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Monday, April 29, 2013


8 أسرار لاحتراف الفيسبوك 8 أسرار لاحتراف الفيسبوك

إليك ثمانية خطوات ستجعل استخدامك لصفحتك علي الفيسبوك أكثر سهولة وأمان.
 
1- منع قائمة الأصدقاء من الظهور للآخرين
من أعلى الصفحة الرئيسية اذهب إلى الحساب واختر Privacy Settings واختر أمر "عرض الاعدادات" وفي الصفحة التي ستظهر قم باختيار الجزء الخاص بمشاهدة قائمة الأصدقاء كما تشاء .ويمكن تحديد اختيار "مشاهدة الكل" أو تحديد أسماء معينة من الأصدقاء بحيث تظهر بشكل دائم في صفحتك الشخصية من خلال أمر "إعرض دائما هؤلاء الأصدقاء" في حال لم ترغب في استعراض قائمة الأصدقاء بالكامل.
 
2- التعرف علي الدعوات المرسلة
في بعض الأحيان يقوم المستخدم بإرسال الدعوات الى الآخرين عن طريق الخطأ، فإذا أردت بالتأكد من قائمة الأشخاص الذين طلبت صداقتهم مع إمكانية إلغاء طلبات الصداقة التي قمت بإرسالها عن طريق الخطأ فعليك الذهاب إلى الصفحة الرئيسية في حسابك واختر منها دعوة الأشخاص للانضمام إلى فيس بوك وفي هذه الصفحة ستجد أمر "عرض كل الدعوات" لتتعرف عليها وبعدها يمكنك تحديد الأسماء الذي ترغب بإلغاء الدعوات إلتي أرسلت إليهم واختيار أمر "حذف المحدد" Delete Selected
 
أما إذا أردت معرفة الأشخاص الذين وجهت إليهم طلبات صداقة اختر الحساب Account من أعلى الصفحة ثم خيار "تعديل الأصدقاء" وستنتقل بعدها إلى صفحة جديدة تحتوي على قائمة بأسماء الأصدقاء وفيها أيضاً أسماء الأشخاص الذين وجهت إليهم طلبات الصداقة حيث سيظهر أسفل الاسم "طلب صداقة بانتظار التأكيد" ويمكنك حذفه من هذه الصفحة.
 
3- استخدم قوائم الأصدقاء
لإنشاء القوائم اذهب إلى خيار تعديل الأصدقاء Edit Friends ، ومن يمين الصفحة اختر أصدقاء ثم اختر أمر "إنشاء قائمة جديدة" من أعلي الصفحة وسوف تظهر لك نافذة تطلب منك إدخال اسم القائمة الجديدة ثم اختيار الاصدقاء لإدراجهم في هذه القائمة. ويمكن عمل قائمة للعائلة وأخري لأصدقاء وثالثة لزملاء العمل وهكذا.
 
وبهذه الطريقة يمكنك أن تتصفح تحديثات الأصدقاء حسب قوائمهم وحسب أهميتهم بالنسبة إليك. فعلى سبيل المثال قد تعطي أولوية مراجعة تحديثات قائمة العائلة أكثر من قائمة زملاء العمل. كما أنك بهذه الطريقة ستتحكم بسهولة بإمكانية استعراض محتويات صفحتك الشخصية من الحائط والصور فتتيح استعراضها لبعض القوائم و تحجب عرضها عن قوائم أخرى.
 
4- حجب أشخاص معينين عن الوصول إليك في الفيسبوك
من الإعدادات اختر إعدادات الخصوصية ثم اختر قائمة الحظر واكتب اسم الشخص أو بريده الإلكتروني في الخانة الموجودة بالصفحة لحظره. وبهذه الطريقة لن يتمكن هذا الشخص من الوصول إليك عن طريق محرك بحث فيس بوك وستنقطع كافة طرق التواصل بينكما.
 
5- فتح شريط دردشة الفيسبوك في متصفح الفايرفوكس
بهذه الطريقة لن تحتاج إلى إبقاء صفحة الفيسبوك مفتوحة لكي تقوم بالدردشة مع أصدقاءك من خلالها، ولتنفيذ ذلك افتح الفايرفوكس وسجل دخولك في الفيسبوك ثم اذهب إلى قائمة Bookmarks  في المتصفح واختر أمر Organize bookmarks ثم اختر Organize وبعدها أمر new bookmark وفي خانة Location اكتب أمر www.facebook.com/presence/popout.php ثم ضع علامة بجانب أمر Load this bookmark in the side bar ، والآن عند اختيارك لفتح هذه العلامة ستظهر قائمة دردشة الفيسبوك في الشريط الجانبي للمتصفح وبإمكانك أن تتنقل بين صفحات الانترنت الأخرى وإغلاق صفحة الفيسبوك الرئيسية.
 
6- قم بحماية خصوصية ألبوماتك
يسمح لك الفيسبوك بتحديد الأشخاص المتاح لهم استعراض ألبومات صورك وذلك حتي لا يطلع عليها أشخاص لا يعرفونك، ولتنفيذ ذلك إذهب إلى أمر "الخصوصية" Privacy ومنه إلي "الصور" واختر منها الألبوم الذي ترغب بتعديل خصوصيته.
 
من القائمة بإمكانك اختيار "تخصيص" ومنع عرض محتويات الألبوم عن أشخاص معينين أو قوائم أصدقاء معينة. ويمكن تنفيذ هذه الخطوات قبل أو بعد إنشاء الألبومات.
 
7- حذف أحد الأصدقاء من الفيسبوك
بعد تحديث الشكل الجديد للفيسبوك ، أصبح بإمكانك إزالة الأصدقاء عن طريق الذهاب إلى خيار "تعديل الأصدقاء" Edit Friends وسينقلك المتصفح إلى صفحة جديدة و كل ما عليك فعله بعدها هو الضغط على أمر "الأصدقاء" الموجود في الجهة اليمنى من الصفحة ، لتظهر لك قائمة بأصدقائك. وبجانب كل اسم ستجد علامة "X" فقم بالضغط عليها لإلغاء هذا الصديق وإزالة التواصل بينك بين هذا الشخص .
 
8- عرض تحديثات وأخبار الأصدقاء في صفحة الأخبار الرئيسية
في بعض الأحيان يقوم المستخدم بإخفاء تحديثات بعض من أصدقائه وقد يتم ذلك عن طريق الخطأ، ولإعادة إظهار هذه التحديثات من جديد اذهب إلى الصفحة الرئيسية لحسابك علي الفيسبوك ثم انتقل إلي أسفل الصفحة الرئيسية واضغط على تعديل الخيارات Options وستظهر قائمة الأصدقاء الذين قمت بإخفاء تحديثاتهم ويمكنك اختيار أي منهم لإعادة إظهار تحديثاته علي الفور.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to Use Keyword Tools to Brainstorm Blog Topics [Quick Tip]

by Lindsey Kirchoff

blog-topicsThere are a ton of ideas out there on how tocome up with content inspiration when you're stuck. But my favorite content trick comes from customer Marcus Sheridan -- and it's so good, even the New York Times approves. 
All you have to do is answer the questions your audience is asking. And how can you do it? One way is through keyword research! You can do this with any keyword research tool -- we use HubSpot's Keyword Tool to do this, but if you're not a HubSpot customer, you can use your own tool. We'll show you how to do it in this post using Google's AdWords Keyword Tool, since everyone has access to it.

1) Go to the Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Start by going to this domain: https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool. Once you're inside the tool, you will see this screen:

Google-AdWords-Keyword-Tool

Enter your domain name, and fill out the captcha text to see which keywords you might want to target.

2) Identify Strategic Keywords

You'll now see a list of keywords. Your sweet spot will be keywords with some significant search volume -- not too high, not too low -- and Low or Medium competition. You'll be able to sort by these factors by clicking on the words, sorting the numbers by highest or lowest.
Once you've sorted the way you like, look for long-tail keywords -- keyword phrases that are typically three words or more -- off of which to generate topics. Long-tail keywords are excellent for blog content, because they're often problem-oriented phrases, or indicate problems that people need solving. This aligns with how-to content that typically performs very well on a blog.
Here's how we'd do that with the keywords recommended for blog.hubspot.com as an example:
keywords-1
This snapshot shows keyword phrases with great search volume, low competition, and that point to a problem people are looking for answers to. Here's five blog posts you could write just based off that first highlighted keyword phrase, "marketing your product":
  • 5 Expert Tips for Marketing Your Product
  • How to Market Your Product on Social Media
  • How to Subtly Market Your Product in Your Blog Content
  • 10 Epic Product Marketing Fails and What We Can Learn From Them
  • Why Marketing Your Product Starts With Excellent Customer Service

3) Vary Searches to Identify More Keywords

If you aren't feeling particularly inspired by the first batch of keyword phrases delivered, you can refine your search to get more suggestions around a keyword phrase. For instance, I wasn't really digging the phrase "how to use social media" because it's just so generic. If you find yourself in that boat, click on the phrase and this pop-up will appear:
suggestions
Select "Show more like this," and you'll be taken to a screen with keywords that are similar in nature, but not exact, to the original phrase.
keyword-suggestions
In this example, we could perhaps write a post like, "Lessons for Marketers From Obama's Use of Social Media." If you ever want to topic brainstorm around a more specific topic, you can always simply input that topic or keyword phrase in the "Word or phrase" box from the get-go, too.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

LinkedIn Launches New Contacts Tool to Make Relationship Management Easier

by Pamela Vaughan

linkedin-contacts-screenshot-1If you're anything like me, you love LinkedIn not just for all its awesome marketing tools, but also for its fantastic personal networking features. So when I saw a new feature announcement from everyone's favorite professional social network grace my RSS reader this morning, needless to say, I got a little giddy. Today, LinkedIn launched 'LinkedIn Contacts,' a new tool to make it easy for users to build and maintain important relationships -- available on both LinkedIn.com and a new iPhone app.
While this isn't exactly a tool that's incorporated with LinkedIn Company Pages, it's definitely still one that inbound marketers can take advantage of, so let's explore the features of LinkedIn's new tool and brainstorm some ways it can be helpful in managing your business' marketing relationships.

About LinkedIn Contacts 

While LinkedIn Contacts is not yet available to users, LinkedIn indicates it will begin sending invitations to a limited number of members in the U.S. to start testing it out in the coming weeks. You can also sign up for the waiting list to be one of the first to try it out by visiting http://contacts.linkedin.com and clicking "Get Started." While you're waiting, fill yourself in on what you can expect from the new tool, which includes features in three areas:

1) All Your LinkedIn Contacts in One Place

The tool pulls in and keeps up to date all your address books, emails, and calendars in one centralized location. In addition, it compiles details about your past conversations, meetings, and notes (for instance, if you wanted to remember that you met a contact at a certain industry event) from these various sources automatically, populating your contacts' profiles with these details.  
linkedin-contacts-view

2) Helpful Notifications 

LinkedIn Contacts sends you alerts and email notifications when contacts in your network change jobs, have birthdays, or when you haven't chatted with them in a while -- so you can stay on top of opportunities to reach out and stay in touch. Furthermore, the tool allows you to set your own reminders with notes about important people you're connected with. For instance, you could set up regular, ongoing alerts to remind you to keep in touch with people you want to make sure you have regular conversations with in an attempt to build and grow those relationships.
According to Mashable, LinkedIn Contacts' integration with TripIt will also suggest you get in touch with local contacts who live in an area where you've planned a trip -- and provide you with a canned message you can easily send to those contacts. 
linkedin-contacts-alerts

3) Mobile Accessibility 

Once released to the public, LinkedIn Contacts will also be available as a separate app for the iPhone, enabling iPhone users to access the tool and get alerts while they're mobile.
linkedin-contacts-mobile-view
According to Mashable's article, Sachin Rekhi, product lead for Contacts at LinkedIn said,"When you think about LinkedIn.com today, many people already consider it their professional rolodex, but today it truly only represents the explicit connections that you‘ve created on LinkedIn.com. The reality is, our professional lives span more than LinkedIn.com, and our contacts are kind of spread everywhere."

How Marketers Can Benefit From LinkedIn Contacts

It's no surprise that any given marketer has a number of personal and professional relationships to keep track of. As a result, we can see this new tool being extremely helpful for marketers as a way to organize, maintain, and nurture those various relationships. Just think about all the ways this could be helpful as a marketer ...
  • For building relationships with key contacts at companies with which you're hoping to forge co-marketing partnerships
  • For connecting with journalists and media contacts at publications in which you'd like to secure some PR coverage
  • For your salespeople to stay in touch with and nurture prospects and leads 
  • For sourcing contributors (or targeting publications) for guest bloggingopportunities
  • For reaching out to and staying in touch with fellow event attendees
  • For connecting with potential employers when job seeking, or recruiting top talent

The Marketer's Guide to Search Engine Optimizing Non-Written Content

by Lindsey Kirchoff 

optimize-visual-content-seoWe’ve all heard about how inbound marketers need to get more creative with their content format by incorporating visuals, audio, and images. Heck, we’ve even created a free crash course (with templates) for non-designers tocreate visual content to react to this trend. With all these content types, aren’t we forgetting something?
Oh right. SEO. Even with the new glasses, Google still can’t read and index images, video, and audio content without a little help. Luckily, we have everything you need to know about SEO for non-written content, from images, to video, to audio content. Let's dive in, shall we?

Best Practices for Image SEO

To explain this concept, let's take a step back and imagine we're proprietors of a tasty ice cream shop. You've just created an infographic about the most popular ice cream flavors and toppings, and now you want to ensure it's optimized to show up in Google. Here's what you do.

1) Pick an image that's in a Google-supported format.

Before uploading your beautiful ice cream infographic, make sure it’s in the right format. Google can only index images that are saved as BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, and SVG. Don’t worry if your image isn’t in that format yet -- most image editors have the capability to save the file as a GIF or JPEG.

2) Name the file using keywords that describe the image.

Raise your hand if you have uploaded an image with a name like "IMG12934.jpg." (Guilty.) Instead of giving search engines a title that has nothing to do with the image, rename the file with a keyword phrase that describes what the image is. Google uses these filenames to index those images and sometimes the file name can even show up as the image title in a SERP. For this infographic, you might try a phrase like, “Popular-Ice-Cream-Flavors-Infographic.jpg”. Isn’t that better? Google thinks so, too. Don't forget to separate words with dashes--Google sees dashes as word separators and underscores as word combiners.

3) Add in helpful alt text.

The alt text of an image not only helps the search engines understand what the content of the image is so they can match it to a relevant search query, but it helps any searchers who can’t view the image understand what they would be looking at. Be as descriptive as possible in your alt text ... without keyword stuffing. Here’s a bad, better, best example for the ice cream example to see what I mean.
  • Bad: alt=””
  • Better: alt=”Ice cream”
  • Best : alt=”Popular ice cream flavors”
  • Avoid: alt= “ice cream flavor yummy vanilla chocolate Delicious"

4) Provide context for the image within content.

Remember, your image doesn’t live separately from the rest of your on-page content! Help search engines get a better sense of the story your page tells by referencing the image within your written content. Within your blog post, you might write something like, “On our popular ice cream flavors timeline to the left, you can see that cake batter is one of our newest flavor experiments.” See how I used the same keywords from the file name and alt text, but made it easy for the viewer to read? That’s an SEO win/win/win my friends.

5) Submit an image sitemap.

To make extra-super-sure that your ice cream flavor timeline is indexed by Google, submit an image sitemap to Google Webmaster. Sound scary? Don’t worry. Sitemaps are just an xml file that tells Google about a page on your website it might not discover -- the most simple sitemaps usually list the pages on your website. To create an image sitemap, add image-specific tags to a sitemap or just update one of your existing sitemaps with image tags. We’ll go more into making a sitemap in the video section, but here is exactly how to create and submit an image sitemap to Google.

Best Practices for Video SEO

Now that you’ve got the image basics down, it’s time to tackle video. MarketingSherpapublished a case study that found that videos attract 200-300% more monthly unique visitors who spend twice as long on-site. Sounds good to me! Let’s continue the ice cream example, and pretend you want to embed a video on the recipes page with one of your chefs explaining how he makes your famous red velvet cupcakes (am I making you hungry yet?).

1) Save your video in a format that Google can crawl.

Like images, there are only some file formats that Google can read. Make sure your video is saved as a MPG, MPEG, M4V, MOV, WMV, ASF, AVI, RA, RAM, RM, FLV, or SWF. Most video editors will allow you to save your video in different formats.

2) Name your video file strategically.

Just like naming images, save your video file as a name that accurately describes what the file is within the context of the article without keyword stuffing. Luckily, this one is easy. Just save the video with a contextual keyword-appropriate title, like “Red_velvet_cupcake_recipe”.

3) Embrace your keyword strategy in your title, tags, and video meta-description.

You probably guessed it from the images section, but your title, alt text, and meta description should all help search engines understand what the content of your video is. However, keyword strategy from a user perspective is extra important here -- video is very likely to be viewed and searched independent of your website.
Your video title should reflect the keywords that your users are searching for, and that, of course, align with your video's content. Not sure what those are? Use a keyword tool to see what words and phrases people are searching to find your website.
Keywords are especially important to the description you provide for the video. In YouTube, you have up to 5,000 characters to describe your video. Since Google will cut off this description on the SERP to 156 characters, make sure your first sentence includes the keywords you’re optimizing for, but also gives the viewer a reason to click through. Then, continue your description with keywords and context that will help Google understand what your video is about. Finish off the description with alt text, or tags, that help paint a fuller picture for search engines.

4) Try to host only one video per page.

Your website may have a page that acts as a whole archive for its videos. This type of library can be extremely helpful for reference purposes, but from a search engine perspective, it's only a good idea if all the videos are about the same general topic. For instance, you might house all of your recipes videos on one page that's optimized to show up for a query like "dessert recipe videos." But if you want to get more granular, let's say getting found for your series on how to make cupcakes, you might want to create a separate page for videos that would ideally turn up around "cupcake recipe videos."

5) Enable sharing with embedding and specific anchor text.

Social sharing plays a role in SERP rankings for a specific keyword phrase. The Google update story can get complicated with Pandas and Penguins and the like, but one takeaway can be boiled down to four little words: more shares, better rankings. The more people embed your video in their own blog posts or share it on social media, the more the search engines love you (or your content, rather). Help your red velvet cupcake recipe video spread like wildfire by making sure the video is easily embeddable. The option to allow embedding is available on most video hosting services.

6) Create and submit a Video Sitemap to Google Webmaster.

Make sure your video is indexed by Google by submitting a video sitemap to Google webmaster. Like I said in the images section, Sitemaps are XML files with a site’s meta data that inform search engines about pages on their site that are able to be crawled. Bonus points -- submitting a video sitemap to Google Webmaster also encourages Google to include a rich snippet with your video on the SERP.
For the full story on creating and submitting a video sitemap, go straight to the source onGoogle’s Webmaster blog.

7) Include a transcription.

Sometimes, the best way for search engines to index non-written content is to make it written content by adding a transcription. Most video services, including YouTube and Wistia, include transcription services for free or for a small fee. Include a transcription on your page to help search engines and viewers who can’t watch now better consume your content. Even better? Once you have a transcription, you can repurpose that written content into another ebook or blog post. That red velvet cupcake recipe video transcription could easily be added to a recipe ebook with minimal effort or edits.

Best Practices for Audio Content SEO

We’ve talked a lot about optimizing images and videos for search engines, but what about audio content,  like podcasts? Just like Google doesn’t have eyes to view images or video, search engines also don’t have ears to listen in on your audio. But there are still ways to make sure that search engines hear the message. Since all those ice cream flavors and cupcake recipes have got me wanting to cheat on a diet, let’s make this podcast “How to Enjoy Desserts You Love Without the Guilt”.
Many of the SEO standards we discussed for images and video apply here for Google: alt-texts, titles, descriptions, and a unified keyword presence are all relevant for users to find your podcast on Google. However, when people are looking for podcasts, they primarily head to iTunes. To rank high in the iTunes podcast SERP (which often translates to better search engine ranks as well), here are some specific areas to hone in on.

1) Make your podcast easily navigable from the iTunes SERP.

Here’s a quick test to make sure you’re as easily found as you think you are: Work backwards from a viewer who has never heard of your podcast, but is searching for similar content. In this case, try searching “easy exercise tips” or a similar keyword phrase on iTunes. The process of typing in a search into the iTunes store, finding the podcast website, determining the podcast content, and listening and subscribing to your content should be easy as pie for the listener. By testing your own podcast from the beginning, you can identify hiccups from the user experience angle.

2) Optimize your content for strategic keywords.

Like video, keyword strategy is one of the most important parts of optimizing your podcast. Remember your keyword strategy when naming your podcast, episodes and writing descriptions. Research non-competitive keywords that match your content using a keyword tool.

3) Accrue subscribers.

There’s a difference between listeners who play your podcast once, and subscribers who sign up to automatically download a new episode whenever it comes out. When ranking keyword phrases, iTunes favors podcasts with more subscribers -- a higher percentage of subscribers communicates that your podcast is consistently valuable. Accrue subscribers by making it as painless as possible to subscribe (ideally with just a click of a button). Encourage listeners to take the next step to subscribe by clearly outlining the value proposition of your podcast, and include action verbs that encourage people to sign up now.

4) Solicit reviews.

iTunes also tends to favor podcasts with more reviews in their SERP. Podcasts with a higher volume of reviews indicate higher engagement. Ask listeners and subscribers directly for reviews. Include a review CTA at the end of every episode and on your podcast web page. Call out specific reviews in your podcast to show that you're listening to what your listeners and subscribers are saying. Check social media to see if there are listeners who frequently talk about your content and approach them for a product review.

5) Factor in the age of your podcast.

Another factor iTunes takes into account in their rankings is the age of your podcast. Podcasts that have been around longer are more likely to rank higher than newer ones. While there isn’t a lot you can do to manipulate the age of your podcast, the age factor is worth keeping in mind when you're considering starting an additional podcast.

6) Include a transcription.

There are plenty of services, like Casting Words, that will transcribe your podcast for as little as a dollar a minute. Translate your audio content into a written format to better help search engines and listeners digest your content, and to make it easier to repurpose that content for future use.

Best Practices for Non-Written SEO in Social Media

We’ve gone over what the SEO best practices are for individual non-written content assets, but how do those practices change within the context of social media? If you didn't already know, the two are kind of connected. And with social networks becoming more visual, optimizing non-written content is more important than ever.
But let me be clear -- the goal for non-written SEO in social networks isn’t necessarily to be found by search engines, but to make sure you’re using non-written content to its full advantage. Here are some resources for non-written SEO best practices for specific social networks. For a more general overview on optimizing your social media presence, here’s theultimate guide to optimized social media updates.

Pinterest

Since Pinterest is an image-centric network and has just come out with analytics, we thought thatSEO for Pinterest was an article all in itself. Best practices include the following if you're looking for the short synopsis:
  • Optimize your account name and description.
  • Include links back to your website on every pin.
  • Use keywords in the filename and alt text of images you pin.
  • Take time with each pin’s description to describe the image and include keywords.
  • Incorporate hashtags to amplify the social reach of your pins.

Facebook

We have original data that indicates photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes than average posts. Images and videos are obviously a huge part of encouraging fans not only to interact with your brand, but also consume content that moves them down the funnel, especially now that Facebook updated its cover photo guidelines to include CTAs. Read this easy-to-follow tip sheet to find the best ways to engage your Facebook fans with images that breaks down thebest practices for Facebook cover images and albums.

Twitter

Twitter is buzzing with new image and multi-media updates. The biggest integration Twitter has with multi-media content is the new Vine video app. With Vine you have the opportunity to:
  • Optimize cover photos on brand pages and include CTAs within your profile
    image.
  • Showcase multi-media content with featured tweets.
  • Identify what keywords your account should focus on.
  • Create a Vine account and incorporate it into your video strategy.
  • Measure the ROI of Vine and Twitter to optimize conversions and reach.

Google+

The most important thing to think about with Google+ SEO is authorship. Having the author image next to an article’s listing in the SERPs makes it much more clickable than plain text. Here’s a more in-depth article that explains why Google+ authorship is important, and how to apply for it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

5 Social Media Management Tools You Should Consider


social media toolsHave your social media activities spiraled out of control?
Are you looking for tools to simplify the management of your social media marketing?
Would you like better insight into your audience or the ability to compare your social activities against the competition?
These are some of the capabilities you’ll discover in the five social media management tools listed below.
In this article I reveal five social management tools that just might make your life a bit easier.
Check out what they have to offer and see if they are a good fit for your business needs.

#1: Sprout Social Helps You Engage Followers and Respond in Real Time

One of the best things about Sprout Social is the user interface. Many people find it easier to process and digest data when it’s presented graphically. That’s one of the strengths of this tool—you can quickly check data and figure out how to respond to it.
Sprout Social summary demographics
Sprout Social gives you the information you need in an easy-to-read graphic format.
Another important aspect of Sprout Social is the Smart Inbox. It’s designed to help you respond quickly and easily from different social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), post different message types (mentions, direct messages, wall posts, etc.) and even sort by brand keywords.
Sprout Social respond to messages
Sprout Social offers different tabs for you to respond to messages.
There are a wide variety of ways you can use Sprout Social to manage your campaigns, but one of the best is the Twitter Comparison Tool. It’s a great way to compare your Twitter usage to that of your friends and competitors.
Sprout Social Ian Cleary engagement influence
Use Sprout Social’s Twitter Comparison Tool to compare yourself with others.
Sprout Social is ideally suited for people who like to digest and process information visually. It can be used by individuals or teams and has very solid reporting and analytics.
The cost is reasonable and their free 30-day trial is perfect for people who are interested in taking it out for a spin.

#2: MarketMeSuite Provides an Easy-to-Use Dashboard That Works Like Email

If there’s one thing everyone reading this article has in common, it’s that we’re all comfortable using email. A message comes in, you open it and then you respond.
That’s the approach MarketMeSuite uses for its social media management tool. The dashboard is designed to work the same way an email inbox works. You can look at messages in the preview pane, and then open them up to explore more about the person who sent the message.
Marketmesuite preview
MarketMeSuite is designed like an email inbox.
If you’re like many people, you’re busy trying to run the day-to-day operations of your business, so sitting down and learning a new tool by trial and error is time-consuming.
One of the strengths of MarketMeSuite is that it has a built-in tutorial to walk you through the basics of using the platform. The tutorial guides you through a simple 9-step process to help you get up and running fast.
Best of all, it takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out all the bells and whistles—just complete the tutorial and you’ll have a great foundation to work from.
Marketmesuite Tutorial
MarketMeSuite has a built-in tutorial.
MarketMeSuite has plenty of other strengths, too. Their geo-targeting feature allows you to locate customers using social media who are near your business. It allows you to manage multiple social media profiles. And you can schedule messages across social networks with just one click.
You might be interested in taking advantage of MarketMeSuite’s free service as you make up your mind about which of their fee-based programs suits your needs.

#3: Sendible Provides Brand Monitoring and Sentiment Analysis for Businesses

Here’s a question: If you found out that 70% of your customers described your product as “cheap” while only 30% described it as “a good value,” would that be important to your business? Absolutely. And that explains one of the strengths of the Sendible platform.
With its 360° brand monitoring and sentiment analysis feature, you’re able to read and respond to what people are saying about your brand across the web. Plus, if you want to really be proactive, you can monitor what people are saying about your competitors’ products, too.
That way, when someone posts an update about a negative experience with a competitor, you can gently (and politely) introduce him or her to your brand. (Note: Be cautious with this tactic, because if you’re too aggressive, it can backfire.)
Sendible
Sendible allows you to monitor both positive and negative sentiment about your brand.
Like other social media management platforms, Sendible provides a wide variety of features at an affordable price. You can engage with new and existing customers across multiple platforms, analyze and track your social media and email campaigns, measure the success of the content you share and a multitude of other things.
Sendible is terrific if you’re a data junkie; there’s a lot of information to plow through with their platform. The user interface isn’t as elegant as some of the other options mentioned here, so if “look and feel” is important to you, it might not be perfect. But if you’re more focused on content, then Sendible has plenty of data that can be put to use for your business.

#4: Socialbakers Provides Large Amounts of Data in a User-Friendly Interface

If you want to combine the data available in Sendible with the user interface available with Sprout Social and MarketMeSuite, then you might want to check out Socialbakers.
It’s the most expensive of the tools reviewed here, but it may be worth the price. (Note: It’s just the most expensive of the batch here. There are more expensive tools aimed at big brands.)
Socialbakers tracks fan growth across multiple platforms so you can determine which content was the most well-received by your audience.
It also allows you to analyze fan growth by days of the week and times of the day. That way, you can track when your audience is most likely to respond to your content.
Socialbakers tracking
Socialbakers gives you a lot of data in an easy-to-read format.
Are you interested in tracking how your social media campaigns are performing compared to your competitors? You’ll like some of the tools available with Socialbakers.
You can compare how you stack up on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube and see all of your competitors’ pages, profiles and channels in an easy-to-understand dashboard.
Best of all, you can analyze the content that prospective customers find most engaging, which leads to better content from you.
Socialbakers Comparison
Socialbakers lets you compare results.
Socialbakers also has a number of reports available on their website, including statistics from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn. It even breaks some of the data out by country, making it perfect for the international crowd.

#5: Crowdbooster Does Much of the Thinking for You

Is the idea of drilling down into vast amounts of data and analyzing what to do with it is a bit daunting? Enter Crowdbooster, a social media management tool for people who want their tools to make recommendations for them.
With Crowdbooster, you can check the number of retweets, replies, impressions, likes and comments by date range or in real time. You can also drill down to see who retweeted you, how many shares were organic and how effective your campaigns have been.
Crowdbooster Graphic
Crowdbooster provides you with the data you need to determine the success of your marketing campaigns.
One of the strengths of Crowdbooster is that it provides email alerts that are dropped into your inbox each day. The alerts give you a summary of the data that Crowdbooster collected and, best of all, provides recommendations on how you should respond.
That way, for example, when someone with a high Klout score follows you, Crowdbooster will recommend that you follow her back and engage with her.
About the only weakness of Crowdbooster is the fact that it currently only supports Twitter and Facebook, so if YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of the other social media platforms are an important part of your mix, Crowdbooster may not be for you. But if you like the idea of having a tool that provides data and recommendations, then you’ll want to check it out.
Which Social Media Management Tool Is Right for You?
The tools listed above have a lot of great qualities. There are still others out there that you may want to investigate, including SproutLoud, Wildfire, SocialBro, MediaFunnel and others.
No matter which approach you take, if you’re ready for a more robust platform, you can’t go wrong with the tools mentioned here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Use Pinterest to Promote Your Products


 
social media how toIs your business on Pinterest?
Or are you still unsure how to use Pinterest to effectively promote your products or company?
In November, Pinterest launched business pages with their new terms of service. This update lets you use Pinterest commercially.
You can promote your products, generate sales and leads and use it for other commercial purposes without any worries.
But first, you may want to convert your personal profile into a business account (or if you don’t have a personal account, just start fresh with one for business).
Here are some tips on how you can take advantage of this update and use Pinterest commercially to promote your business.

#1: Promote Holiday Products

A great way to drive sales is to create boards where you pin holiday products. This could be Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Mother’s Day or any other day that is of significance to your audience.
You can use Pinterest to show your audience that you’ve got what they need to celebrate.
The first thing you need to do is create a board based on that holiday and label it with a board name, description and category.
After that, you can begin pinning relevant products from your website to this board. You could also upload the images directly to Pinterest, but in this case make sure the image leads to a landing page on your website where people can make a purchase.
Write a good description to let readers know how they can use your product during this holiday. You can also add the price.
Rearrange your holiday-themed boards so that they’re at the top of your profile page during the appropriate season so they stand out (and don’t forget to add a good cover image).
You could also add a board widget to your website to help promote the board.
Christmas gifts for her Argos board
Like Argos, promote your products for festive occasions.
A good example of a holiday board is Christmas Gifts for Her, which can be found on Argos’ (a UK home and general goods retailer) Pinterest brand page.
On this board, you’ll find pins of products from their website for Christmas, along with detailed descriptions and labels, which all ultimately lead to a landing page to buy the item. This is a great way to market their products on Pinterest.
Check out the board to see how well it’s been done.

#2: Group Products Around a Theme

Another creative way of using your Pinterest brand page is to promote your products using a theme. This could be a theme around colors, designs, materials, ingredients, locations or anything else that’s interesting and can be categorized.
After you choose a theme, create several boards based on that theme.
For example, if you choose the color theme, create several boards where you plan to pin products of different colors. Label them accordingly, with different color names and arrange them side by side, so users know that the boards collectively form a theme.
Once you have set up the boards correctly, start pinning products of that color onto that board and add a good description (make sure you mention the color here too). This is a creative way to market your business, as people can easily find products of their favorite color.
This method is also good for search engine optimization (SEO), especially when you mention the keyword (color) in the board title, board description and pin description.
Debenhams Pinterest brand page
Displaying your products around a theme can increase engagement and drive sales.
A company that is promoting its products around a theme on Pinterest is Debenhams, a chain of stores in the UK.
On their Pinterest page, they have several boards labeled with names of designers like John Rocha, Betty Jackson and Jenny Packham. They also have each designer’s photo set as their board cover.
On this board they share clothes and accessories created by the designer. Fans can visit that board to check out the creations of that designer instead of visiting the website and browsing through hundreds of clothing items and accessories. This can help generate traffic and increase sales.
You can also promote your products in a similar way. Just make sure you choose a title under which you can group many of your products together. And don’t hesitate to experiment with different methods and themes. If something doesn’t work, you can always delete the boards and pins and create new ones.

#3: Highlight Your Popular Products

People like popular products. When they know that a product is selling well and everyone else is buying it, they want to get a hold of it before they miss out. This is one of the reasons why there’s the Amazon bestseller list and the option to look at the most popular products on online stores.
Once your products reach that list and are easily visible to your website visitors, they are likely to sell even better.
You can take advantage of this same idea on Pinterest too and list your most popular products.
First, create a board with a title and description to tell readers this is where they can find your most popular products. After that, pin some images of your most popular products here and add descriptions. You could also add the rank of the product.
Make sure you write everything about the productinclude the price, whether the product is a limited edition and add a call to action asking users to check out the product or buy it.
Also make sure you update the board regularly. Remove products no longer available and replace them with hot new items.
Top 40 best sellers gourmet display
Create a bestsellers or a top-sellers board and pin your most popular products to it.
Top 40 Best Sellers is a board on Gourmet Display’s Pinterest brand page, where they pin 40 of their best-selling products for food and beverage displays. This is a great way to further increase the sales of these products.
The board has a good name and a well-written description, which instantly tell you what the board contains. The pins have both an attractive image and a good description and they lead to a page where the product can be purchased.

#4: Generate Leads

Another way to use your Pinterest page is to generate leads. First, create some quality content (such as ebooks, white papers, reports, case studies, etc.) that is gated with an opt-in form on a landing page.
Then add a short description about the content on the landing page along with an attractive image that is also the cover image of your file. After that, pin this image onto a board where you share your premium content. Write a brief description about it with a call to action that asks people to visit your website to sign up.
This will increase your landing page traffic and will help generate more leads, which can be used to increase website and blog traffic and drive sales later.
Marketing Profs free marketing resources board
Using your brand page to generate leads can be easier than trying to push sales.
An example is the Free Marketing Resources board on Team MarketingProfs’ brand page, where you will find pins of their free marketing resources. Here, instead of directly marketing their services, MarketingProfs asks its followers to download their marketing materials for free. Many of these resources can only be accessed by providing an email address.
This is a great way to generate leads from potential customers who can be marketed to later. It’s a lot easier than trying to get them to buy your products or use your services right away.

#5: Build an Audience and Then Sell

The ultimate goal of your campaign is to generate leads and sales for your services and products. In fact, it would be nice to start generating sales as soon as you set up your brand page, but on Pinterest you want to take your time doing this.
You need to build an audience first. And after you gain followers, you can start promoting your products.
On Facebook and Twitter or other social networks where you share posts every day, you might be able to promote your products more than once daily. But on Pinterest, the best way to promote items is to create a dedicated board where you pin the products you want to sell.
Remember, you want to pin your products only once because if you do it over and over again, you’ll appear to be overpromoting yourself.
When you first pin one of your products, you want to get as many initial likes, repins and comments as possible. This will add social proof to your products, encourage users to check out the product and increase the likelihood of more direct shares in the future.
So focus on building an audience first by sharing content regularly and then pin your products to your page.
Gracious Pantry cookbooks board
Focusing on building an audience first will make it easy for you to drive sales later.
On The Gracious Pantry’s Pinterest brand page, you will find a board called Gracious Pantry Cookbooks where Tiffany McCauley shares pins of her books. Many of these pins have been repinned several times. The number of times the book has been repinned and liked can be found right below the pin.
These numbers add social proof, encourage users to visit the site and repin the cookbook right away. And when she pins something new to this board, she will automatically get repins and likes because she has already built an audience. The board currently has more than 15,000 followers.
So focus on building an audience first and share your products after you have achieved this.
Use Pinterest to Promote Your Business
As you can see, there are several ways you can highlight your products on Pinterest. Have a look to see how other businesses are using their Pinterest accounts and figure out which your audience might like best. Choose the boards that will work best for you.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013



How 5 Companies Are Using Inbound Marketing to Succeed in Competitive Markets
underdog
Rocky Balboa. Susan "I Dreamed a Dream" Boyle. The 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team. What I'm trying to say is ... no one can resist an underdog.

Small businesses with limited marketing budgets have always been at a disadvantage against big-name competitors. When you’re the shop on the corner, good luck competing with corporations with quarterly marketing budgets larger than your entire annual revenue.
At least, that’s how the story used to go. But watch out Goliath -- David just got a slingshot.Inbound marketing helps level the playing field for marketers with less budget, and more brains. To show you just how effective inbound can be, we've identified some companies that are crushing it against larger competitors. You know, for a little inspiration. So grab your pom-poms and get ready to cheer on some underdog companies dominating giant competitors with inbound marketing.

Main Line Family Law Center, LLC Earns National Media Attention With Keyword Strategy

Husband-and-wife team Chris and Sharon Pastore of Havertown, PA founded Main Line Family Law Center, LLC in 2011 to provide painless legal assistance for couples going through separation and divorce. For clients, they summarize their goal as “restoring sanity and dignity to the divorce process.” The Pastores were a small business of only two people where the marketing and business management fell on Sharon’s shoulders.
Divorce and separation can also be a very private process that clients would rather Google than ask a friend about. Sharon understood her clients’ desire for privacy, and focused her marketing on keyword strategy. She discovered people were searching “legal separation in PA” without seeing a lot of valuable content, so she started targeting that phrase and similar ones with blog content. The results paid off. Main Line Family Law reached a #1 rank for dozens of keywords, saw a 30% quarterly growth in web traffic, and because she used calls-to-action and landing pages to convert all that traffic, she saw a quarterly 30% lead growth, too.
The wins didn’t stop there, either. When the Oprah Winfrey Network (Oprah, you guys!) was browsing for divorce and separation clients for a show, guess who came up on the search engine results page? Not a huge legal firm. Not Law.com, The New York Law Journal, or any other legal publications. Main Line Family Law came up.
Main Line Family Law shows that no matter how big your business, understanding your customer’s online behavior and nailing down a persona-driven content strategy is incredibly important, and can drive Oprah-level results. (I'm going to try to make that a new form of measurement; I hope it catches on.)

The Rodon Group Receives Presidential Recognition for an Ebook

The Rodon Groupis a B2B third-generation family business that has manufactured small plastic parts and molds at a high volume since 1956. As one of the largest operation injection molders in the country and manufacturer of over 30 billion parts for K’NEX Brands (the famous toy construction brand), The Rodon Group hardly seems like an underdog. What gives? 
The Rodon Group now has to compete on a global scale, and U.S. manufacturing isn’t known for offering the best prices for high volume, small plastic parts in comparison to competitors in other countries. Many potential customers turn overseas before fully exploring the cost-effective options available in the U.S.
The Rodon Group decided to address this problem head-on with its “Cheaper than China” campaign. The centerpiece of the campaign was an ebook titled “Top 10 Critical Reasons to Brign Your Plastic Injection Molding Back to the U.S.” that explained how The Rodon Group beat overseas pricing. Here’s a quick sample of some of that campaign's content:

rodon

This approach not only addressed a concern The Rodon Group’s potential customers were facing, but something the entire country was worried about. Their marketing messaging even earned the attention of President Obama, who personally flew to the plant in Hatfield, PA to deliver a speech.

Obama-Rodon_(1)-1

This wasn’t a campaign that The Rodon Group spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on. All they did was embrace inbound marketing by creating a content-based campaign that addressed customer concerns. It earned them an in-person endorsement for the President of the United States, not to mention coverage from top tier publications. Talk about powerful.

Jackson Coffee Company Consistently Beats Corporate Giants With Email Marketing

Jackson Coffee Company is a Michigan-based coffee shop that describes their mission as simply “roasting and brewing really great coffee” since September 2006. The business has three locations in Jackson, MI, but no chains outside the city as of now.
What makes Jackson Coffee Company so special? They have consistently won “Best Coffee House” awards in all the years from 2007-2012 against giants such as Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, and McCafe as well as five other independent coffee houses. Even better? They report never having to explicitly ask their customers to vote.
Sure, they focus on great coffee (read more about their coffee quality assurance methods, or the “J” way here), but Jackson Coffee Company emphasized email marketing to help drum up support. And instead of spamming the same list over and over with interruptive messaging, Jackson Coffee followed the make love, not spam email methodology by keeping multiple, separate lists for things like newsletters, or birthday promotions. Robert Ernst, the company’s social media manager, explains that keeping separate lists makes it easy to email customers at the frequency they prefer. While some customers prefer only an annual update for their birthday club cup of coffee, for instance, others want a more frequent update. To learn more about how to do email marketing right -- who knows, maybe it'll be what you need to reign supreme over a big industry competitor of your own -- check out our free ebook that teaches you how to optimize your email marketing for conversions.

Help Scout Builds Enterprise-Level Authority With Customer-Focused Content

Help Scout is a B2B customer service software company founded in 2005 with seven full-time employees. While they started off in Nashville, they’re now our neighbors in Boston. Help Scout’s mission is focused on helping businesses deliver scalable, personal customer support. They take this mission so seriously that all of their job titles read “Customer Champion” -- even the co-founders.
There are some big fish in Help Scout’s pond. Heck, Zendesk has 25,000+ customers, including Disney -- the leaders in magical customer experiences. With less manpower and marketing budget dollars comparatively, how does Help Scout get the word out?
With fantastic content, of course! Help Scout knows that content is the fuel that feeds the inbound marketing machine, and it shows with their beautiful and comprehensive content, both on their own website and externally through guest blogging. Not only does this content help them build authority with their audience, but it attracts more than enough leads to sustain a steady 10% month-over-month growth rate without breaking the bank on advertising. According to business co-founder Nick Francis, Help Scout experienced a 678% growth in leads from August 2012 to February 2013.
Feel free to explore Help Scout's assets in a little more depth on your own, but I wanted to highlight two here for you -- check out their Resources center and their company blog below -- before we go into their guest blogging.

Help Scout Marketing Resources

Help_Scout_ebooks

Help Scout Marketing Blog

Help-Scout-Blog

Help Scout External Content

Alright, now a quick word on how Help Scout's guest blogging program has helped them edge out bigger industry competitors. They're active guest bloggers, reaching out to companies like Buffer (efficiency hack blog) to create content around simple ways to improve customer service. This content strategy exposes Help Scout to new audiences without breaking the bankand further cements their credibility in a space where they aren't the biggest provider. 
This content has helped them build trust with their audience, and as a result, they've seen a265% increase in unique visitors from August 2012 through February 2013. They also saw a 678% growth in leads collected.

Takk Takk Puts Icelandic Tourism on the Map With Social Media

Close your eyes and imagine you’re on a dream vacation anywhere in the world you want to be. Where did you go? A café in Paris with fresh croissants? A tropical beach with your toes in the sand?
Wherever you chose, I'm willing to bet many didn't jump right to Iceland. As nice as the country is, Iceland doesn’t naturally pop into people’s heads when they think vacation. Icelandic marketing agency Takk Takk, then, had a challenge -- to put a small island in the middle of the ocean on the map for tourists. Enter the "Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend" campaign.
Instead of broadcasting Iceland’s virtues on a website with generic pictures, Takk Takk went on a mission to befriend people via social media. Which means they had to have a brand peopleactually wanted to be friends with on social media. Creating marketing content so interesting and helpful that people actually seek it out for consumption? Interacting directly with people in a conversation instead of interrupting them with broadcasts? Sounds like inbound marketing to me! Takk Takk adopted a fun, silly voice on their social media accounts, landing pages, thank you pages, and emails -- even in their calls-to-action. Check out the copy on their subscription CTA, for instance: 
Iceland_CTA
The agency created a branded personality for the country of Iceland and kept it consistent across social and online platforms, too -- even their source code had a bit of personality!
Iceland_Source_Code
Takk Takk carried over the voice of their campaign to social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo, where they featured regular people enjoying their Icelandic vacations and connected tourists on who were visiting around the same time. Luckily, Takk Takk compiled their social media tips and execution from the campaign in a slideshow that is absolutely worth a view; my favorite takeaway was “Treat normal people like celebrities.”
The results? The campaign started in 2009, and by 2012, tourist traffic at Iceland's Keflavik International Airport broke records, with 2.4 million passengers, approximately 1/4 of whom were foreign tourists. Keep in mind, this all happened after the 2008 banking crisis and a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Iceland also just received a 2013 ranking from the World Economic Forum as the world's most welcoming holiday destination, where part of the ranking relies on how welcome the population's attitude seems toward foreign visitors -- something embodied strongly in Takk Takk's campaign.
What's your favorite underdog marketing story? Are you using any specific inbound marketing techniques you use to get the edge on your competitors? Tell us your stories in the comments section! We'd love to hear them.