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How to Amplify Your Content

Today we have a guest post and infographic for you from the multi-talented Ivan Serrano about how you can amplify your content! Take it away, Ivan.

Back in its early days, many marketers focused on link-building techniques to get a higher ranking on Google. With Google focusing more on providing relevant content to its visitors, these old tactics are now a great way to get your site flagged. Now their focus has shifted to the quality of the content. This switch has forced brands to change their tactics to content marketing. 93 percent of B2B marketers currently use content marketing for a couple reasons:

  • Seven out of ten consumers prefer custom content because it is tailored to their interests.
  • Good content is a major reason consumers follow brands on social media.

While creating quality content is definitely important, the problem is that every brand is doing the same thing. If you’re just expecting to earn a huge following simply by creating a blog entry or white paper, you’ll be in for a rude awakening. With so much new content available to consumers on a daily basis, if you don’t promote it, there’s no way anyone will ever find it.

Content Amplification

Content amplification is a strategy where you increase the value of your content and reach the largest audience by promoting it on the right channels. All content amplification starts with your owned media which includes:

  • Social media profiles
  • Blog
  • Website
  • Email list

From there, you can and should utilize different avenues of paid media like Facebook ads or Twitter’s Promoted Tweets so you can reach a wider audience. The best part is that these paid social ads allow you to pinpoint your amplification strategy to exactly the right people, who ultimately will help build your community. The infographic below provides more information on how to amplify your content properly, the questions you should ask yourself when creating your content and the tools to find influencers (click to enlarge).

Amplified Content

click to enlarge

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Social Media Mistakes You’re Still Making

It may be 2015, but several small to mid-size (and even major) businesses are still having trouble parsing out their social media marketing. From trying to hop on every rising new trend to posting ineffectively, there are so many ways to totally whiff it on social media. If you decide SMO is a direction you want to take with your business, there are several pitfalls you’re going to want to avoid. Here are some of the social media mistakes you’re still making and what to do to fix them.

social media mistakes

Photo Credit: Jeff Sheldon

 

Not having a specific goal. Too many businesses get in on social media because they need to stake out their property, and then poke at it for a while before giving up entirely. These mediums have a very casual, conversational air about them, so maybe you’re not taking them seriously. If you’re going to commit, you need to decide what you want out of your social media – sales? traffic? signups? exposure? – and formulate a strategy to make it happen.

Spreading yourself too thin. With all the shiny new properties available these days, you may be tempted to create an account on every site you can find. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Vine, Tumblr… let’s do it ALL! Unless you have a dedicated social media manager, you’re going to end up abandoning a lot of those properties. Sit down and decide which mediums will work best for your business, and select a few to focus on.

Refusing to spend a dime on advertising. For a long time, social media was considered “free” advertising. These days, most of the major companies have shareholders to consider, so they’ve changed their algorithms to favor businesses that shill out for their ads. If you’re hoping you can continue to gain traction without paying, you’re mistaken. Here’s the good news: social media marketing is still relatively inexpensive when compared to other forms of advertising while also remaining highly targeted. Learn the guidelines, create a budget, and start boosting! Facebook is driving significant referrals, so don’t discount it.

Not having a direction or using an editorial calendar. If you’re still relying on silly-but-irrelevant posts for your user interaction, you have a problem. Don’t wing it. Tying back around to having a specific goal in mind, craft your content and posting schedule to effectively reach that goal. Planning ahead creates less work in the long run and allows for a QC check.

Handing the responsibility over to someone who can’t make it a priority. In the past, many companies handed the keys to Facebook and Twitter over to an intern or made it a tacked-on responsibility of another employee. Unsurprisingly, this led to a fair few nationally publicized egg-on-face incidents. Your social media marketing plan should be treated like any other advertising responsibility – it should go to a dedicated individual who can pay it its proper due. If you wouldn’t let someone handle your print or email campaigns, don’t let them handle social media.

Not creating a social media policy. It’s absolutely essential to create a social media policy that dictates how your business will be represented online. This isn’t something you can leave up to chance. Sit down and clearly decide what is and isn’t appropriate to post, the language to be used, the policy for dealing with irate customers on a public page, etc.

By following these tips, you’ll be ahead of the curve with your social media (or at least caught up). The most important thing to remember is to take SMO marketing just as seriously as you’d take any other advertising or marketing endeavor, and dedicate the appropriate resources in order to see results! For more information, contact us here at Zenergy Works anytime.

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Do Not Fear Facebook’s New News Feed

Now we have “Don’t Fear the Reaper” stuck in our head. Whoops.

In all seriousness, the changes coming to the Facebook New News Feed are raising a lot of questions and discontent. It’s understandable, given that at first glance, it looks like business pages are going to be swallowed up and relegated to a separate feed that supposedly no one will ever see. Businesses are fretting over the fact that they may have to pump money into a site they largely regarded as free publicity.

First: there’s no reason to panic. Yes, we need to take note of the coming changes and alter our approach to how we market businesses on Facebook. No, it’s not the end of the world.

Next: Let’s break down how the new feed works and how we can change our strategy to match.

At this point, we’re all aware that one of the big changes to the interface of the News Feed will be the separation of content into different feeds. People will be able to view updates from friends, photos only, music only, games, and more that will likely be incorporated at a later date. Where do businesses fit in?

New News Feeds

It appears the “Most Recent” and “Following” feeds are where business pages will be most likely to show up. The big fear is that users will avoid these feeds because they’re not interesting. This is where your strategy has to change.

Too many businesses put minimal effort into Facebook, posting random updates without a real marketing plan in place – just enough to get the name out there and hope someone cares. This approach is not going to work moving forward (and arguably has NEVER worked). If you want users to pay attention, you must be worth paying attention to. If you do well, you could potentially get a coveted add to a custom list, and therefore a custom feed.

Find your value. What is your page providing to users? Why should they look for your posts? Think outside the box. Often, businesses think this means throwing up an offer or freebie. You have to push deeper than that. Will you be a source of news? Event announcements? Entertainment? Beautiful pictures? Great advice? If you’re providing something they want, they’ll seek you out.

Get visual. Everything about the new news feed is getting bigger, bolder, and higher resolution. Videos, photos, ads, events, and more are going to incorporate a visual element that you’re going to have to select carefully. Eye-catching thumbnails and images that tell a story are going to be a must. No more blurry meme photos. Go big or go home.

New Events on Facebook

Consider multimedia. Pay attention to the new feeds Facebook is incorporating. It might be time to figure out how you can weave video and music into your business’ social media presence. Perhaps an appropriate Spotify playlist for your fans? We don’t yet know for sure how these things will be displayed, but once we have it figured out, jump on it.

Spotify on Facebook

Craft sharable content. Everyone says this, we know. No one tells you how to do it, we know. That’s because there aren’t any concrete rules for sharable content. You have to figure out what your audience wants, what resonates with them, and what inspires them to react with a Like, Comment, or Share. Every reaction to your post increases its value, and every share spreads your brand to people who would otherwise miss it. Teach yourself how to tell the story of your business in a single photo, or a single sentence. Then figure out how to make it appealing enough to be worth sharing with your friends.

Invest in advertising. We know you don’t want to do this. We get it. But if you are truly invested in being successful on Facebook, you must consider it. Ads and Sponsored Stories are receiving more weight and more space. Your task is to figure out how to craft an ad that creates the reaction you want without making users roll their eyes. Spend your money wisely and put reasonable effort behind your Facebook marketing, and you’ll see positive results.

Many people are worried this direction is making Facebook even more superficial; rewarding content creators for being clever rather than encouraging social interaction. This point has merit, though only time will tell what the outcome will really be. The bright side is that businesses ARE content creators. But are you up for the challenge?

If you need help navigating these new changes, coming up with a comprehensive social media marketing plan, or are looking for someone to manage your ad campaign, you can contact us here at Zenergy Works for Social Media Optimization!

The New News Feed, Facebook Monetization, and Bears, Oh My!

Facebook
The Facebook Monetization Express is coming our way! Are you ready to climb on board?

If you’ve been paying attention since the dawn of 2013, you’re aware that there are some pretty sizable changes coming to Facebook. They’ve announced the new News Feed, which has had a number of marketers and SMO experts buzzing like bees hyped up on excess pheromones. Some are freaking out, some say nothing will change, and many have ended up somewhere in between. Whatever side you land on and whatever plan of action you intend to adopt, it seems there’s one thing most of us agree on.

Facebook is making a dramatic push toward monetization for anyone who wants to seriously use the medium for advertising. Businesses, individuals, non-profits, organized groups… everyone with a Page is feeling the pressure.

Here are just a few of the changes we’re seeing:

Facebook’s new News Feed. If you haven’t heard all about it yet, you’d better get up to speed. We’ll be doing a more in-depth breakdown of the new feed later this week, but for now, all you need to know is that it has the potential to upset the way businesses are used to using Facebook, and any marketer worth their salt will be preparing a new approach.

Facebook New News Feed
Admin panels are changing shape.
Not literally – not yet. The available information is changing, though. In the last month, many businesses have noticed that their “Notifications” panel is being replaced with “Posts,” along with prominent links advising you to “Promote Post.” You’ve been seeing more pop-ups and panels advising you to “Get More Likes” and create an ad. This is no accident. This is Facebook saying, “Come on, guys. Time to pay up.”

Business Page Admin Insights
Ads, Promoted Posts, and Sponsored Stories are getting more pronounced.
They’re increasing in size, frequency, and location. This is something else that’s going to be majorly affected by the new News Feed. Come back later in the week to learn more.

FB Sponsored Story
The way posts are seen has changed.
This has been going on for a while, but if you haven’t noticed, the number of people who “see” certain posts varies pretty widely. You’ll notice fewer “views” on posts with links or images, and more for simple text-only status updates. However, you’ll also notice content that is regularly shared shoots up in views relatively quickly. That’s because sharing is the major currency of Facebook. Come back for our News Feed post to learn more.

Now, here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of these changes.

Many small businesses and marketers are feeling pretty snarly when it comes to paying Facebook for their advertising. Facebook and other major social media players have long been the source of “free” advertising, and businesses don’t fancy having to pay for the “same” service. Twisting arms! Milking wallets! How dare they!

Here’s the thing: it’s not the same service. If you’ve never put a single red cent into social media, then you really haven’t been using it to its fullest potential. On the other hand, if your business has never paid any money for SM advertising but you’ve still managed to create a huge and lucrative community for yourself, then you are amazing. Seriously, no jokes. That is incredibly rare, and we salute you. It’s possible, but not probable for most small businesses.

You may have noticed that you can occasionally get some solid interaction and a decent following cost-free, but many businesses find it difficult to get the word out. Creating quality, sharable content that you can post regularly without ticking off your following is hard. Getting people to like your page is really hard. Getting all of this to turn into conversions can feel impossible.

Sure, you can post a cute kitten picture and get dozens of likes and a few comments and shares, but so what? What is that doing to increase the likelihood of people utilizing your product or service? What is it doing for brand recognition? Showing your humanity is important, but so is converting.

This is where advertising comes in. As a free user, your message is getting out to maybe 10-25% of your following. This has always been the case, not only for Facebook, but for most kinds of advertising. Television, print media, radio… all of it has only reached a small amount of the populace, and even then, there’s no guarantee they’re really seeing or hearing your message. Facebook, on the other hand, is offering the opportunity to be put in front of not only every single person who’s already shown interest in your business, but all of their connections, as well. It’s forced word-of-mouth.

It’s an incredibly powerful tool. We were always moving toward this point, and it’s a mistake to abandon Facebook now. Your advertising potential just went through the roof, and it’s still possible to make waves without breaking the bank if you approach it the right way.

Don’t think of these changes as a free service screwing you out of your money. Think of it as a service that has always offered you enormous advertising potential, and now you must properly budget in order to utilize that potential. Walking away will leave a sizable gap in users’ ability to find and interact with your brand.

It’s not the end of the world. It’s just time to expand your advertising budget and adjust to the times. This is where consumers are now, and you have to pay to be seen, just as you always have. Don’t miss the train.

Jennifer Filzen & Steph Wargin, Social Media Optimization

Meet the Zenergy Works Social Media Optimization Team!

Jennifer Filzen for Social Media Optimization

Jennifer Filzen, Content Writer

Social media is an important tool for any company or brand hoping to engage with customers, fans, friends, and industry cohorts. From the start, Zenergy Works has used Social Media Optimization (SMO) to attract new customers and generate interest for our clients’ websites through active engagement with the online community.

Because SMO has become such an important marketing tool for businesses and brands of all types, Zenergy Works has expanded its Social Media Optimization services. To stay on top of the ever-changing environment, we have two team members that take great care of our SMO clients.

If you have not yet met our Social Media Optimization Team, allow us to introduce you to Jennifer Filzen and Stephanie Wargin:

Jennifer Filzen started working with Zenergy Works in 2010 and was our first online community manager. Jennifer comes with an eclectic background of songwriting, event promotion, sales, and marketing. A “Jill-of-all-trades,” Jen has written content for the bulk of our SMO clients and SEO clients, as well.

Stephanie Wargin for Social Media Optimization

Stephanie Wargin, Social Strategist

Stephanie Wargin joined us in late 2012 as a Social Strategist and is a tremendous asset to our SMO team. She comes with a background as an author, blogger, programmer, and social media marketer. Steph will be taking over the lion’s share of our existing SMO accounts in 2013 as we take our SMO strategies to the next level.

We are very fortunate to have these two great copywriters on the Zenergy Works team. Together, they will help build a lively and engaged community around your business or brand. If you have questions about how this dynamic duo can help with your Social Media Optimization, contact Zenergy Works for a free consultation.