It’s every marketer’s dream to pop up in Google’s top rankings, say number one, for example. And even hitting the top three, or top five, would be as close to nirvana as you can get. Let’s go one step further - ranking on the first page of a Google search result deserves a pat on the back, a high-five, and a fist-bump.
That’s because if you land anywhere else, say page two or beyond, it’s like not ranking at all. Everyone knows that nobody bothers to look.
In the “old days,” say a few short months ago, marketers embraced SEO as the Holy Grail to hitting the top rankings on Google. And quite honestly, SEO is still a key part of ranking higher on Google. But then Google pulled the old “switcheroo,” and changed their mysterious algorithms. The nerve!
Nobody but the top gurus at Google can explain those algorithms. Nobody. Suffice it to say that their spiders are crawling all over the web, searching websites, pages, content, etc., etc., etc. And if by magic, they come back with search rankings.
But along the way, some savvy marketers determined that social media could impact those rankings. Yes, social media, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube - they all play a role. The only question is, “what role?”
Here’s the SMC (social media scoop).
It turns out that Google’s spiders can’t actually crawl Facebook pages or “likes” and Twitter retweets for a variety of privacy and technical reasons. So there’s really no direct correlation to higher rankings and social media.
Facebook “likes,” pages, ads, along with Twitter retweets and YouTube video posts do play a significant role, because they create backlinks and searchable content, which Google’s algorithms can absorb, digest, and spit back into the ranking equations. So it really does help your SEO efforts.
If…and it’s a big “if” - your content and Tweets and Facebook pages are providing authoritative answers to questions that are being asked by your target audience. Your pages end up on backlinks that become a useful resource, which is helpful to Google.
It’s critical to have your social media efforts generate backlinks and referral traffic if there’s any hope of those efforts helping your ranking move higher organically. And you do that simply by providing good old meaningful, authoritative content.
Learn how to be social!
Listen, Google isn’t the only search engine out there. Sure, it’s the biggest, but not the only. So plan on having your social media ready for searching as well. YouTube is number two, right behind Google. People are sharing on YouTube, even if it’s videos. And sharing makes it social. More importantly, it’s huge. How huge? Well, how about one billion unique monthly visitors. Yep, that’s one billion.
You simply can’t ignore that amount of people!
And how about Facebook? People search on Facebook all the time, looking for friends, businesses, organizations, topics, ideas -- it’s a big list. There are thousands of searches each day, which can be a wealth of targeted leads for companies who know how to properly use it.
And what about Twitter, you ask? How about 2.1 billion queries every day? Sure, people are getting Twitter-only results. But if you use Twitter properly, like tweeting about the hottest topics, use hashtags in your tweets, and use it frequently, you’ll benefit from the organic backlinks and searches that will occur.
Bottom line: use social media! Nobody will tell you there’s a guaranteed uptick in rankings by using it, but there are a lot of benefits to companies who do use social media with the same energy and effort that they put into SEO. Here’s why: using social media is one of the best ways to promote your content and one of the fastest ways people can find you online. And that’s just what SEO is supposed to do!
With the rise of smartphone technology, many consumers are increasingly engaging with their favorite brands while on the go. In today's fast paced world when many consumers communicate with brands online, it's imperative that businesses respond quickly so as to retain business. Research studies suggest that 40% of consumers who complain to brands through social media expect to get feedback within an hour. These evolving consumer expectations have led the rise of chatbots as an important customer service tool.
Chatbots are AI (Artificial Intelligence) powered tools which mimic the conversation a customer might have with a customer service representative. And just like the customer service representative, chatbots stick to the script. They answer typical user questions which have been pre-programmed. They basically work as an optimizer of the overall customer service. Because of their high success rate, they are becoming increasingly popular as a reliable customer service tool. That said, it's important to note that the more advanced AI chatbots use what is known as, 'Natural Language Processing,” or NLP and can understand what is said (and not just the commands), and then tailor its actions and answers accordingly.
This newly enhanced AI technology can give businesses a serious competitive edge if implemented correctly. AI chatbots can help businesses identify and quickly resolve a variety of customer concerns in a cost effective way without wasting resources.
Currently, the customer service chatbots have somewhat limited capabilities, however, their usage is rapidly growing, as many businesses are looking for ways to automate low skill functions, provide 24/7 customer support and reduce labor requirements, These bots can actually let your business be much more proactive in addressing the potential customer queries by acting as an integrated part of the overall browsing or shopping experience. The best thing about chatbots is that they allow businesses to create a first class experience for their customers.
Apart from being excellent customer service tools, chatbots can also generate and even nurture new leads. They're good at targeting your audience and then adjusting to particular needs. While respecting privacy, the bots know exactly what the customer likes, wants and needs.
For instance, when a customer visits business cloud hosting provider Sun Spring Hosting’s Facebook page, visitors are greeted by an AI chatbot when messaging the provider. The chatbot answers customer service inquiries, makes product suggestions, and offers to subscribe visitors to a mailing list.
Bottomline, chatbots have the ability to drastically improve the overall quality of customer service you provide your clients, while reducing costs. The bots can help take your business to the next level, as long as they're implemented properly.
What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago social media barely existed and today just about every individual and business on the planet has a social media presence online. And with corporate accounts often managed by multiple individuals there is a treasure trove of information available.
Social media is an attractive target for hackers. “It’s an easy way to get information on individuals,” said Don Konzon, Phoenix campus chair for the College of Information Systems & Technology at University of Phoenix. Not just the social media posts that are published, but also the “hidden” or “private” data that is supposedly protected by various security settings. According to a University of Phoenix survey, approximately two-thirds of adults in the U.S. with social media accounts have been hacked and nearly half of them don't feel secure.
Use strong pa$$words
Use a strong password consisting of at least 12 characters of random numbers, letters and symbols. In a University of North Carolina research study it was discovered that most users create predictable passwords that make them easy to crack. For example, using a $ in place of an S, for instance. This makes it relatively easy for hackers to either guess the password or use a computer program that automatically tries different combinations. Symantec has a random password generator that you can use to help create more secure passwords for all of your online accounts.
Don’t use the same password
Create a different password for each social media account. In a 2010 survey by Symantec, only 18 percent of respondents reported having a different password for each site and the majority of them, 64 percent, don’t change their passwords often. While using the same password for multiple accounts may be easier to remember, it also makes it easier for the hacker to gain access to your accounts.
Change passwords often
Most hackers know that the vast majority of users don’t change their passwords very often. This allows them to take their time to penetrate a target. So regularly changing your passwords will help make your account more secure. Stanford University recommends changing passwords at least twice per year.
Limit account accessibility
In a corporate environment you often have multiple individuals managing social media accounts. Therefore, it is important to limit accessibility to only those individuals whom you can trust and educate them on your corporate security policy. Be sure to immediately revoke access to users who no longer need them or are no longer employed with the company.
Use multi-factor authentication
Whenever possible you should use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication adds another layer of security protection by requiring the use of a device to verify the identity of a user. When multi-factor authentication is enabled, users must enter an access code that is sent to their smart phone to gain entry or make changes to an account.
Image Credit: Jason Howie | Flickr
Companies of all sizes are actively using social media to grow their business. And one of the best ways to do this is with Facebook Groups. This is because Facebook Groups allows an organization to build an engaging community where customers can meet and interact with your organization. What’s great about Facebook Groups is that it works for any size organization whether it’s a start-up, non-profit, mom and pop shop or a Fortune 500 company.
Getting started with Facebook Groups is easy. Simply log into your Facebook account and select Create Group (hint: it’s on the left side panel). Next, choose a name for your group and then select one of the three group privacy settings, public, closed or secret. We’ll discuss these in detail in a moment. Then write an inviting group description, upload a cover photo for your group and pin a welcome post to the top of your group.
Just as the name implies, a public Facebook group is open to the public. Anyone can join a public group. Use public groups to create awareness and build authority as well as interest in your business. For best results, however, consider a narrower niche, so your group will be more relevant and engaging. For example, if a company sells coffee and tea having a coffee drinkers group and a tea drinkers group will help ensure the topics and conversation are more relevant to the members in those groups thus maximizing participation. Also, try to focus on participation rather than just sending marketing messages. Remember, groups are about dialogues, and not direct sales. You should, therefore, create a group that encourages customers to interact and post comments often.
With a closed group prospective members must be invited or they can ask the group host for permission to join. Use a closed Facebook group to deliver support to a specific customer segment to cut down on email clutter and provide a central place that allows you to get feedback on what is and isn’t working for your company. With a closed Facebook group, you’ll be able to generate an open dialogue with your customers because you’ll have a special place for them to pose questions.
A secret group is by invitation only. Use secret groups as networking hubs for current customers because they allow you to come up with a personalized, private feedback channel that can be a priceless retention and engagement tool. Secret groups are great for providing extra value to your VIP-level customers. In fact, a secret group may be particularly appropriate for businesses whose products and services have a more exclusive audience like coaching organizations and training & consulting providers. With a closed group atmosphere, you’ll be able to create a sense of exclusivity and give your customers an opportunity to have direct access to you and your organization.
Image Credit: Josef Jerabek | Flickr
By morning in New York the Brexit (British exit from the European Union) referendum numbers were in, as Prime Minister David Cameron gave a saddened speech announcing the 52 percent for secession and 48 percent against. "I will do everything I can in the future to help this great country succeed." And with a break in his voice, went on to say, "I think the country requires fresh leadership. I do not think I can be the captain to take the country to its next destination."
Companies have relied on traditional forms of marketing, such as television commercials and magazine advertisements to reach out to potential customers for decades. However, with more content being consumed on digital devices the marketing focus of many companies is shifting from traditional mass media towards digital media.
Facebook recently announced changes to its algorithm with the aim of pushing more relevant stories to the top of user news feeds. Instead of relying on likes, shares and comments, the algorithm update will also factor in the amount of time users actually spend viewing stories.
In the past, many small business owners and marketing professionals found it difficult to see the potential value of social media marketing. This is because as little as 1.5 percent of total sales were being driven by social media. However, this is no longer the case. According to the most recent data, social media is now driving nearly 50 percent more sales and this trend is expected to continue over the next several years.
It’s hard to find a company that doesn't have some type of social media presence. But developing that presence into customer relationships requires a social media content strategy that attracts customers. To do this effectively, you have to define your target audience and understand the kinds of content they want to read.