How to Plan Your Social Media Marketing

How to Plan Your Social Media Marketing

Lecture 10.1: Five Steps to a Winning Social Media Marketing Plan

In Chapter 15 and Appendix (Barker, Social Media Marketing, A Strategic Approach), you learned how to apply the eight-step social media marketing planning cycle. The following article provides a useful review of this model in a slightly abbreviated form.

Source: Barker|5 Steps to a Winning Social Media Marketing Plan

What is the single most important action you can take to improve your chances of success in implementing a social media campaign? Create a well-researched and carefully thought out social media marketing plan, which lays the foundation for executing a winning social media campaign. Although there is no concrete roadmap to crafting an effective social media marketing plan, there are guideposts that can direct you along the way. The following 5 Steps provide the guidance you will need to develop a successful social media marketing plan.

Step 1: Establish Definitive and Measurable Goals. Social media marketing goals include, improving brand awareness, search engine rankings, relevant site traffic, and conversions performance (e.g., sales for a product or service), as well as reputation management and engaging with consumers.

The challenge for some of these goals, such as engaging with consumers, is to make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART). In addition, objectives must be established for each type of social media platform in order to maximize results. The following are examples of SMART goals for four popular social media platforms: blogs, microblogs (Twitter), social networking sites, as well as image and video sharing sites:

Blogs:

  • 20% improvement in the ratio of posts to comments (i.e., visitor’s comments/posts=conversions) within six months
  • 30% increase in total number of unique visitors within six months
  • 20% increase in average number of unique visitors within six months
  • 40% growth in total number of views within six months
  • 10% growth of RSS subscribers within six months
  • 5% growth of RSS feed requests within six months

Microblogs (Twitter):

  • 20% growth in number of followers within 30 days
  • 30% growth in the number of retweets (message amplification) within 30 days
  • 10% increase in click-through-rate (CTR) of the links posted in tweets within 30 days (Hint: Observing which types of links garner the highest CTRs can help you tune your tweets to provide what your consumers with links they are interested in and, hence, further improve your CTR.)
  • 15% increase in visits to Web site from tweet links within 30 days
  • 10% growth in time on Web site from tweet links within 30 days
  • 5% increase in Web site conversions (e.g., sales) from tweet links within 30 days

Social Networking Sites:

  • 20% growth in the number of friends within five months
  • 30% growth in the number of comments within five months
  • 40% growth in the number of posts and comments in discussion groups within five months
  • 20% increase in the ratio of comments on uploaded videos to number of videos uploaded within five months
  • 20% increase in the ratio of comments on photos uploaded to number of photos uploaded within five months
  • 30% growth in the number of comments left on profiles within five months
  • 50% growth in the number of questions answered or asked within five months

Image and Video Sharing Sites:

  • 30% growth in the number of images or videos viewed within four months
  • 20% growth in the number of unique visitors within four months
  • 10% increase in the number of subscribers to your channel or stream within four months
  • 30% increase in the ratio of comments on images or videos to the number of images or videos uploaded within four months
  • 15% growth in the number of embedded links to your images or videos (i.e., links from other sites to your images or videos) within four months
  • 30% increase in average rankings of images or videos by viewers within four months

Step 2: Identify Your Target Market. Who is your intended audience (target market)? What platforms do they use? How do they participate on these social media platforms? Depending on what they do, you can determine which social media platform they are likely to frequent. As an example, spectators are not likely to participate in social network like Facebook or LinkedIn, while they might watch YouTube videos and read blogs, but not comment on the posts.

Step 3:  Conduct a Competitive Analysis. What are the trends in social media (i.e., which platforms are growing, which are declining?). What needs are not being met by your competitors? Who will be your main competitors? What are the best practices in social media marketing? Conduct a SWOT Analysis, identifying your company’s strengths, weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats in the marketplace and economy.

Step 4: Design innovative strategies. Select the optimal social media platforms to reach your target market. Then, construct a specialized strategy for each social media platform to achieve the tailored goals for each platform. Each social media medium has distinctive features and means of communication. For example, a corporate blog strategy will differ markedly from the strategy you use to achieve your goals on social networks like LinkedIn. In other words, a one-sized strategy doesn’t fit all.

Hence, you must adjust the following 8 C’s of the Social Media Marketing Mix for each social media platform. Here are some suggestions on how to accomplish this feat:

  • Categorize social media platforms by target market relevancy (i.e., the ones where your target audience resides)
  • Comprehend the “rules of the road” on the platform by listening and learning how to behave, successfully spark conversation, and engage and energize the participants
  • Converse by acknowledging and responding to other users of the platform, always remembering to be a contributor, not a promoter
  • Collaborate with platform members as a means of establishing a mutually beneficial relationships with the platform participants
  • Contribute content to build your reputation and become a valued member, helping to build the community
  • Connect with the influencers, so you can enlist them to help shape opinions about your product or service
  • Community creation enables you to build discussion forums where consumers suggest ideas and receive customer support
  • Conversion of strategy execution into desired outcomes (e.g., increased brand awareness, website traffic, sales, etc.)

Step 5: Monitor, Measure, and Tune. Assessing your progress, then tune your marketing plan based on the feedback to optimize goal achievement.

Reevaluate and adjust your social media marketing plan to account for the ever-changing nature of consumer tastes and the social Web. For example, if the number of viewers and subscribers to your blog are declining, you can adjust your content to more closely match your target market’s interests. If the number of comments on your blog posts is declining, you can adjust your strategy by asking a question at the end of each post that inspires people to respond.

In short, planning and executing a social media marketing campaign is a never-ending cycle. You should constantly monitor and tune your strategies to maximize the impact of your campaign.


Lecture 10.2: Social Media Marketing Trends

Key social media trends that every marketer needs to keep an eye out for and include in their digital marketing strategy, based on predictions from leading industry experts.

Somja Mehta l Smart Insights

Social media is ever-changing. Be it new platforms, different consumption habits or varied forms of communication, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp etc. are always coming up with innovative features that add different dimensions to the platforms. These changes not only help users engage in a number of different ways with their favorite brands online but also give marketers a chance to captivate their audiences through an array of tools and tactics.

It is vital for marketers to stay ahead of the game and keep themselves immersed in the latest social media marketing trends, as well as those in the future, so they can equip themselves with the technology and skills required to make the most of online platforms.

From text-first to visual-first: very first

It’s all about visuals in 2019. In addition to ephemeral content, video content generally, including live video, is a key area that marketers need to focus on. Video continues to dominate social media.

According to online marketing expert Marcus Sheridan, 80% of what we consume online will be video content. Even YouTube continues to go as a platform, giving more and more YouTubers a chance to create original video content for their audiences. By making their presence felt across these video platforms, marketers can really benefit from the fruitful results of having and engaging an audience.

“With organic social media for brands slowly trending towards zero across all social media platforms, businesses will have to focus on two things to be able to continue to be seen in the newsfeed of their fans and target audience:

1. Engage and build relationships with influencers and invest in a comprehensive and long-term influencer relations program, and

2. Invest exponentially more in newer content mediums such as Stories and live streaming, as well as more traditional visual content mediums such as photo and video.

Brands need to move from a text-first approach to a visual-first mentality when communicating, and similar to how every business became a media company with the advent of social media, they now must transform themselves into a visual magazine if not a television station in order to continue to be heard by the audience that matters to them.”

Neal Schaffer – Renowned author, CEO & Principal Social Media Strategy Consultant at Maximize Your Social 

The rise of ‘Live’

Live video is something that’s been around for a while, especially on YouTube, but its popularity across Facebook and now Instagram has made it a key opportunity for marketers to look out for. The interactivity of live video makes it a powerful tool for marketers to engage with their audience and strengthen the relationship between a brand and its followers.

The authenticity of ‘going live’ is another factor that the audience can benefit from, as it helps build trust and loyalty with a brand. There certainly are some risks to ‘going live’, due to its technical complexities and the adhoc issues that may arise when you are on ‘live’, however, the followers are likely to understand that and it may even further strengthen their trust towards a brand, as only authentic content leaves room for genuine mistakes.

Sprout Topics Demonstrating Brand Transparency on Social Aug2018

“As we head into the new year and another evolution of social media marketing, it’s great to look toward trends and developments. An eye to what’s up-and-coming may help a business be more relevant or avoid wasting time on tactics that aren’t going to be as popular.

The thing is, the trend next year will be quite similar to the trend each of the previous few years: Video.

As more and more devices and platforms support video – and in particular, live video – it’s becoming imperative that brands have a video strategy.

What’s becoming increasingly evident though is that it’s not enough to just ‘go live’ – you have to be able to offer a high production value and deliver excellent, engaging content. That’s something Stephanie Liu talks about a lot within the 360 Marketing Squad (Links to an external site.) group. Instead of just talking about your product or service, Stephanie recommends creating a video for every frequently asked question, as well as those questions customers should be asking.

So it’s not just Video that’s trending, it’s engaging video.”

Mike Allton – Brand Evangelist, Author and Content Marketing Practitioner at The Social Media Hat 

It’s been 2 years since Facebook launched its live feature and here’s an infographic  that the social media platform created, to mark its 2-year anniversary:

2 years of Facebook Live infographic

In the moment consumption rather than pre-packaged content – Ephemeral Content

Gone are the days where audience reception was primarily a passive process. The audience of today, the audience of the internet, wants to be involved, interact, react and co-create. And the brands that are successful in delivering that to their audiences, are the brands that are likely to be more successful in their use of social media.

The story feature and rise of ephemeral content across social networks is a key development that has gained a lot of popularity, with Instagram and Facebook stories hijacking Snapchat stories, and Instagram stories reaching around 400 million daily users.

According to Entrepreneur, 200 million Instagram users use Instagram Stories each month. With millions of daily views across Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc., the stories format is likely to become the primary social sharing feature, overtaking the News Feed layout. This is why social media marketers have to continue to pay special attention to the rise of the story feature and ‘in-the-moment’ consumption as a primary way of information dissemination, one that is favoured by a large group of social media users and is enriched with short yet powerful visual communication.

Mobile usage and shorter attention spans will continue to increase the popularity of short-lived content, especially with millennials and Generation Z-ers, who thrive on their relationships with brands being authentic and meaningful. Hence, it’s vital that social media marketers should establish a solid video strategy for ephemeral content, which not only allows the user to engage with the brand but also helps establish FOMO (fear of missing out) amongst the audience.

Delmondo report 6

“In 2019, social media content will continue to become more personal. With Facebook saying the Stories format  will overtake the News Feed as the default for content consumption soon, we’ll see more brands embrace personal, authentic and in-the-moment content vs. overly produced, pre-packed content. This will mean more focus on the people and personalities behind your brand. Think about how you can use video, stories and images to connect your audience with the human – maybe even vulnerable – side of your business.

You can do this by taking your audience behind the scenes and showing the work your business does day-to-day. If you’re a coffee shop, create a story of how you brew the perfect cup. If you’re a service business, take your followers on a tour of your office or show your team working. The key thing is to experiment. The stories format is still very young and as the content only lasts 24hrs, there are tons of chances to try new things without it lasting forever on your profile. And once you find something that works, go all in.”

Ash Read – Editorial Director at Buffer 

Social data – Trust and transparency

Data privacy, security and surveillance across social media has been a key issue of policy debate. In fact, social media has made it easier to generate, collect, and store people’s data on a large scale. Earlier this year in March, news broke that a data-mining firm called Cambridge Analytica harvested personal data from around 87 million Facebook profiles  without the users’ consent, to build a system that would use micro-targeting and psychological profiling to target US voters with personalized political advertisements and influence the election results.

While the company shut down as a result of the debacle, Facebook and it’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg received a lot of flack, both by the users as well as legal authorities. This has also led to other social media networks, as well as brands, to focus on establishing transparent and honest communication with their audiences, at a time when they might be battling with a sentiment of privacy concerns. Marketers need to find more authentic and dialogical ways of communicating with their customers, instead of one-sided marketing communications revolving around collecting masses of user data without offering any valuable proposition to the consumers.

Gallup Facebook Users Privacy Concerns Apr2018

As a response to the breach of privacy fiasco by Facebook, the social media giant has come up with a number of measures to prevent such a thing from happening again in the future, promising more transparent methods of data collection, sponsored content and ad metrics in general.

Trade-off between privacy and personalization – Enhanced customer experience

Although the issue of data privacy online leading to concerns and confusion within social media is likely to encourage brands to be more transparent in their data collection methods and communication online, it will still continue to exist in some way. Eva Taylor, Senior Manager for Social Marketing at Hootsuite, argues that a key trend for 2019/2020 is personalization of customer experience, which goes hand in hand with online data collection through behavioral tracking. The internet has raised considerable concerns about privacy, making data protection a key issue, which cannot be eradicated until marketers stop providing personalized experiences online and consumers stop demanding them.

“Looking ahead to the future of social,  brands that are most likely to win are the ones that place personalization and customer experience at the heart of their business. Thanks to social media, consumers have come to expect seamless, curated experiences with every brand they speak to and they want these interactions to happen faster than ever. When thinking about marketing channels, social media is unique in its ability to allow for one on one communication at scale. For brands, unlocking this opportunity will depend on how they creatively leverage technology and data to make every experience feel both personal and personalized.”

Eva Taylor – Senior Manager for Social Marketing at Hootsuite 

AI-driven customer service

From chatbots to social media ad optimization, platforms such as Google, Amazon and Facebook have been quick to adopt artificial intelligence to enhance customer interaction, especially in the form of online customer service. The growth in AI-driven communication has been undeniable and Hootsuite has predicted that by 2020, more than 85% of all customer service interactions will be powered by AI bots.

Millennials seem to be the quickest adaptors of chatbot-based customer experiences. According to Huffington Post, 60% of the millennial population already uses chatbots and 71% have implied that they would like to try using one. In 2019, more and more brands strengthen their online customer service practices and even move to new platforms that may potentially offer more effective technology for customer service to thrive online, such as WhatsApp.

Number of Facebook Messenger users in the US from 2014 to 2020

“WhatsApp will become a major player in the social customer service marketplace, the rise of WhatsApp as a primary social customer service channel. The release of the WhatsApp business API in August 2018 could be a genuine game-changer in the industry.

If you’re not familiar with the change to the business API, WhatsApp will now allow businesses to respond to customers for free within 24 hours. This shift means businesses are now incentivized to reply to their customers faster. It puts the focus firmly on improving customer experience.

As well as faster response times, WhatsApp hands power to the consumer as businesses can still only message people who contacted them first.

The customer can talk to a business on a channel they are already using for communication (with friends and family) and on their own terms without being spammed with marketing messages. The power with WhatsApp really is in the consumers hands.

It’s a very clever move by Facebook and WhatsApp. For those businesses considering WhatsApp but not quite ready to make the move to the messaging app as a customer-focused channel (and there are lots having this conversation), this could tip the scales.

Twitter has long been the home of customer service on social media and the ‘go-to’ social channel for the majority of consumers. The changes to WhatsApp could have a real and lasting impact on Twitter usage and this would be a major shift in how consumers interact with brands digitally.”

Justin Clark – Head of Social Media at Transport for Greater Manchester 

The biggest development in this area has been the launch of IGTV by Instagram – a TV feature used to broadcast long-form video content in a format different to other videos on social media platforms. The rise of social TV and vertical videos, such as through IGTV, will encourage more brands to become broadcasters, meaning variety and novelty of different video content for mobile usage.

At the launch, Instagram highlighted that “unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long”, establishing IGTV as a platform that is similar to traditional TV, with different channels, exclusively for Instagram users. Features such as these will continue to boost Instagram’s popularity amongst users, opening new avenues of social media marketing.

“The most exciting social media trend of 2019 is the continuing rise of Instagram. It’s now the second most popular social media platform after Facebook.

In Social Media Examiner’s influential 2018 report, 66% of those interviewed use the platform, up from 54% in 2017. Its popularity can be summed up in one word, ‘visuals’.

There’s a famous saying that ‘a picture says a thousand words’. With the right image, you can tell a story about your brand, your product or your life that might take 1hundreds of words to write.  Instagram’s visual format is perfect for attracting users who have a short attention span. And attention spans keep getting shorter, on average, they are just eight seconds (Links to an external site.)!

Another factor that has no doubt helped Instagram is their advertising platform. Whilst Facebook posts allow link sharing, Instagram doesn’t… unless you advertise. Businesses have woken up to the opportunity, and all types of companies, even those that are not particularly visual (Links to an external site.) have been clinging on to the platform.

The major brands are already all present on Instagram, I am expecting smaller businesses to follow suit.”

Danny Bermant – Founder and Director at Inbox Express and Brainstorm Digital 

Changing organic reach

Finally, organic reach on social media platforms is also changing. Earlier this year, Facebook announced major changes to its algorithm, to ensure users see more content from friends and family and less from brands and pages. As a result, brands that had effective methods of organic reach set in place didn’t face extreme declines in views and engagement due to this algorithm change and brands that didn’t make use of organic reach found themselves at a greater loss.

This highlights a key area for growth and focus, perhaps one that marketers take for granted on social media, to increase their organic reach across social media platforms.

All the different trends mentioned above effectively identify key ways to create more engaging consumer relationships on social media, which in turn, would help your brand increase its organic presence online, through evoking genuine interest and consumer needs.

“With more businesses utilizing advertisement through search engines such as Google Ads, 2018 saw the most competitive ‘bidding war’ yet for certain keywords, with businesses having to alter bids significantly and, in some cases, daily to remain competitive, with a chance of being visible.

In 2019 more small to medium-sized businesses will turn to digital tracking solutions and software’s to measure the impact of PPC campaigns, as it’s now time to measure the cost-per-conversion not cost-per-click. Although generating clicks through to the website is a start; how many of those clicks convert to become a customer? On several occasions, I have met with businesses investing significantly in pay-per-click campaigns because their competitors are doing it… However, their website is not mobile friendly or optimized correctly, which has resulted in a significant bounce rate from the PPC leads – not a wise investment.

Is it time to take focus off PPC and invest marketing budgets elsewhere, perhaps make your website work harder organically? More rich content through social media, perhaps 360’ photos? Utilize Bloggers and online influencers to promote your brand online? Interesting times ahead.

I also think VR imagery and video will be integrated with social media soon, to generate more marketing qualified leads through social media.”

Dean Burrows – Marketing Executive at Peckforton Castle (Boutique Hotel Group)

“One of the biggest trends in social media that started in the past couple of years (especially thanks to Snapchat) and will most likely continue to grow a lot, is the use of augmented reality in social media. It’s a great opportunity for those who invest in this kind of technology to stand out from their audience and create fun, engaging experiences for their target audience: fun little branded games, branded filters for Facebook, interactive content, and maybe even AR-based social media ads.”

Lilach Bullock – Lead Conversion and Content Marketing Expert, Founder at Lilach Bullock Limited


Social Media Monitoring and Listening Tools

Social Media Monitoring and Listening Tools

Lecture 9.1

Social media monitoring and measuring are key factors in building an effective and dynamic SMM plan.  There are platforms measuring KPI, ROI, metrics, competition and others. With some many options in the field (with more launching everyday) the best platform is the one that is useful to you and exceeds your goals. Below are free tools that provide a variety of options and links to learn more.

Top Free Social Media Listening Tools

R Mindruta l 2019   BrandWatch

The key to making the most of social media is listening to what your audience has to say about you, your competitors, and the market in general. Once you have the data you can undertake analysis, and finally, reach social business intelligence; using all these insights to know your customers better and improve your marketing strategy.

If you are a social media rookie, this list of the top social media monitoring tools might come in handy. When looking for a tool, it’s a good idea to try a couple of them and choose the one that suits your needs best.

 

1. Hootsuite 

Hootsuite is one of the best free social media listening tools available and covers multiple social networks, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+. It is well known for its social media management functions.

The weekly reports and the excellent team management facility (delegating tasks, sending private messages) can be very useful when there’s more than one person handling the social media accounts.

You can also monitor specific search terms in real time. This can be really handy for tracking mentions of our brand, products, or relevant keywords you’re interested in.

Hootsuite also lets you use RSS feeds to post to your personal or organization’s social networks

.

 

2. TweetReach 

TweetReach is a great monitoring tool for your business if you’re interested in checking how far your Tweets travel. TweetReach measures the actual impact and implications of social media discussions.

It is a good way of finding out who are your most influential followers, implicitly guiding you towards the right people you should be targeting when aiming to share and promote online content.

 

3. Brandwatch Consumer Research 

Our social media monitoring tool, Brandwatch Consumer Research, has a huge range of features and applications. It can track everything from your own channels to hashtags to specific phrases and keywords you want to look at.

With a customizable query builder, you can set it to track very specific topics or every broad ones. Then you can get data from Twitter, Reddit, forums, blogs, and various other sources.

There’s then the ability to build custom dashboards and views, plus analytical components, such as looking at sentiment, emotions, and demographics. It’s one of the most powerful tools in the industry.

4. If This Then That (IFTTT) 

IFTTT isn’t specifically made for social media monitoring, but it can be easily turned towards it. IFTTT essentially lets you connect up different services so that when something happens on one, it triggers an action in another (or the same if you like).

For example, you could have IFTTT send you an email every time your brand is mentioned. Or you can get an SMS whenever a term specified by a Twitter search query gets posted.

In other words, thanks to its customizability and range of integrated apps, it can be a nifty way to keep an eye on social media activity.

There’s whole range of other great social media and marketing uses so be sure to have a dig around. You can use pre-existing ‘applets’ or create your own entirely. Get creative!

 

5. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a great tool for content research, but it also has an excellent way to analyze and monitor your Facebook pages. Along with metrics around each individual post, more interestingly is the ability to see what content performs best.

Buzzsumo will tell you what day is the best to post, how long your posts should be, what types of content works best, and monthly stats over time.

 

6. Twazzup

Twazzup is great for social media beginners looking for a Twitter monitoring tool. You just enter the name you want to track and you instantly get real-time updates, meaning the most active top influencers, most retweeted photos and links, and most importantly, the top 10 keywords related to your search.

 

7. Boardreader 

Sometimes we forget that social media doesn’t just include the big players. Forums and messaging boards count too. Boardreader allows you to search for specific terms on a range of different forums to see when people talk about you and what they’re saying.

Putting in a term will return a list of all of these posts up to the previous two years, you can generate charts to look for trends, and compare terms against each other. It’s a great way to find conversations about your brand.

 

8. HowSociable 

HowSociable is a handy tool for measuring your and your competitors’ social media presence.

A free account allows you to track 12 social sites, including Tumblr and WordPress. However, if you’re interested in 24 more, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. a pro account is required.

HowSociable’s approach to social monitoring is a bit different as it breaks down scores for different social media platforms, allowing you to see which social media platforms work best for you and which ones need further development.

 

9. TweetDeck 

TweetDeck covers the basic needs of any Twitter user, so is a good option for beginners. It’s a great tool for scheduling tweets and monitoring your interactions and messages, as well as tracking hashtags and managing multiple accounts. There is a web app, chrome app, or mac app. The Windows app ceased functioning in April 2016.

 

10. Mention 

Mention monitors million of sources in 42 languages, helping you stay on top of all your brand mentions on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or any web page.

The app lets you keep track of your team’s actions, share alerts and assign tasks. Generating reports and exporting mentions can help you get a snapshot of your mentions by source or language over a selected period of time. They offer a 14-day free trial.

 

11. Twitonomy 

Twitonomy offers a range of metrics for free, with premium features enabled for $19/month. Simply sign in with your Twitter account for robust monitoring and metrics about your account. You can add your competitor’s Twitter handles to gain insights about their activity too.

Twitonomy shows you details of your Twitter lists, followers and followings, your most popular Tweets, engagement statistics and much more.

You can track conversations on Twitter based on hashtags, users, or lists. The details are displayed in graphs and easily digestible stats.

 

12. Followerwonk 

Focusing specifically on Twitter, Followerwonk is the right tool to find, analyze and optimize your online presence for social growth.

The tool is perfect for planning outreach campaigns by allowing you to search Twitter bios, connect with influencers or fans and break them out by location, authority, number of followers and more.

Interestingly, with Followerwonk you can compare your social graph to competitors, friends or industry leaders and measure how well you are doing.

 

13. SumAll 

Targeted at small-medium businesses, SumAll is a cross-platform social media monitoring tool that will help you understand the correlation between your social channels.

The user interface does take a bit of time to get familiar with, but there are an extensive amount of metrics you can analyze.

The daily email updates can give you a quick overview of top-level stats for your account compared to the previous week, allowing customer service to quickly react and respond to urgent issues.

 

14. Keyhole 

Keyhole is excellent for tracking keywords and hashtags. It’ll track them live and create a dashboard showing all the mentions, letting you sort by engagement, date, and other metrics.

You can also get a look at influencers, sentiment, and trending topics based on the mentions collected.

 


Lecture 9.2: Using Sentiment Analysis to Monitor a Brand

What Sentiment Analysis Can Do for Your Brand

McGarrity | Marketing Profs

How can companies find out what consumers really think about their brand?

With new technologies and algorithms that automatically collect, index, and analyze customers’ opinions about a brand and its products and services, sentiment analysis has never been easier.

Read on to learn more about one of the newest ways to better understand your customers—and find out how to put it to work for your brand.

The Rise of Social Media—and Sentiment Analysis

Social media and consumer review platforms have completely changed the way consumers communicate. Feedback—whether companies are listening—is available in seconds; customers’ voices and opinions are available instantly and heard by other consumers in social media just as fast.

Brands may feel lost in the sheer amount of customer data out there, but a pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow for companies that invest in wading through this data.

Best-Practices for Harnessing Sentiment Data

The best approaches combine data from a diverse set of data resources and add customer sentiment data to the mix.

In addition, information that includes geo-location data, customer-preference analysis, and market-trending information based on contextual text analytics can collectively provide a level of understanding of market dynamics previously unavailable to the industry.

Sentiment analysis is widespread in many industries. For example, Apple is diving deeper into artificial intelligence by acquiring the startup company Emotient, a cloud-based service that uses artificial intelligence to read emotion through the analysis of facial expressions. Also, researchers at the University of Arizona’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory use text mining to search for relevant terms and use sentiment analysis to study what motivates hackers to try to predict how they might act in future attempts at data breaching.

Smart companies are realizing the potential and quality of the insights that sentiment analysis can deliver.

Benefits of Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment analysis empowers enterprises to build their brand, attract new customers, better serve existing clients, and forge more meaningful connections with other key audiences in the social-enabled world.

In short: Insights from sentiment analysis gives businesses the ability to make better decisions and accelerate their revenue growth.

Here are two ways the most innovative companies are applying sentiment analysis to better understand consumers and ultimately power their brands:

  1. Predictive analytics. Using social media data and, more importantly, open-source information (data collected from publicly available sources), companies are identifying patterns in customer behaviors, detecting early product feedback, and identifying indicators that can drive innovation.
  2. Brand management. Being able to track trends between brands in similar sectors or even in completely unrelated markets in real time is an extremely powerful tool to drive brand strategy and measure its effectiveness. At the same time, measuring how different brands relate to the feelings of their target customers is important information for designing winning marketing strategies.

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Sentiment analysis technologies empower you to act on customer data and trending social media issues quickly and confidently.

Because sentiment analysis solutions collect and aggregate customer commentary on multiple social media platforms, you can be sure that you’re seeing the big picture in conversations about your brand—without missing “little things” that could become big customer-relations headaches or missing opportunities that could lead to increased conversions and customer loyalty.

For example, you can know…

  • Which brands in your industry hold the highest share of voice on social media
  • Who is in conversations about your brand, products, industry, and competitors
  • What topics in your industry generate the most buzz
  • Which influencers are talking about your brand—and your competitors’ brands

Sentiment analysis can tell you the answers to all these questions and more. It’s impossible to ignore the value that it adds to the industry.

Sentiment analysis bases results on factors that are inherently “human,” so it is bound to be a major driver of many business decisions in future. It allows us to harness the wisdom of the crowd rather than only hear the opinions of a select few self-appointed “experts” who just happen to comment the loudest and most frequently.

Taking sentiment analysis into account from a broad base provides a holistic view of how your customers (and potential customers) feel about you, allowing you to build a brand where every opinion counts and every sentiment affects decision-making.

The Future of Sentiment-Driven Brand-Building

Sentiment analysis will continue to gain momentum this year, providing the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in niche markets by offering tools that translate customer insights into actionable data.

For companies that see the potential of sentiment analysis—paired with other available data and insights—the potential to build stronger, more consumer-connected brands is strong.

Explore how sentiment analysis can fit into your social-media temperature-checks, and you can drive more informed and more agile brand decision-making for your company.

 

Mobile & Location-Based Marketing

Mobile & Location-Based Marketing

Red Small Flag with House Icon on a Map Background with Selective Focus..jpegLecture 8.1: Mobile Marketing for 2020

However, without a few basic guidelines, mobile marketing fails to produce the desired results. Mentioned below are a few tips that even beginners can employ in 2020.

Hyperlocal Targeting via Geofencing

Geofencing, a hyperlocal targeting technique, involves marking a specific geographic area and making a virtual fence around it. When anyone with your mobile app is within this geographic range, a push notification will be sent to the user with area-specific services.

A working yet audacious example can be of Burger King geofencing McDonald’s outlets. When the app users entered the fenced areas, they were sent discount vouchers from Burger King. Thus, killing the competition and attracting more customers efficiently in one go, albeit in a sly manner.

The major point here is that only 2 in 10 businesses have any inclination towards hyperlocal targeting. It can be effectively applied to nearly every type of business and produce a variety of results. For example, taxi-booking apps can geofence airports and metro stations or an offline store can set up the virtual fence to let users know about sales and discounts.

Using VR and AR

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have mostly been associated with the games and entertainment industry, which is why most marketers have not been able to capitalize on their potential.

VR is an immersive simulation of a virtual environment and requires users to wear a headset. On the other hand, projecting virtual elements onto real-world scenarios is considered to be AR, for example, Snapchat filters and Pokemon Go.

Check out AR wine lables at this link: https://www.livingwinelabels.com/

Living Wine Labels

Meet the Living Wine Labels app and watch as your favorite wines come to life through Augmented Reality.

Download the Living Wine Labels app on App Store and Google Play

Get the App

What is Living Wine Labels?

Meet the Living Wine Labels app and watch as your favorite wines come to life through Augmented Reality

Listen to history’s most interesting Convicts and Rebels share their stories behind the 19 Crimes, interact with the Warden, and defend yourself in a trial with the Magistrate to prove your innocence. Learn how to be a Gentleman with tips from Dr.Henry Lindeman. Hear the stories from Embrazen women from the past about their trailblazing achievements. Create your own Curly Tales and watch curly movies in the Squealing Pig cinema. Take a dip in the chilling iceberg and know how to check if your Matua wine is chilled to drink. Explore the Barossa Valley and s‌ee why Wolf Blass is one of Australia’s most awarded winery. W‌atch Rick Grimes and others fight off The Walking Dead. C‌reate your very own Lindeman’s artwork and share it with your friends and family. Meet the Beringer Bros and fill in to be their personal photographer. Learn the art of hosting great parties and cook up a storm with exclusive recipes using Main & Vine.

Another application in daily life can be of Domino’s, whose app uses AR to let people check out different pizzas on their tables even before they order. A sure way to get mouths watering.

Target Bing and Yahoo users

Most of the marketing campaigns and SEO are directed towards Google since it enjoys a near-monopoly in attracting mobile users. Over 95% of mobile users prefer searching through Google while Yahoo and Bing are left with 2 and 1 percent share, respectively.

While 1% is not much on charts, it represents over 137 million mobile users of which ⅓ have a household income of more than $100,000. Also, of these 137 million people, 54% are over 45. On the other hand, Google users are mostly under 44 years of age and don’t have as wealthy demographics as Bing users. This means you are losing out on users with serious prospects if your marketing is solely focused on Google.

Content Campaigns

User-generated content campaigns are a great way around two major hurdles of marketing: Creating fresh, catchy content, and convincing the audience that you are worth the while.

User-generated campaigns will save the creative work that goes into making user-relatable content. The users can also act as a number of unpaid brand ambassadors, who, regardless of their limited outreach, can spread the word of mouth – something that is trusted over any branding or advertising strategy.

While traditional marketing strategies consider people as the “message receiver” and the marketers are “message broadcasters”, user-generated content attempts to bridge the gap and bring the people in to play. This community-based communication can help you spread the word and build a stronger customer base. It can also help you take maximum advantage of Instagram’s features.

For example, Walkers, in 2014, pushed a “Do Us A Flavor” campaign (Links to an external site.) which had nearly 1.2 million people in the fray. The winner’s idea was used by Walkers to launch a new flavor.

Voice Search Optimization

Voice search is seen as a trend that will pass, but it is here to stay. More people are using voice searches for their daily chores, and with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, it will be taken to a whole new level. In fact, 50% of all searches by 2020 will be made by voice searches.

This is backed by studies that conclude that over 71% of users under the age of 29 use mobile assistants. Further, a third of smartphone users conduct at least one voice search per week. This calls for a major addition in marketing – Voice search support in various apps and incorporation of long-tailed keywords in SEO.

Conclusion!

Mobile marketing is an out of the box strategy when compared with the traditional marketing mantras. However, the results can be quite stunning as it can help you expand your outreach and bag more leads. These mobile marketing tips can help you stand out with their efficacy. More and more traditional marketers are learning the ropes and implementing these strategies in order to further the prospects of their respective businesses.


BTC Lecture 8.2: Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Web

Pros and Cons of Mobile Websites and Mobile Apps

Tania l RubyGarage

In 2017, about 64% of the Earth’s population owns a mobile phone, and according to Statista (Links to an external site.), this percentage keeps increasing. Statista suggests that by 2020 the number of mobile phone users worldwide will reach 5.07 billion. That’s a pretty broad audience, isn’t it?

Number of Mobile Phone Users

As a business owner or CEO, you certainly have thought about how to win this audience and what mobile strategy to apply: whether to build a mobile website or application. There’s no single answer, as the option you choose depends on a number of factors including your business plans, your resources, and the web properties you might need.

Mobile Website

As with any other website, a mobile website is a browser-based way of accessing internet content. Unlike regular websites, it’s designed specifically for mobile devices, and therefore is not displayed perfectly on desktop.

Along with mobile, there’s another broader concept of optimizing websites for smaller screens: we’re talking about a website with responsive design.

A responsive website contains HTML pages linked together, which are viewed in browsers over the internet. Here you won’t find anything out of the ordinary. However, unlike regular websites, this particular type is geared to displaying correctly on all sizes of screens.

It works well not only with mobile-friendly websites and desktop versions of them, but also properly scales down for smartphones and tablets with touchscreen interfaces. Therefore a responsive web design goes perfect with mobile device just as much as a mobile website.

Example of Responsive Web Design on Different Devices

Responsive, or mobile websites work perfectly for implementing outreach strategies and supporting marketing or PR campaigns. As a mobile website is superior to a mobile application in matters of compatibility, accessibility, and maintenance, it is a great first step to boost and support your mobile marketing campaign.

To evaluate your choice between a mobile website and a mobile app precisely, though, let’s touch upon the benefits of mobile website as well as its limitations.

Pros

  • Compatibility. A website enhances the user experience across different types of mobile devices. In contrast, a mobile application requires developing a separate version for each operating system and device type. Users who own devices of different types may especially appreciate the benefits of compatibility that responsive websites provide. Besides, they support easy integration with other mobile features like QR codes and text messaging.
  • Broader Reach. Due to the multi-device support that responsive web design provides across various platforms, it’s becoming easy to reach a broader audience than a mobile app can reach. In the “app vs website” debate, the website definitely wins in terms of potential audience.
  • Support and Maintenance. Websites also cost less to upgrade. You need to maintain just a single version of a them. Compared to mobile apps, which require downloading of every single update, responsive/mobile websites let you change the content or design just by editing them once, and allow you to do that efficiently and flexibly. After implementing, updates become active and visible immediately across all types of devices.

Cons

Mobile websites have a wider reach, better compatibility, and require less money than mobile applications. Still, they have their limitations.

  • Convenience. Unlike an application, a responsive/mobile website can’t leverage all smartphone features as efficiently. Cameras, GPS, phone dialing, and other features integrated into mobile devices aren’t always well developed for responsive/mobile websites, even though APIs and libraries aimed to help solve these issues have been appearing lately.Another limitation to user benefits is a device’s screen size. Of course, portability is the key reason why users enjoy having smaller devices on the go. However, mobile devices display a lot less content compared to a computer monitor or laptop screen. Both responsive design and mobile website don’t fully access to all the content available on the desktop. Even though responsive web design adjusts to the screen size dynamically, still it doesn’t make it completely convenient for users to surf the content on a mobile device. The same thing is with mobile website which actually reduces and rearranges the content available on the desktop.
  • User Experience. Since mobile experiences significantly differ from desktop experiences, implementing the same interface for both platforms may harm your UX strategy. This mostly relates to the single-window restriction. The single-window restriction says that a user shouldn’t have to leave their current page to access all the content they’re looking for; however, with mobile sites it’s often impossible to fit everything onto one page.
  • Offline Access. Even if you design your mobile website in the lightest and most informative way possible, it still may work offline with only limited functionality using cached pages. Unlike a mobile application, which can run locally, a mobile website requires a good internet connection to operate fully.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Responsive Websites

Mobile App

Unlike responsive/mobile websites, which you can reach via browsers, mobile applications must be downloaded from specific portals such as the Google Play Market, App Store, or other market depending on the type of operation system.

Mobile apps offer faster access to content and smoother interactions. Several recent statistics support the convenience of using mobile apps. According to Flurry Analytics (Links to an external site.)‘ 2016 survey measuring time that mobile users are spending surfing the internet, 90% of users prefer using applications to mobile websites.

Where People Spend Mobile Time

Another line of research by comScore (Links to an external site.) affirms that from 2013 to 2016, the amount of time that mobile users spend surfing the web has grown more than 50%. Significantly, 90% of this growth relates to mobile applications.

Dynamics of Time Spent in Mobile App and Mobile We

Despite the pros of responsive web design, mobile apps seem to be way more popular. Before going through the pros and cons of mobile apps, however, let’s first figure out when it makes sense to build a mobile app.

The Best Cases to Build a Mobile App

When it comes to specific business needs, there are common scenarios when building an application is the best solution. For instance, if you plan on setting up features linked to native device functionality, like GPS, click-to-call, cameras, or scanners, then an application will be more effective than a mobile website.

Another good time to choose an application is when you’re building a platform such as a content marketplace or a social network (Links to an external site.) that requires access to various types of content (images, texts, music, and Youtube videos) and needs to keep all these elements functional and dynamic.

Building a Mobile App for a Marketplace

An application is also perfect for interactive games (Angry Birds), tools for daily using (Evernote), and services that allow you to train and track real-time progress and that send regular reminders (FitBit, Duolingo).

Additionally, a mobile application is a reasonable solution for manipulating data. When you need to process complex calculations and build reports, such as in investment and banking, then it’s also better to use an app.

For banking operations and services, a mobile app may work as a great addition to a complete website. Banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo) nail this idea by picking out the most popular desktop web features, which are vital to use on-the-go, and putting only those features into their applications, making them easy and convenient to use.

Of course, to decide whether you need to build an application, it’s important to investigate the key advantages of mobile apps as well as their drawbacks.

Pros

  • Convenience. Analysis shows that the applications are more popular than equivalent websites, as they’re more convenient. Mobile apps provide better user experiences, load content faster, and are easier to use. Besides, unlike websites, apps have push notifications. Sharing updates, special features, and reminders within an app increases customer loyalty and retention. Also, the design of mobile apps fits different screen sizes more elegantly than websites.
  • Personalization. Mobile apps are a great solution for services that require regular use. An application allows users to set preferences, create personal accounts, and keep vital information at hand. From a business point of view, mobile apps provide better support for targeting an audience and therefore building marketing campaigns for different groups of users.
  • Working offline. Another crucial advantage related to mobile apps is the opportunity to use them offline. As apps are installed on a mobile device, they can keep providing access to content and features even without an internet connection.

Cons

  • Compatibility. To ensure proper functioning, a mobile application should meet the requirements of the particular operating system. This means that every platform – iOS, Android, and Windows – requires a separate app version.Of course, it’s possible to develop a cross-platform solution that’s supposed to fit every operating system and device.However, cross-platform application frameworks don’t provide full support for every module and feature of each operating system. For instance, a cross-platform framework may not support 3D graphics, which in turn may lead to limitations in creating and displaying app designs. Restrictions like these may have an impact on the stability of app features, and may lead to sub-optimal functionality.
  • Support and Maintenance. When an application is developed for several different platforms, supporting it also takes more time and money. Indeed, you need to provide upgrades and fix compatibility issues for every type of device – and do so regularly. Besides, you have to inform your users about these updates and push them to download the updated version of the app. Another issue related to maintaining an application is the time and effort needed to get approval from the markets where the app is placed.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Apps

Comparison Summary

The “mobile app vs mobile website” issue will remain topical for business owners. While considering if it’s better to choose a mobile website or an app for your project, you may refer to the following table where we have summarized the benefits and limitations of both approaches.

Criteria Responsive/Mobile Website Mobile App
Compatibility Displays equally well on all types of devices Requires development of separate version for each platform
Reach Reaches wider audience; covers all devices (mobile, desktop, laptop) Accessible for smartphone and tablet users only
Working Offline Limited offline functionality Works well offline
Ongoing Maintenance Supporting and updating across all mobile devices is easier; flexible; requires less effort Requires extra time and cost for regular updating, including time for approval from app markets
Convenience Provides limited convenience due to screen size and inability to keep all needed info on one page Provides better experience in regular use; loads content faster; has push notifications
Personalization Provides average opportunities to personalize settings Provides wider options for personalization

Every company in every business sphere must make its own choice depending on its business strategy, marketing goals, and brand positioning. The choice is not about picking one of the two, but rather about finding the right solution that will provide the best results for your business. Besides, a mobile strategy can reasonably include both a mobile website and an app.

Social News Sites, Article Directories & eBook Publishing

Lecture 7.1: Exploring Social News Sites

In Chapter 10, you learned how social news sites hold great promise for helping you promote yourself or business. The following article provides six reasons why social news sites can play an important in promoting a business online.


Six Reasons Why You Should Care About Social News (Links to an external site.)
Getting 50,000+ page views in a day is just the beginning
From Gregory Go, former About.com Guide

Social news is a type of social media website. Submitted links are the centerpiece of this type of social media.

Three core features of social news:

  1. Users submit links to articles, photos, videos, etc.
  2. Users vote on submitted content.
  3. Highest rated content is featured on the homepage.

Some of the more popular social news sites are Digg (Links to an external site.), Reddit (Links to an external site.), and Mix (Links to an external site.).

Here are 6 reasons why social news matters for your business or website.

1. Massive Amounts of Traffic

The biggest attraction of social news sites is the massive amount of traffic they can bring in a short period of time. It can be upwards of 50,000+ page views in a single day. Getting on the homepage of Digg once often wakes up an addict-like craving in the webmaster to “go popular” again.

Unfortunately, most of those 50k readers from a social news site will immediately leave your site after reading the article. Without clicking on any ads, looking around the site, or buying any products (or subscribing to your feed). On top of that, having thousands of them visiting your site at the same time might kill your web server. Some people come right out and say Digg traffic sucks.

Yes, the vast majority of social news visitors won’t “convert” (whatever that means to your particular website), but they’re still worth it because of what comes after the massive wave of traffic.

Besides, who would rather not get those 50,000 page views? Not me.

2. Bump in Subscribers and Regular Readers

The biggest social news sites like Digg or Reddit can send upwards of 50,000 page views in a single day. It’s a big win even if only 1% of the primary traffic spike finds your site interesting enough to bookmark, subscribe, share, or blog about. That’s potentially 500 new subscribers or sales!

The good news is that we can expect the conversion rate to increase as more niche social news sites pop up. Instead of massive, non-sticky traffic, the social news sites of the (near) future will send smaller bursts of highly targeted traffic that will be much more likely to click around your site and/or subscribe to your feed or newsletter.

3. Inbound Links and Targeted Traffic

In addition to the bump in subscribers or bookmarks, you can expect a wave of new inbound links.

Those new inbound links (a vote of confidence for your site) will send a secondary wave of traffic. This wave will be smaller, but it will be highly targeted traffic.

The links themselves add significant long-term value because the number and relevancy of inbound links to your website directly determines how well you rank in search engine results.

4. High Return On Investment

When done properly, a social media campaign can provide a very high [Return on Investment].

You can spend a day or so writing one article. If that article goes popular on one or more social sites, you can expect thousands of visitors and links.

Going with our previous estimate of a 1% conversion rate, compare a successful social news campaign with the cost of acquiring 500 new subscribers or customers. How many comments would you have to leave on other blogs? How many clicks (and how much per click) would you have to pay to get that kind of sales bump?

5. Establish Your Online Brand / Reputation

If you are an insanely helpful and interesting contributor to the community, you can build quite a following in your niche. Having potential customers see you as an industry/niche leader is a very big competitive advantage.

A social news site is just another form of an online community. The same strategies and benefits of successful forum marketing (Links to an external site.) apply to social media sites. Be helpful. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t over-promote yourself.

6. Social News Is The Future — And We Need More Thought Leaders

Social media is still in its infancy. The field is currently dominated by tech and humor centric sites that appeal to an early adopter user base.

But it’s expanding. Social news is getting more mainstream everyday. Within 5 years, we’ll see a social news site for every conceivable topical or business niche.

Whether you sell Harry Potter books or write a blog about rare orchids, there’s probably a social news site being built (or already built) for you. Social news is expanding into an ever larger number of niches. And we’re going to need thought leaders in every niche.

Sites like Mix (Links to an external site.) let users create their own categories, and only see those categories on the Mix homepage. This feature lets users basically “create their own” social news site. Digg is planning to roll out a similar feature within a few months, and Reddit has recently open sourced its source code for anyone to use. Other open source software like Pligg (Links to an external site.) are powering niche social news sites.

Here are some niche content aggregators:


Lecture 7.2: The Decline of Article Directories

As you learned in Chapter 11, content marketing is an incredibly effective way to promote your website. Once-upon-a-time, free article directories were a great place to submit articles that website owners would post on their own sites, driving up your website traffic and search engine rankings. However, the value of article directories (Links to an external site.) has dramatically declined. In fact, as the following article points out, the are now very good reasons for marketers to avoid them altogether.

 


7 Reasons Why Article Directories Will Hurt Your Site
Mitchell Wright l SEO Blog

Article marketing used to be a very popular SEO technique. The main idea behind the concept would be that you could write an article on a topic related to your niche and submit it to as many online article directories as you could. It was also possible to use an article “spinner” that would automatically generate unique content based on one unique article that you wrote. You would then get a link back to your site. Article marketing by submitting to directories was very popular back then for a good reason: it actually worked.

Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case anymore. In fact, submitting articles to various directories, even the popular ones, isn’t just pointless, it can actually harm your site. Here are some reasons why:

1. Your Articles Will Often Be of Poor Quality

The fact is, the majority of people are simply poor writers. And we all know that with the recent algorithm updates, Google frowns upon poor quality content (Links to an external site.). Some webmasters believe that they can outsmart Google by posting hundreds of articles to various directories and in order to do so, they will hire dirt cheap writers that promise to give them “quality, unique articles” for a low price like $1 each. In most cases, what you will get in return are articles that are so poorly written that you’re left scratching your head as to what the author was trying to mean. Other times, the work will simply be plagiarized, with the “writer” lifting an existing article from the web and changing a few words here and there. Using such articles for SEO is at best a waste of time, at worst a way to incur a severe penalty.

2. Article Directories Themselves are Repositories of Bad Content

Even if you do manage to write highly engaging, unique and interesting content, your articles will be placed on a website where good content quality is the exception, rather than the norm. If you want proof, simply go read other articles on the directory that you’re uploading to. Many will be loaded with spelling and grammar errors. Others will be nothing more than thinly veiled advertisements for whatever website the author is promoting in their links, without giving the reader any useful information. Because of this, search engines like Google tend to have a pretty low opinion of article directories.

3. Article Directories Give a Bad User Experience

Due to the poor quality of the content presented, very few articles in directories will actually be useful to a human reader that is looking for an answer to a question they have, or to gather information on a certain topic they’re interested in. For this reason, Google will give very little value to article directories themselves (Links to an external site.). If you do a query now, you are very unlikely to find content from directories on the first page, unless you are searching for a very specific and obscure keyword.

4. Duplicate Content Is Bad

Most webmasters know that having duplicate content on their own site is very bad for SEO. But so is posting the same article to dozens of different sites with your links in them. In an effort to get around this, some will choose to use article spinning software that will introduce subtle variations within the text to make it appear unique.

This may have worked back in 2009, but doesn’t anymore. Google’s most recent algorithm updates are now able to detect more spun and “nearly identical” content than before. This can lead to your site being penalized in rankings.

5. Too Many Links Within the Content

Rules related to the number of links you may include within your article will vary from one directory to the next. Some will allow only one or two links, while others don’t place a limit on the number that you can include. Some webmasters will abuse this option and fill their articles with links back to their website. The result: the article produced would look unprofessional to a human reader and will bear all the hallmarks of a “made for SEO” piece.

Google is now smart enough to detect excessive links within content, especially placing links where they just wouldn’t make sense to a human reader. Therefore, there are really no SEO benefits to putting a dozen links in your articles and uploading them to a directory.

6. There are Better Places to Post Your Content To

Just because article directories are now mostly dead when it comes to SEO, it doesn’t mean that content marketing (Links to an external site.) is out. Search engines like Google still love high-quality, informative and original content. If you are able to produce such content, or have it produced for you, don’t waste it by uploading it to low quality article directories. There are many places where your content will be very useful and will bring you SEO benefits, in addition to traffic to your own site.

Starting your own blog will definitely still be beneficial, as long as it is updated regularly with fresh content that is related to your niche. You can use social media to further promote your blog posts and bring attention to them.

Another way to take advantage of your content is to become a guest blogger on another website. This will give you the possibility of gaining high-quality backlinks to your site and can even help you build authority in your niche. But you have to be careful about where you make these posts. Blogs that allow anyone to submit posts about anything they want are usually not appreciated very much by Google. Instead, you should build relationships with other webmasters that run a blog which is related to your niche. While very few will be able to get their posts published on a major website like Forbes or Cnet, if you take the time to network, you might be able to become a guest blogger on sites that has a good reputation and is already ranked high in search results.

7. You Will Be Wasting Your Time and Money

You-Will-Be-Wasting-Your-Time-and-Money All the time that you spend creating, buying or spinning articles that end up on article directories, plus all the money you would spend on automatic publishing tools, content spinners, and premium memberships at directories (which actually don’t give you anything useful) can be better spent on things that will actually be beneficial for your site.

You could use the money to develop online advertising and marketing campaigns that will bring actual quality traffic to your site, in addition to helping you become well recognized in your niche if people share your site via social media (Links to an external site.). You could also use your time to improve various on-site factors, such as creating useful content for your own site or blog, changing your site’s layout to make it more user friendly and easy to navigate, or write newsletters that you would send out to the subscribers of your email list.

The Bottom Line

Essentially, article marketing by submitting content to article directories no longer works like it did before and can actually hurt your site. There are other strategies that you can use if you want to improve your website’s ranking for your targeted keywords.


Lecture 7.3: Publishing an eBook

As pointed out in Chapter 11, e-books are a great way to promote a brand, product, service and/or website. According to Statista (Links to an external site.), the e-book industry (Links to an external site.) is here to stay, showing healthy projections. e-book sales are forecast to account for about a quarter of global book sales. Consumer e-books alone are projected to generate nearly 20 billion U.S. dollars in revenue (Links to an external site.)Publishing an E-Book can be an effective part of your content marketing strategy.  In the article below, Jordan Wahl speaks with experts to learn tips and best practices for e-book publishing.

Creating your first E-Book?
15 Marketing Experts share tips and best practices 
by Jordan Wahl l G2 Crowd Learning Hub

So if I’m guessing correctly, you’re here because you’ve decided to learn how to make an eBook (Links to an external site.). Am I right? Thought so.

Pretty smart move on your part – for deciding to publish an eBook (Links to an external site.) that is. You see, eBooks are becoming increasingly popular as part of marketing strategies, and for good reason.

Content is the backbone of a solid marketing strategy. Therefore, the quality of a business’s content can make or break its marketing strategy. So understanding how to create content that works is important.

And eBooks, they work.

That being said, let’s get you moving on your first eBook!

Tips for creating an eBook

Creating an eBook doesn’t have to be difficult, especially with a little help from those who do it best.

With that, here are 15 tips from marketing professionals who have mastered the eBook game:

eBook Tip #1

My top recommendation when making an ebook is first testing that your target audience is interested in the subject that you plan to write about. To ascertain interest, check which blog subjects most appeal to readers as measured by regular traffic to specific articles through Google Analytics or your CMS.

Once you have a few subjects that you could confidently expand on, survey your audience through a Facebook and Twitter poll on what ebook topic they would be most likely to read. This will get your audience engaged and interested and will allow you to test ideas with your target demographic.

– Nicolas Straut, SEO Associate, Fundera (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #2

When creating an eBook, it is important to understand that this type of content functions best as a way to establish your brand as a Thought Leader in your industry. Considering that, it is imperative to research the subject matter your audience is truly interested in. Use tools like Keyword.io to assess what sort of information people are looking for. Once that is determined, find a way to present the information in a unique way to differentiate your content from your competitors.

A good example of this is to create your eBook in an interactive format rather than the traditional approach of a static .PDF. This works for a myriad of reasons.

Content with interactivity has been proven to be more engaging and leads to a higher rate of conversions. In addition, the SEO value of an interactive piece is much greater. eBooks presented in .PDF format are severely limited from a SEO perspective.. With an interactive eBook being web-based, search engines will be able to index the entire page and this will help drive organic traffic from search.

– Jonathan Rosenfeld, Director of Demand Generation, Bython Media (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #3

  • Don’t sweat the word count – With an eBook, you have more flexibility when it comes to the length of your content. That’s because you don’t have to be concerned about how much it costs to print, store, or ship a physical book. There are some ebooks that only have a few thousand words, but the knowledge in those words makes them bestsellers. At the same time, there are books that it would take weeks for most people to read, but only offer a few needles of new information in a haystack of fancy words. Don’t focus on the word count, focus on the quality of the words you’re presenting to the world.
  • Be careful with images – Don’t be fearful of using images, but don’t let them do all the heavy lifting. When it comes to eBooks, you have to remember that most people will be reading on smaller devices. A printed picture doesn’t look the same as it does digitally, especially on a 5-inch screen. If you think there is no way to get around including a particular image, include it. But if it’s more supplemental than essential, leave it out.
  • Delegate as needed – You don’t have to do it all yourself. Sometimes trying to take on a multi-faceted project alone only leads to disaster. You spread yourself too thin and end up with a mediocre product at best. Don’t be afraid to be the idea engine behind the ghostwriter, editor, proofreader, cover designer, and publisher you’ll be working with. Most decent books on the market are a team effort, not a solo project.

– T.L. CurtisVolo Press (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #4

My recommended best practices are to plan the subject matter of your book in advance. Start by identifying the core issue you want to focus on in-depth. Plan out the related issues that have a bearing on your core issue so you can explore in greater detail as your manuscript develops. This will help to ensure you get started writing rather than procrastinating.

So, for example, in my recent book, I wanted to explain to small business owners why a Google My Business listing is so important for local search. I then developed that into how they should go about optimizing the listing fully. From there, I was able to explore all the related, and vitally important factors, that need to be tackled in order to give the optimized the listing the best chance of attracting local search users. By planning those steps from the start, I was able to stay on track despite the distractions that come from running a digital marketing agency.

As an aside, I also think its good to know the way you’re going to publish up front. So for me, knowing the process of uploading to smashwords.com, knowing the editor I would use to format the script and having planned the steps to publish to Kindle, helped to ensure I had an end publishing goal and outcome.

– Alistair Dodds, Marketing Director and Co-Founder, Smoking Chili Media (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #5

Whatever your budget is for writing the content, you’ll need to plan on spending that on visual design too.

These days people judge the value of content based on how it looks visually and it’s crazy but design almost matters more than the content itself.

I have also learned that 50% of your overall budget for the e-book creation needs to be allocated to promotion.

It’s sad but even the best e-book in the world won’t do anything unless you’ve got a promotion campaign behind it.

Promotion is another strategy altogether, but if you’re going to invest in creating an asset such as an e-book you need to plan on a few months of promotion and outreach to get it off the ground otherwise all of your hard work will definitely fall on deaf ears.

– Zach Hendrix, Co-Founder, GreenPal (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #6

For your first eBook, I recommend that it look like a marketing document. Use images and make it look desktop published, as opposed to a word-processed document. This includes a well-designed cover page and clickable Table of Contents (TOC).

Also, have links out to web pages where content can be updated as required. This will keep your document fresh with a longer shelf life. Distribute it as a PDF document so it’s not editable and can be opened on both computers and mobile devices.

– Vito Michael Santoro, Co-Founder, Vaetas, LLC (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #7

eBooks have changed dramatically over the years and today, there are many more places where businesses can share them. The obvious way to leverage them is to drive leads to your website, using the content as a gateway in which you offer potential customers some useful information in exchange for their contacts. But with the rise of SlideShare (now owned by LinkedIn) and the popularity of eBooks on Amazon, there are exciting new ways to share your content.

Knowing that your eBook could be shared across many platforms, here are my tips on how to make the most of them:

  • Keep it educational – There’s nothing more disappointing to an eBook fan than downloading a book only to find out it’s a 20-page ad for a company. Give readers knowledge, using cited data and statistics. If you have proprietary research that your company has conducted, that’s even better.
  • Don’t overload pages with too much text – More and more viewers are reading eBooks on tablets and smartphones. Cramming too much text on each page will not make it a positive reading experience. Mix up your copy with compelling images, charts, graphs, etc.
  • The look/feel should be consistent with your brand – Even though the book should not be an ad, you’ll want your audience to get a sense of your company’s brand. Use colors and language that are within your brand’s guidelines.

– Michelle Barry, CEO, Mesmerize Media Consulting (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #8

Include clickable links in your e-book.

Unlike traditional printed guides, e-books offer the ability to add clickable element—and yet this is a feature that is woefully underutilized. You can improve the experience a reader has with your material by including internal linkages, such as from the table of contents to various sections of the guide.

This can be especially effective and valuable if your e-book is long and/or text heavy because it allows them to bypass excessive scrolling. In addition, external links can provide quick access to relevant resources and references that may further interest the reader.

– Greg Bullock, Marketing Manager, TheraSpecs (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #9

Don’t try to make a 50-page eBook right off the bat. Ebooks can be short! Even a small 3-5 page study with data images and infographics counts.

Make sure you are providing valuable information that a reader can put into action rather than a blown out piece or promotional information on you or your business.

Make your eBook subject-specific and have a unique perspective that is your own. Remember, you can revise and re-release the eBook again at a later time as new information becomes available – especially if you are getting several follow up questions surrounding your material.

Be sure to brand the cover to your business and have your contact information in your page footers and on the final page.

– Bernard May, CEO, National Positions (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #10

Writing an eBook can gain help you traction in making your name or company standing out of the crowd. But, it’s not an easy task, Why? because most of the people on the web don’t care what you write. To make sure your content stands out, you have to do complete research and show your prospects in a more creative way. Below are the few tips and tricks to make sure your eBook makes an impact towards readers:

  • Do your research about a topic that you will need to write on that eBook. This will make easy to stitch up things according to your topic. Do some keyword research also, this will be helpful in managing what individual are searching over the internet.
  • Be creative in writing and present your eBook more creatively. Not just another downloadable content, but be precise in what you write.
  • Use graphics enhancements, this will allow your readers to be more interested in your content and enjoy the content more.
  • Length of the content should be taken into serious consideration. As Einstein said it; If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand well enough.
  • Promotion of the eBook should be done according to your SEO. Social media promotion can be effective but there is a cost to it. If you are into free marketing than SEO can help you. Select the title of the eBook and placements on your webpage. Don’t clutter the reader, just help them to locate your eBook on your webpage.

– Adeel Shabir, Content Marketing Executive, SIA Enterprises (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #11

For someone coming up with their first ebook, understanding the right audience can be the deal breaker. Unlike a blog that can cater to different audiences with a varied understanding of topics, an ebook must be tailored for only one type of audience. Essentially, that means you must know beforehand where your target audience stands in terms of understanding or sophistication and where they plan to reach post finishing the ebook.

If you are making an ebook for beginners, you can’t stuff information that is only known to the intermediate or the advanced level. Or, explaining beginner terms to an advanced audience is also a counterproductive approach. Also, keep the topic uptight and don’t deviate from the end goal the ebook is trying to achieve.

Next, you must assess the type of conversations your audience have in their regular life or else; you might fail to connect even after pulling together the best information available on the planet in the ebook. Use words they are familiar with, use tooltips where you think they might face difficulty in comprehending a concept or term; if you want to engage them right from the start.

Also, spice up the ebook with the right design elements. Understand the pictures that your audience frames in their mind post reading certain words and use imagery and colors according to that only.

– Ketan Kapoor, CEO and Co-Founder, Mettl (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #12

  • Get the branding spot on – Most businesses use eBook for lead captures or education. It’s therefore paramount that you brand your eBook accordingly. You need to make sure that the eBook follows your brand identity and every page has at least the company name in the header or footer. This also helps, if the person shares the eBook with someone else.
  • Make it interactive! – Many users will read the eBook on a mobile device (eBook reader or Tablet) instead of their computer. Therefore, you should make sure that the eBook is interactive. That is, there is navigation and internal bookmarks work. We’ve all seen 200page ebook with no way of navigating and you have to spend time getting to the right section and then you have to go back to the start if you wish to find another section. Most software will easily allow you to do this when you’re exporting the eBook (even Microsoft Word!).
  • Don’t overcrowd it – eBooks aren’t like traditional books. They should be colorful and easy to read. Don’t fall into the trap of having pages of writing and nothing else. Give your eBook to some friends or colleagues before sending it out, and see how far they read and what their response is.
  • Send it to them on multiple platforms – Most eBooks are part of a lead capture process, whereby you have to enter your email to get it delivered to you. I can’t count the number of times I’ve signed up for an eBook, received the email… and then never opened it! Give them to option to send it to them via Messenger, directly to their Kindle, Viber, or even by SMS if that’s something that would appeal to your target audience.
  • Minimize it – A well put together eBook will usually take up at least 10MB. People are impatient and by the time it downloads they might have moved onto their next task and completely forgot about it – forever. There are plenty of free minimization tools available online so make sure you take advantage of them.

– Peter Selmeczy, CEO, SEO Tech (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #13

  • Focus in on one specific idea rather than trying to fit several separate ideas into one piece of content (even if they seem related).
  • Decide where this piece of content sits in your buyer’s journey and which persona you’re writing for. Resist the urge to write an eBook that covers multiple parts of the buyer’s journey or multiple personas so you can be specific and relevant to just one audience.
  • Before you start writing, build an outline featuring the key points that will reinforce your top-level idea. Use those points as your section headings and build out the content below them, using consistent formatting and lengths where possible.
  • Make it easy to read by breaking information up with headings, subheadings, lists, illustrations, images, and pull quotes.
  • Ask customers, partners, influencers, and other experts for their perspective on your big idea and weave their quotes and headshots throughout the content to reinforce your message.
  • If you’re creating an eBook from scratch, think about how you will atomize the content for publication elsewhere, such as on your blog or social media channels. If you’re building an eBook based on smaller chunks of content that already exist, such as a series of blog posts on the same topic, invest your time in writing a solid introduction and smooth transitions so it doesn’t just feel like you slapped a bunch of random blog posts together.

– Cassandra Jowett, Director of Content Marketing, PathFactory (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #14

  • If you’re new to writing ebooks, make a list of high-quality sources in your industry. These are sources you can keep coming back to for ideas, knowledge, quotes, statistics, etc., so you aren’t researching from scratch on every topic.
  • Watch your tone. – Think about what kind of tone your readers would expect from your brand – serious, funny, technical, cheeky, etc. Make sure your tone is consistent throughout your writing, so it’s not throwing the reader off and distracting them from the content.
  • Check your readability. – Formatting makes a big difference in how well people engage with content. Be sure to include plenty of line breaks to create space between the text. Use bolded text to highlight your key points and phrases. Pull out quotes from the body copy so they’re easy to spot. Use headers regularly to create topical sections.
  • Don’t skip professional editing. – If you don’t have someone on your team experienced with editing, then hire a professional freelancer. There are plenty of ebooks out there that undermine a brand’s credibility because they clearly skipped the editing phase. An error here or there isn’t the end of the world, but when readers are distracted from your message by errors and inconsistencies, that can really injure their view of your brand and make them choose not to spend money with you.

– Krista Brubaker, Content Marketing Strategist, BizLibrary (Links to an external site.)

eBook Tip #15

Make sure it’s worth their contact info.

Yes, you may be giving away your eBook for free, but you’re still asking for something that is of great value to you and personal to them – their contact information.

If you’re planning on gating your eBook content, make sure the contents of it are clear, concise and actionable. It’s not about the number of pages. It’s about getting the point across. I recommend including a few different elements outside of the main body of copy, such as checklists and quizzes. This will not only keep your readers engaged but help relay your message in a variety of ways.

– Rory Schåff, Digital Media Manager, McGrath/Power PR (Links to an external site.)

 


Case Study 7.1: How Business Pioneers Take Advantage of Quora

Introduction

Quora, the easy to navigate question-and-answer service built on a social media backbone, has soared in popularity since launching in 2009. Founded by Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever, the site has already attracted high-level executives, journalists, industry insiders, and entrepreneurs, all eager to answer a vast array of questions for free. The site is rife with crowd-sourced queries, with a comprehensive listing and incentive to stay in touch with a network of people.

What makes Quora unique as compared to other Q&A sites, such as LinkedIn Answers or Yahoo Answers, is its utilitarian interface and active member community. Quora’s design creates a positive user experience. Members can post and answer questions by category, making information retrieval a relatively painless process. Quora’s streamlined interface entices “users to share their knowledge and expertise to create an ever-deepening (and searchable) database of answers.” The design also makes it easy for users to vote on answers, moving them up or down in ranking based on the perceived quality of the answers, a factor that tends to push the best answers to the top.

In addition to a superior design, Quora’s growing and active community of area experts, provide in-depth, accurate, and relevant answers: “the expertise of the people who answer questions on Quora is incredibly impressive and adds to the value of using the application.” In short, Quora has found a way to connect with people’s insatiable search for answers, explaining its explosive growth.

History

Quora was founded in June 2009 by Adam D’Angelo, former CTO and VP of engineering at Facebook, and Charlie Cheever, former product developer and manager at Facebook.132 Quora won the TechCrunch award for “Best New Startup or Product of 2010” and received funding from Benchmark Capital in March 2010.

Challenge

For marketers the question begging an answer is whether Quora is worth their time and effort. On a site whose range of topics stretches from “Do Silicon Valley VCs invest in European early-stage startups?” to “Given our current technology and with the proper training, would it be possible for someone to become Batman?” how can you maximize its potential for your business? We asked a few Quora [business] pioneers who’ve quickly found ways to take advantage of the site for their tips:

Strategy

1. Find new ideas to talk about.

“It’s pretty much the perfect way to beat writer’s block for your blog. Go to your topic of expertise, find the un-answered question that has the most followers, and assuming that you have an opinion on it, write an answer. Use it as inspiration or the meat for your blog post. — Naval Ravikant, founder, CEO, and chairman at online marketplace Vast.com;

2. Open the lines of communication.

“I’m not encouraging people to begin handling their business development and cold calling via Quora. It’s a terrible idea, in fact. My advice on how to connect with a tech rockstar? Follow them on Quora. Start answering the questions that you are notified that they are following. If they ultimately choose to ‘like’ your answer or comment on your answer, only then would I suggest reaching out to them via direct message. If you do so in a respectful manner you’d be surprised at the great people you’ll connect with offline. It happened for me with one of the co-founders of The Huffington Post.” —Tyler James, co-founder, Conversated Media

3. Sharpen your communication skills.

“Honestly I can’t say Quora has helped me win new business or do a great deal of networking. The value I’ve gotten out of my interaction with Quora has more been one of sharpening some of my own communication skill sets. It’s helped me evaluate concise, clear responses to questions instead of waffling. This happens both in my own evaluation of questions/answers as well as the feedback I get from the community. Just like blog writing or Tweeting, this constant evaluation of ‘what works and why’ makes me a better communicator, something that comes in handy given I work in communications.” —Vlad Ivanovic, head of Innovation at Blue Barracuda London

4. Don’t self-promote.

“The secret of building your reputation on Quora is to answer questions in which you have a deep level of knowledge. Your own company is obviously a thing in which you have expertise and that’s where you could start. You should then look at the area your company focuses on and provide answers to questions related to that area. Remember that Quora is not about self promotion but about providing the best answer to a specific question. The way you build your business with Quora is by helping the Quora community. Its members will eventually notice you and, hopefully, start using your services.” —Tristan Louis, CEO of Keepskor and writer at TNL.net

5. Ask good questions.

“Questions are more important than answers. There is some spirit of competitiveness in how Quora works that encourages people not only to provide the best answer but also the best question. Picasso once said computers are useless because they only provide answers. In Quora the value is in the fact that you need to ask a good/interesting/intriguing question to get feedback from all those people out there. A lot of the work I do with entrepreneurs revolves around just that: focus on asking the right question and answers will arrive. For a business or a business leader, having the knowledge of which are the key questions driving his/her business provides a great advantage.” — Hod Fleishman, founder and chief of safety at GreenRoad, a maker of driver technology

6. Build a Presence

“Use your real name, mention your business, and have a full, succinct profile. Quora, like Twitter, is not a social network where you follow friends a la Facebook, but rather, you should follow thought-leaders in your industry, colleagues, competitors, and anyone else who is making contributions that seem interesting. Everyone is an expert on something: contribute to the community and answer questions. I’ve engaged in some interesting conversations and found some very smart people to follow this way. I thought I would overwhelm myself by following too many questions and topics, but Quora actually curates interests well and so feel free to mark down many.” —Alexander Niehenke, associate at San Francisco venture capital firm Crosslink Capital

7. Monitor and engage.

“Using Google alerts with the query ‘Quora jess3’ for instance, will in real time for free send me e-mails mentioning (my company) Jess3. Start threads for areas you sell an expertise in, and stay engaged. Be a part of the conversations in your industry. This is how you build [the reputation of your business] on Quora. You might also want to put a Google alert for your competition’s mentions on Quora. In general, you want to know what your industry is talking about, and this will include your rivals, partners and everything in between. Quora is an active version of Wikipedia. A business has to respond to any mentions of their brand.” —Jesse Thomas, CEO and founder, Jess3, an interactive creative agency

8. Do market research.

“It’s easy to look up topics and questions that are currently top-of-mind for my prospective customers. In this way, Quora excels as a market research tool. When I can contribute value to a question—whether through an authoritative answer, or a suggested refinement to the question itself—I can also help subtly market whatever I’m working on as well. From a marketing perspective, Quora is about being authoritative on a subject, and building relationships over the course of multiple questions with the people who share similar interests. In a sense, it’s very similar to other forms of online marketing. The key for me is this: The extremely tight subject matter focus and smaller scope allows for greater intimacy, and lowers the barriers to being a consistent and useful contributor—even compared to something like Twitter!” —Dean Blackburn, founder of NaviDate.com

9. Prove your worthiness.

“This includes providing quality answers and brushing up on Quora icons such as The Scobelizer. Learn how to recognize and avoid the ‘dumb neighborhoods.’ Posting there offers a very poor ROI. If you have an easily stimulated sarcasm gland, fight hard to resist the temptation to troll the dumb neighborhoods. This will only get you banned. Buddy up with other newbies by ‘following’ them so that you have someone to talk to because the coolest kids will most likely continue to ignore you. Finally, understand and appreciate that Quora is a good place to connect with interesting people.” —Peter Ireland, former CEO at Rubicon Capital Corp., who now runs www.tycoonplaybook.com

10. Don’t over-promote yourself.

“Don’t try and market your site or product—put information about what you are working on, what you own, etc., in your bio/profile, but don’t market it unless there is a specific situation that it adds value. Figure out how to give back to the community. Answer questions that are related to your area of competency and that you have a unique vantage point (based on your experience) that can add value and benefit the community. Don’t be afraid to talk about your product/service, but only do it when there is value added. The bottom line rule is: add value by giving the askers of questions a useful and insightful answer.” —Marc Gayle, founder of CompVersions.com

Results

Clearly from the advice and comments above, businesses are successfully using Quora for a variety of marketing purposes. Quora itself is off to a fast start with 200,000 members regularly returning each month, and a March 2010 infusion of $11 million in funding from Benchmark Capital, which valued the start-up at $86 million. Through business development, programs like the Top Writers, streamlining of its platforms and algorithms, as of May 2019, the company was valued at over $2 billion, with over 300 million monthly visitors.

 

Social Media Sites You Need to Know!

50+ Social Media Sites You Need to Know in 2019

Influencer Marketing Last Updated: May 2nd, 2019 Reading Time: 13 minutes

Source: https://influencermarketinghub.com/50-social-media-sites-you-need-to-know/

As socially inclined creatures, human beings have embraced technology that connects us with others. Every year, there is an increasing amount of people signing up for and using social media. While there weren’t even a billion people using social media back in 2010, the number exceeded more than 2 billion within just five years.

In 2019, there will be around 2.77 billion people using social media. And with smartphones and internet connectivity becoming cheaper and easier to access, we should expect to see these numbers grow even higher. By 2021, more than 3 billion people will be using social media.

What this means for marketers is that there is huge potential to reach a massive and engaged audience on social media. And that’s not just limited to the popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In this post, you’ll discover 50+ social media sites that you can use to market your brand and engage with your target audience. Some of these platforms could even help you build valuable connections in your areas of interest.
50+ Social Media Sites You Need to Know in 2019:

#1: Facebook
#2: Instagram
#3: Twitter
#4: Tumblr
#5: LinkedIn
#6: WhatsApp
#7: Snapchat
#8: Pinterest
#9: Reddit
#10: YouTube
#11: Mix
#12: Tagged
#13: Nextdoor
#14: Deviantart
#15: Quora
#16: Meetup
#17: ReverbNation
#18: Flixster
#19: Goodreads
#20: Twitch
#21: CaringBridge
#22: Wattpad
#23: Viadeo
#24: Crunchyroll
#25: Skyrock
#26: VK
#27: MyHeritage
#28: LiveJournal
#29: Classmates
#30: SoundCloud
#31: Bubbly
#32: Flickr
#33: We Heart It
#34: Influenster
#35: FilmAffinity
#36: Open Diary
#37: Yelp
#38: CollegeHumor
#39: Gaia Online
#40: MocoSpace
#41: CouchSurfing
#42: Funny or Die
#43: italki
#44: eToro
#45: XING
#45: MeetMe
#46: Ravelry
#47: Care2
#48: YY
#49: Vero
#50: Medium
#51: GIPHY
#52: Tribe
Conclusion

#1: Facebook

Facebook is currently the largest social media site in the world. With 2.32 billion monthly active users by Q4 of 2018, it’s safe to say that nearly every social media user is on Facebook. So it’s an excellent platform for brands to market their products to a huge audience.

Users can share text posts, links, images, and videos with their Facebook friends. They can follow famous people and pages and react to people’s posts on the platform. Brands can also promote their products using paid ads on Facebook.
#2: Instagram

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social networking platforms. While it is mostly app-based, users can also access their feed through the website version. In June 2018, it finally reached 1 billion monthly active users.

Instagram is a highly visual platform, where users share videos and images as well as Stories and Live broadcasts. It is very popular among the younger generations. According to Statista, 32% of users are aged between 18 and 24 and 33% are aged between 25 and 34.

Image Source: Statista
#3: Twitter

Twitter is a platform that lets users stay on top of trending topics and engage in relevant conversations. In 2018, the platform had 326 million monthly active users. While it doesn’t have as many users as other top social media sites, it does have a highly engaged user base. Twitter users send out at least 500 million tweets per day on average.
#4: Tumblr

Tumblr is another leading social media site. Users can join communities and participate in cultural dialogues to expand their ideas. It’s one of the top social media sites for self-expression and is very popular among teens and fandoms.

As of January 2019, there was a total of 456.1 million Tumblr blogs through which 168.4 billion posts had been made. About 32% of traffic to the platform came from the United States. In the U.K., Tumblr’s market share among social networking platforms was approximately 1.94% in February 2019.

Image Source: Statista
#5: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social media site for professionals and is very popular among a B2B audience. The platform has grown rapidly over the years and currently has 610 million members. Members can expand their professional connections on the platform, showcase their portfolios, and search and apply for jobs.

LinkedIn is also an excellent platform to share your professional expertise, as it allows members to publish blog posts that reside on the platform.
#6: WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a messaging app that lets users share text messages, images, voice notes, audio files, documents, and videos. It has grown exponentially over the years and had about 1.5 billion monthly users in early 2018. Along with its growing user base, the platform has also introduced many new features to make interactions easier among users.

While users could only make one-on-one calls before, it now has a group calling feature. They also introduced a WhatsApp Status feature that allowed users to update photo, video, and text statuses that disappeared after 24 hours. As of Q2 of 2018, 450 million users were updating their WhatsApp Statuses daily.

Image Source: Statista
#7: Snapchat

Snapchat is another highly visual social media platform that’s popular among the younger generation. Users can send snaps to each other and update 24-hour Statuses just like on WhatsApp and Instagram. In Q4 of 2018, it had 186 million daily active users who are highly active on the platform.

As of June 2018, Snapchat users were sending out more than 2 million snaps per minute. And videos on the platform get more than 10 billion views on a daily basis.
#8: Pinterest

Pinterest is a virtual scrapbooking social media site and is therefore, highly visual. Users can create themed boards and add images and products to the board. Brands can even create Shoppable Pins through which users can directly make purchases.

As of 2018, there were 250 million monthly active users on the platform. These users have created more than 175 billion pins on over 3 billion boards.
#9: Reddit

Reddit is a social media site where users become part of subreddits and engage with other users on relevant topics. It is also somewhat of a news aggregator site since users share the latest news from different sources on the site. Other users will then interact with this news, upvote or downvote it, and comment on it.

It has a huge community of over 1.64 billion users. It is most popular among American internet users, with 38.35% of traffic coming from the United States. The second biggest traffic source is the United Kingdom, which contributes to 7.26% of its traffic. 99.98% of its traffic is organic, proving the popularity of the site.

Image Source: SimilarWeb
#10: YouTube

YouTube is the largest video-sharing social media site in the world. It lets users upload videos on the platform, view videos from other users, and interact with them. As of 2018, it had 1.9 billion monthly active users – almost as much as Facebook. YouTube users spend an average of 40 minutes watching videos on the platform.
#11: Mix

Previously StumbleUpon, Mix is a news aggregator social media site that lets users curate their favourite content from around the web and add it to their “Collections.” This includes articles, images, music, and videos. They can also view content curated by their friends and subscribe to their Collections.
#12: Tagged

This social media site acquired the once popular hi5 social media platform in 2011. It is mainly focused around friendship and dating. Users can connect with others through common interests, games, browsing profiles, and more.
#13: Nextdoor

Nextdoor is a private social network for dedicated neighbourhoods. You can enter your street address and find a community of people living in your area. While it was previously just for neighbourhoods in the U.S., it has now expanded to other parts of the world. You can now use it from the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Sweden, and Denmark.

Image Source: Nextdoor
#14: Deviantart

Deviantart calls itself the world’s largest social media community for artists and art enthusiasts. Users can share photos of their artwork, discover the work of other artists, and interact with other members of the community. According to the platform, it currently has more than 44 million registered users and 45+ million unique visitors each month.
#15: Quora

Quora is one of the largest social networks for people to ask and answer questions about hundreds of topics and categories. This includes everything from language and career to mythology and marketing. As of 2018, it had 300 million monthly active users and received 300 million unique visitors on a monthly basis.

If you have any question that internet results cannot answer, you can post it under a relevant category. You can even send answer requests to experts on the topic.
#16: Meetup

Meetup is a social media site that does exactly what its name says – it helps connect users with local groups to meet up with new people. Groups can organise events for like-minded people to get together.

You can find groups in a wide range of categories including outdoors and adventure, tech, photography, language and culture, music, and more. It is most popular in the U.S., which contributes to 53.89% of its traffic, followed by the U.K., which contributes to 7.25% of its traffic.

Image Source: Meetup
#17: ReverbNation

ReverbNation is one of the most reputable social media sites dedicated to musicians. They can promote their music through the platform and reach a bigger audience. They can even make money off of their tracks by selling them to fans or distributing them to major digital platforms. Besides these basics, ReverbNation also offers a host of tools and features to help musicians build their careers.
#18: Flixster

Flixster is another niche social media site with a focus on film. It’s an American-based site where film enthusiasts can connect with like-minded people and share their film reviews and watching experiences. The site also updates them with new and upcoming films.
#19: Goodreads

Goodreads is another niche social networking site, but this one focuses on books. Book lovers can connect with fellow bookworms and share their book reviews. The site also provides them with book recommendations based on their reading history. Users can join virtual reading clubs and socialise with like-minded individuals.

Image Source: Goodreads
#20: Twitch

Twitch is a live-streaming platform, mostly used by gamers to stream their game play or watch other gamers. Users can interact with live streams from other gamers and comment on them. It has about 2.2 million monthly broadcasters and 140 million monthly unique viewers.
#21: CaringBridge

CaringBridge is one of the only social media sites of its kind. It’s a personal health journal that connects people with their loved ones during a health journey and allows them to provide support. It’s an excellent platform for people who are undergoing serious illnesses and health struggles as it helps them stay connected with people who care about them.
#22: Wattpad

Wattpad is a social media community of readers and writers. The platform sees a ton of user-generated stories across various genres including fiction, poetry, humour, and even fanfiction. It currently has about 70 million readers worldwide.

Image Source: Wattpad
#23: Viadeo

Viadeo is another professional social networking site that connects business owners and entrepreneurs with one another. It is more popular in Europe than in the U.S. and is available in different languages ranging from English and French to German and Portuguese.
#24: Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll is the go-to platform for anime enthusiasts to stream the latest anime shows and read popular mangas. It’s also a social media site where users can interact with each other and engage in anime-related discussions through the forums.
#25: Skyrock

Skyrock is a France-based social networking site, where users can create profiles and blogs and interact with other members. Music, sports, and film blogs are the most popular on this platform.

Image Source: Skyrock
#26: VK

VK is a Russian social media site. While it’s also available in other languages, it is mostly popular among Russian speakers. Users can create groups and public pages, organise events, and message other users. They can also share images, video, and audio or even play browser-based games.
#27: MyHeritage

MyHeritage is a genealogy-based social media site. Users can create family trees, upload and view family photos, and update their family histories. People have even used the platform to find their ancestors and learn more about them. MyHeritage has also introduced DNA testing so users can more accurately trace back their family histories and discover their blood relations.
#28: LiveJournal

This is a blog-based social media site where users can create blogs and journals for other users to read. The platform also curates the top blogs and communities so users can easily access the most popular content on the platform.

Image Source: LiveJournal
#29: Classmates

Classmates is a social media site that connects you with your ex-classmates and school alumni. Users can easily plan their high school reunions through the platform and access their high school yearbook.
#30: SoundCloud

SoundCloud is a music-sharing social media platform where users can upload their original tracks or listen to tracks from other artists. They can add music to their playlists and comment on parts of a track that they like for other users to see.
#31: Bubbly

Bubbly is a voice-based social media site where users can create voice posts and tag and customise them with relevant images and filters. They can also find and connect with celebrities and artists to listen to what they have to say. Users can also share their voice posts to other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
#32: Flickr

Flickr is a photo-sharing social media site that’s a favourite among photographers and graphic designers. You can share original, high-quality images on the platform or discover relevant images from other users. You can also join groups and connect with new people with shared interests.

Image Source: Flickr
#33: We Heart It

This is another image-based social media site where users can discover and curate their favourite images into their collections. There are several channels on the platform including art, music, school, quotes, and more. Users can check out these channels for relevant images to inspire them.
#34: Influenster

Influenster is a product review and discovery platform where users can view honest reviews from other consumers. They can gain access to reviews of products across various categories ranging from beauty and makeup to tech and electronics. They can also submit their own reviews of products they’ve used.

The platform will measure each user’s social impact by collecting data from leading social media platforms. Based on this analysis, users can even become part of influencer marketing campaigns relevant to their interests.
#35: FilmAffinity

Another social media site for film enthusiasts, FilmAffinity is a movie recommendation platform. Users can rate the movies they’ve watched and get movie recommendations based on their favourite genres.

Image Source: FilmAffinity
#36: Open Diary

Open Diary is one of the earliest social media sites, founded in 1998. Users can keep a virtual diary to record their daily lives and deepest thoughts. The Open Diary community will be able to access these entries and interact with them. You can even create anonymous posts to share thoughts and experiences that you can’t talk about with anyone else.
#37: Yelp

Yelp is a crowd-sourcing review website where users can share their opinions about local establishments. It’s a great way to find the most recommended places and events in your area.
#38: CollegeHumor

As the name suggests, CollegeHumor is a humour-based website that features fresh humour articles and videos on a daily basis. In addition to content from its in-house team, users can also access memes, articles, images, and videos submitted by other users.
#39: Gaia Online

Gaia Online is an anime-themed social media site where users can participate in trending conversations through forums. They can also explore the platform to meet new people with shared interests and play browser-based games.

Image Source: Gaia Online
#40: MocoSpace

This is a mobile social community where users can connect with other members through public chat rooms and group chats. They can also engage in private chats with other users. They can play mobile games, send eCards, and more.
#41: CouchSurfing

This social media site connects travellers with people from all over the world. They can discover locals in the destinations they’re visiting, request to stay with them, and meet other travellers.
#42: Funny or Die

Funny or Die is a humour-based social website that mainly focuses on video content. Users can view the latest trending videos and upload their own humour videos. In addition to videos, the website also publishes some humour articles and lists to entertain the community.
#43: italki

italki makes language-learning easier by connecting users with native language teachers through video chat. This helps language learners to get interactive, one-on-one tutoring sessions so they can easily learn the language of their choice. They can choose from thousands of teachers in any language.
#44: eToro

eToro is a social trading platform that allows users to follow leading traders in the community and connect with other traders. Users can also earn some extra income by having other traders copy their trading strategies and portfolios.

Image Source: eToro
#45: XING

This is a career-oriented social media site that helps people expand their professional networks. Users can conduct a job search, get the latest industry news, and discover professional events like conferences, seminars, and trade shows. It is mostly a European-focused website.
#45: MeetMe

Previously known as myYearbook, this social media site helps users discover new people to connect with. You can discover new people in your area to connect with and people who share your interests.
#46: Ravelry

There’s a social media site for everyone and for every niche interest. Ravelry is a dedicated social network for people who are interested in knitting and crocheting. They can connect with people who share the same interests and share ideas and inspiration with them.
#47: Care2

Care2 is a social media site for activists, where they can discover trending stories and petitions from around the world. The community is made up of more than 45 million people who want to make the world a better place and stand against cruelty and injustice.

Image Source: Care2
#48: YY

YY is one of the biggest social media sites in China, where users share video content with other users. It has more than 300 million users and allows group video chats. Like Twitch, users can watch a single video of someone engaging in an activity. These activities can range from tutorials to karaoke.
#49: Vero

Vero is a social media site where users can share their favourite things with the community. They can share songs, photos, books, and movies. The platform markets itself as a social network that cares about building real connections between users and doesn’t use data mining and algorithms.
#50: Medium

Medium is a content publishing site with some social network elements to it. Members can publish content on the site and share it with other users. They can “clap to” and comment on posts created by other members. While most articles are free to read, some of them are reserved for paying members.
#51: GIPHY

This is an online database of animated GIFs that are usually humour-based. Users can upload their own GIFs or search for and discover GIFs created by other users. They can react to their favourite GIFs and even share them with friends on other social media platforms.

Image Source: GIPHY
#52: Tribe

Tribe is a cloud-based community where consumers can connect with a brand community. Users can engage in conversations and discussions under specific brands. They can explore and follow different brands, ask questions, start discussions, and create polls relevant to the brands.
Conclusion

These are 52 of the most popular social media sites that you should know about in 2019. If you’re a marketer, some of these platforms can help you promote your brand and products. They can also help you expand your network. If you’re an influencer or a consumer, you can use these sites to connect with like-minded individuals and build better connections.
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