Tag: social media marketing


3 Important Ways Social Media Can Boost Your SEO

Today, there’s little doubt among marketers that SEO and social media are two must-have components of any effective digital marketing strategy. After all, SEO is arguably the founding-father-tactic of digital marketing, and social media is the place on the web where our audiences gather, share and engage every day.

But over the years, there’s been some confusion on how these two tactics work together to achieve marketing results—and understandably so. Back in 2010, Google told Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan that links shared on Facebook and Twitter were used as a ranking signal. Then in 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts released a video stating Facebook and Twitter pages were “currently” treated like any other web page for search—i.e. social media was no longer a direct ranking factor.

However, regardless of whether social signals are used as a ranking factor—when done right—social media can most definitely enhance your SEO efforts. How? Below I share three reasons why, as well as some tips to make your social content more SEO friendly.

#1 – Your social media efforts can lead to quality backlinks.

While ranking science on backlinks has evolved over the years, the number of quality backlinks a website has is still an important ranking factor for search engines. As a result, link building or link earning is still a widely-used tactic among marketers—and your social media pages can be the perfect staging ground for enticing links.

The logic here is pretty simple. Social media marketing is all about sharing your best of the best content, and fostering engagement around that content. The more engaging your content, the more people will share, and the more opportunities people will have to find and link to your content.

#2 – Social media increases the visibility of your content—which is ultimately the goal of SEO.

Social media pages give your website and blog content another place to live and encourage discussion. And while your pages can be so much more than a promotional platform, one of the greatest social media benefits is the potential reach your content could get.

Of course, I asked my TopRank Marketing comrade Steve Slater, Digital Advertising & SEO Manager, to weigh in here, too. Here’s what he had to say.

“Whether or not social shares and metrics have an impact on ranking without them you are 100% at the mercy of Google organic,” he said. “Without social or paid or any promotional efforts, you are basically hitting publish and hoping for the best. You’re hoping that your content will just ‘go viral and take off.’ So, I think the question is not really, do social signals impact rankings? But rather, is anyone going to see this if I don’t promote it?”

#3 – Social media helps build brand awareness—which can carry over to users’ search queries.

Your social media pages add another digital space for your target audience to find you and engage with you, allowing you to build up your audience and your brand. Of course, when this happens people will more easily recognize you in search and be more inclined to click. In addition, that brand awareness you’ve built on social could mean more branded organic search traffic coming to your site or your other social pages (since those often rank in branded searches, too).

Quick Tips to Intertwine Social & SEO

While social media can add a nice little boost to your SEO efforts, the reverse—of course—is also true. Here are a couple quick tips for marrying social content and SEO.

  • Optimize your posts and profiles. Social media platforms are search engines. So, make sure craft your posts with both users and SEO in mind. In addition, optimize your social profiles with the same logic.
  • Leverage hashtags in the right way. Especially when it comes to Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are how people find the content they’re looking for; hashtags are their search queries. Research hashtag best practices for each platform to understand if and how to use them. In addition, make sure you understand what hashtags actually mean, so you can use them in the appropriate way for each platform. Use the native search box within social platforms, as well as tools such as Hashtagify.me or Hashtags.org.
  • Draft optimized social messages when you’re crafting new content. Any content you’re creating for your website or blog should have an SEO component. As you’re creating this content, create several optimized social posts to go along with it. This will help you create relevant messages that can be found in native searches.
  • Use mentioning and tagging to build more relevance—and signal influencers. Mentioning and tagging other pages and users in your content is one of the best ways to amplify your posts. Not only do those you tag and mention get notified when you do so, but they’ll be more compelled to engage on your post or share your post with their audience. And as mentioned above, the more shares and engagement, the better the reach and the more potential for driving quality traffic and backlinks.

Be the Best Answer for Your Audience

At TopRank Marketing, we practice what our CEO Lee Odden likes to call “The Best Answer Strategy.” For marketers, this means crafting an integrated marketing strategy that helps you be the best answer for your audience—whenever and wherever your audience is searching. And a component of that strategy is certainly leveraging social media marketing and SEO individually, and together.

For more best answer tips, continue to peruse the TopRank Marketing blog, and feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments of any post.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
3 Important Ways Social Media Can Boost Your SEO | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 3 Important Ways Social Media Can Boost Your SEO appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature

Influencer marketing is booming—and it’s not hard to see why. Influencers lend authority and credibility to your brand and content, help connect you with new audiences, and typically deliver more ROI than traditional digital marketing tactics. As a result, brands large and small are forming both paid and unpaid partnerships with influencers—and using social platforms to spread their message.

For those brands and marketers engaging in paid partnerships with influencers on Instagram, a change is on the horizon. Last week, Instagram officially announced it would soon roll out its new “paid partnership with” tag for posts and stories.

“The relationships people form on Instagram are what makes our 700M+ community so unique,” Instagram said in its announcement. “It’s here where the world comes together to discover and connect to their passions. Because of this, creators (influencers & publishers) and businesses often join forces to tap into Instagram’s passionate communities with branded content. As more and more partnerships form on Instagram, it’s important to ensure the community is able to easily recognize when someone they follow is paid to post content.”

According to SocialMediaToday, Instagram began testing the partner tag feature—which is similar to what parent-company, Facebook, implemented last year—back in March. And while there’s no official deadline, Instagram said the rollout will be happening slowly over the next few weeks.

So, what do brands and marketers need to know about the new feature? Below are a few key takeaways from the announcement.

#1 – The new feature will enhance transparency—and credibility.

Enhancing influencer marketing transparency is at the core of Instagram’s decision to launch the new tagging option. Not only does the company want to ensure followers can easily recognize sponsored content, but they want to make it easy for influencers and businesses to provide that clarity. In fact, according to TechCrunch, Instagram’s Creative Programs Director Charles Porch said businesses are “looking for ways to be super transparent with their followers when they have a partnership.”

The good news is that brands can use this new level of transparency to their advantage. Simply put, influencers help brands make authentic and meaningful connections with their audience, as well as build brand awareness and credibility. And more transparency means more credibility and authenticity—something modern consumers crave and respect.

In addition, this enhanced transparency will help brands better comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosure policies. Back in April, the FTC reported that it had sent out more than 90 letters to marketers and influencers “reminding” them to clearly disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products on social media.

#2 – You’ll get access to new data and insights.

Perhaps the most attractive perk brands and marketers will enjoy with the new tagging feature is access to data on influencers’ posts.

“When the partners use this tag, they will both have access to Insights to track exactly how their branded content posts and stories are performing,” Instagram explained. “Creators will continue to see metrics in their Instagram Insights, and business partners will see shared reach and engagement metrics in their Facebook Page Insights.”

As you can imagine, having this data will give you insight into the real impact of your influencer marketing efforts, and help you make informed decisions on where to go next.

#3 – Adding the tag will be quick and easy.

As you can see from the sample photo below, the tag will be prominently, yet simply, displayed at the top of each post. As far as the mechanics of tagging a partner go, an “Add Partner” option will reportedly be nested under the “Tag People” selection—making it incredibly easy to add to any post.

#4 – An official policy and enforcement procedure is in the works.

At this point, Instagram has not announced it’s official policy on tagging paid partnerships, nor how it plans to actually enforce it. But, according to last week’s announcements, it’s in the works and is expected to be announced in the next few months.

Are Paid Influencer Marketing Tactics Right for Your Brand?

As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden often says: “Everyone is influential about something.” As a result, nearly every brand could benefit from adding influencers into their marketing mix. Whether paid tactics are the right course, there’s no one-size-fits all answer. Like any other marketing tactic, you need to consider your industry, business objectives, budget, current marketing mix, target audience and types of influencers you want to work with to make an informed decision. (Of course, if you need help crafting a plan, we’d love to help!)

What’s your reaction to the new Instagram partner tag? Tell us in the comments section below.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Superheroes of Social Media: Your Must-See Guide to #SMMW17

In a past life, I was a minor internet celebrity. One big perk to that dubious career was being a vendor at San Diego Comic Con for seven straight years. Our little indie booth saw visits from superheroes and celebrities alike. Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, DC & Marvel Comics: It’s truly a nerdy paradise.

Now I’m headed back to the convention center for a different kind of meetup: Social Media Marketing World 2017. I’m expecting fewer costumed superheroes (although with the right pair of glasses I could pull off a Seth Godin costume). But there will be plenty of astonishing and amazing marketers to meet.

These folks may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound—though I hear Ann Handley has an impressive long jump—but when it comes to getting results on social media, they’re nothing short of heroic.

Here are five social media superheroes I’m excited to see at Social Media Marketing World, and a quick rundown of their sessions.

#1: Carlos Gil

The Marketer: Carlos is an influencer, sought-after public speaker, social media strategist and Snapchat expert. He’s currently the Head of Global Social Media for BMC Software. Carlos’ YouTube Channel is an entertaining, informative mix of personal anecdote and professional insight.

The Session: Snapchat Strategies for Marketing Your Business, March 23, 2:00-2:45pm

For many businesses—especially in the B2B space—Snapchat is something of an enigma. Besides applying funny filters to our CEO’s headshots, what’s the marketing potential? Where’s the ROI? Carlos’ session promises to teach “how to grow your Snapchat account, strategies for content creation, tips for working with influencers including examples from notable brands and measuring the $ ROI of your marketing efforts. You will also discover how to use Spectacles for content creation and how to balance Instagram vs. Snapchat to engage your community.”

Secret Superhero Identity: The Flash

There’s only one superhero who matches up with the man who created “The Hustle Diaries.”

#2: Ann Handley

The Marketer: Ann is a personal hero of mine, as she should be for anyone in content creation. She is waging a war on boring content, fighting for truth, justice, and personality. As the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, Ann practices what she preaches, curating and creating a treasure trove of instructional content. Think you’re not in the content creation business? Think again: As the title of her bestselling book points out: Everybody Writes.

The Session: How to Create Breakthrough Written Marketing Content, March 23, 11:30am-12:15pm

When visual is the new headline, video is the new blog post, and orange is the new black, do we really need to focus on the written word? Absolutely. Ann says, “Even in our social media-driven world, good writing still matters. Now more than ever. Good writing can move your marketing from mediocre to remarkable. From boring to brilliant.” Ann’s writing is always compelling, and her session is bound to be indispensable for marketers of every stripe.

Secret Superhero Identity: Oracle

From her tiny writing house, Ann keeps marketers informed and masterminds a content empire.

#3: Lee Odden

The Marketer: Lee is the CEO of TopRank Marketing, author of the bestselling book Optimize, and a speaker at marketing conferences around the world. Lee is a pioneer in integrated marketing, influencer marketing, and participation marketing, keeping steadily ahead of the curve as TopRank Marketing grows.

The Session: Future of Influencer Marketing: Strategies and Trends March 24, 10:15-11:00am

Influencer marketing has the potential to generate amazing results for influencers, marketers, and audiences alike. But most of us are still trying to define what exactly influencer marketing means, its potential and best practices. This session focuses on the habits of successful marketers to identify trends to embrace and obstacles to avoid, based on Influence 2.0, TopRank Marketing’s research with Altimeter and Traackr.

Secret Superhero Identity: Professor X

He’s built a team of super-powered marketers and seems to have the ability to read his audience’s minds.

#4: Koka Sexton

The Marketer: Koka is the Godfather of Social Selling, the strategic use of social media for sales enablement and acceleration. After a meteoric rise through the ranks at LinkedIn, he is currently the Global Industry Principal of Social Selling at Hootsuite. Koka’s ability to bridge the divide between sales and marketing demonstrates his deep understanding of what social means to business.

The Session: How to Turn LinkedIn Into a Funnel for New Leads, March 24, 11:15m-12:00pm

Koka has unique insight into winning strategies on LinkedIn, as the only LinkedIn Influencer who has ever worked at the company. Expect deep-level insights from someone who helped shape the platform into the B2B powerhouse it is today.

Secret Superhero Identity: Iron Man

He’s a sales and marketing machine with charisma to spare.

#5: Mari Smith

The Marketer: Known as the “Facebook Queen,” Mari has a decade of experience as a social media consultant and trainer. She’s an international keynote speaker and has shared the stage with luminaries like Sir Richard Branson, Ariana Huffington, and Guy Kawasaki. The numbers speak for themselves: Mari has over 650 thousand followers on Facebook alone, and over 1.5 million across social channels.

The Session: How to Improve Your Facebook Marketing ROI, March 23, 10:30-11:15am

Of the 60 million businesses who have a Facebook Page, less than a tenth are actively advertising, and even fewer are seeing positive ROI from their efforts. Many businesses gave up on earning organic reach on the platform as Facebook placed emphasis on paid promotion. Mari’s session promises to teach “specific content marketing secrets, savvy engagement tactics, and cleverly allocated paid promotion,” to “improve your organic reach by properly integrating strategic paid efforts.”

Secret Superhero Identity: Ms. Marvel

She’s a high-flying, high-visibility marketer who can still deliver a knockout for her clients.

Marketers, Assemble!

If you’re headed to Social Media Marketing World, keep an eye out for me and Ashley Zeckman. Feel free to stop by and say hello any time you see the gleam off the top of my head. If you can’t make it follow along on Twitter at @TopRank, @LeeOdden, @NiteWrites and @azeckman.

What sessions are you most excited to attend? Let me know in the comments.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Superheroes of Social Media: Your Must-See Guide to #SMMW17 | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Superheroes of Social Media: Your Must-See Guide to #SMMW17 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


What’s Next for Twitter? Social Domination or Eminent Failure?

Despite recent improvements to user experience and platform flexibility, the struggle to retain and attract new users—and grow revenue—is still real for Twitter. And, unfortunately, these may be the least of the platform’s worries these days.

From widespread trolling and harassment to simply having a confusing interface, Twitter is drawing criticism for nearly every aspect of its operation. In addition, after shutting down Vine and cutting more than 300 jobs last fall, more fuel was added to the claims that Twitter was getting closer to death.

So … Is Twitter Dying?

As an eternal optimist, I’m not ready to say Twitter’s fate is doomed. As WIRED’s Davey Alba said earlier this year, while Twitter may be a bit of a mess—it still has some real potential and value to offer.

“The thing is, in spite of its mess, there’s still a lot to value in Twitter,” Alba wrote. “No other social network has built up quite the same kind of cultural currency—and for good reason. Unlike other networks, Twitter’s influence is decentralized; it lies in its power users, the ones who use it to give voice to people and movements that may not have risen otherwise. Just look at how Twitter both took and pushed the pulse of the 2016 elections. Or how crises unfold on the platform. Or how social movements take hold.”

But I’m also a realist, so I have to acknowledge that Twitter has some serious work to do to remain viable and competitive. Currently, Twitter reports around 313 million monthly active users, but Statista had that number around 319 million at the end of 2016 and is now reporting 317 million as of January 2017. However, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook come in with 301 million, 600 million and 1.86 billion monthly active users, respectively.

Cheating Death

You’re probably thinking, how can Twitter avoid falling off a cliff? How can it quell discontent? How can it retain and attract new users? How does it breathe new life into its platform and business?

Well, I certainly don’t have all the answers here. I’m not an expert in business operations or product development—nor am I a clairvoyant with a crystal ball. However, as a confident marketer, I definitely see a couple opportunities.

Twitter is experiencing many of the same problems that other brands face in today’s digital world—increasing competition for audience attention, bad press and reviews, stagnant growth, and so on. Below are two opportunities I think Twitter, and any struggling brand, could take advantage.

#1 – Double-down on your core strengths.

For more than a decade, social media platforms have been looking for ways to set themselves apart from one another—something Twitter made clear right out of the gate. But as social media becomes increasingly ingrained in people’s daily lives, we’re now in a time where social platforms are balancing uniqueness with offering all the things. (Look no further than Facebook and Instagram’s new Snapchat-like features, or the rise of hashtags and mentioning capabilities across platforms.)

For Twitter to stay relevant, it’ll most certainly have to evolve its platform in some way to mimic the things that are working for the competition. But it shouldn’t lose sight of what sets it apart—nor its core strengths. And its core strength is the real-time format that allows users to be intimately engaged with what’s happening in the world and in their social circle.

The big takeaway for all: Define your core strengths, and use them to propel your business strategy and marketing efforts forward.

#2 – Embrace criticism—and address it in public.

Every company dreams of 100% customer or user satisfaction, but that’s rarely the case—even for the most successful and revered brands out there. And, these days, social media is often an easy place for people to air their grievances—an irony Twitter itself is intimately familiar with.

Generally speaking, Twitter is taking a pretty standard PR approach to addressing its shortcomings and user gripes, but it may not hurt to be a little more transparent about it all. Honesty and humility can go a long way.

The big takeaway for all: Use any negative feedback as an opportunity to show humility, understanding and your commitment to taking care of your users, customers and glaring issues.

Will Twitter Die or Find New Life?

As I said, I’m no psychic. But it appears that Twitter is making strides to address some nagging issues.

Last week, Twitter announced that usernames no longer count toward the 140-character limit in tweet replies—which allows users more room to say what they need to say, but still keeps its essence intact. In addition, in early February Twitter announced safety updates to address abusive accounts and content.

“We stand for freedom of expression and people being able to see all sides of any topic,” Twitter said in a release. “That’s put in jeopardy when abuse and harassment stifle and silence those voices. We won’t tolerate it and we’re launching new efforts to stop it.”

Twitter also retired its default profile image of an egg. The new default image is a human silhouette, which Recode said aims to encourage more people to upload pictures of themselves, and also move the brand away from an image that’s often associated with trolls.

Finally, news just broke there’s a campaign to turn Twitter into a user-owned cooperative. According to Business Insider, Twitter shareholders will vote on whether to investigate the proposal at its May 22 meeting. While Twitter is opposed to the plan, and it seems unlikely to move forward, it can’t be dismissed.

“It’s an interesting proposal—and underlines the discontent some shareholders feel with the ailing social network, which is struggling to grow or turn a profit,” the Business Insider article said.

The bottom line? Twitter is trying, but mostly treading water, and what its leaders do in the next year will likely determine whether the platform rises again or meets defeat.

What’s your take on Twitter’s future? Tell us in the comments section below.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
What’s Next for Twitter? Social Domination or Eminent Failure? | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post What’s Next for Twitter? Social Domination or Eminent Failure? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


3 New Facebook Updates, Features Businesses Should Take Advantage Of

From revamping its News Feed algorithm and page layouts to rolling out its own version of Snapchat last week, Facebook has been busy adding new features and capabilities over the past few months.

For the average user, these changes are making it easier and more fun to share and engage on the platform. For businesses, the changes are likely overwhelming, with many wondering how they can adapt to these changes, turn them into a marketing advantage and ultimately reach a piece of the platform’s 1.23 billion daily active users.

If you’re part of the latter scenario, we’d like to help you out a bit. Below we highlight some of the latest updates and new features that businesses should take note of, as well as some tips on how to take advantage of them to further your social media marketing efforts.

#1 – Video gets a makeover.

In an attempt to provide a “richer, more engaging and more flexible” video watching experience, Facebook announced in mid-February that they had made several platform updates including:

  • Videos will now auto-play with sound. Previously, users would have to tap on a video to hear it.
  • Vertical videos now look better on mobile devices. After testing a larger preview of vertical videos and getting positive results, the social media giant rolled the update out.
  • Users can now watch and scroll. Users can now minimize the video and keep it playing in the corner of their screen.

Here’s Facebook’s own video overview of the recent updates.

What this means for businesses: Video will continue to be a powerful (and perhaps necessary) engagement tool for businesses, brands and marketers.

How businesses can take advantage: Start dabbling with video if it’s not already part of your social media marketing strategy and makes sense for your business. Compelling video content helps capture attention, encourages engagement and—in some cases—reaches a more prominent position in social media news feeds.

For those that are already using video, compelling imagery is still a top priority for video content, but music and narration should probably get more consideration in light of the new sound feature. Now it’s important to note that users who have their phone on silent mode will not hear the sound. In addition, users do have the ability to disable the feature in their settings. However, at this point it’s safe to say more people will be hearing and seeing your videos in the future—so make everything you do count.

#2 – Facebook launches 360 photos, videos and virtual reality app.

Last summer, Facebook launched both 360 photos and 360 videos, giving users the ability to capture and share a 360-degree, ultra-panoramic photo or video. But in early March, Facebook took the format to the next level by releasing the Facebook 360 app for Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus.

“With more than 25 million 360 photos and more than 1 million 360 videos posted on Facebook to date, there’s plenty of great content to discover in Facebook 360,” Facebook said in their announcement post. “The app is a one-stop shop for catching up on what you may have missed from your friends and others you follow, diving into the 360 photos and videos you’ve saved, and finding something new to enjoy.”

(Photo Credit: Facebook)

What this means for businesses: Facebook is bringing virtual reality to their platform, and businesses have the opportunity to truly immerse their audiences in their visual content. Of course, Samsung Gear VR may not be in the hands of every user yet, but virtual reality is certainly gaining relevance and speed in the social world.

How businesses can take advantage: Start experimenting by creating 360 photos using an iPhone or Android on a panoramic setting. Photos don’t require editing or extra equipment purchases, just a steady hand and a keen eye to capture something compelling. Consider giving users a glimpse into your office, store, production facility, or a special event you’re hosting or attending.

Once you’re comfortable with 360 photos and seeing some engagement, consider taking the next step to invest in 360 camera to shoot and edit video.

#3 – Facebook Offers is new and improved.

While the social media giant launched its newly designed Facebook Offers feature in late August 2016, it may not be on the radar of many businesses who are using a social media management tool like Hootsuite to share and schedule posts. The option appears under the native “Write something …” posting box, along with some other customizeable posting options.

Essentially, Facebook Offers allows businesses to share their in-store or online discounts and promotions with their social audience. Offers can be used in two ways: By creating an Offers ad or in a Page post. Here’s a snippet from Facebook’s announcement post with the critical details:

“Offers ads appear in people’s News Feed in the Facebook mobile app and website. Advertisers can reach the right audiences with creative ad formats—like carousel ads. And for online offers, advertisers can optimize the delivery of their ads to people most likely to make a purchase on their site. Advertisers can see how many offers have been claimed in ads reporting.

“The other way for businesses to share Offers is to post them directly on their Page through the Offer Page Composer. All posted Offers will be viewable by anyone visiting the Page. If someone missed a posted Offer, they can click on the new, dedicated Offers tab to see all Offers posted by the business.

What this means for businesses: While social media is largely known as an awareness and engagement tool, Facebook Offers gives you the ability to encourage conversions by showcasing your special promotions. After all, every shopper loves to get a good deal.

How businesses can take advantage: Simply put, add your special promotions and discounts to Facebook. You’re likely advertising your incentives via email, your website and other advertising mediums, so don’t miss out on this easy, accessible opportunity.

What tactics are you using to find success on Facebook? Where are you struggling? Tell us in the comments section below.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
3 New Facebook Updates, Features Businesses Should Take Advantage Of | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 3 New Facebook Updates, Features Businesses Should Take Advantage Of appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.