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Top 7 Social Media Management Tools

Top 7 Social Media Management Tools

New social media management tools can help you gain customer loyalty

Top 7 Social Media Management ToolsIf you have ever tried digital marketing for your business, you have heard of social media marketing. This is a method of promoting your brand and products through social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You may have heard of companies who have posted a single tweet that caused their stock to be cleaned out by enthusiastic customers. Unfortunately, this scenario almost never happens. Getting a social media marketing campaign to deliver sales requires special skills, in-depth analysis, and highly specialized social media management tools. There is no magic trick in digital marketing, just plain old skills and tools, the same as any other marketing avenue. This review details seven of the best social media management tools currently available.

1) CoSchedule

The first of the social media management tools that you might consider using is CoSchedule. The aim of this tool is to help you time publicity for the content you post on your website or other blogs. When you write a new post, you get CoSchedule to post messages about it on social media sites. You might not want every outlet to display messages about that post all at once, so you can adjust the schedule of your social media postings to draw the attention of your followers on different platforms on different days. This will enable you to monitor traffic and work out which social media site draws in better customers. This is a stand-alone application, but it can also integrate with WordPress. The pricing for this social media marketing tool is US $10 per month, per WordPress blog. If you pay up front for a year, you get a US $20 discount.

2) Crowdbooster

Analyzing the value of your social media marketing efforts can be difficult. It is not always easy to track which visitors were driven to your site by which social media outlet. Crowdbooster aims to fill that knowledge gap. This social media management tool analyzes and reports on your social media marketing and tries to marry the sales results to each digital marketing campaign. This information will help you understand where your markets are and what methods are best at reaching them and getting them to follow through a visit with a purchase. Crowdbooster only monitors marketing on Facebook and Twitter. It has a range of plans that start at US $9 per month and go up to US $119 per month.

3) Buffer

Buffer has the message scheduling capabilities of CoSchedule and the analytical tools of Crowdbooster. However, it is a lot more expensive than the combination of both CoSchedule and Crowdbooster. The cheapest Buffer plan costs US $50 per month. You can get a free trial for seven days, so that facility will help you decide whether it is worth paying for this social media management tool or whether you can get by with the cheaper combination of CoSchedule and Crowdbooster. The Buffer website has a blog with some handy tips on social media marketing. If you decide not to subscribe to their services, you can still benefit from the advice of the company’s experts by checking the new posts on the blog.

4) Hootsuite

You might say you couldn’t give a hoot what people are writing on the web about your business, but if reputation management is a priority for you, you might need Hootsuite. This social media management tool is all about monitoring what others say about your company and your products. Bad reviews may arise from faulty products or poor customer service, from blackmailing clients who want something for nothing or from sneaky rivals. Whatever causes negative comments about your business, you need to identify and deal with it, because such comments can get indexed by search engines and appear on results pages when people are searching for your products or services. On the positive side, good reviews are worth more than the most expensive advertising, and you should locate them and draw the public’s attention to them. On top of this monitoring capability, Hootsuite also includes message scheduling and analytical tools. Hootsuite monitors 35 social media outlets for you, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. You can get a 30-day free trial of the Pro price plan, which costs US $9.99 per month thereafter. The Small Business Plan costs US $49 per month, and there is a 30-day free trial for that, too.

5) Tweepi

If you focus your social media marketing on Twitter, you could benefit from the services offered by Tweepi. This social media management tool extends the (negligible) reporting capabilities of a Twitter account so you can analyze your hits and misses from your digital marketing campaign. Tweepi has a free plan and two paid plans. Before you spend any of your hard-earned income, however, it is worth remembering that Twitter’s market share seems to be in freefall at the moment, and focusing all of your digital marketing there is probably a mistake. As Tweepi only allows you to manage your Twitter account, the value of its service is closely tied to Twitter’s performance.

6) IFTTT

This social media management tool is pronounced like “gift” without the “g.” This is an acronym that stands for “if this, then that.” That phrase is a standard construct in programming, so the name of the service and its minimal use of presentation show that this social media management tool is run by very techie geniuses. The IFTTT methodology is based around a “recipe,” which is the “if this, then that” statement, where “this” is a trigger and “that” is an action. Your social media messages will be posted if a given condition is met. For instance, creating a new blog post can act as a trigger to send out social media messages about that blog post.

7) SocialFlow

The key feature of the SocialFlow social media management tool is that it can monitor the posts and comments of your followers on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. This enables digital marketers to tailor content to the current interests of followers and then schedule its release and promotion to feed into current conversations. Promotion takes the forms of both messaging and paid advertising. This social media management tool includes both scheduling and analysis tools.

Managing social media marketing

Social media marketing is a complicated field, and the novice practitioner should gain a thorough understanding of the topic before investing in complicated social media management tools. Fortunately, most of the companies offering these tools also have blogs on their sites that explain the methodology and purpose of social media marketing. Take time to visit these blogs, and get to understand the techniques this marketing channel requires by visiting each of the sites in this review. Once you feel comfortable with the topic, you will be better able to assess which of these tools would suit your marketing strategy. Take advantage of the free trials that most of these social media management tools offer so you can be sure you can get the best returns for your money.

Image source: Twin design/BigStockPhoto.com

 

Disclosure: If there are links to a product in any of the reviews, a commission may be paid to us if you purchase the product. We will never write a review on a manufacturer’s product, nor will we promote a product, if we believe the product will not be beneficial to you.

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8 Reasons Your Website Is Failing to Increase Your Conversion Rate

8 Reasons Your Website is Failing to Increase Your Conversion Rate

8 Reasons Your Website is Failing to Increase Your Conversion RateThe Internet is a huge network of people, businesses, information, and services striving to attract the most visits to their respective websites. When you first launch your business website or service, the process of attracting potential customers can be overwhelming. Your website is probably one of many that offer similar products. Despite this, you can set yourself apart from competitors and increase your sales in two ways: attract more potential customers or increase the conversion rate of the customers already visiting your website.

Optimizing your website to increase conversion rates is therefore an important component of any online marketing strategy. A conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your site that take the action you desire them to take, whether that means filling in their information to become a lead or buying a product or service to become a customer. Many factors contribute to successful conversion rates, and you can make a number of small changes to your website’s design, content, and accessibility to boost your lead conversions or sales. Maybe the number of visitors to your website has stagnated, or maybe it’s growing, but why aren’t those visitors turning into customers? Below are eight potential problems your website is facing and eight solutions that will help you optimize your website and increase the conversion rate of its visitors.

1. Your website design is outdated.

Your website is outdated.On average, it takes less than a second for a visitor to judge your website (and business) based on its design and overall aesthetic appeal. People are more likely to buy from a business that presents itself in a way that appeals to them visually. This is bad news if your design is outdated or unprofessional, with clashing color schemes, mismatched fonts, unprofessional images, or too much information crammed into a small space.

Solution: Simplify your design and choose an attractive and consistent color scheme that compliments your business and the aesthetic of the customers to whom you want to appeal. Create an attractive and obvious header image that showcases the name of your business so your customers know they are in the right place. Understand and use font hierarchy so the most important information you need a new visitor to know stands out from the smaller print. Avoid large blocks of text on your main pages. They can overwhelm visitors who are new to your product or service—leave the more substantial content for the blog posts, ebooks, and other great resources your website has to offer.

2. Your call to action (CTA) isnt the first thing your visitors see.

This step is crucial for increasing conversion rates. Is it clear what you are offering and how potential customers can obtain your product or service? Depending on your business, your call to action could be a free service quote, a subscription, a free trial, or a consultation. All these lead a potential customer to a purchase and should be among the most prominent elements of your website.

Solution: Be bold and make your CTA as obvious as you can. Create an attractive, easy-to-see button to advertise what you have to offer, and be sure to place it prominently.

3. Your website doesnt load quickly.

When more people can find your business’s website, you have more potential customers. Are your products and services easy to find? Customers who run into problems loading pages, face long wait times to see information, and encounter broken links or other errors are customers who will most likely go somewhere else with their business.

Solution: Optimizing your website for all browsers and mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, will naturally increase your conversion rate. Invest in a hosting service that ensures your information loads quickly. Make sure that all pages on your website load properly and that all links work.

4. Your website lacks great content about what you have to offer.

Your website is built and your product or service is available, but you are still having trouble attracting visitors and converting those visitors into leads or customers. People tend to buy from companies that not only have something to sell but also have knowledge to share.

Solution: A great way to attract visitors and convert them into customers is to create great content. Become an authority in your niche to increase your visitors’ confidence in your company and product. Consistently writing helpful articles and engaging content related to your business will help solidify your reputation as an online resource that people will return to again and again.

5. Your navigation is complicated.

Your navigation is complicated. Too many options can be overwhelming. Does your website do a great job of leading customers to the information they want to find? How navigation is addressed in your website design is one of the most important factors in increasing conversion rates. Visitors who can’t find what they need quickly and easily will most likely not turn into customers.

Solution: Check out how your competition handles website navigation. Often, certain types of businesses have a recognizable system that works efficiently to get visitors where they want to be. Keep menus simple and clean, and lead your customer to information by presenting it in a progressive and intuitive way.

6. Options to purchase arent immediately clear.

A website for a product or service should make it easy to purchase that product or service. Navigating to products should be easy and intuitive with clearly defined menus. Once a visitor is viewing a particular product, it should be easy for that visitor to find the Add to Cart button and become a customer.

Solution: Make every effort to create an easy-to-use ecommerce system with visible “Buy” buttons and checkout options. Finding product categories or services on your main page should be quick and easy. Avoid complicated menus.

7. Your content isnt honest and authentic.

If you’re the owner of a small online business, you’re responsible for many different things. You want to add content that attracts visitors and increases your conversion rates, but you’re not sure how to write it.

Solution: The key is to be transparent about who you are and what you do. People are more likely to buy from you if they recognize that real people are behind the online business. Try to convey this through your content in a way that makes your visitors more likely to connect with what you have to offer and become customers. Be open about your products and services and about the availability of both.

8. Your website isnt up front about purchasing or product information.

It can be hard to compete with other online businesses, some of which may have a much larger following than you. Reputation and word-of-mouth testimonials are just as important online as they are in real life. How do you go about building trust to convert more customers?

Solution: Building trust and a great reputation online can take time. Offer customer reviews so that first-time visitors can gain an idea of how previous customers feel about your product or service. Be transparent about your return policies and shipping fees, and make it easy for each customer to track their transactions so that they can see exactly where their purchase is.

Image sources: Splitshire.com, Pexels.com, Jaxon Stevens/Stocksnap.io

Inklyo's free ebook, 25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales.

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6 Article Marketing Tips for Your Business

6 Article Marketing Tips for your Business

6 Article Marketing Tips for your Business Creating content for your website is a great way to promote your business. You can indirectly promote your business and encourage readers to become customers if you provide your readers with interesting information they enjoy reading.

Articles are an excellent form of content for marketing. Articles can be any length; they provide information that customers find useful, and they can be published regularly, often in a short time. These articles must be published online strategically so they can effectively promote your business and give your website the engagement it needs to succeed.

How do you achieve this? How can you ensure your article marketing reaches your audience?

1. Give your readers something unique

Article marketing is the presentation of written material that gives customers useful information about your product. This means that the articles you write must give your customers something no one else can. This content should be unique and interesting, as well as encourage readers to visit your website again. A really good question to ask yourself when thinking about what to write about is: “How can I serve my customers?” By making it about your customers, and not about you, you will provide value.

2. Summarize your article

To convince your customers to read your article, try writing a summary paragraph to accompany the full article. Beyond a catchy headline, a summary will give your readers a better idea of what your article is about so they will be more inclined to read it. In article marketing, a summary could be the deciding factor of whether someone browsing the Internet will devote time to reading your business’s material. The one or two line summary should reinforce the headline and suggest the article’s value proposition. You want to reassure the reader that the article will be worth his or her time.

3. Build authority

Obviously, you should share your own content to your followers. However, you should also share good material from other authors. Why? Because doing so will help you build authority in your niche.

The key word here is good material. Try to find articles that will provide high value to your followers. The more value you provide, the more likely people are to trust your judgement. You will become an authority in your industry, and you will find more people willing to share your articles.

4. Publish your articles elsewhere

While it is necessary to publish your articles on your own website, it is a good idea to publish them on other websites, as well. Some websites only accept new and original guest articles, while others allow you to republish material from your site. Readers that might not have previously heard of your business can be directed to your website, opening up new possibilities for potential customers.

Where should you publish? Where your customers are, of course. Rather than just submitting your articles everywhere and hoping for the best, it’s a good idea to figure out what your potential customers are reading and submit your work there. This will have two benefits: First, you will help search engines understand what your site is about if your inbound links come from places that are semantically related to what you do. Second, the best inbound link is one that also sends you visitors.

5. Use social media to share

Social media is an excellent tool for increasing your website’s visibility and engaging in valuable article marketing. Sharing your articles regularly on these newsfeeds will remind your followers of your business and brand. As well, customers can re-share your posts to their own networks.

6. Ask for the share

If your articles are well written and informative, other websites will probably link to them or share them organically. However, it doesn’t hurt to gently remind readers occasionally to help you get the word out. This can be done via share buttons at the bottom of your page, or in your status update (e.g., if you like this piece, please share it with your friends!)

Image source: Gustavo Frazao/BigStockPhoto.com

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What To Look For in a Chief Content Officer

Creating and managing content within a company is a big job. Now, more than ever, brands need to make clients and customers smarter about their product, service, organization, and how they do business. Traditionally, this job falls on the shoulder of the marketing and promotions department. Eager to get word out about their company, these tenacious individuals sit alongside agency partners, discussing brand strategies, campaign catchphrases, creative concepts, and media master plans, and yet, rarely is there a top-level executive assigned to oversee the very foundations of the creation and execution of these marketing messages.

In today’s content crazed world, brands are becoming more and more like social enterprises, as such, the need for companies to tell their stories through engaging, educational content is becoming increasingly paramount. Enter the CCO, or Chief Content Officer. The mastermind behind content-driven programs, it’s the CCO’s job to manage, coordinate, plan, and distribute content as part of an inbound marketing strategy.

And yet, very few organizations have extended their C-suite to include a communications professional. Not surprisingly, this is because many management teams aren’t entirely clear on what a CCO should do. The following are five basic qualities that every CCO should have:

1) Be a leading content creator and curator

The old models of marketing (press releases, product launches, video advertisements etc.,) need to be remodeled for the new world of engaged marketing. The best Chief Content Officers know how to turn customer success stories into sales pitches, and external recognition into community engagement.

2) Have a keen understanding of everything

This may seem like an impossible request, but it’s what sets exceptional CCOs apart from the pack. When you’re working across an enterprise, it pays to know what’s happening in each and every department. This will enable you to create content that ties in a wide variety of components. Remember, your goal is to guide the type of content that is being produced so that it can be used to draw more people into your brand circle. As such, you need to have a strong understanding of everything that’s happening in the marketing, public relations, product development, and editorial management departments.

3) Share your knowledge

The best brands understand the power of knowledge distribution. So don’t be shy. Give your CCO the duty of researching, coordinating, creating, and packaging content campaigns that provide your customers with insightful, relevant, and useful information. Become the expert in your chosen topic in order to gain credibility and customer loyalty.

4) Be capable of building relationships

CCOs need to be connected. From Google+ to Twitter, marketing conferences to media events, CCOs know how to find, engage, and maintain relationships with top writers, reporters, and reviewers in their industry. Always remember that people connect with people. So don’t just send out a faceless pitch or stock press release. Your CCO is there to bridge the gap through the creation of newsworthy content and network building interactions.

5) Be a content DJ

The best brands understand that content can no longer be produced in singular, simplistic forms. The digital world has provided us with countless was to express our stories — text, photos, graphics, videos — the list goes on and on. A CCO understands the nuances of narrative delivery and is willing to remix content in order to engage audiences in a way that encourages engagement.

There’s no question that content can have a major impact on your company. Unfortunately, few organizations have the leadership in place to head up successful content strategies. Make finding your company CCO a priority in order to enhance your company narrative, and enjoy the cost savings that come with a disciplined content plan.

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10 Useful Sites All Marketers Should Save to Their Favorites Bars

10 Useful Sites All Marketers Need in Their Favorites Bars

10 Useful Sites All Marketers Need in Their Favorites Bars

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If you’re a marketer who often finds yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of marketing resources available online, rest assured that you’re not alone. There are many useful sites and apps out there, but that doesn’t mean that all of them are right for you. Each marketing expert must determine which marketing resources and sites best suit his or her needs. I’ve been accumulating my own list of resources over the last little while, each of which occupies its own comfy spot in my Favorites bar. These useful sites might not all be right for you, but I’m sure that some of the items on my list will end up occupying your Favorites bar as well—that is, if they aren’t already there.

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a site used for scheduling and managing social media posts and metrics across different platforms. Hootsuite can be used for over 35 popular social networks, including popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Not only does Hootsuite allow you to schedule posts, it also gives you information about who is reading, liking, and sharing those posts. I could go on forever about all the advantages of using Hootsuite for keeping your social media strategy on track, or you could go ahead and try it yourself.

2. Google Analytics

Marketing experts worth their salt understand the importance of tracking and measuring their efforts. What’s the point of organizing and following through with campaigns if you don’t know how well—if at all—those campaigns are working to improve your conversion rates? Google Analytics is one of the best marketing resources for keeping track of your progress, and it will ultimately help you improve your marketing strategy. Like the other useful sites listed in this post, Google Analytics is free to use.

 3. URL Builder

Though URL Builder is part of Google Analytics, I have this site saved as its own page in my Favorites bar. I regularly depend on this useful site to create custom URLs that enable me to track the activity of my site’s visitors. While some of the other sites in my Favorites bar are reference sites with information to which I often refer, URL Builder has a practical application that I use often. Creating and distributing great content is all well and good, but if you can’t keep track of how that content is helping your site improve, your job isn’t being done in its entirety.

4. Canva

People who work in marketing must wear multiple figurative hats. We sometimes fill several roles, including writer, researcher, manager, and even graphic designer. This last point is where Canva comes in handy. One of the better-organized graphic design sites out there, this useful site allows marketers to create custom presentations, flyers, and other graphic images. Its fun, fresh, and simple modern design allows even amateur designers to create professional-looking pieces. With free access to sites like Canva, marketers for even the smallest companies no longer have any excuse for not creating beautiful, professional content.

5. StockSnap.io

In case you haven’t heard, corny stock photos are out. Gone are the days of businesspeople smiling back-to-back with their arms crossed across their chests. Instead, websites are now making use of real photographs of nature and of normal people in everyday situations. There are a few useful sites for finding copyright-free photographs, but StockSnap offers a particularly beautiful collection of images for you to use in your marketing efforts.

6. HubSpot’s Marketing Blog

Content marketing is a fairly new phenomenon. If you’re looking for a credible source of diverse information regarding the glamourous field of content marketing, look no further than the HubSpot Marketing Blog. It’s one of those marketing resources that I rely on much more than I sometimes think I should. Some of the posts cover general topics like the psychology of marketing, while others are detailed accounts of specific topics like buyer personas. Whatever you need to know about marketing, you can probably find it on HubSpot.

7. Pocket

Ever come across an article, video, or other piece of content that you thought would be great for your blog or social media, but that you didn’t have time to look at? With Pocket, you can save all such content in one place, then look at it later. You can download Pocket on your phone, tablet, or computer, and once you’ve saved something to Pocket, you don’t need Internet access to look at that content again. Pocket is a great app for keeping track of useful sites and marketing resources, and it can help you stay organized.

8. Scoop.it

This content curation site is useful not just for distributing your own content, but for finding other great marketing resources and useful content to share with your followers. Scoop.it users add their own content to the site, along with a description, allowing other people to view that content according to topic. It’s basically just one big platform for sharing things, and—as we all know—sharing is caring. Especially in the world of marketing.

9. Piktochart

If you think infographics are super cool, but you haven’t the foggiest idea how to create one of your own, have no fear—Piktochart is here. This site allows you to make professional infographics quickly and easily. Infographics can be great forms of visually interesting content; if you don’t have any for your site yet, I recommend that you check out this cool marketing resource. Did I mention that it’s free?

10. Google Drive

While not strictly a marketing resource, Google Drive can be a content marketing team’s best friend. If you’re working with a team of people, this large online storage space can help you share files and collaborate without having to deal with the hassle of over-sized email attachments. Google Drive also allows you to work on the same content from different computers, tablets, and even smartphones. If you want to have access to your work wherever you go, or if you’d like other people to have access to it, Google Drive might be the site for you.

Conclusion

The age of content marketing is here, and with it, an abundance of resources for marketers like you and me. If you make use of some of the resources above, you’ll surely have an easier time navigating the competitive and complex world of content marketing. You might even have a bit of fun along the way.