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Digital Marketing News: Email Marketing Facts, Gen Z Media Usage & Snap Publisher Tool

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119 Facts About Email Marketing [Infographic]
Discover 119 facts you didn’t know about email marketing including, why email marketing works, biggest email trends for 2017, most common types of emails, most used email marketing tactics, segmentation and personalization, mobile email statistics and more. (MarketingProfs)

Gen Z is The Largest, Most Diverse Group of Media Users, According to a New Report From Nielsen
A new report from Nielsen’s Total Audience Report for the first quarter of 2017 highlights how unique and diverse Gen Z is in media consumption. This report shows a device ownership and other technology breakdown by generation, and why Gen Z is more able to adapt to new technologies than other generations. (AdWeek)

Snap Inc. Launches ‘Snap Publisher’ Ad Creation Tool
Snap Inc. recently launched a new self-serve ad tool to encourage more advertising spend, which is now global, instead of limited to certain regions. A new creation platform was also announced to launch soon called Snap Publisher. This new platform offers templates to create ads and simply upload your brand logo, tagline, content and video. (Social Media Today)

Ask A Question, Get an Answer in Google Analytics
If you know what data you need, and want it quickly, just ask Google Analytics and get your answer. This new voice feature uses the same natural language processing technology as other Google products like Android and Search, and will be available in English to all Google Analytics users over the next few weeks. (Google Analytics Solutions Blog)

Work Smarter and Stay Connected with the New LinkedIn App for Windows 10
The new LinkedIn app for Windows 10 gives LinkedIn members more options for how they connect with their professional network. The app is for desktop users and includes many features to make it easier to connect and full control to customize your experience while using the app. (LinkedIn Official Blog)

Google News Feed Now With Machine Learning & Follow Buttons
Google Search is now making it easier to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters most to you. You can follow topics based on search queries that helps Google understand what you’re interested in, and your news feed will be based on your interactions with Google. (Search Engine Roundtable)

Facebook Always Wins: Data Shows Publishers Are Buying Far More Facebook Traffic
Publishers are buying more traffic from the platform despite declining organic reach and monetization issues. The average number of paid monthly impressions from Facebook over the last 18 months has doubled, and publishers are using Facebook to distribute content profitably to achieve their business goals. (DigiDay)

Google Expands Home Service Ads to More Markets, More Business Categories
Google’s Home Services ad product is now available for more business categories in more cities than before. As a customer of this service, your ads can be featured at the top of SERPs with added trust and prestige due to the strict qualifying criteria that advertisers must meet to publish their ads. (Search Engine Journal)

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more news! Need more in the meantime? Follow @toprank on Twitter.

Messenger Chatbots: How to Get Started

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Wondering if Messenger chatbots are right for your business?

Want to know how to build your own chatbot?

To explore why and how to create Facebook Messenger chatbots, I interview Ben Beck.

More About This Show

The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

In this episode, I interview Ben Beck, a bot expert who writes a weekly column for ClearVoice.com. He has an online course focused on generating leads with chatbots.

Ben explores what you need to know to get started with chatbots.

You’ll discover the best tools for creating chatbots.

Messenger Chatbots: How to Get Started featuring insights from Ben Beck on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.

Messenger Chatbots: How to Get Started featuring insights from Ben Beck on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.

Share your feedback, read the show notes, and get the links mentioned in this episode below.

Listen Now

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Messenger Chatbots

Ben’s Story

Ben’s relationship with bots started when he was a teenager in the mid-1990s. He chatted with ALICE, the first bot to use natural language processing. ALICE had a rudimentary interface that worked via the Internet. You typed into a little box and a response showed up. Although Ben looked at the code for ALICE, it was too complex for him to figure out how to tinker with it. However, ALICE sparked Ben’s interest in chatbots and he’s been watching them ever since.

Ben has been a fan of bots since ALICE was released in 1995.

ALICE, released in 1995, was the first natural language processing bot.

Fast-forward to 2004. Ben got into online marketing, starting with SEO and online advertising. Over the last six or seven years, his interest shifted to marketing automation and email marketing. In the last five years, Ben has been using systems like HubSpot and Marketo to do email drip campaigns and as robust solutions for lead generation.

Last year, Facebook released the option to use chatbots inside of Facebook Messenger.

People naturally converse with these bots to get information about a business, submit information, get help with booking vacation plans, and more. Ben thinks bots will be the new lead generation method. Although bots may not unseat email, they’ll be just as big.

Listen to the show to hear my thoughts on the impact of Facebook.

What’s a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a software application built to simulate a human-like conversation. Ben believes it was Matt Schlicht, the creator of Octane AI (a chatbot-building platform), who compared chatbots to a game of tennis. For the longest time, chatbots have followed a chat-reply, chat-reply sequence (or hit it over the net, receive, hit it back). Chatbots are now starting to take on human-like capabilities.

The range of a chatbot’s abilities can be huge.

Chatbots can be either simple or complex.

Chatbots can be simple or complex.

For instance, if you were planning a family trip to Disneyland, you could visit their site and type questions into their pop-up box like, “What time does the park open on September 12?” and a chatbot could give you the answer. In this hypothetical example, the bot watches for certain patterns in a string to determine the response.

An advanced chatbot could use the best in artificial intelligence (AI) technology to learn. For example, Disney could take their conversations with customers over the last five or six years and feed them into their AI platform. The chatbot could become more human-like by studying questions and responses between an actual person and a park guest.

However, the way a bot learns through AI capabilities has the potential backfire. About a year ago, Microsoft released Tay, a chatbot that learned by interacting with people on Twitter. For the first day or two, tons of people interacted with Tay, but as a result of people’s communications, the bot became racist and picked up other bad conversational habits, so Microsoft had to pull it down.

Listen to the show to learn more about Microsoft’s chatbot fail.

Facebook Messenger Chatbots

Currently, Facebook Messenger has more than 1.2 billion users and Facebook is putting a lot of money into getting people on the platform. Chatbots are a big piece of that. With Facebook Messenger chatbots, small- and medium-sized businesses can make quick connections.

Messenger chatbots help businesses of all size connect with customers.

Messenger chatbots help businesses of all sizes connect with customers.

Say you had a chatbot on your ecommerce website and someone wanted to ask a question or receive product updates. They’d just need to click the blue button on your website to open Facebook Messenger. Your welcome message would greet them. As soon as they took an action (responded to the message or hit a button), they’re considered a subscriber, and you have permission to reach out to that person through Messenger.

Because Facebook Messenger is so new and untapped, marketers who move their lead generation efforts to Facebook Messenger have an immediate advantage. Namely, people receive email notifications all the time, but Facebook Messenger notifications aren’t as numerous. When customers receive a message from you via Messenger, it’s almost like they’re receiving an IM from a friend.

Current research shows that up to 60% of people who receive a message on Facebook Messenger through a chatbot are engaging with the message. Compare that rate to email. Even if you have a phenomenal email marketing list with a 30% to 40% open rate, your click-through rate still ends up being 1% to 3%. That’s 3% engagement versus 60% engagement on a Facebook Messenger chatbot. It’s a world of difference for marketers.

Ben says Facebook Messenger does have one disadvantage. You can’t see your chatbot subscribers’ email addresses. You can see their gender, location, name, and other info, but Facebook is unlikely to reveal their email addresses because it wants to keep people on the Facebook platform.

Messenger chatbots don't reveal users' email addresses.

Messenger chatbots don’t reveal users’ email addresses.

Listen to the show to hear my thoughts about how Facebook Messenger compares to email.

Chatbot Business Applications

I ask Ben to share examples of the ways companies are using chatbots. Ben says companies like Domino’s allow you to order products through Facebook Messenger.

I talk about my experience ordering flowers through the 1-800-Flowers.com chatbot. It was great on the ordering side (the bot asks you questions, shows pictures, and takes you through the entire process), but not so much for customer support.

For improved customer service, Ben mentions a tool called ManyChat, which has automatic dialogs (artificial intelligence-driven content), as well as an option for a person to step into the live chat when necessary.

ManyChat also ties into the Facebook Advertising API so you can tell ManyChat to open a Messenger bot when someone clicks an ad. Simply copy the code snippet ManyChat gives you and paste it into a field in Facebook Power Editor. When someone clicks your ad, they can start a Messenger dialog with your chatbot automatically.

ManyChat is an option for proving customer service via Messenger chatbots.

ManyChat is an option for providing customer service via Messenger chatbots.

Again, all someone has to do is send a single message or click a button and they’re on your subscriber list. Then you can message them as much as you’d like.

I ask if it’s possible to create a chatbot with the most common questions people ask about Social Media Marketing World.

Ben says yes, you can pull your frequently asked questions and plug them into the chatbot interface. Then the chatbot will look for certain patterns to understand and answer the question. For example, if someone wants to know about getting a visa to travel to the conference, they don’t have to ask the question in specific language for the chatbot to give a response.

This technology can also serve as a lead generation method. After the chatbot answers a question, Messenger can reach out to the person a day or two later and share a promotional code, an ebook on why it’s important to attend, or a video testimonial from a past attendee.

Ben mentions several other ways you can use chatbots. A chatbot can guide new app users through a tutorial. A life-coaching chatbot can warm up leads for a one-hour consultation. Chatbots can help you create audience segments or score leads so your sales team knows how sales-ready a lead is.

Listen to the show to hear me discuss how chatbots automated an online contest.

Chatbots on Different Social Media Platforms

Ben recommends ManyChat for creating Facebook Messenger chatbots and API.AI for creating chatbots on other platforms such as Telegram, Slack, Skype, or Amazon Alexa. With API.AI, you can build a bot once and release it into different locations, including Facebook Messenger.

Create a bit for multiple platforms using API.AI.

Use API.AI to create a bot for a variety of platforms, including Slack and Facebook Messenger.

Ben believes ManyChat trumps API.AI in the area of drip marketing. For instance, if you ordered flowers from 1-800-Flowers.com, you could tell ManyChat to reach out two days after the delivery and ask how the flowers were. In this way, ManyChat helps you create a proactive marketing experience and is easy to use. Although API.AI isn’t focused on drip marketing, the tool is more robust.

API.AI is free at the moment because they’re trying to build their audience. Ben thinks they’ll eventually release freemium or paid versions with more functionality.

ManyChat is doing a freemium model. The free version is good but limits the number of broadcasts and the tools you can use. If your needs go beyond what the free version offers, the fee is affordable and goes up incrementally. For 500 users, it costs $10 a month, and 10,000 users costs $65 a month.

Both API.AI and ManyChat display the same type of content and work similarly. The user sees a card, which can include videos, downloadable files, or photos. After a user clicks something, the chatbot takes them through the logic chart that you built. Alternatively, users can type into a chat box, and the bot will try to determine what the user is saying to respond appropriately.

For example, Domino’s uses a photo carousel for ordering. The bot shows different pictures, the user slides left or right, and then clicks what they want. Then the bot takes the user to toppings, extras, and the drink menu.

Dominos uses a Messenger chatbot to let customers place orders for delivery or carry out.

Dominos uses a Messenger chatbot to let customers place orders for delivery or carryout.

Listen to the show to discover how Zapier works with ManyChat and API.AI.

Programming a Chatbot

Programming a chatbot is easy, although the interface isn’t quite as user-friendly as an email provider. With a chatbot, you need to consider a lot of functionality and logic, so the creation process requires a little more thinking than sending out an email.

You don’t need to know any programming language to program a chatbot, however. The process is simply point, click, drag, drop, type in the words you want, upload your image, put in the embed code for your YouTube video, and so on.

API.AI and ManyChat both include templates (ManyChat calls these examples) so you have a starting point for creating a bot.

The bot keeps a list of everyone who has engaged with you, and you can pull up the individual chat conversations. You can also categorize your list. For example, in ManyChat, you assign a tag to anyone who’s interested in a specific product. After you apply the tag, you can follow up with those customers about that product stream.

API.AI will track all of the conversations an individual has had with you. When you open a conversation, the parts where the natural language processing didn’t do a very good job are highlighted in pink. To help the bot respond better in the future, you can type in a response. ManyChat doesn’t yet have that functionality.

Manychat, and API.AI, are easy to program.

It’s easy to program bots using a tool like ManyChat.

In API.AI, the AI stands for artificial intelligence, so it’s a clear focus. ManyChat will likely get into the artificial intelligence space, but for now, it’s a simple marketing tool. Both tools have point-and-click interfaces. Write the welcome message and give options for two paths. Then add cards to build out the individual paths.

People ask Ben all the time where to get the content to feed their chatbots.

If you’re building a bot for customer service, go to your FAQs. Ben has also helped clients build chatbots by looking at their Google Analytics. He’ll pull up the heat map, and starting at the home page, see where people are clicking. Those clicks provide a quick indication of what people look for when they come to the home page. From there, he uses the analytics to build up the logic behind the bot.

For a real estate company, Ben used relevant questions from Quora as source material. He emphasizes that he didn’t copy Quora’s content. He used it only to help inform how he developed source material for the company’s chatbot.

API.AI and ManyChat offer templates to get started with your chatbot.

Chatbot platforms like API.AI give you easy-to-use tools to create bots for your business.

When you use chatbots for lead generation, make sure you focus on your prospect’s ideal path and end goal. For instance, the path might begin with someone watching a video. Then, after they watch the video (which you can see in ManyChat), you serve the next piece, perhaps an ebook download. At that point, move to your end goal: asking for their email address within the chatbot.

You can also set up different logic, Ben continues. If they don’t watch the video and they don’t engage, then you send a generic message such as, “I would love to answer any questions you have.” Then feed it different content based on the logic.

Before you build your chatbot, Ben suggests drawing a basic workflow on a piece of paper. Figure out the first, second, and third steps. Keep the logic simple. Then build the content.

I ask whether you want to keep people in the Messenger interface or get them to an email automation system. Ben says your objective depends on your use case. B2C and B2B might play differently. However, Ben’s chatbot clients have all wanted to keep communication within the Facebook Messenger app because the engagement rate is so high.

Even people who have tons of Facebook friends still receive only a couple of Messenger posts each day, so Messenger is still an untapped market. When someone logs into Facebook and the little red number over the communication icon says there’s a message, they click that red button right away, if only to clear it out.

When you program a chatbot, make sure you give users a way to opt out. In pretty much all chatbots, the user simply needs to type “stop” to unsubscribe from your chatbot communications.

Listen to the show to hear my thoughts on why chatbots might be a better way to communicate with customers than email.

Discovery of the Week

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

This app 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.

For example, 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 can also add 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 for iOS or Android. The cost to remove the watermark is $1.99. Most of the filters and add-ons are free, although you’ll occasionally find ones that cost $0.99 or $1.99. Download only your favorites so the app doesn’t take up too much space on your phone.

Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how Lumyer works for you.

Listen to the show!

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

What do you think? What are your thoughts on Messenger chatbots? Please leave your comments below.

Messenger Chatbots: How to Get Started featuring insights from Ben Beck on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.

Messenger Chatbots: How to Get Started featuring insights from Ben Beck on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.

Related Posts

Is the New, Most Powerful Ranking Factor "Searcher Task Accomplishment?" – Whiteboard Friday

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Move over, links, content, and RankBrain — there’s a new ranking factor in town, and it’s a doozy. All kidding aside, the idea of searcher task accomplishment is a compelling argument for how we should be optimizing our sites. Are they actually solving the problems searchers seek answers for? In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains how searcher task accomplishment is what Google ultimately looks for, and how you can keep up.

Searcher Task Accomplishment

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week, we’re chatting about a new Google ranking factor.

Now, I want to be clear. This is not something that’s directly in Google’s algorithm for sure. It’s just that they’re measuring a lot of things that lead us to this conclusion. This is essentially what Google is optimizing toward with all of their ranking signals, and therefore it’s what SEOs nowadays have to think about optimizing for with our content. And that is searcher task accomplishment.

So what do I mean by this? Well, look, when someone does a search like “disinfect a cut,” they’re trying to actually accomplish something. In fact, no matter what someone is searching for, it’s not just that they want a set of results. They’re actually trying to solve a problem. For Google, the results that solve that problem fastest and best and with the most quality are the ones that they want to rank.

In the past, they’ve had to do all sorts of algorithms to try and get at this from obtuse angles. But now, with a lot of the work that they’re doing around measuring engagement and with all of the data that’s coming to them through Chrome and through Android, they’re able to get much, much closer to what is truly accomplishing the searcher’s task. That’s because they really want results that satisfy the query and fulfill the searcher’s task.

So pretty much every — I’m excluding navigational searches — but every informational and transactional type of search — I mean, navigational, they just want to go to that website — but informational and transactional search query is basically this. It’s I have an expression of need. That’s what I’m telling Google. But behind that, there’s a bunch of underlying goals, things that I want to do. I want to know information. I want to accomplish something. I want to complete an activity.

When I do that, when I perform my search, I have this sort of evaluation of results. Is this going to help me do what I want? Then I choose one, and then I figure out whether that result actually helps me complete my task. If it does, I might have discovery of additional needs around that, like once you’ve answered my disinfect a cut, now it’s, okay, now I kind of want to know how to prevent an infection, because you described using disinfectant and then you said infections are real scary. So let me go look up how do I prevent that from happening. So there’s that discovery of additional needs. Or you decide, hey, this did not help me complete my task. I’m going to go back to evaluation of results, or I’m going to go back to my expression of need in the form of a different search query.

That’s what gives Google the information to say, “Yes, this result helped the searcher accomplish their task,” or, “No, this result did not help them do it.”

Some examples of searcher task accomplishment

This is true for a bunch of things. I’ll walk you through some examples.

If I search for how to get a book published, that’s an expression of need. But underlying that is a bunch of different goals like, well, you’re going to be asking about like traditional versus self-publishing, and then you’re going to want to know about agents and publishers and the publishing process and the pitch process, which is very involved. Then you’re going to get into things like covers and book marketing and tracking sales and all this different stuff, because once you reach your evaluation down here and you get into discovery of additional needs, you find all these other things that you need to know.

If I search for “invest in Ethereum,” well maybe I know enough to start investing right away, but probably, especially recently because there’s been a ton of search activity around it, I probably need to understand: What the heck is the blockchain and what is cryptocurrency, this blockchain-powered currency system, and what’s the market for that like, and what has it been doing lately, and what’s my purchase process, and where can I actually go to buy it, and what do I have to do to complete that transaction?

If I search for something like “FHA loans,” well that might mean I’m in the mindset of thinking about real estate. I’m buying usually my first house for an FHA loan, and that means that I need to know things about conditions by region and the application process and what are the providers in my area and how can I go apply, all of these different things.

If I do a search for “Seattle event venues,” well that means I’m probably looking for a list of multiple event venues, and then I need to narrow down my selection by the criteria I care about, like region, capacity, the price, the amenities. Then once I have all that, I need contact information so that I can go to them.

In all of these scenarios, Google is going to reward the results that help me accomplish the task, discover the additional needs, and solve those additional needs as well, rather than the ones that maybe provide a slice of what I need and then make me go back to the search results and choose something else or change my query to figure out more.

Google is also going to reward, and you can see this in all these results, they’re going to reward ones that give me all the information I need, that help me accomplish my task before they ask for something in return. The ones that are basically just a landing page that say, “Oh yeah, Seattle event venues, enter your email address and all this other information, and we’ll be in touch with a list of venues that are right for you.” Yeah, guess what? It doesn’t matter how many links you have, you are not ranking, my friends.

That is so different from how it used to be. It used to be that you could have that contact form. You could have that on there. You could not solve the searcher’s query. You could basically be very conversion rate-focused on your page, and so long as you could get the right links and the right anchor text and use the right keywords on the page, guess what? You could rank. Those days are ending. I’m not going to say they’re gone, but they are ending, and this new era of searcher task accomplishment is here.

Challenge: The conflict between SEO & CRO

There’s a challenge. I want to be totally up front that there is a real challenge and a problem between this world of optimizing for searcher task accomplishment and the classic world of we want our conversions. So the CRO in your organization, which might be your director of marketing or it might be your CEO, or maybe if your team is big enough, you might have a CRO specialist, conversation rate optimization specialist, on hand. They’re thinking, “Hey, I need the highest percent of form completions possible.”

So when someone lands on this page, I’m trying to get from two percent to four percent. How do we get four percent of people visiting this page to complete the form? That means removing distractions. That means not providing information up front. That means having a great teaser that says like, “Hey, we can give this to you, and here are testimonials that say we can provide this information. But let’s not give it right up front. Don’t give away the golden goose, my friend. We want these conversions. We need to get our qualified leads into the funnel,” versus the SEO, who today has to think about, “How do I get searchers to accomplish their task without friction?” This lead capture form, that’s friction.

So every organization, I think, needs to decide which way they’re going to go. Are they going to go for basically long-term SEO, which is I’m going to solve the searcher’s task, and then I’m going to figure out ways later to monetize and to capture value? Or am I going to basically lose out in the search results to people who are willing to do this and go this route instead and drive traffic from other sources? Maybe I’ll rank with different pages and I’ll send some people here, or maybe I will pay for my traffic, or I’ll try and do some barnacle SEO and get links from people who do rank up top there, but I won’t do it directly myself. This is a choice we all have.

How do we nail searcher task accomplishment?

All right. So how do you do this? Let’s say you’ve gone the SEO path. You’ve decided, “Yes, Rand, I’m in. I want to help the searcher accomplish their task. I recognize that I’m going to have to be willing to sacrifice some conversion rate optimization.” Well, there are two things here.

1. Gain a deep understanding of what drives searchers to search.

2. What makes some searchers come away unsatisfied.

Once they’ve performed this query, why do they click the back button? Why do they choose a different result? Why do they change their query to something else? There are ways we can figure out both of these.

To help with number 1 try:

Some of the best things that you can do are talk to people who actually have those problems and who are actually performing those searches or have performed them through…

  • Interviews
  • Surveys

I will provide you with a link to a document that I did around specifically how to get a book published. I did a survey that I ran that looked at searcher task accomplishment and what people hoped that content would have for them, and you can see the results are quite remarkable. I’ll actually embed my presentation on searcher task accomplishment in this Whiteboard Friday and make sure to link to that as well.

  • In-person conversations, and powerful things can come out of those that you wouldn’t get through remote or through email.
  • You can certainly look at competitors. So check out what your competitors are saying and what they’re doing that you may not have considered yet.
  • You can try putting yourself in your searcher’s shoes.

What if I searched for disinfect a cut? What would I want to know? What if I searched for FHA loans? I’m buying a house for the first time, what am I thinking about? Well, I’m thinking about a bunch of things. I’m thinking about price and neighborhood and all this. Okay, how do I accomplish all that in my content, or at least how do I provide navigation so that people can accomplish all that without having to go back to the search results?

To help with number 2 try:

Understanding what makes those searchers come away unsatisfied.

  • Auto-suggest and related searches are great. In fact, related searches, which are at the very bottom of the page in a set of search results, are usually searches people performed after they performed the initial search. I say usually because there can be some other things in there. But usually someone who searched for FHA loans then searches for jumbo loans or 30-year fixed loans or mortgage rates or those kinds of things. That’s the next step. So you can say, “You know what? I know what you want next. Let me go help you.” Auto-suggest related searches, those are great for that.
  • Internal search analytics for people who landed on a page and performed a site search or clicked on a Next link on your site. What did they want to do? Where did they want to go next? That helps tell you what those people need.
  • Having conversations with those who only got partway through your funnel. So if you have a lead capture at some point or you collect email at some point, you can reach out to people who initially came to you for a solution but didn’t get all the way through that process and talk to them.
  • Tracking the SERPs and watching who rises vs falls in the rankings. Finally, if you track the search results, generally speaking what we see here at Moz, what I see for almost all the results I’m tracking is that more and more people who do a great job of this, of searcher task accomplishment, are rising in the rankings, and the folks who are not are falling.

So over time, if you watch those in your spaces and do some rank tracking competitively, you can see what types of content is helping people accomplish those tasks and what Google is rewarding.

That said, I look forward to your comments. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Why We Can’t Do SEO WIthout CRO from Rand Fishkin

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

CMWorld Interview: H&R Block’s Zerlina Jackson Explores Marketing in the Financial Sector

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Marketers in financial industries are in the midst of a major digital transformation.

Apps and mobile experience have become not a “nice to have” but a requirement from consumers. Additionally, financial institutions have started investing heavily in user experience for their web properties to focus on customers first.

The team at H&R Block has taken digital transformation to the next level by utilizing the artificial intelligence from IBM Watson to help tax preparers dig deeper and help customers save money.

To gain a better understanding of what it’s like to work in marketing at a financial institution, I reached out to Zerlina Jackson, Director of Web Experience at H&R Block. Zerlina has nearly eight years of marketing experience in the financial sector and was able to shed some light on topics that are top of mind for nearly every marketer.

Zerlina will be presenting at Content Marketing World this September and was kind enough to provide insights into what her role at H&R Block entails, what it truly takes to create an exceptional customer experience and some takeaways from her presentation at the conference.

What does your role as Director of Web Experience at H&R Block entail? What does your day look like? What do you like best?

I manage the strategy and day to day operations for hrblock.com, blockadvisors.com, and other pre-authentication web properties that influence client conversion. We focus on two strategic disciplines to optimize our web experiences; driving traffic and closing traffic. Our driving traffic strategy consist of developing programs to ensure our information is found beyond hrblock.com (i.e. google quick answers, local listings, optimizations for SEO). While our closing traffic strategy ensures that our prospects and clients have the best experience possible when engaging with our web properties.

At H&R Block, no two days are the same. One of the things that surprises most people is that we’re developing things year-round. In a typical day, I could develop a web strategy plan, consult on user experiences and designs, develop a project plan, analyze program results, evaluate new technologies, and meet with business/agency partners. We definitely keep ourselves pretty busy. But the best part of my job is that I get to work with an amazing team of smart people every day that are all in a constant pursuit of excellence. And we get to do some really cool stuff.

How have the other positions you’ve held in your career impacted how you approach digital marketing today?

I’ve been lucky to work for some amazing organizations. I started my career at Domino’s Pizza and I worked with some of the most innovative digital marketers around (ordering a pizza online changed lives). The great thing about Domino’s (besides the fact that there was an official company cheer) was that we were in uncharted territory. It was great to be part of a team that was doing something that hadn’t been conquered before and there wasn’t a blueprint.

At PNC I worked managing the website for the Corporate & Institutional Banking business which was very different from selling pizzas online. The sales cycles for closing a Corporate Banking deal was years, and the needs of the clients were much different. The website didn’t play a major role in the sales cycle but provided bankers with the information needed for client engagement.

Although both roles were different (Dominos with fast consumer sales cycle vs. PNC with slower business sales cycle), I learned a valuable lesson from both. At Domino’s & PNC it was all about develop the best possible experience for clients to ensure that you maximized conversion. The conversions were clearly different at each organization, but the notion of ensuring that the digital experience is optimized to the client, has stuck with me throughout my career.

What do you think it really takes to create an exceptional client experience in today’s fast-paced and overloaded digital world?

Take the 3 second rule of capturing a user’s attention before they bounce from a website, combine that with the new normal of simultaneous device use, and it creates quite a challenge for UX designers. However, I believe in keeping things simple. The two questions we ask prior to creating any experience is:

  1.    What does the user want to know or do?
  2.    How can we meet their goals with the least amount of friction (easy to understand / easy to take action)?

We keep everything focused on our user goals and then align business goals to those experiences. Once we create an experience, we constantly validate our theories through testing and optimization programs.

Has there been a defining moment in your career that you credit for your success and if so, what was it?

Prior to entering the web world I was working in IT and completing my Master’s degree when I took a marketing course and fell in love. I moved to the digital team because I thought it would be a great way to combine those two passions. Then I decided to go work in the financial industry at the height of the financial crisis (not the smartest decision I’ve ever made). There I met a mentor who challenged me to grow my UX skills. And then I came to H&R Block to challenge myself again and continue to grow in a new direction. So, I don’t think I would say there was one defining moment, but several small moments that has allowed me to do amazing things with amazing people.

Do you have any advice for other marketers who are making the transition from content creation and strategy to a marketing leadership role like yours?

It can be a difficult transition to go from program executer and actual SME to leader and supporter of SMEs. You must let go of having all the answers (project statuses, timelines, and details) and trust your team so that they can do their best work. My advice would be to lean into your new role of learning how to develop people, clear roadblocks, influence executives, etc. and allow your team to lean into their new roles as well. You’re going to make mistakes and that’s ok but have that same level of grace with people who are learning your old position. Someone once told me, “Just because your title changed doesn’t mean you are a leader. Leadership is developed with each interaction within and outside of your team.” I’ve always found that to be a helpful reminder that how I represent myself, represents my team.

In your presentation at Content Marketing World you’ll be sharing the insights into how content marketing and agency collaboration can drive qualified traffic. Without giving it all away, what are 3 things attendees will learn from your session?

We can’t wait to share some of our learnings from this season! Three things we want attendees to walk away with are:

  1.    Why this initiative was a vital part of the overall H&R Block content strategy and how it may be applicable to your organization as well.
  2.    Tight deadlines, competing priorities, and dev restrictions were all challenges that we had to overcome. We want to share how we brought it all together.
  3.    How to be innovative and experiment without disrupting your normal workflow.

Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2017?

This is such a great lineup it’s hard to choose but I honestly can’t wait to hear from Colson Whitehead.

Want More?

Thank you for sharing your insights and expertise with us Zerlina!

If you’d like to learn more from Zerlina and 14 of her fellow Content Marketing World speakers, check out the final eBook in our series, In-Flight Content Guide: Making the Most of Your Content Journey.

How to Create a Facebook Live Show

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social media how toWant to broadcast a regular live show on Facebook with a co-host?

Wondering how to plan all of the logistics for your show?

In this article, you’ll discover how to launch a successful Facebook Live show, with or without a co-host.

How to Create a Facebook Live Show by Julia Bramble on Social Media Examiner.

How to Create a Facebook Live Show by Julia Bramble on Social Media Examiner.

#1: Define the Key Objective, Measurement Tactics, and Success Benchmarks

Before you get swept up in the technical details and gear you need for your Facebook Live show, it’s important to answer these questions:

  • What do you want to achieve from creating and running the show?
  • How will you measure your progress toward this goal?

For example, your goal might be increased visibility. How can you measure this? While not an exact science, tracking show mentions on other blogs and positive comments from people you don’t know can help you gauge progress to some degree.

If you want to measure tangible results such as an increase in website visitors or mentions on social platforms, think about how you’ll distinguish which results are driven by the show versus other sources.

When you’re planning to co-host a live show with someone else, set a clear goal that’s at the core of all you do. Take the time to talk with your co-host about your key objective to help avoid misunderstandings and distractions later on.

#2: Partner With a Co-Host Who Complements You

You may already have a co-host in mind or maybe you’ve discussed the idea of a Facebook Live show with a friend or colleague. If not, though, keep your show’s objectives in mind when choosing whom to approach as a potential partner.

Co-hosts Daniel Newsman and Brian Fanzo have an easy rapport on their live show SMACtalk.

Co-hosts Daniel Newsman and Brian Fanzo have an easy rapport on their live show SMACtalk.

Though not a definitive list, consider these factors when evaluating a potential co-host:

  • Current audience: Does it make sense (in terms of your business and Facebook Live goals) for you to become known to your co-host’s existing audience?
  • Personality: Will this person’s personality complement yours when you’re broadcasting? Are you equally matched in terms of confidence? Will it be easy to find a comfortable rhythm on-air?
  • Respect: It’s important to respect each other’s work and opinions. If you don’t, your show will be an uncomfortable viewing experience for your fans.
  • Commitment: Ensure you’re equally committed to the project or it might lead to frustrations down the line.
  • Energy: Your audience is unlikely to feel attracted to or inspired by someone who comes across as negative or lacking energy. You and your co-host don’t need to be extroverts, but you do need to be able to perform for your audience.
  • Knowledge or experience: What knowledge/experience are you looking for in a co-host to achieve your goals? Assess areas of expertise, as well as depth of knowledge.
The co-hosts of Behind the Ears share a wealth of knowledge on all things Disney on their Facebook Live show.

The co-hosts of Behind the Ears share a wealth of knowledge on all things Disney on their Facebook Live show.

#3: Align Your Presentation, Delivery, and Branding With Your Target Audience Preferences

Think about both your current audience and your co-host’s audience. Then define the audience you hope to reach with your co-hosted Facebook Live show.

Your knowledge of the audience you want to reach will inform these aspects of your show:

  • Subjects or themes: What content will your target audience respond to, and ultimately, engage with and share?
  • Format: Would your audience prefer talking heads in polite conversation, an energetic discussion, or more of a comedy-duo approach?
  • Timing: When is your target audience most likely to be online with time to actually watch and respond?
  • Name and branding (if any): It’s important to promote the show to your audience on a regular basis. You’ll get the best response if they like the look and feel of your branding.
You can have your branding run through each Facebook Live episode, including the introduction.

You can have your branding run through each Facebook Live episode, including the introduction.

While you’re in the planning stages, send out a survey to your audience to get feedback on what type of show they prefer. This also gives you the opportunity to tease your new show.

#4: Clarify the Topics You’ll Discuss

Brainstorm a list of topics and ask your audience what they’d like you to cover in your broadcasts. Schedule the best ideas in an episode calendar.

Creating a calendar will save you from the last-minute panic of trying to decide the topic for the next show. Also, it will allow you to sign off each episode with the details of the next episode, which will help you appear more professional and committed. You’ll need to know the topic in advance to promote it, too.

Create a calendar of topics for your Facebook Live show.

Create a calendar of topics for your Facebook Live show.

Having a schedule doesn’t mean you can’t respond to events and news or create shows based on feedback from your audience. However, it will help you stay organized so you’re not overwhelmed. At this stage, plan out the structure for each episode:

  • How will you open each show?
  • What will your call to action be?
  • How long will each show be?
  • Are there any specific segments you want to include each time?

Also think about how your show can carve out a niche in the increasingly noisy world of Facebook Live broadcasts. Both of your personal brands will help, but developing a unique approach can also make your show stand out from the crowd.

#5: Choose Which Facebook Channel to Broadcast From

Facebook allows you to broadcast live from a personal profile, group, or business page. Choose the option that will help you best meet your goals. Here are some points to consider for each option.

Watching Amazon has a Facebook page for their live show, using a video as the cover art.

Watching Amazon broadcasts from their show’s Facebook page, using a video as the cover art.

Personal Profile

Going live via a Facebook personal profile will often provide the best reach, but only one host can share the live stream directly from their profile. Also, you won’t be able to promote the replay with Facebook ads unless you share it to a Facebook page, or download and then post it to a page.

Group

Creating and growing a Facebook group in which to share your live shows can be a great way to achieve community-growth goals. Once the group is established, you’ll have a ready-made audience and can use the promise of future shows to attract new group members.

But your network outside of the group won’t see your live broadcasts and it may be difficult to share the link to the replay afterward, depending on your group’s privacy settings.

Business Page

Most people use their Facebook page to broadcast co-hosted shows. It provides a home for your live streams and represents both hosts equally.

If you create a new page to host your live broadcasts, you can establish a brand with a cover photo and thumbnail. You can provide more details about both the show and hosts in the About section.

Create a Facebook page cover photo and thumbnail to reflect your live show branding.

Create a Facebook page cover photo and thumbnail to reflect your live show branding.

You may not get the immediate reach you would from a personal profile, but if you schedule your shows in advance, you can promote them to a wider audience using Facebook ads (and other social media platforms). You can also promote your replays.

If you live-stream from a page, organize your replays into video playlists to make it easy for people to find episodes on specific themes after the event. Navigate to the Videos tab and Facebook will prompt you to create a playlist from there.

Organize your Facebook Live video replays into playlists so your audience can easily find the episodes they're interested in.

Organize your Facebook Live video replays into playlists so your audience can easily find the episodes they’re interested in.

#6: Assign Co-Host Roles

You’ll save time and energy if you and your co-host divvy up roles up front. For example, your co-host might handle the tech side (testing out new options and scheduling each episode), while you create the promotional images for each show and write posts on your Facebook page between live episodes.

Remember to set aside time before each episode to plan what you’ll cover. For example, you might message your co-host in the morning before you go live in the afternoon, sharing the points you both want to cover. You can sort out any overlap, and if you need to go back and do some more thinking, you have time to do that.

You don’t have to plan out every word, though. A broad outline with specific points planned in advance can help you feel confident and excited. Some of your shows might be more conversational than others, and some might require more audience input than others. Find a balance that works best for you.

Before the show starts, allow time (at least 20 minutes) to test the Internet connection and equipment. If you hit a glitch, stay calm. After all, the worst that could happen is that your episode won’t air, which is frustrating but not the end of the world.

#7: Create a Promotion Plan

The more time and effort you put into promoting your show, the better your results will be. There’s nothing more disappointing than planning an amazing episode but ending up drawing only one or two viewers.

If you click on the timestamp, you'll get a unique URL that's created for your live-stream post.

If you click on the timestamp, you’ll get a unique URL that’s created for your live-stream post.

Make sure to set aside time to share the news of the show. Scheduling the show not only creates a post on your Facebook page that alerts your fans, but if you click the time stamp on the post, you’ll also get a unique URL you can share anywhere to spread the word.

Consider designing some generic images you can update each week with the episode title. You can use them to promote upcoming episodes and the replay on your social channels, websites, and via email.

Plan out a promotion schedule you can use for every show. For example, if you have a weekly show on Monday, your promotion plan for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram might look like this:

Twitter:

  • Saturday – 2 tweets
  • Sunday – 2 tweets
  • Monday – 3 tweets (1 before the show, 1 on going live, 1 after the show sharing the replay)
  • Tuesday – 2 tweets to share the replay
  • Wednesday – 1 tweet to share the replay
  • Thursday – 1 tweet to share the replay
Create an image template for your Facebook Live show and update it for each episode.

Create an image template for your Facebook Live show and update it for each episode.

Facebook show page:

  • Friday/Saturday – Schedule the show.
  • Saturday/Sunday – Repeat notification of the show.

Facebook personal profiles and other Facebook business pages:

  • Sunday/Monday – Share the scheduled link on other business pages.
  • Sunday/Monday – Share the scheduled link on personal profiles.
  • Share the link to your personal profiles just as the show goes live.

Instagram:

  • Sunday/Monday – Share a post announcing the show.
  • Monday – Create Instagram stories about the show.

You can also run Facebook ads to promote your show.

Tip: It’s just as important to promote the replay as it is to promote the live show. Some of the best conversations around the topic you’ve been discussing might happen via posts promoting the replay.

Sheer Social promotes an upcoming Facebook Live show on Instagram.

Sheer Social promotes an upcoming Facebook Live broadcast on Instagram.

#8: Engage and Follow Up With Comments

During your broadcast, respond to comments and questions from your audience. Keep in mind, too, that people may have already started a discussion on the promotional tweets and posts you’ve shared. Mentioning some of those people during your show can help you build relationships with your audience.

Of course, you can’t respond to all of the comments during the broadcast (and some people may join as you’re about to finish) so make sure to respond to comments just after the show has finished. Also check in regularly to address comments on the replay, especially if you asked your audience to share the link with their networks while you were on-air.

#9: Repurpose Your Content

Your video will live on in your news feed as a replay and will attract new views over time.

To give replay viewers the best experience, edit your original post to add extra details, links, and show notes. To edit the text, click the three dots in the top right of the post and select Edit Post.

Click the three dots to edit your post text, add captions, and download your Facebook Live video.

Click the three dots to edit your post text, add captions, and download your Facebook Live video.

In the Edit Video window, you can edit the title and add tags.

Edit the post text, video title, and video tags for your Facebook Live replay.

Edit the post text, video title, and video tags for your Facebook Live replay.

Click the Captions tab to add captions to your replay video, which help attract viewers who watch with the sound off. If you click the Generate button, Facebook will add captions automatically for you.

Facebook will automatically generate captions for your live-stream video replay.

Facebook will automatically generate captions for your live-stream video replay.

To download your video, click the three dots in the top right of the original post and choose Download Video.

Repurposing your video can help reach the goals you defined in step #1. Here are a few ways to use your video for content on your other social channels or blog:

  • Upload the video to YouTube and embed the link in a blog post or SlideShare presentation.
  • Get a transcription made from the video (using a service such as Rev) and use it as the basis for a blog post or download.
  • Trim the text and/or video into smaller segments to use as social media posts.
  • Use the sound from the video as ready-made content for a podcast.

If you plan your content repurposing from the start, you’ll get more out of the effort you put into creating your shows.

Conclusion

Taking the time to come up with a plan for your Facebook Live show will pay dividends and save you time down the line.

What do you think? Have you started a co-hosted show? Or are you in the process of planning one? Please let us know in the comments below!

How to Create a Facebook Live Show by Julia Bramble on Social Media Examiner.

How to Create a Facebook Live Show by Julia Bramble on Social Media Examiner.

Related Posts

Digital Advertising Tips: 5 Scenarios Perfect for Pay-to-Play Tactics

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In today’s competitive and content-saturated digital landscape, it’s no secret that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to connect, engage and inspire action from our audiences using only “free” or organic marketing tactics.

As a result, digital advertising, often dubbed “pay-to-play” by marketers, is steadily on the rise. In fact, last fall, eMarketer forecasted that digital advertising spend would surpass TV ad spending for the first time in history by the end of 2016. And that trend is definitely expected to continue.

However, despite rising ad spend, consumers are actively avoiding our ads, according to a 2016 HubSpot Research report. For example, four out of five consumers reported that they closed a browser or exited a website because of an autoplaying ad or a pop up.

So what’s a marketer to do? As HubSpot so eloquently put it: “Marketers who want to connect with potential customers must supplement their target’s online experience, not interrupt it.”

To me, this means leveraging digital advertising when it makes sense and executing it in a way that enhances user experience. With that said, below I offer a handful of scenarios perfect for pay-to-play tactics, and tips for making them resonate—rather than repel—your target audience.

#1 – When you want to maximize the reach of top-performing content.

Chances are that your team has a huge portfolio of existing content—and some of those pieces are likely driving continuous traffic and engagement, and—depending on the content type—leads. As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden often says: “Content isn’t King. It’s the Kingdom.” So why not get the most out of the kingdom you’ve built?

Identify high-flying pieces of content at every stage of the sales funnel, and give them a refresh if needed. Depending on where the content falls in the funnel, use your audience knowledge or customer personas to select your advertising channels and targeting options. In addition, created tailored and channel-optimized messaging for each piece you want to promote.

For example, when it comes to choosing your channels, if you want to promote an attract-level, how-to blog post, you might choose a sponsored post option on Facebook or promoted tweets on Twitter. If you’re looking to promote an engage-level white paper, you could choose to go with an account targeting campaign on LinkedIn.

Read: Working Together in Perfect Harmony: Digital Advertising + Content Marketing

Get the most out of what #content kingdom you’ve built with the help of #digitaladvertising. Click To Tweet

#2 – When you need to drive action under a tight deadline.

Are you hosting a webinar in the near future? Or are you hoping to drive “last-minute” registrations for an upcoming event your company is hosting? If so, digital advertising is a huge opportunity to create buzz and drive targeted traffic to your signup pages.

As always, use your audience knowledge or customer personas to help you select the right channels and targeting options, as well as craft personalized and compelling messaging. In addition, launch your campaign with multiple versions of your ads. This not only helps reduce the fatigue users could feel after seeing the same ad over and over, but gives you the opportunity to see what’s working and what’s not so you can make tweaks. After all, this is a short-term campaign, so you’ll want the ability to quickly make adjustments that will inspire action from your target audience.

#3 – When you’re fighting for search visibility in a competitive industry.

Driving search traffic is always an important objective for any marketer. But for those working in competitive industries, especially those battling well-established brands for search rankings, organic tactics may not be enough and a paid search campaign focused on top keywords may be out of budget. But, as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way, according to TopRank Marketing Digital Advertising & SEO Manager Steve Slater.

“If you have a tough road for organic SEO ahead of you, you can look at creating content around super long-tail, informational queries and bidding on them [in AdWords],” he said. “Oftentimes these queries are cheap and they can drive traffic to your site.”

Bid on super long-tail #keyword queries if you’re facing a tough organic #SEO road. @TheSteve_Slater Click To Tweet

#4 – When you’ve created awesome influencer content.

From influencer research and nurturing to creating the glorious finished product, any piece of influencer content you’ve created has likely required quite a bit of work—and you absolutely want to see it reach its full potential. Digital advertising can help you maximize your reach—which can benefit your organization and the influencers you’ve worked hard to cultivate relationships with.

For example, let’s say you created an eBook featuring insights and tips from 15 industry experts. The influencers have the unique industry expertise and audience following that made them a perfect fit for the content. One way to promote your eBook, as well as take advantage of your influencers social audience, is to craft a paid Twitter campaign that specifically targets your influencers’ followers who exhibit specific behaviors such as demographics, company size or interests.

Read: Boost Your Social Media Advertising Success with These 6 Pro Tips!

#5 – When you’re a startup.

Whether you’re a niche startup or looking to break into a competitive industry, digital advertising can help jump start your digital marketing efforts—and even deliver some quick wins.

For many startups, gaining brand awareness is often a key initiative out of the gate. According to Slater, leveraging Google Display Network is a great option because of its targeting capabilities and its affordability.

“It gives you the ability to create multiple ads at scale with the ad builder tool,” he said. “You can even create responsive ads at scale—something that’s a great option for startups that don’t have the budget for a graphic designer.”

In addition, you can target the website that you want your display ads to be placed on by keyword topic. Or if you want to level up your targeting, you can use affinity audiences—or even create custom affinity audiences,” Slater added. “All this to say, the display network is a pretty affordable way to get your brand in front of your potential audience.”

Are These the Only Scenarios Fit for Digital Advertising?

Absolutely not. Digital advertising can be a staple part of your ongoing integrated digital marketing strategy. From TopRank Marketing’s perspective, the continuous work you put into building organic awareness and engagement through creating great content, thought leadership and an awesome experience is your foundation. This is how you begin to build your brand from the ground up—and that has staying power.

But adding digital advertising—whether it be paid social, paid search, remarketing or sponsored content, or a combination of paid tactics—into the mix can be the icing on the cake or a leading tactic. It just needs to make sense for your industry, audience, business objectives and budget.

In what situations have you had the most digital advertising success? Tell us in the comments section below.

Instagram Live Replays: What Marketers Need to Know

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social media how toAre you using live video on Instagram?

Wondering how to save Instagram live videos so followers can replay them later?

In this article, you’ll discover how to get an extra 24 hours of view time for your live videos with Instagram Live video replays.

Instagram Live Replays: What Marketers Need to Know by Jenn Herman on Social Media Examiner.

Instagram Live Replays: What Marketers Need to Know by Jenn Herman on Social Media Examiner.

Who Has Access to Instagram Live Video Replays

The great news is that everyone is getting access to Instagram live video replays! This was a widespread rollout without much delay to users.

Both business accounts and personal profiles on Instagram have access to this new feature, allowing them to create videos for replay and watch replays on other accounts.

How to Broadcast Your Instagram Live Video for Replay

In order to save a live video for replay, first you have to actually broadcast a live video on Instagram. If you’re not familiar with how to do this, please reference this previous post on how to use Instagram live.

As a professional tip, I highly recommend you plan your videos with a replay in mind. While going live can provide some leniency in structure, a replay video is going to retain any awkwardness and confusion that may seem normal during the live feed.

For example, start talking immediately after you begin the broadcast. Don’t wait for people to show up to start talking. In the replay, any significant delay before talking will cause viewers to drop off. When you begin talking, introduce the topic of the video and explain why people should stay on through the video. Anyone who’s joining you live will catch this, but more importantly for the replay, viewers will know up front what to expect.

It’s also good practice to pin a comment at the beginning of your broadcast to tell people what you’ll discuss in the video. To pin a comment, simply type in a comment of your own, post it, then tap on the comment and choose Pin Comment.

Pin a comment to your Instagram live video by tapping on the comment.

Pin a comment to your Instagram live video by tapping on the comment.

The pinned comment will retain a banner that allows it to stand out against all other comments and it remains at the top of the screen for new viewers to see. This is also advantageous for the replay component because the pinned comment will appear in the replay.

Pinned comments are visible in the Instagram live replay.

Pinned comments are visible in the Instagram live replay.

It’s common practice in live videos to interact with viewers during the broadcast. I encourage you to also talk to viewers on the replay. Acknowledge that people are watching via replay. Thank them for tuning in and making time to watch.

Encourage your replay viewers to send you a direct message in response to the video to foster those relationships, whether to ask clarifying questions, let you know where they’re located, or any other potential topics of conversation.

How to Save Your Instagram Live Video for Replay

Once you’ve started broadcasting a live video, follow these steps to save your video for replay:

1. End Your Live Video

Sign off of your video as you normally do. Include your call to action and a farewell comment to your viewers.

Tap on End in the top-right corner of the viewer to officially end your live broadcast. Then, from the pop-up screen, choose End Live Video.

End your live video by confirming the End Live Video option.

End your live video by confirming the End Live Video option.

2. Post Your Video for Replay

Upon ending the live video stream, a recap screen appears. You’ll see how many viewers watched the video and have the option to share your video for the next 24 hours. The slider will default to the blue (On) option. Tapping Share will upload the replay to your stories on your profile.

Easily share your live video as a replay to your stories.

Easily share your live video as a replay to your stories.

You can deselect this option by tapping on the slider and then tapping Discard.

The replay is available for anyone to view for 24 hours following the time you shared it (not from when the video started). After that, the video, like other story posts, will disappear from your profile.

3. Your Replay Is Available for Others to View

Once you’ve shared your replay video, your profile photo will promote that you have a replay option available. Normally, when you have new stories to view, a colored circle appears around your profile photo. When you’ve shared a live video replay, that colored circle will appear with a small Play icon at the bottom.

A colored circle and Play icon appear around the profile photo of an Instagram account that has uploaded a live video for replay.

A colored circle and Play icon appear around the profile photo of an Instagram account that has uploaded a live video for replay.

When your followers view the list of stories at the top of their feed, they’ll also see a colored circle with the Play icon under your profile photo if you’ve uploaded a replay video. It’s important to note that Instagram will separate notifications in the Stories banner for regular stories and live video replays.

Instagram stories and live video replays are separated into two notifications in the Stories banner.

Instagram stories and live video replays are separated into two notifications in the Stories banner.

If you don’t have any other story posts uploaded at the same time, only the replay video option will be available to your viewers.

Promote Your Replay Video for More Views

To maximize the number of views of your Instagram live replay, have a strategy for promoting the videos before and after you share them.

Use a combination of Instagram story posts and normal Instagram posts to promote an upcoming live video to boost both live views and replay views.

Promote Instagram live videos and their replays to your audience to get more viewers.

Promote Instagram live videos and their replays to your audience to get more viewers.

Immediately following the live broadcast, I recommend you share a post to your regular Instagram feed, letting your audience know the replay video is available, and outline the topic and key takeaways in the video.

If you don’t have any other story posts shared at the same time, let your live replay stay as the only post to avoid confusion. However, if you do have other stories shared at the same time, share at least one story post to promote the live replay. Let your audience know a replay video is available and to visit your profile to view it.

Viewing Live Video Replays

When you view your own replay, it appears differently to you than it does to other viewers. In your own profile, you can actually toggle back and forth between your live replay and your stories by using the two tab options at the bottom of the viewer.

In your own Instagram profile, toggle between your stories and live replays using the tabs at the bottom of the screen.

In your own Instagram profile, toggle between your stories and live replays using the tabs at the bottom of the screen.

People visiting your stories won’t have this same option (I hope Instagram adds this functionality to all viewers, though). If visitors to your profile tap on your profile photo and you have both a live replay and a story post, they’ll be prompted to choose which one to view.

Instagram profile visitors can choose which option to view in your stories if you have both a replay video and story posts.

Instagram profile visitors can choose which option to view in your stories if you have both a replay video and story posts.

While watching a live video replay, all of the original comments on the video will appear in the replay. This makes it easy for your replay audience to keep up with the conversation and relate to your responses throughout the video.

Comments from the original Instagram live video are visible in the replay.

Comments from the original live video are visible in the replay.

Viewers can speed up a replay video by tapping on the screen while the video is playing. Short videos of a few minutes will fast-forward at 15-second intervals. The forwarding time is increased for longer videos, up to a 3-minute jump for videos over 30 minutes.

This is a good thing to keep in mind if you’re speaking to your replay viewers. For example, if you know that the first 2-3 minutes of your video will be spent greeting live viewers, you can make an announcement at the start of the video telling your replay viewers to jump ahead and skip these introductions.

After you’ve viewed a replay video on someone’s profile, the Play icon and the circle are still visible but they’re now gray instead of the vibrant Instagram color scheme.

After viewing an Intagram live video replay, the notification circle and Play icon will turn gray.

After viewing a live video replay, the notification circle and Play icon will turn gray.

Replay Video Analytics

Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t currently provide a lot of detail for live video replay analytics. Hopefully, in time, as these videos become more common, Instagram will incorporate their data into the analytics listed in business profiles.

If you have a business profile on Instagram, you’re familiar with the analytics available. One of the sections of the in-app analytics is for Stories, where you can see various data for those posts. Instagram live videos and replays aren’t included in these analytics.

You can, however, see the number of viewers and who those viewers are while reviewing your own video replay (no one else can view this data). When in your own video replay, you’ll see the number of views in the bottom-left corner.

The number of views on your own video is available in the bottom-left corner of the replay screen.

The number of views on your own video is available in the bottom-left corner of the replay screen.

To get more detailed information, tap on that number of viewers or swipe up on the screen to open a screen with a list of viewers.

View a list of everyone who viewed your video.

View a list of everyone who viewed your video.

Since the video replay will disappear after 24 hours, if you want to collect this data, you must do so before the video is deleted from your profile.

Conclusion

Instagram live video has been a valuable way for brands to connect authentically with their audiences. However, the disappearing content immediately following the broadcast made it difficult to reach the majority of their audience members. The extended reach provided by the 24-hour replays ensures more viewers will see the videos, while also staying true to the short-lived content and exclusivity of Instagram Stories.

What do you think? Are you excited to save your Instagram live videos for replay? Or have you already? Please share your thoughts or lessons learned in the comments below.

Instagram Live Replays: What Marketers Need to Know by Jenn Herman on Social Media Examiner.

Instagram Live Replays: What Marketers Need to Know by Jenn Herman on Social Media Examiner.

Related Posts

"SEO Is Always Changing"… Or Is It?: Debunking the Myth and Getting Back to Basics

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Recently I made the shift to freelancing full-time, and it’s led me to participate in a few online communities for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners. I’ve noticed a trend in the way many of them talk about SEO; specifically, the blocks they face in attempting to “do SEO” for their businesses. Again and again, the concept that “SEO is too hard to stay on top of… it’s always changing” was being stated as a major reason that people feel a) overwhelmed by SEO; b) intimidated by SEO; and c) uninformed about SEO.

And it’s not just non-SEOs who use this phrase. The concept of “the ever-changing landscape of SEO” is common within SEO circles as well. In fact, I’ve almost certainly used this phrase myself.

But is it actually true?

To answer that question, we have to separate the theory of search engine optimization from the various tactics which we as SEO professionals spend so much time debating and testing. The more that I work with smaller businesses and individuals, the clearer it becomes to me that although the technology is always evolving and developing, and tactics (particularly those that attempt to trick Google rather than follow their guidelines) do need to adapt fairly rapidly, there are certain fundamentals of SEO that change very little over time, and which a non-specialist can easily understand.

The unchanging fundamentals of SEO

Google’s algorithm is based on an academia-inspired model of categorization and citations, which utilizes keywords as a way to decipher the topic of a page, and links from other sites (known as “backlinks”) to determine the relative authority of that site. Their method and technology keeps getting more sophisticated over time, but the principles have remained the same.

So what are these basic principles?

It comes down to answering the following questions:

  1. Can the search engine find your content? (Crawlability)
  2. How should the search engine organize and prioritize this content? (Site structure)
  3. What is your content about? (Keywords)
  4. How does the search engine know that your content provides trustworthy information about this topic? (Backlinks)

If your website is set up to help Google and other search engines answer these 4 questions, you will have covered the basic fundamentals of search engine optimization.

There is a lot more that you can do to optimize in all of these areas and beyond, but for businesses that are just starting out and/or on a tight budget, these are the baseline concepts you’ll need to know.

Crawlability

You could have the best content in the world, but it won’t drive any search traffic if the search engines can’t find it. This means that the crawlability of your site is one of the most important factors in ensuring a solid SEO foundation.

In order to find your content and rank it in the search results, a search engine needs to be able to:

  1. Access the content (at least the pages that you want to rank)
  2. Read the content

This is primarily a technical task, although it is related to having a good site structure (the next core area). You may need to adapt the code, and/or use an SEO plugin if your site runs on WordPress.

For more in-depth guides to technical SEO and crawlability, check out the following posts:

Site structure

In addition to making sure that your content is accessible and crawlable, it’s also important to help search engines understand the hierarchy and relative importance of that content. It can be tempting to think that every page is equally important to rank, but failing to structure your site in a hierarchical way often dilutes the impact of your “money” pages. Instead, you should think about what the most important pages are, and structure the rest of your site around these.

When Google and other search engine crawlers visit a site, they attempt to navigate to the homepage; then click on every link. Googlebot assumes that the pages it sees the most are the most important pages. So when you can reach a page with a single click from the homepage, or when it is linked to on every page (for example, in a top or side navigation bar, or a site footer section), Googlebot will see those pages more, and will therefore consider them to be more important. For less important pages, you’ll still need to link to them from somewhere for search engines to be able to see them, but you don’t need to emphasize them quite as frequently or keep them as close to the homepage.

The main question to ask is: Can search engines tell what your most important pages are, just by looking at the structure of your website? Google’s goal is to to save users steps, so the easier you make it for them to find and prioritize your content, the more they’ll like it.

For more in-depth guides to good site structure, check out the following posts:

Keywords

Once the content you create is accessible to crawlers, the next step is to make sure that you’re giving the search engines an accurate picture of what that content is about, to help them understand which search queries your pages would be relevant to. This is where keywords come into the mix.

We use keywords to tell the search engine what each page is about, so that they can rank our content for queries which are most relevant to our website. You might hear advice to use your keywords over and over again on a page in order to rank well. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t always create a great experience for users, and over time Google has stopped ranking pages which it perceives as being a poor user experience.

Instead, what Google is looking for in terms of keyword usage is that you:

  1. Answer the questions that real people actually have about your topic
  2. Use the terminology that real people (specifically, your target audience) actually use to refer to your topic
  3. Use the term in the way that Google thinks real people use it (this is often referred to as “user intent” or “searcher intent”).

You should only ever target one primary keyword (or phrase) per page. You can include “secondary” keywords, which are related to the primary keyword directly (think category vs subcategory). I sometimes see people attempting to target too many topics with a single page, in an effort to widen the net. But it is better to separate these out so that there’s a different page for each different angle on the topic.

The easiest way to think about this is in physical terms. Search engines’ methods are roughly based on the concept of library card catalogs, and so we can imagine that Google is categorizing pages in a similar way to a library using the Dewey decimal system to categorize books. You might have a book categorized as Romance, subcategory Gothic Romance; but you wouldn’t be able to categorize it as Romance and also Horror, even though it might be related to both topics. You can’t have the same physical book on 2 different shelves in 2 different sections of the library. Keyword targeting works the same way: 1 primary topic per page.

For more in-depth guides to keyword research and keyword targeting, check out the following posts:

Backlinks

Another longstanding ranking factor is the number of links from other sites to your content, known as backlinks.

It’s not enough for you to say that you’re the expert in something, if no one else sees it that way. If you were looking for a new doctor, you wouldn’t just go with the guy who says “I’m the world’s best doctor.” But if a trusted friend told you that they loved their doctor and that they thought you’d like her too, you’d almost certainly make an appointment.

When other websites link to your site, it helps to answer the question: “Do other people see you as a trustworthy resource?” Google wants to provide correct and complete information to people’s queries. The more trusted your content is by others, the more that indicates the value of that information and your authority as an expert.

When Google looks at a site’s backlinks, they are effectively doing the same thing that humans do when they read reviews and testimonials to decide which product to buy, which movie to see, or which restaurant to go to for dinner. If you haven’t worked with a product or business, other people’s reviews point you to what’s good and what’s not. In Google’s case, a link from another site serves as a vote of confidence for your content.

That being said, not all backlinks are treated equally when it comes to boosting your site’s rankings. They are weighted differently according to how Google perceives the quality and authority of the site that’s doing the linking. This can feel a little confusing, but when you think about it in the context of a recommendation, it becomes a lot easier to understand whether the backlinks your site is collecting are useful or not. After all, think about the last time you saw a movie. How did you choose what to see? Maybe you checked well-known critics’ reviews, checked Rotten Tomatoes, asked friends’ opinions, looked at Netflix’s suggestions list, or saw acquaintances posting about the film on social media.

When it comes to making a decision, who do you trust? As humans, we tend to use an (often unconscious) hierarchy of trust:

  1. Personalized recommendation: Close friends who know me well are most likely to recommend something I’ll like;
  2. Expert recommendation: Professional reviewers who are authorities on the art of film are likely to have a useful opinion, although it may not always totally match my personal taste;
  3. Popular recommendation: If a high percentage of random people liked the movie, this might mean it has a wide appeal and will likely be a good experience for me as well;
  4. Negative association: If someone is raving about a movie on social media and I know that they’re a terrible human with terrible taste… well, in the absence of other positive signals, that fact might actually influence me not to see the movie.

To bring this back to SEO, you can think about backlinks as the SEO version of reviews. And the same hierarchy comes into play.

  1. Personalized/contextual recommendation: For local businesses or niche markets, very specific websites like a local city’s tourism site, local business directory or very in-depth, niche fan site might be the equivalent of the “best friend recommendation”. They may not be an expert in what everyone likes, but they definitely know what works for you as an individual and in some cases, that’s more valuable.
  2. Expert recommendation: Well-known sites with a lot of inherent trust, like the BBC or Harvard University, are like the established movie critics. Broadly speaking they are the most trustworthy, but possibly lacking the context for a specific person’s needs. In the absence of a highly targeted type of content or service, these will be your strongest links.
  3. Popular recommendation: All things being equal, a lot of backlinks from a lot of different sites is seen as a signal that the content is relevant and useful.
  4. Negative association: Links that are placed via spam tactics, that you buy in bulk, or that sit on sites that look like garbage, are the website equivalent of that terrible person whose recommendation actually turns you off the movie.

If a site collects too many links from poor-quality sites, it could look like those links were bought, rather than “earned” recommendations (similar to businesses paying people to write positive reviews). Google views the buying of links as a dishonest practice, and a way of gaming their system, and therefore if they believe that you are doing this intentionally it may trigger a penalty. Even if they don’t cause a penalty, you won’t gain any real value from poor quality links, so they’re certainly not something to aim for. Because of this, some people become very risk-averse about backlinks, even the ones that came to them naturally. But as long as you are getting links from other trustworthy sources, and these high quality links make up a substantially higher percentage of your total, having a handful of lower quality sites linking to you shouldn’t prevent you from benefiting from the high quality ones.

For more in-depth guides to backlinks, check out the following posts:

Theory of Links

Getting More Links

Mitigating Risk of Links

Does anything about SEO actually change?

If SEO is really this simple, why do people talk about how it changes all the time? This is where we have to separate the theory of SEO from the tactics we use as SEO professionals to grow traffic and optimize for better rankings.

The fundamentals that we’ve covered here — crawlability, keywords, backlinks, and site structure — are the theory of SEO. But when it comes to actually making it work, you need to use tactics to optimize these areas. And this is where we see a lot of changes happening on a regular basis, because Google and the other search engines are constantly tweaking the way the algorithm understands and utilizes information from those four main areas in determining how a site’s content should rank on a results page.

The important thing to know is that, although the tactics which people use will change all the time, the goal for the search engine is always the same: to provide searchers with the information they need, as quickly and easily as possible. That means that whatever tactics and strategies you choose to pursue, the important thing is that they enable you to optimize for your main keywords, structure your site clearly, keep your site accessible, and get more backlinks from more sites, while still keeping the quality of the site and the backlinks high.

The quality test (EAT)

Because Google’s goal is to provide high-quality results, the changes that they make to the algorithm are designed to improve their ability to identify the highest quality content possible. Therefore, when tactics stop working (or worse, backfire and incur penalties), it is usually related to the fact that these tactics didn’t create high-quality outputs.

Like the fundamentals of SEO theory which we’ve already covered, the criteria that Google uses to determine whether a website or page is good quality haven’t changed all that much since the beginning. They’ve just gotten better at enforcing them. This means that you can use these criteria as a “sniff test” when considering whether a tactic is likely to be a sustainable approach long-term.

Google themselves refer to these criteria in their Search Quality Rating Guidelines with the acronym EAT, which stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

In order to be viewed as high-quality content (on your own site) or a high-quality link (from another site to your site), the content needs to tick at least one of these boxes.

Expertise

Does this content answer a question people have? Is it a *good* answer? Do you have a more in-depth degree of knowledge about this topic than most people?

This is why you will see people talk about Google penalizing “thin” content — that just refers to content which isn’t really worth having on its own page, because it doesn’t provide any real value to the reader.

Authority

Are you someone who is respected and cited by others who know something about this topic?

This is where the value of backlinks can come in. One way to demonstrate that you are an authority on a topic is if Google sees a lot of other reputable sources referring to your content as a source or resource.

Trust

Are you a reputable person or business? Can you be trusted to take good care of your users and their information?

Because trustworthiness is a factor in determining a site’s quality, Google has compiled a list of indicators which might mean a site is untrustworthy or spammy. These include things like a high proportion of ads to regular content, behavior that forces or manipulates users into taking actions they didn’t want to take, hiding some content and only showing it to search engines to manipulate rankings, not using a secure platform to take payment information, etc.

It’s always the same end goal

Yes, SEO can be technical, and yes, it can change rapidly. But at the end of the day, what doesn’t change is the end goal. Google and the other search engines make money through advertising, and in order to get more users to see (and click on) their ads, they have to provide a great user experience. Therefore, their goal is always going to be to give the searchers the best information they can, as easily as they can, so that people will keep using their service.

As long as you understand this, the theory of SEO is pretty straightforward. It’s just about making it easy for Google to answer these questions:

  1. What is your site about?

    1. What information does it provide?
    2. What service or function does it provide?
  2. How do we know that you’ll provide the best answer or product or service for our users’ needs?
  3. Does your content demonstrate Expertise, Authoritativeness, and/or Trustworthiness (EAT)?

This is why the fundamentals have changed so little, despite the fact that the industry, technology and tactics have transformed rapidly over time.

A brief caveat

My goal with this post is not to provide step-by-step instruction in how to “do SEO,” but rather to demystify the basic theory for those who find the topic too overwhelming to know where to start, or who believe that it’s too complicated to understand without years of study. With this goal in mind, I am intentionally taking a simplified and high-level perspective. This is not to dismiss the importance of an SEO expert in driving strategy and continuing to develop and maximize value from the search channel. My hope is that those business owners and entrepreneurs who currently feel overwhelmed by this topic can gain a better grasp on the way SEO works, and a greater confidence and ease in approaching their search strategy going forward.

I have provided a few in-depth resources for each of the key areas — but you will likely want to hire a specialist or consultant to assist with analysis and implementation (certainly if you want to develop your search strategy beyond simply the “table stakes” as Rand calls it, you will need a more nuanced understanding of the topic than I can provide in a single blog post).

At the end of the day, the ideas behind SEO are actually pretty simple — it’s the execution that can be more complex or simply time-consuming. That’s why it’s important to understand that theory — so that you can be more informed if and when you do decide to partner with someone who is offering that expertise. As long as you understand the basic concepts and end goal, you’ll be able to go into that process with confidence. Good luck!

4 Marketing Lessons I Learned from Building a Bustling Baseball Fan Community

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[Editor’s Note: Please join me in welcoming another new author to TopRankBlog.com, Nick Nelson. Nick is a Content Strategist that has been with the TopRank Marketing team for a few months and spends his time creating great content for some of our enterprise B2B clients. Welcome Nick!]

If you build it, they will come.

Ah, if only it were that simple. But as any business proprietor knows, it is not. Even if you offer a great product or service, attracting customers takes time and effort. It requires creativity, dedication, and tenacity. That is where marketing comes in.

A fortuitous series of circumstances led to my involvement as a cofounder of Twins Daily, which now counts itself as one of the nation’s biggest completely independent fan sites covering a pro sports team. Through five years of ups and downs with this passion hobby and labor of love, I’ve gained some insights that prove indispensable in my day job as a content marketer.

Today, in my first entry here on the TopRank Marketing blog, I thought I would share some of those lessons, and how I apply them in serving our clients. In the spirit of a baseball diamond with its four corners, we’ll cover the bases before bringing it home.

But first…

What is Twins Daily?

It’s the brainchild of four fan bloggers who sought to end hunger. Not in any noble way, mind you, but there was an appetite for baseball coverage in the Twin Cities market that wasn’t quite being satiated by mainstream media.

In 2012, I teamed up with John Bonnes, Seth Stohs, and Parker Hageman to launch the site, envisioning a community where Twins fans could find exceptional daily content and then stick around for intelligent conversation with like-minded users.

Since then, Twins Daily has piled up 12.5 million visits and 45 million pageviews, generating traffic that surpasses many of the resource-rich professional outlets in town. In 2014, our site was the subject of a cover story in Twin Cities Business magazine. We continue to grow, and in mid-June set a new daily traffic record when Minnesota made the first overall selection in the MLB Draft.

This traction has been driven not by us, but by the community we’ve brought together. When you create energy and participation around your content, there is no telling where it can go. Whether the goal is generating engagement, selling a product, or simply establishing a corporate narrative, this is critical to remember.

The following takeaways are worth keeping in mind for a marketer looking to build and foster online communities with purpose, even if those communities are blog readerships, social media followings, or brand audiences. You don’t need a shared passion like baseball to propel your messaging – only a sound strategy from the ground up.

#1 – Hit the Ground Running

When kicking off our new venture, we had a built-in advantage that is awfully tough to replicate: an established audience. Each of our four disparate blogs had its own sizable readership, giving us an intrinsic head start. However, we weren’t prepared to rely solely upon regulars migrating to the new destination. We needed to generate momentum and excitement. We needed to re-earn their patronage.

So we spent weeks teasing the site, on our personal blogs and our social channels. We planned out a launch on the first day of spring training, with baseball fever hitting a high point. When the big day arrived, we each made announcements on our own sites, and made sure that visitors would find plenty of great content right away at the new hub.

As a result of these collective efforts, Day 1 traffic blew away our expectations, and many who stopped by came back, again and again.

On the flip side, a few years after Twins Daily came into existence, we tried to replicate the formula for other local sports teams, with sites dedicated to the Vikings and Wild. We came out of the gates flat, failed to get everyone on the same page, and never built much of an audience. The ventures fizzled out. It was a harsh learning experience.

When planning out content strategies, it is important to have everyone collectively focused on starting strong with each new campaign.

First Pitch: Initial impressions matter most, and you only get one. Don’t waste it.

#2 – Feed Your Audience What it Wants

It sounds obvious, right? But it really isn’t. Too often do content creators try to dictate what users wish to consume. Too rarely do they consult the analytics and deeper metrics to let the readers tell them what they want.

We wondered: there isn’t going to be a thirst for Twins baseball content every day, even in the middle of winter, right? There was. We wondered: people aren’t going to read about obscure minor-leaguers and trivial minutiae, right? They did.

On plenty of occasions, I have spent hours putting together a lengthy story that I figured would be a home run, only to end up with a swing and miss. I try to continually monitor the traffic trends for each individual piece and draw out correlations, so as to inform future content direction.

The leading mantra here at TopRank Marketing: Optimize! (Our CEO Lee Odden wrote a book on that very subject.) Those principles should be applied to any type of Web-based initiative here in age of ubiquitous metrics and measurement tools.

Read Your Scouting Reports: Content strategy should not comprise of guesswork.

#3 – Events Fuel Engagement

Before we ever conceived Twins Daily, we were already holding informal gatherings for the readers of our blogs. These would usually involve getting together at a local bar to watch a road game, drink beers, and bask in mutual nerdiness.

These events build real connections. In fact, the enthusiastic participation was one of the main things that convinced us we could make something more out of this. Now, we hold annual events like our Winter Meltdown, which takes place around Target Field after TwinsFest in January and features giveaways, photo opps, and Q&As with guests from the organization.

Shaking hands with readers, and affixing faces to usernames, has helped me and our other founders bond with community members in a meaningful way. I know the reverse is also true. These gatherings aren’t big money-makers, but that isn’t the intent.

It’s all about engagement. With a site like ours, which relies not just on people coming to read stories, but sticking around to converse in the comments or on the message board, that is the name of the game.

In the B2B world, summits and conferences are networking gold. You’ll catch plenty of the TopRank Marketing team members at Digital Summit in Minneapolis next month. Say hi!

Take Them Out to the Ballgame: The value of community events goes beyond financial gain.

#4 – Do What You Can With What You’ve Got

In the decade before we set sail with Twins Daily, the Minnesota Twins went to the playoffs six times and fielded a winning team almost every season. Naturally, we came along in Year 2 of an extended downswing that would see them scuffle along as one of baseball’s worst clubs. From 2011 through 2016, the Twins lost 90-plus games five times, erasing the boost of a new ballpark and dramatically reducing general fan interest.

To compensate, we shifted our focus. We searched for creative and entertaining ways to talk about a terrible team. We made it our goal to differentiate in other areas, like unparalleled coverage of the minors and the draft. We turned our forums into a support group of sorts, where disheartened fans could commiserate.

Most businesses aren’t at the mercy of a sports team’s win/loss record, but uncontrollable outside forces are almost always at play — be it the economy, market trends, PR hiccups, etc. In these cases, seek a different perspective or approach that might break through. In the immortal words of Don Draper: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

Play It As It Lies: Make the best out of situations you cannot control.

(Also, note to self: Don’t use golf metaphors in a baseball-themed article, doofus.)

Bringing It Home

Marketing guru Jay Baer once offered this advice: “Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards.”

These four guiding principles have helped us activate our fans, and can serve as a blueprint for helping any content marketer do the same. When you reach a higher level of engagement with readers and community members, the connections become infinitely more profound and fruitful.

My experience with Twins Daily has certainly helped me, implanting valuable knowledge I’m able to bring to work each day as I try to knock it out of the park for our big-league clients.

3 Ways to Generate Leads Using YouTube

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social media how toWant to generate more leads and conversions with YouTube?

Looking for organic tactics to help boost the performance of your existing video content?

In this article, you’ll discover three effective ways to turn YouTube viewers into leads.

3 Ways to Generate Leads Using YouTube by Rikke Thomsen on Social Media Examiner.

3 Ways to Generate Leads Using YouTube by Rikke Thomsen on Social Media Examiner.

#1: Drive Website Traffic With YouTube Cards

YouTube cards are a marketer’s dream come true because they let you provide additional interactivity to the videos you upload. With a card, you can add a call to action (CTA) to your videos with a link, pushing viewers to take the action you want.

This feature was created for mobile users, so it’s highly responsive on all devices. This means you can now send mobile YouTube viewers to your website.

Look at how music producer and artist Chris Robley uses a YouTube card to promote one of his other YouTube videos.

Chris Robley adds YouTube cards to his videos to encourage viewers to watch more of his content.

Chris Robley adds YouTube cards to his videos to encourage viewers to watch more of his content.

Wong Fu Productions uses YouTube cards to promote products on their website.

Wong Fu Productions redirects users to their My Shopify account, where they offer various items for sale.

Wong Fu Productions redirects users to their My Shopify account, where they offer various items for sale.

When you add a card to a specific part of your video, a teaser will appear in the upper-right corner of the video for 5 seconds. If viewers click or tap the teaser, the associated card is revealed.

If viewers click the card's teaser in the upper-right part of the video (left), the YouTube card appears on-screen (right).

If viewers click the card’s teaser in the upper-right part of the video (left), the YouTube card appears on-screen (right).

Once the 5 seconds elapse, viewers just see the “i” icon in the same area.

After 5 seconds, the

After 5 seconds, the “i” icon appears in place of the YouTube card.

Adding YouTube cards to your videos is easy. To start, go to your channel’s Video Manager and find the video to which you want to add the card. Below the video, click the arrow next to Edit and select Cards from the drop-down list.

In your YouTube Video Manager, click the down arrow next to Edit and select Cards.

In your YouTube Video Manager, click the down arrow next to Edit and select Cards.

On the next page, click Add Card and decide which type of card you want to add to your video. Click Create next to the card you want to add.

Click Add Card and select the type of card you want to add to your YouTube video.

Click Add Card and select the type of card you want to add to your YouTube video.

After you select a card type, customize your card in the pop-up window that appears. If you selected Link, add the URL you want to promote and include a catchy CTA. When you’re finished, click Create Card.

The final step is to figure out where in the video you want the card to appear. On the timeline below the video, drag the marker to the right spot.

If you want to use additional YouTube cards in your video, keep these tips in mind:

  • Space out your cards so viewers don’t get distracted.
  • Add no more than three cards per video to get a higher click-through rate. Too many cards might turn off viewers.
  • Avoid pointing or using an arrow to point at the card. Why? Because not all devices are created the same way. Your cards could appear in different spots on the screen.
Move the marker to the spot where you want the card to appear in your YouTube video.

Move the marker to the spot where you want the card to appear in your YouTube video.

#2: Promote Landing Pages With End Screens

End screens are a mobile-friendly YouTube feature that lets you end your videos with a CTA. You can use an end screen to prompt viewers to check out your other videos, channels, or playlists. You can also encourage viewers to hit the Subscribe button for your YouTube channel and promote your website, products, services, or newsletter.

To add an end screen, your video must be at least 25 seconds long because the end screen will appear in the final 5-20 seconds of the clip.

British comedian and YouTube star Tom Scott uses the end screen below to direct viewers to check out another video on his channel. He also includes relevant information for users to find his website and social media accounts.

Tom Scott uses his end screen to recommend another of his videos and share his website and social media handles.

Tom Scott uses his end screen to recommend another of his videos and share his website and social media handles.

To take advantage of this cool feature, go to your Video Manager and find the video you want to use. Below the video, click the arrow next to Edit and select End Screen & Annotations from the drop-down list.

Select End Screen & Annotations from the Edit drop-down menu.

Select End Screen & Annotations from the Edit drop-down menu.

On the next page, make sure the End Screen tab is selected.

Select the End Screen tab.

Select the End Screen tab.

Note: If your video has annotations, YouTube will ask you to follow the on-screen instructions to unpublish them.

You have three options for building your end screen. The first option is to use one of the predefined themes, which include all of the elements. Here’s a sample template that’s been customized.

Customize a template to create your end screen.

Customize a template to create your end screen.

To work with a template, click the Use Template button, select one of the available templates, and then customize it as desired.

Choose one of the YouTube end screen templates.

Choose one of the YouTube end screen templates.

The second option is to create an end screen from scratch. Click Add Element and select the elements you want to add. You can include a maximum of four elements. For every element, fill in the necessary details and click Create Element.

Keep in mind that one of the elements needs to be another video or a playlist. If you plan to include a custom image, the minimum size is 300 x 300 pixels.

Click Add Element to start building an end screen from scratch.

Click Add Element to start building an end screen from scratch.

The third option for adding an end screen is to import it from one of your other videos. Click the Import From Video button and select an already-published clip. Then edit the elements as needed.

Select Import From Video to use an end screen from one of your other YouTube videos.

Select Import From Video to use an end screen from one of your other YouTube videos.

#3: Connect With Leads via Search

A detailed YouTube video description can go a long way toward improving discoverability. You need to optimize it for both YouTube and search engines. Longer and more in-depth video descriptions have a better chance of ranking high for relevant web searches. That’s because contextual keywords are the heart and soul of Google and YouTube queries.

Longer video descriptions aren’t just about single long-tail keywords (although they’re part of it). A detailed description can help you rank for many possible related searches. It may even boost your chances of snagging attention for keywords or phrases you didn’t use. How awesome is that?

Write lengthy and in-depth descriptions that include multiple relevant keyword variations. Ensure that the first few lines are interesting enough to grab users’ attention, especially the text that appears before the Show More link. You should also include a link to your website in the first part of the description.

A simple way to make sure every word counts is to break up paragraphs into bite-sized pieces so viewers don’t get bored reading. After all, they’re on YouTube to watch videos, not read essays.

This YouTube video description from Dove includes a detailed explanation of the video, links to other videos on Dove’s YouTube channel, and repeats the hashtag #MyBeautyMySay.

This YouTube video description includes detailed information, links to other videos, and repeats the hashtag.

This YouTube video description includes detailed information, links to other videos, and repeats the hashtag.

Ignite Visibility’s video description includes multiple combinations of keywords to ensure the video ranks high for them.

This video description includes a number of different keyword combinations.

This video description includes a number of different keyword combinations.

It’s also important to optimize the part of the description that appears before the Show More link. If you look at Dove’s video description, the top portion includes two basic elements: an attention-grabbing introduction and the hashtag.

The most important text in your YouTube video description appears before the Show More link.

The most important text in your YouTube video description appears before the Show More link.

Ignite Visibility’s video description includes the most relevant keywords before the Show More link.

This YouTube video description includes the most relevant and important keywords before the cut.

This YouTube video description includes the most relevant and important keywords before the cut.

Be sure to add a UTM parameter to your URL so you can track how many clicks your video generates. When you add your URL to your YouTube description, be sure to include the http:// or https:// part to make the link clickable. That makes it easy for users to go directly to your site.

Add URL parameters to the links you share on YouTube so you can track traffic to your site.

Add URL parameters to the links you share on YouTube so you can track traffic to your site.

Conclusion

Despite its lead generation potential, only 9% of small businesses in the U.S. have a YouTube channel. Start getting creative before the other 91% realize that they’re missing out on this golden opportunity.

The three tactics above are easy ways to drive more traffic to your website from YouTube, generate more video views, and attract more subscribers to your channel.

What do you think? How do you use YouTube to generate leads? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

3 Ways to Generate Leads Using YouTube by Rikke Thomsen on Social Media Examiner.

3 Ways to Generate Leads Using YouTube by Rikke Thomsen on Social Media Examiner.

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