4 Social Media Tips For 2016

Social media is not going away any time soon as it has started to replace a variety of communication and media platforms for people all around the world. More people get their news and communicate with friends and family through social media than many other traditional forms of communication.

As social media evolves, you need to understand the best ways to utilize these platforms as 2015 transitions into 2016. There will be a few changes to the way users interact with social media in 2016, and your company needs to be up to date on those changes if you want to get the most from your Internet presence.

Go Mobile

If you have not already downloaded the mobile apps for your favorite social media platforms, then do so now so you can take advantage of them. Not only are mobile apps convenient, but many social media platforms are starting to offer features to mobile users that cannot be found on standard desktop computers.

For example, Snapchat is a social media platform that can only be accessed through its app. If you want to stay up to date on social media in 2016, then start downloading apps.

Make Way For Twitter

Twitter has been growing in popularity for a couple of years now and it is looking to have a breakout year in 2016. What is a breakout year for a social media platform? It is the year when that platform becomes the social media platform of choice for people all over the world.

Twitter is at the top of a lot of lists for 2016, and that includes lists that talk about the social media platform businesses will want to use. Make way for Twitter in 2016 and start learning the platform if you want to grow your business.

Dial Down On Facebook

Facebook was a great idea when it first came out and that great idea was so popular that it put Myspace on a permanent vacation. But everyone knows that Internet trends come and go, and Facebook is a social media trend that is on the way out.

Over the past couple of years, Facebook has managed to monetize and segment its service so bad that it no longer offers any real value to businesses. If you want to market your business on Facebook, then it will cost you a lot of money. For example, every post a business puts on its Facebook page must be boosted (paid exposure) if that business wants to reach its real target audience. Facebook was a great idea, until it got greedy. Now Facebook is on the way out.

Experiment With Other Platforms

While Twitter is the rise, you can start experimenting with other social media platforms to find the one that will replace Twitter some day. Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram and Vine are just some of the emerging social media platforms that you should check out and see if they work for your business. Remember to talk to an Internet marketing expert about matching up the demographic of a social media platform with the demographic of your target audience.

As 2016 approaches, your business needs to get up to date on the latest social media trends. Your target audience is already transitioning to the newest social media site of interest, which means that your company should be on that platform as well.

 

Five Tips For Changing Your Website

Most website owners have no problem overhauling their website once in a while to try and update its functionality and make things interesting for their web traffic. While updating the website once in a while is essential to its operation, actually changing the site is something that should be planned and done properly.

It is true that making a wholesale change of your website could positively impact your web traffic, but it could also temporarily derail your traffic if you are not careful. There are some tips you should consider before you make significant changes to your website to make sure that you maintain your flow of web traffic and sustain revenue.

Group Changes Together

If you have a list of changes you want to make to your website, then your best bet is to group them all together and launch the changes all at once. If you have a wish list of things you want to do with the website that would lead to a complete overhaul, then you may want to consider doing all of those changes at once and launching a whole new website. It is easier for users to handle a large group of changes, instead of trying to adjust to changes happening in rapid succession over the course of several weeks or months.

Make A Big Deal Out Of It

For the most part, people love changes to websites and you can use that to your advantage. Once you have decided to make your website changes, you should create a little marketing campaign to create some excitement over the launch date. You can create pricing promotions and use other marketing tactics to turn your website change into more traffic.

Do A Test Run Of Your Changes First

Few things are more annoying to website users than a website that took out a perfectly fine website function and replaced it with something that does not work as well. New does not mean better and you need to make sure that you do a test run of your changes to make sure they enhance the functionality of your website before you allow them to go live.

Get Customer Input

Before you start doing any detailed planning for your website changes and long before you start doing any programming, you should utilize social media to see what your customers think of your website. If there are certain features or aspects of your site that are getting a lot of attention from people on social media, then you may want to consider making changes to those aspects during your website overhaul.

Consider Whether Or Not Change Is Necessary

If your website is generating good web traffic, then any changes you make are going to disrupt that. In business, you definitely do not want to fix something that is not broken. Write out the changes you want to make to your site and determine if they are really necessary, or if they can wait until you get more ideas.

Making any change to a website, positive or negative, is going to initially cause your status in the search engines to suffer. If you made good changes, then you will see your search engine results exceed what your previous web traffic numbers. But if your changes upset your traffic, then your website may not recover. Plan your website changes carefully and be sure that they are necessary before you make them.

 

Direct Mail vs Email Marketing

As technology advances, many business owners start to think that the old ways of doing things are being replaced. For example, it is a common misconception that email marketing is replacing direct mail marketing because of cost and effectiveness. But when you look at what is really happening in the worlds of email and direct mail, you start to realize that direct mail is just as effective now as it has always been.

Filling Up Your Inbox

There was a time when marketing companies were sending out billions of unsolicited marketing emails to inboxes around the world. After a while, Internet service providers created rules that made it very hazardous for businesses to send out mass emails and technology was introduced that could filter out those messages and prevent the intended audience from seeing them.

As email was being utilized, direct mail did start to fall off in popularity. It did not take the more creative marketing experts long to realize that email marketing messages were not reaching their audiences, but the postal mailboxes of those audience members were almost empty. Sending direct mail is more effective now because less companies do it, but your target audience is still going to read the direct mail messages you send.

Putting Real Offers In Your Audience Members' Hands

While email marketing asks customers to click on a link to find out more about the deal or to print out a coupon, direct mail offers all of that information immediately. You can send out the details of your promotion and any associated coupons or registration forms in one package. It gives your audience the opportunity to take advantage of your offer without having to do anything extra.

No Viruses In Direct Mail

Unfortunately, the world of email marketing is infested with marketing people who will do anything to make a dollar, and that includes putting spyware and viruses in their emails. If your company gets involved with an email marketer that uses those tactics, then it could ruin your reputation and get your company in a lot of trouble.

Direct mail does not deliver viruses or anything that could harm your audience. A direct mail campaign is a pure way to deliver a message that does not offer anything except for helpful information. You can also give your audience members the opportunity to opt-out of future direct mailings and help maintain a list of prospects that want to get the information your company has to offer.

Why should your company consider a direct mail campaign? Because the same technology that has helped to make text marketing campaigns and successful email campaigns effective is also being used in direct mail. You can work with a marketing professional who will develop a targeted list of contacts who are interested in getting direct mailings and who have shown a habit of responding positively to direct mailings in the past.

With direct mail, you have complete control over how your message is delivered and what it looks like. With email marketing, you have to worry about how your message looks with certain email services and how your images will look in certain browsers. But with direct mail, the message you create is the message that your prospects will receive and that will bring you a much more positive result and an increase in overall revenue.

Should You Focus On More Than Just Google?

Internet marketing experts are constantly developing new methods for developing content and websites that appeal to a broad selection of search engines. To the average user, it seems like Google is the only option out there. The truth is that there are other search engines that get enough traffic to justify making them part of your Internet marketing plan.

More Than Google

According to eBizMBA.com, Google has the most monthly unique visitors in the entire search engine world. Google brings in more monthly traffic than the next four search engines combined, but not everyone is using Google to do their online searching.

The next three most popular search engines are Bing, Yahoo! Search, and Ask. Those search engines combine to bring in approximately 895 million unique visitors every month and it is your company's best interests to not ignore those users. Some of these visitors use Google and other search engines, but many prefer to use something other than Google to get their search results. If you only cater to Google, then you are missing out on millions of potential customers.

Why Does It Matter?

What is the big deal if you only focus your website on Google's guidelines? For one thing, every search engine has its own guidelines that determine where your website will rank in their results pages. If you take the time to look over the content requirements of the top five search engines, you can create content that will increase your website's status on all of the top search websites, instead of just one.

Another thing to consider is that Google may not be the search engine your target audience is using. According to Aborg.com, audiences made up of people 35 years of age and older tend to use Bing more than Google. If you are trying to reach a more mature audience, then focusing on the younger demographic that prefers Google may not be the best approach.

What Should I Do?

The science of choosing the right search engine to appease is something that is best left to marketing professionals. If you are focusing all of your energies on Google, then you are utilizing a large search engine, but you may also be wasting your time because your audience is not using Google to do its searches.

When it comes to quality marketing approaches, most business owners tend to ignore demographics. But the need to understand an audience is something that runs through the veins of every Internet marketing professional and it can mean the difference between bringing in the traffic you need, or having your website ignored. Everything about your Internet marketing program centers around the search engines that your target audience is using and that means that you need the kind of detailed planning only a marketing expert can provide.

When you talk to business owners who have websites, you will probably notice that almost every one of those business owners talks about getting their website high up on the Google search results pages. But the problem is that those business owners have no idea if their target audience is even using Google as a resource.

A smart business owner realizes that focusing on Google is an option, but it is not always a necessity. Take a long look at the audience you are trying to reach and use that information to determine which search engine would work best for your business.

 

The Dynamic Nature Of Social Media

For centuries, people got used to things staying the same for a while before any changes or updates were made. It took a long time for console televisions to evolve into the flat screens that we have now. Even when the flat screens started to come out, people avoided them because of the cost and the uncertainty as to how they worked. Today, flat screen televisions are the norm.

But the Internet is unlike anything people have ever seen and it is still taking some time for business owners to adjust. For example, in May 2015 Facebook announced that it was releasing a news article platform that posted news content directly to Facebook and not to the publisher's site. Facebook tried to allay fears of a media takeover by allowing media companies to keep 100 percent of the revenue they generated from ads they sold on their Facebook content and Facebook even gave the media companies 70 percent of the income Facebook generated from the ads that Facebook sold on publisher's content.

For all of its hoopla and chest pounding, the Facebook direct publishing tool is still in its initial launch phase and it is taking much longer to introduce than Facebook anticipated. All of the changes that the publishers were ready to make were put on hold and everyone is now taking a wait-and-see approach.

Social Media Is Incredibly Dynamic

Social media, as shown by Facebook's attempts to become an online publisher, is incredibly dynamic. The companies that own social media platforms come to realize that their millions of registered users represent revenue and power. That means that companies like Facebook and Twitter are starting to branch out into other Internet activities that used to be off limits to them.

Each year, Google or some other major social media player introduces something new and that something new usually causes entire industries to jump. When Google started with its Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird algorithm changes; it completely altered the online content industry and literally changed it overnight. If Facebook had been able to do a successful launch of its publishing platform, it could have changed the dynamic of the online publishing industry overnight. Social media represents an necessity to businesses that remains very unstable.

Investing In Social Media Management Services

The solution for any business owner in the face of a dynamic social media industry is to get involved with marketing professionals who understand the changes and can help companies to benefit from them. If you try to take on social media by yourself, then your business will suffer. The dynamic nature of social media makes it the realm of professionals and you can get left behind if you are not willing to invest in the right type of professional assistance.

Will Facebook alter the way that online publishers present their product to the world? It is almost a guarantee that Facebook will find a way to use its vast worldwide audience to get as much revenue as possible from as many different industries as possible. While your company may not be a media giant, you can still benefit from the dynamic nature of social media. All you need is a professional marketing group to point your company in the right direction and you can take advantage of the chaos that a dynamic social media industry creates.

 

The Panda, The Penguin and The Hummingbird

Each time Google releases a new algorithm change it sounds like the company is unleashing a new Batman villain. First it was the Panda, then it was the Penguin, and then we saw the Hummingbird. But these were not one-time upgrades, nor are these terms used to describe the same algorithm. These terms refer to three different algorithms that Google updates on a regular basis. In order to understand the changes in the world of SEO marketing, you must understand these algorithms.

Why Change The Algorithms?

Before we discuss the three primary Google algorithms, we should quickly discuss why Google introduced them in the first place. These algorithms did not replace the existing Google search algorithms, but rather they enhanced what Google already had in place.

When users complain about the quality of results they get with Google's search engine, Google responds with algorithm changes. To get the changes Google wanted, it had to start adding new algorithms to the ones it already had. That is where these new ones came from and why we can probably expect new Batman supervillain names in the coming years.

The Panda

The Panda was the first new Google algorithm and it was released in 2011. Panda looks for the overall quality of the site and determines if the site is safe and useful to web traffic. If you are keyword stuffing just to bring in traffic, Panda will find you and punish your website. If you do not offer quality content on your website, then Panda will knock your website down in the search engine results. Panda looks for quality content and rewards websites that go out of their way to bring value to each user.

The Penguin

The Penguin appeared almost exactly one year after the Panda and the Penguin deals almost exclusively with links on websites. Prior to the appearance of the Penguin, website owners would buy links that were unrelated to their website content, but could still drive a lot of traffic. The Penguin can determine if the links on your website are purchased or organic (placed as a result of a relationship with the destination site) and if they are related to your content. If you used paid links or your links are unrelated to your content, then the Penguin punishes your website severely.

The Hummingbird

The Hummingbird is a complete renovation of the Google algorithm and affects the way that Google looks at content and resolves user queries. Hummingbird looks for quality content and long-tail keywords that will help to get the user the exact result they are looking for. If the user wants information about a specific type of business in a specific geographic area, then Hummingbird will search website content to filter out any site that does not match the business or geographic needs of the user. Hummingbird is an intuitive upgrade to the Google search process and it is the algorithm that currently gets the most attention from Google.

The Panda, the Penguin, and the Hummingbird have caused businesses to close, while launching other businesses to great success. They are constantly being altered by Google who wants to tweak these algorithms to bring more value to the users. Are these really Internet supervillains? According to Google, they are only villains if your website is trying to cheat the public. Does that make Google Batman? Holy ironic twist.

 

What Are Long-Tail Keywords And Why Do They Matter?

Over the past several years, Google has been changing the rules associated with keyword and search results. When the Internet was young, search engines were not very sophisticated and a website could get a lot of traffic by cramming as many keywords as possible onto a page. When users started to complain about content quality, Google responded by banning keyword stuffing and altering keyword rules. When users still complained about content quality, Google decided it was time to demand quality content from a website that was pertinent to the website's chosen theme.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords are the words that users utilize in search engines when looking for websites in your industry. If you sell bowling balls, then putting keywords such as "ball" and "alley" in your content would improve where your website ranked in the search engine results. But as Internet marketing companies found ways to manipulate keywords and generate traffic without creating useful content, Google started to focus on long-tail keywords.

What Are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are phrases that are commonly used in content that is pertinent to your industry. With long-tail keywords, Google is not looking for an exact match when it comes to getting users the content they are looking for. Instead, Google searches your website's content for words that fit into certain long-tail keywords that are common in your industry. When Google can match up significant portions of your content with the right long-tail keywords, then your content gets more exposure on the search engine results pages.

Why Do I Care About Long-Tail Keywords?

Instead of relying on lists of short primary and secondary keywords to determine the value of content on a website, Google has shifted to complex algorithms that are constantly generating and evaluating long-tail keywords. If your content is not finding its place among the long-tail keywords in your industry, then you are going to have a hard time getting good search results for your website.

So What Do I Do?

Utilizing long-tail keywords is something that is best left to Internet marketing professionals. The science behind Google algorithms would take a Ivy League graduate to figure out, but the way those algorithms work is the domain of the Internet marketing expert.

The primary purpose of long-tail keywords is to make sure that the content on your website has value to users. Google also uses long-tail keywords to make sure that your content is relevant to your business. If a baking website starts posting personal finance advice, then Google will know and Google will punish that website.

The challenge with long-tail keywords is that they are constantly changing and there is no real concrete rules about them just yet. Internet marketing experts spend hours each day analyzing content from various industries to determine what kind of content appeals to users the most and will click with Google's search algorithms.

For website owners, it is important to focus on relevant and valuable content and start to forget about keywords. Google wants you to inform users and offer them information that they can use as opposed to manipulating keywords just to get traffic. Focus on quality content that is relevant to your industry and you will start to make some headway in the new world of long-tail keywords.

 

What Is Content Marketing And How Can It Help My Business?

Most marketing professionals know that the many advances in technology have made creating effective advertising a real challenge. With a DVR, people can now watch their favorite shows and skip right past the commercials. Internet advertising is simple enough to bypass and many marketers are concerned that consumers are also bypassing the advertisements in magazines as well. So how is a marketing expert supposed to reach an audience that is now able to bypass every form of advertising available? That marketing expert is supposed to use content marketing.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the process of generating valuable content that delivers information about your company and your products to your target audience. The trick is that the content needs to be valuable to your audience in order for it to be effective.

For example, a shoe manufacturer that creates an article on the latest shoe styles will probably get more people to read that article than it would to look over its advertising. But by the time consumers have read that article, they are inspired to look up more information on buying those latest fashions and that drives traffic to the company's website.

Content Marketing Works With Advertising

In good content marketing, there is a synergistic relationship between valuable content and well-placed advertising. For example, the shoe manufacturer may set it up where their advertising banners heralding the arrival of their new fashions show up in the top and bottom margins of their online article about the latest fashion. After reading the content, the consumer can just click on the advertisement to buy the latest products.

Content Marketing Works Like Product Placement

It is no coincidence that your favorite action hero is using an Apple laptop in their latest hit movie, because Apple paid plenty to have that laptop put there. You see your hero using the Apple laptop and Apple then bombards you with advertising that makes it almost impossible for you to avoid buying one.

Content marketing works much the same way as product placement. The only difference is that good content marketing tries to avoid direct attachments to specific product names or manufacturers. In other words, the real value in content marketing is in its ability to imply a customer need and then use well-placed advertising to push the consumer towards the products that can satisfy that need.

The Only Way To Market Products

If your customers are closing your pop-up ads and bypassing your television commercials, then content marketing becomes the only effective way to really market products. Good content grabs an audience and the marketing references built into that content drive sales. It sounds easy, but it takes a trained marketing professional to be able to put together a truly effective content marketing plan.

You spend good money on Internet banner advertising and pop-up ads, but are you sure they are working? Instead of spending your money on direct forms of advertising, you should consider talking to a marketing expert about content marketing. Good content marketing not only goes viral and attracts a loyal audience that demands to see the content, but it will also drive sales for your products and expand the brand name recognition of your company. Content marketing is the best way to make sure that your marketing message is being heard when everyone else's messages are being shut out.

 



Creating A Great Content Marketing Plan

A great marketing plan consists of a time line and then component pieces that are brought together to get the desired results. Since content marketing tends to be an ongoing process made up of many different continuous plans, it becomes important to understand the key component pieces you need and how they work together. Creating a great content marketing plan is all about reaching the right audience with the right information and it takes a seasoned professional to get the job done right.

Keywords

A good content marketing plan is built around a list of powerful keywords, but the concept behind keywords has changed so much over the past year that only professional marketing experts really understand what is going on. Gone are the days when a primary keyword enhanced by a secondary keyword will boost your search engine results. These days, keywords need to be phrases that match what your target audience is looking for and the creation of those phrases has become incredibly complex.

Subject Matter

The subject matter for your content is extremely important to your content marketing plan's success. Now, more than ever, the subject matter of your content will drive where your website shows up in the search engine results. Website owners are looking for content that drills deep into every facet of their industry to help provide information for their audience and get Google to boost their websites' exposure.

Sharing To Outlets

In order for your content marketing plan to be successful, you must take advantage of the many outlets available for your content. There are websites that allow you to post and promote your content and you can also explore the possibility of including your content as guests posts on relevant blogs. Always look to expand the reach of your content marketing if you want to gain more exposure.

Social Media

Social media, when used properly, can help your website to gain a significant amount of relevant traffic in a short period of time. Not only should your company be sharing your website content on social media, but you should also have sharing buttons on each piece of content to allow your audience to share your content as well. If you can get your content to go viral on social media, then the returns can be significant.

Written For The Internet

The Internet has developed its own format for written material that includes short paragraphs and bold subheadings. If you want your content marketing plan to be successful, then you need to make your content desirable to your target audience. The best way to do that is to follow the Internet format for written content and break your information down into small, digestible pieces for your audience.

A great content marketing plan can take months to develop, but it can generate years of reliable traffic for your website. Some of the actions you take on your site will cause immediate reactions from the major search engines, while others will take months to gain traction. But when you take the time to develop a great content marketing plan, then you are setting your website up for long-term success in generating traffic and revenue.

 

What Social Media Platform Is Best For Your Business?

Social media gives businesses the unique opportunity to reach millions of potential customers around the world for a very low cost. But if you want to get the most out your social media presence, then you have to be sure that you are working the proper social media platforms. Not all social media is created equal and you have to be sure that your business will benefit from the effort put into a social media management plan.

Know Each Platform's Limitations

It always helps to know the limitations of any social media platform before you decide to use it and the best way to find a platform's limitations is to use it for a while and see how it works. Twitter reaches a lot of people, but you are limited to 140 characters per message. Facebook has the potential to help you reach millions of people, but you can only reach those millions if you pay for the exposure. Facebook is no longer the free marketing platform that it used to be and it takes an experienced social media expert to truly get the most out of Facebook.

When you understand the limitations for each platform, then you can decide which ones will work best for your company. If your company cannot create effective marketing messages in 140 characters or less, then Twitter may not be a platform you focus on.

Know The Demographics

Instagram and Twitter tend to be used by a younger crowd, while Facebook attracts a little older audience. If you are trying to reach a younger target audience, then you will have more success on Twitter than you will Facebook. Most people do not realize how critically important it is to do demographic research on a social media platform before deciding to use it, but that demographic information can let you know whether or not your message will be seen by the right audience.

How Important Is Interaction?

One of the best features of Facebook is how interactive it is as a social media platform. Twitter, on the other had, can make it difficult to interact with your customers, especially if you are trying to carry on more than one conversation at a time. How important is it that you be able to interact with your audience? If interaction is important, then you need to choose a social media platform that makes interaction as easy as possible.

Know The Business Restrictions

On Twitter, a business account is the same as a personal account. There are no special restrictions on a Twitter business account that would prevent you from getting your message out to your audience. Facebook charges businesses to get their messages out to an audience, which is only bad if it does not fit into your marketing plan. Get to know the platforms that have special business requirements and determine if those requirements interfere with your business plans.

Social media management sounds simple, but it is actually one of the most difficult parts of Internet marketing. You will only get the results you are looking for with social media if you know how to manipulate the media platform and reach your target audience. It takes years to become proficient in using a social media platform, but the results you can get from social media make it well worth the investment in time and money.