedIn publishing platform right away, while others have been watching and holding out for a bolt of inspiration to hit them. Others are even still waiting for their publishing capabilities to kick in. I personally wanted to see how the LinkedIn publishing platform worked, so I jumped in as quickly as I could. I can honestly say that I’m pleased with my results so far.

The LinkedIn publishing platform is user-friendly for writers; if you’re familiar with WordPress, then using the LinkedIn publisher is a breeze. For those who are interested in the analytics side, they are able to see the number of real-time views, likes, and shares for each  of their posts. The hardest part for some may be deciding what and when to publish. LinkedIn, itself, recommends you publish what you know best: your own areas of expertise and professional interests. Writing and publishing your first post is probably going to be the hardest one for you – at least it was for me.

These are a few suggestions to keep in mind as you start on your journey to master the art of the LinkedIn publishing platform.

1) The LinkedIn publishing platform allows you to write as much as you desire.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you should write extra long articles though. LinkedIn is home to a predominately professional crowd. People who read articles on LinkedIn typically have a limited amount of time to browse and scan the titles, and even less time to read those which capture their attention. Many of the other LinkedIn publishers I communicate with agree that the most popular posts they publish through the LinkedIn publishing platform fall into the “snackable content” category. According to Media is Power,

“Content is snackable when it is designed for simple and flexible audience consumption.

Sounds perfect for the busy LinkedIn crowd, don’t you think? Give them the content they want and crave, but know you only have a few minutes to grab their interest. The LinkedIn publishing platform probably isn’t the best place to publish your college thesis or eBook if you’re looking for a receptive audience.

2) The LinkedIn publishing platform also allows you to write as often as you desire

Once again, depending on your audience and your content, you may want to spread out the time between your posts on LinkedIn. Post too often and you run the risk of being perceived as a spammer…and LinkedIn doesn’t take kindly to spammers. If you have your own blog for business purposes, you may want to consider using the same, or similar, frequency when posting on LinkedIn.

Once you do start posting on the LinkedIn publishing platform, you’ll find maintaining consistency is a good idea when it comes to how often you post. I find publishing once a week or so is sufficient for my own purposes, but others choose to post more or less often. Either way, you’ll find a schedule that works best for you. In regards to the day and time of day you post, there is no right or wrong for either. However, it’s usually better to post when you know your audience is online.

3) Many of your posts probably won’t be picked up by LinkedIn’s Pulse app – but always be prepared for when it does happen

Being picked up by the Pulse app has apparently become one of the “holy grails” for LinkedIn publishers. When Pulse picks up your post, it’s seen by potentially thousands of additional members – whether they follow you or not. It’s unclear to me how Pulse chooses the posts it features. Most of the articles I see through Pulse seem to be related to current events, career and job hunting,  and/or topics which encourage lively debates.

I’ve seen other LinkedIn writers ask, “how will I know if my article has been picked up by Pulse”? Okay, honestly, I was the one who posed that question to my LinkedIn group, Writing on LinkedIn. The answers I received were all like, “oh, you’ll know it when it happens, trust me.” And that certainly turned out to be the truth. The first three posts I published through the LinkedIn publishing platform did pretty well, in my opinion. I picked up a few hundred views and several likes for each. However, my fourth post took off like a shot, and that’s how I knew I’d been noticed by the Pulse “powers-that-be.” I must have hit a nerve, because people started commenting and liking the post within minutes of my hitting the publish button. I must admit, it was quite exciting!

Are you wondering why you should be prepared when one of your posts is finally picked up by Pulse? I recommend being ready because when it happens, you’re probably going to receive a lot of comments, likes, shares, and new followers. It’s simply good etiquette to acknowledge your followers and reply to their comments, regardless of whether you’re posting through the LinkedIn publishing platform or another blog site. And people do seem to like leaving comments on LinkedIn posts…some less nicely than others. Since comments are not moderated, you need to be ready for anything.

 

Have you started using the LinkedIn publishing platform yet? If so, how do you feel about your results so far? I’d love to hear what you think about it.

 

Related Resources:

LinkedIn Long-Form Posts on LinkedIn – Overview

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