A new ‘shiver,’ this time from Facebook

You bought 11K ‘Likes’ for your Facebook fan page? New Facebook updates might not ‘Like’ it at all!

Recently Facebook updated its integrity system in order to prevent false Likes (Facebook Security page). The improved system wants to offer to fan pages and brand owners more accurate and measurable results of fan count and demographics.

This new method aims to identify and then take actions for suspicious Likes.

For instance, purchased (bulk) Likes or Likes gained by malware will be removed.

The company said the change will impact less than 1% of the Likes for any particular page.

The idea is that people connect only with those pages and brands they have chosen to connect. Here’s what Facebook update says:

“We have recently increased our automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms. On average, less than 1% of Likes on any given Page will be removed, providing they and their affiliates have been abiding by our terms.”

The inventive process of buying Likes might seem a smart move. This could be especially attractive for new pages and brands in order to increase their online awareness. Buying fans however is similar to buying email list. You end up with a large number of people who actually don’t know anything about your business. Meaning, they will most likely never buy from you.

While any page or brand would like to have instant large number of followers, buying Likes may not be such a good idea. It may bring more harm than good. What works is to understand what motivates people and then give it to them. Two main reasons why you should not buy Facebook Likes are:

  1. It is against Facebook regulations.
  2. Bought Likes are not targeted.

People will not like your page only because you have 11K fans. They will like your page because it benefits them. Also, slowly increasing fan base gives you less of that “shiver” feeling.

Article By Daliborka Krstic

How to Use Pinterest

Pinterest has one major power, it drives traffic to your website.

If your business relies on driving high volume traffic, then you should consider joining Pinterest. Actually, anyone who wants to promote a product, service, or a business can benefit from Pinterest.

For all those who are not familiar, Pinterest is a highly visual social network. It is used for “pinning” or sharing visually interesting images. This is how it works:

  1. Users find on the web an image they like. For example, they could like an image you just uploaded to your site.
  2. With the bookmarklet, pinners (users) pin your image. The image is now visible on their Pinterest board.
  3. When others on their pinboard like the image, they have an option to like it or repin it. If they repin the image, it will appear on their own boards.
  4. Once they click on the image, it will take them back to your website.

As you have noticed the process of pinning is rather simple and there are only few new terms for you to get familiar with: pinboards, pins, pin it, pinning, bookmarklet, repining and pinners.

  • A pinboard is is a board to which you give a name. You can have as many boards as you want. For example, if you are in a cake business, you can create boards such as: wedding cakes board, birthday cakes boards, bachelorette cakes and so on.
  • A pin is an image or any other visual content added to Pinterest pinboard.
  • Repin means to re-post a pin.
  • Pinning is a process of sharing images.
  • Pin it button is placed on a website to encourage sharing on Pinterest.
  • Pinner is a person who shares visual content.
  • Bookmarklet is added to your tool bar so you can easily pin others people creative stuff.

Next are four easy steps you can apply already now to improve your presence on Pinterest.

1. Planning

Instead of posting only good articles to your website, plan how you could improve your posts by adding images, infographics, videos, presentations or a cover from your new brochures. Plan in advance what kind of high quality visually impressive content you can upload to your site. Just make sure that the image you upload is relevant to your niche and it accompanies your post. Once ready with your planning, remember to add Pin it button visible to your site for others to share your content.

2. Pinterest Profile

For start you could create a profile that clearly defines who you are. Use keywords in the profile so others can easily find you. Make sure you follow Pinterest terms of service, it is always good to play by the rules.

You can log in to Pinterest with your email address or by using Facebook and or Twitter profiles. This is great feature because users pinning your stuff can also share it on Facebook and or Twitter. Here is what you could have in your description:

  • Upload an image / logo
  • Write who you are and what your company does (an elevator speech could work here)
  • Add a description of your boards
  • Have a call to action, such as: Follow me!
  • Add your website address

3. Pinboards

Create pinboards that compliment your business and are closely related to your topic. You can have as many boards as you want, but start with five. Also you can create few boards which do not need to be industry or business related. Rather, they will tell a bit more about your company personality, values, what your company stands for and so on. These kinds of boards are also very engaging on an emotional level which means you can attract more pinners and promote your business even more. Check the most popular and most shared images on Pinterest and monitor your competitors. Find out how you can use this information to improve your boards and or pinning.

4. How to drive engagement

Observe what is popular in your niche and how other companies are engaging their Pinterest followers. That will give you an idea what kind of next step to make. You can also:

  • Ask people to like your pin in your post
  • Ask people to comment on your pin
  • Ask questions and let people answer to your board
  • Make an interesting contest
  • Run offers
  • Follow others on Pinterest and like, pin, repin or comment on their content

Have in mind that Pinterest is not about self promotion only. Actually that is the list what Pinterest is all about. To see positive results on Pinterest, pin other peoples stuff, upload shareable images on your website and let others pin your content on their boards.

After a while you would want to follow your traffic. Google Analytics is a free tool which can help you follow how much traffic you receive from Pinterest and what type of images are of most interest to your pinners. Another handy tool is Curalate which can provide you with a lot of info: who is pinning, liking or commenting your image.

PS: Do not forget to add pin it button to every page. Upload eye-catching images and remember: if you are using pin it button from your pages, every pin will include a link back to the source. Happy pinning and follow Nordic Search on Pinterest.

Article by: Daliborka Krstic

4 Ways to Spy Your Competitors via Social Sites

Social media is a valuable resource for a business not only to connect with fans but also to keep track of competitors.

Your competitors might be using new tactics to promote a new product, service or they might be trying to enter a new market. By knowing what they are up to and why others refer back to them when talking about your industry, you will have a great competitive edge.

However, if you have not yet figure out who are your at least top ten competitors, it will be difficult to spy on them. First, pull out some of your keywords you are saving for link building purposes or select top keyword phrases from your SEO folder and write them down in Google search, one-by-one. Then, ten URLs that shows up in SERP with your keyword are you potential competitors. To narrow down your competition geographically, repeat the step except this time add in search a name of a country or a city of your interest. Copy the top ten URLs in excel. You want to write down your competitors URLs / keywords and make few notes for future references. Now you are good to go and spy on your competitors.

There are more than hundred different kind of tools and ways which you can effectively apply for spying on your competitors. Here are four simple yet effective tools to help you extract already today some important information about your competitors.

  1. Website

Look around the website. What social media sites the website is using? How many shares there are? Based on the number of shares you can easily find out if the company is of interest to visitors, what kind of content is popular. Also you can identify what social sites visitors prefer to use for spreading the news.

Observe how often your competitor is posting articles, check if they offer some incentives, promotions and where are they sending visitors to engage with: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or Pinterest.

If you notice that they have an email sign-up form, join the list and receive their newsletter. Find out in what way they are using email to attract the target audience.

  1. Facebook

Most if not all of the competition is already on Facebook. Select your competitor and open up their Facebook fan page. Observe not only the numbers, but also what kind of value they continuously offer to their fans and why their fans come back over and over again to their page. Quantity is good as long as the quality follows up. You are looking for the following information:

  • What kind of updates they are posting: questions, funny images, or how-to tips?
  • How often they update their posts / day/time?
  • How many likes/shares/comments/post?

Another way to learn more what others are saying about your competitor is Facebook highlights. Right below custom tabs, you will notice a word highlights button. Click the button and select post by others. Now you can view what others are posting about company, what are their concerns, what are they commenting on, asking or complaining.

Similarly, you can observe other social networks such as Twitter, Pinterest or Linkedin.

  1. Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a simple yet nifty and easy to use tool, great for spying on your competitors. All you need to do is set up keyword searches or phrases for your competitors and choose the way you would like to receive updates, by email or RSS feed. Based on your main keyword selection in your niche or a keyword phrase you can receive alerts as often as you choose to receive and as many as many as you prefer. Every time when your competitor post a new article you will receive alert.

  1. Social Mention

Social mention is a social media search tool that allows you to easily track what people are saying about you or anyone else online, including your competitors. By writing a keyword which can be just anything from a company name to a new product name, social mention pulls out the information from across the web. In few seconds it will present you how is your keyword used in numerous places online especially social media. With social mention you can receive free daily email alerts.

All the information you gather can help you improve your social media strategy, give you a glimpse of what is coming next in terms of trends, it can help you decide what not to do and it can also give you a small edge over your competition.

Article by Daliborka Krstic

Track And Measure Social Success With Google Social Analytics

There are over 300 social tools. Socdir have listed about, well almost all of them. Which tool to use will mainly depend on your well defined social goals, and what are you trying to measure. Reporting, tracking and measuring social media outcomes can lead to extremely powerful results. With well selected social tools a company is able to:

  • Measure campaign effectiveness and its progress
  • Gather real-time data
  • Track results of every dollar spent
  • Determine what social media efforts work best
  • Help social media strategists adjust efforts to generate substantial revenue

There are payed and free-based social tools that offer a clear view of customer reach, volume and impressions, specific to business particular needs. If you or your company is confused which tools to use to track and measure social success, have a look at free Google Social Analytics tools.

Track & Measure With Google Social Analytics

Google Social Analytics introduces a new feature for tracking, analyzing and measuring basic, yet very essential social behavior online. The parameters are based around four main elements, which according to Google Analytics define your social impact. This includes:

Sources & Pages: Identify networks & communities where people engage with your content.
Conversions: Measure the value of social by tracking your goals, conversions and e-commerce transactions.
Social Plugins: Measure your on-site user engagement.
Social Visitors Flow: Compare traffic volumes and visitor traffic patterns through your site.

With the new social reports you can analyze how social media impacts your business. Its overview helps you follow on-site and off-site user interaction, you can see how much conversion value is generated from social media channels and it helps you follow social visitors behavior and flow. For example, you can track the social behavior from the moment you start running a campaign.

To set up Social Analytics reporting you should first have Google Analytics account. Then, before you start tracking and measuring you need to have a clear statement of social goals and determine key metrics. This will help you easier set up social analytics report, measure and track the most important social efforts, and it will help you better justify spent money on a campaign, or time spent with social media marketing efforts.

Article by: Daliborka Krstic

Pinterest Sharpens Terms of Service

Pinterest is a new social media networking site and currently one of the hottest and most addicting visually-pleasing social ‘Pinning ‘site. In March 2012, Pinterest makes Hitwise’s list of the top ten social networks, sitting at #5 just behind Yahoo Answers and surpassing big names like Linkedin and Google+.

While individuals are Pinning and sharing with other ‘Pinners’ their, attention-grabbing photos and products they love, companies are using Pinterest as a particularly effective Internet marketing and SEO tool.

Just few days ago, this image based social network had rather standard terms and conditions, mainly: Pin it. However, after receiving many criticisms including copyright infringement concerns by users, Pinterest responded fast and decided to make few changes. Two days ago, on March 23, 212 Pinterest updates and sharpens their Terms & Privacy.
In the newsletter, the Pinterest CEO Ben Silberman explains reasons for updates:

“We think that the updated Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy, and Privacy Policy are easier to understand and better reflect the direction our company is headed in the future.”

Also, original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for to sell your content. In the new Terms it is explained that:

”Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.”

Among other things, the updates respond to how Pinterest can commercially utilize the information users post on the site, what you can pin and the use of copyrighted material. To read the entire update, visit Pinterest Privacy & Policy page. The new Terms will go into effect for all users on April 6, 2012.

Therefore, “If you receive a notification that a Pin has been removed due a copyright complaint, it means that the Pin’s content has been deleted from Pinterest at the request of the content’s owner. If your account receives too many copyright complaints, you may lose the ability to Pin new content on Pinterest, and your account may be disabled completely.”

Successful Pinning!

Article by Daliborka Krstic

Positive Social Media Stats for Small Businesses

I read recently an article from Social Media Examiner, 26 Promising Social Media Stats for Small Businesses. These 26 stats are highlighting the importance of developing a social media strategy for your business.

I am going to summarize some of the stats in this article.

General Stats

As we can well imagine, Facebook is the top destination among social networks and blogs and there are over 800 million active Facebook users in the world. When it comes to Americans, they spent more time on Facebook than any other US website.

Nearly 23 % of online time is spent on social networks and around 40 % of social media users are accessing their accounts through mobile devices.

25 % of social network users are likely to visit another social site after leaving one.

Good stats for those who have been judged to be too active in social media is that social media users are recognized to be more active and influential offline.

Facts about Facebook Users

Over half of the Facebook users log in every day. This means over 400 million people! There are 900 million objects that people interact with, such as pages, groups, etc., and average user is connected to 80 pages and has 130 friends.

A Facebook user spends 20 minutes in Facebook on average during each visit, and the majority of Facebook users log in 3-4 times per week.

From over 7 million applications that Facebook is hosting, over 20 million applications are downloaded each day.

Approximately 75 % of Facebook users are outside of North America. Accounts are available in 70 languages.

According to a study conducted by Comscore, those business brands that post at least once every day will reach 22 % of their fans in a given week.

Interesting is that Twitter users are more likely to buy brands they follow than Facebook users. 64 % of Twitter users are likely to buy brands they are following whereas 51 % of Facebook users are more likely to buy brands they are following.

The importance of Social Media for Small Businesses

The most important reasons for small businesses to be active on social media are connecting with customers, visibility and self-promotion.

44 % of small businesses decision makers use social media; 86 % of those decision makers use Facebook, 41 % LinkedIn, and 33 % Twitter.

50 % of small business owners are gaining new customers through social media, especially from Facebook and LinkedIn.

Small Businesses are getting results from using social media without spending much. 74 % of businesses don’t employ anyone to manage their social media marketing and 64 % of small business decision makers are using less that 100 USD on social media.

Conclusions

You can draw several conclusions from these statistics. Clear is that social media is more and more important for small businesses to interact with their customers and to grow the business. There are plenty of opportunities social media offers to connect with customers, but the competitions is also tense.

SEO generates more leads than PPC & Social Media

According to the 2011 State of Digital Marketing survey, SEO beats PPC and Social Media for generating leads and it is the number one source of leads for both B2C and B2B marketers.

2011 State of Digital Marketing Report was compiled by Webmarketing123, an online marketing agency based in California. During August and September Webmarketing123 surveyed over 500 online marketers in the United States, from which about two-thirds identified themselves as B2B marketers.

Website traffic is the primary way both B2B and B2C marketers measure their success in online marketing.

Both B2B and B2C marketers agree that SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation. 57 % of B2B marketers and 41 % of B2C marketers credit SEO as their primary source of generating leads.

When it comes to marketing budget, one third of B2B marketers said that SEO gets the majority of their budget. On B2C side only about 20 % said that SEO is their top budget allocation.

Interesting is that 60 % of the marketers surveyed say they plan to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2012, ahead of PPC and SEO. 53 % plan to increase their budget for SEO and 40 % for PPC.

Searchengineland.com compiled the data from this survey into an infographic, which can be seen here.

Social Media Return On Investment

Social media return on investment (ROI) is a measure of the efficiency of a social media marketing campaign. But first, let’s all remind ourselves what ROI actually means.

ROI is mostly used in measuring the financial efficiency of an investment and it is based on the following formula:

ROI = (return – investment) / investment * 100 %

If you increase your return while keeping the investment same, the ROI is increasing. The higher the ROI is the better. ROI formula is an easy way to compare and measure marketing campaigns.

What is social media return and how to quantify it

Social media return on investment is not that easy to measure. The investment made for social media activity is straightforward, but how do you measure the return and attach a dollar value to it?

Social media return

Social media return is the value that you get from your social media campaign, and you can define that value to be what ever you want. If your goal is to drive your sales with your social media campaign, then the social media return is the number of sales that you can attribute to your social media campaign.

Instead of sales, your goal might be to drive consumer insights, or increase brand awareness. In other words, social media return is the value that you derive from social media based on the goals of your campaign.

Quantifying social media return

After defining your social media return, you need to quantify it into dollars. This can be difficult because you need to look at each type of social media return and develop a method for dollar quantification.

Looking strictly at sales the quantification of social media return is much more simple than quantifying consumer insights or brand awareness.

One commonly used technique to quantify consumer insights is to compare the quality and quantity of consumer insights from offline focus groups to consumer insights from your social media campaign.

Calculating social media return

After defining the social media return and quantifying it, you can calculate social media return on investment (ROI):

Social media ROI = (SM return – SM investment) / SM investment * 100 %

ROI is a measurement of efficiency and a powerful tool in your marketing toolbox. After you have calculated the ROI of your social media campaign, you can and you should use the ROI number to compare to other social media campaigns as well as your TV, media, print, radio and other campaigns.

 

Infographics

Data-visualization is a great way to deliver a message in a short and attention-grabbing manner. “A picture is worth 1000 words.”

An infographic is a graphical representation of an idea or a concept and can often tell a message more effectively than you can with words. It’s a good way to represent information in an interesting and high-impact way, and it can be much easier and faster to digest than a text-only version of the same information.

You have probably seen some infographics before, but here is one example that I very much like:

http://degreesearch.org/blog/infographics/valentines_day_spending/



As you can see from that infographics, an infographic packages graphs, charts, other images and text into one image file. It makes the information easier to syndicate to other websites while maintaining the formatting.

An infographic is easy to embed on other websites so is is an attractive option for site owners using the content as well. And there is no risk for duplicate content because the image is not crawlable by the search engines.

An infographic that is visually appealing and attention-catching will have a high chance of being shared with friends online. A successful infographic is a great tool for link building and it will also increase traffic to the website and improve brand awareness.

Infographics in link building

An infographic is a great tool to be used in link building because of its ability to grab people’s attention and their willingness to share them via social media and blogs. A catchy infographic with the embed code provided immediately under it is easy to embed and share.

But how is it possible to use infographics successfully in link building if there is a lack of crawlability?

The key is to include a brief text under the image in the embed code that you provide to other site owners. A few different texts can be written, each using different keywords as the link text when linking back to your site.

Of course, the more interesting the infographic is, the greater the likelihood that people will want to share it with others either via social media or on their own sites.

What is a good infographic?



A good infographic should consist of data that is reliable and fresh. It should be gathered intelligently and represented in a surprising way giving information.

The design should be reader-friendly and you should pay attention to the users of your data. It is always good to have some professionals involved. Things to consider in the design are e.g. colours, font and images.

If the infographic doesn’t make you say “Wow” when you look at it, it’s not probably attractive enough.

It is important to review data and compile a design with a distinct point of view. An infographic should persuade and educate the viewer, without forgetting the quality design.

The URL where the infographic is hosted is equally important as the infographic.
 Know who your targets are and make sure that as many people as possible are exposed to the infographic.