Thursday, 30 May 2013

3 Reasons Why Your Company Should Blog

Blogging has definitely grown during that past few years. The practice has expanded beyond the typical blogger realm and into companies both small and large. And can we blame them? With professional blogging platforms like Blogger or WordPress, it’s easier than ever to post articles and content related to your industry. These platforms can also be customized to fit the look and feel of your company and branding. Blogging gives you a voice within the internet and if you’re good, you’ll develop a pretty loyal following in no time.
Show Off A BitBlogging lets you demonstrate your knowledge about your industry. It gives clients or customers even more of a reason to trust you and that you know what you’re doing. Displaying this knowledge will help your company by attracting outsiders to check out not just your blog, but your website as well.
Ultimately you’ll be seen as someone who is reliable within their field and can be a trusted source of knowledge. As a company, you want to give your clients or customers that reassurance, that way they’ll not only use your services, but will spread the word about your company as well.
wb1 3 Reasons Why Your Company Should Blog
Builds LinksWithin your blog posts you can reference outside links, whether it is your own website or a previous blog post. It’s also good to link back to other bloggers as that will build an online relationship. Of course, by adding outside bloggers, you’re hoping that they’ll return the favor – either in their own blog or even on social media sites.
Also, blogs are preferred by search engines like Google and are often utilized for SEO purposes. As most of us already know, SEO is the top way to get your company noticed in today’s world that thrives off of the internet.
Gives You a VoiceHaving that extra presence never hurts, especially on an unlimited source like the internet.
Think about it, someone may come across your blog without having to see your website first, which is usually how it happens if one is searching primarily for blogs. The blog can help with announcing the latest news within your company, or can just be a space to put your own two cents about certain topics or trends related to your field. And since it’s your blog, you can pretty much say what you want, of course keeping it within reason.
The key with blogging is to develop quality, relevant content so readers will continue to return to read your next post. That is ultimately what will draw in an audience, and then you can focus on utilizing keywords for SEO and share your content on various social media platforms.
Does your company blog?

Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester based NY web design firm specializing in SEO, social media, web and graphic design and much more.

10 things To Do To Your Facebook Page Immediately

By Jonathan Pollinger at Intranet Future:

Here are 10 actions for you to take right now on your Facebook Page. 

1) Create a Milestone for a new product, office opening, new member of staff etc by selecting Offer, Event + then Milestone.
2) Check that you’re receiving the notifications when Fans interact with your Page. Go to Update Public Info/Your Settings.
3) Make sure your About section is fully complete and describes how your products or services can benefit your customers or clients.
4) It may state Website (singular) in the About section, but you can add as many websites as you like – just add a space between them.
5) Add a link to your website in the Short Description so that it’s displayed on the front of your Page beneath the Cover Photo.
6) Feature the Pages of your clients and suppliers by using Featured Likes under Edit Page/Update Public Info/Featured. 
7) Ensure that you have at least 2 Page Admins for cover in the event of sickness and holidays and to avoid difficulties when the sole Admin leaves the business.
8) Add your website link or your call to action using text to your Facebook cover photo. eg ‘Sign up to our newsletter’.
9) Set you category and sub-category to accurately reflect your sector. Go to Edit Info/Update Public Info/Basic Info.
10) Ensure any Place or Community Pages representing your business are merged with your main Facebook (Business) Page.
Bonus tip: Create a unique URL for your Facebook Page. Go to Edit Info/Update Public Info/User Name.

5 Reasons to Choose Vimeo Instead of YouTube

Two platforms clearly stand out when it comes to hosting online videos:YouTube and Vimeo.
YouTube's clearly the big dog. At 800 million unique visitors per month, with roughly 72 hours of content being uploaded each minute, it's by far the most used video-sharing platform on the web. (It doesn't hurt that it's owned by Google, either.)
But upload statistics alone don't necessarily make it the best platform out there. Vimeo, while on a smaller audience scale, has plenty of advantages over the streaming giant — especially for someone who's looking to receive helpful feedback or showcase their work to a community of fellow filmmakers.
Not to knock on YouTube. It's a great platform as well, and it overall depends on what type of video you're uploading and what sort of audience you're trying to reach. But, if you're struggling to decide between the two, check out our list below of reasons why Vimeo — not YouTube — might be your best fit.

1. The Community of Professionals

Unlike YouTube's massive audience, Vimeo's is a more small, niche community of film enthusiasts. It's not nearly as large — it gets roughly 70 million unique visitors each month — but its modest size creates an intimate and fully engaged community. It's a network of people who are genuinely interested in film quality, too, so you know your work is being seen by people who will appreciate it.
Plus, you're more likely to get constructive criticism in the comments section. (On YouTube, even a video of a baby owl stretching its wings for the first time is guaranteed to launch a string of off-topic, mean and flat-out racist comments.)

2. There's Less ... Fluff

GIF courtesy of
Don't get us wrong — there are plenty of gems on YouTube. But the problem with a site where more than 70 hours of video are uploaded every minute is that not every hour is going to be something you'd like to watch. Haters may hate, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a 30-second clip of a man dancing in a penguin costume on Vimeo.

3. The Cleaner Layout

Aside from the difference in video genres, Vimeo offers a cleaner aesthetic than YouTube. Videos are larger and there's limited clutter around the frame, so it really feels like the primary focus of the website is on the video, and nothing else.

4. No Advertisements

No distracting banners or 30-second commercials before your video starts — a huge perk for the viewer.

5. Password Protection

Lastly, Vimeo allows you to password-protect your videos, so you can share them with friends before setting them as public. It differs from creating a "private" video on YouTube in that you don't need to be logged into the video's account to view it — you just forward the video to your recipient and make sure they know which password to type in.
Give Vimeo a look for yourself if you haven't done so already. It's free to sign up for a basic membership; Vimeo Plus is $9.95 per month; and Vimeo PRO is $199 per year.
Do you have a preference between the two video streaming services? Or, better yet, do you prefer a different uploading site? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Who Should You Connect To on LinkedIn?

Your LinkedIn success depends a lot on who you are connected to.  Many professionals on LinkedIn misunderstand this and believe that you should be connected to as many people as you can convince to accept your connections. This could not be further from the truth.
This is what LinkedIn says about it:
Connecting to someone on LinkedIn implies that you know them well:
  • They’ll have access to people you know
  • Others may ask you about them and vice versa
  • You’ll get updates on their activity
LinkedIn lets you invite colleagues, classmates, friends and business partners without entering their email addresses.
However, recipients can indicate that they don’t know you. If they do, you’ll be asked to enter an email address with each future invitation.
Here are a few reasons why you should only connect to those you KNOW, TRUST and CAN RECOMMEND:
  1. When you request a connection with someone you found through a name search on LinkedIn, you are asked how you know this person – colleague, classmate, business partner, friend, group/association or other.  Choosing friend or other will require the person’s email address before requesting the connection – again, to ensure you know the person. Most people lie through their teeth here just to make a connection with someone they usually don’t know from a bar of soap.  The reason LinkedIn asks is because it matters that you actually know the people you are connected to.
  2. I’m often surprised at how I am connected to nearly every professional person in my city or industry because we know someone in common.  If I see one of my connections is connected to someone I want to do business with, I can ask my connection to introduce us.  This is a very powerful feature as it gives credibility to both parties – like a real introduction by someone you know and trust to someone they know and trust.
  3. You can only get/give recommendations from/to your connections.  The same counts for endorsements.  Those you connect to who don’t actually know you will happily give you endorsements for anything – even though they have no idea if you actually have these skills.  This causes the whole endorsement feature to be worth less than the space it takes up on a profile.
  4. You see the activity of your connections in your Timeline (LinkedIn Home) and on the Signal page – if you know and trust all your connections, these updates are really interesting, keeping those who know and trust each other in business updated with each other’s professional lives.  If not, well, it’ll just be noise.
  5.  You don’t have to be connected to someone to network with them.  Networking is done via Groups and introductions.  Find a Group you are interested in, take part in discussions and you will get to know many professionals you are not connected to.  This could even lead to new connections!
I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion around the connection issue on LinkedIn.  Please help me spread the word – if your real connections are connected to people they don’t know, it will water down your networking experience on LinkedIn too!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

#INFOGRAPHIC: The E-Commerce Revolution in the Middle East

The Surveys which are made shows that the population in the Middle East is 350 million, where 110 million are internet users. 9B$ are spent in 2012 in E-commerce shopping and by 2015 it will increase to 15B$ which sounds in an alarm to pay attention to the huge importance of E-commerce revolution happening in the Middle East. Here are an infographic done by Smarttouch‘s professional web designers to describe the E-commerce revolution in the Middle East.

This Infographic is Published by SmartTouch.

#INFOGRAPHIC: How Much Engagement Are Top Brands Getting on Instagram?

A recent Pew Study showed Instagram usage among teenagers is growing rapidly, so I decided to check out which brands are benefiting from - or helping - that growth. The thing I found most interesting is how intertwined Instagram and Facebook are, with data showing that 98% of Instagram photos are shared on Facebook. The following infographic shows which brands are getting the most engagement on Instagram, and how much. How do you use Instagram to market your business? Let us know in the comments.

This Infographic is Published by Wishpond

5 Cost Effective Ways To Drive Online Video In 2013

By Sean Rosensteel at Forbes
Bandwidth is growing, and video continues to find us on our tablets, smart phones and who knows what else. So why isn’t video a bigger part of our marketing plan for 2013?
I often hear the same excuses…
  • It’s too difficult to manage
  • It costs too much to produce
  • We don’t know what to use for footage or scripts
Fair enough for 2012. But here are five video formats that make video fast, affordable and actually fun to incorporate into your marketing efforts:
1. Animoto
An innovative format that brings desktop video to a new level. By using Hollywood quality background and motion formats, you can drop in video or still images, select music from the library and get a great looking video.
2. Pitch Engine
With Pitch Engine, you can create a one-page micro-site that allows you to add images, video and other media. This is great for sales promotions, press releases and other announcements, and it’s an easy way to pitch smaller bits of information at a time.
3. Bravo
Bravo lets customers record, review and send their videos to you. Then, you can approve and place these user-generated videos on your website, blog or wherever you’d like. The real beauty of Bravo is how convenient it is to capture and optimize testimonial videos.
4. Sightly (formerly Backyard)
Sightly believes that people are much more likely to click an ad if they see a video first. With hands-free setup (they set up a mobile web app, custom video and branded micro-site for you) and ongoing management of your Google Mobile and YouTube Channel, you can sit back and reap the rewards of your mobile ads and video pitches.
5. Screencast
This is a really simple format that allows you to create videos by taking screen shots and adding voice-overs. Many are using Screencast for tutorials and software demos. Others are having success talking through PowerPoint presentations to show business models, sales processes and more.
So now that you’re aware of some of the latest resources for making your own affordable videos, here are some motivating reasons to get going:
  • You Tube is the #3 search engine in the world – more and more searchers are seeking video as a solution
  • Videos rank well in search engines – videos offer online search leverage
  • Video is the best way to share a story – there’s nothing like a real person telling their story
  • Video is social content that rocks – nothing gets shared like video
  • Video is the easiest way to generate comments – blog posts with video get more attention
  • Body language that comes from video speaks more than words – video has a unique way of communicating on several levels
Come 2013, no more excuses as there are simple and cost-effective video solutions available right now. What are some of the tools you’ve utilized thus far, and what were your results?

10 Essential Web-Based Tools For Small Businesses

By Sean Rosensteel, at Forbes:
Through facilitating hundreds of online marketing campaigns for my clients, I’ve been able to cut my teeth on some of the best web-based services available today.
Here’s a list of 10 of the most essential web-based tools we continue to use – on a weekly basis. These services can provide you with a multitude of solutions – from productivity, to payments/invoicing, to marketing and beyond.
If you’re interested in sharing your computer screen with others,FreeScreenSharing offers unlimited meetings with up to 96 participants at a time. They’ll even throw in a free, dedicated conference bridge you can use at anytime.
If your PowerPoint presentations are getting a bit stale, try SlideRocket. It’s a better way to create, share and present stunning, media-rich presentations. It’s even compatible with mobile devices.
If you’re looking to announce exciting news about your business, MarketWire provides you with top-notch distribution channels to maximize exposure. They also offer an extensive array of specialty niche channels.
Bravo Video
If you’re a small business with a web presence, credibility is key. Bravo Video provides you with an easy way to capture customer testimonial videos. These videos can be shared on your website, blog and social media properties.
If collecting information on your website is important to you, then it’s time to take a look at Formstack. You can easily create forms, collect and analyze data and even integrate third-party applications like CRM, email marketing and payment processing.
Tired of using Paypal? Give WePay a try. It’s a free, secure tool that helps you collect money online. They recently released a new feature which allows you to accept payments on your website through their secure embed solution.
Harvest Time Tracking
If you bill hourly, Harvest could be a perfect solution. Their service allows you to easily and accurately track time, analyze it with powerful reports and instantly create branded invoices for your clients. They even offer a desktop and mobile application to make time tracking even more convenient.
There’s no such thing as a perfect website. UserTesting allows you to watch a video of a real visitor as they navigate through your site. You provide the user panel with what you’d like them to accomplish, and within a few hours you’ll have incredibly helpful video (and audio) feedback.
Google Business Apps
Forget the annual email fees as Google Business Apps provides you with up to 10 free email accounts. Spam filtering is second-to-none, and you can easily sync your email with Outlook or access via the Internet at

Google Drive
If you use Google Business Apps, you’ll be automatically signed up for a free Google Drive account. Similar to Dropbox, Google Drive lets you store, sync, and access your files from anywhere – including mobile devices.
Not it’s your turn. What web-based tools do you recommend for small businesses?

iHeartRadio Signs on to Be One of Twitter’s First Lead Generation Cards Ad Partners

Last week, Twitter Advertising made headlines with the introduction of Lead Generation Cards, new functionality that gives businesses a way to register users and their emails for promotions or memberships directly within a tweet.
iHeartRadio is one of the initial partners for the new program – and we spoke to them about the motivation behind the partnership, how it benefits their users, and more.
Lead Generation Cards allow Twitter Advertising’s exclusive partners the ability to add media within the body of tweets. That capability, for a brand like iHeartRadio, which has more than 167M downloads and 16M Twitter followers across all its handles, means amped-up entertainment experiences for the brand’s following – crucial in a time when content is more ample than ever, and competition is fierce for consumers’ attention.

Which Social Media Platforms Are Most Important To #B2C And #B2B Marketers (And Why)?

Which social media platforms and tools do marketers in the business to customer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) consider to be the most important for their brand, and why?
Social Media Examiner surveyed marketers worldwide and discovered that Facebook (surprise) is the preferred social media platform for B2C marketers, favoured by 67 percent of brands, ahead of blogging (11 percent) and Twitter (10 percent).
For B2Bs, Facebook tied first with LinkedIn (29 percent each), ahead of blogging (19 percent) and Twitter (16 percent).
All marketers rated increased exposure (89 percent), increased traffic (75 percent) and marketplace insights (69 percent) as the main benefits for using social media.
(Source: eMarketer)

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

What to Look For When Completing an #SEO Analysis

By Amanda DiSilvestro at Social Media Today:
Oftentimes when people approach SEO for the first time, it’s all about link building. Everything is about outward changes and reaching outward to different industry leaders and trying to build links and relationships. While this is indeed a huge part of any SEO strategy, it’s important that companies realize that your internal processes might need to change. You (or more likely your SEO agency) have to audit everything about your website and be prepared to change major components of your website if necessary.
When it comes to completing an SEO analysis, there are some things that an SEO agency will want to evaluate that could affect your website in ways you may not have anticipated. Some of these most popular aspects include:
  • Domain Problems. In some cases, there might be domains and sub-domains out there that can be linked with the domain name you’re used to using. For example, there could be a 301 redirect on something like “” that could be affecting your traffic. SEO agencies need to go through all of the different options and potentially get rid of these “extras.”
  • Check Sitemaps. An XML sitemap is a great way to make sure that all of your pages are cached quickly so that your visitors are seeing the most updated version of the page and so that SEO can begin to build for that page. This involves creating a list of your site’s URLs to make it easier for the bots to access. You can learn more about creating a sitemap here.
  • Collect Your Analytics. Your SEO agency is going to need to collect data for your website, and this involves checking the search traffic and keywords, referral traffic for each landing page, anchor text information and overall monthly traffic information.
  • Analyze Targeted Keywords. Of course, keywords are what most clients focus on when going out to hire an SEO agency. You want to research keywords and use those in tags such as the title tag, meta tags, and description tags.
  • Check for Indexed Pages. You can actually check to see which pages are indexed by typing “” into the Google search bar. This will show you all of the pages being indexed by Google, so it’s definitely one of the first things an agency will want to do for your site.
In the end, understanding some of the most fundamental things that need to be assessed can help both an SEO agency and a company both become successful. This helps you see exactly why an SEO agency might need to change some of the processes that have worked for you in the past and why your site architecture may need a little bit of SEO TLC.

New ‘Rich Pins’ Are a Good Start for Marketers on Pinterest

By now, it’s common knowledge that Pinterest is a great place for marketers targeting a specific, tech-savvy, and share-heavy demographic (women!), especially since the site also boasts over 48.7 million unique visitors globally.
In an effort to beef up its value for marketers (and offer more content-rich information for its users on each pinned image), Pinterest has rolled out what they are calling rich pins.
Rich pins essentially contain two things:
  • Text-rich information to accompany the image
  • Links attached to the images that will drive users to the desired webpage
I like the idea of rich pins from both sides of the fence. For users, it will help them get more info about the product, recipe, or movie in the image so they don’t have to track it down and research it themselves offsite, and for marketers, it offers quick access to the online assets that may lead to a purchase.
I also think it’s a no-brainer extention of what Pinterest was already doing without diluting the power of the shared image.
How to Use Pinterest’s Rich Pins
Developers: click here to get started, but make sure your site is using meta tags already.
For this initial offering, Pinterest is offering rich pins in three categories. From the Pinterest business blog:
  • Product pins include features like real-time pricing, availability, and where to buy.
  • Recipe pins include ingredients, cooking times, and serving info to get Pinterest cooks excited to hit the kitchen.
  • Movie pins include ratings, cast members and reviews to help pinners learn about new flicks.
For brands that have an obvious visual component, Pinterest has always been a very strong driver of traffic. Brands that don’t fall into this category have had to get more creative. This new feature expands Pinterest’s value for three categories that have already received likely benefit from having striking visual appeal.
Where Can Pinterest Go From Here?
It will be interesting to see how Pinterest can expand its offering to include support for things like contests, event boards, and other creative usesthat marketers have found for this unique social network.
What would you like to see Pinterest tackle as part of their next rollout? How can they improve the three categories of rich pins already offered?

How To Create Killer Content Using Buyer Personas

This is the second part in a three-part series on how to build your online presence for truly social selling, inspired by research from Jon Ferrara, founder and CEO of social CRM developer Nimble.
In my last article, we discussed how you lay the groundwork for a truly socialized-selling strategy by researching and creating a buyer persona.
These ideal customer profiles are crucial for identifying your audience for the next part of this strategy: writing killer content.
Great content is all about being relevant and unique.
This is one of the best ways to guarantee content you spent so much time creating will have a chance at cutting through the clutter. No one is going to click on your headline if they’ve read the same idea a hundred times. And it won’t matter if someone does, if they aren’t the kind of person that would buy from you in the first place.
In this article, I’ll provide four quick tips for researching and executing unique content topics.

1. Use ASOs to Mine for Trending Topics

Let’s say through your research process you’ve identified one buyer persona as being young working mothers. Their biggest life concern is balancing work and family time, so they are willing to spend money on products or services that help them do this better.
So generally, you want to create content that addresses these fears, and/or describes how you help them achieve these goals (without sounding too promotional).
To start your research, use the Advanced Search Operator (ASO) “inurl:blog” in combination with keywords that describe your buy persona. The more specific you are with your search, the more relevant articles you’ll find. So be sure to use combinations of buyer fears, with “how-to,” or “tips,” “advice,” and so on.
in url blog google search
As you click through to blogs, bookmark or flag those with the most relevancy to your audience. You can also use Klout to find influencers by topic area. Take a look at their blog, as well as articles they are talking about and sharing.
Next, you’ll want to start recording reoccurring themes. Pay particular attention to those with the most social shares.
Topsy is a great tool for this if the blog doesn’t post this directly on their site or with a “most popular” tag. Simply plug the blog post’s URL into the Topsy search bar and it will show every time that article was shared. Be sure to compare a few posts from the same blog. More than 200 shares on Forbes, for example, is really low comparatively. But this might be a really high number for a smaller, niche blog that is much more relevant to your audience.
topsy shares search
Some social CRM systems also allow you to instantly see the social influence of a particular person, if they are already in your contact management system.

2. Read Comments to Find Unique Angles

kid snack blog comments
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned uniqueness as one of these most important factors in content success. Just because everyone is blogging about healthy snacks for kids, doesn’t mean you need to come out with another “5 Tips for Healthy Kid Snacks” to add to the hundreds.
Instead you need to find increasingly granular ways to tackle the same subject. One way to do this is by reading through the comments on popular posts, particularly those with questions.
“I read your blog, but I’m still having [this problem],” for example. This could create the basis for your entire article idea. In fact, you can even make the question your headline. It will entice the reader into wanting to know the answer.

3. Interview Experts, Find Case Studies

facebook ad experts post
You want to make sure that you aren’t just regurgitating information that’s already been well covered. The best way to really flesh out a topic is talk to the experts.
Take a journalistic approach to content.
If you’ve raised a question, go back to those thought leaders you identified in Klout during your topic research process and get their input. Unique quotes in a story provide real value to your article because the reader can’t find those insights elsewhere.
Quoting experts also helps during the promotion step, which we describe in the next article of this series.
In addition to finding experts, you can also use case studies from real customers.
It’s always easier to understand a concept when you have a real-life example.
Also, the reader has something to identify with and say, “this person is just like me.”

4. Make it Pretty and Scannable

Finally, make your post easy on the eyes.
Break up the content with imagessubheads and bullet lists.
Google+ Hangouts also make it easy to produce a quick video. If you scheduled an interview for the topic, host it in a Hangout and post that in the blog post. This also creates another piece of content that can be shared separately.
In our next post we describe how you effectively share this content to generate real customers – the last step in your socialized-selling strategy.