How Advertising Makes Us Buy

According to a recent study from Microsoft, people lose concentration after eight seconds. To put that into perspective, that’s one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.

Now factor in the absurd amount of ad exposure we encounter everyday, and it’s no wonder why so many businesses are struggling to get their message heard.

As marketers and advertisers, it seems the odds couldn’t be any less in our favor.

So what’s the solution?

Well, the answer breaks down into four parts. To learn more about each, check out the following infographic from WebpageFX on how businesses are using this approach to convince people to buy.

Buy


http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/advertising-makes-us-buy

Why You Need A Social Media Marketing Strategy & How To Start One

Start Social Media Marketing Strategy

So, you’re about to take the plunge into blogging, but you have no idea where to start.

That’s okay because I’m sure you already know that blogging can:
  • Generate a huge audience (and if you’re a well-known person, this can be immediate)
  • Make you some serious money if you know how
  • Turn a blogger into an influencer with a little bit of hard work and a great networking community
But, how can you achieve this with your new blog? With so many blogs around, you have little chance of getting noticed.

What’s the solution? Well, a perfectly defined social media plan and strategy is just what you need.

This post will walk you through why you need a social media marketing strategy and how to start one for your blog.

Is Adopting Social Media That Important?

Yes, it is.

Social media platforms have revolutionized marketing and blogging. Google too has adopted “Search Plus Your World” signaling how social platforms are crucial.

So, if you think you only need SEO to generate traffic, you’re dead wrong. Traffic via search engines isn’t the only way to generate a huge audience. Bloggers today are also leveraging social media for their targeted traffic.

With so many people today using smartphones and tablets, the digital world is everywhere. And with more people being online, social media has skyrocketed as a main form of communication for users.

Social Media Isn’t Just a Fad

With the popular social sites being mobile-friendly, this makes it easy to view your Facebook page, scroll through tweets and check out a pin from Pinterest – while you are out and about.

All these reasons suggest that engagement across social networks is never going to end; rather, users will keep on Instagramming, Tweeting or Liking – or doing whatever the next big social media platform will decide.

Hubspot claims that social media marketing is not just any fad, and if you want to be a part of the blogging world, you better be on social media. Almost every successful blogger is using social media platforms to reach a target audience.

So, as a newbie, you need to be on social media to get exposure, promote your blog and generate traffic.

Social Media is Easy and Inexpensive

As a new person to blogging, you may think you need a big budget to get your blog up and running. But, your social media marketing strategy doesn’t have to be expensive.

What’s great about social media is it’s easy to set up and once you’re on various social media platforms, you’ll find you can reach a wide audience without spending much on analytics.

Social media is here to stay and it’s not a passing phase.

So, now that you know how important social media marketing is, let’s uncover how to strategize a social media marketing plan step by step.


Part I: Setting Up Your Blog

 

1. Add Social Engagement Elements to Your Blog


Have you ever come across a great post and want to leave a comment or contact the blogger, but you look around and find there’s no comment box or link on the blog?

If you’re new to blogging, the best thing you can do is make yourself available. Readers want to have the option of engaging on your blog. They also want to know that they can quickly contact you.

So, make it easy for your readers to get to know you. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Add a Contact page to your website with ways to contact you (phone number, social profiles, email)
  • Add Follow buttons on your site to make it easy for people to find you
  • Make sure to enable comments on your blog. While you may get some negative feedback, don’t let that stop you from developing a relationship with your readers.

 

2. Add Share Buttons


You know you have great content on your blog. Heck, I’m sure you’re convinced you wrote a killer blog post. But, no one is reading it and the only people going to your blog are your best friend and brother.

Why is no one talking about your epic blog post? It’s because you forgot to provide a way to share it with their friends and followers.

Having sharing buttons on your blog, placed above and below each blog post makes it super simple and super easy for people to click and share.

Here are some great social media plugins to try on your blog:

  • Ultimate social media and share icons
  • Floating social bar
  • Super socializer
  • Shareaholic

 

Part II: Developing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy


Your blog is up and running.

You have engaging and easy-to-read blog posts that are ready to be shared across social media.

To get your content on social media where people are talking about it and to have engaging comments on your posts, follow these seven tips.

3. Automate Your Posts


It takes a lot of time to promote your blog post on social media. If you really want to leverage social media for traffic, you’re going to have to promote it on all the popular social media platforms.

Instead of manually tweeting or pinning each new post you write, why not use a social media tool to make your life a little easier? Here are some applications to automate your posts on social media:

  • HootSuite
  • Buffer
  • Socialoomph
  • Sproutsocial

 

4. Engage with Those Who Share Posts


The actual strength of social media lies in the engagement with your readers. If you’re not social on social media, then it’s pointless to be on Twitter or Facebook. This is a great platform to really get to know your target audience.

What did they like about your content? What would they like to read more of?

The power of using various social platforms can be leveraged to create maximum benefit only if you engage with your readers and especially with those that share your posts.

If you’re using HootSuite, there is a search box where you can paste the URL of your blog post and it will list tweets about your blog post shares. Just start out by re-tweeting those tweets and posts to start building relationships.

Google+ and Facebook allow searching options using your blog titles to find out who is sharing your posts.
So, connect with people on social media and keep them engaged. This can generate traffic on your blog when you reciprocate by acknowledging people’s tweet and tweeting their posts as well.

5. Know the Right Time to Share Posts


You can hit the social media jackpot if you correctly time when you share your posts.

For example, Google+ users are most active in the morning, while Twitter users seem to prefer afternoon. Combined with the social automation tools mentioned earlier, you can time your shares perfectly giving you huge competitive advantage over some of your less-savvy competitors.

You can also check trending topics and using those hashtags across Facebook and Twitter. This will present you with optimal times to share relatable content that users are currently talking about.

6. Plan Future Posts


Almost every social networking platform provides analytics. You can find many free analytics tools to help you with this.

Using a social media analytic tool can help with getting ideas about future posts that perform best across networks and help you elevate your social media marketing plan. This will help you in:

  • Writing your next post
  • Providing topics for your content calendar
  • Understanding trends across networks

You can also get new and exciting content ideas by analyzing the comments on your blog posts. Check out what people are saying on your posts, or keep a close tab on what people discuss across your social networks.

You may find that people want to know a specific answer, so use this information to write your next blog post. After all, you are writing for your audience, and understanding what type of information they are seeking can help you in creating content specifically for them.

7. Connect with Influencers


Social platforms allow connecting with anyone from any location. So, why not follow expert bloggers in your niche? These influencers have the ability to help boost your blog to more traffic and social shares.

You can also learn from these influential bloggers by seeing how they use social media to their advantage. Maybe you noticed that they spark engagement by posing a question to their followers every morning. This is something you can do in your social media marketing strategy.

8. Be Socially Responsible


It’s a great feeling to write a blog post. You want to share it all over social media and tell everyone about it. But, don’t get in the habit of spamming timelines and flooding them with links to your posts 24/7. Try not to tag people with your post without appropriate context.

For example, if you write a post and very briefly mention Jon Morrow’s name and then tag him with a link to your post, this would be considered inappropriate. Only include influencers or other people in your social media status if it relates to your post.

For example, if you wrote about them extensively in your post, or if it’s something you know they want to read about then go ahead and tag or @mention their name.

The best thing to do is just be social. Comment on other people’s posts, share other people’s content and engage with your readers.

9. Have Useful Content


All the effort you put in to marketing your blog will be useless if your content is not original, useful and engaging.

People want to read your experiences, opinions, thoughts, and advice. When you provide this type of content, people will come back to read more and share it on their social media channels.

How do you make your content useful?

  • Have supportive information by providing internal and external links in your blog post.
  • Be honest. Tell people your failures and what you are doing to start over, whether it’s trying to monetize your blog or trying to score that next job interview.
  • Tell a story by using facts and stats that back up what you are trying to say in your blog post.

Are You Ready to Start Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Starting a blog is exciting. You have the potential to create great content that people want to learn about. With the right social media plan, you can find your target audience and tailor your content to them.

Take the time to learn as much as your can about social media to leverage it for your blogging success. These tips should help you start your social media strategy and get your blog noticed.

So, tell me, which tip do you find the most useful in having a strong social media plan?


How to Dominate with YouTube



Let’s be real, video is on the up and up and no one does it better than YouTube. It doesn’t matter how much hype Facebook video has been getting or the buzz that Vine and Snapchat has, YouTube is still king. With over 400 hours of video content being uploaded to YouTube every minute, if you aren’t using the platform then you’re missing out.

But, with so much content being uploaded, how in the world can you build an audience on YouTube? I”ll tell you this, skip going after the viral videos, you’ll be chasing unicorns forever. Instead focus on creating content for your audience and using these 5 tips to make your videos stand out above the crowd.

1. Thumbnails or Die


The true work after filming, editing and uploading your video to YouTube begins with the thumbnail. If you take a look at some of the top videos on YouTube you’ll notice a few trends. The thumbnails either feature: a beautiful man or woman, an eye popping image with bold text or a bright background with a figure showing strong emotion.


custom-youtube-thumbnails

You will find yourself whether consciously or unconsciously picking the video with a thumbnail that stands out. Before you finish upload process, make sure you add that custom thumbnail, you’ll thank us later!

2. Title Game On Fleek


If you don’t know what “on fleek” is…then you’re missing out. Long story short, you need you titles to be on point. This along with the thumbnail are two of the most vital things to having a successful video and an even more successful YouTube channel. I’m not a fan of this strategy but clickbait titles do work, at least for a little while until users recognize their being lied to. This will negatively effect your video’s placement as YouTube’s algorithms track how long people are watching your video.

To get a sense of what kind of titles you should use, think like this. First, think of the type of videos you share and the titles they have. Next understand what your video is about. If your video is about the newly opened Fast and Furious ride at Universal Studios Hollywood then you should make sure that you attempt to use all of the keywords you can in the title.

Here’s a few good examples:
  • Fast & Furious: Supercharged – Full Attraction from Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Fast & Furious—Supercharged ride grand opening at Universal Studios Hollywood
The title is a great way to capture someone’s attention as well as throw in keywords to really bump up your video in the search engine.

3. Tags and Keywords


I keep mentioning tags and keywords because they are the magic sauce that helps to propel your video. And yes, tags and keywords are two separate things. We shall start with keywords.
youtube keywords

YouTube gives you 5000 characters to use in your video’s description and it’s best to fill them with keywords while creating a well rounded description of your video. There’s a few different strategies you can employ but the most important thing to remember is that in the first 150 characters you want to explain exactly what the video is about. In the next 500 characters you want to include some buzzworthy words like in the example above: WordPress, search engine optimization, Google, organic, dentist.

While these are broad keywords, these are the types of things people typically type into YouTube. Think of YouTube as a big search engine just like Google, but instead of links to websites you get links to videos.

Now on to tags. Tags are very similar to keywords, but, whereas keywords are used in the description to let users know what the video is about, tags allow YouTube’s algorithms to know what the video is about. Take a look at the example above. You can see that the tags being entered in match the description of the video.

You do not, I repeat, you do not want to enter in tags that have nothing to do with your video. Not only will you piss a lot of viewers off when they land on your video thinking it’s Meek Mill’s response track to Drake’s Back-to-Back freestyle, but YouTube will not rank your video as high.

4. Call To Action.


So you have the thumbnail all set, your tags and keywords filled in…now you need to throw in some cards and annotations. Cards and annotations are the interactive popups you see during the video that tell viewers to subscribe or visit this channel etc.

youtube cards

You want to add these two things throughout your video because they act as call to action buttons. The internet is funny because unless you tell people to do something, they usually won’t do it. Here’s a few things you can do with cards and annotations:
  • Place subscribe annotations throughout your video
  • Link previous videos
  • Title overlays
  • Link to your website

 

5. Share Like You’ve Never Shared Before.


Now you finally have everything finished to upload your video to YouTube. Hit submit and now it’s time to share your video.

It goes without saying that someone is more likely to watch a video that 100,000 people have watched vs 100 people. Make sure you try to get your friends, family and fans to watch the video as soon as possible.

The more eyes you have viewing it the better!


How to Stop the Most Common Productivity Prohibitors



A text here. A few emails there. Just 10 ( … or 30) minutes of surfing your favorite websites. Oh, everyone’s getting coffee? Wouldn’t want to miss out!

These workplace distractions are familiar to all of us. But when you add up the time you spend distracted, you start to realize just how much they cut into your productivity.

For example, every week, employees spend an average of five hours surfing non-work-related websites. (And who could blame us when there are so many good ones out there?)

That’s not to say that it’s inherently bad to do things that are deemed “distracting.” After all, studies have shown that taking timed, calculated breaks throughout the day actually helps you work smarter overall.

But if you’re trying to get stuff done, it’s best to be aware of the things prohibiting your productivity so you can stop them in their tracks. Check out the infographic below from SurePayroll for some interesting facts and statistics on workplace distractions — and tips on how to avoid them.


http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/productivity-prohibitors


4 Visual Marketing Ideas to Boost Twitter Engagement

4 Visual Marketing Ideas to Boost Twitter Engagement


Are you using images within your social media updates? Would you like to know how to increase engagement by using visual marketing?

There’s no doubt about it, visual media has changed the way we create, share and consume online content. No matter the social network, graphics have inundated our online lives.

While Twitter might have been slow to the visual party, marketers were quick to embrace the trend.

Especially as the data began to roll in. Not only do studies show that visual marketing captures attention, but it also drives traffic and boosts awareness.

In an A/B test by Hubspot, it was found that tweets with images  receive 150% more retweets, 18% more click-throughs, and 89% more favorites.

Those are startling statistics and proof that visual marketing is not just a trend, but also a verifiable movement.

So, how can you incorporate graphics to better position your tweets to stand out in the stream?

Below are four ways you can effectively add visual content to your Twitter marketing!

Visual Marketing Ideas to Boost Twitter Engagement

 

  1. Add a Clear Call to Action


What makes people take action? Clearly articulating what step you’d like them to take. Whether it’s a click, retweet, sign up or comment, never leave that action to chance.

Just as in traditional marketing, you can’t assume your Twitter followers know how they’re supposed to interact or engage with your business.

Are you sharing a graphic with a link to your latest blog post? Maybe it’s an announcement about an upcoming product launch. Whatever the case, show (and tell) what the next step is.

As an example, you’re sharing an invitation to an upcoming webinar. Simply tweeting an image without a clear call to action is a missed opportunity.

Instead, add a teaser in your tweet with a call to action (CTA) in your graphic.

It might look something like this:

Here’s another example from IGN. This simple tweet clearly shows the objective; tease Game of Thrones fans with a glimpse into what is and what isn’t coming their way in 2015.

As you can see, adding a call to action along an appealing image is an excellent way to get people to take that next step.

The key is to offer something of substantial value and then follow through with content on the other side of the link.

Otherwise, you will be labeled a spammy marketer and no one wants to own that title.

  2. Tell Your Company Story


Let’s face it, Twitter users move quickly. If you don’t find a way to capture their attention, your content is quickly lost.

Telling your unique story is one of the best ways to stand out in a crowded Twitter stream.

Here are a few ways to share your story on Twitter:
  • Understand your competitive advantage and leverage that within Tweet graphics. Share what you do, how you do it and what sets you apart.
  • Explain your “Why.” Why did you start the business, why are you passionate about the people you serve and why is your product/service right for consumers?
  • Express your business’s personality through informative, educational and entertaining tweets. A company who consistently excels at this is Oreo. Their sense of humor shines through and has allowed them to cut through the clutter and gain a loyal Twitter following.

 

3. Incorporate Video into Your Tweets


Adding videos is another effective way to create interaction and drive engagement. Ileane Smith breaks down the formula to a captivating video tweet.
    • Create an eye-catching custom thumbnail
    • Share advice and solve the problems of your target audience
    • Keep it topical, informative and educational
Another example comes from Hootsuite. They expertly used video to tie their most recent blog post in to one of the most quoted movie moments of all time.

What can you learn from their use of video? Keep it simple. An engaging video does not have to be long or complicated; it just needs to resonate with your followers.

  4. Brand Your Business

 

tweet images

Simply Measured recently revealed how the Top 100 brands are using Twitter. Within their findings are many takeaways for small businesses. The biggest uptick was in their use of visual marketing. In fact, tweets with photos made up 45% of their sent tweets, but actually accounted for 51% of all engagement. That’s over half of all engagement combined.

It’s evident they see the value in images. From Disney to Kohl’s, brands are finding success in transitioning their voice and style to a captive online audience. Want to know how you can use this concept in your business? Just take a look at Moz and how they have incorporated all aspects of their business into Twitter graphics. Whether it’s the Moz blog or a Mozinar, you know exactly what you’re getting based on the visual accompanying their tweet.

Final Thoughts


Adding images into your Twitter marketing mix does not have to be time consuming to be effective.

Take a look at your current content. What is evergreen and what could be repurposed?

Share tips from past articles or quotes from a presentation. Then batch create several images at a time and schedule tweets into Sprout Social, Hootsuite or your Twitter tool of choice.

Twitter visual marketing can be highly effective in boosting awareness and increasing interaction, engagement and shares.

http://maximizesocialbusiness.com/4-visual-marketing-ideas-boost-twitter-engagement-17523/

25 Video Marketing Statistics for 2015


It’s no secret video is becoming a bigger and bigger part of companies’ inbound marketing strategies. This year alone, we’ve seen Twitter launch video autoplay in our feeds, Facebook give advertisers the option to buy video ads, and the rise of live streaming video via Periscope and Meerkat.

Nowadays, the play button is becoming “the most compelling call-to-action on the web,” to borrow the words from business leader Andrew Angus. In fact, research has found that using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by a whopping 19%.

For more fascinating statistics on the state of video marketing and how it affects brand awareness, lead generation, and online engagement, take a look at the infographic below from HighQ.


http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-marketing-statistics