5 Tips for Small Businesses on YouTube

With over 1 billion unique visitors each month, it is no surprise that YouTube is the second most-used search engine. As a small business, it is important to realize that YouTube is a great network to reach audiences. Today’s blog will offer several tips to help small businesses stand out from the endless amount of content on YouTube.

Similar to Google, YouTube has its own algorithm that determines the order of how videos are displayed in response to each search query. Some of these key factors include average visitor watch time, keyword relevance, number of subscribers, customer engagement and video length. By focusing on these criteria, brands will be more easily discovered and will stand out among other channels on YouTube.

  1. Share Relevant Content

YouTube’s algorithm for video search results and suggestion prioritizes videos that have a longer “watch time” over videos that receive more clicks. For this reason, the best way to optimize for this metric is by creating and sharing content that is relevant to viewers and will keep their attention. Videos that are too promotional or do not make sense to people who are unfamiliar with your brand will most likely cause viewers to move on to the next video.

YouTube users search for video content based on their needs. As a small business it is important to create content that addresses these needs. Many viewers on this platform are searching for educational information. Whether they are looking for a tutorial on applying a “Smokey Eye Shadow” or on how to bake “The Best Apple Pie”, viewers want a video that will give them clear step-by-step instructions. A great example of a company that does this is Birchbox. This monthly subscription service offers their consumers value by sharing useful content such as makeup and hair tutorials. By positioning themselves as a source for beauty and lifestyle tips, Birchbox is ready to be there for customers during their Zero Moment of Truth as discussed in last week’s post.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 7.38.00 PM

Quick fact: Most top videos on YouTube are about three minutes long so make sure your videos are not too long.

  1. Optimize Your YouTube Homepage

Treat your YouTube channel as if it were your own website. Take advantage of every opportunity available to brand your page. Here are a few key opportunities:

  • YouTube allows for channel icon and cover photo customization. Make sure to select quality visuals that are a good representation of your brand.
  • At the top of every YouTube channel there is space highlight a video. This is a great opportunity to introduce a new audience to your channel. YouTube offers great tips on effective trailers here.
  • Complete the “about” section of your channel and include a strong call to action. A good CTA could ask views to subscribe to your channel or to visit you company website by offering a link.
  • Offer visitors links to your other social media channels.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 8.17.10 PM

  1. Use Keywords

YouTube’s algorithm for video search result prioritization relies on the information you provide. This means that the titles, tags and descriptions you write are crucial. Video titles should be concise and include major keywords. Make sure to use as many relevant tags as possible. Similarly, video descriptions should use plenty of relevant keywords, convey key points from your video and highlight the value this video offers viewers.

Uploading a transcript will also help make your videos more search friendly because it lets YouTube know what your video is about. A transcript appears on your video similarly to closed captioning on TV. Therefore it adds convenience to viewers who are hard of hearing or those who are in a noisy situation. Uploading a transcript to YouTube is very simple, find instructions here.

  1. Make a Call To Action

When someone is viewing your video, ads and suggested videos can be very distracting and cause your viewer to click away from your content. Once you have a visitors attention, you should make a call to action encouraging them to visit your website, blog, subscribe to your channel etc. YouTube annotations offer a great opportunity for a CTA. Annotations should be carefully placed so they are relevant to viewers as they watch your video. Find instructions on how to add annotations here.

Video descriptions are also a great place to add a CTA. Below is a an example of how Birchbox uses their video descriptions to invite viewers to their website and other content streams.
Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 8.26.54 PM

  1. Create Playlists

Use playlists to keep related videos organized. Once you have shared several videos, your content will appear messy and will become hard to find. Organizing related videos into specific categories will allow visitor to find exactly what they are looking for. The best thing about playlists is that they appear in search results and will keep visitors watching your content.

Every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube. By practicing these tips your YouTube channel will be sure to stand out from your competition.

Advertising on Facebook

Small Businesses Advertise on Facebook

Now that you’ve established a Facebook page for your small business, you can start thinking about the next step for your business. You will definitely want to post content on your page but posting on your page may not be enough. In today’s world, paying to advertise with Facebook could be critical to a business’ success. Don’t believe me? Just check out the success stories of some small business on Facebook here.

How Do Ads Look to Customers?

First thing to understand is how these ads reach customers. If you create an ad with Facebook, you can choose the kind of people you want to see your ad. You can set a certain geographic range, age, gender, or you can even target people by what they like and dislike on Facebook. Now if these ads find there way into a persons feed there are different forms the ad may take (seen below).

ad types

As you can see in the middle example, the ad mentions the friends that like the page, this is because people may be more inclined to like something if their friends are already. The ad at left would be an ad likely seen on a mobile device and the ad on the right is a small ad that one may see on the side of their Facebook.

Starting a Facebook Ad

Now if you decide to create an ad, here are the eleven objectives you can choose for your ad:

  1. Boost your posts
  2. Promote your Page
  3. Send people to your website
  4. Increase conversions on your website
  5. Get installs of your app
  6. Increase engagement in your app
  7. Reach people near your business
  8. Raise attendance at your event
  9. Get people to claim your offer
  10. Get video views
  11. Collect leads for your business

So you’re probably wondering how this helps impact who sees your ads. Well if you choose “promote your page” as your objective Facebook will show the ad to people that are more likely to like your page. However, if you wanted to choose the objective, “send people to your website,” it would instead target people that are more likely to visit your website.

Choosing an Audience

Once you decide on your objective, you’ll then be prompted to start choosing the audience you target. As a small business you may want to restrict the ad to your location, or maybe you’re more ambitious and can handle some national or even international attention.

From there decide whether your targeting a particular gender or age group. These should likely align with your current customer base unless you’re trying to broaden out beyond that. You can even develop a list of interests that you may want to target. Say you’re a small sporting goods store, try soccer, basketball, baseball, etc. as some interests you want the ad to target.

You can go a step further by deciding what connections to include, as mentioned earlier some ads can show users which of their friends already like that particular page. It can also ignore those that already like your page. It could be highly recommended to take advantage of the connections option to spread the word to people who may not have heard of you but have a friend that has. It can start a dialogue about your business between the two and lead to even more future customers.

Keep in mind you’re not just limited to this one ad, Facebook will always allow you to create more that can target different people in different ways. So while you may want one ad to target friends of people that like your page, you can also make another that targets the people who already do.

Budgeting for Ads

Next in Facebook ad creation is setting a budget for your ad. Facebook gives you the option of choosing an amount to pay per day for your ad or a lifetime amount that will cover your ad throughout the duration of your campaign. This means that while a pay per day budget will always spend the same amount every day, a lifetime budget may spend more one day and less the next day. To get an idea of how many people you will reach a day Facebook gives an estimate on the right side of the page that should look like the image below.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 6.50.55 PMThere are more advanced options that depending on your objective may be slightly different. But in the advanced options you can decide whether to use the automatic or manual bid process and whether to pay based on impressions or clicks.

The automatic bid process means Facebook decides what ad will perform your objective with the most attention at best price. Manual you can decide what to bid on and when, this would be recommended for experts that know exactly what they’re looking for. Depending on the objective and what you decide there may be different things your paying for.

The two most common are CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per mille). CPC means you would be charged for overtime there is a click on your link for example. CPM would charge you based on how many people the ad was shown to. Facebook though will already have what they believe is the best option selected for you based on all the information you’ve given them.

So once you decide on a budget, based on understanding that there are a variety of different options for how ads work and how you pay for them, you will then be ready to create your ad.

Creating the Ad

First you should have an image in mind to use for the ad unless you have a video you would rather use. If you’d rather opt for an image, Facebook even offers design tips that you can find here. After you decide on an image or a video, you can then decide on the text you wish to include. From there you will see a preview of your ad and what it looks like for users.

Once you’ve created this ad you get to choose ad placement, which is fairly straightforward. There are only three options, the news feed for a desktop user, news feed for a mobile user, and the right column for a desktop user.

After all that you have created an ad on Facebook, this process can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. If you need more help navigating the complex world or Facebook ads and in particular understanding what you’re paying for here is an excellent offering from Wishpond.

 

Snapchat Advertising Options

Advertising Options and Engagement on Snapchat

Did you know that that Snapchat’s 100 million+ users share over 400 million snaps daily? That number is greater than the photo-sharing activity on both Facebook and Instagram. Yes, Instagram.

As mentioned last week, Snapchat has a user population of 13-35 year olds, making it the perfect app for ads catered to the infamous “millennial” demographic. However, similar to popular Facebook and Twitter when they were first introduced, advertisers are intimidated by the new and foreign platform. However, there is a more relaxed, engaging and fun component by advertising on Snapchat. I know what you’re thinking, where do I start? Never fear, Small Business Owner! This post will outline advertising options and advice for engagement.

Look at the Big Guys

There are many large corporations and businesses advertising on Snapchat today. It is beneficial to pay attention to how they do their advertising to take notes on what works, what catches your eye, and what doesn’t. It’s okay to critique the big companies, they were once a small business too.

Let’s take Taco Bell for example. In this Adweek article, it talks about how Taco Bell takes advantage of the engagement opportunities on Snapchat. These are either from simple self-destructing photos send to friends, or 24-hour stories created on their stories. They are able to keep track on how many people have viewed their content, and use the language used by a younger audience to connect better with their target market. By posting on Snapchat, they keep users engaged with their products, and the business comes alive.

MTV used Snapchat to release their nominees for the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. From a business perspective, this is a good tactic for releasing or new products. Especially if you put it on your Story, it can give users an insider’s sneak peek into your company for 24 hours. However, that will take a lot of other social media promotion to guide users to your Snapchat account to view the content. An easy post, picture and Tweet will solve the problem!

By researching other companies on Snapchat, it can help develop messages and nail down your target audience to make your own business stand out!

Snapchat’s Advertising Policies

Snapchat is pretty clear on the types of advertisements should be created for the app. A main point is that there is a daily young audience in different regions on the app, so it is the advertiser’s responsibility to be sure the ad is suited for that age and geographic location. Even though this may sound intimidating, it is not so bad.

Snapchat does have that ten second limit, which does not, and will not extend for any advertisement. There is also a strict list of prohibited and restricted content, as seen in the figure below.

Rectriction

Ways to Advertise

The most commonly noticed advertisement on Snapchat is seen as a TV-style commercial in the middle of stories. Whether that’s the local city’s story, or a globally-syndicated story, after about 5-7 compiled videos are an advertisement. This is beneficial to try to reach all users of Snapchat as a whole.snapchat-Discover

Discover. As talked about last week, Discover are Stories solely dedicated to specific brands and businesses. In Snapchat’s blog introducing Discover, they talk about how the feature puts on the focus more on storytelling, rather than trying to sell a product or service. This is similar to editorials in newspapers, but still allows a unique way to convey a message.

snapchat-roundup-ads-that-work

Branded Geofilters. Users are already familiar with the local Geofilters that can be swiped on top of a picture or video, usually to add a location. Recently, many brands have been using Geofilters to promote their own content. The first branded Geofilter was McDonalds, which used their slogan or cartoons of their food as a border for the pictures. Also, as seen in the figure above, there are many movies that create Geofilters to promote the release date in theaters. This contributes to sharing the message about a product, and can act as a persuasive tool.

tumblr_inline_nr6b52zbhl1suyrrk_1280
McDonald’s Geofilter
Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 11.13.44 AM
Loyola University Chicago

Further discussion about the best look and feel on Snapchat is coming soon, so keep an eye out for that post in the near future!

How Can Businesses Use Snapchat?

Let’s be honest, for a small business, it will be hard to get a kick start on Snapchat. This begins with the fact that Snapchat does not have a Search feature similar to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram where users can easily search brands and businesses. Users on Snapchat have to either add you as a friend, or vice versa. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Type in the username. Although this is long, if you make your username simple and nearly exact to your business title, it will be easier for users to find you on Snapchat.
  2. Add friends through taking a picture. Below I added a step-by-step guide on how to do this. We are talking about Snapchat anyways, better visually explained, right?
IMG_5500
Click on the little Ghost icon at the top of the screen in the middle. This will drop down a menu seen below.
IMG_5501
The drop down menu shows your Snapchat square, that other users can take a picture of to add you as a friend. The same with adding people, you can take a picture of their Snapchat Square. You know it worked when you get a notification that so-and-so added you as a friend.

Overall, will Snapchat help my small business?

The answer to this question is that it really depends. If your target market is millennials and you can create a fun, and engaging video advertisement, why not? Financially, if you read this a year ago, the starting cost would have been $750,000. Yikes. Now, rates have dropped to around $50,000, some companies negotiating below that number or getting the ad for free simply because Snapchat liked the idea! Is that a goal or what? Don’t forget when creating your ad, Starting Social would recommend thinking in the mindset of an eighth grader. If they won’t understand, or grasp the key concept of your ad in the allotted time period (ten seconds), go back to the drawing board. Young demographic is the key to success.

P.S.- If you don’t understand my reference there, add DJ Khaled on Snapchat, and you will see the daily life lessons he leaves for his friends. Username: djkhaled305

Screen-Shot-2015-12-21-at-8.09.24-PM

Snap you later,

Sarah

 

 

How to Advertise on Twitter

As we discussed last week, Twitter has a large user population, making it an excellent place to post your ads. If the demographics haven’t convinced you about Twitter, then let me tell you, in a survey of 1,000 people, 57% of them found small-medium sized businesses on Twitter through the “Who to Follow” section, or through promoted tweets.  

At first glance Twitter’s ad options, I admit, can seem a little overwhelming. But that’s good for you, Small Business Owner! This means that there are a ton of options for you to pick from, and therefore you can market in a way that is best suited for your needs. And while it looks a little intimidating, it’s actually a pretty easy service.

When looking to advertise on Twitter there are three things to consider: what is your main objective, who is your target audience, and how much is the ad worth to you?

Looking at Main Objectives

To advertise on Twitter, you have to know what your main objective is with a particular ad campaign. For example: Are you just trying to gain more followers, or do you want to get people to visit your website? You can also run multiple ad campaigns, depending on your needs.

There are 7 campaign options, but today we will be focusing on the main four options.

ad objectives

Followers

The simple explanation for this ad campaign is that you are looking to grow your Twitter following.

This is like a regular text-based tweet, but the purpose is to be clear and concise. You need to tell people what you want them to do (follow you!) and then tell them what the return benefit is. Maybe you have deals just for followers, or maybe it’s just to get the latest news on your brand. Either way, you want to make it worth their while!

These ads will show up on a person’s timeline, as well as in the “Who to Follow” section.

promoted twitter accounts

Tweet Engagements

Generating engagements on Twitter means that more people are interacting with your tweets. They can do this through replying, retweeting, and linking your tweets.

If you are launching a new product, running a contest or promotion, or are utilizing a specific hashtag, you will want to run this ad campaign. This type of ad will help get your followers more involved with your brand/business.

Create a tweet explaining what it is you’re advertising, and then pair it with a beautiful image. This should either be something related to your brand in general, or specific to what you’re promoting.

This ad will show up in the user’s timeline and in their search results. (This will be the placement for the rest of the ad campaigns.)

la-kill-cliff-engagement-ad
(http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/build-a-twitter-ad-campaign/)

Website Clicks and Conversions

Twitter is often seen as a conversational platform. You can talk about your business, and interact with your customers, but it isn’t your actual store. With this campaign option you can direct their eyes to your website– the online house of your business! Whether it’s an online store (like an Etsy shop), or more concrete info (like a menu to your restaurant), getting people there should lead to more sales!

Much like the previous campaign, this is a mix of a regular text-based tweet, and a picture. The picture is what Twitter calls a “Card”. The image should provide an example of what users can find on your site. There will also be a Call to Action on the Card that will take them to your site.

This ad will show up in the user’s timeline and in their search results.

Generate Leads

There’s only so much that you can say in in 140 characters on Twitter, sometimes it’s nice to have an email address from your followers. That way you can send out newsletters, or advanced promotions, just to name a few.

Depending on the posting guidelines you put on the ad, getting emails from this campaign will provide you with a very specialized list that should hopefully guarantee some turnaround on sales!

This Card will have a Call to Action, as well as a strong image to attract people.  

HubSpot_LGC_example

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Now that you’ve looked at what type of objectives you are looking to accomplish with Twitter ads, it’s important to look who exactly you want to target with these ads.

When I first looked at the “Audience Features” section, I was surprised by how detailed you can get!

audience overview

Hopefully if you’re creating these ads, you have a pretty firm grasp on who your target audience is, and what kind of keywords you associate with your business. But if you’re looking to broaden (or even hone in on) your audience, Twitter allows you to browse different categories. You’ll find some examples below.

browse interests

You’ll find that as you add or remove certain specifications you can see whether it will increase or decrease your potential audience size. It will also give you an audience summary.

audience summary

How Much is This Ad Really Worth?

That might seem like a pretty deep question, but it’s an important one to think about when setting up a budget for your ad campaigns.

To pay for these ads, you must set a daily budget. After that you have the option to choose your bidding process. The recommended options are either automatically, or based on the highest bid. Automatic pricing allows Twitter to work with your daily budget and maximize the amount of engagements based off of that budget. The highest bid opens you up to more views. If you have the highest bid, you end up paying a penny more than the second highest bidder. Meaning, if you big $5, but the second highest bid is $2, you will only have to pay $2.01 to get the view/follow/etc.

Just like the target audience, you can adjust the variables and see what will maximize your views/engagements/follows.

pricing

So What Does This All Mean?

For you, it means that there are endless possibilities in ad campaigns that you can produce for your business at a cost that’s flexible with your own budget. And if you already have experience with Tweeting, it isn’t even that hard to do! Plus if you get stuck on something, Twitter has a comprehensive guide to help you out.

 

SEO Good Example: Nike Golf

 

A Case Study on what we can Learn from Nike Golf and their SEO.  

Nike, Inc. was founded in 1964. Since then it has dominated the sports equipment and activewear industry. Nike Golf is a sub-brand of Nike that, as the name suggests, is specific to the sport of Golf. Swellpath, now a part of 6D Analytics, is a digital marketing company that conducted a case study on Nike Golf in which the objective was to boost product awareness and drive website traffic.

Nike Golf: Before

According to Swellpath, Nike Golf’s biggest hindrance was the lack of a focused keyword strategy combined with a website that was hard for search engines to crawl for data. As we know, search engines crawl through content in order to ascertain what is relevant, thereby boosting certain websites’ content to the top of search results. 

Take a look at this great graphic from Swellpath’s case study:

What users were seeing (left) and what search engines were seeing (right)

Nike Golf Before

[Image courtesy of Swellpath]

The Game Plan

Taking into account the many options that Nike Golf had to optimize their website, Swellpath settled on using SWFObject2, which is an open-source Javascript library. A Javascript library is a set of pre-written Javascript that essentially makes it easier to develop other Javascript-based applications. Think of it  like a toolkit that gives you all the instruments you need to run a Javascript program. This library was appealing to Swellpath because it could more effectively provide content for search engine spiders. The library does this by storing a HTML-based version of the website behind the scenes that can be presented whenever a user visits the site. This also makes the mobile website much more user friendly. Additionally, SWFObject2 allows administrators to embed flash content that doesn’t rely on a specific scripting language. This makes the content accessible to a larger audience because any users that have Javascript disabled on their browsers, will still be able to see the Flash content.  Read more on the benefits of SWFObject2 here.

Results of the case study

According to 6D Analytics in conjunction with Swellpath, organic search traffic on the Nike Golf website increased by a staggering 348% in 2 years. This is important because organic search traffic includes both branded (“Nike”) and non-branded searches. In other words, in the time between the 2010 PGA golf season and the 2012 PGA Golf season, website traffic increased a total of 348%. Non-branded website traffic alone increased by 250%.

Going back to the previous infographic from Swellpath, on the left is what users see now. On the right is what search engines see now. As you can see, search engines like Google are now picking up on keywords fro, ultimately driving more traffic to the Nike Golf website.  

Nike Golf After

[Image Courtesy of Swellpath]

What we can learn from this

The main objective of any Search Engine Optimization is to put your brand ahead of others in search results. What we can learn from Nike Golf is that organic search matters. Small businesses (as well as large corporations) cannot sacrifice accessibility in the name of a memorable visual experience. Therefore, when building a website and optimizing it for search engines, make sure to factor in a good keyword strategy that will both drive traffic and boost product awareness.

Face-to-Face with Facebook

Market Share

Why you should care

Facebook is the preeminent social media site. It dominates the the social media world like no other, the graph above illustrates the lead Facebook has over the rest of the industry by comparing the market share of various social networks. Considering how large Facebook is, having a basic understanding of it is critical in today’s ever connected world. On Facebook you have the ability to reach millions of people, of course as a small business owner you shouldn’t expect a million likes any time soon, but the fact that its even possible proves how important Facebook is for a business of any size.

Facebook is a place where you can post important messages about your business along with photos, videos, and assorted other links to spread your business’ presence on the web. Users can like your page and share the things you post, thus spreading the word of your business to their friends!

The users of Facebook

According to Facebook there are some 1.4 billion users registered with the social media site, and the company estimates that more than 900 million visit it each day. As you can see in the graph below, the largest demographic on Facebook is the 20-29 years old age group. But that doesn’t mean the other age groups aren’t active in high volumes on Facebook.

Age

If you look at the next graph below you can see how many more adults in each age group use Facebook, compared to Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. While this may not include other important social networks, it illustrates the point that Facebook is the most used social network for all these different age groups. It also highlights that many adults 50+ years old favour Facebook significantly over other social networks.

Infographic: Social Seniors Flock to Facebook | Statista

When examined by gender, you will find Facebook is composed of more females than males. Females actually make up 54% of users while males make up 46% according to Statista. But don’t worry, as you can see below both women and men still use Facebook more than any other social media site.
Women More Likely to Use Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram; Online Forums Popular Among Men

Small Business on Facebook

A survey taken back in 2012 among small business owners revealed that most considered Facebook the most effective of social media sites. This was especially true for small businesses focused on the business to consumer side of things. Facebook was even considered the best for business to business marketing. But, the simple fact is no matter what business you have, chances are that Facebook will be the most effective social media for your business.

statistic_id208971_social-media-platforms-found-to-be-most-effective-by-us-small-businesses-in-2012

First thing to know as a small business looking to get on social media, is getting on Facebook is easy. Some businesses may already have a following they don’t even know about, as seen below. This is because Facebook automatically generates pages for certain businesses based on people mentioning them on Facebook. As a small business owner you can claim this page as yours to help get you started, the page may already have content and likes from your current customers. If you by chance stumble upon one of these auto-generated pages after already creating a page of your own, you may claim and merge the auto-generated page with your own. Below are examples of a small business that is on Facebook versus one that is not.

Sidebyside

As you can see in the examples of pages above, whether or not you have a page yet, customers can easily rate and review your business. Now of course a benefit of having a presence on Facebook is the ability to respond to customers’ feedback and concerns. If you’re a business with an auto-generated page, and not on Facebook, these customers go unnoticed.

In future post we will go into more detail for how to interact with customers on Facebook and choosing what to post.

If there are a few things to take away from this first post it should be.

  1. Facebook has a broad appeal to all age groups
  2. There is a larger female than male audience on Facebook
  3. Seniors particularly favor Facebook over other social networks
  4. A business may already have an auto-generated page
  5. A business may always claim an auto-generated page

4 Simple Steps to Beginning a Link Building Campaign

There are many ways to improve the findability of your business’ website or content, but link building campaigns may be the simplest. Link building is a fairly self-explanatory way to increase the amount of external links to your site or blog. Whether these links are from media outlets, similar businesses, or even from a friend’s blog, they matter and will boost your Google search ranking. Link building is the place to exercise some traditional public relations skills for the good of your SEO strategy.

For the sake of consistency, let us say that you are the owner of a small, neighborhood fitness center. Your website is mostly informational, but visitors can convert by signing up for your healthy living newsletter and buying memberships online, so it is important that people can find you online. Your referral traffic (traffic to your website coming from external links) is low, and you want to give it a boost. Here is a go-to guide for your fitness center (or any small business) that needs to build some link:

Step 1: Evaluate your external linkers

Who are the people who could possibly link to your gym’s website? They are stakeholders, customers, partners, fans, neighbors, etc.  Linkers are people who truly enjoy your business and want to tell the world about it. They are also people who will benefit from a friendly relationship with your business. Below is a list of outside sources (people) that could link to your fitness center website:

  •         Community leadership—Your gym is important to your neighborhood, so why not let people know about it? If your village/city/town website has a travel guide page or “things to do” section, your gym should be on it.
  •         Customers—Joe comes into the gym every morning at 5 a.m. and then writes about his workout, and his protein shake, afterward on his blog, which is all about lifting. Joe is a fitness freak and it couldn’t hurt for him to mention where he is doing all of the heavy-lifting.    
  •        Neighbors—When someone asks you where to get a post-workout smoothie, you always point them toward the small grocery store down the street. Make that mutually beneficial relationship permanent with a link.
  •         Past acquaintances— Do you remember last year when you were mentioned in your city’s newspaper for that article on New Year’s resolutions? Do you remember how the journalist didn’t link to your site, but just mentioned the gym’s name? If that story is still live somewhere, there is time to change that.

Step 2:  Reach out

It’s not enough to just keep pointing those yoga instructors toward the smoothies down the street. It’s time to initiate a working relationship. Make a visit to the shop down the street and ask them if mutual linking would be okay. Email the writer of that story from a few years back and ask them to make the simple edit of adding a hyperlink, especially if that story did or still does receive a lot of views. The next time you read one of Joe’s blog posts, tell him you think he should link to your site, so more people can be aware of the space in which he works out. Ask him more than once. There is no harm in following up. As you can see in Moz’s figure below, following up is an essential step in link-building and can lead to real results (i.e. more links!).

Moz link building steps infographic

In short, make friends. Your neighborhood could consist of the residents and businesses around you or your “neighbors” may be completely virtual. Either way, they are your community and it doesn’t hurt to help each other out by linking. Linking is like caring, except caring does not have a high probability of boosting your referral traffic.

Step 3: Keep track of your links

Once more external sites begin to link to your own, make sure that you are tracking those links. Use your analytics platform (most likely, Google) to see where your referral traffic is coming from and to what pages it is linking. Referral traffic, according to Avinash Kaushik, should account for about 20-30 percent of your total website traffic.

Make sure you note which pages receive the most links and which pages are more bare. It will help you better understand your own content based on what others find most useful.  You’ll want to try to imitate and improve upon your content that is popular among referrals.

Step 4: Spread the love  

Not only does having external links to your own content help your search engine ranking, but linking to those external sources also help you. The more you link to reputable websites, the more reputable your website will appear.

When linking out, don’t just copy and paste a URL. Use descriptive anchor text for linking to other websites. See what I did there? This will offer Google more keywords to be associated with a link and will help boost your ranking.

SEO components graphic
[Source: Social Servings]
Overall, the opportunity to build links is easy and requires little technical knowledge compared to some other major facets of SEO (see above figure). So, put your PR pro hat on and start fishing for those links!

Who’s on Twitter? (Looking at the Demographics of Twitter)

Welcome to Twitter!

With more than 100 million daily active users it’s no surprise that Twitter is one of the three top social media platforms used by small businesses today. According to Social Media Examiner 79% of small businesses are using Twitter for their social marketing/customer service needs. Right now they’re just behind Facebook, but are expected to catch up with their new advertising options. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves right now. For now, let’s just take a closer look at what Twitter and who’s spending the most time there.

A Brief Intro to Twitter

As you may know, Twitter is considered to be a micro-blogging website due to the limited amount of characters users are allowed in their posts. A Twitter profile consists of a brief bio, a personal icon, a banner, and the timeline of all of your posts. These posts are in reverse chronological order (starting with the newest posts first). This adds to the charm of Twitter being a real-time platform. Below is a look at Ben & Jerry’s twitter account, just to give you a look of the land.

twitter platform

Twitter has come a long way from it’s early days in 2006. At first people weren’t really sure what to make of the new social media platform. According to one of the founders, “it was hard to define because there was nothing like it.” Initially Twitter was only receiving 20,000 tweets a day, but by 2007 they had a huge tipping point, breaking 60,000 tweets one day. From there it continued to grow to the 500 million tweets per day it’s currently getting. Now let’s get to know who’s using Twitter.

Who’s Tweeting?

Due to the the ease of use and accessibility of Twitter, it makes sense that of the population of adults (ages 18+) using the internet, just about a quarter of them are using Twitter. It’s quick to setup and easy to keep track of. Below, you can see a quick breakdown of demographic info from Sprout Social.

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 5.07.31 PM

Getting into specifics, the breakdown between male and female users is split almost right down the middle. However, it should be noted that it is the male user population that has grown more than the female population in the past year.  

The age of users is primarily 18-29 years old, making it seem as though Twitter’s main target audience is a younger crowd. But, due to the way Twitter has integrated itself into everyday life, the age of users is increasing. In addition to that, most of the users have either finished college, or have completed some of their degree.

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 5.21.18 PM

More than half of Twitter’s users live outside of the US. As a small business using Twitter, you can expand the horizons of your business to almost anywhere in the world. Most of the users on Twitter live in either an urban or suburban setting.

So a lot of people are on Twitter, that’s pretty cool. More importantly, though, how much time are people spending on Twitter?

How Much Time?

In general, people are spending over a quarter of their internet time on social media. And a third of all total internet usage is happening on mobile. With the rise of mobile useage, most people are able to have all of the internet at their fingertips. People can check up on their favorite celebs, favorite brands, and favorite business (that can be you!) whenever they want.

With that being said, a majority of the users check Twitter daily. Based on a recent study, most people check their Twitter accounts 17 times a day, meaning that they’re checking their timeline almost once every hour they’re awake.  

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 6.31.38 PM

Well, what does this mean for me?

As a small business, this is pretty great info! There’s a wide range of users who are on Twitter, and who are checking in daily. It’s simple to use, and it doesn’t really take a lot of time to set up. Besides that people enjoy using Twitter, and like to use it to keep in touch with businesses they’re fans of. It also lets you get to know the people who are interested in, or are actually customers of your business!

Moral of the story, Twitter is pretty cool. And for now we’re just at the top of the iceberg when it comes to using Twitter. Keep an eye out for the next post on Twitter ad options! 

 

Selecting a Target Audience on YouTube

By Marisol Ledezma

    When starting up a business, advertising may not always be top-of-mind. Mike Rhodes, co-author of Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, says that YouTube’s enormous traffic and cheap pay-per-click rates are two factors that make YouTube an effective method to reach a target audience. Advertising through YouTube is ideal for small businesses on a tight budget because advertisers don’t get charged unless users view at least 30 seconds of the content.

    One of the most important steps when starting a YouTube advertising campaign is identifying a target audience. Without a target audience, the advertisement does not reach the right people at the right time, and therefore isn’t as effective as possible.

    Fortunately, YouTube offers a variety of methods for advertisers to zero in on their target audience. One of these methods is to select your target audience based on demographic groups. This method requires advertisers to choose the age, gender and parental status of the target audience.

    Advertisers can also select their target audience based on the viewer’s past interactions on the advertisers channel or previous videos. This method is effective because brands are able to reinforce their message with people who have already been exposed to your videos. This method is known as “video remarketing”.

    Another targeting method allows advertisers to chose websites, videos, and apps that are part of the Google Display Network to run their ads. This method is known as “managed placements”. In contrast to other targeting methods where ads are placed automatically, manage placements enables advertisers to select managed placements.

    A target audience can also be selected based on specific topics on YouTube. This method is known as “topic targeting”. Topic targeting lets advertisers reach viewers based on the topics of the videos they watched. For example if an advertiser selects the “beauty” topic, then someone watching makeup tutorials would be selected to view the advertiser’s ad.

    The final targeting method is based on words or phrases that are used during a video search on YouTube. When using this method, the ad will only appear when those exact words or phrases are searched on YouTube.

    YouTube’s large selection of targeting methods is one of the reasons why it is an effective tool. Advertisers can find instructions on how to activate these targeting methods by visiting YouTube’s help center here.