News That Means Business

June 26, 2014

The Hardest Working 140 Characters in Social Media

10 Tips for Getting More Out of Twitter

You’re on Twitter… for all the right reasons… to engage your customers, find new ones, watch trends, make announcements, track your competitors, manage your reputation and create buzz.

And you’ve mastered the basic tweet formats, terminology, and tools. So your profile page is solid, and followers are growing.

To fly like a bird and soar even higher, following are some ways to gain altitude using this massively popular micro-blogging platform.

  1. The Top Tip

    Twitter is a community, not a billboard. Overtly promotional tweets are the equivalent of spam email. You can describe your products and services – that’s why you’re there – but use helpful, informative terms. Otherwise, advertise and pay for sponsored tweets.

  2. Get Re-Tweeted

    When followers re-tweet your posts, they engage with you and amplify your message to their followers (which can bring new followers to you). Make this happen with quality tweets. Use 120 characters, instead of 140 to make it easy for a re-tweeter to add a comment. Re-tweet others whenever you can, as well, and thank people who re-tweet you.

  3. Incorporate Images into Your Tweets

    Use infographics, photos, and video links to receive more re-tweets and click-throughs.

  4. Use Hot Words

    The most re-tweeted posts on Twitter contain the following 12 words/phrases: “you, please, retweet, free, help, great, 10, follow, how to, top, check out, and new.”

  5. Use Hashtags

    A hashmark (#) preceding a word or phrase will organize tweets into easy-to-find subject categories. People searching for information on a specific topic (like tax preparation or fitness bands) will find you more easily through a relevant or original tag. But limit them to no more than two per tweet.

  6. Get in on Conversations

    Twitter is all about conversations, so jump in, and reach beyond your current followers. You’ll reach new targeted audiences, get your name out there, and learn more about your market. Explore hashtagged topics or trending topics, and read to find out what others report and how you can contribute. You can start a conversation as well with a provocative question or a request for opinions.

  7. Timing Is Everything

    Tweet when your audience is engaged. In general, try Monday-Thursday from 1 to 3 PM – a known prime time, and avoid Friday after 3 PM. More specifically, consider the habits and time zones of your target users. Try a service such as Tweriod to identify your unique prime time slots. The cost is minimal and worth it. Other services such as Buffer, HootSuite, or Sip Social can pre-schedule your tweets so you don’t have to be on 24/7.

  8. Be Active but Not Too Active

    Three to seven tweets per day in 50-minute intervals is a suggested activity rate.  Tweet too much, especially with promotional messages, and you’ll quickly find yourself un-followed.

  9. Put Links in Your Tweets

    Provide links to other social media and your website. If you’re sharing news or an article, link to it. Shorten links with bit.ly or use the link shortening function at Twitter.com to keep it brief.

  10. Monitor Your Performance and Fine-Tune Your Tweets

    Monitor your Twitter activity (and all your social media) in real-time with Tweet Deck. Other popular, multi-featured monitoring services can be found on Sprout Social and Hootsuite. Study your Twitter performance regularly (just as you do your web analytics) with Twitter Analytics or with services like TweetReach, Buffer or Tweet Deck. Base your future tweets on past performance.

With its symbols, space limits and unique glossary, the Twitterverse is a world of its own. It may present a steeper learning curve than Facebook or LinkedIn, but it’s a must-have marketing tool. Take time to master it and put all its power to work for your business.

Reach out to us with any questions at (201) 796-7788 and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @CarylComm.

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June 16, 2014

Tap the Power of LinkedIn: 7 Steps to Success in the World’s Largest Online Business Community

It’s a community of over 300 million professionals in 150 industries worldwide – many of whom make key decisions for their companies. And it offers unique tools for reaching the key people on your business radar. Invest a little time in mastering this leading B2B platform and you’ll reap some unique returns. Here are seven steps to help you get started on LinkedIn or enhance your current experience there.

  1. The Company Page
  2. If you own or manage a company, this page is your storefront, your business card. It communicates the essence of your brand and tells your corporate story. Through it, you can connect to your network of current and potential customers and keep your organization top of mind through updates to your page. Through LinkedIn’s search function, other members can find your products or services easily.

  3. Content is Key
  4. Your success depends on strong content that describes what you do and why you’re unique. This content should be succinct and share-able. Every time a visitor engages with your content by sharing it with followers, your message is amplified, your reach extended and your profile raised.

    What makes content share-able? Useful information – tips, trends, offers – will likely be shared. If that useful information is paired with an interesting visual, the likelihood of sharing increases. Include video demos, case studies, free downloads, white papers, e-books on your company page. What’s not likely to get shared are promotional posts (unless they are very entertaining ads). This doesn’t mean that you can never be self-promotional on your page. You will want to make new product announcements, for example, and include client endorsements or testimonials. Be guided by the 80/20 rule that says 80 percent of your content should be informational, and only 20 percent promotional.

  5. Update and Target
  6. You’ve created a great page, but now the work is just beginning. To keep it effective, you need to continue posting regularly, at least a couple of times a week. This keeps you and/or your company alive on the pages of your followers and keeps your own page looking active and current. Where will you get enough content? First, remember that quality of content is more important than quantity. One substantive post is better than five spammy ones. Consider a tip of the day or a comment on industry news, preferably in the morning when LinkedIn members are most engaged. Share a post from a follower or comment on an interesting article and include its link. Share relevant comments from your page or share a post from a thought leader. Pull in content from your company or personal blog or Twitter feed. Invite reviews of your products/services. Start conversations by replying to comments. Or post a provocative question to your followers (their answers might make great future posts). You’ve got more content resources than you think you have.

  7. Win the Search Game with Optimization
  8. Optimize your LinkedIn company or personal page just as you do your website, seeding keywords throughout your text. These keywords will point LinkedIn members searching those terms to your page. The Google search bots also scan LinkedIn pages. Select a word or phrase that describes your core offering: “copyright attorney,” “online security software,” “commercial real estate management.” Then add a few variants or use a few of the key words on your website. Incorporate keywords into your main description and repeat them frequently in the first paragraphs of the descriptive text and in sub-heads.

  9. Build a Following
  10. What’s a LinkedIn page without followers?  Expand yours by constantly reminding your contacts of your LinkedIn presence. Put the “Follow Me” button on all your outreach content: website, blog, all social media, corporate stationery and business cards, print ads and collateral, annual reports and in the email signature block of your entire staff. Mention your page via your social media accounts. Call attention to your latest LinkedIn posts on your blog. Invite your customers, partners and prospects to follow you. If you have a company page, encourage your staff to have personal LinkedIn pages. Personal pages have automatic links to the member’s company pages, giving you amplified exposure to the networks of your team.

  11. Use Metrics to Measure Your Company Page’s Performance
  12. If you use Google Analytics for your website, you know how useful performance metrics can be. LinkedIn’s analytic system will deliver the same type of data for your company page. Review these reports regularly and revise your content according to the keywords, visuals and topics commanding the most engagement. Among other valuable feedback, these stats will also give you a picture of visitor demographics and provide you with a comparison of your page vs. others in your industry or market.

  13. Get Known as an Expert
  14. LinkedIn is known for its discussion groups, where business people and professionals “meet” to exchange advice and share information and ideas. There are over 2 million of these, covering thousands of industries and special interests. Participation is limited to individuals, so you can’t join a group or comment as a company, but your executives can join and comment from their own pages. Encourage their participation in relevant groups to build your company’s name and reputation through the expertise of your management.

    Thought-leader status is earned by consistent participation and a helpful attitude. Answer questions, share experiences, but DON’T sell or promote your products/services overtly. Your expertise and attitude will drive customers your way, not your sales pitch.

Don’t miss out on LinkedIn. Get more active, using the seven tips above. Once you engage with this unique platform, you’ll find you can’t do without it.

June 10, 2014

Getting Started (or Re-Started): Your Social Media Primer

So you’re thinking of not just “getting into” social media, but of committing to it as a business communications tool? There are so many platforms to choose from – where do you start? Maybe you’ve already experimented with a few, maybe you’ve taken on everything that’s out there. And maybe the returns are not what you expected. Let’s step back for a moment and re-assess. First things first: Define your objective. What do you want to accomplish with social media? Do you want to raise brand awareness, enhance customer service, build your email list, drive traffic to your company’s website, build community? Maybe all of those or maybe a few?

What you want to do will determine the platforms you should choose. Unless you have a dedicated social media staffer or a specialized outside agency, choose a manageable number of platforms. The following “primer” will help guide you to the best ones for your needs and to the kinds of posts that “work” there.

Which Platforms Are Right for You?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube all demand consistent and constant updating with valuable, share-worthy content. On the consistency front, that means posting regular updates, multiple times daily if possible, and responding quickly to comments and messages. Consider this time factor carefully when deciding how many platforms you want to use. Better to be great on one or two than mediocre on four or five. Here’s a look at the Big 5.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional online networking site, has more than 300 million members, including the decision-makers of many companies and industries. The site features both company and personal profile pages you can use to attract new clients, establish expertise, and build a valuable business network.

Deliverables:

  • Establish credibility as an industry expert
  • Connect with business prospects
  • Publicize company updates and industry news

Execution:

  • Build your network by continually finding and connecting with colleagues, business prospects, and industry leaders
  • Join industry Groups from your personal page and start/participate in discussions
  • Share company updates and industry news

Facebook

Companies large and small capitalize on Facebook – the most popular of the social networking sites – by communicating directly with their customers who flock there by the millions and share content they like with their friends and followers.

Deliverables:

  • Build awareness of and loyalty for your company and its brands
  • Showcase your company’s top-notch service through open dialogue
  • Publicize company news and industry happenings

Execution:

  • Respond quickly to customer inquiries and comments
  • Engage your audience with an open dialogue including questions and calls to action
  • Share company updates and industry news

Twitter

Twitter is a micro-blogging social platform known for its real-time information, connecting users to the latest stories, ideas and news.

Deliverables:

  • Build relationships with customers, prospects and the media
  • Get the word out on both company and industry happenings
  • Find “trending” news, ideas, products and events and leverage if possible

Execution:

  • Tweet frequently and consistently 140 (or fewer) characters
  • Retweet to build relationships
  • Use hashtags and keywords
  • Share company updates and industry news

Pinterest

Image-oriented and appealing to an audience (more than 70 million) dominated by affluent females in the 25-45 demographic, Pinterest is the perfect platform for any business producing products or services with eye-appeal. Fashion and beauty, home-related products, real estate, travel, personal services (catering, event planning), food and beverages are all naturals on Pinterest.

Deliverables:

  • Showcase for products with visual appeal
  • Strong driver of e-commerce traffic
  • Find trending products

Execution:

  • “Pin” (post) high-quality images
  • Freshen your page (called a Pinboard) with regular pins
  • Re-pin followers’ content to build relationships

YouTube

Don’t underestimate YouTube. True, it is the world’s biggest repository of funny pet videos, but it’s also the world’s second largest search engine (behind Google) with over 100 million views daily. Consider joining the top businesses and industry influencers who have YouTube channels.

Deliverables:

  • Build awareness of your company, its brands and its leadership
  • Establish credibility and expertise in your industry
  • Boost your search rankings via video content

Execution:

  • Post good-quality video
  • Use animation as well as live-action
  • Feature your management team as spokespersons
  • Create valuable content (how-to’s, tips, insights), NOT ads

Next steps? Explore each of the Big 5 above. Check out what businesses are there. Determine where you fit best. Weigh the time involved in managing each account. Once you have made your decision as to where you want to be, you’ll be ready to develop content, create a content calendar and launch an integrated online marketing campaign. We’ll have tips on how to do that here on our blog.

May 19, 2014

PR Measurement and Analytics: Behind the Scene

Filed under: communication,pr,public relations,public relations industry,social media — Caryl Communications @ 2:11 pm

Strategy is an integral part of every public relations campaign. From social media posts to feature articles, content drives results. Public relations encompasses a range of disciplines, including marketing, communication, press outreach, events, and social media.

How does all this information come together to meet a company’s business goals, and what does it mean for the bottom line?

A Sneak Peek into Web Analytics

A number of tools, like Google Analytics, are available to compile, analyze and synthesize data related to PR services. Google Analytics monitors results in real time, identifies trends and data correlations, and helps companies evaluate results to make informed, proactive decisions about current and future campaigns. Regularly using metrics helps reach and exceed expectations on a consistent basis.

Google Analytics compiles detailed website data, including:

  • visitor demographics
  • customer behavior
  • where visitors are coming from (search engines, social media, etc.)
  • which keywords are directing visitors to a company’s website
  • which internal website links get the most hits
  • visitors’ viewing devices (tablet, computer, mobile, etc.)

The synthesis of this information provides insights into actionable plans and initiatives, specific to a company’s desired results.

One of the ways to measure return on investment (ROI) is to analyze the number of visitors to a company’s website (web traffic) in correlation with its PR initiatives. Depending on the goals, the PR campaign and tactics utilized, different factors can influence visitor numbers. Every campaign is unique and therefore requires a distinctive set of metrics to measure results.

Case Study: Residential Development Company

In one example for a residential development company, we tracked press releases, articles, social media and advertisements to measure the effects on web traffic as well as another key metric – prospects walking into its sales office. The analysis consistently revealed jumps in web traffic as a result of articles and also in the number of prospects who visited the sales office.

The metrics further showed some of the best days and times to post on social media platforms to reach potential customers. The analysis of a few months of data like this helped create a unique social media content calendar, which paired the best posting times with strong content to produce top results.

#1 Tip to Achieve Maximum ROI

For any company, it is essential to determine quantifiable goals with the PR team for each campaign. For example, qualitative goals may include expectations for attendance at an event, increasing web traffic and gaining more prospects. Go one step further by turning goals into specific numbers and statistics: at least 300 event attendees, a 40% web traffic boost in one month, and a 20% increase in prospects in two months. Pinpointing quantitative objectives helps a company and its PR team focus the data needed to meet and exceed objectives.

Be sure to reach out to us with any questions you may have at (201) 796-7788 or Caryl@Caryl.com.

April 10, 2014

Boost Your Search Engine Ranking: The Inside Scoop

Filed under: SEO,social media — Caryl Communications @ 4:44 pm
Tags: ,

Boost Your Search Engine Ranking: The Inside Scoop

By Don Campbell, founder of DJ Campbell Marketing

When you research a topic using a search engine such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing, you get a list of websites to click on. You probably already noticed that the top few listings, and those along the right side, look somewhat different than the rest of the sites on the list. That is because they are paid listings or ads. Bing and Yahoo! display them in a box. Google identifies them with an icon. The ones below these paid listings may seem to be in no particular order. Actually, they are not at all random. These listings are known as organic search results, and the ideal location for your company’s website is right up on top. So what determines the order, and how do you get your site in one of those prime spots? Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO).

Here’s a quick look at how a search engine works. The leaders – Google, Bing and Yahoo! – use “crawlers” to find relevant sites in response to an entered search term. The “crawlers” operate according to a sophisticated and frequently changing set of algorithms. A number of SEO methods ensure the “crawlers” will identify your site as relevant to the search and place it in a prominent position on the searcher’s list. Here are a few examples of SEO tactics:

–    cross-linking between pages of the same site, specifically to the site’s key pages

–    writing content that includes frequently searched keyword phrases, making the site relevant to a wide variety of search queries

–    updating content regularly

–    adding relevant keywords to a web page’s meta data

SMO is similar to SEO in its goal to drive traffic to a site. Search engines are now using the recommendations made by users of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to rank websites on the results pages. A “like,” “share” or “retweet” on a social network is viewed as a “vote” or endorsement of a webpage’s quality. Search engines are using such “votes” to rank a site on their results pages. A few important tips for boosting SMO include:

–       reviewing analytics to determine what kinds of posts get “liked” and “shared”

–       tailoring content to your target audience

–       increasing the number of followers

–       scheduling posts and tweets frequently to ensure consistent visibility

Although the algorithms utilized by search engines are ever-changing, the tips above will help in optimizing your company’s site for SEO and SMO. I hope to see you at the top!

Please reach out to us with questions. You can reach Caryl Communications at 201-796-7788 or Don Campbell at 908-262-7070 and don@djcmarketing.com.

December 12, 2013

Building a Better Signature Block

Filed under: communication,pr,social media — Caryl Communications @ 5:06 pm

Looking to promote your brand or business at no cost?  Don’t overlook your email signature block. This small piece of electronic real estate has the potential to showcase your capabilities with each and every email you send. The most common elements of the signature block include contact information, logos and other graphics, tag lines, quotes, and links to your website and social media.

If you are using all of these, however, you probably have too much of a good thing going on. Consider reducing the amount of information in your block because:

1.) more than one link in the signature block can mark your email as spam and cause your communication to bounce to the recipient’s spam folder, and

2.) some email systems will “hide” elements of lengthy signature blocks causing recipients to see only a portion of your block.

Start the trimming process by asking what links are absolutely essential.  For the majority of businesses/brands, a link to the website alone, where all the social media links will be prominently displayed, is sufficient.  Use of a single link will keep your email safe from the spam filter.

If you believe more links are necessary, add just one-but only if it is essential to defining you to your audience.  For example, if you are an active blogger, you may want to link to your blog. If your company is a visual business (design, photography, retail or architecture), then your Instagram or Pinterest link may be a plus.  The inclusion of LinkedIn is a good choice for consultants, professionals, and industry leaders.

Evaluate the other elements in your block according to their relevance as well. Are you including extraneous contact information that can be found on your website? Have you tested any graphic elements to make sure they are rendering properly on different email systems?  A tag line that defines your business is probably a universal keeper.

Pare down your signature block and you’ll discover, like I did, that less is more. Your streamlined block not only will communicate your brand message more clearly-but with fewer links your email will more likely reach its intended destination.

September 24, 2013

Both B2B and B2C Companies Benefit from Social Media

Filed under: social media — Caryl Communications @ 3:29 pm

Social media (social) plays an ever-expanding part of our digital world. On a regular basis, your customers and clients – prospects too! – turn to the Internet to learn about the latest products, services and industry news. For businesses, both B2C and B2B, social serves as an invaluable tool when it comes to:

  • brand exposure,
  • community and relationship building,
  • lead generation and increased sales, and
  • search engine optimization (SEO).

So here’s the question: what is the key to taking advantage of these opportunities? Across platforms, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others, maintaining a consistent presence and adding valuable content, i.e. not just a sales pitch, is essential. On the consistency front, that means posting regular updates, daily if possible, and responding quickly to messages. Various platforms will likely play a role in your company’s overall social media campaign. That said, LinkedIn is particularly important for B2B companies while Facebook deserves a keen focus when it comes to B2C.

Why LinkedIn for B2B?

Click Here for More

Facebook Reigns Supreme for B2C

Click Here for More

 

February 15, 2013

Establishing Social Media Guidelines For Your Company

Filed under: social media — Caryl Communications @ 1:33 pm

The use of social media for business continues to grow exponentially, seemingly on a daily basis. It’s no surprise as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter enable companies to connect with their target markets in real-time, be it B2B or B2C. Whether your company is just getting its feet wet in social media or is already an established entity, putting conduct guidelines in place for employees is essential. Your employees are your company’s key ambassadors within these very public forums.

First things first though. Decide whether or not a manager’s approval is required before an employee actively participates in social media outlets on a professional level. Once that approval process is defined, here is a set of guidelines to discuss with employees:

  • Use common sense and practice sound judgment.
  • Do not post sensitive information, such as company details that should not be released to the public yet. Only post items that are fine for everyone to read.
  • Keep in mind that what is put on social media can never be deleted. Even if it is removed, it can still be retrieved.
  • Focus on the audience and write for them.
  • Remember the “Golden Rule.” Be sensitive to others, always respecting their opinions and ideas.
  • Add value to conversations by including facts and figures.
  • Be mindful of copyright and fair use laws. Give credit where credit is due.
  • Respond to comments and questions as soon as possible, preferably no later than 24 hours.

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