Archive for January, 2017

9 Top Social Media Influencers Marketers Need to Follow

The days of questioning whether Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms are legitimate marketing tools are way behind us.

Those “in the know” are using social media to share their ideas, businesses, and day-to-day lives. Some of them are making millions from posting pictures online and uploading vlogs to YouTube, and others are using social media as a major strategy to scaling venture-backed startups.

The following social media influencers are all contributors to a new book called 3 Billion Under 30, brought together by 21-year-old Jared Kleinert, a TED speaker and “go to” marketing consultant for #1 NYT bestselling authors, Fortune 500 companies, and even the United Nations. Who are they, and why should you be following them? Here’s your answer.

1. Jake Paul (@jakepaul)
Jake Paul just turned 20, and yet he has over 17 million social media followers. His videos, which originally were posted on Vine and now span over Instagram, YouTube, Musically, and other platforms, have gained over 4 billion views combined, and Jake has been able to turn his social media stardom into other ventures.

He’s now the founder of TeamDom, which includes investors like Gary Vaynerchuk and Shots Studios (who’s in turn backed by Justin Bieber, Pete Cashmore, and other media titans). He’s also become a successful actor. Companies ranging from Coca Cola, Beats, Universal, and others look to Jake and his “crew” to market their products to millennials and Gen Z’ers.

2. Shonduras (@shonduras)
Shaun McBride, or “Shonduras,” may very well have been the first to partner with a corporation for a sponsored Snapchat story. Disney saw the potential for influencer marketing via Snapchat and decided to work with Shonduras to showcase their parks.

Shonduras has quickly become one of the top social media influencers on the web, most notably via Snapchat. He’s been able to leverage his following to earn revenue for his company in a variety of ways, from keynote speaking to selling merchandise, branded content, and more. Now he’s looking into different ways to push digital content creation to its limits, and have the “Best Day Ever” during all hours in his climb.

Read more: 9 Top Social Media Influencers Marketers Need to Follow

SEO trends to prepare for in 2017

Search engine optimization is evolving at lightning speed. As 2016 begins to wind down, it is time to examine the digital marketing landscape for the upcoming year.

There have been numerous developments in SEO over the past 10 months. A lot of the prominent trends of 2016 will continue and grow in 2017. As Google’s algorithm updates constantly keep business owners on their toes, several other trends are expected to take shape in 2017.

Here are a few things look out for in the ensuing months:

Optimization for user intent
Although keywords are still important, typing in simple words yields simple results. Consumers today know exactly what they’re looking for, and search engines are getting much better at identifying user intent. Therefore, users are now entering full queries or phrases in search engines, which gather data and heuristics to provide results more effectively.

In 2017, brands will need to place value on optimizing their digital content based on intent rather than specific keywords. For your SEO strategy, it will be critical to:

Investigate. What are users searching for that brings them to your page? What questions do they want your content to answer?
Optimize. Once you have gathered your research data and found areas that need work, make the changes needed to boost ratings. Based on your research, tell the consumer’s story by altering content to reflect the reader’s experience.
Adjust. Keep up with analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t so you can update accordingly.

More rich answers and snippets
We all turn to Google for answers. In response to our queries, Google will often display the required information directly in search results, along with other helpful websites, videos, movie or event information, reviews or specific dates.

Structured data markup (often referred to as “schema markup”) can help website owners achieve these enhanced listings on search engine results pages (SERPs). This markup works to assist search engines in understanding website content, allowing them to display that information in a way that is helpful for users.

For example, let’s say you ask Google for instructions for cooking meatloaf. The SERP features a rich answer (also known as a “direct answer” or “featured snippet”), followed by search listings that contain rich snippets relevant to recipes, such as reviews, ratings, cook time and calorie information:

Read more: SEO trends to prepare for in 2017

How Does Your Social Media Marketing Measure Up?

The world of social media marketing is changing all the time, so no matter how well you think you’re doing in that area, don’t start getting complacent. New forecasts from eMarketer project which social networks will be the most popular business marketing tools in 2017. Here’s what’s hot (and not-so-hot):

Instagram will overtake Twitter as a social media marketing channel. Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of businesses will use Instagram for marketing, up from 53 percent currently.
Twitter will hold steady, with 66.2 percent of marketers using it in 2017 compared to 66.1 percent this year.
Facebook has already reached saturation, with 85.3 percent of marketers currently using it and 85.8 percent projected to use it next year.
YouTube, too, has pretty much plateaued: 48.2 percent of businesses will market with YouTube next year, up from 45.6 percent this year.
How does your small business compare?

With any social network, the most important thing to remember is to go where your customers are. Just because Instagram is growing rapidly doesn’t mean it’s the right platform for your social media marketing. For instance, if you sell enterprise software to major corporations, chances are your buyers aren’t checking out your latest ’grams. On the other hand, if you’re in the fashion, cosmetics, or food business, Instagram is where it’s at.

To pinpoint the most appropriate social media marketing platforms, begin by searching out statistics on the demographic makeup of each social network’s user base. Further refine your data by conducting surveys of your customers. Which social networks do they spend most of their time on? Do any of the networks actually influence their shopping behavior?

Read more: How Does Your Social Media Marketing Measure Up?

What we’ve learned about SEO in 2016

Since the inception of the search engine, SEO has been an important, yet often misunderstood industry. For some, these three little letters bring massive pain and frustration. For others, SEO has saved their business. One thing is for sure: having a clear and strategic search strategy is what often separates those who succeed from those who don’t.

As we wrap up 2016, let’s take a look at how the industry has grown and shifted over the past year, and then look ahead to 2017.

A growing industry
It was only a few years ago when the internet was pummeled with thousands of “SEO is Dead” posts. Well, here we are, and the industry is still as alive as ever. SEO’s reputation has grown over the past few years, due in great part to the awesome work of the real pros out there. Today, the industry is worth more than $65 billion. Companies large and small are seeing how a good search strategy has the power to change their business.

As search engines and users continue to evolve, SEO is no longer just an added service brought to you by freelance web designers. With the amount of data, knowledge, tools and experience out there, SEO has become a power industry all on its own.

Over the course of the year, my agency alone has earned a number of new contracts from other agencies that are no longer able to provide their own search efforts. A large divide between those that can deliver SEO and those that can’t is beginning to open up across the board.

The rise of AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is now prevalent in many of our lives. Google, IBM, Amazon and Apple are very active in developing and using Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI). ANI can be used to automate repetitive tasks, like looking up product details, shipping dates and order histories and performing countless other customer requests.

The consumer is becoming more and more comfortable with this technology and has even grown to trust its results. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, announced during his Google I/O keynote that 20 percent of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches.

RankBrain, Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence system, is now among the top three ranking signals for Google’s search algorithm. Why? Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches per a day, and 16 to 20 percent of those are unique queries that have never been searched before. To handle this, the team at Google has harnessed the power of machine learning to help deliver better results.

While we can’t “control” RankBrain, what we can do is learn more about how Google is using it and then help the tool by creating good content that earns shares and links, building connections with others in our niche or related niches, and building trust in very targeted topics.

We are still in the beginning stages of this technology, but as more and more homes become equipped with smart tools like Amazon Echo and Google Home, we can be sure that these tech giants will use the knowledge they gain from voice search to power their AI technology.

Read more: What we’ve learned about SEO in 2016

Six Effective Social Media Marketing Tips

Effective social media marketing pays back in terms of successful businesses. A recent study suggests that social media recommendations lead to almost 30 percent of all websites’ overall traffic. So, if your business website is not benefiting from social media, then you may need to re-consider your social media strategy.

Here are some effective ways to boost social media marketing, which can positively impact your business, and increase your sales too.

Create custom-formatted tweets

Most tweets can get lost in the abyss of live feeds, especially the ones that seem to stream on with no end. Custom formatting can make sure that you are catching the reader’s attention. By applying line breaks and/or a unique font, you can break the monotony of short-form messaging. Also, include some fun symbols to refresh the look of your tweets. You can copy and paste fun symbols from iEmoji.com or other similar services.

Go for longer posts

While Twitter is adamant in not removing its 140-character limit, Google Plus is a better alternative platform, as it enables you to start a conversation that with a longer post. As a result, longer posts bring in more comments and +1s.

Opt for Facebook Groups

As organic reach for Facebook pages of companies continues to go down, entrepreneurs, marketers and publishers would be better of by creating and managing Facebook Groups. The maximum benefit seems to be for members, as they can choose to receive direct notifications about updates, but by giving such controls to users/members you actually prompt more participation from them.

Market Across all Social Platforms

Convert Facebook fans into Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections into contacts. This will make all users circle your profile on Google Plus. Afterwards, regularly sharing on a social network will bring you constant attention from followers.

Read more: Six Effective Social Media Marketing Tips

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