CATEGORY: Social Media

Social Media and YouTube Secrets we Stole From Corporate: Part 2 of 2

This is Part 2 of 2 and the more useful of the pair. As a matter of fact, this could be the most useful blog entry ever.
You could be like us, a group of passionate nerds pouring their heart and souls into creativity, but not getting the traction you believe it should get. We could be delusional, and our videos and tweets and blogs may not deserve the attention we think they do. But then we all must be nuts, because everyone on the ‘net is clamoring for eyeballs. Well we visited our new corporate owners, Demand Media, and despite bristling at the word “corporate” (and “Demand” can be a bit harsh), we fell in love with their brains. How could we not? The company was started just seven years ago and already owns some of the biggest brands on the web. But to stay true to our hippy geek ways of our founder, one Mr. Bill “way better than Gates” Mushkin, we’ve decided to share what we’ve learned.
First off, YouTube. HOW DOES SOME PUNK KID WITH A PHONE CAM GET 12,00000000 VIEWS?
  • What are you doing with those thumbs? Your thumbnail picture is the front page of your video. Is it enticing? Does it offer some insight/benefit to the viewer?youtube playbook
  • Are you appealing to YouTube’s younger demo? You can’t be Mr. and/or Mrs. Salespitch Pants. You have to offer entertainment and/or information. If you are going after an older demographic, then find the right place for your video to live.
  • Engage your viewers.  Tell your viewers exactly the action you want them to take. Use YouTube annotations for shares, comments, likes and subscriptions.
  • Use the new YouTube layout to your advantage. Have a top banner made that explains your video schedule and what viewers can expect. Use the regularity to train your growing audience of informed viewers.
  • Get the right keywords up front in your title, in your description as well as in the keyword section.
  • Review the YouTube playbook!  Seriously – they tell you exactly how to maximize your use of the service.
Social Media: WHY DOES NOBODY LIKE ME?
  • Look up the popular hashtags on Twitter and, when you can, naturally piggyback off relevant topics/trends with all of your outgoing media.
  • Pose questions. People respond to questions that include them such as, “What do you think of the new homepage?” or “Who do you think will win today: Michigan or Louisville.”  (question with a trend = bonus!)
  • Less text is more.
  • In your ads, such as on Facebook, make sure there’s an image of a person. Females seem to work best, but make sure it’s not porny. A direct gaze from a trustworthy woman works best.

Google +: REALLY? GOOGLE PLUS?

  • Google+ is great for credibility with its search engine sugar daddy. When you post on your blog, get the G+ link that connects it to your profile.
  • When you post often, Google gets a signal that you are generating content.

Search Engine Optimization: SEO HAS KEPT ME UP AND MADE ME SAD

  • First off, you should try our cool do-it-yourself SEO Tutor. Corporate would really like that.
  • Make sure your website has a site map! This makes the Google bots very happy (and it’s handy for your own site search.)
  • When you post a video on your site, add a transcript of what is said. It should be rich with the keywords you want bringing people to your site.

Those are just some of the tips and tricks given to us by corporate. We’d all love it if you came back for more (and there will be more.)

And if you’d like, you can always go into the mind of the dude who zones out in meetings with a visit to Part 1 of our Corporate Secrets Series.

Using Engagement Tactics to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 3 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Free Traffic to your site with these Engaging Tips

Engagement.  It’s just a little buzzword for describing how you interact with your online audience, both online and even offline.  It’s also measurable with the ultimate goal of bringing traffic back to you.  It’s funny how the Internet has taken a normal human ability for socialization and has us quantifying our interactions with others, then measuring the outcome of those interactions all in hopes that we can maximize our impact with future interactions.  But that is a philosophical debate for another time. Simply, engagement is no different from brick and mortar stores where they talk to their customers, call up their mentors, visit surrounding businesses, and participate in various business associations.  All in hopes that the more you put yourself out there, the more business will come your way.  Let’s talk about just how to do that on the Wild Wild Webs with our new buzzword – Engagement.  (pssst – all methods are FREE)

But before we jump in, I wanted to remind ya this is part of a series for driving traffic to your blog or website – all for FREE.  First, we gave an overview of 4 basic tactics for driving traffic.  Then we continued the series, by delving into the specifics of our first topic: Social Media.  Next up is today’s topic: Engagement.  A lot will refer to social media as engagement, which it certainly is part of it, but I’ll provide other, more creative ways of engagement.  That discussion begins now…..

5 tips to try today to engage your audience and bring traffic to your site:

1. Blog and Forum Commenting

I’m pretty sure you already are reading blogs that are similar to your niche as well as reviewing specific topics in helpful forums.  Get to commenting!  Every time.  By commenting on other’s blogs and participating in niche specific forums you are interacting with an audience that is targeted to your niche.  While commenting use these tips:

-Hopefully you’ve already created a Social Media presence.  Most blogs will allow you to comment as your Twitter self – for example. This way, if people are interested in you, they click your avatar and find out information about you -maybe even leading back to your site!

-Leave a thoughtful comment.  Avoid: “great post” or “good job”.  State specifically what interested you or how the blog enlightened you. These details get attention and give someone a reason to reach out to you.

-Avoid placing a link back to your website in your comment.  Most blog commentators or forums will delete your comment if you appear ‘spammy’.  Your avatar for commenting should have details on how one can find you online.

If you don’t already have a blog roll you follow, try social sharing forums such as Reddit or Stumbleupon.  You’ll quickly come across some you’d like to follow.  Bonus: don’t forget to register your blog to these forums to get found.

2. Link back to other sites from your blog or website

If they are checking their analytics, they’ll take notice and most likely visit you.  This may lead to a link exchange if they find you relevant. Linking back to you is the ultimate goal here.  In this way they share their audience with you, meaning eyeballs to your site.

3. Attend your industry events

Remember our analogy of how brick and mortar stores attend their area business meetings and industry events?  Well this is one offline form of engagement that still matters.  Begin interacting in person with those who are similar to your niche.  With everything so automated lately, a little emotional human interaction will help you to stick out in their minds.  People are more likely to work with those they know.  Maybe a joint development will come about that shares the audience between you and your new business partner.  More visits to your site! Added bonus is the energy you pick up on from the events.  You’ll return to your site motivated to make it the best.

4. Install a RSS feed/email subscription on your website or blog

Use the feed and email subscription to remind your traffic that you’re still there.  Send them website updates or an email newsletter. Keep in touch with those who are already your visitors in hopes that they will return and just maybe, bring more people to your website.  Need help in developing an email newsletter?  I got the details for you here:  Anatomy of a Weekly Email Newsletter

5. Guest Post

Guest posting is where you write a blog post for another blog.  This is in hopes that others will take notice, become interested in what you have to say, and then visit your website or blog.  Be careful not to be sales-y in your guest post.  It should remain objective and helpful to the audience of the blog you are writing for.  Instead, make sure your avatar and ‘about me’ section of the post contain your expertise and the link back to your site or social media channels.

Again, all methods above are the online and offline replacement of the socializing that brick and mortar stores do for bringing in business.  Take advantage of these engagement tactics for visits back to your site.

Want more free ways of getting traffic back to your blog or website?  Check out the previous two articles in this series.

Part 1 of 5: FREE Ways to get Traffic to your Blog or Website this week | Part 1 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 2 of 5: Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 2 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Next up: We’ll detail some ways of using the various services Google offers for getting your traffic.

Let us know in the comments below if you have anything to add to these tips or ways I did not mention.

Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 2 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Free Traffic to your site with Social Media

Recently, we outlined 20 FREE ways to drive traffic to your site.  The methods were broken down by category, but I realized there is so much more information to these tips than just listing them out.  First up, are the Social Media methods.  By consistently employing each of the methods below, I promise you will see more traffic to your site.  Let’s get started….

1. Twitter

Just in case you need to be reminded of the obvious – Twitter is a great place to engage an audience and promote your brand.  Use this strategy as you begin:

  • First you need to get a following to have someone to promote your blog/website to. Shoot for 5-7 daily tweets.  A couple your own content, maybe a retweet, a couple that share or comment on others content, (the more relevant to your niche the better) and asking one conversational question seem to be the norm.
  • Make sure tweets with your own content contain links back to your blog/website.
  • Make sure to follow people everyday and engage your new followers through the tweeting rules above.  It’s best to follow those that would be interested in your brand as you start.  A keyword search within Twitter can help you to get started.
  • Certainly follow back anyone that follows you
  • Add you blog/website URL prominently to your Twitter Profile.
Keep in mind this is just a beginning strategy.  Expect it to morph as you gain popularity. As you dive in, you’ll realize the need for other Twitter resources, but you have to start somewhere!  Begin here!

2. Pinterest

It’s time to add this to your social media lexicon.  According to @BethHayden, Author of “Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest”, Pinterest is the “second largest referral of traffic to websites and blogs – right behind FaceBook”.  Got your attention, yet? Here’s a sample strategy to try as you begin….
  • Before your first pin, do some research and identify your target audience.  You’ll want to use keywords in your pin descriptions as well as images that will speak to them.
  • Then use your blog post or website images to create your pins.  This is where interesting, original images will come in handy. Consider infographics – even if they are not part of your post, but as a way to summarize it. Consider even just text – choose eye-catching fonts and colors to state your blog title or website page title.
  • Remember that research you did with keywords?  Well make sure to include those keywords in your pin description so others can find you. Include your blog or website URL as well in your description.  You’ll notice that you can type a whole lot there in the description, but I suggest just enough to captivate your audience and get them to click-through to your blog post or website. Keywords can be used with #hashtags similar to Twitter.
  • Make use of the Pinterest Social Sharing button on your blog or website images.  Your able to control where the image directs and initially,  the description.
  • Similar to Twitter, get social!  Don’t just promote your brand, but pin other’s relevant posts as well.  Your building a community of viewers to your site as well as developing and sharing your visitors with one another, in an effort to attract more visitors.

3. Facebook

 Your tactic here is more about sharing information.  Create a Facebook Fan Page separate from your personal account for creditability. The game is changing with Fan Pages as now there are costs involved with the fancy tricks.  But remember, we want FREE ways, try this sample strategy to get started…
  • Make sure to share your blog posts and any brand news.  Look helpful by sharing news and articles that others in your niche may find relevant.
  • Comment with care on pages similar to your niche.
  • Remember one of the strategies of Twitter was to share your own content with a tweet?  To add credibility to your blog or website with another social media outlet, consider linking your tweet back to the blog post posted on Facebook.  Use sparingly as remember, you’d rather they direct back to your blog or website.
  • You can be a little more casual on Twitter, but try to keep Facebook only about content regarding your blog and brand.
  • With your personal Facebook maybe consider updating your “Work and Education” section to represent your Facebook Fan page for your blog or website.
  • Now that you have a Fan Page don’t forget to review your Facebook insights.  Visit http://www.facebook.com/insights while logged in.  You’ll get a look at how others are engaging with your posts so you know what kind of content to keep providing your users so they’ll keep coming back.

4. Google+

We all wanna be liked by Google – well, they seem to pay attention more to those who participate in their Google+ network. Sign up and realize this is one network where it’s not the quality of your followers, but the quantity of your followers  Try these tips:
  • Just like the other networks will pay off if you research your industry keywords, do so here as well.  Use those keywords when completing your “About” section of your profile.
  • Google+ activity will show up in a search result over other Social Media activity during a Google Search.  Again, post often in your + account and pay attention to those keywords most relevant to the audience you wish to attract.  They’re likely to find you when your content is ranking high.
  • Take advantage of the Google+ Hangouts.  It’s a way to interactively mingle with those who are interested in your blog or website niche topic.  Try providing informative advice on your niche in general to attract the most viewers – don’t use it as a session to promote your blog or business.  And guess what?!  After the experience, since you directly engaged someone,  guess who they will be talking about after. 🙂  It’s such a cool, new thing that people will definitely be talking about their Google+ Hangout experience.  (hopefully with you)
  • There’s this little thing called Google Authorship that happens naturally as you link your Google+ profile to your blog and vice versa.  Google Authorship means it begins to trust you as a source on your topic.  You’ll begin to rank higher so others find you.  Bonus: You’re Google+ Profile pic may show up in Google Search results along your blog post or website!  So make sure your Google+ Profile pic is best representing you or your business.
  • Engage, Engage, Engage.  Use your Google + profile often to find new followers and interact so you attract more followers.  The benefit here over other social networks is that you will eventually begin to rank higher in search results (meaning greater chances of people finding your blog/website) as your network grows.

5. LinkedIn

This little network is not the same resume sharing network you experienced last time you logged in.  Did you know you can upload blog posts, list your products, upload videos, and give status updates?  Give it a second look and overhaul with these tips to hopefully bring traffic back to you:
  • Make sure to upload your blog posts here.  Especially the more polished of your posts that would be helpful to those in your niche.  For your website – provide your project status updates or any new developments.
  • Take advantage of the “Recommendations”.  Did you work with someone who maybe helped by guest posting, or provided design services?  Give them an honest ‘recommendation’.  These recommendations show up on their profile and get you views to your profile.  Now sell ’em on your profile to bring traffic back to your site!
  • You can import other social media streams to your profile.  Try a widget for uploading your Tweets.  Just be careful not be sale-sy as you Tweet.
  • Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Answers resource.  Browse through your industry Keywords to provide expertise on other’s questions.  When you post your answer, there’s a link back to your profile and you may gain creditability.  It works by asking questions too.
  • Update your Business Skills.  By choosing wisely, you’re bound to attract viewers as well as appear in the “Related Companies” for the skills you choose.  For each skill set there are also groups to join.
There you have it!  Quick tips to get started on all of these social media networks and encourage traffic back to your blog or website. For each of these options make sure to add sharing links and follow links to each of your blog posts or pages of your website. Also consider containing a link to your profile for each in any email or marketing newsletter you send.  The more aware your audience is of your presence, the more likely you are to receive traffic to your site.
Got any success stories you want to share?  Prefer one social network over the others? Any quick, beginning tip I forgot to mention?  Then get busy in the comments below. 🙂
Next up in the “get traffic” series: Engagement.  By paying attention to your niche and engaging with others outside of social media, you’ll bring more traffic to your blog or website.  I’m excited to share!

 

 

A Social Media Makeover Coming To Your Colorado Business

My name is Jared and I work here. I handle social media, blogging, video and anything outreach. I’ll also be speaking next Thursday morning (9/20, 8AM) at the Denver SMB Makeover. I’ll co-host an open Q+A session with Erik Wolf from Zero-G Creative, which promises to be informative and maybe even entertaining. This forum also has speakers lined up from Chipotle, the Denver Broncos, ReMax, and more — it’s a seriously impressive list and we’d love to see you all there.

Register now and get discounted tickets with promo code NAMEMAKEOVER.

 

One Morning to Change Your Life: Business Owners Get a Social Media Makeover

Denver and Colorado Businesses!

Learn how to revamp your social media strategy, generate leads, improve content, measure performance and demonstrate ROI.

All you need to do is kick back, eat breakfast and learn, as top social media experts from the Denver Broncos, Comcast, Chipotle, RE/MAX, Frontier Airlines, Zero-g and Name.com (among others) give you social media advice for your small and mid-sized companies.

When: Thursday, September 20 from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Where: Daniels College of Business,
University of Denver, 
2044 E. Evans Avenue, 
Denver, CO 80208

What? Get Your Social Media Questions Answered from Denver’s Leading Brands

How: Register here: http://www.listeninteractive.com/registration-denver. (Breakfast included!!)

Why: Sweet poppa, this is a quick, easy and fun way to:

1. Expand your business and make more profits with simple tricks to better engagement.

2. Enhance your customer service with the free tools you already have.

3. Get the feedback you need to improve and increase your business.

4. Increase morale and get your employees involved in promoting what you’re doing.

5. Make your kids think you are cool.

And right now get a SPECIAL OFFER:  Receive a Name.com 10 percent discount off the $75 regular price by using promo code “NameMakeover” when registering.

We’re pretty stoked about this, and we’ll see you there!

Progressive Goes Backward: We Can learn from the Auto Insurance Company Fail

When I first read the story about Progressive Auto Insurance and the death of one of their clients, a woman named Kaitlynn Eileen Fisher, I was pretty perturbed. I wasn’t alone. The Internet lit up. The tragic accident and ensuing court debacle was being retweeted thousands of times per minute. From a mere human perspective, death takes a toll, and as a father I can’t fathom what the parents of the young John Hopkins graduate have endured. But from the point-of-view of a business, and a company that thrives  on great customer service, it’s painful to see such a large company stumble and fail. Repeatedly.

It all began with a guy running a red light. His SUV plowed into Fisher’s Honda. A split second shredded everything those families knew, and in the scrambling for answers, the least they could hope for was the compensation they’d secured to help cover those suddenly trivial accumulations, like Kaitlynn’s student loans. It didn’t happen like that, and according to the now viral blog post written by her brother, Matt Fisher, Progressive Auto Insurance failed to follow through with what was expected from her policy.

Here, Matt explains what went from the typical death claim, to that of an arduous legal battle.

progressive auto insurance debacle

His accusations go so far as to say Progressive’s lawyers defended the man who ran the red light. Progressive has now denied that (and Fisher countered), but–and here’s where they defy the odds and continue to screw up–they’re doing it two days after the blog came out. Two days in insurance lawyer land is an eternity on the web. Progressive finally put humans out front to explain themselves. That’s only after the auto-responses on Twitter made them look even more like assclowns.

Here’s the frigid Twitter outreach conducted by an Autobot:

progressive auto insurance

So here we are with young life gone, a family shattered and an insurance company not prepared to deal with being caught as Satan’s puppet. There are so many things wrong here that I’ll start post-mortem, actually even post trial, and suggest that a company that boasts on their website that from 1996 to 2005 they “grew an average of 17 percent per year, from $3.4 billion to $14 billion” should be able to afford someone to sit on their Twitter and make an actual human response to a tragically human situation.

Even more importantly though, is that social media has pulled back the veil on this creepy marriage between big money and poor service. There’s a helplessness that people are supposed to feel when they are confronted by a team of lawyers from a behemoth oligopoly. But now…maybe not so much. We know that the chance of something going viral is insanely small, yet the odds that people truly care, people not even being paid a premium, are big. And now Progressive needs to know that. All companies should.

To do that, give your insurance company a call and ask about their policies. It’s time to put their customer service to the test. If we can be up answering tweets about ten-dollar domains, then the least they can do is comfort those paying thousands for something as precious as piece of mind.

Things Your Website Should NOT Do: Name.com’s Facebook Friends Focus Group

At name.com we do domains, websites and hosting. You get a domain and some hosting and then you’re all set to burst onto the web, but before you put a whole lot of work into a snappy Flash intro, or have your friends in the bongo/zither duo make some awesome home page music, pay heed to what some experienced web users have to say about what NOT to do:

Do not do this to your websitewebsite don'tswebsite don'tswebsite don'ts

Like a free focus group and you didn’t have to provide finger food. Although we’re not sure what a couple are talking about, and I think Kelley Bryant is actually selling auto parts, but this is good info to keep in mind for the best presence on the web.

 

Social Media Success Story: Making Criticism Constructive

When we added the .XXX extension to our ever-expanding list of domains, we received a lot of criticism for reminding customers to register it defensively. Below are Tweets that exemplify some of the feelings about .XXX and the campaign to have businesses and institutions use it to defend their trademark. Their arguments are not without merit, which is something any social media manager and/or customer support person should note: never write off someone’s issue. To you it might not make sense. To them it could be the biggest deal in the world. (I think marriage helps with this type of empathy.)
I’ll go through some play-by-play to highlight what may have worked here. I say “may have” as results may vary.
So we got this Tweet:
Robb Fitzsimmons
@robbfitzsimmons Registrars like @namedotcom functionally blackmailing the internet with .xxx emails like this; tactic as gross as porn.
SLAM! That’s well said. @robbfitzsimmons used his 140 characters wisely and with a very sharp point. And anyone who can properly use a semicolon can be kind of intimidating. At this point I have two options:
1. Ignore
2. Kindly thank him for his feedback.
OR
3. Do a little research and let him know that while our XXX email may have insulted his intelligence, we don’t think he’s dumb.So I go to his profile, a great place to find out a lot about someone.
social media success story
On his website I see he is no slouch. He’s associated with Harvard and MIT. This guy already knows that we hear him, now we need to let him know that we HEAR him.
@robbfitzsimmons Well said. We feel that if you’re going to get zinged by somebody that it’s best it’s someone from Harvard and/or MIT.
It’s easy to get mad at a website, but when you demonstrate that your company is made up of actual people who care, well then zing. You’ve made a valuable connection. Conversation ensues:
@namedotcom so, i think i need to be more fair. i’m a satisfied client, very happy with the service. just felt it was a bit opportunistic.
And when the anonymity of the Internet is blown away, you are left with real humans having real conversation.
@namedotcom PS if you would refrain from buying robbfitzsimmons.xxx and posting porn to it as retaliation, that’d be appreciated. 🙂
@robbfitzsimmons No, you’re safe with us. And we appreciate the insightful comment. It’s a fine line keeping up with the ‘net & its content
@namedotcom agreed and will continue to turn to you guys for domains; i think you get it which is why i tweeted in the first place.
There is no tactic or trick here. There’s nothing at all cynical about Twitter conversations (actually, there can’t be or you’ll be sniffed out and ignored.) It’s simply about paying attention to people. HINT: If someone has a Twitter or Facebook account there’s a good chance they don’t mind attention.  Also important is getting everyone in the building to understand why the company is about to embark on something, and then making sure they are informed. XXX was not without its controversy within the office, and those discussions helped to hone the office policy as to why we decided to market it.
With that kind of confidence, you can converse like a normal human who has nothing to hide…because you don’t.
Thanks for reading this and, as always, remember social media is a great tool, but please don’t be one.

Social Media Success Story: Conversation with a Doubter

I’ve been trying to write a “tips & tools” series on using social media, mostly Facebook and Twitter, but I’ve found that new media defies the classic “Lesson Plan.” The successes and failures I see are fluid. They can repeat themselves, but not in the same black and white fashion that, say, 2 + 2 always makes 4. Besides, who doesn’t love a good story. Today, I bring you one that highlights the greatest glory of social media: we’re no longer proactive or reactive, WE’RE INTERACTIVE.

So last week I’m monitoring Tweets when I see this:

name.com is questioned

If you’re not familiar with Twitter, Fionn, whose Twitter handle is @_DrunkFox_ , is telling @MikeKaSoft that another domain registrar has better customer service than Name.com. Well that can’t stand because while I don’t know much about Namecheap’s support, I know ours is the best in the world. So I reply:

name.com customer service for domains hosting and websites

Now that might seem a little harsh, but there’s a steadfast Social Media rule: If you stand up for what you believe in, and can defend it well, you’ll gain more follower/friends than you’ll lose.  People respect backbone (there seems to be a lack of these days.) Although @_drunkfox_ is taken aback:

name.com customer support and service for domains websites and hosting

OK, so maybe I was abrasive, but it forced a question: “What kind of company asks that?” This is a great opportunity to explain just what kind of company we (you) are: open, honest and transparent. Before I can even get started, a third party steps in:

name.com customer support and service for domains, website and hosting

Awesome. @MikeKaSoft helps save the day. WHY? Because we’ve previously engaged him in conversation. Our rule is we don’t care how many followers someone has, if they take the time to talk to us we’ll make the time to get back. The result is great third-party evangelists like @MikeKaSoft. Because remember, PEOPLE DON’T CARE WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT YOURSELF; THEY WANT TO HEAR WHAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY. Sorry for shouting, but it’s what makes social media and Yelp and Trip Advisor and all those review sites so valuable. As a company you’d better be on it.

Anyway, back to the conversation. @_DrunkFox_ is a smart consumer:

name.com customer support and service for domains, website and hosting

And now, in about twenty minutes of casual banter, we have someone not only interested in being our customer, he’s also thinking about being a valuable part of our affiliate program. As far as I can tell it came down to two very basic human functions:

1. Noticing someone

2. Interacting

If there’s more to that with social media, you’ll read it right here. Next week we’ll discuss some success stories of dealing with doubters…and maybe even haters (hush falls over the crowd).