Audience Engagement & Social Media Profiling in 2017


add-social-media-buttonsAre your website, social and professional media platforms producing the kinds of traffic and conversion results that you have anticipated? You’ve spent countless hours adjusting your online presence to comply with previous search engine algorithm changes, primarily Google, to no apparent avail? This article will focus on those two elements to your online presence and how to get improved results for the new algorithm updates just released for 2017.

Once again search algorithm updates are changing the way we develop our web content on our websites and blogs and through social and professional media platforms.

Improving the Mobile Experience

First things first; you’ve heard of the buzz over the past year about the rapid escalation of mobile use for internet access. This story continues to move forward to the extent that you can expect that the same trends will continue for years to come. Previously we were focused on optimizing our website and social/professional media for greater visibility in search engine results pages (SERP’s) and advance preparations to ensure that our online locations are mobile friendly.

The mobile technology requires changes to web design well beyond what the average user is familiar with and experts handle that in their website builder designs. What you and I must get on board with right NOW is ensuring that your website or blog is indeed configured for mobile browsing. The background design work has been established and factored into web design and now the end users (ourselves) need to do a number of things to our websites, blogs and social media to further that mobile friendliness in order that when mobile users arrive at our site or page they have an optimum viewing experience, failing which they will quickly click out and move on with the search results elsewhere.

Responsive design is simply not enough. You need to be sure that all of your navigation and site elements are highly intuitive and convenient for your visitors.

Long form content now reigns supreme. Develop your content through lengthy articles that are comprehensive; that is, to fully and deeply cover your topic. Don’t glaze over with superfluous content that does not help readers solve their problem; give them lots of details that represent advice for your readers.

People are sick and tired of old news that has no depth and lacking usable information and meaning. You now need to do extensive research on your subject matter to enable you to produce information-rich long-form articles that provide value to your readers. I know what you’re thinking; now I have to spend hours researching from countless sources and writing even longer articles. I’m pressed for time more than ever.

Because there is such a high level of priority and focus now placed on long-form, information rich content, make that your focus and relax your post schedule to accommodate fewer posts. That way you trim the time factor while maximizing the quality of content you provide for your readers. Never lose site of the end objective; increased traffic, authority interest, followers/subscribers, engagement and conversion to sales or increased customers/clients.

Social Media in 2017

Your social and professional media platforms continue to be crucially important assets for reader engagement, pushing brand awareness, driving consumers to your landing pages, websites and blogs as well as other intended online destinations. That sequence of audience transitions furthers our SEO objectives.

Today, in terms of your social media accounts, the new order for audience engagement is to become much more actively social with your followers and non-followers alike and far less focus and posting on BUY ME, BUY ME, and BUY ME. Engage with your followers and other social media users on their own Tweets or Facebook updates and do so in a genuine, meaningful way that illustrates your interest and engagement in their interests. Stop the constant selling!

By interacting socially with fellow users you subtly support your own brand through the experiential authority of your comments, your voice online. Wherever possible, practice this user engagement with those whose own account platform has relevance to your own. Then and only then do you have something which is mutually interesting to each other to talk about. Demonstrate your brand expertise being sure that your comments are fully relevant to the other party’s interests as expressed in their Tweets/update posts.

Non-Business Engagement: Don’t lose perspective on the importance of social engagement. Drop your shoulders, remove your tie, kick off your shoes and relax with social engagements. Factor that essential time into your schedule.

Comment on others’ posts that you liked; tell them that you got a lot from their post and thank them by name. If there is no room to comment directly on their Tweet, reply to them or send them a private message with the same compliment. Share others’ Tweets or Facebook updates frequently. Shares are a critical way to expand your fellow users’ audience reach and you will find that they reciprocate accordingly.

Be sure to always use the other user’s name in your responsive comments; personalize your comment by saying: “Nancy, what you’ve shared here really resonates with me. Many thanks!” Then follow up with later interaction, perhaps by private message or chat, share more specific comments and develop two-way conversation in a meaningful way. Assure them that their article or post gave you useful, meaningful insights.

By following this approach you’re not just fluffing through your comments in an ingenuous attempt to grab their attention about you and your brand. People see through that façade immediately. Maintain your comments strictly about them and when they respond with meaningful dialogue, return the gesture with your own meaningful response and close the conversation by wishing them a great day/week.

Do you see the trend that is quickly emerging here? Switch gears and back off the sell, sell, sell accelerator pedal. Reduce the frequency of Tweeting/updates about your own brand and links back to your website or blog considerably. I know that sounds counter intuitive to what we have been practicing for so long yet the new world order online paints a very different picture than those of the past number of years where it was THE only game in town.

Place the sell factor on your website or blog and ads where it belongs. Those vehicles are the primary hub location online where your content marketing should rest, beyond which expand your targeted audience through advertising. Social media advertising continues to be a powerful medium. Transition quickly to being social in your social media platforms.

Social Media Platform Profiles

If you have designed your social media profile properly you have begun by inserting your name or business name at the top of your profile next to your profile photo which should be a nice, professional head and shoulders shot of yourself in business attire (smile, looking directly at the camera or slightly off center) or your business logo.  Follow with your hashtag keywords that have the highest relevance and potential search terms that people will use to find what you have to offer. Those hashtag keywords are critical not only for search results but also to tell visitors what you have to offer once they land on your page.

Make sure you have included your business website or blog URL – a must to navigate people back to your website where the marketing process takes place. If character limitations become an issue, use a TinyURL or similar for the website or blog link. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is also linked through your social media profile and if there is still room add a short URL link(s) to your Facebook page. Add your location by city and province or state. This is especially important for the many that search for such services or products in their own locale.

A Word on Personal vs. Professional Pages on Social Media Platforms:  I strongly advise that you keep your professional content on social media platforms separate from your personal pages. Why? Because the two do not mix for the majority of people. Keep the two separate and by having individual professional pages on each of your social media platforms and LinkedIn as well. On Facebook I opened with my personal page and when I launched my business I created a business page that focuses on the business end. I am also a published writer/poet and keep that aspect of my online presence separate as well. Many people hate users posting business content on their personal page; after all it is a social platform. Business has become a huge part of social media in recent years but keep it separate from your personal page, otherwise you may well suffer adverse effects of lower follower numbers and engagement accordingly.

Images & Video Media

Another critically important aspect of social media content is the use of high quality images and videos that will have relevance to your brand, or that of your targeted audience, and which add informational/beneficial value for your followers. While staying away from the BUY ME aspect of your content, link only to the relevant image/video source or related article.

LinkedIn Profiles

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I cannot stress enough the importance of having a LinkedIn profile; if you are a business person, a marketing expert, a social media enterprise, a professional of any description or a writer, author or poet who is marketing their product, services or cause, or if you are job hunting or want to have a professional presence for business networking purposes and potential employer exposure, having a LinkedIn account is essential. The power of this mammoth professional networking platform cannot be understated.

LinkedIn Profile Image

A serious note to all of you who have a LinkedIn account for business purposes. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform with emphasis on ‘professional’. Time and time again I see profile photos that are cheesy, idiotic, circus fare, face jammed right up into the camera, comedic and contorted facial expressions, freaky colored hair and the list goes on. STOP THE GOOFY PROFILE PHOTOS. LINKEDIN IS A SITE FOR PROFESSIONALS. There is a rapidly growing furor over those kinds of playhouse mentality profile images.

Your profile photo on LinkedIn must be professional; make sure your appearance is professional. The profile image should always be a head and shoulders photo, hair groomed, clean-shaven, direct gaze into the camera with a nice smile (or slight turn for a partial side profile but only slightly). Wear a crisp, clean outfit suitable for your vocation. Take the photo while you are fresh for the day and not after coming home from a grueling 18 hour day or a night out on town. Looking stoned or otherwise inebriated turns people off fast. People want to be comfortable that in seeing your profile photo they would be dealing with a professional.

I see profile photos that are actually on the diagonal, fully sideways and some that are truly upside down. You want professionals to connect with you? Use photos like just described and they will click out in seconds and ignore your existence. Such photos have no place on a professional networking or marketing platform.

Disclaimer: I only make the foregoing comments about suitable profile photos, not to make fun or belittle anyone, rather, to illustrate the type of professional photo critical for the LinkedIn profile. Save the goofy, cheesy stuff for your socials.

Follow conventional practices in professional circles and avoid experiencing high bounce rates (quick arrival and click outs) that will render your LinkedIn page virtually useless in terms of professional activity and brand marketing and also reduce your website traffic drastically.

You are using the site to foster interest and drive traffic to your website or blog (whichever is your primary business/marketing platform).

Developing Your LinkedIn Profile

The profile page on LinkedIn is your place to sell your experience, talents and potential as a new employee, associate or business partner to those business professionals. The same holds true if you are marketing a product, service or cause. Put your best foot forward and work painstakingly on a quality, error-free, professional presentation of who you are, what you have to offer, what you have achieved and how to contact you. Get a professional friend to help you or hire a professional content writer or editor to get your profile fine-tuned to where it needs to be that tells other professions: “Yes, I want to be associated with this individual and/or their business enterprise.”

Much of my preceding comments on social media will also apply on your LinkedIn profile. Remember that your LinkedIn account is a professional networking platform – ensure that all of your content is just that…professional from top to bottom including your Profile page. I’ve linked my own social media and LinkedIn profiles at the end of this article for you to take a look at if you wish to help you employ best practices in your profile development.

Following is a partial screenshot of my LinkedIn profile page. Click on the visual to expand it for better viewing.

Don MacIver; LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile Image

Use a high quality/resolution photo image of yourself (or your business logo) that is free of distortion. Image specifications are searchable if you are unsure of the most suitable image size to use for best quality image viewing. The image should be clear, sharp and as relevant as possible to your business or profession, services, product or cause. The importance of a professional appearance of the header image is as critical as the header image for your website or blog, often one and the same for brand recognition.

An incomplete, nearly blank profile page is virtually useless here. Even if your experience is minimal you should be able to draw on the experience, education and interests that you have acquired to date and as your experience and employment situation changes. Always remember to update your LinkedIn Profile accordingly.

The colors incorporated into the header image you select should mirror the colors that you have in your business logo. It all goes to brand association and recognition…an important aspect of on-page images. Remember that if you find this page unfamiliar or too difficult to develop on your own, seek the help of a professional associate or friend or even hire a professional writer or editor to set up your profile page. On-page optimization is also essential which many people are not fully conversant with. Your page must be searchable and place well in search results.

That very first field at the top of your profile must be carefully designed from your professional head and shoulder photo image (or logo) to your name and professional credentials and your business name. What follows is the most critical textual elements of your profile; your itemized list of products or services using highest level keywords (on-page optimization for SEO) which must clearly define what you do, what you have to offer and what key components of your business are.

If you are not a business or marketing professional but want a professional presence online, list your qualification/designation and key responsibilities

Contact Information

Be sure to provide your business contact-related content in the fields provided and make sure that this section is updated for any future changes so that the profile does not become outdated or containing dead links.

‘Posts’

Use this relatively new feature for creating and posting your articles which showcase your brand with content that is rich in useful information that readers can use today. Present the most up-to-date information available as readers are frustrated by old news and click out fast. Write high quality articles that benefit the reader the most. Your content should be clear, concise and free of superfluous fluff that has no actionable value for the reader. Provide information that is of strong interest and benefit to your targeted audience.

Summary

Highlight what your key services, products or cause entails or your occupational summarization. Remember who your targeted audience is to profile the most relevant expertise and experience. Do not rush this summary development and make sure that keyword inclusion is carefully designed to alert search engines and pull traffic for those searching for what you have to offer. Ensure that your profile is showing up in search engine results pages (SERP’s). You can test your search visibility by searching with your name and or business name and city location as your search terms. Note: With new online pages or sites it will take some time before it appears in search results provided the proper on-page search optimization and your page/site ranking has been executed.

Portfolio

Begin with a clear and concise summary of what you do and then build your portfolio/project profile with those project or client services most significant to this profile and relevance to your targeted audience and related achievements.

Word this section for optimum interest and action on the part of your professional readers. The Portfolio section is also of great importance to potential employers, clients and human resources/recruitment specialists seeking to find just the right fit for their client position candidate searches.

If you develop your profile effectively you will find that over time you will begin to receive contacts from business professionals who wish to express an interest in your experience and expertise. It is a powerful tool with a broad reach, not to be underestimated. A well written profile on LinkedIn will translate into exposure to any number of opportunity levels, funnel traffic to your website or blog and social media platforms as well.

Client Testimonials

I cannot stress enough how critical this section is. If you have had wonderful professional business, client or customer experiences and relationships, be sure to seek their personal testimonials. By obtaining those attestations about your quality services or products, your business objectives are legitimized and create a buzz of interest. Be sure to obtain permission before posting those testimonials publicly. Extend your thanks to that client or customer and support them in some way as well.

Testimonials are a powerful statement that will help sell your professionalism and brand authority. Flogging yourself can be an endless and sometimes futile effort so make sure you acquire testimonials from your best, most appreciative clients; they will pay it forward in spades.

Experience & Employment History

Use a chronological or hierarchal sequence to listing your career/professional history. As you would with your resume, only focus on the history that is most relevant to your targeted audience, employer or business/job role. Be clear, concise and brief in this section. You do not want to overload information beyond the primary position, company and brief, most relevant responsibilities.

Courses

Outline relevant course studies that advanced your education and skill sets as relevant to the type of position you are pursuing moving forward in your career or that serve to further your expertise and brand relevance.

Skills & Endorsements

This section is critical for highlighting your top level skill sets and expertise. Do not rush or under-populate this crucial field. This is where more defined details of your acquired skill sets or expertise come into play. I have seen countless profiles that limit their skills list to only five or six points. Consider carefully what your functions were with each respective employer during your career to date. Hone in on those critical responsibilities and the essential skills required to do the work effectively.

The Profile allows for 51 different skills to be identified. Use this area to full advantage; exposure for your expertise to all those seeking your experience level i.e. business managers, human resources personnel and recruitment experts all searching to find the one individual that is the best possible fit for their client’s position search. Do not sell yourself short.

In tandem with the skills listings, once you begin to connect with individuals in relevant industries to your own, you will begin to see skills ‘endorsements’ provided by your connections on your behalf. Make sure that you reciprocate those helpful and important gestures and acknowledge the same by initiating conversations through private messaging. Develop relationships and trust, never rushing the selling aspect of your own brand. Through that engagement process you will increase the potential for business, job or professional partnering prospects.

Engaging with your contacts and relevant group discussions develops powerful professional networking activity, perhaps the most effective means of attracting new business customers and clients today. When networking, focus on what you can do for your contacts based on their own needs and not your own. Forgo the personal selling of yourself; that will happen through genuine conversation and in turn establish your brand authority.

Education

Your educational history is fairly self-explanatory. Outline your key educational highlights and acquired qualifications, diplomas, professional designations, certificates or degrees. From this history you will want to emphasize those skills and qualifications that are most relevant to your career pursuits and at given time.

Certifications

Do not miss out or skip over this section when you have educational qualifications. Display your highest (hierarchal) designations, diplomas, certificates or degree(s) here.

Additional Info

Another important section of the profile, just as it is in your resume. Do not skimp on sharing your interests, hobbies, life passions outside the office. Show your human side and what you do with your non-working hours; it paints a complete picture for anyone considering engaging in your services in any way.

Honors & Awards

Again, this is very important information. If you have been bestowed a form of honorary recognition for something you have done over the years, professionally or otherwise, don’t leave anything out, especially an award(s) from your employer. Such awards points to your highest skill levels, achievements and the potential to reciprocate with a new employer or business partner.

Organizations

Getting involved with organizations that are relevant to your own employment or business is important. It can lead to important volunteer work and is certainly a powerful means to network with other business professionals in your community i.e. Chamber of Commerce.

Volunteer Organizations You Support

Volunteer work is an important aspect of your life and commitment to your community. Serving to help others in need is a powerful testament to character. It can also be a very rewarding experience for you personally and again paints a picture for anyone considering engaging with you on a professional level.

Recommendations

This is yet another critical element of the profile building process. When you have a solid experience with a client with whom you have had a good relationship, reach out to them to request a brief written attestation. As with a testimonial, that endorses your abilities in your industry or profession. Such statements are solid gold!

Emphasize a brief statement but if your experience with that individual has been very good, chances are that you will get a lengthier recommendation than you are anticipating! Always express sincere appreciation, publicly if suitable to do so, and pay it back in some way beneficial to the client or customer. Associates will also provide invaluable recommendations.

In summation, invest in the time and energy needed to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is all that it can possibly be. The fruits of your labor are potentially considerable. You will connect with the most amazing, influential individuals, converse in relevant professional groups, network with like minds that move mountains and establish a strong presence in the worldwide professional community.

 

LinkedIn Profile

Twitter Business Profile

Facebook Business Page

 

© Don MacIver 2017; All Rights Reserved

 

Social Media Marketing; Audience Reach for Business on Facebook


alheva_facebookHave you captured a presence on Facebook? The giant social media platform has garnered a huge audience reach as the leading social marketing platform on the internet today. Have you seen measurable results from that marketing reach or focused in another direction out of frustration?

Social media marketing efforts in today’s business environment face abundant challenges yet not insurmountable by any means. Social media platforms have undergone remarkable change over the years and will continue to evolve to address changes in the marketplace, search engine algorithms and how internet users ultimately utilize those platforms.

Seeking to establish and develop brand awareness and harness lead capture can indeed be frustrating for many businesses challenged with a juggle between available marketing capital , time and human resources to pursue marketing objectives to best advantage. An effective strategy is essential to your successes and without that strategy effectively implemented your efforts could well produce only marginal results.

Facebook has proven to be a very successful marketing channel and their statistical data bears that out. The mammoth social media platform will continue to play a strong role in the marketing focus of business enterprise as their momentum continues to gain and produce even greater results as anticipated in the foreseeable future.

Facebook Stats to Consider Carefully

  • Nearly 80% of all internet users, globally, use Facebook and fully 68% of those users are adults in the U.S. alone. Facebook user numbers are projected to swell to nearly 170 million in the U.S. by 2018.
  • Facebook continues to be the top social network globally in terms of membership with an 84% share. That’s staggering!
  • Nearly 1.8 billion users each month, globally, actively use the mammoth social platform with close to 1.2 billion people logging on to the site. Consider the potential of capturing the attention and engagement of even a fraction of that enormous audience potential.
  • Statistics reveal user habits which indicate that half of those users aged 18-24 log in to Facebook when they rise each morning. Being aware of such analytics for your targeted market is critically telling in terms of the best time of day to post for optimum targeted user reach.
  • Close to 30% of Facebook users are in the 25-35 age bracket which represents the most common user demographic. This is a prime target audience to reach out to for your expanded reach and potential new lead capture and sales conversion potential.
  • Work toward creating and sharing your quality content to that broad audience in a relatively economical cost range that won’t put a tremendous strain on your marketing budget.
  • Stats reflect an average user presence of 20 minutes or more with many browsing considerably longer means ample opportunity to gain valuable exposure through that audience in terms of website traffic, engagement and conversion activity.
  • Quality videos that provide informational and entertainment value for viewers has become a huge element of user engagement and establishing relationships, both elements crucial in social media platform marketing today. Consider this: daily Facebook user video views now exceeds 8 billion views every day. Including this powerful tool in your social media strategy has the potential to pay off in numerous ways. Be sure to share videos that bear strong relevance to your targeted audience’ interests to ensure their engagement and desired response.
  • Plan for consistent implementation of your social media advertising on Facebook, as with other social media platforms. Maintaining a presence in front of your targeted audience is essential. Facebook’s live video is quickly adding a new dynamic to the social media marketing strategy as well.
  • Persistence is the key. Establish your marketing strategy, stay the course with a balanced plan that works within your business marketing budget allocation and modify audience targeting parameters set in your Facebook ads to ensure optimum engagement and increased traffic and following.
  • Remember that in 2017 and beyond, the focus is transitioning to more and more direct interaction with your targeted audience; that is conversing in a meaningful way with individuals. Develop meaningful relationships through genuine dialogue that is beneficial to both parties. Quality content will continue to be important but increase time devoted to quality, meaningful online conversations with the audience you connect with. Mutual and genuine interests shared is the new focus to be sure to incorporate on a regular basis as a means to build an audience for a better bottom line. Outright selling on every single post on social media platforms is no longer effective. Personal connection is key.

Taking Critical Steps to Solidify Relationships & Marketing Results

  1. Determine clearly in advance who your ideal market is. Then develop post content that will be most appealing to that targeted audience. Monitor closely how your audience is responding; are they engaging through likes, comments and shares? If not, revisit your content strategy and test new content to find out what works well for your own audience.
  2. Plan an organized and scheduled marketing strategy. Increase the value of your blog content by eliminating superfluous fluff and getting right to the valuable core elements that your audience will benefit from. Be aware of upcoming changes that are anticipated with respect to the importance of blogging moving forward. Trends are always in transition mode. Take advantage of social media scheduling platforms like Hootsuite.com for greater efficiencies in your time allocation for the promotion of your brand.
  3. Continue to ensure that you are posting increasingly meaningful, beneficial, quality content with the infusion of value driven textual, video and image content that your audience will become more engaged in. That content must be relevant to their interests.
  4. Be sure to optimize your Facebook business page to ensure high quality content that includes critical keywords that will enhance your page’s visibility on the search engines. Make sure that in doing so sentences read back organically; that is, in a natural sequence of wording and sentence progression as opposed to intermittently inserting those keywords. Also ensure that your business page has an effective description that fully identifies the product or services you are offering.
  5. Incorporate a solid ‘call to action’ on your business page that will prompt followers to respond in a compelling way with the desire to seek further information about what you have to offer. You always want your audience to desire and be able to take the next step…to find out more through URL links to your website.
  6. Hire a social media professional who is fully conversant with the dynamics of effective Facebook advertising setup and strategy, audience targeting, analytics and more. Attempting to implement your Facebook ads on your own may result in frustration when the results may be less than you had anticipated.
  7. Become actively engaged (yourself) on and through your personal and business pages by following, likes, comments, and sharing of other users’ posts and pages and also connecting meaningfully on relevant Facebook groups as they continue to be of increasing importance to your social media marketing strategies.

How to Increase Your Blog Subscribers & Article Sharing


Frustrated that after spending hours of research and fine-tuning your blog articles, you are seeing very little, if any, reader engagement? The follower numbers just aren’t there and yet even as you reread your blog posts repeatedly you still have the impression that your content is exceptional and should be attracting new subscribers?

My focus here today will be on a number of ways you can draw attention to ‘subscribing’ by using specific techniques to keep subscribing fresh in your readers’ minds. The more visible and readily available your subscribe forms are, the greater the frequency that readers should be inclined to subscribe.

You’re certainly not alone with that frustration. Keep in mind that there are countless numbers of content bloggers out there doing the same thing and many of them sharing the same experience of a seemingly static reader response. The competition online today is staggering and we must consistently develop new and unique ways to not only attract new readers to our blog or website but also find effective ways to capture our readers’ attention with every single new post and compel them to ‘opt-in’ by subscribing to receive our new blog posts right to their email inbox!

Content Quality

First and foremost, your blog or article content has to be exceptional, high quality, fresh (current), engaging and sufficiently value-added with information that is easily actionable immediately, not to mention truly beneficial to your readers, to compel them to click that subscribe button and sign up! That does not happen by chance or with mediocre content.

A whole article can be dedicated to the subject of quality content alone. Once we have established that quality content we now need to transition our focus to providing ample opportunity on our website or blog for our visitors to clearly see the path to future engagement of our blogs; through clicking the featured opt-in subscribe button and provide their email address in order to receive all future posts directly to their email inbox.

Opt-in Blog Subscribe Forms

Make sure that you have several locations on your website or blog to strategically position your blog subscribe forms/widgets, plainly visible to your site visitors with adequate reference to remind your readers/visitors to follow your blog by subscribing. In most cases your visitors will have two options for direct transmission of each new blog or article by either an email subscription signup or through your site’s RSS Feed and their preferred reader.

Opt-in Form Locations

a) Home Page Opt-in Form:

Place your opt-in form as conspicuously as possible on your home page. Depending on your site theme allowances for content, if possible situate your subscribe form above the fold line on your home page. In doing so your conversion rates should begin to occur in the order of a 5%-8% increase in subscribers for a given period.

The textual content typically found in opt-in (subscribe) forms is fairly generic in nature and does not lend itself to compelling your visitors to subscribe. Revise the wording of the headline on the opt-in form with a powerful call to action. Use strong, persuasive words that prompt the sign-up and what new subscribers will receive in return i.e. “Sign up for Free Tips…” You could also offer any other value added free gift for subscribing like a free ebook or exclusive tips relevant to the article or blog post.

By offering that killer free gift in exchange for subscribing this approach can convert at a rage of over 30%! Keep in mind that the conversion rates (new opt-in subscribers) is only an approximation and much depends on the value and quality of your blog posts to begin with.

b) Blog Page Opt-in Form:

Again, place your blog opt-in (subscribe) form in a conspicuous location on the blog page, ideally as close to, if not the first level location at the top of the sidebar. Link to your blog page with call to action buttons, prominently visible with solid, bright color contrast, on other pages of your site so that visitors will readily see the link button and be prompted to go to the blog page to read your content and subscribe. This practice is important for page navigation as well.

c) Footer Opt-in Form:

Another effective location to position opt-in (subscribe) form is at the bottom of each website page so that for any visitor who scrolls right to the bottom of the page while reading, they will again see the convenient presence of the opt-in form and they will often feel compelled to enter their email address and click Subscribe right then and there! It’s a great reminder location to secure the new opt-in.

d) About Page Opt-In Form:

The ‘About’ page statistically experiences among the highest levels of on-site viewing as most visitors who decide they have an interest in reviewing more content on the site want to have a sense of trust and comfort level that you have the type and quality of service or product that they want to acquire and that you are, in fact, genuine or real.

As such, you don’t want to omit an opportunity to include an opt-in (subscribe) form on the ‘About’ page of your site. Typically, because blogs are most often continuous scroll, you will not have a page footer to position your opt-in form so in this case place the subscribe form as close to the top of the sidebar as possible so that it has the potential to be seen as soon as possible upon landing on that blog page. Failing to do so will mean considerable lost opportunity to secure new subscribers.

Remember the critical importance of a blog on your website (or blog site) from a marketing perspective. The blog is your most powerful tool on the site from which to foster strong awareness of who you are as a business proprietor and/or product/service provider. The blog is also the perfect place to expand on value added information about what it is you offer that you don’t have room to share on the other site pages. The blog is THE place to showcase, in a clear and concise way, what you have to offer and WHY the visitor should buy from YOU!

Be aware that by having a check box in your opt-in form that states “Subscribe to (blog name)” statistically increases new subscriber frequency substantially. It is a means to compel the visitor to affirm/reaffirm their desire/intention to subscribe and follow your new blog posts to come!

Opt-in Confirmation Page

Typically, most opt-in (subscribe) forms follow with an emailed confirmation page which is sent to the new subscriber’s email address (used for the opt-in) as a means to have the new subscriber confirm that they did in fact just subscribe to the blog. This is a way to ensure subscriber security is assured and that there is no fraudulent activity at play such as automated capture of subscriber information for illegal purposes.

Your subscriber confirmation page should be effectively worded to capture the new subscriber’s attention and prompt them to provide that confirmation that they in fact did opt-in through the double opt-in final step. If they skip over that last step they will not receive future blog posts from your site as intended.

Eye-Catching Opt-In Forms

There are a multiple of opt-in form styles to choose for the blog subscription ranging from a standard fixed-in-place form to an eye-catching popup or slider form and more. Run A/B headline testing to determine what style of form and headlines resonate best with your visiting guests to the blog and following readership as well. It is critical to understand what is working best with your various website or blog site elements. When you observe sluggish response change it up…have fun with it but stay focused on powerful, compelling nudges that prompt your site visitors to action. Get their mojo going with the blog content and zero in on the new opt-in presentation to see what lights their fire!

Website, Blog & Newsletter Marketing

As critical as each of these elements are in their own right individually and collectively, make sure that you are shouting to the rooftops to pitch/promote them on your social media, advertising spots, professional group forums; essentially anywhere that you can expand your exposure. Turn your website or blog site into the ‘hub’ location for marketing your online presence by channeling your targeted audience’ focus through the marketing funnel back to the hub location to engage, interact, share and ultimately convert to purchasing customers. That focused effort WILL pay off. THAT is the essence of blogging!

To explore and discover more content marketing essentials refer to Backlinko for much more on this and similar topics where their focus is not only on web traffic tips but critical information regarding the ever-changing dynamics of search engine optimization.

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Did you find this article informative and value added? If so please SHARE this post through the share buttons provided. Thank you for your continued presence here and the opportunity for me to inform and inspire!

© Don MacIver, Editor 2016; All Rights Reserved

Welcome to Key Word Blog!


Thank you for following Lasting Impressions Editing’s Key Word Blog!

For the past 2 1/2 years Lasting Impressions Editing has been located on two different website hosting platforms and I am pleased to make WordPress.com it’s current and permanent host site. Thank you for being a special part of this website blogging experience at Key Word Blog!

Here I will explore all the various aspects of my client services which focus primarily on innovative content analysis, revision, strategy and development. More specifically, I will share with you a host of information relating to the services I currently offer and any changes which may occur at a future date. Services mature and become redefined to a degree over time as newfound demand and client needs would predicate such change.

CURRENT CLIENT SERVICES FOCUS

My current client services center around website and document editing and proofreading, writing and re-writing of content, publishing services for authors, website search engine optimization, social media optimization for profile and post content and client content marketing/promotional services through social media platforms.

SERVICES OVERVIEW

My clients include business professionals, authors, writers and individuals who require new or revised content for their websites, important documents and internal/external communications, book manuscripts that require editing/proofreading/writing/revision as well as formatting for print and electronic formats and final submission for publication.

In addition, I provide clients with essential elements of search engine and social media optimization to help ensure that their content is visible to search engines and in turn gets their content positioned well in search engine results pages (SERP’s).

Why consider these services? Because there are so many complexities surrounding best practices in current day to make sure your content is polished, quality information that compels audience response, search optimized for search visibility and has targeted audience reach for optimum reader response and engagement. Your bottom line is achieving best possible return on your investment.

Give your important content the attention it needs and deserves for the best possible results. I work to help ensure that your textual content leaves your readers with immediate and lasting impressions.

Through the Key Word Blog I invite you to explore and discover tips and best practices to help you achieve those critical project objectives. This value added blog will share powerful insights that produce results, saving you time, cost and frustration with editing and content development strategies that are proven effective. I share a host of free information of my own plus expert advise through external article linking and resource links to help keep you stay informed on current trends and related changes as they occur.

Thank you for subscribing to the Key Word Blog. If you find this blog content informative and useful information please SHARE the blogs with others through the share buttons provided. Your comments are also invited and greatly appreciated.

Reader Engagement Strategy


Team of business people working together on a laptop
Writing for Optimum Reader Engagement

Are you having difficulty achieving reader responsiveness? Your audience connection seems at risk or doubtful because of a lack of commenting and sharing of your content with others?

You’re not alone in the frustration of attracting and building on a readership or subscribing audience. The huge volume of internet users today has increased exponentially in recent years whether for personal, social or business purposes. The technologies and applications of our online presence has changed dramatically as well over time demanding our awareness and application of such new innovations and how we can utilize them to our best advantage.

Our website and blog content needs to be highly informative and useful to our targeted audience. When our readers find our content engaging they are most likely to return for more. In terms of business and marketing conversion to sales or new clients that reader engagement is critical. Another powerful tool in the engagement arsenal is the sharing of relevant content from external sources as I often do here with my own posts. What better way to support our own content than to share the resources, experience and successes of others!

Email Newsletters

One of the most successful ways to build a following today, whether to promote business products or services, published works of authors, poets, writers and journalists is through distribution of subscriber email newsletters like ConstantContactMailChimpVerticalResponse to name just a few mailing hosts. Having subscribing (opt-in) readers for a newsletter is a powerful way to establish a more personal connection given the very nature of direct mailing to individuals or businesses who have made the choice to connect to our content. Statistically there is a greater response in terms of new business and sales.

Social & Professional Networking

These networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, to name but a few, continue to grow steadily in user base numbers, a substantial addition to our marketing and audience connection arsenal. If used in a well-designed social and marketing strategy such sites can attract a substantial following through which traffic generation back to your main website or blog hub is critically important.

Essential to that audience connection is in being interactive on a one-on-one basis. Don’t just concentrate all your efforts on the socials with getting ‘follows’ and ‘likes’…that is only the starting point to establishing relationships, making essential connections. We need to be responsive in today’s social and professional networks whether our purpose for being there is personal, business and/or product/service centric. When someone takes the time to comment or compliment on your social pages you must respond! Failing to respond tells people you don’t care, that you have ulterior motives for your ‘connections’ and that turns people off fast. After all, it IS a social or professional networking site! 

Keyword Usage

Keywords have become a critical factor in capturing an audience through search engine visibility. The dynamics of how the various search engines evaluate the relevance, ranking and search results positioning is varied between today’s search engines as is their algorithmic configuration but the bottom line is that careful and strategic application of keywords within our online content is essential to the mapping framework for our online presence…or lack thereof.

When using the various social and professional networks make sure that you are adding keywords within the context of your profile content and bios as well as in your content body AND in your site headings and titles. Best keywords are also essential in the context of site meta tags and title descriptions. Google continues to be THE granddaddy of internet search engines today and I utilize their various applications found at GoogleWebmastersTools to help ensure that my online visibility is optimized. 

The Google Adwords Keyword Planner is an excellent resource tool to determine the best possible keywords that apply for your particular service or product niche. Google provides plenty of reference and resource material to help users familiarize themselves with this indispensable resource base. I can attest first hand that applying these tools does indeed make a difference. Most search engines today provide the how-to’s for implementing their various resources.

It takes time and following the learning curve to get positive end results but this is a key step in developing audience engagement and site traffic…without which you have no customer base to speak of. Understanding and accepting such applications as essential to the process will lead you through the discovery phase. 

Keyword implementation is not an exact science yet by using such tools as the keyword planner and testing different keywords to find which ones are most effective for site traffic generation and your business or sales needs and objectives you should see positive results. My web traffic has increased considerably through keyword application and adjustment to the extent that my site traffic is now doubling every month consistently…that’s powerful!

Mobile Responsive Websites & Blogs 

Internet users in today’s busy lifestyle are carrying their mobile devices in ever-increasing numbers today and a large segment of the population now use their mobiles for internet browsing on the run. That means that a critical segment of our potential business or reading audience is locked in through their various mobile devices during key portions of the business day. That means in a nutshell that we MUST use websites and blogs that are formatted as mobile responsive. Refer to your own services provider to verify whether you do have your online websites or blogs configured for mobile devices.

Engage!  The bottom line is that once you engage, once you make those essential connections with your following or subscribing audience, then you will start to see results. Engaging in organic, genuine conversation and support builds confidence and trust in what you have to offer. The results will follow.

I’ll share with you an article posted by Debbie Hemley on reader engagement strategy in which the writer shares great tips for targeted audience connection at Social Media Examiner. I have been following this site for several years now, an excellent resource and information site on current trends in online presence, marketing strategy through social media and much more. Host Michael Stelzner also broadcasts regular podcasts through the site which are outstanding with powerhouse guest speakers. The site’s following is huge.

Remember friends….CONNECTION = ENGAGEMENT = CUSTOMER CONVERSION

Search Engine & Social Media Optimization Strategies


SEO-OPTIMIZATION-3DStacked

photo c/o Bing Search, source unknown

Wouldn’t it be nice to see your website or blog show up in the Top 10 positioning on search engine results pages?

Top 10 is the ultimate gold when it comes to where our web pages are going to show up when people are searching for our products or services and if we want to see meaningful results for all of our tireless efforts to get our websites or blogs seen we need to make sure that the content we create for our sites will be highly visible to search engines.

That all seems pretty daunting and for many a frustrating part of online website marketing. The thing is that we simply cannot aimlessly practice online website content writing without including keywords and keyword phrases that will be recognized by search engines AND commonly used words and phrases that are most often used by people when they do online searches.

Online document and website content strategy is a critical part of increased reader engagement and web traffic. We may have the best products or services available today but if we don’t understand search engine optimization and social media optimization our sites will never be seen by the majority of those searching online. As equally important is writing high quality, clean, concise, informative and compelling content that will thoroughly interest and engage our readers and leave them with an immediate desire to find out more.

Search engine visibility and website or blog site ranking by the search engines is extremely important for anyone marketing their products, services or non-commercial sites online today. Without being an expert in SEO practices there are tools available online to help find the best words and phrases to use in our web content. Google continues to be the largest search engines by far and our ultimate goal is reaching that Top 10, page 1 search results positioning on Google as well as the other major search engines.

Google.com Webmaster Tools:
Start off by registering for Google tools and resources. I signed up for a Gmail account and have access to Google’s powerhouse webmaster tools that help guide website owners through their various tools and resources for search engine optimization and more.

Google Adwords Keyword Planner:
Once you have access to Google’s treasure chest of resources go the the Google Keyword Planner tool site linked here. If you want to use Google Adwords there is cost involved but to simply research keywords and keyword phrases the keyword planner tool itself is free. The tool landing page shows a number of options to choose from and you want to go to the first option provided which is “search for new keyword and ad groups ideas.”

Next you will see a search campaign box where you need to enter what product or service (or type of site content) you are offering. Think carefully about the commonly known names or phrases that most people would use to search for your site…never use highly technical jargon/language…keep it simple. Then enter your full website address ie http:www…  followed by entering your product, service or website/blog content category. Again, think in terms of the most commonly known terms for the category that would best describe what you offer on your site.

What follows those first three primary fields is ‘Targeting’ and ‘Customize Your Search’. In these two sections you want to focus carefully on geographic regions you are targeting an audience in, their language, search engine options and keyword search filters. There is a small question mark icon located just above these two fields for brief helpful information on what you need to focus on here.

Once this form is completed click “Get Ideas”. What you will see on the results page that follows are a series of keyword or keyword phrases which are the most commonly used terms used by people searching on the internet, a count of the number of searches made for each keyword or phrase, a competition rating and more.

Important: From the results described above, you want to choose keywords and keyword phrases that will serve your own objectives best. If you are a new business startup (just getting started with a new/first business) choose the keywords and phrases that are medium competition and number of searches.  Choosing higher competition ranking and the highest number of searches produces search results to highly established and ranked websites that place them in the Top 10 or 20 (Page 1 and 2) search results positions and even if you have a small search engine visibility, because of the much higher ranked sites for the chosen keywords/keyword phrases your site will never get seen (because your site is listed a multiple of pages deep in the search results). Remember that most people only click on sites listed on Page 1 of search results and a very small percentage will ever go into Page 2 results.

Keyword Density:
How many times you include keywords and keyword phrases (collectively) within each paragraph or web page is somewhat subjective but very close attention needs to be taken here. Google is frequently changing its methods and tolerances for acceptable use and volume of keywords within our content. If overused, and when identical keywords or phrases are repeated, Google now looks upon that practice in a very negative way, commonly referred to as “keyword stuffing” and you can expect that in doing so Google will penalize your site ranking heavily or render your site essentially invisible through poor ranking and search visibility.

There was a period of time where volume of keywording on a website was acceptable but NOT anymore…do so at your own peril. Search engines establish ‘algorithms’ for search ranking and visibility criteria which are essentially the rules that must be followed if we want people to be able to find us in search queries. Ignoring such rules is very risky and will most likely eliminate any chance we have of getting noticed, gaining a following, achieving reader engagement and ultimately our targeted new clients, customers and sales.

Keyword Density Target:  
To ensure that your website stays in the ‘safe’ zone for search engine visibility and ranking you should target a keyword density of approximately 1% – 3% of your total article/web page content. In other words, for every 100 words of content, use a maximum of 3 keyword or keyword phrase applications. To easily calculate this density, while your MS Word document is open, look in the lower left area of your system tray at the bottom of your monitor screen. You will see a page count ie ‘Page 1 of…’ and then ‘Words‘ which tells you how many words there are in your open article.

To calculate the percentage of keywords and phrases that occur in the article, count those keywords/phrases in total and then divide that count number by the total number of words in the article. If you have more than the recommended 1% – 3% keyword density, remove some of those keywords (or other content reworded) until you are back to the density limit suggested.

There is more to website ranking and search engine optimization for increasing search visibility and website traffic results than can reasonably be covered in this article but the essentials outlined above will give you a good start at improving how visible your website or blog will be in search engine queries and help those sites begin to establish ranking by the search engines. The key to establishing best results is to make sure you stay current on the methods best applied for your site as time passes and search engines change their algorithms and rules of engagement.

Test Your Search Results and Ranking:
Remember to frequently monitor your website/blog search results by running your own organic searches on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. For myself, I would use search terms like “website editing, Peachland, BC” or “document proofreading in Peachland, BC” or “social media optimization in Peachland, BC”. When you see your own site search results placed on Page 3 or higher you know you’re on the right track. Always use ‘organic’ search terms like I have illustrated here for my own searches. Don’t use your site title as the vast majority of people searching don’t know you or your site title and they won’t get results that include your site. Keep tweaking your keywords and phrases and other relevant content wording until you succeed in Top 10, Page 1 search results position…and celebrate! Now you’re talking!!

Social Media Optimization:
Similar keyword and phrase practices apply to social media posts. It’s easy to forget keyword content in social media site posts (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LiveJournal, Tumblr, Pinterest etc.) and professional networks like LinkedIn but optimizing our social media content is equally important for generating website and blog traffic. Also make sure that your profile on each of those networks has keywording because it helps users of those networks to find you (and your related website/other locations) in their searches online. When you connect or get followers make sure you interest with them individually through post comments, sharing, Tweeting and private messaging.

Resources:
As a website or blog owner or administrator/marketer, make sure you do research on all aspects of writing website and online document content by doing internet searches. Find the experts online that can help guide you through the processes. Emulate success…do what successful people do. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Find others who are successful on the internet, learn their methods and apply those successful methods for best results.

For years I have consistently referred to two highly successful websites to learn current best practices and I have seen very positive results with my own website, blog and social media presence. SiteProNews is an excellent resource for breaking technology, social media and search engine news. SocialMediaExaminer is an outstanding resource for social media marketing, newsletters, events, networking tips and resources and live podcasts hosting interviews with many of the social media and business marketing giants of today who share how they have achieved lofty heights and their methods. Practice what these successful folks have done and you will save yourself an awful lot of wasted time attempting to get it right.

Ultimately you need to decide whether to apply keyword and keyword phrase content on your website or blog yourself or hire an expert in that service discipline to do it for you. It will take some time to achieve best results on your own. Remain patient and focused! Monitor your website or blog data through analytics as you make changes to keywording to see what positive or negative affect new (or eliminated/updated) keywords have on your website’s visitor traffic and engagement and search visibility. 

Most important of all….always focus on reaching that treasured Top 10 page 1 of search results! That is when the most significant results begin to happen! – See more at: http://lastingimpressionsediting.weebly.com/key-word-blog/search-engine-social-media-optimization-strategies#sthash.0NwJVCMp.dpuf

 

By Don MacIver, Owner, Editor, Writer, Author
© Lasting Impressions 2016