The term SEO (search engine optimization) seems to still be so mysterious to folks and I want to clear this up. Many people want to know how to get more eyeballs to their website and blog content, so if you’ve wondered the same thing… let’s chat. If you are an expert in SEO, plug your ears and look away because I am going to use examples and SEO basic terms that will have you shaking your head.
First, SEO is not mystical, and it is not even the job for
some guy sitting in a dark basement desk wearing a hoodie. It is something you
should understand and be doing every day…or at least frequently if you want your
content found by more people.
Whenever you add or tweak content on your website (including
blog posts) you are potentially optimizing the site for Google and other “search
engines” to find it. Optimizing it means you are adding content that will be helpful
to people who are searching for it, you are making sure it is relevant to the
person searching, and you are making it easy to consume by adding paragraph headers
and formatting it for people to find the information they seek.
Here are 7 things you can do to become your own SEO expert (or
at least apprentice):
Create content people actually want.
Before you write a new post, ask yourself if people are really searching for this answer…I mean like when I go searching for chocolate in my pantry and I am moving cans and boxes around. Are people going to Google and typing in, “How can I _____” with your topic in the blank? When you type that question in Google, what comes up? Are there loads of posts out there already? Can you put a unique spin on it or add to this body of knowledge to provide a more niche answer?
Too often we create mamby-pamby oatmeal content. Bland.
Boring. Useless. And I’m right there in the bowl with you. I find that after a
few months I start slipping from the edge right back into the cushy middle. It
takes a lot of work to stay in your zone of genius. In digital marketing, there
is a ton of content out there, so if I can’t put my own personality or spin on
content, it’s just another bowl of mediocre oats.
Provide great information, not a marketing brochure.
Google wants you to create content for the users who are searching for helpful information, not just a page that has nice marketing slogans and pithy facts about your brand. Go look at a couple of pages right now on your website. If you were a potential customer who had questions or problems they were trying to solve, would your page give them the answers or just tell them about YOU?
Think of the keywords BEFORE you begin writing
You have to write for humans, not for Google bots. That means
you have to think of the question or problem your reader has, write it down.
Now ask yourself, what is the main word or couple of words in that problem or
Question a reader has: How to set up the perfect podcast studio?
Possible Keywords: Set up podcast studio
Alternative 1: Set up professional podcast studio
Alternative 2: Set up video recording studio
While writing the post (or outlining what you are going to
say in video or audio content), be sure to use the keywords and phrases
throughout. Do it naturally. Don’t write, “To set up a podcast studio you will
want to use equipment for a professional podcast studio. There will be
microphones in a video and podcast studio …” You get the picture.
I tell our clients often to write down the top 10 FAQs people have about their industry and their specific business. Now write a blog post and create short video pieces that answer each one using the keywords and phrases from those questions. That is optimized content.
Quit using jargon and write content people will know what to
So often people write content as if they’re writing textbooks or worse, technical manuals. Dry and complicated copy often does not absorb. If you use terms and acronyms, even terms you assume everyone knows, explain it the first time you use it. You can go back to acronyms from that point on.
Will your content have the answer they came for or just more
questions? Make sure when you’re your reader finishes, they say, “Ahhh
refreshing! Just what I was trying to understand.”
Make it long enough to be helpful.
While I hear everything from “Make your blog posts 400-800 words” to “Google likes posts that are 1,500-2,000 words”, the key is to make sure there’s enough meat on the bones of a post that the reader gets their answers. If your post is only a couple paragraphs long and just covers a topic at a high level, your reader may feel they wasted their time clicking over and leave frustrated asking, “Where’s the Beef?”
A post that is 400-500 words long (or short) is going to have less of an opportunity to naturally have keywords and helpful content in it and yet if you stuff a post with keywords, it will smell like spam. There are many experts (who are these people? Yoast is a pretty reliable source and they say 300 is the absolute minimum) who say a post or a webpage must have 400-800 words to even be indexed or recognized as a page by Google or other search engines. Regardless of what those people say, write enough to be helpful!
Seth Godin’s blogs are
often very short, but he isn’t worried about driving more eyeballs to his blog.
He’s got more eyeballs on each post than Argus
Panoptes, the hundred-eyed giant in Greek mythology, so he writes whatever
he wants. He also writes daily!
If you are wanting Google to see your website and blog posts as a reliable source and send more people there for their answers, be sure to beef it up!
Write better titles for your content
This is where my wit often gets me in trouble. I always want
to name my blog posts something witty or clever, but Google has a very dry
sense of humor. If I would have named this post “Mullet Blogging” or “Excavating
Your Website” it would amuse me, but would anyone really be typing those terms
into Google? (Besides me?) NO! Save your cleverness for inside the post.
Take that keyword list you came up with earlier and the top
FAQs and use one of those for your title. If at all possible, start with a keyword.
“Basic SEO: How to get my content found” is one way to title this post. If “basic
SEO” is my keyword phrase I would want to put that in the front. “How to get my
content found” is still pretty close to a keyword phrase, it would be
I love how SEO Expert, Heather Lutze, calls
these “Mullet Titles” since you want the business in the front and then a party
in the back.
Let’s talk a little geeky here
Now stay with me. I’m going to get meta on you. Metadata, meta descriptions, ALT tags, H1, H2, H3 tags. These might sound like phrases out of a Steven King novel, but they are just sections and parts of your website content that Google bots know how to read. Imagine Google has a little robot and “metadata” is the only info it knows to read.
So, when you load any piece of content onto a website look for a section or box (typically toward the bottom of the page) that asks for the “meta description.” This just means, “Tell me a little about what this is and if you can include one of your main keywords that will be helpful.” The meta description is the sentence or two that shows up under the bold headline when someone does a Google search.
ALT tags are the words that will describe each image you
load into your website (they all should have ALT tags). While the intent of an
ALT tag was mostly for the visually impaired so their computer would read what
was being shown on the page, it is another area that you can use to tie that image
into your post concept. So instead of just “robot” being in my ALT tag above, I
would put “Google bot for basic SEO” or “Google bot to help content be found.”
Keep in mind that most website designers do NOT optimize the content they load
into your site and you may have a beautiful site that is not helping search
engines find you.
H1 H2 H3
H1, H2, and H3 tags are just a tech way to say the same thing your 4th grade English teacher taught you. Put your headline at the top and then put the rest of your content in OUTLINE FORMAT. So all of your paragraphs will have sub-headings and then other main thoughts will have sub-sub-headings (it’s been a long time since I was anywhere near an elementary school so just go with it). So, your blog post title, for example, would be formatted as an H1 heading (usually this is done automatically because of how the page is formatted). Your paragraph headings should be formatted to be H2. This is because our little robot friend speed reads and skims each page reading H1, H2, and H3 tags to see if the page is really about what your keyword says it’s about. So don’t get too clever with your headings.
If you are still with me and your head hasn’t exploded, CONGRATULATIONS! You now understand the basics of SEO to help you get your content found by more people. Of course, there is more to optimizing your website but I want you to take a deep breath and realize that it’s all very doable. If you follow the 7 steps outlined here and regularly create content for your ideal audience, you will see your website traffic increase. And of course, don’t forget to promote your new content by sharing on your social media channels. [READ: If you build it, they will NOT come.]
Everyone is talking about LinkedIn making a comeback. Did it ever go away? Well, perhaps it was stuck in its own version of the ’80s with its bad hair and awkward sense of style. I mean let’s be honest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even the hip app, SnapChat have all had their day as the “It Girl” platform. But LinkedIn has had the reputation of being not so social and so uncool.
Just this morning I was on a call with a potential client and she asked, “Should we even bother updating our team’s LinkedIn profiles? Isn’t it just used for job seekers?” LinkedIn must feel like women in their 50’s (ummm…. ME)—no one is paying attention to anything we do anymore! Well, it’s time we turn around and look again at this powerhouse social platform and start treating her with some R.E.S.P.E.C.T!
Here are 11.5 things you need to know about this new “IT” GIRL:
1. LinkedIn is still the Queen of B2B.
While all marketing is P2P (person to person), if you are looking to connect and build relationships with people in the business sector, LinkedIn is tops. It has grown steadily year-over-year from it’s creation in 2003 to now, and there are no signs of it stopping.
Executives and other decision-makers are on LinkedIn LOOKING FOR GREAT CONTENT and VALUABLE RESOURCES! They aren’t looking for goofy farming games, guess your celebrity personality tests or baby pig videos (although who doesn’t want to see baby pig videos?). People come to LinkedIn to read great content and connect with people who are serious about making things happen. Hootsuite wrote, “LinkedIn users are the educated and affluent people who are already in a professional headspace and actively looking for solutions.”
2. There are a lot of people here.
While it’s not the size of Facebook’s community, there are 630 million members on LinkedIn and it continues to grow, probably due to all of the Facebook algorithm hubbub. Two professionals join LinkedIn every second! 177 million of those members are from the US and 48% of all members log in monthly. 43% check into their LinkedIn profile daily. The best part is that 40% of users on LI are decision-makers! We’re not talking about spending your time chit-chatting with your creepy cousin Eddie and his friends anymore.
3. Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in 2016, for 26.2 BILLION and they’ve been busy.
You will see more Microsoft integrations coming and I’m already seeing more PowerPoint slide decks being shared on profiles. LinkedIn’s slide deck sharing platform, Slideshare has over 70 million users and that is going up monthly. When you add your marketing deck to Slideshare first, you can pull it into your profile and now it’s doing double duty for you. I have to admit, I initially went gangbusters on Slideshare years ago and I have forgotten about the power there. You can even add a lead magnet into the backend to use it as a great lead gen tool. Bottom line is, adding any visuals to your profile will make it stand out and a well-crafted slide deck is an easy way to do that.
4. Every “sophisticated marketer” uses LinkedIn as their primary channel to distribute their B2B marketing content.
So few people have published an ARTICLE on their LinkedIn profile, that you will automatically shine here. Only 1 million out of the 520 million users have published an article on LinkedIn. (source: OmniCore) Articles, which used to be called POSTS, are the blog-like content pieces that stay on your profile in a fashion that very much resembles a blog post. Share content that highlights your expertise and personality! [READ: 4 Qualities to Become More Likeable Online and Off] If you look at your profile under “Articles and Activity” you will find the home of your content. I still feel that this needs to come out from hiding—most people don’t even know where to find past posts and articles.
According to Daniel Roth, LinkedIn’s Editor in Chief, “Every day, over 2 million posts, videos, and articles course through the LinkedIn feed, generating tens of thousands of comments every hour –and tens of millions more shares and likes.”
6. Be sure to SHOW, and not just TELL with your content on LinkedIn.
Posts with images get 2x the number of comments and according to Peter Roybal, LinkedIn Senior Product Manager, people are 20 x more likely to share a video with their connections than any other type of LinkedIn post. People are also 5x more likely to comment on video content. Soooo, get that great content into short video-bytes, and make sure they are super helpful. If you get too salesy you get tuned out! My rules for social media are: Be INTERESTING, Be HELPFUL or Be QUIET!”
Here are a few ideas for you and your team to kick around and start planning for when LinkedIn Live reaches you:
• Product demos
• A chat to discuss trend reports
• Fireside chats with experts, vendors, and employees
• FAQ sessions
• Field visits and tours
7. Visit your LinkedIn profile and connections more often.
Don’t be a dead-beat parent on your own LinkedIn profile. Stop in daily for 30-minutes to share something or comment on what others are posting. If daily is unthinkable, aim for 3 times a week and build up to it. The more frequently you show up and engage on LinkedIn, the more frequently you …. Show up! You will be amazed at the increase of connection requests, profile views, and even BUSINESS if you increase your activity on LinkedIn.
8. Make sure you have an updated photo and profile.
I think when LinkedIn launched in 2003 people loaded their stoic corporate headshot or a glamour shot from those cheezy mall studios (yep..I had one and my children still pull it out for the occasional comedy relief) and never looked back. Let’s face it, we’ve gotten older and that’s OK! You need to put up a headshot that actually looks like you. One that was taken within the past 6-12 months. While you’re on your profile, go through and update your skills and experience. We don’t need to know where you went to grade school but beef your profile up a bit. Tell us about projects you’ve been working on, the revenue you have helped to generate or save. You have 2,000 characters you can pack into your summary area alone. Use all of your space.
[Download our resource guide that will help you maximize every area of your LinkedIn Profile]
9. Get over that 500 hump!
When you have more than 500 connections you have hit the tipping point that allows you to start reaching and connecting with even more people. When you go to someone’s profile and see “78 connections” or whatever number they have, you wonder where they’ve been. Once you get over 500 connections, then the playing field evens out—they all say “500+.” Now I am not saying you should go and connect with all of the random strangers and spammers to get to 500. I’m suggesting when you meet someone at an event, a business meeting, a friend’s house for dinner, you reach out and connect on LinkedIn after.If you are seriously still collecting business cards and bundling them in your desk drawer as if you will even remember anything about the person, forget about it. Take the business card, and if you really want to be savvy, download the Microsoft Pix app which allows you to scan the card right in front of the person and select, “Connect on LinkedIn.” Once you do that, hand back their paper business card back and tell them…one small tree branch saved!
On your phone, open your LinkedIn App and click on the little head icon at the bottom now in the top middle, turn on “FIND NEARBY” when you are at a conference or event where there are several people to connect with. Go ahead try it now.
10. Jump on LinkedIn LIVE as soon as you get it available on your profile but keep your expectations low in the beginning.
What I mean by that is, the typical LinkedIn user barely engages with written content. They read it, but they do so quietly in their office or cubical. To expect people to consume long-form video while at work and then chat it up with you is a BIG stretch. Keep your videos short and informative. Share your expertise but allow time for LinkedIn users to grow accustomed to this form of content here. It’s like when women were allowed to stop wearing pantyhose to work (yes those were barbaric times … *shudder*), it takes time for people to come around to radical change. I think LinkedIn will be rolling out lots of changes once LIVE video hits everywhere to figure out where it will live. Like articles and posts need to be displayed more prominently, so will video.
11. Consider creating or re-engaging your business page (if you have a business).
There are roughly 35 million business pages on LinkedIn, which is just a fraction of the number of people and businesses actually on LinkedIn. While they do function VERY differently than a personal profile and get a lot less attention, they are a great way to showcase your content to those who DO choose to follow your updates there. Consider this: To follow a business page on LinkedIn, you have to typically search for it, then you have to follow the updates of that page, and then… well OK, it’s not that hard at all…but for someone to go through those two steps … they WANT YOUR CONTENT! Don’t leave them hanging. It’s like asking people to subscribe to your boring newsletter and then when they actually do, you never send anything out. (Ooo… sting!)If you have employees in your organization, be sure to encourage them to share the content you are sharing on the company’s business page and when someone shares something on their personal profile, LinkedIn now makes it easy to share it on your company’s page. On your business page, there is a small section to the right that says, “Communities” where you can select up to 3 hashtags that you want to follow. You can also click on “See what others are saying about (your company). Now you can select content that others are putting out and share it on your company’s page. Seems a bit clunky, but a great way for a brand to monitor and share the content employees and others are talking about.
Here are a few more fun LinkedIn facts to impress your friends and family…if they care!
The average user spends about 17 minutes a MONTH on LinkedIn (That’s depressing for me as a content creator unless all 17 min are spent on my content!)
Motivated was the most overused word on LinkedIn in 2014 AND 2017
Specialized, Experienced, and Skilled were the most overused words on someone’s summary section. Change these up to standout!
There are 5.5 million accountants on LinkedIn. Wow sounds like Digital Marketers.
There have been over 11 billion endorsements made on LinkedIn (most by people who don’t even know the person they are endorsing!)
90% of LinkedIn members use Facebook. This is a statistic for all of you who have told me “my customers are NOT on Facebook!” (source: DataReportal, Pew Research Center)
The percentage of premium LinkedIn users currently stands at 39%, while 61% of members are still satisfied with the basic free accounts. (source: Kinsta)
I’d love to hear from you. Are you an avid LinkedIn user? What tips and tools do you have or do you find most useful? And while you’re at it… Connect with me on LinkedIn!
Writing Better Posts will Get Your Message Further in the Social Stream
The social marketing space is extremely crowded and loud. Twitter alone has approximately 500 MILLION tweets flying out PER DAY! (approximately 6 million every SECOND) Twitter is a stream flowing wild and full with interesting content and … not-so-interesting clutter. Your goal on your social media channels is to share interesting and helpful content that others find good enough that they pluck it out of the stream and pass it along through ReTweets and shares.
To help your social media messages stand out and be read more often, here are 5 things to keep in mind:
1. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
Being controversial isn’t a bad thing on social media channels… occasionally. Tell us how you feel about something, while still being civil. People want to chime in and agree with you… or disagree with you. If you are just quoting everyone else, it gets old. It’s like that old saying, “Be yourself…unless you’re a jerk, then be someone else!”
2. Become a better writer!
Punch a bit of drama, humor or even intrigue into your tweets and posts where you can. Can you say it in a way that is more entertaining or humorous? “Craving that last piece of cake” can be tweaked to read, “I kept hearing my name being called in a seductive voice. I turned to find the last piece of cake winking at me.” Just more fun to read and pass along! “Busy day ahead” can be made more interesting AND helpful by telling us a bit about you with, “Working with clients to tame their clutter today-I love scary closets” or “Busy day ahead expanding minds–this could get messy!” [READ: 7 Skills Every Social Media Marketer Needs]
3. Share it More Than Once.
We all know that once is never enough for anything great, so why not share your post more than once. Unless it is time-sensitive, put that post out today in the morning and then again perhaps tomorrow afternoon. Keep in mind that people are not sitting at their computer or on their phone JUST reading your posts (I know…shocking!). I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but people are reading lots of content and perhaps they missed your post today but will catch it tomorrow. Try adding two different images to your posts and see which captures the attention better. Speaking of images…
4. Add more photos and videos to your posts to allow people to SEE what you are saying.
Social media is all about photos, videos, and all things visual. Make sure and utilize this on your posts. While there are LOADS of great sites to find stock images [see: STOP USING THESE CRAPPY IMAGES ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS] you can also create your own with photos you snap, images you create with tools like Canva or other tools, or fun Gifs you find or create!
5. Be quiet sometimes.
On any social media platform, my philosophy (that even I do not follow at times) is BE HELPFUL, BE INTERESTING, or BE QUIET! If you post tweets when there is nothing interesting or helpful to say…you might start being ignored. Of course, we are talking about SOCIAL media, so there are times you are socializing and chatting it up with folks, but if you are just posting what you are doing without asking yourself “Can I make this more interesting or helpful?” you might want to just go for a walk.
YOUR TURN TO SHARE: Of all the posts you have shared in the past week, what was it that grabbed YOUR attention and inspired you to pass them along?
Here is our FREE resource to help you use Twitter to build your business — Download Now:
Marketing is all about experimenting, testing, and trying new things that get the attention of buyers. Whether that is through television ads, radio, print, or social media channels, everyone just wants a little slice of attention.
According to Wikipedia, the first official, paid television
advertisement in the United States was on July 1, 1941, over New York station
WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn
Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.
The ad was for Bulova watches,
and the company paid anywhere from $4.00 to $9.00 (reports vary). The ad displayed
a WNBT test pattern made to look like a clock with the hands showing the time.
The Bulova logo, with the phrase “Bulova Watch Time”, appeared in the
lower right-hand quadrant of the test pattern while the second hand swept
around the dial for one full minute. Approximately $5.00 for a full 60-second
ad during prime-time television. Attention was cheap. The world has definitely changed!
Sales has always been about connecting and building
relationships with those potential buyers. A salesperson’s job is to be
likeable enough to form relationships with people and then establish trust and
help that potential buyer make an informed decision.
I started my first business in 1995 and my sales and marketing activities consisted of spending hours down at Kinkos (now FedEx Stores) making copies of brochures to send to potential clients to try and get their attention. I would then spend hours dialing for dollars, making cold calls and follow up calls to set appointments. Those were the days before caller ID, and people actually answered their phones.
Our first website was built in 1997, which was just the
brochure I had copied over at Kinkos, put online. Aside from designing a logo,
business cards, and stationary with our company information across the top, I
really don’t remember having many other “marketing” activities. I did write
articles for a hardcopy newsletter that I mailed out quarterly and a few of my
early clients published some of the articles in their hardcopy newsletters as
Today my sales and marketing activities have moved online. I
don’t mail anything, but instead send links and videos. I don’t do much of
anything in the way of actual sales calls. Instead I spend more time creating
content that attracts people online and then our team spends time answering
questions that companies have about setting up company Facebook business pages
or how to optimize blog posts to be seen by more people.
As consumers we are influenced by digital marketing as we
make decisions every day. When we want
to go out to eat, we use our mobile devices to look up restaurants and
book reservations on sites like OpenTable. We research hotels, plumbers,
dentists, and even funeral homes on Google or Yelp, and then talk about the
service we get on Twitter, Yelp, Trip Advisor or Facebook.
Businesses don’t all like these tools, and it’s usually the
businesses that either don’t know how to use them or the ones that have poor
reviews listed on them.
It’s a wild, wild, social world we live in. Our in-person lives, or IRL, are tightly connected to our virtual and online worlds. We are connected 24/7 365 days a year. The social world doesn’t sleep, and it doesn’t take vacations. Or at least if it does take a vacation, it is well documented on Instagram and when it sleeps, it’s probably using an app like Pzizz or Calm to help guide them into slumber.
AND IT’S STARTING TO CHANGE AGAIN
Today’s consumer is so accustomed to jumping on social media
channels to connect with a brand for customer service, that we are seeing a few
interesting changes coming. The expectation that there will be a real person
responding to a request online within minutes has gone up.
We love living a digital life, but now we want high-touch
service that comes with the digital world. We are using digital devices with
artificial intelligence to help us connect with content and people. Think of
Alexa, Siri or Google to name a few (They really need to give Google’s AI
device a real name. Perhaps Gracie). A
JWT Intelligence/Mindshare study of U.K. Consumers found that 36% love their
voice assistant so much they wish it were a real person.
I have to admit, I do wish my Alexa device had arms and legs
and could follow me around and bring me coffee. Now with the devices adding
video screens, we can do video calls as we cook and sing karaoke-style to our
favorite song and I’m guessing it won’t be long before we can summon the
digital customer service agent from our cable company via video to help us walk
through resetting our cable box. What am I talking about… we won’t really still
have cable will we?
There are other signs of wanting to go back in time and humanize
our technology-filled lives. Today it’s very retro and cool to have vinyl
records and Fujifilm’s Instax cameras with instant film (think mini Polaroid).
We see more people buying board games, taking up knitting, and then posting
about it all on Instagram. Our worlds are colliding.
Brands must figure out how to be more responsive, with real
humans, working on digital channels. People don’t trust as much as they did
even a few years ago. According to the 2017 and 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer,
consumers have lost connection. They no longer trust brands, or political
systems. Instead of looking to the large entities, people are now seeking out
smaller intimate groups online that they feel connected with.
The rise in unique Facebook Groups is a great example of this. We all need to explore ways to deliver a fantastic customer experience and to connect with our consumers in a more human way. Read more on this in our post, “Facebook Algorithm Changes: 3 Things Your Business Must Do” for more ideas on how to bring back the human touch.
Marketing has fundamentally changed. No longer is it just about getting people to look at our billboards or websites. It’s no longer about interrupting people to LOOK AT ME, although many still approach it that way. Today, marketing is about creating something or some things that people are drawn to because they want it. They want to be smarter, more informed, more popular. Marketing is about drawing people closer to our virtual street corner to engage with us and get to know, like, and trust us. We get to know and like them as well and then trust that they will buy whatever it is we are selling, even if we are selling ideas.
How are you seeing marketing change in 2019? I’d love to hear from you below in the comments. If you would like more tips on keeping up with all of the changes, jump into our DIYsocial Facebook group.
Everyone thinks they can “do social media.” If someone has a Facebook or Instagram account, they think they’re suddenly qualified to be a social media marketer. Today, digital marketing requires a variety of skills just to survive in this ever-changing industry. To do more than survive, but to stand out and shine, these are 7 skills social media marketers need to master. You may have all these skills yourself, or you may team up or hire out for some of them.
Here are 7 skills that I feel every social media marketer needs to stand out:
1.Great writing skills
So, this one seems so obvious, and yet I still feel this is an area most of us are lacking. To write well online is very different from writing essays or text messages. I see horrifying grammar and spelling all over websites and social media posts. This shouldn’t be happening with all the auto-correct tools like Grammarly out there. By-the-way, Grammarly has a free tool that allows you to load your entire post or article to have it checked or you can add the Chrome extension to your browser and have the Grammar Police follow you EVERYWHERE on the web! Find them… use them…and start writing better!
The other side of that coin is the far-too-formal writing. Our English teachers must have beaten us all in school, because most people still write as if they are writing a research paper, instead of speaking to their ideal audience. On Social media or blog posts, it is best to write like you would speak… conversationally. Sit across from the table with a cup of coffee and talk to people through your writing. It’s a social channel, not a term paper. Check out HemingwayApp for tips on making your writing more readable.
2.Customer Service Skills
Someone just asked me today, what skill is hardest to hire for. It is definitely customer service. Everyone is a “people person” in an interview until they have to deal with PEOPLE. In social media marketing, you have to be prepared to take the hits online from people who are hiding behind a keyboard and want to vent. If you work in an agency, you will also have to take the hits from the customers who don’t like something you wrote or the color of the image you’ve used.
When you own a business, you are willing to go further for customers to solve a problem, versus someone who is “just working” on that job. I get it. You have to find people who want the best for clients to be managing your social media. It can get ugly online.
3.Basic SEO Understanding
While you may not know how to optimize your website using tools like SMRush or MOZ, but you should know the basics of SEO as a social media marketer. There are lots of blog posts out there that give more information on this. A great one is Keyword Research for SEO, by Yoast, but there are some basics that you should know if you are writing content for your website or writing any social media content. Know what ALT tags and keywords are. You need to be tagging your images on blog and website content.
You should know what your main keywords and phrases are that you want to be found with. What are the top questions people are typing into Google or other search engines for your industry? What content do you need to write so it comes up as a match to those questions? These are keywords and keyword phrases. You not only want to learn how search engines match your content, to the questions people are typing, but you also should start considering the questions people are SPEAKING into search (Google, Alexa, and Siri).
As you write content always keep your reader or searcher in mind. How are you providing valuable content to answer their questions? What clues are you giving Google on what your content is about? ALT tags give clues in every image, as does the title of that image.
4.An Eye for Design
With all content, we want to make sure it is visually appealing and able to capture someone’s attention in a matter of seconds. People don’t read anymore…they scroll. As social media posts go by, it’s the images that stop the eye traffic. When your images are boring, corny, not sized right, or missing altogether, your content will get fewer eyeballs on it.
There are lots of beautiful photo sites and ways to manipulate them to make them POP. We now have tools like Canva that make creating beautiful graphics a snap. If you don’t have an eye for design, you might be trying to stick 150 words in yellow font across a dark blue square. Stab me in the eyes already! The good news is, there are hundreds of great templates, and you can even take free mini-courses on design right from Canva.
5.An Eye for Details
With so many platforms and so much going on at once, it can be easy to slip up and schedule the wrong content on the wrong platform. Without an eye for detail, you may not catch the misspelling of the company owner’s name on a very important blog post. YIKES… it happens. Too many companies still throw the job of social media management to someone who already has 47 tasks to do each day. Most people think social marketing is easy. You might be the person trying to do it all. You know, it can be a full-time job!
Social marketing is about putting your brand out there in front of the world…quickly. You don’t have time to have an editing committee review every social post (and I do know for a fact there are such things). Social moves too fast and the posts have a short life span, but you need to have a keen attention to detail.
If you’re a person who moves fast and doesn’t pause before hitting that send, or post button, you’ll hear about it from your readers. How do I know this? Well… let’s just say with social media, it is going to happen to the best of us. Everyone turns into an editor as soon as they read anyone else’s content, so be sure to re-reads posts, even out loud, one more time before publishing. It will at least cut down the number of times you find that goofy typo right after you hit, SEND.
Details also come in the form of schedules in this industry. There is usually a lot of content going out on different platforms and you may be waiting on graphics or webinar dates and links. Things are best when planned in advance and put on a scheduler with reminders. Using content calendars or team tools like Asana or Trello is almost essential today.
6.Willingness … NO … A BURNING DESIRE to Learn
This skill is probably the most important in social media marketing. Because there are always new tools, platforms, and techniques, you will always have to be learning. It’s one thing to be willing to learn, but you must WANT to learn. You must LOVE the process of learning. Don’t sit back and wait for someone to spoon-feed you new information. As a marketer today, you must have an insatiable appetite for learning and experimenting.
When I meet someone in this industry, I ask, “what are some of your favorite blogs or podcasts?” If they don’t have an answer, it tells me they won’t last long or go very far. It’s an industry like few others in that it changes daily and the only way to keep up is to be in a constant learning mode.
A common question is, “What book can I pick up to learn social media?” By the time a digital marketing book is published and sits on the shelf of a bookstore, it’s outdated! I was the technical editor for the Complete Idiots Guide to Social Media and as we would finish one chapter, the one prior already needed changes. Conferences, podcasts, videos, classes, and blog posts are the way to keep up in this industry. Stay thirsty my friend!
While this last one isn’t necessarily a SKILL, it is a required attribute for a successful social media marketer. Be willing to pick up and try new things. As you hear of a new platform or tool, jump in and start playing with it. Create accounts to check out how others are using it and what is going on in there. They don’t all pan out, but you will always learn something and you will meet interesting people along the way.
In 2009, I was working with teams at IBM who were meeting in a virtual space called, Second Life. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen. It was amazing and creative. I would log in as an avatar and we could share slides, speak to one another and learn in incredible virtual environments. I met people in there that I still interact with regularly, and have even done business with a few of them. Never hesitate to jump in to take a look at different tools. Be adventurous.
Ok, these are the 7 skills that I have identified. I’d love to hear from you. What other skills do you feel are necessary to be successful in digital marketing? Which of these skills do you need to work on the most? I’d love to know.
As a social media marketing agency in Colorado, we employ a variety of people that possess these skills. If you need to augment your own skillset, give us a call…or a tweet! If you’re interested in learning—jump into our DIYsocial Community where we share regular tips, tools, and resources to help you stay ahead in this social media marketing space.
Many of us woke up this week to find business owners and marketers running through the streets screaming and gnashing their teeth as the news of Facebook’s algorithm changing again came out. What will happen? Business pages will no longer be seen by anyone…ever!
Facebook calls its algorithm the “Audience Optimization Tool” and it is optimizing the newsfeed to correct its focus on paid news and more specifically, “Fake News” delivered in the past. It will be making a significant change to the way content will be shared in the newsfeed.
In a post on Facebook’s Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg said business and media posts are crowding out more personal moments. They want to encourage more “meaningful and personal connections and to do this they will increase content from friends, family, and groups in the news feed; and limit content from companies, brands, thought leaders, authors, journalists, celebrities and more. They want to “put the social back in social media.” Ask yourself right now, has your business been more social or more promotional? Are you talking to your audience or are you just posting content?
So what does this mean for your business? Are you doomed? Should you go out and buy that CLOSED sign to hang on the door this weekend? Here’s the simple math equation that will help you solve the algorithm problem:
If a post goes out at 8am and reaches 300 people and you multiply it by 2 shares and divide by 13 likes and 2 laugh responses you will get a score of …. Oh come on …do you really think we can EVER figure out Facebook’s algorithm? Instead of trying to outsmart the Facebook brain, let’s talk about 3 actions you should be taking:
Shift Your Thinking Back to Email
Let’s all remember that no matter how many people see your posts, and regardless of the number of fans you have acquired, you are on rented land. You don’t own the platform and therefore having a million fans that see your content should never be the endgame. Your focus should be to pull people into your email list and nurture the relationships there as well. (Nurture being the keyword. Do more than COLLECT email addresses.) Social media is the tool, or driver, to get new people to your property…your email list. (Read: What is a lead magnet and why do I need them in my marketing)
Create a Different Kind of Content
Keep in mind the reason the algorithm is needed: There’s just too much content out there. We all have more “friends”, more pages we have liked, and more ads calling to us.This algorithm change is just another filter to bring the best (or most popular) content to the top. Soooo… quality content is going to be CRITICAL. It has always been important, but perhaps now before you hit publish, you ask yourself questions like:
Is this unique information? Look around and see if others are posting the same stuff.
Does this elicit a response from people? Am I asking questions or making a provocative statement that will get people talking? There is an art to asking great questions. If you ask waste-of-time questions like, “Who wants to make more money?” “Who wants greater health?” you will get crickets (or you should). Instead, get personal. Talk one-on-one. Ask people to share what they think or what they will do with the information.
Am I providing content that people will find actionable and helpful? Does it give people something to ponder or do that will impact their lives or business?
Is this piece of content just unnecessary? You know the pretty quote overlays and the funny gifs we post to get likes? Well, those may not serve you well on Facebook any longer. Sure we may get people to chuckle and click LIKE, but unless a comment or conversation is started over it, Facebook will probably bury it 6 feet under.
Get back to basics.
In the old days, when we still had phones hanging on our walls and televisions sat on our living room floors, we used to get out and greet others on social media. We joined forums and groups where we asked questions, shared answers and formed a community. We got to know people who were not on our business pages and some of these relationships turned into friendships or business collaborations. I call it “walking about” (Read: 4 Tips for Better Social Media Management) and it will benefit you to go back in time and get social again. Build relationships on social media platforms. Don’t just post your content and sit back and wait for the analytics to show you how many people read it. It may seem like a tedious or slow process, but you will build solid relationships that will spread and who knows…you just might find your next customer or business partner.
So let’s agree that instead of wasting our energy crying over Facebook ruining our businesses, let’s get refocused and make some needed changes to our social media content and habits. I’d love it if you would share your ideas for greater connections here in the comments or of course you can jump over to our DIY Social Facebook Group and share then with us–you may just meet some other fabulous people while you’re there.
We also put together a “DO’s and DON’Ts for Facebook’s New Algorithm Changes” resource for you with actual questions and comments to use instead of the old “engagement baiting” LIKE THIS or SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS. You can download it here:
@GinaSchreck is the CEO at SocialKNX and loves connecting on any social platform to share and learn together. Just don’t send creepy private messages that just say “Hi.”