Principles and Books for Looking into the Digital Future from Lee Aase

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When asked to share digital trends and predictions to kick-off the inaugural Minnesota PRSA Digital Skills Workshop, Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Social Media Network, took an alternative approach.

I’ll share the trends that I’ve observed, and the books that I have read or heard at least two times, but generally more. And link you to the Audible store, while the future I cannot foretell these principles will serve you well.

Digital media is changing fast, so Aase, a leader in utilizing social media, shared insights for getting your mind moving in new directions. Along the way, he shared some of his favorite audio books, and  joked if you subscribe to the one book per month plan on Audible, you will be set for the next year. (Note – one book is free.)

Principle 1: Extrapolation is the Best Starting Point for Prediction

We start our research by looking back at digital media. Aase reminisced about the big three TV networks and newspapers. Their monopoly over the news and advertising was staggering until Ted Turner came along and created CNN. Eventually, the internet meant new production and distribution was democratized.

These two revolutions have turned both news and advertising on their heads. Just look at the value of Facebook, which far outweighs the traditional media giants.

The books to consider to open your mind to digital opportunities include:

Principle 2: Improbable Events Will Have Outsized Influence in Your Life

Aasee told the story of how Mayo Clinic came out of an improbable event. A  tornado that destroyed much of Rochester, MN moved a group of nuns to ask the doctors Mayo to help with a hospital they wanted to build.

Now, the Mayo Clinic was rated the best hospital by U.S News and World Report.

Disruptive innovation comes in several forms. Consider the introductions of the iPod, Flip camera or IPhone. How did they change your world?

At TopRank Marketing, we know disruption can prove to have great value. Trying new disruptive techniques or tools challenges the team and often provides the client with new and better outcomes.

Books to consider:

Principle 3: Mindset Matters More Than Skill

As a digital marketer, it is important to remember these basic skill sets for presenting yourself well:

  • Speaking skills
  • Digital production skills
  • Writing skills

Writing represents you when you are not present, says Aase, so use an active voice and avoid cliches.

Key to remember — have the mindset that you can do new things.

Book to consider:

Principle 4: The Growth Mindset Creates Optionality

As a trailblazer in social media, Aase uses the mindset, “Proceed until apprehended!” He was one of the first to use platforms like Facebook and Twitter in a medical setting.

As an example, when Mayo Clinic doctors separated conjoined twins Aase applied the the principles from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, the art of stress-free productivity:

  • Collect. Process. Review. Do.
  • The Creative Catalyst of inbox Zero
  • The Two-Minute Rule
  • “Is this actionable?”
  • Do-Delegate-Defer-Delete
  • What’s the next action?

This stressful event led to  new options with additional press and his first Tweetcamp.  

More books to consider:

Principle 5: Think Analogically

Social media is now part of the DNA of Mayo Clinic. Aase’s team provides guidelines, best practices, training and consulting to their healthcare professionals. As the head of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network (#MCSMN) he uses social media to lead a revolution in healthcare.

Principle 6: Develop a “Barbell” risk profile

At the heart of any success is almost always a willingness to take risks.

Books to consider:

Principle 7: Pursue Personal Growth

Take care of yourself, personally, suggests Aase. He advised subscribing to The Tim Farriss Show podcast, and reading (listening to) these books:

What marketing digital disruption will you predict? Or lead?

24 Hot Tools and Apps for Social Media Marketers

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social media toolsWant to try some new social media marketing tools?

Wondering which apps can enhance your social media audio, video, and images?

In this article, you’ll discover 24 useful social media tools.

24 Hot Tools and Apps for Social Media Marketers by Michael Stelzner on Social Media Examiner.

24 Hot Tools and Apps for Social Media Marketers by Michael Stelzner on Social Media Examiner.

#1: Narro

Narro is an app that converts text articles into audio files so you can listen on the go.

To convert a text article into an audio file, you can use the Narro bookmarklet, Chrome browser extension, or iOS or Android app. Narro then adds the audio file to your listening feed. You select from a number of male and female voices, and you can alter the speed to make the voice sound more natural.

Use Narro to convert text into audio, so you can listen on-the-go.

Narro converts text into audio.

For example, if you don’t have time to read today’s article on Social Media Examiner, you would either click the extension or bookmarklet. Narro will then scan that article’s text, convert it into an audio file, and put that file into your personal feed. If you subscribe to a feed (like Overcast), the audio file of the article shows up in your feed after a few minutes or so.

Narro has a free version and offers a premium version for $.50/hour.

#2: Workfrom

Workfrom helps you find remote working spaces and connect with people who use them. To search for a remote workspace, you can use the website or the iOS or Android app.

Workfrom, available on desktop, iOS, and Android, helps you find remote working spaces in your area.

Find places to work remotely using Workfrom.

Workfrom takes you through all of the factors you need to consider when deciding whether to work at a remote location. For instance, you learn whether a space is public or private, what the WiFi speeds are, information about any WiFi costs, whether food and drinks are available, if it’s open late, whether it’s indoor or outdoor, quiet or communal, and more.

People traveling to San Diego for Social Media Marketing World who will be there days before or after the event may need an alternative to working in a hotel room. Workfrom can help them find locations.

Workfrom covers more than 12,500 cities worldwide and has a community of about 250,000 people who are constantly adding new locations and sharing their input. The Workfrom online magazine, #Untethered, offers tips and tricks for working better remotely and optimizing your workspace at home.

Workfrom is free. They also have Pro version that offers perks from partner companies and access to Workfrom’s Slack community for $5/month or $50/year.

#3: Newsfeed Burner

How many times have you opened Facebook to do marketing work and started scrolling through your news feed instead?

For help with this social media quicksand, check out Newsfeed Burner, a Chrome browser extension that hides your Facebook news feed.

After you click the browser extension’s button, your news feed disappears, although you can get into groups and pages.

Eliminate distractions with Newsfeed Burner.

Hide your Facebook news feed with Newsfeed Burner.

Newsfeed Burner also eliminates the feeds for YouTube and LinkedIn.

Go to and look for Newsfeed Burner.

Newsfeed Burner is a free Chrome extension.

#4: Loom

Loom is a Chrome browser extension that creates a shareable video as soon as you finish recording.

When you want to share how something works or speak to your audience, Loom is a great choice, especially when video is the ideal way to communicate your message.

Because Loom creates a link that recipients can access without an account, Loom is an easy way to share video over email, instead of writing text emails back and forth to clarify certain points. In Gmail, you can even play the video right in the message window.

After you install the Loom Chrome extension, you can record what you’re doing on-screen or with your computer’s camera. When you’re done recording, a browser tab opens with a URL you can copy and share in an email or anywhere on the web.

Add video to your email with Loom.

Loom enables you to enhance your email communication with video.

Loom offers unlimited video storage and metrics so you can see how many people have viewed your video. You can also download, delete, or password-protect your videos.

Although you need Chrome on your desktop to record and send these videos, people can receive and watch Loom videos on any platform.

If you like how the Chrome extension works, Loom for Gmail integrates the video features right into the Gmail interface.

Loom is a free Chrome extension.

#5: TwIM

TwIM is an iOS app that’s dedicated to Twitter direct messages. It’s like Facebook Messenger for Twitter.

Compared with the Twitter app, TwIM gives you nuanced control over your Twitter notifications. For example, you can see a notification only when you receive a Twitter direct message so you’ll know when you have a message before you open the app.

Use TWiM to interact with your Twitter direct messages.

TwIM is a Twitter messaging app.

With TwIM, you can also search for people by username to start a conversation; send full messages with emojis; block and unblock users; reply to people using text, photos, maps, or URLs; and more.

TwIM could be a great new tool for social media managers who are heavily into providing customer service or interaction with fans and friends in Twitter direct messages.

TwIM is a free app.

#6: Reverb

Reverb is an interface that allows you to use Amazon Alexa instead of other artificial intelligence apps such as Siri on your Mac OS or iOS device.

Use Reverb for Amazon Alexa instead of other artificial intelligence apps on your Mac OS or iOS device.

Use Reverb for Amazon Alexa instead of other artificial intelligence apps on your Mac OS or iOS device.

Ask Alexa a question and it gives you a response type. You can connect Alexa to your home to turn on the lights, ask Alexa for weather and traffic reports, and so on.

Reverb also enables you to be less dependent on Amazon devices such as the Echo or the Echo Dot to access Alexa. For instance, if you have a Dot in your office but you’re on the go, you can pull out your phone, open Reverb, and ask Alexa anything. Reverb has all of the benefits of the service without the hardware.

This resource works on desktop for Mac, and on mobile and tablets for iOS and Android.

Reverb is a free app.

#7: Just Good Copy

Just Good Copy offers inspiration for writing your email copy. The website is like a swipe file for writing emails.

To find inspiring emails, go to and enter the type of email you need to write in the search bar. Your search results show existing emails from familiar companies such as Upwork, Buffer, Trello, Salesforce, Dropbox, Evernote, and Pinterest.

Just Good Copy gives you samples emails to get you started.

Find sample email copy at Just Good Copy.

Instead of searching, you can also click a tag for a common type of email. The tags look like colorful bubbles and reflect popular types of email such as thank you, welcome, nurture, maintenance, canceled subscription, and others.

Just Good Copy is a free resource.

#8: TouchRetouch

TouchRetouch is a cool tool for mobile picture-takers who want to edit things out of their photos such as a photo bomber or utility lines.

Fix photos with Touch Retouch.

TouchRetouch enables you to edit your images and remove things you don’t want to be there.

The TouchRetouch app, available for iOS and Android, is incredibly easy to use. After you open a photo in the app, you select a brush or selection tool and run your finger over the object or line you want to remove.

The tools create a mask over the undesirable image content, and the app analyzes what’s around the masked area and wipes it out. Although the analysis isn’t 100% perfect, the app does a pretty good job of removing what you mask.

TouchRetouch costs $1.99.

#9: TabCloud

TabCloud helps you manage your browser tabs by opening groups of bookmarked websites all at once.

Organize your browser tabs with TabCloud.

Use TabCloud to organize and manage multiple tabs.

For example, if checking major social networks is one of your daily tasks, TabCloud can help you open those sites quickly and easily.

To set up the group, set the tabs for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other sites you need such as your social media management software. Then give the group a name such as Social Channels. After you set up the group, you simply click its button and all of those websites open in your browser.

You can also sync TabCloud with other browsers and use the website favicons for easy recognition. It’s a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, as well as an Android app. The iOS app is coming soon.

TabCloud is a free resource.

#10: Markticle

With Markticle, you can bookmark online articles and mark your progress so you can pick up right where you left off. With the notes and sharing features, you can also share your comments about specific content in the article through Facebook or Twitter.

Markticle is a Chrome extemsion and Android app for bookmarking and highlighting content.

Bookmark and highlight articles with Markticle.

Markticle is available as a Chrome extension and Android app. After you install Markticle, open the article you want to read, select the text where you’re leaving off, and press M to mark that text. You then have the option to leave a note or share the article.

Markticle is a free resource.

#11: Skype Plugin

If you’re a Skype user, Skype offers a plugin for Google Chrome or Firefox that makes setting up calls quick and easy. With this plugin, you can insert a Skype call link into an email, social media update, or calendar event. Then the recipient can simply click the link for a phone call.

For instance, write in an email, “Give me a call on Skype when you get a chance.” Then click the Skype button to drop a link into the email. When the person clicks the link, he or she automatically calls you on Skype.

Click the Skype icon at the bottom of your email to add a call link.

Add a Skype call link to your email with one click.

You can also insert a Skype link for open office hours or an Ask Me Anything. Create the same link and then drop it into a tweet, a Facebook message, or another social network post.

Similarly, if you’re setting up a calendar event for a Skype call, drop the Skype call link into the event notes and you’re good to go.

To find the Skype plugin, search for Skype in the Google Chrome Web Store or in Firefox Add-Ons.

Skype is a free plugin.

#12: Write Behind

Write Behind is a cool iOS app that allows you to place text behind people or objects in your photos. The effect makes your images look like professionally designed magazine covers.

The app is simple to use. After you open the photo in the Write Behind app, you select a font and type your text. Then use your finger to tell that app what parts of the photo should appear in the foreground. You might trace around a person so that the text appears behind them.

Add text behind and through images with the Write Behind app.

Write Behind enables you to add text to images with a professional look.

Jeff Sieh, who does most of our Instagram image creation, has used Write Behind to insert text and create quote images. You can also see examples of what Write Behind can do on its website.

Write Behind is a free app with in-app purchases, ranging from $0.99 to $2.99, for additional fonts and styles. Remove the watermark for $4.99 and unlock everything for $6.99.

#13: Ecamm Live

Ecamm Live gives you a powerful way to do Facebook Live from your Mac desktop computer. During your live broadcast, the software allows you to add creative touches such as graphic overlays. You can even share your desktop and switch between cameras.

The Ecamm Live software stands out by making these powerful features easy to use. You’ll find some of the same features that Wirecast or OBS offer, but the Ecamm Live interface uses drag-and-drop technology.

Ecamm Live’s most notable feature is screen sharing, which allows you to show off what you’re doing on-screen while going live. With picture-in-picture, the audience can see you in a thumbnail video and you can choose where to place it.

Ecamm Live is a Macc app that enables you to go live on Facebook from your desktop

The ability to go live, and show your desktop and thumbnail are some of the great features of Ecamm Live.

With the graphic overlays, you can share a URL, your name and title, a logo, or other graphics.

After you install the Ecamm Live desktop application on your Mac and connect your Facebook account, you can go live from your desktop to your profile and business pages with one click of a button. (Note: Ecamm Live doesn’t support groups yet.)

While you’re live, the Ecamm Live interface looks and feels like the Facebook Live interface on a mobile device. See the comments and reactions pop up so you can engage with your live audience. You’ll like how Ecamm Live allows you to be creative and avoid getting too caught up in the tech.

Ecamm Live has a one-time cost of $29.95. You can also download a free trial.

#14: Grids

Try Grids for a cool way to view and interact with Instagram on your desktop computer.

If you’re a marketer looking to mirror the Instagram mobile experience on your desktop, this stand-alone app for Windows and Mac OS X has a beautiful and intuitive interface.

Grids mirrors the Instagram experience from your phone, and includes the ability to see Stories on your desktop.

Grids brings the mobile Instagram experience to your desktop.

The big bonus is the ability to see Instagram stories. You can also switch accounts without having to log out and log back in, and you can bookmark people, locations, and hashtags that interest you.

To take advantage of the larger desktop screen, you can view Instagram posts in several different grid views, as well as a widget view that looks like a mobile device.

Essentially, Grids creates the Instagram mobile experience on your desktop, with a few extra features.

Grids has an extremely limited free version (it doesn’t include Stories and you can only add one account), as well as a premium upgrade, which is well worth the cost of $8.99.

#15: Clips

Apple recently released Clips, an iOS app for creating and editing square video, which tends to perform best on social media. Clips is ideal for creating short videos that you share in your social news feeds or as stories on Facebook or Instagram.

Clips is like a little iMovie editor stripped down for social media videos. You can record and edit video and add filters, posters, speech bubbles, and more. The app even lets you create a title slide or add content from your camera roll. To add music, choose from the included audio clips or select one of your own.

The Live Titles feature is an easy way to add closed captioning. This is helpful because on social platforms, video is typically muted until the captions draw viewers in. After you turn on Live Titles, the app translates your voice to text and the words pop up at the bottom of the screen. The text-to-speech functionality is pretty accurate, but you can edit the text if needed.

The Live Titles feature uses voice to text to add words to your videos.

Add captions to your videos through the Live Titles feature of the Clips app.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow you to upload video in a square format, and Clips is a cool way to create these videos with little effort. The app combines the camera and effects into one easy tool.

Clips is a free app.

#16: Swipeable

Swipeable is a mobile app that turns a panoramic or 360-degree photo into a carousel of images for Instagram.

On Swipeable’s Instagram page, you can see how cool the images look.

Swipeable turns panoramas and 360 photos into multi-image posts.

Turn a panoramic photo into a carousel on Instagram with Swipeable.

To use the app, upload an image and Swipeable splits it into a series of square images. Swipeable uses your whole panorama or 360-degree photo, so if you want to crop anything, do that before you use Swipeable to create your carousel. You can have up to 10 images.

Swipeable is currently available only for iOS; however, look for an Android version soon.

Swipeable is a free app.

#17: TinyMails

TinyMails is a cool Google Chrome plugin for Gmail. As you’re writing an email, TinyMails tells you the word count and how long your message will take to read. For instance, it may say a paragraph-long email is 547 words and will take 2 minutes and 53 seconds to read.

Use TinyMails to keep track of word count and read time.

TinyMails gives you a word count and estimate of how long your email will take to read.

TinyMails is helpful when you need to be brief. If you know you’re sending an email to someone who’ll spend only a minute or two reading it, you can keep it short so your recipient will read the whole thing.

After you add this extension to your Chrome browser, the TinyMails counter appears under the Send button in Gmail so you can track the length of your emails.

Find TinyMails in the Google Chrome Store.

TinyMails is a free extension.

#18: Storeo

Storeo is a fun iOS app that helps you produce Instagram stories.

Record a regular-length video on your phone, open it in this app, and the app chops the video into 15-second segments, the correct length for an Instagram story. For example, the app would split up a minute-long video into four 15-second Instagram stories.

When you use Storeo, your Instagram stories move seamlessly so each segment feels like one story. As a result, when someone starts watching the first story, they’re more likely to watch the later ones.

Because Storeo works with videos that you record on your phone, the production process is easier than recording with the Instagram app.

On Instagram, the timer prompts people to slow down or speed up near the end of a 15-second recording. Then, when your story viewers can tell you’re transitioning, they may not watch the next story. However, if you record your video as one segment on your phone and then slice the video in Storeo, viewers won’t even notice the change from one story to the next.

Convert your videos into seamless Instagram Stories with Storeo.

Storeo converts a video into an Instagram story.

Storeo can also work for Facebook Stories and Facebook Messenger Day, because in these features, the video segments can be a few seconds longer. However, Storeo doesn’t work well with Snapchat because Snapchat videos are 10 seconds.

Storeo has a free version and offers a premium version for $8.99.

#19: Bynd

Bynd is a time-saving mobile app for social media monitoring. In this one app, you can create curated feeds for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social networks.

Streamline your feeds with the Bynd app.

The Bynd app enables you to put all of your feeds in one place.

To start using the app, sign in with the services you want to check and choose whom you want to see from each social platform. It’s like creating a VIP list for each platform so you don’t miss posts from the people you want to follow closely.

At the top of the app, you can switch among the social networks you follow. Simply tap their names.

Bynd is currently available for iOS and an Android version will be released Q3 2017.

Bynd has a free version. Unlock additional social networks for $0.99 each and unlock everything for $2.99.

#20: Todobook

Todobook is a Google Chrome plugin that places a to-do list where you typically see your Facebook news feed. When you’re logged into Facebook to work, that to-do list can help you avoid wasting time by becoming distracted by the news feed.

Todobook blocks your Facebook news feed until you get your priorities done for the day.

Make sure your to-do list items get done before you go to the Facebook news feed with Todobook.

With Todobook, the to-do list doesn’t sync with a task manager system. Instead, you enter your own list of to-do items. Then you’ll need to mark the day’s items as done before Todobook will display your Facebook news feed. Although the to-do list blocks your news feed, you can still work in your Facebook groups and pages.

If you’re a social media marketer who’s easily distracted by the Facebook news feed, this app can help you accomplish your top three or four priorities in your Facebook groups or pages. Of course, technically you can mark tasks as done and move to your news feed without actually completing the tasks, but the to-do list can help you focus if you’re disciplined about how you use it.

Find Todobook in the Chrome store.

Todobook is a free plugin.

#21: Lumyer

Lumyer adds augmented reality camera effects to your photos or videos.

This app, available on iOS and Android, is unique in that you can add motion graphics, accents, or static elements to an existing photo or video.

Add elements to your photos and videos with Lumyer.

Use Lumyer to add elements to your photos and videos to make them stand out.

You can add confetti, snow, lightning, a lens flare, and more. The app includes face filters that were previously only available through Snapchat or Instagram. The app also includes cool green-screen effects that add movement behind the person in the foreground.

To use Lumyer, take a photo or video. Then open the app, download the effects you want to add, and apply them to your photo or video. When you’re done, save your changes and upload your photo or video to your desired social media platform.

Lumyer is a free app. While most of the filters and add-ons are free, some cost $0.99 or $1.99. Remove the watermark for $1.99.

#22: TextExpander

TextExpander allows you to create text snippets that insert longer lines of text. It will save you tons of time.

Use TextExpander to insert boilerplate content, create abbreviations for frequently used words, and more. Say you save SME as a snippet in TextExpander. Every time you type SME, TextExpander changes the snippet to Social Media Examiner.

TextExpander snippets can insert all sorts of content. For instance, use a snippet to insert boilerplate answers for frequently asked questions. TextExpander can also insert emojis and GIFs. If you don’t remember the trigger text, you can search for it in TextExpander.

TextExpander saves you time by creating and using shortcuts via the app.

Save time by creating shortcuts with the TextExpander app.

You can sync the snippets across Windows, Mac, and iOS devices so you can access your snippets from almost anywhere. On iOS, TextExpander adds a new keyboard for typing your snippets.

Sharing your snippets with co-workers or friends is another timesaver. Anyone who has the app can import snippets you’ve shared into their TextExpander app.

For teams and organizations, TextExpander offers additional tools for sharing snippets, which can help your business deliver consistent, up-to-date information.

If your company is selling tickets to an event and you want everyone to use the same promo language, put one person in charge of creating and changing the text in TextExpander. Then anytime somebody types the designated shortcut, TextExpander inserts the correct language. The entire team has the same up-to-date boilerplate information.

TextExpander costs $3.33/month for a single user and $7.96/month per person for a team setup when billed annually.

#23: GIPHY Says

GIPHY Says is a cool new app from GIPHY that turns your photo and speech into a personalized GIF.

With GIPHY Says, social media managers can spice up replies to their community. Try creating a GIF that says, “Thanks a lot!” or “That’s awesome!” or “I’ll see you there!”

Create customized GIFs with GIPHY Says.

Turn your comments into a GIF with GIPHY Says.

When you hit record in the GIPHY Says app, it doesn’t record the audio. Instead, it takes dictation and turns what you say into GIF text. Place the text in different places on your image and format the text in various styles, such as comic book character bubble-style speak or big bold letters. Swipe left to right to browse the themes.

After you create your GIF in GIPHY Says, download the image and post it anywhere you like, such as a reply to someone on social media.

Although the GIPHY app is available on iOS and Android, GIPHY Says is only for iOS at this time. Find it in the App Store.

GIPHY Says is a free app.

#24: Emojipedia

With Emojipedia, you can find the emoji you’re looking for right away.

Scanning a full emoji keyboard or list can involve a lot of scrolling. However, Emojipedia allows you to type a search term and see only relevant emojis.

Emojipedia is a search engine for emojis.

Find the right emoji quickly and easily with Emojipedia.

For example, for a Facebook post, I wanted to add an emoji of a person making a muscle with their arm. When I searched for “muscles,” Emojipedia showed an emoji called “flexed biceps.” I clicked the emoji, and then copied and pasted it directly into my Facebook post.

Because emojis look slightly different on the various platforms (Facebook versus Google, etc.), Emojipedia also shows how the emoji looks on each platform.

Emojis are great for social media posts because they evoke emotion and increase engagement. An emoji can also punctuate your post, save space, and allow you to be creative and have fun.

Emojipedia is a free resource.

Over to You

There are always new resources being released to help social media marketers and content creators improve their graphics, engagement, productivity, and more. Check them out and discover which apps and extensions work best for you.

Search Discovery to find more tools and apps featured in the Discovery of the Week segment on the Social Media Marketing podcast.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these social media resources? What apps have you found useful? Please share them in the comments below.

24 Hot Tools and Apps for Social Media Marketers by Michael Stelzner on Social Media Examiner.

How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets to Build More Traffic

This post was originally published on this site

Have you noticed it’s getting harder and harder to build referral traffic from Google?

And it’s not just that the competition has got tougher (which it certainly has!).

It’s also that Google has moved past its ten blue links and its organic search results are no longer generating as much traffic they used to.

How do you adapt? This article teaches you to optimize your content to one of Google’s more recent changes: featured snippets.

What are featured snippets?

Featured snippets are selected search results that are featured on top of Google’s organic results below the ads in a box.

Featured snippets aim at answering the user’s question right away (hence their other well-known name, “answer boxes”). Being featured means getting additional brand exposure in search results.

Here are two studies confirming the claim:

  • Ben Goodsell reports that the click-through rate (CTR) on a featured page increased from two percent to eight percent once it’s placed in an answer box, with revenue from organic traffic increasing by 677%.
  • Eric Enge highlights a 20–30% increase in traffic for while they held the featured snippet for the query.

Types of featured snippets

There are three major types of featured snippets:

  • Paragraph (an answer is given in text). It can be a box with text inside or a box with both text and an image inside.
  • List (an answer is given in a form of a list)
  • Table (an answer is given in a table)

Here’s an example of paragraph snippet with an image:

paragraph snippet image

According to Getstat, the most popular featured snippet is “paragraph” type:


Featured snippets or answer boxes?

Since we’re dealing with a pretty new phenomenon, the terminology is pretty loose. Many people (including myself) are inclined to refer to featured snippets as “answer boxes,” obviously because there’s an answer presented in a box.

While there’s nothing wrong with this terminology, it creates a certain confusion because Google often gives a “quick answer” (a definition, an estimate, etc.) on top without linking to the source:

Answer box

To avoid confusion, let’s stick to the “featured snippet” term whenever there’s a URL featured in the box, because these present an extra exposure to the linked site (hence they’re important for content publishers):

Featured snippet

Do I have a chance to get featured?

According to research by Ahrefs, 99.58% of featured pages already rank in top 10 of Google. So if you are already ranking high for related search queries, you have very good chances to get featured.

On the other hand, Getstat claims that 70% of snippets came from sites outside of the first organic position. So it’s required that the page is ranked in top 10, but it’s not required to be #1 to be featured.

Unsurprisingly, the most featured site is If there’s Wikipedia featured for your search query, it may be extremely hard to beat that — but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Finally, according to the analysis performed in a study, the following types of search queries get featured results most often:

  • DIY processes
  • Health
  • Financial
  • Mathematical
  • Requirements
  • Status
  • Transitional

Ahrefs’ study expands the list of popular topics with their most frequently words that appear in featured snippets:

words trigger featured snippets

The following types of search queries usually don’t have answer boxes:

  • Images and videos
  • Local
  • Shopping

To sum up the above studies:

  • You have chances to get featured for the terms your pages are already ranking in top 10. Thus, a big part of being featured is to improve your overall rankings (especially for long-tail informational queries, which are your lower-hanging fruit)
  • If your niche is DIY, health or finance, you have the highest probability of getting featured

Identify all kinds of opportunities to be featured

Start with good old keyword research

Multiple studies confirm that the majority of featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords. In fact, the more words that are typed into a search box, the higher the probability there will be a featured snippet.

It’s always a good idea to start with researching your keywords. This case study gives a good step by step keyword research strategy for a blogger, and this one lists major keyword research tools as suggested by experts.

When performing keyword research with featured snippets in mind, note that:

  • Start with question-type search queries (those containing question words, like “what,” “why,” “how,” etc.) because these are the easiest to identify, but don’t stop there…
  • Target informational intent, not just questions. While featured snippets aim at answering the user’s question immediately, question-type queries are not the only types that trigger those featured results. According to the aforementioned Ahrefs study, the vast majority of keywords that trigger featured snippets were long-tail queries with no question words in them.

It helps if you use a keyword research tool that shows immediately whether a query triggers featured results. I use Serpstat for my keyword research because it combines keyword research with featured snippet research and lets me see which of my keywords trigger answer boxes:

Serpstat featured snippet

You can run your competitor in Serpstat and then filter their best-performing queries by the presence of answer boxes:

Serpstat competitor research

This is a great overview of your future competition, enabling you to see your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

Browse Google for more questions

To further explore the topic, be sure to browse Google’s own “People also ask” sections whenever you see one in the search results. It provides a huge insight into which questions Google deems related to each topic.

People also ask section

Once you start expanding the questions to see the answers, more and more questions will be added to the bottom of the box:

More questions

Identify search queries where you already rank high

Your lowest-hanging fruit is to identify which phrases you already rank highly for. These will be the easiest to get featured for after you optimize for answer boxes (more on this below).

Google Search Console shows which search queries send you clicks. To find that report, click “Search Traffic” and then “Search Analytics.”

Check the box to show the position your pages hold for each one and you’ll have the ability to see which queries are your top-performing ones:

Google Search Console

You can then use the filters to find some question-type queries among those:

Search console filter

Go beyond traditional keyword research tools: Ask people

All the above methods (albeit great) tackle already discovered opportunities: those for which you or your competitors are already ranking high. But how about venturing beyond that? Ask your readers, customers, and followers how they search and which questions they ask.

MyBlogU: Ask people outside your immediate reach

Move away from your target audience and ask random people what questions they have on a specific topic and what would be their concerns. Looking out of the box can always give a fresh perspective.

MyBlogU (disclaimer: I am the founder) is a great way to do that. Just post a new project in the “Brainstorm” section and ask members to contribute their thoughts.

MyBlogU concept

Seed Keywords: Ask your friends and followers

Seed Keywords is a simple tool that allows you to discover related keywords with help from your friends and followers. Simply create a search scenario, share it on social media, and ask your followers to type in the keywords they would use to solve it.

Try not to be too leading with your search scenario. Avoid guiding people to the search phrase you think they should be using.

Here’s an example of a scenario:


And here are the suggestions from real people:

Seed Keywords

Obviously, you can create similar surveys with SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, too.

Monitor questions people ask on Twitter

Another way to discover untapped opportunities is to monitor questions on Twitter. Its search supports the ? search operator that will filter results to those containing a question. Just make sure to put a space between your search term and ?.

Twitter questions

I use Cyfe to monitor and archive Twitter results because it provides a minimal dashboard which I can use to monitor an unlimited number of Twitter searches.

Cyfe questions

Once you lack article ideas, simply log in to Cyfe to view the archive and then proceed to the above keyword research tools to expand on any idea.

I use spreadsheets to organize questions and keyword phrases I discover (see more on this below). Some of these questions may become a whole piece of content, while others will be subsections of broader articles:

  • I don’t try to analyze search volume to decide whether any of those questions deserve to be covered in a separate article or a subsection. (Based on the Ahrefs research and my own observations, there is no direct correlation between the popularity of the term and whether it will trigger a featured snippet).
  • Instead, I use my best judgement (based on my niche knowledge and research) as to how much I will be able to tell to answer each particular question. If it’s a lot, I’ll probably turn into a separate article and use keyword research to identify subsections of the future piece.

Optimizing for featured snippets

Start with on-page SEO

There is no magic button or special markup which will make sure your site gets featured. Of course, it’s a good idea to start with non-specific SEO best practices, simply because being featured is only possible when you rank high for the query.

Randy Milanovic did a good overview of tactics of making your content findable. Eric Brantner over at Coschedule has put together a very useful SEO checklist, and of course never forget to go through Moz’s SEO guide.

How about structured markup?

Many people would suggest using (simply because it’s been a “thing” to recommend adding schema for anything and everything) but the aforementioned Ahrefs study shows that there’s no correlation between featured results and structured markup.

That being said, the best way to get featured is to provide a better answer. Here are a few actionable tips:

1. Aim at answering each question concisely

My own observation of answer boxes has led me to think that Google prefers to feature an answer which was given within one paragraph.

The study by AJ Ghergich cites that the average length of a paragraph snippet is 45 words (the maximum is 97 words), so let it be your guideline as to how long each answer should be in order to get featured:

Optimal featured snippet lengths

This doesn’t mean your articles need to be one paragraph long. On the contrary, these days Google seems to give preference to long-form content (also known as “cornerstone content,” which is obviously a better way to describe it because it’s not just about length) that’s broken into logical subsections and features attention-grabbing images. Even if you don’t believe that cornerstone content receives any special treatment in SERPs, focusing on long articles will help you to cover more related questions within one piece (more on that below).

All you need to do is to adjust your blogging style just a bit:

  • Ask the question in your article (that may be a subheading)
  • Immediately follow the question with a one-paragraph answer
  • Elaborate further in the article

This tactic may also result in higher user retention because it makes any article better structured and thus a much easier read. To quote AJ Ghergich,

When you use data to fuel topic ideation, content creation becomes more about resources and less about brainstorming.

2. Be factual and organize well

Google loves numbers, steps and lists. We’ve seen this again and again: More often than not, answer boxes will list the actual ingredients, number of steps, time to cook, year and city of birth, etc.

In your paragraph introducing the answer to the question, make sure to list useful numbers and names. Get very factual.

In fact, the aforementioned study by AJ Ghergich concluded that comparison charts and lists are an easier way to get featured because Google loves structured content. In fact, even for branded queries (where a user is obviously researching a particular brand), Google would pick up a table from another site (not the answer from the brand itself) if that other site has a table:

Be factual

This only shows how much Google loves well-structured, factual, and number-driven content.

There’s no specific markup to structure your content. Google seems to pick up <table>, <ol>, and <ul> well and doesn’t need any other pointers.

3. Make sure one article answers many similar questions

In their research of featured snippets, Ahrefs found that once a page gets featured, it’s likely to get featured in lots of similar queries. This means it should be structured and worded the way it addresses a lot of related questions.

Google is very good at determining synonymic and closely related questions, so should be you. There’s no point in creating a separate page answering each specific question.

Related question

Creating one solid article addressing many related questions is a much smarter strategy if you aim at getting featured in answer boxes. This leads us to the next tactic:

4. Organize your questions properly

To combine many closely related questions in one article, you need to organize your queries properly. This will also help you structure your content well.

I have a multi-level keyword organization strategy that can be applied here as well:

  • A generic keyword makes a section or a category of the blog
  • A more specific search query becomes the title of the article
  • Even more specific queries determine the subheadings of the article and thus define its structure
    • There will be multiple queries that are so closely related that they will all go under a single subheading

For example:


Serpstat helps me a lot when it comes to both discovering an article idea and then breaking it into subtopics. Check out its “Questions” section. It will provide hundreds of questions containing your core term and then generate a tag cloud of other popular terms that come up in those questions:

Questions tag cloud

Clicking any word in the tag cloud will filter results down to those questions that only have that word in them. These are subsections for your article:

Serpstat subheadings

Here’s a good example of how related questions can help you structure the article:


5. Make sure to use eye-grabbing images

Paragraph featured snippets with images are ridiculously eye-catching, even more so than regular featured featured snippets. Honestly, I wasn’t able to identify how to add an image so that it’s featured. I tried naming it differently and I tried marking it as “featured” in the WordPress editor. Google seems to pick up a random image from the page without me being able to point it to a better version.

That being said, the only way to influence that is to make sure ALL your in-article images are eye-catching, branded, and annotated well, so that no matter which one Google ends up featuring, it will look nice. Here’s a great selection of WordPress plugins that will allow you to easily visualize your content (put together graphs, tables, charts, etc.) while working on a piece.

You can use Bannersnack to create eye-catching branded images; I love their image editing functionality. You can quickly create graphics there, then resize them to reuse as banners and social media images and organize all your creatives in folders:

banner maker bannersnack

6. Update and re-upload the images (WordPress)

WordPress adds dates to image URLs, so even if you update an article with newer information the images can be considered kind of old. I managed to snatch a couple of paragraph featured snippets with images once I started updating my images, too:


7. Monitor how you are doing

Ahrefs lets you monitor which queries your domain is featured for, so keep an eye on these as they grow and new ones appear:

Monitor where you are being featured


It takes a lot of research and planning and you cannot be sure when you’ll see the results (especially if you don’t have too many top 10 rankings just yet) but think about this way: Being featured in Google search results is your incentive to work harder on your content. You’ll achieve other important goals on your way there:

  • You’ll discover hundreds of new content ideas (and thus will rank for a wider variety of various long-tail keywords)
  • You’ll learn to research each topic more thoroughly (and thus will build more incoming links because people tend to link to indepth articles)
  • You’ll learn to structure your articles better (and thus achieve a lower bounce rate because it will be easier to read your articles)

Have you been featured in Google search results yet? Please share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

Facebook for Business: The Ultimate Facebook Marketing Guide

This post was originally published on this site

If you’re new to Facebook business options or want to add something new to your current Facebook marketing plan, this page is for you.

Here, you’ll find articles and resources to help beginner, intermediate, and advanced marketers use Facebook pages, profiles, groups, ads, Live video, analysis, contests, and more for business.

Facebook for Business: The Ultimate Facebook Marketing Guide

Facebook for Business: The Ultimate Facebook Marketing Guide

Put My Business on Facebook

Advertise on Facebook

Analyze Facebook Marketing

Market With Facebook Video


More Helpful Facebook Marketing Articles

Tune in to Stay Current With Facebook Tactics and News

Social Media Examiner offers two weekly audio podcasts and a weekly live video talk show to help boost your marketing skills and keep you up to date with the ever-changing world of social media.

The Social Media Marketing podcast, a top 10 marketing podcast on iTunes, is a weekly 45-minute interview show hosted by our founder, Michael Stelzner. To discover how successful businesses employ social media, learn new strategies and tactics, and gain actionable tips to improve your social media marketing, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcast | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | .

The Social Media Marketing Talk Show is a weekly one-hour live video show that features expert commentary on the week’s top news in social media and what it means for marketers. Broadcast on Crowdcast, the show is simulcast each Friday to Facebook Live, Periscope, and YouTube. You can also listen and subscribe to the podcast version on iTunes/Apple PodcastAndroidGoogle Play, Stitcher, or via RSS.

How to Get Started with Video Content Marketing (Without a Blockbuster Budget)

This post was originally published on this site

Back in my day, all online content was text-based. If you had two animated .GIFs on a website, you had to wait 30 seconds for the site to load. Four .jpgs on a site would crash your browser. We were grateful when posts were just words! We didn’t whine about “visual stimulation” or “content variety” back then, let me tell you.

Of course, we also dressed like this:

So maybe we didn’t get everything right. For better or for worse, the early days of the Internet are long gone, and modern consumers want video content. Over half of all people online watch videos daily. And they’re not just watching cat videos and Jimmy Fallon clips: 59% of executives say if text and video are available on the same topic, they prefer the video. And 54% of senior executives share work-related videos with colleagues weekly.

It’s extremely likely that your target audience wants video content. Brands that create useful, engaging video will quickly surpass their competitors who don’t. So whether your brand sells baby strollers or enterprise-level cloud-based SaaS solutions, it makes sense to get into video.

Granted, video can be complicated and expensive. You could spend thousands of dollars on equipment, hire someone to shoot and edit the final product, or turn your conference room into a fully-functioning television studio. But there’s no need to go that far to see if video fits your content strategy.

Here are four cheap ways to get started with video content marketing. But first:

Make Video Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Don’t practice random acts of video. As with all your content, your video should fit within your content marketing strategy. That means each video should have a clear objective in mind, a plan for amplification, and a way to measure success. Keep the basic questions of any content creation in mind:

  • Who is this for?
  • Why should they watch it (what’s in it for them)?
  • How will they find it?
  • What do I want them to do after they watch it?

Make sure you answer all four questions before you start planning your video content. Once you have your strategy nailed down, you can use these techniques to start creating video without busting your budget.

Slideshow Videos

The easiest way to create video content requires no camera setup, no acting talent, and minimal upfront investment. Slideshow videos combine still images with transition effects and overlaid text. They’re simple to make, but surprisingly versatile and compelling. The simplest way to start is with Facebook’s slideshow creator – it’s a good way to experiment with the form and also create some compelling Facebook ads.

Once you know the basics, there are plenty of inexpensive tools that can create some surprisingly versatile videos. Options like Moovly and Animoto offer everything from stock images to licensed background music for a nominal monthly fee. Here’s a sample of how an infographic can become a compelling animated slideshow with Animoto:

Live Streaming Video

Once you’re ready to get more dynamic with your video content, you can dip a toe into streaming video live. The barriers to entry are lower for live video versus pre-recorded video; people expect streams to be informal, low-fi, and off-the-cuff.

All you need for live streaming is a smartphone and a good internet connection. And, of course, a compelling idea for what you’re going to stream. Here are a few types of content that are well-suited for the platform:

  • Behind-the-scenes tours of your facility
  • Product demonstrations
  • Live interviews at events
  • Q&A sessions where you take questions from the audience

Just remember to announce your live streams in advance, so you have time to build an audience. And it’s a good idea to have a partner working behind the scenes to stay on top of comments and monitor audience response.

If you use Facebook to stream, you will get a saved version of the video that you can further promote to those who missed it live.


The next level of video creation is to create polished, edited video, which may or may not be scripted. A “vlog” is the most informal example of this type of content. Vlogs usually consist of one or two people addressing a single camera, with some editing and effects added in after the fact. Think of a vlog as a video blog post, content that might cover the same topics as your written content, but in a more visually compelling way.

You can create a vlog with nothing but a smartphone camera or laptop webcam. But it’s worth investing a little in lighting, camera, and microphone setup for a more professional-looking end product. For example, here is one of the first vlogs that we did for TopRank Marketing, using a webcam and natural lighting:

And here’s a more recent one, using a tripod-mounted camera, a few lights, and lapel microphones:

There’s a marked difference in the quality of the video, with a minimal investment in equipment.

 Demo/Explainer Videos

This type of video can be made with the same setup you might use for a vlog – a decent quality camera and a few lights are all you need. But instead of focusing on people reading content, a demo or explainer video focuses on demonstrating a process or giving a how-to. If your product offering lends itself to demonstration, it’s easy to create compelling video that gets watched.

For example, here’s a video made with practically no budget and a smidge of post-production that currently has nearly 40 million views on YouTube:

Tasty’s YouTube channel has great examples of this type of video, too. They use time-lapse and clever editing for lightning-fast recipe videos, and have earned over 3 million subscribers:

Less demonstration-friendly solutions (like, say, cloud-based SaaS) can still use a similar format, with an explanation instead of a demo.  Just make sure your video has these basic fundamentals:

  • Make it brief (less than five minutes)
  • Keep it practical and useful
  • Make sure it’s comprehensible without sound (85% of Facebook video is watched on mute)

Lights (optional), Camera (optional), Action (required)!

Video is rapidly eating the internet. As mobile connections get faster and data caps phase out, it will only get more popular. Your target audience is likely already looking for video content about your industry.

You don’t need a substantial investment to try video. Start slow, with slideshows that don’t require any special skills or equipment. Test out live video for a low-stakes next step. Once you have honed your skills and are ready to make minor investments, you can move on to scripted, edited content like vlogs and demo videos.

Learn more about creating compelling video content in our interview with Cisco Creative Director of Marketing Tim Washer.

How to Repurpose Blog Posts Into Instagram Albums

This post was originally published on this site

social media how toAre you looking for Instagram content ideas?

Have you considered repurposing your blog content into Instagram albums?

Grouping multiple images from a blog post into an Instagram album can bring engaging content to Instagram.

In this article, you’ll discover how to combine blog posts into Instagram albums.

How to Repurpose Blog Posts Into Instagram Albums by Jenn Herman on Social Media Examiner.

How to Repurpose Blog Posts Into Instagram Albums by Jenn Herman on Social Media Examiner.

Why Use Instagram Albums to Repurpose Blog Content?

It’s easy to share a link to your blog post on most social media platforms. But on Instagram, you have to get creative.

Often, uploading a simple blog post image and announcing your new blog post in the caption will work. As long as your Instagram bio links to your blog page, this can be an effective way to drive traffic.

Announcing a new blog post with your blog image and descriptive caption can work to drive blog traffic.

Announcing a new blog post with your blog image and descriptive caption can work to drive blog traffic.

But if you really want to boost engagement with your blog content and get significant traffic from Instagram, you can repurpose it for Instagram and use albums (also called carousel or multi-image posts) to showcase your content.

Albums allow you to put more context in a single post, share extra tips, give out additional information, garner more interest in the blog post topic, and even encourage response to your CTA. If you’re not familiar with albums on Instagram, read this previous post with steps to use albums effectively.

Now let’s look at how to create Instagram album content from your blog posts.

#1: Create Multiple Images Based on Your Blog Post

The key to repurposing blog content on Instagram is quality images. You want to create unique images for each key point in your blog post. Where many bloggers include “Click to tweet” links, you want to create a visual image to share to Instagram.

Ana Hoffman published a blog post with quotes and input from various industry leaders. To produce shareable content, she designed a graphic with an image of each person, along with their quote. She also created graphics to showcase the details and stats in the post.

Repurpose images from your original blog post to use in Instagram albums.

Repurpose images from your original blog post to use in Instagram albums.

#2: Group Your Images to Tell a Story

You want each Instagram album to tell a complete story, plus be part of a whole collection of albums or posts. Once you’ve created multiple images for your blog post content, organize groups of 3-10 images that flow cohesively to tell a story.

The best way to achieve this is through careful storyboarding prior to publishing your campaign and Instagram album. Plan exactly the order of each of the images in the post. If you want to include a CTA, decide where to place the CTA in the album. It may even be in the middle, not necessarily the final image in the post.

In this album, Ana Hoffman introduces herself, her story, and the idea of content repurposing, telling a cohesive story. She finishes with a CTA.

For best results, the album should connect with your audience, have a purpose, elicit an emotional response, and make the viewer want to take action.

#3: Spread Out Your Content for Maximum Effect

To maximize opportunities to reach your audience, share your various images over multiple days or even weeks. If you spread out your campaign, more people are likely to see one of these posts. You’ll also increase the chances that people will click through to your blog post if they see reminders about it more than once.

When promoting your blog post, include a CTA to click through to your website to read the full blog post. Whether you include the CTA in the post caption, in an album image, or both, be sure to include that directive to click the link in your bio where people can read the full blog post.

#4: Write a Strong Caption

As with all posts on Instagram, a strong caption is extremely important. This is even more true if you want to drive conversions. Your caption needs to convey the message your audience wants to read and get them to take action. It should be informative, entertaining, visually appealing, and easy to read. Also reiterate the CTA you put in the album content.

When you’re using albums, it’s helpful to include an announcement at the top of your caption to let your followers know to swipe to see more content. This way, if people miss that it’s an album or don’t understand how albums work, they’ll see your caption and won’t miss your additional valuable content.

In the caption for your Instagram album, include a statement to swipe to see more so your audience doesn't miss out.

In the caption for your Instagram album, include a statement to “swipe to see more” so your audience doesn’t miss out.

Instagram currently cuts off all captions around the third line of the text depending on the length of the first paragraph and inserts a clickable “…more” option to expand the text.

Because of this shortened caption, make the first sentence or two of your caption powerful. It should get people to click on the option to expand and read the whole caption. This is especially important if your caption includes a CTA because people will miss it if they don’t expand the text.

Instagram captions longer than three lines are cut off and viewers must tap

Instagram captions longer than three lines are cut off and viewers must tap “…more” to read the whole caption.

Best Practices for CTAs in Your Albums

Adding a solid CTA within your album can be powerful for driving traffic and conversions. Beyond asking your audience to read your blog post, you may encourage them to email you, send a text for a free download, or stop by your location for a limited-time sale. Be strategic with your use of CTAs though. Your audience has to see them and find value to drive results.

Include Your CTA in an Individual Graphic

Creating CTAs for Instagram is a little different from other platforms because the method of contact is different. On a normal Instagram profile, the only direct contact is the link in the account bio. On a business profile, there’s the link in the bio, as well as the contact buttons set up on the profile (Call, Text, Email, Get Directions).

Once you decide how you’re going to direct people to act, determine how to include that CTA in one of the images in your Instagram album. A great way to do this is to create a graphic or overlay text on an image that aligns with the other content in the album.

In this post, the graphics with the CTAs (see the final two images) are clear and perfectly aligned with the style and theme of the other posts in the album.

Remember: Your CTA should be clear, easy to follow, and valuable to your audience.

Repurpose CTA Content From Other Platforms

If you use conversion tactics and CTA graphics on other platforms like Facebook or Twitter, with a little creativity you can repurpose those campaigns for Instagram.

In general, bold graphics don’t perform well on Instagram like they do on other platforms. Instagram users tend to prefer well-curated photos over graphically designed prints. However, if you have graphics with your CTA included already, create a series of additional images that align with the styling. Incorporate images and overlays to set the scene, and include the CTA graphic in an album.

Looking again at the example from Ana Hoffman, you can see how she took her graphics with bold text and added them to a whole album with more Instagram-appealing images for better results and conversions.

#5: Execute and Analyze Your Campaign

Once you have all of the above components, you’re ready to execute your campaign to promote your blog post (or another conversion campaign). Schedule or manually post all of your campaign images and videos according to your content calendar.

Track the conversions from your Instagram campaign to determine how many clicks were generated, how much traffic you drove, or measure any other metric you’re tracking. Compare these results to other platforms you’ve used for similar campaigns. Analyze the increase in conversions during this campaign compared with normal activity when a campaign isn’t running.

If you post multiple albums with CTAs during the same campaign, analyze those individual posts to see which ones generated the most engagement and conversions. Knowing which factors within the campaign were most effective can help you plan future campaigns.


Getting creative and putting your marketing efforts in front of your audience in new ways can deliver significant results, including increased website traffic, higher opt-in rates, more click-throughs, and increased social media engagement.

However, you also have to condition your audience. If they aren’t used to certain approaches, you may have to guide them or run multiple campaigns to see higher-trending results.

Using Instagram albums to encourage your audience to read your blog posts or follow through on a CTA is a unique tactic that many marketers aren’t using. This approach may help you stand out and drive conversions for your business.

What do you think? Are you interested in using Instagram albums to augment your campaigns? Do you think you’ll see better results for your CTAs? Please share your thoughts or concerns about this tactic in the comments below.

How to Repurpose Blog Posts Into Instagram Albums by Jenn Herman on Social Media Examiner.

How to Perform a Basic Local Business Competitive Audit

This post was originally published on this site

“Why are those folks outranking me in Google’s local pack?”

If you or a client is asking this question, the answer lies in competitive analysis. You’ve got to stack Business A up against Business B to identify the strengths and weaknesses of both competitors, and then make an educated guess as to which factors Google is weighting most in the results for a specific search term.

Today, I’d like to share a real-world example of a random competitive audit, including a chart that depicts which factors I’ve investigated and explanatory tips and tools for how I came up with the numbers and facts. Also included: a downloadable version of the spreadsheet that you can use for your own company or clients. Your goal with this audit is to identify exactly how one player is winning the game so that you can create a to-do list for any company trying to move up in the rankings. Alternatively, some competitive audits can be defensive, identifying a dominant player’s weaknesses so that they can be corrected to ensure continued high rankings.

It’s my hope that seeing this audit in action will help you better answer the question of why “this person is outranking that person,” and that you may share with our community some analytical tips of your own!

The scenario:


Search term: Chinese Restaurant San Rafael

Statistics about San Rafael: A large town of approximately 22 square miles in the San Francisco Bay Area with a population of 58,954 and 15+ Chinese restaurants.

Consistency of results: From 20 miles away to 2000+ miles away, Ping’s Chinese Cuisine outranks Yet Wah Restaurant in Google’s local pack for the search term. We don’t look closer than 20 miles, or proximity of the searcher creates too much diversity.

The challenge: Why is Ping’s Chinese Cuisine outranking Yet Wah Restaurant in Google’s Local Pack for the search term?

The comparison chart

*Where there’s a clear winner, it’s noted in bolded, italicized text.

Basic business information


Ping’s Chinese Cuisine
248 Northgate Dr.
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 492-8808

Yet Wah Restaurant
1238 4th St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 460-9883

GMB landing page URL

Local Pack rank



Organic rank



Organic rank among business-owned sites
*Remove directories and review platforms from the equation, as they typically shouldn’t be viewed as direct competitors



Business model eligible for GMB listing at this address?
*Check Google’s Guidelines if unsure:…




Note that Ping’s has redirected to Ping’s also has a www and non-www version of

A 2nd website for same business at same location with same phone number: This website is ranking directly below the authoritative (GMB-linked) website for this business in organic SERP for the search in question.

Business listings

GMB review count



GMB review rating



Most recent GMB review
*Sort GMB reviews by “most recent” filter

1 week ago

1 month ago

Proper GMB categories?



Estimated age of GMB listing
*Estimated by date of oldest reviews and photos, but can only be seen as an estimate

At least 2 years old

At least 6 years old

Moz Local score (completeness + accuracy + lack of duplicates)



Moz Local duplicate findings


1 (Facebook)

Keywords in GMB name



Keywords in GMB website landing page title tag

Nothing at all. Just “home page”


Spam in GMB title
*Look at GMB photos, Google Streetview, and the website to check for inconsistencies


Yes: “restaurant” not in website logo or street level signage

Hours and photos on GMB?



Proximity to city centroid
*Look up city by name in Google Maps and see where it places the name of the city on the map. That’s the city “centroid.” Get driving directions from the business to an address located in the centroid.

3.5 miles

410.1 feet

Proximity to nearest competitor
*Zoom in on Google map to surface as many adjacent competitors as possible. Can be a Possum factor in some cases.

1.1 mile

0.2 miles

Within Google Maps boundaries?
*Look up city by name in Google Maps and note the pink border via which Google designates that city’s boundaries




Age of domain

March 2013

August 2011

Domain Authority



GMB Landing Page Authority



Links to domain



DA/PA of most authoritative link earned



Evaluation of website content

*This is a first-pass, visual gut check, just reading through the top-level pages of the website to see how they strike you in terms of quality.

Extremely thin, just adequate to identify restaurant. At least has menu on own site. Of the 2 sites, this one has the most total text, by virtue of a sentence on the homepage and menus in real text.

Extremely thin, almost zero text on homepage, menu link goes to another website.

Evaluation of website design


Outdated, mostly images

Evaluation of website UX

Can be navigated, but few directives or CTAs

Can be navigated, but few directives or CTAs


Basic mobile design, but Google’s mobile-friendly test tool says both www and non-www cannot be reached because it’s unavailable or blocked by robots txt. They have disallowed scripts, photos, Flash, images, and plugins. This needs to be further investigated and resolved. Mobile site URL is Both this URL and the other domains are failing Google’s test.

Basic mobile design passes Google’s mobile-friendly test

Evaluation of overall onsite SEO
*A first-pass visual look at the page code of top level pages, checking for titles, descriptions, header tags, schema, + the presence of problems like Flash.

Pretty much no optimization

Minimal, indeed, but a little bit of effort made. Some title tags, some schema, some header tags.

HTML NAP on website?



Website NAP matches GMB NAP?

No (Northgate One instead of Northgate Drive)


Total number of wins: Ping’s 7, Yet Wah 9.

Download your own version of my competitive audit spreadsheet by making a copy of the file.

Takeaways from the comparison chart

Yet Wah significantly outranks Ping’s in the organic results, but is being beaten by them in the Local Pack. Looking at the organic factors, we see evidence that, despite the fact that Ping’s has greater DA, greater PA of the GMB landing page, more links, and stronger links, they are not outranking Yet Wah organically. This is something of a surprise that leads us to look at their content and on-page SEO.

While Ping’s has slightly better text content on their website, they have almost done almost zero optimization work, their URLs have canonical issues, and their robots.txt isn’t properly configured. Yet Wah has almost no on-site content, but they have modestly optimized their title tags, implemented H tags and some schema, and their site passes Google’s mobile-friendly test.

So, our theory regarding Yet Wah’s superior organic ranking is that, in this particular case, Yet Wah’s moderate efforts with on-page SEO have managed to beat out Ping’s superior DA/PA/link metrics. Yet Wah’s website is also a couple of years older than Ping’s.

All that being said, Yet Wah’s organic win is failing to translate into a local win for them. How can we explain Ping’s local win? Ping’s has a slightly higher overall review rating, higher DA and GMB landing page PA, more total links, and higher authority links. They also have slightly more text content on their website, even if it’s not optimized.

So, our theory regarding Ping’s superior local rank is that, in this particular case, website authority/links appear to be winning the day for Ping’s. And the basic website text they have could possibly be contributing, despite lack of optimization.

In sum, basic on-page SEO appears to be contributing to Yet Wah’s organic win, while DA/PA/links appear to be contributing to Ping’s local win.

Things that bother me

I chose this competitive scenario at random, because when I took an initial look at the local and organic rankings, they bothered me a little. I would have expected Yet Wah to be first in the local pack if they were first in organic. I see local and organic rankings correlate strongly so much of the time, that this case seemed odd to me.

By the end of the audit, I’ve come up with a working theory, but I’m not 100% satisfied with it. It makes me ask questions like:

  • Is Ping’s better local rank stemming from some hidden factor no one knows about?
  • In this particular case, why is Google appearing to value Ping’s links more that Yet Wah’s on-page SEO in determining local rank? Would I see this same trend across the board if I analyzed 1,000 restaurants? The industry says links are huge in local SEO right now. I guess we’re seeing proof of that here.
  • Why isn’t Google weighting Yet Wah’s superior citation set more than they apparently are? Ping’s citations are in bad shape. I’ve seen citation health play a much greater apparent role in other audits, but something feels weird here.
  • Why isn’t Google “punishing” Yet Wah in the organic results for that second website with duplicate NAP on it? That seems like it should matter.
  • Why isn’t age factoring in more here? My inspection shows that Yet Wah’s domain and GMB listing are significantly older. This could be moving the organic needle for them, but it’s not moving the local one.
  • Could user behavior be making Ping’s the local winner? This is a huge open question at the end of my basic audit.* See below.

*I don’t have access to either restaurant’s Google Analytics, GMB Insights, or Google Search Console accounts, so perhaps that would turn up penalties, traffic patterns, or things like superior clicks-to-call, clicks-for-directions, or clicks-to-website that would make Ping’s local win easier to explain. If one of these restaurants were your client, you’d want to add chart rows for these things based on full access to the brand’s accounts and tools, and whatever data your tools can access about the competitor. For example, using a tool like SimilarWeb, I see that between May and June of this year, YetWah’s traffic rose from an average 150 monthly visits up to a peak of 500, while Ping’s saw a drop from 700 to 350 visits in that same period. Also, in a scenario in which one or both parties have a large or complex link profile, you might want additional rows for link metrics, taken from tools like Moz Pro, Ahrefs, or Majestic.

In this case, Ping’s has 7 total wins in my chart and Yet Wah has 9. The best I can do is look at which factors each business is winning at to try to identify a pattern of what Google is weighting most, both organically and locally. With both restaurants being so basic in their marketing, and with neither one absolutely running away with the game, what we have here is a close race. While I’d love to be able to declare a totally obvious winner, the best I could do as a consultant, in this case, would be to draw up a plan of defense or offense.

If my client were Ping’s:

Ping’s needs to defend its #1 local ranking if it doesn’t want to lose it. Its greatest weaknesses which must be resolved are:

  • The absence of on-page SEO
  • Thin content
  • Robots.txt issues

To remain strong, Ping’s should also work on:

  • Improving citation health
  • Directing the non-www version of their site to the www one
  • A professional site redesign could possibly improve conversions

Ping’s should accomplish these things to defend its current local rank and to try to move up organically.

If my client were Yet Wah:

Yet Wah needs to try to achieve victory over Ping’s in the local packs, as it has done in the organic results. To do that, Yet Wah should:

  • Earn links to the GMB landing page URL and the domain
  • Create strong text content on its high-level pages, including putting a complete dining menu in real text on the website
  • Deal with the second website featuring duplicate NAP

Yet Wah should also:

  • Complete work on its citation health
  • Work hard to get some new 5-star reviews by delighting customers with something special
  • Consider adding the word “Restaurant” to their signage, so that they can’t be reported for spamming the GMB name field.
  • Consider a professional redesign of the website to improve conversions

Yet Wah should accomplish these things in an effort to surpass Ping’s.

And, with either client being mine, I’d then be taking a second pass to further investigate anything problematic that came up in the initial audit, so that I could make further technical or creative suggestions.

Big geo-industry picture analysis

Given that no competitor for this particular search term has been able to beat out Ping’s or Yet Wah in the local pack, and given the minimal efforts these two brands have thus far made, there’s a tremendous chance for any Chinese restaurant in San Rafael to become the dominant player. Any competitor that dedicates itself to running on all cylinders (professional, optimized website with great content, a healthy link profile, a competitive number of high-star reviews, healthy citations, etc.) could definitely surpass all other contestants. This is not a tough market and there are no players who can’t be bested.

My sample case has been, as I’ve said, a close race. You may be facing an audit where there are deeply entrenched dominant players whose statistics far surpass those of a business you’re hoping to assist. But the basic process is the same:

  1. Look at the top-ranking business.
  2. Fill out the chart (adding any other fields you feel are important).
  3. Then discover the strengths of the dominant company, as well as its potential weaknesses.
  4. Contrast these findings with those you’ve charted for the company you’re helping and you’ll be able to form a plan for improvement.

And don’t forget the user proximity factor. Any company’s most adjacent customers will see pack results that vary either slightly or significantly from what a user sees from 20, 50, or 1,000 miles away. In my specific study, it happened to be the third result in the pack that went haywire once a user got 50 miles away, while the top two remained dominant and statically ranked for searchers as far away as the East Coast.

Because of this phenomenon of distance, it’s vital for business owners to be educated about the fact that they are serving two user groups: one that is located in the neighborhood or city of the business, and another that could be anywhere in the country or the world. This doesn’t just matter for destinations like hotels or public amusements. In California (a big state), Internet users on a road trip from Palm Springs may be looking to end their 500-mile drive at a Chinese restaurant in San Rafael, so you can’t just think hyper-locally; you’ve got to see the bigger local picture. And you’ve got to do the analysis to find ways of winning as often as you can with both consumer groups.

You take it from here, auditor!

My local competitive audit chart is a basic one, looking at 30+ factors. What would you add? How would you improve it? Did I miss a GMB duplicate listing, or review spam? What’s working best for your agency in doing local audits these days? Do you use a chart, or just provide a high-level text summary of your internal findings? And, if you have any further theories as to how Ping’s is winning the local pack, I’d love for you to share them in the comments.

6 Quick & Dirty SEO Research Tips for B2B Content Planning

This post was originally published on this site

When it comes to crafting compelling content that informs, engages and inspires action, seasoned B2B digital and content marketers know our content needs to captivate both humans and search engines to be effective. After all, 81% of B2B decision makers conduct research before reaching out to a vendor, so we know our content needs to meet them whenever and wherever they’re searching.

As a result, striking that “perfect balance” between SEO and user experience is a must—and that perfect balance is rooted in the content planning stage.

“SEO needs to be baked into the process early so that the optimization is as natural as possible,” Kevin Cotch, TopRank Marketing SEO analyst, says. “It can’t be treated as an afterthought. It’s not only more efficient to do your research up front, but it also enhances the content by helping you touch on the specific phrases your audience is using to search to solve their pain points or answer their questions.”

But there’s a little hitch—SEO research can be overwhelming for content creators. We’re often strapped for time and it’s easy to fall down a less-than-productive SEO rabbit hole. In addition, some of us may feel we don’t have the needed expertise or tools.

The good news is that you don’t need to fanciest tools or a dedicated background in SEO to craft great SEO-driven content. Below are a handful of helpful research tactics you can use to make the most of your time and create a content plan that’s flush with solid topics.

#1 – Perform incognito searches for your most important keywords.

Your team has likely developed a list of core keywords and topics that are incredibly important to your brand from a service and search standpoint. And you’ve likely begun to create content around those key topical areas and you’re seeing some movement in the SERPs. Naturally, your ultimate goal is to get your content to the top of Page 1 search results. But have you taken the time to dig in and draw insights from the content you’re hoping to dethrone?

Incognito searches using your priority keywords can help you uncover some of those important insights. An incognito search prevents your browser history or cache from impacting the results, allowing for a more accurate picture of search results. As my colleague Jesse Pickrain so eloquently said in one of my recent posts on finding B2B content marketing inspiration: “There’s gold in them thar SERPs.”

Once you’re served up with some results, spend about 10 to 15 minutes reviewing the content in the top three to five spots. Your goal should be to learn how the content is structured, identify the perceived value it provides your audience, the main pain points it addresses, and ultimately if you have the ability to create something better than what’s ranking at the top. In addition, take a peek at the “related searches” area so you can see other queries that match the search intent of your original search for more clarity and direction for planning your content.

Let’s take the keyword topic “content marketing planning” as an example. At first glance, I see the top results all offer frameworks or tactical guides.

Content Marketing Planning Search in Incognito Window

As I dig in, I can see that four of the top five are all in-depth, long-form pieces, and the content is organized using a range of heading tags and bulleted sections to make it easy to scan. But I also notice that “content marketing planning” isn’t an exact keyword match, rather “content marketing strategy” is present in nearly all of the pieces.

In addition, I can see that the related searches have several variations of “content marketing strategy.” After clicking around in those results, I can see that a lot of the same content is coming up in the top five, but there’s a broader mix as the queries get more specific.

Searches Related to Content Marketing Planning

Roughly 10 minutes later, I’ve pulled some very valuable insights:

  • Long-form content wins for this topic and search intent, and people are looking for detailed plans, examples and templates to make their lives easier.
  • More people are searching for strategy-related keywords, which tells me that “content marketing strategy” may be more relevant or have higher volume, but it’s likely a more competitive keyword term.
  • It’s going to be difficult to crack the top spots for short-tail keywords, but longer-tail or more specific, related search queries definitely have some opportunity.

Based on these insights, as well as my knowledge of existing content, I can start to flush out some relevant concepts that are on-topic and SEO-infused, and guided by the top-performing content that’s already out there. My goal now is to craft a concept that will provide a better answer than what currently exists.

#2 – Consult Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner tool for low-hanging opportunities or additional insight.

The Keyword Planner tool within Google AdWords is often a go-to research tool for SEO and developing paid search campaigns, providing cost-per-click data and average search volume estimates to help you judge competitiveness and relevancy.

When it comes to content planning, this data along with keyword topic and query suggestions, can help you identify low-hanging opportunities or further refine the other research you’ve already done.

Building off my previous example of “content marketing planning,” I know that my incognito search revealed that “content marketing strategy” was a heavily-related keyword from a search intent standpoint. I can now use the keyword planner to dive deeper into the competitiveness surrounding both variations, as well as related keywords, to further refine my concepts.

Keyword Planner Tool Example

#3- Review Google Search Console to see what keywords your existing content is already ranking for.

In my opinion, Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools, is one of the most helpful SEO and content planning tools out there. From a technical standpoint, Google Search Console enables you to monitor and maintain your entire website’s presence in Google search results. But from a content planning perspective, Google Search Console allows you to see which queries actually caused your site’s content to appear in search results.

The best part? You can filter by page, allowing you to see how a specific piece of content is drawing visibility. This means you can not only find opportunities to optimize existing content with other related keywords it’s coming up for, but also identify gaps and related topics that can spawn additional content.

#4 – Look to evergreen content for inspiration.

Chances are you have some really solid, evergreen pieces of content that are driving in huge amounts traffic. Why? Because that content is doing a great job at providing the answers searchers seek—and you can build off that.

Use the Google Search Console tip to understand which queries are getting eyeballs on that content, and be on the lookout for:

  • Contextual nuances. Does it appear that your content isn’t the best answer for certain queries? If so, this is a golden opportunity to create new content that can better answer that query.
  • Content branches. You may find that some of the queries your content is coming up for centers on a specific section of your content. If so, that may be an opportunity to drill-in deeper on that specific topic.
  • Follow up questions. When you’re able to see the wide range of queries your existing content is coming up for, you can get a bigger picture of what questions your audience may ask next. If you identify next questions, you can create best-answer content and add add a call to action to that evergreen piece so readers can continue their journey.

#5 – Leverage free tools and Q&A platforms to uncover burning questions.

At TopRank Marketing, we believe that striving to be the best answer wherever and whenever your audience is searching is the key to creating content that resonates. Luckily, there are a number of free platforms and tools such as QuoraAnswer the PublicUbersuggest, and Keyword that can provide quick answers and long-tail search opportunities.

Once you’ve discovered some of those burning questions, you can use the incognito search tip to understand what content already exists out there for that question, and determine how you can answer the question better and provide more value to searchers.

#6 – Use social media to get keywords and content topics directly from your audience.

Social media is all about giving people a place to share their thoughts and experiences with one another. So why not take advantage of your community’s willingness to share by asking engaging and thoughtful questions to tap into their insights?

A great example of this in action are Twitter polls, which allow people to weigh in on a specific topics as well as continue the conversation through the reply function. And, while they’re not exactly scientific, polls and social discussions can actually be a chunk of your content as you can feature the responses you get in the content to add more authenticity and perspective.

Don’t Fail to Plan

As the old adage goes: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And when it comes to crafting effective content, SEO needs to be part of the content marketing planning process if you want to drive results. Use these tips to help make it an easy and efficient part of the process.

What are some interesting ways you conduct SEO research for your B2B brand? Tell us in the comments section.

How to Set Up a Creative Facebook Cover Video

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social media how toHave you thought about using video in place of your Facebook cover photo?

Are you looking for creative examples?

In this article, you’ll discover how to use a Facebook video cover on your Facebook page.

How to Set Up a Creative Facebook Cover Video by Ana Gotter on Social Media Examiner.

How to Set Up a Creative Facebook Cover Video by Ana Gotter on Social Media Examiner.

Why Use a Facebook Cover Video?

When users visit your page, your Facebook cover photo is one of the first things they’ll notice. For new visitors, your cover photo can help represent your brand and portray your story in just a few seconds. It only makes sense that a short video can accomplish this better than a still photo.

Video immediately grabs the audience’s attention. Just like in the news feed, a cover video will autoplay (without sound), drawing users’ eyes right to it. This may help keep visitors on your page and simultaneously drive more engagement.

Your cover video will be more effective if it gets its point across without sound, like in the example below. If users click to enable sound, great! But if they don’t, you haven’t lost anything.

Clean lines, lots of white space, and bright colors can all help draw users’ attention. You want your cover video to look great when it’s paused, and making sure every shot is visually interesting helps your page look more professional.

This cover video from Chipotle Mexican Grill, which is obviously most effective with sound, also works well without it thanks to the visual elements that are the underlying star of the video.

If you don’t have the cover video feature yet, don’t worry; you’ll likely get it soon. It seems like newer pages with fewer followers are among the last to get access to most new features, and this is no exception. People in some countries may also see a slower rollout of this new feature, too.

How to Upload a Cover Video

Uploading a video as your Facebook cover image is as simple as uploading a new photo. Hover your mouse over the cover image on your Facebook page and you’ll see a camera icon pop up. Click the Change Cover icon.

You can choose a video as your cover image the same way you'd add a new cover photo.

You can choose a video as your cover image the same way you’d add a new cover photo.

If you have access to the cover video feature, you’ll see options to select a video from your library (Choose From Videos) or upload a new video (Upload Photo/Video).

Choose a cover video from your video library or upload new content.

Choose a cover video from your video library or upload new content.

Choose a video that meets the technical requirements. A Facebook cover video must be a minimum of 820 x 312 pixels, with an official recommendation of 820 x 462 pixels. The video length must be between 20 and 90 seconds. If your video is too long, you’ll need to shorten it before uploading it to Facebook.

If you try to use a video that doesn’t meet the requirements, Facebook won’t let you upload it as a cover video.

If your cover video doesn't already meet Facebook's technical standards, you won't be able to upload it directly as your page's cover video.

If your cover video doesn’t already meet Facebook’s technical standards, you won’t be able to upload it directly as your page’s cover video.

3 Ways to Use Facebook Cover Videos

Looking for ways to effectively use video as your Facebook cover image? Take a look at three excellent use cases to inspire you.

Enhance a Still Image

If you’re stumped about which video to choose, use animation to make an otherwise still image come alive. Hello Social uses this tactic in their cover video below.

This Walt Disney World cover video (advertising their new park expansion, Pandora) is another good example. Because everything in Pandora is supposed to feel alive, a subtle animation gives the cover image a magical touch.

Showcase Your Brand Personality

While photos are interesting, video is dynamic. You can tell your brand’s story and showcase its personality much more efficiently with video.

Orgain’s cover video shows the brand’s human side by featuring a small child complaining about foods he doesn’t like in a way that many parents can relate to.

Posted by Orgain on Thursday, June 15, 2017

Demonstrate How Your Product Works

How-to content and tutorials are some of the best use cases for video on any social media site. A Facebook cover video is an excellent way to show users a demo of your product or explain how to use a particular feature.

Shakr incorporates a textual explanation (for viewers watching with the sound muted) in this cover video.

Shakr Demo

Learn how Shakr works in 60 seconds!

Posted by Shakr on Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Final Thoughts

We’re in the age of video on social media, and plenty of sites are finding new ways to encourage more video. Facebook has been testing video in cover images for several months, and while not everyone has it just yet, the feature is now rolling out to more brands.

Using a cover video for your Facebook page is an excellent way to tell your brand’s story quickly while simultaneously grabbing users’ attention. Uploading a video is as simple as uploading a photo, so test it out and see how it works for your business.

What do you think? Are you using video as your Facebook cover image? What are some of the best Facebook cover videos you’ve seen? Share your thoughts, knowledge, and experience in the comments below!

LinkedIn Updates, New Facebook Ads, and the New Facebook Design

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social media researchWelcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media.

On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show with Michael Stelzner, we explore LinkedIn updates with Erik Fisher, new Facebook ads with Amanda Bond, the new Facebook design, and other breaking social media marketing news of the week!

Watch the Social Media Marketing Talk Show

If you’re new to the show, click on the green “Watch replay” button below and sign in or register to watch our latest episode from Friday, August 18, 2017. You can also listen to the show as an audio podcast, found on iTunes/Apple Podcast, Android, Google Play, Stitcher, and RSS.

For this week’s top stories, you’ll find timestamps below that allow you to fast-forward in the replay above.

LinkedIn Rolls Out Video Creation on Mobile App: LinkedIn announced that it’s starting to roll out a video creation tool within its mobile app. Mashable reports that “the feature is only available for frequent contributors at the moment, but will be available to everyone else soon.” (3:31)

LinkedIn Introduces Active Status on LinkedIn Messaging: LinkedIn has made it easier for members to see who in their network is online and available to chat on LinkedIn Messaging with a new green active status dot next to their profile photo. A white circle within the dot indicates that a connection is only available on mobile and will be notified of your message. While this feature appears to be a default option, LinkedIn states that its members can change how their status is displayed and who can see if they’re available in the network’s settings. (14:10)

Facebook Gives Advertisers More Control Over Mid-Roll Video Ads: Facebook announced that it now lets marketers choose whether to buy in-stream video placements on the Facebook Audience Network, within Facebook itself, or to buy ads across all formats. With more options on how to divide their video budgets, Facebook allows marketers to tailor their ads to reach specific video audiences and provides “more flexibility and control over their ad placements.” (19:03)

Facebook gives advertisers more control over mid-roll ad placements.

Facebook gives advertisers more control over mid-roll ad placements.

Facebook Tests Ad Targeting for Brick-and-Mortar Shoppers: Marketing Land reports that Facebook is testing the ability for local businesses and brands to create custom audiences targeting their brick-and-mortar visitors across Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook’s Audience Network. A spokesperson from the company confirmed that Facebook is “always exploring new ways to help marketers drive offline value from their ads” but hasn’t provided any additional details about this possible new ad targeting option. (29:06)

Facebook Adds New Controls and Capabilities for Branded Content Marketers: Facebook introduced more features and improved insights to “help marketers amplify branded content and control their campaigns with creators.” With these changes, Facebook made it possible for marketers to directly boost a post as it appears on the creator’s page and authorize which creators can tag them in a branded content post in their page settings. Facebook also gave marketers more control over branded content tags, access to more content insights, and more. (35:35)

Facebook introduced more features and improved insights to help marketers amplify branded content.

Facebook introduced more features and improved insights to help marketers amplify branded content.

Facebook Introduces New Look to News Feed and Commenting Features: Over the coming weeks, Facebook is rolling out several updates “to make News Feed more conversational and easier to read and navigate” and refreshing the overall look of the site. These updates include a new comment style that makes it easier to see which comments are direct replies to another person, improved readability across the site, cleaner circular profile pictures, and more. These changes will roll out to all iOS and Android users over the next few weeks.

Instagram Streamlines Conversations With Threaded Comments: Instagram will make conversations on posts “even easier” to track and respond to specific users by organizing comments in threads. Instagram will roll out this update worldwide to both iOS and Android “in the coming weeks.”

Instagram will roll out threaded comments on iOS and Android over the coming weeks.

Instagram will roll out threaded comments on iOS and Android over the coming weeks.

Facebook Adds eBay Daily Deals Section to Marketplace on Mobile: Facebook is testing a new feature within the Marketplace section of the mobile app that aggregates eBay’s Daily Deals for “a small percentage of people in the U.S.”  Users with access to this feature can shop directly from the Facebook app to source new and interesting consumer electronics, fashion, and home and gardening products. Then they can complete the checkout process on eBay’s website through Facebook’s in-app browser. TechCrunch reports that eBay’s Daily Deals are being tested on both the Android and iOS Facebook mobile apps. Neither company has confirmed if this feature will be rolled out more broadly.

Facebook Enhances Birthday Experiences With Two New Features: Facebook announced two new birthday experiences that it hopes “will make birthdays even more meaningful while you’re celebrating on Facebook.” These include the opportunity to dedicate one’s birthday to support for any of the 750,000 U.S.-based non-profits available through Facebook’s Fundraisers tool and new auto-generated, shareable birthday videos that can be personalized with images of you and the birthday celebrant.

Facebook announced two new experiences that it will make birthdays more meaningful.

Facebook announced two new experiences that will make birthdays more meaningful.

Facebook Launches Dedicated Trending News Section on Mobile App: Facebook is rolling out a Trending News section on mobile and its own link in the app’s main navigation. The new Trending News section can be found on both iOS and Android devices and features the latest stories with a focus on headlines and sources, not just topics. The news items will also be ranked based number of likes, comments, and shares each has received.

Facebook Allows Admins to Link Pages to Personal Profiles: Facebook page admins can now link the pages they manage to their personal profiles. When users add their page to their profile, they’ll automatically be listed as a “team member” on that page.

Facebook Page Admins can now link the Pages they manage to their personal profile.

Facebook page admins can now link the pages they manage to their personal profiles.

Snapchat Launches New Crowd Surf Story Feature: Snapchat’s new Crowd Surf tool uses artificial intelligence machine learning technology to analyze snaps submitted to Our Story by multiple people recording the same musical performance at the same time. It then laces together the different angles to provide a “near-seamless” look at a live event from multiple perspectives. This new feature allows users to choose where to begin watching the stitched video and includes more than 10 seconds of footage in a row. TechCrunch reports that “Crowd Surf is set to be available at more public events in the future including concerts and speeches, but will require tons of people shooting and submitting Snaps from the same moment,” which limits its functionality to large events.

Pinterest Adds Pinch to Zoom Feature to Pins and Refines Visual Search Tool: Pinners can now get “a closer look at every inch” of a pin with the new Pinch to Zoom feature rolling out to all pins on iOS devices. Android users “will be seeing it soon.” Pinterest also announced an updated look for the visual search tool that makes the button “clearer… [and] a little easier to reach” and expanded this new feature to the Pinterest Save Button, a Chrome browser extension that allows visual searches without a Pinterest account.

Pinners can now get a closer look at every inch of a Pin with the new pinch to zoom feature rolling out to all Pins on iOS devices.

Pinners can now get a closer look at every inch of a pin with the new Pinch to Zoom feature rolling out to all pins on iOS devices.

Google Rolls Out Q&As in Google Maps and Mobile Search Worldwide: Google announced the rollout of a new Q&A feature to Google Maps and mobile search. Users now have the option to ask or answer questions about a location, landmark, or specific businesses within its Maps or mobile search listing. They may also scroll through existing conversations about a place and upvote the most useful ones. Business owners and “other in-the-know users” will be notified when questions are posted so they can provide an accurate response. This new feature is currently available to all Android users worldwide.

Google rolled out a new Q&As feature in Google Maps and mobile Search worldwide.

Google rolled out a new Q&A feature in Google Maps and mobile search worldwide.

YouTube Tests Live View Counts in Mobile App: YouTube is testing a new live counter feature inside the YouTube app for Android that shows the number of viewers watching an uploaded video at a particular time. The counter is displayed beneath the video’s title and joins other metrics such as overall views, likes, and dislikes in offering greater insights on a video’s popularity.

Snapchat Shares User Growth Figures: In its 2Q 2017 Earnings Report, Snapchat reported that its daily active user base was up by 7.3 million people from last quarter, an increase of 4% and a total of 173 million. The Verge reports that this put Snapchat “a little bit ahead of Twitter and far behind Instagram – or even just Instagram Stories, a feature that copied Snapchat’s main product.”

Facebook Expands Marketplace to More Countries: Facebook announced plans to roll out Marketplace to 17 additional countries across Europe, including Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Facebook Marketplace was previously only available in Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, the U.S., and the UK.

Google Brings Hands-Free Calling Capabilities to Google Home Hub: Users can already use Google Assistant to help them place a hands-free call to anyone on their mobile phone. Google announced that people in the U.S. and Canada will soon be able to do the same on Google Home. This new AI service will be easy to use and free of charge. It will also feature voice recognition to support multiple users and give greater context around whom to call. Google also notes that calls can be made to the user’s own personal contacts, as well as millions of businesses across the U.S. and Canada.

Google Launches Allo for the Web: Google’s AI-powered messaging app, Allo, is now available on the web. Digital Trends reports that Allo for web “requires an Android phone… [and] a registered Allo account to use it.” Once approved, users can sign up and access the Allo web interface. At this time, Allo for the web can only be accessed through Google Chrome but Google states that it’s “actively working to support more browsers in the future.”

SoundCloud Saved by Emergency Bailout Package: SoundCloud was in danger of being terminated last week but was saved by a round of $170 million emergency funding under the condition that its current CEO be removed.

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