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The use of social media marketing tools have been on the rise over the past few years, especially as social media has become a core component of an organization’s online and digital marketing strategy. Here is a list of features and requirements that the use of social media marketing has surfaced and the various tools that provide these features and functions.

Features of Social Media Management Tools

There are various types of tools that are available in the market. Some of the categories include the following:

  • Tools for larger enterprises that have large social media monitoring teams
  • Tools that let organizations consolidate management of their various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, Google+ and Instagram.
  • Tools that let agencies work with their customers
  • Social media monitoring tools that enable customer service support
  • Tools that let organizations acquire more customers and grow their business

 

The overall goals of social media marketing and monitoring tools is to

  • Manage one’s brand image
  • Interact with visitors and customers on social media
  • The organizations should be able to track its social media marketing and monitoring activities with an enterprise’s customer growth, revenue growth, and in general overall business growth goals.

 

Social media tools capabilities

General Features

  • A consolidated inbox that brings in all the conversations in one place
  • Social media managers can act on the messages by tagging them as leads, follow-up, respond, etc.
  • Monitor using hashtags and keywords
  • Complete audit trail showing an organization’s and its employees responses
  • Based on the tasks identified from social listening, assign and manage tasks. For example, identifying leads is a common task and how that lead needs to be followed up with can be assigned as a task
  • Publish messages across various social media platforms from one tool.
  • The tools need the ability to store and manage content that is used in publishing. This can include whitepapers, images, posts, etc.
  • Approval workflows that allow employees to create posts and messages and route them to managers for approval
  • Have the ability to create a publishing calendar and review it
  • Once posts and message are selected, the tools allow for automated scheduling
  • The tools should have the detailed ability to track and report data and insights on the effects of social media marketing on the company’s image, customer growth, and increase in revenues. In a nutshell, the data analytics must be able to quantify business value.
  • When monitoring activities for multiple clients, need to manage social listening of all clients from one platform

Social media analysis and reporting

  • Competitive intelligence – how competitors are using social media to promote their content and brand and products
  • Combine data with Google Analytics to see a bigger picture
  • Predictive intelligence reports
  • Get an idea how one’s social media efforts measure up against the competition
  • Based on historical performance get recommendations on content
  • Socialbakers provides tools to benchmark ones performance. One can compare two Facebook pages for examples to measure performance

Listing of Select Social Media tools

  • https://sproutsocial.com/
  • https://hootsuite.com/
  • http://tweetreach.com/
  • https://klout.com/
  • http://socialmention.com/
  • https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/
  • http://keyhole.co/
  • https://www.brandwatch.com/
  • http://buzzsumo.com/
  • http://glean.info/
  • http://www.digimind.com/
  • http://howsociable.com/
  • https://www.nuvi.com/

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Back to Social Media Marketing

This page includes articles and posts related to online demand generation and creation.

 

 

Back to Digital and Online Marketing

Inbound and outbound marketing are the two popular methods for demand creation.

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing refers to using content marketing to position ones business and online site to attract online visitors and traffic and to convert them to leads. Content creation, therefore, is a major component of the inbound marketing process. The time and dollars investment to strengthen ones inbound marketing systems focuses on content creation around blogs and posts on the blog, product descriptions, and creating other useful content meant to attract online visitors through various online channels. Social media is another major source to implement inbound marketing as posting content for the benefit of your online community organically attracts visitors, which then can subscribe as leads on a site. The build up of original and good content around certain topics and industry verticals also contributes to strengthening ones organic SEO position and ranking thereby attracting visitors through search engines.

Popular inbound marketing tactics in the digital and online space use the following methods:

  • Blogs with rich content
  • E-mail Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Establishing and running online communities related to specific verticals.
  • etc.

In the above methods, online visitors usually land on the marketers website by looking for information. It is therefore referred to as inbound marketing because online visitors make the move to find the organization and its products and services.

Outbound marketing

Outbound marketing on the other hand refers to reaching out to targeted audiences in an attempt to capture leads. It refers to crafting content with the intention of using it to attract visitors and leads. The focus here is to reach out to online audiences who are not actively looking for an organization’s products and services. However, an organization reaches out to specific target audiences with specific content with the hopes of creating or highlighting a need for the online user thus trying to entice them to sign-up as a lead.

Examples of outbound marketing include the following:

  • Writing Press Releases
  • Online advertising
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) methods
  • etc.

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Back to Online Demand Generation

One of the hotly debated topics over the past few years have been whether social signals (e.g. social media Likes, shares, and so on) contribute toward a site’s higher ranking in SEO. A few years ago, staff from Google apparently stated that social signals were not used as a ranking factor for web pages. The thought was based on the following:

  • It’s easy for anyone to create fake social media profiles and post links to those pages. With so many social media platforms and the possibility of many fake accounts makes Google wary of using those as valid back links.
  • The authority of social media pages where links are shared isn’t easily established as it can be for regular web pages and websites.

Due to these and some other concerns, the understanding in the SEO community is that social media signals don’t contribute (or not as much) to a site’s organic search ranking and SEO.

However, during testing, some web pages with many shares across social media have shown improvements in their organic search rankings. But that may be because of the indirect effect of sharing. Links that are shared extensively over social media get a lot of exposure and are much more likely to be picked by someone and included on their website or blog.

The bottom line is that sharing on social media is encouraged and the more social signals you pick up, the better it will be for your brand, inbound traffic, and has the potential to get back-links if some from those who see your link decide to link to your web page from their site.

Back to the SEO corner

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(updated 5/31/2017 – WR)

What is the Google Search Index?

When a new site and its pages are created, it’s information must be included in the Google database so that when users search on Google, those pages can be discovered and displayed in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This Google database of sites and information on their pages is referred to as the Google Search Index.

google index

How is the Google index updated?

The Google Search Engine has crawlers (also referred to as the Googlebot) that crawls the web looking for any updates to the overall sites located in the cyberspace. These updates include new sites and their pages added, sites and their pages deleted, and updates to existing sites. The Googlebot collects this information and updates the Google Search Index with this information.

Each search query results in Google finding potentially millions of relevant pages and results. These pages are ranked and displayed in the organic search results to the end user using sophisticated search algorithms. However, before search engines and algorithms can do their magic, the Google web crawlers have to find and organize those web pages in Google’s search index. With the ever increasing amounts of information on the web, the Google Search Index is growing exponentially. Just imagine that besides all the web content that is available, the Google index has started to include pages from millions of already published books. This has made the Google index to swell to trillions of pages and is still growing. Organizing this information and then sorting through it and to rank pages is no small feat. This is where Google crawlers and search algorithms do their job.

The Googlebot is able to find all this information using website links. It follows one link to another until it’s able to get to all the websites and their pages. To be able to crawl and read the information embedded in each of the website pages, the Googlebot must be able to read the information properly. To facilitate this, Google publishes best practices and guidelines to allow the Googlebot to easily index the web pages. Although there are some technicalities to these practices, for the most part if a website is structured well for the end users, the Googlebot has no problems in reading information related to the sites and to add that information to its index.

How can Google (and Googlebot) rapidly index and rank a website and its pages?

Although there are no is no specific science that will guarantee an update and search ranking in a certain amount of time, Webmasters can take a number of steps to try to come up on the search map quickly. Here are some of those ways.

Get a Google Search Console Account

Google Search Console is a service provided by Google that can help webmasters monitor the performance of their websites in the Google search engine. A similar service is also provide by Bing as well. Although signing up for Google Search Console is not a requirement to be included in Google’s organic search results but it’s highly recommended because it allows the webmaster to monitor the performance of the site related to inclusion in the Google’s search index. Webmasters can view performance related to the search terms that drive traffic to a website, any crawl errors that the Googlebot may be experiencing due to any technical issues, HTML improvements from Google, and so on. Here are some of the primary functions that are available to a webmaster to help manage their website’s inclusion and positioning within Google Search:

  • Overall status of a website with Google Index. This includes information related to crawl errors, search analytics information, sitemap related information, etc.
  • HTML improvements recommended by Google
  • Status related to Accelerated Mobile Pages if the website is using the feature
  • Links to a website (internal and external)
  • Information related to structured data that let’s webmasters provide specific structured information to Google to ease in Google indexing
  • Any resource (web pages, files, etc.) that are perhaps blocked to be included in the Google index.
  • URL removal requests – This refers to URLs that may have been requested to be removed from the Google Index.
  • Site crawl errors that may be impeding webpages to be includes in Google’s index
  • Crawl Stats that includes information related to Pages crawled per day, webpages downloaded per day in kilobytes, and time spent downloading a page (in milliseconds).
  • Security issues – This includes information if a website is hacked and if someone has installed Malware on the site. This prevents the website’s actual pages to show up in the index or the pages are directed to other sites (stealing traffic).

The images below show some of the information related to the functions above.

Google index quick update

Google index update

Google index HTML improvement SEO

Internal  Linking

Internal links not only allows Googlebot to get to your internal pages quickly but it’s also able to assess the importance of these pages relative to others. Obviously, if a web page is more referenced (and hence internally linked) that means it’s highly valued by the website owner.

Ensure a good website structure

Similar to the earlier point, the existence of an overall structured website makes the job of the Googlebot much easier and it’s able to determine not only the structure of the site but also it can get to those pages quickly in a short span of time. The easier you can make the site accessible to users (and Googlebot), the sooner it can index those pages and make them available for organic search.

Include buttons for social shares

Another way is to include social sharing buttons on your website. This allows your readers to share content on social media sites that they like on your website on other pages thus making them more visible to Googlebot.

Get external links

As mentioned earlier, Googlebot is able to find pages through various links published either internally or on external websites. Imagine, if an external popular website that has Googlebot visiting it frequently, finds the link to a new website, then Googlebot will add it to its index rather quickly. Besides the inclusion of a link on an existing popular website also in an indication of the quality of the link and Google search uses this to rank it higher for the relevant keywords.

Website promotion

As part of their duties, webmasters should constantly be promoting a website to various directories and other places on the web. Again, the more a website and its pages are linked from external sources, the faster a website and its pages will make it to the Google Index.

Publishing of the RSS feed

Publishing an RSS feed for a blog enables interested parties to subscribe to those RSS feeds and the more they get externally referenced.

Avoid Black Hat SEO

The initial few years saw many try to guess Google Search’s functionality and attempted to devise methods to fool the search engine. However, such black hat SEO techniques are not only very much discouraged by Google but they apply penalties to sites that are known to employ such techniques. Webmasters, therefore, should not only avoid any black hat SEO techniques but should also come to know of practices that Google mat construe as unacceptable.

Periodically check Google Search Console

Webmasters should periodically check whether site pages of their interest have been indexed by Google. This can be done by checking on the Google search engine or the Google Search Console.

Stay tuned on Google Search Updates

With rapid advancements in the area of search, it’s advisable to stay updated on best practices that are published by Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other search engines of concern. The important thing to note is that even if your site ranks higher today, it may not be at the same level the next day. Google indexing rules change constantly and your websmaster must stay up to date on any recent announcements or changes by Google.

google index improvement

 

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Back to the SEO Corner

Capturing leads is an essential step in the overall marketing and selling process. When marketing online, this step is usually accomplished by directing users to landing pages, which provide various types of promises and offers to entice users to provide their E-mail IDs. When marketing on Facebook, one of the methods that online marketers use is to direct Facebook users away from Facebook to an external landing page.

Facebook, however, has made this process through the availability of Leads Ads, which has made this process simple by letting users stay within Facebook and to sign-up for various offers provided by online marketers. The way this works is that a Facebook users on seeing an Ad, clicks on the Ad and is presented with a form that is pre-populated with the user’s information such as E-mail, name, etc. If the user wants to continue with providing her or her information, they simply click submit and the information is submitted to the marketers.

Using Facebook Leads Ads has many advantages over the traditional landing page method. First, it reduces the number of clicks and typing that the user has to engage in to provide their information to the marketer. Second, the user gets to stay within Facebook and not leave to an external site that he or she may not completely trust. Third, as most social media and Facebook activity is on mobile phones, the user doesn’t have to type in to fill the small form on their mobile devices to provide their information. This is because Facebook fills in the required fields for the Facebook user from the information that is already available to them of the user.

Some of the cons of this approach are that the marketer has to manually download all the E-mails and upload them in their E-mail marketing systems to make them part of the auto follow-up systems. However, some external apps are already providing some of these integrations and one can expect Facebook to fill this gap within a short time. (Get Facebook marketing training online)

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Back to Facebook Marketing

Webmasters should be wary of factors that not only can negatively impact a user experience but also a site’s SEO parameters that in turn can impact its position and ranking within organic search and SERPs. The following are some of those factors:

Black hat SEO techniques to Avoid

  1. Keyword stuffing – Some webmasters stuff their web pages with keywords hoping to improve search engine rankings. Although this may have worked in the past but search engines today have become much more intelligent to allow such types of practices. The rule of thumb is that if it’s not a good read for the users, then it won’t be good for the search engines and the site’s and / or page’s overall rankings.
  2. Spamming blogs with comments – Many black hat online marketers until today spam the comments sections of many blogs hoping to get backward links. This definitely is something that won’t work.
  3. Doorway pages – Some webmasters implement doorway pages on which they get traffic only to direct that traffic to the other sites. Search engines don’t look at such techniques favorably.
  4. Duplicate content – Although it’s alright on occasions to reference content from other sources, completely copying and duplicating content can land the site in trouble, especially if it’s done persistently. Websites with original content are much more likely to be placed higher in search engine rankings than those with duplicate content.
  5. Over use of anchor texts – sites that over use anchor text are more likely to be picked up by search engines as being unnatural. For example, repeatedly using the anchor text “SEO tips” from around the websites is unnatural. Instead, use natural expressions as anchor texts to point to relevant webpages.
  6. Use of hidden texts – Some webmasters hide texts and keyword phrases on web pages thinking of not being caught. They would make use of either small fonts or invisible colored fonts to hide texts from the users. What they don’t realize is that web crawlers can easily detect such black hat techniques.
  7. Cloaking – This refers to presenting one set of content for search engines but when the user clicks on a link, it instead redirects the user to a bad or spammy site. Although search engines have built in the necessary intelligence to detect such techniques, it’s unfortunately being used extensively by many in the industry.
  8. Links coming from link farms – Some webmasters post links in link farms hoping that link backs from such sites will improve their search rankings. On the contrary, search engine crawlers have become intelligent to weed out such link neighborhoods and can impact the trustworthiness of your site.
  9. Content or Article Spinning – This refers to taking an existing article and rephrasing it to make it look like an original content. Again, search engine algorithms today have built in a lot of intelligence related to understanding and interpreting natural languages and their syntax.
  10. Clickbaiting –  In this technique webmasters create a headline that has nothing to do with the actual content. The idea is to try to get clicks on the link. Even though it may work in the short run, search engines will quickly detect such techniques when they analyze the page’s bounce rate and low session duration.

Conclusion

It’s clear that employing these black hat SEO techniques involve a lot of work and effort. Webmasters and marketers are better off investing the same times and effort on creating useful content and building a good online presence that can add to the overall user experience. These techniques, even if they are successful for the short term, eventually get caught with undesirable consequences such as dropping of ranking overnight, getting websites banned or delisted from search engines, and much more.

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Back to the SEO Corner

This post provides the basics of Email marketing and its relationship to digital and online marketing.

E-mail marketing has been in existence since the dawn of digital marketing and that is because E-mail communications continues to dominate the Internet and online world. It would be safe to say that almost every person who is an online user has a minimum of one E-mail address that he or she uses for communicating with others. For most, E-mail continues to be be the primary platform to communicate with others. It’s for this reason that capturing digital leads is mostly about capturing users’ E-mails. These E-mails then become the basis for following up with the leads by pushing content, establishing an ongoing relationship, offer them promotions, and so on.

Some of the features of E-mail marketing systems include the following:

Auto Follow-up

This allows marketers to setup E-mail messages that automatically follow-up with users and prospects by providing them useful content and to use that as a basis to start and establish an online relationship. E-mail marketing systems allow the setup of numerous follow-up messages using a set of business rules.

Creation of lists by audiences

E-mail marketing systems allow grouping of various digital audiences in various lists thus allowing marketers to establish different follow-up rules for each of the lists that contains audiences of unique preferences and behaviors.

Availability of different E-mail Templates

The E-mail marketing systems provide various types of templates to businesses allowing them to reach different types of audiences. These templates are based on various industry types such as retail, banking, etc. and also provide various themes depending on the type of E-mail communications that an organization wishes to have with its users and the marketers overall online marketing goals.

Managing E-mail Subscribers

The E-mail marketing systems allow online marketers to manage their subscribers. This allows importing new subscribers that marketers may have gathered from elsewhere, deleting subscribers that they feel are no longer responsive to an organization’s marketing messages, further segmenting users based on certain criteria (e.g. location, engagement behavior), etc.

Email Sign-up Forms

E-mail marketing systems provide various types of E-mail sign-up forms that marketers can insert in various web pages of their websites. Each sign-up form can then be associated with a specific list.

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Back to E-mail Marketing Strategies

 

 

This page includes content and articles related to social media marketing.

Social Media Advertising Platforms

Social Media General Marketing Topics and Strategies

  • Social Media Administration

Back to Online and Digital Marketing

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